Pumpkin Scones- Dairy & Egg Free

Pumpkin Scones
Dairy & Egg free

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½  tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½  tsp cinnamon 
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin pie filling 
  • 3 tablespoons DF Sour cream ( I use Tofutti)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce

1. Scones: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside (or you can use greased backing sheet)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pumpkin spice. Using fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  Use fingers to combine  until the mixture is crumbly and similar texture to corn meal, set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, cream, and applesauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until mostly combined, (the mixture will seem dry), use your hands to knead the dough against the sides of the bowl, to ensure it is completely combined.
4. Pat the dough into a 7-inch circle. Cut the round of dough into 8 equal triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until gold on bottom
5. Powdered Sugar Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tbsp almond milk until smooth.  Drizzle onto scones once they are cooled

Exercise Jar for Kids

My boys both just began basketball, and have gym classes at co-op, but we are still stuck inside most days due to extreme cold temperatures.  I decided to add some exercise to the daily agenda and workboxes by making an Exercise Jar.

I picked exercises that kids can do with very little help.  If they didn't know how to do an exercise, we watched a quick video when I explained the jar (below). If your child is really struggling with one of these exercises, just take it out of the jar.



After each boy finishes his free typing lessons, they must pick 3 exercise from the Exercise Jar. What better time than after sitting at a computer?!  It's a good lesson for all of us in this modern computer age. It isn't a full workout, but keep them moving a little more during the day.

Younger children can pick one exercise a day, if 3 is too many.  Older kids can pick up 5 a day. To keep in shape, maybe you as a mom can pick a few to do with your kids!

How to Help When a Loved One's Family is in Critical Care

Welcome to another post that I wish I couldn't write from first hand experience. Like seriously.  I hate this.  But I process through writing.  It is the only way I know how I make sense of this senseless tragedy. I also believe that we experience pain so that we can eventually help others through their pain, so I'm sharing this stuff with you all. I truly truly hope it helps someone.

The spirit of this is not to shame or to complain, but to give you insight. I would know NONE of this if we hadn't experienced it firsthand.   A few months ago lost my brother in law after several days in critical care. 

Before I begin, I must describe how CRITICAL CARE is different than supporting someone in the recovery sections of the hospital. Forget all images of visiting someone recovering from pneumonia, or when you had your baby. Critical is minute to minute life and death. You are woken up from deep sleep (which is rare to come by) to hear updates or make life altering decisions. You learn to read monitors.  You become family with the nurses.  You spend every moment advocating for your loved one.  

My husband and I  have come up with some tips on how you can be helpful, or at least avoid making it worse, when you have friend who has a loved one in critical care. 

 #1 Reach out, but don’t pressure.
The next time your loved one is in crisis, reach out to tell them you love them and are thinking of them. The many texts we got while we were in the hospital were priceless. Over and over, people told us they loved us and were praying for us. It was a balm to our souls.  I can not truly express how much it meant. 

But don’t push , take their lead. Let them know you are there if they need you, then take their lead in how much they want to share. You will probably not get a response, but that is ok.  

In the hospital, and during the past few months, our support system has been amazing.  They showed up on a minutes notice when we asked.  They backed away when we needed it.  They understood when we cancelled plans.  In short, they gave us grace.They understood when texts went unanswered for days.  They understood when we needed time with just our Joyner Tribe. They understood when we would rather have you send food, than drop it off, and require us to interact with anyone else. I know they all wanted to be there specifically for us, to hug us while we cried, but they respected us when they weren't that person at that moment. They took our lead, cried when we needed to cry, and let us laugh when we need to be numb for a little bit.

#2 Be patient for updates.
Send well wishes and prayer, but don't pepper with questions. Be patient and wait for when they are ready to update you.   My brother in law was a man who made friends wherever he went.  He was one of my favorite humans on the planet, and many others had the same feeling.  Which meant many people wanted update of his condition after his accident. We literally had to assign a person to answer the phones, because people kept pestering with questions.

Critical care changes up and down so quickly, the updates are never accurate.  Please be aware that family may be processing painful news, and not ready to share yet. We found that the moment we starting sharing news was when it felt real. In this age of instant updates and live streaming, I get that waiting is hard, but you must be respectful of the family's choice of what and when to share.

