"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Look What Raelea Lost

After much wiggling and pushing, Raelea lost her first tooth!  Yay, Raelea!!

Since she didn't have ANY teeth until she was 14 months old, we thought she might lose them late as well, but that just wasn't true!  She is a dollar richer and has already practiced slurping spaghetti noodles through the opening :-)  (Thanks to Grandpa for putting THAT idea into her head)

Memorial Day

Decided to visit a regional park for a little Memorial Day picnic/hike/beach adventure.  Chris and I had a great time...some of the kids grumbled about the hiking part, but they had smiles on their faces for the pictures :-)

The dogs enjoyed the time, and even came home with a few more ticks :-(

Yes, even a simple hike becomes a science lesson when I'm along!  I think I was teaching Aidan how to identify an aspen tree.  He looks thoroughly interested, don't you think?

It's Been Too Long

I just realized that it's been over a year since I put a recipe out here :-(  Sad, but true. Some of you had no idea that I ever put recipes on my blog!  Well...I do....very, very rarely.

Today's the day for one more great recipe!  This one courtesy of Cooking Light magazine.

Chicken Sate with Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. sambal-oelek (chile past with garlic)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
Dash of nutmeg
4 garlic cloves
2 whole cloves
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders

Peanut sauce:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. hot paprika
1 tsp. Sriracha (hot file sauce, such as Huy Fong)

1. Preheat broiler
2. To prepare sate, place first 13 ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  Place shallot mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 10 minutes.
3 To prepare peanut sauce, combine peanut butter and next 6 ingredients (through Sriracha) in a medium bowl, stir well with a whisk.
4. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade.  Thread chicken on 8 wooden skewers.  Place skewers on the rack of a broiler or roasting pan coated with cooking spray.  Broil 12 minutes or until done.  Serve with peanut sauce and rice.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Countdown

Just four more days of school :-)  Yay!!!!!!

We don't school year round for one reason around here....Mom likes her summers off!!  Can't wait to begin my summer in just a few more days!!

What Is Seen

I was reading my Bible the other day and I stumbled across a verse.  You know, sometimes you are walking along through the Bible, a nice easy stroll, and then you stumble...you trip over something and look around and say, "hmm, what did I just trip on?"  Well, that's what happens to me at least.

Anyway, I was reading about Barnabas' little trip to the church at Antioch, and I came upon these words,

When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad,...    - Acts 11:23

Those few words gave me pause, and then caused me to pray, "Lord, let this be true of my house!  When people come by to my house, let them see your grace alive here, and let that make them glad!"

grace noun 
2  the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wild Peep Hunt

What are young lads to do on a rainy day at the cabin?

 Go on a wild peep hunt, of course.

Now before you start imagining horrible pictures of the boys slaughtering those soft little peeps you eat at Easter, you need to understand that wild peeps are not the same as soft, tasty Easter peeps.  Oh no!

They have as much in common as this...

has with this..

You see, I love furry little bunnies....but not the ones that eat my garden.  So it is with peeps!  The wild ones need to be eliminated!

The wild peep hunt was a great success.  Here is a photo of the catch..

Who knew that peeps had red blood?

And the hunters with their kill...

The LIttle Things

If you're like me, when you see something that needs to change, you want it done right away and completely.  When I see an area in my life that needs to be changed, I want the change to be immediate, thorough, and never to return.  Same goes for things that I would like to see change in my children.

Unfortunately for me, this rarely happens!  What follows then is discouragement...wanting to give up.

I am learning, ever so slowly, to start celebrating the little victories, the small amounts of progress...any thing praise-worthy, no matter how small.  For instance, if I hypothetically had a child who responds with outbursts of anger whenever he perceives that he is being wronged, I can celebrate the one time during the day when he exercised self-control or overlooked a wrong.  I can celebrate that small victory even if there were a dozen failures throughout the day as well.

My mind naturally focuses on the failures of the day (my own and my children's), so it is an exercise of my mind to focus on the victories.  I need to stop expecting things to change completely overnight, in a week or month, or even over years.  It truly is three steps forward, two steps back.

