Sunday, November 30, 2008

I LOVE these monkey snowsuits

I am willing to go out and buy new carseats just so our twins can wear these adorable monkey snow suits! (Because the babies don't fit very well in their car seats with the suits on.) My husband, not so much... on the buying new car seats part. He thinks the suits are cute, too.

Daniel didn't think they were all that great, but I think Dennis knew he was a cutie pie!

Kynzie's Ready for a Winter Wonderland

Yesterday when we left for my Grandma's Thanksgiving dinner, it was snowing heavy, wet flakes. Kynzie was more than thrilled to see the snow. But by the time we arrived back home, she was crying. I asked why, and she said because the snow was all gone already. She didn't even get to play in it. I was so sad for her!

This morning when I saw snow on the ground, however thin a layer, I turned into a giddy little girl! I wasn't as excited about the snow as I was about telling Kynzie it was outside. And she was beyond excited to see it. She started making plans. "I'll wear my gloves, and... Mommy can I taste it when we go outside? How long will it stay today?" And on and on for quite dome time.

Max followed her excitement cautiously. I don't think he remembers much of the snow. Or maybe he does remember and doesn't care for it as much. We'll see.

It is really funny that she loves the snow so much. Scott, of course, despises cold weather and snow and all that goes with it. I don't hate snow; I think it can be beautiful. I would like it much better if it wasn't so cold. We haven't done extensive snow playing or anything, but she has fond memories of what we have done I guess.

Scott usually puts aside his winter disdain and builds a snowman with the kids at least once a winter. I should say snow giants because he tries to build them taller than himself. He has taken Delainey sledding, but has yet to do that with Kynzie. Delainey or I have played in the snow with Kynzie, carrying on the traditions from my childhood - snowball fights, attempts at snow forts, snow angels, and Kynzie's favorite, snow ice cream. Here is last year's post about snow ice cream.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Satuday Evening at Our House

Tonight was a good night for the most part...

Daniel figured out how to go from tummy to sitting upright all by himself tonight. So, I can leave the room with Daniel on his belly. Then come back into the room and he is sitting up all by his little self. It is quite a sight to get used to. I had to rethink whether I really left him on his tummy the first time I came back and he was upright.

The twins are 7 months old now. Dennis isn't sitting up yet, but he does enjoy clapping these days. Both boys enjoyed some sweet potatoes again this evening. This is the 2nd time they have eaten store bought baby food, as opposed to home made.

Dad and Mom came here after out Thanksgiving at my Grandma's, and they brought the turkey and some other leftovers that made for a yummy dinner for us. They invited us to eat turkey and noodles with them after church tomorrow. Yum Yum!

Max just asked if it was time for bed, and I said it's almost time. He said, "I miss Daddy." Isn't that sweet? The girls are watching Veggie Tales "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything", but he isn't interested. Most movies just aren't his thing. He will sit through Blue's Clues most of the time. He is too active. Music often catches his attention, though. He went back to the TV when the "music videos" came on at the end of the movie.

I told the kids they could have a little ice cream before bed; he said he wants pears instead. Delainey bought some mint chocolate chip ice cream flavored chewy candy and ate one in the car. I had one too, and didn't care for it one bit. Kynzie smelled the candy smell - "What's that smell? It smells like candy, like chocolate candy." So, Delainey shared one with Max and one with Kynzie. Kynzie loved it. Max spit out the one tiny bite he took and said it tasted like ice cream.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Have a Grateful Heart

I have so many blessings for which I am grateful! I woke up this morning to the twins' chatter accompanied by smiles. How much better can life get? Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the many blessings you have given. Blessed be the name of the Lord. You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say blessed be Your name.

We are in a season, if you will, of the Father "giving" it seems, and I want to give thanks.

I am thankful for my husband. He loves his family so much and wants to be an involved father and husband. He has the desire to provide for his family and does it without complaint. I am glad that he takes an interest in leading us in knowing and loving the Lord. He is a wonderful man and a blessing in my life.

