Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nice & Naughty: Chocolate Edition

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE making gift baskets?  I love coordinating gifts in a theme and putting them all in a basket...in fact years ago I had this dream of opening my own shop.  I was going to call it "The Basket Loft" and I would sell all of my favorite things...candles, chocolates, baskets, baking and dip mixes, coffees and mugs, and all kinds of coordinating things that could be given as theme gifts.  I had a vision of it being a rustic little store with a real loft filled with baskets and benches, wooden shelves and signs with cute sayings on them.  I would custom design gift baskets for people with coordinating cloth and ribbons.  Who knows, maybe someday...

For my "nice" list today my theme is "all things chocolate".  If you know me at all you know that I can be quite fanatical about chocolate, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite chocoholic fixes...along with a gift basket theme idea, you know since it's Christmas and all and maybe you have some last minute shopping to do yet (not that I'd know anything about that).  



~ The Nice List ~


Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips - these are simply the best chocolate chips, bar none.  Once you have had these, you'll never go back to wax chips - er, I mean other brands of chocolate chips (which all taste like wax compared to these.  Sorry, Nestle, but they do).  Gift idea:  Put a bag of these chips in a Christmasy mixing bowl lined with a coordinating dish towel and wooden spoon set. 


Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Cocoa Mix - Yummy and awesome as hot chocolate, but this mix also makes the best brownies ever.  The recipe is on the can.  Gift idea:  you could do the same thing as the chocolate chip idea above, or instead of the mixing bowl you could get one of those lazy people brownie pans (have you seen those with the metal grid that you bake inside the pan so you don't have to go to all the laborous effort of cutting your own brownies).  If the person is really special, you could even include a bag of chocolate chips in with the gift.  But make sure the person IS really special because they will be in all kinds of love with you after making these brownies and if you don't want them to be it could be a little awkward. 


Tiramisu Wind & Willow Cheeseball Mix - it's the bomb!  Except with all their dip mixes, I think they taste better mixed with 12 oz. cream cheese instead of just 8 oz. that the box calls for.  Serve it with animal crackers, or graham cracker sticks.  And if you are looking for a great gift idea, get one of these mixes and a cute spreader for under $10...or if you can spend a little more you can get a coordinating dip bowl too! 

Nutella.  It's simply amazing...on bagels, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, and even bananas.  Add a layer of peanut butter and you'll think your mouth died and went to taste bud heaven.  And once the jar is opened, you'll have to hide it from your kids or it will be gone.  Not that I would know anything about that.  As far as a gift idea...I'm not sure you could get away with giving it as a gift.  But if you really wanted to you could put it in a basket with a jar of my nutty butter.  Yummo.

One more for now...

This is awesome.  Just microwave it (after first sampling some of the chips to make sure they are good, of course).  Tastes awesome with mini-marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, chunks of angelfood cake, and whatever else you like to dip in chocolate which for me is pretty much anything.  Good alternative if you don't have time to set up the big chocolate fountain.  Oh...you don't have a chocolate fountain?  Well, you should.  I picked up a brand new one at a garage sale for $20 (someone's unused wedding gift, no doubt) and it's become a holiday tradition at our house.

~ The Naughty List ~

Carob.  It's supposed to taste like chocolate, but contains no cocoa powder. 

Please.

It does not taste like chocolate anymore than margarine tastes like real butter.  The only reason I know this is because my parents thought I was allergic to chocolate growing up, but alas I was not.  I won't revisit that story...suffice to say that my parents would buy me carob bars as a substitute for the real thing (which I really did appreciate because they did it out of love and sympathy and this was the only option available except for tootsie rolls which don't contain any chocolate either, but you can only eat so many tootsie rolls).  Yes, it's true, I was deprived of chocolate as a child, but don't feel too sorry for me as I am more than making up for it as an adult! 
 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Nice List

You know how Oprah has her "O" list of things she thinks are "just great"?  Well, even though I am no longer an Oprah fan because I think it is very possible that she is the anti-christ, when I used to get her magazine her "O" list was the first thing I'd flip to.  Nevermind the fact that most of the things on her list are insanely expensive (I will never in my life spend $128 on a bracelet, or $168 on a pitcher with a rooster on it), I did find it intriguing.  And since I am a "listy" kind of gal, I thought I'd create my own list of things I think are "just great".  Just because I can't keep these awesome secrets all to myself (and I need something to babble about) here we go...

~ The Nice List ~

Ok, What really made me want to do this list was my recent discovery of these....quite possibly the most tastey little cracker I've ever had.  I'm in love with them now, and the fact that they are really healthy makes them all the more irresistable to me (or at least it removes the guilt that I am indulging in a high carb snack). 


Hello.  That's all I am going to say about this, my favorite yummy lotion smell from Bath & Body. 


Ok, I rarely ever drink pop anymore, but I bought a case of Cherry Dr. Pepper tonight for the kids (Nick caught me at a weak "I wanna be the cool mom" moment and I caved).  So I tried some over ice, and may I just say oh. my. word.  My new favorite bad-for-you beverage.   



I am currently out of this candle....the yummiest most awesomest candle smell on the planet (hinting really loud to Santa).  I buy it at Pieces of the Past, one of my favorite stores in Winona, but you can also get it online (in case Santa asks). 


And what's a "Nice List" without it's antithesis...

"The Naughty List"

Topping the naughty list recently would have to be the city snow plow guy, who barrelled down our street and literally burried my husband and his snowblower while clearing the driveway - not once but twice
It was like something you would see in a movie. 


I feel like kind of a traitor putting this on my naughty list, but they disappointed me. They are called "WallFlowers" and are plug in oil fragrances from Bath and Body. I of course bought Warm Vanilla Sugar and also Vanilla Caramel - I got three of them actually, for our bedroom, kitchen and living rooms. Both scents smell awesome in the bottle, and for the first week or two that I had them, but they quickly lost their power and I really can't smell them much at all anymore. I don't think they heat up enough anymore to emit the fragrance. I used to get a nice burst of aroma when I walked into the house each day, but now I pretty much have to put my nose right up next to it to actually smell anything - which is neither convenient nor attractive. So, once I have used up the last of my oil refills, I don't think I will be keeping them. Nice try, Bath and Body, but you make me sad.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We wanted a white Christmas, but this is a bit ridiculous!

We are burried in snow here in Minnesota.  Literally...reports are that we got 24-26 inches this weekend! The drifts were much higher.  It was blizzard conditions yesterday, and we were snowed in.  It would have been alot more fun if all our boys were home, but Nick and Kyle were at their dad's, and Vinny and Trevor were at their friends' both Friday and Saturday nights, so it was pretty quiet around here. 

