Book Week

It seems only yesterday that we had the Cat in the Hat, Red Riding Hood and Elizabeth Bennett at our house. Book Week is here again and today a modern day Goldilocks and Hermione Granger left for school. Of course it was not before everyone had played around with photo booth. Brilliant fun!

Jakob tackles Hermione and her friend Lily!

Hermione with her wand.

The Modern day Goldilocks with her sidekick.

40 Hour Famine and Music

So my boy has decided to do World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine. This is the boy who wants to eat everything in sight from the moment he gets back from school. I think it will be hard. There will be highs and lows.

But it will teach him patience, perseverance and reliance on God.

We talk about food a lot in our home. We all cook and enjoy feeding each other.

As I write there is soup on the stove, ingredients on the bench waiting for dinner prep and one of the girls is making fairy cakes…..for all the fairies in our house!

So this weekend we will be sharing the idea of famine with the kids. My four year old reminded me today of being sad when seeing images of poverty in Africa at a Levi Mc Grath concert. They are never too young to learn about the world. And how Jesus Saves!

Really really good friends…

I have a special birthday coming up soon and as I consider how to celebrate I have thought a lot about friendship. What makes a good, lasting friend? Who are my friends? Dare I suggest that I have several really good friends?

So when I stumbled-  literally – across this list of key characteristics of a really good friend I knew I had to share it.

For what it’s worth, I have a few thoughts on ingredients which are helpful in cultivating this kind of relationship:

  • A listening ear
  • An open heart
  • Tenderness
  • Confidentiality
  • Loyalty
  • Humility
  • Sensitivity to the Spirit
  • Devotion 
  • A sense of humor (especially a willingness to laugh at yourself)
  • Grace for “life interruptions” 
  • A heart that forgives quickly and frequently
  • Letting go of things that don’t really matter while holding on to things that do
  • Patience
  • Forgetting the worst and remembering the best
  • Humbly confronting when necessary
  • Speaking truth in love–always
  • Serving as a faithful encourager
  • Taking time to cultivate a long history together
  • Commitment to prayerful intercession

If you are longing for this kind of friendship, don’t wait for someone to befriend you; take the first step by asking God to lead you to someone who needs a friend. Be this kind of friend (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16-18).

Thanks for these words from Kimberly Wagner from the True Woman website.

Chicken Sandwiches will travel

We have all hit the road today….4 hours to town. We managed it with only one toilet and coffee break.

Things I know about family travel:

  • No sweet drinks in the car – water bottles all round
  • Milk arrowroots for the little ones
  • Fruit and nut bars for a  quick pick me up
  • Peppermints to off set travel sickness (this didn’t quite work today – number three was sick!)
  • Good combination of DVDs, CDs and Podcasts for the entertainment
  • And homemade chicken, mayonaise and lettuce sandwiches for a quick luncheon on the move

Usually I would use leftover roasted chicken in a sandwich but today I poached some chicken thigh fillets and these were succulent in a simple sanga. I am sure the white bread made it more fun for us all – a bit of a treat….no seed or chunky bits!

Too much good food…too little self control

I love good food, making it and sharing it. I love pleasing my family with food that nurtures them. But food has become another idol in our society – one in which we find ourself adoring 3 times a day and often in between times as well.

How do we manage the food as idol and food as fuel slippery slope? Not everyone know how to eat well. Not everyone knows how to eat enough. Not everyone knows how to not to eat too much.

Recently I listened to a  talk by Crystal Munson (Mars Hill Church Women’s Training day). This talk deals with a sin that is “commonly overlooked within the church and inappropriately understood by the world.”

Gluttony I commend this talk to you. It is one of five talks from the Christian Womanhood in a Feminist Culture series.

Syrian Chicken for Supper

A last minute dinner with old and new friends last weekend called for a scrumptious, hearty dish – one we have only made once before. It did require a quick trip to the supermarket to replenish the spice stores but it was so worth it. You simply must make this dish…..and I think you could do a vegie/vegan option with chickpeas instead of the chicken as the lemon, ginger and saffron are the real crowd pleasers. Let me know what you think!

Karen Martini –  Syrian chicken with ginger, lemon and saffron

2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
size 14-16 free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces
100ml olive oil
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
100g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, bruised with the back of a knife
2 small red chillies, split
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 pinches saffron threads
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, juiced and zest finely grated
2 tbsp honey
100g currants
2 tbsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
cooked couscous or rice, to serve
Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric in a large plastic bag.
Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions, ginger, garlic and chillies to pan and cook for 3 minutes, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Add tomatoes, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan and add lemon juice and zest, honey, currants, stock powder and enough water to just cover chicken. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in coriander. Serve with couscous or rice. Serves 4.