Category Archives: Family News

Random Life from Snow Piles to Hello Spring!

Another month has passed, filled with many joys and challenges. We’re grateful for abundant life that we have in Jesus. It means praising Him in the joys and in the trials!

We put the finishing touches on Mom’s book and sent it to the printer, had a plethora of work, enjoyed family times, walked with Dad through his heart procedure, and welcomed spring (okay, so it’s not official yet but close enough)!

Enjoy a peek into Random Life.

Love,
Sarah

Here aunties’ playtime consisted of making Valentine cards. Jesse, on a break from work, stopped in to see the progress.
Deep work going on
Lots of good times in the snow!
Special ladies’ Bible study where the girls do Bible club — they planned a Valentine’s Day time for the ladies.
Speaking of Valentine’s, this is the day after sale. The girls stocked up on stuffed animals for Operation Christmas Child. Most holidays, they go to Wal-Mart and purchase items on sale for the shoeboxes. It makes it much more cost effective than buying full price!
Ellie is very popular with the kids, and the babies especially adore her.
I mentioned we got lots of snow?
Our side drive makes a pretty grand sledding hill.
Calia helping Anna make dinner
Bethany is now the proud owner of glasses!
Driveway chalk love during aunties’ playtime
Axton’s first Sunday at church. Everyone loved him!
Uncle Jesse reading to Calia (Calia fixed her own hair)
Speaking of Axton, he makes a perfect snuggle baby. Here he is with Mom.
February and March bring quite a few birthdays. One Sunday, we celebrate Ruthie and Elizabeth’s.
Looks like a tug of war — girls against dog. Ellie (usually) wins.
Proofing Mom’s book in final form–in a quiet room and with a mocha–a perfect combination.
Gathering the children for aunties’ playtime (thanks, Anna Marie for this capture)!
Y’all, this looks a little precarious. I guess he wanted a better view of a bird or squirrel.
Mary taking Christmas pictures we received and redoing the spread on our refrigerator.
Enjoying time with Chelsy and Axton (and sad to miss Anna who had work)
Anna and Mary enjoyed an energizing run in Kansas City one day.
These two. They love the sunshine, but Ellie has a hard time sharing the spot.
It feels amazing to enjoy warmer temperatures. Yesterday, the kids played out back after lunch with some of the aunts and Uncle Jesse.

“Behold, I will do a new thing;
now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness,
and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:19

Unexpected Changes

Speaking of challenges and unexpected delays, Dad shared with his Seriously Dad email list yesterday something we thought our male readers might want to get checked out for themselves. See the article. The response to that e-mail was pretty amazing. If you guys aren’t on the Seriously list (e-mails sent weekly), you can sign up on the sidebar of the blog–the little black button that says Receive Seriously.

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalms 90:12

How to Make Chocolate Mousse

In 1989 when Nathan was 13 years old, our homeschool group hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for the seniors in our church. Served at that meal was chocolate mousse cake, and Nathan thought it was so delicious that he asked me to get the recipe and make it for his birthday dessert the next month. He has requested chocolate mousse cake for his birthday dessert ever since. Nathan had his 42nd birthday in December so that’s been 29 years of chocolate mousse cake. He’s the only one in our family who has been so consistent with his birthday dessert. At this point, we can’t imagine him requesting anything else!

Be warned: there are raw eggs in the recipe. If you don’t want to use uncooked eggs, there are pasteurized egg products such as egg beaters you could use, but the results will probably end up different. Make sure the product you choose doesn’t have any spices included. Onion flavored eggs would make this quite a concoction!

We like the mousse over chocolate cake. We use a traditional Betty Crocker cake mix and then make sure the cake is cool before putting the mousse on.

Below you’ll find step-by-step pictures for Chocolate Mousse with the recipe following.

