Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend : 1000 Gifts

So very thankful, my joy list continues...

Thanksgiving hymns. "Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices!"

Friends in town.

Church families that invite us to their table.

Warm hats.

Muddy jeans.

A cardinal in flight.

Sun on bare trees.

White birch.

Deep inhale of the cold night air.

A harp and violin played beautifully.

Qwirkle by the fire.

Pumpkin pie.

College football rivalries.

An exciting comeback! War Eagle!

A Thanksgiving Eve date night... a beautiful city, delicious meal, and Henry VIII at the Folger.

Neighborhood flashlight play in the early darkness.

Online shopping.

The ease of keeping in touch with faraway family.


A beautiful wreath, unexpectedly delivered to my door.

The smell of fresh greens in the house.

Winter fruit salad. Beautiful.

A early birthday bike.

After morning service baptism celebration.

A house full of (church) family.

holy experience

Friday, November 19, 2010

{This Moment}

Joining with SouleMama, sharing a moment from our week.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Golden November : 1000 Gifts

The leaves seem to be taking their time this year, giving us a mid-November warm and golden. Wondering at the beauty of it all, the list continues...

A goal at his last game.

End-of-season soccer parties.

Being available.

Leaf piles.

These men and that wonderful, leaf-sucking truck.

The smell of oak burning.

Quiet afternoons.

Celebrating my girl.

Georgetown Cupcake.

Tree swings.

An end-of-long-life conversion!

A memorial service to celebrate.

Pumpkin waffles.

Hot apple cider.

Brighter mornings.

Candlelit dinners.

Seat warmers in the car.

His patience with me.

Grace greater than all my sin.

holy experience

Friday, November 12, 2010

{This Moment}

Joining with SouleMama, sharing a moment from our week.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pack a Shoe Box

You have a few more days to pack a shoe box with simple gifts that could change a child's life... possibly for eternity. November 15-22 is National Collection Week. Visit Operation Christmas Child for details... printable labels and drop-off locations make it so easy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Making Time for Art

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
~Pablo Picasso

Does art continually get pushed to the next day in your home? Maybe by the time you made your way through all the essentials, the energy needed to pull out the paints and brushes is pretty much gone. I've been there. But when I do bring out the art supplies, I am always thankful I did.

It brings me so much joy to see my children light up with creativity and individual expression. A delight in the process, not only the result, is something I hope to encourage in each of my children. I have a strong desire for our home school to be rich with artistic experiences. What I don't have is a lot of time to spend coming up with beautiful and varied art projects, but I have found a little planning can go a long way.

1. Keep basic art supplies on hand, and all in one place. Replenish your art supplies each year when you are busy buying curriculum. Most of the big craft supply stores have a store brand, student-grade line that is very affordable. A well-stocked art supply should include:
  • Paper - smooth drawing paper, watercolor paper, assorted colored paper (including black), and colored tissue paper. I also like each of my children to have a small sketchbook that can easily travel.
  • Nice colored pencils such as Prismacolor Pencils or Dick Blick's Colored Pencils.
  • Markers in a broad variety of colors.
  • A pack Sharpie markers.
  • Watercolors. Crayola is a great place to start, but I prefer the versatility of tube watercolors. And a few plastic mixing trays.
  • A student pack of paintbrushes in assorted sizes.
  • A basic set of oil pastels.
  • A basic set of chalk pastels.
  • Crayons.
  • Pencils.
  • Glue (not glue sticks).
  • Masking tape.

2. Have a few favorite places you go for ideas and keep those ideas bookmarked. I keep all my art books together with favorite pages marked, possibly with a quick note about what supplies are needed. I also keep a bookmark folder on my computer with links to projects I think my kids will enjoy.

3. Pick one afternoon a week for art. In our home, Wednesday is 'Art Afternoon' and I keep it on the calendar so as to not fill that time with something else. Some weeks we spend the entire afternoon immersed in art, some weeks it is 30 minutes at most. It's important to keep it open and flexible, especially if morning lessons are still lying around unfinished. Pick a project you have bookmarked that fits the time you have, and pull out the art supplies you need. Of course, this will be easy because you are well-stocked and it's all in one place.

4. Keep the mood light. Put on some beautiful music. And remember this is not math.

5. Change the scenery every so often. If you always do art projects at the dining room table, go in the backyard and sit on the grass, or maybe just to another room in the house with more natural light. My personal favorite is to throw the sketchbooks and colored pencils in a bag and walk to the park.

