Friday, July 25, 2014

{Journal Entry} Visit from East Coast Friends

We have some very special friends who nine years ago, moved across the country.

We miss them dearly, and each year, look forward to their visit.

This year we had lots of fun.

One afternoon we had maki making lessons.....

Another day we took a lovely trip to South Lake Tahoe......

Root Beer Floats.....

River Rock Jumping.....


And in the evenings we had some great conversations.

Each year we take a photo of our families.

And I am reminded about how time flies.....




"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized  than true friendship."
~Thomas Aquinas 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Journal Entry} 4th of July Week

This blog is many things....a place where I share recipes, my thoughts, reviews, and photos. And since I started this thing way back on July 14th, 2009 (5 years ago!) I have quit my handwritten journal.

So from time to time, you will need to bear with me, as I 'journal' on here. Someday, I hope my kids can look back on these posts, and remember their childhood.

We spent three days up at our friend's house for our annual 4th party, with three other families.

There was lots of Corn Hole....

...and trampoline jumping.

Good conversations.....

...and lots of time spent in the pool.

I love that all these all kids hang out together.....when everyone is here, including grandkids, we have 24 kids, ages 2 to 22.

These girls crack me up.

It takes lots of food to feed everyone, and we all split up the meals.

Our adult treat this year? Homemade Sangrias.

We would dip in the pool, then go play volleyball.

No idea what is happening in this photo....funny how the camera can freeze things!

And at night we played fun games.

This is the amount of salsa you need, thanks to my friend Kate.....

And it went perfectly with our goat chalupa.

Seriously, goat meat is very yummy, and tastes like beef. You need to try it....

It was a fun filled- three day adventure!

Friday, July 18, 2014

40 Thoughts On 40 {#28-40}

28.       My favorite chore to do is to clean the kitchen. I love the shiny counter tops, and seeing all of the dishes clean on the counter. I also love sweeping….I steal that job from the kids because I am rather picky about the floors.

29.       I have recently been introduced to aromatherapy. I only have a few essential oils that I combine with either coconut oil or vitamin E oil, but I find that they sooth my muscles and are relaxing to smell.

30.       Seeing your children struggle with sin can be such a burden. As parents, we think we have a plan, that if we do *this* very consistently, then *that* will happen. Believe me, that is the farthest thing from the truth. My children are redeemed by Christ and convicted by the Holy Spirit. Thank God it is not up to me and the way I parented them; His grace covers my imperfections.

31.       I now have a 17 year old, 14 year old, 13 year old, and (almost!) 9 year old. This next year one of my goals is to be more deliberate in my conversations with them. To be pro-active and not re-active in what we talk about. Relationships, future plans, even just fun and silly conversations. As one of my friends has shared with me; how can I influence them, if I don’t really talk with them?

32.       As I have gotten older I have needed to rest on grace more and more. Life is full of hardships, which lead to sanctification. But that road is so incredibly tough sometimes, and can be so full of grief. The only thing I can do is to rest on my Savior and His work on the cross.

33.       Someday I would love to travel. My top three places? The Mexican Riviera, Alaska, and a trip to Japan.

34.       As I am getting older, I am seeing the need for an exit plan. All of my thoughts, efforts, and daily work have been to raise and teach my children. But in only 8 short years, I will be graduating my youngest. I need to begin planning for my life after children at home, as a grandmother, and a child of God. Photography? Helping young moms? Writing? Piano lessons?

35.       One of my kids still insists that after they marry, they will live right next door and come over for dessert every night. While I would love this immensely, I know that in all likelihood, it won’t happen. But I can rest that what DOES happen, is God’s perfect plan. And if I am a grandma from afar, I will strive to encourage and relate to the next generation.

36.       Life is full of joy, if you know where to look. Joy can be found in a child’s smile, a flower in the garden, or the feeling you get when you have washed the floor. Joy is a choice and can be work to find, but as Christians, we are called to it.

37.   Life is too short to hold grudges. When I see what Christ did, I am convicted of my own sin of bitterness and sharpness, and reminded of His perfect grace for me. May God give me patience and long suffering for those around me.

38.   I really, really want to garden. But right now I have a whopping 4 tomato plants, a handful of herbs, and a pitiful looking cucumber plant that is only 6 inches tall. Another thing I need to work on…. 

39.   I could not have continued to teach my kids through middle and high school if it wasn’t for my co-op buddies. 

40.   40 years old. In 40 years more, I will be 80. Maybe a grandma, maybe a great-grandma (yes, it could happen), or maybe with the Lord. Life is so much more that what I do here on earth; it is all about my relationship with my God. I pray that He will give me the grace to make it through each day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

40 Thoughts On 40 {#15-27}

Here is #15-27.....

15.       I love taking pictures! Someday I would love to take a few classes and get even better. My kids are very well trained and if I have my camera out, they automatically pose.

16.       I grew up not being a very organized person and ended up marrying someone who loves cleanliness and organization. Over the years I have shifted, and now feel that I am probably somewhere in the middle, but I do need to work better at my organization skills. I have cleaning schedules for myself and the kids and we do a pretty good job of keeping things going. Most of the time……

17.       I like 40. When I was a teen it seemed so far away and (horrors!) it was old! I loved my 20's and being a young mom. The 30’s were good too, with homeschooling, and life moving fast. Now I am looking forward to seeing my kids grow up and what the next decade has in store.

18.       I love drinking tea. I will occasionally have a cup of coffee, but tea to me is so comforting. My favorites are slightly sweetened black tea, green tea, Earl Gray tea with milk, and plain Rooibos tea. And I just started making Kombucha this summer…..

