Friday, May 31, 2013

The Piano Man

I see greatness in this kid...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bitty Boy Warmer

This yarn (held double). This pattern.
 
 Buttons from Etsy.
So nice to make.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Keepers at Home

Last week brought another year of Keepers at Home to an end. If you're not familiar with the program, a short explanation is that it's like the Christian version of Girl Scouts. The longer version can be found on their website, here.
Abigail gave a short speech about the session on prayer and being part of a prayer group. See her and her friends pursue godliness together was definitely a highlight of the year. 
 Anna spoke briefly about learning how to cross stitch. She did a great job with hers, and we even went out and bought new kits to work on. I won't speak of how they have yet to be touched...
 We've made it part of the tradition for dads to present their daughters the charms/badges they've earned. Everyone acts all shy and stuff, but it's clear how proud of the girls these dads are, and how the girls bask in their fathers' praise.

Friday, May 24, 2013

iCream!

In an effort to be sure I'm using my Pinboards to be a useful and productive individual, and not a mindless window shopper of clever ideas that I will never use, I made some of this eye cream a couple weeks ago. You know what? It's not half bad!
Photo from ramblingsofahappyhomemaker.blogspot.com
 
I won't say I look 10 years younger or the dark circles under my eyes have magically disappeared, but the cream was cheap (I already had everything, so it was more like a freebie) and easy to make, and it does feel good.
I suspect I'm reaching an age where these sorts of products are helpful in their preventative nature, so stop back in 20 years and tell me how great my under-eye skin looks, okay? That would be so helpful. :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Piano recital

The recent piano recital at a local retirement center...
 
 They did a marvelous job!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scrip-Scrappity Quilt

I'm really not much of a quilter - it often seems too finicky to do all that cutting and piecing. But when I'm wanting to get rid of some scrap material without throwing it away, I'm willing to do some simple quilting. Like, strips, for instance.
 
 I would appear that I sew more for my girls than for my boys, considering the excessive amount of girly fabrics I have...
Now, I just need to find a little wee girl who needs a quilt...I'm also thinking of other things I can apply this "quilting thing" to, as well - tote bag? Kindle case? Zippered pouches? I'm open to ideas!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Discouraged?

I've noticed recently that I've been battling some discouragement - nothing major, but just a low-grade sense of feeling like I'm not making headway, you know? I suspect every parent (every person?) goes through this now and then:
  • will the baby ever sleep through the night?
  • will the kids ever learn to speak kindly rather than scream?
  • no matter how much I work, the chores are never really done
  • when will I see growth in battling this sin area?
  • everything is changing - could someone please stop this crazy ride? I'd like to get off, please!
While the temptation to discouragement is normal, the question is what to then do I do with it? It can either drive me closer to Christ, the Source of all comfort, or it can beat me down and render me useless. I've been drifting toward the second direction - prayer and Bible reading becomes inconsistent, I'm quick to see the problems rather than the blessings, I'm quick to complain and grumble, rather than be thankful.

So, what do I do with this?
  • I go to my knees - the first step is seeing sin for what it is and repenting of it. For me, I'm aware that my own desire for comfort and ease is looming large in my eyes. Comfort and ease, however, are not what I am called to - I am called to a cross.
  • I go to the Word - we serve a God who has made Himself known to us in the Bible. That's amazing, when you really think about it. He Himself has said that "all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman!) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17) In order to battle my discouragement and pride, I can be reminded:
    • not to grow weary, for in due season, I will reap a harvest of righteousness (Gal 6:9)
    • that even Jesus came, not to be served but to serve others, with his very life (Mark 10:45)
    • that following Jesus means not a stroll through a garden but the carrying of a cross (Luke 9:23)
    • that Jesus knows and understands my weakness, and He has made a way to come before the Father for help and hope (Heb 4:15-16)
  • I get busy - I do not live in a vacuum or a high-walled nunnery (sounds peaceful, though!), but in a house with 7 other sinners, in a church with needs, in a community that needs to see the love of Jesus demonstrated. The more time I spend sulking and navel-gazing, the less I am attending to the needs of those around me. All these imperfect, needy people around me (who aren't nearly as needy and imperfect as I am)? They are not interruptions to my real life - they are real life, and I am less likely to be distracted by all that I would do differently if I rolled up my sleeves and got busy with the work at hand.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Parmesan Chicken Bake

