Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Church

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Decorations 2008

Sunny and definitely no snow. :-)

Daughter was an art major but just changed to nursing. She made this dragon in her ceramics class. So Hubby and DD put it in the display cabinet so he looks like a sea serpent attacking the little sail boat. I think they put too much blue garland in the cabinet!! But I am not going to rain on their parade.

You can see my sewing center and computer in the corner of the dining room. Sewing machine on the left, serger on the right and computer in the middle. The dining room does triple duty.
Also the wood paneling has been in this room since we moved in 7 1/2 years ago. We keep saying we are going to remove it but as you can see haven't done it yet.

This is my modern advent wreath It is a spiral.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Simple Joys

     I was asked the other day why I named my blog Simple Joys. Well it actually comes from a song in one of my favorite Broadway Musicals- Pippin. Pippin is the story of one of Charlemagne's not so successful sons. You can look up the history on the web. It isn't a literal historical play though. It is very abstract and compares the events in Pippin's life to the modern social issues that were going on in the 70's. I first saw Pippin on stage when I was in the 7th grade and it has been my favorite ever since.

    If you look closely at the picture at the top of my blog, which is the backside of my house, you will see in white letters a favotie quote of mine from the musical Pippin:

Fastrada in Pippin: " I am just an ordinary housewife and mother just like all you housewives and mothers out there."

Simple Joys  
(Yes that is Ben Vereen as the Main Player, William Katt as Pippin, And Martha Raye as Bertha)

No Time At All
(Bertha in Pippin: "Men and their wars. Sometimes I think men raise flags when they can't get anything else up.")

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Middle School Band Concert 12/11/08

Hi guys I just got back from my son's middle school band concert. It was awesome. One of the reasons I don't home school is I am in one of best, if not the best school district in the county. The music program at my son's school is the largest and I think best music program in the county. It is better than the middle school for fine arts. My son is in 7th grade and plays the alto sax. The same band director was there when my daughter was there 7 years ago. He is absolutely fantastic. Ok enough bragging, but I was so impressed. This is just the 7th grade band. The 6th grade band is bigger and the 8th grade symphonic band is about the same size. That is how big the band program is at his middle school. It is bigger than many high schools.
My son is the boy playing sax in the middle of the photo.

These video clips were taken on my inexpensive Kodak digital camera. The sound and picture quality are not great. There are also little clicks in the audio? These kids have only been playing about 8 months. Most of these kids never played an instrument prior. This is the 7th grade Concert band. They started playing the 2nd half of 6th grade.
Joyful Joyful

Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our Family's Christmas Traditions

These are some old Pictures of Christmases past. (2004 to 2007) This is my house. We always have a Christmas Eve party for family and close friends. Christmas dinner can be at my house or my mother-in-laws. When I was growing up we always had waffles on Christmas Eve before attending midnight mass in the Episcopal church. When hubby and I were first married we lived in a small apartment and could not really have the large extended family over for Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner, so we decided to have a Christmas Eve open house. We didn't have a lot of money so that first Christmas Eve when we were married we used what we had in the fridge. We served cheese, crackers, deli ham, rolls, deviled eggs and home made potato salad and homemade cookies. The tradition stuck and every year we have a Christmas Eve open house. The buffet has gotten larger with many more appetizers, but we always have the ham (usually a Honey Baked Ham now), deviled eggs and homemade potato salad. We always have a nativity set up. Baby Jesus does not get put in the scene until after Midnight Mass. We sing Christmas carols at the piano and anyone who plays an instrument joins in. When I fix Christmas dinner it is always a feast of prime rib (since turkey is traditional at Thanksgiving, I don't like to do another turkey for Christmas) pan roasted potatoes and carrots, Yorkshire pudding, popovers, a green vegetable and don't forget and Christmas Trifle. The table must also be set with tradtioanl Brittish Chritmas crackers (the kind that have the little paper crown and gifts inside) for the guests. We also always have lights outside but I don't have any pictures yet.
Our Christmas Tree.
There is only one way to decorate a Christmas tree in our family. No theme or specialty trees. The tree must have multi color lights, gold garland, an eclectic mix of old and new, homemade and store bought, ornaments that have sentimental meaning and silver tinsel. It must have an angel on top and one or two new dated ornaments are bought or made every year.

