Tuesday, October 21

Dress Up for the Little Brother

When the Peanut turned two, my mom made a very impressive dress up box for the Peanut's birthday present. So this past June (ahem), when the little brother turned two, my mom required herself to follow suit in making him his very own dress box. Never mind the fact that the Peanut didn't really start using her dress up box (aside from the gaudy jewelry!) until about 18 months later--when she was about 3 1/2.

I told my mom as much when she was frantically trying to get his dress up box done just before his birthday, "Mom, Peanut didn't use the dress up stuff until she was nearly 4.  You've got some time...."  Her response should have been expected.  "Peanut got hers when she turned two.  He will get his when he turns two."

Well, okay then.  


Just as Peanut's dress up box was fit for a girl, his is just as masculine as her's is girly.  My mom stained his in a nice dark finish, very much like the finish on his furniture she refinished for him when I was pregnant with him.  She was going for a treasure chest look--which worked out well for this mama.  We ended up using the chest for the treasure hunt at the Peanut's pirate party in September!

And in the end, I guess the surprise is on me. I didn't account for the older sibling factor.  Peanut is there to show him the ropes in the art of all things dress up and make-believe.  She takes her role as teacher very seriously.  And he takes his role as apprentice even more seriously.  He can "fight a fire" like nobody's business.  He hammers away on things with the force of a grown man and he can give a patient "a shot" without a thought to their pain.

Yes, he definitely needs to work on his bedside manner, but he is all boy.  Indeed.


 

Saturday, October 18

Jog-A-Thon

The Peanut had a Jog-A-Thon at her school a few weeks back to help raise money for her school. I was so proud of her, as she called several of her relatives (with Mommy's help) and asked them (all by herself!) to sponsor her.  If that wasn't enough, she also made a goal to run 10 laps (she ran 8 last year) and she ended up running eleven!!!


For the record, the little brother had a personal best as well.  He did three laps.  In rubber boots.

Guess these kiddos take after their daddy in being actual athletes and not just athletic supporters like their mama!!!


 
 

Wednesday, October 15

My Thoughts Are All Over the Place Right Now

I was thinking the other day about our family and our move back to Hometown. Thinking that this coming January, it will have been three years since we've moved back.  It got me thinking even further--that we have actually been back here in Hometown longer than we were ever gone.

If my calculations are correct, and let's face it, there is a good chance they aren't--math was never my best subject.  However, these are just simple calculations and I only started to struggle with math once I got into high school.  Differential equations, anyone?  Anyhow.....I digress.  As I was saying, we lived up in Smalltown exactly 827 days.  Which is 2.27 years OR for those of you who like simpler terms, 2 years and three months.

As of today, we have been back 1,003 days.  It's just shy of 2 years and 9 months, so we have actually been back here in Hometown about 6 months longer than we were ever gone.

Can I hear an amen???!?!  I just can't even believe how fast it has gone by.  Or how God has continued to provide for us.  It was quite the financial stretch for us when we moved back--and as a matter of fact, it still is.  And you know what?  He wasn't kidding about that birds in the air thing:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  Matthew 6:25-27 NASB

I think I need to do myself a favor and tattoo that on my forehead.  

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I am. a. control. freak.  I like to let myself believe that I (as in me, myself, and I) can control it all.  Yep, I know exactly how much we have deposited in our bank each month and I know where every. penny. goes.  Every penny, I tell you.  And I control that.

But you know what?  I like to think that, but I don't have control.  He does.  He provides Hub's job that pays our bills, He provides our home, and He provides our health and the health of our children. He also provides the food we eat--HE provides everything.

He is the Alpha and the Omega.

But somehow I think I have control. 

Silly me.

It's funny too, because while I like to think I have control, one of the things I always remind myself (and others!) is that He is not a God of coincidences.  (Must be my alter ego??!?)

Things just don't happen.  There was a plan with us moving away when we did.  There was a plan with us moving back when we did.

How we were EVER able to afford for me to quit my job six years ago--in His plan.  

How things with Hub's job have fallen into place--in His plan.

How well things worked out upon our return to Hometown--in His plan.  

And even now, with Peanut going to her sweet little school--in His plan--at least for now.

