Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday

I think I need a weekend to recover from our weekend!  The weather was beautiful and the calendar was FULL!  We had a slumber party, a birthday party, a baseball game, a coffee date and long walk with a new friend, church, lunch with missionaries, and small group at the park!

The weather.....
Beautiful!  Like really, really, really beautiful, spend every minute outside Beautiful!  (We're going to ignore that the meteorologist said the words "heavy.wet.snow" in the forecast. Ugh!) 

Right now I am....
Watching a super old episode of The Office while Cody eats his supper--he just got home from basketball!   

About all the laundry that needs to be sorted, folded, and put away.  SO much!  Also thinking about all the fun we had this weekend which makes all that laundry totally worth it!  Also thinking about all the things on the calendar for this week--I sure hope I remember to be everywhere at the right time with the right things!

On my reading pile....
I don't think there's going to be very much reading this week!  The kids and I are trying to finish another Chronicles of Narnia book.

On my TV.....
The Office.  Somehow we got several seasons behind, so we're just catching up for fun!

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....
Not much time for blog reading lately.

On the menu for this week....
A friend gave me her "old" blender which happens to be an awesome Kitchen Aid blender!  We've been smoothy-ing it up!  The kids love the smoothies, so I'm sure we'll have some lovely, fruity concoction everyday this week!
I also used the blender to make some awesome guacamole tonight!  (4 avacados + 2 tomatoes + 1/4 onion + 2 garlic cloves + dash of salt = YUM!)
Tomorrow we have a baseball game, so it'll be a hearty snack/late dinner sort of night.  We'll be grilling for sure (before the weather goes to pot!).
The rest of the week is up in the air.  It'll be a "rummage in the frig/freezer/pantry and see what strikes you" sort of week.

On my to do list....
Clean and sort through closets  
Make treats for the teachers

In the craft basket....
Nothing this week!

Looking forward to this week....
My parents get home from France on Wednesday.
The boys have a spring concert on Thursday!
The Pella Tulip Festival is this weekend--I hope it warm enough to go!

Looking around the house....
FIVE jars of Kombucha are sitting with fresh ginger sliced in them--should be ready to enjoy tomorrow night!
The house is clean.  Sometimes having a crazy little girl party leads to a nice clean-up afterwards!

From the camera....

This Dude cracks me up.

On my prayer list.....
I'm sure this will sound like I'm a broken record, but would you please pray for Maddox's ears?  They started draining and having crazy amounts of junk coming out over the weekend.  It's hard to know exactly what to do or what is causing this.  He is still working on a molar and has four other teeth that are red under the gums and possibly coming in...or it could be allergies...or it could be a virus.  I sort of feel at my wits end with all of this.  We don't want him to have to be on antibiotics again, so we're visiting the chiropractor, using nutrition supplements and essential oils, cutting out sugar/dairy/gluten as much as possible, and playing the wait-and-see game.  I'm not a big fan of it! (waiting...blah!)  I also don't want him to suffer any repercussions from our choices on how to handle his ears.  
We also are getting super close to having the biggest PRAISE to something we've been praying about since October!  The rental house has an offer than we have accepted and now we just wait for a closing close, yet so far away!  Praying that it will sell and all will go smoothly!

 Bible verse, Devotional....

Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV
"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday Cloe!

We've had a wonderful day celebrating 

It's hard to believe TEN years has already passed, yet I have a hard time remembering life without her!
God has really been shaping her into a sweet, compassionate, loving little girl!
We are so thankful that she loves Jesus, and we pray that she will continue to love Him and grow and learn how she can be more like Him!

She is also a FUN girl!  
Cloe is a great little chatterbox to have around!
I love that she interacts so well with all of her brothers!
She and Maddox have an extra special little bond going on!

SO, because I'm feeling extra nostalgic as we enter DOUBLE DIGITS,
here's a little walk down memory lane.
Better grab some tissues!

We love you so much, Cloe!
Happy 10th Birthday, Sweetie!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Book Club!

This year, Cloe joined a book club with some friends.  
It's been fun to watch her make new friends and find a new spark for reading!

Last week, it was our turn to host the book club.
We had a great time with the girls!

The girls had all read Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.
Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

I was a little apprehensive to lead the book club for the first time, but it all went so well!
All the girls agreed: Smile is a quick, fun read.  
It's a graphic novel which seems to be all the rage in books these days!  
Who doesn't love chapter books in cartoon layout?

I found a lot of great ideas for our time together from this blog.  
There's even a great list of discussion questions!  
I was so impressed with the deep discussion we were able to have not only about the book but about life and friend situations that happen to them in school.  

After we discussed the book, we made accordion autograph books!
Thanks to this blog, we had easy-to-follow instructions!

