Little Women

My  number one calling in life is to raise little women of faith.

It’s hard, children that believe in tooth fairies and Santa Claus. I mean, I’ve tried to explain that Santa was a person named St. Nick – who was a good man that gave presents to children. They get that… but… yet. The other day I actually overheard a conversation with the girls and their friends. It was about the tooth fairy and it sounded like this: “The tooth fairy is a small little fairy that comes and brings you money and takes your teeth.”  “Really? because I always assumed that it was just my mom since the tooth fairy is always late or forgets.”  “Oh no, the tooth fairy is really a scary monster that loves to steal teeth, but then feels guilty for taking them and that’s why he leaves you money!”

The Easter bunny is an easy one. Maybe. My 9 year old exclaimed about two years ago that it was really creepy for a grown man to dress up as a bunny and break into our houses, just to give them candy. I was like… um, yeah… that IS creepy. So again… where does that leave us? Do you have faith in him or are you just trusting this grown man to not steal anything in our house?

When the kids and I talk about Jesus and salvation, they can tell me that they have a personal relationship with Jesus and that they believe He died on the cross for our sins so that we might live in heaven with Him forever when we die. We have had discussions about “the body and the blood” (communion) and why they represent what they do and how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (the shedding of his blood) was what he did (die) for us so that we might have a life with Him (in heaven). Whew. They understand and yet, they don’t. They are only 7 and 9 years old. I can only keep reading to them, discussing with them and praying for them (and with them).

It is my calling.

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A walk to remember

There were days, the past four months to be exact, that I loved walking with you. I trained you to heal at my side or at my heal. You were a good little pup that listened well. I decided to start jogging with you, pick up the pace a bit and at first, you were hesitant. You lagged behind a bit, but after many days of encouraging words from me, you started to trot at my side. Then one day last week, you decided to sniff. Something clicked in your little brain that you were now the Alpha and at any passing moment you can stop completely or charge ahead. We will be running a nice pace when all of the sudden you plant all fours in a stand still just to sniff someone’s grass. Then, like nothing happened at all, you will bolt forward, glancing back at me – your eyes saying, “come on human, I thought we were jogging?” Sigh.

yeah, I've got it made


Sour Grapes

I’ve been thinking of starting a book club. I love to read but often felt that if I joined a book club then I’d have to give in to the current book the club was reading and then have to make time to discuss it.  I know, so petty. I am a spur of the moment reader. I see a book that looks good, feels good (yes, sometimes texture matters) and the summary has to grab me.

Anyway, I finally decided that a club that discussed books AND wine was the club choice for me. I am no connoisseur, I just love wine… especially reds. I would love to say that I know the difference of a three year old cabernet sauvignon to a day old pinot noir, but atlas, I digress.

I’ve been playing with some club names that I think are witty… let me know what you think! I’ve picked one, which I will list last…

Reading between the wines

Grapes for thought

Winey women book club

As the page turns

A novel idea

At second glance

The book case

Wine by the book

Chapter One

And… dun, dun, dun –dun: The Book Vine

My 9 year old even designed a logo for me. (She also picked a club name, Wine stop reading? – good eh?)


Sizzled out…

My grill died. I’m pretty bummed. It is my fault, really. I didn’t oil him, clean him properly or cover him. He sat out year after year in the elements, with particles of food rotting below the grates. Sure I brushed him after each use and even wiped down the burner a few times… but alas, it wasn’t enough. The rust became too much for him and now his burner has fallen to pieces. How depressing this moment is, in the heat of the summer – prime grillin’ time. Think of all the burgers that will go un-cooked. The crispy grilled pizzas, the corn still in their husks… the steaks… sigh. Remember all those lazy nights, sizzling a burger while I sipped my wine? I even stood in the rain for you!
Why didn’t I take better care of you? Maybe there is hope. I will search for replacement parts and maybe, just maybe you will burn again for me.

I'm sorry I hurt you...


Kit and Kat

My kids love nicknames. In fact, the 7 year old wants too badly to have a cutesy nickname, that she will refer to herself in the first person. It’s hard – the 9 year old has a natural name that comes with plenty of nicknames. Not only that, but she was the first baby. You know that story… 1st baby gets all the pictures taken, the nicknames, the songs made up about them. Second baby… not so much. I only have two kids, so I’d imagine that by the third baby you either feel guilty and take even more pictures, or you are so lazy you only have one picture. Anyway, lately I’ve tried extra hard to call my 7 year old some nicknames that could go with her name and it always makes her smile.

