Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where's McClain?

Yesterday I went upstairs to get the boys up from their naps, and their door was mysteriously open. I went in and the crib tent was also unzipped. *ONE* boy was *missing*! Cloe and I had been doing a mix of things in the backyard, in the garage, in the basement...I had no idea where this boy had slipped to. We all started hollering McClain's name...nothing. After a few minutes of searching the whole house, I checked the backyard...then I got panicky! I thought he surely must have slipped out the front door while we were back in the garden. I ran outside and started yelling his name and looking up and down the street...nothing! (Of course, horrible pictures of "the worst" were happening in my head...)
By this time, around 5 minutes has passed. I'm about ready to really freak out...when at the top of the stairs, McClain appears! "Where were you!?!" "I hiding from you under Cloe's bed!" Then he did this little evil giggle thing...augh!
The little evil giggle smile thing didn't last long. First, Cloe pulled out her mother hen speech, "Clainey, you should not hide from your mommy. That's not nice." Then Carson echoed, "Not nice, Clainey!" Then I followed...you don't want my speech here...
McClain did pull out his charm at the end..."I not hide from you mommy." Ahhhh. Think the sweet will stick? At least I know I'll stay calm and collected in case of a real emergency...well, maybe I better keep working on that!

Free DVDs!

Click here to follow the links to receive Geotrax and Planet Heroes DVDs free from Mattel!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Marvelous Monday

Our Monday together as a family was so much fun I just have to post a few pictures! We crammed about a half a weeks worth of vacation-like activities into about 9 hours...phew!
First, we had to come up with a new Monday tradition for lunch. We headed to the South side for some good authentic Italian pizza! It was super tasty, but I can't remember which Italian named place it was exactly...
Next we headed to the zoo! The aquariums are always a huge hit! We debated telling Cloe about the "cure" for getting stung by a jelly fish. (You pee on it...have you seen that old Friends episode?) We know she would think that was extremely funny and probably gross too, but we decided to save that story for another day.

Next, it was off to the train! Our first ride ever--thanks to Member Monday where you can ride the train for FREE! I seriously can't imagine paying $1.95 EACH for the 4 minute ride around a quarter of the outside of the zoo...but free = pretty nice!
This was my favorite part! From the moment that train whistle blew, this little hand just waved and waved...mostly at the bushes and trees. It was such a passionate waive like it meant a lot to the animals. If I worked at a zoo, I'd train a tiger to waive back...that would be sweet!
This was my other favorite part...the boys insisted on wearing these little sun hats. They looked so cute just barely peering over the fence!

A little squinty! The bench by the giraffes is where we always take a little break while we let the kids out to burn off some energy. Sorry girls, but it's more fun on the bench with Cody than with a bunch of moms. :)
Please just give us one good shot with everyone looking at the camera...please...smile! Pretty good! Thanks for lots of fun, Blank Park Zoo! We conquered everything but the goats...ew!
Off to home for some quick naps...

After nap time, we headed to a really cool park up in Johnston. We had a fun picnic supper.
This picture cracked me up--could I have gotten a better picture of all their eyes in weird blinky stages? This is also Cloe itching the first of the million mosquito bites she would get...they just like that sweet little girl!

Next we hopped on our BIKES! The trails were beautiful! There were tons of super cool bridges, a creek that the trail followed with beautiful rushing water, and lots and lots of colorful flowers! It totally felt like we had been removed from Iowa and set down in some green lush country.

It was the *boys*

and the *girls*!

This was my favorite thing along the trail, but it was getting dark when I took this picture. The whole back yard was completely full of artsy flower arrangements. Hopefully we'll get back soon during the daylight so I can capture more of this beautiful yard!

That was our Monday! It was a super lovely day!
We hit the trails again tonight but tried a different trail. It wasn't quite as pretty and now I've officially got a bad case of *biker bottom*!

Squash!

Our garden is reaping great yellow summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes! It's so exciting to go out everyday and see what's ready to be picked!
Here are my two favorite recipes from last week for the summer squash.

