Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ah, children...

Yesterday ended up being kinda crazy. I took the kids in to the doctor - they've had these colds for well over a month now, and on Sunday night our son started saying his ear hurt. Anyway, he DOES have an ear infection as well as a mild sinus infection. The pediatrician said that our daughter's symptoms looked more like allergies, so she's now on a twice daily Rx to see if that helps. Hopefully there will be less snottage and coughing at our house soon!!

On a funny note, this is how our daughter ended her day. She was wiped out, and asleep before 6:30. How on earth can someone fall asleep like that?!?

I've been reading the book Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture by Mary DeMuth. Wonderful book - I'm only halfway through but am already recommending it to friends. I was reading it yesterday, as I was sitting at the pharmacy, and started chapter 7, which is about how we are a "window" for our children. It begins with this quote:

"It is our children who serve as the doorway we pass through to meet God face to face."
-Dan Allender
I know there's not any great theological truth in that statement, but it really made me stop and think. Am I looking at our kids as a way to grow closer to my Lord, or just another commitment? I've recently joked with people about our kids, how I sometimes just have to grit my teeth and remind myself that they are "our blessings from the Lord." Now parenting isn't all shiny and happy, but I've been having a hard time finding joy, as I deal with these two little people who each have their own (strong) ideas about how things should happen.

The next subtitle in the text is Children: God's Sanctification for Parents. Another phrase that stopped me short. How true!! As I parent, I have become vividly aware of my shortcomings. I used to consider myself a rather patient person - but then I had kids. Holy toledo! I've also realized just how selfish I can be, and how that manifests itself when I lash out in anger. And here's the thing about a window: it goes both ways. Are the kids growing closer to God as they watch me in action? Yes, we attend church and they have wonderful age-appropriate lessons. Yes, we read Bible stories and pray before bedtime. But am I demonstrating a godly attitude in my daily tasks? That's where it really counts, what they see on a day to day basis and what they'll remember.

Are these new ideas? Certainly not. Did I already know this? Absolutely! Am I doing it? Well, sort of...

Always good to check one's perspective.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Great Giveaway!!

Want to be your hubby's hero? How about winning a 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV?!? Yep, you read that right!

Enter here for your chance to win from 5 Minutes for Mom (sponsored by Best Buy)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Funny

Ready for some laughs (with a bonus sad-but-true factor)? I'm so thankful that our church isn't represented by these posters!

If you like these, head over to the Pyromaniacs to see them all...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Happy Day!!

New Chris Rice album is in the house!!!!!!!! Get your own here.

My thoughts (added on Friday):
Another good album that I'm happy to have in my collection, but definitely not his best. This album continues along on the somewhat sappy pop vein and has some schmoopy love songs. The song "Lemonade" appears again (also on his album Amusing). Fun listen, but the lyrics don't make me stop and think like his earlier stuff does. The one high point is the song "Sneakin' Into Heaven." It's the story of a person who borrows someone's halo, hoping no one will notice his broken wings. It ends when the person confesses to Peter, and Peter replies:
"Well, boy, haven't you noticed?
We've all been broken, but now we're doin' just fine!
'Cause nobody's good enough, and up here we're all the same
We all get to heaven under Someone Else's name"

I also like the song "Pardon My Dust." I think we as Christians can be all too quick to point out one another's flaws. I know it's a fine line - "grace and mercy" can be overused as an excuse not to deal with sin. But still food for thought.

Overall, I'd give it a B-. Anyone else heard it yet? Would love your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Progress and more kid anecdotes...

The cabinets are now in - click here for a picture and details. I have a big to-do list for today, plus we'll have extra kiddos around tonight (the other couple's turn to go out, as part of our kid swap agreement), so probably won't be able to work back there until tomorrow.

As I mentioned yesterday, I needed to run to the grocery store. Well, the kids and I made our trek and filled the cart. As we were nearing the check-out, our son noticed a lady across the aisle with crutches (the metal type ones that have a cuff type top for the arm and a hand grip). As we reached the end of the aisle, our daughter asked the lady what her name was (her standard greeting for any breathing human being within 20 feet). Well, this led to a lengthy conversation during which our son repeatedly asked where her leg was, why the doctors had to cut it off and how they did it. He was fascinated, and just couldn't quite fathom that her leg was gone. In fact, he kept crouching down and looking for it! The lady was very friendly, and was really great about answering questions (I didn't want to make her uncomfortable, and was ready to whisk the kids down another aisle if necessary). But what's the proper way to handle stuff like that? I want the kids to be comfortable around people with physical disabilities, but they're not old enough to determine when quesions are inappropriate. Ah, more joys of mommydom!

