Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Recipe Time

I wanted to share the recipe for the coffee cake I took to MOPS yesterday. It's absolutely scrumptious, and super easy, too (sorry, but I don't remember where the recipe originally came from). I'd love to post a picture, but my pan came home empty :)

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
1 pkg yellow cake mix
2 pkgs instant vanilla pudding mix (4 serving size)
4 eggs
1 c water
1 c vegetable oil
1 c packed brown sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mix, pudding mixes, eggs, water, and oil, and mix until well blended. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts. Pour half of the batter into a greased 9x13 pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with half of the nut mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter, and sprinkle with the rest of the nut mixture. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn the oven down to 325 and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes.

Experiment with different pudding flavors, add chocolate or butterscotch tips to the batter, and/or use a different nuts in the streusel. Yummy!

And want to be a supermom with a well-stocked freezer? Check out some awesome freezable "smoosh" meal suggestions here!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Just thought I'd check in. Our family continues to be busy - but then what's new?! :)

It also seems as though every woman I know has recently commented that they're going through a "dry" time. Tasks are being accomplished, but without passion. The family is being cared for, but it's simply a matter of fulfilling duties. Not quite sure why this is the case, but it does seem that Satan is doing his best to drag us down... I know I've been writing quite often about the fruits of the spirit and being Christlike, but I'm struggling right now. As I was driving to MOPS this morning, I had on a Rich Mullins CD, and was singing right along with "Hold Me, Jesus."

Hold me, Jesus, cuz I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't you be my Prince of Peace

I need to cling to Him, and rest in His peace. Whether I'm up or down, He's my constant. Not my hubby or a family member or a good friend, but my Savior. I know He's provided some amazing people to minister to me, but that's not where I'll find my strength.

Lastly, I stumbled on a bit of encouragement in an unlikely place (an article about being "ready" for marriage) and wanted to share these words from Candice Watters:

The purpose of our lives is not to self-actualize, but to bring glory to God. How we feel about our looks, or weight, or job, or social life, or any other measure of success on any given day is, in the scope of eternity, irrelevant. Does God want us to be full of joy? Yes. Is that joy dependent on your self-image? Thankfully, no. His joy and peace are among the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They come by giving thanks in all circumstances, praying without ceasing, and cultivating the Holy Spirit's activity in your life. None of this hangs on what kind of "self-image day" we're having. Though I know in my life that the more I practice these spiritual disciplines, the more irrelevant my externals become.

Excellent reminder.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Funny

The Banana Test
There is a very, very tall coconut tree and there are 4 animals: a Lion, a Chimpanzee, a Giraffe, and a Squirrel, who pass by.
They decide to compete to see who is the fastest to get a banana off the tree.
Who do you guess will win?
Your answer will reflect your personality, so think carefully . . .
Try to answer within 30 seconds

Got your answer?
Now scroll down to see the analysis.

If your answer is:
Lion = you're dull.
Chimpanzee = you're a moron.
Giraffe = you're a complete idiot.
Squirrel = you're just hopelessly stupid.

Obviously you're stressed and overworked.
You should take some time off and relax!

(thanks for the laugh today, Jacki! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh, how I long to be good...

Good Mom vs. Me

Fun little read - I love her honesty and I can SO relate. I'm really feeling like the lousy wife/mother these days for a variety of reasons, and need to keep my eyes on Jesus so that I can move back up, rather than wallowing in my little self-made hole.

...Maybe instead of trying to be more like Good Mom, I could begin to let Jesus be Jesus in me...


On a side note, I know that I'm trying too hard "on my own." That's not where I'll find the answers. I made a little door hanger this past week that you can see here. So far it's been a good reminder.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I wrote this post about six weeks ago. Ran across a quote earlier today, and it got the wheels turning again...