Again, this is CRITICAL CARE, not a normal hospital stay. This may sound cold, but the first-tier grievers are the immediate family members. Respect their wishes at all times. Critical care is a small window of time, and no matter the outcome, you will get your time to see the patient or family eventually. Your need for news or closure needs to take a back seat to the needs and wishes of the immediate family. 

#3 Presents over presence
I am not trying to scare people away, but please know CRITICAL CARE IS DIFFERENT THAN NORMAL HOSPITAL STAY.  Family must be emotionally present at all time.  I truly can not describe it, and I hope you never experience it. 
Do not show up unannounced, ever, for any reason. Unless you are specifically asked to visit, or loved ones specifically say "open to visitors”, then visitors need to stay away. 

There are several reasons for this. The time it takes for someone to coordinate when they can meet you takes away from being able to hear updates, or make vital decisions. If you think you can sidestep this problem and be "helpful" by just coming up to room, then you will most likely interrupt a much needed nap during a brief calm in the storm. Or worse, walk in when we are receiving devastating news. Or very often the family may simply have finally found a moment of blissful numbness, and having to hug a new person and see their pain will just bring it all rushing back.

Send your love in ways that require literally no emotional resources in return from the recipient.  When sending a present, send it to the waiting room. Hospitals are perfectly capable of delivering a care package. Several people had food delivered to our room, such as simple Jimmy John’s food trays. There can never be too much food sent (again, please don't show up without permission). Any sandwiches we had leftover, we gave to the amazing nurses who became our family for that week. 

An amazing couple in our church asked if it would be helpful if they purchased us a hotel room by the hospital; she researched around the area and found a clean and safe place for us, so some of us took shifts using it to shower and sleep.  She paid online and all I had to do was show up. Of course many of us wouldn’t leave the hospital, but some took a few hour shifts to shower and catch quick naps. One night, 2 of us spent 3 hours sleeping, and were called back to the hospital, but the 3 hours in a bed made a big difference when you’re going on 72 hours of no sleep. 

#4 Be aware of YOUR need to feel needed. 
I know the feeling of helplessness is overwhelming. I. Get. This. I said before how amazing our loved ones were, they reached out and comforted our souls. That said, we also had people who didn't respond with grace or mercy. People who didn't respect the boundaries or needs of the family. The situation felt out of control to everyone, and some sought control by pushing in, in the name of helping. 

When you can't say no, there is a problem. Beware of someone's "need to be needed" turning into control. Your red flag in a crisis is if someone responds in anger when you say no to their help. Someone violating your boundaries in the name of caring for you is still a form of control. 

Use this need to be needed to motivate your generosity, but make sure it does not cloud your judgment in what is appropriate. Again, find ways that you can help that require no resources from the family. Clean their house, because they probably left in a hurry. Coming home to flies from dirty dishes is awful. 

#5 NEVER post updates or any information on social media without direct consent from immediate family. 
Family may share info with you as they process and seek support, but that is NOT permission to share information with others. Do not violate their trust with the guise of trying to help keep others informed. Always ask before sharing ANY information.  You can not control the ripples of what you post, and I promise you, there are ripples.

Cinnamon Raisin Scones- Dairy and Egg Free

The recipes makes 8 scones....but they were so irresistible that I ate before I could take the picture!

Egg Free & Dairy Free

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar + 1 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼  teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
½ tsp cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cold (I use sticks of Imperial)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup DF sour cream (I use Tofutti sour cream)
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tsp almond milk

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda salt, and cinnamon. Cut butter into flour mixture ; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should look like coarse meal), then stir in raisins.
3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and applesauce until smooth.
4. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to make the dough into a ball in the ball.  (The dough will be sticky in places, and at first it seems too dry, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a greased cookie sheet (or use sheet lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes.
6. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes
7.     Make icing by combing sugar and almond milk. Add icing to top and serve warm or at room temperature.

Modesty and the Me Too Movement

The fact that the #MeToo movement began in Hollywood, the most sexualized industry in America, outside of pornography, may be why so many Christians have been trying to move the focus of the movement to modesty and self responsibility.

 I get that, I do. There are many women who dress inappropriately and our hyper sexualized casual-sex culture is confusing, where I honestly feel sorry for unmarried men trying to navigate their natural urges in the sexual dating world.  Sadly there will be women who try to claim this movement as permission to not be responsible for their own actions.

