Shannyn’s Healthy Homemade Yogurt

excerpted :

Last month, we Caldwell’s welcomed an InstantPot into our kitchen.

Honestly, pressure cookers have always scared me a bit, with stories circulating through our family history of explosions and spaghetti sauce on the ceiling. But when all of American exploded at Christmas with blog upon blog and photo after photo of happy/healthy mama’s smiling next to their shinny little cooker-bots…I BIT!

Mostly, I wanted to be able to push a button that says “Yogurt” and then watch a tiny little miracle happen. And THAT’S exactly what I feel has happened.

My Syrian grandma, Mary used to make her own yogurt. It was delish. Making is…GROSS, Grandma! But this? It’s “set it and forget it” goodness.

My husband says it’s the best he’s ever had. My son has requested I make it each week!

And…EASY! So…if you are feeling adventurous or just want to up that pro-biotic count and thus improve your digestion and absorption of nutrients, this is for you.

I don’t know about YOU but for me, if it’s going into something called the “Instant Pot” it better be really, really easy. Dare I say Instant? There are many yogurt recipes out there, so I started with the most simple and decided I’m move up the “complicated tree” if the simple one did not turn out. Count yourself bless, Insta-friend! The easiest one worked out just GREAT!

This is definitely easy. No boiling. No thermometer! (since this is non-dairy yogurt)

To create this Greek Yogurt textured pot of yummy, simply mix all the ingredients above (except the gelatin) together. Split the creamy goodness between your two clean ball jars and put them uncovered in your Instant Pot for 11 hours.  When your little pot sings it’s happy “I’m done” song it will read “Yogurt” on the display! That’s when you just pull out the jars, stir in the gelatin (or better yet, blend in the gelatin)  and pop them in your refrigerator until they are cool.

And they are SO cool! I hope you enjoy this and thanks to the blogger at My Big Fat Grain Free Life for getting this idea started. (she doesn’t add the syrup so hers is a pure plain yogurt, while this is a tiny bit sweet)

Top with your favorites: Berries….MORE syrup? Have fun, sweet ones! Be well.

Shannyn Caldwell is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and student of Naturopathic Medicine 

Can a healthy 2018 be yours? YES!

Today we spoke with fitness trainer and national health coach Peter Neilsen!

Here are three simple tips he shared to help you get on track for 2018:

1-Drink your water! All your water. It will help your body use the nutrients you give it through healthy meals and supplement choices.

2-Peter suggests that we avoid processed grains (like white flour and rice) and choose a whole grain instead.

3-MOVE your body! Even light exercise, like a brisk walk can make a big difference if done with consistency.

Peter suggests 5 times per week!

And don’t forget, the most important tip: Care for your SOUL! Health is an inside job.

For more tips, check out Peter at his Peter’s Principles and catch him on Family Life Radio!

100 Intentional Acts of Kindness for Kids! #iak #mlk

 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.”


It’s MLK Day! Looking for a way to shine His light? How about an Intentional Act of Kindness? He’s a few ideas from our friends at “Coffee Cups and Crayons” to get you started!