Unrealistic expectations are a sure fire way to be discouraged.  Getting my expectations in line with reality keeps me from getting discouraged. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.     -Philippians 4:8

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brace Yourselves!

Do you remember about this time last year?  Actually, exactly one year ago today...do you remember what I posted about right here?  Well, prepare yourself for another onslaught of Mumford-mania in the coming days...weeks...months...

Why, you ask?  Why?!

Because they just announced that they will be announcing their US tour dates and locations next Tuesday!  Can you tell I'm excited?  If you're having a hard time noticing that, I could send you a video of Molly and me dancing around the kitchen in anticipation.

Okay, I won't.  Instead I will let you enjoy this!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

!0 Things That Keep Me Sane

Ever feel like you're teetering on the brink of an emotional breakdown?  When I'm there, here are ten things that keep me from toppling over the edge.

  1. Jesus (that one's a no-brainer)
  2. Prayer (you know - "Lord!!! Help!!!!")
  3. My sweet husband
  4. My children - even when they're the ones pushing me to the brink, they still can make me smile
  5. Chocolate (it almost edged out my husband for the number three spot)
  6. Furry animals - specifically the six we have living in our home - okay, maybe only four of them, the hamsters don't do much for me
  7. Exercise - a great excuse to spend time alone :-)
  8. A very large Dr. Pepper
  9. Music, music, and more music
  10. Laughter - wherever and whenever I can find it

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Are What You Eat

Well, if this is true, then on Saturday I turned into a cactus and corn fungus!

Lots of first when it came to eating on Saturday.  We were invited over for lunch by Chris' co-worker Edison and his lovely wife Claudia.  They cooked us up a feast of authentic Mexican cuisine - it beat Taco Bell and Chipotle coming and going!!  Among the delicacies served were cactus (I believe called nopales) and corn truffles (known as huitlaoche).

It was all extremely tasty!  We didn't get a picture of Edison and Claudia, but we did manage to snap a picture of the food :-)

Doing My Best

Just doing my best to make these guys successful :-)

Have a listen...you won't regret it!


Hold On Hope

Discouragement.  It's my biggest enemy.  The one that sneaks up on me most frequently and whispers the lie, "Things will never change.  This situation is never going to get better.  Might as well just throw in the towel and give up!"

The battle to hold on to hope in our family situation is constant, relentless and tiring.  It requires me to look beyond what I see, and to see the One who promises me a future and a hope.  I am not capable of "fixing" my kids.  I cannot heal their hearts or give them the desire to do what is right.  I will do what I can, but I cannot produce change in my children.  BUT...but, I know the One who can.

My hope has to, must, come from the Word of God because that is the only real hope I have.  It's the only anchor that will hold amidst the storms.  So, my real battle each day is to stay centered on the Word, to look at Jesus and not the waves that are pounding my little boat.

I need to be reminded of Truth.  I need to be reminded of my call.  I need to be reminded of my hope.

One of the ways I remind myself of these things is singing this at the top of my lungs...

I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the Maker's hand.

Yes, it is a Mumford & Sons songs (you can insert your eye-rolls here...are you finished yet?  Good!), but it reminds me of Truth like this...

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my salvation and my glory; my might rock, my refuge is God. - Psalm 62:5-7

And this...

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.  -James 1:2-4

Or this...

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  - Romans 6:18 

So, I WILL hold on hope as I try to free my children from "the noose around their necks" and through it all, I will understand dependence as I witness the Maker's hand at work in my life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Every Class Has One

A class clown, that is.  Homeschool is no different.

Today I was explaining to the kids that sponges are animals, and isn't it funny that we use them to clean things, etc.  To which Aidan responded, "That's like cleaning my knife with a chipmunk!"

Um...not exactly....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Words We Choose

I've been listening to a Romantica song called "God Only Knows" a lot lately.   I would encourage you to go listen to it right now, but if you don't have the time, here are the lyrics that speak to me -

God only knows how the wind's going to blow,
And how it all flows together.
If the words we use or the wars we choose
Are going to change somebody for the better.

