Posts filed under ‘Blogging From A to Z Challenge’

U: UPSIDE DOWN German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake was a favoutite cake for birthdays when I was growing up. Ahhhh, that home made frosting is by FAR 1000% better than what you buy in a can today. But, alas, it seems that making this cake is time intensive and so I don’t make it.

I like my cake with cream, but it would be just as yummy with ice cream or whipped cream.

I like my cake with cream, but it would be just as yummy with ice cream or whipped cream.

BUT. I came across this UPSIDE DOWN German Chocolate Cake which uses a box mix and I had to try it. I made it for a late Father’s Day celebration for my brother-in-law.

The pecans and coconut go on the bottom  underneath the cake batter. The “frosting” is made of melted butter, softened cream cheese, and powdered sugar which is swirled through the cake batter.

I scooped the first piece upside down into my bowl and saturated it with cream. This is a yummy version of a classic cake. The original is not much better. My spoonful after spoonful after spoonful was devine which makes this recipe a keeper.

Comments from family members (aka testers) . . . 

  • “This is fantastic.”
  • “I want this cake for my birthday.”
  • “I ate tooooo much cake.”
  • “This is as good as the regular version.”

Tips and Observations

  • My cake was done at 45 minutes and not the suggested 60 minutes. I tested this by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake and it came out clean. Be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t over bake.
  • The instructions state to not over bake this recipe. If you do I believe that the yummy swirls of frosting (which fall to the bottom of the pan) will become baked instead of staying gooey. You definitely want gooey.
  • Some recipes call for margarine  for the frosting – you’ll definitely want to use butter.
  • Some recipes call for 1 cup of pecans. In this recipe you’ll want to use the full 2 cups.
  • Pecans are always used in a German chocolate cake. However, walnuts would be a cheaper alternative and would not impact the taste.
  • 1 pound powdered sugar = 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar or 4 cups sifted powdered sugar.

Your Turn . . . Try it and let me know your opinion. . . . What would you add to the Tips and Observations?

Related Posts . . . 

Hat Tip to Rachelle Underwood of To. Die. For. Recipes for this DELISH cake.

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NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous. I am a little late in posting it. But it sure is a yummmmmmy late post. 🙂 For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is U. The topic is Upside Down German Chocolate Cake

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Reflections on the April A-Z Challenge 2013

The Blogging from A – Z April Challenge 2013 is done.  And I posted a majority of the days, in fact 84.6% of the time. I am a survivor!survivor_[2013]

General Reflections about the Challenge

  • I benefited from the accountability to post (almost) daily during April. Once I started writing I didn’t want to break my streak and so wrote something 22 out of 26 days.
  • I found out about the challenge the night before it started. Therefore I didn’t have any posts written ahead of time. Each morning I woke up early to write. I found this to be a productive and enjoyable time. I hope to keep up with morning writing.
  • What I did was to (mainly) finish up drafts that had been in my draft folder for at least a year. I thought these would be a snap to complete. WRONG. I still spent around 2 hours per post.
  • I went though my drafts and picked 26 to finish. (I did change 3 or so posts as I went through the alphabet.)  I put them in a list here and hot linked them as they went live. This helped me to focus on each day’s post. And since the title was already in “ink,” I was more motivated to finish it that day.

What I liked

  • I liked having the categories for the blogs. At the beginning of the month I went through the list and looked for the bloggers who had a craft  or writer blog. Even though I don’t do a lot of crafts or consider myself a writer, I like to read such posts.
  • I liked the requirement to turn off word verification. All the blogs I visited did not have this on.
  • I also liked the suggestion to read the five blogs after your name. With so many blogs on the list and having little time to read, I sometimes I didn’t know where to go. I was fairly regular about reading these blogs though.
  • Finally I liked the Facebook page which I discovered about at the end of the challenge.

New (to me) Bloggers I Enjoyed

I Will Participate Next Year

  • Even though I didn’t write according to a theme, I really liked reading the blogs who did so. So next year I will write theme-based posts.
  • Another thing I will do differently is to pre-write as many posts as I can. In fact I have already scheduled myself to do that January-March 2014. That way I hope I can spend more time reading posts in the A-Z Challenge.

Be sure to read my posts HOW TO Get People to Read Your Series: 9 Ideas.

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NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories for the blogs and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I posted 22 out of  26 days  (mainly) finishing up posts that have been in my draft file for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s topic is Reflections on the April A-Z Challenge 2013.

. at . 9 comments

X: Using an X-ACTO to Make a Kindle Cover from a Hardback Book

This biography of the seventeenth-century New York merchant concentrates on the last six years of his life and the mission which led to his conviction and execution.

