Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Seven

This week has just flown by! It was a week full of exciting times and many things to be thankful for!
1. I'm so thankful Cloe loves school. It's getting easier for the rest of us, too! We got to meet with her teacher again and also found out that Cloe has taken a "lonely" little boy under her wing at recess. It happens to be the little boy from the family that we keep crossing paths with! So cool! Cloe also won a special award in PE! She's totally not me when it comes to PE--she loves it!

2. Who couldn't be thankful for this great weather!?!

3. I'm thankful for the great DRAKE students we have at Willow Creek. They helped us pass out around 800 Popsicles and fliers to the new freshman class. 10 kids signed up for more information and for our Bible Study! Pretty cool! I don't think when I was a freshman, if I had gone to Drake, that I would have had enough guts to go to the "Baptist" table and sign up. I'm praying for God to work on the Drake campus and use our students for His glory!

4. I'm thankful for our totally stellar MOPS group! It's going to be one amazing year--all because Willow Creek moms are willing to be used by God to reach others for His glory--and have lots of great fun doing it! You better come if you're a mom!

5. I'm thankful for my mom and dad being so willing to come down and babysit so I can go with Cody to different ministry things. It was great to have them around and to get to spend some extra time with Cody!

6. I'm thankful for the FREE pack of diapers I got in the mail this week! They came with a short survey to fill out--which will result in a $10 check when returned! YEAH!!!

7. There are so many other things to be thankful for, but it's getting late... I'm thankful for my funny kids! McClain and Carson LOVE to sneak out of their crib. My sister was babysitting last week and heard them jump out. When she went upstairs, she only saw Carson. She asked, "Where's McClain?" McClain replied, "He hiding under here...shhh." McClain also told one of our favorite prego mommas that she was pretty today. Funny and sweet...watch out little ladies!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Saturday!


The gardening adventure has turned out to be quite a prosperous one. The other day, by 9:15 in the morning, I had sliced three big cucumbers and each child had eaten an entire cucumber---for breakfast. Weird, I know.
Last night, we enjoyed some homemade pico de gallo with our own tomatoes! It tastes so fresh and yummy! When I was pregnant with the boys, I could not get enough of the stuff and it almost ruined it for me. I couldn't eat it at all last year, but this year...watch out!


It's super easy to make. Chop up four jumbo juicy tomatoes, one small onion, and a several leaves of cilantro. Add salt and fresh minced garlic (or garlic salt). Stir and enjoy! Cody loves to add hot peppers to his bowl. If you let it set overnight with the peppers, it will be super spicy hot!

This morning I got to enjoy one of the best things I think I've ever experienced! Calli hooked me up with a FREE facial at the new Serenity Spa! It was crazy nice! I had no idea what a facial was, so I was a little apprehensive...but it's like part massage, part pedicure, and then a really, really nice long facial cleansing, washing, moisturizing with steaming hot clothes and really good smelling things...The best part, of course, was that is was free. I can totally see how ladies get sucked into going to spas and spending a ton of money, though. It was so relaxing and made my face feel like a million bucks. I can't tell you how nice it was...you should try one sometime! Then let me know because they have "buddy" facials where you go with a friend and they have you in the same room. Now wouldn't that be fun!

This week was a crazy busy but fun week! Our trip to Iowa City was so nice. We really enjoyed being with the Campus Bible Fellowship group. They have a small group of only about 20 kids, but they all seemed so genuine about Christ. I'm sure it's especially hard to take a stand at a University that ranks in the top 15 of all party schools. We hope to be able to go back again and lead part of their Thursday night activities.

One super cool thing we tried on the way out of town was a new place in Johnston. Bandit Burrito just opened on July 1st. If you like Pancheros, Chipotle, or Qdobas, this place will blow you away! They have the best selection of everything from tortilla flavors to wild rice, sauteed vegetables and tons of amazing toppings. Definitely a place to go again! They have a family meal, too, that's $18 for two adult meals, two children's meals and four sodas. What a steal of a deal! The owner was really friendly and hopes to open more of these shops as soon as he pays this one off. I'm trying to help him with some free advertising. :)

This weekend is going to be super long and nice! The best part: Cloe doesn't go back to school until Wednesday! Gotta love those "Teacher Work Days"!

Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Life just keeps getting better and better!
A concert at Pottery Barn Kids, my parents here, an unbelievably fun night at the Drake Events Fair...plus, tomorrow is turning out to be almost a WHOLE day away with Cody! (including a stop at the outlets!!!!)
Thus, the blogging will be paused for yet another day...emails will go unanswered...laundry will probably pile up...but life is good! (God is good!)

***God is answering our prayers with Cloe. She has found a little friend on the bus and seems to be adjusting to every part of kindergarten so well! She keeps telling us she loves it! God is good...even when it feels like our hearts just might literally break at times!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1 Samuel 12:24
But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you.

Today turned out to be a very good day, to say the least!
Hope to share more tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Grain and Wheat Pancakes

I realize that the last week has probably seemed like a self-thrown pity party for this momma's blog, and today I'm trying hard to reclaim my joy! We had a super fun little family breakfast and a great little bike ride on some trails near our home. (and by Cloe's school--I'm probably going to get turned in for stalking the playground just for a chance at a glimpse of my girl!) Of course, life won't all be without bubbles. Cloe got off the bus today and burst in to tears. Oh no! What happened! "I forgot my lunchbox at school! Waa-aaa!" So, Cody, being the extra loving daddy that he is, took off down to her school to recover the precious princess box. It's now safe at home, ready to go for tomorrow.
While I was fixing our pancakes this morning, I had to laugh. The Today Show had a segment of "Eat This Not That" for healthier eating for children. As I'm stirring up my pancakes, the guy said, "Trade those pancakes in for bacon and eggs." Well, let's just say this guy hasn't tried these pancakes! Cody thought they tasted "healthy". The boys loved them, and I think this recipe is totally a keeper! They need a catchier name, though...any ideas?

Grain and Wheat Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned
oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. Grind the oats in a blender or food processor until fine. In a large bowl, combine ground oats, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
2. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, oil, egg, and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix wet ingredients into dry with a few swift strokes.
3. Lightly oil a skillet or griddle, and preheat it to medium heat. Ladle 1/3 cup of the batter onto the hot skillet; cook the pancakes for 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until brown.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Seven

This Sunday Seven may have typos--it's a risk I'm willing to take to be able to watch the Closing Ceremonies for the Olympics!
That's got to be #1 this week! We have all loved watching the great events (and the obscure ones too) of the Olympics! I kind of hate that we won't get this again for four years! With exception to a few too many Speedos, tv just usually isn't this clean, inspiring, touching, and entertaining! I am looking forward to going to bed a little bit earlier, though, and not tearing up at the National Anthem every night!
#2--I'm really thankful that Cloe likes school and has been so brave this week! If I'm the one shedding tears and not her, then I'm thrilled! We've also started praying for a little mean girl on the bus and praying for a good friend to come along. I am trusting God to be faithful in providing for this need!
#3--My mom and dad will be coming down on Wednesday for several days! (but staying at my sister's house...)
#4--This one has been awhile in coming...Cody led music at Jr. High Camp and got a negative, verbal vibe from a few people...but God is showing His faithfulness to us for being willing to serve Him! That week at camp, we met the leader of campus ministries at the University of Iowa and this Thursday we get to go to Iowa City this week and do the music for a kick-off night for a campus ministry group. I'm really excited!
#5--I'm really thankful for my friends at church--they really are endless encouragers and just super cool girls in general! :)
#6--We had a great time at a neighborhood picnic and met a super nice new Christian family. It was also cool to get to know people better. I'm praying that God will give us boldness to reach out with Christ's love to these people! (...and Carson tried a gulp of Bud Light out of someone's cooler...)
#7--I'm really thankful for Cody! We got to go on a special birthday date this week (with some pretty cool friends, too!)! Sometime I'll pull together some really great, sappy post for him, but for now, just know he's one pretty amazing hunka 'hunk 'o burnin' love! Just what you wanted to know!

Have a great week!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Let me just tell you...

