Thursday, June 29, 2017

Eggless Almond Cookies

Our church had VBS this past week. I signed up to make cookies each of the three nights it was going on.

When day two rolled around I quickly realized I have no eggs, and no regular flour. I really did not want to load all seven of the kids that were running around my house into the car and go to the store, so I decided I would see what I could kind online that did not require either. Most of what I found was sugar cookies, and I quickly realized I had no vanilla or baking powder left either.

I decided to get inventive, I have created several of my own cookie recipes over the years, so why not just make something with what I had on hand.

The result of my experiment turned out in the best almond cookie I have had. It is so soft and chewy. The sugar topping is a nice sweet touch, these cookies will leave you wanting more.

Ingredients -
1/2 cup butter ( softened )
1/2 sugar
2 tbs milk
2 tsp almond extract
1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
2 cups cake flour

Sugar for decorating.

Preheat oven to 350.

Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add milk and almond extract and beat until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add 1/2 cup at a time, while beating the mixture on low.

Make small balls ( think ping pong ) and place them on a cookie sheet. ( I like to make cookies on my baking stone ). Use a fork to gently flatten ( not completely flat ). You can use whatever sugar you want for decorating. Since this was for VBS, I used a red sprinkles. Top each cookie with just a little sugar.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until cookies are slightly golden brown. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New post, life update

It has been awhile since I posted here, I started a few posts, never finished, and eventually deleted them. I have had ideas on what to post, but I have lacked the drive to actually sit down to write them out.

Life has been interested in the Walters' house for the last year. I have not been posting about it much here, but we have been dealing with some health issues with our oldest child.

Alexzander turned eleven in April, for several years now he has been dealing with stomach issues from an unknown cause. He also has been slowly falling off the growth chart. At eleven years old he is 57lbs and 4' 11".  We have been on the roller coaster path of trying to find a cause.

Alexzander was not a small baby, he was 8lbs 5 oz, 20". He stayed on a good growing path for the first few years of his life, but as he reached about the age of five, we started noticing that every other kids his age was much bigger. We tried to not put much thought into it, we did ask at a doctor appointment, and we were reassured that he was growing still, just slowly. He would probably just be a late bloomer.

It was around this time that he also started complaining about stomach pain at different times. Years would go on, he would go from diarrhea to constipation, very random bouts of this, have some time being fine, and the cycle would start all over again. I asked about it and we never really got anywhere.

As time went on, the stomach aches got worse, and he started to get the point that he was almost off the growth chart. This was around the same time that he also started getting strep, all the time. Eventually they decided it was the best choice to remove his tonsils, they told me that it would stop the strep, and it may help him grow. He has not had strep since, but it did nothing to help his growth, or his stomach pain.

Things came to a boiling point when he was almost ten. His stomach pain was almost daily, he was not growing, and the lack of growth was starting to really bother him. I took him once again, but this time I was pushy with the doctors, I told them that something was not right, and they needed to figure out why this was happening.

We started with Celiac testing, and removal of gluten from his diet. Celiac test came back normal and removing the gluten did not help him at all. Next they moved to dairy testing, and removing all dairy from his diet. Once again, test came back normal and removing dairy did not help.

At this point the doctors here finally decided it was time to send him on, they sent him to a Ped GI, we had an initial appointment where they ran some blood tests, and tested his stool. They were looking for a range of things, including Celiac ( just to be sure ), inflammation, parasites and more. Everything came back normal. The GI was very concerned about the pain, and his growth. Before we moved on with more testing, he wanted to send him to the Endocrologist.

At our first appointment with the Endocrologist they did a growth plate test ( xray of the hand to see what age his bones say he is ). His bone age test came back at 7.5, we knew that Alexzander was small for his age but I will admit that I was not expecting it to come back that he was that small.
That same day they ran a growth hormone test. They warned me ahead of time that it is not uncommon for this first test to come back at normal, even if he has a problem. The reason for this is because of the way your body release the hormones during the day, it only peaks at certain times. Anyway, without getting into the complicated medical side of this all, his first test came back normal.

The next step is a more complicated test that will give us a full look at this hormone levels. They told us that we needed to wait six months, see if he grew an inch, and if not they would run the test. Since he was eleven already, I told them that waiting was not something we wanted to do. If we do not catch this soon, he may never reach the growth he is suppose to. The doctor told me that reason for the wait is insurance.

After several phone calls, I got the go ahead from our insurance to get this test without waiting for six months. We will be going in June 13th, should have results in about two weeks after the test. I am hoping for answers, and soon. It has been a long road already.

I do not relish the thought of Alexzander having a disorder. I do not want to give him shots every day. I do not want him to be scared anymore. I do want answers and I do want my boy to grow.

None of this gives us answers to his stomach problems. At this point, we have put the other testing on hold. We want to get one issue addressed at a time. I told the doctors that I wanted to wait before we did anything else because stressing the child out with test after test is only going to make whatever is wrong, worse. We have decided to try and treat his issues with diet changes and we are seeing a lot of results already.

I plan on writing out what changes we are making in another post. At this point, I just want to get through this next test and go from there.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It is Time to Love Our Fellow Man

I think that everyone knows that we are living in a very broken world filled to the brim with a lot of broken people. While I know that no one person can save the world, I do know that if every single person did just a little more, we could make our world such a better place.

All it takes is a quick stop on face book and you can find people in need, angry people, sad people, lonely people. People angry about politics, people angry about their work, people angry about their home life. Sad people, people who feel unwanted, unneeded and unloved. Lonely people, people desperate for anyone to notice them, need them, love them, give them a simple gesture of human kindness.