“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” - John Wesley

Not quite sure how I feel about that. I guess I look at money as a means to an end: having some in savings means that we can be breathe a bit easier, being somewhat prepared for whatever the future may hold. But I also know that the Lord will meet all our needs. So are our needs being met through our planning, or are we actually getting in the way of some miracle that's in store?

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:24

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. I Timothy 6:10

I'm not saying that we're suddenly going to be liquidating all our assets (wow, doesn't that sound grand, LOL!) but I just want to make sure that our hearts are in the right place. That we're doing the right thing - as Christians, not "good Americans." I don't think that it's a sin to have things (or money in the bank) but I also know that I need to rest in my Savior, not on my own strength. On the other hand, I think there are some people that also love the idea of thriftiness a bit too much, and that becomes a god for them. "Did you see how much I got for just thirty seven cents?!?" More stuff to ponder...

Monday, April 21, 2008


I'm teaching the 2-3 YO class this month at church, and am missing hearing the sermons. I came across this yesterday over at Blissfully Domestic, and I read it 3 or 4 times, just letting in sink in. I know these past few weeks I've felt pulled in many directions, and honestly I've been praying for strength to persevere and get it all done. While that is important (no, I can't just sit on the couch all day watching HGTV :), this served as a reminder that I need to rest in my Savior.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28 NLT

Rest from the burden of a small god. Why? Because I have found the Lord.
Rest from doing things my way. Why? Because the Lord is my Shepherd.
Rest from endless wants. Why? Because I shall not want.
Rest from weariness. Why? Because He makes me to lie down.
Rest from worry. Why? Because He leads me.
Rest from hopelessness. Why? Because He restores my soul.
Rest from guilt. Why? Because He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
Rest from arrogance. Why? Because of His name’s sake.
Rest from the valley of death. Why? Because He walks me through it.
Rest from the shadow of grief. Why? Because He guides me.
Rest from fear. Why? Because His presence comforts me.
Rest from loneliness. Why? Because He is with me.
Rest from shame. Why? Because He has prepared a place for me in the presence of my enemies.
Rest from my disappointments. Why? Because He anoints me.
Rest from envy. Why? Because my cup overflows.
Rest from doubt. Why? Because He follows me.
Rest from homesickness. Why? Because I will dwell in the house of my Lord forever.

From Traveling Light Copyright 2001, Max Lucado

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Checking In

I realized I never officially confirmed that hubby made it back home. Yes, he's here, but tired and still trying to get back on Eastern daylight time. Regardless, we're all thrilled he's back home... Here are big & little D watching cartoons together this morning :)

Hubby was pretty busy on this trip, so didn't get a chance to head to any markets to find any fun souvenirs. He did bring me a free publication he'd gotten from one of the hotels, and I thought I'd share some insights into current Chinese life. First off, check out those stylin' vests (not to mention the tights with shorts). Holy toledo, I'm having flashbacks to 5th grade...

And for the discerning consumer, why settle
for a plain old earpiece when you can have a
cartoon lodged on your ear?

Finally, a fun recipe for you... evidently best
served with a fork and a carrot as utensils. Love the smiley plate!

OK, that's all the nonsense I have for today. Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Funny

Wanna hear a dirty joke? A kid fell in the mud.
Wanna hear a clean joke? He took a bath.

Where does a bat go to get clean?
The Bat Tub

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Recipe for childhood fun:


Add water.

But then when Mom goes back inside (to get meat marinating for dinner), it gets a bit out of hand...

I told them to pick up the patio while I got their bath ready. Well, three minutes later they're both standing the doorway, giggling.

Buck naked, announcing they're ready for bathtime.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quick Update

Will be leaving for the airport in just a couple minutes. Would have left half an hour ago if they stinkin' flight hadn't been delayed. Bleh.

