Friday, November 25, 2011

Precious Moments

Today Elijah asked me to take him Black Friday shopping. He didn't really understand that I'd already endured six hours of shopping in the middle of the night. Despite telling him I'd already been shopping, he wanted to go. It didn't help that he had money burning a hole in his pocket. Besides that, I wanted to take Zack with me back to Kohl's to pick out a new dress shirt in whatever color he chooses.

After showers and getting turkey soup in the crock pot, we headed to Kohl's to do some Black Friday shopping. While shopping, we stopped to look at several things. On our way to another part of the store, Elijah commented, "Mom, do you have to stop every ten seconds to look at something and talk about it?" My response was, "Yes, you asked to go Black Friday shopping with me, this is how it works!"

Luckily there was no line once we were done. I'd spent at least 45 minutes in line from about 3-4am. On our way out of the store, Zack commented on the cute stuffed animals at the register. I said in a cutsie little voice, "Should we get you a story book and a matching stuffed animal?" Teasing my 14 year old didn't work, "Well, yeah, this dolphin is SO soft." Then Elijah chimes in, "I want the lion, it's cute!" So much for being a tease. They're being serious.

As we leave the store, I explained to the kids that all the money made from the sales of those story books and matching stuffed animals goes to charity. "What's charity?" Elijah asks. I tend to forget that he doesn't know everything yet. So I explained to him that charity means helping people in need, so the money from selling those probably goes directly to helping children who are in need of food, clothes, and toys. He seemed pleased with that answer and understood.

Minutes later we arrived at Walmart for him to shop in hopes to spend his money. Just as we approached the entrance, a guy was setting up his big bowl in preparation to ring his bell and take donations. Eli asked me what he was doing and I told him this man is collecting money for charity, to help people who need things for Christmas. Elijah took $2 out of his pocket and asked me if he could donate this money. I told him yes and he put the bills into the big bowl. The man seemed a bit surprised to see a child donating money. I about cried as I realized that my nine year old boy was donating his hard earned allowance to help someone he doesn't know. I was very touched and a bit teary eyed. That $2 represented about 10% of what he had in his pocket, also note he'd already paid 10% in tithing donations as well, so the money in his pocket represented nearly two months allowance. That boy never ceases to amaze me.

I was surprised to find there was anything left on the shelves after the chaos I experienced at 10pm in Walmart last night. Elijah found a great deal on a skateboard and a cool basketball and still had enough to pay for both! Zack found a cool t-shirt and a CD that he bought with his money. I know it might be annoying to a cashier to have several transactions for one family, but it's so good for my kids to learn to be responsible with their money, save it, spend it carefully, figure in how much tax will be, and truly appreciate their purchases. Most cashiers don't seem to mind!

After all is said and done, my mind still turns to the moment Elijah pulled out his own money to donate to the Salvation Army. I hope many other people will be as kind in sharing their blessings as my son was today. With Thanksgiving out of the way, it is officially the Christmas season. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Most of us have more than we need. Even if it is a sacrifice to help others, every little bit counts.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Norwegian Salad

This mom's recipe given to her by a friend when I was a child. We've eaten "Frog Eye Salad" every year for Thanksgiving since we got this recipe while living in Germany! It does take prep time a day in advance and even though it takes some time, it's well worth every minute!

Shopping list:
1 pkg. Acini de Pepe (tini tiny pasta)
2 cans pineapple crushed
2 cans pineapple chunks
2 cans mandarin oranges
1 bottle maraschino cherries
1 ctn. Cool Whip

Other ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
3 quarts water
1 Tbsp oil
2 1/2 tsp salt (separated)
1 Tbsp. flour

In a large pot, put 3 quarts of water, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp oil and bring it to a boil. Then add the box of Acini de Pepe and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. Then drain the water off of it without loosing all your noodles!

While that's cooking, open your cans of fruit, keeping only the pineapple juice. Measure 2 1/2 cups pineapple juice into a large saucepan. Add 1 Tbsp flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, to the pineapple juice and cook until thickened. Then add 1 tsp lemon juice when you take it off the heat! (Don't forget).

While this is cooking, cut the mandarin oranges in half or small pieces. Using gloves, cut the maraschino cherries into quarters. All the fruit can be combined into a bowl and put into the fridge.

Combine the noodles and the sauce together in a very large bowl. Put the lid on it and let it sit over night or for about 8 hours to marinate. The next day, combine the bowl of fruit, the container of Cool Whip into the bowl of noodles and stir well. Enjoy!

This recipe is much better than any other "Frog Eye Salad" I've ever had.

Whopper Pie!

This is the EASIEST pie ever! I made the whole thing in just a few short minutes. Here's the list of ingredients you will need:

2 graham cracker crusts (oreo is best)
1 container vanilla ice cream (I like vanilla bean)
1 container whipped cream
2 theatre size boxes of whoppers

Leave your whipped cream and your ice cream out to thaw for at least half an hour, maybe a little more. In a gallon size bag, crush all the whopppers into large chunks. In a large bowl, combine whipped cream, ice cream, and 3/4 of your crushed whoppers. Split into two graham cracker crusts and sprinkle the extra whoppers over both pies. Put the plastic from the pie tins over the pies to protect them and put them in the freezer to refreeze!

This recipe is so popular with my family that it's a yearly Thanksgiving tradition. Zack loves it so much that he asks for it instead of a birthday cake every summer!

I'd love to hear back if any of you decide to make this pie and what you think of it. I waited too long to shop for oreo crusts so this year we'll have graham cracker crusts. It'll still be delicious!