Getting Crafty at Chick-Fila-A!

Forgive my absence! I have been trying to play catch up. These kiddos of ours have been keeping me hopping. The beginning of this year has been a little bumpy for us (as you already know) and I am only now feeling caught up. Yesterday I even did three loads of laundry (to which Micah looked at and said, “Mom, why haven’t you done that yet?” …yeah), the dishes and mopped my floors! And now I need a B12 vitamin.

Over here in our corner of the world it has been birthday mania! In the last two weeks we have enjoyed 4 separate parties for our friends and family. So yesterday, when I heard that Chick-Fil-A was doing a Dr. Seuss story time with free coffee for parents… I said, yes please!

So here we are… stuffed into a booth with each kid happily recreating their version of Oh! The Places You Will Go!  hot air balloon. Up to now, I have avoided taking all five to recreational things all by my lonesome. It’s too hard to protect them and keep them together. Very similar to herding cats actually. But the girls are walking now, so I thought to myself, “Hey Les, if it implodes just get back in the car and go home.” Always good to have an escape plan…

Which we didn’t need! Aren’t they cute?

Heads up: I have been reading lots of books lately and I will be reviewing them on the next two posts in lieu of recipes.


Pray for them

Oh. My. Goodness. I saved this prayer in my BiblicalPrayers app and for a solid year prayed it over myself.  Raising kids is hard and I daily need the help of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you from personal experience that spiritual growth does not happen over night, but this verse is powerful and I can see God moving.

Lord, I ask that self-control – fruit of the spirit- will grow to maturity in (name). “Let [him/her] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of god.” In your name I pray, amen. – james 1:19-20

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


Book Review: The Sea Before Us

This is the first time I read Sarah Sundin, and I loved her. The Sea Before Us is the first of her Sunrise at Normandy series.  That fateful day at Normandy changed the tide of the war and Sarah Sundin did a beautiful job of representing those who served on the sea that day. More intriguing to me was Wyatt’s beautiful story of redemption and Dorothy’s story of self-worth… I highly recommend!

To continue reading the full review, please see The Sea Before Us here.

Leslie

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Kids or Coyotes?

It was later than usual. At least, it was for locking up the chickens. So, I marched out there with a flashlight hoping they would all be accounted for. They were. However, they were running low on  food and water. Brian was inside with the kids, and it would soon be their bedtime too. So I thought, I’ll just do it tonight since I have a moment. Bringing the containers back to the house with me, I heard a lone coyote howl. He was down the valley a ways but coyotes and I have never gotten along. When I meet one, I want to have a gun in hand. Which I didn’t. I had chicken feeders. I wondered if I could land a good blow with the feeder or if it would just make the coyote mad.

It’s childish, I know. Coyotes are nearly worthless animals, more scared of me than I am of them. At least, that’s what my dad used to tell me as a child. You see, I have had this aversion since childhood. I grew up next to them and let’s just say coyotes and I never became friends. I heard it howl again, this time closer. I decided the feeder would not be a good line of defense so I decided to hurry this little project along. Besides, it was probably the chickens it was smelling anyway.

As I was finishing this lovely task, I heard another coyote from the other end of the valley answer the first. They were closing in, anticipating a chicken dinner, and I was there in the middle of them. So, as any courageous adult would do, I forced myself to walk back to the house.

As I approached, I could hear it from outside. Brian had announced bedtime and the three toddlers were screaming and crying in protest of the dreaded event. It had been like this all day. And a long day it had been too. I knew what was next. The kids don’t give in that easily. This was a bedtime fight and they wouldn’t concede until they were all doing nose to wall.

Another howl rent the air. My hand was on the door knob. Coyotes or kids? At that moment, I looked inside and hesitated. It had been such a long day with the kids, the fresh, crisp air felt so good and coyotes aren’t so bad… are they? I doubted the pack would even know I was there. I’ll just hang out outside in the dark for a while, maybe walk around the house until the kids concede and go upstairs.

I’m not a smoker. Never smoked a cigarette in my life. But as I stood in the darkness, listening to the pack close in, I desperately wanted something to do with my hands. Smoking a cigarette seemed like it would have been better than nervously poking them in and out of my pockets. I peeked inside again. Kids were still at it. Brian has always had more patience than me. Finally the house grew quiet and I peeked in a window again. All was clear. Now I could peacefully go in and make coffee before going upstairs to help. So what if there was an extra pep to my step? No one was there to witness it.


pray for them

We live in a culture that loves to microwave, yet we serve a God who prefers to marinate. Perseverance does not come naturally, yet the reward is so much greater than we could ever conceive. Let’s pray for our loved ones to persevere in the face of resistance.


