Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011.......What a Year.

This last year was at best nuts. Good nuts, bad nuts, crazy nuts, busy nuts, relaxing nuts, rush rush rush nuts.....sometimes just nuts. I can say I have memories that I couldn't live out and others that I am hoping disappear. I gained knowledge and made mistakes. I learned things about myself and changed things about myself. I gave up some things and gained others. I enjoyed my family and friends. We argued and made up. Laughed and Cried. We did it all this year. I am not sure I could pin point anything we missed out on.

I have learned a lot about myself this year. I have learned I am just fine the way that God has made me to be. I am not sure if every woman feels this way but each year brings me more security ad more contentedness in my own skin and I like that. Long gone are the days that I strive for the things that are just never going to be important to me. I will never be the woman with the perfectly clean house and the flowers planted during the correct week of May. I will never have my decor just right or have my laundry completely caught up...because well because life happens and I am okay with that. My home does not need to reflect the seasons changing in order to be a home and well if a dish or frame breaks or if the dog pukes on the couch I probably will get over it pretty quickly. I have found in order for something to matter to me it needs to hold a purpose or meaning....and the rest of it can go. I am realizing more and more that my purpose is to be their for others first and me last. I have come to understand this confuses others at times......I'm okay with that to. I have come to know that my worth hardly ever revolves around someone elses understanding of me. God knows my heart..........And over and over again I realize that having a full house and life and plenty of love means being surrounded by others who feel the same.

This year I was challenged with a thought of living a life connected. I had heard a sermon towards the end of 2010 that challenged to live a life connected. A life in which you lived more in communion of others. A life that caused you to question the definition of family. A life that caused you to live your life in a spirit of putting others needs before your own. Giving in a way that Christ would give. Welcoming people into your home without thinking if it is convenient. In fact it was the complete opposite of convenience. You were supposed to question that as well. Connecting yourself with others in a way where your desires were their desires and vice versa. Their hurts were your hurts and vice versa. Living in complete community and examining what that would mean. It was an experiment and at times it was hard especially at the beginning. But I can tell you in the end this is the most rewarding way to live and i am a better version of me for it. It has caused me to question a lot of things in reflection. Concepts of service and love and attitude and sacrifice have been taken to limits that I have never experienced before and sometimes I failed miserably. But other times, the times in which I let the one who challenged me from the beginning to take full control, HE triumphed. His love poured through and His will was done and that is when the blessings that were intended for others blessed me as well. I plan on continuing this experiment into the next year. I plan on continuing to live a life connected to others which ultimately means living a life connected to Christ!

I don't want this year to end rather just continue on into the next. I turn 30 in Tminus 7 months and I thought about doing a 30 before I turn 30 list but immediately changed my mind. I do have a few goals though and I think they are worth mentioning.
-I want to finish my book this year......not sure if this is realistic.....but if I work hard and allow myself to really pour into it I think I can do it. I'm not even sure what I will do with it when I finish it.
-I want to enjoy life completely in a spirit of gratitude and after reading, 1000 gifts, I am going to have gift journal that I keep out all the time.
-In spirit of the last item I want to focus more on the simpler things and less on the nuts.

And there you have it. No grand plans, because they aren't mine to have.

Can't wait to see what the New Year Brings.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Date With Grace.

It is not very often that Brian and I are together with only one of our children. Sure we get plenty of time for us each to have time with our kids separately but the two of us together and one that is a strange occurrence.

My kids requested separate sleepovers at Grans...another rare occurrence, and so that left us with just Grace last night. So we decided to take Grace for dinner of her choosing. First she said leftover tatertot casserole was fine....then she realized we were offering to take her out:)

She chose La Fiamma Pizza in Bellingham and how could we say no...I love that place.

Grace ordered the kids cheese pizza and a lemonade.

Brian and I shared a side salad and a pulled pork pizza. They top that pizza with a fennel and cilantro slaw that will knock your socks is unbelievable.

We ended the night with a quick trip to Target to get some dishwasher soap (now Grace knows what reals dates are like for her parents).

It was a great night!! It was so fun to give her our undivided attention.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guess where we are going?????


Three months from today I will be on an airplane heading to a foreign country with....wait for it.....only the hubdub. And there is more....for nine whole days.

I promise not to mention it on here everyday from now until then. Maybe just once a month for a proper countdown. But honestly I am so excited I could pee my pants.

-Reason for going (like we need one) celebrate 10 years of married commitment. I am so thankful for a husband that meant his vows to me when he let them pass his lips. I am so thankful for a God that gives us a foundation to build our life upon and words to support and teach us when we need them(all the time). And I am so thankful to be able to take this trip, I know that it is an extra added blessing, not anything that is needed or necessary, the fact that we can take the trip after ten years of saying that we would blows my mind.
-What about your mom will have them on the weekends and our fabulous and wonderful friends, Uncle Justin and Auntie Sarah will have them during the week. We are spoiled.....I totally know.
-Are we
-Do I feel bad about leaving my Are you kidding between my Mom and Uncle and Auntie Extrodinaire they will be experiencing their own version of Disneyland.
-Are there bugs and weird animals in Costa Rica...yes. Monkeys in the backyard reportedly and scorpions that occasionally frequent the floors(yep I still want to go). There are also lizards and beautiful birds and the like.
-Food....Food is high up on my list as they have authentic"mexican" style cuisine with lots of fish. I told Brian if we ate tacos everyday at some dive stand or hole in the wall I would be tickled. Tacos and me have a deep love affair. Bananas are also native to this I will finally be able to slightly "redeem" myself my eating one that is actually locally grown.
-Activities...Beach time, surfing, zip line courses through the rainforest, upright paddling through the mangroves, hiking...I mean come on. We are not necessarily doing all of these things.....not sure which ones yet.

Our story sounds like many others in the fact that we took a weekend away following our wedding and then spent the rest of our,"honeymoon money" on a move to the oh so fabulous state of AZ. We started out saying we would take a "honeymoon" on our 1 year anniversary but seeing as I was three weeks out from delivering our first child at that point, the trip was not in the cards. At this point we got a bit more realistic, Brian told me we would forgo the big trip until our 10 year wedding anniversary...and I am happy to report we have nearly arrived. I know that a honeymoon is not necessary and that plenty of people don't go on one and I am not saying for one minute that I feel it was something I missed out on, but for us it is something we always wanted to do.

