Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back

Well, the end of the year is upon us and I have been thinking about what I wanted to share with you all about this past year.  There are ponderings in my heart about it all, but nothing that seems to want to surface just yet.  So I'll leave you with this....

This year we went from this......

To this....

 We suffered loss....

And celebrated gain ....

We grew things....

We went on adventures....

 We made changes.....from this....

To this......

We learned new things.....
We tried new things....even if we didn't enjoy it all the way.... 

There was, of course, so much more....but mostly....WE grew!

 We've been given so much.....
If I was to name 2010, I'd name it....The Year of Grace.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

7 Things About Today and A Menu


1.  We ate pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, which is always such a happy start.  Hen polished off more than any of us I think.  :)

2.  We changed out the 2010 calendar for 2011.  Yeah, a few more days left, I know....but I was ready!  I read this post about Naming Years which was really interesting.  Go ahead.  Click on it and read it for yourself.  You might like it!

3.  We colored the windows.  Thanks Grandma J for the new markers.  Fun!
mosaic rocket Owl made
4.  We learned about air polution, the digestive system, and mosaics at the lunch table.  There is never a dull moment when you are with these boys, let me tell you!

5.  I learned how to crochet a Granny Square.  :)  And started making a rug out of an old sweater.

6.  We made bolognese sauce.  Yum.

7.  I listened.  I stopped what I was doing and listened every time a little one talked to me.  At least I think I did.  It's something I'm working on.  I always listen, but my body language doesn't always show that I am and it's so important!

Baked Ham and Eggs
And a menu.... It's been awhile since I've shared the menu with you all.  Have you missed it? ;)

This week our week started on Tuesday....

T   Yogurt Dippers (yogurt swirled with fruit puree & whole wheat toast to dunk)
     Pita pizzas and salad
     Roast beef (grass fed), baked fries, and fresh veggies

W  Pumpkin Pancakes                              
     PB & J & smoothies
     Spaghetti bolognese w/ fresh veggies

Th Oatmeal w/ raisins/nuts              
      Hard boiled eggs/salad
     Vegetable beef barley soup w/popovers

F   Eggs and biscuits                      
     Leftover soup w/ fresh fruit
     Jambalaya w/ homemade beer bread

S   Waffles w/apples & cream                                  
     Homemade pizza (pesto w/ veggies)

S   Oatmeal w/ fixins                
      Leftover pizza and salad        
     Chicken Tangine with butternut squash  (new recipe!)

That's what's cookin' over here!  What's on your menu? Leave a Comment if you like!  I love hearing about what you're cooking!

ps.  If you are having trouble leaving a comment will you let me know?  I have gotten a few emails recently telling me that leaving a comment was tricky and/or not working and I'd like to solve the problem!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Bit of Christmas

 Early Christmas morn.  I loved it that he was more amazed by the light of the tree in the dark, than the presents underneath.  Or at least it's what he noticed first!
 Little Hen was not sure why all the boys woke him up so very early.
 Papa home.
Papa home with us, was probably the best part of the holiday!

We did travel to my folks' house for the weekend and had such a nice time there.  My brother was home for the holiday and we were all so glad to see him.  There was much celebrating because he is engaged!  Hurray!  We are so glad to add Ms. S to our family.

The boys were lavished in gifts by the grandparents and have spent the last few days building with new Legos.  I am glad they are so busy as I am taking the week to exercise and plan for the New Year.  What a blessed time this past year has been.  So much to be thankful for.....the List continues....

#25....for the man who spent his time away from work to be with us.  how he plays with them.  reads to them.  snuggles them.  how he listens to me and loves me until I am filled up.

#26....for my mom and dad and how they love the boys.  for days spent in their comfortable house.  for feeling provided for.

#27...for good conversations with my soon to be sister in law!

#28...for this process of learning to be gentle with myself and for being gifted with determination as I work on losing weight.

#29...for the ability to eat so well.  for fresh greens in the winter, oranges so sweet, and fresh eggs that keep coming.

#30...for words.  for being able to read.  for a mind that is being renewed daily.  for people that are brave enough to write about truth.

#31...for going to the movies with my boys, J, and my brother!  So much fun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The days are flying by!  I can't believe it's almost Christmas!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile.  Sometimes living and doing is more important than thinking and writing about it all.

