Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Homemade bread...fresh from the oven!

I really wish you could smell things over the internet! That would be a great invention. Especially if you could have smelled my house this morning.

I've been wanting to make bread for 2 days now, but time hasn't allowed me to do that. So, I was determined to do it this morning. Besides, we only have half a loaf so I kind of had to!

I was really excited about trying a different recipe that I found on this blog. It sounded simple, yet tasty! Let me tell you...I wasn't disappointed! It was warm, moist and delicious! I did make a minor change though. I ran out of whole wheat flour so I had to use organic, unbleached white flour!

I gave a piece of bread with butter and homemade jelly to Afton and Caleb and they loved it!

So, if anyone is looking for a new bread recipe or want to try making bread from scratch I highly suggest this one.

I think I'll try her crockpot granola next!

Same old, same old

It's not unusual for this to be happening when Mike calls me at exactly 5pm. We may not have the tears, wailing and piles of laundry, but I may be handing out timeout's left and right..lol!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our newest addition

Friday night we welcomed this little boy into our home.

He still doesn't have an official name, so for now I call him "little kitty".
His original name was Indiana because he's adventurous, but we thought we would try to think of something else.

We asked Afton what she would name him if she could pick anything. Guess what she came up with?

Jim Douglas...from "The Love Bug" and "Herbie goes to Monte Carlo".


I said, "I'm not going to call my cat "Jim".

Gracie and Jim.

They don't go together.

So, we're still thinking...any ideas?

He's such a cute little fluff ball too! He was chasing Caleb today and Caleb
was so excited! It was so funny. He kept trying to make the
kitty chase him again!

We've had a fun 24 hours with him so far...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apple picking, mud and pies

That's what Saturday consisted of.

It started off grey and drizzly...but humid. We had plans to go apple picking, but the day wasn't shaping up the way we had hoped. It would rain, then stop, sprinkle, then stop.....

So, finally we just decided we would wing it! Getting a little wet never killed anyone, right?

We waited for Mike's parents to arrive, relaxed a bit, then headed out to the orchard. It was just starting to sprinkle when we go there, and it was still really humid.

After getting our bag for the apples we were walking towards the orchard when I had to snap a picture.

The pathway to the apple trees was a tad muddy which, of course, my kids just had to jump in.

We were able to pick one bag of apples and that was perfect because the rain started to fall steadily. I convinced people to smile for me while I took their picture and was even able to get one of me and Mike.

Afton and Caleb were so funny because they kept jumping in the mud puddles and losing their Crocs, and the mud kept weighing down Caleb's pants to he had to keep pulling them up.

Now, one thing I love about apple orchards is they almost always have their barn where they sell homemade food, fresh vegetables, jellies, jams, honey, fresh homemade donuts and apple cider. This place didn't disappoint!! The cider was amazing and the donuts were to die for!! Yummy....

We came home shortly after that and said goodbye to Mike's parents. Then the kids were bathed and the mud chipped off their bodies!

So, next time it rains and you want to go apple picking...go for it! It's a blast and the kids will love any excuse to jump in mud puddles.

Plus, you'll have tons of great memories!

With the apples that we got from the orchard I was able to make two pies. The pictures don't do them justice, but I'm posting them anyway!

We can't wait to dig it and taste them!!!

It was a great Saturday and so much fun!

That's what friends are fore

I just had to say thank you to my best and closest friend, Katie!

We grew up together, laughed together, played together, did crazy things together and we still have the best time together.

We went out on Friday night in honor of my birthday. We had to postpone our initial trip out due to family stuff. So, to commemorate my 30th birthday we took a trip down memory lane...

We went rollerskating!!

Now, we have a history with rollerskating. We used to go on these youth group trips called the "Super Bowl". This was when we went with our youth group on an all nighter. We would go see a hockey or basketball game, then go bowling for half the night and rollerskating for the other half.

We loved rollerskating. We did the races, the games and the couple skates. Although, she did remind me that I ditched her for a boy that liked me once. I didn't remember that, but she did. I guess it was a painful moment for her. Sorry Kate! I still love you and I don't remember couple skating with Kevin B...if that makes you feel any better! Did I skate with him before or after you fell down and sat on my head? That could account for the memory loss...

Anyway, so we went rollerskating at that same place. Boy did that bring back memories! We had a ton of fun. Except when the guy jyped me of my tickets for the really cool prizes. I know I could have gotten more toys if he had actually counted them! Who weighs tickets anyway?

After that we went out for dessert and an appetizer. She made me choose the place and since it was 10:00pm my brain wasn't quite functioning. So, I chose Fridays!