I'm still crying! Who knew that pregnancy and postpartum emotions were the same as kindergarten emotions? Cloe is loving school, but I'm not so much. I feel like my heart is just being hammered on when she steps on that bus.
The first day, Cody stayed with us and helped get her on the bus. Our sweet neighbors brought us out "Monkey Muffins" and their little boy gave Cloe a big hug. They are so nice! I had tried and tried to get Cloe to eat some breakfast, but she was just too excited...until cute little Ben brought her a muffin which she gobbled down! Once she was on the bus, the boys and I jumped in the car and sat weeping across the street from her school to watch her safely get off the bus. (We were sitting in the parking lot of a Mental Home--I'm sure they wondered if they needed to check me in...)
When Cloe got on the bus, I seriously felt like my heart was breaking...what was I doing sending her on a bus with a slightly creepy mustache, suave looking man wearing a neon yellow vest? (The vest really threw me for a loop--bus driver uniforms?) What was I doing sending her to a school to be taught seven hours a day by someone who doesn't love my Savior? What was I doing subjecting her to mean little snotty girls?
Then God to mind so many passages of Scripture...HE is with me (or Cloe) wherever we go, HE is my rock and strength and my salvation--whom shall I fear? We had prayed about this decision. It would have been easy through the tears to change my mind and homeschool her--but we had prayed about this. Sending Cloe to Brookview provides a direct outlet to the community that we have yet to find since moving to West Des Moines. Instantaneously we are meeting a lot of people--people who are lost and need a Savior.
I taught a Bible Study lesson this Wednesday on God's purpose for trials in our lives. Is sending Cloe to kindergarten a real trial? Probably not--but it's an affliction that I must go through. WHY do we go through trials? They bring us closer to our Savior. They strengthen our faith They purify our affections. They reveal where my true hope is found. They make us long for eternity with our Savior.
One of the coolest things that has confirmed to me the need for Cloe to stay at Brookview (amidst my tears) is a family that has a son in Cloe's class. We met this mom four years ago at a park and since then our paths have crossed a freakish number of times. We have had opportunities to invite them to church, and they visited once several years ago. It seems curious that we didn't even know their son was staying back a year for kindergarten and now has ended up in Cloe's class. Does God have a plan? YEP! Will I work through these tearful emotions? In time... Am I loving on all of my kids and praying for them more than ever? YEP! Time is fleeting--I don't want to miss a thing and I don't want to have regrets.
Here are a few of the first school memories we've made this week:

We picked up this star at the Open House and had to decorate it and send it back to the school on the first day. Cloe was pretty pleased with all the sparkles! She did a great job with the sequins, ribbon and glitter!

Here's the traditional first day on the front step picture!
(I have one of these from every year growing up!)

Waiting for the bus...notice this side of her apple tag has my phone number on it...just in case somehow she gets lost!

Daddy and Cloe--it was Cody's birthday, too.


Bravely hopping on the bus! (my tears started flowing here...)



Getting home from the first day. She got to wear her gym shoes home because it was short day. (See the creepy driver in the background...)



***By the way, I seriously believe that God uses His Word and circumstances in my life to bring encouragement. While I was writing this post, I got a phone call from a Survey Company wondering if they could send me a months' worth of diapers to try for free on the boys and then fill out a short customer survey on. Sure!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cryin'


Cloe is heading to school this week. She seems very excited. Me...not so much. I'm 99% sure I know why a lot of moms choose to homeschool during the last week leading up to kindergarten...
Fresh tissues are lined up and ready to as soon as that bus pulls away (yeah, the BIG yellow bus with a strange driver, no seatbelts, and probably tons of swearin' naughty kids).
I'll try to post a happy blog soon, but for now...it's all blue.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I think I've turned into a......

