Archive for the ‘Recap’ Category

Recap (2018.10.21)

October 21st, 2018

I wrote up a nearly complete Recap last weekend – and then failed to complete it and post it last Sunday. Then, I’ve been so glum this week that I’ve failed to note anything, meaning that this week’s recollections are fuzzy.

In my spirit

  • It’s that time of the year when everything stirs up memories of my first pregnancy, heading downhill – and of my third, hanging on. Gratitude fills my heart as I reflect on God’s grace in giving me two very difficult pregnancies and deliveries – and one unexpectedly easy one.
  • I mentioned a couple weeks ago how the great darkness is settling in. I’ve noticed it more and more and continue to struggle to take my thoughts captive. It is so easy to turn my eyes from Christ to my feelings.

Tirzah Mae's new bangs

In our family

  • Tirzah Mae has been peering out at the world through horribly unkempt bangs for what seems like forever while her mother procrastinated cutting them. But no longer. I’ve cut her bangs and she can see again.
  • That was last week. This week, she cut her own hair – to the point that I have no idea how to fix it. Great handfuls of Tirzah Mae hair all over the green room. I nearly cried. Alas.
  • Looking at the flamingos

  • Louis’s favorite question (behind “Why?”) is “What I doin’?” I almost always mishear him to say “What are YOU doing?” and answer with my own activity. He is patient with me, correcting me with only a barely frustrated, “No. What I doin’?” The proper answer, in case you were wondering, is “I don’t know, are you…working?” Louis is always working.
  • Tirzah Mae at the dentist

  • The two older children had dentist appointments a couple Thursdays ago – and since we were on the other side of town, we stopped by the zoo to eat our lunch and roam around. I’ve learned that it’s best to plan to sit and soak up a single animal when we visit the zoo (instead of trying to race around and see everything). This time, we spent about a half hour with the giraffes before we went to the playground and then finished the zoo-loop.
  • Giraffes

  • And then the littlest one had a doctor’s appointment on the zoo-side of town this Thursday. We’d enjoyed the zoo so much last week, and the weather was so delightful this week that we did a repeat trip. This time, we explored the tropics (which were underwhelming for my little ones) and then watched the elephants. Tirzah Mae and Louis held hands as they walked from exhibit to exhibit. So sweet!
  • Tirzah Mae and Louis hold hands at the Zoo

  • We picked up some pumpkins yesterday at Meadowlark Farm, our favorite local you-pick place (that just happens to be owned by family friends!) The kids and I are going to try painting the pumpkins this next week (if I can muster the energy.)

Tirzah Mae as a pumpkin
Louis as a tomato
The kids and their pumpkins, sort of

In our home

  • We are the happy new owners of some reusable straws. The children chewed up the plastic ones that came with the silicone tops that I use to make car-safe smoothie cups – and Daniel and I were not pleased to be using single-use ones every time we had smoothies. So now we have a set of stainless steel and a set of silicone straws (along with some heavy-duty straw brushes to keep them clean.) Hooray!
  • A friend has been loaning us clothes for Tirzah Mae – and she brought us a new bag for fall/winter. So I’ve been busy switching out clothes and trying to keep track of what we have that Louis will be able to use for next year and what I should keep my eyes open for when stuff goes on clearance in the spring.
  • My Plants

  • I was messing around with some old tights and decided to spruce up my houseplants, which have been hanging out in cottage cheese containers. They’re still far from fancy, but they are a bit nicer now. (Also I’ve tried rotating this picture about 3,000 times now and I just can’t get it upright. Grr.)
  • My Plants After

On the homestead

  • The kids dumped a couple inches of rainwater out of the ice cream bucket on the patio table when they played Monday morning a couple weeks ago – but by Tuesday afternoon, it was full to within a few inches of the top.
  • A little over 24 hours worth of rain

  • We have quite a few garden spiders around outside, but I’ve also seen quite a few of these black hairy spiders with red markings. They’re not widows, and the best anyone can come up with is jumping spiders – but I wish I had positive ID on them. They’re pretty interesting (I’ve only ever seen them crawling, not in a web.) Do you know anything about spiders? Have any clue what this might be? His web seems pretty dense and he’s stockpiling flies (there’s a whole pile of them under his web and I’ve seen him carrying one across the living room. How odd!)
  • Any ID on this spider?

  • The kids and I went out to play in the back-back yard while Daniel ran around the track he’d cut in our prairie – and after we were all done, Daniel and the kids started climbing the gravel pile that’s waiting to be put to use.
  • Lion King Pose with Beth-Ellen
    Climbing the Gravel Pile

  • Daniel’s been clearing off our orchard site so we can plant first thing next spring – and he unfortunately tweaked something in his back or hip this weekend. He’s in rather a lot of pain. We’re praying he heals quickly (and that we can figure out how to stop this from happening – this back stuff happens several times a year.)