We made the most of our little "snow-cation" though...Vince was busy making almond bark dipped cookies and homemade caramels (of which I took exactly no pictures....gah!)  We got lots of laundry done, I got in a few naps, watched Elf a couple times, and this evening we got the rest of the Christmas decorations put out.  I even mopped my kitchen floor - with a real mop and bucket this time, not just a damp paper towel to clean up the dirty spots, which is my normal m.o. 

Mr. Wonderful snowblowed the driveway twice...but first he had to get the snowblower out of the garage!





When the boys came home this afternoon, they were pretty impressed with the 4 foot drifts of snow on our deck...and when I *jokingly* told Kyle his job for the day was shoveling off the deck, he lit up like a Christmas tree and said "Really?  Awesome!"  and headed out the door to get a shovel.  Hope quickly followed behind and they had a blast.  Here he is, standing on top of and scooping snow off of our patio table...











Who needs toys for Christmas??  I think we'll just get them their own shovels instead.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Things that were said in our house on Thanksgiving that I wrote down and decided to blog about because they were funny

"I wish I was a cow and had seven stomachs." - Nick

"I don't want a hairy butt!" - Donna

"I suppose I should be smart and stop, but I'm going to be foolish and stupid." - Dave

"I'm gonna kiss you 'till you're mad." - Trevor

"I like this communal living, I could do this if I had to." - Mua

"I feel all Christmasy!" - Hope

"Ewwwww...rotten eggs taste worse than centepedes!" - and several similar phrases said by people playing "Beanboozled" which is a game where you have to eat gross flavored Jelly Belly jelly beans and figure out what they taste like.  I wouldn't know because I refused to play politely declined.  Call me a wimp, but I just have this thing about not eating things that 1. taste gross, and 2. I don't know what it is.  Not only did they come up with some of the grossest flavors imaginable (including vomit and skunk), but I can't get over wondering how they made those flavors taste like that.  I really do not, EVER IN MY LIFE, want to play this game, or meet the person whose brain child this game was.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

In which I talk about all the fun we've been having

We have snow!!  It started late yesterday afternoon - the beautiful kind of snow where it was slowly falling straight down and looked so pretty on our deck in the moonlight.  We probably got about 8 inches or so, I know this not because I listen to the news (if you know me at all you are well aware that I don't watch the news and subsequently have no idea what is going on most of the time), but because we have this pretty, perfectly white cube of snow atop our square patio table out on our deck.  I'll post a pic of it as soon as I take one....oh the suspense. 

Our house has been hustling and bustling the past two days...last night Nick, Vinny and Hope each had a friend stay over, so there was lots of running, laughing, and generally loud silliness going on.  At 10:30pm the four older boys all emerged from downstairs wanting to bake a cake.  Vince was ready to put the kibosh on that, but after I accused him of being a scrooge and a fun-sucker, he conceded to letting them mess up the kitchen bake their very first cake from scratch.  I must say it was hilarious to watch.  I loved every minute of it.  I knew this would be one of those moments that they would remember as being so fun and crazy and special...and so would I.  They were still talking about it today.  I will remember it forever.

After all that craziness, and eating the cake (which actually turned out pretty good!) the kids were off to bed, where Vince and I should have gone but instead we stayed up until 2am playing "jukebox" on my iTunes playlist.  This is where I play a song, and he has to guess the artist and title of the song...and we then procede to sing it together at the top of our lungs with all the kids in the house asleep.  We play it alot in the car too, especially when we go on road trips.  But the kids aren't usually asleep then.  They are usually rolling their eyes and having seizures whilst being subjected to lots of 70's and 80's music.  Oh the horrors.  How ever will they survive being our children??

Today the kids went sledding with their friends, who ended up spending the entire day here...which incidently I love.  Vince took Vinny shopping to get new boots and some groceries, and came home to surprise me with a new Jim Brickman cd and Starbucks ornament :)  That's one of the many reasons I call him Mr. Wonderful (that and the fact that he is rubbing lotion on my feet at this very moment).  Mr. W made some awesome chili for supper, then all the kids grabbed their pillows, blankets, and santa hats and we snuggled up and watched the "Rollie Pollie Ollie Christmas" video, which is my boys' favorite Christmas movie.  It was an awesome Saturday...I got a nap, played my piano, got exactly no laundry, housecleaning or decorating done today, and I wouldn't change a bit of it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

I woke up this morning all ready to decorate for Christmas!  Christmas shopping yesterday with Donna got me all in the mood...the smells of cinnamon and baked apple pie candles, listening to Christmas music (which reminds me, I might want the new Lori Line christmas cd.  I haven't actually listened to it, but she's a brilliant pianist and she looks amazing on the cover, so it has to be good and they sell it at Hearts Desire - in case Mr. Wonderful is watching).

After Donna, Dave and Rose left this afternoon, we started with the Christmas decorating prep.  This involves my annual dusting & oiling of the woodwork, and cleaning of the windows, ledges and screens.  I realize most people do this in the spring, but we march to the beat of our own drums and loud clangy symbals around here, so when it's time to move the furniture around to set up the tree, that's when I do my deep cleaning for the year.  At least in the living room.

Once all the boxes were brought up from storage downstairs, and I finished my cleaning binge, I promptly took a nap until my boys got home from their dad's, and it was time to make supper.  Tonight it was chili and tacos...yum.  Then, the fun commenced.  The kids dug out their santa hats and began assembling the tree, with Vince's guidance and help - which I must say went very well this year!  No one broke out in fights or tears and Vince is learning not to be so militant about the tree being perfect.  We listened to my favorite Christmas album - Rosie O'Donnell Christmas (which incidently Vince hates, but he humors me - especially after I listened to Josh Groban and Andre Buccelli all afternoon with him).  It's just fun and it's a tradition for the boys and I to listen to while decorating the tree.  We didn't get that far tho...we got it all assembled and lights on, then it was time for bedtime routines.  We'll finish all the decorating tomorrow.

The house is in disarray, half Christmas and half mess, but we'll get there.  And we had a good time tonight.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vince thinks they're ugly but I don't care....doo-dah, doo-dah

Vince thinks they're ugly but I don't care....oh-a-doo-dah-day.

They are my new shoes, and they make me happy. 