Spinach Tortellini

  • 2 packages Mixed Cheese Tortellini
  • 1 qt San Marzano Pasta Sauce
  • 2 cups Chopped Fresh Spinach
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Boil water and add tortellini. Cook for 8-10 minutes until tender. In a sauce pan, bring San Marzano pasta sauce to a simmer and add 2 fresh cups chopped fresh spinach. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Serve with sprinkled parmesan cheese over top.

 

P.S. Don’t miss a thing! Follow Remember The Blur today for parenting stories, farm life, recipes and daily prayers.

-Leslie

What I Will Miss

Everyone seems to think the best response to a hard day at home is: you’re going to miss this. It’s almost as annoying as the “you’ve got your hands full” statement when your kids are having a horrid trip to the grocery store and you’re about to be in tears yourself. Sometimes I want to snap back, “Actually, no I will not miss the perpetual ringing in my ears from the shrieks and screams that have happened all day.”

We hear it all the time do we not? There’s merit to it. It originates from the generations who have gone before us and look back and know that yes, we will absolutely miss this time of life. I just wish someone would go a little deeper. Break it down more for my fried senses to take it in with understanding. Tell me that while I won’t miss the ringing in my ears, I will miss the joyful sound of laughter and the pitter patter of small feet running through my house.

In an effort to stop rolling my eyes the moment I hear you’re going to miss this,  I decided to queue into the beauty in the mess. Focus on things I know I will miss so that I develope an appreciation of this “now” season. So that when it is over I won’t look back and say, I wish I had cherished it more.

I won’t miss the sleepless nights and the black circles that publicize them. But, I will miss those midnight moments when I rock a sleepy baby who is for the moment content to soak up all the snuggles I will give her.

I won’t miss the pain from boney elbows that pierce my chest when they suddenly want off my lap. However, I will miss the times when they wanted to sit on my lap at all and they were small enough to actually fit on it.

I won’t miss stubbing my toe on a talking toy in the middle of the night thus waking up the whole house. But, I will miss watching my kids toddle around while carrying their favorite stuffed animal– usually bigger than they are– under their arm.

I won’t miss the difficult trips to the grocery store with the five of them knocking things off shelves and dropping things from the cart just to see if it will break. But I will miss the days when they begged to go with me because all they really want is time with their mommy.

I won’t miss the dried oatmeal on the floor that hurts my feet when I walk over it. But I will deeply miss the days when we all sat around the table and there were no phones, no radios, no tvs, and no school meetings or practices to pull us in different directions.

For now, in this moment in our family, it’s just us. We are all here, together. Their love for Brian and I is untainted and unconditional. They hear opinions from others but care only for our praise and approval. Right now, in their tender, young hearts no one means more to them than us. Someday, as they grow and mature this will all change. It is as it should be. I will be proud of the independent and strong men and women they will become. But yes, I will miss this.


Pray For Them

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18% of American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. That’s over 40 million Americans. In a society that struggles so much with fear and anxiety, we need to be battling on the front lines for our loved ones to find peace. Peace that persists in every situation and goes beyond understanding can only be rooted in Christ. Let’s pray today for our loved ones to find true peace in their lives.


Perfect Pie Crust


For all I know, this could be straight out of a 1954 Betty Crocker cookbook. But folks, it was handed down to me all the way from my great grandma and it is delicious. It never fails to be perfect. People who don’t like crust only exist because they haven’t tried this one. Pie season is coming up and you need to be ready!

This makes three 9″ pie crusts. Freeze what you don’t need and when you’re ready for your next pie just pull it out, let it thaw in the fridge and bam, you’re set to go.

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Lard
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbs White Vinegar
  • 2/3 cup Cold Water

Blend flour and salt. Add lard and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter until crumbles are pea size. Beat egg in a cup, add vinegar to it and mix together then add cold water. Pour into flour and combine with a fork until it pulls away from the edges. Divide into three even sections. Turn out what you need onto a floured surface and roll it out. Freeze what you don’t need.

If your filling is already cooked, poke holes in your crust with a fork and pre-bake your pie crust in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Then add your filling. (You poke holes so the crust doesn’t have big bubbles during baking.)

If your filling needs to be cooked in the oven, just pour it into a raw pie crust (no holes) and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Note: If you want your crust to turn out just right, you cannot substitute the lard. It’s a completely natural product and makes things deliciously flakey like pie crusts and biscuits. Shortening won’t do your recipe justice (besides it’s made only from chemicals in a lab) and butter doesn’t have the same abilities.

