Strawberry Fields

Twenty minutes north of our house is a field of 36,000 plants of delicious, organically grown strawberries. They let you come in and pick your own at $2.50/pound (eating as many as you can on the spot for free of course!).

The kids had strawberry juice dripping off their chins and running down their elbows. They had a blast. We picked about 40 pounds and it was a perfect morning. Right now those strawberries are resting in my deep freeze ready and waiting to be made into smoothies, strawberry shortcakes and strawberry jams.

We learned about what they look like ripe and when they are still growing. We learned that strawberries do not ripen after they are picked, so an unripe strawberry off the vine will stay that way. We learned that Grace and Ruth will take one bite from each strawberry they pick and then put it into the basket. We learned that if I time it just right, I can come and get their old plants for my own garden at the end of the season when they clear them out. WOO HOO!!

What a great way to spend the morning. If you are looking for a fun thing to do with your kiddos, I suggest you find out what fruit is in season and go pick it for yourselves! It is so much more fun than the grocery store, you get only the best, for those of us who are budget minded it is much more economical, and most importantly  you can make some great memories with your family.  Win-win-win-win!

P.S. Don’t judge us by our clothes. It had rained the night before!


Pray for Them

Of course… there is always a good teaching lesson to be found here as well!

Lord, create in (Name) a heart of “good soil,” so that when the kingdom of God is sown into (him/her), (Name) will be “the one who hears the word and understands it. [May (Name)] indeed [be one who] bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” In your holy name I pray, amen.  – Matthew 13:23

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Book Review: Adamant

This may be one of the best books written by Lisa Bevere because the message is so prevalent to today’s church. There are some difficult truths to be discovered here, but they are truth none the less. It is amazing how difficult it can be to discern truth in a culture that lives in various shades of grey.

….to continue reading this book review, please read it here on Book Review: Adamant.

 

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No Longer a Preschooler

My girl graduated her preschool this May. As I look at my girl in her dress and her heels and I cannot believe that just five years ago she was a baby in my arms as we were preparing to move across the nation. She wouldn’t take a pacifier so I found myself driving down the road with my arm cramping from strange contortions as she nursed my pinky to go to sleep.

Now she is smart and sassy. Quick to learn and lead others in new games. I watched her invite her shy classmates to play and stand up to those who weren’t playing fair. She has an insatiable thirst for stories and spends her car rides now counting to 100, sounding and spelling new words and asking deep questions about life.

She is my first of five and now that we edge into the school years I know it will all go so fast as the next four go through life in sets of two. This precious time at home when my babies are young is quickly coming to a close.

Part of me is happy. I mean, I could probably calculate the number of diapers I’ve changed these last 5 years but it would terrify us all. Before we left Colorado I had 3 in diapers averaging 743 diapers a month. When we moved again we had 4 in diapers and I lost count. Now I’m down to two and if these girls are anything like their big sister they won’t be in them for long. Part of me is ready to embrace this new phase, but man, these days are precious.

The purity of this time of life… no pretensions, no masking of emotions. Never have I had to question who is sick, sad, mad or happy. It is written all over their unguarded expressions.

The future is a little scary to me. For now, I decide the level of activities we involve ourselves in. Yet, I know in the near future I will not hold them back from trying new things either. And where will that lead us? Track meets? Art shows? Dance competitions? A busy schedule full of life.

Esther is only the first to move on to school, but I find myself already beginning to grieve the close of this chapter. We maybe have a couple more years in this season and then it’s gone. Better to soak it in and appreciate it for all that it is.

Treasure the sloppy kisses, the chubby awkward run of toddlers and the sounds of my kids playing in the yard going down the slide for the hundredth time.


Pray for them

Father, let (Name’s) faith grow into maturity as “Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets – who through faith… were made strong out of weakness.” For your “grace is sufficient for [Name], [and your] power is made perfect in weakness.” In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.  – Hebrews 11:32-34, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Venison Burgers

Last Fall I decided I was tired of paying an arm and a leg for healthy meat. So I shot a buck. That’s right. This Momma can bring home the proverbial bacon and fry it up too. So here is my recipe for a delicious venison burger:

  • 1.5 lbs Ground Venison
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce

Thaw the meat and mix it thoroughly with the above spices. Make into patties and poke a hole in the center of the burger (this prevents shrinking). Grill to perfection and enjoy it the way you like. I think this is really good with a slice of cheddar cheese melted on top with BBQ sauce and pickles. It is also very good as a blue cheese burger. Or a Swiss and mushroom burger. Well… it’s just a good burger.