I am so thankful for each one of my children. They are each so unique and gifted in their own ways. I thank God many times a day for each of them and that I am able to stay home with them!

I am thankful for my parents. Thank you Dad and Mom for all that you have done. God used you to lay a firm foundation. I pray you reap the blessings of the seeds you've sewn (and continue to sew).

I am thankful for my brother and his family and my sister and her family. These are my best friends, and I am so glad God coordinated us all to be a family.

I am thankful for my husband's family. God blessed me with in-laws who are caring and supportive of our family.

I am thankful for our church and church family and friends there. It has truly been a wonderful support system.

I am thankful for our coop. This has been a huge help in our home school journey this year, and the great group of families being knit together is a terrific added bonus.

I am thankful for our home and all our material possessions.

I am thankful also for all the memories I have of holidays past. Times with my Granny and Prampa who are no longer with us, and times with my Grandpa and Grandma. I loved holidays as a kid (just as I still do). I couldn't wait to get to my grandparents' homes to give big hugs and kisses and then play with my cousins. I loved the smells of the food cooking, the sounds of the adults talking and laughing with each other, the yummy dessert tables, playing games... I have always loved family get-togethers. I hope my kids do too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bug, You're My Little Girl

Delainey turned 14 on Monday. I am so proud of her. That she made it to 14. Ha, ha! No, just kidding. I am so proud of how she has grown and matured in the last year. Happy birthday, Delainey-Bug! I love you! I am so thankful that God blessed my life with you. You have challenged me, made me grow and made me seek after God more intensely. You have given me countless joys over the years, bringing many a smile to my face and much laughter to my lips. Your hand in mine is still as precious now as it was when you were born. I am so pleased when you choose to move forward and press into Jesus despite what fears you may have or what hindrances may come... Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid... for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. - Deut. 31:6

You're my little girl, but you were His first
the one that He created
No one in this world could ever be like you...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Plans to give me hope...

I say I trust in God. And I mean it to varying degrees each time I say it or think it or pray it. I think He is calling me to a deeper place yet again. Growing pains hurt. Especially spiritual growing pains.

I have spent several days sitting around having a it of a pity party for myself. You see, I feel like I have worked really hard toward certain goals lately, and I have come so close to achieving those certain goals. But I've been blocked. I can't see the goals on the horizon anymore.

I feel like I have been diligent in particular areas, and now, right before what should be the payoff, it is cutoff. So, I have asked God why. I have whined about it. I have tried to figure ways around it. But all I needed to do was say okay God, you know what is ahead... you lead the way, and I will follow you. I trust you.

It is so simple, but yet so difficult. I have to get out of my own way. Lay down my plans. Throw out my carefully laid out plans. That is really hard to do sometimes. But it brings so much peace to let go and let God take the lead in your life. It isn't the way of this world; It almost seems backwards. Let go and you have peace? You should have a plan to have peace.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..."

Because of things in my past, it is sometimes difficult for me to believe that people don't have ulterior motives. I don't want it to be that way, and God has done much healing in this area, but I have become painfully aware that I still operate in this broken way, even toward God.

But His word says His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me. I believe it. I believe He is calling me to believe it on a new and deeper level. So, I lay down my best laid plans, and say, Yes Lord, I trust you.

Home Made Muesli Mix Brings Germany Home

mmm, mmm, mmm good! That's what this is. When Scott came home from Germany in February, he was constantly raving about the breakfasts he ate daily. Yogurt, apple cider type beverage, fruits, and a granola-like cereal. He spoke longingly of this granola-like cereal often. I dismissed the notion of having it here, thinking it was most likely a "Germany only thing".

In the meantime, I had been searching for an alternative to prepackaged oatmeal (because I don't care for it). I want something a little healthier and more filling than sugary boxed cereal. I like to reserve that for a special occasion or a treat or snack more than a way to start the day. So, I first came across Swiss oatmeal in a cookbook. (I cut the recipe down to 2 servings.) This was better, but still not quite the texture I desire.

