Merry Christmas from the Prices

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Dearest Friends and Family,

We are so thankful for each of you and blessed with another full year of activities and experiences to report. Our God is faithful and we praise Him for continued provision and guidance throughout a transitional season of moving back to America from our home of 3.5 years in Aberdeen, Scotland UK.
Hugh William Price was born on April 22nd, and he is such a gift. He is full of smiles, giggles, and utter joy. We frequently comment on how unreal it is to have such a laid back child who can so easily accommodate to various surroundings and circumstances. He sleeps and eats well, and we could not be more satisfied with his presence.
Audrey Jane is full of life. She turned two in june and adores all things feminine. From tea parties, to babies, to painted toenails, to the color pink, Jane delights our hearts with her squeals and brings much vibrancy to our home. She has taken to ballet and we love watching her twirl around our living room.
Augustine turned four in July and is quickly becoming a young gentleman. He is a great helper around the home and completed his first term of homeschooling. We are proud of him for easily making new friends and for his continued prayers for fond friends he left abroad. He enjoys racing play cars outside and helping mom bake goodies in the kitchen.
Joy is in her second year of working part time on a PhD in Philosophy which focuses on Thomas Aquinas’ use of the goodness of God. She has faced a challenging year leaving behind lifestyle and a community of friends in Aberdeen, but has tried to make new roots
in Wake Forest by participating in various bible study groups in the area. She took a bread making class this year and has started making bread from freshly ground grains.
We praise the Lord for Shaun’s completion of a PhD in Practical Theology from the University of Aberdeen! He has also agreed to publish his thesis with Paternoster Press. He is working very hard teaching adjunctively at Louisburg College, Johnston Community College, and Southeastern College. We are praying for a full time position for him in the year of 2014. He has become proficient tickle monster and a most requested bedtime story reader.

We feel very humbled to have the Saviour of the world come to earth for this human race, and pray that as you reflect on his gift to us you will be find peace and comfort for your homes. Please let us know how you are doing by writing or emailing joymichelleprice@gmail.com.

Warmly yours,
The Prices

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The greatest gift we can give our kids…

We live in a busy, pragmatic society driven by performance and activity. In the realm of parenting, this is a particular influence as we moms feel the pressure to provide the best education, the best lessons, and the best meals. We want our kids to have character, we want them to clean their rooms, and we want them never to be lonely and to have all the music lessons and activities that they want. But the thing your child needs most in the world is a heart that knows the love of his or her Creator. The greatest gift you can give your kids, a gift they will carry with them into each relationship and situation of their lives, is a heart deeply centered on loving God and a life formed by the habits of faith.

~Sally Clarkson ’10 Gifts of Wisdom’

Funny Phrases

Jane likes calling her headband her husband. Thus we get comments like, “My husband’s downstairs.” “Like my husband!”
Augustine just finished calling the kitchen the chicken. So we get things like, “lets have dinner in the chicken.” And logical ones like, “eggs are in the chicken”.
Jane also says we are super cool. And Augustine regularly says he “got for” something in place for forgot.
Moments I don’t want to forget.

Hugh is 4 months old today!

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Hugh turned 4 months old today, and he is absolutely dreamy. i love him so much. I really and truly feel that The Lord gave him to me to brighten my spirits in a season of transition. He is the sweetest gift, and we truly do not deserve him. His disposition is so sweet and joyful most all the time. When I’m prone to be weary, I just give him a quick glance and he just smiles and laughs. I’m so thankful for him.
He can half-way roll on his side. and loves his siblings. His hair is growing super fast, and he is learning to jump and stand up in his jumperoo thingy.
He did get his first little sniffle yesterday. He’s had his first runny nose, fever, and cough today. Poor wee soul. I hope he is on the mend soon.

Father, we praise you for giving us the gift of Hugh. We truly believe he is just that- a blessing from you for our joy and delight. We are in love with him. Thank you. Please help us to raise him well and have him come to know you at an early age. May his passion for you increase as he gets older. Amen

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How Do I Scrub those Floors?!

Question: My problem is that there’s no obvious answer to what you’re meant to do with the toddlers when you’re scrubbing the floor! Answers anyone? [or more literally, how do we entertain our kids while other chores require our attention so that we cannot directly entertain them?]

