Chase Fireflies


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Table Top Wall Lettered Art: My Favorite Christmas Gift

I married a guy who can do it all – I do believe! 

Paul took a tabletop from Ikea ($10), designed my favorite verse, sent it to a print shop to make into vinyl, and applied it himself.  Wow! 

This thing is HUGE!  We have yet to hang it in our enormous wall on our stairway, but it’s going to look great.  I can’t wait to walk down the stairs to see these words every morning. 

What an encouragement!


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Our Family’s Top Ten Favorite Comfort Foods

This week has been a week of comfort foods for us.  The kids and I have been in New England, helping my family through a stretching time. 

In preparing to come, I needed a menu plan that would appeal to everyone.  I also needed the meals to be easy, fast, full of comfort, inexpensive, feed an army, and be freezable.  Most of these fit that description.  And with a salad and steamed veggies, most everything looked healthier than it probably was. 

If ever you are in need of a little comfort food, I hope this list helps. Thus far, my little elves and I have received rave reviews.  (Which, for me in the kitchen, is something to be proud of.)  I really hope these recipes can be used to encourage someone who needs it.  Enjoy, friends.

1.  Classic Baked Ziti

2.  Sweet and Sour Chicken

3.  Best Sloppy Joe’s Eva

4.  Classic Chicken Pot Pie

5.  Vegetable Tortellini Soup

6.  Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken 

7.  Marinated Steak and Chicken on the Grill 

8.  Twice Baked Deviled Potatoes

9.  Apple Crisp

10.  Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Pie


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Red Letter Words (Canvas Art: A Christmas Gift Idea)

Last year, I happened upon Red Letter Words: Faith Inspired Art. 

As soon as I saw her site, I loved her work.  I especially loved the word of God – like this canvas art and this greeting card set for youth group girls.  But then I wondered if she could design a custom print for me – one of all of the places God has allowed us to serve since Paul and I got married.

So I contacted her, placed an order, and she was sooooo sweet about creating this canvas.  The cool thing was – she was just as excited about this idea as I was!  She was great to work with, personable, and a complete blessing.  

This was the only Christmas present that I almost could not wait to give Paul.  It hangs in our home so that we see it every time we head out the door.  It’s a reminder of how God has been faithful through ordinary us (even though we are I am terribly inept at times!)  It also helps us to remember the missionaries still serving at each location.

Now I need another good idea for him.  Anyone?  What have been some of your favorite Christmas gift ideas?


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Turkey Cookies: Kids in the Kitchen

If you’re looking for a last minute kids’ contribution to the Thanksgiving spread, this may be the one. 

Grab random cookies from your pantry. 
Find something that can substitute for feathers and eyes.
Attach everything with the yummiest adhesive there is – melted chocolate chips.  (Not that I regularly ingest and rate adhesives.)

Now send the little fingers to work, sneaking candy and laughing.  They will be busy. 

And it may get messy.  Allow for it! 

You will now have time to concoct whatever Thanksgiving dish you need to prepare. 

And sooner or later, they’ll have concocted Turkey Cookies that will appeal to the small crowd at the feast. 

HAVE FUN!


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Autumn Trail Mix: Kids in the Kitchen

As a part of our curriculum, the kids and I are in the kitchen at least once a week.  How amazing is the kitchen for math, science, health and nutrition, social studies (international foods), literature (making a favorite recipe out of a book), and general life skills? 

That being said, this recipe is not from our curriculum.  (The curriculum called for beet, radish, and spinach salad.  Yuck!)  This recipe also does not have educational value.  It’s just fun! 

We needed a quick snack and we had these items on hand.  We dumped and mixed and added what was in our cupboards.  Everything was the kids’ idea. 

So we now present to you the autumn trail mix, created by our resident four and six year old.  You would never believe it, but it’s delicious!!!!!!  As if these random foods were made to be together. 

Let us know if you give it a try:)

Autumn Trail Mix

a little of this, a little of that…
Honey Nut Cheerios
Peanuts
Reese’s Pieces (leftover Halloween candy)
Sunflower seeds
Dried cranberries
Candy Corn (leftovers also!)
Mini marshmallows
Yogurt pretzels


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Mr. Turkey: A Thanksgiving Food Centerpiece for Kids

We made this little guy a couple years back. 

The photo isn’t the best, but you get the idea!  It’s a creative contribution that kids can do.  Kind of an appetizer of sorts.  It’s been a few years, but I venture to say we found the idea on Family Fun’s website or in their magazine.  That used to be my only go-to place for ideas. 

Have fun!  Happy Thanksgiving! 


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Berry Breakfast Smoothies: Kids in the Kitchen

Our little man had all five of his fruit/veggie servings before 9 am this morning! 