We had a blast chatting and just enjoying a dinner where we could actually finish a conversation.

I ended up forgetting to bring my camera in when we were rollerskating, but not of the "after party".

These were the wicked cool teeth I got with the tickets I won!
I put them in as we skated around the rink.

I had to get at least one normal picture of us. I'd say we did pretty good!

Not so normal...but fun, nonetheless. Who said you can't have fun when you're thirty?

So, thank you to my most awesome friend. I thank God for you every day and I'm so glad we are here for each other. It may take a month, and we'll have to schedule it a month in advance, but I look forward to being able to hang out and have fun!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Family reunion

Last Saturday we had the chance to go to my family reunion on my Mom's side. We used to get together all the time, but kids come along and family gets divided. So, we usually see each other once, maybe twice, a year!

It was so great to hang out, chat, eat, and laugh!

Plus, I was able to coordinate a picture of four generations.
My grandmother, my mom, me and my kids...

As well as a picture of all of the cousins (at least the ones that were able to make it)

It was great to be with family and reminisce as if no time had passed since the last time we had seen each other.

Plus, it was my birthday, so i got to spend it with my whole family!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Long distance blessings

I just had to share how faithful God is, and how He shows Himself to us. It may be in a particular verse you read, a song you sing, or it could be as simple as a friends email.

Today I was blessed by a simple, but heartfelt email from someone I consider to be a great friend. I'm so thankful God allowed our paths to cross, and, although we've never met in person, that we're able to share in each others lives.

A few days ago I shared a few things that were on my heart, things I had been struggling with, and I asked if she would keep me in prayer. I didn't hear back right away, but that was ok. I knew that she would keep me in prayer and respond to me when time allowed.

This morning I received an email from her and what she wrote brought tears to my eyes!

The verse she included was
Psalm 36:5 "Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."

and one of the last things she wrote was,
"He is always, always faithful to keep his promises to us."

I was then reminded of the song "Word of God Speak" by MercyMe

I'm finding myself at a loss for words

And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice


I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

Sometimes God speaks in a "still, small voice", sometimes its through music, and at other times He uses a friend to encourage you in ways you never imagined.

Today I'm thanking God for my long distance friendship with Apple.

Musical quiet time

The beautiful thing about a quiet start to your morning is that you have a few, precious moments to worship God.

Music is such an inspiration to me, especially in the morning.

Psalm 135:3 "Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;celebrate His lovely name with music."

This morning I took a few minutes to download several songs I heard on Christian radio. One of those songs was "True Love" by Phil Wickham.

I put the lyrics down below because the message is so powerful, so amazing. The amazing part is that this isn't just a story...it is the truth! How undeserving we are of such a gift, God's only Son.

All we need to do is accept that gift and then live our lives in honor, praise and worship to out Heavenly Father.

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."

"True Love" by Phil Wickham

Come close listen to the story
About a love more faithful than the morning
The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers Broken Heart
Tears were filling Heaven's Eyes
The day that True Love died, the day that True Love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Search your heart you know you can't deny it
Come on, lose your life just so you can find it
The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The Earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt The Fathers broken heart
Tears were filling Heaven's Eyes
The day that True Love died, the day that True Love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Now, Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Oh, He is alive
He rose again

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Come close listen to the story

(Here is the video of Phil Wickham singing this song live.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We had a visitor today

He was hanging around the yard with my kids this morning, unbeknownst to me.

Would you like me to introduce you to our sneaky visitor?

I tried to catch him for the kids, but only got his tail. After that he slithered off into the trees. I ran over to the back of the neighbors yard, but it went into the brush.

Of course, I used that moment to teach the kids (briefly) about how snakes smell.

Afton was just sad she couldn't hold him. Maybe her next birthday party will be snake themed with a real live snake she can hold!

Monday, September 22, 2008

So easy, yet so hard

As a mom it is sometimes hard to find the moments to just be still. More often than not you think you have "that" moment only to hear a screech or a cry of "Moooommm!". At that point you know you lost your moment.

I am the type of person that needs that time in the morning and at the end of my day to just be quiet. I need the moments in the morning while the day is new to focus my heart and attitude on the things of God. Then I need the few, precious minutes at the end of the day to sit down and decompress.

During those moments I try to cram in as much as I can before the kids get up or I have to go to bed. Sometimes the moments with God are quickly forgotten in my haste to check emails or shower. I have to make Him first priority. My time with God is what starts my day on the right path.