In other motherhood news, as I was waking up this morning I noticed a sweet smell. Didn't think too much of it, and continued to lay in bed for a few more minutes. But then I suddenly realized that it was the scent of the kids' shampoo - and I immediately hopped out of bed. Our darling little girl had climbed onto the toilet, taken the extra bottle from the cabinet, and was pouring it onto the carpet in our bedroom. Lovely. That stuff really foams when you try to clean it up!!

Here's hoping that the remainder of the day is blissfully uneventful.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Crack-Up

The kids were exploring in my crafty space (which will be looking all too swank this evening with the addition of cabinets!) when our son found a little bag with some Andes mints (I use quite a bit of candy to make little "gifty" samples). Our conversation went as follows:

"Mom, what are these?"
"Don't worry about it. They're not for you."
(Enthusiastically) "Wow, I've never had not-for-mes before!!"
(Snorts of laughter from me)

I'm telling you, this little boy never fails to make me laugh. Definitely a good thing today as the kids are still in super whiny/meltdown mode. Neither of them slept that well due to the coughing, and we also realized that our son ate some chocolate covered coffee beans last night. I already have a headache from their fighting. It's not good when both kiddos are in time-out before 7 am. I need to run out for some basic groceries, and then I think we'll be playing outside, followed by Play Dough (always a happy event around here!)

And can I just say that we are having some strange weather! Yesterday barely broke 70, and I made a batch of beef stew for dinner. Not usual late-July fare. It's supposed to be quite cool for the rest of the week, too. I think we've only run our A/C 3 or 4 days so far this summer. Wacky! (And my parents are sweltering out in Montana!) But I'm definitely NOT complaining. Quite refreshing to have summer electric bills under $200.

Have a great Tuesday!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monday Musings

The weather was just gorgeous this weekend! I finished painting the cabinets, but they won't be installed until tomorrow night (and my hubby will actually have help!) In not-so-great news, the kids have both picked up some sort of bug: wet cough, just general mopiness. Our daughter is actually running a fever this morning, too, so I know that it's not just my imagination. We kept them home from church yesterday, so they're now going stir crazy as they haven't seen any of their friends for several days now. Not happening today, either! I had stopped at the library when I ran some errands on Saturday, so at least they have some new books to keep them occupied.

Yesterday our pastor spoke on Acts 22:30-23:10. We've been working our way through the book, and are now to the point where Paul has been arrested and will be spending the rest of his life imprisoned. Yes, I know the basic stories, but it's been really good to revisit them and really study it. In this particular passage, we looked at how Paul responded to the circumstances, turning oppression into opportunity. He stood his ground, using Scripture to back himself up. Do I know the Word well enough that I can rely upon it during times of trouble? (I must admit that I'm more of a concordance girl) And can I say that I stand in good conscience? If not, how many opportunities have I missed because of my personal sin issues. Yes, there's that double-edged sword, piercing down to the very soul of the matter (Hebrews 4:12).

In other Sunday news, our worship team leader was away this week, and we totally managed to flub up our last song (Lord Reign in Me), but I want to end with these two lines:

Over every thought, over every word
May my life reflect the beauty of My Lord

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Funny

In honor of the lovely weather we've been having...

What happens when it rains cats and dogs?
You have to be careful not to step in a poodle.

What do you call it when it rains chickens and ducks?
Fowl weather.

What did the rain cloud wear under his coat?

What do raindrops always say?
Two's company, three's a cloud.

- - - - - - -
A store manager overheard a clerk saying to a customer, "No, ma'am, we haven't had any for some weeks now, and it doesn't look as if we'll be getting any soon."

Alarmed by what was being said, the manager rushed over to the customer who was walking out the door and said, "That isn't true, ma'am. Of course, we'll have some soon. In fact, we placed an order for it a couple of weeks ago."

Then the manager drew the clerk aside and growled, "Never, never, never, never say we don't have something. If we don't have it, say we ordered it and it's on its way. Now, what was it she wanted?"

