Monday, September 28, 2015


Here's a round-up of some current favorites in our house..

1. Recipe I found it's easiest to place the cheese and meat on one half of the tortilla and then cook it open face. When the cheese is melted add the toppings, fold it in half and cut it in quarters.

2. School We're still enjoying Sonlight curriculum but we got to Colonial era history and I had to stop! If you're a history lover who lives on the East Coast there is just so much to explore. So much early American history happened right around us.  We're taking a month off to do lots of reading and field trips. This blog was a great book resource as well as having some really neat ideas for a Colonial lap book. We've never done a lap book before but I think the girls will like putting one together.

3. Cleaning Schedule Ending our Friday cleaning with a movie has been met with great enthusiasm by the kids and it kills two birds with one stone for me. Not only is it a fun way to end the chores but if anyone asks about a movie during the week I can always remind them that Friday is movie day :)  I've tried various cleaning schedules in the past but it always petered out after a month or so. I was convicted that the problem was me, not the schedule. I was too lazy to enforce what needed to be done. I have to admit I still have to have a pep talk with myself on Thursday night to remind myself of why it's important to clean each week. It's not just a tidy house but it's my responsibility as a mom to prepare my kids for real life and work is a big part of the world.

4. Photo Shoot I took Koen's one year photos when we were at the beach a few weeks ago. I'm finding it's really fun to dress a boy! Thanks to Grandma for the new outfit.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Forced To Pause

By about 3:00 every afternoon the chores, schoolwork and quiet times are over and the girls are ready for free time. Free time usually involves crafts, legos, Playmobils, etc. This all works out fine for about one minute until their little tornado of a brother gets wind of what they're doing. Now that he's learned to climb nothing is safe. After about five minutes I get tired of pulling him off the table top and fishing legos out of his mouth so I've been taking him outside.  He can't get into too much mischief out there except for eating the compost. Or rocks. Or mulch. Or ashes from the fire pit. But other than that....
It's been an unexpected sweet time of the day. Over the course of the hour or so that we're out there various ones of the kids come out to visit and show me their latest tricks. I've also gotten out my camera and played a bit myself. I'm still trying to get more comfortable shooting in manual mode!

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Can Only See His Face

The contents of the latest video from the Center for Medical Progress felt particularly heart wrenching this week ( As I read about baby faces being sliced open to harvest brains I couldn't help but see Koen's big eyed, chubby cheeked face. I know they weren't as developed as he is but they were every bit as human.

I grieve for millions upon millions of children never given the chance to live.

I grieve for mothers in situations that make abortion seem like a good option.

I grieve for the condition of our human hearts. That a person could kill and dissect a baby with no remorse.

I grieve because so many of us in the church have been so silent.

There seems to be so little we can do to influence this situation for good. But we can pray and it has been incredible to me to see the changes in this debate as the church has united in prayer the past few years. 40 Days for Life is hosting events across the country tomorrow to pray and there is an event in our area. Please message me if you would like more details!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Saturday Morning Breakfast

I have fond memories of Saturday mornings growing up when my dad and I would get up early and make chocolate chip scones.  Since Jeff works on Saturday we rarely get a relaxed morning with him at home. We were talking about that recently and he decided to go in to work later on Saturday so we could have breakfast together.

This yummy recipe is a favorite for Saturday mornings! When all seven kids and Jeff give a recipe a thumbs up I know it's definitely a keeper. This cake is OK plain but very good with the lemon sauce that's mentioned in the directions.  For Trim Healthy Mamas this is an E breakfast.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fresh Start

I can officially start logging our 180 days for school on July first so that's when the new school year begins for us. June was a good time to reevaluate our school schedule, our priorities and get some things organized. While our two oldest were gone with Grammy and Poppa I got some decorating done as well.

The new schedule looks so pretty all hung on the wall but it is of course a bit different when you add real live human beings to it. There will be mornings where the littles cry, one of the bigger ones  nicely (ahem) helps her sister by making sure she is accomplishing all her chores in a timely manner, I've been up in the night with a teething baby and didn't start my morning early enough, etc. But for the most part our new system has worked wonderfully well and everyone seems relieved to be back on a schedule. A month of no school is plenty for this family!

 I used the "Before School Checklist" found here: It's simple enough that even our early reader can basically understand it.

