Friday, September 30, 2011

{This Moment} - Luau Day

{this moment} - A Friday Ritual. Joining with SouleMama, sharing a moment from our week.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Little Hula Action

He wasn't keen on the idea, but he got over it and wore the skirt. Love that kid.


Passing this along for you to enjoy...

A friend forwarded me this post from Kelle Hampton likening 'fitting it all in' to the Kentucky Derby. Funny... and true.

My fitting it all in works a bit like the Kentucky Derby. It's a constant race of horses that pull forward and fall behind. They all have their turn eventually of running free and confidently from the front lines, but the poor derby announcer’s frantic commentary is always changing:

“And Family Dinners is in the lead but here comes Sir Craft a Lot from behind with Jog in the Morning gaining quickly. Date Night’s coming in at fourth with Alone Time only five lengths behind. But wait! Family Dinners is falling in the far turn while Playing with her Kids takes the lead and here comes Writing at Night moving fast into third while Read for Pleasure comes down the center of the track!” And I would spare you the heart palpitations and tell you the outcome, but the race never ends. And that’s what makes it work. I never have to feel guilty for the poor horse that didn’t get his rose wreath because every horse has a chance to feel the hooves-slamming glory of First Place—even if it’s just for a little while.

read the whole post here

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Piano Lessons

Will started piano lessons this month and is loving it. Our wonderful teacher knows how to inspire him... a visit to her famous cookie jar for well-prepared lessons.

I can't get Hot Cross Buns out of my head.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hannah's Favorite Apple-Cinnamon Muffins

These are good.

This is the last one and someone wants it.

Who can say no to 5 year-old in Batman pajamas?

Perfect for apple season, these are our favorite Sunday morning muffins. It's a variation of our basic muffin recipe. Hannah requested I sweeten them up a little, so I added a little extra brown sugar to the mix and sprinkle the tops with raw sugar before baking.

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins

  • 1 1/3 C flour
  • 3/4 C oats
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C buttermilk or sour milk (add 2 tsp white vinegar to milk to equal 3/4 C - let sit 5 min.)
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • one small apple - peeled and finely diced
  • raw sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine wet ingredients a small bowl, combine thoroughly, then add to dry ingredients. Stir finely diced apple into batter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill 12 greased muffin cups (or paper lined). Sprinkle tops with raw/coarse sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when pressed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Clouds : 1000 Gifts

Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves
to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude.
Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life,
not just in the moments we set aside for worship and spiritual disciplines.
Not just in the moments when life seems easy.

If mourning and dancing are a part of the same movement of grace,
we can be grateful for every moment we have lived.

Henri Nouwen on Gratitude
from Turn My Mourning into Dancing

Everything is Grace. My list goes on...

A long Friday morning walk with my husband... in the rain.

Rising early.


Friendly smiles in a not-so-friendly world.

Routine. It's starting to reappear.



New running shoes.

Feet that can run.

Sun in the forecast after a long stretch of gray.

Soup and bread.

The grace to choose joy.

Friday movie night at our house lately - the Cosby Show on DVD - so funny.

Laughable chipmunk antics in our acorn-filled backyard.

The privilege to prepare a gratitude display at our church - a collection of cards recording their gifts. Reading each one.

Being still.

Knowing HE is God.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mid-September : 1000 Gifts

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY!

Psalm 126:3

All gifts from His hand...

A message I found for his teacher written just under his name. You are so nice Mrs. M.

Honeycrisp apples.

Afternoon Uno.

Their beautiful daughter. Baptized on Sunday morning. Thank you, Lord.

The neighborhood bike gang. Saturdays on the sidewalk.

Days with Peter... only a little sick and home from school.

His first soccer Saturday. Smiling the whole time!

The girls winning their first game with seconds left to play.

Some edges of leaves just starting to turn.

A long coffee date with a dear old friend.

Whispering to me, with timing only a husband can discern, "You are beautiful. I love you."

"Dad, that was an awesome sermon!" Kids who love to encourage.

Dinner Club on the porch. Celebrating the end of four years with a cozy outdoor dinner and tear-inducing laughter.

This video. Introduced to me by a 13 year-old friend...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

All Three

Today is our first Saturday with three soccer games.
We're cheering on the Lightning Rockets!
The Angry Birds! (yes, that is the name the 4th grade girls chose)
And Peter! After years on the sidelines, he finally begins Kindergarten Soccer.

Um, sometime today we should probably mow that grass, too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

{This Moment} - Daily Lunch Inspection

Note: Only two lunches. Peter has *enjoyed* three sick days this week...
sick enough to miss school, not sick enough to let it ruin his days off.

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.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It has always been one cup, maybe two every morning.

I like my coffee hot and unless I am sitting down focused only on finishing my cup of hot coffee, it's not good to the last drop in my mind. And microwaved coffee that already has milk in it... bleh! So down the drain the lukewarm coffee goes. My new favorite drink doesn't have those issues.

Now I realize the season of wanting a tasty, *hot* beverage in my hands at all times is quickly approaching (so thankful for the extra hot option at Starbucks), but I'm excited about a new love in my life. Iced coffee. NEVER have I been a fan of cold coffee, but after reading what Pioneer Woman had to say about it I decided to give the cold-brewed method a try.