In the library (currently reading)

  • For Growing: Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
    I’ve made progress, but too little, on this book. Elliot’s observations are good, but there hasn’t been anything world-altering so far.
  • For Seeing: Emma by Jane Austen
    Because Austen is binge-worthy and the darkness-induced blahs make me want little more than to curl up with a good book.
  • For Enjoying: These High Green Hills by Jan Karon
    I finished this one in less than a week – which was a good thing since I’d had it out from the library forever without cracking it open and it’s due at last this Thursday.
  • More and more and more picture books :-)

We made a ball pit!

Recap (2018.10.07)

October 8th, 2018

In my spirit

  • Winter dark is descending on Kansas – and on my soul. I started using my light in September, started my antidepressant the beginning of October. But the main battle-front remains in my mind – taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. I am clinging to the one who shines in my heart:

    “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
    ~2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)

Louis's new dump truck

In our family

  • The little girls have reached the first of the “eat us out of house and home” stages (which I completely and nonsarcastically love). I fed them each a quarter slice of lasagna and gave Tirzah Mae and Louis each half a slice. The little girls ate their quarter. I served them seconds…and thirds…and fourths. And then they got the barely nibbled at halves from Tirzah Mae and Louis’s plates.
  • It was with great sorrow that we said goodbye to our foster care worker, who left our agency for another one. The kids and I always looked forward to her monthly home visits – it’ll be interesting to see how things go with a new worker.
  • Louis was the thrilled recipient of a toy dump truck. Mama and papa dithered way too long about what Grandma and Grandpa should get him as a birthday present, but he’s got it at last and is busy driving and dumping everywhere.
  • I needed to measure Tirzah Mae’s height for her birthday present coming up here – which afforded a great opportunity to do some measuring activities with the kids. So we used tape to figure out how tall everyone was, then figured out how many MegaBlocks tall each person was, then figured out how many inches. It was tons of fun.

Measuring height with megablocks

In our home

  • My phone broke and it took a while to get a replacement, which meant I was discombobulated a good portion of the week. I use the phone for grocery pickup, for my grocery list, for taking pictures of the kids for these blog posts, for looking up recipes, for praying, for all sorts of things. I felt a little like I was flying blind without it.
  • The older kids and I made applesauce with those apples. Despite my best intentions of making just one canner load (and thereby avoiding the “house falls apart while mama’s canning”), we ended up with 13 quarts. The internet lies when it says you’ll get one quart from every 3 pounds of apples. If you use whole apples without peeling and coring and put them through a food mill (as I do), you’ll end up with 13 quarts out of 30 lbs :-)

Homemade applesauce

On the homestead

  • We got a flat tire. One of our brand new tires was completely flat when I came out of my Tuesday Bible study. And my phone was broken, so I couldn’t just call Triple-A on my own. So I called my husband from the church office and he called them and they couldn’t make it for almost an hour and I was despairing because I had grocery pickup and the littlest had a family visit that I didn’t have a phone to reschedule or make alternate arrangements. And then we realized that, oh duh, we were at church and there were plenty of people that could change the tire. So one of the pastors and the church’s director of operations changed the tire. And then a friend came driving by and saw us and asked if she could help and handed me a pan of pasta casserole: “Here’s your dinner for tonight.” So we made it to grocery pickup and we made it home just in time to get the little girl’s diaper changed before her ride showed up and I didn’t have to cook. What a gracious God we serve!

Louis pretending to sleep

In the library (currently reading)

  • For Loving: Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman
    I made precisely no progress on this, mostly because I spent too much time reading Jane Austen
  • For Growing: Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
    These chapters are nice and short – perfect for while I’m doing 60 seconds of planks :-)
  • For Knowing: The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grown-ups by Erika Christakis
    I finished this one this week and am hoping to write up my thoughts on it soon. Despite its strong focus on preschool education, it generally supported my sense that preschoolers don’t need much by way of “schooling”. It has encouraged me to really focus on listening to and conversing with my children throughout the day (instead of listening with half an ear while really thinking about something else.)
  • For Seeing: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    I finished this at the very beginning of the week and discovered, to my shock, that I haven’t recorded reading any Jane Austen since beginning my library reading challenge in 2006. I am almost certain this is the fault of my record-keeping, not of my reading, but it means that I certainly must remedy the situation.
  • For Seeing: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
    What could I do but quickly run down to my home library to see which Austen I would read next? I selected Sense and Sensibility and devoured it all over the course of this last rainy weekend.
  • For Enjoying: These High Green Hills by Jan Karon
    I’ve had the third installment in the Mitford series out of the library for a little while now, but finally started it this week. So cozy and perfect for fall and winter reading.
  • Picture books galore – fairy tales, books by the next authors in line, and books about spiders
    A garden spider spun her web across our patio door, and we’ve been watching her eagerly. We thought that it would only be fitting that we read Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider (and whatever else we could find about spiders) in her honor. (Side note: I’ve stuck my face in her web about a half dozen times over the past several weeks, and she’s always faithfully respun her web. Very busy spider indeed, fixing my blundering mistakes.)

