I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No more preschoolers

How is that even possible? Our youngest turned five last week. I'm not sure I know how to handle that.

For the last eight years we have always had someone that is not school age. Now that is not the case. This guy has been pretty excited about his birthday. It's been the most exciting birthday yet. He loves getting to be a part of the school activities this year and asks to do school often which is part of the reason he loves getting to be five.

He couldn't decide if he wanted cupcakes or cake and Steve found this great option. Both! He loved it and now he is five. Oh my.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Still I have joy

We are two weeks in and I can feel it. The little bit of fall blues. I love the fall, really I do. The cool, crisp air. The new school supplies and rainy days that make us take a break. But I have been feeling a little blueish, maybe a tad overwhelmed.

It's the same every year. I make plans and get excited. Then, when we get started, reality meets idealism. People wake up grumpy, people don't like their math, people wish we could read a different book, people don't have anything clean to wear.

I did have an epiphany this week though. It is NOT my job to make my kids happy at every turn. It IS my job to teach my kids how to find happiness and joy in the mundane and less than lovely circumstances we find ourselves in.

When I see my family being discontent and grumbling about the everyday, I need to take a look at myself and ask myself if I have I been finding joy in my everyday.

I remember back more than ten years ago when I was sitting in a little rural church listening to a visiting pastor from Liberia preaching from the front. He was sharing the trials and struggles that living in a war torn country brings and would say "Still I have joy!". How simple yet profound that phrase is and it has stuck with me. My circumstances are nothing like those he was speaking of. Yet, at times, I find myself grumbling and complaining about the mundane. The mundane where I have enough food to eat, my children are safe and I can worship with other believers on Sunday. Oh, the bittersweet taste of perspective.

Still I have joy. A choice. Mine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A boy and his grandpa

Since this little guy could toddle he has thought his grandpa is the bee's knees, the cat's meow, the frosting on his cupcake. He LOVES his grandpa.

A few weeks ago Grandpa got to to come spend a couple of nights with us and Lij overheard him talking about an upcoming baptism. (My dad is a pastor.) A little while later he went up to his grandpa and asked him a little confused if he was going to "fertilize" people today. Outright laughter was enjoyed by all present including Grandpa. I guess with all of the gardening we do, fertilize was a more familiar word than baptise.
It's his birthday today and we are hoping he has a great day and a fantastic year. Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cheap doesn't have to mean cheap.

Our most recent birthday girl decided that she would to take a break from the normal cake/cupcake tradition for her birthday. She saw something similar to this a few months back and chose it for her dessert.

It really doesn't get easier than this. A box of icecream sandwiches and a jar of fudge sundae topping. Stack the sandwiches, pour warm fudge sauce over the top, add some candles and tada!

For less than five dollars we had her birthday dessert and she didn't feel like we scrimped at all. It's exactly what she wanted.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This girl asked for this soup and homemade bread for her birthday meal. It's perfect for fall and will warm you right up. It's also a great way to sneak some vegetables into the diet of your kiddos. The recipe below feeds all seven of us with a serving or two left for the next day.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 large onion diced
2 stalks celery chopped
7 cups chicken stock
1 tblsp seasoning salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups flour
Lightly boil chicken stock and veggies until veggies are tender. Turn heat to lowest setting and very, very, very slowly pour in reoux while constantly stirring. Add sour cream and cheese and mix well. Serve in large soup bowl with a little shredded cheese on top.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Less than stellar

I have had some not so great things happen lately and it's making me feel less than competant. Humbling would be an understatement though being humbled can be a really good thing. But for me today I am going to list what I have accomplished so far so I can gain some perspective and let the other things go.

If you will indulge me here is my list -

Made homemade waffles for breakfast

Schooled 4 children

Made tomato sauce

Made homemade pizza for lunch

Unloaded and re-loaded dishwasher

Set out the garbage can, recycling can and yard debris container (yep, even that mundane task counts today)

Took care of an extra little guy

Settled disputes

Picked veggies from the garden

Today I am grateful for the grace that I have but do not deserve.

Monday, September 14, 2009

School Kickoff

We are kicking off the start of school this week. Today we are finishing up laundry and some school organization and I took the kids to get cherry Icees to celebrate a new school year. We also have a birthday in our house today so we are working to make her feel special.

Tomorrow we will have our first field trip. We are all excited to go since we are joining some families that go to our church and/or live in our town. The oldest two are especially glad that these families have some kids their age.

I spent some time this weekend with a Diet Soda, my laptop and all of our materials spread out on the dining table while I got organized. It felt to good to have my hands on everything and to get familiar with everything again. I listed out my goals for each child for this year and filled in what we will be using to accomplish those goals.

I also won a $25 giftcard to Borders last week and it came in the mail on Friday so I can't wait to head over there and pick out some fun books. I just love book stores. Between the stores and the library I could be kept happy for a very long time.

Happy September everyone!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Omelet in a bag

I have had some inquiries about the omelet in a bag recipe. I got it from A Baker's Dozen and it is so fun to do while camping. It is a snap to clean up, everyone can choose their own ingredients and there is no waiting for the pan.

Omelet in a bag:

Two to three eggs, beaten
any items you would normally put into an omelet such as grated cheese, ham or bacon, green peppers etc

Place all items into quart ziploc bag (freezer kind holds up better) and mix ingredients just by shaking it around a little

Place sealed ziploc into pot filled with hot water, the water needs to be hot but does not have to be boiling.

Let cook for a few minutes until it is not runny anymore, sometimes the cheese looks like runny egg so don't overcook.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Outdoor living

We ended the summer with a bang! Camping, swimming, S'mores, hiking, playing games and much more. We were gone for three days.

The water was chilly but it was really hot so it felt oh so good.

There were also some wild blackberries growing at our site which made for really good snacking.

Omelets in a bag which worked really, really well. Clean up was a snap too.

Then more water of course. Bub is always trying to catch something.

Little tiny fish were everywhere and the kids were busy looking at them for a long time.

Nightly roasting of marshmellows is always a favorite.

That tent trailer is so fantastic. A nice warm place to sleep and the one night it rained we stayed so nice and dry.

I was able to rekindle my love for chess though I am not as good at it as I once was.

As ususal it was over much too quickly. There is always next year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Melon to melon

We saved the watermelon for our camping trip and oh how excited he was. The fact that it was too heavy for even him to carry did not sway him.

He couldn't wait and admittedly, neither could we.

It seemed like it would take forever for them to get it open.

But then, success! There it was in all it's glory and it was fantastic. Sweet and juicy...

...and he grew it. We did have a few moments where the power got to his head and he struggled with some watermelon bossiness but we managed to bring him back down to earth and it was enjoyed by all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

We're Back!!!

Stay tuned for pics of tales of our camping adventure...