6. Sit down and do it with them. Let you children see you enjoying the creative process. It is always so nice to slow down and do something quietly alongside them. Also, I find it is helpful to model what it looks like to work with mistakes.

7. Display their work. And then make sure to keep the family art gallery current. It's amazing how a basic, black frame can make a child's creation really pop. My kids are always thrilled at how their art looks framed and on the wall. What a lovely and affordable way to decorate! And if there are no empty frames, there is no shame in masking tape.

8. Make sure you get them to help clean up. Get all those art supplies back in their proper place and make sure the table is clear for dinner. That way you'll be more likely to pull out the paints and brushes again next week.

Here are a few of my favorite places to find inspiration...

The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas
Discovering Great Artists, Kohl & Solga

Art Projects for Kids
That Artist Woman
The Crafty Crow
The Artful Parent

{This Moment} - Of Capes and Under-Table Planning

Joining with SouleMama, sharing a moment from our week.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recipe Share

An afternoon snack of hot apple cider and popcorn drizzled with melted butter... I love this fall season of food! Just wanted to share a few new recipes we have been enjoying (and hope to enjoy soon) in our home....

Jennefer shared this recipe again for golden pancakes a few weeks ago, so I gave it a try. They were a hit and so easy it is to pull together. The big thing to love about these pancakes it they stick with your kids. Pancakes are a Saturday morning staple around here, but usually leave my kids searching for a snack mid-morning. This protein-dense version can keep them going through a early afternoon soccer game.

Golden Pancakes
adapted from

6 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milk (skim, 2 %, almond, soy or rice will all work)
1/4 cup grapeseed/canola/other vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

In a blender combine all ingredients.
Process on highest speed for one minute.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto greased hot griddle or non-stick skillet.
Flip when bubbles form on top; cook until other side is golden brown.
We serve them just like regular pancakes - with warmed maple syrup.


This is another easy (blender) recipe. I love having leftovers for lunch...

Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from

1 small onion, chopped
4 Tbsp butter
2 medium-sized butternut squash, roasted*
1 carton of chicken broth (32 oz)
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 8 ounce package cream cheese (or even a little less)

In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add squash, broth, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

* To roast the butternut squash: Preheat oven to 350. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place it cut side down in a buttered casserole dish. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Let cool and scoop it out of its skin.


And here is a recipe that I hope to make very soon, perhaps as a little Thanksgiving gift for friends. The only thing that is holding me back is my girl's recently acquired orthodontic appliance (expander) that should probably stay away from caramel corn.

Can't Stop Eating It! Caramel Popcorn
from Jill at Sweet Diva - a high school friend (and really good cook)

6 quarts popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt (I use 1/2 tsp.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Place popcorn (6 qts. = about 24 cups) in a large bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; mix well. Pour over popcorn and stir until well-coated.

Pour into two greased 13-in. x 9-in.x 2-in baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. (I find it easier to remove from the pan and break up when it is still SLIGHTLY warm.) Store in airtight container or plastic bags. Yield: about 5-1/2 quarts.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Celebrating : 1000 Gifts

Where to start? It has been an intense weekend of culmination, celebration, and relief this weekend in our home. Overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, the list continues...

After five plus years of researching and writing, my husband emailed away the first full draft of his dissertation!!! I'm so proud of him!

That he did it all while working full-time...

and making sure there was always time for us.

Finishing the Marine Corps Marathon!

All my cheerleaders along the way. Michele and Todd. Kari and Tyler. Laura and kids. Jennifer, Mike, and kids. Andy. Brandi. Ashley. MZ and Wills. Paul.... so very thankful!

My husband running all over DC to cheer me on with 3 kids in tow.

Finding them in the crowd around the 16 mile mark.

My "GO Mommy GO" sign.

My parents' enthusiasm as they tracked my run online.

Legs that can run. But not today... today they cannot even go up and down stairs. : )

That glorious finish line.

A time better than I had hoped for!

The Marines that serve. Real heroes. How humbling to let one of them put a medal around my neck.

Experiencing the whole thing with a dear friend from home.

AND my sweet girl is NINE today!!!

Her excitement over her birthday gift (after over a year of fairly persistent asking).

The good gifts HE gives... filled to overflowing.

holy experience


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