Thursday, May 31, 2012

The First Week of Summer ~

This first week of summer has been busy. Why do we do this? Summer is supposed to be lazy, right? As a mom I think I'm actually a little scared that we (the kids and I) will find ourselves sitting around actually being lazy. So what do I do? The last part of May I start cramming as many camps on the calendar as I can. Usually by about the middle of July we're all so exhausted it's ok to sit around and do nothing until school starts...right? Wrong! Because once August rolls around we'll be heading to town every evening for football. Whew! I'm pooped and I haven't even started sharing with you what I initially sat down to share.

I'm so proud of R & K. They worked super hard and came home with awards for straight A's all year. R is on the brink of the "I really don't want to have my picture taken" stage. Notice the grin. I really dread this. I have had to use the: stop smiling, now think of something funny technique. We didn't use that technique on this photo.

This is what Big R has been doing for the last several weeks. This time of year is extremely stressful for farmers. Putting seed in the ground is like planting little nuggets of gold. There should be a vow farmers and their brides take on their wedding day. It could go a little something like this:
Farmer: I vow to always have a good attitude during planting and smile even if we're going through a drought.
Bride: I vow to always have a good attitude during planting and remind you that no matter what happens, everything is going to be ok.

The other evening I went to feed the animals and was met by a plague of frogs; big giant squishy bull frogs. At first, I was totally grossed out and completely terrified. Sam and Socks were lucky to get fed that night because in my head I envisioned these creatures morphing into giant frog monsters and eating me alive. That's it. Mom's a goner. I know, it's one of the things that makes me so weird. I have the same problem when it comes to mice. Anyway, R wanted me to take pictures of our new frog "friends" so I did, not knowing that a few days later I would come upon the coolest thing. I was hooking up a water hose by the dogs' water bowl when I could sense someone (or something) staring at me. No really, I don't know how I even saw the little fella, but there buried under a bunch of leaves was one of those frogs trying his best to ignore me and (I'm sure) hoping I hadn't seen him either. It was so cool. I even felt sorry for him and during the heat of the day poured a cup of cool water on his hiding place. Wasn't that nice of me? What's crazy is I actually look forward to seeing the frogs every evening. We're up to 6. As long as our bug light is working, they may never leave. And I guess our animals don't like the taste of frog because so far we've had no casualties. Now if Sam would just leave my baby Blue Jays alone...

Last Thursday my sister and her kiddos came and stayed with us for a few days. We had alot of fun. Took the kids to the Science Spectrum and scarred them for life by watching "Tornado Alley." K kept her eyes hidden for the first 10 minutes. And since returning home, my sister and her family have been in two tornado warnings...nice! I've decided that when all the cousins are together K takes on the roll of the middle child. This is not good. We're both hoping they all grow out of this stage and are great friends when they are older. Not that they are not great friends now, it's just...well, after the new wears off they fuss a little. I know ~ they're just kids.

K had a friend over to spend the night the other day. They had so much fun! I mean what can be more fun that a sprinkler and the trampoline really? I know, two 7 year olds convincing me they can drive the Gator. It was terrifying fun. No seriously, they did a good job aside from me having to grab the wheel a few times and yelling "Stop!" I love this age. They giggle alot, love to play school and sing Taylor Swift Karaoke. Man, I could have done some damage if they had made Karaoke machines when I was little...oh well.

I've decided when I get old I'm going to be a bird watcher. I love sitting and watching the birds in our yard, especially the Blue Jays. I've heard they're pretty mean birds, but I don't care; they're beautiful. This isn't a very good picture. As I sat trying to get the perfect shot I began to have an appreciation for those people who film for the "Planet Earth" movies. Those guys are awesome. Me? Not so much.

If you've stuck around this long and are actually still reading, you get the prize. That's right a recipe for this yummy breakfast casserole. I modified this one to fit my low-carb standards. All you need is a pound of cooked breakfast sausage, add one block of cream cheese (if you know me, you know I use full fat everything.) Spray bottom of casserole dish. I buy this awesome coconut oil spray. It's just like Pam only coconut oil. Brilliant. Spread the meat mixture on the bottom of the dish. In a bowl beat about 6-8 eggs and add a little heavy cream. Poor this on top of the meat. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and cook at 375 for about 25 minutes. This is so handy to have in the fridge for a quick breakfast. I know, I've been doing it all week.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Going to be OK ~

"For I know the plans I have for you"
declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

It would have been easy to sleep in this morning. Actually I did sleep in ~ until 8:30. We stayed up pretty late Saturday night and that was going to be my excuse to not make it to church this morning. So when R asked me if we were going, I was a little surprised when I jumped up and said, "Yes!" Of course we missed Sunday school, didn't have time to eat breakfast and both kiddos were upset they missed getting to eat a little breakfast in the fellowship hall right before church. Brother Jimmy was a lifesaver when he showed us where the donuts were in the youth room. We finally all settled in the sanctuary for the message...