Pants

Every time it happens, this songs races through my mind and I find myself be-bopping to it.

I’m in a season where I spend a least a portion of every day addressing this very topic. It doesn’t really matter where we are, because she is two.

I’m a mom standing in front of my daughter asking her to put her pants on

Many of you know the feeling. Some of you don’t even fight it anymore. It’s basically summer now anyway, right? But I have 4 other kids who are expected to wear theirs and I can’t make exceptions for her.

Actually, in these past few weeks of this exchange I get to have with Grace I discovered she does it when she wants her diaper changed. So there you go. Easy enough fix. Of course, we all know it is never easy. Good thing she is the cutest little spit-fire there ever was.

 

As a woman who has navigated this several times now, here is something I have ran into. Not every parent is in the same season you are. We are now in a phase of keeping pants on. Other moms may be in a phase of potty training where pants are not a priority. What happens on those play dates or babysitting days when one mom is teaching privacy and the other is just trying to conquer the bathroom?

A few years ago, I was working hard to teach Esther about what she needed to keep private and how to respect the privacy of others. We live in a world that isn’t safe, and I want my daughter to be aware of personal boundaries. So we start young. One day I was in a spot and my sweet friend kept my kids so I could go to a doctors appointment. When I came back I found her son, who was Esther’s age, walking around without so much as a diaper on. Esther, who was playing on her knees was at eye level with every question she ever had. Frustrated did not describe the intensity of my feelings. I appreciated her help. I had needed it. But I felt like a piece of my daughter’s innocence had been stolen from her without so much as a second thought from a friend I trusted.

Regardless, I value relationships and I valued her heart to help me out especially when she was in the throws of potty training. So, I did not attack. Not then and not later. No one wants to feel judged for their parenting moment. NO ONE. So don’t go there. Many parents don’t see eye to eye on this subject. So here is what I suggest:

Value the Relationship

Upon arriving home I sent her a message thanking her for her help. A couple weeks later, I called her up and asked for a play date.

Speak Up

When we set up a time I said, “Hey, before we meet up I just wanted to let you know we have been working on privacy with Esther. I know you are potty training and that can be hard. Will he be able to keep his pants on? I don’t want to hinder the learning process for either of them.”

Work Through It

We live in a culture that “unfriends” people who make us mad in the blink of an eye. I disagree with this. I think we should value our relationships enough to try to find a solution even when its hard. And I think we should model it for our kids too. When I asked her if it would be a problem, she said, “Nope! I’ll make sure he has his pants on!” No. Big. Deal. Relationship saved. Mission accomplished.

Pants. Respect the opinions and situations others are in. Be sensitive to where they are at. A single child at home has more luxury than a child with 4 other siblings. When you meet up for play dates, be aware of your own expectations and sensitive to the season and situations your friends are in and don’t be afraid to speak up and make a suggestion.


Pray for them

Lord, keep (Name) pure from a critical and judgmental spirit. I pray that (Name) will guard (his/her) tongue and “not speak evil against,” (his/her) brothers and sisters in Christ. Rather, may (Name’s) thoughts and words be a spring of living water bringing life to those around (him/her). In your name I pray, amen.  – James 4:11

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Nutella Popsicles

Is there anything better to launch the summer than these? So many great ways to make them too. Here’s a quick one:

  • 1 cup of whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Mix it all together, and adjust flavors to your taste. Spray the popsicle cups with cooking spray and fill them. Freeze for one hour and then add in the stick for a handle. Freeze for another hour (at least). When you are ready to serve, run the outside of the cups under hot water for a second to help remove the popsicles. These turn out super creamy.

