Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Still Life......According to a Four-Year Old

Today, Layla requested that I place her tooth brush, Julius' tooth brush and their tooth paste on the dining room table so that she could draw it. I arranged it on the table while she and Julius got their paper, pencils and crayons. Layla told me she needed to draw it in pencil first and then color it. Seems like she has been picking up a few things from her aunt the artist!

Layla's great Aunt Julia is a wonderful painter and artist! This past year she painted some amazing pictures of myself, Layla, my mother and my grandmother. Check out this series of paintings titled Four Generations. While your over at her sight, take a look at some of her other works, too! I feel like the pictures of the paintings don't even capture the richness of seeing the paintings in person. Her colors are lovely and bold, and her paintings have great texture. We have a print of this painting, which I just love!

Nate has many talented artists throughout his family. Hopefully our kids have gotten a bit of that artist's touch, too!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Great Progress

It has been so much fun to watch the progress Layla is making with her school work. For about a week she has been attempting to read simple sentences! She really likes this one workbook and she insists on skipping ahead. Well, the book work requires the reading of sentences and with her determination she has been reading them! I didn't think she was ready, but, she has proven me wrong. I am sure it won't be the last time. She is also reading any packaging she can get her hands on! Such great progress since September. It just shows she was ready.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tinker or Canker?

For some reason, Julius insists on calling his canker sore a tinker bell.....hmmm...... I guess I can see the connection! It did take a few days to figure out what he was talking about, lol!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Battling the All or Nothing Mentality

I have this silly little enemy that I am constantly battling with. You might be familiar with it, too. Does "all or nothing" ring a bell? It likes to rear it's sneaky little head into our lives through our relationships, habits, diets, faith, and thinking. If you are having a hard time recognizing what I am talking about, let me give you a few examples.

  • "Well, I really shouldn't have eaten that for breakfast this morning. Oh well, I can always get back to my diet next Monday."
  • "I really only have a few minutes to read my Bible right now, so I will try and do it later when I have more time."
  • "There are a lot of dirty dishes in the sink. I can't really get to them all right now, so I guess I will leave them until later."
  • "Everything seems to cause cancer! What's the use in trying to change!"
  • "The government is just to big for one person to try and make a difference."
  • "How am I ever going to get that entire project finished! I will never find the time to do the whole thing!"

At least in my life, time is of the essence. Between preparing three meals a day, wiping dirty faces, washing dirty dishes, changing dirty diapers, doing dirty laundry, sweeping dirty floors and a whole list of other things that involve dirt and messes, I can sometimes feel like I am getting nothing done outside of my motherly responsibilities. Most times I am to blame, but not because I am lazy. I assure you I don't sit down much throughout the day! But rather because I am losing the battle mentally. In my own mind, if I can not complete a task from start to finish, I don't always think it is worth getting started! If I would only get started and keep back at the task, as many times as it took, then I would finish the task.

I realized this the other day when it took me all day long to clean the ceiling fan in our bedroom. With a crawling baby and two other little people running around, I don't have the luxury of going upstairs to clean my gross, dirty(See more stuff involving dirt) fan for 30 minutes. Instead, every time I laid the baby down for a nap, I would clean a blade or two before heading back downstairs to deal with the older two kids.

Sometimes the same applies to dishes. As much as I would like to wash all of the dishes, it is much better to get a few done than none at all. Then I can do more the next time I have a few spare moments. It is the same for faith. Isn't is much better to spend a few minutes in prayer or read just a few verses, rather than go an entire day without prayer or God's word? With our bodies, isn't it much better to keep trying to eat healthy, whole foods, even if you might have eaten a junky meal or snack? In reality, the "ALL" of "all or nothing" practically doesn't exist. I think Satan just likes to fill our minds with unrealistic pictures of perfection to keep us distracted and keep us from doing "something." He knows that if he can keep us tied up with "all or nothing" type of thinking that we will more than likely accomplish "nothing."

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:3 -5

I frequently lose battles against "all or nothing" in almost every area of my life. I would like to start winning! I plan on doing SOMETHING when that "all or nothing" feeling tries to creep in.

In what ways can you attack the "all or nothing" monster in your life?

Friday, November 13, 2009

With My Mouth Will I Make Known

"I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 89:1

Lately I have been marveling at the way the Lord blesses our family, even in the smallest details. Our budget has been extremely tight lately, and we have just been forced to wait upon the Lord in many areas. He always provides! Even when you don't expect it. I heard a preacher say once that many times we don't wait on the Lord to provide because we rush out and purchase it on credit or try to meet our own needs in our own power. I can surely attest to that and have the debt to show for it!

