Monday, May 29, 2006

Some Yummy Recipes

I just wanted to share with you what we had for our Memorial Day cook-out, because it was all just so scrumptious!

First of all, my sweet hubby loves baked beans made this way:

*brown 1 lb. of hamburger along with diced onions and green peppers (this was the first time I used frozen pre-diced onions and gr. peppers and it made the prep time SO much quicker and easier, and it tasted delicious). Drain.

*Add this (in a casserole dish) to 2-3 cans of baked beans, approx. 5 TBSP sugar, and approx. 1-1 1/2 c. of ketchup. Mix well.

*Top with strips of uncooked bacon. Generously sprinkle bacon with pepper.

*Cook at 425 degrees for approx. 1 hour.

With the baked beans we also had potatoes and onions:

*Peel and slice potatoes (long-ways) and place in casserole dish.

*Slice onion into several 'rings' and add to potatoes.

*Use 1-2 sticks of butter, slicing into 'pats' and laying all around potatoes.

*Sprinkle top with pepper.

*Cook at 400 degrees for approx. 1 hour.

Our grilled meat for this holiday was pork chops:

*Mix 1-2 cans of crushed pineapple w/ juice, 3/4 c. BBQ sauce, and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon.

*Brush glaze over pork chops continuously as you flip them on the grill. This made the pork chops SO yummy!

I just wanted to share with you what we had for our Memorial Day cook-out, because it was all just so scrumptious!

First of all, my sweet hubby loves baked beans made this way:

*brown 1 lb. of hamburger along with diced onions and green peppers (this was the first time I used frozen pre-diced onions and gr. peppers and it made the prep time SO much quicker and easier, and it tasted delicious). Drain.

*Add this (in a casserole dish) to 2-3 cans of baked beans, approx. 5 TBSP sugar, and approx. 1-1 1/2 c. of ketchup. Mix well.

*Top with strips of uncooked bacon. Generously sprinkle bacon with pepper.

*Cook at 425 degrees for approx. 1 hour.

With the baked beans we also had potatoes and onions:

*Peel and slice potatoes (long-ways) and place in casserole dish.

*Slice onion into several 'rings' and add to potatoes.

*Use 1-2 sticks of butter, slicing into 'pats' and laying all around potatoes.

*Sprinkle top with pepper.

*Cook at 400 degrees for approx. 1 hour.

Our grilled meat for this holiday was pork chops:

*Mix 1-2 cans of crushed pineapple w/ juice, 3/4 c. BBQ sauce, and 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon.

*Brush glaze over pork chops continuously as you flip them on the grill. This made the pork chops SO yummy!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ziploc Omlet Recipe

Here's a really cool recipe that even kids can do! Or, if you have guests for breakfast, why not get them involved in a fun breakfast treat? While I wish I could take the credit for coming up with such a neat idea, I got this from Robin on the Five In A Row message boards. Thanks Robin!


If more than one person is making an omlet have everyone write their name on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag with permanent marker.

Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag (not more than 2) shake to
combine them.

Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper,
tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc.

Each person adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake. Make
sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can
usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of
boiling water.

Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed! Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What Exactly Does 'Being Healthy' Mean?

There's so much talk about becoming more healthy. But what exactly does 'being healthy' mean?

For the past several years, being healthy to me meant losing the extra weight I've been carrying around. But the older I get and the more I think about things I find myself researching and changing my thinking on so many different things I never even gave thought to before.

Yes, I do need to get rid of this extra weight. But before now I've been willing to take different things in order to help me get thin faster. Now, I'm not too keen on that idea. Who really knows what that stuff does to a person's body. If you are putting something in your body to change how it works (when there really isn't a sickness present) simply because you're impatient and not willing to put in the effort to change your eating habits and get in some daily exercise, then in the end you are no healthier than when you started.

But aside from me needing to lose weight, my husband is a very high candidate for heart disease. Both sides of his family have had significant heart issues and, like me, he also has some extra weight to get rid of. But besides getting in better shape, what else can we be doing to help ensure his heart stays healthy?

What is going to help our bodies function the way God intended them? What's going to help keep our minds sharp and our immune systems working strong? What's going to help ward off many of the diseases and health problems that are so common today?

I know that our lives are in God's hands and that ultimately only He knows when our time to die will come. But I also believe He gave us a brain and common sense to take care of ourselves and those we love. I feel it is my duty and responsibility to do what I can to find what is best for the health of my family.

So as I research and learn new things, I will post them here under the catagory 'Becoming A Healthy Mommy' so you can also learn how to best take care of yourself and your family. I don't claim that everything I find will be the gospel truth, but things that I think are worth looking into, I will share.

