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Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter Banana Pops
Photo: Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter Banana Pops</p><p>These Banana Pops are a fun treat to serve both kids and adults. The cinnamon vanilla almond butter is a treat in itself and then sandwich it in between two banana slices makes it even better. Adding antioxidant rich dark chocolate to the mix makes the whole thing out of this world resulting in a really yummy, healthy treat.</p><p>Makes 4 Banana Pops</p><p>(Always use organic ingredients when available.)</p><p>Ingredients:</p><p>2 bananas<br />1/3 cup almond butter<br />½ tsp vanilla<br />¼ tsp cinnamon<br />1/3 cup all natural dark chocolate pieces or chips (at least 60% cacao)<br />1 T coconut oil<br />popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers</p><p>DIRECTIONS:</p><p>Mix almond butter, vanilla, and cinnamon together until well mixed.</p><p>Peel and cut bananas in half. Slice the halves vertically in half.</p><p>Divide your almond butter mixture into 4 equal portions. Use 1 portion of almond butter per 2 banana slices. Spread the almond butter mixture over half of the banana slices.</p><p>Press your popsicle stick or skewer on top of the almond butter and top with the remaining banana slices.</p><p>Place the banana pops in the freezer and freeze until firm.</p><p>When your banana pops are all the way frozen, melt your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a large skillet filled with some water and place a smaller pot inside the skillet on top of the water. Put your chocolate and oil in the smaller pot.) Stir until melted and smooth.</p><p>Dip each banana pop in the dark chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place back in the freezer for a few minutes until chocolate is hardened and cold. Delicious!

These Banana Pops are a fun treat to serve both kids and adults. The cinnamon vanilla almond butter is a treat in itself and then sandwich it in between two banana slices makes it even better. Adding antioxidant rich dark chocolate to the mix makes the whole thing out of this world resulting in a really yummy, healthy treat.

Makes 4 Banana Pops

(Always use organic ingredients when available.)

Ingredients:

2 bananas
1/3 cup almond butter
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup all natural dark chocolate pieces or chips (at least 60% cacao)
1 T coconut oil
popsicle sticks or bamboo skewers

DIRECTIONS:

Mix almond butter, vanilla, and cinnamon together until well mixed.

Peel and cut bananas in half. Slice the halves vertically in half.

Divide your almond butter mixture into 4 equal portions. Use 1 portion of almond butter per 2 banana slices. Spread the almond butter mixture over half of the banana slices.

Press your popsicle stick or skewer on top of the almond butter and top with the remaining banana slices.

Place the banana pops in the freezer and freeze until firm.

When your banana pops are all the way frozen, melt your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a large skillet filled with some water and place a smaller pot inside the skillet on top of the water. Put your chocolate and oil in the smaller pot.) Stir until melted and smooth.

Dip each banana pop in the dark chocolate and place on parchment paper. Place back in the freezer for a few minutes until chocolate is hardened and cold. Delicious!

~April

Egg Ornaments

IMG_2869I haven’t posted in a while.  Life with four kids can really tie you up for some reason🙂,  especially this time of year. Christmas is a busy and blessed time of year preparing our hearts and celebrating the birth of our savior.   It’s a tough balance in our society and is easy to get wrapped up in other things. ((PRESENTS!! ))  Gift giving can become the focus of Christmas instead of thanking God for the gift of His Son.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Giving gifts does not have to take away from the true meaning of Christmas. If we focus on the wonderful gift of salvation the Lord has given us, giving to others is a natural expression of that gratitude and love. The key is to keep our focus on the ultimate gift, Jesus.  This year we decided to make some gifts for our family to show our love using our very own chicken eggs.  Here is how some of them turned out.

IMG_2866

I really Like the diorama ones.  It was surprisingly easy to make.

Here is a quick tutorial.

