Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Gift from My Mother - Meal Memories

Mother's days is next week. You know that.
Did you know my daughter is expecting a gift?
She asked for a red rose.
We shall see.

But, I see her point.
Mother's Day is a time to be grateful  to ones who made you a mother.
A gift from the mother is legitimate.
I'm not asking for a gift from my mother, though.
I'm gonna tell you about gifts my mother has given me.
Familiar food.

My mom has never liked cooking fancy food.
She made familiar food.
We had routine.
(& we ate together at the table.)

There is something really comforting about having "regulars" in the menu.
And there is the memory making aspect of the regulars, too.
You know,
"my mom always made really great pizza, or chili, or stroganoff, or whatever."

I lean toward trying to cook different stuff.
My standard way is to try the new recipes in the latest magazine.
And I don't have a good recipe organizing system.
Sometimes Scott & I will reminisce about how good some dish was.
But, I never make it again, cuz I don't know where I got the recipe.

I sometimes don't think to cook a "regular" until I feel really stressed or busy.
The good news is, that happens more & more often now days.
So, we are getting some regulars around here.

Hainanese Chicken
Salty Herby Grilled Chicken
Pizza (learned from Mom & big sister & brother)

And now a fairly new, but major favorite is Chicken in Creamed Coconut Sauce.
Ever kid likes it.
And the mommy & daddy LOVE it.

I first had this when my little sis Anna made it.
It is SO good.  I add extra chicken broth to make it soupier.
I add potatoes, too.
Sometimes I add green beans.
Or I serve it with sauteed greens.

Try it.  

Do you have family regulars?  Share with us.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Capture {Pink}

I am participating, for the first time, in 
You Capture photography project.
Beth at I Should be Folding Laundry is the host.
This week's assignment was PINK.

My pink ranunculus.
Ranunculus is a one reason I love spring.  

Another beauty - 

My eldest is a lover of pink.
And she herself was pretty flushed in pink,
after an afternoon of tree climbing, 
bird watching, Godzilla fighting, 
& watermelon eating.

And how about these pink lips?

This little sweetie is a waiting orphan girl.
Waiting for her forever family.

My friend Love is coordinating an effort 
to raise up the money for her adoption.
Go check out all she says here at Moments with Love.
The plan is to have a party, with 10 people bringing $20 each.
She is trying for 150 parties.
10 people x $20 x 150 parties = $30,000.

If you live near me, come to our park party on May 2nd.
Or, have your own party!
It can be anything.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's Play Monster!

Pretty much every time daddy comes in the door, someone shouts,
"Let's play monster!"
It isn't usually me.
I like to play other things.

Most often it is Peyton.
But Mo & Gillian love the game almost as much.
Although, during this particular outdoor fight,
Moira was too busy eating to join in.

Daddy loving

Embrace the Camera, Ya'll!  

p.s.  Do you know about Picnik?  
I didn't know about this free photo editor until this week.
Now I don't feel as left out, 
since I don't have Hipmatastic 
or whatever that cool iphone app is called.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fitting More Beds In Here

Okay readers.
We have a 3 bedroom house.
We have 4 kids here,
with another coming to our home in the next year or so.
In the future, we would like to add more than that, too.

So, here's the thing.
What is the best way to fit the beds in here?
I've been gathering inspiration ideas.
I have a Pinterest Kid Bed board here.

Some of them are a little ridiculous.
(As in, not space saving & super fancy & out of reach for us.)

Here are some of my favorite ideas -

Source: via Erin on Pinterest

These hanging beds are so super neat.  LOVE.

Source: via Erin on Pinterest

Excellent Triple bunk.  Love it!
But, I don't know if our ceilings are high enough.

We could always just put the mattresses on the floor like this.
Then if they want room to play on the floor, the mattresses could be stacked.
(that sounds like dangerous fun.)

What do you think?  What are your ideas for making efficient use of space?
Organization isn't my strong suite.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Post Holiday

My family saved the day for us yesterday by making the
jello filled egg shells that Gillian was fully expecting.  
I didn't make any easter clothes for my family this year.
But, I did iron the clothes we wore to church.
Around here, that is a really special thing.
Happy Easter!
(I do keep my ironing out all the time.  
If you stop by, you may think "Oh, she's doing her ironing this morning."
No, she is not.  She just keeps the wrinkled clothes on the ironing board.  
And they never get ironed or worn.)

My mom was a genius & made the candy hunt really simple for the youngins.
She put candy in a little jar. 
One for each kid.  
Even the little kids get the same amount as the bigger kids.
And, all the candy gets found, 
instead of it getting left in the garden until the dog finds it 
& dies from chocolate overload.

I made strawberry shortcake for the dessert.
I left leftover shortcakes on my table over night.
I do stuff like that all the time.
I never finish cleaning up the kitchen in the evening.