Pancakes & Pumpkins

Weekends are for family in our world. Saturday is my favorite day of the week. Every Saturday we start the morning off with pajamas and pancakes. It’s the only day of the week we don’t have to hurry and get dressed to go somewhere.

Brian gets up early and starts chopping wood for our winter cache. I shuffle into the kitchen and start the coffee and decide what kind of pancakes we’ll have this week.  (Last week was pumpkin-chocolate chip.) Pancakes are my favorite food. I can literally eat them any day of the week for any meal. This weekend we did Apple Spice. It was delish.

PeeWee Soccer is in full force so our little tribe was there representing the grey team fully bedecked with hats, gloves, coats and shin guards. Afterward they came home with three giant pumpkins ready for carving.

After supper we busted out the carving tools and decided what we should create on our pumpkin canvases. Micah voted Lightning McQueen (of course he did) and the others voted for a kitty cat. We did both.

KACHOW.


Faithfulness

Whether now or later, we know our loved ones will face difficulties. It is the inevitable way of life here on earth. Today let’s pray they will remain faithful in the face of struggles and persecution.


Apple Spice Pancakes

Sometimes chopping, seasoning and frying apples in the morning is just too much prep for me. I tried a different avenue this last weekend and it was perfect.

Toothbrushes and Toilets

We made it, Friends! We made it to Friday. This week was a slow one. By Wednesday I was thinking it had to be Friday because of all the things that had already happened. But it wasn’t. On Monday night, after the kids were in bed I sat down to have a nice cup of hot tea when it sounded like an elephant was going to come through the ceiling. I thought, “I should go check on that.” But then I saw my hot cup of tea and thought, “It can wait a few more minutes.”

Well… it shouldn’t have. I stopped at the top of the stairs to overhear joyous squeals and splashing water. As I rounded the corner I found my two bedtime delinquent boys dunking wads of toilet paper in the toilet and lifting it out again. When they saw me standing there silently with my arms crossed with my best I’m-not-happy-with-you face on, Gabe whispers to Micah who is still going for it, “Look behind you.”

Bedtime Delinquents

Lucky for me, there was only the toilet water in there (as if that is a consolation).  I saw their toothbrushes on the counter and thought, if I ask them “Did you…” they will deny it. So I had to word this just right to get the truth.

“Which toothbrushes did you put in there?” Gabe: “We didn’t!!” Micah looks at Gabe with confusion and says: “Yes we did, Gabe.” Apparently Gabriel has caught on quicker to my scheme. This is about the time silence prevailed and then they both started shifting feet. Micah threw his arm around Gabe in a show of support. Luckily I was not so mad as to miss the beautiful moment when Micah tried to lend comfort and support to his brother by throwing his arm around his shoulders. Sometimes I do you know.

Sometimes I miss the beauty in the mess. It’s easy to do when there are so many other things demanding attention. Like what to do with the toothbrushes. Have they all been used or just Micah’s? Lets just say I threw them all away. The next night we made a flyby trip to Walmart where I purchased 3 new toothbrushes and went over how to use them and what to use them on. Again.

Then, the next day, the tree fell down. A giant, beautiful tree that couldn’t withstand the gusty wind fell trapping a power line to the ground with it. I had to corral all the kids and tell them they would not be stepping foot outside until the utility workers had it all repaired.

Gabe misunderstood. He thought I meant that the tree would kill him if he touched it. Try as I might, I could not get him to understand that it was the power lines he needed to stay away from. Over zealous explanation? Perhaps. Although they are all still alive and that’s a successful week if you ask me. Hopefully he’ll get over his fear of trees soon.


Pray for them

Our words have such a profound impact on those around us and even on ourselves. Let’s pray together that those we love will use their words to encourage and build up others rather than tear down.

 


Salmon Pasty

This week I was craving a salmon pastry something. The only reference I had was salmon puffs and I don’t keep puff pastry on hand. So I created a recipe hoping the kids wouldn’t rebel against me at dinner time. It was fish after all. So I made this with what I had on hand. We all sat down, and before Brian and I knew it we had a conversation about work, finished our plates and all the kids had finished theirs too and were asking for more. I looked at Brian and asked if we missed the apocalypse.

You have to try this! It’s salmon so it isn’t too fishy and it is delicious. Didn’t take me any longer to make than the usual dinner time either. Definitely a keeper.

Have a great weekend!

