Thursday, May 28, 2009

Treasuring my Kiddos - Part 2

My first daughter. My Saraina-bug...

You are the songstress of the house always creating a beautiful sound with your voice. You are the fearless kid who loves to say, "Oh I'm not afraid of that! Jesus is with me! Right Mommy?!" You are the girl that reads book and after book and entertains herself by pretending she's checking out books from the library. You are determined and fight fear head-on. You are always listening and always multi-tasking. You learn quickly and love to share your new-found knowledge with whoever will listen. You are polite as you play and always ask people their opinions. You know how to take fall and get back up without much drama. You are a natural encourager and your brothers most faithful cheerleader. You hug and kiss your Daddy and I (or your siblings!) with such gentle affection it melts my heart.

You are beautiful and I can't imagine my life without my biggest little girl!

Lord, what a treasure Saraina Elisabeth is! Use her to draw many hearts to Yourself. May the ways You've gifted her always be used in ways that bring You glory. Protect this sweet girl and help me to mother her with love and sensitivity and in truth.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Treasuring my Kiddos - Part 1

Day in and day out of parenting can be... exhausting. And I often miss much of what God wants for me to see, do, and experience. So, in a small effort to remind myself what a precious gift I have in being Mommy to my kiddos, I thought I'd do a wee bit of a highlight on each of them.

Of course, I must start with my oldest, Joshua Caleb.

Oh, Joshua, Joshua, Joshua! The one who has experienced all of my mothering phases and has probably picked up my anal tendencies the most, specifically around cleanliness and safety. You are such an oldest child! There is no doubt in my mind that God has ordained you to be in positions of leadership for you excel in leading the way and making sure everyone is safe.

I love how you scream out the offenders name if someone breaks the holding hand rule crossing street. I love how you ask a string of questions to get a full understanding. I love how you are cautious in new settings and quietly observe all before fully engaging in something. I love how you enjoy helping me with just about anything. I love how you comprehend meaning and enjoy retelling what you have seen or read. I love that you have Daddy's sense of humor. I love that you want to be just like Daddy! I love that you participate in worship on your own accord. I love that you love being comforted. I love how you get a kick out of playing with Paloma and keeping her company. I love that you are very particular and that you know exactly what you like and what you don't like. I love that you extend forgiveness to me so easily and quickly. I love that God is using you to show me how to be a bit more like Him. I love you, son!

Lord, I thank You for creating Joshua and making him just as he is... with a purpose. I pray for the purposes You have created him for. Draw his little heart to Yourself. Help William and I to parent him in a way that is pleasing to You. Give us wisdom as we seek to instruct and direct him in Your ways, O God.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Happy Memorial Day! Here's how we celebrated this American holiday.

First, Daddy talked to the kiddos about the meaning for this holiday. We gave thanks for our family members that have served our country. We also were privileged to have a friend of Ms. Lee's over for dinner last week who returned from Iraq in December 2008. In fact, one of Ms. Lee's sister's will be deployed early this summer leaving behind a husband and 2 year old son. So grateful for so many who have selflessly served our country so well.

After the talk Daddy led the kiddos in our annual Memorial Day Flag ceremony where he leads the kiddos marching from the garage to the front of the house with our flag. The kids each held their flag too. Kadin took it all very seriously and marched the entire time!

After lunch we loaded the kiddos up for our big Memorial Day surprise. Daddy got free tickets to see the Kane County Cougars. Fortunately, we had JUST enough tickets for our growing fam since Kadin and Paloma didn't need tickets. Unfortunately, it rained as soon as we sat down. I think we lasted through the 2nd inning and then made the long walk back to the van in the rain.

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Fence - Completed!

As promised, here's what our new fence looks like. But first, let me show you what our home has looked like.

Stage One: What our home looked like when we first bought it

Stage Two: What our home has looked like as we've been living here. Notice we got rid of those horrible bushes! And we've replaced 11 of the windows. Only 8 more to go. Well, more if you include the basement windows. But, let's just go with 8 for now.

Oh. Two pictures are of the old fence (really, not much more than chicken wire) being taken down. Thanks Eric, Keegan, and Andrew!