CRAZY, STALKER LADY!
Have you been glued to your televisions with the constant Olympic coverage? We are loving it! I love to watch the different events and simultaneously read our athlete's bios on the web page. However, I think I'm getting a little obsessed with our *hometown girl*! Last night, it finally got the best of me...where does she live IN West Des Moines?
So, I found her parents' names and looked them up in the Polk County Assessors Page...super interesting site... She lives just off of 53rd on a sweet little cul-de-sac. Now I knew...but then I had to SEE!
I made Cody drive by her house on the way tonight, and you're not going to believe what we discovered: four years ago we put a bid on a house that is just a few doors down from the little gymnast! We could have been neighbors...we could have been friends...I could have baked her cookies to take to China...so many possibilities...so close, yet so far away...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Free Family Fun Magazine

Check out this blog today. Follow the link for a quick survey and get a free subscription to Family Fun Magazine. This is one of my favorite magazines! It's full of fun ideas for kids that will make you look like *Super Mom*!

U Gotta Love It!

The Iowa State Fair!!!

Thanks to P.M. I've been hungry for a hot beef sundae now for two days...I should have tried it...ahh, regrets of the State Fair...

No regrets here! I tried THIS and it was amazing!

Salted Nut Roll...ooey goodness, caramel, pecans, chocolate...yum!!!
Right after Cody and I shared this, I saw a shirt that said, "I went to the Iowa State Fair and all I got was Type 2 Diabetes." Agree!
This picture probably totally qualifies me as a true 4-H geek turned stalker...this was my 4-H judge for nine years. She also works for the Iowa Egg Council, so every year we have a happy little reunion in the Agricultural Building. She's who helped form me into the happy little domesticated homemaker I am today...just kidding. She did give me a LOT of blue ribbons though!

The butter cow! Even when it's a cruddy picture, it's still a moving sight. Moment of awe and wonder at what we can do out of ...butter...
We let the bambinos out for a picture and almost lost them to the carnies...
After sweatin' with the animals, nothing refreshes you like a little sticky cotton candy!

Next year, I'm going to begin working on incognito pictures of the Iowa State Fair Fashion. You've got to love the people who just put it all out there...literally! Wife-beaters, cut-offs, bib overalls, bikini tops (on those who really shouldn't!), fanny packs...what else am I missing?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kabobs!

Last night for supper, we had kabobs! They were really, really good! As we were eating, Cody said, "You surely took a picture of these for your blog, right?!?" (I think he really liked them.) Ahhh, in all the rush of getting the kabobs made and the sweet corn cooking, I totally missed out. They really were super pretty little kabobs...steak, onion, steak, green pepper, steak, tomato, steak, yellow squash, steak, onion, steak... I used a different cut of meat and a new marinade which I think were spectacular! The meat guy at Target had pointed out some Flank Steak (which had a $2 off sticker making it only $1.49!). I cut it into cubes and put it in a ziplock baggy with 1/2 package of dry onion soup mix, 1/4 c. olive oil, and 1 fresh garlic clove, minced. I let it marinade in the refrigerator for most of the day. We grilled the kabobs for about 3 minutes on each side.
Everything was super tasty! We love grilling!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic mania!

I love the OLYMPICS!
Our little TV is getting quite the work out this week as I try to keep up with all the Olympic excitement! It's been fun to explain what the Olympics are all about to Cloe. The other day, she was asking about the other team. I told her we were playing the Chinese team. She replied, "Oh yeah, CHINESE, they've got all the rice." Awesome...I guess we've got a ways to go on our cultural studies. We also love Shawn Johnson--she's from our town!
So, is it bad that I find myself actually cheering for the other team to slip, stumble, or sneeze? When I see our athletes on the medal stands or checking the scoreboards, I just have this motherly instinct to hug them and tell them how proud we are of them.
Yesterday, someone asked about my own Olympic dreams. Pretty much, I don't have an athletic bone in my body unless playing the organ is considered athletic... So, I've come up with a few of my own Olympic events which I think I might have a good shot at medaling in. (Yes, these will be pretty obscure things.)

The Budget Billing Olympics
Ever since Mid-American upped our budget billing amount this winter, I've had this obsessive drive to turn off lights, unplug things, and sweat it out with no air-conditioning in an effort to get that amount down. I'm hoping they show up at my door with a huge bouquet of flowers..."We're sorry, ma'am. We upped your budget billing, and we were wrong. You don't need to pay that much. We're so sorry. You win!"