I've been busy working out!  I'm getting better at it little by little.  I so wish that I would see a result, but I know that is silly and I will need to work at this new healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life.

The boys are busy making gifts.  Yes, yes....all kinds of crafting going on over here.  I'm dying to show you pictures but then some of you would know what you are getting for Christmas!

J is busy at work and at home.  He has been busy making some things with the boys too, and of course just busy being at work everyday.  It may sound strange, but I am so encouraged by his faithfulness to get up and go to work for us everyday.  His patience and love keep me rooted, for which I am so thankful.   He has a few days of vacation time coming up and I'm sooo thankful he will have a chance to relax.

Millie is going stir crazy.  These cold temps have really limited her outside time.  She has a sore paw too which makes it worse.  We are trying some cream (used for sled dogs) to heal her cracked pad.  Poor girl.  She makes up for her craziness by being my constant companion in these long days.

It just seems so dark outside all the time.  I keep thinking about how every day is getting longer and lighter, now that the Solstice is past.  How Jesus's birth is all about the Light coming into the world.  To make a way for us.  These are the things I ponder as I go about the doing of these days.

I hope to share more with you soon, friend.  May God's Grace fill you up these winter days.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

 One of J's favorite holiday treats!  Hmm, actually there isn't any reason why you couldn't have this any time of the year for a treat!  We just only have it around Christmas because it's so good it seems you should save it for something special.

The Recipe....

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar (i use organic you can use white or brown or sucanat)
2/3 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract (you could use vanilla if that's all you have!)
3 1/2 c. flour

Beat butter till fluffy.  Add sugar, cocoa, soda, powder and salt and beat until incorporated.  Then beat in eggs and extract.  Scrape down the bowl to make sure it's mixed well.  Then beat in as much of the flour as you can.  If you have a stand mixer you should be able to do it all with the mixer, adding the flour one cup at a time until mixed.  If you are using a hand mixer then just beat in as much flour as you can...then use your muscle to stir in the rest.  Make sure it's all mixed in well.  Then stir in the almonds. half of the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper.
Use the wrapping to make a log that is about 3inches by 12 inches.  Flatten it slightly.  Place the log on a cookie sheet.  Roll out the other half of the dough the same way and bake them at 350degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Take them out and let them cool for about an hour.  Slice them diagonally like this.
 Place the pieces carefully on their sides on the baking sheets and bake for another 8 minutes at 350.  Carefully flip them over and bake for another 7-9 minutes.  And you're done!
 Unless of course you'd like to drizzle some dark chocolate on them to make them a little extra special for your loved ones.  This makes a huge amount so go ahead and bake some up to give away this holiday!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homeschool Lately

Time is flying by!  With Christmas season here, we are in the depths of some pretty exciting learning these days. songs on the piano!

 Little Owl loves to color.  Loves, loves, loves it!  Here he is working on his insect coloring book.  Gotta love Dover Books.
 We also made Christmas cookies this week.  We have been studying Christmas around the world (inspired by se7en!) and have talked about how Christmas cookies are part of the tradition my mama did with me when I was a girl.  Grandma J would be so proud!

 The trick to sugar cookies that taste good?  Lemon buttercream frosting.  Seriously.
 Millie kept walking around and around the table, with her "i'm so cute" look.  Nice try, girl.
 We made snowflakes.  Lots of them.  Glittered them and hung them all around.  Fun.
And we've also just kept up with all the other things we are interested in.  Like learning to crochet, and tending to the chickens, and reading through the Narnia books for a second time.  There is so much more, but I can't stop to think about it just now.  J just walked in the door and we are planning a cozy evening together.  What a blessing to have a warm, pleasant house to be in.  With four boys and a man that loves me.  I am filled up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On Being Disciplined

This past week I have been pondering some things....wondering how I got this place of being so overweight....wondering about the why....thinking about if I can really stick with this fight of living a healthy lifestyle.   It seems sooo overwhelming to me at times.  Which is actually kind of weird.  I mean, it's just eating normal and exercising.  It shouldn't have to be a huge deal....and yet, it is.  Huge.  

