Autumn Cooking: A Few Links

Although the weather is not really what you would call “fall-ish” in our town, we are in the mood for some cooler weather. We keep thinking that if we wear our fall clothes and cook fall foods that the weather will cooperate. So far, we’re just melting and eating a lot of heavy food!

But this weekend, I am determined to do a little autumn cooking, cool weather or no.

Here’s what I’m gonna make:

Chipotle Pumpkin Barley Soup with Chicken from Edie at www.LifeInGraceBlog.com. Doesn’t that look DIVINE?!? Can’t wait to try it!

This San Francisco Sourdough Bread recipe that I got from www.Allrecipes.com. We’re going to top it with this Pumpkin Apple Butter that came from the same site. I’m hoping the apple butter will be good enough to can a few jars.

I’m not sure we will need a dessert after eating the pumpkin apple butter, but why not go all out? Look at this Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Sauce from http://www.marthastewart.com/. Oh, my! Can you go into some kind of sugar coma from eating a meal like this? Because I think  might.

I can’t wait to try these fabulous looking recipes. If the weather doesn’t cooperate any better than it has been, we might be sitting around in our swimsuits eating it all.

Please, call before you drop by.

Y’all have a good Tuesday!

Thrift Store Find

I am in the market for a new desk or table to put in our schoolroom, so I headed out Saturday for the thrift store. While I didn’t have any luck on the table, I did find this beauty…
I know she might not look like much right now, but pretty soon she will have a makeover and find a new home in our playroom. I look forward to sitting in her and reading a good book.

Is It Friday Already?

Now there’s a question you don’t hear very often! Maybe “Is it Monday already?” or “Isn’t it Friday yet?” is more common, but I have to say that this week has flown by for us. We have school-ed and ballet-ed and gymnastic-ed and soccer-ed and church-ed so much this week that Friday sort of took us by surprise. Not that we are complaining, mind you.

A couple of things…

I took the girls to the McWane Center (our children’s science museum) this morning. We ran into some of Mary Anneliese’s friends that were in her ballet class last year. They don’t take ballet this year, and we have missed having them in class so much. It was a great treat to get to spend the morning with Zoe and Lexi.

We ran by the nursing home to see my little grandmother this morning. She is 88 years old and because of a major stroke a few months ago, she is not able to live at home or with her children any longer. It was a heartbreaking decision for my parents and my dad’s family to put her in a nursing home, but they were just unable to care for her at home. That being said, I was so pleased when I saw her today! She looked and felt great. Her physical therapists are on the ball with her. They felt like she was not responding to therapy very well because she was over-medicated. They worked with her doctor to pull back on some of her meds, and she is so much better. She was able to feed herself her entire breakfast this morning, which she hasn’t done in many months. She is not able to talk, but she was still able to comminucate today. It’s amazing how she doesn’t have to use words to get her message across. Such an improvement for her! We hate that she is not able to live at home, but are so incredible grateful hat she does have a nursing and therapy staff who love her and look out for her best interest. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have a facility available where we trust the people taking care of her!

My big girl and her Daddy have a date tonight to a Samford University girls soccer game. They love to go see the big girls play and then strategize how they can work some of those moves into her game. So funny!

Friday night is eating-out night at our house.  We’d rather try a new place than eat somewhere we’ve been a thousand times. Any suggestions on where to go tonight?

Happy weekend to you and yours!

Jesus Calling Winner

According to the random number generator at http://www.random.org/, the winner of the Jesus Calling devotional book for children is #2 Cynthia Moss! Congrats! I’ll get your book to you at church.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Pitter Patter’s Fall Trees

We do lots of preschool art projects around our house. While Big Sister does her school work, little Pitter Patter gets to do school work of her own. Today, since the fall weather has been oh so fabulous, we had a little discussion about fall. We talked about cool weather, leaves changing colors, pumpkins, Halloween and Thanksgiving. We thanked God for the cooler weather and how creative He is to think about seasons. And then we did a little art project. It was easy peasy, required absolutely no preparation, and it is something you could easily modify to use whatever supplies you have on hand.  We used construction paper, scissors, glue, and tissue paper.

We started by tracing Pitter Patter’s hand and arm onto brown construction paper to use as the trunk of our tree.

Next we tore squares of fall-ish colored tissue paper and crumpled them a bit.

Then we glued them onto our tree trunk.
Ta-da!! She’s so proud of her creation. And apparently our next lesson needs to be about how leaves grow, in fact, on the limbs of trees and not on the trunk.  That’s another lesson for another day.

I realize that this art project required absolutely no creativity. Any monkey could come up with something so simple. That’s not the point… or maybe it is. The thing is, kids just love for their parents to be involved with them. They want your full attention. They crave time with you when you are not distracted by cleaning or cooking or talking to someone else. They want YOU. If our children do not get the attention they need from us, they will look for it elsewhere. And “elsewhere” can provide a dangerous brand of attention. This simple are project is really less about the finished product and more about the fun we had creating it together. Come on, get involved with your children. You will both love it!

Coming Full Circle (Or At Least Half-Circle. Or Something.)