So we are going to Costa Rica. We have rented a house in Playa Negra, which is on the upper NW coast. It is a bit away from the typical tourist areas which is right up our alley, we wanted to havve an option to travel to those areas but be located in a bit more of a relaxed local. It should be around 80 degrees the whole time we are there....and heat is my friend. We have promised ourselves plenty of relaxing laying around the pool and beach time along with some time spent enjoying all of the wonderful sights and features of Costa Rica. The thing I am most nervous about is the drive to our house formt he airport. The directions the home owner sent me resemble a joke seeing as the distances are sometimes described by 15seconds until you reach the soccer field take a left at the yellow sign.....yeah so if we make it to our house alive I will be happy.

I love adventure, I love travel, I love my husband, I love living in my bathing suit,I love the beach and the sun and the idea of having nothing I have to do. So the next three months of planning and preparing should be nothing short of a dream.

Heres to a vacaiton!! I feel blessed and excited and overwhelmed and excited:)

Yay for "honeymoons!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Some say red heads shouldn't wear green on Christmas...I say the heck with what some people say.
Well Christmas has come, and although we can live with the promises that the season brings, the festivities are now over. We had a great Christmas. We had plenty of time to enjoy everyone and everything that comes with the parties and outings. My kids survived fairly well and so did Brian and I. I survived the event I had to cater yesterday and although I passed out from sheer exhaustion last night I am feeling at peace today with the completion of it all.
Here is the traditional Christmas morning jammie picture. Elliot appreciated the lack of holiday theme in his....he's to old for that you know. Grace however loves the Christmas jammies!! The dogs even participated.

Later on I will hopefully get a chance to fill you in completely on our Christmas happenings...but for now I will leave you with one of my favorite memories from this Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Not a Creature was Stirring......Except for a Mouse!

It is now 6:53am. The time of the mouse was 6:17 am. I am here to tell you Christmas will now include green bricks of mouse poison cheer and the sound of mouse traps(one could hope). I will have to be honest and tell you I was hardly sleeping anyway. I have never slept well on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid and maybe even as young as 3 or so I can remember the idea of Santa coming into my house being completely unnerving (this is how Grace feels about the tooth fairy). And I also remember the first year I realized he wasn't the real deal. I was 5 1/2...I got up because I thought I heard him....I was on a mission to bust that guy with the big white beard. But what I found was my mom wrapping my Christmas aluminum foil no less. I suspect and know that we probably really didn't have money for presents let alone wrapping paper. But I can tell you it was really shiny under our tree that year. I can also tell you two things that I received.....a crimper (yep the original fry your hair till it crimps), and Christmas patterned tights from Avon (my aunt sold it). If I can find the picture of me with my crimped and hair and patterned tights I will share it I promise. But back to Santa....yep the jig was up and I was sort of relieved, there was no creepy man creeping around my house dropping things off and eating my cookies. My mom however, much to my enjoyment, continued to send me Christmas letters until the Christmas after my Senior year of high school. And I think she still believes in Santa, and thats fine by me.

Christmas Eve also brings so much anticipation. Every year during that service God fills me to the brim with overwhelming love and joy and peace and all of that Christmas stuff until my heart can no longer handle it and I enjoy the entire service through misty eyes and a giant lump in my throat. Last night was no different and to top it off I was given the extreme privilege of reading the kids a story about the true meaning of Christmas during the service last night. This was almost the icing on the cake as I watched their eyes hear of the animals in the story. They pointed at the pictures and told me what they liked and I can tell you that is the moment it hit a high for me. These children were experiencing a gift in their own way. There is a gift for everyone on Christmas.....a gift that is there for anyone no matter, their age, size, marital status, background long list of sins or grievances. The gift is there and God just serves it up on a silver platter. I am not sure how the idea of our Lord coming to us in the form of a baby can not knock your sock off. A baby that was formed in his mothers womb, just like each of us and given the most humble of births, only to later be risen as king after dying a most humble death just for me. And not just for me but for anyone who will BELIEVE. This is Christmas.

Sandwiched in my pew at church between my Grandmother and my mother I could hardly handle my emotion last night. It was boiling inside of me. I could feel all of my prayers churning and all of the anticipation and worry, and heartache that I had been feeling over the last year was on the move. I could feel prayers being answered and things leaving that I didn't need and it was was peaceful....It was Christmas.

It will be my prayer today for those of you who don't feel Christmas to feel it today. I have struggled this year with feeling "it" in my soul. But I know each of you just like me can feel it if you truly want to.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And this is how Christmas Vacation Begins.

We have school break traditions and they don't really line up with anything else I preach but whatever.....traditions they are.

FIrst on the last day of school before break I pick my cherubs up from school and take them for a happy meal(they have a half day). Yep they know thats where we are going and its a treat and well its great! Oh and by the way we take it home, I can't let my guard down enough to be surrounded by other kids germs days before Christmas......

The first day of break they get to watch an endless amount of toons in the morning. Its just the way it is. They watched the Chippettes this there any other child of the 80's out there that remembers this movie? Oh man I need the soundtrack!

So now you know my secrets. Judge on judgers:)

And just so you know that we are not all lazy lumps, Elliot is holding his end up in the brains department. Out of nowhere this is the question that comes out of his mouth,"Mom why did God make germs?" Yep, these are the questions I will experience daily for the next two weeks as I fail to stimulate his brain as much as school can. And by the way I answered I don't know....????? Anyone have a more theologically full answer for my wonderfully brained child?

And so it begins Christmas Break people......I am truly excited! We have nothing planned after the holiday and that is how I like it. The lack of plan leaves time for spur of the moment playdates and excursions. They are more fun that way!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

3rd Grade Christmas Party....

This year I am by default room mom for the 3rd Graders. I was supposed to be Graces room mom, but because of room mom shortage in 3rd grade this year I switched last minute....Elliot was thrilled....Grace was sad. Next year we will for sure do the switch.

The 3rd graders needed a Christmas party and since today was there last day of school there was no better day to do it. With some help of some other moms we put on a great party. Complete with a snowman game, stocking craft and melted snowman snack and hot cocoa. The kids had fun and the moms had, win all the way around.

We split the class into 4 groups and they got right to work. The students that were dressed up in the "snow" were great sports!

Elliots Group with their snowman(Zachary),

Elliots Class this year...

Elliot with his melted snowman snack.
Little secret on the sister actually took over the project for me. She did an awesome job.

And here is the traditional, yay we got our tree photo.

And just for cute comparison, here is our first Christmas as a family of four.
I wish it were snowing every time we went for our tree!

And my little cherubs next to our tree.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas To Me!

