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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fairly typical...

This is fairly typical for Texas in January... and for 2 days after ice and 22 degree weather.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fitness Friday


Well, the Wii Fit served me well over the last week or so. I know I mentioned in a previous post about my Fun Fit & Fabulous class that I attend a couple of nights a week. Well, until last night, it had been about two weeks since I had gone to a class.

First there was the day-long headache, then class was canceled because of a church event, then there was the great ice storm of January 27, 2009. While I recognize that it was a huge storm in other parts of the country and I have friends that are still without power, it was so minor here that it merely left a thin layer of ice on the streets. Enough to shut down schools and keep everyone inside for the day.

But, as I said, the Wii Fit served me well as I was able to continue with semi-regular workouts even while unable to attend my class.

Right now, I warm up a little with some balance games. I enjoy the ski slalom and snow boarding. I have given up on the ski jump altogether as my man and the princess have completely dominated the rankings in that one.

Then, I move on to the aerobics games. I have determined that 6 minutes is the most I can handle for hula hoop; not for lack of physical endurance, but for lack of concentration I guess. There's only so many minutes that I can handle that music at a time. I enjoy the step aerobics now that I have figured out what it wants me to do. But I really like the rhythm boxing game.

However, I am having a bit of a boxing issue. Looking for suggestions here: on rhythm boxing, I am having a hard time getting my "dodge left" and "dodge right" to register. I feel like I'm doing it the same just about every time and sometimes it gives the "swoosh" sound and awards me points and sometimes not. Any ideas? How do you do it?

Moving on...

I usually also do a few strength exercises and yoga poses. I'm continually increasing reps and trying to work the main muscle groups. I haven't opened all of them yet, because frankly, there are some that I'm a little afraid to open (i.e. plank).

So, how's it going with you? Are you exercising? How's your diet & water intake?

Foodie Friday - Superbowl Edition

This might very well be the latest Foodie Friday post I have done to date. But better late than never and I just could not pass up the opportunity to talk about Superbowl food.

I'm not a professional sports fan. I much prefer college football, and can even narrow it down further to anyone in the Big 12 as long as their colors are maroon and white and their home field is in College Station.

But there is one thing that transcends any preference over teams or what game is on. Football food. And for me, that primarily means wings.

Yes, I'm a wing kind of gal.

Having this knowledge now, it should be no surprise to you that I was quite disturbed by this special segment on The Colbert Report on Thursday evening:



A WING SHORTAGE?!?!

Well, never fear, I saw wings today at Target. The shortage is not as bad as the media is making it out to be.

Sounds strangely familiar for some reason.

There are two types of wings that I'm aware of. Naked and breaded. I know that the correct/original "Buffalo" way to eat them is naked. However, I'm not in Buffalo. I've tried them both ways and prefer them breaded. Not overly so, but lightly breaded. It seems to help the crispiness and helps the sauce cling to them a little better, in my oh so humble opinion. But regardless of why and however wrong it makes me, it is very simply my (and my man's) wing preference. Light breading.

Some wing places like to entice you with different flavors of sauce on your wings. Honey Barbeque, Teryaki, Spicy Barbeque, Ginger & Garlic, and on and on... It feels like they're trying to be the Baskin Robbins 51 flavors of wings. No thanks. I'll just stick to a nice level of heat from a hot sauce... the more traditional Buffalo wing route.

So, without further ado, here's my recipe:

Ingredients:

Chicken Wings
Flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Oil
1/2 - 1 cup Hot pepper sauce (i.e. Tabasco)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter

(You'll notice that I'm not very specific on my amounts... you're getting an idea of how I really cook. I rarely measure anything... except when I bake. Baking is an entirely different animal.)

Prepare the wings by removing the tips and separating them at the joint with a knife or kitchen shears. Dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Coat each in the salt/pepper seasoned flour and place on a wire cooling rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate (uncovered) for at least 30 minutes. Do not discard remaining flour yet.

Melt the butter and 1/2 cup of hot pepper sauce in a sauce pan over medium to low heat. Add more hot pepper sauce as desired for increased heat.

Before removing wings from the refrigerator, pour some oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot and heat it on high heat until it's, well, hot. Once the oil is hot, remove the wings from the refrigerator. Give them one last pass through the flour, then (gently) place them in the *hot* oil. Let them fry for a few minutes. They'll start to float but don't take them out until they are golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined rimmed baking sheet to drain slightly. Immediately toss with wing sauce in a large bowl.