It's been a while since I've shared some recipes, so here is one I've made several times. It's easy, it's very delicious, and it makes leftovers - all get top marks in my book.
I found the recipe, as I've found most of my favorite recipes, on Pinterest. The blog it came from, My Kitchen Escapades, has a load of other yummy recipes. I shall share the recipe here for your enjoyment:

Parmesan Chicken Bake(adapted from Food.com)
6 chicken breasts (or one large pack)
1 C light mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1/2 c fresh Parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray the inside of a 9x13 glass pan.  Lay the chicken inside the pan.
2.  Mix together the remaining ingredients and spread evenly over each piece of chicken, being sure to cover all the exposed raw meat (so it doesn't dry out.)  Sprinkle on a bit more fresh Parmesan over all the chicken.
3.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. 

And there you have it. We've been enjoying it recently with baked sweet potatoes and a salad. All the flavors go so well together!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Right Now

  • I'm starting the day with the near-giddy feeling of having had a full night's sleep! Caleb has been waking several times a night recently (teething and rolling over and waking himself up), and the bags under my eyes were enough to carry my keys in. But last night, he slept. All. Night.  I wouldn't want to presume on God's kindness to suggest that this is the new normal, but it's a merciful gift, and I'm taking it!
  • Even as certain facets of homeschooling draw to a close for the year (co-op's finished, one more week of Bible and History), we are well on track for planning for the next school year. Most of the curriculum has been purchased, which always makes me excited; I love seeing all those new books and anticipating a new student next year - Eleanor will be a Kindergartner!
  • I'm also working on the plan for the Gayner Family Summer School. Reading, projects, trips, memory work and camps should all feature in - I think the kids (and maybe even I) are gonna enjoy this...
  • Last Friday was Ellie's 5th birthday. Five years old. I know I sound old, but where did that time go? It was fast! One day, she's this tiny little thing all wrapped up in her own cord and half a decade later - BAM! - she's this cute, fiery little madam with a sweet-as-honey smile and rage issues. Crazy.
  • The day before her birthday, we took a little field trip to the D.C. Zoo. It was a great day - good weather, saw some fun animals, hung out with some families at co-op, and followed it all up with a nice dinner out. 
 
How much to elephants pee and poop each day?
  • Saturday was our church's annual Mother-Daughter Tea, which my mom, Abi, Anna, and myself attended. It was a lovely time, hearing about God's grace in the lives of moms and their daughters and spending some fun time with my own mom and daughters.
  • Mother's Day was Sunday (in this country, anyway). I'm never sure how to approach these special days - I tend to over-inflate the day with my own unrealistic expectations, then get all huffy when things don't go the way I plan. I was working hard this time, not to do that, but just relax (if possible) and enjoy my family. And I did. I was served my favorite breakfast (bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, if you want to know), had a lovely morning in church, followed by a restful afternoon knitting outside and a fun and yummy meal made by my sweet husband. I received cards and a gift from my family, but really, the family is the gift.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Herein is hope

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
Psalm 130:3-6
 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Presentation night!


Well, our first year of homeschool co-op ended on Friday night, with a great presentation night. We were able to tour the kids' classrooms and see all their projects and everything they made all year. (Then we got to take it home! These kids made a lot of stuff...)
Then, it was show time! Dan's two-year old class was up first - they get the biggest applause. :)
 I can't remember now what Ellie was singing, but I think it involved yelling something...
 Abi and Anna both had a great time with their parts in the play. They sang, they danced, they did a great job!
 And Noah's class? Here's a little of one of their songs:
video

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.
Joshua 21:45
Reading this passage a little while ago, a couple thoughts came to mind:
  1. These promises of God weren't fulfilled immediately. Much time had passed between the making of the promise and seeing it fulfilled. God is patient, and He's going to grow it in His people, too.
  2. The people had their part to play in God's great plan. They (and we) are not to sit, passively waiting for the good stuff to drop into their lap. They had to turn up, remain faithful and obedient, and do the next thing. The Lord may have given their enemies into Israel's hands, but Israel still needed to show up and take part.
What's God been saying to you recently?