The Coupon Olympics
Using coupons really is like an Olympic event. You have to train, you have to watch others, you have to be on your game, sharp at all times, watching in all directions--clipping coupons, printing coupons, checking the ads, watching coupon blogs, making lists... I'm pretty sure some day at Target, the fake ceiling is going to move letting the confetti and balloons fall all over my aisle. "You win! 437 coupons in one trip! Way to get those bargains!"

The Recipe Substitution Olympics
This one is tricky. First, you have to love to cook and bake and then never have any of the right ingredients on hand. The judging for this one will have to take place at the 4-H Building. Those people really appreciate and see endless value in quirky things like this. The scoring for this will probably be a point for every item you didn't have and successfully replaced with something else from your kitchens. "Congratulations! Out of 15 ingredients, you only had two. You've taken this recipe for Seven Layer Cake and turned it into Breakfast Muffins with your substitutions. Let's eat!"

I could keep going, but I don't really have that many awesome skills left and I don't really want to expose all of my quirkiness. It's fun to think what Olympic events my friends might win...you're all so talented! What event do you think you would win?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Adventureland Rocked Our Socks Off!

Here's are pictures from our fun Friday! Beware: I got a little camera happy...
Right here, Cloe is telling Kennady, "I'm really glad I'm your friend today!"
That's right, little girl, we just make friends for benefits...just kidding! We had a little learning lesson about this comment...

Cody loves the dragons so much! Thankfully we have kids to drag along on the ride now...

The A-Dog and Cloe!
Kokomo Kove--Adventureland's new water park. It was pretty cool!

I think Carson literally went down this slide over a hundred times! Every time he would scream, "OH YEAH, OH YEAH, OH YEAH! DO IT AGAIN!!!!"

McClain took awhile to warm up to the slide, but then quickly became the king of budging...I'm sure all the kids loved the little shrimp that always wormed his way to the front.
Mmmm....bubblegum ice cream! This was a big sign that my little girl is growing up--she kept the ice cream scoop on the cone the whole time. That's my girl...master ice cream cone eater! :)

The boys loved these little boats--they were riding with twin 5 year old boys, Colton and Carson.

The Red Barons...

Cloe was so excited she made the cut to ride the TORNADO with daddy!


Guess it wasn't so cool to ride the TORNADO! "Why didn't you tell me about all the bumps!"

The "Hot Air Balloons"!

Our tired, happy little family!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Seven


Due to the OLYMPICS, the Sunday Seven has been cut down.
I'm thankful for the OLYMPICS!
Can't miss it!
GO USA!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Please pray!

**Update on Sunday night: Grandpa seems to want to defy the odds. His blood pressure has gone up to a little bit more normal range, breathing is much easier, and he even ate a little lunch today. My mom has decided to go home tonight; we're praying it will be a restful night for all.

Thought I'd put this out there in case any of you were checking blogs late tonight...
The nursing home just called me and my grandpa probably won't make it through the night. They couldn't reach my parents, so I'm the first on the list to call. My grandma said he grabbed her hand and said, "Go to the farm with me." Then he shut his eyes and hasn't responded to anyone since. I know he's so excited to meet Jesus his Savior. My grandpa is the one person whose testimony I know by heart. He still would talk about it with such joy.
Thanks for praying for my family! The next few hours of waiting will be hard, but then we hope to truly celebrate a home-going of a faithful saint whom I'm proud to call my grandpa!
**Update: Well, as of 8:00 this morning, Grandpa is still hanging in there. My parents got there around 11:30 pm and both "slept" in chairs by his side. We'll just wait and pray!
**Another update: Have I mentioned that we think my grandpa has nine lives? His blood pressure got as low as it can get and yet still be alive last night, and today it has come back up. Still low, but he's resting peacefully. He has opened his eyes and told my mom, "I love you." My grandpa is 96 years old and still has all three of his siblings living: Lester--98, Myrle--92, and Gerald--88. Thanks for praying! In God's time, we know He'll take him home!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Amusement Coming Soon!