Our last craft was to make book markers from Pony Beads.
The girls arranged the beads into flowers and then we popped them into a hot 425 degree oven for 10ish minutes.

The beads melt and make the prettiest little flowers!
We glued them to paperclips to use as book markers.

Of course, we had to have a little snack.
Apple slices + nutella + marshmellows = BIG SMILES!

Don't these girls make you want to SMILE?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday 
Made it and it's still Monday!  Phew!  Life is busy busy around here!

The weather.....
It's a down-pour right now, but the rest of today was surprising beautiful!  High 60s and just a little wind.  We let Maddox play outside and he managed to climb the ladder to the playset and slide down the slide all by himself!  He was pretty pleased with it all!  Then we walked to school to get the kids--so nice to be outside!

Right now I am....
Listening to the kids shower and get ready for bed...sometimes they can take an awfully long time getting ready for bed!  I'm also listening to the rain and thinking that a cup of tea would be perfect!

Well...obviously thinking about tea.  I also seem to have a million details/people/events/emotions floating through my mind.  Cloe's 10th birthday is Wednesday!  While I absolutely love the sweet little girl that she is, I'm also feeling that wave of nostalgia, there's a big 'ol party to be had here on Saturday!  The kids have so many end-of-the-school-year events that need volunteers, donations, sack lunches--I love it all, but I'm so afraid I'll forget something! (Like Carson's pajama/stuffed animal day, today!  Oops!)  There are also some new friends and some old friends going through "life situations" that I wish I could help or encourage more!

On my reading pile....
A new Martha Stewart with an Everyday Food tear-out--I really miss that magazine!  It was the best!
The Gospel Coalition had an interesting post on a couple that was hiding in their home during the shoot-out in Boston.  Super cool testimony!

On my TV.....
Nothing...but I might have to turn on a new cooking show I found on Hulu.  This overly enthusiastic lady demonstrates raw cooking.  It's pretty intriguing...and funny.

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....
Elana's Pantry has been a lifesaver!  She has the best sugar/gluten/dairy free recipes!  Maddox has loved everything I've made from her blog.  Such a keeper!

On the menu for this week....
Tuesday - Chicken Pad Thai  (love our rice noodles!)
Wednesday - Willow Creek Cafe!
Thursday - Cloe's belated birthday dinner: spiral ham, vegetable parmesan risotto, strawberries
Friday - birthday party
Saturday - a fancy brunch for a fancy gal and her church friends!

On my to do list....
Laundry, laundry, laundry
Buy the boys new socks--McClain has had toes peeking out every day and asked so sweetly if I could check into some new socks for his toes sake.  Got it, little man!
Birthday party final plans!
Lots of other things that are tucked safely away in my calendar!

Looking forward to this week....
Going to the State Capital Building with Cloe's fourth grade class on Wednesday (her birthday!).  I'm so thankful for a good friend who just moved much closer to us and volunteered to keep Maddox anytime.  Seriously...that kind of offer can make a girl teary-eyed!  I'm so glad to get to go along on field trips!
Cloe's birthday is going to be so much fun, too!

Looking around the house....
Piano books are out, but that's a good sign!  My poor garden starter plants are back inside.  Maybe we'll get over this winter-returning slump soon?

From the camera....
Maddox got to ride in a booster seat for a few blocks while a little friend road in his carseat.  Whew...I'm not ready for this really big boy stuff!  Maddox absolutely loved it and thought it was the best car ride e.v.e.r.

On my prayer list.....
Our new small group--so thankful for these families and their friendship!  Love them!
Praying for new friends to get connected
Thankful for friends celebrating a new baby in their home and praying for a smooth adoption
Praying for safety for my parents as they visit my brother and his family in France

 Bible verse, Devotional....
We read 1 Peter 4 with some friends last week.  Verses 8-11 really stood out to me:
Above all keep your love for one another fervent, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without complaining.  Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.  Whoever speaks, let it be with God's words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday!  We are coming off of an incredible Easter weekend at our house!  There's a lingering sleepy excitement from all the great things that happened over the last few days!

The weather.....
We were enjoying fantastic warmer weather, when a sudden cold front crashed our spring dreams. Hopefully those warmer temperatures will be coming back soon!  Our daffodils are slowing but surely peaking through; some warm sunshine would really help!

Right now I am....
Waiting for Cody to get home from playing basketball, waiting for the sheets to dry, and waiting for someone to make me a cup of tea...probably going to be waiting a long time for that one!
That I have a lot to accomplish tomorrow!  We're hosting Cloe's book club after school on Wednesday, so I need to come up with some good activities for the girls!  Then Cloe's birthday is just around the corner, and a party needs to be planned for this momentous double digit year!  (boo-hoo!)

