Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter traditions.

When we married we knew Easter with an Easter bunny most likely wasn't going to happen in our house.  It was confirmed when Man of the woods was asked at the age of two if he was going to get a basket from the Easter Bunny?  Having never talked with him about the Easter Bunny I silently waited for his response, "The Easter Bunny is just a game, he's not real."  Well that settled it if he at the age of two instinctively knew there was no such thing as the Easter Bunny then we weren't going to have one. 

The only problem with this is that I love Easter and it has become our family's private holiday.  We share Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas with his parents, but Easter is all ours.  So what should we do to celebrate?  the other thing I madly passionate about is making Easter as big a deal as Christmas since they go hand in hand.  What good is the birth of the Christ child if we don't celebrate the resurrection as well?

So each year we make it our own a bit more, by starting our own traditions.  Last year we started two.  1.  We added the Easter egg hunt in, by using the resurrection eggs.  These eggs don't hold candy they hold a little bit of the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.  When the game of finding is over the story begins and last year was repeated at least three times in a row.  The second tradition we began last year was that we spent in in a hotel.  As I said before this holiday is ours and ours alone so we hit the road found a great hotel and spent the weekend swimming, cuddling, and just being us without the daily routine.  It was good. (Although this year April is a busy month with us spend a little over a week apart so we're saving the hotel experience for the day we're reunited.)

It's been fun watching the holiday become our own.  Looking forward to this year and teaching the boys about the One who loves them most.

Friday, March 30, 2012

End of the week.

I've been kind of quiet this week. Laying low and hanging with the hoolies while the snow has silently been falling, but there are some highlights.

Last weekend I went to wonderful Bar Harbor for the weekend. Every year I pack up all my scrapping supplies, and print hundreds of photos (around 750 this year) to spend the weekend on the water front scrapping with about 100 other ladies. This year my core group of 4 ladies and I plus our newest addition all roomed together. We got hardly any sleep ate Chinese food, talked like school girls late into the night and spent time telling each other about our beautiful babies as we scrapped. It only happens once a year and it is always good.

The boys they played hard with Daddy, doing man things such as this:

On Wednesday it began to snow. Hard to believe that just a week ago we were dipping out toes into the Atlantic on and 84 degree day. But even though the skies were gray our world was full of anticipation and excitement as our dear friends welcomed there son into the world. I even had the privilege to hold him just hours old. Let me tell you perfection! He is the most perfect baby I have seen in at least two years! =)

To end the week Strong man and I sent the kidlets to Nana's and we went on a date.  We both ate like birds all day so that we could splurge on dinner.  To follow it up we went on our once a year movie date thanks to a saved Christmas gift...A good week, with a good ending.

1937.  A weekend away with the ladies.
1938.  Once the lights are turned out talking late into the night just like school girls.
1939.  Chinese, movies, and scrapping in our room.
1940.  A cozy room all snug with five ladies that sometimes only cross paths this one time a year.
1941.  Memories through pictures.
1942.  Getting to know each other through pictures.
1943.  Fruit, granola and yogurt a simply wonderful breakfast.
1944.  Uninterrupted meals.
1945.  Living for a weekend on my time not a child's time frame.
1946.  Reuniting with the hoolies.  Lots of cuddles and much love.
1947.  Naps with the boys.
1948.  A friend giving me time to work on the conference without the boys.
1949.  Butterscotch brownies.
1950.  A comical day of mis-haps-That last roll of tp being completely soaked, being peed on, and such things like that
1951.  The stress of needing more beds.
1952.  Sisters to barrow clothes from.
1953.  Nana and Grandpa to love on the boys while we date.
1954.  A good date with the hubster.
1955.  Spring snow.
1956.  Watching friends fall in love with there perfect baby boy.
1957.  New life.
1958.  Holding Mr. Perfection just hours old, my heart is still melting.
1959.  Wondering at God's divine creation.
1960.  Spending hours in a book store kidless.
1961.  My jeweler lending me a tool because we have a good relationship with each other.
1962.  Consequences bring us closer to grace.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Purity Retreat Promo: "God's Grace"

What a wonderful problem we have!!  There's a good chance we won't have enough beds!!  We're doing a bit of scrambling with the conference only a month away, but we're working on making more space.  It's going to be good.  Thanks for all the prayers and support as we make this happen!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

As requested...Whoopie pies

I actually made two different kinds of whoopie pies over the St. Patty's weekend.  One in Green velvet with the normal filling and the other the normal chocolate cakes with peanut butter filling.  they both were very good, with there own problems.

