Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Bunny Truth

Dear my 25 favorite family, friends, and creepers,

Just dropping in to say a quick hello before I'm off for the day to stomp around in the rain all by myself.

This morning while I was putting on a toned down smoky eye Shane told me we are telling the boys the Easter Bunny, Santa and The Tooth Fairy are not real.

It kind of really threw me for a loop, but I understand why and am in agreement.  As our boys are getting older and we are teaching them about Jesus who is real, we don't want any doubt that what we are telling them about Jesus is true.

This by no means puts me in a camp where I judge folks who do Easter baskets.  We'll still have an Easter basket and a gift from Santa (I'm assuming) but it will be a fun little addition.  It's never been the main focus by any means, but we feel like it is time for our boys to know the truth.  I'll be honest, it is a bittersweet thing for me.

And in case you are wandering we are trick-or-treaters.  I love fun size Snicker's too much not to be. 

The boys are having a camp out at our house tonight (it got rained out).  So I'm getting kicked out.  I'm giddy! 

For anyone considering homeschooling, this article on homeschooling is a great read. 

Well, ya'll have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nice Things

They probably need baths was the pressing thought last night, after all we are going on day four.  An hour later, combed hair pj'd boys were all in bed.  That is a nice time of day.  Just as I was really getting into my Pinterest session, I hear the pitter patter of feet heading my way.

The red head wanted to talk.  So we climbed in my bed together and after chatting awhile he asked about my gifts book.  Can you read some of them to me?  he asked.

As I read through the book I've been jotting in over two years it just made me downright happy.  Counting does that.  It gets you feeling all giddy over things like your Hawaiian Breeze fan.

It makes you daydream about breaking out the sprinkler so they can run wild and you can sit on the patio and read a book in the blooming backyard.

It makes me think about how much I love the month of May.  The declaration of my love of the month of May began last year.  It is the best month of the year.  The weather around these parts is mild and wonderful in May.  We eat on the patio a lot. 

May 27th is Memorial Day weekend.  Quite possibly another one of my favorite holidays because we get to enjoy a laid back weekend at the house.  It is also the weekend we put up our pool and plant the pink wave petunias in the flower pots.

Cinco de Mayo Mexican fiesta's, May flowers, dinner on the patio, pool season just around the corner, spotting the first fireflies, so many good things to love about May.

Now I'm all hungry for Ina's shortcakes which I made many times last year.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Counting Again

Two years ago I read One Thousand Gifts for the first time.  Then I read it again, because it was that good.  And now I'm reading it again, for our book club.

My first go round, I jotted down my gifts in a plain black journal, the kind you would use in school.  But since I'm on the search to find another round of 1000 gifts, I wanted it to be pretty.  I found this journal at Mardel and spent hours this weekend transferring my first thousand gifts to the pretty binder.

This is the neatest way I've found to keep track of life.  Reading back through my gifts, I see snapshots of life the last two years.  Every season and tradition is packaged in a few short words.  My journal would sit unused for months and then I would pick it up and start counting again.

Here are some of my favorites...

6. open windows
11. empty hangers
23. wind chimes filling the air
24. sunshine streaming onto carpet
63. the smell of burning leaves
79. lamplight reflecting in windows at dusk
108. raspberry and chocolate
223. boys tumbling out of bed in undies, with pillows and blankies in hand
247. pearl studs
248. diamonds sparkling on water
322. sound of Shane's voice reading Bible out loud
329. sweet tea with bright yellow lemon wedge
337. morning shadows cast over lawns
349. yellow leaf floating on pool water
363. cold watermelon on a hot summer's night
385. fireflies in the twinkling wood
386. laughing about the twinkling wood...juuuust one wood
404. candle light reflecting off flower filled mason jars
460. white soapy bubbles on a bar of pink Dove soap
463. strawberry jam bubbling on stove top
464. jars filled with bright red goodness
465. the popping of sealed jars
502. the end of the day when all of the halls have been decked
584. plaid paper-red, white, green-classic joy!
585. makes me want a Scotty dog named London
660. another year folding up quietly (12/31/11)
675. shirtless boys eating spaghetti at lunch
730. bunny by pink azalea
878. our living room filled with women
946. crafting a life I love, suited to my tastes
1000. the satisfaction of a goal reached!!!
1002. Saturday evenings-60 trimmed nails, 3 clean boys with combed hair and clothes laid out
1003. the wind howling and whistling outside during big church
1013. you thought I was just like consider this, you who forget God...he who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.  Ps 50:22-23 from this morning

Thursday, March 21, 2013

We rearranged

Last night as I was dozing off to sleep I wasn't thrilled about the game plan for the next few days.

Do you ever get that way?  You have things planned, but the flow is not exciting?

