Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Helping the peas "Reach for the sky"!

Brother in the Middle and I noticed that our snow peas were falling over.  The combination of a too small trellis and high winds did a number on our growing vines.

We gathered some simple "tools" to fix our problem.

A heavy bucket containing one sad little tomato plant.
(I didn't have the heart to throw him out or the space to plant him in the garden.)

One pair of knee high hose.

Then, Brother in the Middle snapped a picture of Mommy tying the hose to the trellis.

Now our peas are once again able to reach for the sky!

I have learned a few very valuable lessons from our little project.

1.  Before you plant a new variety of snow peas, check to see how high they will grow.
2.  Always make sure your trellis is big enough for the plant that will grow on it.
3.  To fix many problems you don't need fancy tools, just creative thinking and a little help for your son(s).

Thank you, Brother in the Middle, for all your help in the garden.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

America the Beautiful
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.
                   ~Katharine Lee Bates

~ Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Funny boy!

You know that you've been eating too much fast food when . . .

You pull into the library parking lot and your 5 year old son says,  "Are we going through the drive through?"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Blooms - Sweet Country Edition

While at our dear friends' sweet country home, I had the opportunity to photograph some of their beautiful flowers.  She credited her hubby for the all her lovely flowers.  What a lucky girl!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sweet Country Longings

Yesterday we had a lovely trip out to a friend's house in the country.  The experience brings sweet country longings to this suburbanite soccer mom.  The boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  They ran barefoot in the yard.  They traipsed through the woods and climbed the banks of the creek.  They felt the water and mud of the creek between their toes.  They came home muddy, tired, and happy.  On the trip home, we stopped on the quiet country road and snapped some pictures to take home with us.  Now, when that urge for the sweet country life hits, we can pull out the pictures and reminisce about good friends and good country fun!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Words To Live By Wednesday - "Evil for Evil?"

We are fighting against basic human nature.  When one of the boys gets his feelings hurt, he automatically pays back evil for evil.  It is  human nature.  We keep telling them, "Treat others the way you want to be treated," but they, like all people, do not see the fairness of it.  "But he hit me first."  "He said it first."  And of course (all parents' favorite), "He touched me!"  This week a verse jumped out at me and we will be working it into our daily brotherhood prescription.

"Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."
~ Romans 12:17-18 NKJV

Oh, what a challenge for my boys.  You know--it is a challenge for me, too.  Writing God's truths on my childrens' hearts is my greatest challenge.  The hardest part is, it has to begin with me.  They see hypocrisy in an instant, so here we go.  We are going to start with this verse today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our little Creek

This is our little creek that is usually just a trickle.  This spring we have gotten used to the flowing waters.  I love the sound of water.  The boys love to play by/in it. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Making Lemonade

This weekend I needed to make lemonade, but not the kind your thinking!  Yes, on a hot day, a tall glass of lemonade can sooth the parched throat and sweeten the day.  This was a warm, summer-like weekend, but what I really needed was new perspective.  How could "lemonade" help find a new perspective? 

As a kid, when the going got rough, my Mom would say, "Make lemonade."  Of course, she was referring to the saying, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade."  This has stuck with me over the years.  It may sound trite, but in every situation, we can look for the good.  We can choose to see the good and focus on the blessings.

As I struggled this weekend with a sick baby, an out-of-town Daddy, grumpy kids and a mommy who was not feeling so good, I tried to look for the good.  Not every moment went so well, for the "sugar" was sometimes in short supply.  Here's what I came up with for our weekend situation:
  1. We are so blessed to have modern medicine to take care of our little guy's ear infection. 
  2. I am beyond grateful for all the help and support from extended family.  Grandparents are a joy and I'm so glad they were there for my children's soccer games this weekend!
  3. I am so glad that my hubby got the opportunity for a weekend retreat.  When we miss him this much, we know how very special he is to us. 
  4. Yes, grumpy moments came for the kids and for mommy, but so did very special, sweet moments.  I'm going to choose to remember the sweet moments.
"Making lemonade" out of difficult situations can be hard, but it is worthwhile.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 directs us to "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  In every situation, we have the choice of how we are going to approach it. 

