Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Hymn

My Jesus, I Love Thee by William Featherston

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Recent Happenings

We celebrated William's third birthday yesterday. Joe was off and so we had a family day of housework and yard work while the boys enjoyed playing with Will's new toys. Then, we had a family from down the street over for pizza, salad, and birthday cake!

Afterwards, we went "downtown" to the square for the opening night of the Natchez Trace Festival which had the usual offerings: chicken on a stick, gyros, funnel cakes, slushies, arts and crafts, and deep fried anything (oreos, dill pickles, etc.). And we wonder why Mississippi is the fattest state?! The highlight of the night was when we sat on a hill overlooking Gasoline Alley, which is where the motorcycle rally was held this morning. There were 2 teenagers there early though who zipped up and down the street performing wheelies, doing other tricks, and revving their engines. My boys were impressed!

I've also been enjoying my rose bush, which just started blooming this week. It is really healthy (no thanks to anything that I've done since I know almost nothing about roses) and is producing abundantly. Here is a bouquet that I put on my bedside table (yep, that's the one that we got as part of the free mahogany bedroom suite from Craigslist). When I am resting sometimes I catch a whiff of their gentle sweetness--very relaxing.

Lastly, can you stand more about my bagels? I am just so pleased with how they are turning out these days. Here's the tray I made for lunch: poppy seed, sesame seed, and an Italian bagel topping of oregano and garlic. So good!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Goodbye, Daddy!"

This morning, I sent the camera with Joe as he was leaving for work. He captured a few pictures of his farewell committee, which has recently gained a new member. You can barely see David at the top of the driveway.

It is a pretty long trip to the mailbox at the end of the driveway where the boys stop to wave goodbye to Joe each morning. If you look very closely, you can see me waiting by the house to be sure that David comes back to finish his breakfast rather than taking a trip down the gravel road. They love it though and sometimes they meet him there again when he comes home in the afternoons. They love their Daddy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bagel recipe

Easy Homemade Bagels

Makes 12 large bagels.

2 t. brown sugar
1 ½ t. salt
1 ½ c. warm water (cold if to rise overnight)
2 ¼ c. white flour (+ or – a bit)
1 c. whole wheat (I use freshly ground, sometimes I use all white flower too though)
1 T yeast

Set to dough cycle, but take dough out after mixing (they don't need to rise). Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Then, divide each part equally again. Finally, divide these parts into 3 equal parts. You should have 12 small balls of dough. Roll them between your hands a bit for uniform smoothness, flatten them a little, and place them on the counter.

Take the handle end of a knife and press it through the middle of each bagel to make a hole. Stretch each hole out (gently) to a diameter of about 2 inches, keeping the overall shape of the bagel smooth.

Drop the bagels one at a time into a small frying pan of boiling water. After a few seconds (about 3), flip. Leave in for another 3 seconds and then put the bagel on a kitchen towel to dry a bit. If you leave them in the boiling water for too long, they won't rise as much and you'll get a thicker “rind” on the bagel. Once you have boiled all of the bagels, you can dip each bagel bottom into cornmeal if desired. Place on a greased cookie sheet.

Now take an egg white mixed with 1 t. of water and brush the tops of the bagels (I don't always do this). At this point you can sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or other toppings, if desired. No need to let these rise! Just put in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. That's it!

(This is a recipe that I altered from an original found at Laine's letters.)

Bagel lessons (I know you didn't ask, but I have to tell!)

To fully understand this quest, you would have to know that I went to college in Charlottesville, Va, home of Bodo's Bagels, and that I spent most of my eating out money in college at Bodo's. Bodo's is one of those local hot spots that is always packed, no matter the time of day simply because they serve good food. Nothing too trendy (although they offer lox, bean sprouts, and tofu--it is a college town and more people naturally eat more healthy things), but always fresh, delicious bagels. There were 2 stores in Charlottesville during the time that I was there and they were owned by one man; it wasn't a chain. I've tried several other chain bagel stores since leaving Cville, but nothing even comes close. (Now if any of you are reading this from the Northeast, home of the bagel, I will have to concede that I haven't traveled to the Northeast. But I am willing to wager that Bodo's would stand side by side with the best NY bagel out there).

I normally make bagels for our family once a week--usually for lunch on Thursday or Saturday. Joe makes his into a sandwich, both older boys like theirs with cream cheese, and David and I prefer plain and simple--hot out of the oven with warm butter melted on top. I recently altered my recipe to make 12 instead of 8 bagels to keep up with the appetites around here. They still mix nicely in my bread machine and fit on one cookie sheet for baking.

This morning, I changed a few things about how I make bagels and am so pleased with the results! Tammy's Recipes had a very complicated bagel recipe that overwhelmed me but produced beautiful bagels (it required several timed rises and many more steps than my easy recipe). Intrigued by how nice her bagels looked, I tweaked my process a bit, keeping the simplicity but adding a few new ideas.