CHOCOLATE SUMMER SQUASH CAKE
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups finely shredded yellow summer squash (remove the seeds)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, oil and butter. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to oil mixture. Stir in the squash, chocolate chips and almonds.
Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 325° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Top with powdered sugar glaze if desired. Keep covered. Cake will stay fresh and moist for several days.

FRESH VEGETABLES, CHICKEN AND PASTA
This recipe is one that I made up, so it's totally to our taste...I guess that's my disclaimer! The kids love all the fresh vegetables, and it's easy to change it up and use whatever produce we have on hand.
Grilled Chicken Breasts cubed or shredded
Whole wheat penne pasta
Fresh vegetables--diced tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, carrots
1 cup of chicken broth (or 1 bullion cube)
Fresh or dried basil
Italian blend cheese

Cook pasta until al dente. Add chicken, vegetables, broth, and basil. Simmer until vegetables are slightly steamed.
Top with sprinkles of cheese.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crack me up!

In case you haven't starting reading the blog "Stuff Christians Like", I'm stealing a little of this guy's funniness for you today! This morning our deacons prayed with their hands on two of our guys headed to the Ukraine for a mission's trip. The whole time this blog kept coming to my mind and I had to fight the giggling that was going on in my head from coming on out...sorry, I'm a recovering Junior Higher sometimes! What made it even better was putting the faces of our deacons on which type of hand layer they are...I'm not sharing this part; do it yourself! Also, I'm sure you're also appalled that I wasn't focused on praying...I've taken care of that, thanks for your concern! I also respect our deacons and the position God has given them... Hope you find this post as funny as I have over and over and over...

#336. Praying with our hands on people.

A week before every retreat my men's group goes on, our leader asks us to pray for certain people. Usually it's the worship leaders because we know that they will need to rock like they have never rocked before during the retreat. Sometimes it is the small group leaders. But regardless of who it is, we always pray with our hands on them.

I'm cool with that. I mean it seems like Jesus was big on the intimacy of physical touch when He healed folks and I think it's a nice way to visibly show your support for someone. But, there are five people you meet in situations like this.

The five people you meet in a "hands on" prayer circle:

1. The Tickler
This is the person that seems to have some sort of tickle radar, accidentally finding a way to place their hand in your most ticklish spot. While the minister leads a heart wrenching prayer about someone losing their beet crop to the winter storms, you try not to burst out laughing and wet your pants from the tickler's hand.

2. The Kung Fu Gripper
Are we in a fight dude? Seriously, do you need to clench your hand on the nerve in my shoulder that Spock used on Star Trek to knock folks out? I get it, you're strong. You bought those little spinny push up devices they sell on television and you're taking creatine now and working on your gluts. Awesome, but you are destroying my neck right now. We're going to street fight when this prayer is over, aren't we?

3. The Lingerer
I mentioned this guy briefly in my holding hands post. And the same things are true in this case as well. This is the guy that continues to keep his hand on you long after the prayer has officially ended. We're done. They're clearing the chairs. I just want to go home but for some reason, my egress is blocked by this guy's hand. I've said it before and I will say it again. Think of letting go as a race. I want us to win. I want you and me to set a new land speed record in letting go. Come on, we can do it. Eye of the tiger. Eye of the freakin' tiger.

4. Sir Sweaty McSweaterton
Did you run here? Did you carry your car on your back like some sort of world's strongest man competition? Are you wearing wool underwear in Georgia in July? These are honestly the only reasons I can think for how sweaty you are. I'm sweaty too, don't get me wrong, but I feel like the ocean itself has its hand on my back right now. You are salty and wet and this prayer feels really long right now.

5. The Awkwarder
I'm not sure if you know this, I mean it might look different from where you are sitting, but that's my inner thigh you have your hand on. I'm just saying. I hate that two people beat you to the "prayer money spots," my shoulders, but just because all my good prayer spots were taken doesn't mean you need to put your hand in my armpit. Put your hand on my head, but wait, don't intertwine your fingers in my hair. We've talked about that. For like half an hour. That's not cool.