They especially make my feet happy.  I have had plantar fasciitis on and off for prolly 14 years (which may or may not coincide with the number of years that I have been overweight).  If you are not familiar, plantar fascitis is when you injure the tissues in your heel and it takes forever to heal.  Runners get it alot, and coincidently so do people who buy a cheap pair of clogs that do not have enough cushion or arch support, but you wear them everyday anyway and ignore the developing heel pain because you love them so much until one day you wake up and can't walk.

I have tried many types of shoes and inserts over the years, with varying degrees of success and price, and I can honestly say that these shoes are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.  Seriously.  They are like  "Shape-ups" by Sketchers, but are supposedly just as good for about 1/3 of the price.  (My dad in me just did a little happy dance over that - he loves a good deal, and so do I.)  They have curved heels, which takes the pressure off your heel, and also apparantly give your legs a work out as you walk in them.  Bonus.  Sounds like a gimick, I know, but the reviews all say that they work.  I don't care about that so much as the comfort.  They are like walking on big cushy clouds.  The only downside is that because the heel is so curvy there is a slight rocking motion and if I lose my balance I may just tip right over backwards like a weeble. 

I was on a shopping excursion with my sister in law, Donna, today and might I say we had a marvelous time!  We spent a significant amout of time at one of my favorite stores in downtown Winona...Hearts Desire, where we sampled various dip mixes and drooled over the cute snowmen (ok, maybe that was just me).  Then we got beverages and sat and talked at Blooming Grounds, the best little coffee shop evah.  I got an orange-mango-guava green tea smoothie, which if you are looking for something cold and icey and fruity,  is THE bomb. 

Then we spent way too long at Shopko, where I did my usual...picking out things I want and/or need, then after walking around the store for another hour or so I begin to have buyers guilt and put things back before I buy them.  Hey, at least buyer's guilt is better than buyer's remorse, right?  I should have gotten that jacket, tho. 

Speaking of jackets, I have lost mine.  Both my winter one and my spring/fall one.  It's the weirdest thing.  So if I have been to your house in the last 6 months, and you have either a white, black & burgandy Columbia jacket, or a long navy jacket with a hood and a hole in the right pocket hanging in your closet and you have no idea where in the world it came from, please let me know as they are mine and I am cold.

I love to journal, and I've decided I'm going to be turning a corner with my blog.  I plan on getting a little more personal.  A little more descriptive. A little more rambly and possibly a little more boring...but hopefully not.  I am not focusing on entertaining anyone (althought that quite likely will happen as I write more about our crazy life), but rather, I want to documenting memories.  In writing or in pictures, I want to be able to look back and read this and remember the day to day stuff that makes life what it is...a journey.  OH!  Have you ever noticed that journal and journey are nearly the same word?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A whole lot of nuttin.

Why do I do this to myself? 

I am tired, and since 8pm I have been vascilating between falling asleep on the couch and waking up to change the channel from HGTV to the Food Network.  But I refuse to go to bed.  It's Saturday night and I don't wanna.  I am an adult and I can stay up if I want.  Nah.  But I will regret it tomorrow, when I will really need a nap but will feel guilty for missing time with my family to indulge in that Sunday afternoon luxury. 

Vince is not home, that's part of the problem.  He's at a movie with Trevor tonight, and I hate going to bed alone.  I won't be able to sleep knowing that he will be coming in later, so I will just wait up for him and think of something to babble about.  That shouldn't be too hard.

What do you call it when you babble on a blog?  Blobble?  Blaggle? 

Pause...

It is now 49 minutes since I wrote the above sentence.  I dozed off on the couch again, with my computer on my lap, until Mr. Wonderful got home all cheerful. 

Gooooooooooooooood night!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time

Why does life have to be so difficult sometimes?  I mean really.  When is it going to be my turn to have the stress free, uncomplicated, and unimaginably blissful existence that I have always thought life was supposed to be.  If I do things right.  Aren't I supposed to eventually end up "there".  Where things are easy and calm? 

Hmmph.  Just a tad unrealistic, perhaps.

I can't go into it, but basically I am feeling torn between the demands of my job and the needs of my family.    I'm almost paralized by fear of making the wrong decision and regretting.  I am very passionate about what I do.

But...

My family needs more from me, more than I have been giving them. 
Our kids need me to be there for them...to drive them to their activities and pick them up. 
To be sitting in the bleachers cheering them on. 
To be there after school to help with homework,
to talk about their day and help them work through issues with their friends or their teachers. 
To give them love, guidance, encouragement, laughter....

Time. 

I need to be home in time to make a meal and sit down together as a family, rather than getting home late, throwing some frozen pizza at them and then rushing back out the door.  It's not like that every night, but all too often it is.

I am asking my blog-reading friends to please pray for me.  I need some wisdom!  And some open doors - at least one with an obnoxiously bright flashing light saying "ENTER HERE!"

Friday, November 05, 2010

Yoda talk and bobble head syndrome. Oh dear.

Here I am, sitting at home and my world is spinning.....literally.  I have vertigo, which is all kinds of fun if you enjoy living on a tilt-a-whirl, which I happen to not.  It makes it quite difficult to walk straight and function...which is difficult for me anyway, so yea.  Not so much fun am I having.  And talking like Yoda again as well, I am.

So, now that I'm not able to go to work today, or do laundry or dishes or anything else productive that requires me to move my head, what a wonderful opportunity for me to catch up on my blog, which has been severely neglected of late because of my new photography adventure.  (And, you know, working full time and living life with a husband and 5 kids at home takes up a wee bit of my time as well).   I'm surprised I can be on the computer at all with this "bobble head syndrome" going on.  But as long as I am sitting upright, and my head is facing directly forward, I'm relatively ok...any change in position left or right, or up or down, and I am sent spinning and falling in the alternate, wacky universe inside my head.  Soooo much fun.  Do you realize how often you have to move your head?  You move your head ALOT when brushing your teeth.  And incidently, you need to look down to spit out the toothpaste, and if you don't you end up drooling it down your chin, which I  may or may not know from first hand experience.

So I'm sitting straight up on the couch with my laptop on my lap, the phone by my side, and the tv firmly planted on HGTV, so I'm all set.  As I mentioned, I've been pretty busy with my new photography adventure...and I couldn't be more excited about it!!  Well, actually I could...as I dream of cameras and lenses I'd love to have, I'm reminding myself to be grateful and appreciative of what I DO have and not to covet.  Ooooh, that's a hard one, especially as I see other people's blogs and pictures much more amazing than mine.  That's ok, my day will come, God willing.  In the mean time, I will thank Him for bringing photography into my life and all that He has blessed me with already.  It is truly a gift - one that I intend to continue to use to bless others. 