And let me tell you, that is a huge source of my worry these days.  As in, if I did add hours to my life because of my worry--I'd be living to a ripe, old age!!!   On the worst of my days, I think know we are kidding ourselves in thinking we can continue next year with an even higher tuition payment.

Then, on some of my best days (which are sadly not very often), I think, you know, He already has it figured out.  Whether it be private school, public school, or home school, it will be fine.  It will be just fine.  He can take care of that little girl way, way better than you.

And I have to remember cling to that.  

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.              Matthew 6:34 NASB




 

Sunday, October 12

Her First Soccer Game

Our girl played her first soccer game today. It's been about three years since she took her first soccer class.  Really, that's all it was too--a class.  A way for her to burn off some of her three year old energy.  They learned a few techniques, but at that age, littles are still mastering hand-eye coordination, so it was mostly just fun for her.

Well, she's six years old now--and the gloves are off.

Oh, how I kid.  No, at this age it's still mostly for fun and really, learning to work as a team.  I guess in my mind I was expecting a much higher level of competition.


Me?  I never played any type of sport.  I mean, there was a year where I did ice skating.  I was probably six or seven?  And that was the extent of my athletic prowess.  Yep, that was it.  No soccer, no softball, no basketball (which I probably should have played considering I am tallish), no track, no swimming, no volleyball......you get the idea.

My least favorite class?  You guessed it....PE.  I hate to sweat.  But really?  My biggest fear was/is just the idea of people watching me and me potentially making a fool of myself.

I prefer to blend in with the crowd.  It's much safer that way.  Drives my mom nuts, too.  No guts, no glory, she was so fond of reminding me.  She gave up on that long ago though.  Thankfully God is a God of second chances and she has a granddaughter who is much more like her than me. (You know I am kidding when I say that, right?  He most certainly IS about second chances, but it escapes me as to where the Bible references having more competitive genes in future offspring.....)


Anyhow, back to this morning!  Peanut had fun and that's the most important part isn't it?  It's so funny to watch her out on the field too.  I can see both me and Hubs personalities in her. The first half she seemed to be much more like me.  While she was definitely in there trying to play and she didn't hang back at all--she wasn't super aggressive either.  In the second half though, she seemed much more comfortable on the field and much more sure of herself--much more like her daddy than me.

In her defense, Hubs said they've really only done drills and such at practice.  They haven't done any type of scrimmage.   That's a practice game, for those of you (like me!) who had no idea what that is.  There were a few times where she got the ball away from the pack and was so entirely pleased with herself.  However, she forgot and/or didn't know to follow that on through and keep driving the ball down the field.  Then there was that time where she got the ball from the opposing team, and she continued to drive the ball in the same direction (the wrong way) down the field.  Shockingly, this mama, who, have I mentioned likes to blend in with the crowd, hollered like mad to her daughter to go the "Other way, other way, other way!"  And she looked over at me and saw me motioning madly and she smiled at me and quickly did. 

Can you tell it was a very exciting morning? 



 

Saturday, October 11

So This Just Happened

So it was really like two weeks ago.

#bloggerfail


In my defense though, I've been kind of busy with canning and winter food preparation, so there is that. 

It only took her 8 1/2 weeks to pull it out.  This girl.  I tell you.....for the child that seems to have no fear, she definitely had some with loosing her first tooth.  She was torn between extreme excitement and paralyzing fear in getting those baby teeth out.  Apparently it's a daddy DNA thing, because not one, but two of her permanent teeth  had popped through before the baby teeth were even loose and gone.

She had her 6 month check up at the dentist and the dentist pretty much said both teeth needed to be gone. Like yesterday.  The one (pictured above) definitely should have been.  However, in her defense, the second one honestly wasn't really that loose and I think the dentist was more concerned with the fact that both permanent teeth were already coming in, so those baby teeth needed to be out.  We made the extraction appointment one week out and told her if she didn't get those teeth out, then the dentist would be taking care of it for her.  My plan was that it would motivate her to take care of it herself. 

Yeah, that didn't really work.  Actually, she did get the super loose one out the night before her appointment.  (Well, Daddy helped did it for her.)  Then, the following morning she went in and they got the second one out too.

Another milestone come and gone. 

Sigh.


