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Archive for April, 2011

Strawberry Sweetness

Posted by Lauren



On Monday, Kathryn and I had fun putting up 8 gallons of strawberries together! This is how we did it:

Step 1: Put strawberries in a large dishpan, and fill with cold water. Let them sit for a few minutes.

Yummy!Washing them 

Step 2: Drain the berries in a colander.

Step 3: Stem them. We used sharp knives. Take as little of the berry as possible.

You know that you haven't taken too much berry off when the pile is mostly green!Wow!Be sure to compost the strawberry tops! They are good for your garden!!

Step 4: Put strawberries through the food processor with a slicing blade. Or, you can quarter them.

Using the food processor is much faster than quartering them :)100_7393

Step 5: Put 4 c. of sliced berries in a glass measuring cup and stir 1/4 c. of sugar. Be sure to stir gently or they will get mushed.


Step 6: Pour strawberries into a labeled quart-sized FREEZER plastic bag and gently squeeze air out. Make sure you don’t get any juice on the zipper of the bag, or it will not seal and the berries will leak in your freezer!

Be sure to label your bags with the product and the date

Step 7: Place bags on a flat tray in a single layer and put in the freezer. When they are frozen, you can take the tray out.

If you don't lay them flat, they will freeze in an odd shape and will not stack nicely in your freezer. It will also be easier to get a hole in the bag.

The berries are now ready to be used in your favorite dessert or salad. We like to use them, along with a quart of frozen peaches, 1 cup of frozen blueberries, and 3-4 fresh bananas, to make a yummy breakfast.

The project was finished!!! :-)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? … She worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. (Proverbs 31: 10, 13, 14)

Would You Bee-lieve It??! !

Posted by Kathryn



The biggest event of our week so far has been an addition to the family. Or, perhaps I should say 60,000+ additions to the family! For a long time we have been interested in bee keeping, and because of the generosity of Mr. Brandon, our front yard and the surrounding area is now the home to five hives swarming with honey bees. We are just “housing” them for him, but this has been unbee-lievably educational and we may just have to get some of our own in the future!

Setting them up...There is something beautiful about this!It's level

It's such a joy to be in the country!This lid won't be going anywhere, thanks to the BIG rock Herman found in the ditch :)Herman

For all of our bee-keeping friends, none of this may surprise you, but for people like us, you might find this fascinating! Did you know:

– that male bees (drones) can’t sting? And that they are stung to death by the females after mating season? (Sounds feministic, if you ask me!! Smile)

– that the worker bees control the hive population by only giving the queen enough food to lay the number of eggs they want?

– that the workers select the largest larva, build a bigger cell around it, and feed it extra to make it a queen?

– that the new queen makes a special buzz before leaving her cell, announcing her arrival to the other queen and telling her to prepare for battle?

– that the “scout bees” use special body motion to tell the hive of the location and distance of food? (the angle of their movement implies direction; the duration of the motion communicates distance)

– that when the bees leave the hive, they either fly straight out, or they do an upward spiral and then fly straight?

– that a queen bee can live between 3 and 5 years?

– that the eggs hatch into larvae after three days, and the larvae turn into bees after an additional 6-8 days?

– that if you face the entrance to the hive toward the sun, the bees will leave the hive earlier in the morning?

– that if you have an excessively aggressive hive, you just replace the queen, and in a few weeks, the hive genetics will have changed? (Occasionally this doesn’t work though. Mr. Brandon once had to replace the queen 3 times and finally had to burn the hive! But that was only with REALLY mean bees… Smile)

– that honey bees have the ability to live for 2-3 years, but they work themselves to death in a few weeks?

– that the hive temperature has to be kept between 90 and 97 degrees F. or the larvae will die?

– that by flapping their wings, the bees have their own air conditioning system? And that by standing in certain positions, they circulate the air in one side of the hive, and out the other?

This stuff is fascinating!Trying some of last year's honeyIMG_1073

Four of the nine racks - without bees :)The bees were sent to Mr. Brandon in boxes with five racks eachWow!

If you look in the middle, you will see a larger bee with a white dot. She is the queen.IMG_1154We love it!

Thanks to Mr. Brandon, and City of the Bees – a  Moody Science film we found fascinating – for all of this information!

Thank you, Mr. Brandon! (obviously, the hives are empty at that point :))

“O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”  Psalm 104:24

Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman?

Posted by Kathryn



In the past few weeks, we have had the opportunity to honor the birthdays of two special women… two women that have impacted our lives in many special ways.

The first was when Mrs. Staddon’s birthday fell on the day that the Staddon family arrived to help us with the NC FEW Conference! It was such a joy to make the cakes, pick out her favorite ice cream flavors, and decorate the house in her honor! Thank you, Mrs. Staddon, for the way that you portray the attributes of a woman who fears the Lord! Your diligence, transparency, faithfulness, joy, and perseverance have been a blessing to us! Your children rise up and call you blessed; your husband praises you. We pray that the Lord would give you fruit abundantly for your labors, and that your works will forever praise you in the gates! (Proverbs 31:28, 31)

When the birthday girl is sleeping at your house, you can do funny things to her bed. :):)IMG_0192  Her children rise up and call her blessed

A "Chocolate Fever" cake! Mrs. Staddon  Did you know that 34 people eat a lot of ice cream??!

