Monday, October 24, 2011

Jamba Smoothies

We have a Jamba Juice smoothie store less than two miles from our house and we've been there several times either on bike or by car. So, when I received these frozen mixes in the mail, I was happy to try them out. What could be more convenient than making it in your own home? I know many of you are thinking the temperatures outside are getting too low for smoothies. I propose to you that maybe a little tropical drink might help you feel like you're in Florida, like I am.

They arrived packed in a syrofoam cooler with dry ice. Three packs in all and each one makes two 8 oz. servings. And, they're so simple to mix up.

The Caribbean Passion packages have a coupon on the back for $1.00 off a Jamba Juice store visit. I'll be using that soon.

I was most interested in the Caribbean Passion flavor because it has mango, strawberry and banana. We have a dozen mango trees in our yard and we freeze a lot of mangos in the summer. The other flavor they sent was Strawberries Wild. The smoothie kits come in three other flavors, too - Mango-a go-go, Razzmatazz, and Orange Dream Machine.

The pouch contains all the fruit, some non-fat yogurt and milk as well. You can read the nutrition facts here. Just add 8 oz. of apple juice and blend.

Pulse your blender for about 20 seconds and you're done. I love how the frozen fruit negates the ice you might normally put in a smoothie. I poured it into these two tall glasses for the picture, but then divided it up into smaller portions so my children could have a taste.
I liked the flavors of both packages. I'm probably partial to the mango in the Caribbean Passion, delicious!

You can check out the retail availability here. Just click on the link that says "click to see our retail carriers." I was disappointed that they aren't available in my grocery store. But, it does say that Target and WalMart carry them as well as many other retail stores around the country. They're a quick option for healthy fruit smoothies.

The amount of fruit you get fills this cereal bowl. This pouch is the strawberries and banana variety, called Strawberries Wild.

Matthew likes it.

And, so does Mark.

Friday, May 20, 2011

All in a Day: Kitchen & Dining Room

All In A Day - Welcome to my home - Part 2 - The dining room and kitchen.

This is the second part of the tour of the participating bloggers in All In A Day. We'd love to have you join in, just follow the directions at the end of the post. Now, come on into my home for the tour of the dining room and kitchen...

We have a formal dining room that is located to the right of the front door. It's a fairly good sized dining room because it is large enough for our china cabinet and an upright piano. The table itself is only large enough for eight so we no longer use it on a daily basis. We did use it daily up until a year an a half ago. We would just pull up extra chairs on the corners of the table to squeeze in all twelve of us.

This is the view from standing in the kitchen. You can see the piano on the right. I also keep two book cases on the far wall that holds most of our schooling materials. The three oil paintings were done by my late mother-in-law.

The wall-hanging over the piano is a puzzle of Noah's Ark...done by some dear friends of ours who put it together and had it framed for us. I love this new tablecloth we recently received from Iranian friends.

This is the kitchen and informal dining area. The two tables hold twelve and we have the four additional seats at the barstools.

From this view, you can see the formal dining room through the kitchen door.

This is one side of the kitchen...two of my favorite things are on this wall. The quilted art hanging over the cabinets was done by my daughter, Allison. And, the portraits on the wall are of my twin boys when they were about 3 years old. That was a great photo shoot done at JC Penneys. They cooperated nicely and I love how the pictures came out.

Another view, this is the other side of the kitchen.

The main work area of my kitchen, the sink, counters, etc.

This corner has the stove and double ovens. The refrigerator is on the right camouflaged with the same type of cabinet front as the rest of the kitchen.

A better view of the refrigerator, the kitchen door in the middle (you can see some of our aprons hanging on the back of the door), then the pantry is on the right.

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Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers...

Monica @ Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen

We would love to have you link your blog with us, at All in a Day. Here's how it works:

1. Copy and Paste this banner to add the All in a Day banner to the top of your post


2. Copy and paste the list of the "All in a Day Bloggers" into your post.

3. Put your name and a direct link to your post into Mr. Linky below.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bible Bee - Don't miss out

Have you heard of the National Bible Bee? This year marks the third year in existence. We participated last year and will again this year. If you are unfamiliar with it, you can check out their fantastic website, read testimonies, and see all that is offered to families who want to get into God's Word together. A brief overview of the Bible Bee is here. Here is an excerpt from the overview...

