Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nine Years Old

How did my little girl go from this:to this?

Last week E celebrated her ninth birthday. We decided that instead of a big party with lots of little girls, she would invite her 3 best friends and do something special. She chose to go to Color Me Mine, a fantastic place where you can paint glazes on pottery pieces and then they fire them up for you. Three of the four girls chose a ceramic cat to paint, while the last little girl chose a mug.

I had been hoping to do one myself, but the girls kept me hopping refilling their paint palettes and helping with detail. Well, maybe for my birthday I can go out with my friends and spend an evening in creative bliss. We'll paint, and talk, maybe even go out to eat afterwards, and...

Where was I? Oh yes, telling you about E's birthday. Ahem.

Well, after an hour and a half of hard work, the girls were famished. We went over to nearby Wendy's for some dinner and the sillies made their appearance. Prior to this, the girls had been quiet, and almost shy with each other- the car ride up had been silent. Now they were full of energy and jokes. They were of the sort that seem hilarious at the time (to 3rd grade girls, at least) but on reflection, aren't that funny, for example, one that got lots of giggles "Guys, look! There is an actual, stinky...trashcan!" You don't see the humor, yeah, me neither. Well, the important thing was that they were having fun.

When we got back home, KK, N, and Ed were waiting for us, eager for cake and ice cream. The silliness continued, which can be seen in the pictures I took. I did manage to get a couple of nice ones, but it was hard for them to keep a straight face.

On E's actual birthday, we celebrated as a family with a special breakfast of chocolate covered croissants and strawberries, and eggs (for protein). E opened up her gifts from us before getting ready for church. She was delighted with everything especially the American Girl doll outfit.

I'm so thankful that with each year that passes we get to watch E growing and changing into the young woman that God has created her too be, but I am so glad that she still has lots of little girl left in her.

Friday, January 22, 2010


A handful of pretzels here, a cupful of goldfish there, almost stale popcorn. What happens when all you have are the dregs at the bottom of the snack bags and five kids to feed?

Me: "OK! Snack time! Who wants the goldfish, who wants the popcorn, who wants the pretzels?"

Kids: "I want the gold fish!"
I want the goldfish!"

Me: "Well, there isn't enough goldfish for everyone to have it, so we have to decide who gets what..."

Screaming, yelling, tears and gnashing of teeth ensues

After learning my lesson from the above scenario, and not wanting to throw away perfectly good food in favor of opening a whole new bag so that everyone can have
exactly the same thing, I came up with this solution...Snack Mix!!

Yes, Mommy's snack mix is a big hit in our house- everyone gets a little bit of everything, and a couple of m&m's thrown in for good measure. No complaining, everyone is happy, and I get to clean out my cupboard- win-win!

Monday, January 18, 2010


I don't know about you, but when my kids have a day off, I feel a little pressured to do something special. I don't feel this way on the weekends, but if there is a random day off of school, I find myself thinking of crafts that we can do, places we can go, or baked goods we can make. The pressure is doubled if there are friends over for a play date.

Thus, I found myself scouring the Family Fun website for something fun to make with the family. Since Valentines's Day is around the corner, I thought maybe making some valentines would fit the bill. After lunch, the kids sat around the table and we cut, glued and nibbled our way through this project:

Aren't they cute? They are little cell phone valentines with text messages and candy dots on the inside for the "numbers". All we needed was card stock, stickers, and the candies. It was easy enough that even K could help. In fact she insisted, "I color too, Mommy?"

The best part was that there were left over candy dots... because who doesn't like a little bit a paper stuck to their treats?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

of Birthdays and such

My sister Sandy's birthday was this past week so went over to my mom's house to celebrate. Although it was a small group, but it was nice to be together, the kids running around, the adults enjoying each others' company, and lots of good food.

I can't believe that Sandy and I are 34! Could it really be 25 years ago that we celebrated her ninth birthday, the year our parents got married? In 25 years of being Sandy's sister a lot of life has happened. As children, we got along pretty well, as we shared a room and were only 9 months apart in age. Moving into adolescence proved a little tricky, and our relationship cooled for several years. Now that we are adults, we have reconnected and our lives overlap in many circles- like church, Bible study, and play group. It is such a blessing to be a part of each others' lives, to have our kids grow up playing with each other, to get to know each other on a different, adult level. Although we are not sisters by birth, the Lord brought our families together so that we became sisters through marriage, and now he has worked in our hearts and lives so that we are truly friends. I can't wait to see what the next 25 years bring!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Every Saturday morning we could expect two things: pancakes and chores. Thankfully, Mom fortified us with a hearty warm breakfast before putting us to work sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing. I continued the pancake tradition in our early married life, and it has changed a little as we mix it up a bit with waffles or a bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich. But the idea is the same- Saturday morning breakfast is different and special from the rest of the week's cold cereal fare. I have been using a variation of my mom's recipe all these years, but today I decided to try out a new pancake recipe, one I found online. They were fluffy and delicious! I think we found a new favorite!

