Posted: 1:34 pm Thursday, February 8th, 2018
By Staff Writer
Last weekend I packed up the kids, the sleds, the games, the gloves, the hats, and the mittens… and headed for the hills in search of snow.
Between a beautiful cabin and a wide roaring creek, just outside one of the most picturesque towns on the map, we found some.
We also found grins and giggles, rosy cheeks, whoops of laughter, hot chocolate, board games, tall tales, snuggle bunnies, family time, and more than a few tears.
Zack loved the snow. Winter was his favorite season and snow-boarding was something he looked forward to all spring, summer, and fall. Here we were with snow all around us, but missing our son and brother.
In our year of firsts, this is the first winter without him. The first vacation. The first snow outing. We proved to ourselves that we could do this. We could still enjoy life’s pleasures though he no longer can, even though we don’t want to.
I know in my heart of hearts that his joy, in the arms of our Savior, must be great indeed, but these mama arms will always ache to hold him.
We found snow, we found glee, we lingered long over memories of our Zack, and we made new ones while honoring him and his spirit.
MercyMe Flyaway Sweepstakes | I Can Only Imagine
Sweepstakes runs February 5 – 11
When MercyMe’s lead singer, Bart Millard, was but 18 years old, he lost his father. Years later the loss inspired the writing of what would become the most-played contemporary Christian song of all time, I Can Only Imagine.
The inspiration continues with a movie of the same name, opening in theaters on March 16. It stars stars J. Michael Finley as Bart Millard, as well as Dennis Quaid, Cloris Leachman, and Trace Adkins.
We want to send YOU to the iconic Ryman Theatre in Nashville in celebration of this wonderful new movie!
Grand prize includes:
- Roundtrip coach air transportation for two people
- Hotel accommodations for two nights
- Two tickets to the iconic Ryman Theatre to see MercyMe perform
- Meet and greet with members of MercyMe
- A $250 movie gift card to take up to 10 friends to see I Can Only Imagine at your favorite theater March 16th.
- A copy of the book, I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir
New Snack Recipe | Salted Caramel Popcorn
We like popcorn in our house, plain-ole popcorn with butter and salt, but to kick it up a notch for special occasions – sleep overs, etc., there is nothing better than salted CARAMEL popcorn!
Give this recipe – that doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup – a try if you have a hankerin’ for a delicious, buttery, caramely, salty treat!
Salted Caramel Popcorn
- 1/2 cup popping corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup whole almonds or pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pop the popping corn on the stove top or in an air popper.
- Empty the popped corn into a large mixing bowl, and try to pull out as many un-popped kernels as possible.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter, adding sugar, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
- Once mixed well, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium.
- Boil for 3-4 minutes without stirring.
- Add baking soda and vanilla to the caramel mixture, stirring until you have a thick, even, glossy sauce.
- Slowly pour the caramel over the popcorn while stirring (two person job!) Add the nuts at this time if you are using them. Stir until the popcorn is well coated.
- Divide the popcorn between baking sheets and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt over the top, then place in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
- Allow to cool.
- Munch, munch, munch!
Craft Time | Crayon & Waxed Paper Sun Catchers
Remember doing this as a kid? It’s still just as much fun and pretty as ever! A “grate” afternoon project with your kids from 2-22!
- Make some crayon shavings in colors of your choice using a cheese grater or a crayon sharpener.
- Cut two large pieces of waxed paper approximately the same size.
- Place one piece of the waxed paper onto a few layers of news paper, making sure the newspaper is larger than the waxed paper.
- Sprinkle crayon shavings on top of the waxed paper, then place the second piece of waxed paper on top, making a “sandwich.
- Place another few pieces of newspaper on top.
- With your clothing iron on a low setting (no steam), begin to “iron” the stack. Remove the top layer of newspaper from time to time to make sure the crayon shavings are melting evenly. Return the paper and apply heat where needed.
- When all the shavings have melted, turn off the iron, remove the top layer of newspaper and pick up the now melded colorful waxed paper.
- Allow to completely cool then cut into the shapes – hearts, stars, etc.
- Use a hole punch to and make holes for stringing twine or ribbons for hanging.
- Hang in window or anyplace the sun can shine through!
I wrote earlier about Zack’s love of snow boarding and winter escapes. Another thing that he dearly loved was choir and theatrics.
In honor of the latter, The Zachariah Fund has been established at the high school he attended in hopes of providing the means for other kids to enjoy the same experiences that brought him such joy.
I’m including the link HERE if any of you feel inclined to read more about it, and contribute if you would like to do so.
And oh, hey, it’s February which means my Love Challenge is back. I challenge all of you (and include myself) to post only loving, positive, words of encouragement and empowerment on your social media platforms throughout the month.
By establishing this good habit during the Month of Love, we’ll hopefully find it easier to continue for all the other months of the year. Join me?