Thursday, December 13, 2007

URGENT Prayer Request

We have an urgent prayer request for a family at our church. After having problems conceiving this precious little one...this family had a baby girl in September. We found out that Baby Lily was just diagnosed with leukemia. We don't know all of the details, but I know they would appreciate your prayers. This family has two other little boys who are staying with another family at church (who has four boys of their own!). Please pray for all involved that God's peace will reign supreme, and that they will feel God's love and the comforting of the Holy Spirit, no matter the outcome.

Thank you and God bless,

UPDATE ON LILY: Lily is currently in the hospital...a Children's Hospital. She is currently having a minor surgery to put a permanent IV tube in her chest to make blood draws and med delivery easier. They are also testing her bone marrow and doing a spinal tap at the same time.

They are still not sure what kind of leukemia she has. She did have a blood transfusion last night, with extra platelets, because her platelets are low (platelets are for clotting). She will probably be in the hospital at least a month. Her mom and dad will pretty much be staying with her during that time. Please continue to pray for them, and for the two little boys (I think they're 2 and 3 years old). Please pray that the dad's work will be ok with the necessary time off to be with his baby girl. Please pray for the family who is taking care of the two little boys.

2nd UPDATE (12/17/07):
Our friend Rachel, who is a good friend of Lilly's family gave us an update on Lilly:

From Rachel:
I went up to see Lilly last night, and she is doing pretty well. Her chemo is working, so that's encouraging. On Thursday night when she first got to the hospital her white blood cell count was 195,000, and now it's down to 1! That's very encouraging, but again it makes her very susceptible to infections, so continue to pray for her health. She has been experiencing some nausea and fussiness as side effects from her treatments, so she is taking some morphine and other medications to counteract these side effects. She had a chemo treatment yesterday, and will most likely have another one tomorrow and maybe the next day. Another prayer request is that the cancer would continue to respond well to the chemo so that a bone marrow transplant could be avoided. If she needs a transplant, she would have to have radiation which has some very serious long-term repercussions. Please continue to pray for Lilly's Mom and Dad as well. It has been hard for them to see her so uncomfortable and in pain, and they are running on very little sleep right now. They are so thankful to all of your for your prayers and support. They can definitely feel the love flowing towards them, and they are encouraged by all of you!

PLEASE continue to pray for little Lilly and for her family.
Thank you,

Friday, December 07, 2007

The History Behind Some Favorite Christmas Traditions

Have you every wondered how the Christmas tree tradition got started? Or how about getting presents? Hanging stockings? Putting lights on the Christmas tree? Here are two really neat broadcasts from Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine, where they discuss with author, Ace Collins, the history behind some favorite Christmas traditions.

Thanks for looking, and God bless!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How to Make Fantasy Fudge

Have you always wanted to show your candy-making skills off? Oh, you mean you don't have candy-making skills? Well, have you ever wanted to make your friends and family think that you have some smokin' candy-making skills? Have you ever wanted to make fudge and think that it's way too complicated? Well, with the help of a few brand name products, I am here to make this very easy for you. Let's get started.

#1: Jelly roll pans from Costco make GREAT fudge pans! Or you can use a regular ol' 9x13 pan.
#2: Take some butter (yes, REAL butter!) and coat 1/2 of the Costco jelly roll pan (up the sides too), or all of the 9x13 pan with a light coating of butter.
#3: You can either hold the butter inside a sandwich sized ziploc bag (to keep from getting all messy) and coat away, OR......... can use the butter wrapper to spread the butter around. I have put an aluminum foil "wall" up, anchored with some heavy butter knives. This will help my fudge to not spread out more than I want it to. Since it is one batch, you will only need 1/2 of the jelly roll pan. DO NOT try to do two batches at the same won't work well! Not unless you have a pot the size of a candy-maker's fudge cooking pot!!!
#4: Gather together all your ingredients. If you have them all ready (and opened), it makes things so much easier.
Take 1 jar of KRAFT Jet-Puffed marshmallow creme, 1 twelve ounce bag of Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2/3 cup of evaporated milk (ok, so I didn't get so picky on the brand name on this one), some yummy REAL vanilla (yep, that's Mexican vanilla in the economy size!), and 3/4 cup (or 1&1/2 sticks) of REAL butter (no margarine!!!!!!! no fakes!!!!!!!!).
#5: Also get 3 cups of sugar. Yeah, brand name doesn't matter too much on this one. But it really should be white, refined sugar (like C&H).
#6: OK, now listen closely, because this part is really important. Use a HEAVY Dutch oven (but probably not cast iron), preferrably one made by Club. This will keep your sugar and other ingredients from scorching! As you can see, mine has taken quite its share of knocks. But hey, it's good to me! And it's perfect for making candy and even popcorn!
#7: Now here comes the recipe part. Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in the dutch oven. Turn the burner on to MEDIUM HEAT. Don't get impatient and turn the heat higher or you will end up with burnt or grainy fudge.
#8: Here is where you should be going to the gym and working out. One, because you're making FUDGE for Pete's sake!!!! And two, because you will need to stir continuously to keep your ingredients from burning.
#9: Keep stirring constantly, being sure to scrape the sides of the pan. You will be able to feel the sugar dissolving in the milk and butter.
Once your concoction has begun to boil (It will take a little while to get to boiling point. You don't want to rush it, or your sugar will not dissolve, and your fudge will be grainy. Also your milk will burn!), you will need to start the timer, and boil the fudge for 5 minutes (no more and no less!!!!).
#10: When the 5 minutes is up, take your pot off of the burner, and add the chocolate chips, while stirring.
#11: Then add the marshmallow cream.
#12: Stir very quickly until mixture is thoroughly combined. This MUST be hand-stirred. Do not mix with an electric mixer or you could whip too much air into the fudge.
#13: Once everything is mixed thoroughly, your mixture will look like this:
#14: At this point, you will add your teaspoon of vanilla and stir well. This all must be done as quickly as possible so that your fudge does not begin to set up in the pan.
#15: Once the vanilla is stirred in, you are ready to pour into your pan. You may need to get someone to help you at this point, because the pan will be heavy, and it will be hot. Are you amazed? I actually poured this pan of fudge into my jelly roll pan, WHILE taking the picture!!!

#16: Once you have poured all of the fudge into your buttered pan (go ahead and scrape the sides to get it all.), smooth and even it out. Don't over-smooth. You want a pretty, swirly pattern, and you want your fudge to look smooth and glossy...not old and wrinkled.
#17: Here is what your final product should look like:
#18: Give it a couple of hours to cool and set up. Do NOT put it into the refrigerator to set up, or you will have sticky fudge that has condensated, because of the moisture in the fridge.
Now it is time to cut and serve up to your friends and family.
But WAIT!!!! Here is the best part of all:
If you work it right, you should have a good spoonful of leftover fudge in the pan. Get a spatula, a spoon, whatever...and sample your yummy fudge!!!!
GREAT JOB!!!!!! Now you've got the skills of a true candy-maker!!!!!
Thanks for reading, and God bless!