Apple Date Bars

We are settling into the Fall season and the leaves are beginning to turn beautiful colors. Hopefully by now I have made my annual trip up to Placerville to celebrate the beginning of Harvest time by spending a day at Apple Hill. I love the smells, the sights, the tastes and the sounds. Every one of my senses gets a dose of Autumn when I spend a day on Apple Hill. If you have never been up to Apple Hill it is a must-do adventure. Take the whole family and spend the day. Saturdays and Sundays are really crowded so if possible go early in the season. I typically buy bushels of apples for my annual Apple Butter making day with my good friend Sally. This year, in addition to my apple butter making endeavor, I am going to try to bake many new apple treats that I modify to make healthier options-some even gluten-free. Here is my first try (for a gluten free option, use almond meal flour combined with gluten free rice flour or quinoa flour)

IMG_34861 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¾ cup coconut sugar (brown sugar)
¾ cup honey
¼ cup butter softened
¼ cup coconut oil
1 egg
2 egg whites
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups chopped granny smith apples (2 medium apples)
1 ½ cups chopped red apples (2 medium apples)
1 cup chopped pitted dates
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl combine sugar, honey, butter and coconut oil and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well after each addition. Stir in applesauce and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Chop apples and mix with lemon juice.IMG_3488 Chop dates and pecans and add to apples. IMG_3489IMG_3490Fold in apples, dates and pecans. IMG_3491Pour thick mixture into a greased 9×13 pan and place in preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. IMG_3493Allow to cool, cut into 24 bars and enjoy. Serves 20-24.

What new recipes have you tried with apples?

Kerry Signature48

Say “YES” to Help

I find it really hard to accept help most of the time. I like to be in control and feel like I can handle things myself. Even when I’m totally breaking down, I’d rather continue to be alone than ask for help.

However, it can be a blessing to me and to others to accept that help! I am experiencing this a lot this last month of pregnancy: Asking for help when I drop something, actually letting someone at the store help me with my groceries, asking my husband to cook dinner for me while I sit and rest.

I am so blessed to have amazing helpers. I have so many friends who are willing to help and offer help constantly. I got a surprise text last week that my friend had made our family dinner! It was such a treat to have a home cook meal, but take the night off from cooking it myself. My inlaws have watched Ellie and Hanna for almost all of my doctor appointment so that I could go alone. They are constantly offering their help and support.

This past week, Bekah came for a day and a half to help me with the girls. The girls adore her, and it was so much fun to have her help. We took the girls to the trampoline park and Bekah was able to run around with them, lift them out of the foam pit, and bounce with them (all things I can’t do right now!).

IMG_5341Even though it is sometimes hard for me to ask for all this help, I can see how it blesses me to have this time alone, and how it blesses the girls. It is great to watch their relationship grow with my family and friends!

What is something you’ve done to help a friend recently?

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Risking it All

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Does the title of this post make you squirm a little bit? It does for me. Not necessarily in a disagreeable way, but in a way that it gets me thinking. A few questions keep coming up. Am I willing to risk it all, or am I willing to risk just enough to still be comfortable? What am I willing to risk today, and what am I trying to hold on to? What is the difference between a big risk and a small risk? And what does it look like for me to risk everything?

Risk… it is the exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance, being in jepoardy, the unknown, a threat, uncertainty, and just pure possibility. People do not like the unknown. We like being in control and knowing what is going on and what will happen. Uncertainty can bring fear, instability, anticipation, and speculation. We would rather stay secure and safe in our own little world than take a step beyond our comfort zone. Risk doesn’t mean safe. It doesn’t always mean bad, but it doesn’t mean safe.

But that is exactly where we are supposed to be as followers of Christ.  Risking it all. Laying our life down so we can live for our Savior. Risk makes me think of a quote from the Chronicles of Narnia.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” So just like Aslan, our lives as believers is not safe, but it is good. Risking a life for Christ is not safe, but it is great, it is abundant, and it is worth it. So yes, it is unknown but it is trusting in something and someone that is bigger than yourself, that has a plan for you. God doesn’t call us to be in control He calls us to let go, so we can give control back to him.  Where it belongs. Yes we have to make decisions and put one foot in front of another, but we serve a God that wants what is best for us. He has our best interests at heart. We just have to be willing to risk. To lay down our lives and desires to live for him. He has desires for us that are greater, more fulfilling, and with our best intentions in mind. We have to choose that. 

The Bible is filled with verses calling us to risk our live, here are two verses:

Matthew 16:24-25
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Philippians 3:8
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.

