Making Time for Fun

Before Brian and I had kids, we would drive up the coastal 101 and go to the infamous Farmers Market in SLO. Without fail, our first order of business was to find him. He had long blond hair that made Def Leppard’s attempt look like child’s play. He stood on a pedestal in full Scottish garb, and with his bagpipes hooked up to his amp, he would turn on his giant wind machine and then rock out. We would watch his hair whip around and I was always inspired by his audacity to pursue life.

As the pressures ramp up, Brian and I recognize it is too easy to be driven by demands and routine and lose some of that zest we had. Although Brian would build me a pedestal, we don’t have a wind machine and I cut my hair… so that isn’t an option for us. But, we did decide to change some things up about our time together.  Add back in some of that zest.

And nothing says “fun” like the Ferris Wheel. Neither of us could even remember the last time we were in a Ferris wheel, much less where. So we stood there staring and the flashing twirling lights and decided to go a few rounds high up in the sky and then grab an appetizer at 10 pm just for kicks. Last year, we went to the local amusement park and rode roller coasters until midnight.

If you’ve never gone to SLO (San Luis Obispo, CA) you should. Try to find him. I’d bet my last nickle he’s still there rocking it out. If you can’t go that far… I encourage you to add some fun in the mix. A busy life needs the balance of both relaxation and fun. A wise man once said, “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Don’t let stress crush your spirit. Go out and play! Do something that is out of your norm. Kayak. Ride a Ferris wheel. Go mini-golfing. Rent a boat and night fish. Raising kids exposes you to so many options for “fun.” Don’t forget to include yourself too. And then finish it off with some PIE.


Pray for them

Or, yourself… if the season warrants it.

Father, I pray for (Name) who sees my spirit crushed beneath the weight of life’s responsibilities. I pray you would increase your presence in my life, and place within me “a joyful heart [for it] is good medicine.” As I turn to you, I pray you would help me “find rest for [my] soul… for your “yoke is easy, and [your] burden is light.” In Jesus’ name, amen.  – Proverbs 17:22,

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


Blackberry Pie

After picking 2.5 gallons of blackberries, we decided to celebrate having family in town with a delicious pie. And, this might be one of the best recipes yet.

  • 4 cups black berries (thawed)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425. Thaw and drain your berries if frozen. Toss with flour. Mix together sugar, lemon, cinnamon and extract. Gently fold into berries until evenly coated. Pour into one pie crust and place the other crust on top making vents for steam. Seal edges and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes on the bottom rack, change oven to 375 for an additional 25-30 minutes.

Baking Tip: Place a cookie sheet or a sheet of foil under the pie to catch any spillage.

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You know you’re a mom when…

you’re so distracted you shut your pinky toe in the car door

Still not sure how I did it, but I’m positive it had to do with balance (because why else would it have been sticking out there like that??).

It was likely the multitasking of motherhood. …Stretching like every Pilates pro wishes she could to put an arm load of something in the passenger seat while answering a blitz of questions that only kids from the backseat can create.

Anyone relate? Last night at 12:06am I finished the documents I needed to and then “unwound” with 20 minutes of kitchen cleaning time. Maybe not my first choice for relaxation but I do appreciate making breakfast on a clean surface.

This summer I decided we should keep an open schedule so that we weren’t so busy. Somehow, that translated into something going on every single weekend. Brian has had a series of business trips so weekends are full of playing catch up.

Now I am realizing, that if I want summers to be full of family downtime when we make memories from camping and roasting marshmallows, swimming at the lake and going to our favorite theme parks… it needs to be on my calendar.

How about you? Are you spending your open-calendar summer doing midnight dishes or are you making fun summer memories with a “full calendar?”


Pray for them

This prayer is in honor of all the busy, distracted moms out there who spend their days serving those they love the most. Pick a Mom you admire and pray for her!

Father, I lift up all the mothers who work hard to serve the families you have entrusted to them. Today I ask you to honor (Name) for her work and “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” In Jesus’ name, amen. – Proverbs‬ ‭31:31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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


Book Review: Together Forever

 Jody Hedlund is one of my absolute favorite authors. The setting of her stories is gripping from the moment you read the description. Together Forever is the second book in her Orphan Train Series and it is a powerful book. Once again, Hedlund brings you into the heart of the issue and the pain of letting go of those you love.

To read more about Together Forever click here.

Her First Visit

This week also turned another page for us: the Tooth Fairy’s very first visit. Not too long ago I received an email alerting me to the upcoming milestone of kids losing their first tooth, and probably 3 weeks after receiving it, Esther tells me at dinner that her tooth hurts. Sure enough. After dinner I investigated and found a wiggly tooth. There is something awesome about it.

Obviously, as a kid I went through losing mine and still remember what it felt like. My dad would suggest tying a string to it and a door knob and slamming the door shut… um no. I did not to that to her. We patiently wiggled it for two days and then when she chickened out, asked me to pull it. So here is the cutest little girl ever, with her first gap in her smile and a new lisp that comes with it.

