Friday, January 30, 2015

Lumberjack cookies

A few months ago, an old cookbook of my mom's resurfaced. Homemade Cookies by the Food Editors of Farm Journal, published in 1971. The intro of the book is titled 'Choice Homemade Cookies from Countryside America'. Lately, I've been seeking out older traditions, lifestyles and recipes to implement in our current modern life and was intrigued by the history of cookies in America. 

I came to a paragraph about cookies that once served a purpose but disappeared once the need was gone. I was instantly inspired by one example, the Boom cookie. As the book put it, 
' They were giant size—about 5" in diameter—molasses/coffee-flavored cookies, which hungry lumberjacks joyfully ate at the Boom in Minnesota, a sorting station when logs were floated down the St. Croix River.' The cook shack is now long gone and so is the circumstance and need for the cookies. The book does substitute with a recipe for smaller cookies that still provides the same taste of molasses, spices and instant coffee powder. 

I loved the idea of Boom cookies and their great size for a breakfast treat. One of the things I'm purposing this year is making easy to eat, to go breakfasts for my family. My husband wakes up insanely early for work and our weekends are usually busy with softball games and tournaments for my daughter. Sometimes it takes more time and money just for them/us to grab something to eat. I thought Boom cookies, or as I'm calling them, Lumberjack cookies would be a good idea to add to our eat quick breakfast list. 

Though the recipe is meant for smaller cookies, I still made them bigger than the average cookie I usually bake. I wanted them to be very much like the original cookie. The only substitutes I made was using regular molasses, almond milk instead of cow milk and pecans in place of walnuts. Everyone enjoyed them with the boy calling it 'cake'. Needless to say, I'll be making them again for my 'lumberjacks'. 😊

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fourth of July.

Independence Day is one of those holidays that took a long time to grow on me. Last year was the first time we celebrated it in our home town and this year we did the same. The morning started out with our neighborhood patriotic parade. I never knew I could be blessed by such a thing but it is so neat seeing neighbors, friends and children walking around, smiling, talking, riding bikes and skateboards, walking dogs and wearing red, white and blue.

Afterwards Nattie spent some time with friends while Finn and I came back home.  Rick worked the fireworks stand for Nat's softball organization but came home in time for all of us to spend time with friends who live on the other side of the school.

The kids went swimming (and the littles had their own pool. We ate, talked and when it was time, headed out for our street fireworks. It was simple and great, in every way.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Another year, another Summer

Today is her last day as a fourth grader. It marks the end of a school season and the beginning of the summer. I find myself realizing not just that my first born is rapidly growing but also we are still where we were last year. Has there been progress? How has our resolve been? It's a little hard admitting certain truths but also realizing that everything is really in His hands. That has not changed, nor will it ever. He has ordained all things in our life for His glory, His purpose. And for our good. 

I do find myself without a large sense of dread towards summer like I usually have and I count that as a blessing. I know the heat hasn't quite kicked in, or the quarrels between ten and two year old haven't occurred much yet. Hopefully it's growth in me, and growth in Him. I do look forward to the next few months because we are going to try our hand at a bit of Charlotte Mason style 'summer' homeschooling. Just a few things to give a bit of order to summer without overwhelming it or quelling it. Also as a way of preparing me if and when we do homeschool. A look into managing things and still trying to have fun and learn as a family.

It would seem like we still have a long way to go. I'm just hoping it's not as long of a wait as it seemed last year. I'm also hoping that my heart is continuing to change and grow. Not just mine but my family's as well. We need it. We need Jesus. We need each other. We need His promises. Everyday.

Here's to Summer and all that He brings with it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Resolve and Gratitude.

Summer is nearing and the year is halfway done. This year has been pretty eventful in a few ways. Our sweet daughter turned ten after the new year with her younger brother turning two at the end of winter. Both birthdays were low key (with the exception of dyeing Nat's hair pink for the big 1-0), celebrating with local adventuring and homemade cakes. Last month Rick and I had a small getaway to Portland, Oregon which was practically perfect, much needed and insightful. Now as the school year approaches it end, we've already begun our summer softball activities with Nat making the all star silver team. Life has been a bit busy, physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. 

Looking at last summer, some things have change and others are still the same. We still have a family mission we are seeking to change and strengthen. Our family is changing but much of what's around us has not. My heart vascillates from faithfully hopeful to wearied and burden. There are so many wants and needs for us. They are not bad things to desire but for some reason, He hasn't seem fit to grant us these requests yet. 

The enemy is a liar and during my lows, he comes to steal away my happiness in Christ. I want to grieve and mourn not having these heart desires that I see so many of His children having and enjoying. It gets rough sometimes and the enemy uses these times to push me further in the mire. I feel isolated, alone, childish, incapable, stunted, the list goes on. The other day I just had to cut through it all and just ask The Lord for Him. To seek His Kingdom. And His joy.

I know I've been focusing on waiting for answered prayer. I know I've just been looking at our environment and our lack of blessings. What I haven't done is seek Him more faithfully and intentionally through prayer, but more importantly, through His word. And, I haven't been grateful. For what I do have. For those things that are good and true in my life. I haven't sought an attitude of gratitude. Without this, I haven't been able to encourage not only my own soul, but my husband's and my children's as well.

It's harder, seeking joy. You have to be intentional. It does not come naturally. I'm going to have to fight the urge, by the strength of the Holy Spirit, to not look and highlight the negative. Like Paul, I need to be selective of my perspective. When beginning the church in Philippi, he was beaten, humiliated, arrested, imprisoned, the list goes on. Yet when speaking to other believers, he says, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3 NLT). He chose to look at the good and to give thanks to God. 