Serve with blue cheese dressing, beer, and a side of football. It doesn't get any better.

And as far as this Sunday's Superbowl is concerned, I'm cheering for the Rangers. They're in it, right?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: The Baby Years - Cloth Diapering

As I said a couple of weeks ago, I'm stepping back in time and telling you what worked for us when my kids were babies.

When my daughter was born nearly eight years ago, I was kind of “out there” among my friends because I used cloth diapers.

If something came up about it and I told people that I used cloth, I would frequently get asked, “Why?” Not just any, “Why?” either. You can’t hear the inflection in my voice, but imagine if you will the sassiest way to say, “Why on earth would you EVER consider doing something so insane,” in one word. “WHY?”

In short, I used cloth because it was more economical, seemed better for my baby’s bottom, I didn’t have to feel bad about putting out a bunch of trash, and hey, they are just so darn cute.

Cloth diapering is much more common now, eight years later, but I will tell you today why and how cloth diapering worked for me.

I initially got the idea from and had the example of my middle (older) sister. She used cloth with her oldest, a son, and didn’t have any problems with it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Also, I was at home with both of my children for at least a year. I didn’t see any reason why not to try it if I was going to be at home full time and would have the time for the laundry involved. I did go back to work (when my daughter was 1 and when my son was 2 ½), but it continued to work for me I think because I had the opportunity to get my routine down while I was at home full time.

Now, nuts and bolts time. What exactly worked for me, diaper wise?

Initially, prefolds. Not your Gerber prefolds from the local Target or Wal-Mart. I’m talking about good Chinese prefolds that I could only find online. My sister pretty much exclusively used prefolds for the sake of economy, but she also just didn’t get out there and do any research like I am prone to do. She didn’t know about the many additional options that were available.

But even among the other options, I found that in those earliest weeks and until we were getting out a little more and until the baby was eating solids, thusly making more solid poops, prefolds did the best job of keeping things contained. They gave the best fit and were the most adjustable with a rapidly growing infant. And with the advent of the Snappi and Bumkins wrap covers, pins were obsolete which made them all the more attractive.

Now, I will say that prefold diapers are not that convenient when you are out and about at the grocery store, or Target/Wal-Mart, or anywhere else for that matter. Enter the all-in-one and, later, pocket diapers.

I discovered all-in-one diapers with my daughter and bought several. At this point, I was not very adventurous and mostly bought Bumkins AIOs. This is what we ended up using when she went to the babysitter’s house while I worked part time once she was a year old. They worked fine and were pretty darn cute as well. And I’ll admit this is when I was HOOKED on cloth diapering.

I began to discover that there were even more options out there, but by that point, our system was working just fine and I couldn’t justify spending any more on diapers when she would be potty training soon. I would just have to wait until #2 came along.

Pun TOTALLY intended there.

Again, prefolds worked great in those earliest weeks and months, and up until about 6 months that’s almost exclusively what we used. But I did begin buying some pocket diapers, which I think are about the best thing since sliced bread.

Now you ladies that have recently begun cloth diapering have it SO easy since you can purchase a one-size adjustable pocket diaper. Back in my day, I had to continually buy new sizes and sell my old ones. eBay was always open on my browser (back then you could buy and sell used diapers on eBay – you can’t anymore) and I was always looking for something new to buy. I had several online forums that I would get ideas from and actually enjoyed the process of looking at all the different types and deciding what to get.

Brands that I liked this time around? Fuzzi Bunz worked fine at first as I began to experiment with pockets. Then, as my son got older… and BIGGER… they quit working so well for us. Happy Heineys (HHs) and Knickernappies Disposanots (KNDs) both had a taller rise (in the front) and kept things (ahem) contained a little better. I also used one or two Green Acres Designs (GADs) and like them as well, but not as much as the KNDs.

I enjoyed cloth diapering my kids. So much so, that I have had several friends actually start using cloth as well. It worked really well for us.

For other “Works For Me” posts, visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Foodie Fitness Friday (or Fitness Foodie Friday, I'm not sure)


I believe I mentioned last week that I may or may not have fallen back into some bad eating habits thus causing a rift between me and my favorite jeans. I am currently in the process of seeking to reconcile our relationship by starting to practice some food wisdom.

