Friday, June 28, 2013

Bloom Book Club- Entertaining

Have you checked out the Bloom Book Club yet? You really need to. It is so much fun! We are finishing up section one of the book "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Siequist this week. I am going to post the links to all the videos at the end of this post. But for a few minutes I want to talk about entertaining.

We recently moved from a two bedroom house less than 1000 square feet to a three bedroom home with 1500 square feet. That was four weeks ago. And while we are still painting and unpacking, we have had company over for dinner 5 times since moving. And it has made me happy to have them in this space filling it with love and laughter. Because that is what makes a home. The joy and love that fills the space. My husband complains we have way too many dishes and then when company comes adding any number to our 6, those “too many” dishes are sometimes not enough. I am thankful we homeschool because there is an extra table with four chairs to sit company at. And the island with enough room to seat 4 more and the “bar” area with places for 2 more. I love that we will soon fill all those places with family dinnners for our busy birthday season coming up.
Then there is the food. The gift we offer for joining us in our home. To send someone away with an empty belly would never do. So I cook, and cook, and cook. I make more than enough because more is better than not enough. My children love when others are coming to supper because they know there will be dessert and left overs coming. The three gallons of tea that are made and that will be empty at the end of the evening along with the gallon of Kool-Aid when my sister-in-law and her family come because that is all her husband drinks. The little touches like knowing that the person coming loves butterbeans so those are of course a sidedish that night. Or paying attention to social media so that when your friend's child received an award at school you have something special for them when they come to dinner later in the week. It is about showing love through the food that you serve. It is about serving others through the meals that you serve.

Grace will be said and conversations will ring through the air. It makes a house a home. It builds relationships and self esteem in ways nothing else can. That is the art of entertaining.  

And speaking of food- I will have a new recipe posting next week. It is a family favorite around here called Taco Pie. And I will also let you know how one of the recipes in the book tastes! I am trying the Bacon Wrapped Dates out on our church family at a potluck Sunday. See y'all next week!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reading List Update Second Quarter 2013

Well. I did a lot of reading in April, not a lot of reading in May, and a moderate amount of reading in June. Some of the books have reviews and some of the books I have read before. What are you reading right now?

1. Bathsheba- Jill Eileen Smith 
2. Love Amid the Ashes- Mesu Andrews
3. The Hunger Games*- Suzanne Collins
4. Catching Fire*- Suzanne Collins
5. Mockingjay*- Suzanne Collins
6. Prayers from the Pews - Teri Lynne Underwood
7. Start - Jon Acuff
8. Taylor's Gift -Todd and Tara Storch
9. The Dance - Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
10. The Secret Gospel of Ireland -James Behan and Leo Behan
11. Love Me If You Must-Nicole Young
12. Medical Error-Richard L. Mabry
13. The Biggest and The Toughest -Kelly Pulley
14. Goliath's Secret- Bonnie Feuer
15. The Right Call- Kathy Herman
16.Boomerang Bride- Fiona Lowe
17. Lady in the Mist- Laurie Alice Eakes
18. Deadlocked*- Charlaine Harris
19. On The Street Where You Live*- Mary Higgins Clark
20.Armed and Dangerous: Amped Edition- Ken Abraham
21. The Awesome Book About God for Kids- Sandy Silverthorne and Alisha Braatz
22. Pop Out and Paint: Farm Animals - Cindy A. Littlefield
23. Wars in Toyland- Joe Harris
24. God Calling For Kids- Phil A. Smouse
25. What A Son Needs From His Mom- Cheri Fuller
26. The Glass Wives- Amy Sue Nathan
27. Far, Far Away- Tom McNeal
28. Dead Ever After- Charlaine Harris
29. Adventures of Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana- Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet
30. Tommysaurus Rex- Doug Tennapel
31. So Shines The Night- Tracy Higley
32. Boris on The Move- Andrew Joyner
33. City Of Bones- Cassandra Clare
34. City of Ashes- Cassandra Clare
35. City of Glass- Cassandra Clare
36. City of Lost Souls- Cassandra Clare
37. City of Fallen Angels- Cassandra Clare
38. To Walk or Stay- Lara Williams
39. The Lost Code- Kevin Emerson
40. A Tiny Miracle- Carol Marinelli
41. Bread and Wine- Shauna Niequist
42. Son of Sobek- Rick Riordan
43. Married in Haste- Cathy Maxwell
44. Savor the Moment*- Nora Roberts
45. The Bible: Ruth*
46. The Bible: Esther*
47. Anne of Green Gables*- Lucy Maude Montgomery
48. Anne of Avonlea*- Lucy Maude Montgomery