I am sure you can add your own, like Iron Hand, the guy that puts all his weight on you when he puts his hand down. But I have to clear something up. When I wrote my post about holding hands, someone accused me of not liking to touch the homeless. That felt like a fairly logical takeaway from my post and was exactly what I had intended. So let me be upfront, I don't mind touching the homeless. (What a delightfully weird sentence to end with, but there it is. That's how I roll, weird.)

Sunday Seven

I'm thankful for God giving us McClain...such a sweet boy and yet stretching me in so many ways! He LOVES his food and thoroughly enjoys every last little bit...no matter where it ends!

Carson is pretty thrilled with being so clean! I'm thankful that this little guy is conquering diapers! Only pull-ups and underwear for him! In just a few weeks it will be two years ago that we were in the hospital watching his oxygen levels and praying that he would pull through the asthma/pneumonia/respiratory distress. Last night, we started him on breathing treatments again. My hearts desire would be that God would allow Carson to outgrow his breathing problems, but until then, we'll keep praying, trusting, and nebulizing!

I think this is the best part of the garden so far--cucumbers! I'm thankful for the big smiles they bring!

More big smiles for cucumbers!
Last night we went to a going away party for our friends Rian and Heather Bess and their boys Trey and Gavin. I'm really thankful God brought them to Willow Creek even if it was just for a year. They are so sweet and we thoroughly loved having them around! God has led them back to Missouri, and we'll really miss them!

Thanks to Lutheran Church of Hope for hosting such a fantastic closing night for their VBS. We love watching their fireworks display from our neighborhood. It's not quite as grand as the closing VBS ceremonies held at Willow Creek...

Thanks to this little monster, our kids are the beneficiaries of really cheap clothes for next summer! 50% off the clearance, 15% off coupon, 10% off credit card, free shipping...it was almost too easy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hmmm....

OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think I have when it comes to my children's clothing and eating. Sure, there are plenty of organization skills I'm completely lacking in, but when I see food fall on clothing leaving a stain behind, I think I actually have heart palpitations. Well, maybe not, but it's close.
Yes, it's so bad that I even resorted to putting our boys in *PINK* bibs this week. The blue ones were in the washing machine, blueberry pancakes were on the menu, it just happened. I'm sure someday, I'll probably have a boy in therapy for why he feels the need to dress like a girl. The scarring I'm doing to their masculinity...
So, if you happen to be one of those people who get kicks out of giving kids in light colored clothing hunks of chocolate that are just enough bigger than their mouth to ensure a proper amount of brown drool--think again! This momma will hunt you down all the way to Chinatown. Then I'll probably spray you down with the best stain remover I can find...I can't help it...it's just a disorder...
By the way, these same sweet boys sure gave a wonderful welcome to some visitors at church that we had lunch with on Sunday. We were all chatting and the boys were quietly enjoying some rice when McClain looked up at the man and said, "BOOBIES!" I know who taught him this word and I'd hunt them down too, except it was a four years old... After Cody finished his discipline session with McClain, Carson proceeded to shout out, "SHAKE YOUR BOOBIES!" Again, thank you four-year from church...augh! I'm pretty sure we may never see those visitors again, and I'm also pretty sure our boys will make some sort of "You'll never guess what the pastor's sons said to us" type of story. awesome. just what we were hoping for. *sarcasm*

Well, that's all the meandering thoughts for today. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What's for lunch?

Glad you asked! Yesterday we enjoyed blueberry pancakes! We got another little box of Michigan blueberries from Grandma C, and they are super good! Cloe liked the silly faces on the pancakes!

Today, we got really creative! Our garden has starting producing a lot of summer yellow squash! I love this bright little veggie, but I know I'll have to get creative to get my kids to like it. Thanks to my good friend L.H. who has a brilliant idea of starting a SQUASH cafe someday, I looked beyond the muffins and breads to find this recipe: SQUASH CAKES. They were super easy, packed with squash, and best of all--the kids LOVED them!
Squash Cakes
2 c. shredded summer yellow squash (unpeeled)
2 T. biscuit mix (like Bisquick)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil

Mix together squash, biscuit mix, cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan. Pour 1/4 c. squash mixture into pan and flatten. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Cloe was super excited about eating squash from our garden. She also successfully convinced her brothers that squash will make them smart, so they all ate the whole thing!