God only knows how the wind's going to blow,
And how it all flows together.
If the words we use or the wars we choose
Are going to change somebody's life forever.
God only knows.
This song is a constant reminder to me about the importance of my words - the healing that can be done by them or the damage they can cause.  I've known this at a head level for many, many years, but it has only been in the past few months that I've taken it seriously enough to....to take it serious.  I mean, to actually start putting forth the necessary effort to control my tongue.

So what changed?  Because of the parenting class I was attending, I began to realize that if I ever hoped to help my children heal, I had to be serious about using my words to that end.  Instead of inflicting more damage with what came out of my mouth, my words could be the very thing to bring healing and wholeness in the lives of my children.

And what's happened?  Well, lo and behold, the Bible was right all along when it said
...the tongue of the wise brings healing. -Proverbs 12:18
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. - Proverbs 15:1
If/When I respond to my children with kind, loving words (no matter what the child is saying or doing), the situation ALWAYS ends better than if I had spoken angrily or harshly.  Situations that could have escalated, don't.  It's a lovely thing to behold!

I'm far from perfect...really far from it...but to hear my kids say, "Mom is patient with us," is priceless. So I listen to that song a lot to remind me, continually remind me, that my words have amazing power.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.  - Proverbs 18:21

Saturday, May 19, 2012


After wanting and meaning to go to a Romantica concert for the past several months, we finally got to hear them live today at the Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis!  Despite the ominous clouds and occasional raindrop, it was great to finally see them, and to hear some of their new music.

Looking forward to seeing them again sometime soon.  Btw, you really should go here and have a listen!

Mumford Loves Me

She even gave me a flower tonight....good doggy!

Oh, wait!!  That's a flower out of my garden...and I think she intends to eat it, not give it to me....bad doggy!

Meet Polly

Polly came to visit us this morning on our deck.  You can imagine my excitement when I looked out on the deck this morning and saw this beautiful, huge guy.  You can't tell from the pictures, but his wingspan was about 5 inches across.  In all my 46 years of living in Minnesota, I have NEVER seen one of these babies.

After shooting about two dozen pictures of the little fella, we got out the Insect Guide and determined he is a polyphemus moth, apparently native to Minnesota...who knew?  

Now wikipedia has informed me that our visitor was a male...how do I know?  Well, by looking at his body parts, of course!  I'll show you....

See those feathery antennae?  Apparently, those indicate to us the this is a he, not a she - not to mention that those are the coolest antennae I have ever seen!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Every Once In Awhile

Feeling the need to listen to a little Donny Osmond tonight!

This is my favorite animated movie, btw!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Update On Medication

I just realized that I wrote a post on medicating one of our kids for ADD and then never told you how things were going.

Well, Child has started a different medication, not a stimulant, and after two weeks on it, we are seeing a marked improvement in behavior, attitude and self-control.  YAY!!!!!  Child asked me this morning how I thought s/he was doing, behaivor-wise.  I told him/her all the positive improvements I've seen this week and then I started crying :-)  Typical Barb move there!  I was crying because I am so grateful to have my child back!  S/He is a wonderful, sweet, caring child, but the issues s/he has been dealing with eclipsed, totally eclipsed, all of the wonderful qualities s/he has.

We don't know if it's the medicine, the natural remedies we are also trying, or if it is just God's super-natural grace producing these good results.  Regardless, God is answering our prayers for healing for our child.

My friend, Sara, shared a link with me on Facebook today, also, regarding how a Christian should view psychiatric medication.  It is an excellent article!  This part, in particular, really touched me (and made me cry again!).

If you feel like a failure because your child is taking psychiatric medication, our guess is that you have worked harder at your parenting than ten other parents combined. We hope you are not judging your parenting success against the parent whose child sits quietly, gets all A’s, does homework without supervision, rarely gets frustrated, and is compliant and obedient. Parenting probably had little to do with any of that!

Some kids are just hard. The strategies that worked for some parents will not necessarily work for you. To make matters worse, you will receive an endless stream of advice, which will leave you angry, because you feel like you should do everything you can for your child and the advice is often contradictory. We hope you will not add guilt over medication to that list. Rather, success is marked by “help me and my child, Lord Jesus.” It isn’t measured by having a medication-free zone in your home.

