Saturday, February 16, 2013
My girls are so blessed to have an incredible, feminine, godly grandmother! Today she is having her traditional grandmother tea with all her granddaughters and her mother, their great-grandmother.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
You have been committed to me through it all... more than 22 years of highs and lows. Just this last year, you held my hand and encouraged me through debilitating sickness for so many months. Even when you have had your own responsibilities pulling at you, you have remained steady and faithful, paying careful attention to my needs. You love me by caring for my feelings and needs!
You asked me just days ago if I would like to pack some bags and take the kids to Disney World on the spur of the moment, checking out the week ahead on your weather app. You wanted me to feel that warm Florida sunshine. You wanted our children to experience the magic that comes with a vacation like that. You love me by spoiling me with extravagance!
You know what each of our six children's favorite things are. You come home from work with gum for Sydney, Doritos for the boys, and M&M's for the little girls. You know which one needs to be told how big she is getting, which one needs to tag along with you to the office for a change of pace, which one needs kisses even though she acts like she doesn't like them, and which one needs to be encouraged to try doing something without any assistance from Mom & Dad. You love me by being an amazing father to our children!
I could go on and on, but since you interrupted my writing of this blog post with chocolate covered strawberries, and told me to get dressed for dinner out tonight, I've got to go get ready. Thank you for loving me so much more than I deserve! You are good for me, husband!
Happy Valentine's Day, my love!
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Instead of a well thought out plan for the season that begins...TOMORROW...
I ended up scouring the shelves and pulling off books we already have, grabbing some candles off the shelf, and whispering a prayer for divine inspiration.
I found Piper's book, The Passion of Jesus Christ, which has 50 devotionals. So, we will double up on a few of the nights. I am going to go through this with the bigger kids after the little ones get tucked in.
The little girls and I are working through The Jesus Storybook Bible, which I am LOVING! They waited so anxiously for baby Jesus to show up, as we read through the Old Testament half, each story foreshadowing His arrival and our desperate need for Him. We are now to the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and will land on His death and resurrection in a couple weeks.
After missing our nightly readings from it on vacation, the little sweethearts are so happy to be back to their storybook Bible! They beg for me to read "one more" each time, which I don't do, of course. The anticipation of not wanting to miss a word of each short story makes them savor each one. The simple yet profound truths in this gem of a book are so good, I think I'm going to have my 12 year old son make it his daily devotional reading when the girls and I are finished with it. I highly recommend this one as one of my "must have" books.
I pulled these others down to read over the next few weeks. As you may be able to tell from the picture, some of them are pretty worn, since we read these over and over in anticipation of Easter.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I cooked a new recipe with lentils this week. It was fine. The two people in the house who LOVE lentils, loved the recipe. The others thought it was just O.K. I used my own chicken broth, out of my frozen homemade broth stash, instead of the four cups of water. I am trying to use my own stocks and broths as many times a week as I can, to ensure we are getting plenty of good minerals. Also, I didn't add the pork in the recipe. And that was all good and fine...
because of my love of Nourishing Traditions, Weston A. Price Foundation, and Makers Diet, which all inspire me to use quality ingredients, and not waste anything, I came up with my "leftover" plan!
Half of the leftovers I added more chicken stock to, for soup to freeze. And the other half I used to warm up and fill the bottoms of our salad bowls.
I put a substantial pile of the warmed up lentils and rice in the bottom of my salad bowl, and then added whatever fresh salad ingredients I had that day. (I made three different versions of this salad three days in a row.) Each time, though, I added my favorite simple salad dressing, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Bragg Vinegar. Since the lentil recipe already calls for olive oil, the flavors of oil and vinegar marry with this recipe in an amazing way! I'm telling you! Wow!
The olive oil drizzled over the salad is just beautiful, especially when I am thinking about how thankful my body must be for my increasing my oleic acid intake. Oleic acid was the only nutrient I was low on in the last micronutrient workup I had done. We will fix that!
This is so good! All my little girls (ages 3, 5, and 7) were asking for more!
(Lest you think I'm a healthy food snob, I want you to know I made chocolate chip, butterscotch chip cookies today and fed my girls yogurt for dinner!)
Here is the recipe I found in the New York Times:
Lentils and Rice With or Without Pork
Published: December 31, 2010
Time: About 45 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 ounces bacon or sausage, chopped, optional
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup long-grain brown rice
3 or 4 bay leaves
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish.
1. Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. When it’s hot, add onion, celery, carrot and meat, if using. Cook until vegetables begin to become tender and meat begins to brown in places, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and some salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two.
2. Add lentils, rice, bay leaves and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat so liquid bubbles gently, and cover.
3. After 30 minutes, if rice and lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed, the dish is ready. If lentils and rice are not tender, add enough liquid to keep bottom of pot moist, cover and cook for a few more minutes. If rice and lentils are soft and there is much liquid remaining (which is unlikely), raise heat a bit and cook, uncovered, stirring once or twice, until it evaporates. Discard bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, fluff with a fork and serve, garnished with parsley and drizzled with more olive oil.
Use any grain instead of brown rice; you can even substitute white rice. (Cooking time for white rice is half or less that for brown, so add later.)
Similarly, use any bean: cook longer as needed and keep an eye on the water to make sure the beans stay submerged in about 1 inch of water during cooking; wait to add the rice until the beans are tender.
Stock will add flavor, but don’t waste money on the canned stuff; use water instead. (The dish will taste like lentils and rice.) For more flavor, add onion, carrot, or other vegetables and an herb like thyme.
For the dish called Moors and Christians, substitute a red bell pepper for the celery and carrot, black beans for the lentils, and 1 cup chopped tomato for some of the liquid; let the beans cook until half done before adding the rice.
