If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda

well

If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.

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Hank The 3 Year Old Photographer

Hank loves photography!  Perhaps because he hears me make over my sister-in-law, Lacey’s, beautiful photos.  Or maybe he gets a kick out of using our camera but either way the following pictures give us insight into his world, literally from his perspective. 🙂

Daddy Drinking Coffee

Daddy Drinking Coffee

Daddy making coffee

Daddy making coffee

Gideon's hair

Gideon’s hair

another of Hank's "selfie's"

Hank taking a “selfie”

Hank's "selfie"

Hank’s “selfie”

Hank's left foot

Hank’s left foot

Me cutting fabric

Me cutting fabric

Momma doing her hair Momma doing her hair-2

sewing sewing sewing

sewing sewing sewing

This picture is awesome!

This picture is awesome!

Dear Jesus, thank  you for Hank’s budding interest in photography and for the fun look at the world from his vantage point.  Thank you also that he hasn’t broken our camera. Thank you for simpler days. 🙂  Amen.

Sick Days Mean Productive Days- Toddler Activities-Fine Motor Skills

If you read yesterday’s post then you know we’ve been home this week resting and healing up.  Regardless of Gideon’s Croup and Hank healing from the stomach flu, we need things to do to pass the time.

Earlier today, I enlisted Hank’s help “cutting” fabric for heat packs I am making to sell here.

Hank cutting fabricHere’s a finished one:

Open view of Owl and Green Snowflakes Snowflake side set Owl side set

We kept busy yesterday playing play-doh until I broke out the toothpicks and we practised some fine motor skills. 🙂

Poke The Holes:

Giddo with toothpicks Hank playdoh Hank with toothpicks and playdoh Proud Hank-with momma smile

I love that last one of Hank cheezing.  I used to smile just like that when I was little.

My good friend, Mary, gave me the idea for this next activity:

Threading Snakes!

I pulled the laces out of my hiking shoes and cut up plastic drinking straws like this:

supplies for snake threading

I threaded one and tied it so it couldn’t slip off then explained that they were going to thread the stripes onto their snakes.  They loved this one.

Giddo threading his snake Hank Threading his snake

Dear Jesus, thank you for good quality time with the boys.  They amaze me.  I am confident you are an awesome God when I look at the purposeful and imaginative things you make.  Amen.

Camping With Little Guys Is Exhausting!

We arrived home yesterday afternoon after a three-day and two night camping trip in Port Ludlow (near Port Townsend).  Every year Bart’s extended family gathers for a big Independence Day picnic.  The picnic typically falls on the Saturday closest to July 4th.  We circle up and count off before we pray and eat.  This year there were 90 people in attendance!  Pretty amazing.

Bart’s extended family owns a large plot of land and the connecting beach.  In years past we’ve sat by the morning fire watching bald eagles soar overhead.  We’d sip coffee and breath in the cool sea air while the morning sun glistened over the water.  The view is glorious.  

This year both our boys were walking so things looked a little, um, different.

We arrived Friday afternoon, set up our tent (well Bart did) and began a weekend of chasing our children around.

Not.  Relaxing.

And there was no time to take pictures.

Thankfully my sister-in-law, Lacey, is a professional photographer and obliged to take a few pictures of our little family.  I love her photo’s.  I’m sure you will too.  Stay tuned when I get them I’ll do a post.  🙂

Bart bought a new tent for our family Friday morning.  Click here to see the one we got.  If you have a Costco near you check there first because they sell the same tent for less than Amazon.  Until this year we had a tent that was better for hiking but now we have a tent you can actually stand up in.  It’s a 10 person tent and would be awful for hiking.  For the fourth of July weekend we camp on a lawn just beyond the beach.  Our new tent is GREAT!  I completely recommend it.

Our boys are 3 and almost 2.  That being said they are very active but not old enough to be proficient at, or really interested in, contingent play.  Practically this means they were constantly running in opposite directions!  Hank loves water and at one point went for it!  I was several feet away when he unexpectedly ran straight into the bay and tried to swim.  There were two major problems: he doesn’t know how to swim and he wasn’t wearing a life jacket! Thank God, his bigger cousin (Cooper) rescued him before his head went completely under.  Cooper said, “You should have seen Hank’s face.  It was like he ate a nasty pepper.”  I bet he was surprised to have a mouth full of salt water.  It was nothing like his 12″ deep kiddy pool.

Cooper is my hero.

When we arrived home Sunday we were exhausted and dirty from running around and playing on the beach.  So the first thing we did was clean-up.

