Saturday, March 31, 2012

Extra Reading

For the last few months on and off, you’ve read my yammering about Jen Hatmaker and her thoughts. I’ve read her book “7” and have yet to write anything about it. That’s because right after I finished it, I slammed through her husband’s book “Barefoot Church”.  I’m not going to write about that yet either. They are both good GREAT! the end.

I now follow Brandon’s blog, self named If you’ve got a few minutes this weekend, follow this link to his post titled “Stop Serving the Poor”. Do it if you can. It’ll be good for you.

Now remember a ways back about my friend Janel and asking you to give towards one of their trips to Ghana? Well, she’s been there and back a couple of times and she’s got quite the stories from her last trip. They aren’t glamorous but they are God- gloried. I’m pointing you to “A Baby in the Bush” and it’s a stop and take it in story.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great weekend!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Building a Garden

When I was a kid, my siblings and I used to go to someone’s house who’s cars had CB’s. We had to pick out our handle- our name other’s would know us by. I chose “Green Thumb”. I was an aspiring gardener- which to my 8 year old self meant very little other than eating spinach straight out the garden.

Fast forward a bunch of years and my green thumb, well, let’s just say, it hasn’t fully developed yet. I like to think of my green thumb as really more of a lovely chartreuse color. I’ve managed to be able to plop a few plants in the ground and most of them have made it, give or take a rose bush (it’s a hearty little thing and should win an award for still making it under duress conditions). I’ve yet to venture into successful veggie growing.

This year, that’s all going to change!

Thanks to a crew of 6, our backyard now has two 12’x4’ raised beds.

So you’ve got to start things off right, which includes at least two trips to your local lumber/home improvement store- in our case, Lowes. In the first trip, you must take 3 kids, park at the opposite end of the store in relation to where your stuff actually is, load the timbers in one of those non-steerable cart thingies, have 2 kids try to ride while you push it to the main aisle, only to find you must actually go back into the store- halfway into the store- to pick up your other things and so then decide that somehow your raised garden bed will stay together with a glue gun, staples and Japanese Washi Tape but no way are you going to navigate that wheeled disaster back through the store for 10 spikes.

You will not get the same special memory any other way.

Note: On the second trip, you send your husband, who really knows what’s going on anyway with the boys. On the third trip, you leave the kids home to have popcorn for supper while you go with your hubs. Drop that silly notion that this trip is romantic. That has wore off loooong ago. It’s just quiet and you can think for once and have a full conversation with an adult for 30 minutes.

 Ben got permission to dig in the middle of the beds. Like everything he really enjoys, he went after it full gusto.

Starting to Dig

What does Norm always say (besides safety glasses are your best tool)? That’s right- Measure twice, cut once.

Measure Twice

I’m demonstrating how to hold a spike.

I Helped, Too

Audrey took ownership of a few jobs- drilling holes for the spikes and putting in the screws. But first, she needed a few tips and Ben and Luke supervise the supervisor, supervising the worker. Reminds me of a joke…

For Every Worker

Lucy is really the main job site supervisor. Obviously here, she’s making sure Mama’s garden will be level. If she’s gonna have to jump into it, she wants to clear it evenly.

Looks Level to Me

Again, lots of supervising. Notice Ben’s hole. At one point he tried to put Luke on his back and then stand on the shovel for more leverage.

Everyone Helps

Can sleeping on the site get you fired?

Pooped Pooch

Here it is, all finished. Now to fill it up!

Garden Frame Done

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pizza Sauce

I often make my own pizza sauce. I can’t say if it’s heads and shoulders healthier than the canned stuff; I just like how it tastes and it’s easy enough to do.

Sauced Dough

Pizza Sauce

Mix together 6 oz. tomato paste, 8 oz. tomato sauce, 1 tsp. It. seasoning, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1 clove garlic, finely minced.

Yes, that’s it.