One day, while on a search for a healthy, yet easy treat to take to a get-together, I spied a bag of Bob's Red Mill Muesli that looked interesting. It even had a delicious cookie recipe on the back. I took it home and made a batch of the cookies. I felt the recipe needed modifications and was quite pleased with the end result.

Also on the bag was the directions to eat the muesli as cereal, either hot or cold. I decided to give the cold version with milk a try first and found that I really enjoyed it. When I described my new found breakfast delight to Scott he said, "That's sounds like what I ate in Germany!"

As a side note, I grew up not liking hot cereals, porridges, or gruel of any sort. I also did not care for milk in my cereal. The texture of soggy cereal was not bearable for me. And, with maybe two exceptions, I still don't care for these things. So, trying to find something similar to what I don't like in a form that I do like has been a challenge.

Now I make it at home. And here is the recipe so far. I am sure as I learn more and try this or that, my recipe will change. What is Muesli, anyway? Check out the Wikipedia definition.

O'Brien Morning Muesli

4 cups 100% whole grain rolled oats (thick cut may taste better, but I haven't tried that variety yet)
1 cup pearled barley, uncooked
1 cup unsweetened flake coconut (not shredded)
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4-1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted is best
1 cup raisins
1/4-1/2 cup date crumbles, look for no sugar added
1/4-1/2 dried cranberries
2-3 tablespoons flax seeds

Mix it all together and keep it in an airtight storage container. I actually doubled this today, and it should last us 1 week if Scott, Kynzie, and I eat it. (Scott may not eat it until he has his dentist appointment next week.)

If you do soak the oats overnight before mixing the cereal, which is probably the healthiest way as soaking grains brings out the best nutrient-wise, you would want to reduce the recipe down to tablespoons at a time instead of cups. You would only want to soak what you could eat in one day at a time. You could also mix fresh fruits instead of dry this way.

I add a little cinnamon and Stevia to it in my cereal bowl. Kynzie likes it this way as well. I have a sweet tooth that I am trying to tame, and Stevia seems to help in that department.

Scott enjoys it with a glass of apple cider just like in Germany. In fact, it brought back memories of Germany so vividly for him he's going back again! Seriously, his work is sending him back to Germany but only for a week this time.

Anyway, I also found a great recipe for Chicken Barley Soup to use some of the pearled barley! Maybe I'll post that one later.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bittersweet Good-Bye for Ol' Blue (aka Storm Chaser)

Tonight Scott called and said something like “I’m going to be a little late picking Delainey up tonight… I crashed my car.” I first said, “Are you joking?” He has been known to make up silly things from time to time to time and time again. So, I actually ended up asking him a second time. He seemed remarkably calm for him, but he also wasn’t making complete sense. He can get irritated when I try to ask clarifying questions and he isn’t in the clarifying mood. I just tried to quickly sort out in my mind what he was saying and make sure he was okay.

He is okay. He may be sore, but he is okay. Thank you, Lord. And thank you that no one else was hurt either.

In fact, no other vehicle was involved. Just a light pole. He rear-ended a light pole, so to speak, swerving to miss a turning vehicle down a slippery hill.

That truck has served him (us) well, but I guess the “storm-chasers” days are over. It is a little bit bittersweet Bitter because now we’re down to one car again which means I won’t have a car often. And sweet because… I can’t really think of anything sweet right now. So just bitter.

No, that isn’t right. It is good he wasn’t hurt. It is good that wasn’t our only vehicle. It is good that we have another opportunity to wait on the Lord’s provision just like we did when we first received that truck as a free gift! There! That is the something sweet! It was FREE! So, bittersweet.