The main change that I am happy with is that her recipe recommends forming the dough into a smooth ball and then making a hole in the middle and stretching the dough into bagel shape. This is so much better than my old method of cutting the dough into strips and trying to connect the ends to make a ring shape. No matter how I tried to smooth the dough, my old way always ended up looking misshapen. Today, my bagels came out looking....well, like a bagel should!

Reading the recipe on Tammy's site also showed me how to fix the problem of having too thick a rind on the bottom of my bagels. Today, after boiling the bagels, I laid them briefly on a kitchen towel to dry before I transferred them to the baking sheet. Having no puddles of water under the bagels lets them cook more evenly and prevents the hard crusty bottoms that my bagels used to have.

The last thing that Tammy's site encouraged me to do is to try toppings. This morning I made 6 plain and 6 poppy seed bagels. We used them to make egg and cheese bagel sandwiches for breakfast. Yum! I'll post my updated recipe soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Easy make-ahead breakfast

One of the staple breakfasts that I serve is a make-ahead French Toast casserole (scroll down a little) that is easy and delicious. I used to half the recipe and that cut the cooking time to about 30 minutes. Now that the boys are eating more, I make 2/3 of the recipe and it does take the full 45 minutes to cook because of the deep casserole that I put it in. So, it is a very flexible recipe and very tasty. A great recipe to serve to guests because you can do all of the work the night before. (Just in case you want to try it, here's one more tip: I usually add double the amount of sugar that the recipe calls for and also serve it with maple syrup. We like our French toast to be sweet!)

This morning, we had it with fresh strawberries on top and it was amazing. I don't think we'll eat it again without fruit on top after how good it was! I prepared the strawberries the way I remember seeing my mom doing it growing up.

  1. Cut the strawberries into small pieces. The more tart the strawberries are, the smaller you should cut them.

  2. Add sugar to taste.

  3. Using the back of a spoon, crush the strawberries against the side of the bowl. Stir and crush for a few minutes.

  4. If time allows, let them sit on the counter for a while to give the berries time to mix with the sugar and release their syrupy goodness.

This is also the way that I make strawberries for strawberry shortcake. The sugar (even if you only use a little) and the crushing make a nice syrup or juice that soaks into the shortcake.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Read it

The blogger that I have read the longest and one of my constant favorites is "back" with a great post today.

"HIgh times, hard times"

It seems that when things happen in real life that my blog is the first thing to go. Many times what is going on is church-related and so I am unable to write about it, even if I wanted to. Also, one has to process something to be able to write about it and that just takes time. Such has been the situation here with me recently. Hard things going on in church. Nothing has been resolved, and Joe and I are working through how to deal with it.

I had a conversation with a friend in real life who had found my blog. She expressed feeling inadequate because I am so together! Hee, hee....she must've not been reading long, huh? Anyway, lest anyone else out there hold that mistaken impression, rest assured that I am a sinner just like each of you. I find similarities between myself and Katie in Prentisss's Stepping Heavenward who admits that, "you knew I had faults...I never tried to conceal them" because my besetting sins are so visible and outward. While it is my goal to become more and more Christ-like, I have so far to go and it is painfully obvious to any who observe me! As for the glimpses of our domestic life that I record here, they are just glimpses. I have much to learn in this area too. I am not Martha Stewart, only a bumbling servant of the King who is trying to make our home a haven that honors Him and that nurtures my dear family and those that visit here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sunday Hymn

On this glorious day, I have to put two hymns. Both are personal favorites and the second has been on repeat in the minivan all week as the boys have been learning it and requesting it. May the Lord grant to you joy in Him as we remember his victory over sin and death.

Thine is the Glory
by Edmond L. Budry

Thine is the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the victory, Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes where Thy body lay.


Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, Thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
For her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.


No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu’rors, through Thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.


Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By Charles Wesley

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Day off

Joe took Monday off in anticipation of the busyness of the next few weeks, and we went up the Natchez Trace about 25 minutes to French Camp, MS where spent the morning wandering around. It was a beautiful day and everything was brilliantly green after the steady rain we had gotten the past weekend. We “hiked” a bit (pregnant wife, two year old and four year old walking, and the one year old in a jogging stroller—let's just say that we didn't go very far...or very fast). We had a mid-morning snack in the woods and we enjoyed being together. The highlight of the trip was when Joe took Joseph and William out in a canoe. Will was petrified at first and cried frantically that he wanted to “go back to Mama” (who stayed safely on shore with David). Joe talked him through it though and later he couldn't even remember crying about being in the boat.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunday Hymn

All Glory, Laud, and Honor
by Theodulph of Orleans

All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Bless├Ęd One.


The company of angels
Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply.


The people of the Hebrews
With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.


To Thee, before Thy passion,
They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.


Thou didst accept their praises;
Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King.