19.       I am still learning. Currently I am enjoying an ancient history curriculum on the Great Books. I have a few theology books on my to-read book list, and I would love to learn more about biology. I want to continue to keep my mind active, even after my homeschooling days are done.

20.       I am a sentimental person. But not too much…I can be brought to tears when with good friends or watching a sad movie, but I do feel that I need to be more sensitive and have empathy for those around me that are suffering.

21.       I want to be a more deliberate person. Not only in my actions and words, but my thoughts as well. Some days I feel like I can see progress, and other days I am kicking myself for once again being imprudent. I know that God is working on me, but it seems very slow going…..

22.       I can’t believe that my son is going to begin his final year of high school this fall and is six months away from becoming an adult. All of those little memes are true…..time sure flies. Savor it, young moms.

23.       I am not an artsy/decorative person. If you have been in my home, you will find that it pretty much looks like it looked fourteen years ago when we moved in and put the artwork on the walls and nick-knacks on the shelves. I guess I don’t like change.

24.   As I am aging, I am finding that I don’t like sweet things. I drink my coffee with just a touch of cream and no sugar, and am grossed out by the sweet drinks at Starbucks. I wish I could say it was my willpower but it is my taste buds. 

25.   I am slowly taking all processed food out of our diet. This started about ten years ago and at this point the only processed foods that I buy are sourdough bread, tortillas, box cereals, and crackers. I feel healthier and love making lots of things from scratch.

26.   Exercise is something I dread. I have been blessed with natural thinness, and have gotten off easy with my sporadic work outs. This next decade I plan to be more deliberate in my exercise routine.

27.   I go through valleys and mountain top periods with my daily devotional time. Some years I can be pretty consistent, and other times, it is a real struggle to even read my Bible once in a week. Right now I feel like I am in a slump….I have found  that I do best when I have a reading plan, and I am going to start a new read-through-the Bible plan soon.

My Week In Images

This spot in the barn at State Fair.....

because we got to know it pretty well, spending 5 days there.

This ride.....

  because according to the sign it went 70 mph, and these brave souls rode it.

Hard work.....

because it is an important part of life.

These cows....

because they make us want 'chikin'.

This sweet girl......

who is now my NINE year old daughter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

40 Thoughts On 40 {#1-14}

Tomorrow I am turning 40. Inspired by one of my friends on Facebook, I wrote 40 thoughts that about where I am, what I am thinking and what life is about right now.

Here are the first 14.....

1.       I am a sinner, saved by grace. More and more, as I age, I see God’s hand in my life. There are times when I am uncertain of the future, but I am confident that His plan is perfect. Even through the shadows of this life, He is with me through to the end.

2.       I have an incredible husband. We have known one another now for 22 years and been married for over 18 years, and he is my best friend and confidant. As I am getting older, I am realizing how important my relationship is with him. And marriage is work, and requires constant tweaking and examining. Someday it will be just him and me, and so working at this precious relationship is a must for me.

3.       I have 4 amazing kids. I love being a mom to my precious blessings! Being a parent has been one of the hardest things I have done, and I am sanctified, humbled, and been given joy by them all each day for the last 17 years. 

4.       I have wonderful parents! My mom and dad did a great job raising me. My mom has gone to be with the Lord, and I was then blessed with a lovely step-mom. And I am so thankful that I was raised in a Christian family, where my faith was grounded.

5.       I am thankful for my church family. I love the fellowship we have at our church; the Supper for Six’s, fellowship meals, hymn sings, and picnics in the park. Fellowship with the saints is a must and an important part of my faith.

6.       I love cooking. I am not one of those people that makes the same thing every week; one of my favorite things to do is to experiment in the kitchen. This next year I would love to make my own pasta and try making sourdough bread.

7.       I am blessed by my friends. They keep me accountable, encourage me, and make me laugh when I need it. Friends are a blessing, and I don’t want to take them for granted.

8.       I love homeschooling and couldn’t imagine educating my children any other way. There have been good days, bad ones, laughter, and tantrums. If I could tell myself one thing when I first started out it would be to not expect perfection. Each day there are things I do right and things I do wrong. Thank God for His grace.

9.       Music is important to me. Not only do I enjoy playing the piano, but I love having music on in the house. Most of the time we have something playing. It can be modern, worship, country, or kids songs. (But I am not hearing that genre much anymore…)

10.   Reading is one of my favorite ways to relax. My favorite books? Jane Eyre, All Creatures Great and Small, The Mysterious Island, Old Cookbooks, and historical fiction.

11.   4H has helped our family in so many ways. Through it my kids have learned public speaking, leadership, community service, friendly competition, and that hard work does pay off. Through the tears, successes, and struggles, I am so thankful for all the 4H lessons we have learned!

12.   I am so thankful that I am on The Crew! I love reviewing products for them, and the wonderful friendship I have with my fellow Crewmates. I have learned lots about different products, and been introduced to some very lovely people.

13.   My husband and I have a date night each month. Usually we try hole-in-the-wall places near our house, but sometimes it is getting Chinese takeout and eating it at home with a bottle of wine. It is important for us to make this a priority, and to spend deliberate, quality time together.

14.   I eat breakfast every day, and it always include protein. I find that it helps me to not be starving at the other meals. And that protein is almost always eggs. My Sweetie eats them too and we’ll have a, egg-veggie scramble, huevos rancheros, eggs over easy, or an omelet.

Stayed tuned for more thoughts......