Here's a glimpse of our afternoon fun! I LOVE our backyard--especially with kids in it! There's the garden in the back--it's really taken off! Hope you all were able to enjoy the beautiful day!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mindless Mondays

Do you ever have days where your mind is just awash of random meanderings...here are a few of mine on this cloudy Monday!

Why aren't the names *Harold* *Gerald* *Ronald* *Donald* *Dorothy* *Sharon* *Shirley* *Carol* popular anymore? Seriously, who wouldn't want a little Harry running around? Check out the social security website on popular names throughout the years...interesting!

We had a guy visiting our church yesterday that I believe is trying out for the Fireman's Calendar...if I'm not mistaken. Tall, tan, stood in the way to make his arm muscles bulge out a little more. He made the "bowl cut" of the 90's still look hip... Cody thought he fit the stereotype, too.

Why is a BM always so bothersome? I'm talking the quarterly church BM, although the other is not always pleasant either. They both turn stinky...wow this is just going in the gutter quickly.

I just read a blog about a worship pastor's wife from DM who had a horrible migraine and went to the emergency room. She was having a brain aneurysm that was bursting. They did emergency surgery, and she miraculously survived. They don't know if she will come out of the coma or ever be well again. They have two girls (7 & 5) and a 10 day old baby boy. I don't know her, but I've been praying for her and her family a lot today.

This heat and humidity really zap my energy. I don't miss the snow, but I could use one long nice breezy day in the low 70's.

Obviously, after reading this, you will realize it was about nothing. Sorry for the 73 seconds of life that you'll never get back! I'm sure there are more promising blogs in my future!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We're home!

After a sweltering hot week at Junior High camp, we're home! Since I am a recovering junior higher, I found the week to be extremely humorous! I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in all my life! The kids would say and do funny things throughout the day, then we'd recap and embellish them at night in the retreat center with some old/new friends. Good times!
While we did enjoy the week, it was also EXTREMELY good to get our boys back! I always think they grow and mature by leaps and bounds when we're apart! Seriously, they only talk in complete sentences now, they pee and poop only on a potty, and manners are getting stellar good! Please, thank you, sorry, excuse me...yeah!!! Not bragging...just SO glad to have them home!
So, here's yet another Sunday...seven more things!
1. I'm so thankful for my bloggin' friends! I really missed you all this week! No internet = long days wondering what the rest of the world was up to...
2. Coupons--my new best friends! Cheap deals = *happy* sneaky mommy!
3. Michigan Blueberries! My mother-in-law got us a great stash on their way home from seeing the other 5 C's.
4. My new nephew! (probably should have put him before the blueberries...oops!) Kolby Dean was born two weeks ago tomorrow. Hopefully Grandma C. will bring home some cute pictures! Can't wait to see him!
5. Camp! It was great to see God answer our prayers for kids to accept Christ and make changes in their lives!
6. CODY! He led the music at camp and did a great job of continually pointing us to Christ through our music! Even amidst some opposition, he took the high road, and ultimately Christ was glorified through it.
7. My BED! Did I mention we got a new mattress for our 10th anniversary...we're celebrating the WHOLE year...it's next June. It's a super awesome mattress that I didn't even know I would miss so much until the third day at camp when I could no longer turn my head from side to side...awesome. People got my whole attention when we were talking...augh! One day at home...stellar!
Hope you all have a great week! It's good to be home and hopefully be getting back into the swing of things. Just a ka-zillion more loads of laundry and we'll be there...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Picnics and Strawberries!

I love our little ABF group at Willow Creek! They really are the best kids around! Last night we had a super fun little cook-out in Ankeny at a lovely home! What I really liked was how much all the fun wore out the boys--they slept until 11:30 today! Woo-hoo! I think that's a new record!

