Monthly Archives: April 2011

Multi-Family Yard Sale This Saturday! 7:30A to 1P

7:30AM till 1:00PM
1 Choctaw Ct., Taylors, SC

Four families will be coming together at my house this Saturday to sell all kinds of stuff from furniture to books, clothes to video games. Two of us are moving, so there will be a good bit of stuff for sale! We’ll also be selling coffee and lemonade for $1 per cup (or get a free cup with purchase of $1 or more).

Check out some of the items for sale on my “For Sale” page on the blog. Stop by and help us simplify! Prices are negotiable!

An Easter Greeting to Every Child Who Loves “Alice” by Lewis Carroll


Please to fancy, if you can, that you are reading a real letter, from a real friend whom you have seen, and whose voice you can seem to yourself to hear wishing you, as I do now with all my heart, a happy Easter.

Do you know that delicious dreamy feeling when one first wakes on a summer morning, with the twitter of birds in the air, and the fresh breeze coming in at the open window–when, lying lazily with eyes half shut, one sees as in a dream green boughs waving, or waters rippling in a golden light? It is a pleasure very near to sadness, bringing tears to one’s eyes like a beautiful picture or poem. And is not that a Mother’s gentle hand that undraws your curtains, and a Mother’s sweet voice that summons you to rise? To rise and forget, in the bright sunlight, the ugly dreams that frightened you so when all was dark–to rise and enjoy another happy day, first kneeling to thank that unseen Friend, who sends you the beautiful sun?

Are these strange words from a writer of such tales as “Alice”? And is this a strange letter to find in a book of nonsense? It may be so. Some perhaps may blame me for thus mixing together things grave and gay; others may smile and think it odd that any one should speak of solemn things at all, except in church and on a Sunday: but I think–nay, I am sure–that some children will read this gently and lovingly, and in the spirit in which I have written it.

For I do not believe God means us thus to divide life into two halves–to wear a grave face on Sunday, and to think it out-of-place to even so much as mention Him on a week-day. Do you think He cares to see only kneeling figures, and to hear only tones of prayer–and that He does not also love to see the lambs leaping in the sunlight, and to hear the merry voices of the children, as they roll among the hay? Surely their innocent laughter is as sweet in His ears as the grandest anthem that ever rolled up from the “dim religious light” of some solemn cathedral?

And if I have written anything to add to those stores of innocent and healthy amusement that are laid up in books for the children I love so well, it is surely something I may hope to look back upon without shame and sorrow (as how much of life must then be recalled!) whenmy turn comes to walk through the valley of shadows.

This Easter sun will rise on you, dear child, feeling your “life in every limb,” and eager to rush out into the fresh morning air–and many an Easter-day will come and go, before it finds you feeble and gray-headed, creeping wearily out to bask once more in the sunlight–but it is good, even now, to think sometimes of that great morning when the “Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings.”

Surely your gladness need not be the less for the thought that you will one day see a brighter dawn than this–when lovelier sights will meet your eyes than any waving trees or rippling waters–when angel-hands shall undraw your curtains, and sweeter tones than ever loving Mother breathed shall wake you to a new and glorious day–and when all the sadness, and the sin, that darkened life on this little earth, shall be forgotten like the dreams of a night that is past!

Your affectionate friend,


EASTER, 1876.”

Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” “Through the Looking Glass,” and “The Hunting of the Snark,” as well as several other writings. His given name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and before becoming an author, he was a mathematics professor. This letter of his to children concerning Easter was a blessing to my heart and I had to share it with you all. Happy Easter! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Preparing My Heart for Easter

We’ve always celebrated the triumphal entry of Christ on Palm Sunday at our local church. Many people read through the Scriptures that walk us through the Passion Week, while others watch “The Passion of the Christ” movie that came out several years ago. Churches hold services on Good Fridays, either between 1 and 3 p.m. (the hour that Christ died) or in the evenings (just after Christ was buried). We have an evening communion service to remember the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. It’s always a good reminder. And then comes a weekend of reflection and worship, concluded with Easter morning, when Christ rose from the dead, conquering death and hell and sin on our behalf forever! And we rejoice!

