18 March 2010

Train Up A Child

Tonight I was putting the kids to bed in the usual manner. After praying, we sing some bedtime songs. I limit it to one song requested by each child, usually, and it has to be a soft melody. So tonight, my oldest son picked first: The Lord Is My Shepherd, I'll Walk With Him Always. We recited Psalm 23, and then sang the sweet little tune. It’s an old favorite of ours. Next, his younger brother chose his song: As The Deer, from Psalm 42:1. Another favorite. I just love hearing my own children singing such wonderful songs of commitment to the Lord! Finally, it was my 3-year-old daughter's turn to select the last song. In her little raspy but sweet voice she said in all seriousness, “Um, God Is Great, Beer Is Good, And People are Crazy.” I guess we’ve got a lot more training to do!

17 March 2010

Chocolate Mint Brownines

I love making these brownies on or around St. Patrick's Day, since they have a little green stripe in them in the middle layer of frosting. This recipe is from an old church cookbook, Seasoned With Love, from Evangelical Bible Church in Dallas, Oregon, Morris Press, 2001. Submitted by Andrea Friesen, pg. 309.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

First Layer:

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 can Hershey's Syrup
1 c. flour

Second Layer:

2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 Tbs. water
1/2 tsp. mint extract
3 drops green food coloring

Third Layer:

6 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. mint extract


Preheat oven to 350. In order given, mix the butter, sugar, eggs, syrup and flour to make first layer. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake approximately 30 minutes. Do not over bake. Mix ingredients for second layer and spread on cooled brownies. For third layer, melt ingredients in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Stir until completely melted. Cool until slightly thickened, then spread on top.

Merrilee's additional tips: I've found the most success melting things in the microwave by using the defrost setting. It takes longer, but reduces the risk of burning the chocolate and rendering it impossible to work with. Since there's so much butter in these, you'll want to store them in the fridge if you're not eating them right away. But I think whole thing is best when eaten at room temperature. While I prefer to cook with butter, these taste just as good with margarine. If you just can't make brownies from scratch or with so much butter and eggs, you could try just putting layers two and three on top of your favorite brownie recipe. Happy Green-Minty-Middle-of-March!

08 March 2010

Singing and Making Music With Our Hearts

Ever since my first children were very young, we have always prayed at bedtime, and then ended the day singing songs. When they were really little, we sang baby songs. But the older they have gotten, the better the song selection has gotten. Now we have a broader range of ages to work with, but I love the fact that for years now, we have ended nearly every day singing praises to God.

And my kids keep me humble. Sometimes I think I sound really good (and sometimes I actually do), and sometimes my voice is squeaky and probably pitchy in places (more than I’d like to admit). But they don’t seem to notice from one day to the next whether I’m having a good singing day or a bad one. All that matters to them is that we do it every night.

I know I’m rambling on about this, but I just wanted to capture the thoughts and put them down. Because I love the fact that that is how my children end nearly every day, praising the Lord. And I love the fact that that is how I end nearly every day with my children, even the toughest days: thankful that the day is over and that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceased, His mercies never came to an end; and confident and thankful that they are new every morning.

Last night, I was reminded of a hymn I first heard sung on an old favorite cassette called Treasures by Bonnie Knopf. The original lyrics are by Isaac Watts, but these lyrics are as I remember them (not word-perfect):

I sing the Almighty power of God that made the mountains rise;

That spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies;

I sing the Goodness that ordained the sun to rule the day;

The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, that filled the earth with food;

Who formed the creatures with His word, and then pronounced them good.

Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed wher’ere I turn my eye;

If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze across the sky!

This song really touched my heart as I recalled the lyrics and sang it to my children. I was especially thankful for yet another good song that enforces the truth of God's word, and the fact that He is the creator and sustains the universe. And that is all the musings for today.