Stage Three: Tah-dah! What our home looks like now. Just shy of moving into our 3rd year

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Colors for our House

We are now in search of the colors we want our house to be one day. While we're not trying to paint our house now, we are looking to determine which colors we want so that we can paint our new fence later this summer.

Can't remember what our house looks like? Here's ya go:

So, have any ideas after seeing what our house looks like? We want three colors that would lend themselves well to our typical American Four Square. Initially, we were going for the traditional white picket fence but now we're not so fond of that for our house. We're thinking we need to go B-O-L-D and vibrant. Hmmm...

Looking forward to seeing/hearing the colors others come up with so do share your thoughts!!!! As you may have guessed, I am pretty inept when it comes to decorating/style/design.

The Digging - God's Provision

The digging has begun! Ooooo... we are all so excited!

We are getting a new fence for our home.

This is a big deal for us. We're talking a good amount of dollars that had to be saved and not used for other things. We weren't sure if we'd really be able to get it this year until just about a month or so ago. (We have wanted a new fence since we moved in two years ago this June.) But God's provision cannot be mistaken. And today it begins!

And now that it is happening, I can see how good it has been that God didn't grant us this desire sooner. The waiting helped me (possibly Papa-Bear, too) trust God to provide, to wait on His perfect timing, to enjoy what He has given us, to appreciate His gifts all the more. I certainly see that we don't deserve this fence. Yet I am truly thankful for it!

This will be a three-day project (we're getting a kind of elaborate gate that covers our entire driveway and will take a day for the guys to put in) but I'll be sure to post pictures when it's all said and done!

Time, Space, and Faith

If you've got time, check out this blog by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience and have your faith in God renewed!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Umm... Time for Lock Down?

Little Miss Paloma, or more frequently called Palomey by Daddy and now the other kiddos (hopefully that will end soon!), did this last night after dinner as I was washing the dishes.

I guess it's time for me to put her on lockdown and strap her down, eh? My! That little girl is FAST!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Today is the National Day of Prayer

Did you know that today is the National Day of Prayer?

Well, although it was already marked on my Dualview Planner, I highlighted and wrote, "Make a list of what to pray for with the kiddos." Our kiddos have really become interested in and excited about speaking to the Creator of the Universe and so I didn't want to miss the opportunity to join with others across our land to pray. So, during our Circle Time I will make a list of things they want to pray for. But, I've already got a good list to begin with.

If you're wanting a list, a starting point really, for what to pray for, can I encourage you to check out Randy Alcorn's blog post from Tuesday of this week? And then pray to the One who made you, sustains you, loves you, and desires you to be conformed to His image.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Easy Homemade Rolls! - a recipe

I decided to wait to post the recipe for our new favorite rolls until I'd made them a few times. My verdict: these are WONDERFUL!

What makes them wonderful?

1 - I know exactly what's in them and can control the amounts.
2 - They are more of a french bread-ish type roll making them a bit more interesting.
3 - You can EASILY turn them into hamburger or hot dog rolls!
4 - No fancy stuff needed. You don't need a bread machine OR a mixer. This recipe works easily with your good ole hands. Also, the recipe calls for Bread flour but you don't even need that! Use what ya' got.
5 - They make great sandwich buns.

Is that enough or shall I keep going?

This recipe is from The Happy Housewife. I found her from my daily visit to a site I cannot recommend high enough if you want to find small (or big) ways to save money, the Money Saving Mom (MSM). The MSM does these periodic "Baking Days" where she literally bakes all day and prepares all sorts of meals to continually have a stash of food and snacks on hand to deter from those, "I have nothing ready for dinner so let's eat out" moments. Check her out!

Without further delay, the easy and fun to prepare recipe!

Whole Wheat French Bread Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Free KFC

I LOVE fried chicken! But I rarely make it. (When I do, I go for THIS recipe.) But more than loving fried chicken is enjoying FREE chicken, even if it's not fried!

Go HERE to check out the freebie dealio at KFC. Do it soon before all the coupons are gone!

Edited: FYI - You can print out TWO coupons. Use your back browser. Can you say date night?!?!?! Yipee!