This morning Moira got a few of the shortcakes & played a fun game.
I'm not sure what the name of the game was.
But, the way you play it is break the cakes into the tiniest crumbs you can 
& tower it up like a mountain on the edge of the table.
Then encourage the dogs to jump for it.

I wasn't too into the game.

The hyper level was high this morning.
So, I called my sister.
Instead of keeping the hyper ones in my own house, 
I tricked her into helping me take them to a cafe.
That way I could relax while she tried to keep them calm.
And I could give the wait staff a $4 tip to clean up our mess.

It was nice of her to come over.  
It was a day where I needed to talk to someone.
But, phone talking was nearly impossible.

While we sat in my living room talking, 
I was able to confirm something that I have suspected for the past week.
My living room does indeed, smell like a pet store.
Specifically, it smells the bottom of a rodent cage.
Strangely, we don't have rodents.
But, we do have filthy dogs.
And, in their old age, they no longer respect the "off the carpet" rule.

I have to think of a way to lose the dogs.  
Help me out here, friends.

On another note - I found something addicting to do 
while I am nursing the baby.
Pinterest.  I've been on their for a while.  
But this last week, I got really into it.
Even my husband is pinning now.

If you want an invitation to start pinning, I'll email one to you.

Happy Easter Monday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen!

"He is not here. He is Risen."

"Death had been swallowed up in Victory!  
Where, O Death, is your Victory?
Where, O Death, is your Sting?"


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Memory Fails Me

Sometimes it breaks my heart how bad my memory can be.
There are things I want permanently burned on my brain.
Important things, beautiful things, formative things.

Yet I still forget.
No matter how much I want to remember, sometimes I can't.
I am so thankful for photos.
And for the things that are written down.

I am especially thankful for the role of film
that my sister took on the day Gabriel was born.
I am so grateful to have those photos.

I don't know if I will ever,
no matter how faulty my memory may get,
forget that day he was born.
But, sometimes when I think back to that day,
my mind's eye cannot recall his face.
And it breaks my heart.

I remember the first time I couldn't bring his face to memory.
I was afraid I was already forgetting him.
It felt awful.

My memory fails me.
I needed to look back at the photos to see him again.

What if I didn't have a picture?
That would be heart breaking.
I am glad I don't have that sorrow.

father & son

Don't forget to remember to record your memories.
You may forget sooner than you thought.

In memory of my firstborn, I want to tell you all about a ministry -
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
Professional photographers gifting families
with beautiful photos of their terminally sick little one.

Jeanett over at Life Rearranged is hosting a blog series
about miscarriage & infant loss right now.
Throughout the series, she is fundraising for
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
The goal of $1,000 has almost been reached.
Maybe it can raised by the end of this week?
If you head over there, you can click on the
"chip in" button on the right sidebar to take part.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What to do with Mom Guilt

Our pastor preached on the cross of Christ yesterday, as did many others.
This is Passion Week.

The anguish Christ suffered for us.
The deep love the Father showed us.

He ended the sermon speaking on the power of the cross.

One of the things we are given, through Christ's death & resurrection 
is freedom from the power of sin & freedom from the guilt of sin.

Why do so many Christian women carry heavy "mom guilt"?
Being a parent is a huge responsibility.
One I don't want to take lightly.
But, guilt is not one of loads I need to bear.
I yell at my son.  What do I do?
Add another brick to my "bad mom backpack"?
How about when I ignored my daughter's hurt feelings?
That deserves some feelings of guilt, right?

No, I don't think so!
I don't need to haul that around.
Jesus dies for me.  For my sins.  
He gives forgiveness & freedom.
When He died for me, he took the GUILTY on His own shoulders.
He suffered under that.  For me.  So I don't have to.

Now I can take each and every sin to the foot of that cross.
Lay every burden down.  
If I repent, it is removed.  Gone.  
Even if I bring the same sin before Him, day after day, after day.
He keeps no record.  He forgives again.

As a daughter of the King, by His grace,
 I will not be a mother whose life is marked in guilt.

What to do with all your mom guilt?  Lay it at the foot of the cross.


p.s.  If you are feeling guilty over something
that doesn't need to be taken to the cross,
because it is not sin, then you have no need to feel guilty.

7 Ways to Celebrate Spring

      1.  Fresh Lemonade
               Does that remind you of summer, not spring?
               Our little lemon tree says wrong- the season is now.
               It is loaded down with lemons.

We put some mint & fresh thyme in there, 
following the Shaker Style instructions of my Country Breakfasts book.
(One of my favorite cookbooks of all time.)

      2.  Carrot Cake
              Yes please!  This cake recipe is SO good.

I tried this Rachel Ray recipe here.
Does anyone know why she says to let the layers sit for 24 hours?  
I don't get why.  But, I do know the cake is super tasty.