Green velvet whoopie pie recipe:
2 cup flour
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2Tbs green coloring
This recipe said it made 42 halves but I only got 20 halves.

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups confectioners sugar
7 1/2 oz. marshmallow fluff
2 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate whoopie pies with peanut butter filling (sorry no pictures of these):
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 Tbs baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups water
2 tsp vanilla
Set the oven at 400 and bake for 12 minutes.  Should make 48 halves or 24 whoopie pies.
This came out tasting perfect, but stuck to each other causing them to break apart as one would take it off the tray to eat. I think I should have baked them for a minute or two longer.

Use the above filling recipe only substitute the peanut butter in the place of the shortening.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bar harbor trip 1 of 2012, EFA 2.8

With Spring actually springing here in Good ol' Maine our family day called us out into the beautiful nature.
The famous lobster from our favorite ice cream shop.
Every year as soon as we've had two nice days in a row I get the splendid idea of heading down to the cost.  It is always, always freezing.  We end up under dressed, spending most of our time in the shops and passing on the ice cream comes, but not this year!  Ringing in at a whopping 80 degrees, it was perfect.
The boys hugging the fence.  I have no idea why, but it brought great joy to them.

Notice the hat - Raven lunatic!  I'd say it fits nicely.
Many rocks thrown.

Laughter's favorite part of the day-sitting on the cannons.

A little tree climbing.

A day well spent.  May we all sleep deep and enjoy our sun kissed checks.

1916.  Summer weather.
1917.  A great car ride with my men.
1918.  The "boat store"-LL Beans.
1919.  Rocks to throw in the ocean.
1920.  Cold water on my toes.
1921.  Sun kissed skin.
1922.  Rock climbing with Man of the woods.
1923.  How much he's grown since this time last year, taking courage to try difficult things.
1924.  Laughter's laugh that sings into the air.
1925.  Lobster claws that amuse the boys.
1926.  Finding treasures in the sand.
1927.  Picnic lunches.
1928.  Trees to climb.
1929.  Island to admire.
1930.  Cannons for little boys to imagine with.
1931.  Momma doing cartwheels.
1932.  Walking backwards with the hoolies.
1933.  Grass between my toes.
1934.  Sleepy boys in the car.
1935.  Popcorn, apple pie, & no bake cookies with Leap Frog.
1936.  Aloe gel to fall asleep too.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another park adventure

With the weather being as nice as it has been ALL week long the hoolies and I have spent most of it outside.  Each day at a new park.  It has been good.  Today I have no pictures of the the swings, but the swings is where this little tale begins...

There once was a Momma who had two adventurous boys.  On Sunny days the three of them would travel to the playgrounds in far off lands where the boys would slide down slides slaying dragons and picnic tables would magically turn into ships in the middle of the roaring sea.  But one day the oldest of the two boys decided he wanted some time to practice his swinging skills.  So the three of them each grabbed a swing and quickly began riding on camels through the desert.

Clippity-clop, clippity-clop, clippity-clop away they went.  Momma was swinging the highest, uh I mean riding the fastest, yes that's what I meant:  Momma was riding the fastest.  As she was riding up a large hill she looked back to see her smiling boys only to realize the youngest, smallest one had gotten off his camel.  He was standing directly behind her.  Knowing she would quickly be coming down and would send him flying through the air, she did what only seemed best and jumped off her camel as he was running top speed.  At the peak of the incline she did a 180 mid air holding the swing with one hand while landing on her right foot. 