This is our Christmas tree this year. It probably isn't going to win any awards by decorating expert standards. I don't believe in having a themed tree, or a matchy match ornament my opinion our tree should represent our family and the love that we share. I think a tree should be covered in your blessings, it should be a spot of joy to remember why we celebrate Christmas. I believe in bright colored lights, handmade ornaments that were pricelessly put together by chubby fingers....ornaments that are covered in glue and glitter are my favorites. Ornaments adorned with the pictures of little cheeks of years past, I have to say my kids preschool ornaments are some of my prized pieces....sweet faces. I can still remember the pride in their eyes when they gave them to Brian and I. I love ornaments that have been dated from my husbands childhood, marked with B.J. by his grandma. I love ornaments I collected my first year living on my own in my little apartment on Queen Anne. None of them "match" yet they all fit together and remind me of Christmas' past. Each one holds a different memory.

We went and got our tree from the same farm we travel to in the foothills every year. I have been there with babies in front packs, toddlers that could barely walk let alone grasp the concept of picking a tree, little ones that look up the trees in wonder, and now with two kids that have their own opinions of what the perfect tree looks like to them. Grace thought she needed her own tree for her room this year(I did not fulfill her dream). Elliot attempted to cut down the tree himself again this year (he actually cut a bit of it this year). I love watching my husband carefully instruct him each year on the best technique when holding the saw, he is so patient, just wanting to see the little guy succeed. One of these years he will get it and I can't wait. These memories at the Christmas Tree farm are ones that stick with me from year to year. This year I traveld with a freshly ruptured ear drum(when my mom took our picture with the tree she said your face says I have a ruptured ear drum take the darn picture:). Upon arrival I pointed at a tree from the car got out looked it over and sure enough it was the perfect tree, that was the one we ended up with. Probably the quickest tree picking on record. I wanted a tall skinny tree this year and thats what I got....I love it.

Once again I am feeling the anxiety of festivities approaching. I like to be home for Christmas. I like to be with my little family. It is not to say I do not feel incredibly blessed by the large amount of family we are surrounded with. I just feel like sometimes the holidays start to feel like an obligation. Yep I said it. And I have bounced this feeling off of enough of my friends that I know I am not alone. The obligation to buy gifts, the obligation to not disappoint anyone and the obligation to fill each and every day of the two week window surrounding Christmas. Yep now you are calling me the grinch and asking yourself if I really just said all that. Yep I did. And I'm okay with it. I love Christmas...I love the true meaning. I however dislike the fatigue and let down afterwards. I also dislike the upheaval of normal it can bring. For the first 20 years of my life I experienced every divorced kids worst nightmare ping pong Christmas. I was shuffled here and there and everywhere. Experienced the arguments of who would "get us" when. And although there are some good memories they can all be found on the days I got to stay "home" on Christmas, in my jammies. The Christmas' when my grandparents came to us and we could sit and laugh at my grandpa and eat my grandmas cookies until we felt sick. These are the memories I want for my kids. Every year I think maybe we are getting closer to this. I want my kids to feel at home on Christmas. I want them to be able to focus on the simple reason for the season. I want them to feel at peace in it. And so this explains my precious statements above I hope. I want to enjoy and not feel obligated, not feel like i am hurting anyones feelings by being willing to say what is best for my own. I am strong proponent of bedtimes during the holiday season, and have found this makes me seem like a crazy person to others. I can tell you if my kids don't get sleep not only are they crabby but I am crabby and this is not an option for the holiday season. This does not encourage enjoyment.

I can only remember a handful of gifts from childhood this isn't because I didn't receive anything that was worth remembering, my mom is a great gift giver she knows exactly what to get each person. I think the reason I don't remember is because the time spent that was enjoyable is what really left an impression on me. This is what I want for our family. I want it to be about the time spent not the presents received, Brian and I have some plans up our sleeves to implement this more as the kids get older.

Praying that each of you will feel love, peace, joy and hope this Christmas. May it be a season of reflection for you as well as you think of your Christmas pasts. There are so many memories to glean aren't there.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elliot vs. The Babysitter

We had a babysitter tonight. I always warn the babysitters that my kids are crafty...not overtly naughty but for sure crafty.

The babysitter was downstairs watching t.v. Elliot was upstairs supposedly sleeping in his bed when the babysitter hears his radio.

So she treks up the stairs and confronts the little rascal.

She tells him he needs to turn it off because hes not sleeping.

He replies with,"The Lord is more important to me than my sleep." (Because he was listening to Praise.)

She says to me....At this point I didn't know how to respond:)

He did make the right choice and turned off the radio.... and was sleeping when I got home....but really these kids are crafty.

Also today the 3rd and 4th graders went to the health care center to sing to the residents. Upon walking into the facility a child walks up to my son and says, "The teachers totally lied it doesn't smell weird in here at all." to love them!!

And one last Elliotism before I leave you this evening, "How could I not believe her? People with glasses are really convincing."

Thats all folks!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whats Up This Week.?

What is 70x14? 980......This is how many appetizers I will be making this week. Yep my fingers will be flying. Countless hours of appetizers. And this people is why having an appetizer party is by no means cheaper than a sit down jokin.
On the list....

Beef Tenderloin served with a horseradish cream on a housemade potato chip.
Seafood Spring Rolls
Chorizo, Red Pepper and Prawn Skewers
Shrimp and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Seared Scallops w/ Carrot Marjoram Sauce
Pork Belly Sliders topped with pickled red onion, arugula and spiced aioli
Gougeres-Fancy Cheese Balls:)
Bleu Cheese Baklava
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Pate served on country style crostini topped with a Dijon aioli and cornichons
Chicken Empanadas
Baked Stuffed Mussels
Scallion Pea and Ricotta Tartlets
Onion and Sage Tartlets

Sound Yummy?

The party is on Saturday evening. I have an awesome staff lined up so it should be great!

We have countless other festivities and celebrations this week, but I will mention them as they come.

Hope you are all enjoying this time before a glorious holiday of Christmas.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shes Watching Me.

Graces new statement when she gets ready in the morning is, look now I look just like you. She likes to match our outfits and do our hair the same. And although there is nothing better than the love of my little girl, sometimes its snaps me into reality. This little lady is watching me. Oh man what a high calling I have in mothering this little beauty! Its a challenge that I face everyday wether I realize it or not.

She woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. She came down and stated she would not like to eat my lovely prepared breakfast she would much prefer cereal. She didn't want her brother to look at her, and geting her into the shower was like wrestling a bear. Brian looked at me and said, "you don't think you have a part in this?" Hmmmmmm. Yeah well I guess sometimes I don't really feel like eating what others have prepared for me to the point of wanting to retreat to my home to have a comforting bowl of soup that I made. I do have days where anyone looking at me sends me over the edge and honestly a shower somedays does seem like to much. So there! And wether she has learned this from me or she was just having a bad day, I am sure that today she was having a bad day. However when I reflect upon my own actions I think harder about how I should react to things sometimes....because she's watching me. Reflecting upon ones self also can stir up the grace within which helps me to look at her differently.

