Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random or is it just variety

Emma Bean right before her last volleyball game.




Excited!


Emma Bean after she saw the other team. A team made up of girls all a full foot taller than anyone on Bean's team. A team of girls who clearly had more volleyball experience than any girl on Bean's team!




Seriously!?


Lilo who now curls up for her naps because it's Fall and the temperature is dropping and she's cold. She's cold because she's left all of her warm fur on my floor, and my furniture, and on everything else in my house!



Pathetic! Cute, but pathetic!

I've actually made time for some sewing projects.


JOY!

Fancy girls in fancy hats.


Too fun!

My fancy Dad in a fancy hat with my fancy girls in fancy hats!


Too funny!

My Dad, my girl's Papa, being silly with my girls in the fanciest hat of all.


Heart warming!

The after school treat I will be making for my girls today.


WHOOPIE!!

The Husband trying out a new look.


um...

ah...

I have no words!

Christine

Monday, September 26, 2011

A testimony

I share my faith with you because it is Jesus that gives me hope, fills me with joy, and carries me through life's hardships and He will do the same for you! 


Because loving others means sharing truth with them!


Because I have experienced God's goodness and want you to experience His goodness too! 


And because I once heard someone say that sharing how we have experienced God at work in our lives is the best testimony.


So, though it is difficult for me to write about and share some of my stories...I have a box of tissues nearby...here goes, because what good is a witness who does not speak?


This story includes Miss Sofi Bug. 




My beautiful, healthy girl with the rainbow colored braces. Rainbow colored until her next orthodontist visit that is.




I had received a phone call from a neighbor I didn't know very well. My family had only been living in the neighborhood for about 3 years. I had seen this neighbor when out for walks, we had chatted some. Her girls were older than mine. I was glad when I learned that she and her family belonged to the same church my family had begun to attend.


The timing of the call was perfect. Of course it was! God's timing always is.


My neighbor had called to ask me to participate in a group called Moms In Touch International to pray for my girls.


Had my neighbor called just a few days earlier, I think I would have said no. I had never participated in a prayer group before. I wasn't that comfortable with the idea. I had confidence in prayer, but why should I pray with a group? 


But my neighbor did not call a few days earlier. She called exactly when I needed her to call.


My neighbor called when the Husband and I were waiting to get the results of a series of medical tests Miss Sofi Bug had undergone just days before.


Miss Sofi Bug, who was then in first grade,




my little soccer star,




acquired a very significant facial tic.


The Husband and I were so worried!


I would hold my girl and pray.


I would hold my tears for when the Husband and I were alone so she would not see. And that is why my answer was yes when my neighbor called to ask me if I would like to participate in a prayer group to pray for my girls. I was in need of more support!


I wept openly through that first meeting.


The other women lifted my girl and my family in prayer. They cried out for healing. They poured out love. They groaned out loud with me to God. Their faith buoyed mine.


I learned the answer to my question, why pray with a group, that day!


I left that prayer meeting with such a grateful heart and a peace I had been struggling to find alone. I have returned for every meeting since. In fact, I now lead that prayer group.


When we meet, we moms pray for healing for our children who need it. We pray our children will treat others with love and kindness. We pray that we as moms will live out our faith well for our children to see and that it will become their own. We cry, we laugh, we are amazed by all the prayers the Lord has answered, and we continue to call on His name for those answers that have yet to come. 


We intercede on behalf of our children through prayer!



The Warrior

This morning my thoughts traveled along 
To a place in my life where days have long since gone 
Beholding an image of what I used to be 
As visions were stirred, and God spoke to me

He showed me a Warrior, a soldier in place 
Positioned by Heaven, yet I saw not the face 
I watched as the Warrior fought enemies 
That came from the darkness with destruction for me

I saw as the Warrior would dry away tears 
As all of Heaven's Angels hovered so near 
I saw many wounds on the Warrior's face 
Yet weapons of warfare were firmly in place

I felt my heart weeping, my eyes held so much 
As God let me feel the Warrior's prayer touch 
I thought "how familiar" the words that were prayed 
The prayers were like lightening that never would fade

I said to God "please, the Warrior's name" 
He gave no reply, He chose to refrain 
I asked, "Lord, who is broken that they need such prayer?" 
He showed me an image of myself standing there

Bound by confusion, lost and alone 
I felt prayers of the Warrior carry me home 
I asked "Please show me Lord, this Warrior so true" 
I watched and I wept, for Mother.... 
the Warrior--was you! 

