Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wheaty Wonderings

I have been almost in a constant state of confusion over wheat flour, for the past few months!  Yes, you read that correctly: wheat flour!  Everytime one of my bloggy friends posted a recipe containing "whole-wheat" flour, it would send me into a tail-spin!  I would enlarge the pictures if provided, and scrutinize the end product (perhaps I should go volunteer for the "food police" over at FJ?), and I would think to myself "why does her fill-in-the-blank, look as if it had been made with plain/all-purpose flour????"

Well, my wheaty wonderings are now over!  All thanks to Elizabeth, who kindly emailed me this week, and included in her email a link to what you American ladies would call "whole-wheat" flour.

To me it looked like regular plain flour, only not as brilliantly white.  Here in Ireland the only type of "wholewheat" (made with the whole grain) we can buy at the supermarket is called "whole-MEAL", and looks like this:

The pencil is to show scale...

So now you see my confusion.  I would read your recipes and others I found online, and then try and make them with wholemeal, and they would typically come out of the oven looking like a dark brown, house brick!!  Still tasty, but VERY heavy and wheaty!  I wonder why ours is so coarse in texture?  Usually when I bake bread, pizza dough, tortillas..etc I use about 60-70% wholemeal and the rest all-purpose, which usually turns out pretty good!  Or so my family tells me! ;)

 So now we know!

Monday, September 24, 2012

There's A New Name Written Down In Glory...

...And it's Dylan, oh yes it's Dylan!!! 

On the 8th of September, Dylan asked Jesus to save him!  The evening of the 7th, I was tucking Dylan into bed, and he was asking me whether or not Meg would be getting baptized with my husband, Amy and I, that Sunday.  I answered that - no she wouldn't, as she didn't even know about Jesus, and that she is too small yet to know whether she wants to trust in Him to take her to Heaven.  Dylan mulled this over and answered me "I do, I want to be a Christian".  I told him that I was pleased to hear that, but that it was time for bed and we could talk about it some other time. 

He came to me first thing the next morning and woke me to talk!  My husband had gone to work already, so I was unsure whether I should wait for him or not...but Dylan would not be put off, and wanted to hear the gospel right away!!!  I explained the "good news" to him, and he replied to me that he did trust in Jesus as his only saviour to take him to Heaven when he died.  I asked him if he wanted to wait and pray with his Dad later, he replied "no" and that he wanted to do it right away; so the two of us prayed together.

Immediately after we had prayed, Dylan leaped forward, threw his arms around my neck and hugged me tight!  He was so excited and simply beamed!  Ever since that wonderful day in his life, he has been eager to share with others, that he is now saved!!! :)

"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, 
to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven"
~ Matthew 19:14

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Pumpkin Problem...Solved!

I  love Autumn!  I love the changing foliage and the cold, clear days!  It is also the time of year when I look forward to making and eating, warming stews, and thick hearty soups.  Recently I was browsing Pinterest for some autumnal recipe ideas...and I got so frustrated by the large amount of delicious looking goodies, all containing that elusive rogue...canned pumpkin!  Aaarrgghh!  I have NEVER even seen canned pumpkin for sale in either Ireland or England.

One time an American friend gave me a can of Libby's canned pumpkin, that she had brought from U.S.  We made (as per her recipe) the most delicious spiced pumpkin bread with it!  Yummy!  But once it was gone, that was that.  :(

But now my wonderful online pal Amazon, has gotten it in stock, and made it available for delivery to Ireland!  We now have 4 cans of Libbys 100% Pumpkin on its way (with free delivery too!)!!!!!!  So for the last few days I have pinned quite a lot of pumpkin recipes, and I cannot wait to get started.  Just to spur you all on too, make your mouth water, and/or put on several pounds in weight, because they are mostly all desserts! - I've linked to some scrumptious sounding pumpkin recipes below!

Canned Pumpkin Recipes

Happy Pumpkin Baking!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thank You "R" Family!

Yesterday morning as we were doing our school, we were so thrilled to see the postman pull up outside our house!  Our mail usually gets dropped into our post box further up the lane (in which snails often chew out letters!), but if we are blessed enough to get a package, our postman drives right up to the house! :)

So Funny!

Reading Aloud Our Lovely Letters

 We had a package all the way from the "R" family in America!  We were all thrilled to find handwritten letters (I love handwritten letters!), maple candy for our whole family to try and enjoy, and thoughtful gifts for our children!  This was our very first time trying maple candy and we LOVED IT!!!  It was so good!  

Mmmm Maple Candy...Our New Favourite Sweets!