I found this recipe for Pound Cake in my good ol' Betty Crocker Cookbook. Usually, I'm not a fan of store-bought pound cake, but this homemade version "takes the cake"....literally! It's the best with fresh strawberries and a dollup of whipped cream!

Pound Cake
1 c. butter
4 eggs
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Bring butter and eggs to room temperature. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a large mixer bowl beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating 6 minutes or until fluffy. Add vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each; scrape bowl frequently. Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture, beating on low speed just until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55-65 minutes. Cool 15 minutes on a wire rack and remove from pan. Cool.

Yeah for Chick-fil-A! I had the cow costume all ready to go in the stroller, but when I asked the lady if I really had to put it on, she just totally cracked up and said my efforts were worth free meals for the whole family! Yeah!


Today is Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day. If you dress up like a cow, you get a completely free meal! So....I have a cow costume. Should I swallow my pride and put on the whole deal--udders and all, or should I just suck it up and pay for my lunch?!?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some great bargains!

I know this is kind of a weird post, but I just have to show the awesome deals I've been getting using COUPONS! I have to give most of the credit to this blog. I love how this lady does all the work of sorting through the grocery adds and linking them with the best coupons. I also want to add that there are certain snacks and foods that are not the norm for our family, but it's always nice to have extra boxed things on hand for food drives, snacks to share, and...well, it's summer--sometimes it's fun to have a little treat here and there!

Last Sunday night was my first try at the major coupon thing. The first total was $43.72. After coupons, I paid.....$16.47. Yeah!

Today was our Target day. These are the first of the school supplies for Cloe...I'm feeling a little sad about all this heading off to kindergarten business! They did have a lot of shoes that were 75% off. She needs tennis shoes for gym, so these little white ones will work for $3.24! The brown ones have been our staple shoe to buy every year. I love how cute they are! They were only $4.24! The lunch box is the one she has been dying to have ever since she found out she needed a lunch box in kindergarten. I was so happy to get her exactly the one she wanted! That was always a big deal for me when I was a kid--only I remember just always wanting a certain one and getting a cheaper lunchbox. (I'm not bitter though!) Just one little way I guess I'm being different than my mom! Of course, I'm sure Cloe will always find things to look back on my parenting and do her own way...'tis life!

SO, I didn't take a picture of everything I got at Target, but I should have! We got major loads of Pull-Ups, Easy-Ups, a case of wipes, 2 pairs of shoes, a lunch box, 3 frosty mugs with straws (so cool for smoothies!) and a lot of grocery items. With my coupons from the mail, the Sunday paper, and the blogs, I saved $48 dollars and paid $70. I wished it could have been more savings, but it's not too bad of a start at this crazy couponing way of life!

Lastly, we headed to Hy-Vee tonight for some last minute use of coupons before we head to Junior High Camp next week. I'm so excited to have these great treats to share with a bunch of other pastor's families! The first total was $54.47. After coupons...........$7.09!!!!!! I think I'm really catching on! and if you need any Kool-aid, just let me know! It was 10 cents and if I bought 3 pouches, I got a free jar of Planters nuts...seriously!


I also want to post a little disclaimer: I didn't post these pictures and descriptions to brag by any means, make you think I'm "idolizing" coupons (just remembering Sunday's sermon!) or to make you think that I'm somehow taking advantage of the "coupon" system. Every coupon was used according to the stipulations printed on each one. I do believe, though, that God wants us to be good stewards of our money and I really think this is one way I can be thrifty for our family and free up some more of our money to be used in building the Kingdom!!!

A Blueberry Treat

One of my favorite children's books is Blueberries for Sal. We read this book a lot at our house! It's created quite the excitement for buying blueberries at the grocery store!

