Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This and That

This week is not really going the way I had planned. When does it ever? The boys are sick, so we're here at home and I'm just flitting from laundry to reading to school planning to cleaning to organizing photos. This post feels a little like my brain lately... all over the place.


Edward Hopper is one of my favorite American painters, so I was thrilled to find this book. It's beautiful and written at Hannah's level. A great summer artist study.


I finally purchased something on Etsy! I have been wanting a chalk board in the kitchen for over a year now... for verses, fun messages, school stuff. It was a great shopping experience. And I love that it's not from Pottery Barn.

"Delicious Summer" is a message to 3 kids that are less than enthusiastic about the amount of new-to-us vegetables on their dinner plates this summer. Hannah asked the other night if we had to get a CSA share every summer or could this please be the only one. They will thank me later.


Nailing the chalk board on the wall led to this backyard fun. A board, a hammer, and some nails is serious fun for Peter.


We are praying today for this little girl, and for her family boarding a plane to China, eager to hold her and bring her home. Her much older brother is a dear friend of ours.


And just to bless you...
(I love this song)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Much Anticipated

Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike.
But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck
like the butt of a pistol and shout "Bang!"

-George F. Will

Will has been talking about getting a Nerf Gun for months. All of his friends have them. I just wanted to wait as long as possible before these particular guns entered the house. All my excuses were used up. Last week, I caved and told him he could buy one with his own money. We shopped online together and he chose a good one, then ordered it from Amazon.

It was a long week of waiting. He talked about it constantly.

Yesterday, it came. I have never seen him so thrilled to receive a toy. I must say, it is rather fun.

And, yes, last night after the kids were in bed, my husband and I shot at each other's books while we read. It is that fun.

(My husband's current read, on the other hand, is a little depressing.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Savoring Summer : 1000 Gifts

Savoring these slow summer days, I add more gifts to the list...

Happy little marigolds.

Backyard flowers brought inside.

Mother-daughter bathroom pedicures.

Big laughs together. The boys wondering what's so funny.

Daddy wrestling matches.

My first earthquake. An exciting 5 a.m. wake-up call.

New recipes. Creamy Corn Salad... yum.

A long conversation with a faraway friend.

Vacation Bible School.

Enthusiastic volunteers.

News of pregnancy. A sweet family expanding.

A bag of plums from a church member's tree.


Lightening that fills dark rooms.

Sleeping in their sleeping bags on top of their beds.

Peter made Rice Krispies Treats.

Little boy haircuts.

Sleeping in braids.

Their backyard forts in the bushes.

The Jesus Storybook Bible. Reading it again and again.

holy experience

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend Reading

Thoughtful reads for your Sunday afternoon...

In response to an article in New York Magazine, "All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting," Albert Mohler shares a wise post titled, "Why Are Parents So Unhappy? And Who Would Settle for Happiness, Anyway?" I love this..."We must resist the cultural seductions and raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and understand family life as a crucible for holiness, not an experiment in happiness."

Justin Taylor's post, "Pascal on Our Addiction to Distraction," is another great read. There is so much to think about here. The discipline it takes to read the whole thing is a bit ironic.

Pizza Night

Friday nights are pizza nights around here.

For over 10 years, I have been making homemade pizza almost once a week. I have tried several homemade dough recipes, and have used Trader Joe's pizza dough here and there, but this past year I finally found a recipe that I LOVE. I will never try another again.

It's from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which truly has revolutionized home baking for me (just like the cover said it would). I halve the olive oil dough to make the perfect amount for two "large" pizzas.

pizza dough for 2 pizzas
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

1 1/4 cups + 2 T lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons granulated yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

I use my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for this. Combine the first 5 ingredients, then add the flour and stir (lowest speed) until just combined.

Cover (not airtight - I just sit a too-big, plastic lid on top of the bowl), and allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Then stick it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Chilled dough is easier to handle, so allow for some fridge time.

easy, fresh-tasting pizza sauce

a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
15.5 oz can of diced tomatoes

Heat olive oil and garlic in saucepan. Add can of tomatoes. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes until some of the liquid evaporates and is more of a "sauce" consistency. That's it. Seriously, it is good.

friday night pizza

Preheat oven and pizza stone at 450.

Dust the surface of the dough and divide in half. Dust the countertop and dough with more flour and flatten the dough to produce whatever shape pizza you would like. (I often need a rolling pin for this.)

Generously cover a pizza peel (or wooden cutting board that is not too heavy) with cornmeal and shape your dough on top. Add sauce, mozzarella cheese, toppings. I usually add a little oregano, crushed red pepper, and freshly grated Parmesan to the top.