My second attempt at rosy top cake wasn't a whole lot better.
But, I am loving the haphazard prettiness.

       3.  Champagne
               Just the husband & I.  Kids didn't get to join in on this one.
               I love champagne...

       4.  Dine Al Fresco
pizza on the lawn

       5.  Flowers
                Spring flowers are my fave.  My viburnum is blooming. 

          6.  Iced Hibiscus Tea
                   Maybe that's summery?  But, the color seems celebratory, regardless.


                7.  Fresh Pea Soup with Minted Cream
                           It can be hard to find fresh English Peas.
                           But, now is the season.  Try the Farmer's Market.
                           Or, Trader Joe's has bags of shelled ones.
                           That's what I used.  Easy peasy.
                           This recipe is from a cookbook.  Argh!
                           Wish I could just be lazy & give a link.
                            Thankfully, it is short & sweet.

Fresh Pea Soup with Minted Cream
from Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison
(I'm using my own words here, though)

To make the stock, pretty much put green salad in a big pot.

pour water on that & bring to a boil.

More specifically
3 lbs. Fresh Peas in the pods  *
1 Carrot, peeled & chopped **
1 Celery stalk, chopped
10 Lettuce leaves
1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 tsp. Salt 
7 c. cold Water

Shell peas & use 2 - 3 cups of the pods, chopped up, for the stock.  
Set aside all the peas for later.
Throw all this stuff in your pot & bring to a boil.  
Then lower the heat & simmer for about half hour.
Strain the liquid.  Compost all those slimy veggies.

Now for the soup.
3 Tb. Butter
4 Shallots, Thinly Sliced
3 lbs of Peas (you already shelled these when you made the stock)
1/2 tsp. Salt
Pepper to taste

Melt the butter in your soup pot with 1/2 cup of stock.  
Add the shallots & gently stew for about 5 minutes.
Set aside a couple handfuls of peas for later.
Add the rest to your soup & cover with stock.
Bring to boil.  
Simmer until the peas are tender, but still bright green.
If you still have more stock to add, pour it in & blend the soup.
(If you have an immersion blender, that is best.  
Moving into a blender can be messy & dangerous when the soup is hot.)
Season with salt & pepper.

Bring some water to a boil in a small pot 
& cook those two handfuls of peas you set aside.

Now - whip 1/3 cup of heavy cream into soft peaks.
Chop a handful of fresh mint & stir it into the cream.

Ladle the soup into your bowls.
Put a spoonful of mint cream o the top.
Sprinkle with a few whole peas.

(This makes about 4 big bowls worth)

*If you get the English peas from Trader Joe's, use two bags.
For the pods that go in the stock, I just threw in old sugar peas I had.
**I ended up using all my carrot for the cake.  I put turnip in the stock instead.

Stocks are flexible.  But, this soup is "delicate" in flavor.  
So, don't add anything too powerful.


linking up at Heather's for a Life Made Lovely

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our House {a little tour}

In honor of our adoption home study home visit tomorrow, 
I give you a mini house tour.

I love my home to pieces.  
But, I don't take great photos, 
or do a very good job on these little collages.
So, the tour is somewhat lame.

That collage was pretty much the "common spaces" of the house.
Not much of the kitchen because it was a pig sty when I took the photos.
And, minus the bathrooms.  You don't need to see that.

The room husband & I share.
See our wall of love?  
Breaking the "rule" of no kid pictures in the master bedroom.
We love it.
I wish I could figure how to make pillows look good on a bed.  
Do I just need loads more?

Baby Nursery.  I love this room.  It has a shag rug.
But, I never made a girl mobile.  

"Big" kid room collage.
ABC cross-stitch sampler in upper left corner by my mom.  (love it so much)
Snail from a Wee Wonderfuls pattern.  
Bright boxes from Target on white shelves - make shift dresser.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Visions of Grandeur... Shattered?

Last night was rough with the babe.
Waking all.night.long.  ***
I woke up in the a.m. feeling awful.
Stayed in my robe until lunch.
Mostly just kept thinking about how to get a nap in for myself.
And feeling overwhelmed about times ahead.

(I've obviously shown my crummy attitude to my kids.
My son just came in from the backyard with his hand behind his back asking,
"Are you not feeling well, Mommy?"  Then he gifted me with a dandelion.  So sweet!!)

I have been entertaining some visions of grandeur lately.
Things that are not looking like such a good idea now.
Now I am crossing them all off my list.

  • Easter Skirts for the girls ( the can-can in purple)
  • a matching tie for Peyton
  • jello eggs  (even though my girl talks about them all year round...the jello in the egg shells...)
  • invite neighbors over for Easter brunch
  • sew the same fabulous quiet time book for Moira's birthday, that my mom made for my sister when I was little.
  • make our own easter candy
  • be all around fabulous
None of that really matters.
If they stress me out, then the extras must go.