I thought about all of this all week, and the word that kept coming into my brain is Discipline.  I must be disciplined.  I must.  Be.  Disciplined.  

Ick.  I hate discipline.

That sounds childish I know, but it's true.  I am not very disciplined when it comes to choosing a healthy lifestyle.  And it's even more true, that I have many legitimate reasons that I ended up this way.  But after thinking about all of the "whys" all week I have come to one conclusion....The "whys" can go take a hike!  They may have happened.  They may be somewhat "true" as far as who I was or how I am today as a result.  But that is all they are.  The past.  Now....the here!  And I have a choice as to how I proceed!  Isn't that exciting?

One more thing....a really important thing.  Being disciplined has always felt icky to me because I have never known anyone whose self control is motivated by love.  I have seen all kinds of motivations behind self control (needing to be in control, self worship, trying to manipulate someone else...) and they have all seemed really ugly to me.  Ick.  And somehow, through no credit of me at all, I am in this place....this place where I am actually motivated to make these changes because of love.  Wow.  Isn't that incredible?  I am amazed at the good work that God is doing in me, which might sound strange to you, but trust me...I couldn't be even talking about this, if it wasn't for His unending love for me!

So for the sake of accountability I thought I'd let you know my goals for the week. 
1.  To make a specific goal regarding numbers...including a healthy weight and BMI
2.  To keep waking early and getting some exercise.
3.  To keep watching what I eat by writing it in my journal.

Please pray for me and cheer me on in this journey!   I can't do it without your support.

This post is part of Motivation Monday.  Head over to Inspired to Action to hear more about it.  Leave me a comment about what you are working on in your life and I'll pray for you!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow Day Activities

It's been really snowy here.  Really snowy.  Like Blizzard-ing even.  Crazy.  The weather was so odd last night that I tried to capture it in a photo.  The light was such a strange color.  The photo doesn't do it justice.
 This morning we woke to a crisply fresh scene.  It was truly beautiful.  I shoveled the front walk and in places it was deeper than my knee.  (and I'm tall!)

 This side of the yard there was not as much snow because it has all been blown away!  Can you see the traces the wind has left behind?
 So what do we do when we are stuck inside during a blizzard?  We play harmonica of course.  :)
 And we bake.  This time it was shortbread with dark chocolate.  Yum!

 I crocheted this hat, while they sledded out side for a short while.  The wind was just whipping the snow around and they came in with very red cheeks.  It's just not too fun to be out in that.
And then after we read books, watched a film, listened to music, made soup, we....played some more harmonica.  Ha.  Actually to be totally honest, little man played harmonica all the while....while we did those other things.  I think he misplaced it later in the day though because after supper it was much quieter.  Can you just see the mischief in those eyes?

Hope you are keeping safe and warm these days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas County Spelling Bee!

Wow!  We had such a fun night last night!  We went to see the boys in their Homeschool Co-op musical, and it was awesome!  I mean, really awesome!  

 This was the first opportunity the boys have had to be in a show.  They were super excited!  And ready!  Badger was one of the few younger kids who had a speaking part!  Go Badger!

 He was nervous, but he did really well.  His part was clear and spoken slowly and with intent.  Whoo hoo!  Cricket was in the chorus...see him?  He had so much fun and did an awesome job!  I could hear his singing over the other kids at times, that is how excited he was!

 After the show, there was an art show too.  

 Here are the other boys, at the reception....they really enjoyed it!  Owl sat watching with great interest, and Hen kept pointing and saying Badger's name when he saw him on stage.  So fun!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quiet Thankfulness

We are busier these days than I'd like.  And our busy is probably not even close to your busy.  We are not very busy people.  On purpose.  But still, busier than usual...and mostly because our society is organized in such a weird way with business around holidays.  I know I am just me, so therefore I have no say whatsoever in how society runs....but I'm just sayin'....if it were up to me....I think around holidays I'd make big chunks of time where things were not scheduled.  Holiday shopping, holiday sending out of cards and even holiday programs would not exist.  No really.  We'd have programs at other times of the year when we had time for them.  But holidays would be set aside for having time to just be. I am just me....and we have to live in this world for now....we are making do with being a little extra busy.  The kids are handling it better than me.  Because well....the busy of holidays is much easier when you are a kid and only have to tend to the having fun part of it all.  :)

Anyway...I'm still making time to pay attention to the things for which I am thankful.  It seems especially important just now, when there is "busy" pulling at me.