Pair a not great plan with over tired boys and you have the potential to have a real mess on your hands.

That is why this morning we had a rearranging of the plans meeting in the kitchen by the coffee pot while we waited impatiently for our first cup of the day to finish brewing.

The weather is calling for rain, rain and more rain.  One of the things on the agenda, which will come as a total shock to you my dear friend, is a deep cleaning of the house.  Don't hate me for it.  It's who I am.  It's what I do.

We re-tiled in October and fine layers of dust have continued to settle.  The deep cleaning was scheduled for tomorrow and a trip to town was scheduled for today.

But I wasn't excited about a fun day today and a cleaning day tomorrow.  You've heard of the motto, "We work first then we play."  That is what kept going through my head.

So we decided to get things shined today so tonight and tomorrow we can play.  We have two new episodes of Duck Dynasty waiting on us and the boys are going to bed at 7pm tonight.  I am thinking a date night of sorts is on the horizon for tonight.

Naturally that means an ice cream snack of some kind will be in order.  Well, I suppose this is enough procrastination for one morning.  I've got a date with my man and a mop bucket waiting on me...

I hope you've had a restful Spring Break.  It's been a pretty one that is for sure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Farm

These are our good friends who live far away on a big ol' piece of land.  They are some of the finest folks you'll ever meet and yesterday we got the invite to come play for the day.

We loaded up and set out on the hour long drive to their land.  My kids have taken to calling them Uncle Kenny & Aunt Sandra which is code for they are really cool people!!!  Sandra is quite the chef.  She made the most perfect chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.  They were the perfect combination of real butter, salt and chocolate.  There were piles and piles of cookies and only a small crumb left on the plate when we left.

We walked the trails, stomped through the brook, used the outhouse, picnicked at Cedar Grove which is the flat little area by the babbling brook.  Last night we all fell in bed tired and happy with rosy cheeks after a day full of friends and sunshine.

There is just no substitute for spending time with good friends who love Jesus.  We haven't always been surrounded with godly friends who encourage us and challenge us, but these last years we have been doubly blessed at the friendships that have developed in our lives.

If you don't have those close friendships, the best way is to get plugged into a small group at your church.  The next best way is to invite folks over to your house.  Either for dessert or dinner.  The other next best thing to do, which technically should be the first best thing on the list, is to pray and ask God to give your family good, godly friends. 

We've prayed for our family to be united with families whom we respect.  We want our kids growing up with other adults who love Jesus and live to serve him.  Having all boys, we especially want them to have lots of examples of godly men in their lives.

The three families represented on the couch in the picture are some of our very best friends.  My friend Tiff and I chatted it up the whole way there and back.  The kids did the same thing in the back.  Our families all love each other and it's awesome! 

And just when I think my week couldn't possibly get any better, I end up eating an order of pintos and cheese with a spork at lunch today.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Store

I need to go to the store.

But there is something in me rebelling.  We have enough milk to make it another day or two.

I'll put it this way.  My fridge is so empty I got the wild idea to pull every single shelf out this morning and give it a good cleaning. 

I had noble plans to carry on with school as normal this week but I should've known better.  This morning I woke up to a dark, rainy, Monday morning.  The kids were happily playing in the living room (read: watching Pokemon episodes on the computer linked to the big screen).

Who wants to mess with that kind of perfection? 

So I kept pouring more cups of coffee with peppermint mocha creamer and ducking back into my room with the door closed for a morning of peace, quiet, and the last bit of Genesis.

That book has such a great ending.  And I don't know where the heck I've been all these years, but it just dawned on me this morning why the Israelites were in Egypt.  It is because they had to go there to get food from their brother Joseph (who they had sold years earlier).  Now I'm pumped to dive into Exodus, after my light bulb moment, to see how it reads with this new revelation.  I just never thought about how they ended up slaves in Egypt, I just knew that was the facts.

On one of my trips into the kitchen, something came over me.  The kind of something that makes you fill the right side of the sink with a mix of Pine Sol and Dawn.  The kind of something that makes you pull every cotton pickin' thing out of the fridge and scrub down that bad boy.
Did I mention I need to get to the store but I'm rebelling?  I am on a mission to eat out of the fridge/freezer/pantry to clean it out so I can organize and restock for the spring.

Yes we have four bottles of mustard in our fridge.  What is so weird about that?

Today for lunch we made a pizza with smoked chicken and mozzarella.  Dinner tonight is beans and cornbread.  I am hoping my neighbor has two eggs I can borrow.  Maybe I can barter a bottle of mustard for a couple eggs.

Breakfast in the morning will be fruit smoothies.  The berries and bananas are frozen in the freezer.  I have the ingredients to make broccoli cheddar soup so that's dinner tomorrow evening.