This book is about Captain Kidd’s last 6 years of life. He claims He was a privateer under orders from England. But he was imprisoned, tried, & convicted as a pirate. Fair? Read & decide.

I am reading through the books on my bookshelves  to see which books I can let go of. Go here to see why.

I’ve recently read some of my children’s books like . . . 

  • The Summer of the Swan
  • Civil War on Sunday
  • The Mystery Girl, and
  • The  Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd.

I’ve had this last book since my kiddos were young. The copyright is 1970. The sticker on this hardback book says the book cost $2.95. For more information about Captain Kidd, go to this link.

I liked the book but won’t read it again. But since I think the cover is cool I didn’t put the book in the “donate pile.” I decided to make it into a cover for my Kindle.

I followed the directions here (from Rimarama) to make mine.

I just checked out how much I could have sold this on e-bay. Yikes. I could have made between $27.08 and $50.00.  Instead I cut into this vintage book!

I just checked out how much I could have sold this on e-bay. Yikes. I could have made between $27.08 and $50.00. Instead I cut into this vintage book!

This took me about 3 hours to make. The most time-consuming part is the cutting out the pages part especially the corners.

Tips and Observations

  1. Use  a clamp to hold the pages together after you have modge-podged them. I put a piece of cardboard between the clamp and book so that a dent would not appear on the book.
  2. I drew around my Kindle to make my cutting lines. Make sure you draw straight down and not at an angle inwards. If you draw at any angle inwards, the “cave” will be too small. You will then have to recut the pages to make the cave bigger. This will add considerable time to the project.
  3. Use a sharp blade in your x-acto knife. If it isn’t sharp, the pages will tear.
  4. As I cut out the pages from my book, I looked at all the picture pages including the table of contents as possible pages to put inside my Kindle "cave."

    As I cut out the pages from my book, I looked at all the picture pages including the table of contents as possible pages to line my Kindle “cave.”

    When you change the blade to use the other side, put some finger nail polish on the used side. That way you don’t have to remember whether it is new or used.

  5. Use a metal ruler as a guide when you cut along your pencil line. This will keep you from cutting away more than you mean to. I did this for about the first 20 pages or so.
  6. I used a file to smooth some of the page corners. This really wasn’t necessary. After I did the final modge-podge step the pages looked good enough.
  7. I didn’t use scrapbook paper as top page as per the directions. Instead I chose to leave the cave frame as it was. And I put the Table of Contents in the cave and a cool picture page (from the book) on the inside of the left cover. I modge-podged them both in place.
  8. I put a loose ribbon behind the Kindle.  That way it is easier for me to lift my it out of the book.

    I put a loose ribbon behind the Kindle. Now it is easier to lift it out of the cave.

    I really wanted to use this particular book. Even though it didn’t have  a 1 inch margin between the Kindle and the edge of the book page, I tried it. It seems like it will work anyway.

  9. My “cave is a little tight for the Kindle. So I put a loose ribbon behind the Kindle.  That way it is easier for me to lift my it out of the book.

Related Posts

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NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is X. The topic is Using an X-ACTO Knife to Make a Kindle Cover from a Book.

. at . 1 comment

W: Two Results of Proper WORSHIP & How to Experience It

Worship helps me stop the negative, self-centered, and sometimes critical thoughts. THEN I can concentrate on God: His will, attributes, and love for His Children.

Worship helps me stop the negative, self-centered, worried, and sometimes critical thoughts. THEN I can concentrate on God: His will, attributes, and love for His Children.

What does PROPER worship do?

  1. Interrupts my self-preoccupation
  2. Leads me to deliberately focus on God

“Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.”

“Worship is the time and place that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God – not because He’s confined to time and place but because  . . .

  • our self-importance is so insidiously relentless
  • that if we don’t deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly,
  • we have no chance of attending to Him at all at other times and in other places.”  

By Eugene Peterson

Pastor Peterson says that worship is a strategy, an identifiable plan of action to achieve the goal of “attending to the presence of God.”

Therefore worship, or experiencing God’s presence, can happen at any point in the day on any day when I deliberately reflect on God.

Here are three ways I can worship, experience God’s presence.

ONE. Music helps me experience God’s presence. I agree with Bach that certain music makes me feel God’s presence. “Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence,” (Johann Sebastian Bach).

“Sometimes when we sing, the power of music and truth combined can dig deeply into our hearts to make us realize that God is with us, but it wasn’t the singing that made him appear. He was there all along.” By Vaughan Roberts

TWO. Sermons help me experience God’s presence. Listening to people like my Pastor or other speakers who truthfully and diligently preach/teach God’s Word does 3 things . . .