Recap (2018.09.30)

September 30th, 2018

In my spirit

  • I totally don’t have it all together. I tell myself I’d love to have a mentor or mentors to help me navigate my roles (motherhood, especially). But then someone offers some totally great tips on what worked for her? Defensiveness rises up. Oh Lord, help me to have a teachable heart!
  • I had the honor of teaching on my favorite passage this morning. Abraham’s almost-sacrifice of Isaac reminds me again and again of our blessed hope: a substitute lamb, provided by God to satisfy God’s demands. May God lead each of my 3-year-old students to put their faith in the Lamb He has provided.

Transfering pinto beans with measuring cups

In our family

  • Prairie Elms preschool continues. The little girls managed to both take long naps Wednesday morning – so I got out the pinto beans and measuring cups on the kitchen floor. Tirzah Mae and Louis had a blast – and I got some food prep done. Win-win.
  • We all got our flu shots this week, with much weeping. Tirzah Mae threw a fit when the time came for her shot, but it took 2 hours or so at home for her to be giving everyone else duplicates. This girl is OBSESSED with medicine. (In the picture below, she was “charting about the lights that take care of the bad bilirubin in Beth-Ellen’s blood”)

Tirzah Mae was charting medical stuff

In our home

  • I finally got around to potting up a sprouted sweet potato that I’ve been keeping in water to root. Between that and the rosemary that I just brought in and the houseplants my mom rooted for me, I’m suddenly inundated with indoor plants. We’ll see how long I can keep them alive!
  • Speaking of bringing plants in, I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll try to bring my in-ground basil in for the winter – but first I wanted to dry one last big batch. So I did!
  • I’ve discovered that smoothies (made in a big batch using my immersion blender) are the perfect breakfast for in the car on days we need to be somewhere early. So we do smoothies on Sundays when we’re rushing to get to church to set up mama’s Sunday school room, and on Tuesdays when we’re rushing to church to prep mama’s Sunday school craft before our Bible study, and every other Thursday (or so it seems) when we have an early appointment. ALDI had bananas for $0.19 per pound last week so I got three bunches to freeze for said smoothies. They were finally ripe enough early this week, so I got to slicing!

Freezing lots of bananas for smoothies

On the homestead

  • I planted late and we had a weird spring and I’m actually a pretty terrible gardener. But my tomato plants set on tomatoes at last – and we ate some this week. Oh, the delicious acidity and unmistakeable texture of a truly ripe tomato! I will keep planting them however many times I fail if only I can eat ripe tomatoes even once a year.
  • Tomatoes from our own garden

  • We got new tires for the Expedition after a few episodes of super-low air pressure (aka flat tires). As per my habit, we brought the old tires home to avoid paying a fee for disposal – and to use for my herb garden. This time, though, I got right to cutting off the sidewalls (with my awesome hooked utility knife blade – if you ever need to cut tires, it’s totally worth getting one of these). So now I just need to fill them up with soil and get things planted.
  • My tire herb garden expansion

  • I love this season on the prairie. Yes, it gets dark and depressing. Yes, the allergies are terrible. But the prairie, oh the prairie. The rippling grass, the wildflowers, the sunrises and sunsets. Daisies (or chrysanthemums of some sort) have joined the Indian grass on our Prairie backyard and I’m LOVING IT!

Indian Grass and Daisies

In the library (currently reading)

  • For Loving: Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman
  • For Growing: Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
  • For Knowing: The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grown-ups by Erika Christakis
    I only had to go one week without before a new copy came in for me to check out – so I’ve read another chapter. This is really an excellent book (that makes me feel a lot better about how little explicitly “academic” work I do with my littles.)
  • For Seeing: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    I’m planning to finish the last chapter before bed tonight :-) I love Austen.
  • Picture books by Eve Bunting, John Burningham, and Donald Crews
  • Picture book versions of fairy tales

Recap (2018.09.22)

September 23rd, 2018

In my spirit

  • I’m convicted of how often I despise the good gifts God has given me – particularly our children. Instead of thanking God for them and joyfully carrying out the tasks of mothering, I grumble and complain about how they add so much work! noise! clutter! Lord, forgive me!