In the above picture is baby Samuel.
Here is some info about him and his website.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Deana's Decadent Delights

Deana's Decadent Delights

These are the Best Cookies You've ever Tasted. I serve them at Christmas Time. Ok you looked at the ingredients and say how can they be that great when they have raisins in them. I know what you are thinking. Nobody likes raisins in their cookies. Well in these cookies the raisins just work. Don't leave the raisins out. You must toast the walnuts and you must use real butter not margarine. I have never used anything but Mona's Granola so I don't know if another kind would be as good. I can get Mona's Granola at Publix. It is slightly sweetened with honey but has no added sugar or salt. Last but not least don't overcook them. They must look underdone in the center when you take them out of the oven. They will crisp up a bit when you take them out of the oven. They aren't the most decorative of holiday cookies but they really do taste amazing.

Recipe By: Deana
Serving Size: 48


1 1/2 cups walnut halves coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups unsweetened granola mix
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in pats
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to moderate 375 degrees. Toast walnuts on cookie sheet in preheating oven, stirring about 7 minutes until lightly browned. Cool COMPLETELY.

2. Toss together raisins, granola, oats, and chocolate chips in large bowl.
Add COOLED walnuts and set aside. (If the walnuts are not completely cooled, you'll melt the chocolate chips and end up with a chocolate blob mess. I've done this before so trust me on this one.)

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Whisk together to combine thoroughly. Set flour mixture aside also.

3. Place brown and granulated sugars in food processor. (Or blend real well together by hand or use a Mixer like I did this time in the Photos) Whirl until blended. Add butter. Whirl until smooth and creamy(again I used the Kitchen aid mixer and I blended the butter with the sugar about 5 minutes on medium spead before adding the eggs and vanilla). Add eggs and vanilla. Whirl to combine.

4. Add flour mixture. Pulse in just untill incorporated. (I used the Kitchen Aid Mixer and mixed on low just till combined)

Remove Bowl from mixer and fold in granola, raisin chocolate chip, & nut mixture by hand.

5. Shape dough into balls with hands, using 2 level measuring tablespoonfuls for each cookie. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. (I lined my baking sheet with parchment but it is not necessary.)

6. Bake in preheated moderate oven 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or untill golden. Cookies should be very soft when pressed, although edges will be set. Cool cookies on sheets a few minutes untill firm enough to transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store airtight at room temperature for several weeks

Note: these cookies may seem underdone when hot, but on cooling will continue to crisp. If not over baked, they'll stay soft and chewy for days. The unbaked dough keeps at least 5 days covered tightly in the refrigerator.

For more Recipes visit my recipe site: Deana's Recipes

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Clean Dog, Dirty Dog

Little Maltese- Sometimes a big pain! She goes out in the morning and comes back a muddy mess. Then the mud dries and falls off her and onto the floor yuck. Then I am constantly sweeping, keeping her off the furniture, or giving her a bath. My Min Pin is so much less work.

Call No Man Your Father- So Why does the Catholic Church call their Priests and Pope by the title of Father?

Call No Man Your Father- So Why does the Catholic Church call their Priests and Pope by the title of Father?

Being Fundamentalists for many years my husband and I had many misconceptions about the Catholic church. There were things we believed that the Catholic church was in error on. One of those misconceptions comes from this very simple verse in Matthew which appears to clearly state "call no man father." So why are Catholic priests and the Pope called father? Doesn't that clearly show that Catholics do not believe the Bible or at least go against it? By the way Episcopal, Anglican and Orthodox churches all call Priests father too. Well lets look at the scriptures.

Matthew 23:8-10
8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' (Gr. rabbi) for you have only one Master (Gr. didaskalos, kathegetes) and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' (Gr. patera) for you have one Father (Gr. pater), and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' (Gr. kathegetai) for you have one Teacher (Gr. kathegetes), the Christ.” (NIV)

Matthew 23:8-10
8”But be not ye called Rabbi (Gr. rabbi): for one is your Master (Gr. didaskalos, kathegetes), even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father (Gr. patera) upon the earth: for one is your Father (Gr. pater), which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters (Gr. kathegetai) : for one is your Master (Gr. kathegetes), even Christ.” (KJV)

Based on the preceding passage, many non-Catholics claim that the Catholic Church violates the scriptural prohibition against calling anyone “father” since its priests are commonly called “father” and the pope is referred to as the “Holy Father.” Is this really what the Bible teaches? Let’s take a closer look at this issue by reviewing not just a single verse but all that the Bible contains on this subject.