I have a tradition that I started back in college of listening to “The Majesty and Glory of the Resurrection” CD by Billy Ray Hearn & Tom Fettke in preparation for Easter. I would play it in my dorm room as I read my Bible and got dressed for Easter service. It’s a wonderful reminder of God’s love for me and sacrifice for all of us. You can download the CD for $7.99 on Amazon.


Meanwhile, I’m reading an article my brother recommended to me: “Tim Keller on the Resurrection,” by Check it out here. I love the part where Tim says, “The resurrection was God’s way of stamping PAID IN FULL right across history so that nobody could miss it” and “The joy of your glory will be that much greater for every scar you bear. So live in the light of the resurrection and renewal of this world, and of yourself, in a glorious, never-ending, joyful dance of grace.”

Happy Easter!

A Delightful Evening: Celebrating God’s Faithfulness through the Life of Amy Carmichael

Last weekend, Heritage Bible Church had a dinner for those impacted by our Mercy Ministries: widows, widowers, single moms, individuals with deployed spouses, etc. It really was a delightful evening. You may remember the post about God’s Faithfulness that included options for the table decorations. Well, here’s what came out of those musings, thanks to several that helped make my visions a reality:

printed menu cards at each plate setting

Every table had a teapot vase (that matched the China plate settings for the meal) with a custom arrangement of purple, white and yellow flowers and table number flags, twelve tea lights, two streamers with pendants made out of copies of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" sheet music, and folded linen napkins.

A bit of the variety of the flower arrangements, prior to transport to the church for the banquet (we prayed for 50% off flowers at Hobby Lobby and God answered!)

Helpers male and female, young and old, came together to make this event a success and a blessing to many! And we had a blast serving together!

The meal was delicious and accompanied by soft, live piano music while a slideshow of quotes from Amy Carmichael’s writings played on a screen above the front stage. The evening concluded with some humorous skits, sacred special music, and a brief challenge, incorporating the life and testimony of Amy Carmichael. Praise God for His Faithfulness in Amy’s life and each of ours!

Easter Dinner: Take One!

My sister and her family are joining us for Easter dinner this year. I broke down and bought a leg of lamb. Yum! We did a sample run on Thursday night to make sure this is what we wanted to do. We used the Harvest Lamb Roast recipe that I posted earlier (it works with a shoulder roast, but was definitely better with the leg of lamb). The sides will be different for the actual day, but here’s how it turned out:

On Thursday, Bryan wanted a more “traditional” dinner (aka meat, rice, and veggies), so we had the lamb with Creamed Corn, Collard Greens with Bacon, and Rice. For Easter, we will be having Roasted Purple Yams, Onion, and Carrots (roasted with the lamb), Sauteed Asparagus, and little cupcakes that we’re going to let the boys decorate to look like baby chickens! So much fun! Check out the concept from Martha Stewart Living here (picture below courtesy of Martha Stewart Living).

Recipe: Homemade Hummus

Ingredients: Tahini is sesame butter and can be found in the same aisle as peanut butter at your local grocer, or at a local Mediterranean Market! I get mine from the Pita House. Fresh ingredients are best!

Here’s the recipe. All measurements are approximations, as I don’t use measuring cups unless baking, usually. Add all ingredients except parsley into your food processor and pulse till smooth; add parsley and pulse for a few seconds, just enough to mix in. Enjoy with pitas or tortilla chips, fresh veggies, over couscous, or as a spread on a sandwich with sprouts and other fresh veggies.

  • 2 c. cooked garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas; canned is fine, just drain it; you could use black beans instead of you like)
  • ¼ c. tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • ¼ c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (can replace with water if desired)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best, but the from concentrate works fine)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh parsley leaves (if use dried, reduce to 1-2 Tbsp.)

Served over Israeli Couscous with Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Moroccan Couscous with Sweet & Spicy Chicken and Garlic Spinach

Sweet & Spicy Chicken: Melt butter over medium high heat; season chicken; sear in skillet 3 minutes on each side (till browned), then cover and cook for 15-20 minutes (until juices run clear).

Garlic Spinach: Melt butter of medium heat, add garlic and spinach, season and sautee 3-5 minutes, just until spinach is wilted. Serve as a side dish, or fold into finished couscous (recipe below).

  • 2 c. spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ tsp. prepared garlic
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Moroccan Couscous: bring water, couscous, and bouillon to boil; reduce heat and cook for 8-10 minutes; add rest of ingredients and warm through.