Tomorrow Cloe has a birthday party at Adventureland, so the whole family is going to tag along and enjoy the fun! I'm pretty excited! In fact, this is probably the most excited I've ever been to visit Iowa's most famous, yet slightly lame, amusement park. I guess that's what a summer without true traveling will do to you! I think we all truly appreciate the simple things in life more and have found tons of enjoyment out of our great little city here!
So, in preparation of our new day, we, of course, needed new clothes. Right? Cody's ten year old swim trunks really needed replacing, so we found some oober cool ones at American Eagle. He's so trendy...actually, they were really cheap!
Today at Target, the kids and I had some super great bonding time in the dressing room. Wait, it wasn't great at all--3 energetic kids, 1 jumbo stroller, bags of cereal flying all over, hangers being shot across the small closet, lots of singing and yelling...BUT we found a deal and everyone is back to hugs and kisses! I know this picture looks slightly cheesy, but I think this little number will be perfect over my swimming suit. They also are having a lot of great deals at Target...shorts for $6, shirts for $2 and $3...
So, hold on to your shorts, we'll be tearin' it up tomorrow! Hopefully, I'll catch a lot of good pictures to share our day with you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Zucchini Cupcakes

This afternoon, Cloe helped me whip up these yummy cupcakes! She loved grating the zucchini and running the mixer. Our zucchini plant has bit the dust, so we probably won't get to enjoy as many batches of these as hoped for. Tonight we're going to try roasted zucchini and squash!

Zucchini Cupcakes
From Taste of Home


INGREDIENTS
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 c. flour and 2 c. oatmeal)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini

CARAMEL FROSTING:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar

DIRECTIONS
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; add to the egg mixture and mix well. Add zucchini and mix well. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
For frosting, combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until frosting reaches spreading
consistency. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 1-1/2 to 2 dozen.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Seven

It's hard to believe another week has passed so quickly! This week, I have seven attributes of God that I am so thankful for! I'm thankful God is...
1. Sovereign--nothing has happened or will happen that was or will be out of HIS control or plan!
2. Full of endless mercy and grace
3. My Redeemer through His Son Jesus Christ
4. Loving
5. The Great Physician
6. Faithful to answer prayer (our Ladies Bible Study has been praying for a Hindi high school girl who accepted Christ this week at camp with her friend! Her mom is starting a Bible Study with her friend's mom! Her dad is being "mentored" at Principle by an amazing Christian man...God is SO at work in their family! Watch out!)
7. The Great Creator, Giver, and Sustainer of Life!

(That's obviously just a FEW of the many attributes I'm thankful for...I'm saving some for later!)

Ooober good Blueberry Bars!

I always try to have a little treat for Cody's family to enjoy on Sunday afternoons. This week, I had a few special blueberries left from Carolyn's last trip to Michigan. (note to K&K: thank you SO much for having a baby during peak blueberry season! We love you extra for it!) After searching the web for awhile, I think I may have stumbled upon the BEST recipe ever! These bars are amazing! Check out this whole link--I think this blogger has a few more recipes I may need to be trying in the near future!
These bars also remind me of some yummy bars my good friend, Lydia and I enjoyed a few years ago in Michigan at a little coffee shop. I had a short time of being on a quest to try and find the recipe and finally gave up--but here, two years later, I believe I've found a match! :)


Blueberry Crumb Bars

Yield: I cut these into 36 smallish rectangles
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of one lemon
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (This took an extra 10 to 15 minutes in my oven.) Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Comments from the cook: I could imagine easily swapping another fruit or berry for the blueberries–I’m especially thinking something tart like sour cherries or cranberries in the fall (I’d use orange instead of lemon with cranberries). But if you have blueberries on hand, do not miss a chance to make these.
These are easiest to cut once chilled, and store even better in the fridge than they do at room temperature–something unusual for cookies!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Fun Day!

Today has been one of the best fun-packed Saturdays we've had this summer! It started early this morning with the second day of our *garage sale*! This was only fun because 1--we made $$$ and 2--Cody went out and got treats and then hung out with us in the boring garage the WHOLE time! Here's my favorite image from this morning...Can you guess what he was saying...MCCLAIN, I AM YOUR FATHER...funny boys!