In the little moments and in the large life trials, we have a choice.  How will we approach this small bump or large mountain?  Even when "making lemonade" is hard, God can and will give us the grace to rejoice in every situation.  We can seek his face and find a way to give thanks.  Can you find something to give thanks for in your challenging situation?  Do you have any special moments when you were able to "make lemonade" and it changed your perspective?

~ photos courtesy of Wikipedia

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Morning Praise

As a child, these words were stamped on my heart.  Every Sunday morning, they were offered up as a sacrifice of praise.  To this day, they speak to my heart and bring my soul to a place of worship.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
                          ~Louis Bourgeois

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another day, another pair of dirty socks!

Yesterday, I found myself slipping back into old habits.  "Don't get muddy!" and "Stay of of the water!" rang forth across our front yard.  The truth of the matter is, little boys playing in a muddy yard are bound to get dirty.  I can issue orders to stay clean, but if I really want them to stay clean, I need to keep them inside.  Being that I want them to play outside, the reality of spring and summer must take precedence.  Another day, another pair of dirty socks will just have to rule the day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Blooms

We took a walk this afternoon to relieve the stress of a morning doctor visit.  The camera caught some of the beautiful blooms we saw at Momaw and Aunt C's house.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What is my purpose?

Lately, I have been a bit scatter brained.  I flit about my day approaching one task after the other, without thought to my greater purpose.  These verses really spoke to me this morning:

"Lord, You have searched me and know me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it."
           ~ Psalm 139:1-6 NKJV

This shoots to the core of me.  The Lord knows my sitting down and my rising up.  He knows that I am sitting down at the computer this morning.  He is aware that I have avoided the dirty dishes.  He knows me.  He sees me.  He has put up boundaries (hedged) around me, and put his hand upon me. 

As I have gone about my day, flitting from activity to activity, God has had his hand upon me.  This is sobering.  My sweet boys lay upstairs and will soon be joining me for the day.  I can continue to flit about my days without focusing on the greater purpose, or I can choose to focus on HIS purpose.  He has taken the time to know me and to love me.  As the first morning sounds from my youngest boy trickle down the stairs, I am praying that this day be filled with his purpose.  His hand is upon me, and I pray that I will remain in His presence today.  I pray that this day, you remember that He made you and His hand is upon you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Words To Live By Wednesday -

Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat? or "What shall we drink", or "What shall we wear?"  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
~Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

That's Not Fair!

It seems so unfair when parents say, "Do as I say, not as I do."  Even though it's unfair, that's sometimes how we roll!  When it comes to shoes in the house, my kids have a bum deal.  While the boys have to take their shoes off at the front door, I wear my shoes in the house.  Here are the top reasons why I support this unfair rule:

10. Getting dirty is fun for the boys.

9. The boys regularly puddle-stomp.

8.  I have two pairs of gym shoes - one to keep nice and clean, one for outside/dirty work.  The boys also have a pair to keep nice and one for outside/dirty work - they just forget which is which!

7. A clean house does not make it on the boys top ten priority list.

6. Wearing shoes increases my productivity, while the boys have no energy deficit.

5. I wipe my feet before entering the house.

4. My accessories include earrings, a wedding ring and sometimes a bracelet.  The boys must have accessories include dirt, mud, and sticks.

3. My Mama always says, "Life's just not fair."

2. These socks were white an hour before this photo was shot.

1. Because I said so!

Does your household have any seemingly unfair rules?

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Mom, can we go tadpole hunting?"