However, I make it a point each year not to bother putting into place any kind of new eating (or non-eating, as the case may be) "plan" until after my man and I have had a chance to celebrate our anniversary. And this year was no different. Except that date was delayed due to some scheduling difficulties; otherwise known as our anniversary occurred in the middle of the week and I don't consider it a true celebration of our anniversary for us to go out to dinner with the 7 and 3 year olds in tow.

So, last weekend, my sweetest thang in the world mother in law (aka Nanny) took the munchlets so that we could properly celebrate. We dropped them off at her house Friday evening and then stopped and had a very nutritious meal at Saltgrass Steakhouse:




Cheese fries from Saltgrass, I can't quit you.

And yes, that is all we had. Hey, you would, too if you didn't have your kids with you. You KNOW you would.

After I scarfed those down while barely having time to taste them, we went to a movie (whose title I am WAY to embarrassed to mention because of the shallowness of it) and had us some popcorn as well.

A culinary feast.

Then, on Saturday we padded around the house for a while because we couldn't find anything else to do. Then over lunch we worked on an annual plan (an idea I got from my sweet friend Melinda at Traveling the Road Home); all the while, looking forward to an exquisite meal that evening.

Saturday evening we went to a local French restaurant that has been around for years called St. Emilion, after the town near Bordeaux, France which we actually visited back in 2004.

Here's a run-down of what we ate: Grilled Portabello Mushroom with grilled onions on a bed of greens, Fresh Mission Fig with several incredible cheeses (one of which was Tete de Moins), Cream of Asparagus soup, Caprese Salad, Duck, and Pork Tenderloin. Finally, for dessert Mike had a half chocolate half raspberry tart and I had this wonderful creation of a shell filled with a cream cheese filling and topped with warm blackberries. I intended to take a picture, but by the time I remembered....


And then I licked the plate.

This is why I don't try to go on any kind of diet before our anniversary. I want to be able to enjoy our anniversary celebration with no (or little) guilt.

But now, I'm back on the proverbial wagon. I'm working to not grab a piece of candy every time I walk past the bowl in our house. I'm working to only eat half of what I get at a restaurant. I'm working on smaller portions all around.

I am noticing a little bit of difference already in my buttocks region. And while I didn't make it to exercise class on Tuesday because of an all-day headache and we didn't have class on Thursday, I did do the Wii Fit on both Monday and Wednesday evenings. Right up until I lost my balance at one point and it called me a couch potato.

I think I will be doing the Wii Fit body test (weigh-in) on Saturday mornings so I don't have enough data to post any kind of results yet.

So, I'm working to exercise some food self control. And, believe me, we won't be visiting Saltgrass with the cheese fries that are like manna from heaven any time soon.

For more Fitness Friday posts and for a community to encourage you in your fitness goals this year, join us over at Wii Fit Mommies.

Insecurity

You know the feeling. That sinking feeling that someone doesn’t like you. Or that they’re out to get you. Or that they don’t think very much of you and your abilities.

Insecurity.

Who would have thought that someone as prideful as I can be would have such strong feelings of inferiority and insecurity. But it’s there. And I’m just thankful that I can recognize it for what it is because I don’t know that I would have before a few days ago.

A few days ago, over at the LPM blog, Beth Moore wrote this post about insecurity and asked us to anonymously share our stories of how insecurity has made a fool out of us. Just thinking about it was eye opening for me. I never realized how insecure I can be at times and how it manifests itself in my actions.

Some things have happened recently that have got me realizing how insecure I can really be at times. At first I get mad because something doesn’t go how I think it should. Then as I refuse to act in anger, I think about the situation and the vain imaginations begin of seeing something sinister behind what happened. Then as other things happen, that are likely unrelated whatsoever, my brain begins to add 0 + 0 and gets 200! I’m on overload at this point and almost cannot control the insecure thoughts and feelings.

But I decided today that it will not make a fool out of me. I refuse to acknowledge it in my actions. And I am seeking scripture to recite to replace the thoughts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration

On this inauguration day, I'm not sure what to do other than flash back to four years ago.

We were living in Northern Virginia at the time and saw the inaugural as possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity. And we took it.