  • 1 c. uncooked couscous
  • 1 ¼ c. water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • Cinnamon – ½ tsp.
  • Ginger – ½ tsp. grated ginger root (or a pinch of ground ginger)
  • Lemon Zest – zest of ½ lemon
  • Garlic – ½ tsp. prepared
  • Apricot – 6 dried halves, chopped
  • Golden raisins – ¼ c.
  • ¼ c. slivered almonds
  • 2  Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Fresh Produce from Milk and Honey Organics

I failed to post last week’s basket, so here’s two weeks’ worth all wrapped up in one post. Don’t forget to order you basket from Milk & Honey Organics by next Tuesday so you can have fresh, organic produce delivered to your house too! It certainly makes my life easier!

Last Week's Basket: Spinach, Apples, Grapefruit, Lettuce, Collard Greens, Potatoes, Lemons, Green Beans, Mango, Avocado, Oranges, Golden Beets, and a Yellow Onion


This Week's Basket: Giant Head of Lettuce, Really Big Bunch of Asparagus, Two Bunches of Strawberries, Two Bunches of Bananas, Purple Yams, A Huge Bunch of Curly Kale, some Parsley, and a Fancy Cucumber (we opted out of some of the things in this week's basket because we already had them on hand, & got extra of several items)


Happy Camper!

 The asparagus, golden beets, green beans, purple yams and yellow onion will accompany our leg of lamb for Easter dinner, along with some carrots that I have on hand. I think I will also make a salad out of that giant head of lettuce and some of the strawberries.

Double Date Night with Dave and Rachel

This was a few weeks ago, but it was too delicious of a meal not to share. Note: we did not eat everything here; it was more of a taste testing. We love creating elaborate cuisines as a double date.


  • Caesar Chicken Breast with Ina Garten’s Homemade Caesar Dressing (a little too much lemon for chicken, but very good)
  • Grilled Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese (we had tons leftover)
  • Sauteed Beets and Shredded Carrots (The carrots were leftover from the cupcakes, and we had to use them somehow! It was a nice addition.)
  • Fresh Green Beans with Vinaigrette and Feta
  • Food & Wine’s Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe: Organic Bacon and Greens Snack Wrap

Each week, I receive organic produce delivered to my home in a “sweetness basket” from Milk & Honey Organics. This week’s basket had Collard Greens in it. I’m from the North, and while I love the South and all it has to offer, I have struggled to perfect the art of collard greens. This recipe was my first real success with the lovely, leafy vegetable. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Organic Bacon and Greens Snack Wrap

by Melissa McKinnon


  • 3 strips organic bacon, chopped
  • 1 bunch organic collard greens (spinach would work too), washed, dried, stems removed, and chopped (about 2 ½ c. chopped, fresh)
  • 1 large organic garlic clove, minced
  • 2 organic baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Texas Pete, still looking for a good organic brand, if you have suggestions)
  • Sprinkle of seasoned salt (I used Lawry’s, still looking for a good organic brand here too)
  • 4 oz. organic cream cheese (reduced fat or part skim, preferably)
  • 4 all-natural/organic whole-wheat tortillas, quartered


  • Heat skillet to medium heat. Meanwhile, chop ingredients.
  • Fry 3 strips bacon to desired crispness, remove from skillet and drain on paper towel lined plate. Crumble.
  • Reserve bacon drippings and add chopped greens, garlic, and mushrooms.
  • Saute for 3-5 minutes, until greens are tender, garlic is carmelized, and mushrooms are reduced.
  • Reduce heat to low, add hot sauce and seasoning salt to your taste.
  • Add cream cheese and stir in until melted and well combined.
  • Spread a tablespoon or two onto each tortilla quarter. Fold each in half and enjoy hot or chilled.


  • Quartering the wraps makes this recipe go further as an appetizer. Most people stick to two or three pieces, though I’ll warn you, these are addictive.
  • If you prefer, you could add the filling to wontons and bake or fry for a delicious appetizer. This recipe would yield 20-24 wontons (1 1/2 tsp. per wonton).
  • My husband and I think the wontons would be a great appetizer with grilled spare ribs.

Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

(PS – I used this as my first contributing post on The Carolina Farm Stewardship Blog. Check them out here or by clicking the button on the side bar.)