Author Unknown


A few weeks after beginning to pray with my Moms In Touch International group, Miss Sofi Bug's facial tic began to disappear. 


The test results came back inconclusive. 


She has never gone back for further testing.


The tic has never reappeared!




One day I will learn whether God healed Miss Sofi Bug because we prayed for healing or if Miss Sofi Bug's tic was necessary to get me to say yes to participating in a prayer group because He had a plan to strengthen my faith and richly bless me. Maybe they are one in the same!


I am so grateful to be able to gather with moms who have hearts to cry out to God for their children!


I am deeply grateful for my neighbor who followed the Lord's prompting and called me to pray with a group of moms!


I am deeply grateful for a Savior who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave...death has no power over Him...promising me eternal life when I confess Him as Lord.


I am deeply grateful for a God who cares about my needs here on earth!


I am deeply grateful for a pastor who reminds his congregation of the importance of sharing our faith with others!


And I am deeply grateful for you and your willingness to read my story!


Today I pray that you too experience God's goodness!


Christine



Friday, September 23, 2011

I know it's Fall when...

...instead of a vase of flowers,




I put out a bowl of shiny, red apples.




Apples don't wilt, which is nice. They do have a tendency to disappear though!


The flower press comes out of hiding. We never seem to press flowers, only colorful leaves.




Would you look at that. Still full of leaves from last Fall. Time to search for a craft that requires pressed leaves!! Fun, fun!


A sure sign that it's Fall is when I bring out the William Sonoma mulling spices. No need to be mulling wine or cider, I just toss a handful of the spices into a simmering pot of water so I can enjoy the fragrance. Now that's the smell of Fall!




And the final confirmation that Fall has arrived is when I get the hankering to make donuts!


Homemade donuts. The Husband's Grandma's recipe, passed down to his Mother and passed on to me. 


He loves them!


They are a delicious treat filled with his childhood memories. Those are the best kinds of treats!


They are easy and fun to make!


Beat 2 eggs with 1cup of sugar. Add 4 tablespoons of melted lard. (Yes, lard. Use it!) 1 teaspoon salt. 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg. (yum!) 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup buttermilk.


Sift together 4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder. (sometimes I forget to sift...still good!) Add flour mixture to egg mixture to make a soft dough.


Roll out dough on a floured cloth (I use a dish towel) to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out donuts with a floured donut cutter.





Fry donuts in vegetable oil at 370˚-380˚until nice and brown. I don't check the temp of the oil. I test the heat with a donut hole. If it browns up nicely...not to quick...not to slow, I figure the temp is good. How's that for accuracy?




Just a quick hint...after frying up your donuts, change your sweatshirt. This will prevent the embarrassment of your husband saying, while you're at your child's volleyball game or wherever you happen to be later, "I wonder why it smells like a chinese restaurant in here." 


It will not be from chinese food...donuts! 


So unless you're planning to go to a chinese restaurant, in which case no one will ever notice anyway, change your sweatshirt! I'm just sayin'!


These donuts are practically perfect in every way! Golden brown, crispy on the outside, soft and cake-like on the inside. 


YUM! YUM!!




Ahhhh Fall!


Christine


P.S. Posting this recipe was Mother-in-Law approved!


P.S.S. Making more donuts was Husband approved!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I'm going to do

All summer I've been stockpiling fabric. Oh how I love to wander through the fabric aisles of a craft store!




I've made good use of those 40% off coupons from Jo-Ann Stores!


I was busy filling my craft file with sewing project ideas too. 




Yes, I have a craft file. I also like to make lists. Being organized makes me happy. Is that weird? I'm totally okay with it!


Now that the girls back to school I plan to sew and sew and sew!! I'm so excited!


I want to make more of these cute, reversible purses.




I also want to make some fun, little drawstring bags, and maybe a couple of scarves. Oh the list of things I want to make goes on and on!


