December 31, 2010

Ice Cream Cake

My mother's birthday is Christmas Day.  My whole growing up life, we always celebrated her birthday with an ice cream cake from Carvel and it was always mandatory that Mom's birthday was a BIRTHDAY celebration.  Not an add-on to Christmas.  She got actual birthday cards, not Christmas b-day ones.  Her gifts were wrapped in regular birthday paper, etc.
My parents always come and celebrate Christmas day with us here at our home, so it now falls to me to prepare for the birthday part of the day.  This year I decided to make an ice cream cake from scratch - since I learned to make ice cream this year I thought it would be fun.
Here is the progression in photos.
Oreo cookies run through the food processor and mixed with butter to form
the bottom crust layer in a spring-form pan.
First batch of ice cream *cookies & cream
into the pan and then into the freezer
Chocolate syrup layer
Chocolate Chip Layer
Ready to celebrate!
Ready to dig in!

December 12, 2010

Compassion at Christmas

A few weeks ago we received a call I hoped would not come.  Though I had read on the Compassion International blog about how things are handled when a child leaves the program, I never thought we'd experience it ourselves.  I was saddened to be wrong, especially so as we'd only been sponsoring Blanca (in Guatemala) for a few months.  The staff at Compassion was very kind and told us what they knew about the reasons for Blanca's leaving the program. We also received a nice closing letter from the communication director of the center in Guatemala.  We were so glad to know that Blanca had accepted Christ as her Savior during her involvement in the program and we will continue to pray for God's hand on her life.

Having lost Blanca, the kids & I talked about the need & desire to choose another child as soon as we could.  I had told the staff on the phone that we would log into the website and choose another child ourselves instead of having them choose one for us.  
J and B decided to find a boy that had a birthday near to B's if possible.  So that was the focus of the search, though the kids were also insistent that we only search the children who had been waiting 6 months or longer for a sponsor.  They both think that it is important to find a child who has been waiting... hoping and praying for a sponsor.  To allow a waiting child to know they were chosen... for that child to know they are worthy of someone's love & prayers... especially in time for Christmas.  What a gift to be able to give!  That God has smiled on us to allow us such a privilege...truly humbling and awesome.
So we prayed and we searched and read profiles and found him.
 Fernando (Nando) from Indonesia.  He is 11 and his birthday is just about 2 weeks before B's.  Perfect!  Such a serious face, though I can just imagine that his eyes sparkle when he smiles.  We are praying that God will allow us to build a long relationship with Nando, as we are also building with Fred in Kenya. 
We just received our sponsor packet and can now send a family photo to Nando so he will be able to see us and begin to connect.  I've written to him once already through the Compassion website.  It's an awesome resource they offer to be able to write online and have it go directly to the country office to then be translated and sent out to the project locations for the sponsored child to receive.  It's a quicker process, though I still also write longhand and send paper letters as well.  
These boys are part of my heart now.  God has allowed us the amazing opportunity to make a real difference from a world away.  A chance to connect personally through letters and for a small amount each month... to impact their lives with food, education & opportunity.  Such a gift...for us!
Perhaps you might consider giving (and receiving) such a gift? There are also other ways to help!  You can go to the Compassion Catalog and choose a gift that will make a difference in the life of a child & family for as little as $10.  
There are many programs that offer the chance to give such gifts during the holidays.  Samaritan's Purse and World Vision both have similar programs and are an amazing way to be the hands and feet of Jesus at this time of year.

Blessings on the journey~

December 1, 2010

Why is it blue?

I hope you can really see that color.... yes, it is blue.  The home-made white bread is blue.  Why?  You may be asking.  Why would someone do such a thing to a lovely loaf of home-made bread?
Because I can!
Actually it is because of my darling husband whom God has blessed abundantly with such an off-beat sense of humor. 
Now for anyone still reading, I shall explain a bit more.
Our youngest child is, shall we say...ahem... rather particular when it comes to food.  I had made 2 loaves of bread over the weekend and used 1/3rd whole wheat flour along with the regular white.  The bread is good, soft, and very yummy.  But alas, B is not so very fond of whole wheat being involved in his regular old white bread. So enter dear old Dad with the suggestion to me that I should see what B's reaction would be if I colored the bread something really unusual.
So I did.
J was in on the joke and could hardly contain her giggles as we sliced into the still hot loaf for our usual first pieces warm from the oven.  From the outside you can barely see the blue tint.  But cut wide open and the blue shows!
We all enjoyed a laugh and a slice of hot bread.  Simple things... God brings them and we enjoy them and praise Him for the gifts.

May you enjoy the blessings of laughter today along the journey