Thursday, September 11, 2008

Volcano Cake! (Plus Home Management and Motherhood Mentoring)

My friend Rachel came over today with her two little children to talk about home schooling and home management. J.J. and Elsie are only three and almost two, but she's trying to get started on the right foot! Smart lady! Of course, I'm not exactly the most organized or calm mama in the world, but I've been doing this for a long, long time, and I can at least point out some pot holes to avoid! (My top advice: get the habits right when they are very small, because it's so hard to change them later!)

I think Rachel's already off to a terrific start because she reads to her kids, sings songs with them, does little devotions in the morning, and spends a lot of time playing and talking with them.

While they were here, we made a volcano cake. We usually do it by making a pan of brownies, cutting them up, and making a mountain out of them. Then we spoon on a can of cherry pie filling (for the lava) and a tub of whipped topping (for the smoke and steam), and sprinkle on chocolate chips for the debris. This time I used chocolate cake mix in a bundt pan, as well as some brownies underneath to add to the height. The kids added all of the other goodies!

Here are J.J. with the chocolate chips and Melody with the whipped cream.

This was the volcano cake we made for my birthday a year ago. I originally made up this recipe when I was teaching the kids about Ancient Rome many years ago, and wanted a visual aid for Mt. Vesuvius. It has been my traditional birthday dessert ever since, though this year Lydia made Boston creme pie for me instead. Last night, she made sloppy joe filling from scratch so we could eat them for lunch today while our company was here. She also made yummy homemade macaroni and cheese with onions and bread crumbs. Unfortunately, when Thad went to Sam's Club yesterday, I forgot to ask him to get eggs (so I could make the cake) and kaiser rolls (for the sloppy joes). I had to go this morning, which is evidence to the fact that I'm not always efficient at my time management or homemaking. At least Sam's is only a mile away, though!

Melody kept trying to hug and kiss Elsie!

I learned a few things from Rachel, too! She was mentioning that vitamin B12 has been really effective for stress and fatigue. I had heard that, but to hear her share her own experience was a helpful reminder. She also gave me some good web sites while she was here. Please note that I have not looked at these sites thoroughly and do not necessarily endorse everything on them. I think most of them are a bit more conservative than I am, since I have loosened up considerably in recent years. However, I can always learn something from anyone!

Herba Family Wellness Matt Herba is a Christian chiropractor in Winter Springs, Florida, who also uses naturopathic remedies

Keeping the Home This is a very conservative Christian web site about home management (I like that this lady schedules in large time blocks, not small ones.)

Biblical Womanhood This is a site by Crystal Paine, a young mom who wrote a few articles that were included in my Hope Chest newsletter a few years ago

Money Saving Mom The name is pretty self-explanatory, but this is also a site by Crystal Paine. You will find out where to get the good deals right now.

I'm thankful that Rachel is taking time from her busy schedule to mentor some of the younger single women in the church, including one of my daughters. What a treasure!

I am also exceedingly grateful for the dear ladies who mentored me when I was a young mom living in Maryland, such as Mel Franks, Vickie Botkin, Janet Maxim, Paula Muller, Darlene LaPlue, Karen Ervin, Nadya Wurm, Peggy Smith, Sharon Abbott, and so many more. (If any of you are out there in cyberspace, I would love to hear from you!) They showed me their home school curriculum, loaned me magazines and books, taught me how to machine quilt, talked to me about child training and marriage, and counseled me through the snags of life. They were true "Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 women" and I am trying to follow in their footsteps.


Virginia Knowles


  1. I know there are Botkin, Maxim, Smith and Abbott (and Irvine too) kids on facebook and I'm sure I could track down their mom's contact info if you are interested. Let me know!

  2. Thank you, Ann! I'll take you up on that if it's not too much trouble! I already know how to get a hold of the Botkins, as well as the LaPlue family.


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