 

 

“Urgent Care”

Micah was sick and we were headed into the weekend of the girls birthday.  I took one look at his face, and decided Urgent Care it was, even if I did have all 5 with me.

We stopped traffic as we held hands and crossed the road to the Urgent Care office and settled into the “cleanest” corner I found. Then I stood in line. After about 10 anxious minutes of seeing hands on the floor, mouths on the chairs, and fingers in mouths… I questioned my sanity.

I packed them all up and headed back out to the car since Micah had perked up after his half dose of ibuprofen anyway. What to do now? Here I was in town with 5 kids in the car at 4:00. Then I saw it on the top of the hill just before I turned back onto the highway. I did a u-turn and made a call for permission… and boom. We pulled into the Fire Department, gleaming red trucks and all.

After a warm welcome we were ushered into a tour where we spent an hour looking at fire trucks, the fire pole, the gear and the office. Those guys were great. Micah didn’t even remember he was sick. Afterward I took them to Wendy’s for nuggets.

If you’re ever in a “what should I do with these kids for an hour” situation, I highly recommend calling your local fire station! Make sure they are free for a tour (barring any emergencies) and go! Kids are never too old to appreciate what the fire department does for the community. My kids couldn’t stop playing with the hoses.


Pray for Them

Father, thank you for the work you are doing in (Name). Embed in (his/her) heart and mind the extent of your love and the place of victory from which (he/she) fights in your name. For “who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Make (Name) into a (man/woman) who can face all things and remain “more than a conqueror” through Christ Jesus. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen. – Romans 8:35, 37

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Yorkshire Pudding

I bought popover pans and then couldn’t find a popover recipe that turned out consistently. Ready to give up, I found this recipe in a book my Mom gave me. These were delicious. So, here is a contribute from the Mad Hungry Family recipe book.

  • 4 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 3 1/4 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp course salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons pan drippings from a beef roast

Preheat oven to 400. Place foil below the pan to catch overflow. Place eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper in a blender and blend on high until the mixture is combined and resembles heavy cream. (This can be done several hours in advance.)

Pour 1 tsp pan drippings into each popover cup and heat in the oven for 2 minutes.

Quickly pour the batter into the cups, filling each about halfway. Put directly in the oven and do not open the door, keep the light on to watch them. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes (the Yorkies will puff to the highest height, but not until the last 10 minutes of cooking time). Serve immediately.

Tip: Did you know you can save your pan drippings? It is a delicious alternative to cooking spray while adding savory flavor to a dish. I save mine in a jar and use as needed. Although in my kitchen you’ll be more likely to find bacon drippings on hand instead of beef roasts. But no one complained about this change to the recipe…

 

Dexter

About two months ago I went to Walmart and left with my groceries like any other day. Until I looked over at the end of the parking lot and saw this guy… and it was love at first sight. “Babe, I’m coming home with a dog.”

The ears. The feet! The freckles on his nose. He’s a little basset hound and I knew he was the dog we’ve been searching for.

He’s a favorite with the kids too. Grace, Esther and Micah are particularly excited about him and I find them sneaking him morsels when they can. Gabe is thrilled that Dexter chases him and fetches. Ruthie, my cautious one, loves him at a distance.

Even though he has tripled in size he still trips on his ears. We just love our new puppy!


Pray for Them

Father, I pray that it would be “With [Name’s] whole heart [that (he/she) seeks] you; let [him/her] not wander from your commandments!” I ask that love for your Word would consume (him/her). May (he/she) one day testify, “I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” In Jesus’ name, amen.  – Psalm 119:10-11

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Nine Minute Chicken

We do eat more than chicken. However, nothing seems easier to make! I timed this one. I grabbed my handy dandy dutch oven and sprayed it with cooking spray. Put a deep-freezer frozen whole chicken in. I quartered red potatoes and dropped them around the sides. Drizzled olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Squeezed two fresh lemons on it and put the rinds in the pot too. Cut up fresh parsley to go on top. BOOM. Nine minutes and done. Less if you have the foresight to grab all your spices and herbs first. Pop it in the oven for 3.5 hours at 400 degrees. Let it sit in the pot for about 20 minutes before serving. (During which time I also throw a frozen loaf of whole wheat french bread into the oven.)

