Monday, April 30, 2012

Banana Bread

Once again, it's a gloomy day.

It puts me in a mood for baking! 

It also reminds me that a few weeks ago, on another gloomy day, I had made banana bread with the plan that I would share the recipe with you, but then I got distracted. 

I think it was the Reese's peanut butter cup eggs that distracted me.

Wait! Maybe it was the blooming crab apple tree that distracted me!

Then again, it may have been the pillow making. hmmm

Whatever it was, I was distracted, and I forgot to post the recipe for my banana bread. Actually it's my Mom's banana bread recipe. The one she used to make when I was growing up. It's delicious! 

This bread doesn't count toward my goal to learn to make bread because it isn't a yeast bread, but my bananas were overripe and banana bread is very comforting on a gloomy day. So...

Banana Bread

In a mixing bowl combine 21/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 31/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 3/4 cup milk, 1 cup mashed bananas, and 1 egg.

That's right, it doesn't look pretty but just dump it all in a bowl and mix it together!

Pour the mixture into a greased and floured 9x5 bread pan.

I know, that doesn't look much better.

Bake at 350˚ for 55 to 65 minutes. (until tester comes out clean)

Now this looks much better!

Cool for a few minutes in pan. Turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Or just slice into it while it's still warm. Whichever.

Add a little butter, pour a glass of milk, and you have the perfect afternoon snack! 

Wishing I had a few more overripe bananas right about now!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Seeing is Believing

My girl said, "Mom, it's hard to always trust God when I can't see Him."

"I know Baby. Oh how I know." came my reply. "But God has not left us without evidence that He exists and He promises that He is near."

Psalm 95:1-5 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hands are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 136:1-9 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! for His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever; to Him who alone does great wonders, for His mercy endures forever;

to Him who by wisdom made the heavens, for His mercy endures forever; 

to Him who laid out the earth above the waters, for His mercy endures forever; 

to Him who made great lights, for His mercy endures forever; 

the sun to rule by day, for His mercy endures forever; 

the moon and stars to rule by night, for His mercy endures forever!

Mercy...a bit of a theme going on there. I like it! Better yet, I need it!!

We need only look at the world around us to see the evidence of God's handiwork.

"And my beloved girl, KNOW that you are loved and love is the best evidence of God there is!"

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Never Again

Never again will I tuck them into car seats.

Emma Bean
Miss Sofia has even begun the countdown to the day she gets to drive. Oh dear!

Never again will there be cuddling naps.

Emma Bean and the Husband. So precious!
Naps? Who takes naps? 

MOM! That's who would still like to take a nap!!

Never again will there be afternoons spent making daisy crowns.

Miss Sofi Bug
Now they want to dress all funky fresh. People still say funky fresh right?

Funky Fresh Emma Bean
Never again will they eat their first birthday cake with joyful abandon. 

Miss Sofi Bug's first birthday
Now they are all politeness and good manners.

Emma Bean
Maybe that one is a bad example! Moving on.

Never again will there be sweet baby kisses.

Emma Bean and the Husband. My heart melts!

Never again will I take bath time photos. Now that would just be wrong!

Miss Sofi Bug. Oh just look at those baby blues!
Never again will I read to them Sandra Boynton book rhymes 'til I'm reciting them in my sleep. Moo Baa La La La! Horns to Toes and in Between! Love those books!

Never again will they run to me with outstretched arms asking me to, "Hold you Mommy?"

Never again will they have boo boos that need Mommy to bandage and kiss to make all better. Nope. They can, "Take care of it myself, Mom."

So it is, when I am ready to crawl into bed at night shortly after the girls have fallen asleep, and I take a moment to quietly enter their rooms to give them one final kiss on the head for the day, that I am eternally grateful for the lip that is slightly pulled in, for the eyelashes that softly brush against the sweet cheek, for the fist that is curled up tightly next to my baby's face, and for the sleeping expression that hasn't changed one bit in the fourteen and nearly eleven years that they have been alive. 

Thank you Lord that for all the wonderful changes, this one thing has remained the same!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Why the Twenty-first year is Better Than the First

Today the Husband and I celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. Hurray!

Not a current photo, in case you were wondering. Just a photo I like. Do you know hard difficult it is to get a photo that's just you and your spouse when you have kids who always want to be included?
We've been sharing with each other the ways we think our 21st year of marriage is better than our first. Don't get me wrong, the first year was wonderful. But the 21st is amazing!

1) We will work it out

In the first year of marriage, we were very young mind you, any little disagreement or argument felt like the end of the world. We were in love! How could we not agree on EVERYTHING???

By the 21st year, we know disagreements and arguments will happen and the world will not end! We will work it out, and the working it out will make us stronger. We also know now that I love you and I'm sorry are far more important than getting our own way or being right. And making up can be fun to do! (wink wink)

2) We cherish time together

In the first year of marriage date night was the norm and no big deal.

By the 21st year of marriage, date night is a huge deal and precious! It's also very important when there is making up to do!

3) Clear priorities

In the first year we were each pretty invested in what we wanted for ourselves and how we wanted it. (See #1)

There is nothing sexier than having witnessed 21 years of a spouse reordering their life, putting God first, then Family and self last. Nothing sexier!

