Tuesday, December 23, 2008

College Christmas Party

Sunday night, we celebrated Christmas with our College and Singles Sunday School class. We played several games, one involving attempting to unwrap a heavily wrapped gift while wearing fuzzy gloves. That one was pretty funny! We exchanged gifts -- Secret Santa -- and ate lots of food, of course! I think the highlight of the evening for all of us was when they gave us our Christmas present. They had been planning it since last year. When Jeff unwrapped the box, I saw what it was and said, "Is that really a Wii in there?!" Yeah, they got together and bought us a Nintendo Wii! The kids were at Mom and Berk's, so I called Kaity on speaker phone to tell her the news. The college people got a kick out of hearing her reaction.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Race That Knows Joseph

The story of Anne of Green Gables has a strong emphasis on friendship, especially in Anne's younger days. She calls her friends "kindred spirits". In a later book, Anne meets an older woman who uses the term, "race that knows Joseph". That thought always intrigued me and several years after reading that for the first time, I came across the biblical reference where she got the phrase. Exodus 1:8 gives the moment in time that Israel ceased its period of comfort in Egypt, while under Joseph's rule with the Pharaoh. "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." So, the reverse being that those who were believers in God, who followed Him, were of the group that "know Joseph".

All that to say this -- One of the most amazing earthly gifts that God has given us is fellowship with other believers. What joy they bring with their "kindred spirits" -- we're one in the body of Christ! Our fellowship with believers at its best encourages us, strengthens us, and shows love to us. Of course, it's the Holy Spirit living within us as believers that gives us the ability to do all of those things. When we accept Christ as the living Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within our hearts, and we begin to show fruit of that -- love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. What better qualities could you ask for in a friend?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home School Christmas Party!

We had our Christmas party today, and it was a lot of fun! The moms all brought brunch dishes to share -- talk about yummy! We had doughnuts and breads and breakfast casseroles, fruit, and muffins. The children made two different ornaments and the kids and the moms both had book exchanges.

I took some pictures of the kids before we left home, too. Enjoy!

Those are our advent stockings hanging on the mantle. The large stockings are, from left to right, Joe's, Mommy's, Daddy's, and Kaity's.

We had twelve families participate today, with about thirty children.

This is our pastor, Brian, reading to his son Andrew and Joe. (The boys are 5 months apart.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Jeni's Pumpkin Bread

Okay, so a while back I hinted at pumpkin recipes to come ... Here's my recipe for Jeni's Pumpkin Bread.

1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans

Remove the butter and the eggs from the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350̊F and coat two 9" loaf pans with nonstick spray.

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.

On low speed, add the eggs one at a time. Add the pumpkin puree and mix again.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together.

Fold in half of the flour mixture. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Fold in the rest of the flour mixture and pecans. Be careful to not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake until the loaves are golden brown and set in the center, about 40 to 45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a paring knife into the center of each loaf; if the blade comes out dry, the bread is done. YIELD: 2 loaves

This is wonderful with Orange Pecan Butter – soften ½ cup butter, stir in 1 tablespoon grated orange peel, and ½ cup finely chopped pecans.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I really do love Christmas -- but I'm a Scrooge about when it starts! I have a problem with Christmas decorations being alongside Halloween decorations in stores ... I have a problem with skipping Thanksgiving as a holiday. I want to celebrate Christmas in December (even though Jesus was probably born in April!). Kidding aside, I want Christmas to be special, and it's just not special and set-apart when it starts in October! Now I am stepping down off of my soapbox.

I put up the advent calendar yesterday! In our house, we use tiny stockings to count down the days. Several years ago, I sewed buttons and beads and ribbons and things onto the fold at the top of infant socks. Each one has pompom or a jingle bell at the toe. I used mini clothes pins to attach them to gold ribbon. I'd show you a picture, but that leads to the next thing I wanted to tell you.

Our computer monitor died yesterday! On Sunday, our college people gave us our Christmas present (yes, I know it was still November then, and therefore before my "start date" for Christmas!) The present was a wireless router for our computer! One of our college people gave us their hand-me-down laptop several months ago, and now that we have wireless, I can use the laptop to get on-line! Otherwise, I would be going through severe withdrawal symptoms right now. :) So, that means that I can't get to anything on our hard drive until we find a replacement monitor. :(

By the way, I'm sure you noticed the new layout -- I thought I'd celebrate the season by decorating the blog, too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Funny Stories

I know I've been telling a lot of funny things the kids say lately, but they are on a roll! Today it's all Joe.

Lily was a bit pitiful a couple of days after her surgery, and so was Joe from his sinus infection. She came stumbling into the kitchen, woozy from pain medicine and I said, "Bless her heart!" Joe came hurrying in and snuggled up to me saying, "Bless MY heart, too!" In his little stuffed up voice he was too cute.

These are my attempts to capture Joe's new haircut.

In closing, when his answer is negative, Joe doesn't just say "no". His favorite responses are, "I certainly don't know" or "I have no idea".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Update on the Cute People in the Family

Joe has had a cold, and because of his fever I went ahead and took him to the doctor yesterday. (He's so sneaky about ear infections! No symptoms, yet his eardrum is ready to pop.) Anyway, his ears were clear, but he has a sinus infection. It's amazing how much goop that little head can hold.