The clerk smiled and said..."Rain..."


First coat is on!

I had hoped to get by with only two coats of paint, but it looks like I may need three. Bad news is that it's taking forever to dry since it's so humid, so installation may be pushed back to tomorrow. I'm also considering doing some sort of faux finish or texture effect on them, but can't decide. For now I think I'll just settle for good ol' white. I'm also planning to stamp a large image on the center of each door, so that will break up the white expanse. But maybe I should just focus on weeding through my junk first :)

In home front news, our daughter has discovered how to give raspberry kisses, so there's been much gigggling (and slobbery cheeks!). Our son is still loving his Rescue Heroes, especially since he was given the Command Center a few weeks ago (love it when friends with older kids do their toy purging!)

I'm off to throw a batch of lemon garlic chicken into the crockpot, do a couple loads of laundry, and slap on more paint!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rain and Date Night

So this is what yesterday afternoon looked like at our house. Definitely put a crimp in my sanding/painting plans... I have some things I need to do this morning, but hopefully I can finish sanding this afternoon.

Had a wonderful time with my hubby last night. Went to Carlucci's for dinner, a place we'd driven by many times (and heard good things about), but never stopped. The food was fantastic. Wonderfully fresh ingredients, and just generally yummy. Plus we have enough leftovers that we'll be dining on it again tonight! We wandered the mall just a bit after that, and I've come to the realization that I'm a boring "old" person. We checked out pricing on cell phone plans, laughed about the fashions on display in the store windows, warded off overzealous kiosk vendors (no, I DON'T want lotion, gold bracelets, photo T-shirts or cheesy framed art!!) and basically just strolled around holding hands. Didn't spend a penny, but still enjoyable. There were several times that I caught myself watching the little groups of teens that seemed to be everywhere, thinking how young they loooked, wondering if their parents know where they are, how they're acting and what they're wearing... and then thinking back to when I used to hang out and window shop with friends. Was it really almost twenty years ago? Funny memories, but I'm so thankful to be where I am now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Checking In

Well, I'm happy to report that things have definitely improved since Saturday evening. My beloved dishwasher is properly functioning again (something had fallen in and gotten lodged in the seal), and I haven't come across any more spoiled ingredients in our kitchen...

I have been quite busy this week, though. Can't remember whether I've mentioned it on this blog, but I'm in the process of revamping my craft pit. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't "making stuff," and it seems that I've kept bits and pieces from all my various pursuits. I still have quite a lot of fabric, although I haven't done more than mending in quite some time, and then there's soap molds, fabric paints, embroidery floss... Anyway, ever since I discovered rubber stamping, those other pursuits have fallen to the wayside - but of course I didn't actually get rid of anything! Well, a friend of mine recently re-did her kitchen, and we were blessed to receive her old cabinets. They're nothing fancy: classic 70s plasticy veneer that was first painted powder blue, then a rich red. As you can see, they're now barn chic :) Seriously, though, I'm sanding them down and will be painting them white. After outfitting with new handles, they'll be quite lovely! The hard part will be making the final determination on what's allowed to be put into the cabinets, and what must go. I'm quite a packrat, and can justify saving anything - but the room as it stands now is so heaped up that it's virtually unusable. Time to get a handle on it, and hopefully start some GOOD habits. Today's plan is to finish sanding, and get the first coat of paint on. Second coat tomorrow, then installation on Friday.

In other exciting news, my hubby and I are going out tonight!!!!!!!!!! It's literally been about two years since we went on a true date (stuff like weddings doesn't count). We are going to do monthly "kid swapping" with another couple so that we can spend some quality time with our spouses. We're probably just going to go to dinner, and then walk the mall or something. I don't want to go to a movie because I want to talk to him, not just stare ahead at the giant screen.

Well, I'm off!! Have a wonderful Wednesday!! And remember - whatever you do, do it all for His glory! (I Cor 10:31)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Definitely not my night!

So hubby headed out to the church at 7:30 this morning to revamp the sound setup. The kids and I have a little tradition: when he's away on a business trip, we have breakfast food for dinner one night. Well when I told the kids that daddy wouldn't be home for dinner, our son immediately asked if we could have pancakes. Sure, no problem!