100 Acts of Kindness for Kids

  1. Put change in a vending machine.
  2. Hold the door open for someone.
  3. Do a chore for someone without them knowing.
  4. Tell a joke.
  5. Return someone’s cart at the store.
  6. Give candy to your bank teller.
  7. Leave a letter in a library book.
  8. Feed the birds.
  9. Leave happy notes around town.
  10. Put a small bin in your car to collect recycling.
  11. Call your grandparents and ask them about their childhood.
  12. Pick up litter.
  13. Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  14. Compliment a friend.
  15. Wash someone’s car.
  16. Write a thank you note for your mail carrier.
  17. Plant something.
  18. Bake dessert for a neighbor
  19. Walk dogs at the animal shelter.
  20. Check in on an elderly neighbor.
  21. Set up a lemonade stand and donate the profits.
  22. Send a card to a service member.
  23. Bury treasure at the playground.
  24. Set the table for dinner.
  25. Leave bubbles on someone’s doorstep.
  26. Put money on a stranger’s layaway bill.
  27. Tell someone why they are special to you.
  28. Donate outgrown clothes.
  29. Buy a coffee for a stranger.
  30. Pass out stickers to kids waiting in line.
  31. Talk to someone new at school.
  32. Write chalk messages on the sidewalk.
  33. Weed or shovel for a neighbor.
  34. Donate food to the food pantry.
  35. Bring flowers to your teacher.
  36. Tell a manager how good your service was.
  37. Tape change to a parking meter.
  38. Donate socks and supplies to the homeless shelter.
  39. Give a lottery ticket to a stranger.
  40. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while to say hello.
  41. Tape money for the ice cream truck to a friend’s front door.
  42. Take treats to the fire station.
  43. Read a book to someone.
  44. Leave heads up pennies on the sidewalk.
  45. Donate a book to a doctor’s office waiting room.
  46. Tell someone how much you love them.
  47. Say hello to everyone you see.
  48. Make someone else’s bed.
  49. Hold the door open for someone.
  50. Wave at kids on school buses.
  51. Sing songs at a nursing home.
  52. Invite someone to play on the playground.
  53. Tell the principal how great your teacher is.
  54. Donate a toy to Toys for Tots.
  55. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  56. Say thank you when you see service members.
  57. Fill a kindness jar with candy for another family.
  58. Make a thank you sign for sanitation workers.
  59. Make a busy bag for a family with young children.
  60. Bring cookies to the custodian.
  61. Help make dinner.
  62. Donate new pajamas for foster kids.
  63. Make a get well card for someone.
  64. Bring your neighbors’ garbage cans up for them.
  65. Take care of someone’s pet while they’re away.
  66. Leave a popcorn surprise on a DVD rental machine.
  67. Share a special toy with a friend.
  68. Clean up your room without being asked.
  69. Tape a video message for faraway friends.
  70. Leave kindness stones at the park.
  71. Give a candy bar to the bus driver.
  72. Send dessert to another family at a restaurant.
  73. Give spare change to the food pantry.
  74. Buy extra school supplies for a teacher.
  75. Make muffins for your pharmacist.
  76. Teach someone something new.
  77. Reuse paper when you are drawing.
  78. Pay for someone’s toll.
  79. Give someone a hug coupon.
  80. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  81. Write a note for someone’s lunch.
  82. Collect money or items for your favorite charity.
  83. Donate coloring books and crayons to the children’s hospital.
  84. Write a poem for a friend.
  85. Ask for donations instead of birthday gifts.
  86. Help someone unload groceries at the store.
  87. Make a candy gram for the police department.
  88. Collect books for the library.
  89. Adopt an animal online.
  90. Decorate tissue boxes and hand sanitizer for nursing stations.
  91. Make a homemade gift for someone.
  92. Clean up your toys without being asked.
  93. Deliver water bottles to the homeless shelter.
  94. Create activity bags for families of deployed soldiers.
  95. Give high fives to a friend.
  96. Make a thank you card for your librarian.
  97. Dry the slides at the park with a towel after it rains.
  98. Make play dough for a preschool class.
  99. Send a postcard to a friend.
  100. Smile at everybody. It’s contagious.

New Year, Newly Recreated

Invite God to Re-Create You

Every year it’s the same thing. “I’m gonna lose weight .. or get out of debt .. or have better relationships.” And every year you reach a point when the resolve fades, and perhaps you even lose hope that you’ll ever succeed. Author Nika Maples was on that same yo-yo, until God stepped in.

One day I just felt God saying to me You can’t say crucifixion didn’t fix you.”

Nika tells Peter and Shannyn she’s found there’s a connection between God’s original creation and how He re-creates us.


2 Corinthians 5 :17 says “…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” Nika says “Just like God said in Genesis 1 ‘Let there be light’, I said ‘God speak into my darkened heart.'”

Change in our heart and spirit is not only possible, it can be permanent – but in order to succeed we’ve got to be intentional about it. Dr. Randy Carlson, host of Intentional Living, lists 10 InTENtionals for Growing Thru Change, including to:

Expect stress from it; Measure it; Look beyond it.