4) Expansion is good

In the first year there were only 2.

By the 21st we are 4! Diapers have been changed. Nights have been sleepless. It is wonderful to let your love overflow. (See #3)

5) Communication gets better

In year one there may have been a belief that one of us was a mind reader. One of us wondered why the other did not do certain things when many hints were given that things needed to be done.

By year 21, it is clear that neither of us can read minds. After hints are not picked up on, clear requests are made. Hints are still given because someone is so talented that someone else thinks it may yet be possible that one will acquire the ability to read minds and doesn't want to miss it when it happens!

6) Best Friends

In year one, we were full of love and hope for the future and we were still in the process of really getting to know each other.

By year 21 we have experienced times of great joy and times of blessing. We have also experience times of great sorrow and difficulty. No one knows these shared experiences like we do. Twenty-one years of being best friends, there is nothing like it!

7)  Practice makes perfect

In year one thoughts may have anxiously gone to...I just committed to being with this person forever! This is the one, the only, what if...

The truth is that after 21 years of intimacy, 21 years of practice, with the one and only is, in the Husbands words, AWESOME!! I agree! It only gets better and better...if you know what I mean. I hope you do because there are many people whom I will have to look in the eye yet today that are reading this and I do not intend to explain further.

8) Speak the others love language

In year one, "I love you" is spoken often. It is very good to tell your spouse that they are loved and to tell them often.

We've learned by the 21st year that the words I love you, though spoken often, do not necessarily convey all one's spouse needs to hear. A simple I love you does not always translate to; I know you, I know the way you need to be loved, I know what matters to you. 

I have learned that the words, "Live long and prosper!" or, "May the force be with you!" is the way to really speak love, and my understanding of his heart to the Husband. He has learned that the words, "As you wish!" melt my heart. Learning your spouse's love language is very important!

We still have a long way to go in building our marriage. It is a process that takes a lifetime and work. It's well worth the work because it just keeps getting better!

Happy Anniversary to the Husband, my one and only!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Believe I'm Justified

I know this post is coming right on the heels of a post declaring my desire to hold all of my relationships dear, even the most difficult ones.

I have a disclaimer.

I reserve the right to hold on to one love/hate relationship. 

I feel completely justified in feeling the way I do. Today I'm going to share the sordid details of said relationship with you and you may decide for yourself. Because I'm sure you will agree with me. I'm certain that I am completely justified!

It begins the same way every Spring.

Though I am wary with the lingering memories of last Summer, I once again become wooed by beauty.

I'm one of many drawn in by sweet nothings whispered in the fragrant breeze.

I hesitantly agree to set a lovely table for guests, sheltered by those promising boughs.

I relent and call it beautiful.

I begin to think I may have misjudged.

I wonder how I got so lucky that one was planted in my yard, shading my patio, delighting my guests as they dine shadowed by magnificence.

I continue to delight when petal kisses begin to sprinkle down upon me, creating a carpet of pink underfoot.

I love you crab apple tree!

Though the beauty fades, as beauty does, I remain grateful for the shade on the patio.

I begin to exclaim at the wonder of it all when bright red fruit appears in the place of those once lovely blossoms.

Then it happens. It always happens.

It begins with one small, little crab apple. 

It falls.

I remind myself that no one is perfect. I grin and bear it.

Then one day, in late summer, all of the lovely promises of shelter are revealed for lies as, while blissfully dining under those same, safe, magnificent boughs I am pelted, yes pelted, by crab apples! They are thrown with great precision. They land in food. They create welts on heads. Patio dining becomes unsafe!

I realize all of those petal kisses, all of those fragrant sweet nothings, and invitations to take shelter were, once again, nothing more than a way to lull me into forgetting the truth. The truth that in a few short months my patio would become a crab apple bombing ground that one would enter at their own peril!

I begin to rue the day it was planted in my yard!

Some take longer than others to grasp the change that has occurred. Still drawn in by sweetness that was a falsehood, some, - I shall not name names but I shall show a photo - decide that the fruit is an offering of good will and eat it, becoming sick in the middle of the night, causing a sleepless night for those who must clean up the mess.

How quickly things change from wonderful, beautiful, to the bane of my existence!

No longer will I be able to linger under the shelter of those boughs.

No longer will I be able to sit on my patio to enjoy a meal.

I hate you crab apple tree! 

Yes! I believe I am justified!


Monday, April 16, 2012

When Women Gather

Saturday morning my church hosted a ladies brunch.

Tables were beautifully set and adorned with floral center pieces.

The men prepared,

and served,

My Man!
an incredible meal.

From the three cheese scrambled eggs to the raspberry, white chocolate scones (oh the scones)

the entire meal was heavenly!

Yes, ALL prepared by the men from my church! Including the chocolate mousse dessert!

And to top it off, they, the men, cleaned up the whole shebang afterward. We ladies really appreciated all of their hard work to make a lovely morning for us.

The men were very attentive and efficient. Some maybe a little too efficient as they reached to remove what they thought were empty mousse cups. Oops! Not empty mousse cups. Warning! Never try to remove a mousse cup from a lady if she has not finished her mousse! Enough said.