I've been hitting good sales on Krusteaz, so lately we've been using "just add water" mix, but it's now gone. I decided that I'd go into good mommy mode and mix up a batch with the kids. You know, they get to help me count how many scoops of everything and we'll talk about fractions. I dig out my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook, and we get to work. We whip up the batter, and I pour them onto the griddle and finish setting the table. The first batch finishes cooking, and I take them off, start another round cooking, and then start to cut two up for the kids. As I'm cutting, I take a tiny corner to taste - and practically spit it across the kitchen. EWWWWWWW!!! Evidently my shortening had gone bad (after I pulled it out of the cabinet, I see that it expired in Sept 05; come to think of it, I honestly can't remember the last time I used it). So I dump everything in the garbage and tell the kids that we'll be eating leftover pork chops instead. Tears of sadness from both kiddos, so I decide to make another batch of pancakes. This time I turn to Fannie Farmer for a recipe. Throw the 2 Tb of butter into the microwave to melt, then go break up argument over Legos. What was that loud noise? Oops, guess I pushed a 6 instead of a 3, and got a full minute rather than the 30 seconds I wanted. Do a cursory wipe-down of the microwave, and add it to my mental list of stuff to be cleaned. I add the rest of the ingredients, and empty the flour container I have on the kitchen counter. No problem - quick trip to the pantry for my next bag. No way! I'm completely out!! Totally forgot I used up my reserve when I baked all those muffins last month. I'm not wasting this batter; everything else is already in there (including the last two eggs I had!) so I just need some sort of filler. Ooh, I have oat bran in the cabinet. Nice save! I finish it up and start cooking. They smell great, and I sample a small mostly-cooked bit just to make sure everything is OK. Yum, and bonus points for fiber :)

Kids are chowing down, and I'm cooking the second round. Kids ask for more, so guess they approve. Take the next batch off the stove, and then dump the remaining batter for one large pancake (my dinner). Refill the kids' milks, then back to the stove to flip. Wait, why am I stepping in water? Oh no, the dishwasher is leaking again!! Shut if off, grab towels and clean up the flood. Oh no, my dinner's burning! Oh well, glad there were some smaller ones left over. Reach for the syrup - only to discover that one of the kids had knocked it over, spreading its gooey sweetness all over the table and onto the floor. And of course I don't have another bottle in the house.

I'm eating a peanut butter sandwich - no sharp knives or electrical appliances required.

Hubby called - work at the church still isn't done, but he's left as he'd promised to help a friend out tonight. He's driving straight there and has no idea how long it will take. I'll be happy if I see him by 11:00. I just hope I don't break any windows in the meantime...

Hair Creativity

Our daughter's hair is about shoulder length, but shorter around her face and very fine, so I generally just slap a single barrette or clip in it to try and keep it out of her face. I decided to get creative this morning, though. Couldn't get a french braid to work, so did a simple backtwist with a few strands and then secured it. Managed to snap this picture during the four minutes when it still looked pretty good - most of it has pulled out now and she just has a barrette dangling at the side. Anyone have any other suggestions? I'm still trying to figure this out, as I'm used to dealing with my mop...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Funny

Howzabout a little beach humor?

A couple lived near the ocean and used to walk the beach a lot. One summer they noticed a girl who was at the beach pretty much every day. She wasn't unusual, nor was the travel bag she carried, except for one thing; She would approach people who were sitting on the beach, glance around, then speak to them.

Generally, the people would respond negatively and she would wander off, but occasionally someone would nod and there would be a quick exchange of money for something she carried in her bag. The couple assumed she was selling drugs and debated calling the cops, but since they didn't know for sure they just continued to watch her.

After a couple of weeks the wife asked, "Honey, have you ever noticed that she only goes up to people with boom boxes and other electronic devices?" He hadn't and said so. Then she said, "Tomorrow I want you to get a towel and our big radio and go lie out on the beach. Then we can find out what she's really doing."

Well, the plan went off without a hitch, and the wife was almost hopping up and down with anticipation when she saw the girl talk to her husband and then leave. The man walked up the beach and met his wife at the road.

"Well, is she selling drugs?" she asked excitedly.

"No, she's not." he said, enjoying this probably more than he should have.

"Well, what is it, then?" his wife fairly shrieked.