She is watching how I carry myself, how I dress, how I treat her father, how I care for my family, how I mother the pair of them, how I keep my home, how I treat my friends, how I give of my gifts and my time, how I practice my faith......she sees all. And I can't help but realize that I play a large roll in who she becomes. God has given me this. It is deep and vast and sometimes I feel like I am heading into the dark in how I should respond to her questions, in how I should guide her, in what I should model for her. I don't think this will change anytime soon.

I feel blessed to have the challenge though. To be trusted with the gift of a daughter. It takes a lot of prayer, a lot of trust and a lot of grace, which is her namesake, its not just a cute old fashioned name.

I happen to love this girl more than my heart can handle sometimes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Real Life Catch Up.

I am going to catch you up to speed on what has been going on in our lives outside of food.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We always start the season off with a good celebration with friends appropriately named Friendsgiving. This year did not disappoint with a heritage breed locally raised by a farmer I know turkey and all the fixings. Laughs and among friends over a shared meal cannot be beat in my opinion.

Elliot and his classmates performed a play in which he played the part of a prized turkey. Brian and I made a bunch of props...including Elliots tail.

Next up Thanksgiving morning. You should know that I have never spent a Thanksgiving morning with my children and I love that. And no I do not feel guilty about this. My husband wakes me up with coffee and the black friday paper, turns on Christmas music and we sift through the adds to see if there is anything good (I know I am spoiled and I am fine with that as well). I do not go shopping every year however I had two invitations to join two lovelies at separate times and I am a sucker for girl time even if it does involve a bunch of psychos standing in line waiting for there $200 tv. We are with the psychos but not one of them. We don't go looking for anything to particular and just enjoy each others company...its great.
Bubba and Nick were home over Thanksgiving this year and the urchins(my children), were beside themselves with excitement.
I only managed to get one picture of them with Uncle Nick though.
I am pretty sure the kids think they come home just to visit them.

The cutest Grandma and Grandpa I know were there as well. Got to love them!
My children are deep into the love portion of their relationship at the moment and spend most of their waking moments together by choice. I will take it while it lasts.
Grace and I had a complete evening of everything Christmas yesterday, we decorated the window with christmas removable stickers, made antlers complete with a rudolph nose and made sugar cookies. We also listened to the chipmunk Christmas album....a must have for the Christmas season, sorry if you don't agree.
We also spent a couple of days celebrating this guy turning 30, he butchered a 1/2 of pig. It was exciting and yummy as we got to taste the fruits of his hard work the following afternoon.
Yes that is a trotter in Sarahs hand giving Todd a high five.

And last but not least my little girl got her library card today. In our town you go to the library with your class in 1st grade and at this time you can get your very own library card. I love this tradition it is so fun and the kids get so excited.
Yes she is all Christmas blinged out. My Mom got her the headband and I got her the necklace, the shirt is from last year. All together there could not be a more perfect outfit just ask her.
And last but not least the Josherwoggie continues to get cuter every day so I won't neglect sharing that with you as well.

And now you have seen some of it. I think what I like most about this time of year is my little family of four and all the holidays bring in to remind me of the most important blessings in my life. Its overwhelming sometimes but oh so good!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Its Rump Roast Time.

On this edition of So I Bought 1/4 of a Cow.....Rump Roast.

Now you can always cook a roast in a crock pot and most of the time that will do. But what if you want to serve pretentious fancy roast beef to some guest or what if you want roast beef that you can slice for sandwiches. I have the ticket right here.

Again this cut comes from well the butt or the rump...hence the name.

I prefer to get mine bone in. I prefer this for a number of reasons. One I think when prepared this specific way it helps retain some moisture and secondly I can make stock from the bones.

This is going to sound crazy but the best way to start your roast is at a super hi temperature for just a brief period of time no mor than 15 minutes in my opinion. Then back the temperature down to a unbelievably low temp. like 275 degrees. At this point you need to cook the roast an additional 20 minutes per pound. Make sure you have a meat thermometer near by because when you think it is done you need to temp. it. 145 degrees for medium rare and 160 degrees for medium well. The #1 rule for this method is once the roast is in the oven do not open the door until it is done....don't let me catch you peaking at it poking it or checking if may have cooked won't cook quicker just leave it be. I prefer to cook it to about 150degrees, this leaves it a bit pink in the middle which is saved for sandwiches.

Rump Roast to die for.

3-4 lb rump roast bone in
1-2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 cup stock

Rub roast with salt and pepper.
Place in pan.
POur stock into pan.
Put it in 500 degree oven...15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 275 degrees and leave it alone for an additional 20 minutes per pound. Approx 1 hour for 3 pound roast.

And that is that. It is impossible to mess this up so do it!!!

Serve with roast root veggies or good old mashed potatoes and gravy. We has beets, carrots and potatoes with ours.

Reading with Grace.

We are the parents that read to their kids every night at bedtime. We have been doing this since their birth, yep I am not being dramatic I would sit in my beloved glider in the nursery next the window and we would read before their eyes could see the pictures and before their ears could understand the words. Even now I feel just as I did then a special relaxed peace comes over me when my head hits the pillow next to theirs and I can say its probably one of the best parts of my day. I am eating up the opportunity to read to them until they inform they don't want me to anymore. I am sure it will come seeing as they can both read without me just fine at this point.

In addition to all this sweet mush I happen to be a self-proclaimed bookworm. I love to read and I am not super picky about what it is.....except self-help... I will not read self help the Bible is my go to self help book. We have a picture book library upstairs and a chapter book library downstairs. I pick them up second hand mostly at the Second Chance or garage sales, unless I can't find a specific book then I stoop to the level of a chain bookstore. I love old books that have been read before time and time again. I love coming across wrinkles in the pages and -gasp- tears every now and then. I have one book that I have read so many times the cover is gone and dog ear marks have broken clean off on some pages. As a kid even librarian was my favorite make believe activity. Nerd much...maybe.

Elliot loves to be read to the most, I think. We have been reading chapter books to him since he was 3 1/2 and he has loved the complex story lines form the beginning. Even if the story is a bit over his head he will ask questions until he understands. He can remember fine details that I forget making parts of the story relevant that would have otherwise been looked over. I love this. I love that he loves this!