One of the things I allowed for in my personal schedule is time to blog, craft, sew, work on photography, etc.  Creating things is how I recharge and I hadn't made time for any of those things in the past few months.  I'm looking forward to blogging again!

Most of all as we started a new school year I wanted to make Bible reading and prayer more of a priority in our school day because after all those are the most important things!  We're using a new devotional serious about making God famous instead of ourselves. I sat down with the kids the first morning and thought we were going to have this great time together focusing on God and His word. It ended up being really disjointed because I kept having to tend to a toddler. But later in the day one of our younger ones came to me and talked about something she had learned from our devotions. To God be the glory whether it's chaotic or not :)

While we were having a school break it was fun to get some decorating projects done. This hutch has been needing an update and I was able to decorate it with things I had around the house. It helps that my dad has been bringing me cake plates from houses he works on.

And of course no post in this season would be complete without a few pictures of Koen. Babies just change so fast! He's taking his first steps and is non stop motion (everyone tells me it's a boy thing!).

All that wildness wears a boy out sometimes.

I didn't think it would be fun to dress a boy but I was wrong. Bow ties and suspenders are so cute!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This and That

My mom turned 60 and turned into our very own Martha Stewart. One of her hidden talents was growing asparagus and we have enjoyed several meals of her very delicious crop. Our favorite way to eat it is an easier version of eggs Benedict.
Here's my quick, less gourmet eggs Benedict:

Make this blender hollandaise sauce -
Place Canadian bacon rounds into cups of a greased muffin tin . Crack an egg into each muffin cup. Bake at 400* for 8 minutes or until egg whites are cooked.
Lightly steam asparagus while eggs are cooking.
Place asparagus and eggs on plate.
Top with hollandaise sauce.

Elise had a birthday recently and I decided two gets a bad rap. I actually really like this age. For a whole year she did nothing but hang on my leg and whine. Then she turned two, let go of my leg and became this cute, funny toddler. She wants so, so badly to be like the big girls.  A few weeks ago they were decorating the table with flower bouquets they had gathered in the back yard. A bit later she came to me with a dead dandelion in a tupperware container as her contribution.

Koen's antics continue to delight us. I'm not sure how many babies you have before these milestones get old but we still enjoy them very much.

Just a little too little.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I Hope I'm Like Them When I Grow Up

Both of our moms have March birthdays so I had planned to write this last month. But, April's a nice month too, right?

One of my hopes for married life was that I could have a good relationship with my mother in law. Fortunately, God didn't test my resolve and I was blessed with one who is kind and generous. 
We sort of had a crash course on how to get along because we basically lived together for the first two years that Jeff and I were married. Mom G. and I worked together everyday and then went to church together on Sunday! Her very detailed oriented, organized personality patiently put up with my always- trying -to -be more organized self.

Mom G. has become one of the most influential ladies in my life and I am incredibly blessed to be her daughter in law.  I love how she showers our kids with affection! Not just our bio kids but also our foster daughters. They found a place in her heart from day one.

 Mom often blesses our family with food. Which in a big family with big eaters is a huge help. In the weeks after Koen was born she would send a gallon of soup over so I didn't have to think about lunches. Jeff often comes home from work with treats she thinks we would enjoy. Our kids think this Grandma and food go together. Elise starts asking to eat as soon as we pull into her driveway. She also has expanded my knowledge of cooking and ingredients.

I have learned so much from her about what it means to truly have a servant's heart. She is  willing to give even without recognition.

My mom taught me a lot about having spontaneous fun and not taking myself too seriously! She made time for lots of memories like long bike rides in the summer and reading chapter after chapter of our favorite books. Now that I'm a mom a realize that meant she was sacrificing in other areas in order to make those things happen.

Mom really helped prepare me for the life that God had planned for me. By the age of about 12 I had free reign in the kitchen and she never belittled my flops (believe me, tofu peanut butter bread was tough to get down) or begrudged me ingredients. I'm so thankful that she encouraged that skill since it's one I use all the time and I really do enjoy cooking.

 Since she poured her life into us kids it's no surprise that her grandkids are also being blessed by her dedication. Recently mom and dad were away for a week and the girls missed her so much! One of them even asked if I would call and ask her to come home early :)

Mom makes it a point to be encouraging when she sees us working at various areas of parenting. I appreciate this so much, especially on days when I feel like I must be doing everything wrong!

I'm so thankful for these two ladies. I am rich because of them.