We are upon a busy season for my husband's job.  
He is such a source of sanity for me.
So, the stress & crazy kinda hits the ceiling when I don't have him right at hand.
I need to make the proper adjustments.

I need to adjust my expectations.
I need to get real.
And things are a lot better around here.

Visions of grandeur shattered?  I don't know.  Maybe not.
What would be really grand is not stressing about silly stuff like tu-tu skirts.
What would be really grand is serving spaghetti for dinner, 
because that is what is doable.
What would be really grand?  Having a happy heart & not being a stress case.

Here's a new to do list.
  • do something fun & active with the kids everyday
  • sit outside with them while they play
  • turn off the tv (& internets...)  more often
  • eat the random stuff we have here, so I don't have to shop as much
  • take my cares to Jesus every single time, instead of occasionally
my monkeys who like to cry at night

give your sleepiness to Jesus.  stuff like that matters to Him!

Do you embrace the camera yet?  If you don't, you should!
Go over to Emily's to see what she wrote about why it is so important.

***  I wrote this yesterday.  I got a good night sleep last.  Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Just What I Always Wanted

I can't believe it.
My friend Julie Cahill,
professional wedding (plus more) photographer
gave us a family photo shoot.

Amazing! I am so happy.
Only a few days post shoot, she already has a post up
with some of the pictures.
Eek! I can't wait to see more.
Go look!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rock a Bye

I rock my baby.
She's sleepy but fighting it.
I'm sleepy, longing for some good rest.
I wish I could be taking a nap in my bed.

I sing to her.
When I sing to her, I remember my first child.
And my voice quivers.

I sang to him everyday.
In the shower, in the kitchen, in the garden, in the car.
It was a way I could show him love.

I rocked him with the sway of my body.
I held him by holding my belly.
I sang to him.
I sang what I knew by heart.
I sang the Gospel to him
I sang the love of Jesus.

"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe..."

"More love to thee O Christ..."

"When I survey the wondrous cross...

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all."

"In Christ alone my hope is found..

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny"

My baby Kendall coos & smiles at me.
I hold her tight.

I am still sleepy.
But, I am grateful to be holding this sweet girl in my arms.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rosy Topped Cakes

This cake is gorgeous, no? Yet, it seems approachable.
My sort of style. Not perfectly polished.

It also seems somewhat doable for someone like me.
(Someone like me is a one who can't frost a cake very well.)

Gillian & I made a lemon cake yesterday afternoon.
(Remember the no nap thing?
I managed to have a good attitude about it.
She, on the other hand, had a total tired melt down of an evening.
Seems she could still use the occasional nap...)

So, the lemon cake.
We have tons of lemons on our little backyard tree.
I saw that rosy cake idea & wanted to give it a try.
We had everything thing we needed to put this cake together,
except baking powder.
Did you know that you can make your own baking powder?
You can!
You mix 2 parts Cream of Tarter with 1 part Baking Soda.
It only stays fresh for a couple weeks, though.
I happened to have a bunch of Cream of Tarter.
So, we were able to pull a cake together.

I whipped cream & loaded it into a piping bag
& went to work on the rosy top.
It was fun!
And, although mine looks sloppy, I still like it.

I may have to give it another try later this week,
if I can find enough people to feed cake to.

Linking up with Life Made Lovely Monday at Heather's.


Friday, April 8, 2011

(Five Minute Friday) If You Met Me...

I've been wanting to give Five Minute Fridays a go for a while.
I'm not a great writer. So, I'm not too sure how this will go.
But, the topic is too good to pass up.
The rules are -write for 5 minutes & publish as is. No editing.
Try it along with me!
The Gypsy Mama is the hostess. Go see her.

Today's topic - If You Met Me...


I you met me, you would hear me, too.
I have a loud laugh.
Very loud sometimes.
I also tend to talk too loudly.
I may not be the one if the group talking the most.
But, I could be the one talking the loudest.

I also smile a lot.
And make a lot of faces in general.
You may see me rolling my eyes.
Or making other unattractive faces.
I have a very expressive face.
Sometimes in a bad way.
I often look awful in photos, because of this.

Years ago, I had a guy ask,
"why do you always look so bad in photos?
It's not like you're an ugly girl in person."

I usually have a children with me now days.
Since I've got 4 kids & the oldest 4.
But, I certainly don't mind going out by myself.
Or better yet, just with my husband.

I usually wear jeans & a t-shirt & no make up.
But, I like to dress up, too.
I wear heels


Alright. Here are some photos for illustrative purposes.
(It is hard to leave this as is. My very first sentence isn't even good. Ha!)