I see so many people blaming all the world's problems on this politician, that politician, this law, that law, this program or that program. When what we need to all be doing is taking a deep look inside ourselves and saying what can "I" do to help. How can "I" change my community, how "I" help my fellow mankind?

Honestly, the answer is so simple. No, you can not save everyone, no you can not change the lives of everyone but you can help someone and that help could mean everything to that person. You can reach out.

If someone is hungry, feed them. Programs are wonderful, if you yourself can not send someone a meal, donate your money to a program, volunteer your time or make food to bring to a program. If you can make someone a meal, make enough for them to either eat with your family or eat with them. Not only would you be feeding their body but you can feed their need for interaction. Show them love, kindness and respect. Never judge why they are in a needy place, just reach out and help.

If someone needs clothing, dress them. Almost every single person I know can afford to let go of some clothing. I know for a fact that in my household, we have extra and we are bagging stuff up for donation. Instead of goodwill or a thrift shop, give directly to a needy family, call your local churches and see if they know someone they can give it to, take it to a homeless shelter or a food pantry.

If someone needs a hug, hug them. I recently stopped at the table of a complete stranger and I hugged them. They were crying, alone at a coffee shop table. My heart ached for them, so I took the time and I sat with them, I did my best to offer comfort, compassion and I gave them a big hug. They thanked my over and over again. The words they said as I left, stuck with me. "Thank you for noticing and stopping. Most people would have just walked by." What a sad truth that is, most people would just walk by. We have to stop walking by, we need to stop and notice the pain all around us. Stop and notice when people just need someone to stop and notice them.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Home Schooling in the Raw - Why we home school year round

Several years ago, Chris and I made the choice to home school our children year round. We decided this when Alexzander ( who is now almost 11 and in 5th grade ) was starting second grade, we noticed that we were spending far to much time at the beginning of the school year, repeating and relearning everything he forgot over the summer. It was time consuming for us and frustrating for him.

Since that year, we have been schooling on a year round schedule. We start our new year the Tuesday after Labor Day. We take two weeks off each season. Generally, our breaks go like this, two weeks off around Thanksgiving, two weeks off around Christmas, two weeks off around Easter and two weeks off around the 4th of July. We do have some assignments during their breaks, generally they have a special reading assignment that earns them prizes for completely, a fun craft or project during those weeks and any make up work they still have.

Our summer school months ( June - beginning of next school year ) are different than the rest of the school year. We have a lighter work load, focus strongly on summer reading programs ( we do two from local libraries and I even printed my own last year )  and outdoor lessons. They generally have a couple work sheets a week that keep them on track with what they have learned and prep them for the next school year.  We take lots of field trips, family get aways ( it is so easy to do educational stuff on the road ) and camping trips. They help us in our garden, we take part in local events and just take learning where ever we can.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

No longer doing meal planning

Just making a quick post to let everyone know that for the time being, I am not going meal planning. We have not been sticking to the plan anyway and I am just not wanting to do it.

There will be several more posts coming very soon, including more homeschooling in the raw and some about the current things going on in our day to day lives.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Home Schooling in the Raw - Teaching Charity

My oldest two kids are Destiny ( age 9, 4th grade ) and Alexzander ( age 10, 5th grade ). My husband and I wanted to take the time to teach them the importance of giving and charity work. Both of them have helped in the past at different volunteer projects but we wanted them to have a more hands on lesson.

We sat down as a family and decided that they should run their own fundraiser for a local charity. After some discussion, they picked The Marion County Humane Society.  They have spent a lot of time out there, playing with the kitties and petting the dogs. We actually adopted our dog, Charlie, from the shelter two years ago.

( The day we brought Charlie home. ) 


After picking what charity they wanted to help, they set to work with how they would reach their goals. Destiny is an aspiring artist and she wanted to use her skills to help. Her goal is $500 and she is making that money by selling hand painted mugs ( custom greeting cards coming soon! ).


She has sold many mugs and they are inching their way closer to their money goal!! She is doing an amazing job.

Alexzander is enjoying learn to bake, that is how he wanted to particiapate in the fundraiser. He made a list of items and each time someone donates something from their list, he bakes them a batch of chocolate chip cookies or banana bread.

His list - 

3 large bags of dog food ( Goal met!! ) 
3 small bags of dog ( only need 1 more to meet their goal ) 
5 bags of cat food ( only need 3 more to meet their goal ) 
3 tubs of cat litter
5 boxes of cat treats ( only need 4 more to meet their goal ) 
5 boxes of dog treats ( 1 more needed to meet their goal ) 
3 toy bones
3 squeaky toys


They have already made several donations and their items list is slowly being completed! They have done a wonderful job so far and we are extremely proud of them! They were even featured in our local news paper.

I made them a facebook page, you can follow their progress here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Meat Shredder Review

I recently had the chance to review these meat shredders, we do a lot of shredded roast beef sandwiches and shredded chicken sandwiches. Usually, I shred with a fork and it can take some time to do it this way. These little shredders cut my time nearly in half and they do a much better job.

These meat shredders fit on your hand, with just a small amount of effort, you can shred your meat without problem. The shredders are made of a thicker plastic material, I have used them several times now without issue. I have read that others have had problems with the tips breaking but I think the only way that would happen would be if your meat was not cooked to the point of being ready to shred.

Clean up in a breeze, a quick wipe and rinse is all it took.I would recommend these to anyone that makes a lot of shredded meat!

****I did receive this item at a discounted rate, in exchange for an honest review. ****

Eggless Almond Cookies

Our church had VBS this past week. I signed up to make cookies each of the three nights it was going on. When day two rolled around ...