Much like today, it was cold, crowded, and at certain points, miserable (especially since I was pregnant and needed to pee the better part of the time that we spent in the security line - for two hours). But I love the fact that my husband and daughter and I can say that we went and participated... even if it was just in the parade.

Of course, President and Mrs. Bush didn't walk, but I got this picture of her in their limo as they drove past.



What we have seen today is one thing that I love about the U.S.A. We can have a peaceful change in government and those on all sides want to watch and participate. I know that there were many Democrats in town and watching on t.v. that day four years ago. Just as I know that many Republicans are there and watching on t.v. and via the Internet today. We all have a sense of pride want the best for our nation.

My most heart-felt congratulations to you, Mr. President. And my prayers for a successful tenure as President of this nation that I love so dearly.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Staking Claim

When we purchased this house, there were several things we really liked about it.

The fireplace is one.

You gotta admit that a big ol’ fireplace can give a place some character.

Another thing we liked was the back room. It’s big and spacious and is what one friend of mine would call a “den.”

For some reason I’m not fond of calling a room in my house a den. Sounds too 70’s or something. And I’m not a bear.

But I digress.

It was what we would call, at the time, a play room.

It immediately became filled with kids’ toys. It has been home to 2 rocking horses, a slide, a kitchen with all the accessories, baby dolls, beds, strollers, a train table and hundreds upon hundreds of cars, trucks, and other various vehicles.

Yes, it was definitely a play room; but a play room for which we had plans.

Much like the rest of the living area, this room is full of wood paneling circa 1980 and has a bunch of built-in cabinets on one end. A built-in entertainment center really, to be exact. So, when we saw this room as we viewed the home the first time, we initially saw a great big huge play room; but we also saw a future media room.

Well, today I am oh so pleased to announce that we are on our way to achieving that dream.

We are claiming that room from the death grip of toys for some adult use.

Oh, yes, we are!

With the help of some gift cards we got for Christmas, we purchased a big ol’ honkin’ (as we call it here in the Lone Star State) t.v. and a couch and chair to begin the makings of a media room.


This seems a little weird to post considering this post I put up last week, but rest assured, that none of this would have happened were it not for the gift cards. I don't know why I felt the need to clarify that... but I did.

Now, there are still toys, rest assured. How can there not be with a 7 and 3 year old in the house? But I have been doing some serious cleaning and there are significantly fewer toys and they are gathered in only one half of the room. The other half is now dedicated to the t.v. & entertainment center.

So, yes they are toys, but a little more grown up toys.

We are laying claim to that room, y’all. I feel like we should be raising a flag or something.

This is one small step for parents, but one giant leap for adulthood.

Amen.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fitness Friday

"What happened to Foodie Friday," you ask? Well, my hind parts not fitting into my favorite jeans any more is what happened.

Don't worry. Foodie Friday will make other appearances, but will probably alternate or be posted in conjunction with Fitness Friday. But I'm all about the priorities, you know. And right now the priority is my favorite jeans and them fitting my hind parts.

If you're new here, you may not know that I lost a ton of weight in 2007. Well, I lost all that weight, then started a job where I'm sitting at a computer most of the day. On top of that I'm falling into bad eating habits again. So all of that translates into, "The jeans - they don't fit so well anymore."

I will say this, however. I am not completely out of shape, nor have I stopped exercising. I still get on my elliptical every most some mornings. And last summer, I began going to an exercise class called Fun Fit & Fabulous a couple of times a week with my friend, Keal. I have even been jogging some. But I really think it's the bad eating habits that I have fallen back into that has been doing the most damage.

So. Accountability is apparently what I need. That and liposuction and a tummy tuck. But since funds are not readily available for the last two things on the list, the first will have to do.

Enter Wii Fit Mommies and Fitness Friday.


Back in the fall I began reading a lot of buzz on Twitter about Wii Fit and how awesome it is. I heard that some lady lost a bunch of weight using it. Then, a Blog/Twitter/Awesome blog designer friend of mine, Sarah, joined up with some ladies to form this online community for support in trying to get fit and lose weight using the Nintendo Wii Fit program. So, once we decided that Santa was going to bring a Wii to the family for Christmas, I knew I HAD to get Wii Fit.

After a couple of weeks of shopping and looking after Christmas, I finally got the down-low from a friendly Wal-Mart employee that they were getting some in that evening... and that I might want to be there at midnight. So I was, in spirit. My man was in body. Isn't he great, y'all?