This is the tricky part... getting the pizza off the peel and onto the stone without sliced peppers flying all over your oven. Flouring the dough so it is not sticky, a generous coat of cornmeal, and a flick of the wrist *should* slide the pizza safely to the stone in the oven. My husband often complains that my mushrooms encroach on his side of the pizza at this point. He's not a mushroom fan.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (the more toppings, the longer it takes).

Leave the pizza on the stone or let it cool on a cooling rack slightly before cutting. I find if I transfer the pizza directly to a cutting board the crust loses a little of its crispiness.

I forgot to get a photo of the pizza before we dug in. I was hungry I suppose, and I needed to hurry up and join the rest already watching Toy Story 2. We are a little behind in the Toy Story trilogy. : )

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The two boys linger at the lunch table...

Peter: Where are we going to live in heaven? In Jesus’ house?

Will: We will live in perfect houses.

Peter: I want us to sleep together. No, maybe I want to have my own room. Don’t worry, you will be okay.

Will: When we get to heaven, when you want to hit someone, you will not because you will be perfect.

Peter: Will there be food in heaven?

Will: Yes, all the food in the whole wide world.

Will: And we will all be kids in heaven.

Peter: I cannot wait to see Andrew in heaven.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gifts to Enjoy : 1000 Gifts

Coming off a I-said-yes-to-too-many-things weekend and looking ahead at a week of no real rest, I wake weary, feel the dirty-neglected kitchen floor under my feet, pour coffee... and more coffee, and sit to pray.

In giving thanks, my heart begins to refocus. I count gifts - the blessings I may have missed in the busyness, and I look ahead with an eager heart.

Gratitude... a sort of coffee for the soul.

Thankful to God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment, my list continues...

Being able to provide a meal.

Greek yogurt.

Strathmore's Backyard Theater.

Snow cones.

Jazz in the Garden.

Water for our feet.

A simple picnic dinner in the Sculpture Garden.

Races on the Mall. (Every time they find an open space, there is a race.)

Sitting together in the middle... our legs serving as hurdles. : )

A 9-mile training run in the pouring rain.

Actually enjoying it.

Trader Joe's.

Pizza delivery.

Cardboard and paint.

VBS sets strewn throughout the house.

Dinner club on the porch.

Stain remover.

All five of us sharing a pew. (With a pastor-husband this rarely happens.)

The 2 year-old class.

Kitchen counters covered with baked goods to be shared.

After evening service fellowship.

Moments to watch the final games. Or at least the highlights.

Peaceful homegoings.

Lives well-lived.

holy experience

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summertime Picture Books

A summer day ends and they come pool-tired, sun-kissed, pajamed, and wet-headed to the couch for books. These are a few of our favorite, ready-for-bed reads that carry the scent of summer.

Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
Will and my favorite. Set at a coastal summer house in Maine. The art and language is just dreamy.

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Another McCloskey favorite. We love all his books.

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
This book is so loveable and fun.

The Cat Who Walked Across France by Kate Banks
I'm not sure why this book seems summer-y to me. The cat is trying to make it back to her home on the coast. I could look at the art in this book (by Georg Hallensleben) all day! And If the Moon Could Talk is another beautiful book by Banks/Hallensleben that we all love.

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone
The boys (and I) love all the Tim books.

The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow
Someone always seems to add this one to the bag at the library.

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
A sweet story told through letters written home.
The Library
is another Sarah Stewart favorite of ours.

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
Truly a book for all seasons of outdoor, imaginative play.
I love the ideas this book generates.

Good summertime chapter books are for another post, but I'll mention just one.

Hannah and I loved reading The Penderwicks together last summer. And, like the summer, we didn't want it to end. We went into the fall with The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, which is a fun back to school/autumn read.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

At the Lake

:: will in the air ::

We spent the holiday weekend at the lake with family. Clear blue skies with flags waving, it is our favorite place to celebrate Independence Day.

:: this is what they do all. day. long. ::

:: on the boat ::

:: fun with cousins ::

:: the cousin photo ::
yes, that's peter with the face... and trying to bring sweet timothy down with him.

:: hannah was more than thrilled to have little meg around ::

:: christopher and hannah ::

:: robert and hannah... just floating and chatting ::

:: jump in, climb out, jump in, climb out... ::

:: papa lets peter drive the boat ::

:: will catches a baby bass. uncle carl helps it back into the water. ::

:: captain hannah ::

:: day's end ::

:: ice cream on the dock ::

:: just a few more jumps ::

:: going home. napping on the nj turnpike. blissfully unaware of the traffic. ::

As I sorted through these photos, I realized I need to start taking pictures of adults! I assure you there were adults there supervising. And I should probably hand the camera to someone else every once in a while, so my kids know I was present for their childhood. : )

Just for fun, I'm linking to Darcy's Sweet Shot Tuesday for the first time.


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