I have a passion for helping those that God brings into my life, and using the talents that He gives me to invest in the lives of others.  I've been praying alot about this lately, not only myself but with our children.  How can God use us?  What can He move through our lives into the lives of others?  Is it money?  Cooking a meal?  Visiting a lonely friend?  Giving someone a ride?  As I have prayed about this, I have seen God bring more and more opportunities for me to live this out - or maybe the opportunities have always been there, He just opened my eyes to them when I asked Him too?  I'm thinking the latter is true.  Either way, I am thankful.  I am learning how to reach out more, how to live beyond myself, and so are our children.   I believe that God has brought photography into my life, not only for me to enjoy (which I DO!) and to create memories of our family, but to bless others and help them create lasting memories for their families as well.  My perspective on the world around me has changed too.  I see beauty in nature, in our children, and even in a candle on a table with the light streaming down...where I may not have seen it before in quite the same way. 

Oh, dang it.

Now all this talk has me wanting to go take some photos...but alas I can't with the bobble head thing going on.  Oh well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I've been MIA for so long

I have been busy....vewy vewy busy.  Doing this thing called "Lisa Howard Photography".

Maybe this is why the daycare thing didn't work out???  Hmmm...God is just so good at giving us what we need, and TRULY want, in spite of our kicking and screaming sometimes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just wait

I have always struggled with praying for unbelievers - not about them coming to salvation.  I pray for that all the time for those I know and love who are lost.  But I struggle with praying specific prayers for them, like asking God to reveal His will for them, show them what decision to make, and to bless them.  I have kind of thought...what's the point?  God can't work in their lives anyway, if they have not let Him in.  And if good things happen in their lives without God, they won't know it's God doing it, and they won't see a need for Him either.  After all, things are going great without Him!  Shouldn't we be praying for their lives to be miserable without God??

But now I see it totally differently.  Vince and I are taking a class at church on Wednesday nights, and we are going through a book that our pastor has written about finding your true identity in Christ.  We broke up into small groups and shared our stories about how each of us came to Christ.  After hearing people's stories, I had a "light bulb moment".  God sees our lives as a whole...past, present and future.  He may know that down the road, that person will believe, and our prayers for them now may be setting the stage for their future...one that does include God.  They will someday be able to look back on their lives and see all the ways that God loved them, protected them, blessed them....even when they were yet sinners.   His love and care for us does not need to be preceded by an acceptance of Him.  God doesn't need the glory right away...He's not like us.  He is patient, and loving, and faithful...all the time.  Even when we don't recognize Him and appreciate His faithfulness at the time.

We may not see the roots growing deep under the soil...but God does.  He sees the seeds that are sown, through our prayers and in the way we bless others with the blessings that He showers on us.  We may not see the fruit for many years to come, but God sees that single seed burried deep in the ground.  He tends to it, nurtures it, and already sees the tall, strong tree that will mature and the fruit that it will bear.   

Have you ever looked back on your life, maybe even back before you were following Christ, and been able to see ways that God intervened - even before you knew Him?  He was there.  He saw your future.  He knew your past.  And He knew that it would be a while before you "got it".  But He was patient.  And those who may have been praying for you - the prayers that brought about the very blessings that you were oblivious to, probably were wondering if their prayers were doing any good at all. 

But all the while, God was watching...and working...and saying, "Just wait.  Wait 'til you see what I've done.  It really will be quite amazing." 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity."  Jeremiah 29:11-14

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I now remember why I have the urge to kill someone...

You'd think after 25ish years or so, I would remember that "PMS week" (aka "stay out of my path" week) typically makes me homicidal for a few days until the hormones level out.  "It 'splains the events of yesterday a little better, no?  Because I don't go around slamming and breaking things on a normal day.  Really, I don't.  I like to believe that I have alot more patience and self control than that.

Today is somewhat better.  I'm not angry at any particular person or situation, but I am feeling a bit lethargic and unmotivated today, even with a full 8 hours of sleep.  I'd hate to see how I'd be feeling if I had not gone to bed early last night.  So glad I did THAT!

I am very needy... 
I need adequate sleep. 
I need some Midol (does that really work?)
I need a date with Mr. Wonderful this weekend.
I need more of Jesus. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

What happens when mama loses it...

...when she hasn't had enought sleep for many nights in a row, when she doesn't get home until almost 8pm and then has to face dishes and laundry and homework not done, and when the kids' fighting gets on her last frazzled nerve and she yells like a velociraptor and everyone scatters. Except for her husband who comes to her rescue with his calm, patient demeanor. But not in time to stop her from slamming carelessly dropping her beloved Pampered Chef Batter Bowl in the dishwasher whilst emotionally compromised and thus shattering it.

Hmmph.

I'm just being real.

I could pretend that I'm "mom of the year" and never lose it, but what good would that do, really?  Just to keep things in perspective, I don't go around berating my husband or my children, or swear at them, or hit them with objects.  When I say "lose it", I mean I raise my voice a little too much, close doors a little too harshly and say things like "if I have to say it ONE MORE TIME I'm going to FREAK OUT!"  Oh, and apparantly I put the dishes into the dishwasher a little too hard as well. 

Sigh.

Am I alone here?

Someone make me laugh please.  I really need it. 

Here, this will do the trick...and give you a little insight into why I sometimes turn into crazy mom.  I'm going to watch this about three more times and then I'm going to bed.  Both will be good therapy for me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Once upon a weekend...

Saturday afternoon, we were watching (and freezing) from the sidelines as Kyle and his team played a great game!  No injuries (praise the Lord).  I'm not as nervous as I was when Nick started tackle football, which is a good thing.  It's about time that I chill a little.




Our grandson Jaden (who is almost one year of sweetness) spent the day with us...





And Hope and Kyle were busy creating these masterpieces early this morning...




We took a trip to the big town this afternoon, where we rocked Sam's club to the tune of $430 (gulp!), which incidently is about 2 weeks worth of food for our family.  Our trip also included a stop at Best Buy, where I spent some time drooling over my new crush...

*Sigh*  It's gonna be a while for that baby, but a girl can dream, can't she?

Upon returning home, Hope decided to make a "baby", using a plastic bagel bag stuffed with lots of stuffing.  Then she decided to create an outfit for her baby using a shirt of hers that she has outgrown...