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cooking spray


  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg,butter and vanilla into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
Serves 2

Friday, January 8, 2010

kitty love

"Mommy! Look! The keedats are hugging me!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the hard bits about Christmas 2009

Christmas was a little strange this year, and I am still trying to think through my emotions and reactions. On the one hand, it was very much like past Christmases. We had the same schedule of events, the same traditions, and activities. On the other hand, we had this one huge difference, this hole that was left by my dad. For most of the time I could keep those feelings pushed down, out of the way, at the back of my mind, at other times they forced themselves to the surface.

Like when we were decorating the tree at my parents' house. Cara joined our family in going over to help my mom get the tree decorated. We knew it would have been way to hard for her to do it herself, both physically and emotionally, and so we decided that it would be a group effort. As we unwrapped the ornaments, it became especially difficult for me as I stumbled on one of my parents' "special" ornanments. When we were growing up, each Christmas my mom would buy everyone their own ornament that ended up in a personal box of ornaments to take with us to our own homes when we got married. Mom always got one for her and Dad, usually an ornament that showed two little animals or other characters together- snowmen, dogs, cats, etc.

The worst was when I came to one marked 2008, and I realized it was the last ornament my mom had bought for her and my dad. I handed it to my mom so that she could put it on the tree, and my heart ached for her as I turned away to give her a private moment of remembering that last Christmas with Dad.

Another tough moment was when we showed up on Christmas morning. We walked in the entry way where the stockings were hung, all in a row, except for my dad's. Instead, his silly Christmas morning hat was hung from the hook, a reminder of the years he wore it while we opened our stockings. All of us kids would make fun of him, as well as my mom who wears her Christmas troll earrings each Christmas morning. Several times that morning I found myself blinking back tears as pangs of loss hit me. The corner of the couch where he used to sit, the breakfast scrapple that he used to make, his laugh and voice, hugs and touch. Yes, he is Alive in the best sense of the word, but he isn't here. He is gone. The reality of that can be avoided in the day to day as I go about my business, but when I let myself remember, the pain is sharp and new again.

So we got through Christmas, and I think our family breathed a collective sigh of relief. This very big milestone was passed, but now we face a new year, one that Dad is not a part of .

Well time marches on, with the innocence gone,
And a darkness has covered the earth
But His Spirit dwells, He speaks, "it is well,"
And the hopeless still offered new birth
He will break the leash of death, it will have no sting
Let the prisoner go free, join the dance and sing

Almighty, most Holy God
Faithful through the ages
Almighty, most Holy God
Glorious, Almighty God

This song came to mind with my last sentence, and once I looked up the lyrics, I realized how appropriate it was. Time is "marching on" and part of my/our innocence is lost as the darkness of death has touched us. Yet the Holy Spirit does speak to our hearts, whispering that "It is well" even in the midst of pain, darkness and death. Because of Jesus we can sing- we are no longer prisoners to sin and death. Our God is mighty, faithful and glorious.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Say Cheese!

Many people know that I have had one big thing on my "wish list" for years- a really good camera. While our point and shoot Kodak has served us well the past 5 years, I have been itching to get some really good photos. There are many times that I have not been able to get close enough without the picture being blurry,
or if I don't use a flash it is blurry,
or my camera just didn't have the capability to take the picture that I really wanted. More recently I have had other issues with the camera- the lens cover wouldn't open, and I would have to pry it it with my nail,
or the colors came out funny- whites looked pink,
or the flash would go off and the picture would remain almost completely dark.
That is not to say that I still didn't get good shots,

I just knew that there was so much more I could do with a DSLR. So finally, after saving, and researching, and saving some more, Ed felt that we could take the plunge and purchase one for Christmas this year. So on Christmas morning, I opened up my very own Nikon D90!!

It is more than a little intimidating, with all of its dials and numbers, display screens and menus. My head is spinning from reading the manual with all the confusing language about aperture, filters, exposures and focusing. I plan to take classes to teach me how to get the most out of the camera, and look forward to learning about how to take a good picture as well as editing in photoshop. But for now, I am just trying it out and using the automatic mode, which means it is functioning as a
really nice point and shoot.

Really nice.