Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tacos and Trees

Tacos and trees, another Bentz tradition!

I just took the two college kids back after a wonderful break.  So, I'm feeling lonely and started looking through our pictures.

Have I told you about our family tradition of picking our our Christmas Tree, after going out for Tacos?  What else do you do in South Texas?

Here we are - my favorites all at one table!  The college boys do NOT let us get the tree until we get them home...I think it's more about the tacos for them!

They humor me every year....

Monday, January 7, 2019

NYE 2019

We are ready for 2018 to go... and we had the best surprise to begin 2019!

Our dear friends came from AR to help us celebrate, and our dear friends here in TX joined us!  It was a perfect blending of our worlds. 

The best way to start this brand new year...

These girls have grown up together - and distance doesn't make a difference!

Puzzle time... Jerry is our pro!

Goodwill shopping, of course!

Music Making together!

These boys!

New friends that feel like old friends!

The NYE bags had some surprizes this year...

This is how we roll....

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Mouse and The Motorcycle

One of my favorite books this year - The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary.  My sweet class of all girls loves crafts, so I always need a fun project to go with our book.  However, I realized this the night before class... I did not have a project ready!

After a quick search, I found some ideas that were fun, but didn't need many supplies or prep work.

We made adorable, and  super easy paper mice, and learned to draw with a YouTube video!

For the mice:

Just cut our a heart, fold in half, add a twine tail, some eyes and ears and you're done!  So easy to do, if you wait for the last me!

 It was so easy, and they loved it!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merrry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas
Our family 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas Stollen - a family tradition!

Merry Christmas Friends!

The Bentz Bunch is full of food traditions...  I have one to share with you.  We have this each year with our Christmas morning Fruit Soup and Christmas Stollen. (can you tell we're Germans?)

German Stollen

1 package of active dry yeast or 1 cake compressed yeast
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk, scalded
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4-3/4 to 5 cups sifted enriched flour
1 egg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup chopped mixed candied fruits
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
Soften active yeast in 1/4 cup warm water or compressed yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water.

 Melt butter in hot milk; add sugar, salt and cardamom; cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups flour. Add egg and beat well. Stir in softened yeast, fruits, peels, and nuts. Add remaining flour to make soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Knead 5 to 8 minutes or till smooth and satiny. Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. 

Cover; let rise in warm place till double, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down; turn out on lightly floured surface and divide in 3 equal parts. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Roll each part into a 12X7 inch rectangle. without stretching dough, fold long side over to within 1 inch of opposite side to make typical stollen shape; seal edges. 

Place on greased baking sheets. Cover, let rise till almost double, about 30-45 minutes.

Bake in moderate oven (375) 20 to 25 minutes, or till golden brown.

While warm, brush with butter; sift confectioners' sugar over; or glaze as below.
 Makes 3 loaves. 

To glaze stollen use about 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, add 1/4 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon butter. (I put almond flavoring in my glaze)

It looks like a lot of work...but it's so worth it!!  Family traditions are our way of saying - "I love you" - Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Journey to Bethlehem

Our Coop had our first ever Drama!

A beautiful Christmas story, and our younger students worked very hard!!

My little angels!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan: A TOS Crew Review

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women
Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

Spending time with God is one of our privileges!  We have been enjoying a new tool to guide us in our quiet times - it's called Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women from Zondervan.  This beautiful, hardcover devotional is designed for young women, ages 13-18, but I found it spoke directly to my heart as well!

Written by Lindsay A. Franklin, this lovely book contains 365 short devotionals, one for every day of the year.   Each day begins with a scripture passage, in NIV version, followed by a short devotion.  The devotions are specifically written to encourage young women in their identity, and purpose as Christians.  Each page includes a small space to write/journal your thoughts in as well.

This books highlights Scripture and sixty women of  the Bible.  The Bible has a high value on women, and this devotional focuses on the unique challenges and blessings of being female.  

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

The focus is truly on bringing the Bible's wisdom and guidance into our daughters (and our) daily lives.  The author does a wonderful job of relating the scripture to our modern lives and the challenges facing our girls in today's world.

The devotional starts at the beginning, with readings that follow along the narrative of the Bible.  I like that!  Each day's devotional becomes part of the big picture story.  

Here's a few examples of the lessons:

  • Day 9 - "you are not defined by your mistakes..."  God saw Eve as the complete person she was.  

  • Day 16 - "Sometimes we HAVE to stand out... " Just as Noah and his family did before the flood.

  • Day 31 - "Rejection hurts."  God was not finished with Hagar, and he's not finished with us.

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

Great lessons, and the chance for God to speak to our girls - does it get any better?

And, of course - the book itself is truly beautiful!  With floral patterns on each page, and a space to write/journal in, it would make an excellent gift.  It has a pretty ribbon bookmark to hold your page, a nice feminine touch.  Not to mention, it's the perfect size for a stocking stuffer!

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

I decided to leave this beautiful book on our coffee table and see who would pick it up first...  My teenage daughters (yes, both of them) noticed it right away and picked it up.  They have been reading it ever since.  

 I have also been enjoying this devotional, for myself!  Many of the messages have felt perfectly appropriate in my life, messages like being careful with words, forgiveness, and making sound choices.  Timeless wisdom.

I think this would make an excellent tool for starting conversations with our daughters as well.  The devotions are well written, and introduce many relevant topics.

You will definitely want this one!

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
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