First drill a hole in the side of the egg using a small dremel bit, embroidery scissors or other tool.  Then carefully chip the shell away to about a 1 inch opening. I found embroidery or or cuticle scissors work very well for this.  Dump the egg out saving it for later and rinse the shell.IMG_2826I then paint a few layers of clear fingernail polish, mod podge, or glue around the open area of the shell to strengthen prevent cracking.  When this is dry I then take the embroidery scissors and cut a bigger opening.  IMG_2825IMG_2827It doesn’t have to be perfect.  You can add ribbon or pipe cleaners around the opening to give it a nice finished look when your done with the inside. I then microwave the egg for a few minutes to further strengthen the shell and sanitize.  You can then take craft paint and paint the inside and out if you wish. Then decorate the inside.  You then make a base for your diorama. We used cotton stuffing for the tree and a bit of styrofoam and wood shavings for the manger scene. For the tree we just took some pipe cleaner and  twisted it in a circle to make the tree, IMG_2882and for the manger we used tooth picks and a bead wrapped in paper for baby Jesus. IMG_2883Hot glue everything into place and use a bead end and some string  to hang it. IMG_2886 The other ornaments were just blown out eggs that we put stickers on and a layer of mod podge. Rub-ons would work better than stickers, I just couldn’t find any. IMG_2885Simple, yet pretty.

 

Here is a few my 7-year-old daughter madeIMG_2884MERRY CHRISTMAS!

LOVE- Theresa

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

This is another of my favorite comfort food recipes.

Turkey Chili Wannabe:

1 pound of lean ground turkey

3/4 cup of diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup of frozen corn

1/2 diced onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups of black beans

1 1/2 cups of chili beans, pinto beans or kidney beans

1  tablespoon of tomato paste

1/4 cup of chili seasoning

chili seasoning:

2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2- 1 1/2  teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder

Saute onions and garlic. Brown turkey with chili seasoning, then ass sautéed onions and garlic. In a large saucepan add tomatoes, corn, beans, and tomato paste.  Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or add 1 cup of water and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.  Its not traditional chili, but still one of our favorites on a rainy afternoon.

This last weekend we had the opportunity to watch chicks being born.  It was an exciting thing to see that first little pip and a chick bursting forth out of its shell.

Chick starting to hatch

We also did some experiments prior to the hatch.

1. Rubber egg  

What you need is one raw egg, one jar, and vinegar.

Gently place the egg in the glass jar.

Slowly pour in the vinegar until the egg is completely covered.

Store jar covered for at least 72 hours to a week. The longer the better

Then i had my children guess what would happen to the egg.

What does happen to the egg?

The vinegar causes a reaction with the calcium carbonate (the chemical that makes up the shell) breaking it into its calcium and carbonate parts which releases the carbonate in the form of carbon dioxide. You can see this reaction taking place almost right away in the form of carbon dioxide bubbles forming on the egg . The calcium part is left floating around in the solution. 

Some of the vinegar will also sneak through the egg’s membrane and cause the egg to get a little bigger.

You can see here on these eggs the leftover calcium after the carbonate separated.


Then we decided to see how far they could bounce before they broke.My son’s egg didn’t make it very far only a few inches. My daughters egg on the other hand made it to about a foot before it broke.

The second experiment we did was to test the strength of an egg.  This one was super easy. We just need one raw egg.  I then let each child squeeze each egg as hard as they could with one hand.  The egg does not break. Why?  The shape of the egg is what give it such strength. Eggs are similar in shape to one of the strongest architectural forms,  a 3-dimensional arch.  The curve the shell distributes pressure evenly all over the shell rather than just one part. By putting your hand around the whole egg the pressure of you squeezing it is distributed evenly all over the egg. However, eggs break easy when uneven forces are applied,  like when you crack it on the side of a bowl.   This is how a hen can sit on an egg and not break it (the weight of the hen is evenly distributed over the egg)  but a tiny little chick can break through the eggshell (the pecking of the chick is directed at just one spot on the egg)

The third experiment we did was to see how a chick breaks through its shell.  We just used a raw egg and an opened up paperclip.  I let each kid try to scrape through, without poking it directly into the egg.  It takes a long time, and their hands and patience with this experiment grew tired. They were then able to understand and appreciate the hard work it took for the chick to break out.