On my reading pile....
Gap Finders vs. Gap Standers is an awesome post that I've read and re-read this week.  Really hope I can strive to be a Gap Stander!  

On my TV.....
We caught some of the new Voice last night.  Might be fun to watch this season!

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....
Elana's Pantry is full of really delicious gluten/sugar/dairy free recipes--so relieved to find some easy things to make for Maddox!

On the menu for this week.....
So, evidently, days left blank = fasting...which we all know I could never pull off!
Monday:  Easter leftovers!  Thank goodness!  I don't think I could cooked today if I wanted to!
Tuesday:  Hmmm...something easy for Cody and the kids because I get to go out with some dear ladies!
Wednesday:  Willow Creek Cafe
Thursday: Chicken Fried Rice--an easy recipe from 100 days of Real Food 
Friday & Saturday:  Grandma and Grandpa are coming to stay with the kids.  Cody and I get to go to Chicago for his last class!  Lou Malnati's pizza sounds so good!
Sunday:  Out for lunch!

On my to do list....
Homemaking (make beds, sweeping, vacuuming, bathrooms, laundry, dusting...repeat!)
Get everything set for the book club 

In the craft basket....
I'm hoping to help the girls make little tooth shaped pillows.

Looking forward to this week....
One last trip to Chicago with Cody!  Even though he has class, I really enjoy our time together in the car.  Of course, the hotel and shopping are fantastic too!  

Looking around the house....
Supper dishes need to be done quickly.  Pretty spring flowers and decorations are making so excited for warmer weather! 

From the camera....
Hang on...a lot to share!
Our Good Friday Service was BEAUTIFUL!

Saturday, we headed to our Easter Extravaganza.
The rain quit just in time!
Maddox loved gathering eggs!
Little people squats are the best!
Never underestimate the scariness of the Easter Bunny!
 Oh man, just a little leg and the bottle from this schmoozer!
We left SUPER early for church on Sunday.  
I'm so thankful that our kids happily get up and get ready to go!
 We always take a picture on the steps at church.
 They are so snuggly with each other!
We really, really love these sweet people (the ones you can see and the ones you can't quite see!)!  
God has blessed us with some amazingly talented musicians who are so dedicated and faithful to play with us at Willow Creek!
 I posted this on instagram, but seriously, Cloe and Maddox are just two peas in a pod!
Cloe reminds us frequently that she was really hoping for a sister, but I think Maddox has done pretty well at getting her wrapped around his little finger!  They are so sweet to each other!  I love how they just sat here and listened to us practice the music.

One of my most favorite things ever to happen during our Easter service was this painting!  As we sang a song on the attributes of God, my sweet friend and awesomely talented artist, Abby, painted attributes of God.  As we transitioned into Amazing Grace, she added the names of sins and your sins...then the cross of Jesus' blood covered all.our.sins.  It was beautiful and sparked many tears!  We were so blessed by our Easter service and can't wait to continue to hear how God worked in hearts and lives on Sunday!
Our Easter Family Picture!
I love how Cody has figured out that my love-language is pictures of our family!
He is becoming quite the talented photo-guy!

On my prayer list.....
Well, we are still praying for Maddox but have so much to be thankful for with his ears!  Last week, I was so conflicted with the medicine, tubes, ear our appointment, the ENT wanted to flush our the infection which I thought sounded great. We headed in for the procedure early Tuesday...just Maddox and I since it would be quick.  It turned out to be quite emotional as he didn't want to leave me and we were both in tears.  The ENT ended up putting in another set of tubes (2 in two weeks) and the situation went downhill from there.  I left feeling pretty desperate for help NOT from at ENT.  I remembered the name of a chiropractor that had really helped a friend.  We got in to see him the next day, and he was able to gently help Maddox's ears starting draining.  He also suggested we go gluten/dairy/sugar free with Maddox until his ears clear up.  Thankfully, today his ears are looking better!  They are still red but not full of infection.  What a relief!  I often let my children's health issues weigh on me and stress me out instead of trusting God to take care and guide us.  
We're still praying for the rental house to sell.
Thankful for God giving Cody the ability to be an excellent car mechanic, too!  More on that later!

Ultimately, REALLY, really thankful for an amazing Easter weekend to be reminded of Jesus...bearing the awesome weight of sin...every bitter thought, every evil deed, crowning his blood stained brow...oh, to see my name, written in the wounds...for through your suffering, I am free...death is crushed to death, life is mine to live, won through Your selfless love.  This, the power of the cross.

Bible verse, Devotional....
From Willow Creek:
1 Peter 1:3-7  
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hopethrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved byvarious trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

The resurrection keeps us from hoping in hopelessness.  
The resurrection frees me from hoping in material things. 
The resurrection frees me from hoping in religion. 
The resurrection frees me from hoping in a comfortable life.