Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Rolls

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Sharing the Easter Story
  • 1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (makes 8 rolls)
  • 8 Large Marshmallows (1 per roll)
  • Melted Butter
  • Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
  • Cooking Spray
  • Muffin Tin
Easter is just around the corner, so here is a simple, tasty recipe that allows you to share the Easter story with the young...or the old. Easter may conjure up a variety of memories and images for you. Perhaps you remember those grand Easter egg hunts on the lawn or those itchy and uncomfortable outfits mom made you put on for church. If you grew up in my family, you would remember those Easter "egg" hunts inside the house where my brothers and I would search for chocolate candies, jelly beans, and the prized Cadbury eggs. Our hunts were probably inside -- and not outside -- because I grew up in Michigan. And more times than not, there was probably snow on the ground. Easter paid dividends for weeks to come, because we never found all the candy on Easter Sunday. So, we would find candy along the heat registers and on the window sills for weeks later.

It's so easy to get swept up with those Easter traditions and to completely by-pass the reason why we celebrate Easter to begin with...the death and glorious resurrection of Jesus. So, I would like to share with you a simple recipe that gives you the opportunity to share the story of Jesus with your children...or anyone else in your life.

Before starting the recipe, you can take a moment to share why God sent his son, Jesus, to earth: 
God loves us and wants us to be with him in heaven. But, we are all sinful and that separates us from God. So, God sent his only son, Jesus, in order to make a way to bring us to Him. Someone had to pay a penalty for our sins, and Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying on the cross. The Good News that we celebrate this Easter is that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive, and we can be with God if we simply believe in Jesus. (Romans 10:9)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your muffin tin with cooking spray. Then, take a marshmallow:

This represents Christ's body. Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, came to earth so that he could bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). He lived a perfect life and was "white as snow" (or white as a marshmallow:). (Isaiah 1:18)
Jesus died for us. For me. For you. He was the ultimate sacrifice. He made a way for us to be with God. 
Next, dip the marshmallow in the melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar. Then, wrap the marshmallow in one of the crescent rolls. Place the individual marshmallows wrapped in a roll in each muffin section. Using the crescent roll to represent Jesus' clothing and the oven to represent the tomb, continue telling the story: 

After Jesus died on the cross, he was wrapped in "clean linen cloth" and put into a "tomb".  
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until browned. Continue explaining the story by breaking open one of the rolls, which represents the tomb being opened and found empty on the third day:

On the third day, the tomb was opened, and Jesus was gone! Jesus is alive! Because of Jesus' perfect life, his sacrificial death on the cross, and his ascension into heaven, we can now have a relationship with God. You only have to believe in Jesus.
Here is a video explanation:

Although this is not a culinary masterpiece, I love the simplicity of this tool to tell children about the story of Jesus. May you celebrate the fact that we serve a risen savior this Easter!

He is risen. He is risen indeed. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Growing Potatoes

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Gardening

  • Area with fertile, slightly acidic soil
  • Trowel
  • Seed Potatoes
  • Water

Gardening seems to be a growing trend these days. So, in light of gardening's rising popularity, this post provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to grow potatoes. Potatoes are a fairly easy vegetable to grow and each plant yields a significant number of spuds. I have grown a variety of fruits and vegetables in my gardens over the years, and some crops have been hit or miss. Last year, I grew potatoes for the first time, and they were wildly successful. Perhaps I just got lucky, but I will go out on a limb and say this is a fairly easy vegetable to grow for beginner gardeners. 

There is a window of time when it is best to plant your seeds. Generally, you want to plant your potatoes two weeks prior to your last anticipated freeze date. In the southeast, this is early to mid- March. All you northerners may plant your crops a few weeks later. 

Potato plants grow by planting seed potatoes. I bought the seeds from a local farm supply store, and they were very inexpensive. You can also make your own seed potatoes by allowing any potato to sprout. I grew redskin potatoes, but you can grow a variety of types of potatoes: yukon gold, russet, fingerlings, etc. 

Many seed potatoes have multiple sprouts or eyes. Each plant only needs one eye, so cut the potatoes so that there is only one eye on each section. 

Next, prepare your garden beds. I use raised beds, but you certainly don't have to do that. Make sure you are using rich, fertile soil. In North Carolina, clay constitutes much of the soil, so I haul in topsoil and chicken manure compost to enrich the soil. If you want to ensure you have good soil for growing potatoes, test the soil's pH. Potatoes prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.3 to 6.0. If your soil's pH level varies from this range, a soil test will instruct you on what to add to your soil to reach the ideal pH level.  Your local cooperative extension center may offer a free soil test.

Once your soil is ready for planting, create a trench approximately 4" deep; each row should be approximately 3 feet apart. 

Place each seed potato with the eye pointing up approximately 12" apart in the row. Cover the row with dirt and water. I like to stake the rows with two sticks on either end so I remember where I planted the seeds. 

Continue to water and watch it grow! Three weeks later, the potato plants were as big as the pictures shown below. 

One month after the seeds were planted, the plants were as big as the pictures below, and they started flowering. As the plant grows, pile dirt around the base of the plant to form a mound or a hill so that the potatoes remain underneath the dirt and will continue to grow. Don't forget to keep watering!

Approximately 3 months after planting, the plant looks like it's dying, but in actuality, your potatoes are ready to harvest!

To harvest the potatoes, gently dig underneath the plant to find your spuds. 

Last year, my potato plants yielded about 8-10 potatoes/plant. Different varieties of potatoes may yield different amounts. 

I ended up with loads of potatoes and froze a number of bags of cubed and shredded potatoes that worked wonderfully in casseroles and for breakfast hash browns.

I hope this encourages you to begin your gardening adventures! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Little Boys' Neckties

As a mom of two young boys, I notice it's difficult to find many "cute" clothes for them. It's even difficult to find many boys' clothing patterns at the fabric store, period. Everything is for girls! Now, I absolutely LOVE having little boys, but I do wish there was a little more variety of clothing options for them.

Due to the lack of adorable boys' clothing options, I went on a quest to find something I could make for my boys to add to their wardrobe. Then, I had it! I would make little neckties for my sons to go with their Easter outfits. That gave me another idea! Maybe there are other people out there who would like something special for the little men in their lives, too. 

This post is a little different than my usual "how-to" tutorials. Rather than showing you how to make the tie, you can purchase custom, homemade little boys' neckties. So, if you are looking for a darling clothing accessory for a boy in your life, place your order, specify the size, and pick the type of fabric.

Here is a picture of my son modeling the tie.

The pictures below show you the available fabrics. When you place your order, simply identify the fabric number you would like or send me a fabric of your choice. 



"Secure-in-your-Manhood" Pastels

If you would like to place an order, contact me (Leslie) at Provide me with the following information: 
  • Your Name & Shipping Address
  • Boys' Measurement (in inches) from base of neck in the front to belly button
  • Selection of Fabric
The cost is $10 (plus shipping if you are not local). You can also provide me with your own fabric if you would like something other than the fabrics shown above. If you supply your own fabric, the cost is $8 (plus shipping). Note that these are not clip-on ties. Also, ties are available for all ages and sizes.  

If you would like your necktie delivered before Easter 2013, please place your order by Friday, March 15th.