Now for some super cute pictures of our chicks! We had a total of 7 chicks hatch. Three did not make it.

The only black tufted chick that hatched. Look at those tufts!

Blue double tufted.

Clean faced white chick 

Clean faced lavender chick 

This breed of chicken defiantly lives up to its difficult name so far.  Out of 26 eggs 7 hatched and 4 survived, 2 tufted and 2 clean faced.  This whole experience of hatching always makes me in awe of the power of our living God and savior who makes all things.

Homeschool hatch part 1

Homeschool hatch part 2

-Theresa

Update pictures at 2 weeks:


Update 1/2013

IMG_3013IMG_3093

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself..”

Isaiah 44:24

Down Home Blog HopBlogfest

Halloween.  Since I was a young girl, I can remember what a controversial subject Halloween was.  Every year at our Christian school, fliers would be handed out, once again explaining the history of Halloween, it’s pagan roots, and what an evil holiday it was. I am not going to go into depth in explaining the holiday – most of us have heard it all before.

By the age of 10, I could tell you where every Halloween tradition originally stemmed from – the Druids, why they dressed up, what they believed,  and the evil rituals that they participated in.  I understood that human and animal sacrifices were made, and it was the “day of the dead”.  I heard it all, every October.

Still, in my mind that was hundreds of years ago, and it didn’t have anything to do with the fun and “cuteness” of the Halloween that we know today.

When I had my first son 10 years ago, I  was faced with the decision of whether or not I was going to allow him to participate in Halloweeen.   Would I dress as him as a cute little pumpkin, bumble-bee?  There were SO many cute outfits to choose from this time of year!  We didn’t have to celebrate the “evil” part of it.  We can keep it cute, and innocent!  What can be more fun to my little guy than allowing him to dress up in one of his favorite costumes, carry a glo-stick, and have him walk around  in the dark to get lots of yummy candy?  Such excitement for a little one!

Pumpkins and spiders vs witches and ghosts.  I didn’t see the harm in it.

I didn’t want the way I felt about Halloween to be based solely on what was pounded into my brain every year as a child – that Halloween was evil, and based on a pagan holiday.  So what?  So is Christmas, the Christmas tree, coloring Easter eggs, and so on!

If I did decide to refrain from Halloween, I wanted it to be because the Holy Spirit told me it was wrong, and not man.

So, I took him trick or treating.  It was fun watching him run around, and the excitement on his face brought me great joy!  I will admit that every now and then I felt a bit guilty…. is this wrong?   Should I really be participating in this?  I dismissed those thoughts, and excused them as part of my anti-Halloween childhood.  We all know Christians can go overboard sometimes, and again I wanted to make sure I was to hear from the Holy Spirit, and not echoes of the past.

Through the years, I had another son and we continued to participate in Halloween.  As my sons got older, I took the time to explain to them that many Christians are against  Halloween for the reason that it was a  pagan holiday.  I took the time to give the evil history of the traditions of the holiday, and where it all began.  I went further to explain that I really wasn’t completely sure that participating in the holiday was the right thing to do, and that there may come a day that the Lord will tell us to stop.  If that day were to come, it would be because the Holy Spirit impressed it upon my heart, but their mommy wanted to be sure that she was not making a decision  based on man’s opinions, or approval.  They seemed to understand, and went along with our plan.

Long story short, that day DID come, but not as I expected.  The Lord convicted my children’s hearts rather than my own.  I believe He did that for me – so that I can be at total peace at withdrawing my family from all the “fun” that the world has created this day to be.

Our days of trick or treating came to an end last year, 2011.  Easton was dressed as a hunter, and Gaige was Thomas the Train.  We passed many “graves”, coffins, and ghosts in our neighborhood.  As we approached one house, we saw bloody body parts laying on the ground next to a chain saw.  Laughing and howling echoed in the background through loud speakers on the porch.