In our family

  • Beth-Ellen is officially standing – Daniel set her down on her feet (Monday maybe?) and she stayed standing there. Then, the next day, I was folding laundry on the floor and looked over to see her casually standing there next to me!
  • Sleep training has commenced (and seems to be going well.) I held off for longer than usual since Beth-Ellen shares a room with the older two – but I was getting to the place where I was frustrated enough with the little girls’ daily demands that I didn’t have much compassion left for them – I knew I needed to do something to be sane enough to respond lovingly. Sleep training it is – and I’m already able to deal with them much more tenderly and compassionately.
  • Daniel and I had a date! A mother and daughter from our church answered our SOS for babysitters and got background checked and all that so they could watch all our kids (including our foster daughter). Daniel and I enjoyed breakfast and then a lovely walk around a local nature preserve. It’s been far too long (at least a year, maybe longer) since we’ve spent time together completely sans kids.
  • Tirzah Mae has pronounced her “L” as “W” since she started talking – and we’ve mentioned it to her a few times, coaching her on proper tongue positioning to get the “L” sound out. But she hasn’t really seemed terribly interested, and we haven’t pushed the issue. This last week, though, she decided that enough was enough and has been working hard to get that “L” sound out, stopping and sticking her tongue between her teeth before telling me a story about her “light-saver” (Nope, not going to correct her mishearing of light-saber – it’s tons cuter that she’s saving me light for winter with her golf-club turned light-saver/saber :-) )

Louis makes us a feast

In our home

  • The kids and I eat Raisin Bran about once a week – and this week I decided I was over all the added sugar. I bought bran flakes, we poured them into a cereal keeper and added (unsugared) raisins and shook it up. Still tastes delicious, and plenty sweet from the raisins.

On the homestead

  • Our neighbor gave me some daylily divisions when we first moved in – and, since I didn’t know where I wanted to put them, I put them in the holes of my concrete block raised beds. Then, since they multiply so rapidly and since the holes aren’t very big, I’ve had to divide them and replant them each year. This year, I finally figured out where I want them to be long-term, so I divided them and planted them this weekend! Now I can wait another 3-4 years before I should have to divide again. Hooray!
  • We had a big decorative-looking grass growing by the garage door and I was thinking maybe we’d keep it – until I looked it up and found out that it is Johnson grass, which is considered a noxious weed and illegal in the state of Kansas! So Daniel pulled that and got it all bagged to send to the landfill.

My newly transplanted daylilies

In the library (currently reading)

  • For Loving: Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home by Gloria Furman
  • For Growing: Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
    I’m appreciating these short reflections on womanhood.
  • For Knowing: The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need from Grown-ups by Erika Christakis
    Unfortunately, my checkout period was over on Thursday and someone else had requested this book so I couldn’t renew it – so now I’m waiting for my own request to be filled.
  • For Seeing: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Because sometimes it’s good to spend a time with an old friend – and somehow Austen’s reflections are always insightful however often I re-read them.
  • Princess Picture Books
    Tirzah Mae is on a princess kick, so we’re reading lots of renditions of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Rapunzel. (I took the Disney book back to the library as quickly as possible and checked out a whole spate of beautifully illustrated renditions instead.)

Recap (2017.03.04)

March 4th, 2017

It’s been terribly long since I posted one of these, which means I’m going to just fly by the seat of my pants and not try to be comprehensive :-)

In my spirit:

  • Reflecting on the unity of the body in Christ – and struggling with how to be united in Christ when I can’t seem to figure out how to deepen relationships with other believers past the “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, thank you” and “This is what we did this weekend” stage.
  • Rejoicing to be doing “devotions” with my daughter while Louis is napping (reading a Bible story, memorizing Scripture, singing a hymn, and praying together) and to be having family worship with the whole family in the evenings.

Above my entertainment center

In the living room:

  • After a year in our house, I have finally decorated the top of the entertainment center.
  • I added ten minutes of “zone cleaning” to my routine this past month – which has meant that I’ve started to declutter and move into our house a little more.
  • Daniel and I also made a concentrated effort to get the garage clean enough that he could park his car in there (along with our new-to-us Ford Expedition – we needed a bigger vehicle if we’re going to start fostering soon.)

In the kitchen:

  • We picked up the half beef we bought from my uncle – and now I’m cooking all that wonderful beefy food I don’t eat when I have to pay almost $4 for hamburger – Chili with beef, Beef enchiladas, Beef Pot Roasts, BBQ Beef, Daniel’s families “West Virginia Soup”, Swedish meatballs…
  • The deep freeze – and the fridge freezer – are COMPLETELY full. And I had to throw away a trashbag full of odds and ends to make all the beef fit!

