Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Dave bought me this for Christmas (actually we didn't exchange gifts this year, but he bought it for my stocking, assuming it would fit. It didn't.) But I am so happy to have it...and I think I'll try some of the recipes out this week!

Homemade Pizza with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Red Onions, Tomatoes, Olives, Feta, Mozzarella Cheese (had this tonight - yum! The recipe in her book is just for the dough. The toppings were just what we had on hand :)

Seasoned Roast, Baked Potatoes, Fancy Green Beans

Marlboro Man Sandwiches, PW Mac 'n' Cheese, Brett's Salad, Mocha Brownies

Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Chips, Bowl of Grapes (New Year's Eve Party)

Date Night!

Spinach Quiche, Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing, Crusty Bread

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Sherried Tomato Soup, Brett's Salad, Spicy Molasses Cookies

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Evening hike up Lighthouse Road

We spent our first day at the beach, recovering from the 10 hour flight the day before. There was a 4 hour time change too, so the kids were up before the sun was. We really can't complain though...they did amazingly well on the plane, beyond our expectations, really...and besides, Dave got a chance to take some great shots at sunrise.

We stayed at Bellows Air Force Base on the eastern shore. The little military cabins there kinda reminded us of the housing quarters that The Others had (for all you Lost fans, out there). Cream colored little boxes, scattered along the beach. It was so nice to be so close to the water! We could easily nap babies when they needed it, without having to plan ahead too much. Made for a very relaxing time!

That first evening Michael suggested we go for a hike. I'm so glad he came on this trip - otherwise, I'm pretty sure I would have stayed on the beach the entire 8 days. :) But he kept us moving, and a lot of the activities he suggested ended up being my favorite stuff of the whole vacation.

On the southeastern tip of Oahu was a paved trail leading up onto a cliff with a beautiful ocean lookout. We hiked for a half hour or so to end up with this view.


Austin yelled this every time we met up with them, even if we had only been apart for a few minutes.

Sunset over the mountains.

Sweet daddies who carted these 2 all over the island.

And a sister that I don't get to see nearly enough of...

...made for a wonderful day.

Sunrise in Hawaii

We just got back from an amazing family vacation at Bellows Air Force Base on Oahu. The whole week was a display of the beauty and creativity of God - it is so beautiful there!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tiny vantage point

Christmas photo - check! I love having a photographer for a dad!

Right now, it's quiet time in our house - the youngest 2 are napping, and I can hear Ethan's soft voice as he reads aloud on my bed. Cracks me up how he can't read silently yet! Today was library day at school, and that means new books to read!!! I so hope his love for reading continues.

I thought about taking a nap too, but this morning's passage has been on my heart, begging to be written down. I love how God's Word pierces sometimes...

Been thinking about how a right perspective enables me to give thanks in all things, all the time.

Hebrews 13 was in my reading this morning:

"For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:14-15 (emphasis mine)

Continually? I was so convicted by that word today...does that really mean in everything? the mundane tasks (the kitchen floor that needs to be cleaned again and again), the difficult seasons (a child who does not want obey), the strained relationships, the pain and sadness of life, death - can I honestly give thanks in these things, Lord?

Even hard things can be a platform where I can stand in humble appreciation of the One who suffered outside the gate for me (v.12 - love this verse!). He suffered so that I can be set apart for Him, so that my life can have eternal significance!

This world is not my home. I am seeking a city which is to come.

That's really it, isn't it?? All of the joys and sorrows of life have deeper meaning than what I see on the surface. Reminds me of the chorus in Andrew Peterson's song about heaven...

There is more
More than all this pain
More than all the falling down
And the getting up again
There is more
More than we can see
From our tiny vantage point
In this vast eternity
There is more

Oh, Lord, help me tie all these things together in my mind! Give me Your perspective, so I can teach my children how to live this way too. As those who are seeking a city which is to come...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Cereal x2
Banana bread
Pumpkin bread
Muffins from freezer
Eggs & Bacon, Toast

Grilled cheese

Hot Dogs & Grapes (for kids), Date Night In with the Man :)
Rigatoni with White Wine Tomato Sauce, Broccoli,
Pancakes & Smoothies
Hearty Beef and Noodles
, Rolls
Pizza, fruit, and cookies (Blooms here)
Lasagna, Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole, Caesar Salad, Rolls, Brownies and Icecream

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Clare, 6 months

My sweet Clare turned 6 months a couple weeks ago! She is officially out of that tiny baby stage, which makes me a little sad! Here's a little update on what she's doing these days...