All this is to say that wisdom about these kinds of decisions can take different forms in different situations. A divine directive would be nice: “do this or take this and everything will be fine.” But our Father has a better way. We confess our neediness, consider relevant biblical teaching, seek the counsel of others, make the hard decisions, learn from what helps, avoid those things that hurt, and know God-with-us. For some of us, a positive decision for medication will be a wise consequence of this process.

Can We Be Positive about Psychiatric Medications?

Topics: Medication
Published: Apr 04, 2012

I hope those of you that have wonderful, but difficult, children will be encouraged by those words, as I was!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Doing My Part

Just doing my part to promote one of my favorite bands. And after you listen to them, like them on Facebook and then go over to iTunes and purchase their EP.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Eat Your Fruit

My kids are so thoughtful! They know that I'm trying to eat healthier, so they bought me all kinds of fruit for Mother's Day.

Nice to know they're looking out for my health!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tradition, Tradition

I'm all about tradition around here, and Mother's Day is no different.  

Every Mother's Day finds me out in the yard planting my annuals.  Living in Minnesota, we're not supposed to plant our annuals until after May 15.  Since Mother's Day falls right around there, I always plant on Mother's Day.

I find few things in life more enjoyable than adding summer color to my yard :-)

I hope all you moms had a great Mother's Day doing what you enjoy most!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

So much of who I am today is because of who you are.  Thank you for all you've taught me and all you've shown me for the past 46 years.  I love you tons!

Thanks for being you!

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Of A Kind

This morning one of my older kids was (not so nicely) telling Raelea to stop trying to "make rules."  Without missing a beat, Raelea responded, "I'm not trying to make rules...I'm establishing good ideas!"

Let me tell you, this child is going to be a force to be reckoned with when she gets older! 

For those of you that don't know Raelea's story, you can click here and see why I rejoice so much in the things she says!

Beauty and the Bonfire

You know those co-op students I've been talking about all year, you finally get to see pictures of some of them :-)

Since the school year is coming to a close, Aidan and Emily decided to do a little bonfire party with their co-op friends. As is always the case around here, as soon as guests show up, the henna starts to flow, so Nina & Molly were both hard at work doing beautiful designs on the young ladies in attendance.

Then everyone ended up outside (until the rain came) to enjoy the food and fire.

Seeing as they are my science students, we had a little lesson on combustion and Noah practiced the physics of projectiles by knocking helicopters out of the Maple tree with a football.  You see science is fun!!
I love these kids!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Little Entrepreneur

Raelea:  "I'm going to do something that makes people really happy!"

Me: "Really!  What's that?"

Raelea: "I'm going to open a wine shop!"

Me: *finding this conversation quite humorous* "Hmmm..."

Raelea: "And Grandma and Grandpa can be my first customers and they will get free wine."

Science is Inspiring

Really, it is!  We were learning about simple machines today in co-op science, and one of my 3rd/4th grade students anonymously left the following verse on my desk.

Science is very cool,
It's my favorite subject in school.
I must say
It's really fun each day,
To find out things like how to make tools.

Made my day!  I just might frame it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

That Explains It

Now I know why we don't have birds living in our bird house...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Therapeutic Gardening

I've frequently said out here that I blog because it's cheaper than therapy.  The same could be said for gardening.  When my life is stressful and I need to "get away," I frequently take to weeding the garden (or the lawn).  I find it very calming for my spirit :-)

Thankfully, my garden is full of weeds, so I will have lots and lots of opportunities to de-stress outside this spring and summer!  I'm not sure where this feeling of gardening as therapy came from, but I was talking to my sister this past weekend and she said the same thing.  Maybe our parents caused this by all the weeding we had to do as children :-)

The other day, a particularly stress-filled day, I was out in my perennial garden weeding.  I have one plant that has a LOT of grass growing in it.  My goal was to get all the grass out of the plant that day.  As I was pulling the weeds, some of them came out by the roots (good), but some of them broke off and the roots remained in the ground (bad).  It occurred to me that it is like that with the weeds in our family and the weeds in my own life.  Sometimes we get the weed pulled out all the way down at the roots and it is gone...for good, and sometimes it just breaks off with the roots still planted, only to grow back in a short amount of time.

The other thing that happened, when I was not being careful about my weeding, is that sometimes I would pull out some of my healthy plant along with the weed.  This happens too in real life, doesn't it?  We aren't careful about our approach to the "weeds" in our children's lives and we do more harm than good in our poor attempt to help them.

I do know that the longer the weeds were allowed to grow in my plant, the harder they were to remove, sometimes intertwining with the roots of the real plant.

I do know that my plant will be happier and grow better without all those weeds in it.  (Yes, my plant can be happy if I want it to be!)

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Am I Thinking?

No, I'm not asking you to read my mind.  This is more of a question to myself.  It seems that I have agreed to run a 5K race with my sister in August.  How did this happen?  I haven't run a road race in...let's see...about 26 years!

Well, my sister has amazing persuasive powers, and I'm getting a little bored with working out on the elliptical machine every day.  So, when she said, "Hey, do you want to do the Milk Run with me?"  I said (without too much hesitation), "Sure!"

That was before I went for a run and was reminded that running hurts!  I also went and registered for the race before I went for a run and remembered that...running hurts.  Okay, running doesn't actually hurt, but my legs muscles sure hurt the day after running.

Now to all my marathon-running friends out there (and there are a lot of you), you'll just have to put up with my whining about a little 5K.  You ladies rock, and I, well, I'm just a pebble!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cabin Opening

It comes around every year about this time.  As always, all work and no play....just never happens at the cabin.

Rake, rake rake...

Snickers supervised the work.

Teamwork made the job more fun.

Some more happy rakers.

Bring on summer!  The cabin is ready and so are we!

Well, Almost

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snakes and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little b.....

 Ummm....forget that.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Do Me A Favor

Go to this website and vote for the song Fox Beneath The Mill by Ocelot Eyes, okay?

Why?  Because these guys are super talented and super nice.


Oh!  I forgot to tell you that you can vote for them every day!  Vote early, vote often!

Well, This Is A First

Hi there, folks! I'm blogging from my van :-). Never done that before!

Chris got a new Blackberry from work and it is an Internet hotspot. This makes me HAPPY because now I can blog where ever I am...well, as long as I have Chris with me, that is. Just one more reason to bring him with me! Tee hee!

Not A Bad Idea

So, the other day I get an the following e-mail from my dear hubby...

Subject: Archaeological Pub Crawl of Great Britain: Historic landscapes and precious pints

I'm thinking this sounds like a great idea!  We could even call it school preparation :-)  (the archaeological part, not the pub part)

But, alas, we don't have thousands of dollars sitting around for something like this :-(  A girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Choose Your Battles

I was thinking about Hannibal again (I'm getting a lot of mileage out of this guy), and it occurred to me that when he picked his battles he won.  When he chose the time and location of the battle he had a distinct advantage.  He also studied his opponent.  He knew the enemies weaknesses and he used them to his advantage.

These advantages translated into massive, decisive victories.  The same thing could be said about Alexander the Great (can you tell we're studying ancient history this year?).  Getting caught off-guard or underestimating the enemy resulted in either defeat or great casualties.  Those are just the facts of wars.  Great generals know how to win battles, even against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Although I am not at war with my children by any means, I am at war with the sin in my children's life (and my own, for that matter).  I am at war with the lieu my children believe that are crippling their lives.  I want to be a good general.  I need to choose my battles carefully and not let circumstances throw me into battles for which I am unprepared.  I need a plan and I need to work my plan.

I fully understand that the battle is the Lord's and all my battle preparations are not going to win the battle, but I also know that God wants to use me to fight on His behalf for the lives of my children.

Of to the front!  Charge!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Say What?

Here's the conversation in the car the other day -

Aidan: "You know that ONE famous black guy?"

Me: "Wha...?  Oh you mean Morgan Freeman?"

Nina - at the same time as I answer: "You mean God?"

I found the entire conversation bizarre and quite humorous on multiple levels.  :-)

I Have Another One

Henna artist, that is.  It seems that Molly has followed in her sister's footsteps and honed her henna art skills.  I willing offered my leg as her canvas, and here are the results.

She did a mighty fine job, don't you think?