My chest freezer, stuffed full

In the nursery:

  • Louis has gotten his first two teeth – in two days time – and has also started crawling EVERYWHERE. He vocalizes a lot, blows bubbles and raspberries, and is starting to initiate peekaboo.
  • Tirzah Mae has been busy memorizing Children Desiring God’s “Foundation Verses”, singing songs with actions, helping with clearing the table and putting clothes in the hamper, riding her tricycle and playing in the sandbox – and just generally being a lot of fun. Those extra couple of hours that she’s no longer napping give her lots of opportunity to do more (and give me a lot less time in which to do my own tasks!)
  • We started our foster care class, hoping to adopt out of foster care eventually. Even just a couple weeks in, the class has been enlightening.

In the craft room:

  • I started working on our wedding album (we’re coming up on our 4th anniversary here next week) – but need to find the time to buckle down and finish it. Time is in short supply now that Tirzah Mae isn’t napping.

Seedlings under lights

In the garden:

  • I’m loving the grow light I got for Christmas. The broccoli has sprouted, the tomatoes and peppers are planted. I’m itching to get my fingers in the dirt outside.
  • I’ve set up a few beds and want to get herbs in this year – next order of business is getting a truckload of compost delivered. That’s going to be on the agenda this next week (as long as it stays dry enough that a dump truck can get in without destroying the lawn.)

In the library (currently reading):

  • Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley
  • Getting to Know the Church Fathers by Bryan M. Litfin
  • Your Time-Starved Marriage by Les and Leslie Parrott
  • Success as a Foster Parent by the National Foster Care Association
  • Everyday Creative Play by Lisa Church
  • The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

What I'm reading these days

Added to the TBR List:

Around the web:

  • Should Children Play with Food? – Especially for picky eaters, “playing” with food can be helpful for broadening kids’ horizons and helping them overcome sensory difficulties.
  • The Four-Fold View of Creation – In a day where questions about the age of the earth and about evolution are the questions related to creation, it’s important to be reminded of these points that Christians have historically emphasized about creation (Full disclosure: I’m a day-age creationist and do not believe that humans evolved from other species.)
  • No, Saul the Persecutor Did Not Become Paul the Apostle – This is a pet peeve of mine, so I was thrilled to see it addressed. (HT: Tim Challies

Recap (2017.01.21)

January 22nd, 2017

In my spirit:

  • Rejoicing in progress
  • Praying for so many friends and family members with health concerns
  • Continuing to delight in hearing my daughter’s voice sing praises to God or recite memorized Scripture

In the living room:

  • Pompoms, pompoms everywhere! I got some pompoms to use for a color-matching activity with Tirzah Mae – and she’s found plenty of other uses for them. The most recent has been to make soups – she stirs them up in a pot, ladles them into bowls, stirs them some more to cool them off, and then serves them to her parents or her brother.
  • I’ve been getting back into exercising and have been encouraged that things are getting easier – it’s time to either pick up my weights or work out to faster music or both!

Louis eating table food

In the kitchen:

  • So far, using a cycle menu is wonderful. I’m finding that there’s more than one day a week where I don’t want to cook – and that my recipes generate enough food that incorporating an extra day of leftovers is probably worthwhile. Thankfully, I have at least one recipe on each week’s cycle that doesn’t include fresh ingredients that’ll go bad if I skip it.
  • Daniel made this Bacon Cheese Ball for a snack day at his work and it was delicious!
  • Daniel brought home some stale hot dog buns that had been sitting around at his work and I tried an overnight Blueberry French toast recipe with frozen blueberries and cream cheese chunks to use them up. Definitely going to add that to the repertoire of breakfast recipes.
  • I used a new technique for making my homemade tortilla chips (brushing just one side of a corn tortilla with canola oil, stacking up a whole stack of the tortillas, and then cutting them into sixths before sprinkling with salt and chili powder and baking at 350 F on full convection for 14 minutes.) In contrast to previous attempts where I oiled the tortillas after cutting, I ended up using only a single tablespoon of oil for 20 tortillas. That translates into 0.7 g of fat (6 calories from fat) per serving versus 7 g of fat (63 calories from fat) per serving store bought tortilla chips. People, that just saved me 57 calories per serving (and how many of you eat just 6-9 chips at a time? We’re talking something more in line with 200 calories in a real-life serving.)

In the nursery:

  • Louis continues to become more and more mobile – he’s rolling and scooting all over the floor :-)
  • I started putting Louis to sleep in the nursery (as opposed to the bassinet in our room) this past week. We’re still too early to tell how it’s going, but I am looking forward to having our room to ourselves again.
  • We’ve started putting on a Seeds Family Worship CD for Tirzah Mae at naptime and bedtime. She loves turning on the CD and it’s a delight to hear her singing God’s word – yesterday it was “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened. And I will give you rest, I will give you rest.” Balm to a mother’s ears (in more ways than one.)
  • I’m working on being consistent with training and discipline, being clear about when I’m giving an instruction versus asking an opinion or offering an option. As someone who tends to use “asking” language when I’m making a request (“Would you like to change Louis’s diaper?” I’ll ask my husband, when I really mean “I’d really like it if you’d change Louis’s diaper”), it’s been something of a transition.

