Watermelon Cake

Summertime is Birthday time at our house. All seven of us have smmer birthdays.  And three of my kids have birthdays within a two week time span at the end of June. Lots of fun but it can lso mean lots of unhealthy food. You may be thinking... but it's their birthday.  However with so many birthdays in a row, things can quickly start to unravel and some of our crew will get horribly sick having that many "cheats". So what's a mom to do???
I was trying to think of something fun and that a word??..for a birthday dessert that could hold some candles and still taste yummy. Something that didn't require the oven and was gluten free with minimal dairy. Something that was round in shape like a cake and could still have fun decorations. Then as I was in the shower the day before our party it hit me...watermelons. As a side note, the shower is my thinking place.  When you have five children it is one of the only places you can be by yourself and the water dr…

how a crazy man and a bunch of pigs changed my entire perspective

Have you ever read Mark 5?  It is one of the wildest stories in the Bible and one of my favorites.  Jesus and His disciples take a trip to "the other side" of the sea, to go to the region of Gerasenes, a place largely inhabited by Gentiles and a place where no "good" jew would ever go. That statement alone is enough to just sit and ponder, but we will continue. So Jesus and his tribe arrive by boat. As soon as He gets out of the boat a man begins to walk towards him.  Now this man is not coming to welcome Jesus, no instead he runs to Jesus, falls at his feet and cries out
What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!
This man was filled and tortured by many demons.  So many that the demons say their name is Legion.  During that time a Roman legion was known to have about 6000 men! Did you notice that this legion fell at the feet of Jesus?  The demons then begin to start begging him to not send them out of tha…

love looks like a humble servant: thoughts on maundy thursday

He knew the time had come.  He knew this was the end of His days in human flesh on this earth. The hours were now numbered.  What would He do with this last evening?...  Heal a multitude of people? Preach a moving sermon to thousands? Make one last public appearance to perhaps show them who He is? Put on display His great might and power? No, instead He meets for dinner in a private room with his twelve disciples. His purpose was love. "He loved them to the end."  (john 13:1)

I am not sure why it still surprises me when God moves in a way so upside down from what we would expect. The beauty of the scene that night leaves me in awe.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The One who is spoken of in this first chapter of John demonstrated the di…

inside out egg rolls and sesame salad

When I was a little girl my Dad served his country for a year in Korea while we waiting for him back in Tennessee. He came home with some beautiful gifts that are now treasured items in my own home and also some delicious recipes.  Our family loved making what we called "Korean Egg Rolls" and we really loved eating them!  Lots of time and love spent rolling and frying.  I have taken an all day affair and made it manageable for a weeknight family dinner.  No rolling or frying but all the delicousness of the inside of that eggroll. *** And remember my recipes all feed a party.... or a family of seven that wants to have leftover. 

Inside Out Eggrolls
1  Chinese or Savoy Cabbage finely chopped 2 cups of sprouts 2 onions chopped 5 carrots shredded 4 green onions 3 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 t salt 1t pepper 6 cloves garlic chopped 3 lb ground beef from a happy cow 2 T sesame oil 1 T sesame seeds (in the spring I love to add some ramps to this dish)
Saute onions and garlic in 2 T coconut …

making healthy eating work for a family of seven

About eight years ago, I started changing our family's eating habits.  My first goal was to try to eat closer to how my great grandmother would have eaten when she was growing up.  We started to remove the processed foods from our diet and replaced the menu with whole foods and recipes from scratch.  The next step was to begin to buy local and organic.  We started with just the foods that we ate all the time and worked towards replacing our entire diet. As we became more aware of what we were eating, we started to notice some other patterns.  Certain foods would cause the children to have a more difficult time focusing and they would struggle to make good choices.  The first things to go were food coloring and high fructose corn syrup.  There were other foods that when we didn't have them in our diets we all felt better and when we put them back in we started having health issues.  Gluten and Dairy were at the top of this list.  Our family started working with a functional me…

crying in the bathroom: real post adoption stories

I shut the door to that bathroom stall and the tears that I had been holding back started. They came slowly at first and then increased into a flood.  My body crumbled to the floor.  Thinking back now it seems crazy that I would sit on the bathroom floor at our neighborhood pool.  But in that moment all my body knew was that it was finally alone. We were one month home.

To the mama who cried until she was sick because she desperately wanted her child home but now cries because being home is hard... you are not alone.  To the mama who is scared to share what life is really like because she doesn't want to turn people away from adoption... you are not alone.  To the mama who wonders if she made a mistake and then in the next minute feels shame for having that thought... you are not alone. I have walked the road you are on and so have many, many other mamas.  We have survived and one day at a will too.

Our daughter came home at age five. We were told in our training that …

becoming a teenager

Casa Bernabe Orphanage 

When you have five children, family vacations that require airfare do not exist. All our getaways involve stuffing all seven of us and our belongings into our minivan.  All of our kids, though, dream of someday flying somewhere. A few years ago our two oldest were talking about going on a airplane. The discussion inspired Kevin and I and we made a plan for our team.  When one of our children turns 13 they will go on a trip with a parent that involves airfare.  Would we take them to Disney or the beach or to snowboard?  All of those ideas were okay but we started to think that this special trip should be something more. We live in abundance surrounded by abundance.  Our children can often get the idea that they are suffering because we have said no to what their peers own. Our home can hold more than our family. Our pantry is full of food. The heat and the lights are always on.  When they are sick, we have tools and every specialist imaginable at our fingertips.…