Monthly Archives: January 2009

Hiking the Ravine

800px-pink_clouds01When the temperatures soared up into the 60’s this week, the kids and I all played hooky for the afternoon and took a hike.

After all, having 60 degrees in January in southern Iowa is an event to be celebrated!

We made 2 rules for this adventure. The first rule was that each of us needed to have a piece of candy in our pockets that we could eat anywhere, or anytime we wished!

The second rule was that we could not walk on any trails.

We headed down the hill to the ravines and decided to follow them for as far as we could.

Winter is the perfect time to explore the ravines that surround our homestead since they are overgrown, inaccessible and full of ticks during the summer and fall.

But this day was perfect! The snow was melted, the sun was shining and we were all wearing sweatshirts, – no parkas, mittens, or hats – in mid-January.

We climbed over logs and crawled under branches. We slid down steep banks and shimmed back up the other side. We skated across the frozen creek bed and explored the wash outs.

We found several animal bones, turkey feathers, and part of an old foundation.

We discovered with awe that the rushing creek had frozen as it was flowing into amazing little frozen waterfalls.

We talked, we laughed, we ate chocolate and we savored the sunshine.

But most of all, we made a memory.

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles Shhh…

What I’m about to tell you is top secret.

I am sharing with you- just in time for Valentine’s Day –  my dad’s famous truffle recipe!

A tradition in my family, these chocolate delicacies will make  any Valentine feel special!

Creamy, and smooth these delightful treats beat their store-bought counterparts hands down!

Papa Jim’s Chocolate Truffles

Melt 1 1/2 pounds of milk chocolate in the microwave.

1/3 c. whipping cream

1/3 c. half and half (can substitute condensed milk.)

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips (have extra because sometimes need more) Use semi sweet flavor.

1/5 bar paraffin

1 tsp. mint flavoring (optional- but recommended)

Melt chocolate in microwave. Set aside to cool. Combine creams and scald (heat in microwave). Do not boil. Cool to 130 degrees.

Mix melted chocolate and creams together with wooden spoon, then whip with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Stir in the vanilla and mint flavoring. Put in 8 x 8 pan buttered generously. Cover and freeze.

After candy is frozen, cut into squares. Melt the semi sweet chocolate chips and paraffin in microwave. Put enough hot water in the crock pot to touch the bottom of the bowl with the melted chocolate when placed in the crock pot and set it on low heat. (This will keep the chocolate warm while you are dipping the frozen pieces.)

Dip the squares, keeping them frozen until dipped. Set on waxed paper to let the chocolate harden. Store in air tight container. These can be frozen.



Are you overwhelmed with life right now?

Are you praying and waiting but it seems like God isn’t listening or answering?

I’ve been there myself- many times actually.

I was really encouraged by this quote from Stormie O’Martian’s book “The Power of a Praying Woman”.

“If you start being consumed by the details of life and it feels as if your future won’t be any different than it is at this moment, please know that the truth is quite the opposite.

It’s at these very times, when you feel as though you’re not getting anywhere, or you’re missing the future God has for you, that God is actually preparing you for your future.

And when the time is right, He has been known to do a very quick work.

While it’s good to set goals, don’t look so far ahead that you become overwhelmed. Look to the Lord instead.

Remember that The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. (Psalm 145:18-19)”

What a blessing to remember!


Truffle Weekend Truffles.

The very name makes me salivate!

To me truffles are the epitome of chocolate gratification.

My sister surprised us at a recent after Christmas family get- together with more truffles than I’ve seen in a lifetime!

They had a wonderful time at the clearance table at Sam’s Club picking out a large selection of various truffles at a greatly reduced price!

These amazing delicacies were the stars of the weekend.

I am almost ashamed to admit that we ate them morning, noon and night. We had a truffle with breakfast, again at 10:00, and then one just before lunch. Of course we needed some for dessert and on through the afternoon ending our day with a  truffle just before bed.

We began the weekend carefully checking the packages to make intelligent choices, but soon we were snarfing them down regardless. (But by then all the caramel ones were eaten anyway!)

At the end of the weekend we were all “truffle-a-tized”.

We divided the large amount of remaining truffles between us and headed home to face the reality of the bathroom scale.

I will confess that there are still truffles in my pantry luring me with their smooth decadent goodness. But there will not be a repeat of that wonderful weekend, at least not for awhile!;)

But it will remain in our memories as a chocolate highlight of the year!

What Is God Like?

My mom is the church librarian at their church and she is always looking for good books to add to the shelf. Here is a special one that she wanted to share with us…


I predict that What Is God Like by Beverly Lewis will become a classic! It is beautifully written with colorful  illustrations by Pamela Querin that tell a story by themselves.

The book begins with Dad leaving on a business trip. The children are sad and will miss him.

But Dad tells them, “Don’t forget–even when I’m not here, God is always with you.”

The rest of the book is a vignette of the children’s day and night as they remember all their Dad had told them about God.

Each page has just enough reading to keep a child’s attention and a Bible verse to correspond with the truth that is presented.

There is something special about a large picture book that makes a person feel like sitting on the couch with your children or grandchildren and reading!

Now if they would just build a book shelf that would fit them!

Until next time,