Friday, July 27, 2012

Everyday Happenings

** Trying to get these kids to read is HARD.  I know it's called Summer Reading Challenge, but I  didn't know the challenge was for ME!  Billy and Mary Kate will pick up and read on their own.  However, Billy tends to read the same books over and over.  Plus, he likes magazines more than books.  Does that count?  I'm trying not to be a stickler for what he's reading.

Mary Kate has been using her Kindle, so that was money well spent.

Tommy, Ann, and Matt fight me tooth and nail about sitting down to read. Matt will only let me read Berenstein Bear books to him and I find that very frustrating because I think those books have a lot of run-on sentences and it's annoying to read them because my mouth gets dry and then I need a drink of water and then I tend to write run on sentences on my blog and that's not good.

As for me, I have renewed the Poisonwood Bible 2 times so far. It was due back at the library 2 weeks ago.  I will have a bit of a fine to pay, but I WILL finish it, gosh darn it!

** We signed Billy up for his first 3 hours of 35 community service hours needed over the next year and a half before he receives his Confirmation.  Volunteers were needed to either sort uniforms or do field upkeep and maintenance.  He wanted to sort (shocker)....he got the hard labor.  That's tomorrow. Hope it's not too hot for ya Dude.

** Cooking with the kids has become one of my favorite things to do this summer.
Matt's bbq chicken
Mary Kate's mac n cheese and baked beans; served with Ann's meatloaf.
Tommy's pizza
Ann's Sausage Scallopini
Ann's quiche and biscuits

Billy preparing a marinade for salmon on the grill.
Matt shucking corn.

I can't say everything has been a hit, but I love the company in the kitchen.  The idea that each kid takes a turn keeps the others away (does that sound mean?) so it is great one on one time and I think they are learning a lot.

** We did some dog sitting this week for our neighbors. Let me introduce you to Pete.

Isn't he adorable?
 ** Billy, Tommy, and Mary are about 6 lessons in with their new piano teacher.  So far she has gotten the thumbs up from all of them.  She even comes to our house, so I give her a thumbs up too.

**Bill and I have a sitter coming tomorrow night so we can head to our friends John and Mary's for another dinner party.  My mouth is already watering.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Casting Crowns Concert

Bill gave me tickets to see the Casting Crowns concert on Friday night.  They are my favorite Contemporary Christian group.  He surprised me for Mother's Day with the tickets, had his parents all lined up to babysit, and I've been looking forward to it like crazy!  I have been wanting to see them in concert for a long time.

We traveled to the Delaware State Fair to see them. I teased Bill that I was going to listen to the music with my hands up and eyes closed.

Like this:

I spared him, but many of the concert-goers did this.  It was actually quite powerful to watch so many people into the music and the message it brings.

Opening for Casting Crowns was a band called Building 429.  They too were fabulous.  I didn't realize how being there would move me to tears.  The music is so uplifting and being there was like being part of a big, fun, musical prayer.  Loved it!!

The kids spent the day at Bill's parent's house and had a blast.  We all stayed there overnight.  They are so good to us!
Thanks Mom and Dad

And since Bill's parents live close to my Dad, we stopped to see him.

He's pretty great too!

Casting Crowns ended their concert with this song.  It's called "Until The Whole World Hears."  It is one of my all time favorites.  It reminds me of the "Prayer for Christlikeness" which you see on my sidebar.
If you have a chance, take a listen. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

God's Symphony

I was recently part of a conversation where the topic included one woman's son and daughter in law.  They had just received news that their unborn baby had some markers for a certain birth defect.  As I had a feeling it would, the conversation continued in a way that made me uncomfortable, disbelieving, and just plain sad.

"No one likes to see a baby suffer"
"That Mom will have to take care of that baby for the rest of her life."
"That baby will never be a contributing member of society."

I am paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.  Could they not hear how they sounded?  Do they really believe that these are reasons to find a living, growing, unborn baby disposable?  Who are we to judge what a child with a disability is able to "contribute?"

People everywhere suffer.  People everywhere need to be taken care of.  People everywhere can have limited ways to contribute to society.  That is all around us.

However, people everywhere were created by God. We must all believe that fundamental idea or we will fail to see our purpose in this life.

God knows what he's doing.

As a child I learned the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Is this not our purpose here on earth?

 To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To harbour the harbourless; To visit the sick; To ransom the captive; To bury the dead.