Answer: This is a great question! (and one I constantly have to work and re-evaluate as the kids change in their development and ability to help!). You may already do a lot of these things as I know Johnny is really good at cleaning up after himself and playing with one or two toys at a time.
Thus, this may or may not be helpful for you (or what you were thinking of in the question), but if we are on the same page, I have several thoughts for how I’ve personally decided to deal with this
-First, pray and ask for wisdom. The Lord gives generously without reproach and I know he wants to help you in this situation of training your children and nurturing the peacefulness of your home. Also, find some women you admire and ask their wisdom. I’ve personally asked older, more experienced women whom I admire their thoughts on this topic and I think whenever we imitate others who have already succeeded, then it wonderfully eliminates us using trial and error on our own. ☺
-Second, I think it’s good to develop a realistic perspective of cleaning house and training our children. I think i sinfully made an idol (and still do at times) of wanting my house to be perfectly clean. I wanted people to think i had it all together. However, in this season of nurturing young children, it probably isn’t the time where things will be spotless ( or to set our expectations of it to be) and people can pop in unannounced and see a sparkly clean home. That’s not realistic or helpful. I read this post this morning and think it helps to clarify our expectation as mums of young children. It is a bit more blunt, but clarifies what we have been called to serve in our role with younger children: http://www.feminagirls.com/2013/03/19/march-15-running-the-race/
-Third, Consider fun ways to get your child involved. Augustine loves running the clothes to me from the laundry basket and throwing it in the washer. We make it a game and see how fast he can do it- Jane even likes to participate. Augustine can help “wash” the windows with baby wipes while I vacuum the room in which he is working on the windows. Sometimes I let him attempt to vacuum too. The more we make the tasks fun and continue to patiently teach them how to do it, the more likely they are to do it on their own in due time. Here’s a chart that might be helpful to evaluate what age appropriate chores they can help you with:
https://pricelessgifts.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/chores-for-children/
-Fourth, Consider directing your children to play in specific fun new areas which will distract them longer and enable you to work better.
I.e. My kids both love the bath, so I give them popsicles, then at a different stage I pour oatmeal in the bathtub and ask them to make porridge with bowls and spoons, or give them raisins and watch the raisins get bigger from the water, or cups of hot cocoa. Each of these separate activities enables me more time to fold a load of clothes or tidy up in the living room while they are delightfully amused with a new area of entertainment.
This is a blogpost I wrote with more details:
https://pricelessgifts.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/how-i-do-the-dishes-and-other-thoughts/
-Fifth, know your free times- i.e. when Augustine goes to playgroup, when Jane has a naptime, or when the kids sleep in the evenings are a lot of the times that I try to utilize the tasks that are much more difficult to complete when they are awake and requiring my attention.
-Sixth, try to cut corners to make tasks easier: use the slow cooker so you don’t have to prep for dinner during the witching hour, use paper products to cut down on your dish washing time, etc.
-Seventh, during overwhelming times, pay for someone to come in and help. We’ve done this on occasion when Shaun and I both have impending deadlines. If your financial budget is tighter, try to find a student at your church who may needs some extra funds for a one-off task to help do various chores around your home or talk with your husband about household tasks you need may need him to take on for a season while you are unable to get it done.
-Eighth- continue to remind yourself of the gospel. God loves us on account of Christ’s righteousness, not our attempts to have a clean home or be perfect at our parenting. Even our best attempts at parenting are seen as filthy rags next to the righteousness of Christ. May the joy of the Lord be our strength when we face various weaknesses. He is glorified when depend on Him. Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I know this was super long-winded, but it is a topic that I constantly have to evaluate– so I hope you can find some of these resources helpful towards your desire to glorify God in this task!

Chores for Children

392848_450218901714909_462102904_nA friend shared this with me and I found it to be really helpful for encouraging my little ones to share in the chores of the home. She also suggested the book, “Managers of Their Chores” by Teri Maxwell of Titus 2 Ministries- clarifying the biblical importance of chores/work starting at an early age. Has anyone read this book? I’m interested to hear about it! Any other age appropriate chores your children utilize outside of this list?

Tea Pops! (Popsicles for Bathtime fun!)