After a quick naptime, we headed to this:
The ArtFest was really fun. First we listened to these *cool cats* play some funky music. The boys loved it! McClain leaned over and said, "Mom, I want some of that. Get me some of those." Kind of young to decide, but I guess he wants his own band--maybe there are some big guitar purchases in our future!
Next we headed to the inflatables. Each inflatable had a cool sign with a little "Christian" story or illustration about it. ALL boys loved jumping and sliding--Cody had to help them get the hang of it! This slide looked like a sinking boat--we thought the sound track from Titanic would have been a great addition in the background.

Mmmm...our favorite treat: HAWAIIAN SHAVED ICE! We all thought whoever invented shaving ice, topping it with a little syrup, and selling it was a pure genius!


Then it was off to look at the best part: THE ART! Of course, this is our favorite artist--and a cute little momma-to-be side-kick!

There were two other artists that really stood out to me. This one had some great art done with old pictures and clipped words. Check it out! I think this art will go into my "someday when I suddenly turn artsy-fartsy projects to do" file. I know, I know...I'm a HUGE artist wanna-be! This one had a great idea for a photography party. It was really fun looking at everyone's art. There are SO many talented people out there!

This mural was the point of the whole ArtFest (I think). Several artists were able to put Psalm 23 into this mural. It was pretty cool to look at and relate their interpretation to the verses.

SO, there you go! Our super fun Saturday! Hope you all had great days, too!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Booty, God, Booty

How's that for a title? Bet that got your attention! Yep, I''m still a pastor's wife, and I hope this doesn't get me in trouble! No, it won't...keep reading...
In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm not very good at the whole "posting a link" thing. It always seems to get screwed up or my "click here" place doesn't show up...
So here's another helping of "Stuff Christians Like". Sometimes I like things handed to me on a plate. I'm taking out all the work of you having to click here and follow some link...just read on!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

#113. Booty, God, Booty.

In Atlanta, my favorite radio station is V103, the “People’s Station.”

It's a hip hop station that plays mostly rap and R&B. The best part of V103 is their morning show. Everyday when I’m driving to work they do what they call an “Inspirational Vitamin.” They read a Bible verse and play a gospel song or a clip by a charismatic minister from Atlanta. I honestly find it to be an uplifting experience overall. The thing I find most interesting however is how they wedge the Inspirational Vitamin into their normal programming. What often happens is that right before they transition to the spiritual segment of the show they play some sort of booty song. Let’s say, “I’m in love wit a stripper.” Then they do the Bible verse and then they go back to booty music when it’s over. The essentially bookend the Inspirational Vitamin with booty, following a fairly simple formula – Booty, God, Booty.

It’s easy to laugh at how insincere that Inspirational Vitamin seems when it’s sandwiched between hardcore rap songs, but to do so misses the bigger point – we Christians often live our lives the same way. Maybe God is listening to the broadcast of my day and this is what he hears:
  1. Quiet time in the morning. Read the Bible, prayer, give thanks.

  2. Go into work and act completely different and disconnected from God.Come home.

  3. Spend time with wife. Read the Bible, pray.
Chances are, that to many outside listeners, the format of my life is just as out of synch as the people station’s “booty, God, booty.” It might not be as graphic or as neon, but the juxtaposition between who I am when I’m in “God mode” and who I am when I’m in work mode is pretty substantial.

I know you’ve probably heard this a million times before from other Christian writers, but next time you transition between two parts of your day, think to yourself, “Did I just go booty, God, booty?”

If nothing else, it’s a fun phrase to say.




Back to me now...I thought this was interesting because although I am at home and don't struggle too much with the transitions of living life in several places...mine's all in one place: home...I do notice that when I focus on honoring God ALL THE TIME with my life, my attitudes toward cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, driving, playing, talking...you get the idea...suddenly change as I realize it ALL is an opportunity to bring glory to God. Do I reflect HIM in a way that would make others want to share in HIS GLORY...or do I just turn it on for "church" and times when "I decide" I should witness. I'm sure some people will scowl in disdain at the *booty, God, booty* radio station, but how much more shameful if that really does reflect in a life!