What is Bible Drill?

What is Bible Drill?

A program designed for children and students to train them to hide God’s word in their hearts. The following passage is our mission for Bible Drill: 

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.

I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands.

I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.”

Psalm 119:9-11 (HCSB)

What is the purpose of Bible Drill for children?

  • Help children increase their knowledge of the Bible
  • Develop skills in effectively handling the Bible
  • Begin developing verse memory skills
  • Learn how to apply the Bible to their life

What will 1st-6th graders learn?

  • Memorize all 66 books of the Bible and be able to look them up
  • Memorize 25 verses
  • Memorize and look up 10 key passages (3rd-6th)

What is the purpose of Bible Drill for students?

  • Increase their knowledge and love of the Bible
  • Learn to use their Bibles to meet the challenges of life
  • Memorize and locate passages that deal with doctrinal and ethical concerns
  • Service and leadership opportunities with younger children in Bible Drill
  • Build connections and relationships with other students in a safe, fun environment

What will 7th-9th graders learn?

  • Memorize all 66 books of the Bible and be able to look them up.
  • Memorize and look up 30 verses.
  • Poise and confidence as students respond to drill calls with speed and accuracy.


Chocolate Infinity Pie (from Chocolate Covered Katie)

This pie reminds me of my favorite chocolate cheesecake.  But, much better for you!  It meets all of my eating requirements  – it is healthy, delicious, and easy to make.  The secret ingredient to make it healthy…is tofu!!!  And you’d never know it was made with tofu!

I’ve tried a number of different crusts (all homemade but easy to do) – a wheat-free chocolate crust, a chocolate crust made with wheat flour, a graham cracker crust, and chocolate graham cracker crust.  The graham cracker crusts required sugar plus graham crackers (which contain sugar) which is why I  prefer the wheat-free chocolate crust I made, but I’ll leave the crust selection to you.

This recipe is not mine, so here is a link to the yummy recipe: Chocolate Infinity Pie (from Katie Higgins’ Cookbook, Chocolate-Covered Katie. You can also click her to check out her blog).

Sour Spotlight: Carrageenan

What is it?

A common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed. It is used by the food industry to thicken, stabilize, and improve the texture of many dairy and dairy-related foods, such as ice cream, yogurt, and soy milk.

Sounds harmless right?

Why is it a “sour” food?

The ingredient causes inflammation in our gut. It is destructive to our digestive system. When you continually eat foods that contain this additive, chronic inflammation happens which leads to serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more.

How to avoid it?

Read the labels.   Case in point – I have been buying Kirkland’s Organic Soy Milk for my family for the past 2 years. Look at the 2nd picture below. What is listed on the label???




Just because something says it is organic, does NOT mean it contains all healthy ingredients!

The National Organics Standard Board has approved the use of this ingredient in organic foods. In the last couple of years, this board has been addressed by doctors who have requested this harmful additive be removed from organic foods based upon research they have conducted that raise concerns about this ingredient.

Want more information?

Check out these places for more information:

The Cornucopia Institute’s report on carrageenan.

Food Babe’s Update on Whitewave Foods (products include Horizon and Silk) removing this ingredient.

Organic Shopping Guide – what products do and do not have carrageenan.

Sweet Spotlight: Fruits

Who doesn’t like fruit?  Well, my infant son is not a fan right now unless it is applesauce.  But for the rest of us who love nature’s sweet treats, listed are some delicious fruits that are good to eat and the reasons why.  Don’t forget that it is best to buy these fruits in season or even better and juicier at “peak ripeness”.  To find out when fruits and vegetables are in season and ripe, check out this website: ripetrack.com.  It is pretty intuitive, but click the FAQs link for explanation.