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If you know me very well at all, you know I love tea. So I recently brewed some Royal Bouquet tea (can be purchased online [like here] or at MacBeans in Aberdeen) and then used the leftovers for popsicle treats for the kids. This can virtually work with any fruit tea and since fruit is naturally sweet, you don’t need to add any additional sugar to give your children a fun wholesome snack to enjoy (and utilize leftovers from your teapot!). Since it’s so cold here, having popsicles outdoors wasn’t the best option for us, so we enjoyed them in the bathtub and the kids were super siked!

Summer Fruit Cheesecake with Ground Almond and Oreo Crust

DSC_0545I adapted this recipe from the hummingbird ‘cake days’ recipe book. Honestly, though it is easy to whip together, I really struggled on the time frame of baking the durn thing (is it just me or do cheesecakes take fooooooorever to set in the oven?!). So, I’d make this again if I had all afternoon to watch and see if it has set, if you have to pop out and about from your home, make this dessert another day. Here goes:

Ingredients

  • 600 grams of cream cheese
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 90 grams of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of frozen summer fruit
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla

Crust:

  • 100 grams of butter, melted.
  • 100 grams (give or take depending on how it thickens with the butter) of ground almonds
  • 8 or so chocolate Oreos

Method:

Preheat Oven to 160/325 degrees. To make the crust first, simply throw some butter in the microwave on low while you put your oreos in the food processor. When the butter has melted, stir in the oreo crumbles and keep adding ground almonds until the consistency is what you prefer for a cheesecake crust. Butter the edges of spring form tin and the crust to the bottom. Place in fridge. Add all other ingredients (excluding the eggs and fruit) to a bowl and mix well. Add eggs and gently fold in. Complete by gently stirring in fruit. Take crust out of the frig and add cream cheese mixture atop the crust. Place a thin layer of tin foil over the top of the tin and place on bottom rack of the oven. Let cook for 1-2 hours checking occasionally to see if it is no longer runny. Once it is almost set, take off foil for remaining 10-20 minutes in oven. Let cool in the frig for several hours or overnight.

Serve with additional fruit and home-made whipped topping.

Slow Cooker Creamy Carrot and Chicken

I made this recipe up (though heavily influenced from a similar recipe of my mum), so it isn’t precise, but here’s what I used approximately:
Ingredients
  • 5 large frozen chicken breasts (put in the bottom of the cooker so they cook the best),
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen chopped onions,
  • 1/4 cup of minced frozen garlic,
  • two large handfuls of baby carrots,
  • a normal sized container of double cream,
  • a family size container of cream cheese,
  • 1 Kallo brand organic French onion bouillon cubes,
  • 2 Kallo brand organic mushroom bouillon cube (OR just one cube and add frozen mushrooms),
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Method
Put all ingredients in, I let mine cook on low for the whole day, or on high for a few hours. Use a large spoon to break up the chicken right before you serve it (it is really soft and pliable at that point).
We serve this in bowls for a hearty, low-carb, soup-esc texture. This recipe would also be lovely alongside a fresh spinach salad, atop some noodles or poured over brown rice. It made enough for approx. 6-8 adults.

Rich Ground Almond Brownies

I was looking for a fun recipe which utilized ground almonds as a primary ingredient in brownies. I made a batch of these for Valentines and they were so lovely, rich, and EASY to make. It’s nice to taste something with a dose of protein in it as well. Here’s the original recipe along with my adaptions below. [Note: this is a great gluten-free recipe too!]

I added some extra chocolate, and they were fab, I think the sugar could have been reduced a bit too, pretty easy and yummy!

Ingredients

  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate (Optional: I added some additional chocolate to the batter mix just before putting in the oven!)
  • 100g/3½oz butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, preferably free-range, lightly whisked
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 75g/3oz ground almonds
  • 1-2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • (Optional) 110g/4oz chopped walnuts
  • 20cm/8in square tin, lined with silicone paper

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water or in a low oven.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale, soft and light, then beat in the lightly whisked eggs, the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Lastly stir in the ground almonds, gluten-free baking powder, salt and chopped nuts. Spread the mixture in the tin and bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool, then cut into 5cm/2in squares for serving.

Serve alongside home-made whipped cream and raspberries for a quality dessert to impress!