Friday, May 29, 2009

Verse of the Day

"Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless com again with
Bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalm 126:5,6

Keep at it guys! "For he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Galations 6:8b
As troublesome or worrisome as things may be, continue to sow the Word of God into your lives...

A Hodgepodge of Things... Healthy

So many good things to share with you! First up (I guess) are these healthy cookies.  You all know I love cookies, right?  And I love to bake.  I looove to make sweet treats for people I love.  I tend to love a lot of people.  It just happens.  A good friend recently told me that this is something lovely.  So!  I also like to make healthy treats.  Especially for Elliott and Caiden because those two little boogers love snacky, cookie, bready things.  Which means that I really want to make those willing bites count!  In comes to brighten the day.  The author, Heidi, is all about healthy eating.  She's got a lot of great recipes.  I used her animal cookie recipe for these cookies here, but I used dates as a sweetener instead of the sugar.  My friend Joanie suggested the idea to me and I've got to admit that its a good one.  Joanie claims that "dates are like nature's sweetener."  Not only do you get the good vitamins and what not from the dates, you also get the fiber.  Joanie's tip on using dates in things is to get the MeJool dates because they don't have that sickeningly sweet flavor that some other dates have.  Mejool's have a nice caramel undernote to them.  It's fun to experiment with these things, especially if you have some eager little bakers and tasters like I do.  Another good one to try is the Carrot Oatmeal Cookies...  I'm just sayin'.

Another good thing I wanted to share is just how awesome God is.  I've recently cut some things out of my life that were keeping/distracting me from the Lord and just life in general.  I Corinthians 9:24-27 challenged me to "Run in such a way that you may obtain it" (it being the prize like how athletes compete for a prize).  I had to take a step back and look at my life and ask myself if I was really competing or just hoping to finish.  And then He hit me with Hebrews 12, thanks to Britt Merrick at Reality, and I decided that it was time to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us."  So, I gave up my obsession of watching tv shows online.  That's where I John 2 came in with emphasizing how we can't love the things of the world AND the Father at the same time.  Its either one or the other..."If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

So, anyway, as I put Christ first, He has totally been filling me to overflowing, helping me to be effective and pleasant and present.  When we seek for Him with our whole heart, He tells us that He will be found by us.  Our God is a God whose "mercy endures forever," who wants to show us mercy and pour out His love in our lives; He is just looking for an excuse to do so, if we let Him.  I am excited by His word which He has exalted even above His name (Psalm 138) which is above all names which is so profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).  And my prayer for myself and for all of you:

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

So, as encouragement goes, as I've removed the things in my life that I was holding too dear, I've made room for the love of my Savior whose love passes all knowledge.  And I am simply blown away by how incredibly amazing He is and how much He shows me through His word.  It is so exciting!

So I encourage you to dig in and see what He has in store for you...

P.S. Sidenote: Photograph above is NOT a picture of me and my old obsession... just to be clear. (see dialogue above) It is rather a sweet family moment I wanted to share with you.  (I'm a ridiculous over-thinker.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Brutal Honesty

I was trying to come up with something really clever to tell you, but...  the truth is:  I really just wanted to show you these really amazing, adorable pictures I made of Elliott and Caiden last week.  Absolute favorite photos of them... for now.

I'm sorry, but don't these just make your heart hurt?

Jeez, Louise!  I love these little boogers...

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior,
 So are children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full
of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."
Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, May 25, 2009

Recipe for Success: Tacos

There are many things you need to learn in life, not the least of which is how to have a successful Family Taco Night--otherwise known as F.T.N.  Luckily for you, I'm here on to spell out for you this super secret and also super successful recipe for F.T.N.

This is actually the "Swordfish" truck which has good tacos, but not THE BEST tacos in town. (see step 1 below)

Here goes:

1) First and foremost: Spend as much time as it takes to search out and identify the best taco place in town. This may take several weeks and many taste tests (DO NOT attempt to make your own tacos for F.T.N.  That is a common mistake for newbies as F.T.N. is often confused with Build Your Own Taco Night, otherwise known as B.Y.O.T.N.). Our best taco joint in Santa Rosa is "the orange truck"--a little taco truck, or "roach coach" parked on Sebastopol Road and West.