"Youth who will be 7 to 18 years of age as of November 13th, 2011 can register as official contestants of the Bible Bee. They will compete in one of three age divisions: Primary (7-10 years of age), Junior (11-14) or Senior (15-18). They can choose from three levels of competition difficulty: the National Track which is the most challenging and competitive; the Timothy Track which focuses on encouragement along with light competition as a motivator, and the Supporting Sibling Track for those who don’t wish to compete at all (or for siblings out of the official age range) but still want to use the Bible Bee materials and enjoy the Bible Bee experience."

Tommy, who was 7 at the time, did the Timothy Track, Kayla was a Supporting Sibling and the others did the National Track.
Here they are at the local competition just two hours from our home.

Then, less than three months later they were on their way to the National Competition in the Windy City.

On the plane to Chicago

Stephanie did so well, she ranked in the top 100 and was invited to compete in Chicago. My husband and Stephanie flew there along with Allison, Steve, and Carolyn.

They had such a good time. The organizers REALLY know how to put together an impressively well-run event. It is something they worked hard to make special for the whole family, not just the competitors. I watched the final rounds via live-streaming. Stephanie didn't make it into the top 15 but I was so incredibly proud of her. She memorized 800 bible verses in the KJV. She also had a written test on Colossians. She had previously studied Colossians Chapter 3 and held a Scripture Memorization Challenge on her blog so she was mildly familiar with that book. The devotional materials helped a lot with learning more about Colossians. It takes a commitment and a desire to hide God's Word in your heart. What could be more profitable for life?
This picture was taken on the night of the banquet.

Enjoying deep-dish pizza in Chicago.

They don't call it the Windy City for nothing.

The beautiful hotel they stayed in.

Stephanie with Ellen who won 3rd place the first year of the Bible Bee. She is now a college classmate of my older daughter's.

If you're interested in participating in the Bible Bee there is still time to sign up. You have until May 23 to sign up if you want to receive your materials by June 1st which is the start date. But, registration is open through May 31st. You'll just get your materials a little later. You won't be disappointed if you can't lose when hiding God's Word in your heart.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All In A Day - Welcome to my home

I'm not doing very well keeping up my blog, I'm thinking of taking a sabbatical...but until then, I'm going to participate in this week's All In A Day post. We're giving tours of our homes, a room or two at a time. This week it is the entry way. When I walked into this house for the first time 14 years ago, I stood just inside the door and looked all the way through the back doors to the backyard. It was while standing in this entryway, that I knew this house would be ours.

Here is a view from the front of the house...
Our oak tree in the front and lots of palm trees. Notice the hurricane shutters on all the windows. They are accordian style which are so much easier to operate. Saves about ten hours of labor, too.

Our front door

The other side of the front door.

A close up of the sign above our door "Jesus is the head of this House'

A print of a Charleston home that is displayed in one of the two art niches. I bought this piece of art in 1988.

Another print from Charleston by the same artist displayed in the opposite art niche. When we moved to this house, I had to find a second piece by the same guy so it would match.

Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers...

Monica @ Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen

We would love to have you link your blog with us, at All in a Day. Here's how it works:

1. Copy and Paste this banner to add the All in a Day banner to the top of your post


2. Copy and paste the list of the "All in a Day Bloggers" into your post.

3. Put your name and a direct link to your post into Mr. Linky below.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

All In A Day - Family Unity

Welcome to the All In A Day Series. There are several bloggers participating, you'll find their links at the bottom of this post and a link where you can join us. This week's topic is "How to encourage unity and closeness in the family."

When thinking about family unity and closeness, I like to examine what the opposite of that might look like...having your children focused on the outside of the family...peer dependence, everyone going in different directions without much time for reconnecting. The family should be a safe base where they are welcomed and refreshed, a place they want to return to rather than run from.

Some of the ways we do this is by...

1. simply doing activites together. This can be as complicated as camping or as simple as a regular game night. Anything that can intentionally get everyone doing an activity together...even working out in the yard, washing the car, cleaning the house.

Camping will develop a comraderie among people working together, playing together and spending uninterrupted time together. I suggest first doing it with just your own family several times before inviting other families. This will keep your children close to you rather than off with other children. It also allows your family to pitch in together doing all the things that have to be done while camping. We use two tents. We set up tents together, cook together and clean up together and take down the tents together.