Ephesians 4:11-13
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers (Gr. didaskalovs), 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that God has established some people as “teachers” in the Church; this appears to be a direct violation of Jesus’ prohibition against calling anyone “teacher”. Does God contradict Himself?

James 3:1
1Not many of you should presume to be teachers (Gr. didaskaloi), my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that not many believers should presume to be “teachers.” This implies that a few (though not many) should and would rightfully have that position. Does God contradict Himself?

Luke 16:24
24So he called to him, “Father (Gr. pater) Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”

Jesus tells a parable in which He has one of the characters speak to “Father Abraham” which would obviously be a bad example for His audience. Does Jesus contradict Himself?

Romans 4:1-18
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
9Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father (Gr. patera)of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

In this passage, Paul refers to Abraham as a spiritual father eight times. This is a terrible precedent to establish if Jesus has prohibited us from using the term “father.”

James 2:21
21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, refers to the spiritual fatherhood of Abraham. This is a terrible precedent to establish if Jesus has prohibited us from using the term “father.”

1 Corinthians 4:14-15
14I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers (Gr. pateras), for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

In this passage, Paul refers to himself as the spiritual father of the Corinthians. This is a terrible precedent to establish if Jesus has prohibited us from using the term “father.”
Q: The Bible says to call no man Father, so why do we call our priests "Father"?

A: Matthew 23:9, "And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven." Notice, however, that this makes no distinction between spiritual fathers, which is what our priests are to us, and biological fathers. In other words, if you interpret this passage to say, absolutely, that no man is to be called father, you cannot distinguish between calling a priest, father, and calling the man who is married to your mother, father.

But, is that actually what this passage is saying? Or is Jesus warning us against trying to usurp the fatherhood of God? Which, in many ways, is what the Pharisees and Scribes were doing. They wanted all attention focused on them...they were leaving God, the Father, out of the equation. Which is why Jesus goes on to call them hypocrites, liars, and whitewashed tombs.

If you interpret this passage from Matthew 23 as an absolute ban against calling anyone your spiritual father, then there are some problems for you in the rest of Scripture. For example, Jesus, in the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, has the rich man referring to Abraham as "father" several times. Paul, in Romans chapter 4, refers to Abraham as the "father" of the uncircumcised, the Gentiles. That's referring to spiritual fatherhood, not biological fatherhood.

In Acts 7:1-2, the first Christian martyr, Stephen, referred to the Jewish authorities and elders who were about to stone him as brothers and "fathers," as does Paul in Acts, chapter 22. This is referring to spiritual fatherhood. So, if you interpret Matthew 23 as saying we cannot call anyone our spiritual father, then you have a problem with Jesus, Paul, Stephen, and the Holy Spirit...they must have all gotten it wrong.

It is okay to call priests "father", just as it was okay for Jesus and Paul to call Abraham "father" and for Stephen and Paul to call the Jewish elders "father." As long as we remember that our true Father is God the Father and that all aspects of fatherhood, biological and spiritual, are derived from Him. And as long as we do not allow anyone else to usurp that role in any way, shape, or form, as the Pharisees and Scribes were prone to do

Here is some Interesting History on Jewish Custom that sheds more light on the Interpretation of Mathew 23 8-10

At the time of Jesus there were various sects within Judaism. These sects were the: Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, and Zealots

These sects had houses of teaching within them .

Within the Pharisees there were two famous rival houses.
They were the House of Shammai(Beit Shammai) and the House of Hillel (founder of the Beit Hillel school). The individuals that these houses were named after were considered the "father" of the house.

Jesus warns the apostles not to be fathers to "separate" houses for there is but one house of the Lord. Jesus also says to call no man "teacher" or "master."

--side note:
Paul was taught by Gamaliel[Acts22:3], a pharisee from the house of Hillel. Gamaliel was, in fact, the grandson of Hillel. Gamaliel was known as an elder and had the title of "Rabban" which means "Our Master." This title explains why Jesus also said call no one "master", for there is but one house and one master of all.

Again, Jesus wanted unity [ see John 17], and does not want the apostles to set up separate houses or schools of thought. The corollary of this is clearly expressed in Paul's complaint in 1 Cor 1:10-15 where some are arguing their superiority by being baptized by, and belonging to, Paul vs. Apollos, or Cephas, etc. Paul goes on elsewhere to further warn against factions and divisions, and stresses the importance of one mind and unity of doctrine.