I've done some on the Wii Fit over the last week and a half and I like what I've done so far. As of my last body test, my Wii Fit age is 31... not bad (I'm 35, by the way). So I think what that mainly shows is that I have pretty good balance. I already knew that.

But to be honest, I haven't quite figured out how it is going to fit (pun intended) into my regular routine of exercise and life, but here's my best guess:

* I will continue to get on my elliptical for a few minutes each morning

* Wii Fit full workout Monday/Wednesday evenings

* Exercise class Tuesday/Thursday evenings possibly followed by Wii Fit Yoga

* Wii Fit a little on Saturday/Sunday (if I don't attend exercise class on Sunday)

I think this kind of schedule will give me the variety that I probably need as well as intensity from my Fun Fit & Fabulous exercise class.

You may ask why I'm not getting on the Wii Fit in the mornings. It's that whole work thing. It just gets in the way, doesn't it. I literally do not have time for anything more than 15 minutes max on my elliptical. I refuse to get up any earlier than I already do. RE.FUSE. In fact, I accidentally woke the roosters up the other day.

I also have to say, I am not good at motivating myself. I will find any and every good, bad or otherwise reason to not exercise. It is an act of my will to do it. So, the Monday and Wednesday evenings are going to be the hardest for me.

What do you think? Does that schedule sound reasonable?

Now, about all those bad eating habits. Oh, good grief. I don't even want to go there today. That is SO another post for another day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

1st & 15th Scripture Memory with a little sass and legacy thrown in

In case you're wondering what this post is all about, I'm participating in a scripture memory challenge this year with the LPM Blog Siestas.

My scripture passage for this two week period is Psalm 100. I chose this passage because my daughter is also memorizing it for a speech meet in a few days, so we are memorizing it together.

Psalm 100:1-5
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord, He is God.
It is he who made us and we are his;
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.


I also wanted to share with you something else that I'm doing with this that I hope will continue for years to come.

I have purchased a Bible specifically for scripture memory. Here is a description of the Bible I bought from the outside box...



Yes, it actually is squared. The neat thing about this type of Bible is actually the lack of commentary and the wide margins for personal notes.


I decided that I would underline and date each passage that I am committing to memory. Then in the margin I plan to write a prayer or thought about the passage.

My prayer for this project is that not only will I be able to look back over the years at the passages that I have memorized, but that it will be a treasure to pass on to my children and future generations. I know how precious each of my grandparents' Bibles have been to my parents and I can't think of a better legacy to leave my children than a record of those scriptures that the Lord led me to memorize.




So I encourage you to think about doing something similar. And if that isn't enough to convince you, just look at how cute and SASSY this Bible is.



Here's to RENEWing my mind with a little sass and legacy on the side.

Because I just love me some sass.
Updated to add: Here is one place you can find this Bible.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: The Baby Years - Schedules/Routines

Since I wasn't blogging when my kiddos were babies, I thought I'd take a stroll down memory lane with you for a moment and reminisce about those years. I am going to spend a few Wednesdays looking back at what worked for us when our kids were babies.

Pardon me if I get a little bit on my soap box here for a minute, but I'm a little tired of always reading posts about how bad it is to have a schedule with a baby. OK, so maybe "always" is a bit of a reach, but I definitely see more posts against it than for it.

I have even noticed that when I see a post about how bad it is, people won't even mention the name of "the book" where they read about scheduling like it's too awful to utter.

Get real. OK?

I read the book "Babywise" and I used a schedule/routine with my kids when they were babies.

I can hear the collective **GASP** right now.

You'll get over it, I promise.

Anyways, I'm here today to tell you that it worked for me and for us as a family. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for us, and I think there are several reasons why.

For one thing, both of my kids had jaundice when they came home from the hospital. Not so bad that we had to use the lights or blankets or anything, but noticeable.

With jaundice, it is my understanding from my lactation consultants that the bilirubin in the bloodstream acts like Valium to the baby and makes them very sleepy. In other words, neither of them ever woke up to eat in those very early weeks. They would sleep right through, if I would have let them.

So, take a dopey, sleepy newborn and add in a mom whose milk won't come in until about 5-6 days post partum and you have a potentially disastrous mix. Except that we stayed on a schedule.

