Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vacation Bible School

Last Sunday was the start of Vacation Bible School for us at church. This year our theme was Wilderness Escape and everything was based around following Moses out of Egypt. It was such a fun theme! Each evening we started with a light supper in the Fellowship Hall and then went to the Sanctuary for Celebration with the songs they would be learning for their program on the final day.

After celebration the kids would go to their designated "tribe rooms" for Tribe Time and they would prepare to go on their journey. I was the tribe leader of our preschoolers this year and let me tell you...that was an adventure. We typically started our journey with Moses in his tent where we would get a lesson from him. Then we went to the Israelite Camp (we had actual tents set up) where we would do two crafts and have a bible based snack. Then we typically went outside for fun and games, then back to our room for Tribe Time before finishing up with Celebration one last time.

One of my absolute favorite parts of following Moses through the parting of the sea was having some of our older kids who volunteered to help, spray the preschoolers with spray bottles of water as they went through. As though they were being splashed by the sea. The little kids burst into giggles and tried to duck in close to me for protection. I couldn't help but smile.

The crafts were all well planned and fun for the kids. We made sandals, we did weaving, made camel bells, sand necklaces with jewels, tambourines and bracelets that said Trust God, which was our motto all week.

When we would get together for our final Tribe Time we would write down a "God Sighting" we had that day, it could be anything the kids wanted to put down. Some of my kids put things like....birds, their family pets, clouds, friends, the get the idea. We would also put together our Bible Buddy necklaces with our bible verse for the day.

My absolute favorite part of the day was always our final Celebration time before the parents came for pick up. The kids would practice their songs and their hand motions. Every evening they would gain a little more confidence and the singing would grow a little louder. All of us leaders would just look at each other and smile. It warmed our hearts to witness and hear the praise and celebration come out of all of these small children.

Our last day was on Thursday and we ended it with a program for the parents. I must admit I was a little nervous about how my preschoolers would do at the program. Some of them had a tendency to run to me or sit down...things I would expect from 4 & 5 year olds. I reassured them that I would be standing at the back of the Sanctuary singing and dancing with them, so they could look at me to know what to do. Well, I was pleasantly surprised because the kids did AMAZING! They stayed in their spots, smiled and sang their little hearts out.

I was asked to put together a slide show of the photos that were taken all week so the parents could see what the kids had been up to and that played during the evening as well. It was neat to hear the kids reactions as they saw the pictures of themselves.

All in all it was an amazing week! I was honored to be a leader and my little guy had so much fun learning about God's love for us while getting to spend time with his friends. Every night on the drive home I would ask him what his favorite thing was we did. Every night he answered with "following Moses". Even though it was a very busy week and I am glad it is over, I am really looking forward to next year's VBS!

Here is a link to the VBS curriculum we used in case you are already thinking of next year as well.
Check out the link.....Wilderness Escape VBS 2014.

Also, I thought I would share some of the fun music we sang. This song was the theme song and is favorite of both me and our son.

Check out the link.....God Will Guide Us...Wilderness Escape VBS Theme Song

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

He's our Yankee Doodle Sweetheart! He's our Yankee Doodle Boy!
 I hope you all had a very Happy 4th of July! 
Have a blessed weekend.....from Our Family to Yours!

Amish Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Last Sunday, we had some dear friends over for supper. I was short on ingredients and did not have time to run to town for what I needed so I began digging through recipes to find a dessert I could make for supper. I came across this recipe that I had never made and decided to try it. It was a HUGE success and is now a new favorite in our home. So of course, I thought I would share it with all of you! Enjoy!

Amish Applesauce Cake:

1 cup sugar
1/2 shortening (I used 1/2 butter simply because I did not have shortening.)
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda (I used 4 tsp baking powder because I was out of baking soda. Again worked fine.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts (optional) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large 9x13 pan with cooking spray. (I used my circular pan.)
In a large bowl cream sugar and shortening (butter) with electric beater on low. Beat in eggs one at a time.
Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Beat until mixed. Add applesauce and vanilla. Mix until blended. Pour into pan, Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Frost cake after it has cooled.
This cake bakes up with almost a coffee cake texture, but it still very moist and absolutely delicious!

This recipe calls for a glaze to be drizzled over the cake using 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tsp water.
I wanted more of a frosting than a glaze so I made a homemade cinnamon frosting that is so yummy you will want to eat it out of the bowl.

Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (I used closer to 2 3/4 cups)
3-4 tbsp milk (add carefully or your frosting will be very runny)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Place butter in large bowl. Beat on low 30 sec. (I used my KitchenAid Mixer.)
Add sugar a cup at a time, beating on low, between each addition. Add 3 tbsp of milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat on medium 1 min. Blend in additional 1 tbsp of milk if frosting is too thick. After the cake was frosted I sprinkled some extra cinnamon on top to make it look pretty. :)

*Note: When I made the frosting it was VERY runny even after 3 tbsp of milk (due to lesser amount of powdered sugar used.) I was in a pinch and so I added 3 large spoonfuls of whipped cream and mixed it in. It added a creamy texture and a nice sweetness to the frosting. I will definitely make it this way again.

Blue Skies, Back Roads and Beautiful Nebraska

I have found a renewed love for nature photography! I have been spending a few evenings a week driving down the many dirt roads around here with my camera in hand. It has been oh so good for my soul! I am cherishing the time where it is just me, my camera and the beauty that lies in God's handiwork.

 We have recently been battered and drenched by several storms. The other evening, as I set out to capture the sunset I begin to notice something. Rain water....lots and lots of rain water. There were ditches and fields still flooded all over the area, yet the day had seen no rain and the sun had been shining beautifully all day long.

As I drove along looking for inspiration, I couldn't help but think of the words....After the storms, the sun will always shine. Everywhere I look I saw the truth of these words before me. It was a message I needed to hear in that moment. As I lifted my camera to capture another image, I whispered "Thank you Lord for your beauty." 

I thought I would share several of the images I captured the other night. I hope you enjoy them!