 

Wednesday, October 8

Bountiful Harvest

I've mentioned more than once that my dad so kindly puts in a garden for me every year.   As in he buys the starts and/or seeds, plants them, and then graciously lets us (who am I kidding? the Hubs) come and pick all the produce and take it home.

A very wonderful dad indeed.

This year we had a crazy hot summer and he also planted a crazy amount of tomato starts.  So with those two factors combined, we had quite the tomato harvest.  So I have been canning.  Like the most I have ever done in one summer.  I've dabbled in it here and there for the last several years, but this year? 

Girlfriend did a TON (at least for this one!!!) of canning.  I've canned seven pints of yummy cucumber relish, 11 quarts of sliced peaches, and finally 7 pints + 31 quarts of garden variety tomatoes.  Between the plethora of yellow and heirloom tomatoes, we've had some of thee tastiest roasted tomato soup (I cannot even begin to describe how divine that was!) as well as the fire roasted salsa.  And those were using the fresh tomatoes--we haven't started on the canned ones yet. 

You won't find such colorful canned tomatoes at any local grocery store, that's for sure!


I picked blueberries again this summer, so I have about 3 gallon size freezer bags full of those babies.  And I made blueberry jam.  Strawberry is still my personal favorite, but the kids haven't complained, so we'll be eating on that this winter too. 

I stocked up on fresh peaches several times at the grocery store when they were a good price, so I have about a bag and a half of frozen peach slices--which will help make great smoothies as well as yummy crisps.  #comfortfood

I haven't really even dug in yet to all my pumpkins awaiting to be pureed, so I have lots of pumpkin puree coming as well.  

Lastly, our matchmaker gifted us a ton of rhubarb, which is sliced and frozen in freezer bags as well.  Not the Hubs favorite, but he certainly didn't complain about rhubarb peach crisp I made the other night!


I also want to can some apple slices and hopefully I will still have a chance to get that done. 

While I know I haven't put up our entire eats for the winter like so many other wonderful (wonder woman!!!) bloggers out there, I'm still kinda proud of myself.  ;)

Plus? 

Thank you, Jesus, for these immense blessings.  It's no coincidence that money is super tight right now and we have all this wonderful (mostly) free food that we have been able to preserve for the coming months. 

Blessings, indeed. 


 

Monday, October 6

Caught This on Camera



And he was giggling.....and he didn't want to stop.  "Do 'gin" {do it again} he would request demand. 



Made this mama smile. 



Friday, October 3

Picking Punkins' with the Punkins'

Early this week, the pumpkins were ready to be picked in the very nice garden my dad so kindly grew for me.   He even planted the sugar pumpkin variety this year at my request, as those arguably make the best pumpkin puree.  (For the record, I make pumpkin puree every year with the pumpkins my dad grows....and with the help of my Cuisinart, I've had very successful puree with regular ol' jack-o-lantern sized pumpkins as well.  But let me tell you--this puree?  It's very good indeed.) 


At a whopping 38 pie pumpkins brought home, I am going to have plenty of puree to use to my hearts content.   Plus, plenty left for a festive harvest display outside our front door.  Yay!

We went over to my parents the other night after dinner and of course it was pouring down rain.  However blessings were upon us, and the clouds started to break up just before we made it to my parents and by the time we were picking pumpkins, it was wasn't raining at all.


While the kiddos were waiting for daddy (my parents very kindly store our outdoor furniture for us at their house and he was getting it put away) they played in the puddles left by the downpours.  How is it that small children NEVER seem to mind being cold and wet?   I was never that way--at least not that I remember.

Growing up, my mom's best friend's family had a beach house and they invited us to go clamming on more than one occasion.  My mom thought it was the greatest fun and she drug us (maybe I was the only one who had to be drug? dragged? drugged?) along.


It was cold, wet, sandy and dirty and you smelled like fish when it was all over.  One of the most miserable experiences I remember from my childhood.     And yes, Dad, I know in the grand scheme of things, life could be much worse.  But even still, clamming is SO not on my top 10 list of favorite things to do. 

But, I digress. 


The Peanut was all about picking the punkins'.  My sweet boy?  Not so much.  He was much distracted by any and all other things.  He played fetch with my parents lab, inspected my dad's grapes (or lack thereof due to some hungry birds), and even was on p*o*o*p patrol (or catrol as Peanut called it at one point not so very long ago) with my dad going around pointing out the aforementioned dog's droppings in the yard for my dad to clean up.  