I woke them up every 3 hours to eat around the clock that first week. After the first week, I still woke them every 3 hours to eat during the day. If I had not done this, there is no way either of them would have gotten enough calories to flush the bilirubin out of their systems, the jaundice would have gotten worse, making them even more sleepy, and we would have probably ended up in a "failure to thrive" situation as things spiraled downward.

I tell you that first week was a beating. No milk was in yet, so each feeding cycle consisted of me trying to get them to nurse, then passing the baby to someone to bottle feed while I pumped, and then starting this process over again almost immediately it seemed. This went on for weeks with both of them, but that may be a different post altogether. A what didn't work for us kind of post.

But I digress.

My point is that the schedule was hard at first, but I believe it was absolutely necessary and the key to what helped both of my kids thrive from a feeding perspective when they were babies.

Another reason why the schedule worked for us was that both us and the baby knew what to expect with respect to sleeping. This is where calling it a routine seems more appropriate to me.

As both of my babies got a little older we were getting out more. Having scheduled times for naps helped me feel confident that when we did go out during wake times, my baby would be in a generally good mood and well rested. It allowed me to schedule appointments and outings during my baby's best times of the day because I knew when those times were, consistently. And I knew how long I could stay out before things would start going south.

I think it also put them and I in a rhythm of a nap-time and bedtime routine which I think eased the transition into sleep-time. Going down for a nap wasn't always a snap, but most of the time, my babies looked forward to it and I remember that both of them smiled a lot when they got in their crib for naps.

Both of my kids took a minimum of 2 naps a day until they were well over a year old. They both transitioned to one nap per day in the 15-18 month time frame. Even still, my 3 1/2 year old still takes an afternoon nap. He is showing signs of beginning to transition out of naps, but he still needs them and loves them - despite his verbal protests.

Really what it boils down to is that the schedule/routine gave me confidence that I was doing everything in my power to get my baby fed enough and enough sleep. That's not to say that we didn't have our off days, hiccups, and special occasions when our routine was altered. Because where there is routine, there must be flexibility. However, our routine was just that, a most of the time scenario. It gave our day a framework and something to build upon from the beginning.

I will also say this... it helped that I am the youngest of 3 sisters. So I had the added benefit of seeing baby routines and schedules in serious action for several years before my first was born. To this day, I don't know how my sister would have survived the triplets without a schedule.

My guess is that many of you, whether or not you subscribed to the "Babywise" routine, had or have some sort of routine with your baby. I'd like to hear about it, if you would like to share in the comments.

And for more Works for Me posts, head on over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What are you chasing?

We are studying Moses this year in BSF and last week we were in Exodus 33-34.

Just to re-cap:
Israel in slavery and bondage – check
Moses born & hidden in basket, saved by Pharaoh’s daughter – check
Moses flees to Midian, has burning bush experience – check
Moses returns to Egypt at God’s command to free Israel – check
Plagues & exodus – check
God leads the people by pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night – check
God provides manna for the people to eat – check
Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the law – check
That whole golden calf episode – (unfortunately) check
Moses re-ascends Mt. Sinai after breaking tablets – check

WHEW! I think I got that all in order… at least mostly.

So here we are, back up on Mt. Sinai with Moses.

Don’t you wish you were actually there? I do. I’d love to see what it was like and experience what Moses did.

The thing is, I think what I’ve learned from this passage is that I can.

One thing that strikes me about what I read in this part of Exodus (even going back into chapter 32) is the intimacy. Oh, I long for the kind of intimacy that Moses had with God.

Just think, after all that had happened and how Moses had interceded for the people of Israel after their sin in making the golden calf, asking him to not destroy the people, he asked for even more.

In Exodus 33:13, Moses says to the Lord, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”

Then, in verse 15 he tells God, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” In other words, I can’t settle for you just sending an angel with us, I want YOU!

THEN, he asks of the Lord, the ultimate request in verse 18. “Now show me your glory.”

Oh, WOW!

In lecture on Wednesday, our teaching leader said this phrase made her think of the quote from Jerry Maguire, “Show me the MONEY.” She made the point that most often, we want what the world can show us rather than what God can show us.

As she talked about this, I thought of an ad that has rubbed me wrong about this same exact point. Chase Bank’s ad campaign recently has had a tag line of, “Chase what matters.” I like the play on words and it’s a good advertisement. But according to them, those are all material things that can be purchased with your Chase credit card.



