Saturday, October 10, 2015

Weight Watcher's-Friendly Apple Crisp

by Cathy Baker

You know the old adage: 

The way to a man's heart is 
through his stomach. 

Thankfully for me, the way to Brian's heart wasn't through food but a solid friendship and a goofy sense of humor. 

Still, a girl needs to cook, even the empty-nester type, like myself. As you may know from past posts, I've been doing Weight Watchers since April. I'm learning that healthier food doesn't have to look or taste all that different. Take this classic Fall dessert, Apple Crisp, for instance:  

  • 5 medium fresh peeled apple slice(s)   {I used Honeycrisp}
  • 3 tsp sugar   
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar   
  • 2 Tbsp regular butter   
  • 3/4 cup(s) uncooked oatmeal   
  • 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour   
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon   
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice   


  • Arrange sliced, peeled apples in 11x7 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Combine all other ingredients together to form crumbs, scatter evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 30 min. DELICIOUS! 
Serves 6, at 5 points+ per plentiful serving. Top with Fat Free Whipped Topping for 0 points. Yes, life is good. 
-- recipe posted by Laura, Fairfax VA, Weight Watchers site, 2013

Friday, October 9, 2015

Look Up For A Fall-Filled Worship Encounter

by Cathy Baker

Is anything more awe-stirring than an Autumn evening?

Moonlit skies ripe with vibrant stars, crisp light winds brisk enough to warrant warm sweaters and soft scarves. 

So bundle up and head outdoors. Lay in the bed of your truck or spread out your blanket on a soft patch of grass. Look up! Gaze and marvel at the wonder God has created. 

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

As you point towards all the different stars, remember this...God calls each by name.
 “The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety.”  
Deuteronomy 33:12

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” 
Psalm 17:8

“… but I have called you friends…” 
John 15:15

Before heading inside for a cup of cocoa, let us consider the names that the God of the universe calls us. Is there anything more personal? Spend a few moments thanking Him for desiring—pursuing—such a personal relationship with you.

The above are just three names of many but is there one that resonates with you more today? Please share in the comment section. 


Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Poet's Nod to Autumn - Mary Oliver's Fall Song

Poetry done well has a way of meandering its way into one's soul. It moves us, inviting us to observe life from a fresh perspective. Mary Oliver is my favorite poet. Every time I read her work I want to grab paper and pen. Every. Single. Time. She inspires me—and I believe she will inspire you as well, which is why I'm sharing her Fall Song with you today.
Be sure to add your favorite line to the comment section!


Fall Song

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries – roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time’s measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay – how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

- Mary Oliver

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Five Overnight Activities to Enjoy with Your Grandchildren

by Cathy Baker

Grandchildren heading your way on one of these beautiful Fall evenings? 

If so, here are some fun ideas to make the most of the season, and your time with the next generation. 

Pile On! Rake a heapin' pile of leaves on a grassy area of your lawn. No rules required. It seems like children instinctively know that if there's a pile of leaves before them, they must jump.  

Enjoy a Picnic. Simplicity is the key. Pack up peanut butter and honey sandwiches, cheese sticks, fruit, and juice boxes. Throw out a blanket or sheet (avoiding fire ants!), gather the little ones and prepare for lots of giggles. Be sure to take pictures. Raining? No problem! Move it inside.   

Hand Shadow Puppet Show. I walked in on Brian's show with two of our grands at the beach a few weeks ago. They were in awe of Brian's masterful bunnies and hawks (we're grateful for the awe-factor while they're young). All you need is a dark wall and a flashlight. Not sure how to make the figures? Check this out on Pinterest.  

Turn on the music...and dance. "Your royal highness, may I have the honor of this dance?" Brian asked. Piper's facial expression was priceless. Donned in her Belle princess gown, she accepted with the grace of a real princess because, well, she is. :) But we've also cut loose by playing The Doors while all four of us (Brian, me, Piper and Gabe) formed a dance train, moving throughout all the rooms of the house. Oh my, the laughter!

Backyard Campout. If the weather is nice, pop a tent, pull out the sleeping bags/pillows, and a lamp (those operating with LED are ideal to read by.) If possible, make a small campfire and break out the graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hershey bars. Weather not cooperating? Move it inside! The best part? You can make S'mores in the microwave. Score! Hershey has great instructions for both indoor and outdoor prep. 

