Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nature Walk

We love ourselves a good nature walk! I have a 5-year-old who is an expert robin's egg detector. She would find them everywhere! We love to just meander through the neighborhood admiring different trees, discussing their species, and stopping and smelling flowers of course! I think some of our best conversations happen when we are unplugged, away from TV, phone or computer. On a recent walk....

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From a 9-year old Heart

This is a word for word copy of a typed note I received last night from my daughter (I added some punctuation for ease of reading). I think it's a pretty clear picture of my own 32-year-old heart as well. 


There's a song about how God is soooooo big and powerful and how god has a amazing plan. if that plan is so amazing, how come God's amazing plan was for Ricardo Rios age 34 (omitted city/state) to lose his job. he got late off. right now all we have to do is sit here in the house until he finds a job. now  back in the old depression, people started losing their jobs and became hobos. hobos once had houses and jobs. Not only did the people who lost their job become hobos but so did their familys. Lots of peoples jobs.....lost. How do we know what God for us is best? was Gods amazing plan for Rick to lose his job. I did not want this to happen to us. i keep thinking to myself: are we gonna lose the house? What if Rick has to go a long way to find a job? What if someone steals our money? it will be all gone and where will we go to live? Ricks mother and law said we are welcome to live at her house. What if the exact same thing happens to her? then where will all of us go? we could become like those hobos. Lots of rich people still have their houses and their jobs. they think "I have lots of money. i do not need God." but if they think that they'll probely lose their jobs as well. I do not know if that will happen but they probely should lose their job and their house.

That's it for WHAT'S UP NEWS.

**EDITED TO ADD: I am honestly amazed at all the negative and discouraging comments that I received on this post. I am really just dumbfounded at the ugliness of the comments that I had to delete. I didn't make this all up and pretend that a child wrote it. If you knew my daughter, you'd know what a tender heart she has and how spiritually mature she is. It just made me realize how underemployment/unemployment affects everyone in the family, not just Mom and Dad. We have seen God's faithful hand through many times of trouble and have always been open with our children about what difficulties we are facing and how God is working through them. I was both humbled and heartbroken to read these 9-year-old thoughts, but I think it was an immense opportunity to to talk about God, His ways, His plans even amidst the trials. We are thankful for the greatest dependence on God that we have ever experienced and an extravagant love from Him that knows no bounds, despite whether or not we have great jobs. ***

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching Up

I used to do much more scrapbooking back when a) I had less children = more time and b) I had more money. After many years of paper scrapping, I got really involved with digital scrapbooking. Since we were apartment dwellers at the time, I loved that I had really no supplies to speak of (other than my computer) and therefore no mess to store, take out, and put away each time I wanted to work on capturing the memories. It has gotten more difficult to keep up with each child's scrapbook, but I really want them to have these special memories, handmade with love by Mom, even if I only manage to complete a few pages per year. I am currently working on catching up. I'm not going to fret about all the photos that are missing, but instead I'm going to scrap whatever pictures look inspirational at the moment.

Sorry that you can't really read the journaling, but I'm too lazy to rewrite it all here. Any other scrapbookers out there?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Summer Cook-Out Menu

Tried and true recipes, from yours truly, from drinks to dessert....

First, start off with some Virgin Mango Coladas. (*giggle* I said virgin.) If you're like me, you usually just serve soda or water, but having a really great drink was a fabulous addition to a recent cook-out. I'm also partial to my homemade Sweet Tea. I think replacing 1/2 the sweetener with Splenda, not only cuts down on the calories, but lets the tea flavor shine through. As opposed to drinking sugar with a little bit of McD's. I'm just sayin.
Sweet Tea
Makes 1 gallon

4 family-sized black tea bags
8 c. water
2 c. sugar
lemon, optional

Quick brew method: Place 8 c. water in and tea bags in glass measuring cup. Microwave for 4 minutes. Let steep for 5 minutes or more. Add sugar. Stir to dissolve. Put in pitcher along with tea bags. Add 8 c. ice water. Stir. Taste. Add lemon juice from 1/4 lemon for flavor. If the tea needs to be stronger, leave the bags in for awhile, otherwise remove.
Peachy Version: Substitute 4 Peach flavored tea bags for one of the family-sized bags. I personally like Country Peach Passion by Celestial Seasonings. 
Minty Version: For yummy refreshing flavor, replace one family-sized bag with a few peppermint tea bags.

**To cut down on the amount of actual sugar, you can replace up to 1/2 of the sugar with slightly less than the same amount of Splenda.**
Next, add an easy make ahead appetizer, such as Jalapeno Popper Dip. Serve it with some crusty bread and your guests will be fighting over it.

And now, we're onto the main course. You could always serve the all-American stand-by of burgers & dogs. For this last party, I wanted to mix it up a bit. So I chose thin-cut Ribeye steaks (budget friendly!) and Grilled Chicken (assorted bone-in pieces) with Apricot Balsamic Glaze.

I'm sure your fabulous guests will be more than happy to contribute a side. Ask them to bring a pasta salad, potato salad, or baked beans. They'll feel like they're adding to your soiree and you'll feel relieved to not have to provide everything. Win-win, people.

And our newest summer go-to dessert, which can be made several days in advance, is Frozen Key Lime pie. It's kind of a pain to have to juice the limes, but maybe you can talk your husband into doing it, like I do. Feel free to use a pre-made graham cracker crust (I do!) and even whip cream in a can, if you must. The pie already has so much frozen tangy goodness, I don't think anyone will mind a few shortcuts.

On the day of the party, you will have to blend the drinks, bake the dip & slice the bread, grill the chicken/meat, and slice/serve the dessert. Much of the work has been done in advance, but if you have a friend man the blender or help with slicing, you'll have more time to enjoy your family and friends (and delish food!) and the summer days that are all too fleeting.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Toast

 A toast? Yeah. To high treason. That's what these men were committing when they signed the Declaration. Had we lost the war, they would have been hanged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and-Oh! Oh, my personal favorite-and had their entrails cut out and ''burned''!
So... Here's to the men who did what was considered wrong, in order to do what they knew was right...

...what they knew was right.

-movie quote from National Treasure 

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I wish I could be the Happy Blog. The one where I get to write about my adventures in home decorating or fabulous dinner parties or the excitement of having beautiful twins. Where I post pictures of extraordinary before/after projects or the latest jaunt to my house on the beach. 

We are experiencing yet another job loss and it leaves me feeling more like the Previously-Creative-Turned-Mildly-Depressing Blog.  It has been about one month (so far) of severe under-employment.

Hopefully this explains the blog silence. It just makes it difficult to keep putting on the cheery face and pretend like it's only a bump in the road. When does something cease to be just a season of my life (that will pass) and start becoming just my life? I wonder.

At first, I was admittedly running from God. Maybe not necessarily running from, but definitely not running towards. I've told myself how ridiculous I am to try to run from Him. "To whom else would we go, Lord?" Difficult times can make it hard to keep in conversation with Him, especially knowing that this hard time passed through His hands first.

I read Mark 4:38 yesterday and am crying out the same thing the disciples did:
Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?"
My family boat has been swiftly taking on water and it seems that God must be asleep at the wheel. Oh, I know all the right answers. God has a perfect plan for me, to prosper me. God cares for me. God loves me extravagantly. Does anyone else have a hard time taking those things to heart when their circumstances don't seem to fit with His truths??

The following verses reminded me of His sovereignty over all. HE calms the storm. The winds and the seas obey HIM. And tucked into verse 40 are some really crucial questions:
And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
It leaves my heart wanting. Wanting to believe. Wanting to trust. Wanting to hope. Even when my head seems to be saying No.