More tips from our Intentional Living Center on the home page at


Fireside Christmas Story // The Perfect Christmas Pageant

You’ve probably been to a Christmas pageant, if not this year than in Christmas’ past. Just last week a video went viral of a little 2-year-old “sheep” who stole Baby Jesus right out of the manger. If you’re like us, moments like this are the best part of the program.

With all of the hustle and bustle in this week before Christmas, we thought we’d give you a chance to unwind a bit .. so settle in, cuddle up, grab a nice warm cup of coffee or cocoa, and listen to a Fireside Christmas Story with Uncle Peter.

This one is called The Perfect Christmas Pageant, and was originally published in Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1987.

The Perfect Christmas Pageant, by Rev. ML Lindvall

Last year I received a Christmas card from a former seminary classmate of mine. Inside the card was a letter – not one of those mimeographed Christmas letters in which people proudly share news of their children’s extraordinary achievements and their own various illnesses of the past year, but an honest-to-goodness letter, written to me personally. I sat down recently to reread this unusual piece of correspondence, and I want to share its contents with you here.

Dear Michael (it began), I accepted the call to that little church I told you about last winter – and yesterday was our annual children’s Christmas pageant. It was wonderful, but now that it’s over my blood pressure has probably dropped about 20 points.

The whole saga really begins 47 Christmases ago when Doris Peterson first directed the pageant, something she continued to do through seven pastors and who knows how many Christian Education Committees. Presidents came and went, three wars were fought, hundreds of children passed through Sunday school, and Doris Peterson directing her Christmas pageant was like a great rock in a turbulent sea.

I never saw one of Doris’s pageants (we’ve only been here since spring), but I’ve heard about them. They always had precisely nine characters, no more, no less: one Mary, one Joseph, three Wise Men, two shepherds, one angel and one narrator. The script was the Christmas story out of the King James Bible, which meant that two six-year-old shepherds had to learn to say “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

Doris’s goal was nothing less than perfection: perfect lines, perfect pacing, blocking, and enunciation – perfect everything. That is not easily achieved with little children, even with nine carefully selected ones. Critics said Doris would have worked with nine midget actors if she thought she could have gotten away with it.

Time and again people tried to get Doris to open things up so that every youngster who wanted a part could have one. “Doris,” they would say, “scripture says there was a heavenly host, not just one lonely angel.”

“Doris, why not have a few more shepherds, and then everybody could take part in the pageant?”

“Doris, if there were shepherds, there had to be sheep, too, right? We can make little sheep costumes.”

“No,” Doris would say. “When there are too many youngsters, there is no control.”

Early this fall, however, something happened. The Christian Education Committee included three mothers of last year’s rejected Marys, Josephs, shepherds and Wise Men. These young mothers passed the following motion: “Resolved: All children who wish to be in the Christmas pageant may do so. Parts will be found for them.”

Doris heard about it that night and was in my office the next morning at 9 A.M. sharp. “If those women know so much, let them be in charge,” she spit out. Before I could reply, she resigned as director of the pageant.

The pageant, as I said, was yesterday. The young mothers didn’t fall flat on their faces, but the program was, well, different from what everybody had come to expect over the past 46 years.

There must have been a dozen shepherds and 20 angels (a real heavenly host). And then there were the sheep – a couple dozen three, four, and five year olds who were dressed in fake sheepskin vests with woolly hoods and their dad’s socks, which were pulled up over their arms and legs.

Now, in your suburban Christmas pageants, I imagine sheep are well-behaved and fairly quiet. The only sheep suburban kids have ever seen are on the church-bulletin cover – quiet, grazing sheep who just stand there and look cute. But half of the kids in this church live on farms and they’ve seen real sheep. They know sheep wander around. They know that all sheep want to do is eat.

So, some of the sheep started doing an imitation of grazing behind the communion table. Some went to graze over by the choir and down the aisle. Some had donuts they found in the church parlor to make their grazing look more realistic. When the shepherds tried to herd them with their shepherds’ crooks, some of the sheep spooked and scattered, which is exactly what real sheep do.