Fall is a magnet for fun, laughter, and the making of good memories. Let's take hold of these moments refusing to let them slip by.

Which one of the above ideas could you see yourself enjoying the most? Or do you have another idea we can add to the list? Love it! Let's get it posted via comments. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Turning Your Handwritten Family Recipe Into a Tea Towel

by Cathy Baker

Last week I introduced you to friend, sis in Christ, and fellow blogger Rene Peery Beagle. 

One of her past posts, "How to Turn A Family Recipe Into A Tea Towel" popped into my mind this weekend and I knew I had to share it here. 

After all, who says we have to wait till Christmas to share a special gift with a loved one?

Imagine sharing a handwritten {Thanksgiving} recipe from your mother or grandmother with your sister, daughter, or granddaughter in the form of a beautiful tea towel? Ah, the spirit of gratefulness celebrated generation to generation!

Now, let's think for a moment outside the box. What if you have a poet or novelist for a parent or grandparent? Their handiwork could also be transferred for future enjoyment. 

Really, the possibilities are endless and the process is incredibly easy! 

For this, I'll send you to Rene's delightful spot in the blogosphere, The Domestic Lady...A Chic Cheap Lifestyle Blog -- specifically her post, How To Turn A Family Recipe Into a Tea Towel.  

Fall in love with Fall this year by using the month as a platform to bless others. 

So, what's your favorite family recipe? Or, can you think of another creative handwritten item to transfer to the tea towel? I'd love to hear it!

Thanks for stopping by...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Curling Up With "Simply Tuesday" by Emily P. Freeman

by Cathy Baker

What better season to curl up with a book and a warm cup of tea than Fall? This is especially true if the book you're reading is Emily P. Freeman's recent release, Simply Tuesday...Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. 

I've been a fan of Emily's work since I read A Million Little Ways. (If you missed this post, you can read it here.) 

Her voice reads as one of a friend that you could sit with and chat for hours...on a bench, of course (you'll have to read the book!) Her message resonates with the writer within, but even more, it echoes my desire to stay in step with the Spirit, not only in the so-called big things in life, but the small as well. 

Truth be told, I would've purchased this book simply based on the fact that I enjoy Emily's work but its release date was no coincidence. In recent months, I've struggled with the word contentment and how it lines up with my life. I had peace about a certain situation but I wanted to put it to the test, if you will, by reading a book that deals with living in the now. I wanted to be awakened to the challenge, not soothed to sleep by words more comforting than a warm grilled cheese sandwich, with a side of soup. Emily delivered.

One of my favorite chapters is Community & Competition...Finding Safe Places to Feel Insecure. We all need to safe place to land. I know I do. Emily explores what this might look like if we have a proper perspective on community. As a result of this chapter, I'm praying about starting my own Tuesday Group. (I'll keep you posted!)

Oh, how true! Wouldn't you agree? It's not called the comparison-trap for nothing.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone longing to live their ordinary days in extraordinary ways. 

So go ahead! Download this book or grab another, pour a hot cup of tea, or brew a batch of coffee, and settle in for a true celebration of this awe-inspiring season. 

Your turn! I'd love to know what book you're currently reading. Please, share it with us. Many are searching for a good read these days. Thank you.

Congratulations Ginger Harrington! You were the randomly selected winner of the writing journal for the September drawing. Please message me your address.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

When Music Recalls a Fall Memory

by Cathy Baker 

There I was, tapping away at the keys, listening to Pandora play quietly in the background, when in a flash, I found myself standing on green linoleum floors in the middle school choir room practicing "For the Beauty of the Earth" for our Thanksgiving production.

As the song played, my fingertips refused to budge as memories flooded the space. I closed my eyes, longing to soak in those simple times from way back when, if only for a few moments.

Music has a way of instantaneously transporting us to another time and place, wouldn't you agree? 

Hearing a song that ushered in the Fall season to a long ago middle-schooler caused me to pause and give thanks for this land I love, and to my heavenly Father, maker of heaven of earth.  

Is there a particular song that prompts a spirit of gratitude in your heart, perhaps from way back when?