So that causes me to ask myself the question, “Am I truly chasing what matters?” Probably not. But I want to. Oh, yes I do.

This is going to be a year of chasing what matters. This is going to be a year of seeking to KNOW God with the intimacy and life changing power of knowing Him that Moses experienced. This is going to be a year of asking God to show me his GLORY, the manifestation of his attributes.

Lord, show me your GLORY!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Foodie Friday - Kids in the Kitchen

There are all kinds of different things that people do for stress relief or to relax. For some it's reading, which I don't really get. For others it's exercise, which I REALLY don't get. For me, it's cooking.

However, for me it ceases to be stress relieving and enjoyable when you throw a certain 7 year old and 3 year old into the mix.

Isn't that just like our kids? To want to be right in the middle of what we're trying to do. To take what we like to do to get away from them for a few minutes and immediately express interest and want to be involved.

Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I typically do more baking than I would normally. So, there were a lot of opportunities for the kidlets to plead beg whine ask to help me cook.

My typical response has several stages:

Ignore the request. Maybe they'll just forget.

Change the subject. "So, what did you do at school today?"

Throw them off with a topic that they don't know anything about. "So, what do you think of the most recent 'bailout' package?"

Try to talk them out of it. "You dont' want to cook. It's no fun. Wouldn't you rather go play with your toys?"

Finally I think about how they enjoy it, feel a sense of accomplishment in it and the fact that cooking is a legacy I want to leave them with after I'm gone. I, then, give in and regroup to include them in the process.

So that begs the question: How do you involve your children in cooking?

Here are a couple of ideas:

Counting. Involve them in counting... anything. Count the number of eggs, cups of sugar, or tablespoons of vanilla.

Pouring. Let them pour things into your mixing bowl. I am personally not willing to let them measure yet, mainly because I want it to taste good, but I definitely let them pour what I have measured.




Stirring. Not emotionally gripping, but actually stirring. Give my kids some eggs and a whisk and those eggs will be scrambled before you can say, "Hey, can you whisk those eggs for me?"

Timing. They set the timer on the oven like champs.

Other. Some recipes just lend themselves more to little hands helping. Monkey Bread is one of those recipes that has several tasks that kids can do on their own.

The recipe I have (given to me by my friend Valerie) uses 2 cans of canned biscuits cut into quarters. So I let each child help me with one can. Sarah is to an age that I could set her up with the biscuits and a pizza cutter and she did it all. With Nathan, I cut all the buscuits and he rolled them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

~~~

Monkey Bread

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 (7.5 ounce) cans of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut biscuit dough into quarters with scissors or pizza cutter. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Roll dough quarters into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar combination until completely covered placing into a greased 12 cup fluted tube pan (or bundt pan). Halfway through, drizzle 1/4 cup of the melted butter. Top with remaining biscuit quarters and drizzle the remaining butter on top. Top unbaked loaf with remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Beat softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk, beating until desired consistency is reached.

After removing from the oven, let loaf stand 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Spoon glaze on top while loaf is still warm.

~~~

Almost invariably, when we are finished, I am not relaxed, and in fact, I'm usually a little frazzled. However, they enjoy it so much and have such ownership in having helped make whatever it was, that I know that involving them was the right decision.

So what about you? Do you involve your kids very much when you cook? Do you enjoy it?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boogers and booty and gosh, OH MY!

I'm a stickler about child vocabulary.

A vocabulary Nazi, if you will.

In other words, there are a LOT of words that I don't care for my kids to say that other moms, that are even good friends of mine, probably wouldn't mind if their kids say them.

I'm just a stickler.

These are words that I don't even say.

I just don't like them... or the connotation they hold.

For example:

"Oh my GOSH!" - It's just a substitute for "Oh my GOD!" which is not acceptable. I prefer, "Oh my... STARS, ... GOODNESS, or just a plain ol' "WOW!"

"booty" - too many implications here to name, including but not limited to the phrase, "booty call." Let's just use the normal name for that part of the body, please, "bottom."

"butt" - this is just too crude for me to allow my kids to say it. Again, let's just say "bottom," please. Mm-kay?

"booger" - this is just a gross word, okay. Eeeewwww.