FOOD: Fruits Why is it good?
Acai Berries Good source of antioxidants (better source than common berries such as blueberries). Rich in anthocyanins which helps prevent premature cell aging.
Apples The fiber in apples helps decrease the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Aronia (chokeberry) Native to the US. High (one of the highest) in antioxidants. Helps stabilizes blood sugar. High in catechins which is good for cardiovascular health.
Avocados Often thought as a vegetable, but it has a seed (a vegetable). Filled with good fats and fatty acids. These fats help absorb nutrients necessary for good heart health.
Bananas Improves digestion, sleep, and heart health.
Blackberries High in fiber. Rich in polyphenols (antioxidants).
Blueberries Rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants.
Cantaloupe Helps prevent premature aging and rids the body of damaging free radicals.
Cherries Contains the antioxidant (anthocyanin), reduces inflammation, and lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Citrus (oranges, grapefruit, etc) Vitamin C builds collagen (keeps skin looking youthful). Contains powerful antioxidants and fights free-radical illnesses such as cancer and cataracts.   Improves blood flow to the heart.
Cranberries May prevents infections and cancer.   Studies have shown that these can even improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Dragon Fruit Rich in antioxidants and lycopene.
Grapes (red) A top source of resveratrol which is a plant chemical that may have protective properties that helps block Alzheimer plaques from the brain. Can also remove the stains and discolorations on teeth!
Kiwis Full of vitamin C, antioxidants, and folic acid. Ensures healthy bones, teeth, and blood vessels.
Papaya Helps improve digestion. Good source of vitamin C, A, and E and folate.
Pineapple Contains bromelain which helps reduce bloating.
Plums Contains the antioxidant, chlorogenic acid, which helps decrease anxiety.
Pomegranate In the juice form, it has the highest antioxidant level of any beverage.
Pumpkin Good source of beta carotene
Raspberries A fruit with a good amount of fiber and Vitamin C.
Strawberries Contains fisetin which halts the growth of cancer cells and reduces a tumors’ blood supply. Also contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid which reduces the rates of cancer. They are a great source of folic acid. They even can whiten teeth when crushed, mixed with baking soda, and the mixture is left on teeth for 5 minutes.
Watermelon Packed with lycopene. Contains Vitamin A and C.

Lemonade – nothing but a bunch of lemons!

Lemonade! A refreshing, often-summer-time treat. When we started our “no sugar summer”, my kids were worried about not having lemonade all summer. I was ok with no more lemonade because I knew that most lemonades have some yucky ingredients. Most lemonades are “fake” and filled with all kinds of artificial ingredients and flavorings. I did a little investigating at the store for you to see what is in common lemonades. Listed below are some labels from popular lemonades that sell at a local grocery store. There are some nasty things hiding in a kids’ drink!

I know the ingredients are hard to read, so I typed them below each image. I highlighted the sugar and artificial flavorings and dyes, but know that this does not mean that other ingredients in these lemonades are necessarily safe and healthy.   The link at the bottom takes you to Sweeter Honey’s Lemonade without anything artificial or processed and no dyes!

CapriSun’s Lemonade:


Ingredients: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Vitamin E Acetate.


Country Time Pink Lemonade:


Ingredients: Sugar, Fructose, Citric Acid (Provides Tartness), Contains Less Than 2% Of: Natural Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Maltodextrin (From Corn), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Citrate (Control Acidity), Magnesium Oxide (Prevents Caking), Calcium Fumarate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Color, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Tocopherol (Preserves Freshness).


Kool Aid Lemonade:

Ingredients: Citric Acid, Calcium Phosphate, Maltodextrin, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Flavor, Artificial Color, Yellow 5, BHA (Preservative). You would add 1 cup of sugar and water to make the Kool Aid.


Minute Maid Lemonade (on the juice aisle):


Contains Pure Filtered Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lemon Juice From Concentrate, Less than 2% of: Natural Flavors, Calcium Citrate (calcium source), Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid), Sugar.


Minute Maid Lemonade (on the soda aisle):


Contains Pure Filtered Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lemon Juice From Concentrate, Less than 0.5% of: Natural Flavors, Citric Acid (Provides Tartness), Modified Cornstarch, Glycerol, Ester of Rosin, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate and Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect taste), Yellow #5.


