Monday, April 19, 2010

My Little Angel

We had an exciting weekend with Patrick's very first t-ball game. He was very proud to wear his new uniform. And I have to admit, I got a little misty seeing my baby looking like such a little man. All started off very well and then in the middle of the first inning the drama started. Poor Patrick had scraped his knees something fierce the day before. Not such a tough guy with blood and boo boos he somehow tripped coming in from the outfield and hurt his poor tender knees again. Well, let me tell you, embarrassment city! He wailed, he moaned, he yelled, he hooted, he hollered. He was absolutely dead set against walking let alone running, and here we were at his first game and he was about to have his first turn at bat. Brett literally had to pin him down so I could re-Band-Aid his knees, all the while he was screaming "NO! DON"T!! Don't touch me" Who knows what people thought we were doing to him. Anyways, he was all rebandaged, but that still wasn't enough. He wouldn't walk, only Brett could hold him. So, he completely missed the second inning and there are only 3 innings!

However, he made a come back, he said he "decided to throw his sad face away"-- how poignant for a five year old. He realizes that it is a choice sometimes. It's all in the attitude. I need that pep talk more than I can tell you. So, in the third inning he got to play the pitcher position, and I will tell you that boy got every  ball that came his way. He was focused and having fun. Great decision, Patrick! Not to mention he had his turn at bat. Thento top it all off, the coach, our neighbor and friend, gave Patrick one of the game balls for how well he did at fielding balls as pitcher. Talk about a come back. I really thought once he bumped those knees he was done for. What a great example of how our change in attitude can make all the difference in our experience.

"to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:23-24
Patrick at bat and running the bases.
On the pitcher's mound
Go Angels!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Title from Dobson!

I went into the Family Christian Bookstore today looking for The Hidden Power of the Four Gospels after reading about it in Book World in The Washington Post this weekend. It was a good review about how many Americans claim to be religous and Christian yet know very little about what is actually in the Bible. Both books reviewed are said to "unlock meaning and relevance" so that the reader has some context when reading the Bible. I love this kind of stuff!

So, anyways, I was unsuccessful at finding either The Hidden Power of the Four Gospels or Paul Among the People at the store. Not sure why. It made me wonder. Anyhow, in my browsing I found a different treasure. Right now you can prebuy Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson at Family Christian Bookstores  and get the parental devotional titled Night Light by James and Shirley Dobson for free (offer is not online). Hello! So excited about that. To make all things equal, I also bought Bringing Up Boys as well.

I am such a fan of Dobson's teaching. His New Strong-Willed Child really got me and Brett through some rough patches with Patrick. I am such a believer in his discipline methods and that it always should end with forgivness and healing. That is the road to a good relationship between child and parent as well as the road to belief and love of Jesus and God the Father.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter

I hope you had an Easter focused on Jesus! Ours was busy, but Alyssa kept us focused on the real deal. I am so proud of her. When she woke up in the morning and I told her she had to wait for Patrick to wake up until she could come downstairs to check out the Easter baskets, she snuggeled up with me in the chair and said, "I want to focus on Jesus today." Joy. What a joy she is. And how simple and perfect that statement is. Shouldn't that be my prayer everyday?!

Showing off her new Bible

Hunting for some eggs, took Patrick longer as he opened each one as he found it!

No basket is complete without one of these!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Christian Seder

After reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus I was really moved and inspired to host a Passover Sedar with a Christian emphasis as Jesus celebreated Passover. Ultimately, his last Passover meal is what Christians call the Last Supper. This is where Jesus let his disciples know his fate and where He instituted what we Christians know as Holy Communion or the Eucharist.
So, I invited a few friends over to celebrate with us.

One thing that was very important to me to make clear to our guests is that we were not pretending to be Jewish, but honoring the "Jewishness of Jesus as well as the centrality of the Passover seder in the life of Jews, and therefore, Jesus as a Jew" (Smith xii).

In preparing and hosting the seder I learned so much-- from cooking new foods to deep roots of my faith. The night nourished me physically, mentally and spiritually.