*Indicates a book I have read in the past and re-read recently. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gaining Perspective

So I didn't sleep well last night. I had a nightmare that woke me up with a pain in my chest and an overwhelming fear like I have never known. There was an explosion and there was blood and my children were missing. After getting up and checking on all of my children and praying and finally falling back to sleep after about an hour the nightmare picked up where it left off. By the end of it all my children were found with one of them not making it. And I woke up devastated. And the perspective that was gained from that dream-  that life can change in an instant and that my children are worth more than gold. And I also remember one part of the dream where I looked at someone and said- "I was so mad at him for writing on that picture and now I am so grateful that he did so that it is always there, just a small piece of him still with me." Because that child that didn't make it is the one I fight with more than the others, the one who gives me the most stress and worry. And yet I can't imagine my life without him. And this morning as he sits next to me and I won't let him out of my sight, I hope and pray that he knows how much I love him and how proud he makes me through all of the aggravation that he causes. That no matter what happens he is priceless. All of them are. And at the end of a hard day where I am pulling out my hair I am truly blessed and grateful for these gifts that God has given me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

What's Cooking- Peachy Porkchops

If you are like me you have company coming for dinner tonight. We eat with my sister-in-law and her family once a week. We take turns cooking but dinner is always at our new house. This week is actually her turn to cook but next week is mine and I already know what's on the menu. I made these the other night adapting a Southern Living recipe that I found.
Peachy Porkchops:

1 Package of center cut porkchops (we use the large family packs)
Onion or Garlic Powder
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of butter
1 16 oz can of sliced peaches undrained

Rinse your porkchops and place them in a baking dish. Sprinkle them with salt and onion powder (I substituted garlic powder because I did not have onion powder). Place them on a oven rack 6 inches from the top with the oven on broil (Hi) for 8 mins on each side. This is where I substituted. After 8 mins on each side I moved the rack down to 12 inches and broiled them for another 10 mins to make sure they were done all the way done.

While the porkchops are cooking, add the remaining three ingredients into a medium sauce pan and boil for 10 mins stirring often. Then set aside to let the sauce thicken.

After the porkchops are done and your sauce has thickened place the porkchops on a platter or on each plate. Spoon the sauce and a few peaches onto each chop and serve.

Now my 8 year old does not like porkchops but he loved these. And since this recipe fed 6 of us barely I will be doubling everything next week to feed 10 of us. Do you have a favorite recipe?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Behind the Scenes- Father's Day Shoot

I am loving this weekly link up hosted by Crystal Stine! Every week we pick a picture and then tell the story behind it. The good, the bad, and the ugly of it. So this week I am posting pictures from our Father's Day photoshoot. So here is one where they are definitely not all doing what I asked.
It took these boys FOREVER to get ready for this very quick little photo shoot. They were in the bathroom trying to spike their hair instead of brushing it. I tried to get them all to wear one of John's ties but that didn't happen. And all the living room furniture is moved to the middle of the room and everything that happened to be on the floor swept into a pile in the corner. And since this picture is not edited yet you can see where we haven't finished the living room floor yet as well as outlet covers that I dislike but have not replaced yet. And those faces that kept coming up in the photos were priceless. Next time we will definitely be more prepared!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Home Projects- Kids Bathroom

So I showed a little sneak peak in the monthly newsletter. But here is the first of the pictures from the new house. The first room actually completed was the kids bathroom. Which was just odd to me. And it remains the only room completely finished. I forgot to take before pictures but the walls were a purpley brown and neither my husband nor I really liked it. It made the room very dark and seem smaller than it was. I got in there and painted the walls a light beige color. I had already bought a towel peg board in orange and had really planned on an Auburn themed bathroom. Instead we ended up with a red shower curtain given to us and since there is no where for a shower curtain in the master bedroom we hung it in the kids bathroom. I also ended up painting a quote canvas in blue and green so now the bathroom is just about bright colors.

So that is the kids' bathroom. I will hopefully finish the kitchen this week and be able to post pictures next week. It is my complex room since I am not used to so much cabinet and counter space. I feel like I need to fill it all up. And also there was a lot more stuff to move from the old house into the new kitchen. I am looking forward to sharing it with you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Father's Day

I am going to take a chance that my husband will not read this post before tomorrow and go ahead and put up some Father's Day gift ideas.
  I found all kinds of "All About Dad" questionnaires on Pinterest and ended up picking my favorite questions and making my own. Then I had the three older boys sit down and fill them out. Now this whole process led to some interesting conversations. My favorite was about John's truck. One question was "My Dad drives a __________." So my oldest son says "Nissan" and my 6 year old (who will be 7 in 3 short days) looks at him and says "No, he drives a stick shift." And all the boys answered "My Dad's favorite drink is ______" the same way except that my oldest went specific with a name brand thrown in. They had a lot of fun filling them out and I had fun sitting down with my 2 year old to fill his out. Reading them was another highlight and I can't wait to give them to John so he can see what these kids think.