And now....it's late and I have to get to bed.  Every night I say that I'm going to go to bed early, and every night I don't.  That is all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is my PROBLEM???

GAH!  There are a plethora of directions I could take with an open ended question like that, I know.  But the problem I'm specifically having right now is wondering how I can fit a few more hours into a day.

That's it.  It's a small problem, really.  I just need to figure out a way to reallign the planets, or whatever it is exactly that controls time, and come up with a few more hours.  Heck, it wouldn't even have to be everyday, just a couple hours a week would seem to help me out alot.  Am I asking too much here?

 I just recently learned that "email" stands for "electronic mail". All this time, I never knew what the "e" meant. Now I do. Whew, now I can go on with my life.

So here we go....I think it's time for another edition of "Things our kids have said recently".  At the risk of getting myself into trouble, I'm going to throw restraint to the wind and share some of the hilarity that has gone on around here of late.  Please feel free to laugh out loud, just don't tell our kids that I told you what I'm about to tell you.  You'll see why...

There is a certain little girl in our house, who shall remain nameless, who may be approaching the age of enlightenment, so to speak, much sooner than her father and I would like.  Living with 4 brothers (including two pubescent ones) sometimes necessitates some explanation of things that she otherwise would not be exposed to.  Case in point...the other day she approached her father (with me nearby) very concerned about her brother's pants.  Apparantly sometimes when this (nameless) brother wakes up, his pajama pants sometimes "stick out" in front, so she was concerned that there may be something wrong with his, eh-hem, pants. 

Hopefully you didn't just spit your coffee all over your computer screen as I nearly did.  Vince remained very composed, told her not to worry about it, and she went off on her merry way....while the two of us did the silent crack up that we parents do when our kids are just in the next room.  I seriously thought I would pee my pants.  Later on, I asked Vince if he'd like me to explain it to her rather than him, and with a big sigh he replied "YES!  Would you?  That would be awesome!"  I got this one, hon. 

I typically tuck our kids into bed every night...with the exception of Vinny.  Sometimes I just crawl right into bed with him, which cracks him up, but usually he prefers to just say goodnight and head off to bed on his own.  But last night I was super tired.  I crashed on my bed early and asked each of the kids to come into our room to say goodnight to me.  Kyle protested greatly to this because he was sure that he would not be able to sufficiently cover himself up without me.  I assured him that he could, and since our bedrooms are right across the hall from eachother, I could watch him and give him play by play commentary if he so needed it.  He declined my offer, and voiced his displeasure all the way to his room..."I guess I'll just get FROSTBITE tonight!  And you don't even CARE!" 

Again with the silent crack up.

5 minutes later, we hear him yell from his room, "Just so you know, I'm still FREEZING!"

I expected to find a blue, frozen little boy this morning with icecicles dripping from his nose, but he survived and was quite cozy warm under his blanket so he must have figured things out.  Thank goodness because I have absolutely no idea how to defrost a boy.  I have enough trouble with chicken.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Wicked awesome!

I'm blogging!  I'm blogging!  HELLO!!!  It feels like fall, I have the day off, and I'm blogging!!!  I'm also scrapping (are ya ' a scrapper?), watching HGTV, eating nutty butter & nutella with bananas, and listening to Hope and Kyle playing together...without fighting (hallelujia!).  Is this an awesome day or WHAT?!!  It's long overdue...a day off where I can just lay around and do my own thing.  It is/was actually the first day of school for our kids...but the grade schools only have orientation in the morning and then they are off the rest of the day, so here we are veggin' out and enjoying life today! 

I'm about 4 years behind in scrapbooking.  So last night I decided to organize all my stuff, set up a card table in the corner of the living room, and get serious about it.  This was all spawned by my recent experience at my favorite scrappin' store evah....Archivers!  This past weekend, Vince and I had a wonderfully awesome little getaway in Minneapolis with his sister and brother-in-law.  Besides spending a day at the Mall of America, and thus a visit to Archivers (where incidently, I fell in love with a cricut and have put that at the top of my Christmas wish list), we went to WICKED!  This was my first real deal Broadway show experiece and let me just say, it was a-ma-zing.  If you have not seen it, do it.  Seriously.  Whatever you have to do, go.  Just go.  The music was fantastic.  The set and costuming was phenominal.  The story was intriguing and touching and hilarious!  Aside from the fact that we were packed in like sardines in that old, but very beautiful 89 year old theater (seriously, was no one fat in 1921? Those seats made airplane seating feel like you are sprawled out on your living room couch.  Even the skinny people were shoulder to shoulder).   But the show was so good that I was able to stave off having a claustrophobic panic attack for three hours, and enjoyed every single minute of it.

So here I am with some new scrappin' supplies, a renewed passion for preserving memories, songs from the Wicked soundtrack playing in the background and a few hours of "me time"...aaaaaah!  I'll write more later...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A little while longer, and the best thing I've done this summer

Here I am laying on the floor in my son's room, taking a moment to blog a bit and try and catch up on my thoughts.  Kyle is sick today with a stomach flu of sorts.  He called me at work just before noon, saying that his tummy hurt and he thought he might throw up.  When this child says that he might throw up, he's usually right and I need to hurry.  I did, and he was.  Let's just say it's a good thing that I came home when I did. 

I remember being sick as a child, I always wanted my mom or dad with me.  I knew that sometimes there was nothing they could do to make me feel better, but I found comfort in having them near.  So that's what I'm doing...camping out with him in his room.  I'm not actually on the floor, tho.  For the past couple of weeks he's had an extra twin mattress on his floor because his older brother Nick has been sleeping in his room with him.   Nick makes a point of saying that it's Kyle who wants him there, but I think Nick has been wanting it just as much.  They used to share a room with bunkbeds and I think they honestly miss it.  So do I.  I love having them in the same room for bedtime talks, and just knowing that they are bringing comfort and security to eachother.

And today I get to do the same for my boy...for a little while longer.  When he calls out to me for comfort, and crawls up next to me on this makeshift bed, he lets me hold him close and stroke his hair and whisper in his ear that it will be alright.  It is precious and I cherish that I get to do this for a little while longer...knowing that these days will all too soon be gone and I will miss them desperately. 

This summer I realized something about my faith.  It is very basic and obvious, so much so that I'm embarassed to even talk about it.  But since saying something embarassing about myself rarely stops me from sharing, I will procede...

I need to read the bible.