In the craft room:

  • My biggest “craft” this past couple weeks was making Tirzah Mae a color matching activity to go along with Donald Crews’s Freight Train. I cut train cars out of felt and have pom poms for Tirzah Mae to match to the train cars. I expected it to be an activity she’d play with for a couple days before I put it away for a rainy day – but she’s been playing with it multiple times a day for a week now and showing no signs of stopping. Hooray!

Playing with her color train

In the garden:

  • I spoke to a master gardener friend and she encouraged me to check my charts because I might need to start my broccoli seedlings soon. Maybe I should check those now? Looks like February 8 is my date, so I better start figuring out where to source my seeds.

In the library:

  • Great People of the Bible and How They Lived by Reader’s Digest
  • Paul: In Fresh Perspective by N.T. Wright
  • True Community by Jerry Bridges
  • As They Grow: Your Two Year Old by Diane O’Connell
  • Spiritually Parenting Your Preschooler by C. Hope Flinchbaugh
  • Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt

Hugging a rolling pin

Added to the TBR List:

Around the web:

Take a picture of me, mama

In blogging history:

Recap (2017.01.07)

January 7th, 2017

In my spirit:

  • I’ve been rejoicing in Emmanuel come – and longing for Emmanuel’s return to “bid envy, strife, and sorrow cease, fill all the world with heaven’s peace.”
  • Frustrated with the “2016 was an awful year” news stories. As if who is elected president of the United States (or whether Britons decide to stay in the EU) is what makes or breaks a year. (For the record, I was a never-Trump-er – and I think 2016 was a great year.)

In the living room:

  • I took down the Christmas decorations yesterday and Tirzah Mae was devastated to see the stockings packed away. For my part, it feels nice to put the house back together again.

In the kitchen:

  • I’m starting a four week cycle menu for the winter instead of coming up with a new menu each week. This is my first week, but menu planning and grocery shopping was already SO much easier since I already had the menu written. I have high hopes for this.
  • I’ve cooked lasagna maybe once since Daniel and I got married – but I had odds and ends I needed to use up after Christmas so I threw everything together into a garbage-can-style lasagna dish. It was GOOD. Problem is, there’s no way I can replicate it, since it includes things like “leftover cheese ball”. However, the experience has encouraged me to think more about adding vegetables to both the sauce and the cheese mixture (that one had spinach in the cheese mixture and peppers and onions in addition to tomatoes in the sauce.)

Tirzah Mae in her Christmas dress

In the nursery:

  • Louis has started eating solids (just in the past WEEK.) When we left for Christmas in Lincoln, he was still exhibiting tongue-thrust and only minimal interest in food. Now? If we’re eating, he wants some.
  • Tirzah Mae is currently obsessed with turning on light switches, washing her hands, and brushing her teeth. The heady power of being just a little bit taller and having access to a step stool means I’m racing to keep one step ahead of her (Nope, you can’t apply the fluoride toothpaste to your brush by yourself!)

In the craft room:

  • Having my family over for Thanksgiving forced me to get my craft room cleaned up – and Christmas made me glad it was clean. I made Tirzah Mae a Christmas dress, Louis a Christmas vest, and hemmed up a dated skirt for my own Christmas outfit. And I made Tirzah Mae a Christmas stocking, since the “Baby” stocking now goes to Louis.
  • I probably don’t do arts and crafts with Tirzah Mae nearly as often as I ought – but even just our few adventures with painting have convinced me that I need some way to deal with the onslaught of “art” in our home. Birthday cards have offered a solution. I’ve bought a bunch of blank greeting cards, and for January, we’re punching shapes out of Tirzah Mae’s paintings and then gluing those shapes on the fronts of the cards. Family members get a card and some of Tirzah Mae’s art – I get rid of a few paintings. Win-win, I think.

Louis in his Christmas vest (also Tirzah Mae)

In the garden:

  • I got a grow light for Christmas this year, so I’m looking forward to starting my own plants this year (I had some serious sticker shock after I bought plants last year!) But gardening is still a ways off as we’re currently enjoying a cold snap with highs in the mid 20’s.