Leslie

 

Landmarks

Happy Thursday everyone! I love Thursday because it means tomorrow is Friday and my man will be home for two whole days. And, as promised, I have included the recipe for the pasta sauce I told you I would post this week. Seriously, you will want to make it in buckets.

This month has had a few landmarks for our family. Esther went to her first big-girl birthday party when her friend at school turned 5. She felt very special she got to go and not her brothers. It was fun for me too, since I was able to spend some one-on-one time with her and get to know the other parents as well.

Esther and her party games

Also this month, my baby girls turned 18 months. This may be my favorite stage they are in. Grace and Ruth walk everywhere now, are independent enough to do things all by them selves and yet are still so baby-cuddly and eager to please.

HAPPY 18 MONTHS GIRLS

Grace (green) is full of sass. She climbs onto more things than the boys ever did. She samples with gusto anything I am making for dinner and if I can’t find something I’ve a pretty good notion that it’s because she helped me out by throwing it away. She lives for verbal praise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth (blue) tends to be more cautious and laid back. She loves all things girly and is my little snuggler. If she sees anyone getting a hug, you can bet that Ruth will be racing around the corner to get hers too. Every time I fold laundry Ruth crawls in my lap for a front row viewing. (And yes, she likes robots.)

These girls bring so much joy to our world we could never imagine it without them.


Pray For Them

 John 14:21

Pray that in walking through all events of life, the character of your loved one will be shaped into God’s image.


San Marzano pasta Sauce

As promised, here is the recipe for the amazing pasta sauce. It is so incredibly easy to make and your kids will love it. Mine hate tomatoes with an everlasting fire, but they didn’t even care when they tasted this sauce. Even asked for more. I think the secret here are the San Marzano tomatoes. It’s an Italian tomato and it’s distinct taste makes it more tangy than other tomatoes. I order my cans from Amazon in bulk because it is a staple and it is cheaper this way. Plus, why make a trip when it can come straight to my door?

 

 

Losing a Child

Yesterday a group of women and I talked about a subject that is both heartbreaking and difficult: losing a child. While I know this varies from my usual tone, it has touched my life and those around me.  It too is a part of this season of young “families” we are in. For Brian and I it has been something we personally had to navigate in the midst of raising our other children. This is our story.

Many have experienced losing a child through miscarriage, abortion, still birth and/or the death of an infant. In every minute of every day in America a miscarriage happens. That does not include the other forms of loss. So much grief it is heartbreaking. This is our story.

My boys are almost four, which means if I had not lost my daughter to miscarriage she would be about two and a half. She would be running around and playing with the rest of her brothers and sisters. I remember like it was yesterday. It was an early miscarriage. I had suspected I was pregnant for almost 6 weeks when it began. For days the miscarriage went on. Brian hadn’t known so he wasn’t sure how to be there for me. The grief was overwhelming. There would be times I would  weep on the floor. Other times I would be fine and then see my kids playing quietly when the loss and grief would rush over me again like a tidal wave. Every trip to the bathroom brought me face to face with the carnage of death. For weeks I grieved and Brian, try as he might, couldn’t connect with me. It was the first time we had not been together through something. I felt alone. The ER doctor was callous, the nurse compassionate.

Friends and family didn’t know what to say or how to comfort. How could they? I had lost my child and there was nothing that would bring her back. I say her, because somehow in my spirit I knew it had been a girl. Her name would have been Eliza. Is Eliza. I know many have faced the struggle of infant loss as I have, some involving a delivery and a casket. Many have suffered blame, shame and guilt over it. Was it the cold medicine I took? Did I do too much? Am I being punished? Then comes the pain caused by people who don’t know how to respond so they say insensitive and hurtful things.

Being parents is a precious gift. There is so much joy and beauty in it. Making memories like pumpkin patches and hot chocolates. But this is also a season of life when we come face to face with grief in feeling the loss of a child. Whether in your own life or walking with a friend or family member’s in their’s. Grief is no respecter of persons. Rich or poor, it touches us all. This is a great resource to have for you or a loved one.

But Jesus has a rocking chair and I know that he will take very good care of Eliza until I can hold her myself in heaven. He is the God of the living and she is alive with him now. Who knows, maybe our children are even friends up there. I know she has at least one friend named Jacob. Take heart my friends. It is good to remember and know that in Christ, we will all see them again.

In her memory, we will be planting a tulip tree in our yard. It will always be “Eliza’s Tree.”


Pray For Them

Prayer

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,” I pray (Name) would, “think…”