As the pendulum swings too far away from personal responsibility, it is creating knee-jerk reactions in many Christian to try and change the focus of this movement. This is a big mistake, and while it is unintentional, it makes many Christian come across as uncaring, and quite frankly, merciless.

The true focus of #MeToo is on the Powerless being taken advantage of by the Powerful.
If you try to shift the conversation to modesty, you will forget the majority of the victims who are not in Hollywood, who now have a voice because of this movement.  These victims' experiences had nothing to with what they were wearing...

The little boys and girls who are wearing their Sunday best when they are molested.

The college girl who was wearing a long sleeved sweater before she is date raped.

The woman in a business suit who is habitually asked for sex by her boss.

The junior high girl in her jeans and hoodie who is taken advantage of by her youth leader.

The teen girl in flannel pajamas who is violated by her friend's father at a sleepover.

The woman who dresses up for her husband, and is groped by a man on her way to the restaurant.

There will be a time & place for a conversation  on how modesty and  casual sex plays a role in the objectification of women, BUT it isn't the conversation that needs to be had when discussing #Metoo Movement.

Don't complicate the simple truth of #Metoo. These women need to be validated in the simple truth that started this movement : IT'S NOT OK. PERIOD.

No "What abouts". No hypothetical. No shifting the debate with straw men arguments.  Of course there are complicated dynamics in every allegation. It's messy and hard. But the focus of this movement is still simple.

It's not ok.

It's not ok for the powerful to use their power to get sexual gratification.

It's not ok for the male owner of a pageant to walk into a dressing room of contestants, just because he knows they can't tell him no.

It's not ok for a boss to touch a woman's breasts or private parts, knowing she can't say anything unless she wants to loose her job.

It's not ok for an Olympic doctor to molest an underage girl, knowing if she tells she could lose her place on the team, and be wrapped in scandal.

It's not ok!

I am a HUGE advocate for modesty, but this isn't a conversation in which to to call out modesty.
When we lose focus of this movement towards modesty, we take the focus off the predators who abuse their power, and put focus on guilting the victims. As a victim of molestation as a child, I personally know the very long road it takes to finally believe it wasn't your fault.

The FIRST thing most victims do is try to figure what they did wrong, how is was their fault. The LAST thing we should be doing is inadvertently confirming it was.

Guitar Lessons for Kids

I love homeschool, but sometimes I worry about some of the extracurriculars. Thankfully there are several free resources to be found online.

My husband taught himself how to play in high school, and consequently used that talent to win me over, because who doesn't love a guitar player!?

 Each of my 10 year old sons have enjoyed learning to play piano for free at home, so we bought them their own guitars for Christmas!!!

  We love the Beginners Acoustic Guitar Kit , it has everything you need to start; with a bag, pick, strap, tuner, and plenty of extra strings. When we added these all up separately, this was a very good deal.

While my husband can play basic guitar, he isn't a trained guitar teacher. We decided to find a guideline to help the process. He is going to do one weekly lesson, with each boy, using these lesson plans and videos. He gets to be  our music teacher, with his own teacher manual!

We found for these well done Lesson plans, videos, and printables for beginning your kids on the guitar FOR ONLY $25!


Four Gifts at Christmas
Free Piano Lessons at Home: Hoffman Academy

Roman Soldier Helmet

We are enjoying our study of Rome during Rome to Reformation.  The end of the Roman study calls for a roman feast and roman costumes.  To be honest, we haven't gotten to the feast yet, and we made these costumes during winter break, 2 weeks after we were supposed to, but that is just how homeschooling goes sometimes.

We found this tutorial online, but didn't have cardstock.  I solved this by printing on regular paper and using Aluminum Foil to cover all the pieces.

Materials Needed:
  • Roman Solder Helmet Printable (on regular paper is fine because you're covering with foil to stiffen)
  • Aluminum Foil (I bought the cheap stuff from Dollar Tree)
  • Stapler
  • Red marker or crayons
  • Scissors
 1. Print Roman Solder Printable

2. Children cut out pieces, coloring top red.

3. Assist your children in covering with foil, all except top of fridge.  Use pieces twice the size as the piece of paper, and fold over, creasing at edges.  It is OK if it's not the exact shape as your paper, it is just a guideline. 

4.  Staple pieces together on the spots where the templates indicates to glue.  Put on child's head to size straps before stapling.