Here’s a couple tips: Instead of mincing the garlic with a knife or press, grate it with the small hole side of a box grater over the mixing bowl. All the juice and pulp go in. I always double the batch and freeze the rest in 1 pizza portions. It’s up to you how much one recipe makes and how saucy you like your pizza.

This here is my final pizza. It’s Canadian bacon, pineapple, red onion and sauerkraut. (I don’t always get away with such a pizza. The kids are pretty much the pepperoni or die type while Bill likes a few more toppings, but would never choose this. Guess who was gone that night?) I copied the pizza from Happy Joe’s. My friend, Kristine told me about it and said she liked it, which is weird because she doesn’t even like jelly and other normal things but she likes sauerkraut on her pizza?!

My Pizza

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pieced Together Thoughts

So today’s post is a bit pieced together. I’m going to fire off thoughts and hope they fit together in your mind like I see them fitting in mine.

This first one is from Lysa Terkeurst’s book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. In one chapter she talks about David. The King David. She notices that in David’s life before he was king, wasn’t exactly looked at as king type material. He was the youngest of a family full of strapping boys. He got the worst, smelliest job of them as a shepherd boy. When his big bro’s went off to the war, he had to be the errand boy. To top it all off, he has to go play soothing music to a disgruntled king. That’s where I’ll let her words take over

“Wait a minute, David’s training sure does sound a whole lot like my everyday life: tending, serving, running errands. Suddenly, David’s story hits very close to home. I’ll admit I’ve struggled at times feeling a lack of purpose in my tending, serving and running errands. I love my family, but the long to-do lists that come with managing a family can leave a girl feeling a little used up and worn out. But if I can see a greater good being worked out in me through these to-do items, they take on a new meaning. Just as with David, God can use the tasks of my everyday life to develop my character to the point that it matches my calling.”

Like she said, this hits very close to home and I don’t think you have to be a stay-at home mom to feel this way. Take this as encouragement, friend.

I’ve also been reading through the book of Ecclesiastes, a book written by one of David’s son, Solomon.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil- this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Ecclesiastes 3:10-14

It’s not to bring hopelessness, but purpose because GOD DOES IT!

And finally, because I have to stop somewhere, I listened in on David Platt’s message (or parts of it cause I had kids to get to bed) at the Verge Conference and his prayer at the end struck a chord so deep within me, it hadn’t been sounded in a while. It was something along the lines of this: “When we give God a blank check, He gets to fill it in.” I badly needed to hear that.

I hope you can connect the dots of my writing today, but even if you can’t, I hope some point will bring you encouragement today.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Were you expecting vacation pics from Hawaii? Sorry.

If you’re a long time reader (okay, a reader within the last 6 months), you know we are on a quest to see all the state plates. Well, we are down to the last three: D.C., Hawaii, and Vermont.

Thanks to one of my cousins being stationed in Huh-wy-yuh, Flat Ben got to take an envelope ride over there and guess what he saw? Yep.

Flat Hawaii

We’re totally counting it.

Flat Ben? What are you talking about? Quick, run to the library and check out Flat Stanley by JEFF BROWN, the original author. The next series by some other author, while nice are, IMO, not the same. The whole original series is great!

Thanks, Rachel, for helping us out in more ways than one.

And if are reading from Vermont or DC and wouldn’t mind helping us out, leave me a comment.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More adorableness

In case you haven’t figured it out, we have a dog now. A puppy to be exact. And she is consuming our life for the moment. It’s not just on here, she’s everywhere. Peeing on the floor, dragging Daddy’s glove out of the garage, sniffing out the yard, pooping on the carpet, filling up my camera, toys, treats, chewing on a few Hot Wheels cars, stopping passersby with her adorableness.

I’m sorry if you’re wore out from the puppy posts. But like I said, she’s consuming our life and that’s what ends up on here, too.

Let me drop a little more preciousness on you today. You’ll like it.

My sister stopped by earlier this week to see us and of course, Lucy.

Ariana dropped immediately to the floor to love on her.