One of resources I found especially helpful was Let Us Break Bread Together: A Passover Haggadah for Christians. It was written by a pastor and a rabbi together. It walked us through many of the parts of the "telling" for that is what Haggadah means in Hebrew. At the Passover seder you retell the story of Exodus, the Israelites being rescued from slavery. This resource added in the fulfillment of the story which is Jesus' redemtion of all of us through the work done on the cross. At different moments in the "telling" this Haggadah really helps Christians connect the dots of how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover and creates such a deeper understanding as to how he really is the "Lamb of God." I infused our telling with bits I had found elsewhere, such as in Beth Moore's Jesus, The One and Only and Mike Ratcliff's Blog "Possessing the Treasure". Moore's section on the Last Supper really explains thoroughly how events played out at Jesus' last Passover meal.

Things I learned at our Seder:
1) I love the symbolisim of everything. I think it made it more kid-friendly and reinforced the main concepts we were learning about.
The Seder Plate:
haroset: the mortar that the Israelites used in helping build the pyramids
roasted lamb shank: symbolic of the Paschal lamb sacrafice, from the Christian perspective it symbolizes Jesus, "For Christ, Our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us," (1 Cor. 5:7 NIV)
bitter herbs: represents the bitterness of life in slavery
Salt water: tears of suffering turned to tears of joy
Green vegetable: reemergence of life-- dipped in the salt water
Boiled egg: reminder of the fesitval of sacrifice at the temple, it also reminds Christians of the new life we have in Christ

2) The important role of kids in the Passover seder. I learned that questioning and debating has a long history in the Jewish religion. I love that! The Haggadah is full of questions for the kids to ask, as well as adults. It also encourages us to ask more questions and to debate issues, as to broaden and deepen the understanding of our faith.

3) The Third Cup of Wine
Traditionally, four cups of wine are drunk at the Passover seder. Each has a significance and is tied to Exodus 6:6-7:
1- I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
2-I will free you from being slaves to them,
3-and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
4- I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.

The third cup is my favorite. It is the cup that Jesus did not drink from at the Last Supper as he said, "I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:29  So, why didn't he drink from the cup of redemption? He was to become the cup of redemption on the cross and spill his own blood out for us. As it says in Exodus 6:6, "and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm"-- that he did, that he did. How beautifully God ties it all together, it awes me.

Jesus grappled with the work that He was sent to do. He prayed long and hard in the Garden of Gethsemane about it. He even asked for His Father to take the cup of redemtion away, if it was His will, "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26: 39.

All of this is deepened my understanding of just how important the Passover is to me as a Christian. Passover is about God liberating His people. It is about His promise to do that, and how he kept that promise, not just in the days of Pharoah ruling over Israelites but in the days of all His children, as He sent His one and only Son to be the Paschal Lamb, to cleanse us of sin.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Seder Menu:

Chicken Soup with Mini Leek &; Chive Matzah Balls
Chicken Broth
1 onion chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 parsnips chopped
parsely chopped

Mini Matzah Balls
5 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
4 eggs
2 tablespoons giner ale
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
ground giner
1 cup matzah meal

Melt margarine in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add leek and saute fro 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add chives.
Beat Eggs, ginger ale, salt, pepper, and ginger in a bowl. Mix in matzah meal and leeks. Cover and chill for at least 2 hrs.
Line a large baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened palms roll rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Place on plastic. Chill 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in matzah balls; cover pot. Cook for 40 minutes. Transfer, using a slotted spoon, to a bowl. Refridgerate, can be made up to 3 days ahead.

Bring soup to a boil, boil vegetables for 40 mimutes, add matzah balls, conutine cooking for another 10 minutes. Serve. (Bon Appetit, Holidays)

Chicken Marrakesh

4 whole chickens (2.5 pounds each), each cut into eighths
12 large cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup best quality olive oil
8 teaspoons green peppercorns, soaked in water and drained
2 cups whole pitted black olives
3 cups dried apricots
2 cups dried small figs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup good red wine
2 cups large pecan pieces
grated zest of 4 lemons

1. The day before, combine the chicken, garlic, thyme, cumin, ginger, salt, wine vinegar, oil, peppercorns, olives, apricots and figs in 2 large bowls, dividing the ingredients equally; marinate covered in the refrigerator overnight. Mix several times during the day. Remove the bowls from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Arrange chicken in single layer in 2 large, heavy, shallow baking pans. Spoon marinade evenly over both pans. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and pecans and pour the wine evenly between the pieces in both pans.

