Almost done!

I have been working hard, along with the kids, to get our schooling finished.  The weather has been warming up and the kiddie pools are out.  Swimsuits and towels now litter the front patio, along with flip flops and buckets.  I’d better get used to it, that’s probably how it will be for the next few months!

Annalisa and Eli are working hard, I am proud of them and how diligent they are!  We have entirely enjoyed My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures this year.  (http://www.mfwbooks.com)  It has been great.  Eli loves studying maps, and this has been right up his alley.  With Dad having done so much traveling over the last couple years, they have been really interested in checking out his passport with all its stamps from different countries.  When we’ve “crossed the border” traveling into a new country, one of their favorite things has been having to present their “passports” to the border agent (me). 

It has truly given them an appreciation for other people, cultures, traveling…and a thankfulness for all the blessings and freedoms we enjoy in our country.

And then, as if to top it off, our library (http://www.prescottlibrary.info/) and Michael’s (http://www.michaels.com/) are both having a ton of “Around the World” activities and crafts going on all summer long.  What a fun way to summarize (and review) some of what we’ve learned traveling around the globe!

 

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A New Season

We have been adjusting to a new schedule.  New in many ways! I think I’ll get to that in a later post though.  For now, a little background.

My dear husband (“Bebe”) has accepted a full time position at our church.  This is huge for us.  It has been our prayer for over 12 years to be able to serve the Lord in a “full-time position”.  We have basically been serving the Lord “part-time” for many years, although not for a wage.  We are so very blessed by this answer to prayer. We are free to commit all our energy to Him!

This change has also come on the heels of a very long few months for our family.  Bebe had been working a lot out of town, spending a  night or two away, working 16 hours a day (no joke).  Then when he was home, he was too utterly exhausted to do much of anything else but rest.  That can be challenging for 5 little ones who are excited to see their daddy, and a wife/mother who is desperately needing some adult interaction and reprieve from those 5 sweet little ones.  In fact, we were ready to pull back from serving in the church all together. 

I “had it out” with the Lord one day.  I told Him, “Well fine, Lord.  If you just don’t want us to serve you right now, FINE! I’ll stop fighting with you, I give up God!”  And, interestingly enough, it was that very weekend our senior pastor invited Bebe to join the pastoral team.  Wow.  Maybe I should’ve “given up” sooner!

Job 23:10, 14   “But He knows the way that I take…For He performs [what is] appointed for me…”

Don’t you wish you could just remember this basic truth more often? I wish I could! 

During those few months, I struggled.  Too much really.  I could look around and see others in more difficult situations than myself.  Husbands that had to be gone for months.  I could see marriages falling apart.  I was trying to be thankful that Bebe was only gone for a few days at a time.  I was definitely thankful for our marriage, and the faithful love that we have for one another.  But, I just found myself really struggling.  I don’t know why, still.  And it kind of bothers me. 

I desire to trust the Lord so completely that all else that transpires in my life is truly viewed through a heart and mind that is at peace with Him and that which He allows in my life. 

Psalm 25:4   Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.

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Filed under Family Life, Growing in Jesus, Marriage, On a Personal Note

My Prayer Warrior

My son, Eli, otherwise known as my lil cowboy is also quite the prayer warrior.  Seriously. He may be only 7 years old, but don’t let that fool you.  Once he has his mind on something, he DOES NOT stop praying. 
Well, our long time friends, TJ and Angela moved to Kansas a couple years back. TJ was then deployed to Iraq.  They have 3 beautiful girls.  Our families are very close.  We lived in Prescott, and then in Austin at the same time as well.  And then back to Prescott again. All that to say we’ve seen each others families grow, we’ve been there for each other over the years.  Our kids have befriended each other even through the miles.

Eli prayed diligently for TJ while he was overseas.  Morning, noon and night.  We visited them last summer while TJ was still in Iraq.  Eli kept praying. 

And God answered his prayers.  TJ is home safely with his wife and children.  They recently visited Prescott.  We were blessed to have them over one night, and TJ had a wonderful presentation planned for Eli.

When the kids came in from playing, TJ was standing ready in uniform.  Definately got some attention.

He called Eli over and proceeded to present him with a “Certificate of Exceptional Service” for his faithful prayers along with two badges.  It was such a sweet moment. 

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After some pictures, Eli raced to his room, accompanied by his big sister.  He only came out once he was completely ready.  Uniform, boots, and badge in place.

I am so proud of my son. My lil cowboy.  My prayer warrior.

Psalm 71:17  O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.

   

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Mac and Cheese…

Well, I didn’t ever figure I would post about food.  I enjoy cooking most of the time.  But most often, it’s a quick throw it together with out much planning. 

We’ll be finishing school or playing outside and, almost daily, I say – OH! What should I fix for dinner?!

I’ve some friends who do the weekly meal planning, shop accordingly and it works for them.  I can’t imagine that would ever work for me.  I think I’ve got too much of my mom in me for that to work!  🙂

All that said, I have been doing some reading on some healthier ways to cook and feed my family.  We have a number of food allergies, which hasn’t been too challenging, but always something I am considering when thinking of meals.  How do I need to alter this, what will be my substitute?  My main issues are peanuts (really, I just avoid all nuts) and dairy.