So back to my first paragraph. The term risking it all makes me squirm as much as it does because I have the desire to live that way. And daily I have to be in check with myself asking, “am I risking it all?” “Am I willing to give up everything or am I trying to take things back in my own control and my own power?” I have to make the overall big one time decision to live a life that pursues risking it all. But the actual work that goes into that lifestyle is a series of little decision. Everything you do should be pursuing that goal.  It is amazing that the actual act of surrendering and taking up the cross starts with letting go. We have to let go, not give up. We have to hold things with open hands. If we hold on to things too tight we aren’t willing to risk.  Controlling life is actually taking what doesn’t rightfully belong to us. Philippians 1:21 “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Paul had the right perspective. We are to risk everything in this life. Our life is for Christ. But our physical life here is nothing compared to the eternal greatness we experience with Christ. But we can’t experience all He has for us if we are holding on to things too tight. So risk it all.

What aren’t you willing to risk? Are you willing to take steps to take up your cross? Can you risk everything?

Bethany Signature48

 

Throwback: The Bored Board

Although this craft was originally designed for summer boredom, how often do you have to think of creative ideas on your feet when you hear “I’m Bored!!” throughout the school year? The Bored Board can be very useful for activities once homework is finished or for free days on the weekends! It can include outside time, games, crafts, kid dates, or even chores! This craft is great for all year round and can be adjusted depending on the season, sport or age! Click HERE to see the How To!

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Birthdays are for Spoiling Kids and Grandkids

What do you get when you combine a pack of Pinkalicious stickers with a piece of pink cupcake fabric, a pink t-shirt, some pink ribbon and a pink cupcake appliqué? Why a PINKALICIOUS BIRTHDAY PARTY-of course!!!!!IMG_3494

In the next few days or weeks this pile of supplies will be transformed into the dream outfit for one special grand daughter who will be turning 3 years old in November. The style of Personalized birthday outfit may change a bit from this throwback post from a year ago but the love that goes into the making of the outfit and the joy of wearing the outfit will be the same if not better. I hope to have pictures of this new 3 year old birthday outfit ready to share in a few days.

If you have a special someone who is about to celebrate their special birthday-check out this throwback blog post and head down to your favorite fabric store and start creating! A very special someone will be very glad you decided to spoil them.

What creative ways (that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money) have you used to spoil your kids or grandkids on their birthday?

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Trust and Wait

I’ve reached the point in this pregnancy where baby could come any day from today to three weeks from now. Of course, I’d prefer sooner than later. I would also just like to know the day. Rather than wake up every day wondering if this will be the day to meet my new little one, I would like a nice ticket stamped with a day and time that I need to be ready.

It is so hard to wait. It is easier to have things scheduled and controlled. Waiting for unknowns means we have to trust that the timing will be perfect. I know that my waiting period is only a few weeks. For you, it might be months or even years. But just know that if you wait for God’s perfect timing in God’s perfect plan, the end results will be just that – PERFECT.

What helps you trust and wait for the right time?

Rach Signature48

The One that never changes

Usually change doesn’t come naturally. It can come with kicking and screaming, hesitation, or just flat out rebellion. But change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Yes, change often comes with uncertainty… but it can also come with growth, opportunity, and adventure. Look at change with a new hope. See that change can be good, and trust God with the process. Don’t be afraid of what may be around the corner of a new opportunity.  Be open. Be willing. Embrace change.

Ephesians 4:21-22 says “when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The Lord wants to continually refine us, mold us, and break us so that we can become more like Him.  But that doesn’t come without change. Our human nature is broken, selfish, and immature.  Christ calls us to throw off our old self and daily strive to live in the abundance and the blessing that Christ has for us in a life with Him. A life of hope, forgiveness, love, and purpose. And a life with Christ compels us to live differently. We don’t have to live stuck in our brokenness or shame. Christ has redeemed us. He has set us free. And we have power in His transforming work in us. We live out the characteristics of Christ as we get to know him more.  We grow and begin to bear the fruit of the spirit.

Change also takes work. Sometimes hard work. Just like getting in shape takes work to see changes, creating habits takes work to make new lifestyles.  And so does growing in our life with Christ.  Discipline, determination, passion, and perseverance. And this change is solidified by our time in the Word, our commitment to fellowship, our experience in worship, our desire to pursue Christ, and our willingness to let the Lord be our Maker. The Lord doesn’t want you to stay where you are. He wants you to keep growing.

The one thing we can hold on to in life is Jesus Christ.  When situations change, when we change, when location changes, when job changes, when age changes; the Lord remains the same. He is the only trust content that we have. Cling to His truth, His consistency, His goodness.

James 1:17-18 “Every good and perfect gift is from above,coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

What area of change in your life have you seen the Lord work?