This is our favorite blueberry treat right now:Layer fresh blueberries, plain or vanilla yogurt, and granola. My favorite granola right now is Kashi's Orchard Spice. Costco has a box of individual packages on sale, so we've stocked up! It's got the best cinnamon taste that goes perfect with fresh blueberries! Yum!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

To my LOST watching friends
Your ravings came with no ends
A show too intense for me
Someone close to me wants to see
Your enthusiasm sparked an interest
To watch all episodes seemed to be best
The computer is now taken every night
No evening blogging is quite a plight
Hopefully the episodes will soon end
So the computer will be mine to use again!

Target $5 Coupon

This article is interesting. Silly people altering coupons and ruining it for the rest of us!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A crazy story!

Our Monday tradition for the last several months has been to head down to Spaghetti Works and enjoy their "Kids Eat Free" day. It's been a great deal, and we've all enjoyed it...until today!
We spent a little while at the Science Center and then headed over for lunch. As we were eating, I thought Cody kind of brushed my foot with his foot and I just asked him if he had enough feet room...he said he hadn't moved his feet. Just probably a weird coincidence...
Then, as we were ready to leave, we asked Cloe to grab McClain's flip-flops from underneath the table. She put her head under the tablecloth and came back up pretty quickly saying she'd seen ........a MOUSE. GASP! I swooped up Carson from the floor, grabbed Cloe and literally jumped away from our table. Cody peaked his head under the table and sure enough, there was little mouse nibbling on some food in the corner. AUGH!!!!!!!!!! I totally wanted to freak out, start screaming and wiggling my body in that "I JUST SAW MOUSE" little jig that just comes naturally...however, since I'm the mom, I tried to hold it together. In a very mature, calm manner, I grabbed the closest server and quietly said, "There's a MOUSE under our table." She quickly got both managers and they came over and peaked under the tablecloth, too. Funny enough, they didn't see it until Cody pointed it out. SO gross! While they stood around deciding what to do, we packed up to leave. Unfortunately, we'd already paid our bill and no one was offering any paybacks. We also had some leftovers in a box, but we decided quickly to leave those behind! I think our nice little Monday tradition has suddenly halted! We'll be looking for somewhere new with free kid's meals to dine! See you later, dirty little mousy! Ew, gross, augh, squrim, wiggle, ew, ack, chills...I don't think I'll be able to eat spaghetti for months to come!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Seven

This long holiday weekend was FANTASTIC! I have a lot of pictures I'll be posting tomorrow!
Here's a quick Sunday Seven:
1. I'm SUPER thankful for the extra day Cody had off to spend with all of us! We had a great time celebrating the Fourth of July as a family! The kids are just at the start of those perfect ages to totally enjoy all the wonder and awe of a holiday involving parades, picnics, horses, and fire...fireworks!
2. Who couldn't be thankful for a great country like America where we enjoy freedoms that have been fought for and preserved for by our forefathers! (added note...be sure to vote educated so we ensure these freedoms in ALL areas!)
3. Carson is saving us the $$$ in the diaper department! Yeah! McClain is slooooowly getting there...every 18 cents counts, though!
4. Cloe is totally picking up on the reading readiness skills! I'm so thankful she is getting the hang of what reading on her own is all about before she heads off to kindergarten!
5. I'm thankful for a great little quote Cody found from the Desiring God Blog about 12 sins that we justify. Super convicting...it was followed up by a great message from PT$ about idols that take the place of our worship...good, good, good! Definitely one to hit up on the podcast if you missed it!
6. So, speaking of idols, this one may seem like an idol--but seriously--to God be the glory for His provision for our family's needs (and maybe a desire or two)! GAP had 25% off the clearance prices this weekend! I found some amazing deals for the whole family! (Cody only got socks, but it still counts, right!?!)
7. Lastly, I'm really thankful our church has a new pastor coming this fall. It will be great to have a new leader and to see how God will use him to build the body of Christ!