  1. corrects my theology, 
  2. admonishes me to see how God would have me change, and  
  3. opens my thoughts to God’s loving, powerful, omnipresence in my life.  

“God fills heaven and earth just as the ocean fills a bucket which has been submerged in it a mile down. The bucket is full of ocean, but the ocean surrounds the bucket in all directions.” AW Tozer, The Attributes of God

Everyday life can help me experience God. Brother Lawrence took this to mean that he could worship God anywhere even while cleaning dishes if he was seeking out and reflecting on God’s presence. I’ve discovered the same thing.

“He [God] does not ask much of us merely a thought of Him from time to time,

  • a little act of adoration,
  • sometimes to ask for His grace,
  • sometimes to offer Him your sufferings,
  • at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you,
  • in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can.”

By Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

These are only three of the ways I worship, experience God’s presence.

Your Turn . . . 

  • How often do you worship God?
  • How do you best experience God’s presence?
  • What helpful book(s) have you read on this topic?

Related Articles from the Internet . . . 

Related Posts from Fruitful Words

  1. Honoring gods or God
  2. Making Sunday More Enjoyable
  3. Songs Can Deliver Some Of The Best Sermons

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This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is W. The topic is WORSHIP.

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T: TAMALE Pie Review

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A chili-type filling topped with cornbread mixture makes for a quick & delicious meal. The left-overs heat up well.

Not all pies have to be sweet in order to be enjoyed. Savory is yummy, especially a savory tamale pie. My mom used to make one when we were kids. I don’t have that recipe any more – maybe my sista does.

So I used this tamale pie recipe.

Yes, this pie, with its cornmeal crust, is filling and quick to prepare – 15 minutes quick. This pie was okay, but it didn’t have quite the taste I remember.

Tips and Observations

  1.  The filling was tasty. 
  2. The corn bread topping was just okay.
  3. Next time I make a Tamale Pie (and there will be a next time), I will find a recipe that uses eggs, less salt, and adds leavening for the cornbread part of the pie.
  4. Cooking it at 425 degrees for 25 minutes was too long. I should have checked it at 20 minutes.
  5. It served up great as leftovers.
  6. I added one cup of black beans and it was delish.

Go here to read why I am making 55 pies in 52 weeks. . . . Pie Count . . . 7 made . . .  48 to go.

Your Turn . . .

  • Have you made a Tamale Pie before? If yes, how different or similar was your recipe?
  • What would you add to the Tips and Observations?
  • What was the last pie you made?

Related Post . . . Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (2nd recipe on this post)

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NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is T. The topic is TAMALE Pie. To find the post for U: UPSIDE-DOWN German Chocolate Cake recipe, here’s the link.

. at . Leave a comment

S: SIX Benefits Adults Receive by Writing Thank You Notes

In general people believe that kiddos should write thank you notes. But how

Don't let lack of fancy supplies or cards inhibit you from writing a thank you. A piece of paper and pen do just nicely

Don’t let lack of fancy supplies or cards inhibit you from writing a thank you. A piece of paper and pen do just nicely.

many of us believe that adults should do the same?

  • And if we believe it, how many of us actually do this on a regular basis?
  • Finally, have you thought how adults benefit from writing thank you notes?

Below are 6 benefits.

ONE. Writing a thank you note slows you down long enough to really concentrate on the gift. It provides space to think and answer these types of questions.

  • Why am I grateful for this gift?
  • How did I benefit from it?
  • How does that make me feel?

NOTE: A gift may be a physical item, a thoughtful and/or helpful action, or encouraging words. 

TWO. Writing a thank you note slows you down long enough to concentrate on the giver. 

  • What can you write that shows you value the thought, energy, time and/or money the giver spent?
  • Sending a thank you note makes the giver feel reassured about the gift especially if the gift is a physical item.
  • The thank you note also makes the giver feel appreciated. It shows you don’t take the giver for granted and that you do value them and the gift.
  • Feelings of appreciation strengthen the bond the giver has with you.

THREE. It makes you, the writer of the note, feel good because you have taken time to think about the love behind the gift. This good feeling then strengthens the bond you have with the giver of the gift.

FOUR. Once you start looking for reasons to be thankful, you’ll find more reasons to be thankful. As you grow your gratitude you will FEEL more gratitude. These positive feelings will positively influence your thoughts. I.e more accepting and giving.

FIVE. Writing a thank you note is good manners. Good manners are always appreciated and help a person get along better with others.

