Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread

Happy Monday!
So sorry I didn't update anything this weekend but Ruby has gone from an unpredictable napping schedule to none at all and this weekend was sort of the culmination of all of that - meaning not only did she not sleep enough, I didn't either. After reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child again I've decided I'm going to try to wake her up at 7 every morning in hopes that not only will she go to sleep earlier but she'll nap at least twice (for at least an hour at a time) during the day. This morning was the first morning of our new routine so we got up at 8, napped at 9 for an hour and then again at 1:20 after quite a bit of crying and screaming, but I can tell she's tired I think she was wound up and over tired by the time she finally fell asleep. I'm going to give it two weeks... I have a feeling it's going to be a long two weeks but hopefully no longer than it's felt the last two weeks.

On another note - I made more pumpkin bread this weekend! I didn't get any more leaves cut out, for reasoning, read above paragraph. I did, however, score some pine cones from my neighbor that I'm going to scent with some essential oil and use as a festive centerpiece to go with my pumpkin votive holders that I plan to make this week. Woohoo!
Here's what I've learned about pumpkin bread:
I'm going to give you the original recipe first and then tell you about my experimentation.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread (2 loaves)
3 cups sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and peanut butter; beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture; mix well. Pout into two greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Ok. So first I cut the recipe in half and tried one loaf just as the recipe called. It was delicious. So very delicious. I knew that I wanted to make it often and even eat it for breakfast but couldn't knowing what was in it (especially how much sugar!) so I tried a few variations.
1. I used pumpkin (or applesauce) instead of the oil - it worked out just fine
2. I only put in 1/2 cup of sugar in each loaf - I thought it was great for a breakfast bread by my husband didn't think it was sweet enough, and it didn't taste as good as before so maybe it needs 3/4 cup sugar or a mixture of honey and sugar? depends on your taster
3. I used 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat - tasted just fine and baked great. The only difference I noticed is that it's a little more dense and crumbly but that's the nature of whole wheat. My husband didn't notice that difference though.

I'm still going to tweak the recipe and plan on trying to substitute flax for the eggs, honey for sugar, and add saigon cinnamon instead of regular. I might add some cloves to give it a more pumpkin pie flavor too. Oh, and if you really want the peanut butter flavor I recommend adding a little more than 1/3 a cup per loaf. Maybe 1/2 cup even.
And if you still haven't gotten Saigon cinnamon... well... I think I might just have to have a giveaway... Stay tuned.

In the mean time, enjoy the weather and have a wonderful day!

Pulled Down Leaves

The leaves don't really fall here in Texas like they do in MN. I really miss the changing colors. I really love this weather though. Fall doesn't come and go like it does in the north but 70's during the day and 50's at night is just about perfect. I love cold weather but don't mind at all if this keeps up for a few months.
Back to the leaves, they don't really fall but occasionally the wind pulls them down. Today the wind picked up, swirled the leaves down from the trees and there was even a little rain. Here's a little bit of fall from north Texas.

Leaves on our back walk and yard. Notice I didn't say 'grass,' I said 'yard.' We have a green yard, as in we save water by not watering it. :)

And a few leaves - see there are some colored leaves! And quite a few green ones...


My cousin Jessica posted this on her blog after reading it on another website. I'm not sure when this was originally emailed but please pray for these people. We've got it so good here in America, so good.

This is a request for prayer for YWAM (Youth With A Mission) missionaries and their churches in Orissa, India.

Dear beloved sponsors and friends of Good News India,

We have never seen anything like this. We knew that Orissa was the most resistant and hostile State in India as far as the Gospel is concerned. And we brushed off the continuous threats and harassment we faced as we went about His work. But none of our staff imagined that they would see this kind of carnage.... And it seems to be totally under the radar of the Western Media .... Let me explain.... A militant Hindu priest and 4 of his attendants, who were zealously going around the villages of Orissa and 'reconverting' people back to Hinduism, were gunned down by unknown assailants in Central Orissa last weekend. Immediately the Christians were blamed.. The cry rose up...'Kill the Christians!' And the horror began.... In the past 4 days, we have first hand witness to hundreds of churches being blown up or burned and many, many dozens of Christian tribals have been slaughtered. For no other reason than they bear the name of Christ . Night and day I have been in touch with our Good News India Directors spread across 14 Dream Centers in Orissa... they are right in the middle of all this chaos. In Tihidi, just after the police came to offer protection, a group of 70 blood-thirsty militants came to kill our staff and destroy the home. They were not allowed to get in, but they did a lot of damage to our Dream Center by throwing rocks and bricks and smashing our gate, etc. They have promised to come back and 'finish the job.' Our kids and staff are locked inside and have stayed that way with doors and windows shut for the past 3 days. It has been a time of desperately calling on the Lord in prayer. More police have come to offer protection. In Kalahandi, the police and some local sympathizers got to our dream center and gave our staff and kids about 3 minutes notice to vacate. No one had time to even grab a change of clothes or any personal belonging. As they fled, the blood thirsty mob came to kill everyone in the building. We would have had a mass funeral there, but for His grace. In Phulbani, the mob came looking for Christian homes and missions. The local Hindu people, our neighbors turned them away by saying that there were no Christians in this area. So they left.. We had favor. The same thing happened in Balasore. All our dream centers are under lock down with the kids and staff huddled inside and police outside. The fanatics are circling outside waiting for a chance to kill. Others were not so fortunate. In a nearby Catholic orphanage, the mob allowed the kids to leave and locked up a Priest and a computer teacher in house and burned them to death. Many believers have been killed and hacked into pieces and left on the road.... even women and children. At another orphanage run by another organization, when this began, the Director and his wife jumped on their motorbike and simply fled, leaving all the children and staff behind. Every one of our GNI directors that I have spoken to said: 'We stay with our kids.... we live together or die together, but we will never abandon what God has called us to do.' More than 5000 Christian families have had their homes burned or destroyed. They have fled into the jungles and are living in great fear waiting for the authorities to bring about peace. But so far, no peace is foreseen. This will continue for another 10 days.... supposedly the 14 day mourning period for the slain Hindu priest. Many more Christians will die and their houses destroyed. Many more churches will be smashed down. The Federal government is trying to restore order and perhaps things will calm down. We ask for your prayers. Only the Hand of God can calm this storm. None of us know the meaning of persecution. But now our kids and staff know what that means. So many of our kids coming from Hindu backgrounds are confused and totally bewildered at what is happening around them. So many of their guardians have fled into the jungles and are unable to come and get them during these trying times. Through all this, I am more determined than ever to continue with our goal: the transformation of a community by transforming its children. Orissa will be saved... that is our heart's cry. If we can take these thousands of throw-away children and help them to become disciples of Jesus , they will transform an entire region. It is a long term goal, but it is strategic thinking in terms of the Great Commission.