Playing games together is not so much for the fun of it, but, depending on the game, it can allow you a peek into your children's heart. When we have some children involved in sports at different times of the year (basketball or soccer), we all attend the games as a family. We support each other as a unit. The exception is when someone is out of town.

2. homeschooling. This is much more than teaching reading, writing and arithmetic...homeschooling is discipleship. It is teaching life skills. It minimizes peer dependence and promotes family closeness. It encourages bonding among the siblings, acceptance of different ages and abilites, and a degree of family centerdness that is hard to come by otherwise.

3. a regular time of family prayer and bible study. Sharing needs with one another, having prayer requests we are all seeking God about brings a closeness with each other. Rejoicing in our circumstances together, praying for missionaries around the world, sharing answered prayers...all of these things help us to be a more united family.

4. having inside jokes. All families have their little inside jokes, but it bears mentioning that these things create bonds that are easy to underestimate. The same with having traditions. Do you have a special place you go to celebrate something? A special meal for birthdays?

5. observing the Lord's table with your family.We do this from time to time before a meal and we set a place at the table for Jesus. God originated the practice of a covenant meal at the Passover feast in the homes (led by the father) of the children of Israel. Jesus, Himself, observed it in a home (Matthew 26). It was designed for families even though most churches do it corporately today.

It allows us to be of one accord. Sin will separate you from God and will separate you from the people affected. The power of sin is in its secrecy. Therefore, when we come together for the Lord's table, we confess to one another wrongs we have commited against each other. Why do it in front of each other? What if only one person was hurt? Well, others in the family may have heard the offense or know about it and they need to know you have made things right. You don't want the other people in your family harboring resentment because of something you did to someone else. So, publicly (among your family) confess and ask forgiveness.

Keep a short sin account and clear things up quickly when they occur. I have witnessed an increased closeness as a result of confessing and forgiving. I need to humble myself more and be more open with my family about my own temptations and struggles. When the walls of sin are broken down there is a oneness.

Examples of broken oneness is Achan in the book of Joshua in the Old Testament and of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts in the New Testament.

Check out the other All in a Day Bloggers...

Carrie @ Our Full House

Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake

Elizabeth @ Yes They're All Ours

Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage

Lori @ Happy Busy Mama

Monica @ Natural Mama

Renee @ Bakers Dozen

We would love to have you link your blog with us, at All in a Day. Here's how it works:

1. Copy and Paste this banner to add the All in a Day banner to the top of your post. Actually, I can't get the html code for the banner to work so you can right-click on it and save it as a file, then upload it to your post as a photo.

2. Copy and paste the list of the "All in a Day Bloggers" into your post.


3. Put your name and a direct link to your post into Mr. Linky below.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter to you!

From my family to your family, Happy Easter. We had a nice worship service this morning and then took a few pictures at home afterward. May God's gift of eternal life be freshly evident to you today.

Our church orchestra playing Crown Him With Many Crowns...Stephanie and Steve are on the far left and Carolyn is on the far right.
My family...everyone at home at the same time...thankful for spring break bringing my oldest daughter home.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A nice weekend all around

A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a mission conference in another state. Usually, we fly to this event, but not this time. The conference was wonderful as always. Beautiful setting, fantastic service at the hotel, delicious food and, best of all, testimonies to God's faithful work in the lives of people. On the way home, we stopped at a fellow blogger's house...I got to meet Marcy from Six Olive Plants. She and her family were just getting ready to leave the house but they were gracious enough to wait a bit so we could stop by and say, "Hi." You know how it is when traveling, you never can guage the exact time you'll be passing through. I was glad we connected because I think our families will enjoy spending more time together next month when we are in that area again. Our children will be with us then.

With a dear, sweet friend from Texas. Another sweet friend from England. I love all the colorful flowers and trees blooming.
Here on the grounds of the hotel, a beautiful setting for spring.


While we were gone, the children had a grand time. Something along the lines of, "When the cat's away..." They ate homemade waffles with strawberries and sausage. They walked to the park for a picnic and kickball. They had a "Quelf Fudge Night" which is when they make fudge and play a round of Quelf (a board game).

Playing kickball...
A nice day for a picnic at the park
Playing Quelf while eating fudge, a tradition.