It's foundational to our faith and our relationship with God, but for some reason I've always had difficulty reading the bible with any consistency. How dumb is that??  I think the problem has been that I've always been somewhat overwhelmed and confused about what to read, and how.  Should I start from Genesis and read the whole thing front to back?  Should I pick a topic and skip around from verse to verse?  Should I just close my eyes, open it and read whatever page I land on?  I have tried all of these methods over the years, and God has blessed me through what I have read.  But this summer I began to realize that I need something more. 

So, I decided that I wanted to read one book at a time, beginning with the books in the New Testiment that were written by those who actually knew Jesus in person...those who walked with Him, talked with Him, and lived with Him. 

What must that have been like?  I can hardly imagine. 

Almost every morning for the past couple of months, I have been waking up, grabbing my bible, and having my quiet time with God before my feet even touch the carpet.  And I have to say it has been the best thing ever.  I started with the gospel of John...my favorite.  John is all about the love and writes with emotion and passion.  Then I read 1 & 2 Peter, 1,2 & 3 John, Jude (he's so neglected) and now I'm in James. 

Did you know that James and Jude were Jesus' brothers?  How is it that I never knew this?  Wow.  I wonder what they thought of Him growing up.  I wonder if they were jealous.  How could Jesus not have been the favorite child?  He never sinned, hello!  No smart mouth, no back talk, no picking on his brothers or making excuses for why he didn't get the lawn mowed, or blaming things on "not me".  I wonder if Jesus' brothers hated him sometimes, the same way that Joseph's brothers hated him?  When I get to Heaven, one of the first people I want to talk to is Mary, Jesus' mother.  I want to know what it was like raising all those boys, one of whom was the Son of God!  And what happened to her husband, Joseph?  How long was she a single mother?  Oh, the questions I have.

Poor Kyle is just miserable.  The precious time of cuddling and comforting my son has turned into "enough already!"  He's been whining and crying off and on for the past 4 hours and nothing I do seems to help at all and we are both more than ready for this to be done.  Sigh.  Come quickly, Lord!  In the mean time, I'll continue to sit here with him, playing his favorite songs on my laptop, accompanying him to the bathroom for the good-grief-teenth time, and comforting him...for a little while longer.  As long as he'll let me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'll be back....

We've been busy enjoying the summer...

going to lots of baseball games

watching a monark caterpillar forming a cuckoon in the strawberry container on our kitchen counter (and not taking the time to see if I spelled monark or cuckoon correctly!)

driving kids to and fro

working on the yard (not nearly enough)

getting my hair cut WAY too short (GAH!)

trying to spend more quality time with eachother when we ARE home, rather than on the 'puter!

But I miss writing, so I'll be back soon to ramble some more...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Covet much?

It just makes me sick.  Sick I tell you.  So much so that I could totally throw up right now.  Except for the fact that it would require me to get out of bed, and I am enjoying my Saturday morning "I'm not getting out of bed yet because there is nothing going on that I need to hurry up and run around  like a crazy person to rush myself and/or the children out the door for" experience.  Vince is already up and gone.  He has a ministry head meeting today at church, which hopefully they will bring their bodies to as well because having a meeting with just a bunch of heads might be awkward.  What if someone has to go to the bathroom?

It's SO fun inside my head sometimes.

Anyway, back to the thing that is making me sick.  I am enjoying reading my favorite blogs this morning, propped up in bed with the windows behind me open to a most gorgeous Minnesota day!  We don't get them that often, so we have to enjoy them when we can.  There are about 6 days a year, maybe 7 if we are really lucky, where it's not too hot or too cold or too humid or too windy or too buggy or too icey to enjoy the outdoors, and today appears to be one of them, so yay!!  I'm happy already.  We will be outside all day today at our summer home...the baseball field just around the corner from our house.  Nick and Kyle basically live there all summer and consequently so do I.  Between practices and games and tournaments, we are there 5-7 days a week from May - August.  I'll be working the consession stand for a couple hours today during the boys' tournament, which I actually love doing because of all the social...I get to talk to everyone coming up for hotdogs and nachos and hopefully some walking tacos cause those are all kinds of awesome!  I'll be sitting around with the other parents, talking and laughing and cheering our boys on, while our children run amuck and I'm getting my pink freezy fix.

Squirrel.

The thing that is making me sick is not what you think.  I have no idea what you are thinking really, but I'm pretty sure it's not that.  It's actually a good thing.  It's a blog that I love to read and am inspired by...a perfect family.  And when I say perfect, I do mean perfect.  They are drop dead gorgeous, every one of them.  The mom, the dad, and every one of their 7 children look like models.  Seriously.  They live in the country and are always doing special, unique and creative things together as the mom photographs all these moments with her Canon 40D.  Sigh.  The kids are always smiling and the mom frequently talks about how well all of her children get along, as evidenced by the pictures of the older siblings helping and holding and loving on the younger ones.  Boys with arms around eachother.  Children looking adoringly at their mother.  Her last post was about how she makes her children's clothes.  Makes them, as in with a sewing machine and fabric and everything.  They are not rich, they don't even have central air or even watch tv.  And the best part of their lives?  Their faith, and humility, and gratitude.  It's genuine, which is what attracts me to their blog in the first place. 

I know what you are thinking.  This time I really do, because I'm thinking the same thing...no family is perfect.  And I shouldn't be coveting what others have, I should focus instead on the blessings that God has poured out on us, on my own family, and stop comparing. 

I do do that (do do?)  Really, I do.  I know how blessed we are - Vince and I - to have found eachother and created a life together after going through the losses of our former spouses and surviving the fracturing of our families.  We are living our second chance, and our children are reaping the benefits of that as well.  It doesn't always feel like a blessing though, especially when the kids are battling their own demons...trying to get along, trying to find their place in this new family as they learn how to reconcile "what was" with "what is".   Trying to love their stepparents while remaining loyal to their "real" ones.  It's not easy for any of us and sometimes I fall back into the trap of wanting the perfect family.  Where the kids are happy all the time, they feel loved all the time, they never feel the need to be jealous of eachother and I never feel like I'm failing them. 

So this other blog with their picture perfect life doesn't really make me sick.  It makes me sad.  Because that is what I have always wanted since I was a little girl.  It's what I tried desperately to create in my first marriage, but failed.  And it's what Vince and I have been trying to create with our blending family, one that sometimes feels like we are living in a blender set on "pulverize" and someone forgot to put on the lid. 

But God, through all the challenges, is teaching me to go beyond learning how to accept change, which He has been working so hard with me on for so long.  Now He's taking me a step further and teaching me to accept reality.  The reality that no one and no family is perfect, and I need to stop comparing my blessings with others', or what I perceive them to be.  God is doing a new thing in all of us, and two years into it I have to remember it still really is a very new thing.