4. Cover the pans with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, 50 minutes.

5. Using a fork and slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, olives, dried fruit and pecans to a large serving platter. Drizzle with a few large spoonfuls of the pan juices. Serves about 8. (Roselle Cranford, Hadassah, NJ, The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook)
New Parsley Potatoes
3 dozen small red potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Steam the potatoes over boiling water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley. (Jewish Holiday Treats, Zoloth)

Steamed Asparagus

The Last cup of wine is drunk in honor of peace. The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom." My friend, Kristen, particulary liked this ending to our celebration, "Peace is not the absence of strife but the ability to engage even an enemy with out losing sight of the truth that even one's enemy is part of the human family of God."

Go in Peace.
Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Oatmeal with Grated Apple & Pear

I am trying to make a concerted effort to be more healthy and more active. I have been living too much in gluttony these days. I really need to be more disciplined in my eating and my exercising habits.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

So more fiber, more veggies and fruit, more water, and more excerise. Less McDonald's, less chocolate, less butter, yes, less butter. So, this morning I made up a batch of oatmeal. Alyssa who never eats oatmeal, ate it up with no complaints. I feel better already, taking better care of what God gave me.

3 cups water
1 cup Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 apple grated
1 pear grated
1 teaspoon lemon juice, to keep fruit from browning

Bring the water to a boil. Add the oats and reduce heat. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and fruit. Cook one minute more. Remove from heat.

Alyssa and I like to eat ours with some Greek nonfat vanilla yogurt.

(4 servings)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jedi Robes Tutorial

My mom did a super job on these robes. She figured out how to do this without a store-bought pattern. She has some serious sewing skills! I also know I taxed her by having her write all of this down, so thank you, MOM!

Buy 2 yards of brown 72” wide felt per robe.

Cut a 50” piece from the folded fabric.

Fold that piece of fabric in half.

I made a pattern for half of the robe. It was 21” wide from the center seam to the end of the sleeve. It was 36” long from the shoulder to the bottom of the robe. I cut out a curve for the neck opening. This works well for children about ages 4 - 6.

Lay the pattern on the folded fabric with the shoulder at the top fold and the center line 4 inches from the side fold.

Cut out the underarm/side seam section through all 4 layers.

Cut out the neck curve. Cut down the front center line only on the top layer of felt. Flip the robe over and cut 4 inches from the fold. This makes the front section of the robe and leaves and extra 8 inches in the back for a pleat.

Pin and sew the side and under arm seams with right sides together.

Create a pleat at the back neck by overlapping the fabric 2 inches over itself and both sides. The photograph shows the inside of the robe with the pleat pinned. The second and third photos show the front side.

Use the rest of the 2 yard piece to cut a rectangle 12” x 24” for the hood. Fold it in half to make a 12” square.

Starting halfway across the fold, stitch close to the edge and curve down to meet the side. Continue stitching down one edge. Trim off the extra fabric at the curve.

Open up the bottom of the hood and using a basting stitch, sew across 1/2” from the bottom. Pull the thread to gather the bottom of the hood.

Match the center and edges of the hood to the center back and front edges of the robe with right sides together and ease to fit. Stitch the hood to the robe.

The felt can be cut at the bottom and the sleeves for smaller children.

Death Star Pinata

This pinata was actually really easy to make.
We were not as authentic as our one friend, who actually stole his wife's exercise ball to create his! However, I think this one turned out pretty well.

I bought a soccer ball pinata. Then we took all the black markings off of it and spray painted it with a metallic gray paint.

After allowing it to dry we pushed gently on one section to make a divet for the laser cannon, which we painted black. Then I used elecrial tape to make the trench around the equator.

Swing away!