 To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To admonish sinners; To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive offences willingly; To comfort the afflicted; To pray for the living and the dead.

I do not claim to know what it feels like to live with such pain as having a child with a birth defect. But I also do not claim to know more than God does.  We all are born with unique abilities and are able to contribute something. It could be something tangible like curing cancer, or something intangible like helping to teach someone humility and love.

God uses us as His instruments.  We don't know how the music will play out.  That is where faith comes in.  It is my hope that we may all have the gift of divine light and see the beauty of all life so that one day we will enjoy the Symphony of Heaven.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Blueberry Buckle Cake

Years ago my friend Tricia gave me this recipe for "Aunt Freda's Blueberry Buckle Cake."  I have no idea if Trish really has an Aunt Freda, but I do know this cake is delicious.

Aunt Freda's Blueberry Buckle Cake

Cake ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Cream butter and sugar together; add egg and milk.
Blend in flour, salt, and baking powder.
Blend in blueberries.

Grease and flour 9 inch square pan. (I used 8 inch and it worked fine)
Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

***put crumbs on top of cake before baking***

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

I remembered my camera before this last piece was eaten.  It was one of those "I'll just chisel off one more slice" cakes and before I knew it this was all that was left.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Out Of The Mouth Of....


Me to the kids: "Okay guys, we need to talk."

Ann: "Uh-oh. That's never good."



"I like Uncle Bob.  He's SO cute!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What We've Been Doing

Summer is in full swing now and I must say it's been fun.  I also must say that I've been sleeping in entirely too much, so the day gets off to a late start.  That's okay with the children because that gives them more TV/XBox time.

We joined the pool at our local community center and have been going almost daily.  A year makes a big difference.  Matthew dons his swim vest and is almost self sufficient. I only stand close by so no one uses him as a floatation device. (It already happened once).  The other four are becoming quite the swimmers.

  As I mentioned before, the kids have to take turns making dinner once a week. It has been really fun.  They look through my cookbooks and select their meal.  They make a list and when we get to the grocery store the older ones get to find the ingredients.

Last week Billy made Taco Casserole.
Mary Kate made Chicken Enchiladas:
Tonight Tommy wanted to "make" frozen beef raviolis.  I told him he had to do more than boil water.  I thought the garlic bread from Cooking on Clover Lane would make a great side.  And guess what, it did! 
My family can attest that my Uncle Art is upset there are no veggies on the plate:)

Playing Hair Salon in the backyard with our friend Claire.
Sometimes the kids like to play with their friends across the street leaving Matthew behind.  Here's a shot of him waiting for them to come back and wishing he was a "big kid."
Next week our new neighbors move in.  We are looking forward to it because we hear they have four boys ages 4 to 12.  Sounds like the street will get a lot more fun!  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Phillies Game

Friday night we went to a Phillies game.  Each of us had a different take on the whole thing.

Billy: Serious

Tommy: Fun, as long as food is involved.

Mary: Bored

Ann: Desperately tried to get on the Jumbo-Tron. (her bottom half made it on there)

Matt: Ants in his pants and switched his seat a million times.

Mom: Afraid of heights....we were in the nosebleed section.

Dad: Hot! It was 103 degrees that night.

Before we left the kids made posters and Matt showed off his birthday shirt from Godmother Aunt Jenny.

Arrival at Citizens Bank Park:

Tough loss Phils; better luck next time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Olympic Games

My friend Danielle hosted an Olympic Game party the other day at her house.  It was tons of fun.  She divided the kids in teams, set up fun games, and even fed us lunch. 

The Red Team
The White Team
The Blue Team  

Egg/Spoon race
Mummy Making Contest
Scavenger Hunt
Nose Dive
Find the Strawberry
We had lunch and then more fun on the water slide.

Thanks for a day of great memories Danielle!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Matt's Birthday

Our baby turned 4 today.  He woke up crying and saying, "I don't want to be 4!"
With turning four comes preschool and that is a scary thought to him.  However, as the day progressed he had a good time and got used to the idea.

Morning doughnuts
Don't laugh....this was my attempt at a Spiderman cake.

I could not for the life of me get that icing to turn red....only hot pink.  And don't even ask about the webbing....
(You're laughing, aren't you?) 

After dinner he requested a game of family kickball.

The name Matthew means "Gift of God".  Your Mom and Dad sure see you that way.  We love you Matthew James.  Happy Birthday!