Ariana and Lucy

Chiara was more interested in showing me her backpack. She was a little scared of Lucy. (It’s the nipping, which is really Lucy’s way of saying “Let’s play, but to Chiara means “I’m going to eat your hand”.) She liked puppy as long as I kept her head calm.

Lucy Gets Loved

Valor- wait! Don’t you just adore him? I know, me too!


Valor was all excited about Lucy. His little body just wiggled and his grabby hands took big fistfuls of fur. He also loved that Lucy was into his drool- he’s working on toof number two.

Say HelloI Like That

Puppies do bring out the smiles!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adorable and Sweet

I’ll keep it brief today because who knows when I’m going to have to clean up an accident. I’d like to say just the puppy piddles, but I can’t.

See the two in this picture?

I know, adorable, sweet, one’s going to shed, the other is looking shaggy, both are looking at the camera at the same time, both start with the same letter, both have the same night sleeping pattern- noisy and crying, both are waiting for their big teeth to come in, both have been in trouble in the last days for the same thing. *sigh*

The 2 L's

Let’s stick with adorable and sweet.

Monday, March 12, 2012

To Name a Dog

It was a good thing there were only 4 puppies to choose from last weekend; we would have taken forever if we had all ten to pick from. That being said, we narrowed it down two before we left. A quiet male puppy and a curly-haired female, thinking that would be the hardest decision.

We were wrong.

The name of our puppy would be…?

Would… be..

Aah! We couldn’t all agree! So I asked for suggestions on here and opened it to my Facebook friends. (By the way, I’m seriously considering quitting Googling answers for things, I just ask my FB friends. They usually have great advice and if anything, make me laugh.) Boy, did they come through with suggestions.

Willow, Blossom, Daphne, Callie, Charlize (how do you pronounce that?), Pearl, Lacey, Suzy, Sadie, Goldilocks, Ryka, Aryka, Eric, Gidget, Pandora, Fiona, Toffee, Repent (so you can stand outside and yell “Repent”- haha), Moto, Trixie, Uncle Woogie (a friend’s son call their female dog that name- hahaha), Teacake, Putter, Beemer, Quit It, Ethel, and more. See, my Facebook friends make me laugh!

We had two picked out but again, we couldn’t decide. The battle back and forth between one son who didn’t care before but suddenly now cared and a daughter who didn’t like the brother’s choice but had no reason (except I believe she was exercising her teenage “rights”.) I was going to let Bill be the final call. I look to him to clarify things all the time and this seemed like an easy case for him. So, I told him the two names and he told me his preference. Then I told him the name the son liked and once again, we were back at square one!!

We picked up No Name puppy, giving her lots of love. The family we got her from asked about her name and we said we couldn’t decide. So we told them our two names and they liked both of them also!!

We have a night of playing, loving on and getting to know her. The next day, Audrey gets serious and she starts jotting down any names she can come up with.

Sweetie, Sugar, Spice, Misty, Missy, Karlie, Chelsea, Honey, Caramel, Rolo (that one was mine)

None of us agree on those names. So I grab Betty Crocker and cruise through the cookies and desserts sections. Hey, if Betty can help you cut up a chicken, she might also be useful in naming your dog.

Cinnamon, Butterscotch, Ginger, Gingersnap

The problem is, we don’t know what her coloring is going to be when she’s grown up. Her mama is a more red golden retriever and her rascal of a dad is presumed to be a border collie. Plus, we were advised to go out and yell her name to see if we would be embarrassed to yell it. I also tried out giving a quick command. “No, Cinnamon!”, just doesn’t roll off the tongue. I really liked Rolo, but it’s hard to say. We needed a firm dog name. I think our dog will have a fun and playful, but strong-ish personality (the collie coming through).

The next morning she was named. No more adamant rejections by any party. And just in time; people were starting to get hostile. No, not really, but I had several conversations that began with “Hi. What’s the dog’s name?”