The song of Psalm 89:1 has been on my heart and I felt compelled to sing of the mercies of the Lord and make His faithfulness known to all generations! Here it goes:

  • Nate's fellow teachers and staff members blessed us with 29 packs of diapers when Gunnar was born!
  • My girlfriend gave me a large garbage bag full of clothes that got me through my post-baby period of frumpiness!
  • My mom's friend gave me two large garbage bags full of clothes that provided me with clothes to wear once I lost all of the baby weight!
  • Layla needed a larger bike this summer and our neighbor's sold us a "princess" bike with training wheels for $5!
  • When we needed new curtains to match our newly painted back room, the Lord miraculously allowed the curtains to come out in just the right color after some "mishaps" with bleaching and trying to dye them, lol! It saved us having to purchase new curtains, which can be expensive!
  • After ruining a very large load of clothes that contained almost all of Nate's work shirt (pen left in pocket, oy!), Menard's just happened to be selling polo shirts - 2 for $5 (Side note: hairspray took the ink out of some of his shirts)!
  • Friends of my parents gave them a nice gallon of yellow paint. They gave it to us, allowing us to repaint our bathroom for free!
  • We needed a new door for our bathroom. Nate found a six panel, primed door at Menard's mis-priced (normally pretty pricey). He was able to purchase it for $10!
  • Nate found outdoor carpet on clearance to re-carpet the front steps, just when we needed it!
  • Our next door neighbor has been clearing out his house since his wife passed away and gave us lots of canned goods, napkins and Kleenex (came in handy with all of our runny noses lately)!
  • My mother has been blessing us with things like steel cut oats, red lentils and coconut milk, pretty frequently. These items are never cheap in the Jackson area!
  • My grandmother purchased a winter coat, snow pants and pajamas for Julius. She bought some pajamas for Gunnar, too!
  • My mother bought some pajamas for all the kids!
  • We received a check for $150 from extra money in our escrow account! I actually cried at this one as I tucked it away for gas money for our Missouri trip!
  • We received coupons for free butter and such in the mail from Kroger, right about the time we ran out of butter and payday was still almost a week away!
  • We needed to replace a Plexiglas window on our front porch. When we priced it out it was going to cost between $15 and $20. When cleaning out the basement, Nate found a piece of Plexiglas just the right size!
  • And even with all this, Nate and I have been able to pay off $900 worth of credit card debt over the past three months!
  • I know there is more that I am forgetting!

In what ways has the Lord blessed you and your family? Don't forget to sing of the mercies of the Lord forever!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Playing in the Backyard.......In the Dark

In an effort to pass time tonight waiting for daddy to get home from late night conferences, I bundled the kids up and sent them into the backyard with flashlights! They are having so much fun. I keep hearing squeals and seeing the light beams scatter across the yard. Layla said Julius is worried there is an owl in one of the trees! I am worried the neighbors might think the cops are searching our property! Lol!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Time Fun

I realized I better post some fall pictures before winter is fully upon us! These are from a few weeks ago when my parents took the kids and I to the cider mill. Lots of fun!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bagels Under My Belt and Before There Was Nyquil

A little lame to put all that in the title, I know! But with mama and daddy sick, and two of the three kids sick, I don't know when I'll have another chance to blog.

Last night, as Nate and I lamented over our sore throats, we started reminiscing about the honey, whiskey and lemon treatments of our childhood. I remember laying in bed crying because I didn't want to drink the horrible hot concoction that my father made for me. But, despite my crying, the treatment always brought relief and quality sleep. After a little research on the internet, Nate found a hot toddy recipe that we agreed upon. Since we are not whiskey drinkers, he headed to Meijer for the ingredients, along with some more medicine for the kids.

We decided to substitute apple juice for the water, figuring it would help it taste better. If you want to spend the money or have it on hand, apple cider would be even better. The hot toddy is strong, so it is definitely for sipping, not slamming! It thoroughly coated our throats, warmed the belly and made going to sleep a breeze.

Hot Toddy for Two

  • 1 cup apple juice or cider
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon
  • 1/3 cup whiskey

Heat apple juice, honey and lemon in a small pan until nice and hot. Remove from heat and add whiskey. Sip and enjoy the relief it will bring!

Since I am completely insane and I needed to do something with my sourdough starter, I decided to make bagels. The process started last night with making the dough, kneading it, letting it rise for a few hours and then forming the bagels. This morning I boiled and baked them. They turned out pretty good. Nate was happy and he has a thing or two to say about bagels. I was happy that I finally got around to this, as it is next to impossible to find bagels at the store without a long scary list of unpronounceable ingredients. We will be making these again. The kids gobbled them up too!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bagels

adapted from several recipes

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat four

Combine all ingredients and knead until smooth. Dough will be pretty stiff! Let rise for a few hours until doubled in size. Punch down dough and divide into eight portions and shape into ball. Stick your thumb through the middle and shape into bagel. Heat oven to 500 degrees and place a small pan of water on bottom rack. Boil bagels in a large pot of water with 1 Tbsp. of baking soda. Only do about four at a time. Boil for around a minute and turn them to boil on the other side for another minute. Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seseme seeds, or topping of your choice. Bake at 500 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chef Julius

Lately, I have begun to wonder if Julius will be a great cook. He has been duplicating our family meals in his own kitchen. We always have to "taste" his creations and be careful of all his hot pans. I really became convinced the other night when he insisted on taking two of my cookbooks to bed for his bedtime reading material! It was adorable to find him later, with his sleeping face smashed into slow cooker recipes. A son that can cook. I can only hope!