On a happy note, sometimes it's worth filling out those silly customer service surveys! We needed a replacement tire, and it was one that was rather hard to find. Ended up ordering from a place online, and got a call the next day that it was temporarily backordered, but we should still have it by the coming Monday. I even asked what would happen if there was a longer delay, and I was assured that they update B/Os each night so we'd get another call if there was an issue. Well, we never heard anything... but never got a shipping notice, either. Finally heard back, and the tire was delivered on Tuesday. A week *AFTER* I'd been promised. We were frustrated, but didn't pursue it (just figured we wouldn't be ordering from that site anymore!). Got a follow up email asking for feedback, and I was polite but honest about our frustration. Wellllll, got a call from the customer service manager last night just following up, and after speaking to him for a bit, he ended up refunding our money. I was stunned, but certainly not about to turn down that offer. Yeehaw!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Deep breath, then let it alllll out...

It's been a rough couple days, and I'm soooo ready for hubby to come home. The kids have definitely been trying the old "let's see whose really in control here" routine and I'm just tired of everything being a battle. Just to make it interesting, our little girl is evidently fighting off some sort of bug - slight fever and a serious case of crankies. She's been saying that she has to gak for two days now, but it has yet to happen. She's been quite faithful in carrying around her little bucket, though, and this evening I just had to smile when she came and asked me to help. "Just push on my tummy, Mommy!" (But seriously, haven't we all had that awful feeling where you just know it would be better if you could just get it OUT...) And since she's had a fever, we missed church yesterday. D was actually crying that he couldn't see any of his friends; I must admit that I sort of felt the same way :)

I'm also rather frustrated because I haven't accomplished many of the household projects that I had planned while hubby was away. I did get a lot of stamping done early last week (which is a major stress-buster for me), but was hoping to move some pictures around and just freshen the house up a bit. Didn't happen. I did put out a big pile of trash on Friday night (yippee!) and my donation pile has grown as well (Purple Heart will be picking that up on Monday). I always have grandiose plans when hubby goes on long trips, but inevitably feel worn out just by normal day to day stuff. When will I learn?!

Thought I'd wrap up with another funny kid story. Saturday night, A was taking a long nap (the one plus of having a sick child!) and D was getting hungry. I gave him a few options of what we could have for dinner, but he had his own suggestion: "I know! We can have popcorn. You can just put it in the microwave, Mom. And I'll share. Sharing is good, right?" How's that for convincing reasoning?! But then that silly little moment got me thinking... "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (I Cor 13:11) How many times do I do the same thing to my Heavenly Father? I know what I want is childish, but I *want* it (can you hear my foot stomping?) and even find myself trying to tell Him why it would be a good thing. Laughable, isn't it? I've definitely grown in my faith - particularly since becoming a mother - but there are still moments where I become pouty, selfish child.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Funny

Some grocery humor today...

A young woman was working hard to stretch the grocery budget, particularly with meat being so expensive. She asked to speak with the butcher at a grocery store, specifially requesting a cut of beef with no fat and no bone. "Lady," came the gruff reply, "we've been trying to grow them like that for years, but they just fall over."

The new mother was excited to take her baby girl out for the first time, and decided the supermarket would be a good place for the excursion. She I dressed her in pink from head to toe and made sure the diaper bag was well stocked. As she walked the aisles, a number of shoppers stopped to coo at the adorable little bundle of joy. As the mother shopped, she carefully placed her items in the cart, around the baby who was safely secured in her seat. Having found everything on the list, she headed up front to check out. A small boy and his mother were ahead of her in line, and the toddler was crying, begging for some special treat. The new mother thought to herself that the little boy must be asking for candy or gum, and strained to listen to what the more experienced mother was saying. "No!" the woman said, glancing back at the baby. "You may not have a baby sister today. That lady got the last one!"

A woman was finishing up her grocery shopping, and had just handed over her pile of coupons. As the clerk scanned them, she inadvertently dropped one, and it slid beneath the produce scale where it could not be reached. The checker looked distressed, but the woman said, "It's OK, it's in coupon heaven now." "Coupon heaven?!" the checker said. "Yes," the woman replied, "That's where coupons go when they die." "Only the redeemed ones!" said the checker.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good times...