My boys are very bright, and they understood that this was all fake.  They walked right up to the girl on the porch, and got their candy.  They were not afraid – they were convicted.  Convicted by the voice of the Holy Spirit that lived inside them!  Easton, then 9 years old, looked at me and said, “mom?  I think the Holy Spirit gave us our answer and told me we were not to do this anymore.  This doesn’t feel right.’  Gaige, age 7, chimed in, “I don’t think so either!  This is too evil!”

And that was it.  I looked at their innocent faces, and I said, “Okay!  The Holy Spirit has spoken… we’re done!”
They both smiled, and looked at their bucket of candy.   Gaige (my deep thinker)  sighed and said, “I feel sad that something fun can be so evil”.

That’s how Satan works, doesn’t he?  Making evil appear to be fun, and tricking the hearts of many of us, not matter what kind of christian background we may come from.  Praise God for the tender hearts of children to keep our paths straight!

Needless to say, there will be no Halloween for us this year.  We are going to shut our doors, turn off the porch light.  The Lord’s music will be playing in the background in order to defeat the “lord of the air”,  bake an apple pie and make memories as a family, as we strive to glorify the “Lord of our hearts”.

~April

‎”The one fear that America is missing is a fear of the Lord. As a people, we no longer fear God. Because we do not fear God, we no longer hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).

Instead of hating evil, Americans toy with it. We toy with holidays like Halloween that were conceived in evil and that promote the “cute-ification” of evil, whether that evil takes the form of witchcraft, sorcery, ghoulishness, or some other form of malevolent imagery paraded before our children. We laugh at the very things that the Lord describes as “abominations,” and we find ourselves obsessively fascinated by, and attracted to, all things dark.

Yet we do not fear the Lord.” ~Doug Phillips

This last weekend we were able to look inside the forming eggs with a method called candling. Candling is when you light up the inside of an egg with a bright light, usually a flashlight, to see if your chicken is forming inside. It was amazing to see some of the little chicks wiggling around inside. Here are some pictures of what we saw.

Here is a picture of an infertile egg.

THis one has a chick forming at 7 days

This one is a “quitter” a chick that died early in development

We saw a defiant 7 chicks that were developing well and wiggling around in there.  One of those were from the smashed box of egg that I received! We also have had lots of fun this week with our egg experiments.

The raw egg /cooked egg test.

Place a hard-boiled egg and a raw egg on the table. Spin each of them and see what happens.

The raw egg spins slowly and wobbles and the cooked egg spins fast.  Why is this? Its because the liquid yolk and white are different densities. The boiled egg is one solid piece. Therefore the whole egg spins in the same direction. The raw egg has liquid inside which moves separately from the shel which keeps the whole egg from spinning quickly.

For part two of the spin test, get an egg spinning again, stop it with your hand, then quickly let go. If the egg stops quickly  it’s hard-boiled. But if it begins to move again after you take away your hand, it’s raw.

The  Egg in a Bottle test.

This one is fun to watch at any age. I know we performed it a few times😉

What you will need is a peeled hard boiled egg and a glass bottle with a mouth a little smaller than the egg, I used a quart milk jar, paper and a lighter.

I first had my kids gently try see if they could put the egg in the bottle without breaking it.  They could not.  Light a piece of paper and stick it in the jar. Quickly place the egg on top and watch what happens.  The egg gets sucked into the bottle!

Why does this happen?

 In elementary terms, the burning piece of paper heats the molecules, or little pieces that you can’t see that make up air, in the bottle and causes the molecules to move far away from each other. Some of the heated molecules escape out past the egg. When the flame goes out, the molecules of air in the bottle cool down and move closer together creating a suction like a vacuum.  If the egg wasn’t there the air outside the bottle would come rushing in to fill the bottle. The air trying to push its way back in is so strong pushes the egg into the bottle.

I love learning new things.  I also love teaching my kids about God’s world. We plan on candling again this weekend and will have more fun experiments to perform in the next few days.