God does not want perfection, He desires progress.  I heard that recently, and it makes me take a big deep breath of relief.  I'm not a perfectionist in every area of my life, but I am quite hard on myself when it comes to my family.  I desperately want to do things right.  I have alot of guilt over putting my kids through a divorce, even though it was not my choice.  I see what it has done to them and try as I do, I can't heal their wounds.  I also have alot of guilt over Vince's kids moving to a new community and leaving their friends behind and the pain that has caused them. 

Yet, I see in all of this the hands of God working.  Sometimes - often times - He does His best work in our suffering.  When ties are broken and we experience loss, He can bring healing that could not be experienced any other way.  And He can create new things as He gently helps us let go of the old.  I need to let go of my expectations of a perfect family, and recognize anew all of the many blessings and miracles that He has done and continues to do in our family.  With all of our imperfections and stumbling, we are walking this new path together...each step becoming more sure than the last as we climb the mountains and walk the valleys.  We are learning to link arms and support eachother along the way.  We are learning to fix our eyes on Jesus, our Guide.  And I am learning that beauty does not come from homemade clothes and pictures on a blog.  It comes from looking at our lives through our own lenses, not someone else's, and seeing beauty. 

Because it is here.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I can't make enough sense out of any of this to come up with a title

It's 4th of July weekend!  We have friends coming tomorrow and we are so excited to see them and have some fun!  Partially because of that, and also because it's just necessary, I decided early this morning that today would be a major spring cleaning day at our house...ok, it's not spring anymore as evidenced by the sweltering heat and the humidity in our garage that makes it feel like I'm in a jungle and should start singing the Banana Boat Song.   Daaaaaaay - O!  But nonetheless, we got alot done today.  Vince finished making homemade strawberry icecream!  It was delish beyond belief.  I have never made icecream before, so it was extra special for me.  I finished organizing our basement, Vince and the boys organized and swept out the garage, and I got several many loads of laundry done. 

I started using Borax and Washing Soda in our laundry and I really like the results.  Cleaner and fresher laundry for one. I think the colors are brighter too.  It might be my imagination, but don't spoil my fun. I went online to see how much of each to add, since we have an "he" frontloading washer and I don't want to wreck it.....not like the dryer.  I don't think I've mentioned that I went to do laundry the other day and opened the dryer door, only to have it fall almost to the floor.  Hmmph.  What in the world?  Of course asking the children what happened to it caused all kinds of stuttering and I don't know's and not me's...that is until one of them fessed up that it "might" have had something to do with his friend (and subsequently everyone else) decided to climb INTO the dryer during an over zealous game of hide-and-seek while the 'rents were gone.  That might have had something to do with it..Ya think? 

Is it just me, or does the Allstate guy look like he has a plastic head?

Oh, and to end the suspense, I thought I'd let you know that after spending some time in Barnes and Noble last Saturday looking at their Nook (and wiping off my drool, you know since it was the display model and people prolly don't want me to drool on it) I decided I want a Nook instead of a Kindle...but not yet.  I have a bookshelf full of books in my room - only half of which I have read.  So, to discipline myself (and put off the purchase a little longer) I've told Mr. Wonderful not to buy me one until I have read all the books that I currently own.  Otherwise I don't think I will read them, and alot of them I really want to.  So I'll prolly get a Nook in about 10 years.  Woo hoo.

Time for bed...outdoor church service and picnic tomorrow!  I think I'll bring my camera, it's been neglected lately.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not My Blog!

Here are some things that I have read in recent weeks on other people's blogs that have made me ponder, laugh, and tear up just a little.  You just simply MUST click on these blogs to read their posts in full.  You'll be glad you did! 

"You see, life in all its' inherent busyness can start to fill places in us that it isn't meant to." - Transparent Mama

"And that's awesome to me. That He cares so much for me that He will bring me back to what really matters, even when I didn't know I'd forgotten". - Resolved 2 Worship

"Dear Hobby Lobby,

I really don’t even know where to start. 
You are the bedazzled apple of my eye. 
You are like a giant crock pot full of crafty goodness. 
You are the Chick-fil-A of department stores. 
To put it bluntly, if you were a person, you would be Beth Moore."  - Stuff Christians Like.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hello, my name is Lisa and my favorite color is brown

I am learning to embrace change.  It's not easy for me, but finally at age 40 I am realizing that it's necessary. 

When you are learning something new, and you start to see how much it is opening up your world and revolutionizing your life, do you spend time wishing that you had learned it oh, say 20 years ago???  I do.  But, part of the beauty of embracing change for me is realizing that it's ok to learn something new and move forward without regret or berating myself for not learning it sooner.  That time was not wasted...all those years that I feared change and resisted it.  God was busy teaching me different things then.  Now, I am ready to learn this lesson...to embrace change rather than fear it.

I am a creature of comfort.  I crave sameness and predictability, it gives me a sense of security.  I'm not just talking about big things like being married to the same man for the rest of my life, working for the same agency for 17 years and counting, and not wanting to move out of our home...ever.  Even in the little things of life, I find what I like, where I am comfortable and what I enjoy...and I stick with it.  I have my favorite restaurants and I usually order the same thing nearly every time.  Even at HuHot, the mongolian grill that I am absolutely in all kinds of love with.  The whole idea of that place is to try things new and different, but I have my favorite recipe written down and keep it in my purse so that I can make the same meal every time I go there.  Some may find that boring, my husband for one.  But he's not judgemental about it.  He's perfectly happy that I order the same meal every time we go somewhere, even though he happens to be the exact opposite.  He goes for things different and unique.  And that's fine with me too, I get to live adventurously by stealing a bite off his plate!

I'm not just like this with food.  I like to do things the same way in other areas too.  For instance, I still say that my favorite color is green, because it always has been...when actually for some time now I have been all about brown.  Can you change your favorite color?  It almost feels like a betrayal.  Forgive me, my beloved Green, I still love you but it's time that you step aside and take second place in my heart and my wardrobe.

And (this is really significant) until recently, I have always dried my hair upside down.  This goes way back to my college days when I had the "big hair" going on. (I really miss big hair.  I had a rockin' spiral perm too).  However it really hasn't been working for me to dry my hair that way anymore.  Until recently that is what I've been doing...just because that's how I do it.  And I've had the bad hair days to prove it.