          When I hear a question like, "Mom, can we go tadpole hunting?", my knee jerk reaction is usually either "No", "Maybe later", or "Wait".  I tend to first think of the mess that will come from the experience instead of the joy that it will bring.  Unfortunately, if I don't allow the experience now, later may never come.  So that my boys can experience the joys of childhood, I am working on saying "Yes" more often.  The mess and dirt are temporary, the impact of moments like this last.      
          As I work on saying, "Yes" more often, I am watching my boys grow into men.  Yes, there are footprints on my carpet and the laundry is piling up, but these boys will only be boys for a moment.  Like tadpoles rapidly become frogs the boys are quickly becoming men.  The laundry and footprints can wait for tomorrow, my boys can't.

The glories of childhood.

There has to be some in there!

"Do you see what I see?"

Is there something that you can say "yes" to, when your first reaction might have been "no"?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Behold What Manner of Love

Behold what manner of love
The Father has given unto us.
Behold what manner of love
The Father has given unto us.
That we should be called the sons of God.

That we should be called the sons of God.
Behold what manner of love
The Father has given unto us.
          ~by Patricia Van Tine

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Who is that masked man?

Momaw and Popaw found these treasures (the masks, not the boys) in Mexico.  The boys will have so much fun playing "masked men"!   

Masked Men? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Words To Live By Wednesday -

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
   ~  Matthew 7:12

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So Much Fun Today

Thanks Aunt C. for sharing your vacation fun! 

He really made the shell sing.

Brother in the Middle's first disk throwing lesson.

Little Man takes a ride with Uncle T.

Our "toadally" cool garden friend!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Boys on cleanliness

Mommy:  "When you put that in your mouth, you are putting germs in you mouth."

Brother in the Middle:  "Oh,  . . . . . . . gulp, . . . . . . I swallowed the germs."

Boys are so funny!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

For My Mom

My Mom would hold her babies and sing a very special song.  You may know some of the words:

Oh, How I Love Jesus

There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest name on earth.

Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Oh, how I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me!

Then, my mom made the song special for each one of her babies.  When she held me, she sang:

Oh, how I love Christine,
Oh, how I love Christine,
Oh, how I love Christine,
Because God gave her to me!

She gave special meaning to this song, and with it, she poured out her love upon us.  This tradition continues with her grandchildren.  She has held each boy, rocked them, and sang them this special hymn.

Thank you to my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts and great-grandmothers.  Thank you to each woman who holds a child in her arms, tells them of her love and points them to the Savior!

Happy Mother's Day

Fun With Sticks!

The boys were sent to the yard to pick up sticks  - they found "better" things to do with the sticks!

Brother in the Middle Prepares for battle.

Big Brother spears the enemy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Blooms - Special Edition

The most beautiful blooms come handpicked from my children.  These came with smiles and cheers of "Happy Mother's Day"!  Thank you boys!

Friday Blooms

My Mountain Blue

The Best Meal I Ever Ate

What does it take to be one of the the best meals ever?
  1. Must, of course, taste good - really, really good.
  2. Must be cooked by someone else.
  3. Very nice if something sweet is included (chocolate, please).
  4. Really takes the cake if it is a surprise!
Thanks Aunt S., for one of the best meals ever!

What are the requirements for your "best meal"?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chasing Helicopters

Beautiful sunshine drew us outside this afternoon.  What an absolute pleasure to watch the boys run and play.  They began a game of "Chasing Helicopters".  Here's how it went:

First, they threw a stick to knock out the maple tree "helicopters".
(Yes, Mother was standing there praying for eye safety.)

After the stick made a good hit, the helicopters came floating down.

Then, the boys chased them around the yard.

Caught You!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Favorite Black Bean Skillet

I posted this as a comment on my good friends Hannah's blog.  Afterwords, I noticed tons of spelling errors - who me?  I am reposting here, hopefully with not so many errors.  Please, check out her blog.  She's awsome!