I was reminded of the awe of losing baby teeth. Walking my eldest through her first loose tooth gave me a fresh wonder and joy for life that I am grateful for.


Pray for them

Father, I pray in accordance with Ephesians “that words may be given to [Name] in opening [his/her] mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which [Name may become] an ambassador in chains, that [Name] may declare it boldly, as [he/she] ought to speak.” In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.  – Ephesians 6:19-20

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


Book review: A Rebel Heart

Beth White is one of my favorite authors. She writes historical Christian fiction and brings to life eras long gone. Ways of life we only imagine, she brings out the truth and adventure found in it.

She does nothing less with A Rebel Heart. Set in the years post civil war, Beth White focuses in on the struggles of two young women, sisters who survived the ravaging of their home and are determined to rebuild. With twists, and suspense the story unfolds. I highly recommend Beth White’s new book a Rebel Heart. 

To read more of the book review, click here.

 

Big girls

This last week was been the week all my precious girls blew through milestones. Today, I’ll focus on the girls.

Brian and I were anticipating a wonderful date night out. We had all the kids in bed and I was finishing my final touches on my eyelashes (which rarely get recognized anymore) when I heard the pitter patter of little feet in the hall way. Someone was out of bed… again. So I turned the corner expecting to see someone trying to sneak a peek at their Grandma, when I see my baby girl tittering down the stairs with a huge “I did it” grin on her face.

Gracie had finally mastered the last obstacle to her crib and was a free bird flitting around the hallways and proudly making her entrance down the stairs. She was absolutely adorable. We discussed toddler beds. Because as cute as it is to see her climbing around, it wasn’t safe. So, the next morning we gave the girls what they were long ready for.

Sometimes its just too hard to climb in.

For a moment I mourned the cribs. And with the cribs went the baby gates. It’s all been a part of our home for 5 years now. But, gosh the freedom! They have their own bunny clocks and stay in bed until bunny wakes up. It took them some practice, but they got it. Now they cruise down the stairs ready for breakfast. It’s the cutest thing.

 


Pray for them

Lord, I place (Name) into your hands. Grow (him/her) into a (man/woman) of godly character and strong faith in Jesus Christ. For “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in [Name] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In your name I pray, amen.  – Philippians 1:6

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


Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Omelette

We needed something savory for breakfast. So I tried something new…

  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Over medium-high heat saute spinach and sun dried tomatoes together with olive oil until spinach is wilted. Set aside.  Beat eggs and milk together. Reduce heat to medium and pour in egg and milk mixture. When they begin to appear cooked on the bottom, add spinach and tomatoes to one side of the eggs and top with ricotta cheese. Add salt and pepper. Gently fold the eggs over the spinach and turn off heat. Allow time for the cheese to melt and the remaining eggs to cook. Serve hot.

New Territory

My kids are moving into this sense of self awareness that has just been taken to a new level. Some of you with older kids are probably laughing because you have been through it.

For example, the kids never liked it when I corrected their behavior. But now… now they KNOW just how they feel about it. In what seems like over night, I have caught them in various forms of expressing their opinions about it. Of course, they always hope I don’t see it. I guess no one has told them yet that I have eyes in the back of my head.

Here’s an edited quick list of the lovely behaviors I have encountered in just this last month. (I am told by other mom friends that I am not alone in this, which has brought some measure of peace to my heart.)

Gabe stuck his tongue out at me when I told him to let Gracie sing her song. Of course, he didn’t intend on getting caught.

Micah took a swing at a nearby book when Daddy decided that the game was done and he had lost fair and square. Sportsmanship. Such a hard lesson to learn.

Esther stuck her fingers in her ears to block out my “loud” lecture (yes, I do raise my voice from time to time – we are not perfect over here). And the list literally goes on.

Sometimes I find myself wondering what just happened. Now I am realizing though that its age and maturity at it’s height of immaturity. The more familiar they become with their feelings and thoughts the more expressive they become. I am trying to keep perspective. They are young and immature and I have to teach them that this behavior too is not a appropriate response. You can imagine how that goes over. There are times we all just need to cool down before that talk happens. There are also times I wish I was Iron Man with the ability to blast myself into another realm.

Parenting is hard work. I love my little squirts and I want to see them grow up into mature adults who can communicate their feelings and empathize with others. Modeling that is probably the best way. That and a few lessons from Christ and his ability to rise above the foolishness. Currently I have Bible verses posted all over the house reminding me to be slow to anger and abounding in love. Because I do believe there is victory found in abiding in His word. My favorite one is from 2 Samuel, as it says, “your gentleness has made me great.”