Grace until recently loves stories with pictures. Fantasy and mystical story lines being her favorite. With lots of wonder and colorful pictures. A story with a heroine that is about her size will always do the trick. But recently I decided that it was time to read through the Narnia series with her. We read them to Elliot in the first grade so I thought that would be a fun "tradition" to uphold. She was resistent but we are 3/4 of the way through the Magicians Nephew and we are enthralled. She is especially taken by the Lion-if you have read the series you know the character only becomes more and more developed from book to book-now there is plenty of biblical insight and hinting in these books, more than the world would like to admit or realize but oh my its there and Grace realized it last night all on her own. I am reading it to her much as we read it to Elliot, not pointing out the similarities to our beliefs rather waiting for them to notice them themselves. It is a beautiful experiment. And Grace gets it in ways that Elliot never did in fact I feel as if she feels it. This is when I know she is my child...beneath the tough no one can bother me exterior there is soft center to her that can be rocked.

There is a chapter in the book where they have entered another "world" (the new world being Narnia-and are experiencing or witnessing rather what can only be described as creation. It is one of my favorite chapters in the whole series because it describes the Lions actions to a point that makes me cry every time. When they come into the world it is completely dark and silent and in the next moment they hear something - In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath him. The lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. - Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices;more voices than you could possibly count. -The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. One moment there has been nothing but darkness; the next moment a thousand, thousand point of light leaped out-The new stars and the new voices started all at once.-you would have felt that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the FIrst Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing. The Magicians Nephew-C.S. Lewis

There is so much more description of his singing and the earth coming to be....but I won't bore you with it here. If you want to read it, find a copy. You won't be disappointed,

Grace asked me if I thought God was singing when he made the stars. Oh man what a big question for this old sappy heart. i told her I like to think so. She said she thought that too! How blessed are we to know that there was a God that brought the world to existence. And that the sames hand that made it also made me.

There are only a million different things and symbols you could see when reading this chapter. I mean is not the darkness and then the instant light not a picture of what our lives look like before and after our acceptance of Jesus. Could it be anymore beautiful yet simple at the same time.

If you get anything from this long post I hope that you not only reread these books...but take the time to read to your kids if you have them. How wonderful to be able to have an opportunity to see the world and our faith through a set of innocent eyes. And to hear questions from mouths and hearts that aren't ashamed to ask them. I only wish after Grace I had another set of ears to read to these books to. Maybe decades from now I will have a grandchild I can share them with.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So I bought 1/2 a pig....sausage edition.

With our pig purchase we were lucky enough to get a fair amount of sausage. Let me tell you the sausage does not disappoint, in fact it is pretty darn delicious.

Did you know there are plenty of ways to eat ground sausage that do not include pasta or a casserole?

I am going to introduce you to one super simple easy way. And although you can go many directions with this concept I will try to give you some concrete ideas so you can feel the freedom to take it in any direction you want. Change up the meat. Change up the veg. Change up the spices.

Hash with Sausage and Fall/Winter Veggies
4 red potatoes...the smaller ones- Diced. I generally dice up one small red potato per family member, this gives us plenty. So if you are a family of 5 or six dice up that many potatoes respectively.
1/2 - 1 onion diced
2-3 carrots diced
2-stalks celery diced
1 lb of sausage
7- 8 brusel sprouts sliced in ribbons - Sounds fancier then it is slice them like cabbage.
1 Tblsp sParsley...dried is fine.
1 Tblsp your choice rosemary, thyme whatever your favorite herb is. What you have dried on hand is a great start.
salt and pepper as desired

-Dice potatoes and put into cold water in a pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling boil for 5 minutes. Once boiling is completed promptly drain. Do not over boil you potatoes, you want them you be tender not soft.
-Cook off Sausage - Drain in a strainer over a bowl.
-Reserve 2-3Tblsp of grease from sausage and return that grease back into large frying pan.
-To the grease add your onions carrots and celery until tender.
-Once veggies are tender add herbs and cooked potatoes.
-Cook all veggies together until the potatoes start to get the tiniest bit brown.
-At this point toss in the brussel sprouts and sausage, toss just until the brussel sprouts start to wilt.

Serve to your family with all the toppings. Some ideas are salsa, sour cream, ketchup and/or hot sauce.

Add please make sure your hash is adequately seasoned with salt. Under seasoned food is a crime...just saying.

And by the way if the sausage grease freaks you out feel free to substitute olive oil or butter, but don't expect the same great flavor.

Recipe #2 for you. Tomorrow I will give you a soup recipe using ham steak. And later this week we will talk about roast. And then if you want me to address some specific cuts (like my friend Julie)...make a request I will add it to my menu next week.

Yeah for home cooked meals!

Monday, November 28, 2011

So I got myself 1/2 a pig, 1/4 of a cow and some chickens......

So I thought of a great idea. Yep I'm smart just ask me.

Now I know I can get a bit preachy about the food front and I have been looking for ways to encourage others to eat local and such, however, one of the complaints I hear often is what do I do with all of those random pieces of meat. How do I make short ribs, round steak, or pork steak. First of all I would have to agree that sometimes all of the cuts of meat you get form 1/2 pig or cow or whatever can be pretty overwhelming. And knowing what to do with a piece of meat and make it taste good can be a bit confusing. That being said I would like to help.

My commitments to you....

-the recipes will be easy to intermediate level cooking.
-I will explain where on earth the piece of meat came from on that animal.
-I will tell you what not to do...
-I will encourage you to substitute and disccard ingredients like a pro. If you don't like something don't put it in...plain and simple. If you want to make it healthier or less healthy go for it. These can be your recipes people.
-I will try to include photos....of course I don't have a photo of this first one....but i will try to do better.
-I will answer all questions.....
-It would be nice to have feedback on recipes, so come back and leave a comment if you tried something.

First up Round Steak......this is a typical cut of meat that comes from the butt of the cow. Anytime you see the word round assume butt. The is also the cut typically used for London Broil, in fact most groceries stores mark this cut as London Broil instead of Round Steak. London broil is actually a recipe but to cut confusion the grocery store makes the cut more familiar by giving it a familiar name. Do not try and make this cut into a roast it will be horrible.

Now if it were summertime I would tell y'all to give this thing a quick soak in some marinade and throw it ont the grill cooking it until medium rare. Thinly sliced you can serve it on tacos, alongside a nice starch or on top of salad.

But beings that its winter lets go with a crock pot recipe. Yep, I said I was going to make this easy on excuse this thing can cook all day in your crock pot and be tender as ever.

Beef Teriyaki...using round steak.