This is the only kind of potato Esther gets excited about.

 

 

They’re 2!

I cannot believe how big these girls have grown! We celebrated their birthday last month and I am so very blessed by these girls. Each brings her own sunshine to a room.

They’re favorite food is bananas, so instead of the traditional birthday cake we decided to do a Banana Split bar. They were super excited about this new phenomenon!

I might have found this sweet castle for $7… we’ll call it a birthday present.

Oh how I love these girls. Happy birthday Grace and Ruth!!!


Pray for them

Today’s prayer is in honor of the girls because I cannot stop kissing the last of the baby feet in my family while speaking this verse over them:

Father, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news.” I lift up (Name) to you and pray that (he/she) will be one “who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ ” In Jesus’ name, amen.   – Isaiah 52:7

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


fried morels

For those who deem April nearly sacred because of it’s Morel mushrooms (which are hunted around the country and sold on Facebook for $40 a pound…) and who secretly feast on them careful not to tell a soul where this year’s stash was found… here’s a recipe for you:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried and crushed Rosemary
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sliced Morel Mushrooms

Combine flour, salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic powder. Whisk egg into water until smooth. Add to flour mixture and stir until smooth. Melt butter and oil in a frying pan and bring to temperature. Dip sliced mushrooms into the batter and add to frying pan, careful not to crowd. Flip once and remove when both sides are golden. Repeat until all mushrooms are cooked. Serve immediately and remember: NOT A SOUL.

 

 

Kick ‘Em Out!

It was nap time and they were all supposed to be going potty and getting in their beds. As I was tucking in Grace the uproar began. Annoyed at Esther and Micah for being unable to carry out my simple request of “go potty and get in bed” I took a quick evaluation of the situation.

Apparently Esther got to one bathroom first and Micah wouldn’t leave. Micah knows better. So I sent him to his room and I took a deep breath. (Because I have been working on this!!) Sitting on his bed I very calmly I explained to him that if someone is in the bathroom he finds another one. That when Esther asks for privacy he gives it to her and vice versa. He is never to enter the bathroom while someone is trying to use it.

Happy with my cool, calm and collected response I could tell something was wrong. I wasn’t yelling. Why was Micah crying so hard? “Micah, do you feel like you have been treated unfairly?” All I got was blubbering. Micah’s lips swell when he cries so it really is a blubbering mess with more lips than he knows what to do with.

Eventually he took a gulp of air and said, “yeah.” And I said, “Why? Did Esther ask you to leave?” “Yeah.” “Did you?” “No.” “Then why are you so upset? You know that isn’t how you behave. You knew you wouldn’t get away with it.” “She was kicking me.” “What?” “When I didn’t leave Esther starting kicking me hard!” “Okay. Well she should not be doing that either. I’ll have a talk with her. But next time someone is in the bathroom just find a different one.”

So I moved to Esther’s room to clear up this mess. “Where you kicking Micah?” “Yeah. He wouldn’t leave.” “Okay, I know you need your privacy and I’m proud of you for not going in front of him, but you can’t just kick people to make them do something.” “You told me to! You told me that next time I need to get dressed or go potty I am to kick the boys out of the room!” Oops! I did say that. “Sorry Esther, it’s my fault for using that wording. I meant for you to make sure they leave the room. We don’t hit, kick or push people. This whole thing could’ve been avoided if you had just asked for help. Try that next time.”

Sigh. Time for a brownie.


Pray for them

Lord, empower (Name) to “keep [his/her] tongue from evil and [his/her] lips from speaking deceit.” May (Name) “turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” For, “the eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ear toward their cry.” In the name I Jesus I pray, amen.    -Psalm 34:13-15

Prayers taken from the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Brownies with a twist

Speaking of brownies… I have taken to the habit of making my brownies with coconut oil instead of regular vegetable oil. It is so much better for you AND it adds that delicious suggestion of coconut. Make sure you get the extra virgin coconut oil that is solid or it will not have the flavor. Coconut oil liquidates at 76 degrees, so it just needs a little boost from room temperature before you can stir it in, but oh my is it good!