This morning I dropped the kiddos at a friend's house, and ran errands. Oh, how I love my precious alone time! I managed to return a pile of stuff to Wal-Mart in record time (most of it was craft stuff that I no longer had the receipt for - thank goodness for a lenient return policy!), and managed to avoid the "clearance" sign siren song and buy only the things on my sizable list. Paid about $15 out of pocket.

Next stop: Walgreen's to pick up a prescription. No line, and I'm outta there in less than five minutes.

Final stop: Salvation Army. I didn't make the big dropoff that I'd planned, but I did have a few things I was looking for: a purse and a pair of capris. I've had my current purse less than a year, and it still looks great except for the fact that one strap is dangling by threads (And I thought I was making a good investment by spending 20 bucks on a real brand during a fantastic sale). And well, I have 2 pairs of capris but one is no longer allowed to leave the house. So I started browsing and came across a pair of very nice pants. J Jill. With the inspector stickers still on the tag. I seriously don't think these were ever worn. They're simple yet sophisticated - dark, lightweight denim. The stuff every mom dreams of. Four bucks! I'm on a roll, so head on over to the handbag area. I scan the wall, looking for something in a light neutral. I grab one that looks promising, and I happen to notice it's "Gucci." I immediately laugh, as it's stamped into vinyl and the inside construction feels suspiciously cardboard-ish. But it's only three dollars and in pristine condition (not a single scuff!) so I figure it's worthwhile. There is a "Made in China" tag inside and I briefly wonder whether hubby has driven by its place of origin this week :) I browse a bit more, and find a couple things for the kiddos at half off, including a very cool wipe-off alphabet practice book (getting ready for kindergarten!) and a little fold-up Fisher Price girly castle that will go perfectly with the pocket-sized Disney princesses I scored at the consignment sale a couple weeks ago. (daughter will probably be receiving all this as a Christmas gift). I generally complain that our particular store is pretty lousy, but I can't complain about today's finds!

So I picked the kids back up, came home, and we immediately headed into the backyard to soak up the glorious spring day. Not a cloud in the sky, and 70-something degrees. Oh, and too early in the year for bugs :) This is my ideal weather. Kids ran around like loonies, and we eventually stopped to eat. Played a bit more, then bedtime. Oh, and have I mentioned that hubby will be home in less than a week?!?!? OK, so it's still six more days but I'm excited :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bringing the outside beauty in

Now presenting today's attempt at living beautifully.

Martha Stewart, eat your heart out. (I think she'd be most impressed with the wood paneling :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Heeeeeeere's Monday!

Well, we kicked off our weekend by getting up at 4:30 Saturday morning to take hubby to the airport. I don't recommend that particular activity - it leaves you alone with cranky children.

So moving on to Sunday... I'm teaching the 2-3 YOs this month. I really do enjoy it, but it's pretty challenging keeping them interested when their attention spans are approx 23.7 seconds. Oh, and there were 18 of them. Yikes! Even with two helpers we had our hands full. We did have a good time learning about the Good Samaritan, and even made paper plate donkeys. Good times!

Today is pretty low key. I'm doing normal catch-up (laundry, dishes, etc.) and also trying to do some in-depth cleaning (the kitchen floor reallllly needs more than a 6 minute mop job). I have a huge pile of outgrowns/no-longer-neededs in the garage, and am hoping it gets even bigger in the next two days as I do more de-cluttering. Salvation Army drop-off is scheduled for Thursday.

This weekend definitely felt spring-like, but today is much cooler. I'm so happy to see things leafing out and blooming! This shot is from the cherry bushes alongside our house. A friend posted earlier today about the phrase "Bloom Where You're Planted" and it really got me thinking. It's so easy to make excuses about why I'm not doing something, but God has given me all that I need for where I am right now. I read II Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. I'd say that's pretty clear. And then I continued reading: "This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ... " (vs 12-13a) Wow. Time to stop yapping and start doing. Bloom.