Maple Sweets For A Sweet Girl

Next we were blessed to find a beautiful hair clip for Amy, silly straw glasses for Dylan and a pretty handmade skirt for Meg!  The straw glasses were a hoot!  Dylan could barely suck on the straw for laughing! :)  Meg's skirt is just so sweet and is so well made; she loves to point at the different animals and makes their sounds, so I guess it could be viewed as educational too!   Our family considers it a wonderful thing to be in correspondence with other Christian families around the world! 

Dylan Made His Last As Long As He Could!

"Thank you For My Skirt"

"R" family thank you so very much for being such a 
blessing to our family!   Your thoughtfulness means so much to us!

Meg Modelling Her Pretty Skirt!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Funny Things Our Boy Says...

Our Lovely Boy!

Dylan our 4 year old, is such a sweet little guy!  He often says the funniest things, and keeps us all in stitches daily!  Here is a few things that he has tickled us with lately...

Dad: " What do you want to be when you grow up Dylan?"
Dylan: *Thinks for a really long time* ..."Erm, a person"


Whilst looking through the pictures in "On The Banks Of Plum Creek" by Laura Ingalls Wilder; we came upon the illustration that show Laura getting "dunked" by Pa in the swimming hole...

Exclaims  Dylan: "Oh, oh look, Laura is getting baptized!!"


My husband was explaining why he was fastening an extra piece of timber to the outside of our downstairs staircase...

Dylan: Why are you putting that thing on there?"

Dad: We have to put this on for Meg's safety; once when you were small, you climbed up the outside of the staircase all the way to the top!"

Dylan: Dad when I did that, did I DIE?"


Wishing you all a wonderful day in the Lord tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Galloping The Globe ~ China

Our Table Setting

Dan Hua Tang - Egg Drop Soup

So this week the kids are finishing up their study on China!  Yes, I know I already said we had finished China...but I decided to hang on for another week just to cover a few other points and do a couple more activities!  I guess I'll try to do the countries over the period of one week in future, but maybe a fortnight for the countries in which we can "delve" into a little more!

Being The Oldest, Daddy Was Our Guest Of Honour

Dylan LOVED Using Chopsticks To Eat With!

Everyone LOVED studying China and the Chinese culture.  We learned about Marco Polo, panda bears, mandarin ducks, Chinese writing, the great wall of China, plus some other stuff too!  To bring this up to her level, Amy studied all of the above more in depthly, plus Chinese currency and communism.

Meg Really The Prawn Crackers!

Lo Mein - So YUMMY!

Then came the part of our study that everyone was looking forward to...the FOOD!  We used the cookbook which accompanied our GTG curriculum; "cook your way around the world".  We did not make the egg rolls, as I initially had no idea what egg roll skins were?!??  I presumed they were filo pastry sheets, like what is used for spring rolls, but I wasn't sure; I HATE using filo pastry, so like I said we didn't make them! 

Amy Found The Chopsticks Difficult At First...
But She Got The Hang Of Them In The End!

My Hubby Kept Us All Entertained; 
Showing Us What NOT To Do With Chopsticks! 

The "egg drop soup" was interesting I guess...though Amy loved it.  The lo mein was absolutely delicious!  I don't use peanut oil, so I substituted by adding two tablespoons of organic crunchy peanut butter.  The dinner was actually very quick and easy to prepare, which surprised me, as I was expecting it to be more complicated; similar to Indian cuisine.  The chopsticks were hard for the kids to use at first, more so for Amy as she was determined to use them "properly", whereas Dylan just scooped and stuffed! 

We have enjoyed learning all about China and had a blast at our "Chinese banquet".  There was lots of leftovers for the dinner the next we got to whip out our chopsticks once more. 

He Did Manage To Eat It All...Eventually! :)

Amy Enjoyed Learning How To Write Chinese Numbers

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our Baptisms!

Our Baptismal Party Of Six...Plus our Pastor and His Daughter!

Our Pastor 

Yesterday, my husband, Amy and I were baptized!!!  We were all so excited.  My parents came also and I was very happy that they came to encourage and support our family!  I think they enjoyed themselves and had a nice time visiting with our church friends.

My Husband...Bracing Himself!

Hooray For My Hubby! 

At present we do not have our own church premises, but we are blessed to have a nice cosy place to meet and a local pool close by that we can use for baptisms.  There had been a baby-swim class before we had gotten there, so the water was lovely and warm too!  :)  Our pastor prayed with us all before we went through to the pool and I could feel Amy's hands trembling as she was so nervous, but I think even the grown-ups were a little nervous too.  As we walked out to the water, I was almost bubbling over with excitement!   My husband was excited too, but he was as solid, steady and dependable as ever.