And if you're wondering where this thinking has come from all of a sudden, we have a friend who is a very young mother of a 7-year-old and 10-month-old who was just diagnosed out of the blue with stage IV melanoma cancer and given only 4-9 months to live. I had been looking into some things before, but now I am even more determined than ever to learn about what's best and healthiest for our bodies.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wisconsin Parents Mad About School S*x Survey

NOTE: I have replaced some letters in the following story with *'s so my blog will not come up if someone searches for websites containing those particular words.

A questionnaire given to about 400 Port Washington, Wis., High School students about s*xual preference has prompted some parents to demand corrective measures from school officials, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The survey, approved by two teachers but never reviewed by the principal, asked questions such as, "If you have never slept with someone of your same gender, then how do you know you wouldn't prefer it?"

The assignment was intended to accompany the h*m*s*xual-activist sponsored "Day of Silence," when g*y and l*sb**n students bring attention to their s*xual orientation under the guise of eliminating discrimination.

Principal Duane Woelfel called the survey inappropriate and said it violated school policy, which requires parental notification for such topics.

"We were extremely concerned when we found out about it," he said. "We're going to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

The incident is still under investigation, though, and officials have yet to decide if the two teachers will be disciplined.

Lisa Krier, a parent of a Port Washington High student, called the survey a form of s*xual harassment and said she expects the teachers who are responsible to be punished.

"If somebody doesn't call them on it," she said, "it will continue."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What's In Season?

Two weeks ago I started attending Weight Watchers again. Back in 1997 I lost all of my extra weight (36 pounds) and was back to the weight I was all through high school and when I got married. However, soon after that I became pregnant with baby #2. Then baby #3. Then baby #4. Are you seeing a pattern here? If you want to get pregnant, go to Weight Watchers!

Anyway, our 'baby' is now almost 4 1/2 and I'm finding that I just simply can not use the excuse, 'I just had a baby' anymore. After reaching my highest weight ever, I knew that I had to go back to the only thing that has ever worked for me. I've tried it all... low-carb, different diet pills, etc. But until I make up my mind that I'm going to change how I live my life, none of it's going to work.

That's what is so wonderful about Weight Watchers. It's not a diet. It's a way of life. They teach and stress portion control and daily exercise. What a concept! If you don't change the way you're living your daily life, no matter what you do to lose weight, you're not going to be successful.

Some people can follow the WW plan at home without ever having to go to a meeting. Some use the WW e-tools and find great success with that. I, however, have never been able to be successful for any amount of time without going to the weekly meetings. I guess the support and encouragement, along with recipe ideas and other ideas, is what really motivates me to keep going on this journey. The group I am now a part of even has their own email loop going so we can support and encourage each other all through the week too! That has been a tremendous help.

Anyway, I know there are so many of us that need to 'remove' extra weight. I say 'remove' because if you 'lose' something you usually re-find it at some point. I do NOT want to re-find this weight again! I want it GONE FOR GOOD, so, I am 'removing' it.

Each week I will blog about some things I am learning through WW and about recipes or good finds that will assist us on this journey. I hope this will help many of us who are working at being healthy, strong momma's. Remember, our children will do what they see us do, and they will fight some of the same battles we fight if we don't get victory over them. This is one battle I hope my children never have to fight.

So, real quick, what's in season right now? What does the changing season bring us? Fresh fruits and veggies? Grilling? Ice cream? Swimsuits and less bulky clothes? Sometimes summer means we are less likely to take the time to plan our days and our meals. There are a lot of gatherings with family and friends, vacations, and summer-time treats that can sabotage our weight-loss efforts. But if we are not careful, we will enter the fall season in even worse shape than we are right now.

Summer is the perfect time to boost our weight loss efforts. There are all kinds of oppotunities to get outside and walk, work in gardens, play with our children, ride bikes, hike, swim, and so many, many other things. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. Make it fun! Do something you really enjoy doing.

Also, there are so many delicious fruits and vegetables we can choose from during the summer. Grilling doesn't have to hinder us. Instead of grilling greasy burgers, how about chicken or corn on the cob or even potatoes. There are so many options.

So, we can either look at summer and think, 'Oh no', or we can think of all the advantages summer brings us and really make the most of it!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Problem With Expectations

With Mother's Day so recently behind us I thought it would be a good time to talk about expectations. It seems so often we are hurt because someone didn't do what we thought they should or hoped that they would.

