Friday, December 5, 2014

20 Days and Counting

Well whether we are ready for it or not Christmas will be here in 20 days, for those who celebrate Hanukkah you only have 11 days.

Not that I am trying to induce any stress.

This year we've taken a pretty laid back approach to Christmas and the shopping that goes with it.  Having three kids we decided there are a plethora of toys in our house already so we should come up with about 3 meaningful gifts for each of them and then focus the remainder of the day on hanging out with family and enjoying a meal together...OF course there will be focus on food (I love the stuff).

So let me share with you a delicious treat and something that might distract you from any stress you might be under.

  • 1 1/2 C all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 C spelt flour
  • 1 1/3 C sugar
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Earth Balance, melted
  • 3 ener-G egg replacers
  • 3 Tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Place flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix together with a fork and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl mix together your Earth Balance, vanilla, almond milk, and egg replacers.
  • Gradually add in your dry mixture and beat until fully incorporated.
  • With damp hands form two loaves (12" x 3") from the dough and place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Allow the loaves to cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet.
  • Remove from the sheet and slice the loaves (you should get at least 12 slices from each loaf).
  • Place the sliced cookies back on the baking sheet, cut side up, and bake at 325 degrees for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Allow them to cool before dipping (or eat them as is...I promise they are delicious just like this).
These might not make you all zen

But hopefully they will give you a nice little break.  Pair these (yes you should have at least two) with a cup of hot tea, chocolate, or coffee (whatever your please is).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Alternative Giving

This time of year at my church stewardship campaigns are ramped up full speed.

Everyone wants to get their budgets in line and know what we have to work with for next year.

But should this be a topic that we discuss just one month of the year?

Or instead should it be a topic that we constantly have in the back of our minds.

I was recently part of a discussion in which we discussed ways to give and the people in the discussion were mainly focused on money...but there are so many other great ways to give.


This is a really broad topic but narrow it down to something that interests you
  1. Boys and Girls Club
  2. Serving food at a soup kitchen
  3. Delivering meals for Meals on Wheels
  4. Mow your neighbors lawn
  5. Lead a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop
  6. Drive cancer patients to their treatments
  7. Clean up a local park or streets
  8. Check out local opportunities on Volunteer Match
Donate Yourself

  1. Donate blood to the local Red Cross
  2. Donate hair to Locks of Love
Alternatives to Money
  1. Link your grocery card buyers card to a local school so that they receive a portion of the sale
  2. Give away excess from your home through places such Freecycle or Goodwill or Salvation Army
  3. Handmade items that can be donated (such as blankets for premature babies)
  4. Old athletic shoes that can be made into playground surfaces
  5. Donate old blankets and towels to your local humane society
As you can see these things just barely scratch the surface...BUT there are numerous ways to give you just have to look around, see what talents you have or take inventory of the items in your house.

Not only will you be helping someone out there are studies that show helping makes us happier and healthier people.  

What suggestions or ideas do you have for other ways to give?  I know there are so many out there :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Only 51 More Days To Go

It is shocking to me every year how quickly Christmas rolls around.

Makes me begin to wonder whether time is just moving faster.

As of today there are 51 more days until Christmas.

I love the holiday and the decorations...and the FOOD!

Wouldn't be a proper holiday without some delicious vittles.

However the commercial aspects of the season really drive me crazy.

I was walking through one of the big box stores with my kids (mid-October mind you) and Christmas decorations and suggestions for gifts were everywhere.  My kids expressed some dismay and wanted to know what, when Halloween and Thanksgiving still had to come, were we already prepping for Christmas.

Simply explained to them it was so the most money could be made on gifts.

My husband and I have for several years requested that family either give 1 gift per child or give them an experience (or money for an experience if they live too far away).

This has worked like a charm and has cut down on the massive amounts of stuff that would clutter our house each December.

So what do you do?  Do you give unabashedly or are you more conservative?

Are their certain traditions that you all have the substitutes as a Christmas gift (i.e. going to The Nutcracker ballet)?

Just so that people don't think I am crazy and alone in my thought of giving less for the holidays...I would like to share this blog post that I came across.  In it Heather has some fantastic ideas for gifts.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!