#18....the boy who patiently helps his littler brother get on the sled for the twentieth time...holding it just so....talking to him so he isn't afraid....

#19....showers.  I'm so thankful for being able to shower.  If you think about it, it is such a luxury.  We seem so rich.  We are so rich.

#20....Twinkly Christmas lights.  Ornaments on the tree from when I was a wee girl.  They tell the story of where I have been.....

#21....The boy singing Jingle Bells over and over again while he rocks on the wooden horse...."Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle, Jingle Bells"...

#22...Having a voice to sing with.  Having ears to hear.  Having a heart that is able to be touched.

#23...Grace.  His unending Grace.  Even when I screw up...again.  How He fills me up with His grace and gives me a fresh start.

#24...For the friend who asked me how I was today.  Her eyes speak love.  Her softness, His grace.

I'm going to try to keep going with The List until I reach 1,000 gifts!  If you'd like to know more about how I got started with the List read here.  If you'd like to share something you are thankful for leave a comment!  Thankfulness is contagious.  Spread the Joy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby Steps

Motivation Monday strikes again!  Last week I shared with you all about the beginning of my journey to a more healthy lifestyle and I'm glad to be able to say that this past week has gone pretty well.  I am not quite ready to measure results.  And yes, maybe that is not very brave of me....but I am so easily discouraged about my weight and I want to focus on making good choices not on results for now.  I want to build habits into my life that will stay for a long, long time.  One thing that Kat has taught me, (yeah, I totally think she is my friend...LOL...and she doesn't even know me) is that it's important to take baby steps.  Making goals is important, but it's even more important to break it down into doable steps so we can be successful!

So...this past week my goal was simply to remember that I had begun.  No, really.  I forget sometimes that I am overweight.  Which seems really dumb, but for real, I forget.  So I have to be intentional with remembering that I am overweight everytime I decide to put something into my mouth. (or grocery cart)  This week my goal was to stop and think before I ate something.  And I think for the most part I was successful.  That doesn't mean I didn't eat that second thinmint cookie, but it was much less fun to do it, remembering that I really didn't need those calories.

This week my goal is to be consistent with my early morning routine.  (yes, I have a routine.  I have four kids.  If I want any alone time I have to be up at the crack of dawn)  I need to get up by 5:30 in order to have time to read my bible and walk the dog (or do pilates if the weather is too cold) before breakfast.  So.  That's that.  I did it this morning and it was super!  Pilates makes me feel about an inch taller every time I do it.  I jokingly asked J if I looked skinny after I worked out this morning (I really did feel soooo good!) and he said, "um...I think it might take more than one time" LOL.  Oh...right. *sheepish grin*

I hope that my sharing this with you, friend, somehow inspires you to make that change, whatever it may be, in your life.  We all have things that need to be worked on, don't we?  I encourage you to make a goal and figure out what your first baby step might be.  It's possible you know.  It really is.

If you are feeling brave, or want some support, leave a comment about what change you are working on and I'll pray for you.  You can also head over to Inspired to Action to read more about Motivation Monday (and win some free music too!).

Saturday, December 4, 2010


"Mama! Mama! Wake UP!!! There's SNOW!!!" and they jumped on us in the big bed and I giggled and sat up and J pretended to be a rock, in case they would give up and leave him to sleep.  

We bundled up and went out to revel in it, skipping breakfast, because who has time when there is SNOW!  They found their little man shovels and went to work piling snow here and there and digging and climbing and having the quiet, deep, fun play that snow brings.  The best part?  

 Millie.  Watching her play in the snow awakens that part of you that plays too.  It makes you feel like rolling around in the snow like a dog.  She is so funny.
When we came in for breakfast, she had to be put into the bath because she had soooo much packed snow in her fur...we didn't know what else to do with her!  She didn't mind one bit.  The labrador in her loves the bath as much as the puppy in her loves the snow!

Oh, to be so happy!  So free!  I'm so glad to be "awakened" by these blessings in my life every day.  May I never become too old, too hard to be touched by such things.  Amen.