So my 3 year old has been using the word "booty" quite a bit lately and I know he has picked it up at preschool.

I was finally fed up with it tonight and threatened washing his mouth out with soap.

Now, granted, it's not as bad as my nephew that used the f-bomb at about age 4 or 5... correctly, I might add. As in, "What the f$#@ is THAT?" But hopefully we won't get to that point.

But if we do, I want to be prepared.

So... soap suggestions?

Non-toxic, of course. Because I wouldn't want to risk the Lifebuoy affect:





Or maybe you have found something else that works?

Tabasco, anyone?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What a day it has been...

"What a day it has been,
What a rare mood I'm in,
Well it's almost like being in love."

Do you know that song?

Here, let Dean remind you...



Ahhh... So true. What a day, indeed. And this was my anniversary.

It started out fine; up with the alarm at 5:45 am (I'm working my way back to 5:15 or 5:30) and I, at least mentally, recognized that today was January 6th.

We had a fairly normal morning routine until....

My heel stuck a hole right through my wood floor:


Then it got better as I had to have some serious talks with my son about his behavior at school today (i.e. not biting and not pushing his classmates).

Then I got to work and found this email from my daughter's teacher: "Also, we were informed in our meeting yesterday that classroom lunch helpers cannot bring siblings with them. Mrs. S feels as if the helpers full attention is not on the class if they have a younger child with them."

I have been fairly upset by this most of the day as I am the primary lunch volunteer for Sarah's class on Wednesdays when the 2nd grade teachers all go out for lunch and plan. I do it every week, on my day off from work, except for when I have BSF fellowships. And Nathan comes with me because, well, it's my day off and I refuse to send him to daycare every Wednesday afternoon.

So there's my quandry. I have a feeling that a meeting with the principal is going to be in order here pretty soon just to clarify the policy, to express my utter disappointment, and to iterate the fact that I tend to pay more attention while the kids are at recess than do the other moms without siblings present as they stand by the classroom and chat away, paying hardly any attention at all to the children on the playground. (Was that a run-on sentence?)

But I'm giving myself a couple of days to cool off and gain some perspective. Because I know enough about myself to know that I can't go in there like this.

So, I'm curious... What do you think? What would you do?

So after school we had piano and some errands to run. At some point, Sarah and I begin to discuss the fact that today was our anniversary. I mentioned that we were married on this day 13 years ago, and asked, "Can you count backwards and figure out what year we got married?"

She counts and counts... then stops, and says, "WOW! So, you were married in the 1900's?"

Yes, just call me Laura Ingalls Wilder, for that matter. Thanks, kid.

Needless to say, by the time the kids and I made it to dinner to meet Mike, at the Cheesecake Factory, I was done. D.O.N.E. - done.

But....

Fried Calamari, 2 Cosmopolitans, and Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pasta for dinner, then Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert later, I am fat and happy.

In spite of the kids being with us and my need to repeat the command to, "SIT DOWN," 500 times in the course of an hour meal, we had a good meal and I even scored some roses.

What a day it has been, indeed. What a day.

13 Years

13 years ago today, this is what I was doing.

13 years ago today, it was snowing.

13 years ago today, I was looking forward to going to New Zealand.

13 years ago today, I was young, immature, and quite a bit thinner.

13 years ago today, I had no idea what I was in for.

13 years ago today, I was nervous... oh so nervous.

13 years ago today, I married the man I love.

Today, I love him still!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Scripture Memorization

Over at the LPM Blog, Beth is encouraging us to memorize two scriptures a month this year. I will be posting my scriptures here on or about the 1st and 15th of each month (possibly in addition to whatever else I might be posting that day).

As Mrs. Beth has said, I, too, want me a Jesus year!

Exodus 33:13

"If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so that I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."



Any of my BSF peeps recognize this from our lesson this week?

Sunday's Song - The More I Seek You

Yes, Sunday's Song on Monday. As I've said before, I'd have been late to my own birthday if I could have been.

This song really touched me in worship on Sunday.



As we sang this, my little man sat in my lap with his head resting against my chest. I got a perfect demonstration of what it's like to really sit in the arms of the ultimate loving Parent, leaning back against Him and feeling His heart beat.

What love and peace I encountered in that moment! Both as a parent of this 3 year old and as a child of God.

May you encounter Him today.