Monday, March 21, 2011

Carrot Cake Recipe

This delicious cake was on the cover of Southern Lady magazine recently. I decided to give it a try. It was absolutely delicious!
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded carrot
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 (8 1/2 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
4. In a large bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into butter mixture until well combined. Gently stir in carrots, pecans, and pineapple. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, cool completely on wire racks.
5. Spread Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting evenly between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and cinnamon at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Ginger Pineapple Slush

Looking for something refreshing...and healthy? This is my all time favorite drink. It's super easy to make too. Get out your blender, slice up a pineapple, grate some fresh ginger (1/4 tsp-but I add much more), add ice and blend. If you have any left over pour it into Popsicle molds. My 7 yr old loves these!

Perfect anytime. Enjoy!

A Winter Exchange

I've got a dear friend that I've never person. I've gotten to know her through her blog. Last year she put together a mom's group with all of us online friends. We can chat on a forum, share ideas and even do exchanges. This was where we filled a box with 'happies'. You can make them or buy them. This year she and I did a winter exchange. I have to admit it's a bit difficult for me, tucked away in the deep south, to come up with ideas for a winter box, but I gave it a try. Another thing we try to incorporate is favorite colors. She likes earth tones, especially brown; her daughters like orange and aqua. I had so much fun working on these things for my friends.

For Kim, a little quilted pillow and journal. I know the pillow's not big, but the idea is to curl up on a winter day, get comfy and write in the journal.

Here are 2 little pillows for her girls.

Also for her and her girls, nature journals. My girls and I love to use water colors or oil pastels to try to capture nature. I can just imagine them looking out their window at the snow and adding to their nature journals.
Winter also makes me think of being in the kitchen- a big pot of soup simmering and bread in the oven. Here's a little dressy dish towel for their kitchen. (I apologize for how dirty my oven door was when I took this picture. LOL!)
Finally, in the depths of a cold winter we can't help but dream of spring. I made 3 tiny birds to remind them that spring would soon come to them.

Last was a miniature pin cushion. On those cold snowy nights I can imagine them sitting by the fire, sewing and mending.

I hope they enjoy the gifts as much as I enjoyed making them. I look forward to the next exchange with my friends.

Happy Spring!

Here in the south it has looked and felt like spring for a while now. In fact, my 7 year old keeps asking me if it's summer yet. :)

I love spring. To me it means new beginnings, freshness, freedom. We started Spring with a nice time at church (isn't it cool when you've read a verse over and over then someone else reads it and points out something you've never even 'seen'! God is so good that way!), followed by a fabulous meal that my husband made. I then spent the next few hours outside, alone, with nature. I started reading a really good book (which I'll post about later) that managed to change my outlook and mood in just a few pages. Next I went for a kayak ride. When I got back I was ready to face my family with a whole new attitude. We ended the afternoon with a family bike ride-stopping to talk and admire the blooming flowers, catch up and connect.

The first day of Spring could not have been more perfect for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sewing for baby

Two of my dear friends had babies recently-one girl and one boy. I've had so much fun sewing for them. Here is a glimpse of their gifts:
Lisa didn't know at the time of her shower if she would be having a boy or girl. So, instead of monogramming a name on the blanket I put a verse:

Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
~Psalm 127:3

Down south we like to hang things on the hospital door when baby arrives. Most of the time it's a bow; more recently there have been pretty pink or blue wreaths. My friend asked if I would make the bow for her. Unfortunately I'm not very good at making bows. Thankfully though she told me I could be as creative as I wanted, so i designed this little quilt hanging. I love the way it turned out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To have the faith of a child…

I happened to read my daughter's blog today. Wow! I'm continually amazed by her in so many ways. She's beautiful, smart, talented and oh so sweet. Most of all she has this relationship with the Lord that blows me away. I'm so comforted to know that her heart is right, that she 'gets it' and that I will be able to spend eternity with her in heaven one day. I wanted to share her post with you.

Monday, March 7, 2011


So, at Youth Group this week, I have to do the devotion. It isn't hard, because there is usually at the most, ten people. I thought, since you couldn't be there, that I would do it on here.