It is seriously amazing. My husband and I have had more caffeine in the past few weeks than we have had in years. If we have seemed a little jittery, you now know why. Decaf iced coffee is in our future.

Here's the link:
Perfect Iced Coffee

I make half a batch - which fills two pitchers with the might-as-well-be-gold coffee concentrate.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

This has been on my list to do for a long time. After looking at several recipes, I've settled on this for now. We've been using it for a week with great results. I'll add updates here if I tweak the recipe...

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Use one tablespoon per load. Also, I use white vinegar as a rinse aid. Easy as that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

School Morning Breakfasts

All three of my kids love breakfast. It was easy to provide them with a hot, hearty breakfast on homeschool mornings. Now we need to be out the door by 7:30, making it a whole new kind of morning. But even with the early departure, we're unwilling to skimp on breakfast.

For my youngest and most selective eater, it's a meal he really needs. Lunches are being returned to me uneaten, so I want to make sure he at least has breakfast in his body. Peter's class is nut-free and that is proving to be an obstacle to my trail-mix-munching/peanut-butter-ball-snacking/PB&J lover/kid who declared the last week of summer "Peanut Butter and Jelly Week." I think it's good for him!... pretty soon he is going to get hungry and will be needing to embrace some variety. But back to breakfast...

Because my kids eat so much breakfast, I avoid boxed cereal. It's expensive and it doesn't stick with them. We do always keep a box handy for weekends in case they need and appetizer before I'm out of bed.

Here are our weekday morning favorites.

Blueberry-Oat or Apple-Cinnamon or Banana-Oat Muffins
  • 1 1/3 C flour
  • 3/4 C oats
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C buttermilk or sour milk (add 2 tsp white vinegar to milk to equal 3/4 C - let sit 5 min.)
  • 1/4 C melted butter
Blueberry-Oat variation
  • add 1/2 C to 1 C depending on your preference - fresh or frozen blueberries
Apple-Cinnamon variation
  • increase cinnamon to 1 tsp and add one finely diced (or grated) apple
Banana-Oat variation
  • add 3/4 C mashed banana and decrease butter/sour milk to 1/2 C
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Combine wet ingredients (and banana if using) in a small bowl, combine thoroughly, then add to dry ingredients. Gently fold in blueberries (if using) into batter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill 12 greased muffin cups (or paper lined). Bake for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when pressed.

Egg Sandwiches
Just a fried egg on and whole wheat English muffin. The kids like butter and jelly on the muffin. I like cheese. Cheese always wins with me.

Power Pancakes
These really stick with you. The batter is so simple and can be made the night before in the blender with a quick remix in the morning.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup 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. Flip when bubbles form on top; cook until other side is golden brown. We serve them just like regular pancakes - with warmed maple syrup.
There is one issue with smoothies and breakfast - they make my kids cold. So, it's a warm weather only breakfast in our house. I don't have a smoothie recipe, and what goes in changes all the time. For breakfast I add oats for a little heft. (Martha has a recipe.) My kids would need some scrambled eggs, too.

Baked Oatmeal (tweaked slightly recipe from Simple Bites)
SO easy and can be made the night before. It's in the oven for 30 minutes... enough time to make lunches! I love to make this when my husband will be out at an early breakfast meeting and I'm on my own.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave nectar, or combination of both)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I sometimes omit the cinnamon and toss in a handful of chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted (or coconut oil)
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients, except oats. Add oats and stir to combine. Transfer mixture into baking dish, spread evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on top of the oat mixture. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 375°F. It can go from the fridge to the oven - please remove the plastic wrap! Bake for about 30 minutes or until set.

My kids eat it on a plate with a fork. I sometimes put it in a bowl and pour milk on top.
Homemade Granola (with yogurt or milk) my recipe is here
I began with this recipe and tweaked it. Pam Anderson offers several variations.

Challah French Toast
It's just that. French Toast made with Challah bread. We don't have this often as I think it is pretty indulgent for a weekday breakfast. I buy the bread at Trader Joe's, cut the loaf in half and freeze it. Half a loaf will feed us all. The night before, take the bread out and mix up the egg mixture (eggs, milk, vanilla, a dash of nutmeg). In the morning all I have to do is heat up the griddle and slice and dip the bread and heat up the griddle. I do add cinnamon sugar to the tops while the first side cooks. Yum.

There are of course days we have just a big pot of oatmeal. With butter and cinnamon and maple syrup and milk... mmm....

Hearing "What smells so good, Mom?" as they bound down the stairs. Music to my ears.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September Sun : 1000 Gifts

When it comes to life
the critical thing is whether
you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude.

-G.K. Chesterton

With a heart full of gratitude, I add to my list...

The sound of rain on the roof.

Morning sun on wet grass.

A dry basement.

Football season.

"Mom, will you sit and read with me."

That they think it's fun to have homework.

And that he doesn't have it yet. (More time to practice running bases.)

Rainy day baking.

No fear in death. A beautiful service celebrating a life full of love and grace.

A long walk with my girl.

The care of His Church.

Knowing the grieving are surrounded.

Clinging to hope.

Monday, September 5, 2011

OK, I'm in.

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It's truly an organizational dream.


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