Young Laughter had no idea the danger he had been in. As for Man of the woods he continued on clippity-clop, clippity-clop, clippity clop. However when the time came for him to dismount he was inspired to jump.  From that time on Momma and Laughter shared the camel and went a Bear hunting for it was a beautiful day and we weren't scared.  And so the tale ends with good memories, a tender ankle, and lots of love.

1907.  More sun, 81 degrees in Maine in March.
1908.  Swings.
1909.  Tales of the imagination.
1910.  Man of the woods wanting to grow.
1911.  Laughter Innocent and younger then I sometimes remember.
1912.  A soft landing.
1913.  Lots of laughs.
1914.  Thrift stores.
1915.  Sales on goodies for the retreat.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Well, hello Spring!

The sun is shining.  The birds a singing.  The calender says today is the day!  With the early morning breeze we headed straight to the park.  We were well equipped with snacks, drinks and the hopes of hours of play for the boys while I went over notes for the conference in between the many photo opportunities that I simply could not pass up.  A great start to the day.

The only blemish was this man by himself swinging on the swings.  Like any good Mom I steered the boys clear of the swing set and while keeping an eye on them I also kept an eye on him.  That is until he began walking around the parked yelling threats into the phone because apparently he had been stood up and was owed about 10 grand.  Apparently the one on the other end of the conversation wasn't about to pay up.  He actually started climbing on the playground equipment while having said conversation. 

Man of the woods, the trusting guy that he is, went right over and began to play next to Gangster guy.  I in my, let us stay calm voice so as not to get on this guys bad side, did my best to call Man of the woods back to me.  However, he being three decided today was the day to push the limits and argued with me. The other Moms nicely tried to get me to understand just how worried they were about this man while I was being ignored by my three year old.  As soon as he obeyed we packed up, got in the car and called the police.

I was livid at his disobedience, I didn't know how to talk with him, so I took Man of the woods straight to Strong Man's office.  Where they had a heart to heart talk and as I had hoped a great fear was put into him as he began to understand the importance of obeying immediately and the danger I was trying to protect him from.

I have no idea what became of Gangster guy, but it was a great learning lesson for Man of the woods....And that is how we began our Spring.

1890.  A nice breeze, great sun, and perfect park days.
1891.  A boy who dressed himself, wearing two pairs of underwear.
1892.  wood chips & imaginations.
1893.  Seagulls.
1894.  Picnic tables covered in snacks and much chatter all around.
1895.  My camera to capture the moments.
1896.  Man of the woods now able to climb the rope ladder that last year he was shy off.
1897.  Big slides.
1898.  Pretend restaurants.
1899.  Mothers looking out for each other and the children.
1900.  Excitement of feeding the birds.
1901.  Boys trying there hardest to sneak up on the birds.
1902.  Strong man to do what I can't.
1903.  Lessons learned, awareness raised.
1904.  11 open windows.
1905.  Curtains gently swaying in the breeze.
1906.  The songs of birds.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's coming together quite nicely!

Last week we were able to go out to the retreat center to get a first hand look at the grounds and how to set up.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but it is beautiful.  A lovely drive with great scenery, that only got better when we parked the car.  Each cabin is directly on the waterfront.   The sounds of nature were all that we could hear as we walked into the cabins that will sleep the mothers and daughters.

The lodge where the meetings will take place has a cozy, family setting.  I can just imagine us sitting in front of a fire place that begs us to sip warm drinks together as we search God's Word for direction in living life pure while coming to know His endless grace.  I can't imagine a better place to search out God. 

Not having even reached our first deadline we're already half full.  While only two of us will be the face of our church during this conference, the ladies will honestly feel the touch of the many hands that have put this together.

May this weekend be a weekend of growing, searching, and healing.  It's already begun for me.

