Nov 30

Christmas Time is Here

2009 at 4:12 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

advent calendarI’ve barely recovered from my Turkey Bowl injuries (Kristin covered me so ferociously that Dad—permanent quarterback and referee—called her for unnecessary roughness.) But today I’ll drag my aching body up to the attic to dig out the advent calendar.

Mom bought it for us a few years ago, and my children love to open a new door each day to find a piece of candy and a Scripture about the Christmas story. Steve reads the verses aloud while the kids listen attentively, their mouths full of chocolate and nougat.

In the past, I’ve used this simple Christmas countdown and references. This year, now that Jack’s older, I’m adapting this schedule of longer readings that begin with the Old Testament prophecies. As the days march toward Christmas, I want him to connect, in some small way, to the centuries of longing for the Messiah.

I’ve also pulled Nancy Guthrie’s Come Thou Long Expected Jesus off the bookshelf and placed it in my basket of quiet time stuff. I didn’t mark it up, as I do most of my books, so I can enjoy the daily readings afresh each year.

For my children, and for myself, I don’t want “the busyness of [the Christmas season]…to crowd out a quiet anticipation of the wonder of incarnation.” I want the glories of God become man to illuminate and outshine all our Christmas joys.

Nov 27

Thanksgiving Day

2009 at 10:50 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Dad kindly agreed to postpone the annual Turkey Bowl (traditionally the day after Thanksgiving) until tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be milder. But here’s a shot of the kids (and dads) following yesterday’s Turkey Egg Hunt. Hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend! Nicole for the girltalkers

turkey hunt

Nov 25

Thanksgiving Activity

2009 at 12:27 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

If you’re looking for a fun activity for the kids tomorrow, this is one of our children’s favorites:

andrew turkeyRice Krispy Turkeys

These cute little turkeys are a great edible craft to make with the kids while the real turkey is roasting in the oven. Mix up a batch of Chocolate Rice Krispies and design them into turkey treats. Then save them for a fun table decoration, ready to eat for dessert.

Supplies for Turkey Treats:
*Chocolate Rice Krispy Cereal
*Marshmallows- using the colored marshmallows works best at keeping the chocolate crispy treats brown.
*Toothpicks- colored and party ones with the fun flare on top.
*Assorted Candy- Mike & Ikes, candy corn, gum drops, mini m&ms, fruit loop cereal, more marshmallows.

Mix up a batch of Rice Krispies using the Chocolate cereal, marshmallows, and butter. Let it cool for a few minutes. Then grease your hands with vegetable spray and form the Krispies into balls. Try to use the colored marshmallows for making these. If you use white marshmallows, just roll your balls into more chocolate cereal to make them more brown for the turkey bodies.

Using a utensil, make holes for the candy to be placed in the body. For the snood (the red thing on the turkey’s beak) I cut a red Mike & Ike in half or you can cut a gum drop in half. We also liked candy corn for the beak, perfect size and color.

Now add your feathers. So many possibilities here. We used toothpicks, marshmallows, cereal, etc.

We added a cellophane bag and ribbon to them, so they would stay nice and soft for dessert. We also placed a name tag on each one for a fun place setting.

This activity should keep the kiddies busy for a little while. Make one for each person coming to dinner. Then have fun gobbling these fun Turkey Treats up after Thanksgiving Dinner.

Nov 24

Thanksgiving Leftovers

2009 at 4:06 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

We’re preparing for Thanksgiving and we want to bring you in on the fun. Mom’s got the turkey covered (after the disastrous Thanksgiving of 2007 we girls intercede for her health all week).

I’m already thinking about leftovers.

You see, a few months ago, my mother-in-law, Nancy (who has a knack for finding delicious new recipes) made Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa. I’ve been waiting to share them with you ever since.

I have to admit I was skeptical when she told me the ingredients—I don’t tend to like sweet and spicy mixed together. But wow, this cranberry salsa is absolutely delicious! Five stars! Four forks! Five mitts! (Can you tell I’ve been browsing recipe sites all week?)

These quesadillas are a unique way to use up leftover turkey and cranberry sauce; or, as the recipe suggests, you can put the salsa on turkey sandwiches. I might just eat the salsa with a spoon; it’s that good.

Jack Quesadillas with Cranberry Salsa

jack quesadillasYield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 wedges, about 1/4 cup salsa, and 1 tablespoon sour cream)


* Salsa:
* 1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
* 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 Anjou pear, cored and finely diced
* 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

* Cooking spray
* 1/4 cup (2-inch-thick) slices green onions
* 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
* 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
* 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
* 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream


To prepare salsa, combine first 7 ingredients. Cover and chill.

To prepare quesadillas, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1/4 cup sliced onions to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Remove onions from pan; reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each of 4 tortillas. Top each cheese-covered tortilla with one-fourth of onions, 1/2 cup turkey, 2 tablespoons cheese, and 1 tortilla.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 quesadilla to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with cranberry salsa and sour cream.

Nov 23

Thanksgiving Turkey

2009 at 5:55 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Recipes

Here’s the recipe I use for the turkey that will grace our table on Thanksgving Day:

The World’s Best Turkey Recipe

Original Recipe Yield 1 (12 pound) turkey


* 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
* 1/2 cup butter, cubed
* 2 apples, cored and halved
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* salt and pepper to taste
* 2/3 bottle champagne [I use sparkling apple cider instead]

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Gently loosen turkey breast skin, and insert pieces of butter between the skin and breast. Place apples inside the turkey’s cavity. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place turkey in a roasting bag, and pour champagne over the inside and outside of the bird. Close bag, and place turkey in a roasting pan.
3. Bake turkey 3 to 3 1/2 hours in the preheated oven, or until the internal temperature is 180 degrees F (85 degrees C) when measured in the meatiest part of the thigh. Remove turkey from bag, and let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.