Favorite Black Bean Skillet

The Players
  • 1/2 - 1/3 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces (please, no imitations - this is not diet food!)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, smashed, and diced (if you're lazy like me, powdered works)
  • 6-8 cups cooked blacked beans (3-4 cans rinsed and drained, or cooked from dried beans *do not leave cooking on stove and leave the house, problems could occur)
  • chicken broth to cover (whatever your fancy, use what you have - I use chicken soup base from a jar, mixed with hot water)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
      *  Rice, cooked to directions

The Stage Directions
Set the stage with one big, deep wide frying device. I use the biggest skillet I own. Start by frying up that beautiful bacon. Please, I repeat, use the real deal - this IS NOT DIET FOOD! Pull out that brown, crispy glory and reserve for later. Originally, when I cooked this recipe, it called for 1 lb. I am too cheap to do that. I find that a little less than half a pound gives great flavor, with less $$$ and calories. (Well, just because it's not diet food doesn't mean we have to go completely crazy!) Now, leave that bacon fat right where it is. You are going to use that flavor and fat to make this dish Divine. Take your vegetation (onions, peppers & garlic), put them in that fat and listen to them sizzle. Watch and stir them them until they are translucent. Oh, the sight, oh the smell - be still my beating heart. Now that they are glorious and beautiful, pour in the already cooked beans and cover with broth. Now, it is important to taste before salting. I use a soup base with sodium; I never add extra salt. If you use the healthy, homemade stuff, it will be delightful, but you will need to salt. I like to add a good amount of pepper, but I have to remember the kids have to be able to swallow this too. Bring the dish to a boil, reduce and simmer until liquid has mostly been absorbed & evaporated. Now take those bacon bits and mix them in. While you were cooking the beans, you also needed to be fixing rice. Now that the dish is ready, ladle those babies over a steaming pile of rice. If you don't like your food touching, I know you're out there, go ahead, put the beans on the side. If you really want to go hog wild, serve with fried plantains (family favorite) and sliced pineapple, mango, or something else tropical. This meal melts my bloggy hubby's heart. As a matter of fact, melts my bloggy kiddo's hearts too. Mine is melting at the thought. Enjoy!

Hannah's Frugal Kitchen: Black Bean recipes...Anyone got another?

Hannah's Frugal Kitchen: Black Bean recipes...Anyone got another?: "If you have a recipe using any form of black beans, send them on to me in the comments. I'd love to have some other input. I'm planning o..."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Words To Live By Wednesday -

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
                 ~Matthew 6:19-21

Never too young . . .

Little man is living proof that you are never too young for music.  He has listened to music from the time he was "knit together".  Even as a newborn, he would sit on my lap as I played the piano.  It is no wonder that one of his favorite pass times includes those black and white keys.  He loves to play for himself, but his favorite moment comes when I reach around his squeezable self and play for him.  He bobs and sways to the music and restrains his hands from playing so that he can catch every note.  Today, he moved to "A Tisket, A Tasket" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb".  He just melts the heart of his music loving mama!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Doing things the old fashioned way!

What did my mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers do after they ate dinner?  They first poured water in the sink (they might have even had to heat the water first).  Then, they got cracking and washed those dishes by hand.  Big Brother and I had a lesson in the hard work our "foremothers" put forth for every meal.  As a home educator, I would love to tell you that I planned this as a lesson of gratitude.  In reality, lessons of gratitude are often thrust upon us.  We'll be remembering our "foremothers" this week, while we figure out what to do with our "vacationing" dishwasher.  Thank you to all those women who worked so hard for every meal of the day.  Also - a big thank you to the creator of the dishwasher!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's time for Brother in the Middle to shine . . .

Despite the overcast day (see last post for fashion details), Brother in the Middle got his chance to shine.  He played with enthusiasm and made his family proud!

Ready for action.

Here they come.

Going, going, gone!

Spring 2011 Fashion Alert!

Breaking News on the Fashion Forward Spring Soccer Fields.   This just in . . . . reports are filtering in that boots are in, in a big way.  If you want to be part of the crowd, you must hurry now.  Time is limited, this trend may be ending by . . . . .  well reports are saying, by June.  Hurry to get in on this most popular new trend!