  • The big news is, she is crawling!!! All. over. the. place. She is a crazy woman! And very proud of her new skill.
  • As soon as she learned to crawl (which was last week, I think) she started sitting up without help. Now she goes from laying down to crawling to sitting. Which means, it is time to lower the crib, wouldn't you say???
  • She got her first 2 teeth this month, the bottom ones.
  • She loves to eat! Her favorites are bananas, applesauce, and those Gerber wagon wheels.
  • She is no longer quiet in church. (Sad) She has found her voice!
  • She's saying lots of consonants - ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba
  • She nurses during the day, but takes a bottle before bed. And sleeps all night! Clare has been my best sleeper, I think.
  • Last month at the doctor's office she was 17 lbs, 10 0z. Look at those thighs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FD No. 4 and thoughts on growing up

Last week Ethan's class went on a field trip, and Clare and I got to go along! Both kindergarten classes walked down the road to the fire station, because they were studying the letter "F" that week. And it was a beautiful, fall day, so there were lots of leaves to crunch underfoot on the way. So fun!

I just love being able to be involved in Ethan's class, and to see him in this element. It is so encouraging to me to see him grow up and behave well in a setting outside our home. I mean, he has mostly been here, with me, for his first 5 years of life...and sometimes when you're in the midst of raising little ones, it's hard to see the fruit of all your labor. Especially when the 3 year old brother has a bad day, and mom feels like pulling her hair out... :) I really just need to take the time to reflect, I guess.

Days like this remind me of how important it is to keep going. To continue on at home with these little ones. I would have never thought a kid as hyper and crazy as Ethan Brooks could sit still at a desk or stand in a line, especially at 5! (I love this kid, but he is nothing, if not crazy wild!) But he can sit still and listen well - I have seen him with my own eyes...and it just amazes me, to be perfectly honest. :)

His teacher told me at our Parent-Teacher conference that Ethan has never given her a moment's trouble. How can this be???? She assured me it was true, that she would tell me if it were otherwise, but that he is very responsive to her authority in the classroom, that he is quick and happy to obey. Oh my goodness, gracious, could there be sweeter words to a mother's ears??? Thank you, Lord, for letting something sink in!

And he is doing great academically, but she went on and on about his knowledge of the Word of God and his scripture memory. I love that! (Have I mentioned we love his school???) At the end of our time together, she said, "Ethan is a very special boy, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord does with his life. I want to go to his wedding someday, because I just know the Lord is preparing a very special bride for him."

I just love his teacher! She is very strict with her class, but very loving as well. When she says it, she means it - I've seen her dole out discipline - but she is quick to appreciate the good character she sees too. The perfect combination for a kindergarten teacher, I think! (and for a mom too)

Every chance she gets, she steals Clare from me. :) I think she is hoping for some grandchildren of her own in the somewhat near future. Mom, she just adores the hats you've made for Clare!

We've been so encouraged by the growth in Ethan's life this year - so glad to see his heart tender to the things of God. The other night at dinner, he asked Dave when he'd be old enough to pray at the prayer meeting. That encouraged us! It is such a joy to see him read and enjoy his Bible... not so very long ago, he was just a wiggly, rowdy toddler that we could hardly keep still at church, and now he is beginning to desire to be involved. Lord, keep his heart soft toward You!

Ethan's whole kindergarten class, minus one. Sporting their Very Hungry Caterpillar t's - the theme of their classroom this year.

I just love my little kindergartner - and the joy he finds in learning, the exuberance for life he has. Every day when I pick him up from school, he jumps in the car and asks, "What exciting thing are we doing today, Mom?" Cracks me up... for Ethan, life is just one party to the next. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

6 months and still hardly any hair to speak of!