Bethany Signature60

Bruschetta – A Hot or Cold Appetizer for a Warm or Chilly Fall Night

The seasons are changing. For some of us, that means dropping weather, changing leaves, and warm soups and stews. For others (like us in So Cal), we aren’t experiencing much of a weather change yet and may not for a while! It was 103º, feels like 107º today. Ha. But, here is a bruschetta recipe for either experience, one that can be made as a cold or hot appetizer.

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What You Need:

1 Loaf of Whole Wheat French Bread

4 Tomatoes

2 TBS, 2 tsp Olive Oil

2 tsp Balsamic

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

Sliced Mozzarella Cheese (For the Hot Bruschetta)

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How to:

1. Chop the tomatoes and place in a bowl.

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2. Add the olive oil, balsamic, and seasonings. Stir and refrigerate.

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FOR HOT BRUSCHETTA:
3. Preheat oven to 275º. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Slice the bread- Slice in half again if you want this appetizer to be more bite-size and place onto the cookie sheet. Place a scoop of the bruschetta mix onto the bread and top with a slice of mozzarella. Bake for 3-5 minutes.

 FOR COLD BRUSCHETTA:
3. Toast slices of the french bread. Place a scoop of the bruschetta mix onto the bread and it is ready to eat.

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CHECK THIS OUT!! We now have a PRINT-FRIENDLY DOWNLOAD! This will make printing our recipes so easy! Click below for our first Growing Weisser Recipe Printable!

Click on either the Half Sheet or Full Sheet, Right Click and choose Save to Downloads. Find the recipe in your downloads and Print!

Bruschetta Recipe copy Half Sheet

Bruschetta Recipe Large copyFull Sheet

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My New Normal

Our family has had SO MUCH CHANGE in the past 5 years, it is hard to keep my head from spinning off. In the past 3 years alone, we have added 2 new son-in-laws and 5 new grandchildren to our clan. Change is in the air….I know that most people think of January as the time of life re-evaluation and yearly resolutions. Others think of springtime as the season of new life and new growth. But I always feel the strongest sense of new beginnings as we change seasons from summer to fall. School begins afresh, the evenings grow cooler and darker and the leaves begin to change. It may be because I absolutely loved school my entire life and looked forward to a new year of learning. It may be because during our Navy years, in all our change of duty stations, we packed up and moved in late August, to be ready for the new school year.

It is September once again, the signs of Fall are in the air and once again I have the opportunity to define “My New Normal”. What will this year bring? Sweet Ellie turns 3, in 2 months, and she and her little sister, Hanna, will both be BIG sisters in a matter of a few weeks when their new little sister makes her appearance into this world. IMG_3204 IMG_3234So many new beginnings. So many changes. What changes will be required of me this year? What will be “my new normal”?

Yesterday I learned the difference between being an INSTRUMENT and an AGENT with regards to change. An instrument of change is ready to serve and willing to work hard to initiate change but usually is unaware of the greater power available to help manifest the desired change. An agent of change has a passion and a commitment to utilize every imaginable tool to be equipped for change and is willing to tap into an unstoppable source of power.  Because of a deep sense of purpose, an agent of change presses forward in spite of difficulty and is tenacious in his or her pursuit of change. For me and my family, that source of unstoppable power comes from our faith in God.

This year my new beginnings involve establishing a “new normal” in my relationships with my family and my commitments in my community. I constantly struggle with balancing my time and my commitments. I want to be a peaceful person who is always available to be an agent for change- in myself and in relationships with others. I am often in situations where I am asked for wisdom in difficult interpersonal relationship situations and I want to give helpful advice and be an encouragement. Part of my challenge is to share truth in a loving manner without offending others. I make it a point to pray a lot when giving advice so that I have a pure heart with no selfish motives. One of the principles I use for myself and when giving advice to others is found in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 7.

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

My “new normal” for this season will be to keep my own life in balance and be prepared with a pure heart to let my advice be a reflection of my faith. I will try to look at the things in my own life that need to be changed and focus on the power available to help me change. I will enjoy the blessings of family and the privilege that I have to influence those that God has placed in my life. I will be content.

What will be your new normal this Fall season?

Kerry Signature48

Blessed Abundantly

We usually don’t post on Mondays, but today is my 2 year anniversary and I wanted to take some time to post… I could get all sentimental about how much I love my husband (but I’ll save that for just him) but instead I want to post about how very blessed I am by some specific people. So here’s a shout out to my sisters, and all the girls in my wedding party. I love all of you so very much, and this day, and this moment could not have been any sweeter. I will remember it for my whole life.   Anniversaries are a time to think about love, meaning of marriage, the fun wedding you had, and just how amazing the special people are in your life. So in honor of our blog, and my sisters, my bridesmaids, and my family… you NEED to watch this.

“Sisters” Wedding Speech

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Aren’t they the best!!!!! Here’s to two years :)

Bethany Signature48