SIX. Do you feel guilty until you’ve written a thank you note? I do. So a last benefit from writing and sending a thank you is that guilt is alleviated.

Writing and then sending a thank you note feels good because you’ve thought . . .

  • about the gift and the giver,
  • the ways you benefited from the gift,
  • and the affection the giver has for you. 

In an effort to be honest, I am good about writing thank you notes. However, I am not good about sending them. I put them someplace and often they never make it to the mail box or I inadvertently lose it.

But after thinking about this topic so much, I am reminded of how beneficial it is for me to write thank you notes AND send them. Therefore, this is something I am going to make a priority in my life especially since I don’t want others to think I take them for granted.

Your Turn . . .

  1. When was the last time you wrote a thank you note? Why did you do so? Did you get a response back from the recipient of the card?
  2. How do you feel when you receive a thank you card?
  3. Do you think writing and/or receiving thank you notes impacts your relationship?
  4. Do you make it a regular habit to write thank you notes? Why or why not?

Related Article . . . The Effects of Gratitude in Relationships (http://www.mindfulnessmuse.com)

Related Posts from Fruitful Words

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NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is S.  The topic is SIX benefits adults receive by writing thank you notes.

. at . 4 comments

R: 3 REASONS I Have a Regular Quiet Time (aka Devotions)

Sometimes I journal during my devotions. I write down insights, responses, and prayers.

Sometimes I journal during my devotions. I write down insights, questions, responses, and prayers.

What does it mean to have devotions or a quiet time with God? It simply means putting aside time to engage in prayer and reading (the Bible or other spiritual literature).

The prayer time is more than talking to God.  It is also listening to Him. I find that I “hear” most of His responses when I read the Bible.

Go here to read about how to hear God’s voice.

 My reading is usually purposeful. I.e. I spend time (daily) reading the verses, chapter, or book of the Bible that my Wednesday night study group is studying. I read to understand. And I read to see what application can be made to my life. In other words, I don’t read just to read.

Having devotions in the mornings has become a habit again. I prefer morning devotions because then I know it will happen before the rest of the day’s agenda interferes. And at this time of day I can give my undivided attention to praying and reading. But like all habits (with me any way) I know that it can be easily broken if I don’t watch my environment and my motives.

Go here to read how I prepare my environment for maximum adherence to this habit.

I need to periodically go over my motives for having a regular quiet time. Knowing these reasons helps increase my stick-to-it-ness. In fact this step is helpful for maintaining any habit. And there are definite reasons I want to spend some extended time with God each morning. Here are 3 reasons.

Reason 1: Transformed Mind. It is easy for me to think mainly of myself and to think badly of people, situations, God, and even myself. The media and culture I live in support this kind of narcissistic, distorted thinking.

However, when I spend purposeful time in the the Bible, the WORD of Truth, my thinking becomes transformed. It goes from thinking according to the world and my natural reasoning to thinking thoughts aligned with God’s Word.

  • Selfishness versus Servanthood
  • Unforgiveness versus Forgiveness
  • Enttlement versus Love
  • Me-centered versus God-centered

Read and ponder Romans 12:1-2.

Reason 2: Transformed Actions. How and what I think upon radically affects what I do. How I behave shows what I think/believe in. I want my actions to reflect well on God. I want my behaviour to be consistent with Biblical mandates because being in alignment will bring me peace and wisdom. And mainly I want to be transformed to show that Christ indeed lives within me.

Read and ponder Matthew 5:16  . . . . Psalm 119:165 . . . . Proverbs 22:17-21 . . . . Galatians 2:20.

Reason 3: Transformed Relationship. In order to go from strangers to intimate friends, steps need to be taken in order to transform the relationship. To deepen any relationship there needs to be time and energy spent on that relationship. This is also true of a relationship with God. Engaging in spiritual disciplines like praying and reading the Bible help us know God better and thus deepen our relationship with Him.

As my relationship with God grows, I’ve noticed the following . . . 

  • I grow to love Him more.
  • I become more in awe of who He is and what He does.
  • My desire to obey increases because of the thinking transformation that is taking place.

I don’t always understand God’s ways and thoughts. But I have increasingly more trust in how He governs. I think this is true because I am knowing Him better and better (mainly through my devotions) as the years advance.

Read and ponder John 15:13-15 . . . . Isaiah 55: 8-9.

These are only 3 reasons for having regular quiet times. These are my top 3 for this stage in my life.

Your Turn . . . What are some reasons you have devotions?

Related Posts . . . 

NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z ChallengeThere are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is R. The topic is REASONS to have a quiet time.

. at . 7 comments

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