For smoky red beans and rice, add 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 2 teaspoons pimentón to the vegetables. Use red beans instead of lentils and cook until they’re half done before adding the rice (which should be short-grain). Simmer for another 15 minutes, then bake uncovered at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until the beans and rice are tender.
For mujaddara, skip the meat; cook two sliced onions in a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat until they’re dark brown but not burned, and serve on top of the rice and lentils.
For lentil and rice soup — or any bean and rice soup — use more water, or stock if you have it
Friday, January 18, 2013
They've already turned in their first assignment online, and got a message from their teacher this morning that they were in the half of the class that actually did what the syllabus asked, while the other half of the class failed to do so. Go homeschoolers! I have to say, the papers they turned in were very impressive, and wonderfully unique. They are both bright and capable, and make this mother so proud! And it's neat to see how they both came at their writing assignment from different perspectives, both being very well done. I can't wait to hear what they think about the classroom experience and the teacher. They've taken classes at Prep, so they have done the classroom thing before, but college is something a little different.
I am so, so very proud of you, my young adults! You have been gifted by God, and you both seek Him in your endeavors. I am never surprised at the light that shines through you, only humbled and blessed by God's grace in your lives! I love you!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
It's a new year, and so much is different at our house! The children are growing and changing so quickly! So, here is an update on all that is new with us...
First of all, Kurt has moved his office to our small home town. He can walk to the office from home, eats lunch home most days, and sometimes has one or two kids hang out at the office for a little while.
I have been on the road to discovery and health, rebounding from some health setbacks I've experienced the last couple years. I am looking forward to continuing recovery and making an even healthier lifestyle for my family one of my highest priorities. (I will expand on this in future posts, as time allows.) I am busy homeschooling, keeping things organized, preparing our food/meals more traditionally. I am hopeful that being healthier will mean that this year I will be able to read the books on my list and blog again!
Austin is 18 now! He is finishing up his senior year, by taking some classes at our local community college, and studying to take some CLEP tests for further college credit. If all goes as planned, he will graduate in the spring with 15 college credit hours under his belt. The ACT test is now just a memory. He's been accepted by the college he wishes to attend, and has already been awarded an academic scholarship. We are working on additional scholarships, and are planning senior pictures, and graduation details. He is staying very busy working with 5th grade boys at church, attending youth cell group, and spending time with wonderful mentoring pastors. The only remaining "homeschool" assignments he has left this year are my ever-growing and always continuing list of books I would like for him to read. Of course, he has fun with a busy social life with some great friends, and enjoys time on the computer, and working out.
Sydney is 16 now, and has her official driver's license! She is such an animal lover, and has been enjoying training our puppies. She asked for a puppy of her own for her 16th birthday, a female maltipoo. And our family also now has a female goldendoodle puppy. She is excellent at training and caring for the dogs! She is working on finding a male puppy to add to the mix, and studying and trying to breed some of them in the future. Sydney is still studying piano, taking Theater and Sign Language classes, and an ACT prep class at Prep. And besides her homeschooling assignments, she is going to attend the community college with her brother, and take a stab at some of those CLEP classes. In her free time, we find Sydney studying her Bible and journaling. (AND texting her friends, AND watching movies!) She has some really wonderful friends! Sydney also attends a girls' Bible study, and our church youth cell group each week. She is going to be a very busy young lady this semester! And she always manages to find plenty of time for her little sisters!
Andrew is 12, and in the major transition from little boy to young man! He is learning to become more disciplined in his schoolwork, as this is the age that I usually start piling on a lot more "schooly" work than in the younger years. He is doing so very well in this transition! Last year he completed an 18 week program with Learning Rx, and is reaping the benefits of intense brain training in his schoolwork this year! He continues to study piano, and can play for hours writing his own compositions and playing some of his favorite songs by ear. He is also taking Theater, Choir, and Sign Language classes at Prep. Andrew just got his first pair of invisiline braces, which will be a two year program. He was anxious to get into braces, so he is so excited that the time has finally arrived! For fun, Andrew loves to play Minecraft on the computer, building and creating his own little cyber-world.
Macy is 7 now, and in 2nd grade. She is ecstatic, because she is finally old enough to join the big kids at piano lessons. She has her cute little piano lesson book, and LOVES practicing her songs! She is also doing the Prep thing, with Theater, Sign Language, and Choir, along with her homeschooling. She is a joy to teach, because she is studious, and just can't get enough learning in each day! She is blessing her mommy so much, as she always wants to help me cook, decorate, and organize! She is a great big sister to the littlest ones, always offering to help tuck them in, take them snacks, teach them preschool lessons, and watch over them. For fun, she has been playing JumpStart.com and talking to her cousins on the phone.
Our sweet little Tessa recently turned 5! And when she did, she just knew that she was suddenly very, very big and very, very smart! She is learning her letter sounds and "doing math", starting Kindergarten a bit earlier than she officially needed to. She insisted! She is always busy coloring, drawing, playing dolls, dressing like a princess, or playing learning games on the computer. She has been playing on the piano and singing like her brothers and sisters for fun. Everything is all about princesses in Tessa's world, and she is especially excited about Disney's new princess, Sofia the First.
Baby Janie is 3 now. She is super close to her big sister, Tessa. They are such close friends! They are constantly playing together, but when Janie is by herself, she has such a big imagination! She is always singing, like her big sister Sydney used to do when she was 3. She keeps a running musical narrative of the day's activities. So cute! She's learning right along with Tessa at the little schoolwork table in the schoolroom. And she would be happy to be read to all day long! She has always communicated so well for her age, so most times, she sounds like she's 3 going on 23.
Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year!!!