Everyone else is well, except Lily, who visited the vet yesterday to be spayed. And technically, she's doing well, too. We'll pick her up this afternoon. Daisy has quite enjoyed the break!

Kaity has begun earning an allowance. It's way overdue, but better late than never! One of her chores is sweeping the kitchen floor every day. On day 3, she was moving the cats' dishes out of the way when she moaned, "Ugh! I just swept this place yesterday!" I couldn't help but laugh out loud. It was like an out-of-body experience.

Joe came into the kitchen last night and said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, "Okay. I've had enough of this." Out of the blue! It wasn't clear what he'd had enough of, and I was laughing too much to ask him in a serious voice.

I'll close with a picture of Daisy enjoying Lily's companionship. Ha!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lily and a Lizard

I was looking out of the bay window the other day and saw this cute little lizard. I was sure he wouldn't let me take a picture, but he did!

And here's a picture of Lily. Her favorite thing to do is to "nurse" on Jeff's arm, which I find to be gross. But she's awfully cute!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mommy's Little Sweethearts

Joe is fascinated with his name and the number 4 ("That's how old I am!").

I'm often amazed at how many things Joe can come up with to do that are not technically disobedient. I've never told him NOT to do it, so it must be okay, right? Rii-ight. With that said, I have a couple of entries for the "Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Say" file ...

1. "Don't smash the Goldfish (crackers) with the peanut butter jar!"
2. "Quit driving your car on the bananas!"

In other news:
Just now, Kaity wouldn't do something Joe wanted her to. His response? "You're breaking my heart, Kaity."

Last night he told her that her new shoes were "adorable".

In playing Pretend earlier, Kaity responded to something Joe said with, "Oh, I think perhaps you meant me."

The other day, crafty Kaity made a little carry-case for Joe's craft things. She punched holes in a piece of craft foam and sewed it up with yarn to make a pocket. She added labels and little places to stick things like scissors and crayons. It's so cute!

For the Fall Festival at our church Friday night, the children had last-minute costumes (my usual!). We stopped in at Old Navy Friday morning to see if there were any deals on costumes and got Joe's for $5! Kaity's cost a little more at Wal-Mart because we put it together ourselves. In case you can't tell, Joe's a skunk and Kaity is Spaghetti and Meatballs. (That's a colander on her head.)

Friday, October 24, 2008


I love fall! I love the colors of the trees, wearing boots and sweaters (but NOT jackets!), pumpkins, fall festivals, autumn food like coffee and cider and soups and pot pies. I love just about everything about fall, except the reminder that winter's on its way. Yesterday, the kids and I carved a pumpkin -- they designed and I executed. They did NOT like digging the seeds out, which I thought they'd love. But they really liked the rest of it. We roasted the seeds in the oven and I've been snacking on them ever since! I roasted a little pie pumpkin the other day and pureed it so I can use it in recipes next week. More on that later!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Children's Worship

I'm going to preface this post by saying that I really don't like children's performances -- plays, musicals, recitals, etc. Mainly because I don't care about what other peoples' children are doing on stage, and mine perform for me ALL THE TIME. That said, our kids had a part in a children's worship service this past Sunday. It was mostly cute, and partially embarrassing because Joe is a real ham on stage. (Another reason to not like these things! :)) Anyway, both sets of grandparents came to admire the little darlings, so it was wonderful to be able to see them.

Mom and Berk with the kids.

Mommy and Me!

Kaity singing with her group.

Kaity also sang on the praise team during congregational songs.

Joe, in a rare moment of clarity when he actually sang along.

Jeff's parents with the children.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Creation Museum

Thursday, Jeff and I packed up the kids, along with three of our college friends, and drove up to Kentucky to see the Creation Museum. It was truly amazing. We loved going through this museum filled with the truth! It was refreshing to be able to let Katie look at and read the displays without having to explain to her why what she just read isn't true. It was nice to be able to say, "See how God's hand is obvious in all of creation?" instead of having to continually remind her that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. We know by faith that God created the world in six days by speaking it into existence, but it was definitely exciting to see all the scientific evidence of a world designed by a Creator. The museum was also full of evidence for the flood, and showed how the worldly explanation just doesn't make sense.

The museum has a petting zoo, dinosaur exhibit, botanical gardens, a planetarium, lectures, short films, and restaurants in addition to the main body of the museum. We brought a picnic lunch and ate outside -- it was an absolutely gorgeous day!

Ben, Hope, Joe, Kim, and Kaity in the hotel room.

Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The museum told the history of the world from creation through the fall of man to Christ's work of redemption on the cross.

Kaity is looking at a model of what "Noah's Ark" may have looked like on the inside. That part was really cool!

Here, Jeff and Ben and the kids are looking at a huge area with an ark "under construction".

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory ..." John 1:14

I took this picture of the outside of the museum while standing at our picnic table.

Joe feeding goats at the petting zoo. There were also llamas, zebras, a camel, pigs, chickens, turkeys, several other different kinds of birds, and donkeys. The highlight for all of us was when the camel nuzzled Jeff.

The Tyrannosaur in the dinosaur section.

God's amazing creation on the drive home.