What can you do? First, please uphold all this in fervent prayer. Second, pass this e-mail on to as many friends as you can. We must get the word out and increase our prayer base for this is spiritual warfare at its most basic meaning. We are literally fighting the devil in order to live for His Kingdom. The next 10 days are crucial. We pray for peace and calm to pervade across Orissa. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please pass it on and help us to get as many people to partner with us on this cutting edge effort to fulfill His mandate: Go and make disciples of all nations....

Chip & Sandy Wanner
Col 2:2 MBI (Team Facilitators to YWAM frontlines)

Fall Decoration Updates

I haven't done much more fall decorating around here but I have big plans that I hope to accomplish soon. I've been slowly working on my paint chip leaves. I've got lots traced but cutting them takes quite a bit of time. If only I had one of those fancy hole punches that serious scrapbookers use. When I get a bunch cut out I plan to make a little banner with them. We'll see what happens. (Not a great picture but I'll put some more up this weekend when I make more progress with them)

This weekend I'm going to by some pumpkins so I can make votive holders like this flickr user did. So cute!

A few days last week I simmered an orange with cinnamon sticks and spices. The house smelled so good! I've got to get another orange. If only they weren't so expensive!
I've also got some awesome pumpkin recipes to share but am working on perfecting a few so you'll have to wait a few days for those - no more than a week I promise!
Until then I recommend running out to the store right now and getting some Saigon Cinnamon and baking with it, making curry with it, and using it in all your favorite recipes with cinnamon. It's amazing!

What have you been doing to decorate and celebrate fall?

Zero to dead in 10 seconds

If I was skeptical before I'm not any longer. The Wondercide is, well, wonderful. It's not toxic so I can spray the house to prevent bugs but also to kill them. Even the cockroaches in my kitchen. Surely not, you say, they would survive atomic warfare a little tree oil is nothing to cockroaches.

Well, I came home to find this guy on my counter and in a fit of anxious disgust spritzed him a few (or 10) times, he ran in a few circles and then off the counter where he in old west bad guy fashion twitched and then died. Usually roaches run down cabinets.

He ran off. Like a lemming, to his DOOM, just like his friends will in the near future

The best part is if I want the cedar smell gone I just give my counters a little wipe, maybe a little rinse with vinegar and we're good to go. No worrying about toxic chemicals all over my kitchen. You can pretty much lick the stuff.


Bug Update

Well I'm still not sure it's fleas (although there's no doubt about us having roaches), but I discovered a product online today that we're going to try.
It's called Wondercide. It's cedar oil and saline solution. That's it. No scary chemicals at all! And the best part is the cedar oil they use is food-grade so there's no worry about Ruby getting sick. Not only can you use it in and around your home you can use it as a bug repellent in place of OFF and others! AWESOME!
What's even more awesome is that's it's a company started by a family from DFW that was sick of all the chemicals in insect treatments and I spoke with Stephanie on the phone today. She was very helpful in telling me about the products and answering all my questions. It's not often that you speak with one of the founders of a company when you call customer service.
We're going to order some today and will rip the rest of our carpet up tonight (I ripped up the hallway and spare bedroom on Sunday - my back is killing me but it was worth it, I hate carpet).

I also found a few recipes for roach killer that use borax so we're going to make some of those and put them under the cabinet tonight. Here they are in case anyone else is interested.

Use a cup of Borax, half a cup of flour, a quarter-cup of powdered sugar, and one-half cup of ground oats - place in dish and cover with folded cardboard to make it more attractive or dust along walls/inside walls/inside cabinets

Mix equal amounts of borax and flour. Then add just enough confectioners sugar to attract the roaches. Add just enough water to make a soft dough. Roll the dough into little balls and place in the little candy paper cups (like the cups muffins come in). Place the balls in corners of cupboards and behind furniture where other animal life cannot reach. The roaches eat this and it causes them to dry out. It takes about two to three weeks before they will be completely gone. Replace the balls every month to ensure that there is no re-infestation.

(I'm going to wear gloves when I do these because borax is a skin irritant - also, be careful not to inhale the dust when you're dusting walls and cabinets as it is a lung irritant - children and pets should not be allowed to inhale it or ingest it as it's especially harmful to them)

I'll keep you posted.