Archive for December, 2010

A Call for Donations

posted by Karen Jean Matsko Hood
Friday, December 31, 2010


You have until midnight 12/31/10 to make a charitable donation for the 2010 tax year. Please consider contributing to For the Love of Children or The James & Karen Hood Foundation. Not only will you receive a deduction on your taxes, but you will be making a valuable contribution that you can be proud of to a charity dedicated to the betterment of society through reaching out on both a local and global level.

Your donation helps make possible the blogs for both charities, where we pull together articles on a wide range of informative and important topics that you can put to use both in your day-to-day life and in the pursuit of crucial social issues. On these blogs you can find information on adoption, including detailed breakdowns of the unique challenges associated adopting from specific countries; health and nutrition; parenting tips and advice on foster care; domestic violence; debilitating medical conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and Sjogren’s Syndrome; articles on education and literacy; and much more. Furthermore, we hope to offer opportunities for volunteer work through both For the Love of Children and The James & Karen Hood Foundation in the coming year.

But even more importantly, your donation goes to directly support those in need in the following ways:

For the Love of Children concentrates on funding research on issues involving education, nutrition, health and wellness, abuse, and neglect of children. This charity is dedicated to touching the lives of as many children as possible the world over. Remember, these children are the future of our world. It is crucial to ensure that they receive the brightest and best we can give them.

The James & Karen Hood Foundation funds worthy causes and other established charities that assist the downtrodden in every area of need. Even in the United States, there are so many people suffering needlessly from poverty and neglect, and there are many more on a global level. Nothing is more important than addressing the welfare of our brothers and sisters in need. In helping others, we create a better world for everyone.

Help us address these crucial issues facing our modern world: donate today. Please click here to donate to For the Love of Children and here to donate to The James & Karen Hood Foundation. Thank you for your gift. Your contribution is deeply appreciated.

Fruit Leather – A Healthy Alternative

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fruit leather is a treat that kids love! It is a healthy substitute for candy. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that dried fruit is like eating sticky candy. It stays on the teeth longer than fresh fruit, releasing sugar into the saliva for a greater period of time, which promotes tooth decay. Make sure you limit the amount of time in which your or your children’s teeth are exposed to sugar without being cleaned.

Drying fruit has been done for centuries. It is an easy way to preserve fruit. We generally think of dried fruit as such things as raisins, prunes, apple slices or apricot halves, but that isn’t the only way to preserve fruit. Pureeing fruit to make leather is an easy way to use up excess fruit before it goes bad. It is also easier than drying fruit pieces, because the puree is a more consistent thickness so that it all dries at the same rate.

Following are three fruit leather recipes you can use to preserve fruit for later use as tasty snacks.

Kiwi Fruit Leather

From St. Patrick’s Day Delights Cookbook

This is a great way for preserving kiwis when you are able to catch a great sale and they do not look like they will get used or eaten fast enough.


10 kiwifruit, peeled

2 Tbs. white grape juice concentrate

¼ c. sugar

2 Tbs. lemon juice

green food coloring (optional)


  1. Purée ingredients completely in blender, making sure seeds are pulverized.
  2. Spread purée in trays; dry until leathered.
  3. Wrap in wax paper and store in airtight jar.

Blueberry Applesauce Fruit Leather

From Easter Delights Cookbook

This is excellent fruit leather, and it makes a great Easter basket filler. This makes a tart fruit leather, so if you like it sweeter, add more honey.


1 c. blueberry purée

1 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 Tbs. honey


  1. In blender or food processor, combine blueberries and applesauce.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Pour mixture through strainer or sieve to remove skin and seeds.
  4. Stir in honey.
  5. Place mixture in 10-inch skillet.
  6. While stirring frequently, cook over very low heat for 1 hour until thickened.
  7. Preheat oven to 150 degrees F.
  8. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Pour thickened mixture onto parchment paper, and spread to form rectangle.
  10. Bake 5½ to 6 hours, until fruit sheet is dry enough not to stick to your fingers but moist enough to roll; remove from oven and cool.
  11. Placing a potholder in oven door to keep it ajar will help dry the leather by allowing moisture to escape.
  12. Once cooked, leather should be rolled in plastic wrap or stored in airtight container to keep.

Raspberry Fruit Leather

From Easter Delights Cookbook

Try homemade raspberry fruit leather for a great snack or lunch treat. You will not want store-bought leather after tasting these.


2 c. raspberry purée

2 Tbs. honey (optional)


  1. Mix purée and honey together if using honey.
  2. Line cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.
  3. Evenly spread purée ¼ inch deep.
  4. Place in sun, oven, or dehydrator to dry. (It takes 4 to 10 hours.)
  5. Leather is ready when edges are not sticky to the touch.
  6. Pull from wax paper while still warm, and roll in plastic wrap.
  7. Can be stored for 30 days at room temperature or for months in the refrigerator.

St. Patrick’s Day Delights Cookbook and Easter Delights Cookbook are coming soon! Find more preserving recipes in Karen Jean Matsko Hood’s Cookbook Delights series of cookbooks. These may be purchased online from Karen’s Bookstore.

Family Movie Night

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Encouraging Better TV For Our Families

I work with a grassroots organization called Moms4FamilyTV, and our goal is to promote high-quality family friendly entertainment that the entire family can watch together. Our initiative is sponsored by Walmart and P&G, who have made it their goal to “bring back family movie night” by producing family entertainment for NBC and FOX.

The next film, Change of Plans, will air January 8th 8/7c on FOX. This heart-warming, funny film surrounds a married couple with no kids, who–through unfortunate events ends up adopting 4 kids from Africa, Asia, and South America. The film reveals how fulfilling life can be when you look beyond your own plans and invest in the lives of others. The film is also very pro-adoption!

Will you please help us make a difference?

We are asking people like you to help spread the word about Family Movie Night and Change of Plans.

Tune in: January 8th at 8/7c on FOX.

Share: Post the trailer on your website & Facebook page.

Watch the trailer: Change of Plans – Trailer

Spread the Word: Tell your friends and family, your church, anyone who has children or might be interested in supporting wholesome family entertainment.

Best regards,
Johanna Hatfield
Moms4FamilyTV Partnership Development