Another dinner will be pancakes and sausage and I have just enough apples to make a pan of apple dumpling's.  I may crack and have to go to the store for another loaf of bread, gallon of milk and package of eggs, but I am on a mission to get it cleaned out and eaten down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Would You Like?

Last week was a busy week at work for Shane. He worked very long days and we did not see him much. Sunday was another long day of teaching and meetings.  Before leaving church, I asked him what sounded fun for him when he got home.

After a minute of thinking, he said, "How about something really good to eat?  And maybe Duck Dynasty or game night?" 

The boys and I drove home in the pouring rain.  We quickly ate a bowl of cereal for lunch and then headed to the grocery store to get all the fixin's for a Mexican fiesta.

I set a simple but cheerful table.  Just a table cloth, some cloth napkins, and a few candles.  It was a little touch that had a little wow factor since we don't set the table like this every day.

The menu?  Nacho night complete with salsa, cheese dip and fresh guac.

He walked in the door after a long day and long week and said, "NO WAY!"  The house was in order and the dinner was going.  We ate a good dinner and then watched Duck Dynasty, Swamp People (which I don't love as much anymore since the Robertson's came into my life), and the Duggars.

How's that for a refreshing way to spend an evening?  I'll tell ya, it was the best feeling to take a little effort to ask what would bless him.  It didn't take hardly any time at all to create a special evening we all enjoyed.  Maybe this week there is a night you could plan a fun little evening for you or your family.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Peach Cobbler Dish

This afternoon the boys were all piled in my room napping.  A house of quiet.  What to do, what to do.  Should I nap myself?  Read?  Blog?  Do laundry?  No, no, no, and  no.

Well, partly no.  I guess I did keep the laundry going. 

I went into the kitchen and got a half a pot of coffee going.  There are so many good things about an afternoon brew.  It makes it feel like Christmas.  The sound of the coffee perking and the smell make me happy.  While it brewed I filled the sink with hot soapy water.

I spent a few minutes loading dishes and wiping the counters.  Probably an entire sink of hot soapy water is not necessary for this task, but again, something about the hot bubbly water makes me feel happier and cleaner.

After a quick ten minute pick-up I sat down in my chair with my Bible.  I lit a special candle I've been waiting to enjoy.  The kind that seems extra special so you almost don't ever want to use it because then it will be gone.  That is the one I chose.

In a nutshell, this is what I chewed on.

You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.  He is not the God of the dead, but the living.

The Pharisees have seated themselves in the place of Moses.  They say things and do not do them.  They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 

They love the place of honor.

But, the greatest among you shall be your servant.

In the last days, the love of most will grow cold.

You blind men.  You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.

You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside it is still dirty.  The inside is full of robbery and self-indulgence.

You blind Pharisees, first clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

For you are like a white-washed tomb.  On the outside you appear beautiful, but inside you are full of dead men's bones and all lawlessness. 

Outwardly you appear righteous, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

(Mt 22-24)

I remember my youth leader teaching on this passage when I was in Junior High.  She told us a story of the peach cobbler she made one evening.  It was hot out of the oven and ready to eat.  She opened the cabinet and pulled out her crystal bowls.  There was a dead cricket inside one of the bowls.

It was dirty on the inside and needed cleaning so it could hold the good stuff.

So many thought provoking thoughts in these passages.  The one that is the most sobering?  In the last days, the love of most will grow cold.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Another Choice

Bible time was heading down the tubes fast this morning.  Everyone of us was in a somewhat bad mood and one boy had his feathers ruffled more than the rest.

He was in a rotten mood and his responses were not obedience with a quick, cheerful heart.  The child in question and myself excused ourselves from the school table to go have a talk in the playroom.

I asked him what was going on.  He felt angry at everyone.  It manifested itself in grumpy responses and rolling his eyes.  At this point I had choices.

The first choice was to put on my matter of fact voice and in no uncertain terms tell him that is not how we show respect to authority.  Responding like that to family does not show them honor.  Administer consequence, dry the tears, carry on.

I am learning that I have another choice in these situations.  It is a choice to minister to the hurting child by asking questions and seeking to understand what is going on inside of them.  This guy was just in an old fashioned bad mood.  As tears streamed down his face he didn't know why he had a bad mood. 

So I planned a different course of action.  I asked him if he'd like some time by himself in the playroom.  I told him I could set him up so he could have some time to work without all the rest of us around.  I brought in little tables. 

Would you like a candle?  YES!  So I lit a candle on a table.  I fixed him a glass of ice water in a fun glass and I wish you could've seen his little face light up when I walked in the room and sat his water down on his little table.

It took very little time and effort to serve the little guy and show him love.  You want to know how he responded?  He emerged from his room, finished schoolwork in hand, all smiles.  He felt important, special, loved and taken care of.  All because of a little extra love vs. a lecture. 