For those of you that have followed along since the start of my first blog, HalfMyHeart, you will remember that I referred to my kids as “Pig Will” and “Pig Me Too”, which are names of two little pigs in a Richard Scarry storybook. Then, in this blog, I’ve always referred to them as their current age. The other day, I was singing the KitKat song… I’m not sure why, but it was stuck in my head. We had been calling the 7 year old “Kat” because both kids like to act like cats… and we needed a new nickname anyway. So a lightbulb went off and I called the kids into the room with a huge grin on my face. “Guess what guys? You are now, “Kit” and Kat”!!!” They loved it.

Sammy digging at the beach. How do I stop the digging!! You should see our yard...

In other news, the girls have been at VBS and swim lessons all week. Vacation Bible School is from 9-12 and then their swim lessons are at 4 pm… we we have a few hours in between to play or get things done. I have never seen the kids crash so hard at night before! I love good summer activities!! However, I can’t say that there hasn’t been the fair share of fighting. I feel like they are so competitive at everything they do… right down to getting the mail. They even fight over who gets to let the dog out of his kennel when we arrive home from somewhere. Please tell me this is normal and that they will grow out of it!!! It sometimes always puts me on edge too… I find it best to try and walk away, even if that means I go outside. The last few days I’ve ordered them outside to run the dog around. This seems to work for about 2.5 seconds.

So… I’m thinking of starting a club. I’m not sure what kind yet – and who it will involve, but I’ve played with a few ideas. I love to cook, read, sing, eat cheese, ice cream and drink wine. I thought maybe I could even start a children’s chorus… but I’m not sure if I have the patience for that, unless it was a very small group of kids. I’m thinking I like the sound of a wine and cheese book club where we taste different cheeses and wine each month and discuss the current book we are reading. We could even exchange recipes and/or bring appetizers to share. Either that or I will start a tennis club.


Cracker Jacks

What’s in the box?

Every day this summer my kids and I are trying to do or try something new, whether it be a new skill learned or a new place to visit locally. Or go on some kind of cheap outing.
School ended on a Tuesday, so Wednesday morning we had a girls day out shopping. We mostly bought birthday presents for friends, but we enjoyed some slow walking around the mall with no real agenda. Thursday we found ourselves at a park with a pond. We fed the ducks and geese, played on the jungle gym and took Sammy for a walk. (He mostly tried to eat goose poop, ew!)

Friday we went over to my sister’s house so that the cousins could play.

baking cookies with cousins!

On Monday, we had  a play date with a new friend and went to the open gym for the kids to jump around.

Yesterday was a day to learn a new skill. I taught the girls how to answer the phone properly. Dun, dun, dun. Up until now, they have only talked to grandparents on the phone. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I call my kids friend’s houses and the child answers with uncertainty… or they call us and I can’t understand who they are and what they want.  Speak in full sentences child, I cannot understand you! We practiced using manners, talking in complete sentences and getting your point across immediately. We also discussed information that should not be given away while on the phone, especially if you don’t know who is on the other end! For example, “She can’t come to the phone right now, can I take a message please?” Instead of, “um, she is not here… or she is on the potty.”  The rest of the day was spent working on the kids scrapbooks.

The other thing that the girls are doing everyday is school work. During breakfast we are doing 4th grade level flash cards for warm ups. The girls are sitting with a notepad while I read the questions. There is one for math and on the other side is a thinking problem for reading. Here is the link (click here!) for the cards. After breakfast, we go downstairs to the white board and table for a math lesson. We are doing Multiplication facts, learning groupings and memorizing by writing… a new fact everyday. The fourth grader is being very patient while we are learning/writing the 2’s facts since she already knows them. Then we do a Language arts/Spelling work sheet and finally the girls read for 15-20 mins. We try to be done by 9:00 AM. So far, so good! I would like to incorporate one or two book reports, science experiments and other subjects… but we will see.

I’m not sure what we are going to do today… maybe bake some cupcakes! Grammy and Grampy should arrive around 3:00 PM, since they are on their way home from their RV vacation.

Cracker Jacks. You never know what the prize in the box will be… (I couldn’t use “life is like a box of chocolates”!)

what's in that big box?

Homemade Cracker Jacks

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
1 hr 15 min
Level:
Difficult
Serves:
about 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups salted Spanish redskin peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 9 cups popped corn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, pecan halves, cayenne, Essence, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and melted butter, tossing to coat well. Spread mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on parchment paper or paper towels. Combine the cooled spiced nuts and popcorn and divide evenly between 2 lightly greased baking sheets with 1/2-inch edges. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining unsalted butter, sugar, and cane syrup over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour hot mixture evenly over both baking sheets of popcorn and nuts. Using a lightly greased spatula, stir the mixture well so that everything is evenly coated.

Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove caramel corn from the baking sheets and cool completely on waxed paper. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.


Couch Potato

My dog is a couch potato… and he likes his pillows too.

Often it is easy to just lay back and do nothing. In fact, it is my preferred method of exercise relaxation.