Apple muffins
Homemade granola bars (no corn syrup)
Bagels and cream cheese x2

Black bean and corn salsa and chips
Grilled chicken wraps
PB&Honey, grapes

(had a couple meals from last week that we never got around too)
Take-n-bake pizza for Dave and the boys, I'm going out with the girls for Penny's bday!
Black bean and cheese quesadillas, Mexican rice
Roast, golden potatoes, maple glazed carrots
Hearty beef stew, bread, peanut butter cookies for Bible study
Baked potato bar - chili, cheese, sour cream
Date night!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We have kittens!

Want one?

Impromptu playdate = many happy children = 3 slightly traumatized kittens

Come rescue one, won't you???? :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Pumpkin bread
Bacon and swiss quiche
Granola bars
Pancakes on Saturday

Leftover roast beef and swiss subs, pickle spears
PBJ’s and smoothies
Homemade applesauce and grilled cheese
Turkey and swiss melts, strawberries
Grilled chicken wraps

Leftover brisket, PW mashed potatoes, green beans
Chicken scallopine, Caesar salad
Leftover night!
Loaded nachos with guacamole
Corn dogs, fries, grapes (date night)
Baked potato bar - chili, cheese, sour cream
Roast, golden potatoes, carrots, salad, crusty bread
Corn and black bean salsa and chips (family night)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

The kids painting the chapel shed

Something about fall makes me enjoy cooking and baking all over again, so my menus recently have been a little more inspiring. I'm going to try to save them here, so I can look back on them for inspiration when I get stuck in a rut ..... in oh, February or so.

Banana Bread (from the freezer) and OJ
Cereal x2
Homemade Granola Bars (Mom's recipe, with honey instead of corn syrup)
Fruit Smoothies
Pancakes, eggs and bacon (on Saturday)

Leftover Soups from last week: Sherried Tomato, Taco Soup, Chili
Leftover Meat and Potatoes
Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches
PB & Honey, Carrot Sticks
Apples and Swiss Cheese Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Broccoli and Cheese Soup, Crusty Bread
Chicken Parmigiana, Green Beans
Hearty Beef and Noodles
Corn Dogs, Tator Tots, Fresh Fruit (per Bloom girls' request :)
Smoked Salmon Chowder, Crusty Bread
Marinated Roast, Baked Potatoes, Roasted Carrots, House Salad

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall soccer

Another season down. The boys played fall soccer, and they had their last game on Saturday. I have to admit, I'm going to miss it, even the early Saturday morning games (maybe). I have loved watching them play together on a team, learn to be leaders and listen to their dad as a coach. Lots of lessons to be learned in sports!

Ethan is getting so much better - we can see a definite improvement from last season! He has a lot more focus this year, and he can control the ball a lot better, keep it in bounds, etc... I think he scored at least once every game, so he was pretty excited about that!

At the beginning of the season Dave had lots of talks with him about being a leader among his teammates. They were a sweet but silly (and easily distracted) bunch of kiddos - and we noticed right away that Ethan usually just followed the crowd and joined in on the goofing off. It was neat to see him take his dad's advice and try to lead by example, to put his best effort into everything, and to encourage the other players to get into the game.

That is something we've been praying for the Lord to produce in Ethan's life. Every morning when I drop him off at school, we pray together and I ask the Lord to help him stand up for what is right and to make right choices even if other kids aren't. And sometimes, when it's his turn to pray, he prays for this too. :)

Simon was able to play this season too - a year early (usually they start them at 4 in this league), and only because Dave was the coach. He was so excited. And honestly, for a 3 year old, he is pretty good - he made a few break aways with the ball, and did a good job as goalie. Mostly he just followed Ethan around.

Which I thought was just super sweet. :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Apple Festival

Sunday was Topeka's annual Apple Festival. We hope to make this a fall tradition - it was so fun!

Watching a pioneer make apple fritters over the campfire.

Petting zoo.

50 cent rides on the hand car.

Sasparilla faces. :)

Clare was just happy to sit and observe!