1-2 lbs of round steak thinly sliced
2 cups beef stock.....remember homemade is best.
1 /4 cup Brown sugar....remember substitutes of honey or what not is totally acceptable.
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4- 1/2 tsp of ground could use fresh.
1- 2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tblsp sesame oil
1 tblsp rice vinegar
1-2 tblsp of cornstarch

optional add ins
crushed pineapple...small squatty can

Turn your crockpot on low and let cook for 6 hours or so.

Serve over brown rice. If you are feeling extra fancy sub your water with coconut milk.

We also had ours with salad and peanut salad dressing. Steamed greens would be awesome with this as well.

Peanut Salad Dressing
2/3 cup of oil...sesame is great
2 tblsp of peanut butter
2 tblsp of honey
1 tsp crushed red pepper...omit if you want
1/2 tsp of fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
splash or so of orange juice
-Whisk your heart out and enjoy.

There you be folks. Let me know how it goes. And if you think this is a lot of sugar you should see what standard teriyaki calls for.

Try it out eat it up feed your family folks.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Top Of My List.

I thought in the spirit of Thanksgiving I would give you the top of my thankful list. This is a complete list obviously but rather the things that are at the top. The cream that has floated all the way up.

First of all I am thankful for a loving and faithful God. A God that has chosen me knowing ahead of time what my shortcomings would be.

Next up my family. Well duh you say. Yes we are small in number and no matter how I dream of a supersize family, my family of four is perfect in size and shape because thats what God gave me. I am thankful that God continues to show me why he has chosen me to be the mom of these two little ones...I am constantly reminded I am the woman for the job. A husband that is my perfect compliment, a man who I can't wait to say I have been married to for a decade....he is my soulmate no matter how you look at. I am not sure why it works all the time but it does. We are blessed with health and stability(our own version at least). We are blessed with warm beds and full tummies,healthy bodies and friends and family to boot. But the true blessing I suppose is that I know with all my being that even if we didn't have these things God would still be here. To say our cup overflows would be a understatement. This is a forever family!

Friends...oh friends. God has given us friends that are really a chosen family. People we can share our lives with completely. Friends we miss when we don't see them. They are a piece to our puzzle. I can't express how much I love that!!! Every year it seems he gives us more to wrap into this gift. And it doesn't always seem to matter if we have known them since we were five or if we just met them this last month...they are all important. Once again we have a year filled with new experiences and wonderful traditions. A year that we can not only rejoice in what we continue to have but in the changes that are sure to come.

Ebenezer Christian School is at the top of my list. I can not tell you how easy it is for me to drop my kids off there 5 days a week just because it is what it is. Teachers that are fulfilling their heavenly calling by teaching my children to not only be scholars but lovers and followers of Christ. I love these teachers. The ability to send my children to this school is a privilege and a blessing. One I will be forever grateful for. One I do not take for granted.

Food. Yep, you knew it would be there. In making a commitment to feed my family in a different way 6 years ago, I am constantly learning. The idea is constantly changing. It has caused me to question, it has caused me to grow, it has made me a better version of me, it has made me a better steward, it has made me a better child of God(no kidding). And now that I am sure you are all rolling your eyes....I am dead joke. A goal and challenge I set out to conquer was not only snatched up and spun around in a completely yet similar direction also has given me better understanding for what God wants for our family. I am thankful for this, for their are innumerable benefits in this blessing. Not to mention this whole thing grew a passion that was already there and created a business that is quite enjoyable.....Thanks be to God.

And I suppose part of the long list should be mentioned, legs that work to carry me all over, two furry animals you could call dogs that are part of my family, and don't forget our 3 egg bearing creatures in the back yard, a friend that has a farm that I can enjoy from afar and first hand, kids of all shapes and sizes at church that God allows me to minister too, nieces and nephews that give me full arms, a job for my husband that not only provides for us but that he enjoys, a car that runs, a beautiful earth to enjoy and explore, and well the long list could go on and on because it really doesn't ever end it just keeps on growing.

Oh and if you were expecting picture in this post just look through the last year of posts you will find hundreds of pictures of the blessings I am thankful for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Okay so if you didn't think we had lost it already.....

Farmer Lea had some pigs this summer. And although they were not my pigs I became attached. They were amazing to watch grow. The Angry Blueberry fed them much leftovers from events, and I can tell you their top favorites from me were cast off melons and cheese.

However any good farmer or want to be farmer knows you mustn't get to attached because the natural progression includes harvest time. And that time caem for the pigs a few weeks ago.

The upside is Lea and I were able to watch the butchering process. I know you think this is strange. I think however at least for me the closer we get to the knowledge of where our food comes from the more it matters to us. The more I can learn about the process makes me identify more with the people that grow our food. It makes me realize the food in the grocery doesn't just magically show up on the shelves. And ultimately it makes me more selective about what we eat and tightens my boundaries on what shows up in my kitchen. And for that folks my ability to be able to see this process with the pigs from start to finish was amazing. I truly respected those animals. I truly respected the TerBeeks for the integrity they have in raising their animals. And I am very happy to say my family will be eating that meat.

I will tell you though in the butchering process Lea and I were very aware of the "throw away" parts of the pig we wanted to keep. Some of these items included, pig feet(to make soup), Liver to make pate', the hearts to show the kids, the leaf lard to make amazing pie dough, the bladder to attempt to make a soccer ball Little House on the Prairie style, and the tail to eat like a hot dog. Now I can't speak for Lea I am not sure what happened with the tail or the bladder. Maybe she would like to post about that? It seemed as if every time they went to throw something out we were would say,"Oh do you mind if we keep that?" I am sure those two men thought we were crazy....I actually don't mind.

So back to the pig parts. Later that week we decided to try some recipes.
The pig feet were much more difficult to deal with then we first thought.

Here they are how they started.

So you have to singe the hair off first. Heres Lea with the torch. Sorry Michael that we used all your propane:)

Next came dealing with liver which is really no easy task. Throw it all in the processor and then.....
This is my Mrs. Roper apron. (Three's Company)

Oh wait first you need a cute assistant to push the button on the processor. I am not sure that this Farmer is rentable so you need to find your own...sorry.

Full report on ending product goes as follows. Making Pig Feet Pho tastes like barnyard...I do not recommend. I must also note for Lea that she owes me big time for tasting that soup, one point for Mrs. Jager for taking one for the team. Pig liver pate' however is pretty good...however I will season it like I traditionally season my pate' next time.

In other pig news I think we will get all of our traditional pig parts back from the butcher in another week. I am pretty stoked I am not going to lie.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween Recap....a little late?