I was skimming through some sites this afternoon in between my calls and I came across this devotion that really made me think about those quiet moments. It made me think about how I spend them. Is it rushed? Do I try to hurry up and get to the end of the verse so I can get my laundry switched over? Or do I meditate and think about what I read and how it applies to my life? Do I truly desire to give God my day?

That has been my goal. To make my quiet time with Him the priority in my day. To sit, be still, pray....

Please read this devotional and take a moment to be still.

Learning To Be Still
Bishop E. Earl Jenkins

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, found himself unprepared for a television interview with Mother Teresa. Ron Mehl described the encounter this way: "All of Dan's standard approaches were inadequate. And the little nun from Calcutta didn't seem inclined to make his task easier. "When you pray," asked Dan, "what do you say to God?" "I don't say anything," she replied. "I listen." Dan tried another tack. "Well, okay...when God speaks to you, then, what does He say?" "He doesn't say anything. He listens." Dan looked bewildered. For an instant, he didn't know what to say. "And if you don't understand that," Mother Teresa added, "I can't explain it to you."

It's in the place of silence that the Holy Spirit boils the truth we receive from Scripture down to its essence, reveals specific insights that are pertinent, and then applies them to our most perplexing problems and our most stubborn misconceptions. As He transforms our heart to beat in sync with His, our decisions begin to accomplish His will and we begin to reflect His character. Go ahead, try it. Open the Word of God in a peaceful place and sit in quietness before Him. In time, the Holy Spirit will illuminate a passage and it will come to life in your mind. Before you know it the knotty situation that drove you to distraction will unravel.

As you learn to "be still" in God's presence, your greatest problems will suddenly become more manageable. He will reveal Himself to you. He will calm your emotions and relieve your mind. You'll discover new direction, freedom from worry, and a fresh sense of peace.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Curse of the Camera

By now you all know that my family and I love to take pictures. We take pictures all the time, of everything, anytime we're together. We've passed down the love of snapping crazy pictures to my kids who now take pictures of their noses and teeth.

Apparently we're not alone because they even have comic strips about it. I think I mentioned before that Baby Blues was my favorite because it's completely true to life, and hilarious, because most of the stuff I can completely relate to. I say "mostly" because I haven't read all the comics they have yet, but I'm workin' on it!

Here are some that "speak to me"......

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My dear, sweet children

Faces only a mother could love?

I don't think so...
How could you not love these beautiful children?

Ordinary day? No such thing...

Wednesday started out as an ordinary day. A day just like all the rest. Mike got up, got ready for work and left. I got up waved goodbye, jumped in the shower, got dressed, ate breakfast, drank coffee and had my quiet time. The kids woke up, they were dressed, fed and cleaned up.

We went about our morning just like usual. The kids had their quiet time while I worked. I tried to catch up on things before having to figure out dinner.

It's getting cooler outside so I decided to make chicken broth for homemade chicken soup.

So, I boiled the chicken, drained it, set aside the broth to cool, and started picking chicken off the bone.

Just as I was getting good and greasy by picking chicken, in walks Mike...and my sisters...and my dad...and my brother...and my sister in law and my brother in law!!!!

My wonderful hubby planned a surprise birthday party for me! He even convinced me he had a horrible headache on Tuesday so he could get out of home group to plan the party!

He ran around town buying the stuff to make his ice cream cake and he even picked up a travel mug from Starbucks for me. I absolutely love it!

I'm usually one to figure out these type of things, but I think Mike actually pulled one over on me. No, I know he did! I was completely surprised and I had no clue about anything.

So, here are a few pictures from the night. I'm usually the one taking pictures, so I don't have the "usual" shots I would have if it had been someone else's party! The pictures are great nonetheless!

The night came to a close with our in house artist, Topher, drawing portraits of us on the kids white boards. As you will see they actually look like us!

So, those are our photos. When I get more from everyone else I'll add them.

My family really knows me well too! Aside from the mug Mike bought me, I also received Starbucks gift cards, a gift card for clothes, one from VS, a really cool door knob pillow that is so cute (I'll take a picture and that will be a post for another day!), and also a bunch of wicked funny cards!

Thank you to my family, those that were able to make it and those that couldn't. Thank you for making my early birthday part so amazing. I love you all!

...and a big thank you to my wonderful husband who had to lie to me in order to surprise me. I forgive him completely and even told him he can lie to me again if it's for the same reason! I love you so much and am blessed beyond words to be your wife!

To everyone...enjoy your weekend and I'll be back on Sunday (hopefully!) with some cool pics from Saturday's family reunion.