30 November, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Advent starts today, the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The boys really haven't been old enought before to do anything too involved, but this year they are ready. We are going to innitiate two traditions, both advent things, both which celebrate family, gathering together, and what we are waiting expectantly for which is the celebration of Jesus' birth, Christmas.

Jesse Tree:

We are going to do the Jesse Tree which is a daily devotional time spent together learning about the specific incidents in the Old Testament which lead up to the Birth of Christ. Here is a definition I found at disciples now:

An ancient tradition of visually representing Jesus' family tree used by generations to prepare for Christmas. Based on the prophet Isaiah's references to the "root" and the "branches" of Jesse (King David's father) when Isaiah prophesied about the hope of the Messiah, the Jesse Tree reminds us that God’s plan has been forever and that we are a part of it.
Each day you read through the verses, and then hang one symbolic ornaments on the Jesse Tree. We started today.

4th Sunday before Christmas:
Persons, Events/Themes: Introduction to the Jesse Tree
Scripture: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13, Isaiah 11: 1-10
Symbol/Ornament: The tree

Additional Resources:
The Jesse Tree: Celebration of Advent

Bungaree Advent Calendar :

The second tradition we are going to do is we have an advent calendar that starts on the first of December marking the days up until Christmas. I know that kids can be excited about many more things than material gifts, but we can soon make them calloused to our gifts of time, energy and togetherness. This is a season to celebrate Christ, but we also would enjoy celebrating the gift that we have of spending time together. Each day we will choose a new thing to do together here are some of the (age appropriate) things I have come up with:

*make cookies for some friends and deliver
*play a game together
*listen to Christmas music while eating popcorn
*drive around looking at Christmas lights
*make a gift together for someone
*watch a good Christmas movie
*go to a coffee shop for a special hot drink
*read the Christmas story together by the tree
*make cut-out snowflakes for the windows

Do you have any special holiday memories? Do you have a tradition that you look forward to every Christmas season? Do you have any more ideas for things to do with our almost-5 and almost-3 year olds? Oh, do share!!

a birthday party for grandma

pirates, oh my!

29 November, 2008

we grow baby carrots

where do baby carrots come from? well, I think the store ones are cut up big carrots, but at our house all that we are able to grow are baby carrots!! They taste good, I just wish there were more of them.

I wrote a novel in a month!

Winner Icon

I finished my novel, I WROTE A NOVEL. I can now say that! I don't know what I will do with it yet, don't know when or what will happen. Maybe I will try to edit the first draft, maybe I will never look at it again. I don't know right now what will happen at all.

Winner Icon

grilled cheese and sunflower sprouts

Have you ever eaten sunflower sprouts!? They are so good. We two bags of them at the saturday market and we at them all. I used them on salads, as a type of veggie treat, I love eating them straight out of the bag. They are soft and crunchy when you bite into them, they have the nutty taste of sunflower seeds.

This was one of my favourite lunches. There is a trick to getting super nice grilled cheeze sandwiches. I was skeptical until I took a bite, now I will never go back.

Agnes' grilled cheese

two slices of homemade bread for each sandwich
spread mayo (yes it is amazing!) on one side of each slice and put it on your griddle or pan
spread mayo on the other side while the first side cooks
put cheese on right after you flip

bethany's note:

Right before I am ready to take put the top on I put a handful of sunflower sprouts on top of the cheese then close up the sandwich. You have to be careful not to get the sprouts too hot or they aren't as fresh and crisp.

And there you have it, a generational combo that is worthy of an amazing lunch.

27 November, 2008


I am thankful for so many things in my life, all the usuals and that I get to see this out my window when driving, God is truly the most perfect artist and I am thankful for the beauty he paints for me daily.

26 November, 2008

20 November, 2008

Who brings christmas into your home??

I know it is early, but I wanted to hear if anyone has any new favourites!! I have started listening to my Christmas music, and love hearing it after it has been a year since I have heard it. Help me out, what is missing from my Christmas tunes?

These are my old time standby ones here:
The Rat Pack with Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. is another one that we just can't get enough of. Good, great and even better classics in style on this Christmas with the Rat Pack

Oh, Brad Paisley...for that good, true sweet country Christmas....Brad Paisley Christmas it doesn't get any warmer than this, unless you start a fire. Christmas is a time to do country, even if you really don't usually like it that much. ( I love country though...so maybe I am wrong about this!)
Light of the Stable, by Emmylou Harris. This woman can sing, and she does so on this album with others who can also do it really well. This one I just bought this year on itunes, and is on our repeat list along with the rest of the goodies.

Yes, Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas...don't judge me, her voice is amazing and I had never ever noticed it until I heard this album! Even if you seriously never thought you could stand her, try this one (demos, or library....) I am sure you'll be hooked. It is all the talent with none of the gushy, sexy, overdone, stuff....it is pure and incredible.