A good women is hard to find, and worth more then diamonds.
~ Proverbs 31:10 (The message)

1863.  A good ride with friends that value purity.
1864.  A great spot to have the conference.
1883.  The way nature brings healing to the soul. 
1884.  A church that values family and those close relationships.
1885.  Many hands to make light work.
1886.  Strong Man the director of the youth ministries holding our hands as we get ready to dive in.
1887.  A God who can take my brokenness and turn it around to be used for His kingdom.
1888.  I've said it many times, but GRACE.
1889.  Being humbled by the honor these women are giving me as they allow me to teach that what I am most passionate about.

Come here to find out more...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patrick's Day

What has today become a holiday where we are able to pinch people who are not honoring green and having good reason to drink ourselves drunk did not start that way.  Most people know that St. Patrick was a missionary to Ireland.  A little less known is that he was a Roman kidnapped and enslaved by Irish invaders where he spent the next 6 years of his life.  As the story goes he had a dream telling him his escape ship was ready and waiting.  So he returned back to England where he again was enslave for a short time and then reunited with his family.  After becoming a bishop he again had another dream in which he was called to go back to Ireland where he shared the truth of Jesus the son of God...The tradition of the shamrock comes from his explanation of the trinity; three separate persons in one.  It is also the official flower of Ireland.

The drink we'll avoid and the fun with green we shall continue, but along with that I am always up for teaching my boys about people who loved the Creator to the extreme of sacrificing home, and comfort because of there overwhelming burden for others to know the truth.

So today as we baked I told the story of Saint Patrick and his love.  Let the celebration continue.

1874.  Experimental green whoopie pies.
1875.  Forgetting to add the full amount of sugar and yet somehow they still turned out delish.
1876.  Fluff.
1877.  Making yummy frosting with Strong man while the boys sleep.
1878.  Examples of deep love for God through the saints of past.
1879.  Simple holidays to teach.
1880.  Strong man buying me a new mixer just because he wanted to replace my barely working old one; just to surprise me.
1881.  Getting an extra hour with strong man just so we could have more family time, even though Strong man is behind at his desk.
1882.  Great weather.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Going Green

In celebration of Saint Patrick's day all month the boys and I have been cooking in green.  Remember those pink and white spiral cookies we made for valentines day we did it again in green.  The more I bake the more I realize half the fun in both the process of creating and the process of eating is the presentation.  It's just delightful to sit and eat these cookies.  The same is not true of chocolate chip cookies.  The boys and I turned those into green this month too and well...Babies, that about sums up that experiment.  Don't mess with the chocolate chip cookies.

With the scuzzy day the weather brought us we used our sacred family day to bake more green things.  these ones are pretty yummy too.  I found the idea on Pintrest which has become my new best friend.  Whenever the boys and I are looking for something exciting Pintrest never lets us...Okay back to the point...Um realizing I have no idea what the name of the cookie were that we made today so I shall call them Green cake cookies.  With only 90 calories or so they are pretty yummy and do the eye candy part on there own while they cook.

Here's what you need to do:
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
green food coloring
2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Cream together

In another bowl mix:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbs corn starch.
Drop three spoon fulls, of batter into sugar mixture shake bowl covering the blobs and then roll into a balls.  Cook for 9 minutes.  the cookies will not look done but they are.  Cool and enjoy!

Tomorrow's big adventure Green Velvet Whooppie Pies...

1866.  Time with my men.
1867.  Being called thin by a stranger that hadn't seen me 26 lbs less just two months ago.
1868.  Little boys bottomless stomachs.
1869.  Saint Patrick's day.  A time to teach about god's servants.
1870.  Green
1871.  A hubby that will run out to the store that we had already visited once today.
1872.  As I walked by man of the woods he called out my name just to say I love you.
1873.  Warm cookies.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One last winter recipe

Last night my three men and I had a snowball fight in an empty parking lot.  I love snowy nights.  All you can hear is the snow falling soft and gentle like.  It was perfect for a snowball fight.

With the snow I thought warm yummies were in order.  This time it is applesauce muffins, really it's a cake recipe but I throw in some oats, bake like muffins, and serve for a tasty breakfast treat.

2 cups flour
1 cup water
2 cups unsweetened applesauce (I always use my homemade stuffed sometimes it has sweets, sometimes it spiced, sometimes it just is, but it is always good)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup raisins (optional)
2/3 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Bake at 350 until toothpick come out clean.