Acts 16:23-33
Paul and Silas had been severely flogged and their feet fastened in the stocks, yet they were still able to sing hymns and pray to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. I wonder what the other prisoners thought about these two men who had just been beaten and placed in a situation where there was no hope of release singing praises to their one true God?

Brother Jimmy went on to say that regardless of what our future holds, everything is going to be ok. When I heard these words this morning, I was taken back to a hot summer day almost 12 years ago. I was 40 weeks pregnant and R and I had just received the terrible news from our doctor that our baby's heart was not beating. I remember sitting in the suburban in the parking lot of St. Mary's hospital making that dreaded phone call to my family. I remember the moment, but I don't. I remember walking into the hospital, but really it was more like floating. I remember a nurse, taking a break I guess, standing outside the door of the hospital. But most of all I remember what I said when my dad walked into the hospital room. Everyone had tear stains on their faces, but I looked right at him and said, "It's going to be ok." Honestly I don't know where that came from. I'm pretty sure I wanted him to know that I was going to be ok. I'm always the one who fixes things, I'm the strong one. The last thing I needed was for everyone to worry that I was going to fall apart. So, in my darkest hour I was proclaiming that everything was going to be ok.

I know now that it was not my strength, but His. I know that He was right beside me in the doctor's office when we heard the news. He was not only with me on our way into the hospital, but he carried me in. He was also with me when I told my dad that everything was going to be ok. He is still with me today. I know that no matter what the future holds that my God is God and he holds me safe in His arms.

Thanks Brother Jimmy for a beautiful and powerful message this morning, but most of all thank you for taking me back to a day in my life that is proof that Jesus is real...and that's enough. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is Cursive Writing a Lost Art?

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal opinion and is in no way, shape or form meant to offend anyone.

What the heck is the deal with cursive writing these days. The first time I realized the kids weren't learning this skill in the public schools was back in 2004 when my cousin graduated from high school. We received a thank you note from her and it was written in print; even her name was printed. My mom and I wondered why, so after a quick phone call to my aunt we found out that she wasn't taught cursive writing in school. What?!? We couldn't believe this. I mean yes, computers are taking over the world, but not teaching cursive in school? Seriously?

So imagine my surprise when in 2010 my son (who is a third grader) starts learning how to cursive write. I was ecstatic. Yes, we had trouble regarding a silly pencil grip that was meant to correct his improper pencil hold; yes, AR was a nightmare and yes we couldn't wait to move on to fourth grade ~ but by golly that child learned how to write in cursive.

Fast forward to last week. R is learning the value of writing a good thank you note. This has not been a pleasant experience. I'm pretty sure he would rather have all this fingernails ripped out, and quite frankly it's pure torture for a momma who's trying to teach her child to be thankful. Recently, we have received numerous thank you notes from older kids (mainly high school age) and all but one has been written in print. Again. What?? Then I realized that the thank you notes R had already written were all in print. Yikes!!

So, what's a mom to do? I'll tell you what I did. I opened up Photoshop, created a cool thank you card, turned it over and lightly drew straight lines every 1/2 inch and proceeded to tell R that every note here on out was to be written in cursive. My boy has been working diligently for days on these cards. He is taking pride in his handwriting (which is very nice btw) and I figure if he can knock out a couple cards a day, he'll be finished in no time.

I'm pretty positive that R's third grade teacher will never read this, but I just have to say "Thank You" not just to her, but to all the teachers who take time out of their busy "Star" curriculum schedules to teach our kids cursive writing. I truly do believe it is quickly becoming a lost art ~

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything ~

The kids and I went to church with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law this morning. It was a wonderful service celebrating the Seniors in their church. I still haven't quite grasped the fact that my niece is graduating...more to come on this in a later post. Once we got home we couldn't pass up spending the day outside. It. Was. Perfect. Overcast and about 75 degrees; in my opinion it doesn't get much better.

Relaxing on the trampoline.

Meet Bitsy or Little Bit (depending on who you ask.) She became the newest member of our family back in January. Big R and I can't quite agree on her name. Apparently Bitsy isn't a name that my farmer can say and still feel masculine. Anywho, she's a sweetie with fur as soft as velvet, just don't cross her while she's eating a rabbit, or bird, or mouse. Trust me on this one.

You all remember Sam ~ isn't he a handsome fella? I took the brush to him today and brushed and brushed and brushed. I could probably still be brushing but my arm got tired. He is hands down the fluffiest dog ever. That said, the ticks love him. Sam is Tick Hilton these days. We've taken numerous measures to rid our pets and our yard of these disgusting pests, but we are still taking ticks off him on a daily basis. Now that Big R is busy planting the tick removing torch has been passed to me. Yes, I just scratched my head. I have really had to suck it up and be a big girl these last few days. I must say though, I've gotten pretty good at tick extraction.

Cocking the BB gun for a little target practice after sneaking out of the house with Brother's gun. She's determined to prove she is capable of handling a firearm. 