There's so much that I need. What I need to remember most is my need for Him. I pray by His strength that I can faithfully do this and have an attitude of gratitude because of Him.

'Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.' --1 Samuel 12:24 ESV

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blackberry Jam.

As I continue to grow as a woman, a wife, a mother, I find myself really wanting to dive deep into learning how to be resourceful. I know men and women have been resourceful for generations, knowing how to do things to survive and live. Being in an age of convenience and consumerism, it's easy to forget how people got by before. I love the idea of rediscovering how to use up things like a small case of mushy blackberries. Blackberries are a favorite here and I was excited to try my hand at a quick jam. I must say, it's the small things that get me and I really enjoyed mashing the berries in a bowl with my favorite wooden spoon. For a moment, it took my mind to another place, somewhere women would gather with their friends, children and get together to make good things. It encourages me to hunger for this. For the stories of those before me and for us, as a family, to make our own. The jam really didn't take long to make and as it cooled in a small mason jar, Natalie took plenty of taste tests of the foam I had set aside. She absolutely loved it and made my heart swell with gladness. It's these moments, you know.


Blackberry Jam

1 cup blackberries, mashed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

In a small saucepan cook blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and sage on high heat for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook an additional 15 minutes. Skim the foam off and store jam in a heat-proof container. The jam will thicken as it cools.

Makes 4.5 oz.

Note: I like my jam with the seeds in it but if you prefer it seedless, strain the berries in a meshed sieve before cooking.

This morning my girl and I enjoyed the jam on top of toasted sourdough bread. Afterwards, for a small second breakfast, I had it on a breakfast biscuit with tea. Now I need to start baking no knead bread again and add learning how to make sourdough on my list of things to do. 'Tis the good life, right? :)


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tea & Eggnog.

Sometimes you just need a simple little treat and sometimes you're pleasantly surprised that you have all you need for it. The days are finally getting cold here, or at least what Californians deem as cold. I wanted something for my little and I so I put the kettle on and steeped a bag of Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea. Once it was ready, I poured it into the blender along with eggnog, raw honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a pinch of black pepper. I blended it for half a minute until it become light and frothy. I poured it into a glass, put it in the microwave to reheat, and it was perfect. Finn had his (cooled) in his own glass and straw and quickly downed it. I enjoyed mine a bit longer. All the flavor of eggnog without the heaviness and having the warmth of a good spiced tea. Next time I might try mixing and whisking the tea, eggnog and spices in a saucepan to eliminate putting it in the microwave. And dusting the top with additional cinnamon. A nice 'come Winter' treat.


I just made it again, over the stop top. Here is the recipe:

Tea & Eggnog

2 cups brewed black tea
2 cups egg nog
1 tablespoon raw honey (add more for a sweeter version)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of black pepper

Add all the ingredients into a small pot over medium heat. Mix well and whisk for about 3-5 minutes. 
Serve with whip cream on top and an additional sprinkling of cinnamon if it suits you :)

note: I did like the frothiness achieved by putting in the blender the first time I made it. Also, you have to whisk really well in order for the spices to properly mix in. The blender might be a good option for that as well. If it's allowed to sit for too long, the spices will get heavy and fall to the bottom of the mug. Use your own tastes and play with the spices. You might find that you enjoy it with a little less. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013


Advent or Adventus, meaning 'coming'. This is our third year of Advent devotionals leading up to Christmas day and every year I love it more and grow deeper in understanding. It's more than just Jesus being the Reason for the Season but why He is. It's a remembrance of His coming and how all of the Old Testament whispered of it. Advent is beautiful to my heart, and I am thankful to celebrate the King in this way.

Honestly, for us, it's been challenging doing our devotionals because of our schedules. To sit and have an evening, every evening carved out to reading and crafting is not what we are able to do. I am thankful that we have been intentional about having a nightly reading and I know He is being glorified through that.

This year we are using an eBook we downloaded from the Verge Network which utilizes scripture and selected stories from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I was able to print out the daily ornaments for the kids to color and I also learned about having a Jesse Tree in which to hang them. A Jesse Tree is an tradition based on Isaiah 11:1"A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." The idea is decorating a tree with ornaments that 'connect the Old Testament history to the birth of Christ'. I put together a simple hanging tree with branches we 'foraged' for our Jesse Tree.

Also for the season of Advent, I remembered what a friend shared with me a few years ago.  For the month of December, she challenges herself to thank God in her prayers instead of just asking Him for her supplications. That idea resonated in me and just the other day, I received a most timely and challenging proposition from her.  I wish I could share what she poured out to me and a few other friends but it was profound, real and thought provoking. She encouraged us to all come to Him in prayer at an appointed time, no matter where we are at, and just give Him thanks.

Today was the first day of what I'm calling Advent Thanksgiving and Prayer (ATP). How great and providential it was too. This is what I shared with my friends:

You have no idea how much my soul needs this. In His providence this is the first day of your proposed idea. Of all days I need to be thankful. Having a particularly rough day, with challenging days before. On a day where I've cried because of how life is at the moment for us. Where I feel lost and helpless. Where Finn is getting crazy and not allowing me any space to deal with the matters of my heart. I heard my alarm sound off and I knew it was time to go before The Lord and JUST THANK HIM. As hard as it was, I knew it was the right and good thing to do in so many ways. As my heart aches I pray the spirit of thanksgiving and hope in Him will be the blessed salve. His life was brought here and given for me. That's the truth that sets me free.

There it is, in truth and reality. Here is my heart. I will give thanks and celebrate Advent because the Savior came. He came for me. He came for you. For us. Because of God's great infinite and incomprehensible love. What better gift is there?