The taste great by themselves or with a little sugar/cinnamon mixture sprinkled on top.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The new meds work!

Do you remember this post from last summer?  The one where I cursed at the door?  Well today could have been one of those days, but instead bad things went down with a shrug of the shoulders and a good chuckle.

It all started with one of those UPS notes giving them permission to leave a package on my doorstep.  The deed took only seconds that is until I went to open the door.  I had forgotten that it automatically locks.  Good times.  When banging on the door didn't help I went to plan B.  I headed over the office building next door walking in with only my socks on begging to use the phone.  I called strong man twice but he was in a meeting.  So I called the church Secretary but she too was in a meeting.  So I called my Handy Mom and she went to the church interrupting the meeting and then back here with the keys.  Once I knew somebody was coming to my rescue my next concern was the boys who were unattended in the apartment.  I knew they had been looking out our living room windows waiting for some friends to come and play, so I stood on the cement sidewalk, in the rain, in my socks where they could see me. I did this for at least 30 minutes with at least 6 people walking by me saying hello to the crazy lady in socks.  The hoolies never even missed me.  Man of the woods found his Daddy's ipod and was sitting on the throne playing games while doing business.  Laughter found coloring on himself quite amusing.  All in all it was a forty minute ordeal.  And now it's a good story.

Back to the medication working out for me.  When things get stressful I get calm.  That was me before the Darkness began.  Just after we were married, before my mind crashed into depression, there was a massive blizzard.  It was the year that our 6 foot high fences were buried in snow.  Anyway, the whole state was closed so Strong man and I decided it would be fun to go 2 miles down the road in our four wheel drive to hang with his family, in our pajamas no less.  As soon as I shut the locked door Strong man asked me for the keys.  It was one of those I thought, he thought; we were keyless.  In the blizzard we broke into our house.  He was of the mind that if life hands you lemons throw them back.  I was more along the lines of making me some lemonade. 

Turning lemons into lemonade is how I have always worked, that is until the Darkness began to take over.  Today's dilemma was a gift.  I'm healing.  Life is good.  God is good.

1864.  Life; a test of my mental strength.
1865.  Seeing the joy in cold toes and quiet rainy days.
1866.  Strangers to greet.
1867.  Content hoolies.
1868.  Office clerks lending the phone.
1869.  Handy Mom willing to help.
1870.  Strong man saddened he wasn't able to help. 
1871.  Friends to come visit.
1872.  Car rides with simple conversation.
1873.  Mysterious Job of the Bible.
1874.  Helper of men friend to work out the meaning of the Word together.
1875.  Warm tea.
1876.  The smell of hot coffee.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My dear friend Sun!

Aahhh warm sun it's good to see you again!

It's begun.  The dreaming and longing for you.  (Photo's for years past)

Yesterday the boys and I couldn't stand to be inside so we spent the afternoon at the park.

After many "unda dog's" on the swings, big brother decided it was his turn to push little brother.  It was refreshing for my soul to watch!

I tried to convince them to actually play on the playground equipment, but they insisted on turning a picnic table in the sea fairing ship just like we had done many times last summer.

A few races around the trees, and then off to find the biggest, deepest puddle in all the park!  Lucky for them a friend called that I don't get to talk to very often.  While I chatted away they splashed, and swam in through the puddles.

Well friend Sun we look forward to many, many more days full of your warmth!

1851.  Sunny days perfect for the park.
1852.  Big brother pushing little brother on the swings.
1853.  Picnic tables turned into ships of the sea.
1854.  Memories of summers past brought back to life.
1855.  Boys racing around trees.
1856.  Puddles to play in.
1857.  Mud spots dried onto small boy faces.
1858.  Fresh air to laugh in.
1859.  A call from a friend just to say keep up the good work.
1860.  Daddy offering to make dinner so we could continue our play at the park.
1861.  Aroma of dinner as we walked through the door.
1862.  Stripping wet muddy clothes at the door.