In the library:
Currently reading…

  • Acts from the Bible
  • Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley
  • Paul: In Fresh Perspective by N.T. Wright
  • Your Two-Year-Old: As they Grow by Parents Magazine
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Added to the TBR List:

Around the web:

  • A Flexible Goodies Policy – You want your kids to eat healthy foods, but you don’t want sweets to become a forbidden fruit that they hoard and binge on. What’s a mom to do? Dietitian Maryann Jacobsen has some excellent suggestions.

In blogging history:

Recap (2016.01.09)

January 9th, 2016

In my spirit:

  • Working on memorizing Ephesians 1:15-23 – and having it inspire me to prayer and worship
  • Practicing confession, more frequently than I’d prefer as I’ve often found myself frustrated with and short towards Tirzah Mae

In the living room:

  • Packing, packing, packing. I don’t have enough boxes for our books so I’m planning to do that part in stages.
  • How is it possible that I can wash three loads of dishes daily and still have messy kitchen at the end of the day?

In the kitchen:

  • Putting meals on the table, but nothing spectacular.
  • I didn’t grow up eating cinnamon rolls with chili, but I know others did – and I felt like rolls on Monday so chili became my excuse.

In the nursery:

  • Tirzah Mae’s new thing is waking up at night and wanting to stay awake. I’m so thankful this hadn’t been or experience in the first year.
  • I think my breastmilk volume might be decreasing – sometimes it seems like Tirzah Mae will nurse and nurse and nurse some more; and, when I finally get tired and offer her a water cup instead, she gulps it down.

In the craft room:

  • No crafts these days – see “packing”

In the garden:

  • Still dormant for the winter – I’ll be moving my raised bed out to Prairie Elms soon, and I’m contemplating whether to move my compost too.

At Prairie Elms:

  • We do a final walk-through at the beginning of next week – it’s starting to look DONE!
  • We’ll close on our mortgage (to pay off the construction loan) Friday – and them we’re ready to start moving in!

Recap (2015/10/17)

October 17th, 2015

It’s been a while since I posted a Recap – which means there’s a lot to share, but it also means I’m going a little less detailed and just hitting the highlights (in the interest of time :-P).

In the living room:

  • My little brother is in Nebraska for about a month between military postings, so Daniel and I and Tirzah Mae made another quick trip up to Lincoln to spend time with him (we haven’t seen him since another little brother’s wedding almost 2 years ago.) That was pretty great.
  • Tirzah Mae has started “helping” with laundry, pulling the laundry out of the basket and either mouthing it or putting it on the floor. After a few days worth of frustration at having to refold my laundry multiple times, I arrived at a solution. Tirzah Mae stands at the basket of unfolded laundry and hands me one article at a time (“Thank you, Tirzah Mae”). I fold the item and then place it somewhere out of reach (often on the other side of a barricade of my body and the basket.) She hands me another article and we continue until the laundry is done. Then I try to keep her occupied until I can get all the folded laundry gathered and put away!

In the kitchen:

  • I just took Melissa D’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners back to the library, but not before we ate her yummy recipes for a couple of weeks straight (well, apart from some standard household staples). You should check out my review, linked above, if you haven’t already.
  • We picked up our half a pig when we took our vacation at the beginning of last month, which means we’ve been enjoying pork chops and ground pork and BACON!
  • I am so excited that it’s fall and I can start making crockpot soup for every meal. And soon, I’ll be able to put a casserole in the oven without feeling like I’m in an inferno. Which reminds me. It totally belongs in the “on-the-land” section, but we just purchased and picked up a double convection wall oven today. I’m dreaming of having EVERYONE over for turkey dinner. Thanksgiving at my house next year, peoples.

In the nursery:

  • Tirzah Mae is standing now, generally for 5 second intervals but occasionally for as long as 30 seconds or a minute
  • Tirzah Mae is sleeping now. From 8 or 9 at night to 5 or 6 in the morning. Her mother feels like she’s been granted a second chance at life.
  • I had been worried about Tirzah Mae’s language development because she wasn’t babbling as of her nine month appointment, but I’m not worried anymore. Our daughter clearly has no problem hearing and replicating all sorts of consonants. If we called Daniel “dad”, she’d have said her first word; but since he’s papa, she’s still just babbling :-)
  • For years, I’ve been telling moms about the “picky phase” children enter from one year to eighteen months. It’s ’cause nutrient needs decrease quite a bit, making children able to be more selective. And now, I’ve had a chance to see it firsthand. Tirzah Mae went from eating three or four cups worth of watermelon at a sitting to eating maybe a tablespoon or two worth of food. It’s a good thing I know better, ’cause if I didn’t, I’m sure that would freak me out.