So our Harvest Party was a hit. We always have a get together on Halloween at our house. We invite a ton of people, prepare to much food and brace ourselves with an overload of fun:)

This year did not disappoint. I wish I would have gotten more pictures, but its is kind of hard to enjoy all of the fun with a camera attached to you. However if you have any pictures that you want to share from the party you could email me them:)

We asked everyone to wear costumes and I wish we would have captured them all. My brother in law came as a nerd and his costume was hands down the best. This however is a picture i am missing. So Jaim if you are reading this please, please send me a copy.

I always feel like I was hit by a moving truck when everyone heads home. But my kids are always sure to tell me how much fun they had and that is enough for me to keep the tradition going.

So without further Adieu I would like to introduce you to some of my friends.

Cleopatra and SuperGirl.

Sir Hops Bajema.

The Honey Do List and The Honey

Bacon and Eggs.

A Gaggle of the cutest trick or treaters ever:)

And last but certainly not least....The Josherfroggy:)

And there you have it. Harvest Party 2011:)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm sick yuck!

I am sick and I hate it. I came home after teaching yesterday with sore ears,neck,throat and watery eyes. Yuck!

You should know that me and sick do not get along! I am the worlds worst patient. I hate people taking care of me and really dislike people seeing me sick. But that's what I am.

Thankfully my husband was home yesterday so when I got home I went to bed and he let me stay there until dinner. Lovely man! Then I fed everyone with a bit of help from my new found love the crock pot. And then back to bed.

My plan is to behave myself today and stay in bed or on the couch. It will be horribly wonderful.

I did get up got the kids dressed and made lunches. Then that lovely man said that's all we will be needing and pointed back to my bed.

I am a blessed woman even if I am sick.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What A Day.......

Today was a challenging day. It started with an hour back. I am not sure how anyone enjoys this. I mean for that hour that we "fall back" I am always laying in my bed wide awake thinking about all I should be doing. And the only reason I stay in bed is because technically it is not 7am yet(a Jager rule for getting out of bed) and because my husband is warm hence my bed is warm and outside of the bed is cold. Other than those two things it is miserable. So I try praying for awhile, I try naming all the things I am looking forward to in my day, I try praying for my kids and the hubdub, I pray for Sunday School(my cute little cherubs), I pray for my high school kids ( i have a secret love in my heart for high schoolers especially girls, post for later...maybe), I prayed for worship practice(not sure these were heard), and that about wraps it this point it was 6:30am. Yep not 7am. So I bugged the hubdub for awhile, and then got out of bed at 7 and made breakfast. The kids were for some reason over the moon with the idea of cold cereal....whatevs...not going to complain. Moved on to getting ready. Dealing with the mop of hair upon the top of my head and then settling on a ponytail. Pulled Graces hair out of the pink foam curlers she insisted on the night before, oh man she looked cute. Got us both dressed. Time to get Elliot out of the shower, get his clothes out. Teeth brush make up on. Shoes on. Bibles in my bag. We are all ready its 7:50. Yep we do all that in 50 minutes....its a science. Its crazy, but it works. There is no way on God's green earth I am getting us all up before 7am to get ready.

Next up is the excitement of getting in the van on a frosty morning brings. Yes the windshield was frozen and although I splashed water on it only half defrosted. Oh the luxury of having a garage would be over the top for the Jagers...totally not a need and if that meant dealing with a brand new house I am so out but I do dream. So now you can picture four Jagers driving down Grover St. in the blue swagger wagon, windows down, trying to see through the melted spots. Yep we are laughing. Its a blessing this kind of excitement. The Jagers really are a combination of american circus meets party in a box. No one is left out and sometimes I wonder why we were trusted with offspring but they seem unharmed and I think we are actually pretty good at this parent stuff:)

We get to church. Yep everyones still alive. Everyones surprisingly happy. I made Grace solemnly swear she wouldn't throw a fit today. Its a big deal for her on Sunday mornings...I don't blame her. On mornings we lead worship it is no surprise she throws a fit ,I want to as well sometimes.

So we get to church. For some reason things are off. Melding together with others doesn't always work. And to tell you the truth this morning was especially hard. I had a hard time separating worship practice from the class I teach following. It is hard to brush off rudeness and bad attitudes and pretty soon I find myself right down in the pit with them. I was so anxious about practicing in time, I couldn't relax. Mix this with tardiness, complainers, and the like and I am a bear. It is hard to find my solace. It is hard to find my peace. I cried on my walk down the hall to my class. It was overwhelming. I was sad and I questioned everything. So I stole into the bathroom for a quick prayer a bit of a cry. I allowed myself about 2 minutes for this. I walked out of the bathroom feeling refreshed and moved onto my class with my high school kids. We were a small group this morning....Could it be a coincidence that our lesson today was on being thankful in all situations. Nope not coincidence at al. God knows what he is doing all the time. He knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. He knows how blessed I am by hearing it form others point of view. I always wonder if these kids are as blessed by me as I am by them. They are amazing. Each and every one of them in their own way. I make it a point to tell them this. Even when the little ones are extra naughty which they are some times.

Sometimes people ask why Brian and I do and are involved in all that we are. All I can say is we both have felt called to a life of service. Sometimes that means exhaustion, sometimes that means frustration. All the time it means fulfillment, all the time it means feeling like I am complete in my purpose. God is with me all the time. Sometimes this isn't true for everyone and I have a hard time accepting this. Sometimes this makes me seem intense, driven, committed beyond normalcy and maybe a bit witchy....this isn't how I mean it. The driven, intensity is just me. I think if you know me I am a lot more than this, I have a lot more parts to me. But in my service sometimes I forget to pray for the peace that I need to complete all of it. I forget to pray for peace to enjoy each moment of service even when it stinks. Because sometimes it does....God doesn't promise otherwise.

Not sure why I am writing all this other than to be transparent. It was a hard day...I don't claim to be perfect. I do claim to have a purpose. I do try and be as selfless as possible. I do try to live for God every moment....sometimes its hard. And as one of my students said this morning some days are harder than others. Today was one of them:)

However God gave me my family all to myself this afternoon. And boy did I enjoy all of the sweet smiles, kissable cheeks(oh Grace), crazy dogs, boys excited about double A batteries, girls excited about homemade cookies, an understanding husband, and all of the other joys that I have in my home. And this evening I am looking forward to my homies coming over...people that get me. My chosen little "family of friends."

And I guarantee you tonight when I go to sleep I will have my solace. I will have my peace.

Leggo My Eggo......

21 eggs from the girls out back this week. This is what I like to see girls keep em comin:)

Sorry for the break from the blog world. Sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet and decide to do that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Muscle Mumbles.....