Scary list of ingredients, right?  Think twice before indulging in one of these lemonades. For a much healthier alternative, click here for Sweeter Honey’s Lemonade recipe. I promised my kids that they could still have lemonade this summer…this recipe is the result. I think their mommy likes it better than they do!


Sweeter Honey’s Lemonade

My kids love lemonade especially on a hot summer day. Here is a quick and easy sugar-free lemonade recipe. Note: we tried it with honey and did not like the flavor. It had a strong almost bitter flavor. The maple syrup is a much milder taste. You can also freeze this lemonade and make lemonade pops. Another favorite at our house.

Sweeter Honey’s Lemonade

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 quarts


  • 8 cups water
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup lemon juice (I used the organic lemon juice from Costco – easier than squeezing lemons although you can do that, too!)


  1. Warm the water on the stovetop.
  2. Add the maple syrup. Stir.
  3. Once mixed, remove from the heat.
  4. Add lemon juice. Stir.
  5. Allow to cool and then serve with ice. Stir again before serving. Delicious!

Sweet Spotlight: Vegetables

I talk a lot about what not to eat. Let’s talk about what we should eat. This is the first post in a series titled Sweet Spotlight. I’ve included why each of these foods is good for you to help you make better and more informed food selections. Refer back to this list often as I will update it with new foods as I continue to learn about foods that are good to eat and benefits of foods that we normally eat.

FOOD: Vegetables Why is it good?
Arugula Contains calcium, folate, and fiber.     Good for bone and heart health.
Avocados Rich in folic acid with prevents birth defects, increases red blood cell production, prevents cancer and strengthens immune system.   Best plant-based source of omega-3s. High in the right kind of fat – monounsaturated fats. Aids in anti-aging and skin-moisturizing benefits.
Beets Source of B vitamin folate that helps with your mood and preserve memories in the brain.
Bell Peppers Contains vitamin C. Helps the immune system.
Bok Choy Contains calcium.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables Full of vitamin C and beta carotene.   Fights cancer, cataracts and heart disease. Improves the immune system. Helps the body eliminate toxins.
Collard Greens Packed with antioxidants that is especially helpful to your eyes.
Greens (mustard, turnip, collard, and kale) Full of calcium, iron, and vitamins C and E. Has detoxifying properties and heals the organs.
Kale Contains vitamins A, C, and K plus a number of minerals. The powerhouse of vitamins makes this an excellent anti-cancer food and a good one for eye-health. May also reduce the risk of heart disease.
Mushrooms (particularly Shiitake) Contains lentinan which may help slow the growth of tumors and cancer. Also good for immunity.
Nori Helps with blood sugar control.   Shred one sheet into soups or salads for 70% daily iodine dose.
Peppers (green, red, orange, and yellow) Rich in vitamin C. Great for the immune system.
Pomegranates (juice form works, too) Helps lower LDL cholesterol.
Potatoes High in potassium which helps nerves and muscles including the heart. The potato skin contains vitamin C and fiber.
Pumpkin ½ cup gives you over 100% of your Vitamin A daily dose requirement. Keeps your immune system working and protects you from disease and cancer.
Romaine Lettuce 2 cups contains half your daily need for Vitamin A and all of the vitamin K you need.
Spinach Contains beta carotene, folic acid, and iron. Good for bone health, cancer prevention, the immune system, and heart health.
Squash Contains vitamin A and helps alkalize the blood from the typical acid-producing diet of fats, sugar, and processed foods that we eat.
Sweet Potatoes High in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, and potassium. Plus when these potatoes are digested it turns into Vitamin A which fights premature wrinkles. Helps slow aging and strengthen the immune system.   Antioxidants keep the brain sharp.
Tomatoes Contains lycopene which helps repair cell damage from sun exposure and prevent sunburns.   Also helps keep you in a good mood.
Tomato Sauce Contains potassium. Good for your bones because the potassium buffers the acid that can pull calcium out of your bones.
Watercress Contains a strong dose of glucosinolates, a chemical in the plant that helps prevent breast, colon, and lung cancer.