The man grinned and said. "Her name is Sally and she's a battery salesperson."

"Batteries?!?" cried the wife ............................................

"Yes," he replied, "Sally sells C cells by the Seashore."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Something to think about...

Just read this very interesting article (link was on MSN.com):

Vatican: Jesus formed "only one church"

Funny, I thought Jesus came in order to save the lost (Matthew 19:10). His apostles were commanded to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8), and as they shared the good news of Christ, bodies of believers began to form. We are social beings, and we need this! (Hebrews 10:25) Paul addresses many issues arising from this social interaction throughout the epistles. Check out I Corinthians 12:12-31 for starters. And how about Ephesians 4:2-6.

But how twisted we humans have made this! The line that bothers me the most is the statement that other bodies are "not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the 'means of salvation.' ” (quote from the article, but emphasis mine).

When Jesus was talking with Nicodemus, he didn't tell him to go to church, but spoke of God's amazing love that caused Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him whall not perish but have eternal live. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17) Paul later expanded on this point, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly...But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!... Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:6, 8-9, 11)

And lastly, several chapters in Hebrews are devoted to Christ's role as our High Priest (see 7:23-8:2 and 10:19-22, 13:20) There is no human role in salvation, other than each of us accepting the gift. And it saddens (and even angers!) me to read that the Pope, considered by so many to be the holiest person on earth, is changing this message.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday Memory - My Home Town

Ah, more fun reminiscing! I was born and raised in Billings, Montana, and have many wonderful memories of "The Magic City" (although I've gotta say that nickname always seemed rather silly to me!) It started out a railroad town, and is now the largest city in the region: estimates put it at just over 100,000. Tiny by East Coast standards, but it truly has a larger "feel" to it, with the airport, hospitals, museums, etc.

It really is lovely, with bluffs on the north side, a/k/a "The Rims." I always liked sitting up there, looking out over the city and at the mountains (on clear days) or chatting with friends. It's especially pretty at night, and absolutely breathtaking during storms (I love watching lightning!). Like any teenager, I spent plenty of time hanging at the mall, but I always loved that we could hop in a car and drive out of the city in a relatively brief time - a feeling I really miss out here in PA, where the houses never seem to end! I also miss the low humidity :)

My parents still live there, and I do enjoy visiting. Can't wait to share the magic of The Rims with our kids (if I can keep our son from excessive exploration!) Learn more about Billings here or here.

Share your own memory, and join in the Monday Memory fun!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday Funny

Have you seen the lovely painting entitled Irish Summer? It's by Paddy O'Furniture.

Our family got new summer clothes - summer paid for, summer not.

And for those of you who are pondering heading to the public pool to beat the heat, check THIS out!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Celebration Time

Hope you all had a great 4th of July! We had some friends over on Tuesday night, and then yesterday afternoon had a wonderful BBQ with the worship team from our church. I made a VAT of beans on Tuesday afternoon, knowing I'd get double duty out of them. I promise they're super delish - I've tweaked this recipe and I'm convinced it's practically perfect. So in the spirit of summer picnics, thought I'd share some bean love...

Baked Beans

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 lb bacon, trimmed of excess fat, cooked and chopped
3/4 c onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c sugar
1/4 c ketchup
1/2 c prepared BBQ sauce
2 Tb spicy brown mustard
1 Tb dark molasses
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 cans butter beans (or white northern/cannellini beans)*
1 can kidney beans*
1 can black beans*
2 cans pork & beans
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp gr black pepper
1 1/2 tsp celery flakes

*all beans drained and rinsed

Stir together all ingredients, and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or in crock pot (high 4 hours, low 6+ hours).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Painted Piggies

Painted our daughter's toenails for the first time today - it's a very subtle color (just couldn't bring myself to paint 'em blood red!) but she's quite proud of her "pretty feet!"

Monday, July 2, 2007

What a weekend!!

We had a great time with family this weekend. My hubby's sister was visiting from AZ, so we rounded up all the cousins for some fun. We went to Lake Nockamixon State Park on Friday - fed the ducks, watched the boats, blew bubbles, and just generally kicked back. Saturday, though, was a different story!! Everyone was here and we ate (LOTS!), watched the kids splash around (and even threw a few in the pool), and played to the point of exhaustion. What a blessing to be able to spend time together!