Doris was watching all this from the last pew, and I could just see her from where I was sitting. She noticed me looking at her and lowered her head to hide a smirk.

The real climax of imprecision came, however, at the point of high drama when Mary and Joseph enter, Mary clutching a doll wrapped in a blue blanket. This year’s Mary, whose name was actually Mary, was taking the role with an intense and pious seriousness. Joseph was another story. He had gotten the part because he had been rejected from pageant participation by Doris more times than any other youngster in the church (and for good reason, some might say).

Anyway, Mary and Joseph were to walk on as the narrator read, “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem… to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child.”

At least this is what the narrator was supposed to read. It was what the narrator had read at the rehearsal. But one of the young mothers had observed that none of the children could really understand the English of the King James Bible, so they voted to switch to the Good News translation for the performance.

So, as Mary and Joseph entered, the narrator read, “Joseph went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant.” As the last word echoed through the P.A. system, our little Joseph froze in his tracks, gave Mary an incredulous look, then looked out at the congregation. “Pregnant? What do you mean, pregnant?” he asked.

This, of course, brought the house down. My wife, wiping tears from her eyes, leaned over to me and said, “You know, that may well be what Joseph actually said.”

Doris was now wearing a look that simply said, “I told you so.” But as the pageant wound into its concluding tableaux and the church lights were dimmed for the singing of Silent Night, a couple of magical, I would allow, miraculous things happened.

The sheep, when they were finished with their parts, bleated their way down a side aisle to sit in the last couple of pews and watch the end of the show. Doris suddenly found herself surrounded by a little herd. Then the church went dark, and we could all see what had been happening outside for the last hour. The first snow of winter was falling. Big, fat snowflakes floated down, covering everything with a white blanket. From both children and grown-ups, there was a group “Ahhh!”

We sang, “Silent night, Holy night, All is calm, All is bright.” Our voices were soft, and all the sheep were quiet, even the ones who were awake. Everybody looked at the snow. When the last verse of the carol finally died away, no one stirred for a long time. It wasn’t planned. We all just sat there and watched.

Then Minnie McDonnell broke the spell. She’s hard of hearing and always talks too loudly. She probably meant to whisper to her husband, but everybody heard. “Perfect,” she said. “Just perfect.”

And it was. It wasn’t perfect in the way Doris had tried to make her pageants perfect; it was perfect in the way God makes things perfect, the way He accepts our fumbling attempts at love and fairness and covers them with grace. Have a Merry Christmas, my friend.

A Different Kind of Christmas // Mark Schultz

No time of the year leans as heavily on tradition as Christmastime, but every once in a while it’s good to inject a few new things into your celebration of Jesus’ birth. Word Records’ artist Mark Schultz & his wife Kate took that to heart this year – adopting a new little baby girl from China!

Mark tells P&S “Yeah .. she looks nothing like me, which is a good thing!”

Kate is an OB/GYN, & Mark says “She saw a little Chinese baby running down the aisle at church one Sunday & said ‘We gotta have one of those.'” God tells us in his word we’re adopted. Mark was adopted when he was just 2 weeks old, & says “adoption is a blueprint for what we’re supposed to do here on earth.


What to Remember About Alzheimer’s

Much like cancer, most of us either have a loved one or know of someone who has struggled with Alzheimer’s Disease.

When we don’t have enough each day to care for somebody, we turn to God to give us that strength.” That’s the gist of what Dr. Benjamin Mast tells P&S this morning, during National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Dr. Mast says patients “forget recent information very quickly, but there are other things they can remember much better.”  Some of those other things include “stories of long ago“, “old hymns“, and “scriptures they’ve learned.

Dr. Mast is a professor at the University of Louisville & author of Second Forgetting.


Wouldn’t It Be Great to Get a Do Over?

Our Amazing God is the king of second chances! God can redeem you. Nothing you do can take away His love for you, when you come to Him. He is patient while you learn your need for Him. Family Life Radio member Chuck shares his testimony.

But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Psalm 49:15