Sunday, August 24, 2014

Homemade Asphalt Pie (aka Grasshopper Pie)

Asphalt Pie is one of my all time favorite treats. I can eat it any time of the year! My family loves it, too, so there is usually at least one request for it as a birthday cake. It's so fast and easy to whip up.
Here is what you do...

1 carton (the regular size used to be 2 quarts, but it's like 1.5 now) of your favorite Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream
22-26 Oreo cookies,  crushed (you know I always do 26. and then, I just eat the Oreo-y, buttery goodness. this is how I would prefer to eat Oreos--steeped in butter! haha!)
1/3 cup melted butter
Caramel ice cream topping
Chocolate syrup
Whipped cream, (sweetened) you can make your own, but I actually like to use the squirty kind as long as it's real whipped cream. I like how it comes out light and fluffy. And it's fun.

So, crush your Oreos and mix them with the butter. Then put them into a pie plate. (I like a 10 inch pie plate, but any size is fine) Be sure and get the crumbs up the sides and do it fairly thick. If it's too thin, it doesn't hold up well when you scoop it out of the pan to serve. Reserve about 1/3 cup for the top to make it look nice.  After you get the crust into the pan, put it in the freezer til it's hardened. After the crust is hardened, take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften a bit, take the crust back out of the freezer. Then get a metal spatula and scoop it out of carton and cram it into the Oreo crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs onto the top of the ice cream. Stick it back into the freezer for an hour or so til ready to serve.

Take out the pie and cut into serving slices. Add whipped cream to top and then drizzle with caramel and chocolate.  Serve!  It is always a hit!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Daily Family Devotional--Part 2

Part 2. Once you have the inspirational devotional down, you can add a new element to it--becoming a Constitutional Family.  

I will remind you it is important not to throw too much at your family all at once. If you have young children or teens, you may be hard pressed to get them to pay attention for long periods without lashing out irrationally in some form!

Another thing to figure out is what time is best to do this with your family. Morning may work best for some, but others might prefer to do it at night. I liked sending my kids off each morning with some truth, light and inspiration to help them feel strong and happy and help them make good choices during the day. Decide what works best and be diligent in doing it every. single. day.

So, how do you start to be a Constitution loving family?

Start out with a prayer. Ask God to bless you with his Spirit. Ask for clear minds and receptive hearts to abound! Ask for whatever else you need. Be sure to thank Him for all his blessings.  Next, sing a hymn or patriotic song. This year, we are going to learn all the patriotic American songs I can think of! My children haven’t learned them in school like I did. ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’, ‘My Country Tis of Thee’, ‘God Bless America’, ‘God Bless the USA’ , 'The Star Spangled Banner' and any others that come to mind will be on the docket.

Next, do a little bit of scripture or other inspirational text study. (those videos I was telling you about would be great here, too)

Now, on to the main topic. Does it sound daunting to you to teach about the Founding Fathers and Constitution? I know I was intimidated at first. I must admit, I don’t know much about the Constitution or the Founding Fathers or the Revolution. The biggest thing I had going for me is I am passionate about it! I have a strong desire for us to know about our Constitution so we can be informed and proactive citizens!  I found a fantastic, easy to understand book and some online resources that have been really great. The book I have chosen to teach from is called ‘The 5,000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World’ by Cleon Skousen. It is AMAZING! It’s concise, easy to understand and it’s quite a conversational read. I feel like I can hear Mr. Skousen speaking it.  I am still not done with it, but I’m ready to teach what I have learned. We will be going small section by small section. I will have a big notepad to write important info on so we can memorize things as we go. This one is all about the Founding Fathers, and what led them to be passionate about starting a new country with a totally new form of government. What principles were important to them? Why did they feel they were so important? You really get into their heads and see why they believed what they did. It all rings very true to me as I read. It all makes perfect sense. I am beginning to see that much has changed from their original inspired document.  I shake my head as I see how they knew what could happen if we weren’t careful. They tried to put in place protections, but, people have changed things and taken out those safeguards. They knew all this because they were in the middle of the tyranny from a Monarch and knew there was a better way and they were led by God to form this country. 

Another great resource is the National Center for Constitutional Studies. You can get copies of the Constitution here. There is even a free online course about the constitution here that I took and it's very helpful. One more place that has tons of ideas is Homemakers for America. Again, there is tons of info about teaching liberty to our families. 

I know as we begin to teach these correct principles to our families, we will become closer. We will also be very knowledgeable about some very important things! Our country is in a disturbing time. Liberties are being threatened. I feel a strong need to teach my family, so that they will learn to be thinkers, but more importantly FEELERS. I want them to be able to feel when something is a correct principle or a false one. We need to be independent souls who can figure things out and then act on the impressions we receive. It will take great strength and courage. I am confident as we teach our families daily from Holy Scripture and other Sacred Writings, like the Constitution, our country will be in great hands in the future!

Watch for 2 more posts on this topic: Cottage Meetings: Teaching our neighbors to revere liberty, and, Teaching Children Your Values Using Current Events. And Part 1 of Daily family devotional.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

DIY Daily Family Devotional--Part One

As the new school year begins, I am sharing a tradition that is near and dear to my heart--The DAILY FAMILY DEVOTIONAL.  

Each morning before school, we gather as a family around the breakfast table.  We start with a prayer, we sing a song (usually a hymn) and then get a little inspiration from the scriptures to start our day off right. I loved sending my children off to school with their minds stuffed with some positive light and a prayer with their mother.  My heart was not at peace about sending them to public school in the first place, so this helped ease my soul a bit. But in the end, I brought mine home because that was what my heart ended up whispering needed to be done. But, even though they are home schooled, we still do a devotional. This year we will be focusing on learning about our Constitution and love of our great country. (that is a blog post for another day)

So, how do you start to do a daily devotional with your family, you ask? It’s easy. I will list it out for you.

1.       KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE.  If your children are young, or if you haven’t done anything like this before, then keep it to about 5 minutes. That is plenty of time to give a good dose of wisdom and light. As you get used to things, you can make it longer as you feel the need. (ours are about 15 min)

2.       Start with a prayer. If you haven’t prayed out loud with your family before, start today. It, again, should be short and simple.  Just start by addressing God. Then, thank Him for your blessings. Last, Ask him for what you need.  Then close with an Amen. Get personal. Tell Heavenly Father any specific troubles you are having. Ask him to bless the children individually. Ask for protection, courage and strength for the children as they are away from home. Having a family prayer is a most holy event. Your family will feel a special power and closeness. You will all crave this time together! You have heard the saying, “The family that prays together, stays together”, and it is very true.

3.       Read from your favorite book of Scripture or an inspirational book or magazine. You can start from the beginning of the book and go straight through and discuss what you read each day, or you can just find subjects or stories you want to share with your family and teach them about that.  You can do it yourself each day or you could get your children involved. Mine read scripture/religious magazines on their own, too, so I assign a day of the week to each one and they are in charge of the lesson that day. I expect them to share the story, what we can learn from it, and why they liked it and wanted to share it. 

4.       If you have time, or want to add a little something extra, (or don't have time one day to do the whole regimen) find a good video clip to add to your devotional. My church puts out these really powerful, videos about scripture stories or making good choices and being a good person. They are online here. They are so well made, they are AMAZING! I’m so happy we live in an age that we have these conveniences at our fingertips!

If you decide to start this in your family, I know you will feel a new closeness. I know you will feel at peace sending your children out into the world because you have sent them with a piece of light and love from your heart each morning. It will provide a shield for them, and it will give you a peaceful mind.  Let me know how it goes in your family. I would love to hear from you! 

Check out my other posts on teaching your kids: here and here.