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Read any good books lately?

I've been wanting to share a couple of books that I have really enjoyed reading. I received a Kindle from my dear husband as a gift a while back and have been learning to use it. Nearly all the books I have downloaded have been free ones. There are many classics available for free and I have also found a few more recent books that have been free from time to time. I do read some fiction, but my favorite books are biographies or similar non-fiction books. I didn't want to buy a Kindle book if it was something that I probably wouldn't want to read again.

I read many good reviews about the book Kisses from Katie by Beth Clark and Katie J. Davis and decided it would be a good one to buy. It is a true story about Katie Davis who left her home in Tennessee right after high school to go to Uganda to work with orphans. Initially she was just going to go for a year but she has stayed on and adopted fourteen girls. She is a very selfless young woman. It is amazing to read how the Lord has used a young girl barely out of her teens with no formal training or organizational support to accomplish so much for these girls and many others in her community. She has established schools, feeding stations, and workshops to help the poor support themselves. She was available and the Lord has blessed and used her.

A number of years ago I read the book In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham. This book tells the story of Gracia and her husband Martin who were serving as missionaries in the Philippines in 2001 when they were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf. They were held hostage in the jungle for 377 days. During that time their captors beheaded some of the hostages and forced the others to flee from place to place throughout the jungle with only the clothes on their backs. Their captivity ended in a gun battle with the army in which Martin and another hostage were killed and Gracia was wounded.

A few weeks ago I saw that Gracia has written another book entitled To Fly Again. I was able to get this one from the public library. This book briefly recounts her ordeal in the jungle but primarily tells about her life since then. The Lord has miraculously provided for her and her children. She recounts many specific incidents during her captivity that the Lord used to teach her things and also what she has discovered since her release. It was a blessing to read how the Lord has given her peace and the ability to be such an encouragement and blessing to others. This is a book I plan to read again---I may even order it for on my Kindle. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you read any good books lately?


This and that

I'll start this post with a recent picture of Ryan who is nearly 18 months old now and lots of fun:

We drove up to the mountains one afternoon last week and after stopping at one of our favorite bakeries for a delicious Cranberry Apricot Scone we drove on down the road making our way to the apple farm to restock our dwindling supply of eating apples and produce. On the way Rob noticed some activity in a store front that used to be a quilt shop. He quickly pulled into the parking lot and we went in to the Beginnings Quilt Shop. The store has a lot of beautiful, modern fabrics, some patterns and quilting supplies. The owner told us that she has only been open for four weeks. So, if you are a quilter and are in the Flat Rock, North Carolina area you will have to check it out.

We did end up getting some fresh vegetables and some apples. A friend asked me to bring some apples and caramel dip to a bridal shower that is coming up and we were discussing how to keep the apples looking nice. I told her that my friend Kathy had told me about soaking the apple slices in Sprite or Seven Up to keep them from browning. She said she had tried that but it hadn't worked well for her.

Well, this morning I decided to do a little experiment. I peeled, cored, and sliced apples into four different solutions: Sprite, citric acid in water, salt water, and Fruit Fresh water. I let the apples soak for about an hour and then took some out and put them on a plate and let them stand for an hour.

At the end of the standing time I discovered that all of the solutions did a great job of keeping the apples from oxidizing. The apples soaked in Sprite and in the Fruit Fresh solution tasted the best. The salt water apples tasted slightly salty--this would not be a problem if you normally add a little salt to the pie or apple crisp you might be making. The apples soaked in the citric acid solution were very tart--this too would not pose a problem if you normally add lemon juice to your pie or apple crisp.

I then drained all of the apples and combined them to make an apple pie using this recipe. (I just omitted the boiled cider since I didn't have any.) The pie ran over and looks rather messy, but we ate it any way. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your preferred method for keeping fruit from turning brown?