Blow hard!Mmmmmm.....Special chalk-board message  

The second opportunity was through a surprise birthday party thrown for our friend Mrs. Tammy. We could never record all the ways that she has given of herself to bless us throughout the many years we have known her!  She is the kind of person who is always there for you. Many times she has watched our animals, brought us a meal (which she did last week when we were sick with severe head colds!), cut our hair whenever we decided we needed it, helped out with our big endeavors (like hosting FEW Conferences Smile), and once she helped us straighten up the house and get out the door when we had to go on a 14-hour emergency trip. Thank you Mrs. Tammy! You have inspired us to serve the Lord by serving others! We are often encouraged by your smile and contagious giggle. 🙂 May the Lord continue to give you strength, creativity, and wisdom to bless everyone you come in contact with.

Mrs. TammyHealthyYummy!

Gerber Daisies!!!The daisies were a gift from her nieceShe seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10



I love missions work – hearing about it, reading about it, experiencing it, and talking to those who are serving on the field where God has called them. I am very blessed to be in a family that loves people and hospitality, and to have parents who do everything they can to develop relationships with Godly people and meet those who are following the Lord whole-heartedly. Thus, I have the opportunity to know several missionary families who are serving every where from Florida, to Lithuania, to Mexico, Togo, Honduras, South Africa, Ireland, Uganda, Germany and Austria.

Several months ago, I wrote to our friends who are serving in Austria/Germany, Todd & Kim Lapato. I asked Mrs. Kim for a sample menu from over there – a common meal for the average people. My idea was to re-create that meal here for my family as well as I could, and have a special evening highlighting the Lapatos’ ministry while eating food from that country. (Since we enjoy food so much, I thought that might be a good way to make it more meaningful and memorable!) Her response was quick, mouth-watering, and far more detailed and thorough that I had even hoped for! So then came the next step: finding the perfect evening for our “missionary night.” For me,that was a little more difficult than the initial planning stage, and several months passed before we actually did it. (There were MANY nights that would’ve been great, except that we didn’t know that we’d be home or we didn’t have all the supplies or we just didn’t think about it until it was too late in the day to prepare everything!) However, the idea was “cooking” in the back of my mind all the while (pun intended Winking smile), and we finally did it – exactly five months after she sent me all the menu ideas and recipes!

It was great!! I enlisted Mom and Kathryn’s help, and we made schnitzel (a very thinly pounded filet of chicken that is dredged first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs), fried potatoes, and gravy, as well as a big salad, German style. (Mixed greens on top of individual piles of corn, kidney beans, green beans, grated carrot, and thinly sliced cucumbers in the bottom of the bowl; it was served room temperature, and the dressing was plain oil and vinegar.) Our beverage was equal parts mixed of carbonated water/apple juice – very yummy! (Again, the beverage was room temp, since Europeans don’t usually use ice in their drinks.) Dessert was apple pie (as a substitute for apple strudel) and coffee. Dad even let all the kids have coffee since it was a special occasion, which was quite a treat! Winking smile

It was a delicious way to “experience” the Lapatos’ mission field, and everything was a smashing success! Smile I’ve heard several requests since then for “Austrian chicken” (schnitzel), so I know everyone really liked that. The potatoes turned out softer than I had expected, so I want to do those again and see if we can make them a little crispier. We put Montreal Steak Seasoning on them (which is a grilling seasoning with black and red pepper in it), and they were really good, although probably a little spicier than they would normally be in Austria. Some of the salad “toppings” (they STARTED in the bottom of the bowl Smile ) were a nice break from our norm, and I heard several votes to make salad like that again. We really enjoyed the whole menu, and I have a feeling that this won’t be the only time we have it!

After supper, we read an update letter from the Lapatos’, and we enjoyed hearing more about what life is like for them. We also got on their blog and read their list of prayer requests, and then prayed for each one specifically during our family prayer time. All in all, it was a fun (and delicious!) way to experience a little piece of missionary life, and we almost felt like we were “with” the Lapatos while we read their updates and prayed for them. Even though we couldn’t physically travel to Europe to see our friends, Missionary Night was a great way to take a mental journey there and visit them in spirit, while we also enjoyed some of the wonderful food like what we might have eaten if we did visit in person! The prayer time was very special, and we enjoyed having a whole evening devoted to just one family, so that we could pray more directly for their specific needs.

So what about you? Do you know anyone who is serving the Lord on a foreign field? Could you set up an evening devoted specifically to updating your family about their lives and ministry, learning about the culture they are living in, and praying for the needs that they have? Read their prayer letters and learn about their ministry. Find out what their needs are, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, so that you know better how to pray for them. Contact them and ask any questions that you may have about their field or lives. Tell them that you are thinking about and praying for them, and if you are going to have a Missionary Night, tell them that, too. I promise, your interest in what they are doing will encourage them greatly, and will also be a blessing to you and your family!!

Schnitzel: BEFORE......and AFTER!!From the top, it looked like an ordinary bowl of greens......but it was quite different from the bottom! Only two ingredients required to make this yummy beverage!Apple pie worked as a substitute for apple strudel. :)