The meaning of "call no man father, teacher, or master" concerns unity and consistency of doctrine and has nothing to do with the commonly used references that are seen elsewhere in scripture or everyday use.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is Velveeta Nutritious? Why Yes It Is! Velveeta Is Yummy and Good For You Too.

Is Velveeta Nutritious? Why Yes It Is!

First off lets get one thing straight, Velveeta is real cheese. Every kind of cheese is a processed milk product. Some cheese is just more processed than others. Does that necessarily make it bad? I don''t think so. What makes Velveeta different from cheddar? Regular cheese is made by introducing bacteria into milk, then letting the milk solids curdle. The solid curds are kept to make the cheese and the liquid that is left over is called whey. Whey contains a lot of nutrients but is discarded when making other cheese. In 1928 (yes Velveeta has been around that long) Kraft found a way to put the whey back into the cheese keeping all the extra nutrition from the whey that would otherwise be thrown away. They called this cheese Velveeta. It was created to be a more nutritious cheese. You didn't know that did you?

Compare One Ounce Velveeta to One Ounce Cheddar

Velveeta has less calories
less overall fat
less Saturated fat
lower cholesterol
(Ok a lot more sodium)
(Some carbohydrate)
Velveeta is a good source of protein and calcium.

Did you also know that Velveeta is healthy and good for you because it's CLA concentrations are higher than cheddar.

Grassfarming and Your Health News
Some types of cheese have more CLA than others

The way that cheese is made influences its CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content. In general, the longer cheese is aged, the lower the CLA. Thus, hard cheeses such as Parmesan and Romano tend to have less CLA than softer cheeses such as cream cheese, cottage cheese, feta, farmer's cheese, ricotta, and Brie. In addition, cheese that is aged through "bacterial surface ripening" (Brick and Muenster) has more CLA than cheese that does not go through this process. Finally, a serving of high-fat cheese will have more CLA than a similar serving of low-fat cheese. (The CLA is measured in terms of grams of CLA per gram of total fat; the more total grams of fat in a serving of cheese, the more CLA it will have Reduced fat swiss is an anomaly, for unknown reasons..)

The table below shows CLA levels in cheese purchased at a grocery store in 1992. In all likelihood, the milk came from confinement dairy operations. If the milk had come from grassfed animals, the CLA content would have been five times higher.

Chin et al, "Dietary Sources of Conjugated Dienic Isomers of Linoleic Acid, a Newly Recognized Class of Anticarcinogens." J. of Food Composition and Analysis 5:185-197 1992

Other Reasons to Love Velveeta

Kid's love the mild taste
It melts better than cheddar or most brick cheeses
Makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches.
Makes yummy creamy sauces and dips.
Is great in cheesy Casseroles.
Stores in the pantry till use (Ok I will admit that is scary and it does have preservatives, but I figure preservatives can't be all bad. Look at how long we all are living these days. I say it must be the preservatives and we all are preserved well.)
It's shelf life and stability does make it a verstile pantry staple.
Great for camping trips or power outages.
I have a ton of recipes that use Velveeta
It costs less than cheddar (When bought at Sam's Club not the grocery store)

The Velveeta Jingle from the 1980's
Now this will be stuck in your head all afternoon.

Velveeta jingle (as I remember it), sung to tune of “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”

It’s Velveeta, versus Cheddar/ Our velveeta, melts much better/ Cheddar’s runny, cheddar’s oily/It runs off of your plate onto your doily/ See Velveeta, melts so creamy/ it improves your tetrazzini. So when the cookbook/ calls for cheddar/ make it with Velveeta it cooks better

I will openly admit that I I love Velveeta. I had it as a kid and still enjoy it. I have a ton of recipes that use it.
Here are Some of My Favorite Recipes That Use Velveeta

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Cheesy Ham Grill
Deana's Texas Hash
Easy Cheese Potatoes
Hearty Breakfast Skillet
Sinful Potatoes
Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
Velveeta Broccoli Soup
Velveeta Salsa Dip
Velveeta Easy Chicken Fajita Skillet
Velveeta Southwestern Chicken Skillet

If You Love Velveeta Too, Please Share Your Favorite Velveeta Recipes

Go out and get some Velveeta Today :-)