I actually love my walks with a walking companion. While the kids were in school and I was only working part time, it was easy to fit a walk/jog in everyday. Now my choices are before husband leaves for work – or when he gets home. I need a little motivation to get going early. While husband gets ready for work, I stretch and play with the puppy. I make lunches, coffee and breakfasts. I have the time for a brisk walk – but that would require actually getting dressed and… moving. Gasp. So… what do I do?

Never give up! It’s very easy to give up when things don’t go your way. We’ve all been in situations where we get discouraged and made it difficult to persevere. Life is full of challenges. Nevertheless, it’s important that you keep trying. So, everyday I will wake up and try to persevere. I will win this challenge, eventually and then hopefully, just maybe, it will become a habit.

I’m calling this challenge “passion for perseverance”…  because I have a passion to succeed. If you remember, this time last summer, I tried the same sort of challenge. I have managed to wake up early, do stretches – etc… but still not the walk or run part early.  I have found the print out of my verses which includes Hebrews 12:11 which says, “11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” I am going to re-print this verse in large bold print and stick it on my forehead, so when I rise in the morning, I am blatantly presented with the reminder to get my rear in gear.

The second part of the challenge is to continue my morning devotionals and stretches… and add to it, worship. I’m not sure how I am going to accomplish all of this before 7:00 AM, but that is where you come in. I am going to need some accountability partners – and what better way to stay accountable than to have you do this challenge with me? If you twitter – will you #P4P (#passionforperseverance) and document your mornings with me? That way our accountability will remain on the same thread. Whether you are trying to get exercise in before daily chores and routines start – or you want to do both parts, with devotions and worship too… I hope you can help keep me on track.


The girl and her dog

School’s out. Summer is here.

Number one on the agenda? Clean your room! I told the girls that if they picked up their room this morning, then we’d get a great start to a fun summer. I wonder if they bought it? I’ll go check the room after I write this.

Number two on the agenda? Make lists. Lists of friends they want to hang out with, lists of crafts they want to do and lists of places they want to go this summer.

Remember the rock climber? Somewhere in the midst of cleaning and list making she ended up outside with the dog.

I love that she loves to play with him. They are really good together. You read stories or watch movies about the kid and his dog… and how they bond and know each other so well. I think we have a movie in the making!


In a blink of an eye

I’m wondering if I’ve been in a daze where the days blend to weeks and to months. Somehow another school year is coming to an end. If time flies only when you’re having fun… then I guess you could say this has been an awesome year. Except that I don’t remember half of it.

Every year I try and be more organized, more focused. Every year I try and come up with a system to make the school year go slower. It never works. Thankfully my kids don’t feel that the school year goes to fast. Of course they don’t! I remember the school years… they seemed to drag on forever, until High School. Then time started to speed up. Just for one year I’d like to live on a quaint piece of land, homeschool my children and have no extra activities. I think the running from one activity to the next and always having your weekends full, makes the time fly. It is not often that we get a chance to be still.

So, how will we spend our summer? As always, at the end of July the girls will go to Vacation Bible School. It is the only week that they actually do a planned activity. Otherwise, we will swim, play tennis, have play dates and slumber parties, bake lots of goodies and make lots of silly crafts. I also want to have a time of devotions every morning… and just be still.

Psalm 46:10-11

10 “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Sometimes we don’t take time to just be still. Turn off everything and just sit, listen, breathe in. My favorite place to sit still is outside on a crisp morning. You can hear the breeze through the trees and smell in the flavor of the earth. Having a morning quiet time helps me reflect on the beauty of quietness. Quiet is refreshing, calming and peaceful.

Steven Curtis Chapman \ Be Still And Know

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still oh restless soul of mine
Bow before the prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still
Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know He is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still
Be still


Answers from Island Barbie

Strangely enough, after my last post I received a phone call five days later asking for an interview at a local preschool. I was then offered a job there for the next school year. There are some logistics to work out, but I will probably be accepting the job.

Last weekend the girls and I went camping with the Girl Scouts. The weekend was packed full of fun ranging from s’mores, songs and skits to rock wall climbing, an amazing race and zip lining.

On the way home, the girls were watching Island Barbie in the car. I always imagine what movie action is going on, since I am driving and not watching the movie, but get to hear them often. I have to say that some of the tunes in Island Barbie are pretty catchy. She also has some pretty good advice.

Some lyrics from “I need to know”…

I need to know these answers
I need to find my way
Seize my tomorrow
Learn my yesterday
I need to take these chances
Let all my feelings show
Can’t tell what’s waiting
Still I need to go
I need to know

This song has been repeating over and over again in my head. I guess I was quietly singing it without knowing the other day and the 5 year old I babysit asked me what I was singing. I laughed when I realized it was Barbie. Maybe she does have some answers…