Even more wonderful than the food, which truly was spectacular, was the time spent with some ladies who are very dear to my heart.

And very appropriate for a gathering of women, my good friend's lovely Mother-in-law spoke about the importance and blessings of our relationships with each other and with God. 

God created us to be in relationships with others. To support and be supported. To give love and be loved in return. To bear one another's burdens. To be sheltered from the storm and encouraged to take the leaps of faith.

Not all relationships are easy though. We are broken people causing some relationships to be more difficult than others, and making some relationships seem less rewarding than others. But all relationships matter to God. The one we have with Him in particular.

It is being in a relationship with God, experiencing His love and compassion, that makes it possible for us to love when loving isn't easy. It God's strength and His joy that allow us to encourage and build each other up even though we may have done it a thousand times already. It's realizing God's selflessness towards us that helps us to put another's needs before our own. And it is because of God's goodness and patience in His relationship with us, though we are not always easy to be in relationship with, that helps us to continue to love and work on the relationships with those in our lives who may need a little extra patience from us.

So the next time I see a posting on Facebook or Pinterest that encourages dumping any relationship other than the ones that serve me and my interests alone, I will lift my difficult relationships to God in prayer, and I will remember that it is highly likely that I am the most broken person of all and that I may be God's most difficult relationship and He has not dumped me!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Which I Fess Up

There may have been some concern yesterday about my indulging in too many scrumptious, delicious, chocolate and peanut butter craving satisfying treats. Were you able to follow that? I'll clarify. I implied that I ate a LOT of Reese's peanut butter cup eggs yesterday!

The Husband, who read yesterday's blog post, asked me, upon arriving home from work, if I had actually eaten that many peanut butter cup eggs during the day.

Yesterday's blog photo
Count em. Three empty wrappers and two unopened peanut butter eggs. Five! Mmmmmm.

Here is my confession...I did not eat all of those peanut butter cup eggs. I didn't them all in one day anyway.

I have eaten one, sometimes two a day since Sunday. Maybe three on Sunday.

Yesterday, only one.

I may be prone to occasional exaggeration.

I confess, I had to dig through the garbage to find the wrappers for the photo. I washed my hands after! I swear I did!!

I confess, I DO have a stash of peanut butter cup eggs in the cupboard. They remain, as yet, unopened.

I confess, I do add peanut butter cup eggs to Miss Sofia's Easter basket fully knowing she does not like them, she will not eat them, and she will not care that I take them and eat them myself. I do not otherwise swipe candy from babies!!

In truth, I walked through the clearance Easter candy aisle in Target Yesterday, I did not not not purchase anymore Reese's peanut butter cup eggs.

I confess, it was NOT NOT NOT easy!

In conclusion, Reese's peanut butter cup eggs ARE my weakness! I DO imagine eating tons of them! And I always wash my hands after digging through the garbage! 

Now I will distract you with a cute animal photo!

Photo found on


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

It isn't the jelly beans. 

It isn't the giant, chocolate bunnies.

It isn't the Peeps.

It's the peanut butter goodness coated in chocolate in the shape of an egg that gets me every Easter.

Oh Reese's peanut butter cup eggs, what you do to me!

I don't crave Reese's peanut butter cups any other time of the year. Sorry Reese's! I do enjoy your Reese's pieces all year long! But your peanut butter cups hold little power over me until you make them in the shape of an egg for Easter. That's when I can't get enough!

I swipe them from my children's Easter baskets!

I scarf them down before anyone else can get them!

I keep a secret stash in the cupboard! Please don't tell!!

I should hang my head in shame.

I should have an ounce of self control!

I should share with the Family!

So that's it!

I will not eat another Reese's peanut butter cup egg! Once these last few are gone.

I will never again eat another Reese's peanut butter cup egg! Until next Easter.

While I quickly finish off the last of this Easter's Reese's peanut butter cup eggs...mmmm...check out my post, Shag Pillow Hack on DIY Lady Hacks, by clicking here.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Joy and Hunting

What a range of emotions are experienced traveling through the Easter weekend.

Good Friday; somber and sorrowful. It makes me so sad to imagine how painful it must have been for Jesus' disciples to have all of their hopes ripped from their grasp as Jesus died on the cross. Jesus, the Messiah, the one who performed miracles and wonders, dead, and buried in a tomb. Heart wrenching!

Easter Sunday; wonder and celebration! It must have been a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions from shock to elation for the disciples when they learned of Jesus' resurrection. 

I'm always amazed by the joy and tears as our church congregation sings He's Alive Hallelujah on Easter Sunday and what a blessing to continue to celebrate with family throughout the day!

Egg hunt!

Some eggs are easier to find than others. Thank goodness Grandma makes a map and leads the search for the most elusive (too well hidden) eggs and treasures!


The sun was too bright for Emma bean to open her eyes!
My sister's youngest boy. I love him!

It was a good day to be outside!

My sister's oldest, (I can't call him a boy anymore. He's a man. That happened too fast!) and my brother-in-law! I love them too!!
Yes, it was a very good day to be outside!

I hope you too had a joy filled Easter!