Book Review: “Let Us All Eat Cake” by Catherine Ruehle

I can’t express how excited I am about this book! My mother has developed an allergy to gluten in the past few years. Finding good-tasting substitutes has proven to be quite a challenge. I have found one recipe that I make whenever the rest of us eat “real” cake. While it tastes good, it’s just not “real” cake. This book offers tons of new recipes that she can share in eating with us.

The book is nicely divided into types of cakes in the chapters as follows:
Chapter 1 – Breakfast, Snack & Coffee Cakes
Chapter 2- Layer Cakes
Chapter 3 – Cupcakes Filled & Frosted
Chapter 4 – Plated Slices & Little Cakes
Chapter 5 – Decorated Special-Occassion Cakes
Chapter 6 – Essential Frostings, Filling & Glazes
Chapter 7 – Tips, Tricks & Decorating Techniques
As you can see, there is a lot of variety of desserts covered in this book. It even contains a Pink Princess Cake and Camo Cake that would be great for kids.

The ingredients used seem accessible to most people. Most of them are ones you have in your pantry already. The author even includes a few pages with sources in case you’re having trouble finding them. She also informs you on each recipe that uses special equipment. Choices are also presented for certain ingredients to offer some flexibility (e.g. unsalted butter vs. non hydrogenated vegetable shortening).

The book contains lots of gorgeous pictures. I love to eat with my eyes in a cookbook, so this doesn’t disappoint. Even my young daughter can’t wait to try the recipes after looking through the book. Most recipes in this book have at least one picture.

I can’t wait to bake my way through this book and share them with my mom! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in gluten-free baking.

I received this book for free from BloggingforBook.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Biblical help for problems with sibling rivalry

My children are somewhat close in age, and I have a lot of problems with jealousy and sibling rivalry between them. They are great kids that love each other, but really need guidance to help them treat each other more kindly at all times. Quite honestly, the same scriptures can be applied to adults as well. Sadly, I’ve tried several secular suggestions on how to keep the peace between them, but I haven’t really approached them with Biblical references on why they need to treat each other more kindly. That changes today. I ran across several blog posts regarding this topic on the website Frugal Fun for Boys. I have compiled notes that I plan to use in our family devotions from this website that I’m sharing below. I have tried to quote the website wherever I could. Please note that all ideas were directly derived from Frugal Fun for Boys. (I wish to give credit where it is due.) I simply made these notes for my use and changed the Bible references to KJV. I hope this is of some help to you if you have similar issues.

Frugal Fun for Boys

Notes:
* 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
* God won’t let you be temped with more than you can handle
* Romans 12:14 – “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
* Romans 12:19-21 – “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
* instructs us to treat our enemies with kindness
* you shouldn’t try to get revenge, let the Lord deal them
* don’t stoop to their level if they’re being bad
* Colossians 3:12-13 – “12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
* forgive others when they do wrong to you because Christ has forgiven you
* Proverbs 19:11 – “11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”
* it’s a blessing to be able to get over someone doing you wrong

No rudeness
* Proverbs 12:18 “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”
* saying mean things (symptom of uncontrolled tongue) is like stabbing someone with a sword; but kindness heals people
* If you have said something rude to one of your siblings, you need to add words or actions of healing by speaking kindly or doing something to serve that sibling.
* if you fuss after they spill something, you have to heal that hurt (perhaps by offering to help them clean it up)
* “Satan would love for us to believe that those sassy comments we want to say will make us feel better, but it’s a lie. The tongue of the wise truly does bring healing!” – frugalfun4boys.com

Dealing with Anger
* Romans 12:17-21 – “17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
* don’t repay evil
* try to live peaceably
* don’t try to get revenge
* overcome bad with good

Kindness
* Kindness cup – take turns doing something good and leaving the cup behind so that it can be passed on
* The Bible says that it is not enough to simply “stop being rude” or “ignore the other person.”
* “The cycle of fighting won’t stop until someone starts actively choosing to be kind and put others first.” – frugalfun4boys.com
* “We are His children. He made us His children, not so that we could go our own way, but so that we could reflect His character. When we ask our children to love each other in light of the love that God has shown for us, life makes sense! Our requests are rooted in the truth.” – frugalfun4boys.com
* Examples:“I know that what they did was not kind and that you are hurt. But God showed His kindness to us in that while we were yet sinners, He died for us (Romans 5:8). I know it’s really hard, but God will help you to respond with love if you ask Him to.”
* “I know they have been a pest today. But it would be great if you would reflect God’s character by reading him some books anyway. Think of it as serving the Lord.”
* “We need to speak with kind words because God always speaks with words that are good. He created us to be like Him.”
* Does the person I’m playing with not enjoy loud games? Then I should put him first and not play that way. Is everyone in the car tired of my singing? Then I should stop singing, not exercise my right to sing when I want.
* How were you showing kindness in this situation?
* How did your actions helped things to be more peaceful. (Maybe they didn’t?)
* When you were _________ (running off with your sibling’s toy/ “copying” everything your brother said/playing rough with your sister’s baby doll), what was more important to you than loving your sibling? (Could be having fun, getting a laugh from others, having control over others)
* Proverb 16:7 – “7 When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
* try to do nice and as God would have you to do, he can help you to have peace

No tattling/whining
* more acceptable to say, “Mom, I’m concerned that Owen might break my toy that he is playing with,” rather than to whine, “Mo-om! Owen has my toy AGAIN!”- frugalfun4boys.com

Fighting
* James 4:4 – “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
* don’t act as the world says to act, act as God says to act
* many desires (want of things, controlling others, selfishness) are very worldly, not Godly
* James 4:6-7 – “6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
* don’t be proud, but humble because God will give you grace
* let God take over your life and he will chase away the devil

Craft – make a kindness cup together

Bible verses to memorize:
* Romans 12:14 – “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
* Romans 12:19 – “…avenge not yourselves…Vengeance is mine…”
* Romans 12:21 – “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
* Colossians 3:13 – “…even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
* Proverbs 12:18 – “…but the tongue of the wise is health.”
* Romans 5:8 – “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
* James 4:7 – “…Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Movie Review: “Moms’ Night Out”

Ok, so I’ve waited way to long to see this movie. It was hilarious, and I loved it! I didn’t even know Provident Films was associated with it. (I’ve loved everything I’ve seen them associated with.)