Who knows, maybe there's an etsy sight in my future where I will sell all of my fantastic creations! How cool would that be? Very cool!


I'm going to get started right after I get a load of laundry going...and I should cleanup the mess in the kitchen...and I have a couple of appointments I need to set up.


I think I'll get started tomorrow! Yep, for sure tomorrow! Right after I walk the dog. And as soon as I've...


Christine







Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Firsts

I sat down to blog yesterday. I just couldn't make it happen. I was so very tired that my brain would not cooperate. So I gave up. I think I was worn out from all of the excitement of the week!


Let's see, there were the girl's first volleyball games. Ever. They participated in volleyball camp in the spring, but now they are on volleyball teams and have played in their first games.


Miss Sofi Bug practicing her spike!
Each of their teams played a set of three games, losing two. But that means that each team also won one game! Hurray!! 


I was a little concerned that the girls would be sad that their teams didn't do better, especially when Miss Sofi Bug was a little discouraged in the beginning. Her coach made a point of informing the girls on her team, that they were the "C" team for a reason...not the best players...all new to the sport... Yep, the encouragement flowed freely! Both of the girls came away from their games feeling pretty excited though, and happy to be playing.


I'm super excited that I no longer have to lug chairs, blankets and hot beverages to games like when the girls played soccer. Now I just bring the hot beverages...I love Starbucks!! I can't wait for the next game!


The Husband and I went to our first Junk Bonanza. Ever. It was truly a bonanza of junk. I loved it!


Junk as far as the eye could see!


There was junk for those who are creative and want to make some new and fabulous junk! Of course I use the term junk in the most wonderful way. Good junk...fun junk...




There was junk that people have already turned into fabulous new junk!






It's very fun to see what kinds of fabulous junk people create!




There was quite a lot of junk jewelry! Who doesn't love junk jewelry?




And yes, we bought some junk while we were there. Only a couple of things.


This little finial.




And a bell jar and some old croquet balls.



That was all. That was enough. We should probably get rid of some of the junk we have before we buy any more! But I've wanted a bell jar for awhile now...this one was a good deal...it looks very nice on the book shelf...


Anywaaay...there was a ton of fun junk. 




We had a great time. We will definitely go to the Junk Bonanza again next year!!


I also pickled for the first time. Ever! 


It was such fun!


The Husband has a coworker who makes the most delicious refrigerator pickles. She has shared some with me and some of the other women at the Husband's office. We have all liked them so much she agreed to teach us how to make them.


I was so excited! I have never canned or pickled anything! Along with my dream of having a farm comes the dream that I can fruit and vegetables and I make my own pickles. It completes the dream. I have no explanation. It just makes me happy to imagine that I have a farm and I can things and pickle. Hmmm...that's my happy place!


Everything was all set when we arrived to make pickles.




Unfortunately, I was so engrossed in arranging all of the brightly colored veggies and peppers in the jars, I didn't pay enough attention to how to make the brine. I actually did not learn a thing.




I did have a great time with all of the ladies though! They're amazing women! I love spending time with them!! I will have to ask if we can make pickles again, so I can not pay enough attention again, so we will have to make pickles again,so I can not pay attention. I wonder how many times I can get away with that? hmmmm.


I thought that would be the end of the firsts I was going to have to share with you, but first thing this morning, I saw this rainbow over my neighbors house.




I had to add it in! What a beautiful reminder!


It's no wonder, with all of the excitement of all of those firsts, that I was so tired yesterday! But I've sure had fun!


Christine

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Recipe for my Mother-in-law

Sometimes I am very forgetful!


I had promised to get a recipe to the Mother-in-law, two months ago, for honey salmon skewers and smashed potatoes and I just now remembered.


I apologize!!


I was going to write it down on a pretty recipe card and send it to her, but then I thought the rest of you might like it too. So, instead of a pretty recipe card, the recipe will come with pretty pictures...on my blog...which my Mother-in-law reads! I love that she reads the blog!! Well except for one of the pictures. One of them is not very good, but as it is the only photo I have for a particular step of this recipe, it will have to do! 


Mmmmm, honey salmon skewers and smashed potatoes, courtesy of Martha Stewarts Everyday Foods!