So, to get to the mac and cheese.  I’ve read a number of recipes using purees added to the pot, and apparently it goes off without a hitch.  One book I’ve looked at is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  (Yes, that’s Jerry’s wife. I didn’t even know he was married, let alone has three kids!)   Here’s the link, although, I haven’t actually looked at it yet… http://www.doitdelicious.com/

I never really follow recipes.  I take their ideas and then add a little this or that, leave something out, since I didn’t plan ahead and am missing an ingredient.  See how I roll?  I don’t really measure things either.  So, although some of you have asked me for the recipe, I’ll give it my best shot, and then  you can check Jessica’s and see how it matches up!  Oh yeah, I love those blogs that show you all the beautiful pictures of the ingredients nicely chopped and bubbling in the pan…you won’t get that here, sorry.

First, I pureed a butternut squash.  Baking it and processing it took a long time.  But you could do this one day, then freeze it (which I did with the remainder in 1/2 cup increments) and it would be much quicker to make.

I cooked the pasta. 

In a separate pot, I poured some olive oil (enough to coat the bottom) and about a tablespoon or two of flour.  Heated that through.

Then I added about 1/2 cup of squash puree.

Next, I dumped the pasta in and stirred it up.

I then grated some cheddar cheese.  I would guess it was close to 2 cups worth.  Added that into the pot, stirred it up and then a little milk because it was looking a bit thick.

Stirred it all up.  Added some salt and pepper.  Then some more salt.

It was yummy.

Andrew devoured it.  Annalisa winked at me and told me it was good. (She knew what I was up to.)  And lil Miss Joy, well, she even ate half a bowl and told me it was good.  I do think she will eat more next time.  Anything that looks slightly different is reason for alarm in her book.  I should’ve used the same little noodles like Kraft does. 

All in all I think it was a hit!

I’d love to know what you think about it….

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Filed under Food, Little Ones, Mothering

My Purpose…

My friend Ashley, got all this started.

http://www.oneordinaryday.com/2011/04/11/mother-thoughts-chapter-3/

The Book: The Mission of Motherhood  by Sally Clarkson

Here’s what I have to say…

I really am enjoying the book, and am sad I have to return it to the library!

I was totally convicted reading this chapter. But, really encouraged as well. It brought me back to some of the “basics”. Being a homeschool mom,  I find it very easy to gauge how good of a day we have had based on how much school we accomplished.  The children are in on it to!  Not really a bad thing…they are excited to announce to Dad when he gets home “We finished all our school today Dad!”   Although, that is great, I need to be careful that THAT does not become my mission.

I appreciated the reminder of the very reasons we have chosen to homeschool. To be able to be the one who nurtures our children. And that indeed takes time and purpose.

As the author was talking about a full time working mother giving her children the “leftovers” I felt like she could’ve been describing me! And yet I am home all the time with my children!   I MUST remember, the reason I am at home is for them, not me!

Prov. 14:1 has also really been the verse that I have been meditating on alot.

[Pro 14:1 NKJV] – The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.


 It certainly does take a determined effort to build; the tearing down seems to happen rather naturally being the sinful fallen creatures that we are.

A great chapter…a lot to think, and act upon.

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Filed under Family Life, Growing in Jesus, Homeschool, Just Another Day, Little Ones, Mothering

healthy eating

I am trying.

It’s rather difficult with a couple of picky eaters…or even just one.  Oh, yes, that would by little Joy girl.  Some days I feel like she doesn’t eat anything!

I hear a lot of “I don’t like that!”  Even if she’s eaten it 43 times before…and liked it!  Then when she finally tastes it, she smirks at me as she turns her face away.  Little stinker!

I am trying to incorporate more healthy foods, snacks.  Most of our meals are “healthy”.  Made from “scratch”…don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy about it, but I don’t prepare too many pre-packaged meals.  So, the one for me that I’m focusing on is snack time.  I’m trying to get away from cookies and sugar snacks.

I am looking for some ideas for healthy snacks…or tips for dealing with your picky eater(s).   Please tell.  Thanks.

oh yeah – I’ve already tried the “sit on them and force it down their throat” technique…it didn’t go over so well 🙂    (just kidding, well sort of…)

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Filed under Food, Little Ones, Mothering

Lotta’s Bike, featuring my Joy Girl

Lotta’s Bike byAstrid Lindgren

I normally don’t like books that tend to focus on a child’s naughty behavior.  The way I see it is that they just do fine with that on their own, they don’t really need the “encouragement” in that particular vein. 

But…this book actually put a smirk on my face as I read through it.

It reminds me of a special little girl I know. One I like to call my “Joy Girl”.  It’s a bit of sarcasm, I will admit it.  But, then again, it IS her middle name.  Kind of ironic really, since she seems to have such a difficult time in finding joy.  It’s there all around her.  She enjoys it, that’s certain.  However, she’s seems to focus a tad too much on the things that she’s not so joyful about.

I found it humorous at how much she liked this book. Even though no one had read it to her yet, she would just look through the pictures over and over. 

In fact, here is her favorite picture.

I should’ve zoomed in some more, but that’s Lotta flying over the fence head first.  She had stolen the nice neighbor ladies bike while she was napping, after she had given her a beautiful jeweled bracelet for her birthday.  The next picture is Lotta screaming her head off because she landed on it in the bushes and got a bump.  Then she sees the blood on her leg, and begins to scream “BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD!”  If you look closely, you’ll see the tears spurting from her screaming face.  A nice sweet kids book. 🙂

Yup.  These are her favorite pictures.  Not sure why really.  But, maybe just because she’s my Joy Girl.

I will say I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Even with naughty little Lotta’s tantrums.  She’s definitely got some spunk…like some other little girl I know!

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Filed under Just Another Day, Little Ones