My muscles hurt and I have lats does anyone know their purpose. I really wouldn't even know that they were called lats except thats what Beejer said. My workout yesterday was done at the mercy and wrath of two hand towels. It is really too crazy to explain. But let me tell you that hand towels may now be banned from my home. I have muscles that hurt that I didn't even know existed.
Wahhhhhhh!! Enough Whining. When my alarm goes off at 4:30 three times a week, the words....get out of bed soldier roll across the screen. I giggle to myself every morning, and then drag my sorry bum up and out. Physical exercise is truly one of the best sanity keepers for me.

This weekend is continuing to bring lots of this.
Yep stock baby. Some is from my friend the farmer. And I am not sure where I am going to put what is in the pot right now...but thats a good problem in my opinion. So now I am currently stocked(hahaha) with veggie, chicken, turkey and beef stock. Woop Woop.

Make your own stock people. Its easy and oh so healthy and even more yummy then that flavored water you buy in boxes at the store. Which I have had to buy on occasion so I am not judgin:)

I see lots of soup and rice and yummy fall food in our future:)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One of these things is not like the other.....

The Saturday that this picture was taken was one on the best days. Earlier on in the day I butchered a bushel of chickens with Farmer Lea. And then I rushed from there to join these jokers and a couple of girl friends to celebrate our friend Jesse's birthday. The girl pics did not turn out so great, however it was funny how the boys planned matching outfits. Luke missed the plaid memo apparently.

By the way getting these boys...I mean men to cooperate with picture taking is worse then getting my kids to take a nice picture. That being said I have no other excuse for the look on my husband's face.

Speaking of his face...this little Josherwoggie can't get enough of it. I am pretty much chopped liver when he gets home:)
I guess if I have to share with some one....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A viewpoint on parenting on the topic of tolerance and acceptance.

First off I am no expert but I have been on the receiving end of others parenting and have had to face a number of parenting challenges in the last almost nine years. In saying this I do feel like I have some space to share a viewpoint. But last night i got fired up. So what better place to air out here on the little old blog:)

My lovely little man Elliot is a thinker. I know I have shared this before so I won't elaborate too much although he is the one who provided me with the topic for todays post. He is not the kid that overhears your adult conversation and allows it to go in one ear and out the other. I often change the radio station if the news reports come on because his heart is just much to big for these types of things. I have found this to be true so much more this year in his studies as well. I think he pulls more information and develops more questions and opinions than the average kid. Not to say he is extraordinary he is just an individual.

I have found in parenting , one of the most important things I feel the heart to teach my children about is diversity and the tolerance to go with it. I feel like this is an ongoing issue that spans the generations, but I feel that it will only become more and more important as time moves on. This being said Brian and I have really made a point to not only encourage the acceptance of differences but to also point them out to encourage the awareness. I know this may sound quite liberal however I think as Christians(and as people of any background really) it is important to realize that although we believe our faith is the only way, there are many people that don't believe that and there many instances where we as Christians are the minority.

I believe growing up in the community in which I live in you often look around and see that most people are on your same wavelength and are falling the beat of the same drum so to speak...this is not bad per-say but I do think it allows us to close one eye to what the real world is really like. I mean for example my neighbors on all side of me are Christians with in a block of each direction of my house there is a church and my kids go to a Christian School. And don't get me wrong what a blessing. However could it be that there is also a downside....I mean I don't worry about my kids playing with the "bad" kids in my neighborhood because to tell you the truth as of right now there really aren't any bad kids, I don't worry about where to send my kids to school because if public school isn't your thing there are 4 Christian Schools in my area. This makes me fear that my children will grow up thinking this is what the world is like everywhere...and possibly when they experience it differently they will automatically thing that different means bad, sinful, ungodly or the like.

These thoughts are what make me think outside of my box when explaining other peoples viewpoints to my kids, when exposing them to certain experiences that maybe are outside of what others in our community would be caught dead doing, by allowing my kids to ask questions about anything that they seem to find alarming so that we can dialogue openly about that topic. I mean I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to talk to them about off color subjects now when they still want to talk to me about things because I am not blind to the fact that it might not always be that way.

When I was in high school I will never forget talking to some girls in my youth group about mission work. Now I grew up in a non christian home and this made some people treat me like the plague....I actually had someone tell me not to worry they wouldn't tell there parents mine weren't Christians then they could still come over. Okay come on I was a good kid who was raised with strong morals and values who got good grades and my parents are more moral and solid then some Christians. So back to the conversation I was explaining to them that I had a strong heart for missions but I wasn't sure that my parents would ever understand the concept and I thought in that I should be sensitive. One of the girls said so does that mean your parents are they worship the dark side. I almost choked I could not believe what I had just heard. I still can't. This scared me then and scares me now....I want my kids to be educated and aware that just because someone doesn't believe what they believe doesn't make someone bad or evil. In fact in many circumstances this is just an opportunity for you to be the salt and the light.

So Elliot last night was praying before bed and he starts praying for Muslims. He also prayed about taxes and the national debt but that I can save for later. The part that struck me was the talk about Muslims. I think this stemmed from a September 11 history lesson although I am still not quite sure. Lets just say he had some opinions, not all correct but some valid and I know for sure there are many adults that share his viewpoint. I however used this as a moment to share about Gods love and Grace along with a few points on cultures and whatnot. I went on to tell him how blessed he is to be raised such as he is. Also bringing up the fact that some people have not been touched by Christianity as Elliot has at this point. Which brought up the topics of witnessing, missionary work and God's love. We also talked about how some things are best left up to God and it is only our job to love not to judge. I know this will not be the last time we talk about this because he wasn't 100% sure that I was right. And I will be here waiting for it.

It is times like these that I am so glad for my faith. SO glad that God is right there to put words in my mouth and prayer sin my heart. With out Him I am completely unqualified.

After saying all this i just wanted to use my moments with my Elliot to encourage you to openly talk to your children about issues of diversity. Encourage love in all things and for all people.

Disclaimer.....I am sure this will fire many up in many different ways......feel free to leave a comment I am woman enough I can handle it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Some pics for you enjoyment.

My punkin getting pumpkins. Mean mom made her get her picture taken with sun in her eyes.

This kid is getting way to big.


The Farmer came over and was the first to try my new cookie recipe. Mr. Jager asked if I could be the cookie maker on his farm. Then we found out his farm is somewhere near Michigan. I told him this was a bit of a commute...he assured me he would have a truck and a car I could borrow on the farm.
I kind of like the farmer!

Sarah and I ran away yesterday to Snohomish it was nothing short of fabulous. We shopped and lunched and had cupcakes. I would say it was a successful day:) I know Rah would agree!