Additions after my christmas music post from last year:

http://muzick.ru/uploads/posts/1200235053_sufjan_stevens__songs_for_christmas.jpg http://muzick.ru/uploads/posts/1200227271_amy_grant_1993_a_christmas_album.jpg

What do YOU think I need to add this year??? What are some you cannot live without? I know for me when I put these in Christmas starts up, as early as it is....it doesn't matter!! Which albums do that for you? Please share!

19 November, 2008

Samosa recipe

Manjula is amazing, she has so many fun Indian recipes to try. She has a website with tons of recipes and youtube demos to make it easier for the clueless like me!! Today I am going to make these samosas, and I have already made Dal is on the stove cooking right now!!! If you could smell the aroma in my home, you'd be pounding on my door for some food, YUM!

Manjula's kitchen
has 72 different videos on YouTube if you are as much and Indian cuisine fanatic as me you will drool watching it. She makes it all look much easier, and removes the scary mystery out of a food that here would seem a little intimidating, since we have no idea how to make it. OH, it is so worth stepping out!!! I will tell you how they samosas go!

If you have any pointers for me let me know!

Here is the Samosa recipe directly from Manjula's kitchen!!!


Makes 8 samosas.



  • Dough:
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon sooji (semolina flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 cup minus 2 tablespoon lukewarm water


  • 3 large boiled potatoes, peeled and chopped into very small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (mango powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup green peas (frozen)



  1. Mix the flour, sooji, salt, oil and salt togather to make a soft dough (add more water as needed).
  2. knead the dough for about 1 to 2 minutes to make the dough smooth and pliable.
  3. Set the dough aside and cover it with damp cloth. Let the dough sit for at least 15 minutes.


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks right away oil is ready.
  2. Add cumin seeds as cumin seeds crack, add green chilies, coriander powder and stir for few seconds.
  3. Next add green peas and turn heat to medium and stir until tender.
  4. Add the potatoes and stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Stir in garam masala and amchur. Add more salt or amchur according to taste.
  5. Let the filling cool to room temperature.

Making Samosa:

  1. Take 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour to make a paste and keep aside.
  2. Knead the dough for a minute.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and make into balls.
  4. Roll each ball into 6-inch diameter circles and cut each circle in half.
  5. Spread the paste lightly all along the edge of one semicircle. Pick this semicircle up with both hands and fold it into a cone shape. Pinch the side of this cone so that it is completely sealed.
  6. Fill the cone with 3 tablespoons of filling. Press this filling down with your fingers. Now close the top of this cone into a triangle shape, pinching the top edge so that it is completely sealed.
  7. Continue filling the rest of the samosas.
  8. Heat about 1-1/2 inch of the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. To check if oil is hot enough place a small piece of dough in oil and dough should sizzle and come to the surface slowly.
  9. Place the samosas in the frying pan a few at a time.
  10. After samosas are floating on top of the oil turn them slowly. Fry the samosas until the samosas turn a light golden-brown color on all sides. If you use a high heat, the samosa crust will be too soft and not crispy.


  1. Boil the potatoes just until tender. Be careful not to poke the potatoes multiple times while they are cooking, as they will absorve the water. Drain immediately and keep aside until cool enough to touch.
  2. The dough has to be kneaded well; otherwise, the samosas will not come out as crisp.
  3. If the filled samosas sit for too long, they will dry. To avoid this, cover with a damp cloth.


  1. Samosa can be prepared ahead of time and can be freeze for a month.
  2. Before freezing fry them enough until samosa changes the color to very light gold brown.
  3. After samosas are on room temperature bag them in zip lock bags and freeze them.
  4. To use frozen samosas take out as many you need and fry them on medium heat.

If you make it let me know how it turns out!!! I will be trying it tonight :)

18 November, 2008

the dinomania continues

I don't understand the infatuation with dinosaurs, not at all. But we are STILL in it. Yesterday we had some nice sunny weather and the j really wanted to build a dino-skeleton. He told us we needed to dig up bones and then build it. It was a pretty fun day!

If you come to our house, you will see the skeleton closest to the boys' feet taped with masking tape and hanging on our wall, what can I say it is art! haha! no, j just really wanted us to display it.

14 November, 2008


What is it about truth that makes us hungry? What about truth brakes our ropes and releases us in freedom? How can kids grasp this hunger for all things right, all things pure, true, honest and noble? I have no idea other than to teach them. Ever since our move to calvary chapel in corvallis, not only have B and I had an increased hunger- but the boys have as well. J comes home from church describing Bible stories, telling little o in the backseat that if you love Jesus and ask him to be your God, your only God you will get to be with Him in heaven. He fully gets that Jesus basically said to God, "spank me instead of them, even though I have not done anything". Seriously...Kids get it!

I have no idea how to fan the hunger, except to feed it and that is what we do. These two little ones are captivated (no I did not ask them to pose). Every day j asks to read bible stories. We have a BIG God, that is so simple that kids get it!

Oh, and for FOREVER he was obsessed with the story where Moses had to make the brass snake. He wanted to read it every day! that is what they are reading (looking at) here.

Jesus answered, "I am the way the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me.

john 14 . 6
Start children off on the way that they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

proverbs 22 .6