Several weeks ago K came home telling me about this really neat little craft she had come up with on the playground. We were eating supper and I asked the kids to tell me one nice thing they had done for someone that day; without skipping a beat K starts telling me about this wildflower bouquet bundled together with a leaf and wrapped with a stem (I'm paraphrasing of course.) She told us that she had made one and given it to her teacher. Very sweet. A few days later I go in to pick her up and see several little girls walking out with these little wild flower bouquets. She was so proud when she told me she had taught them all how to make them. Fast forward a few weeks to the day of the Teacher Appreciation Dinner. Miss S, our secretary at school, takes me into her office and shows me the cutest little vase holding a withered bouquet. She told me that K had given her one of her creations, she had kept them watered and they stayed alive and made her smile for several days. So, today when K came in with her little dandelion bundle she showed me how she makes them. I said, "K, do you know what this means?" She said, "Yes, I'm a crafter." I love this! I love that she's using her noggin to make beautiful things out of the simplest of supplies. I love that she's sharing her craft with others because she has a giving heart.

I know this thought is totally overused, but this kid is growing up way too fast. The last few times his daddy has mowed the yard, R has been right there taking it all in. Under supervision, he has made a few rounds. Well, today I decided we would surprise Big R and mow the yard. Once we got past my backing the thing out of the garage and running over the dog food container, R did a great job. He mowed the entire yard all by himself including emptying the bags (which is my least favorite part.) When he was finished with the yard, he took the mower out to the air compressor and blew it out just like his Daddy does. Proud of this kid!

I love our yard. It's big and shady and thanks to the recent rains, it's green and looks so pretty right after it's mowed. Here's to an amazing summer and many more beautiful Sundays...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I had the honor of singing a very special song at church on Sunday morning. I still remember where I was the first time I heard it. I was about 7 months pregnant with R, standing in my bathroom getting ready for the day and listening to Family Life Radio. I knew as soon as I heard the words to “Hold Onto Jesus” it would be a song that would become a lifelong prayer to my children. Since that day, I have performed the song on a few special occasions; two of which being when R & K were baptized as infants. Over the years my babies have fallen asleep to the words of this song being sung to them by their mommy. I pray the message of this song follows them throughout their lives.

Hold Onto Jesus
You’re a little piece of Heaven, you’re a golden ray of light
and I wish I could protect you from the worries of this life,
but if there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s no matter what you do ~
hold to Jesus, He’s holding on to you.
The world will try to tell you that might is more than right
and beauty’s on the outside and being good’s a losing fight,
but remember what I’ve told you ‘cause the world will make you chose.
Hold to Jesus, He’s holding onto you.

Hold onto Jesus, and cling to His love.
Rest deep in His mercy whenever things get rough.
Don’t lose sight of His goodness
and don’t ever doubt this truth:
That when you hold onto Jesus,
He’s holding on to you.

Hear me dear Jesus
rock these little ones to sleep.
Keep them close when they’re scared,
give them grace when they are weak.
I know they’ll stumble, but I know they’ll make it through
if you hold on to them just like you said you’d do.
Hold them Jesus, so they’ll hold on tight to You.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wheat Free Pancakes

Wow! Has it really been over two months since I posted to my blog. I finally sat down and updated my header. How depressing was that snow scene? Anyway, it's bright and cheery now and that makes me happy. One of the many reasons (excuses) I have for abandoning my blog has been Little Dribblers. This year both kiddos were playing and between practices and games I just didn't have a post worthy thought in my head. Being busy also did a number on my resolve to eat healthy. To be honest, I think it was just an excuse to jump off the wagon for a while and what's extra crazy is I ate my healthiest while away on trips. For some reason my will power goes into overdrive when it's tempted the most. Weird.

The other day I just wasn't hungry for my normal omelet for breakfast. I wanted pancakes. What does a girl who is trying to stay away from wheat (gluten) do when the urge for a pancake hits? She comes up with a wheat free pancake recipe.

I've always loved coming up with recipes with whatever I have on hand. Sometimes they turn out, sometimes they don't. I'm happy to say this one is a keeper. Since that glorious day a couple of weeks ago when I had my pancake craving, I've made these several times. Every time I love them more.

Gluten Free Pancakes
(I've really tried to come up with a witty name for these pancakes. It's not happenin'.)

1 egg
tsp half and half
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/16 tsp Xylitol
sprinkle of cinnamon
2 tsp almond flour

This makes one pancake. I mix the above ingredients in a bowl then pour into my cast iron skillet that's been melting a little coconut oil. (Did you really think I would share a recipe that didn't involve coconut oil?)

Before I assemble the above ingredients, I pour about a cup of frozen blueberries in a small saucepan add a pat of butter and let them cook on low while I'm making the pancakes.

You know I'm a fan of good healthy fats and what pancake would be complete without a nice pat of organic butter on top. The butter really makes it good, but you don't need me to tell you that.



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