A good cornbread recipe for an iron skillet

I made cornbread in my iron skillet… I am still looking for the BEST cornbread recipe, but this one was pretty good. Is all cornbread a little on the dry side? But this one was not nearly as crumbly as many other recipes I've made/eaten.
1 cup cornmeal – I only had maybe 2/3 cup left, so I added a little corn grits (polenta) to make it just under 1 cup. Then added a little extra flour.
1 cup flour – I used a combination of white and whole wheat.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 ½ cup buttermilk – I did not have buttermilk, so I used 1 cup plain yogurt and ½ cup milk.
1/3 cup sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Here is where I found the original recipe: But of course, I couldn’t just make it as stated. I didn’t mix it in the order they suggest either, but it may have been even better if I had. I think this was the best cornbread I have made yet. It isn’t terribly sweet, but you can always add honey and butter when you’re ready to eat it up. It had a good flavor and a good texture. Oh, and I added cinnamon because I am a bit of a cinnamon fanatic. A teaspoon of vanilla would add some nice flavor as well.

Next time, I may add flax seeds, too…

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Talk about sensory integration!

“Mom, my eye bulb is bumpy…” (a short silence as I glance back to see her with her finger in her eye, and before I could spit out a warning about fingers in eyes especially in the car… “and, it tastes like… banana.”

What?! Kynzie is so “5-senses” oriented. But I don’t think I realized just to what extent!

Brotherly Love

We dropped Delainey off at a friend’s birthday party today, and Max began to cry when she jumped out of the car. He was so sad to leave without Delainey. It is so sweet that he loves her so much. Kynzie and Delainey tend to argue and disagree more often, but Max has a different relationship with his oldest sister. (Although, Kynzie does miss Delainey when she is gone as well and loves it when Delainey agrees to play house or school with her!)

Max even seeks out Delainey for comfort if I am nursing or otherwise indisposed during the day. Once recently when Max wanted to do something and Daddy told him no, he turned around and asked me. Mommy explained that if Daddy already said no, he shouldn’t come ask me – no is no. He then declared that he would go ask Delainey as he turned and headed into the other room. Too cute! You never know what they are thinking, and I love that he is able to fully communicate to us what is on his mind. Well, as fully as he does anyway.

I'm sure a bit of the close connection the kids have stems from our decision to home school. It is such a blessing to my heart. The little kids don’t know what it would be like for Delainey to leave every day to go to “school”. She does it right here at home. That is what is normal for Kynzie and Max.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future... and it isn't Barak Obama

I know I am going from an apple pie post to this one, but my heart is heavy as I type this. I wonder if there were any Israelites who felt this way after Samuel, God's prophet, introduced Saul as the first king of Israel. I wonder if anyone asked God why He would allow it to happen. The people wanted a king. Americans seem to want a king of sorts... There are Samuels who have been warning us what it will be like, but we aren't heeding the warnings.

Just for the record, Saul was chosen by God to be king. Here is a description of Saul from the Bible that I thought was interesting - "...a choice and handsome {man,} and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people." He was also from the smallest family of the smallest tribe of Israel.
I am not really saying that Obama is like Saul... I am suggesting the situation may have similarities.

The people of Israel had rejected God's rule over them. This is true of America as well. Read below for Samuel's warnings about a king...

God told Samuel "...{the people} have rejected me, that I should not reign over them... Now, therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."

He {Samuel} said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.

Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.

He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day."

Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, "No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."

-scriptures taken from 1 Samuel 8:7-20

So, what do we do? Maybe we should have done a little more of this prior to now, but there's no time like the present. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. - 2 Ch 7:14

This is a great place to start. Also, pray for Barak Obama and his family. Pray he will have a very personal and meaningful encounter with the one, true Jesus Christ. Pray for the lives of the unborn. Pray for God to weigh on the hearts of all of us to protect those who are so precious and have no voice of their own.

Pray also for Israel in the days, months and years to come.

Remember, David was chosen as king after Saul! David was considered by God to be a man after God's own heart.