Ah Martha Stewart, I love your magazines! I do not love that your program switched to a cable channel that I do not get...it still makes me want to cry a little! ho hum.


Anyway...


This recipe is quick and easy, which is one of the reasons I like it...that and it is delicious!


Honey salmon skewers and smashed potatoes


1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes


Salt and pepper


1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon, cut into 1 inch pieces


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


3 tablespoons honey


3 cups baby spinach


2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Heat broiler, rack in top position. Bring potatoes to a boil in salted water, boil about 15 minutes, until tender.


Thread salmon onto skewers. If you're going to use wooden skewers, it helps to soak them in water for about 20 minutes to prevent the skewers from burning.


Place salmon skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.


Look at Miss Sofi Bug's pretty nails. She applied the oil so I could get the photo. She's a very good helper!
Broil salmon, turning once, until opaque, about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey! Yum!




I can't believe I don't have a better photo for this step. Oh well, photo bad, taste good!


Drain potatoes. While the potatoes are still hot, gently smash them with the back of a spoon to flatten slightly. This step is not as easy as I expected it would be. Martha's magazine does not mention that your potato may go flying across the room! Of course Martha's expert staff may never have had that problem. It may just be me! So, just in case you're like me, and you too are not a Martha expert, the potatoes don't always sit still to be smashed with the back of a spoon! Be careful!


Toss your smashed potatoes with the spinach and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Even though smashing potatoes is not an easy task for me, it is so worth it because the potatoes soak up all of that butter and they taste so good!




Then serve! The Family likes to have crusty bread with this meal!




So good!!


This meal received six thumbs up from the Family, including the Mother-in-law and Father-in-law! Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Christine

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As the dog sheds

Lilo sheds!




Yes Lilo, I'm talkin' bout you!


Lilo sheds a lot!




It's a wonder she has any fur left on her body!


I find it to be a nuisance!




Don't worry, I love you in spite of your fur shedding ways!




The shedding has gotten so bad this summer that we are frequently finding clumps of fur everywhere!


There must be some way to put all of that discarded fluff to use!


Finger troll dolls?







No? Too creepy?


How about faux facial hair?






You're right that's just wrong!


Well, you keep shedding and we'll work on some better ideas.


And that my friends, is how we've been entertaining ourselves lately. Man are we ready for the new season of our favorite shows to begin!


Christine

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strong willed

Miss Emma Bean.


She loves music and bright colors! 


Her favorite rock star outfit!




She loves animals! 


Where's Emma? Oh, playing with the animals.




She is silly! 


She loves to laugh and make others laugh too!




She is willing to try new things! 


Skateboarding? Let's go!




She is strong willed and determined. 


A few years ago she spent nearly the entire summer practicing cartwheels until she could perform them perfectly. I was very impressed!




But every coin has two sides. That strong will and determination that kept Miss Emma Bean practicing those cartwheels is the same strong will that sometimes causes her great grief.


When Miss Bean wants something her way but cannot have it her way, when she wants to do something she is not allowed to do, or when life will not conform to her expectations, her strong will and determination move her to fight for what she may not have.


Miss Bean fights. She yells. She stomps her feet. Miss Bean is left hurting and sad. Not just because she isn't getting her way, but also because when she calms and stops fighting she feels very sorry for her behavior.


What Miss Bean cannot do yet, is distinguish between when it is good to fight...like for those who cannot fight for themselves or to correct injustice...and when it is not good to fight...like when getting what she wants is not good for her or isn't possible at the time.


As Miss Bean's parent it is not easy to hold my tongue when she begins to fight against me. There are times I want to yell right back. 


I'm learning a greater measure of patience because of my Miss Bean. Because what I know, what I pray she learns sooner rather than later, is that her strong will and determination, if used for God's glory, will be a great blessing to her and those around her. It is my job to train her, to guide her, and to correct her now, so that her gift of a strong will and determination may become that blessing.


So I will work to remain patient. I will tell my girl that her strong will is a gift! I will tell her that that gift comes with the responsibility to learn when to put it to use, and when to reign it in. It may take some time, but I know she'll get it. She'll get it because my girl is strong willed and determined! And I love her for it!






Christine