And her name is…

Puppy to Go




Friday, March 9, 2012

Pick a Puppy

I hope the wait wasn’t too bad for you.

We were down at Bill’s parents this past weekend for the funeral of his Aunt Lois. (We are sad to not have her here any more, but rejoicing that she’s livin’ the life now!) Aunt Denise was able to fly in for the weekend. While here, she was going to a friend’s house to look at their litter of puppies. We decided to join her.

That was the beginning of the end.

This warm, furry sight met our eyes.

Hungry Pups

Our hearts? Melted into a puppy puddle (and not the kind you have to clean up).

The kids each scooped one up to cuddle and love.

It took no more than 10 seconds for the “Can we pleeeease have a puppy?” to begin.


We talked. We took group pictures. We put the puppies down. We picked them back up. We couldn’t resist.

Yes, we would get one. The kids are the right age. It’s the right time of year. And then, these are the right precious widdle puppies. We were helpless.

Then which one? We narrowed it down to two- a quiet little boy and a curly haired girl.

Aunt Denise said they should stay with mama at least a week longer, so we didn’t have to make a decision since we couldn’t take one home that day.

That news sent Luke into GIANT tears! (He calmed down eventually.)

This kid has loved dogs for as long as we can remember. He pretends he’s a dog, barking and crawling around while someone leads him with a rope tied around a belt loop. His favorite books are dog books. He has at least a dozen stuffed dogs and he sleeps with all of them on his doggy sheets while wearing his doggy jammies.

Luke, how do you feel about getting one of these dogs?


Pretty much all of his dreams have come true until he’s old enough to drive a race car.

Let’s see what Ben thinks?

Just Want a Dog

This expression says “I want a dog. If you ask me which one I’ll say whatever I need to. I don’t care which one we get as long as we get one.”



She might actually have been speechless.


My Love

Well, I don’t really know. I just like this picture of him. Red heart

We ended up picking the curly girl (the one Audrey is holding).

We’re very happy!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

One of These Is Not Like the Others

And I’m not just talking about the aunt in the back row. Or the black puppy in Bill’s arms. Or the little boy who never looks at the camera.

Did you guess yet?

One of these puppies is soon to be ours!!!

Family Photo

No, I’m not going to tell you which one yet. I’m using my blogging smarts and dangling the suspense so you’ll come back tomorrow. Winking smile

And I’m not going to tell the story quite yet either. Mostly because I’ve got to bring something awesome to my daughter’s math class in about 3 hours and I don’t have anything ready yet (and I’m still in my jammies).

Oh, and I’ve got to get dog food, a collar and leash, food and water bowls, kennel/carrier, dog brush, Swiffer sheets, treats, toys, and call the vet,  and figure out how many times she’ll have to go potty in the middle of the night, and find a name for her, and come up with a label for all the future puppy posts…

I gotta go!

psst… the comment section is a great place to leave any dog related suggestions. just sayin’ I like hearin’ from ya!

Family Photo 2

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Siren’s Song

At noon, on Wednesdays, in my town, the tornado siren fires up and wails its song.

It is most annoying.

Yes, it also goes off on Saturdays at noon. It always has.

I’m used to that.

Except for when the daylight savings time isn’t switched on it and then it goes off at 11 am or 1 pm.

Or when it gets stuck and goes on and on for eternity, which in tornado siren time is really maybe a minute or two, but to the deafened population is eternity.

The Wednesday siren is new-ish. Within the last year new.

One can only assume that it is sounded as a practice or safety thing, since my town is not a factory town and has no need for a noon whistle.

Today, 12:00 pm chimed and right on cue, so did the siren.

My day, today, has been a day of feeling like swimming upstream.

Maybe better put, running into the wind. You feel like you are getting no where, when in fact you’ve leaned harder into the wind and exerted more energy hoping to traverse any distance at all.

Running into the wind can be tiring.

When I heard the siren, it interrupted my thoughts.

I then thought not nice thoughts about the siren.

What good is that siren?

What can I make good from that siren?