In the craft room:

  • I’ve made up an autumn smelly blend for use in a candle-lit simmer pot – and I like it quite a lot. It’s 2 drops cedarwood essential oil, 1 drop clove bud essential oil, 1 drop cinnamon bark essential oil, and 2 drops of tangerine essential oil. Mix with water in your simmer pot and light that candle. Yummy!
  • I also have a Christmas craft book just about due to return to the library, so I had to get started on the project I wanted to do with it – a Nativity scene with a stable and manger made from twigs. I selected appropriate twigs from our more-than-ample pile of brush and have cut them to size, but haven’t yet assembled them into said stable and manger. But since the book has to go back this next week, I’m gonna have to get cracking!

In the garden:

  • Tomatoes keep trickling in – just slow enough that I can use them before they go bad.
  • I’m subbing homegrown hot peppers for all sorts of things, since my hots went crazy while my bells…not so much
  • Everything else is torn out – and plans are simmering for next year’s garden

On the land:

  • We have framing!
  • We have that fancy upstairs school room!
  • We have a roof!
  • We have windows and doors!
  • We have plumbing!
  • We have electrical! (Although it isn’t live yet.)
  • I just bought kitchen appliances!

Recap (2015.08.31)

August 31st, 2015

In my spirit:

  • Marveling at how the first two “stories” in the Bible with human characters show so strongly God’s justice and mercy entwined (The fall – God’s justice in the curse and His mercy in the curse on the serpent; Cain and Abel – God’s justice in making Cain a wanderer whose crops would never grow and His mercy in preventing others from killing Cain.)
  • Rejoicing in God’s mercy to the apostle Paul, which Paul says was so that “Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16) If God shows mercy to a blasphemer, persecuter, and insolent opponent – He will also show mercy to us who have placed our trust in Him.

In the living room:

  • Books, books, books. I’ve been requesting books from the library, forgetting that once I request them, I have to pick them up and bring them home. My library shelf is overflowing (but we’ve been reading at a pretty steady clip, so if I can just refrain from requesting more until everything fits on the shelf…)

In the kitchen:

  • The sourdough starter turned pink, which my internet sources say means no good – so I threw it away. I think I’ll take a break from the sourdough and try again when fall truly rolls around (and I won’t feel quite so bad about turning on the oven every other day to use up my starter!)
  • What with my fatigue this week and some over-large recipes last week, we ended up eating lots of leftovers this week. But we still managed to sneak in a new recipe: these very nice Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs. I used bone-in ribs from the half cow we got last year and cut the brown sugar to 1/4 cup instead of 3/4 – they were excellent.
  • Daniel’s workgroup has “snack days” about once a month and the days have themes. This month’s theme was “everything crackers” – so we tossed around a few ideas before settling on this Smore’s Eclair Cake, really more of a pudding dessert. Any gains I might have been making nutritionally…
  • I’ve made this Kung Pao Chicken before, and always liked it – but since I don’t stock dried red peppers, I always sub red pepper flakes. Unfortunately, I haven’t been recording amounts that I subbed, so it’s a guessing game each time. For the record, 2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes is too much. I handled it okay – Tirzah Mae needed some watermelon and breastmilk to help her cool her mouth down after dinner.

In the nursery:

  • Tirzah Mae loves to make her parents laugh. She’ll shriek to get our attention and then dissolve into laughter, begging us to join her. And when we startle her? She bursts into laughter and then opens her eyes expectantly, waiting for us to do it again.
  • Either it’s one thing or it’s the other – in this case, nighttime sleep has become a struggle. She goes down for naps just fine, but when I put her down at night, she pops onto all fours and starts climbing the crib sides. Then, she’ll spend the next half hour or longer clearly fighting sleep – fluttering her eyes to check to make sure I haven’t tried putting her back in the crib.
  • We took our first trip to a playground and splash park this week. Tirzah Mae wasn’t too sure about either the swings or the water – but warmed up to the latter once we started walking around the sprinkler-type jets and she realized she could get her mama wet (while she herself could be walking under the arc of the water!)

In the library:
aka “Books added to TBR list”

  • Emma, Mr. Knightley, and Chili-Slaw Dogs by Mary Hathaway (added based on Barbara’s Review – I do love Austen adaptations)
  • The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon (added based on Lisa’s Nightstand – it’s hard to think of a more awful world than one without the written word – the premise of this dystopia)

In the garden:

  • The beans are finally growing to maturity – maybe it’s just been too hot until now? Or maybe the “Square Foot Gardening” recommendations packed them too close together. Either way, I servd fresh-from-the-garden green beans Saturday night!
  • The cukes are going gang-busters (I probably could have preserved some if I’d chosen to), but some of the vines are starting to look wither-y.

On the land:

  • We have a hole!
  • Also, an error on the deed meant it needed to be refiled – but that’s for the title company that misfiled it in the first place to deal with. I just had to drop off the original at their office.

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