Pray for them

Lord, I pray that (Name) will quickly understand “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” I pray that (he/she) would not be counted among the “fools [who] despise wisdom and instruction.” Rather, let (Name) love the union of wisdom and discipline. May (he/she) rejoice in your discipline allowing it to develop (his/her) character. I praise you Father, for what you are working within (Name) and I pray according to your Word asking for it to be brought to completion. In your name I pray, amen.   – Proverbs 1:7

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


Bulgar Wheat Breakfast

Want to change up the traditional oatmeal? Try cooking bulgar wheat. It has a nice nutty flavor to it.

  • 1 cup Bulgar wheat
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup flax seed
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Bring to a boil bulgar, water and salt. Add flax seeds, raisins, and coconut oil and cinnamon. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and add in vanilla. It makes a lot, so put whatever is left in the refrigerator and use it the next day.

Tea Time

Just before she graduated preschool, on her last helper day, I took Esther to a tearoom where we met her preschool best friend and her mom. We had so much fun. This was a new experience for Esther to have a friend at the table other than her brothers.

This tearoom experience was even more fun for them because they brought the girls their raspberry tea in a cute little tea pot with cups and saucers (even though the tea was cold). The girls felt like they were so big, having tea just like adults.

We try to do this with the kiddos from time to time, where we take one for special time out with mommy or daddy. They absolutely love the attention. In a home of seven people, two cats and a dog…special time is not an easy find. So, every now and again we make some room in the schedule and budget.


Pray for them

Father, according to James 3, I ask for your heavenly wisdom and understanding to be upon (Name) all the days of (his/her) life.  “By [his/her] good conduct let [him/her] show [his/her] works in the meekness of humility.” I ask specifically for the “wisdom from above [which] is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness [to be] sown in peace by [(Name), who makes] peace.” In the name of Jesus, I ask these things, Amen.    – James 3:13, 17-18

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


Green Smoothie

Last month I decided I would change some things up. This coming Friday is my birthday and these bones aren’t getting any younger! I figure I cannot keep eating toddler food all day long (Ritz crackers, peanut butter and honey, ham and cheese, chips, cereal…) without consequence. I am changing around my eating habits, (thanks mostly to the Beachbody plan) and replacing my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a protein smoothie every day.

Blend until smooth:

  • 6 green grapes
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 3 cubes fresh pineapple
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • several ice cubes
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein

This was so delicious. I feel lighter on my feet and have more energy for eating healthier. Maybe I should play Tim McGraw’s My Next Thirty Years as background music. And yes, I go to bed earlier too.

 

 

Boys will be boys

They have grown up about 2 years since this picture, but I just had to bring it back to do a post that highlighted our boys today. Because boys are awesome and I love mine. There is nothing they love better than being loud. Except maybe being outside with their daddy’s tools misusing them for their own purposes, which usually includes hammering… hammer unnecessary.

Micah

Micah loves all things red and all things that have to do with transportation. Helicopters, backhoes, firetrucks, police cars, race cars, boats… you name it this boy has a sound for it. If you took a ride with us in the car you would frequently hear me say, “Micah turn your siren off in the car. You can turn it back on when we are outside.” Which he does, as loud as his high pitched voice can go.

Gabriel is the other expression of pure boy. Anything in his hands is ammunition for whacking, hitting, hammering, smacking… you name it this boy will thrash it until it is pulverized. (Animals and siblings are off limits.) He lives for outside and he doesn’t stop moving. He has two speeds: fast and faster. He frequently runs while looking behind him which probably explains the bloody lip he earned today.

They both are 100% male. Sometimes I have a hard time reconciling it with my personal cravings for neat, clean and quiet. When I feel my nerves beginning to unravel I either send them outside or put tissues in my ears. It’s a self preservation thing. One day, I know, I will be sitting in the silence of my home remembering the days when I craved silence. All too soon this season will pass so I embrace the sirens, the bloody noses and pulverized plants and know that this continues for but a short time and that the hostas will return again next year in their full glory.

My boys have their sweet sides too. Micah snuggles with me for as long as I want during a movie (his choice). Gabriel paints with me and I love seeing his face light up when his creative heart beholds all the colors to choose from. They can’t read yet, so here’s my secret: they can be in the biggest trouble ever, but the moment I hear them say, “I’m sorry Mommy, I love you.” all my fire is gone. Because I just love my little men.


Pray for Them

Lord, I lift up (Name) and I pray that (he/she) would become a (man/woman) who is “strong [in whom] the word of God abides… and [who has] overcome the evil one.” In Jesus’ Name, amen.  – 1 John 2:14

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


Book Review: The Theory of Happily Ever After

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck has a very interesting plot, with a scientist who recently published her findings on happiness. However, she is most unhappy. Though on top of the world, after a personal setback, Maggie Maguire loses her focus and questions all the choices in her life. When her friends drag her onto a singles cruise, she learns the meaning of true love and finds the direction she needs to refocus her efforts and continue forward with her life’s work.

Click here to read more of the Book Review: The Theory of Happily Ever After.