The saying about those we love are the ones who hurt us the worst is true. But have you ever stopped to think about WHY this is true? Could it possibly be because when someone we love doesn't do what we think they should, it hurts. When they talk about us behind our backs, it hurts. But when someone we don't really know or care about does it, we either get mad or just really don't even care. When someone we love doesn't agree with something we're doing, it hurts. Again, when it's someone we only know as an aquaintance, who cares what they think, right? I have found this to be very true when it comes to our decision to homeschool. Knowing our own family members don't agree with us hurts because we feel like they're not taking the time or they don't care enough to listen and understand us and it hurts. But when the cashier at Wal-Mart spews her little snide remard about how unsocialized our children will be, I really could care less. It's none of her business anyway.

So when certain holidays come around, we automatically set ourselves up for disappointment and hurt. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas. These are days when people we love, or that love us, are SUPPOSED to do things for us and buy us nice gifts, right? Says who?! Let me ask you a question. Just who is it that made the rule that says we're supposed to go out and spend money on these particular days of the year, sometimes money we don't even have to spend, on other people just to prove that we love them? And if we don't, we're eat up with guilt, either self-inflicted or poured on us by others.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional well-thought gift and special treatment. But I don't expect it. That only sets myself up for hurt and disappointment. What means more to me than having one day out of the year where I'm shown love is the million other little things throughout the year that my family does to show me how much they care for me. The hand-drawn pictures and cards from my children. The bushes my sweet hubby cut down for me because he knew how much I hated them. The bagel my precious 7 year old son made for me. The candle my mother in law gave me out of her Home Interior order because she knows how much I love them. The books my mom finds at yard sales she thinks I'll enjoy.

Those are the true expressions of love. Sometimes I get so frustrated with the world's view of what we 'should' do and the guilt that comes if we don't do what everyone else does or expects us to do. How ridiculous.

Listen, as long as we're in this world, people are going to hurt us. That's just part of being human. And you know what? They usually really don't mean to hurt us. But they're only human too, and those things are going to happen. Have you ever stopped to think about the times that maybe we unintentionally hurt or disappointed others? See, that's the thing most people aren't willing to do. It's much harder to look in the mirror than it is to point our finger. But that's exactly what we need to do.

As long as we're in this world the ONLY one that will never hurt us or do us any harm is our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus. And until we begin to let go of our expectations of others and begin to trust only in Him, we will continue to be hurt and disappointed over and over. And in my opinion, it's just not worth it. What a waste of time to get hurt at others when they're only human.

Are some people selfish and thoughtless? Yes, they certainly are. Should we take the time and effort to show those we love how we feel about them? Absolutely! But we're not going to change anyone by getting hurt and pouting. That only hurts US. That robs us of our joy and peace. How sad for those who are so self-centered that they don't even see how they hurt others. How much more pleasing would we be to our Lord if we instead prayed for those who hurt us instead of allowing the hurt to take root in our hearts?

Just something to think about.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Teacher Apologizes For Asking Students to Write Essay About Murder

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A high school teacher has apologized for asking students to write about who they would kill and how they would do it, and officials said he will likely keep his job.

Michael Maxwell, who teaches industrial technology at Central High School, said his request that students in his beginning drafting class describe how they would carry out a murder was merely a writing prompt. It was not clear why he asked the drafting class to write fiction.

"I made a horrible mistake that I regret," Maxwell said. "I want to apologize to my students, my colleagues and to the community."

The April 21 writing request, which Maxwell said was not a formal assignment, came to the attention of administrators when a parent of one of the students filed a complaint with Principal Barton Albright.

Albright expressed regret and apologized for Maxwell's "lapse of judgment."

"He's an exemplary person ... this is very out of character," the principal said.

St. Joseph School District spokesman Steve Huff declined to discuss possible disciplinary measures because the matter is considered a personnel issue. But he said the incident probably isn't serious enough to cost Maxwell his job.

About 25 to 30 students from ninth through 12th grades were in the class, Albright said.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Attention All Californians (or those who know someone in CA)

I received this today from Focus On The Family. Please visit their site to send your email.

The California Senate passed legislation today, by a 22-15 vote, that would force public schools to normalize h*m*s*xuality in curriculum.

SB 1437 would require new textbooks to reflect the l*sb**n, g*y, b*s*xual and tr*nsg*nder community in only a positive light and highlight historical figures who may have been g*y.

Barbara McPherson, program manager of legislative affairs for the California Family Council, said debate about the proposal was headed by openly g*y Sen. Sheila Kuehl.

"They compared s*xual orientation to a civil right and to the suffrage movement," McPherson said. "Senator (Richard) Alarcon equated it to illegal immigrants. 'We are all God's children,' he said, 'and this isn't just a choice and God doesn't make a mistake. There is a place for the g*y community where they are such a large part of the population.'"

McPherson said she was amazed at the lack of factual information.

"A large part of the population? I heard it was just 3 percent," she said. "They really are just deluded. I can't say another word."

