Gourmet Spy Pumpkin Pie

My friend James Houston Turner sent this tradition and his recipe for pumpkin pie. James is a Renaissance man: spy novel author, religious scholar, cook, homeschool dad, and cancer survivor. Soon I’ll share more about his incredible journey from Kansas to Australia and his tips for homeschooling boys.

To see  James’ recipe, and instructional photos visit: http://www.thegourmetspy.blogspot.com/  

Keep sending to me your great holiday traditions to share with others.


Happy Holidays dear friends and family,

To me, the Holiday season always brings back great memories of pumpkin pie and all the trimmings (i.e., the meal). And through the years I’ve established my own tradition of eating a slice of pie first, before anything else, just in case….So in the true Holiday spirit (and in case any of you enjoy doing the same), here is my very best pumpkin pie recipe. It’s made from “scratch” — no canned pumpkin or frozen pastry. In other words, this is the Real McCoy. And it’s a lot easier than you think.

Also, because pumpkins are synonymous with Thanksgiving and Christmas — the time of the year associated with the giving of thanks and God’s blessings — we incorporate pumpkin into every course of our holiday meal. We make a spicy pumpkin dip to go with crackers, have roasted pumpkin with the main course of the meal, and of course enjoy pumpkin pie as a dessert offering. Pumpkin is one of the most versatile veggies around, accepting sweet and spicy flavorings with ease. I’ll try and post the spicy pumpkin dip soon. It’s a winner (made with peanut butter, lime and spice). Ooh-la-la!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pie. Cheers and blessings for a wonderful Christmas,



Let’s Make Ornaments


Snowman Ornament

  I make these with any holiday trims, miniatures and ribbons

  I  can find. Here I used snowmen. You can change materials

  as you like, and omit the salt if you don’t want a snowy scene.


What you need:


Small clear plastic containers w/lids: 

I use Artists Cups from Hobby Lobby.

Small holiday figurines: These are usually

for gift wrapping or miniature trees.

Salt, White Glue, Toothpick, and Scissors 

Narrow ribbon:  I used satin ribbon because 

it’s lightweight and easy to handle.

 Let’s Put It Together


Make a puddle of glue in the lid and spread

to cover entire lid bottom.

Place figurine in the lid.


Sprinkle salt over figurine while glue is wet,

for a snowy landscape.

Use toothpick to remove any salt from

crevice of lid.


Cut ribbon into two 5-6 inch pieces. One will

be the holder. The other trims the bottom

of the plastic container. Glue one end of the

 holder ribbon and half of the trim ribbon to

bottom of container. Dry for fifteen minutes.

Glue the other end of the holder halfway

around the edge and finish gluing

 trim ribbon to bottom edge of container.

Scissors make a great rack for drying.


Add extra salt to the container.

Place lid on container.

Gently press with palm until it “snaps”.



Happy Holidays!

Madon Dailey, Homeschool Manager, Nancy Larson Science

Take Them A Meal

Tradition – Take Them a Meal

We received this wonderful way of coordinating meals and the tradition of helping others from Jolanthe Erb.

Perfect Potluck ~ Organizing Meals for Groups Online

I know this isn’t technically homeschool related {grins}, but since I am LOVING the folks behind Take Them a Meal for their genius right now, I wanted to share it all with you.

If you haven’t used the Take Them a Meal site yet when planning and organizing meals for someone who has recently had a baby or been sick, you NEED to check out their site. It is a central spot for friends to sign up for a specific day to bring a meal to a person and list what they are bringing so that meals aren’t duplicated. Takethemameal.com is a FREE site that helps you organize meal deliveries to the family with just a few clicks of a button.  As the meal coordinator you can quickly create an online schedule sheet providing directions to the home along with other important information.

As of today, they have launched a sister-site called Perfect Potluck where a coordinator can create an online signup for group meals. I am SO excited to see this feature!! During these last two weeks our church has had to plan several memorial service meals and the emails going back/forth with over 70 people on the list was overwhelming. Having a central place where everyone can check in and not duplicate the items needed is wonderful.

To give you a quick idea of how it’s laid out, the coordinator can specify where/when the items need to be delivered and then those helping can sign up for a specific item. The coordinator enters the name of the item and how many need to be brought, and the appropriate number of item slots is listed.

You can view an online sample of how the site works here.

Did I mention it is all FREE?? Really, you can’t go wrong with that! This is one of those sites that I wish had been around years ago ~ it’s definitely one that I will use over and over again in the future! 

Jolanthe Erb

My daughter coordinated potluck meals among neighbors for a family with a sick child for eight weeks. This would have made it so simple.

Also, many families coordinate holiday meals by potluck. What a perfect organizer this website provides! — Madon