That said, I still got my photo op of the family at a pumpkin patch--circa 2014.  We won't have the opportunity with Peanut's kindergarten class this year as we did with her preschool class.  Which ended up being a good thing, seeing as the little brother had no interest in it anyhow! 



 

Tuesday, September 16

{Fresh} Peaches & Cream Dessert


I realize this may be a little late in the season for some of you, and I apologize.  These last six weeks have been busy with potty training, swimming, school starting, you know.....LIFE.  Quite honestly, I took the pictures when I made this dessert the last time and then I got busy with back to school and her party and I just forgot.

If you still have access to some fresh peaches (or nectartines--I've made it with both and it is yum both ways!), you won't be dissapointed.  My family (immediate and extended) gave it rave reviews--which, let's face it, if they won't be honest with you, then who will?

It is perfect for the hot summer day when dessert is in order, but baking something is not.  Which is how this recipe came about--I searched the internet high and low and couldn't find something that suited my fancy because:

1.  I wanted to make a fresh peach dessert, because I had several sitting on my counter that needed to be used.  
2.  It was 90+ degrees all week and I SO was not turning on my oven.
3.  A hot dessert in 90+ degree heat does not sound appetizing.  AT ALL.

So, what's a girl to do?  Blend about five different recipes together until it suits her purposes, that's what. 



 

{Fresh} Peaches & Cream Dessert


Crust:

2 cups finely ground graham crackers (I used about 1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers and used my food processor to grind them up)
1/3 cup of melted butter

Mix together graham crackers and melted butter until evenly coated.  Firmly press mixture into a 9x13 glass dish or pie plate (and as I was editing my photos, I realized that a pie plate would have made an even prettier presentation. Duh, Jackie!)

Filling:

Whipped Cream~

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2-3 tbsp real maple syrup (you can use powdered sugar to taste as well)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp water

In a small bowl, mix together the water and gelatin.  Let sit for about five minutes.  This will allow the gelatin to "bloom."  In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the whipping cream, maple syrup or powder sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks start to form.  Stop mixing and test your gelatin.  It should have bloomed, but it will probably be pretty firm.  Microwave it at 5 second intervals until it softens and becomes liquid (this shouldn't take more than 5-10 seconds).  If it becomes hot, stir it until it cools to room temperature.  Start beating your cream again and when it is nearly finished, pour in the gelatin liquid while the beaters are beating the cream, so the gelatin becomes fully incorporated. 

Please know that you can substitute in a container of cool whip if blooming and whipping so isn't your style.  Just proceed with the next stepsJust sayin.

Cream Cheese Mixture~

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3-4 tbsp real maple syrup (again, you can use powdered sugar instead)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together the cream cheese, syrup and vanilla extract until mixture is creamy and incorporated.  Once it is fully mixed, fold in the whipped cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture until combined.   Spread evenly over the refrigerated crust and refrigerate about 2 hours or until completely firm. 

Peach Layer:

4-5 peaches or nectarines

Pit and slice peaches or nectarines and arrange in layers on top of the cream cheese layer.  You may serve immediately or if you need to refriderate, I would suggest adding the lemon glaze on top.  It makes it look all pretty and glossy and the lemon helps the peaches to not brown and get all icky looking. 


Lemon Glaze:

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Mix together in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring often.  Sugar will dissolve and mixture will became thick.  Once the mixture can coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Using a pastry brush or silicone brush, coat the peaches with the lemon glaze. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Serves 8-12. 



 

Sunday, September 14

Surprise Visit

We had a surprise visitor this last week.

Well, "we" technically didn't, my parents did.  My sister was able to visit for the Peanut's birthday!  She hasn't been home in nearly two years and her sweet husband made all the arrangements so she could make a visit home.  It was such a special treat!  

They are hoping to move home next spring {sound familiar?} and we are praying that that be the case.  It was such a fun visit for the whole family.  It was super good times and super good food (thanks, Mom!). 


She got to love on my kids, so that was extra special as well.  We miss them so, and my kids miss their auntie and uncle so, so much! 



I am very hopeful that we are all blessed with their opportunity to move home in the next six {or so??!?} months.




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