I highly recommend this movie to all other moms who feel crazy and overwhelmed most of the time. One scene in the movie was very enlightening. It made the point that God didn’t make any mistakes in making me the mother of my kids. I need to seek His guidance to allow myself to just be me and try to be the best mom I can be. Sometimes I get too caught up in wanting to do things perfectly and wanting to be “all put together” to the point that it destroys the joy and humor that I should have in all the mess-ups and chaos that is real life. I really am trying to work on being less stressed and learning to roll with the punches when things don’t go the way I think they should. I’ve been blessed beyond measure and need to be ever-mindful of that.

A great party find – free bike cupcake toppers

Recently, I hosted a party for Farmer Boy. He’s obsessed with riding his bike right now. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted me to make, he started to tell me all about this elaborate cake, complete with a cake carved into the shape of a bicycle. I told him I wasn’t able to make that on short notice (or maybe ever with my skill level), but told him I could somehow incorporate the bike theme into his requested vanilla cake with chocolate icing.

I was really happy to have found these free (yay!) cupcake toppers online. They turned out great. His favorite was the “This is how I roll” one and asked for it by name. Everyone at the party seemed to think they were cute too. Thanks to R&O for saving the day for this mama!

http://raspberryandorange.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/bicycle-party/

Book Review: “Bend Your Brain” by The Minds Behind Marbles: The Brain Store

I absolutely love this book! I have always been drawn to brain teasers and puzzles, and this book definitely delivers quality content. I also like that they offer snippets of information regarding how the brain works related to the puzzle at hand. The book is divided into sections and offers puzzles of increasing difficulty. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a mental challenge!

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Book Review: “Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth”

This book details letters that could have been written by pop culture icons. The content seems to cover pop culture from the 1960s to current. So, some parts were hard to relate to. While the book attempts to funny by using sarcasm, the profanity and sacrilege turned me off from this book. Granted, some parts of the book were funny, but just not enough for me to like it overall, especially with all the cursing and offensive content.

(I received this book free from the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

Book Review: “Snack Girl to the Rescue” by Lisa Cain

When I first selected this book, I thought there would be a lot more recipes for healthy snacks. However, this book contains recipes for not only snacks, but also for main entrees and sides. The beginning of it covers basic information on healthy eating. I like how the author went through numerous obstacles that one may use as an excuse not to eat healthfully and combatted each of those excuses with easily applicable strategies to succeed in eating well. She also points out the importance of exercise as well. The inclusion of nutritional data is helpful, and the recipes are listed is a very easy-to-read format. I also liked that the ingredients utilized can be easily found at regular supermarkets. I just wish that the book contained some pictures. However, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes with my family, especially some of the healthy desserts!

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Movie Review: “Safe Haven”

Wow! I loved this movie. This 2013 film starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel certainly exceeded my expectations. I thought it was going to be a standard “chick flick.” So, I decided to watch it when I couldn’t sleep. It had suspense, family issues, and romance. I’ve never read a Nicholas Sparks book before, but he’s going to the top of my list since I usually find the book to be so much better than the movie.

Science time – Making a Bouncy Ball

Note:  To protect their privacy and identity, my children will be referred to as Farmer Boy and Sparkly Princess.

Before the kids went to their grandparents to visit this week, we did a science experiment off of Pinterest.  Both kids usually enjoy science experiments.  This one required Borax, which can be found in the laundry section of your grocery store.  (I had a hard time finding it at the local superstore, but was happy to find it at our local grocery store.)  All the other ingredients were things that you probably have on hand in your pantry.

Halfway through the prep, Farmer Boy was already guessing we were making slime.  When I told him we weren’t, he correctly guessed what we were doing.  I did most of the measuring and mixing this time and let them be in charge of forming the concoction into a ball.  They definitely had the worst part.  Their hands were a sticky mess!  The Sparkly Princess didn’t know what she’d gotten herself into.  After they had formed the ball, I took it from them and continued to roll it with my clean hands while they washed theirs.  That seemed to work out to get the ball more dry.  The kids were split on their take of this experiment. The Sparkly Princess thought it was neat while Farmer Boy was underwhelmed by the bounciness of the ball.  To be fair, it didn’t bounce a lot after all.  However, when I explained that we weren’t making industrial grade toys, he seemed to think it was ok.  Here are the directions I followed: Bouncy Ball Instructions

Garden

Well, the garden is starting to yield. This is the first time that we have had the vegetable garden on our land. For the past few years, we have either used my grandfather’s land or my parent’s land. I have really enjoyed having it here so that I can tend it more easily. Unfortunately, the deer, rabbits, and insects must like it here too. I have put it on my list to learn more about organic farming this winter so I’ll be more prepared next year.

We have planted kale, arugula, cucumbers, squash, purple-hull peas, watermelons, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper, sweet green peppers, jalapeño peppers, basil, rosemary, and okra. We had also planted peanuts (twice), but we were unable to get them to sprout. I like that the kids can see where our food supply comes from. Although I don’t think it’s cost effective, there is something satisfying about growing your own veggies. If you have any favorite recipes or storage ideas for these veggies, please feel free to share them.