2) Gather together as many friends and family as you can wrangle up.

3) Meet at the nearest park or home to the taco truck.

5) Cook up a healthy amount of quesadillas for the toddlers and youngin's to eat so you can afford more tacos from the truck for yourselves.

6) Make sure to have a camera along as this provides good sport and entertainment while the men are out getting food from the taco truck.

7) Once the tacos arrive, gather around an eating spot and chow down while your friends' kids keep your kids entertained.

8) Hang around for as long as humanly possible (or until members of your group have to hit the sack) and sit around talking while your food digests.

9) Discuss pointless things like which taco truck is better, arrangement of the marriages of your children to your friends' children, things like that...  all in good fun, of course.

10) Finally, make one last run to the taco truck and try to fit one more taco into your already full stomach.

11) Go home and bask in your accomplishment of a perfectly rounded and well planned F.T.N.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Horror Upon Horrors

Okay, now I come from a family of 8.  I feel like I know a thing or two about the stages children go through as they grow and mature.  I'm the third child, with three siblings below me--the youngest being 10 years younger than me.  I can particularly remember the stages of odd habits of dressing they each went through.  I remember one brother being a huge fan of patterns (it was the nineties, after all.  Gosh, I hate the nineties fashion), particularly a big bold pattern on top and a quite different pattern on the bottom...and no underwear. (Boy, did that get a lot of disapproving looks when he was wearing shorts and lounging around.)  My other brother loved to layer.  He was afraid of getting tan.  He wanted to stay as white as possible--go figure.  He would wear like fifty pairs of shorts and then super long socks stretched and pulled up as far as they could possibly go and...horror upon horrors, he probably topped that off with a pair of thong sandals.  My little sister went through a hat stage and a bright colors stage and all of that fun stuff.

My mom would always patiently explain to us older children, that you need to let kids express themselves or whatever.  Yah, yah, yah.  Got it.  I think I would say that I've learned a pretty relaxed art of parenting from my mother.  So, I thought I was ready for most things when it came to the whole style quandry with kids.  I figured if I don't give my kids really outrageous clothes to choose from, then they probably can't do too much damage...right?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Now, Elliott went through that whole layering thing a while back, remember?  I took it in stride.  But this?  This I'm not so sure about.  I guess I'm exaggerating a bit about the whole thing, but here it is.  Elliott wants to be a superhero.  He does all kinds of fighting moves all day long.  He does headstands.  So, Elliott has been on a quest for clothing that can help him perform in that way.  It started out innocently enough.  Pajamas.  He always has to wear pajamas.  I have a major battle on my hands anytime we go out, because he hates to have to put on regular clothes.  A bit annoying, but nothing I couldn't overcome.  And then, from pajamas, it went to tight fitting shirts.  If he has to wear street clothes for going out of the house, then he wants them to fit just right.

"Okay,"  I thought, "No big deal.  That's kind of a style right now for guys.  The whole, 'fitted shirt' thing.  I can live with that."  And then it happened.  One day, we weren't able to find a tight enough shirt that wouldn't fall down/up when he stands on his head.  We had somewhere to be and Elliott was in his room trying on each shirt and then standing on his head.

"See?!"  he would huff as he stood on his head to show me how the shirt didn't stay in place.

"Elliott, its fine.  Just come on, we have to go.  You're not going to be doing any fighting at the doctor's office anyway."

Any one who knows Elliott knows that this kind of logic doesn't work with him.  He's just like me...  Once he gets something in his head, thats it.  He gets really frustrated if things aren't just right.  So of course, my comment only served to frustrate him further.  So that's when I told him he could just tuck his shirt in when he did his flips and stuff.  It was all in the heat of the moment and the pressure to get out the door.