It Was Such An Amazing Feeling As I Came Up Out Of The Water! 

Dylan and Meg stayed with my parents and our church friends whilst we were baptized and changed afterward.  Dylan's face was so sweet as he watched us; he was grinning from ear-to-ear!  Meg was such a good girl and stayed quiet and watched us with great interest too.

Amy Was Up Next...

Yay For Amy! 

Our party of six were then added as church members.  This was super exciting for our family, as we have searched long and hard to find a good Bible believing church here in Ireland; we are VERY thankful to have found such a wonderful church home and family!  For the rest of the afternoon we all enjoyed wonderful fellowship and delicious food and snacks.  The ladies from the other family who were baptised, made two yummy, celebratory cakes which we all enjoyed! 

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into 
Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: 
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the 
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
 we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection"
~ Romans 6:3-5

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lots Of Learning!

As of today we have already done two full weeks of school plus three half days from the week before, and we have been having the best time! 

We are all having so much FUN with the "Galloping the Globe" curriculum!  This curriculum is recommended for K-4th Class/Grade, but we have found that it is very easy to cater this for Amy's level (8th) too, I just need to make sure that I plan, plan, plan!  So far the kids have learned basic map skills, names of the oceans, and studied/read about famous explorers...etc.  Just this week they finished up their study on China.  We all enjoyed learning about Chinese culture, especially the cooking part...I hope to blog separately about this, so keep an eye out!

Amy is enjoying her school so far and is working hard at all her subjects.  History is by far her favourite lesson, closely followed by "Galloping the Globe" and piano!  We have noticed such wonderful changes in Amy over the past few months; she has become much more disciplined and self-motivated with her studies, which is helping her to make very noticeable progress, thus increasing her motivation!  Way-to-go Amy! :)

This year Dylan has begun to learn how to read!  This is a little bit daunting for me, but he is a very good student!  We are using "teach you child to read in 100 easy lessons" and he is progressing very well with it.  We are finding that the lessons are exactly the right length in duration for Dylan; any less and he may not feel challenged, and any more and he may just go POP! 

Over the last two weeks, our very busy and active Meg has been a much easier girl to have around, whilst we are doing school!  Before we took our summer break, I found that she would be "finished" any activities within 5 minutes, and she was constantly demanding my attention away from the other kids.  Since we have returned to our studies, she has been better at keeping herself occupied whist I work one-on-one with Dylan in the morning, and I'm finding that her attention span for whatever activity I have for her to do, has increased a little.  I am thankful for this, as everyone can now hear me!  ;)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why I LOVE Homeschooling

What's The Point Of All That Sand, Unless You Can Bring A Dump-Truck?

One of the reasons I LOVE homeschooling, is that we can be flexible, and adjust our schedule as needs be!  This morning my husband trumped our scheduled around-the-table schooling, and told me that we were all going to the beach!  What a super husband and daddy he is! 

Of course now that the public schools are open once again, the beach was close-to-empty, and we got to enjoy most of that lovely place all to ourselves!  Once again, another wonderful reason to homeschool! ;)

The Littles LOVED The Dead Crab

Dylan Collected Ever So Many Shells!

This would be the first time that Meg has ever gotten to go to the beach, but I needn't have worried how she would like it, because she LOVED it!  She was as fearless as ever!  Running, laughing, and making all kinds of mischief!  Though she did not like to walk bare-footed on the sand in the end, as it had gotten so hot!

Running For The Open Water!

We did try to dress for as many different weather conditions as we could...the weather has been very unpredictable ALL summer long!  So we went with lots of layers, that we could put on or remove as necessary.  The girls and I wore leggings under our skirts, in case of any freak gusts of wind!  ;)  When we first arrived it was rather cloudy and windy, but it soon became very hot and sunny, which was such a blessing!

Daddy Tucked Meg's Dress Into Her Shorts To Keep It Dry!

Amy Strolling

Duncannon Fort, That Was Famously 
Attacked By Oliver Cromwell In 1649

Meg LOVED Getting Her Hands Dirty And Throwing Wet Sand!

My Honey And Me!

Little Girl Lost!

Dylan Said He Was Going To Dig All The Way To China!!!

Daddy Bought Us All Ice-Creams!

Look At Those Cheeky Chops!

We Passed By Dunbrody Abbey On Our Way Home Too

We Had So Much FUN, That For Some 
It Was A Little Too Tiring!!!