Tortilla de Patata

This year I have volunteered to plan the refreshments for the monthly meeting of our church's Women's Missionary meeting. My friend Carol and her daughter Ashley are also helping. Ashley is in fourth grade and was a great help in setting up and she even wanted to bid each of the ladies farewell as they left the meeting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our speaker this month was Mimi B. from Spain. Here she is with our former pastor's wife:

My friend Theresa who lived in Spain for many years told me that the Spanish people don't eat a lot of sweets and suggested that we serve almonds and an appetizer called Tortilla de Patata, which is basically a potato omelet. She said they are normally cooked on the stove top in a skillet and then cut into small pieces and served on a small slice of French Bread. I found quite a few recipes which could be baked in the oven which was easier for a large group. I practiced a couple of times and Rob and I really liked this dish cut into pieces and eaten as a meatless entree. It also reheats well.

Here is the recipe I used:

Tortilla de Patata (Baked Potato Omelet)

4 red skinned potatoes
2 Tbsps. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced green pepper
5 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsps. snipped fresh chives or 1 tsp. dried
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes until tender. Cool briefly and then peel and slice about 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. Spray a 2 quart casserole with cooking spray and set aside. Heat oil in skillet and cook onion, garlic, and peppers until onions are translucent. Let cool briefly and then stir in potatoes. In a bowl beat together eggs, sour cream, parmesan, chives, salt, and pepper. Fold in vegetables and then pour into baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 mins. or until lightly browned and set in the center. Let cool a bit before serving. To use as an appetizer I lined the pan with foil and greased it so I could turn the tortilla out onto a tray and cut into squares. The bottom was nicely browned.

Our Women for Missions group has been a great blessing in my life. Nearly every month we have a speaker who opens her heart and shares details of what her life is like in the place where she serves. This enables us to pray more effectively for her and her family and it also often shows us how women all over the world face the some of the same struggles and concerns. Mimi shared with us this month that two areas that she has struggled with recently are the areas of contentment (particularly with her circumstances and stage of life) and gratitude. These are certainly areas that plague all of us as women. She told us two things which have helped her are practicing joy and having right responses.

If your church has a missions group I would encourage you to get involved. You can help to encourage those who are serving others in sometimes difficult places, and you will be greatly blessed by meeting and getting to know more about them and the ministries the Lord has given them.


Little Dresses

It has been many years since I had a little girl to sew for. When my daughters were small there were some wonderful fabric outlets near here where we could purchase fabric and trims very inexpensively. We were very blessed. Today it is hard to find nice dress weight fabrics in this area. I shopped at several stores (including Mary Jo's in Gastonia) to try to find small scale prints which would be a good choice for a tiny girl. Before we made our trip to Michigan this summer I had a lot of fun making these little dresses for Maddie. They are all too large for her to wear yet, but hopefully she will be able to wear them eventually. I also made her some bloomers to wear with the dresses.

This is a Children's Corner pattern called Frannie Baby. I had never used one of these patterns before. I liked the fact that they have actual pattern pieces for all the sizes included in the pattern--no tracing required. I did find the directions to be a bit sketchy. However, there are you-tube videos available explaining different techniques if you google Children's Corner and look on the website. The videos are very helpful. I was pleased with the finished garments.

I made this little "bee" dress with a pattern from The Handmade Dress. This is the second little dress I have made from this pattern. It goes together quickly and easily.

The last little number I made for Maddie was a little bubble suit pattern from Creations by Michie. She has a lot of cute patterns for baby girls and boys. This one also went together easily.

It was a lot of fun to sew up some girly things once again and I hope to be able to make her many more little dresses before she gets too big to want to wear something "home made."


Apples are available

This post is primarily for people who live near Greenville, SC. For some time now we have been hearing on the news that the apple crop in the western North Carolina mountains has been devastated by the spring temperatures and summer hail storms. Rob and I drove up this past weekend and went to two different farms and found out that there are many varieties of apples available. We were told that some farmers lost nearly all their apple crop, some lost certain varieties, and some fared pretty well in spite of many challenges from the weather. So, if you enjoy driving up into the mountains each fall don't hesitate to go. You may pay a bit more this year, but our local apple farmers will appreciate your business.