And finally, another kid story to share. Evidently we are raising a pantheist, as our son has been singing, "God is the world" ("God is so good" morphed with "God made the world") all weekend. Ever tried to convince a 5 YO that his doctrine is faulty, and that words really do matter?! I think we have it all straightened out now, and I think he even got what I was trying to tell him. He'd made this "vention" last week by pulling a few things from the recycling bin. I was able to use that as an example - he'd made it, but that wasn't him (he got a laugh out of me calling the contraption by his name, though!) Definitely a God-thing that I was able to come up with that example, as my mind doesn't normally work that fast. So cool to see him growing in understanding... (Prov 3:13)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Random Reading

Just browsing around the blogosphere this past week, and came across some articles.
  • Are we inadvertently changing the Word of God by making Bible stories "age appropriate"? I've thought of this as I'm reading to the kids from their Kiddie Bible (which REALLY condenses things) and also as I prepare lessons to teach at church. Read a bit more about that here (and there are some good comments, too).
  • We aren't raising children - we're raising ADULTS. We want the darling little people to grow into functioning members of society right? Well here's a handy resource that lists out age appropriate chores.

(both of these sites were found through "Fun Finds for April" over at Making Home. There's plenty more to explore over there if you have some time)

We're all still looking for ways to stretch a buck, right? Some good tips here. Or take it to another level, and think about this.

Working on becoming a Titus 2 woman? Thoughts on what it means to love our husbands here.

Read this quite awhile ago, but don't think I ever shared the link: "Forty Things I've Learned in Life"

And finally, just for laughs, dive into some vintage cookbooks here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday Funny

I personally am in the mood for spring and flowers. Did a quick search, and came across these:

See more here. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Catching Up

Can't believe it's Thursday already - this week has really flown by. The highlight so far has to be MOPS on Tuesday. April 1. When we realized that we had a meeting scheduled for April Fool's Day, the entire steering team agreed that we had to do something. Well, it was also a craft day, and a devious plan was formed. See, one of the crafts I wanted to do this year was beaded bookmarks, which are sometimes referred to as book thongs. Well, why not take the thong idea one step further? :) I got up and started talking about how we are not just moms, but also wives (and we truly have been addressing that very issue in other meetings). So to give everyone a little help in the "married fun" area, we'd be making thongs. Oh, and not just any kind - they're edible! I even had a sample made with fruit roll-ups (did you know that you can get ones with patterns printed on them?!) and red lace licorice. Hee Hee. Mixed reactions - some of the ladies were quite enthusiastic and others, well, not so much. But then our leader jumped in and yelled, "April Fool's!" and we got back to the real meeting. It was really fun to have a part in that little production (although it was really hard to keep a straight face during my intro).

In other news, we're actually staying healthy! That's a MAJOR praise, particularly as hubby will be heading off to China on Saturday. Our son is officially enrolled in kindergarten, and will be assessed in June. I made it through another dentist appointment, and we're heading to the pediatrician's office tomorrow for D's 5 yr check-up. Pretty thrilling stuff, eh?

Oh, and can I just say that I've now gotten three emails about "The Church of Oprah" exposed? Funny timing considering my post earlier this week - yes, there are a LOT of Christians that are now speaking out against her. Frankly, I haven't watched her show in years but have found her recent outspokenness to be alarming. I feel like our nation is headed into some turbulent times, and am praying for politicians and other public figures more than ever.

I want to end on a lighter note and share this pic of our daughter. She'd gotten a lot of dress-up items for Christmas/birthday and she's had fun playing with them, but these past couple weeks she's gotten REALLY into it. Well, yesterday morning she was "painting" her toenails with her play eyeshadow and brush. Too cute! I have a "girly girl" on my hands, and am not quite sure what to do with her :) Yet another matter for prayer...