Does attaining the five a day rule cause anyone else to be deliriously happy?  Granted, it was three large glasses of just raspberries and blueberries.  (And probably too much fructose.)  But I was excited about all the fruit guzzling!

These smoothies are incredible.  They’re easy to make and healthy and inexpensive.  A perfect on the go breakfast before school! We all loved them.  The recipe makes 5 tall glasses.  Between the two kids and I, the smoothie was gone in an instant.   Enjoy!

Berry Breakfast Smoothies

2 cups cranberry juice
2 containers (6oz each) raspberry yogurt
1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
1 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
ice cubes

Place ingredients in a blender.  Cover and process until well blended.

Taste of Home August/September 2011


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Dogs in a Sweater: Kids in the Kitchen

We’re eating through the alphabet again with these little guys.  D is for Dog.  Since we’re not into devouring Fifi, these were a great alternative.  They are a variation of pigs in a blanket. 

I adapted these to be a little healthier, substituting veggie dogs for hot dogs.  They were a huge hit!  Easily made, quickly cooked, and speedily eaten without a complaint. 

Dogs in a Sweater Recipe (A Healthy Adaptation)

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Place a piece of cheese on the veggie dog. 
3. Wrap veggie dogs in crescent rolls or refrigerated bread sticks. 
4. Place on greased cookie sheet.  Cook for 18-20 minutes. 

recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Other D foods to devour:  doughnuts, drinks, dirt pudding, dip, debbie cakes, etc.


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20 Things You Can Do with Excess Halloween Candy

 My favorite Halloween quotes from Selah:

1.  “Mom, I’ve got this.” 
2.  “Do you guys know there’s another side of the road?” 
3.  “My fingers are freezing off.  Can we do just a few more houses?” 
4.  “A princess can wear sneakers, right?  Cause my feet hurt in high heels.”
 

Needless to say, Rapunzel and the unidentified Race Car Driver stocked up.  Here is our plan for the excess

1.  Give it away. 

a.  Donate to a homeless shelter, women’s shelter, nursing home, church ministry, etc. 
b.  Donate to Operation Gratitude, to be used in care packages for military personnel. 
c.  Donate to a Dentist office buy back program. 
d.  Include in an Operation Christmas Child package.  (Add a toothbrush/toothpaste also.)

2.  Save it for Christmas:

a.  Use it in a Countdown to Christmas calendar.
b.  Make Christmas ornaments or Christmas garland out of it.
c.  Use it for Christmas cookie baking.
d.  Use it to decorate Christmas presents.
e.  Save it for a gingerbread house decoration. 
f.  Make cards out of it to distribute to classmates.  (Poinsettias can be adapted from here.)

3.  Use it as a teaching tool:

a.  Organize by colors, shapes, ingredients, etc.  Put it in ABC order. 
b.  Use for addition and subtraction. 
c.  Make a Venn diagram with it (my favorites, your favorites, our favorites)
d.  Talk about the importance of good nutrition and exercise.  Classify it on the Food Pyramid.
e.  Melt it down for science.  Discuss solids and liquids. 

4.  Use it for art:a.  Paint with it.  (Dip a piece in water and paint – works with skittles, gumballs, fireballs, etc.) 
b.  Create a mosaic.  (Glue small pieces onto a heavy surface – cardboard, foam, canvas, etc.)
c.  Create a sculpture with it.  (Use toothpicks, straws, popsicle sticks, etc.)
d.  Make a wreath for Halloween next year. 

5.  Tell Your Kids You Ate All of It: 

a.  Just kidding.  Have you seen this?  Those poor traumatized kids! 

What do you do with all of your candy?  Any suggestions?


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A DIY Sweet Halloween Candy Wreath

Are you picky about your candy?  We are in this house.  Reese Peanut Butter Cups are diamonds.  Now or Laters, not so much.  The sticky tacky stuff makes me think dentist’s drill.  The hard stuff makes me think choking hazard.  (I have issues?) 

Nevertheless, we eat candy.  I reward with candy.  And I get rid of candy shamelessly.  We had a ton of candy leftover from Selah’s birthday party pinata, so we decided to make it into a wreath.  I have no idea why we put it on a wreath, but it seemed like a fun way to get ready for Halloween. 

If you’re looking for a way to welcome your princesses, goblins, and angry birds, this wreath might just be for you.  Or if you simply need to get rid of the stuff that no one will eat, well then it’s an idea too.  Our kids went crazy over making this.  Crazy.  But quite possibly that was just the sugar high kicking in:)

What kind of candy is gold to you?  Do you enjoy dressing up for Halloween?  Or do you prefer welcoming your neighbors?  I have to say.  I really love both!