Last weekend was a treat! I got to spend it with ten of my best high school girlfriends! I have been through two high school reunions in Dothan, Alabama, with these girls and we left each one saying, “We have GOT to get together. I can’t believe we haven’t gotten together in all these years!” You know, the usual chatter that almost never comes to pass. But Bloggies, we did it! We actually put a date on the calendar a year in advance and stuck to it. I am so impressed that we actually pulled it off! Go us!
Anyhoo, the trip was fabulous. We stayed at our friend’s beach house where we used to hang out growing up. It was nostalgic and loaded with memories. We caught up with where we are in life now and told all about our families. We made our way over to a FABULOUS restaurant in Alys Beach called Calize. Of course, the food was to die for, but the company was even better. It was incredible to hear about these ladies’ journeys over the last twenty years. Some of it was incredibly good, and some was heartbreaking, but they have all grown into the most amazing women! I am so privileged to have them as my friends and confidants and counselors and fun-makers and story-tellers and girls that I get to do life with! I sooo wish I get to see them all more often, but I will take what I can get.
After a nice, casual, beautiful, delicious dinner, we headed back to the beach house where we shared more of our life stories. Eventually the long trip caught up with us, and we all were ready for bed a about 10:30. We are old and it is sad. What can I say?
But we made up for it on Saturday as we all sat around on the beach telling old stories and laughing. The weather was beautiful, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it wasn’t. The water was gorgeous, but no one was paying attention. Normal people would have faced their chairs toward the ocean and the sun. We sat under umbrellas in a circle so we could see each other. And hear the stories. And laugh.

Of course, a trip like this is never long enough. Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye and head back to reality (not that reality is all that bad; we just would have liked to stay longer.) I am so thankful to these ladies who made the sacrifice to be there. They each brought their own flavor and layer to the incredible group.
It was interesting to see how much we still have in common after twenty years. Our lives may seem different on the surface,but our core values and priorities are still the same. We are all trying to raise our children and build our marriages in the same way. Though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, we are still so inter-woven. I wouldn’t trade these girls for anything in the world!
Today I am linking up with
 Sweet Shot Day
and
tuesdays unwrapped at cats

The History Princess

Doesn’t every student wear a tiara to take a history test?

The BreakOut Girls

Oh happy day! Mary Anneliese has started her first big girl Bible study. She’s actually two weeks into it, and she is LOVING it. A group from our church is studying Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith for Kids. If you are unfamiliar with Strobel, he is a graduate of Yale Law School and was legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. As an atheist, he began a two year investigation trying to disprove that Jesus existed. Through the process, he became a Christian and is now a prolific Christian writer and teacher. He has served as teaching pastor at both Willow creek Community Church and at Saddleback Valley Community Church.

So SisterGirl has started his Bible study, and MommyGirl cannot be more excited about this. You who know me know how much I love God’s word. It is life to me. I want it to be life to my children and their friends. Memorizing scripture is big, big, big at our house. You might remember this post about that very subject and this post on how to go about it. 
It is my prayer that this generation will be so dependent on God’s word that it will take top priority in their lives.
May they memorize it.
May God grant them wisdom to understand and apply it.
May it be true in their lives.
May they walk in it.
May they desire it above all things.
May they honor it at all times.
May it impact their choices.
May it direct their journeys.
May they try it and test it and find it trustworthy.
May it be their Sword of the Spirit and may they know how to wield it in battle.
May it protect, sustain, and enrich them.
May it bring down strongholds in their lives.
May it give their lives true abundance.
May it be LIFE to them.

(This post linked to Sweet Shot Tuesday at Life With My Three Boybarians.)

PattyCake Goes to See Miss PattyCake

My girls LOVE Miss PattyCake. We have watched and listened to her since we had VHS and cassette tapes. They have grown up learning about God’s love and singing Miss PattyCake’s little praise songs.  We had the privilege of taking our little ones to see miss PattyCake live at her PattyCake Pajama Party last weekend. She was fabulous! She did about 45 minutes of PattyCake Praise, which was as much as little ones can sit for. Then we went downstairs to the fellowship hall of the church where she met with each little one for pictures and visiting. Even my timid little PattyCake sat on her lap and got her picture made with her namesake.
Jean Thomason has been doing Miss PattyCake for fifteen years. She began making up songs for her own children to teach them about God’s love. She was invited to a few MOPS groups. An
d thus began the life of Miss PattyCake, who has been blessing little ones and their parents for many years. My girls have learned so much from her ministry.
She was so kind and gracious in person – just like you would envision Miss PattyCake to be. She said that she didn’t know how long she would continue, but she will go as long as the Lord tells her to.
If you have never seen or heard of Miss PattyCake and you have little ones, you need to check out some of the DVDs on her website. Our favorites are Egg-Strava-Ganza, Treasure Chest Surprise, and Hullabaloo Zoo.  

I Heart #25

It’s that time of year again, folks! That’s right, we have had our first soccer game. Saturday was the inaugural game of the raging Fire, which is an appropriate name since that’s how hot the weather felt. The cool fall weather of last week had us tricked into believing that the raging hot days were long gone, but it was not to be. I have the soccer mom tan to prove it. Sunglasses lines, chest burned, flip-flop marks on my feet. But it was worth every bit of discomfort to see my #1 girl play the game she loves.
I was able to snap these sweet posed shots before we realized that the team was on the field practicing. Oops!
This year we have a really great group of young ladies who are pretty good at kicking the soccer ball around. MA is going to learn a lot on this team. These girls challenge her to step up her game.
This is the first year we have had numbers on our jerseys. I’m not sure why that makes me so happy, but I want to have my own t-shirt made that says “I love #25”. That idea brought an eye roll out of my girl.
We have coaches this year who each have three daughters. Needless to say, they are the sweetest and yet most challenging coaches we have ever played with. We are grateful to have them, because I know that it’s not easy making time to coach a soccer team.
“Put me in, Coach! I’m ready to play!”
In the end, the raging Fire fell 8-7 against the Gators. It was a good opening day, and we look forward to the rest of the season.