No Sugar Summer Update – 7/15/14

We are halfway through our no sugar summer challenge. It hasn’t exactly gone as I had planned.  We were cruising along just fine through the month of June.  On June 29th, we had family over and I made my husband’s favorite German Chocolate Cake (his sweet treat for the month) and chocolate chip cookie cake for the kids. I enjoyed a couple slices of the chocolate chip cookie cake. The next day we were out and about and came across a newly recommended cupcake place. We hadn’t had our second treat for the month, so we decided to indulge. Two sweet treats for the month. Stuck to our rules.

Then July came. Confession time.

First, a neighbor brought us some cute mini cupcakes with blackberry icing to welcome us to the neighborhood. We all had one…it would just be rude not to! It was kind of our new neighbors to think of us. What would you do? 1 extra sugar treat.

Second, my husband’s birthday was earlier this month. We enjoyed a (planned) slice of cheesecake and I expected that it would be the end of it until my son’s birthday.

Then, my husband had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. While we were at the hospital, friends and hospital staff brought us multiple sweet treats (cookies, popsicles, muffins, etc.). It was not easy to avoid everything, so we did eat a little. I tried to steer my kids clear of most treats, but that was not easy. Now, I hope we can get back on track. 2 extra sugar treats.

My son’s birthday is later this month. That is our second planned sugar treat this month.

What I’ve learned: Avoiding sugar is hard when the unexpected happens.

Let’s bring on August!


Sweeter Corn Bread

This is a favorite side we make with gumbo, chili, etc. You would never even know it is “clean eating” corn bread!  I made it this week with a delicious vegan Caribbean sweet potato and black bean stew.  Yum!

Here’s a slice from my kitchen.  Looks (and tastes) like normal cornbread!



Sweeter Corn Bread

Yield: 16 squares


  • 1 cup milk (I used soymilk - use whatever kind of milk you like)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cornmeal (I use organic)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease bottom of 8x8 pan.
  3. Beat milk, butter, and egg in a large bowl.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until flour is moistened.
  5. Pour batter into pan.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Do Ahead Prep

Measure dry ingredients and set aside so they are ready when needed.


Sour Spotlight: Sodium Benzoate

I learned months ago of a health warning about sodium benzoate in hummus. I immediately went to my fridge and found that ingredient in the hummus that I ate every day. Yikes! So, I began searching for hummus without this ingredient and put this on my “don’t buy if it has it” list.

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative; therefore, red flags should go up. Sodium benzoate helps extend the shelf life of products, but it is still not something you want to consume. When you consume this additive, it begins to deprive your cells of oxygen. When the cells don’t get the oxygen they need to fight off infection, the immune system is compromised and eventually, cancer can be a concern.

How is sodium benzoate created? Benzoic acid naturally occurs in fruit and not a concern. When this acid reacts with sodium hydroxide, it creates sodium benzoate. This is the sodium salt from benzoic acid and this is what is added to your food.

More harmful reactions: When the sodium benzoate reacts with Vitamins C or E, it forms benzene which is a known carcinogen. What is a carcinogen? Think cancer…it is known to cause cancer.

Why is it in our food? It is one of the least expensive mold inhibitors available. It is often used in acidic foods. Which is why I found it in this lemon juice product (see below):  LemonJuiceFront LemonJuiceLabelWithLabel3

A better alternative: I found this lemon juice at Costco.  This is a Sweeter Honey approved lemon juice.  Only 1 ingredient!


As far as hummus is concerned, you can find hummus without sodium benzoate, but you have to read every label and search a little harder. Most hummus has this preservative, so read those labels!!!  Or make your own!

Bottom Line: Avoid sodium benzoate. Eating occasionally won’t kill you, but if you eat it regularly, it could. While it lengthens the shelf life of food, it can shorten yours!