  We also made our own card this year (since I am on a big time budget called ALL homemade). So I decided that we needed to have a photoshoot. I have seen pictures where the boys all have on jeans, no shirts, and their dad's ties on. So I thought I would give it a try. Miles was supposed to be first and as you can imagine it did not go as planned. First, I am still trying to get used to the lighting in the new house versus the old house for pictures and second, he would not leave the tie on.

Then the other boys all balked at taking pictures so I decided to change it up and just take group pictures. I ended up picking 4 and putting them in a collage with Happy Father's Day written across the front. Then I had everyone sign the back and stuck it and the questionnaires in an envelope to give John on Sunday when he gets off work.

To me the homemade gifts just mean more. And what parent doesn't love pictures of their children. So I hope that John likes his "gifts" and I hope that all those dads out there have a great day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Behind the Scenes- Performing

SO my husband took this picture because I was in the front. And apparently standing up or moving to make sure you get the picture was not in his agenda. Either way. This picture looks like everyone is doing what they were supposed to do. Holding up their signs and saying their memory verse. Well not so much. We had to re-position everyone 10 times since of course these 6 children are between the ages of 2 and 4. And you see that green sign? That is the only child who said their memory verse. Everyone else just looked at us like we were crazy. But we had fun and now it is over for another year. And the week that we spent preparing for this one moment makes me grateful their were no tears. (We did have one child missing because he was sick. And since he was the one crying all week maybe that was a good thing.") And the fact that no one ran to their mom instead of standing in the front was a huge accomplishment. Next year I do believe that I will take another age group though. Because let’s face it- I wasn’t even going to teach this year. I was going to drop off the kids and go home to work in the house everyday. But then the teacher for this class had to go out of town so I stepped in. Two weeks before hand with only getting the books a week ahead of time. So yes, it was a success in my book

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer fun

We spent this last week at vacation bible school where I taught the 2-4 year old class. We also did a lot of fun activties that can be done at home with your children. We made superhero masks, we colored animal masks, we played wiyh play doh, we made tie died shirts, and we made letters within our chalk names. These are just a few ideas for this summer. My class had a blast with them.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Behind the Scenes- Mud

So I am going to be honest and this was not the first time I caught these two playing in a mud puddle and captured pictures like this. But they are boys. And apparently this is what you call “helping Mom in the yard”. This was taken mid-April when I was franically working in our yard to get it ready for our new house to be moved in. I had worked in the yard by myself for days in the rain and this day the boys asked to help me. I said sure and handed them trashbags to pick up trash from all the piles of grass I raked up while cutting small patches of really overgrown grass and weeds. And I went back to work with my earbuds in and with complete concentration so that I would meet my goal for that day. 5-10 mins later I come back to where I left them and this is what I found. No trash picked up, no helping Mom done at all except to add to my laundry pile that never ends. And honestly at this point there was no reason to tell them to stop. I think they played in the mud for a couple of hours before their Dad came home and made them go clean up. The pure joy on their faces was worth it. And believe me I was angry and frustrated at first. But looking back- they had fun, they were being boys, and they will always remember it. So it may have been just a little bit worth the break I took to take this picture. Maybe ;) And I am not sure why I can't get the image to rotate. But since I am having technical issues with the blog today I am going to let it go. At least it is on here right?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"Far, Far Away"- a Review

Oh my goodness, this book. I haven't even handed it to my child yet. I couldn't put it down. I will admit that it started a little slow BUT then it just handcuffs you to it. It is so good Tom McNeal is a wonderful story teller with "Far, Far Away" being the first book of many we will be reading by him in our house. In the story, Jeremy is a boy who can hear ghosts. Not see them just hear them. And when he makes friends with a girl named Ginger the adventure starts. There are twists and turns and it doesn't really go where you think it is going at all. But in the end you fall for this odd cast of characters and see the villians for who they really are. I think that everyone, children and adults will enjoy this book. I am adding it to our read aloud list for this summer. It is available on June 11, 2013.

**I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my unbiased review. **
***Affiliated links are used above. This means I receive a small portion of the earnings from the books linked to in this post. All earnings go to supporting this blog and it's growth. ***