Well, now he has to have his shirt tucked in at all times. Usually its tucked into the front of his pants and in the back its tucked into his underwear.  And even worse, it looks like I enjoy the shirt tucked in style.  (No offense to those who do enjoy it.)  Most of the time he just looks silly.  And he's always tucking.  Its kind of funny.  He looks a bit like my Dad when my Dad does the whole tuck-in-go technique.  Dave really hates it.  And at times, he'll even forbid Elliott to tuck in his shirt.  The only consolation I have is that while Dave and I both think he looks ridiculous, at least I was somewhat prepared.  David was totally ambushed.  Boom! Roasted!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Bragging Rights

I just had to do a little bragging after Mother's Day yesterday and show you my absolutely adorable video card from Elliott and Caiden.  Please watch!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth.  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;  They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5

Tech Speak:  We loooove our Flip Mino HD video camera!  This camera is the size of a cellphone; you can slip it into your pocket.  It records video in HD, so the quality is incredible.  There's no memory card to worry about or cables to lose, it is all built directly into the camera. It is incredibly simple to use: big red button to record, touch screen buttons for zoom and playback.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cookies--Not the Internet Kind...

Photos by David

There are few other great pleasures in life than sitting down with your family after a long day with a few home-made cookies and a good cup of coffee.  Its true.  When it comes to things like this, you gotta just let go and let the calories.  I'm serious.  A few well spent caloric splurges can really go a long way.  If it makes you feel better, I made pretty darn healthy blueberry muffins the next day.

And if you only have one kid--or no kids at all--then let me just urge you not to judge me because I allow my one year old to eat cookies.  I too, shared your high health ideals at one time and refused to poison my first child with sugar until he was well on his way in life, but let me tell you...  its much harder with the second one.  They always see what the first one is eating...  They want to be part of the family, too!  In fact, I've heard a mother with a whole heaping brood of kids say that after the third child, she doesn't even stress anymore if the fourth or fifth child chooses to simply eat condiments for dinner.

This time we had snickerdoodles.  I had promised David that I would make some after he got cheated out of his snickerdoodle at Flying Goat Coffee this past weekend by Elliott who took the last one.  Our homemade version came out excellent--due, in part, to a secret ingredient.  If you lean real close, I might tell you what it is... cornstarch.  Yep!  Uh-huh.  That's right.  And here's the recipe.  Try it out.  It only makes a small batch--about 9-12 cookies, so you won't be in much danger there.  I, perhaps, got a little overzealous with the cinnamon sugar on top, but that is only because the recipe instructed me to sprinkle about half a tablespoon on top of each, which turned out to be a ridiculous amount.  I didn't even do the whole half tablespoon on these and just look at them!  Anyway, they were scrumptious.  You know you want some, so go ahead and whip out your butter, egg, flour, sugar, cinnamon...

Oh!  And don't forget to grab your absolute favorite mug and snuggle down for a nice, focused, happy time with your family.  There will be lots of giggles--promise.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Home At Last

Home is:

1) "Where the heart is"

2) Where we feel free to dump out the whole bucket of train tracks and build a giant track

3) Where I can cook and eat a meal at home

4) Where the vegetables are

5) Where I can sleep the best--in my own bed

6) Where my hubby is

7) Where there is no maid service

8) Where the coffee is good

9) Where I can post a decent blog post

10) Where we crack the whip on discipline

11) Where Caiden isn't allowed to get by on candy alone

12) Where the rain is welcome

13) Where my peeps are

14) Where I don't smell like campfire

15) Where I can buckle my youngest in the highchair and eat a meal in peace...of mind

16) Where there are no soda, chips, candy, icecream, s'mores, and the like

17) Where my mom and dad and brothers and sisters are not (boo)

We're back from a stay at Point Arena (otherwise known as "smack dab in the middle of nowhere") where the kids and I stayed with my mom, step-dad, and two of my brothers at a timeshare.  We did way too much driving along sickeningly winding roads, but it was a great time to reconnect with my family.  It also gave Elliott a good chance to get to know these people who are such a big part of me...

Photos from my iPhone

We had fun...  Thanks, Mom!

After the week at the beach (see the six previous posts) with David's family and the week in the boonies with my family, I'm so so so happy to be home.  Have a great week, everyone!