Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter 2016

What a beautiful day we were blessed with on Easter Sunday! The weather was glorious! We had a baptism at church which always seems to make the service more special. And, there was a crowd of friends around tables laden with delicious food.

We came back from our spring vacation just a few days before Easter (can't wait to post about that!) so there was a day to shop and a day to bake! I started with these gluten free hot cross buns. I use Bob's Red Mill Pizza Crust mix as the base and add in lemon and orange zest, mixed spice, and golden raisins and currants.

Then came the "true" hot cross buns which I made in large quantities because my kids love them so much. This year I only baked one tray at a time in the oven and that did make them even better!

 I found beautiful chocolate eggs at Costco and they made the table look so festive. Not only that but my daffodils were in full bloom and even though I picked large bunches for inside there were still so many left outside!

There were no pictures of the appetizers but for lunch we had ham, rice salad, spinach berry salad, carrots, and roasted asparagus.

Here is the girls' table:

And the boys' table under which one of mine is hiding!

And the long adult table which managed to squeeze 16!

The funniest thing about this gathering was the mix of food allergies/intolerances. Nearly everyone coming had something. I almost wanted to make a chart. Some people could have gluten but no eggs, or no gluten and no eggs but dairy, or no gluten and no dairy but eggs, and then I remembered one person was allergic to earl grey tea and I'd soaked the fruit for the regular buns in earl grey so managed to leave it out of the gluten free. On and on it went!!! Ha ha!

So, for dessert we had a gluten free cheesecake with amazing berry filling and topping, a gluten free pavlova with lemon cream, gluten free/egg free cupcakes, gluten free/egg free key lime pie, and gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free lemon curd tart! What a riot!

And up close picture of the cheesecake!

And one of the pavlova, whose recipe is here.

And the GF, DF, SF Lemon Curd Tart which I made from Paleo Patisserie. Wow this is so, so good! Thankfully there were lots of leftovers. I've been eating a piece everyday! The crust is made with almond flour and maple syrup, the lemon curd with maple syrup as well and the coconut cream has vanilla and maple syrup.

We had tea, of course! Hands down everyone's favorite tea from recent events is the special Chinese tea that a friend from China sent to us. Not being a huge fan of Chinese tea, I'm surprised at how much I love it. In fact, it's nearly addicting. Our only dilemma is how we can get more of this tea!!!

I also tried some maple syrup sweetened coconut candies which turned out very well and will be repeated next year. I tried some mock peanut butter eggs with sun butter. You know, I just can't get used to sun butter. I think we'll stick with coconut.

Another friend made these dairy free caramel filled hearts. She made the caramel with honey!!

Here is a kid picture from the Easter egg hunt.

The sky was such a lovely blue and the kids could run around without coats!

I love this picture!!!

 I found a basket to display our Lithuanian Easter eggs which we have collected over the last 5 years. Every year we get a little better at it.

Now Easter is just memories but it is nice that we still have this week off of school. I'm busy trying to get the household chores done that get postponed while we are in school. And I'm also enjoying spring!!!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, 
not in books alone, 
but in every leaf in springtime."

-- Martin Luther

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Tea Trolley

My sister and I hosted a baby shower tea this past Saturday. I had been hankering to do one for awhile and this was our chance! 

We set up the front room like a tearoom -- five tables and 21 ladies! 

Each table had it's own set of sandwiches (smoked turkey tomato basil, hummus veggie, and bacon cheddar), selection of scones (butter pecan, blueberry lemon, and plain), and its very own four layer cake on top!

The living room was adorned with a woodland theme of animals and flowers.

I made an owl bunting and my mom painted a "Welcome Baby" painting:

Rachel and her friend took their tea in the kitchen:

The newest babies in the congregation joined us too -- they were both extremely cute and very well behaved!

We had lovely weather on Saturday and good light always makes the indoors better!

Another view of the food! We served a Lapsang tea sent to us by a friend of this congregation with the sandwiches. I think it was everyone's favorite. Next we served Assam with the scones and, finally, several rounds of Twinings Rose with the cake. Everyone had fun trying the teas and there were also pots of decaf and herbal teas available on the side.

 I pulled out my vintage sheets to use as tablecloths which gave the tea a sort of 50's era feel. It seems necessary to have an event like this once in awhile to justify my having a collection of these sorts of things. :)

All in all it was a delightful morning and we all had fun! Now we just have to wait to meet the baby!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

"Beauty is about picturing God's unchanging goodness 
and daring to bring it into my own small, dusty days."

-- Sarah Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Daily Life

I just happened to have the chance to walk through the Indianapolis Museum of Art's "Pop Up Orchid Shop" this week! It was so beautiful and I loved looking at all the different orchids. Andrew has been going to a Bible study over on that side of town and it occurred to me that I could spend my waiting time at the IMA cafe reading and drinking coffee! Perfect plan! And certainly a way to redeem the thought of having to go out in the evening.

One would think that life would be less physically challenging now that my kids are so much older. And yes, it certainly is in many senses. But, dealing with my own health issues seems to leave me in a constant battle to stay on my game and able to meet the needs of my family as best I can.

I've been in PT this past month and that has been helping me a lot. I have to stay constant with my exercises and one thing that is helping is listening to podcasts. I almost randomly stumbled across Read-Aloud Revival and connected with it so deeply that I've been listening to older episodes at every chance. I am definitely someone who loves to read and loves to read to my kids and these podcasts are filled with all kinds of discussions, guests, and book ideas. I think I've found more encouragement for my homeschooling in the few podcasts I've listened to this week on this feed than any other homeschooling input this past year. (While on the subject of Podcasts, my other favorite is "At Home With Sally" by Sally Clarkson, and since I love Gretchen Rubin's books I often listen to "Happier with Gretchen Rubin")

Hyacinth is my harbinger of spring. I try to buy them any time I see them reasonably priced. Their perfume is so heady and my brain is trained to think of hope, beauty, and light.

I really can't believe that spring is about here. We have at least eight days forecasted to be in the 60's here now. That will change our landscape for sure. Part of me wants to protest that we didn't have enough time to hibernate and rest and prepare for the busy seasons ahead. But I know there is no stopping the calendar and spring will be beautiful.

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson is one of the books on my book table right now. I am really enjoying it and am sure that I will be highly, highly recommending this as soon as I finish it! It's one of those books that I try to read slowly but want to read fast but especially don't want to come to the end of!

Michael was away this weekend so the kids and I went to the annual THINK theology conference at my mom's church. It took the margin out of my week but it was worth it to do that this once.

Theology has always interested me and I have my parents first to thank for encouraging me in the study of it, not to mention many other friends and mentors over the years. Another friend from my church attended with me this weekend so I had someone to sit with (and mom came too!). The kids had their own kid theology program which was like a miniature Vacation Bible School! It was really "fun" to spend two days taking time to listen, think, and discuss with friends the topic of "Is the church still necessary?" (OF COURSE!!!!) Mark Dever was the guest speaker. Two days wasn't enough though so we are going to continue our discussions tomorrow over lunch after church when we can get Michael to help us sort through a few things.

And now it is time to close out the week and be ready for the Lord's Day tomorrow. There's a child in the bath and some meat that needs to jump in the crockpot. And then the week will be over!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.