***This is totally random, but I thought it was pretty funny. Cody is playing the Wii online with random people from around the world. It's pretty interesting. Right now, he's racing....Jesus. Seriously. The little Wii guy even looks like Jesus. No kidding. Now how's that for strategy. Who's going to throw a turtle shell or a banana peel at...Jesus.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Blueberry Muffins

A while back, I was on a quest to find a good blueberry muffin recipe. Here it is! We had to delay a bit until Fareway had their blueberries on sale--now they're just $1.99 for a BIG carton! Yippee! Fareway is SO worth the drive and effort to buy really good produce for much less than anywhere else! For some reason, because Fareway is such an "Iowa" store, I always imagine that the produce is probably grown in some lovely little Iowa farm, too. Probably not, but please don't ruin this little picture for me!
The picture and recipe are from Wondertime Magazine. I got a couple of sample issues but didn't really think it was worth the cost of a subscription. SO, I signed up for their email newsletter, and now I get everything that's in the magazine--for free! They do have great recipes, too!
Let me know if you have a favorite muffin recipe! I'd love to try it!


The Best Blueberry Muffins
Written By Ann Hodgman

These are the only blueberry muffins you should make from now on. Besides, they have
oatmeal in them, so they almost count as two breakfast foods in one. They freeze beautifully
and can even be refrozen. If you're in the mood, substitute a cup of raspberries for 1 cup of
the blueberries.

Makes 24

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
16 ounces sour cream
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 375.
Line two 12-cup muffin tins with muffin-cup liners. This recipe won't work without them. In a
small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with sour cream until thoroughly combined. In a medium saucepan
over medium heat, melt together butter and brown sugar, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly,
about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then beat this mixture into egg mixture. Stir in oats.
Fold in flour mixture and then — very gently — fold in berries. Fill muffin cups about
three-quarters full. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar onto the top of each muffin.
Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until edges are medium brown and tops are firm.
Cool for 5 minutes, then remove muffins (in their papers) and finish cooling on rack.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Need some help!

So with potty training, we're doing this pose every twenty minutes x 2! Carson got his picture taken because he's the most willing little peebody! He gets so excited and is enjoying great success in the dry underwear department!

However, I'm getting a little tired of looking at this room! It's the only room in our house that we haven't painted since we moved in--four years ago! It just feels gross. Whatever dingy tint of cream this is just isn't cutting it anymore! BUT what color SHOULD it be? I'm looking for ideas!!! Here are a few little details--I really want to keep the white framed pictures of our kids in the pink roses. Other than that, I have NO idea!!! PLEASE give me some advice! Maybe I'll have a nice crisp dollar bill for winner! ;) (And if you happen to know of anyone just giving away a nice white pedestal sink on the curb, let me know!)

GARBC Moment #3

My favorite part of the conference is going out for coffee at night with our favorite friends: Dave and Leese King. Dave and Cody were roommates in college, and Leesa is the sweetest girl I have ever met! They live in southern Indiana, so we only get to see each other once a year at the conference. They also have four of the cutest little blond haired kids you've ever seen. They are so funny and play so well together. My favorite things about the Kings' are that one moment you are just about wetting your pants because they are so funny and the next you hearing something really great that God has taught them. I can't express how much we like this family!


Cloe loved their daughter, Lexi. The girls had played together a couple of times before, but this week they really got to know each other. Our boys were at grandma's and Leesa would send their other children back to the hotel with grandma, so the girls thought they were pretty special having their own table at Starbucks. Cloe really wanted to have Lexi over for a tea party this week. It was hard for her to understand how far away they live. Hopefully they will always be able to pick up their friendship from year to year.

This has been defined as "Classic Dave." He tends to have moments like this and usually Leesa ends up with the brunt of it. Poor girl!

This is our new pastor, Mike and his wife Liz. Mike was a roommate of Cody and Dave's, too. They always have a lot of funny reminiscing stories to share.


It's us! I love the time we get to spend together--especially at a coffee shop! We use to hang out at coffee shops all the time before we had kids. Now it's a very special occasion! I love how relaxing it is to sit together and just enjoy a cup of coffee!

Well, I think that's all for GARBC moments. The conference was okay--it was nice to see some progress made toward becoming more of an association to encourage and equip churches and not set tons of "resolutions" of what we won't do...I'm sure you understand! It's good to be home everyday and back to our normal routine! The daily traveling was very tiresome!