Yes, I realize that sounds pathetic.  Because it is.  But it's all part of my process of learning that change is ok.  Little everyday changes, and big life altering ones too.  I can do things in a different way, or like something new, or even consider a new career...just because I want to.  Or I can.  I've been too afraid to do these things before.  Especially without alot of thought.  I've always thought that change has to be a process in order for it to be real.  And if the thought of change is scary, then maybe it's not what God wants me to do?  After all, God feels safe, right?  Well, God doesn't motivate by fear, and I'm now realizing that real and lasting change doesn't have to be a process.  Sometimes it is, but it can also happen in an instant.  One decision.  One encounter with God.  One word from a believing friend.  One thought planted in your mind by the Holy Spirit can change the course of the rest of your life.  Today.

Sometimes it will still feel scary.  It's ok.  Do it anyway.  That's the definition of courage....do it scared.

Don't worry, I'm not going to get all crazy.  I will still carry around in my purse my recipe for my favorite meal at HuHot, the same one I make every time we go because I know I'll love it.  And I will continue to hang on to my hair scrunci's and my diffuser, just in case.  Whoever decided that big hair wasn't in style anymore anyway?  You make me sad.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some great movies, new most perfectest purse awesomeness, and what I'm hoping to get for my birthday

I was just a little bit stressed last night.  I'm not going to go into it because I have adopted a new philosophy on my life which does not allow me to whine about it.  We'll see how long that lasts...Instead, I did what every respectable (and desperately hormonal) woman does when she is stressed...I shopped.  I hit Target hard, and didn't even once feel the urge to put something back on the shelf to avoid the inevitable buyers remorse that usually hits me somewhere between the candle aisle and the checkouts and causes me to walk all the way across the store and put something back that I spent 7-9 minutes pondering over and have now decided not to purchase. (Big breath).  Nope, not this time.  This time, I walked out of there proud with a new purse (which meets my high standards for the most perfectest purse ever, and may even be perfecter if that is possible).


Also got  three new t-shirts, and a little planner for my purse which is now large enough to hold one.  Now I can carry my life with me and there is a slightly higher chance that I will have a clue about what is going on each day.  Awesome!

I'm still trying to decide if I want a Kindle or not.  It would be a big change for me, and we all know how I handle change (I'm getting better - kind of).  I love books - holding them in my hands, underlining and writing in the margins - and I might miss that.  But on the flip side, it's really appealing to me because I could carry a Kindle with me (in my new purse even) and could read whenever and wherever I am...you know, because I spend tons of free time at coffee shops and sitting on beaches wishing I had brought something to read.  I'm usually reading 1-3 books at a time, and who wants to carry all those around?  Another cool thing about it is that books for it are really cheap (the devise is not, but the books are mostly under $10).  And the coolest part for me is that you can turn it to audio and it will read to you - which is the feature that really intrigued me because I spend so much time in my car for work.  And getting ready in the morning.  And waiting at the dentist office and such.  I'd have all my books with me, all the time...oh joy! 

Vince and I finally watched an awesome movie last night that we have been wanting to see for ages..."Shutter Island".  SO good!  If you can overlook some colorful comments and words and a few unpleasant scenes (I hide behind my fingers during potentially disturbing parts in movies) it really was an excellent movie with a great plot, and the cinematography was fantastic.  I am not one for scary or gory movies at all, but I do love psychological thrillers that keep you guessing, but (and this is the important part) make sense in the end.  I hate movies that are confusing all the way through, and still leave you confused in the end.  They anger me.  Just ask Mr. Wonderful about the time he made me watch "The Game".  I didn't talk to him for like 1/2 hour after that.

We took the kids to see "Toy Story 3" on Saturday and (singing) LOVED IT!  Yes, I am a huge Toy Story fan, and yes, I cried!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The only reason I am posting today...

...is because I am tired of opening my blog and seeing pictures of hamburger.  I have nothing to say of any importance or interest at all. 

Actually that's not entirely true.  I have ALOT to say, really, but not enough time to say (type) it all.  God's been doing a whole lotta changing in me these last few weeks and months.  I went from being utterly convinced that He wanted me to quit my job and open a daycare....to being entirely confused as to why it wasn't happening...to being 99% convinced that I am to stay put right where I am.  I've moved through the confused (and angry and frustrated) phase and have found myself with a renewed commitment and dedication to the children and families that I work with in my job.  Why exactly God let me walk this entirely different path (and spend all that money) only to find a dead end, I'm not sure.  But I know He had purpose in it, and I think it may have been to show me that this is in fact exactly where He wants to use me.  Maybe He had to pull me away, just far enough, to give me a new vision.  Sometimes it's hard to see the big picture when you are immersed in something. 

So here I am.  It's not the easy road, and it's not the one I thought He had chosen for me, but it's my mission and purpose and I am thankful. 

As far as our kids go...one of my biggest motivations for doing daycare was to be able to be at home with them, especially during these summer months.  I thought maybe it was an answer to years of prayers and my dream of being a stay at home mom.  But maybe this experience has been designed by God to help me let go of that dream and focus on where He has called me.   If that's the case, I need to continue to trust.  Trust that God knows what He's doing, and has the best interest of all of us in mind.  Because I know in my heart that He does. 

And we have been pleasantly surprised at the maturity we have seen in all of the kids so far this summer.  They are being more responsible and getting along far better than I had anticipated.  Maybe I just needed to get out of their way?!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sorry if you think that your burgers are better than these, 'cause they're not

We made Vince's Kick-Butt Burgers again tonight...big hit at our house!  Especially with moi.  So as promised, here are some scrumdillyicious pics for you to drool over! 

First you take some hamburger and sprinkle in some house seasoning (see, you really don't need a shaker)...


Then add a little onion powder...


and 'bout that much liquid smoke...


Mix it up...


Ok, use your hands...


Measure out 5 ounces of meat, you know, if you have a cool food scale like we do...


Then play pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker's man - er, I mean you patty up the burgers like a man...


Place them on your totally awesome patty press...


Press 'em down, and comment (again) on how much you love your patty press...


because it makes such perfect burger patties...


which turn into purfect burgers...


While the burgers are cooking, shred some colby jack cheese (or whatever kind you like), and place a pinch or two on top of each burger, like this...


Cover the pan and wait for the cheese to melt all over the sides, and onto the pan (trust me, you want it to do this)


When the cheese has melted into a yummy golden brown on the pan, and when you can't control your drooling any longer, place it on a bun (I prefer wheat buns from the bakery), take your first bite, and let the moaning begin!