And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:28

Homeschool hatch part 1

Homeschool hatch part 3

This is my young breeding trio of bantam Aracanas


The Araucana is a challenging breed of chicken which ideally has ear-tufts, is rumpless and lays blue eggs. They come in a variety of colors in both large foul and bantam (minature). Tufts are a group of feathers that grow from a protruding flap of skin located near the ear called a peduncle and are only found in this breed of chicken.

This lovely pullet is from Smith Wonderful Poultry. http://www.swpoultry.com

Araucanas are rumpless which means that they do not have a tail or a tail bone.  These unique traits make the Araucana chicken one of the most unusual and in my opinion one of the most beautiful breeds of chicken, but they also cause a number of problems that make this breed changeling. The tufts gene is lethal when present in both parents and result in a 25% in shell mortality.  The tufts do not breed true and only a tufted bird carries the tufted gene.  If both parents are tufted  50% of the chicks will be tufted 25% dead in shell and 25% non-tufted (clean faced). If only one parent is tufted you will get 50% tufted and 50% clean faced. This means that a flock will always be a mixture of tufted and clean-faced birds. Unfortunately, many of the tufted birds will have uneven, small, or one-sided tufts. Birds with large showy tufts are rare and highly prized.  Rumplessness is a trait that also causes challenges to the breed. Even though the gene is non-lethal, it can have an effect on fertility because the lack of movable tails can cause mating difficulties and reduce fertilization.

Where did these chickens come from?  According to The Araucana Club of America; “Araucanas have a most interesting and controversial history, having originated in a remote area of Chile ruled by fierce Araucana Indians who resisted European domination until the 1880’s. The distinctive traits of blue egg, tufts and rumplessness originally were found in two distinct breeds from this region. The first breed, named “Collonocas”, laid blue eggs and was rumpless. The second breed, called “Quetros”, had unusual tufts, but was tailed and laid brown eggs.”  The Araucana that is standard today in America is thought to be a result in the breeding of these two Chilean breeds.

The Araucana is frequently confused with other blue-egg-laying chickens. The only recognized blue laying breeds in the US are the Ameraucana, (tailed and muffed chicken)  and  Araucana. Most chicks sold by hatcheries or feed store are not a true breed but a mix of a blue laying breed, usually Ameraucana,  and some other breed resulting in a mixed possibility of egg colors (blue, green, and brown) and hence are named the Easter egg chicken.

Blue/green eggs from my Easter egg chicken. White egg is added for contrast.

Here is a picture of a common feed store Easter egg chicken.  These are one of my favorite and one of most dependable laying chickens I own.

So why am I telling you all this?

This last friday (October 5th)  I set some large foul Araucana eggs in the incubator.  I bought the Araucana eggs from two different people on the East coast.  The first box I received was left dented and oozing on my front porch.  The postal service did not take care with it nor did the sender do an exceptional job packing.   I really hope the ten that were not broken will hatch and weren’t completely scrambled in the mail.   The second package arrived the next day. I received a call from my local post office at 5:30 am to come and pick it up at the loading dock. The box was in perfect condition.  Even if the box had been banged around in transit I am positive the eggs would have made it.  This was an excellent packing job!   I had to wait at least 12 hours to let the eggs settle before I could put them in the incubator. We are keeping them set at a constant 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit and 45% humidity.  They will remain in the incubator untill they hatch on the 26th (hopefully).  Chicken eggs take on average 21 days to incubate and hatch.

This next weekend the kids and I get to candle them to see how they are developing. I can’t wait to see the miracle at work inside of those eggs and have an opportunity to show the kids how..Great is our Lord, and mighty in power! Psalm 147:5

I have also planed a few fun experiments and lessons around this hatch over the next few weeks. Homeschool so much fun!

Learning the parts of a chicken egg.

For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.  Psalm 47:2

-Theresa

Homeschool hatch part 2

Homeschool hatch part 3

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