I am doing it on Jesus' return, and the tribulation. It is a scary thing, but people don't realize that it is the most wonderful day for us Christians that will ever, ever, EVER be! Jesus will take us up to Heaven, and we will be there for eternity with Him. We will have whole new bodies, and be able to do all the splits, home runs, and flips that you can ever do! It will be an ugly sight for all the non-believers and atheists, but that is why we have to keep going and spreading the Good News so that we can be in Heaven with everyone that we love. I do admit, I was scared to be in Heaven. I was scared about the day that Jesus is coming back. I wanted to make a bargain with God. I would pray and ask "God, if only You will let me get married. If only You will let me have children. If only I could live a long life, THEN You can come and take me to Heaven." I didn't want to go to be with God. I started to pray, and read my Bible more this year. God has given me a peace about the tribulation day. I will be ready to go spend eternity with Jesus. I want to worship Him every day. I will spend eternity with my great-grandmother. I will meet my great-grandfather. I can be with all the dogs that I ever had! It will be the best day in the world.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Reading Kingdom review

"We believe that reading is the single most important skill children need to succeed in school and in life and that every child has the right to learn to read. Shockingly, nearly 70% of children are failing to reach a proficient level in reading.* And failure in this critical area is the single greatest indicator of serious problems later in life. Our dream is to bring literacy to all in the United States and help those abroad who want to learn English by creating easily accessible and highly effective education methods."~The Reading Kingdom

11 years ago when we embarked on our homeschooling adventure the single most thing I was afraid of was teaching my child to read. How could I possibly do it? I understood that reading is the most important step in a quality education. Today there are many tools to teach your child to read. The Reading Kingdom happens to be one that lets your child have fun while working on their reading skills. It's colorful with cute little characters and is so easy to use that once we set it up, my daughter could work alone. Target age is 4-10 years for this website based curriculum.

How the Program is Organized

The Skills Survey
The program begins with your child taking a Skills Survey. Through simple, game-like activities, it reveals the skills a child has and does not have so that the program can start at exactly the right place to encourage the greatest success.

The Teaching
Once the Skills Survey is completed, the teaching begins. The program is organized into six levels.

Pre-reading Level

Teaches the Visual Sequencing and Keyboarding Skills that underlie reading and writing. A child goes through one or both of these programs if the Skills Survey shows that these components are needed.

Level 1
Gets your child reading, understanding and writing meaningful ideas by teaching key nouns (kids, girl, bird), verbs (actions such as eat, walk, fly) and "helping" words (the, some, is, can, are). Once a set of words has been taught, the child gets to read a book containing those words, along with words previously taught. As in all subsequent levels, there are six books in Level 2.

Level 2

Greatly expands the range of ideas your child reads and writes by adding new nouns (puppies, man, water), verbs relevant to those nouns (run, fix, move, including words that convey motivation such as need, want, like), pronouns (she, I, we), additional "helping" words (that, also, both, of) and question words (who, what, which).

Level 3

Enhances your child's ability to tell and understand stories by teaching the words to convey past tense (was, did, were), along with increasing the range of nouns (ground, rocks), verbs (push, think, hurt), "helping" words (most, on, any), and adjectives (sad, happy, nice, -y as in dirty, rocky).

Level 4
Gets your child reading subject matter that is different from typical stories and essential to school success. It introduces a wide variety of objects and beings from the natural world (animals, rainbow, moon, tongue, group, people, earth) and higher level question words (why, when, how). These are then incorporated into books that convey science type information.

Level 5

Has your child reading rich stories which provide a sense of fun while teaching complex cause and effect relationships by expanding the range of nouns (computer, letter, fish) and verbs (change, know, float), and introducing a set of complex ideas (luck, true, never, change, sure).

Keeping Track
Within a few weeks, many children are using the program totally on their own. Even though you may not be there during the lessons, you'll have no trouble keeping track of how your child is doing. After a session is completed, you can open a link that offers you a summary of how the session went, where your child is at, what's happening next and so on.

Progress Check
The Reading Kingdom has been designed so that a child moves ahead only if the learning is solid and secure. At regular points, a child is given a brief Progress Check to see if there is mastery of the material that has been taught.

If the Progress Check shows that your child is doing well, in the next session he or she moves on to new material.

On the other hand, if the Skills Survey shows some weaknesses in the learning, then in the next session, your child starts a set of review lessons that enable him or her to get past any difficulties. The review process may take one to two weeks to complete. Once it is completed, the child returns to learning new material.


You receive a free 30 day trial. After that, subscriptions to Reading Kingdom are $19.99/month (with no monthly minimum), or $199.99 per year. You can cancel your subscription at any time.
If you can't possible afford to pay, you can apply for a scholarship. Also Educators can apply for a discount.

We received our subscription to The Reading Kingdom for free thanks to TOS. This review was based on my opinion of the product only. No other compensation was received. To read other review about this product, please visit the Crew Blog.