And then I knew.

What if I chose to have my day, my trials of many kinds day be interrupted?

What if I let my anxious for everything turn over into anxious for nothing?

In the song of prayer?

To the one who is never weary and who’s burden is light?

At noon, on Wednesdays, in my town.

 Siren 2

Big Ol’ Blister


Friday, March 2, 2012

A Garage Sale, Scones and Adoption

(I know, another scone post, bear with me.)

Sometimes a girls needs to more with her scones than just add them to her waistline.

If you recall back in April there was a garage sale being held as a fundraiser for a family working to adopt two little ones from Africa. Friends and family packed their goods into a garage for others to come and shop. My scones were there too. People came, shopped, bought, and left with deals and a tasty treat.

Well, guess what? That family just welcomed their two little ones this past weekend!! They are just the sweetest little boys.

Now, whether you have a scone in hand or not, take some time and head over to Running Towards Love to read about their Gotcha Day!!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Scone Effects

So the whole scone thing has caused a little uproar.

I know!

I’m here to expose it all for you.

Right off, the day of the scone-off, all of us attending told our families what we were going to be doing that morning. People who’ve had a good scone get excited about them.

So my kids come home and I let them snack on the extra scones. (As much as we judges would have loved another one, we just couldn’t finish two batches by ourselves.) Audrey and Ben sat down and munched happily on theirs. Luke, well… once he discovered that these were not cinnamon chip, took his fist and!!! Scone debris flew everywhere! The other two just sat at the counter in shock, partially scone-full mouths hung open. In their minds they were thinking, “Adios, buddy. You’re as dead as that scone.” Good news: they still have a brother and he knows how to use a broom.

I told this precious little story to my friends, in which they returned their own stories.

From Lisa- Here's my story: I picked Jenna up from school and I told her about my day with the hi-light being the Scone-off. She got all smiley, thinking that I had brought her home samples to try (??? what in the world???)...and then bummed when she found out that was an incorrect thought. Boy, those scones make people REALLY happy.

From Peggy- When we picked Mason up he asked where his "stone" was :)

That’s not all, folks. I sometimes link my blog posts to my Facebook status (not all the time). I did that the other day with the Scone-Off post. Hah! People, ok, one person in particular was quite shameful. Here’s that person who shall remain nameless’s comment: I'm just sure I've complemented you on your scones. I really like your scones.

I laughed out loud then texted the nameless person’s wife telling her how funny the comment was. Then I asked if the nameless person had even read my post or was the nameless person just angling for scones? Her answer: “NO, he was just trying to get scones! Shameful!” He did end up reading it, so now things are better and we can look each other in the eye again. Laughing out loud

Others have said they’ve made my recipe before but it doesn’t turn out the same. Then they confess they used some weird flour or other altered ingredient. People, scones are not healthy. They are essentially flour, fat, and sugar with a little bit of leavening and flavoring. I’m all for eating healthy but I’m also for eating awesome tasting food and sometimes healthy and awesome tasting can’t be combined. So this is what I told my mom (she wasn’t the one substituting weird ingredients, though):  You should eat one, enjoy it immensely and then walk away, like 16 blocks (which is a mile, by the way)!

I have tried recipes with buttermilk instead of the heavy cream. Besides having to add baking soda, which is no biggie, I found that it turned the scone into more of a layered biscuit, similar to a buttermilk biscuit (sorry for stating the obvi.). This actually might be perfect if you want to split open your scone and dollop a jam or lemon curd on it. I prefer this recipe which is more of an over-all light scone, with the air pockets distributed throughout. (oh my- way too much thought into a scone!)

If you want the whole spread thing with your scone, then look for the traditional English scone recipe. Those are much harder and are perfect for dunking in tea or slathering with something delicious.

Now I need to end this little scone discourse. I do get such a laugh out of people’s responses to scones (a neighbor once told me they fought over the last scone!). Mostly, I’m just glad everyone enjoys them!!!