Start with unsweetened chocolate.
Place chocolate in double broiler and add water.
After chocolate is melted, add sugar and salt.
Cook until completely dissolved.
Beat egg yolks.
Add chocolate mixture slowly to egg yolks.
Stir in vanilla.
After chocolate mixture is thoroughly cooled (we placed ours in the refrigerator), add Cool Whip.
With everything combined, it turns into a creamy mousse.
Spread on chocolate cake.
The finished product.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 egg yolks, well beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups Cool Whip

Heat chocolate and water over a double broiler until chocolate is melted. Add granulated sugar and salt; cook until completely dissolved (about 3 minutes). Add slowly to egg yolks, blending well. Stir in vanilla; cool thoroughly. Fold Cool Whip into chocolate mixture. Spread on cake.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the
house of the LORD for ever.”
Psalm 23:6

Overcoming Procrastination

Just do it. The simple cure for overcoming procrastination is just to do it. Recently, there was something I had put off for a few months. That something was giving a gift to a neighbor who had helped me. It occasionally came to mind, which made me feel guilty but just as promptly, with an excuse, I’d push it out of my thoughts. I’d get to it sometime. Last week, as I again had the thought, I realized, This is ridiculous. I can deal with this right now. No more putting it off.

I got the gift ready, put it in a bag, and walked over to their house. It took me all of 15 minutes to get the project done. You know how nice it felt to have that behind me? Really awesome.

Now, granted, not all things one procrastinates on are as simple as a 15-minute project. But with time set aside and on your schedule, it can be whittled down bit by bit. For example, maybe it’s personal correspondence you’re behind on (weak area for me). I’ll write on my schedule to answer one or two, and then it feels great to make progress.

So, there you have it. Some mid-week ponderings on overcoming procrastination! Just do it.

Love,
Sarah

Smiles for you from cousins Lydia and Bethany

Boast not thyself of to morrow;
for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
Proverbs 27:1

Part 5: The Book Writing Process

“I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.” A blog reader

To read the first four parts, see these links: Part 1Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. To recap, we’ve looked at steps 1-8 of my book writing process.

  1. Ideas
  2. Outline
  3. Character Profiles
  4. Pre-Book Trial Run
  5. First Draft
  6. Editing
  7. Illustrations
  8. Test Families

Step number nine is copyediting. We’re so grateful for the copyeditor! When I’m writing first draft or beginning to edit, I check with the copyeditor and see if the date I’m thinking of to send the book to him will fit into his schedule. The copyeditor works through grammatical issues, edits parts that may need clarification, and gives the book a thorough scrub, looking at all the details carefully. He tracks the changes in Word.

Blog reader question: What/who sets the deadlines and what is the reason a writer can’t just finish a book on their own timeline?

A personal preference for me is to set a deadline because that makes me push hard and stay focused.

To set the timetable, I consult the calendar to determine the ideal ship date for the book and then backtrack. The printer generally needs about 3 weeks, but if there is any hitch along the way, there might be another few days or even a week. We need time to lay out the book in the final format before it goes to the printer. The copyeditor usually needs 2 weeks, etc. For Finding Change, my copyeditor date was October 1st and the press date was the 31st.

Mary working on the cover

Step number ten is the cover. With Finding Change, we originally wanted a photo of my main character to be on the cover but the potential options pursued didn’t work. As I researched what other kids’ book covers looked like, I discovered most of them had illustrated covers. Mary worked diligently sketching concepts to first see if we could get that idea to work, and then she jumped into the real thing. It took her about a week from sketching concepts to finishing the final illustration. There was no room for messing up because she used colored pencils. After the illustration was completed, we scanned it in and did the final layout, which included using a combination of Photoshop and Indesign.

Love,
Sarah

“Prepare thy work without,
and make it fit for thyself in the field;
and afterwards build thine house.”
Proverbs 24:27

Grandma’s Bookbag

Follow the Trail Trucks is a Dorling Kindersley book. This book has lines to be finger traced, taking a truck from one destination to another. I wasn’t sure that the children would find this book interesting enough, but they usually choose it from the book bag and greatly enjoy following the trails. My grandchildren observe with me how the two-year-olds take short cuts with the trails, while the three-year-olds want to follow the loops in the trails backward, and the four-year-olds have it all down perfectly.

Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. This is one of my favorite picture books, and I am delighted the children like it and pick it often. In the story, Bear has a cold, and all the animals are doing what they can to help him feel better. We enjoy reading and saying together the phrase repeated through the book, “And the bear feels sick!” In the end, bear feels good and is ready to play, but then all his friends are getting sick. Bear tells them he will take care of them like they took care of him.

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Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget
not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2