McPherson said the bill's advocates implied that g*y-friendly curriculum would have a "marked, positive effect on the suicide and drug-use rates among g*y students."

"Where is the proof?" she asked. "They said, 'There have been studies.' Well, we have studies, too."

These studies, she said, prove thousands of people have successfully changed their s*xual orientation from h*m*s*xual to heteros*xual. In fact, Sen. Bill Morrow attempted to point out that the s*xual orientation of historical figures is irrelevant, and that textbooks should reflect known truth.

"And since we are based on accuracy, there is not one scintilla — that was (Morrow's) word — of biological proof that you're born with this, and it just doesn't belong in the curriculum," she said. "He also talked about the imposition of the mandate which makes it illegal to even have a discussion on s*xual orientation in regard to these matters."

Mona Passignano, state issues analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said even local news outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee ran editorials condemning SB 1437.

"Even in California, this bill is not normal," she said. "And if your senator is one of the 22 that voted in favor of SB 1437, they need to feel your disappointment. You need to let them know they are not representing you at all."

The matter now moves to the Assembly for a vote, and McPherson emphasized the need for members to not only to be educated about the issue, but to hear from California residents who don't want a law that forces schools to teach about h*m*s*xuality from just one perspective.

We encourage California residents to contact their Assembly member and demand that he or she vote against SB 1437. You can send e-mail through our new CitizenLink Action Center.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Many Young Americans Unable to Find Louisiana on Map

Despite the wall-to-wall coverage of the damage from Hurricane Katrina, nearly one-third of young Americans recently polled couldn't locate Louisiana on a map and nearly half were unable to identify Mississippi.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 fared even worse with foreign locations: six in 10 couldn't find Iraq, according to a Roper poll conducted for National Geographic.

"Geographic illiteracy impacts our economic well-being, our relationships with other nations and the environment, and isolates us from the world," National Geographic president John Fahey said in announcing a program to help remedy the problem. It's hoping to enlist businesses, nonprofit groups and educators in a bid to improve geographic literacy.

Planned is a five-year, multimedia campaign called My Wonderful World that will target children 8 to 17. The goal is to motivate parents and educators to expand geographic offerings in school, at home and in their communities.

They will have their task cut out for them, judging by the results of the survey of 510 people interviewed in December and January.

Among the findings:

• One-third of respondents couldn't pinpoint Louisiana on a map and 48 percent were unable to locate Mississippi.

• Fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news and just 14 percent believe speaking another language is a necessary skill.

• Two-thirds didn't know that the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in October 2005 occurred in Pakistan.

• Six in 10 could not find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.

• While the outsourcing of jobs to India has been a major U.S. business story, 47 percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.

• While Israeli-Palestinian strife has been in the news for the entire lives of the respondents, 75 percent were unable to locate Israel on a map of the Middle East.

• Nearly three-quarters incorrectly named English as the most widely spoken native language.

• Six in 10 did not know the border between North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified in the world. Thirty percent thought the most heavily fortified border was between the United States and Mexico.

Joining in the effort to improve geographic knowledge will be the 4-H, American Federation of Teachers, Asia Society, Association of American Geographers, National Basketball Association, National Council of La Raza, National PTA, Smithsonian Institution and others.

"Geography exposes children and adults to diverse cultures, different ideas and the exchange of knowledge from around the world," said Anna Marie Weselak, president of the National PTA. "This campaign will help make sure our children get their geography — so they can become familiar with other cultures during their school years and move comfortably and confidently in a global economy as adults."

Monday, May 1, 2006

G*y-Themed Storybooks Challenged in Court

Two families have filed suit in federal court just weeks after learning that a second-grade teacher read a story that celebrated a marriage between two men.

Joseph and Robin Wirthlin, along with David and Tonia Parker, argue the school district undermined parental rights by teaching their children about a lifestyle they consider immoral, The Associated Press reported.

A teacher at Estabrook Elementary in Lexington, Mass., read aloud the book, King and King, in which a prince passes up several princesses before falling in love with another prince. Included is a candid illustration of their wedding kiss.

Robin Wirthlin, whose son is in second grade this year, wanted to be the one to teach her child about h*m*s*xuality.

"I think there are people who have a real agenda that they're trying to promote and teach the children," she said.

Just last year, Parker was arrested at Estabrook after he refused to leave the school until officials allowed him to opt his child out of lessons about h*m*s*xuality done under the guise of diversity.

Paul Ash, superintendent of the school district, said since g*y marriage is legal in the state, teachers are just teaching about the world kids live in.

Jeffrey Denner, attorney for the two families, said the school district violated his clients' right to privacy and freedom of religion when they discussed the topic of g*y marriage without permission.

"Parents need to be the ones to determine when it is introduced," he said, "and how it is introduced."