I also cook two turkey breasts in crockpots so we have plenty of meat for sandwiches the next day:

Crockpot Turkey Breast

1 sm. to med. turkey breast

1 stick butter


Wash and pat dry turkey breast. Season lightly with salt. Place in crockpot with 1 stick of butter. Turn on low for 10-12 hours. Great to do overnight). Very moist!

Together with our favorite sides we enjoy this meal with much gratefulness to God our Savior!

Nov 20

Friday Funnies

2009 at 6:53 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

Rebecca sent us this story of one very embarrassing moment:

My sister, Esther, teaches swimming lessons and has got to know a lot of the kids and their parents in the community this way. When she meets them somewhere other than the pool, though, they often don’t recognize her because she’s not in a bathing suit with wet hair.

One afternoon she went to a grocery store to pick some stuff up for mum. It was really busy, and in one aisle she saw a woman whose kids she taught. Esther said hi, and smiled, but the woman obviously didn’t recognize her. Esther kept walking. She was at the end of the aisle when she heard a loud voice from behind call to her, “Oh! It’s YOU! I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!”

We’ll be back on Monday for a fun Thanksgiving week!

Nicole for Kristin, Janelle and Mom

Nov 19

Kids’ Christmas Picks

2009 at 7:03 am   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Resource Recommendations | Homemaking | Holidays

If our kids could share their favorite Christmas gift ideas, the list would look something like this:

jesus storybook

Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition

This favorite of all our children now includes a three cd narration by David Suchet.

fool moon rising

Fool Moon Rising

You already know how much we like this new book.

to be like jesus

To Be Like Jesus

Few things so sweet as hearing your kids sing at the top of their lungs: “I want to be like Jesus!”

princes poison cupdvd

The Prince’s Poison Cup and The Prince’s Poison Cup - Animatic DVD

Watch the trailer for this new book and companion dvd.

lightlingslightlings dvd

The Lightlings and The Lightlings - Animatic DVD

Another video

squire scroll

The Squire and the Scroll

With a knight and a dragon, the boys are sure to love this one

sir bernard

Sir Bernard The Good Knight!

Tori listens to “Wittle Dog” almost every day

practise being godly

Practise being Godly

The cd includes the Aussie author reading and singing songs


How God Used A Snowdrift (Building on the Rock Series)

Andrew really enjoys this series

pilgrim's progress

The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come

This new edition has color illustrations and edited text for ease of reading

Nov 18

Profitable for Mom

2009 at 3:12 pm   |   by Kristin Chesemore Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Devotional Life | Homemaking | Holidays

The other day, my three boys tramped downstairs to the kitchen. They were arguing.

“He took my quarters!” my seven-year-old pointed to his brother.

“No, Mom, I brought these quarters home from Mom-Mom’s house!” the accused brother defended himself.

As I tried to get the story from them, one…at…a…time, the words of blame kept flowing, with frequent interruptions and scowls.

My temptation in these moments? I want to bring swift resolution through my commands and directives: “Boy #1 is wrong. Boy #2 is right. Case closed.” I want peace for myself more than I want to teach my children God’s Word. This temptation is especially acute over the holidays.

But my words—although very important!—are not sufficient. My children need to hear God’s Words. They need Scripture, which is “profitable for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). They need God’s promises and commands sown like seed into their little hearts. They need the words from God’s mouth, which never return empty (Is. 55:11).

So we return to the most often quoted verse in the Chesemore home—Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

“Is corrupting talk coming out of your mouths?” I ask my boys. “What words would give grace to your brother?”

And surprise, surprise—Scripture serves me too. I need the life-giving words of Scripture as much as my sons. I too need the encouragement and correction of Ephesians 4:29.

This is one reason why I must sit and listen to Jesus’ teaching every day. So that I—and my boys—can profit from His Words.

Nov 17

For Our Profit

2009 at 2:30 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Devotional Life | Homemaking | Holidays

What is this teaching we are to sit and listen to?

It is God’s Word, the Bible.

God’s Word is like no other book we read: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

bible chairHow do we profit from Scripture? God’s Word…

Gives us peace (Ps. 119:165).

Fills us with hope (Col. 1:5)

Strengthens our faith (Rom. 10:17)

Revives our soul (Ps. 19:7)

Provides us with wisdom (Pr. 1:1-7, Matt. 7:24-27)

Guides us (Ps. 119:105)

Warns us (Deut 32:46)

Corrects us (2 Tim 3:16)

Comforts us (Ps. 119:50)

Enable us to fight sin (Ps. 119:11)

Most importantly, God’s Word leads us to Christ. (Heb 1:1-2)

So why do we neglect to read, study, memorize, and meditate on this precious, life-giving book?

As John Piper comments on Ps. 19:7:, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul”:

“Even on days when every cinder in our soul feels cold, if we crawl to the Word of God and cry out for ears to hear, the cold ashes will be lifted and the tiny spark of life will be fanned. For ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.’”

O may God help us to sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching!