A New Season

You will have to forgive my two month absence. We were busy adjusting our lives from the “baby season” to the “school season.” It has been quite a whirlwind and our schedule is as jam-packed as I was afraid it would be. I have found some helpful tips though that I will share with you here along with some first day of school posts that are a bit belated but worthy of documentation regardless.

Let’s keep it short and sweet. After the first few weeks of kindergarten-preschool drop off and then preschool-kindergarten pick-up I began to realize my morning of cumulative 3 hours in the car would need to be… what shall we say? A different experience?

With frazzled nerves and thinning patience, I made up 4 car rules. I ordered some car organizational things from Amazon and I picked up 5 car toys that are only for the car. Want to know how much noise those toys make??? NONE. It was a struggle finding things that didn’t jingle, twinkle, bong, and blink. But, I found what I was looking for in miniature size no less! Perfect for the car.

Don’t worry, I’ll share my finds.

Car Rules

No Fighting – Agree to Disagree. Answer the first time your name is called by anyone. No obnoxious Noises. No Screaming.

You may be surprised how much is has helped to outline these rules. They have herd me scream them at them for weeks, but only until I made it an official “Car Rule” did it register to them that these were actual expectations.

Car Organization

Back seat organizers. Hand held Dirt Devil with a 16 ft cord and car adapter. Trunk hooks to organize bags and keep them off the floor.

Car Toys

Mini Write and Slide: pen is attached and not easily lost in the car, silent, easy to use, doesn’t get lost, works on dexterity and creativity

Mini Etch-A-Sketch: Silent, nearly indestructible, increases dexterity and creativity, no additional parts to be lost in the car

Pin Push:  Silent, sensory. (This is where you lift your hand on the bottom of the pins and they push up to create the outline of your hand. It’s a favorite, I’ll have to get another one.)

Art Pad & Colored Pencils : Silent, Artistic, Dexterity. (Colored pencils don’t melt like crayons and I have a little zipper case for them.)

These rules, toys and organizational things have really saved my sanity and I hope that as school starts up for you all too, that these tips are helpful. As a rookie, I underestimated the car ride. I’ll not be making that mistake again with young children.

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Boys and Bugs

I have resigned myself to the knowledge that I will never understand the male mind. It is beyond me. Rarely am I floored when I have a conversation with my son, but yesterday was different. Here’s the gist of it:

“So, what happened again?” “I ate a dragonfly!” “Why?” “Because it was dead.” “Okay. How did you know it was dead?” “I killed it with my shoe.” “I see. So, you killed the dragonfly with your shoe, put it in your mouth and swallowed it.” “Yes.” “I guess I don’t understand why you would eat it. What made you decide to put it in your mouth?” “Well, I killed it and because there wasn’t any blood I knew it would be good to eat.”

Now, I spent several minutes fishing for more information, like the possible source for his new found wisdom. But, as the minutes ticked by I believe the look of horror on my face eventually shut him down. For better reference here, there are the pretty iridescent dragonflies and then there are the fat ugly brown ones. We are in the season for the latter, which is what he found to be so tasty.

Horrified and thoroughly stumped, I searched my parenting experience for what to do. I mean, what do I do with a boy who snacks on giant dragonflies? It really isn’t a punishable offense, and by all accounts dragonflies are technically edible. Along with roaches, grasshoppers and termites. Or so my helpful husband tells me.

later, I talked with my son about the possibility of this incident being an attempt to make  his siblings laugh. (It was my best guess.) He denied it, but I know there’s a comedian locked inside of there. We discussed how comedians earn money making people laugh and how laughter can bring healing to the soul. After affirming he was smart and already makes others laugh, I told him he did not need to be gross or yucky to do it.


Pray for them

Praying for wisdom today… perhaps someone you know could use a little more as well.

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.


Locust and Cricket Chermoula

For those of you who love to eat exotic foods diving into the delicacies of crickets and such, here is a recipe for you. Unfortunately, I am afraid I cannot personally recommend it as I have no intentions of ever trying it. I ate a cricket once at a missions dinner. The leg broke off and the spikes caught on my tongue and a friend had to help me remove it. Hopefully your experience is a better one.

  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • baby spinach
  • Crickets
  • lime juice
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 cup Butter, softened
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • Chili Powder, to taste

Chop Cilantro leaves and mix together with paprika, butter, salt, garlic, cumin and chili power and set aside.

To cook crickets, heat oil and add crickets. Stir until “spitting subsides.” Add the butter mixture until completely melted. Add spinach and toss until slightly wilted. Serve hot.

This is not my creation. For further clarification you can read it first hand at the FineDiningLovers website: https://www.finedininglovers.com/recipes/appetizer/cricket-recipe/.

 

I said “yes”

There is a time and a season for everything. For me, summer is the time for “Yes.” For example:

Mommy, can I have a popcicle? -YES

Mommy, can we stay in our bathing suits all day? -YES

Mommy, can I play in the rain? -YES

You can imagine my answer when Esther said, “Mommy, can we have a kitten?” … That’s how Cupcake entered our lives today. What can I say? It’s summer.

We are not an animal rescue farm, but years ago I made a commitment. With Jesus being the Author of Life, it is my personal conviction to fight for life when it is within my power. In an effort to raise up children who will also value and fight for every life no matter how small, I said yes.

And you know what? I’m not sorry. The look on my daughters face was more than enough justification for that yes. 

All day Esther has been bathing her, naming her, cuddling her, moving her from indoors to outdoors and all kinds of other locations. Eventually, I had to put my foot down and say, “Sorry honey, you cannot sleep with her.” Welcome to the family Cupcake. You are already loved.


Pray for them

The myriad of life-giving choices and decisions are as different as the colors in a sunrise.  Whether it is small, every day choices or big life decisions, lets pray over our loved ones that they will be a source of God’s living water to those around them.

Lord, I ask that (Name) would be given a heart of humility and love. Please do not let (Name) “become conceited, provoking [others], envying [others].” Rather, I pray that (Name) will be a constant source of your living water that is both refreshing and life giving to all who encounter (him/her). In your name I pray, amen.  – Galatians 5:26

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


Chick-Fil-A

When it’s 5:30 and I am still on the road with still no dinner plan in sight, I’ll throw the kids into the car with me and go to Chick-Fil-A. Sometimes I feel like I am cheating, but I then I look in my rear view mirror and see them happily munching away. In my books, that’s a win. So, on this blog there is no shame for the nugget. Especially when it comes with sauce.

Artsy Fartsy

My dad has trademarked this phrase in my mind. Being a country boy through and through, he has always described the finer, more artistic side of life as “artsy fartsy.” Those of us who do have creative bones in our body have a better understanding of the need for creative expression.

Which is what led our family to Michaels. After my not-so-brilliant decision to have a “foot-loose and fancy-free” summer, the kids began to self-destruct. I don’t know about yours, but mine thrive on a schedule. I needed to redirect their energy and get their hands and minds engaged in something creative.

After a long, drawn out search for a creative (and affordable) outlet for the kids, we found Michaels! Michaels has a 7 week Camp Creativity that happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10-12. For one hour, at $2-5 per kid (depends on age), my kids can do something that engages their hands and minds. By the time we get ready, drive into town, create something and drive back, its lunch time. Which is what I call a “mom win.”

“G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S yeah”

Plus, I get to shop the store for a glorious hour. The girls are too young to join, so they go with me and we play with all we see. Aside from the pretend apple that now has Ruthie’s bite marks in it… (sorry Michaels, she was hungry), we haven’t had any casualties. Just lots of fun.


pray for them

We are creative because God is creative. His crowing achievement is us. He calls us his workmanship and He is always perfecting and creating new beauty in each of us. What a wonderful gift to look at a time in our life and say with distinction, “That is God’s thumb print.”

Father, make (Name) your “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which [you] prepared beforehand, that [he/she] should walk in them.” In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.  -Ephesians 2:10

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

 


Garlic Parmesan Chicken

This was so good our dinner was quiet and usually I’m wishing for ear plugs.

Last night I used chicken legs instead of wings because they are more meat for your work, but you can use whichever you want.

  • 10-12 Chicken Legs
  • 6 Tbsp Butter (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1 tsp powdered onion powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese (Grated and divided)
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Parsley (divided)

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with greased foil. In a mixing bowl, melt 4 tbsp of butter and add minced garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Roll raw chicken legs in the marinade and lay on them on the prepared baking sheet so they do not touch. Bake for 35-40 minutes turning chicken once half way through.

While baking, melt the remaining butter and add 1 tbsp powdered garlic, 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, dried parsley and 1 tsp onion powder. When chicken is fully cooked, remove from oven and drizzle with the butter mixture. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

 

 

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.

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.