Tonight is couch bed night.  Every Thursday we make out the couch bed and the boys get to camp out with us.  This guy has a strict snuggle Daddy on the actual couch bed policy.  At lunch he snuggled next to me and said guess what Mama!  I'm snuggling YOU tonight and giving you all my best snuggles!!!

I am amazed over and over that choosing to put on love produces significantly more peaceful outcomes.  We've still had talks about attitudes today, but I feel like the words have fallen on soil that received it so much better because it had been tended to with love and understanding.

This is a lesson that I pray continues to make its way deeper into my heart and that continues to become more and more of our reality.  It does not take much to minister to these little hearts.  A little time and effort sown reaps a huge harvest of goodness.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Growing Lavender From Seed

Apparently I am a Master Gardener even though I haven't officially joined the club or paid my dues.

All I know is last Spring I was meandering through the Lawn & Garden at the Wal-Mart and a 6 pack of Lilacs/Tulips/and another flower which I can't remember the name, landed its way into my buggy.  I came home, took a little shovel, put them in the ground and called it a day.

And they came back to visit me again this year...and brought friends.  That's right.  While I was minding my own business, they multiplied under the ground and came back.  Now that's the kind of gardening I'm talkin' about!  I had no idea they spread and multiplied.  How great is that?

So Lavender is something I've always wanted growing everywhere in my garden.  Last year I looked at the Lavender plants at Home Depot but never mustered up the courage to buy a few and stick them in the ground.  This year I found this seed packet at Lowe's for a buck.  So I bought it.  I figure for a buck and can try my hand at growing Lavender plants from seed.

My friend told me to plant them in seed starter soil, so I upped my investment another five bucks and bought this (which was located right next to the seed packs at Lowe's).

I came home, marched myself right into the kitchen and got busy.

Shish-ka-bob skewer?  Check.
Left-over paper cups from Christmas?  Check
Egg carton?  Check.

I punched 5 holes in the bottom of my cups, for drainage and because it felt like the right thing to do.  I filled my containers with soil and tossed some seed into each cup.   I used the boys water bottle they use to fix their hair, and misted them with water.  And set em' on my buffet in the formal dining room.

If this little experiment works, I'll have 28 Lavender plants to stick in the ground in about 8 weeks.  Though I've never done anything of this sort, I figure if a toddler can stick a bean seed in a styrofoam coffee cup at preschool and grow an awesome plant, then I can throw some seed in left-over cups from Christmas and grow some Lavender plants.

If you want to grow Lavender the cheap way, it's not too late to get your seed going.  This is the week you want to start it.  The directions say start the seed 8-10 weeks before you want to plant it.  Planting time is May-June and if all goes well I'll be sticking an absurd amount of plants in the ground.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Glow In The Dark Bath

I just read a post from My Blessed Life on being a fun mommy.  It got the wheels turning on what I could do today to drum up some fun.  Tonight the boys are going to get a glow in the dark bath.

These are the easiest things to do.  You just take an entire package of glow sticks, break them to activate the glow, and toss them into the water. 

This is our last week of shorter days.  Did you know we change our clocks this weekend?!!  Heck, we may have glow in the dark baths every night this week, in an effort to wheel spring into the driveway with panache.

If you've never done a glow in the dark bath for your kids I'm telling you, it is the coolest thing in the world.  They sell packages of glow sticks for a buck at the dollar store (sometimes Target's dollar spot has them too). 

(I'm linking up at There Is Grace, Fun Mommy Monday's)

Friday, March 1, 2013

No Power

We're going to unplug.  I've got my little timer set for thirty minutes and then we're shutting electronics down.  We have got to detox from the technology.  It has helped us get by as of late, but we have to spend some days getting it out of our system.

I know you can tell by my pictures that it is worse around here than you thought.  Today the house looks even worse than it did yesterday.  Yesterday we ate potato chips for lunch and the kids had a mud fight in the back yard.

Don't worry though.  The washer is in full swing this morning.  All the sheets in the house are getting a good washing.

I'll be running to the store later for more Puffs Plus, Lysol spray, Dimetapp, Benadryl, juice, bread and milk.  This weekend we're airing out the house, washing everything, changing our toothbrushes and (hopefully!!!!) turning a corner.

We have to cancel our big yard sale for tomorrow.  It killed me to have to make that choice but it is going to be extremely cold in the morning and we just can't be out in that cold air.  If you are interested in coming by to look at my awesome junk you are welcome to.

I am selling some great decorating and houseware things.  We have armoires, lamps, etc.  Email me if you want to come by next week to shop in my garage.

Hope you have a great weekend filled with rest, good food and good fellowship with family and friends!