Here is a picture of the boys cracking each other up in our bathtub:

boys in tub in towels

For kicks I washed my right foot…

different colored feet

Judging by my left foot, my “tan” washed off.

Dear Jesus, thank you for making me well enough to chase our boys all weekend.  It was tiring but it felt so good to be able.  Thank you for the safe drive there and back and for all the family we got to see.  Thank you for Cooper.  Amen.

Hollandaise of Champions, Fun Food Friday’s

hollandaiseAbove you see a photograph of MY homemade (from scratch) authentic hollandaise sauce on top of traditional Eggs Benedict.

Let me start with saying that this was on my “too difficult” list for a long time.

Years.

I used to work at an upscale restaurant called 13 Coins and would enjoy Eggs Benedict every chance I got.

Now that I know what is in it, I am thinking I will enjoy it less frequently. 😉

A couple of weeks ago I got the courage up to give this French sauce a try.  Afterall, I am a quarter French.  With the help of the world-wide web and a  chef who wrote an amazing article on authentic hollandaise, I felt better equipped to tackle my fear.

Could I really truly make hollandaise from scratch that was thick like mayonnaise?

Praise Jesus, I can now!

Let me tell you it is SO good.

And…

YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!

It turns out you don’t have to be a chef named Pierre to master hollandaise.  I’m sure a purist would disagree but for our purposes here’s what you do:

My Hollandaise Recipe:

  1. Put 3 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into your (Vitamix) blender.
  2. Whip (on low) the yolks and lemon juice until they turn a lighter yellow
  3. Add a dash of salt and 10 tablespoons warm (not hot!) melted butter
  4. Blend on high for about thirty seconds
  5. Pour mixture into a small pan on your stove over Low heat
  6. Add in a dash of Cayenne
  7. Slowly heat through bringing up to no higher than Med-Low
  8. Stir well scrapping the bottom of the pan
  9. When mixture gets *really thick its ready!

* If your hollandaise goes from thick to lumpy squirt in a little extra lemon juice, then stir well and you will have smooth hollandaise again.  (This is called fixing “broken sauce”.)

I sure hope you’ll give it a shot!  Have a great weekend.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to be able to finally make hollandaise sauce with confidence.  It is such a treat!  Amen.

Oh! Chocolate, Fun Food Friday’s

The boys and I had the pleasure of visiting a coffee, wine and chocolate bar called, Oh! Chocolate, after surviving a stressful trip to the grocery store last week. This place is incredible!
Oh! Chocolate is located in Normandy Park at 19865 1st Ave South.  They make their own chocolate on site.  They use Victrola Coffee.  Victrola Coffee Company is located in Capitol Hill.  They have a nice dine in wine bar.  They have a menu of real food so your not stuck with coffee and a muffin from the drive through when your hungry for more.

And the icing on the cake?

I asked the barista if they had lollies for my crying children.  She replied, “No. We give out candy necklaces.”

WHAT!?!?! AWESOME.  No gooey sticky fingered children.  Praise God.

I handed the candy necklaces back to my unsuspecting children and like a really good musical, the birds sang to the rhythm of little kids chomping in delight.  It was too good to be true.

both boys chomping cloes-up of hank close-up of giddo 1 close-up of giddo 2

It gets even better!

I ordered an Americano.  This is my “tester” drink because you can tell a lot about the skill of the barista and the quality of the coffee by how well they make an Americano.  Just espresso and water means they can’t hide burnt shots or crappy coffee beans.

I took a sip and joy pranced across my taste buds.  Little joy ferries flooded my senses.

The service was quick and friendly.  The barista was wearing, get this, CLOTHES!  The candy necklaces were free!  And they handed me a menu to take along so I would know what all they have available.

If you find yourself in Normandy Park, give these guys a try.  They’ll appreciate your patronage as they are a new establishment and you won’t regret it.  I worked in coffee sales and pretty close with our own roaster for a while.  Suffice it to say, I am more than a coffee snob.  I am down right picky.  Not rude but I can smell nasty coffee from a mile away.  Well friends your search is over.  Maybe you need a nice place to get a glass of wine, want homemade chocolates or just want excellent coffee.  At Oh! Chocolate you can have it all.

Happy Momma. :)

Happy Momma. 🙂

I should add, I am not in any way affiliated with Oh! Chocolate (except as a new customer that plans to return.)  I am not being compensated for this review.  These are my honest opinions and observations.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to have such an excellent business near by.  I just can’t say enough good things about them.  Please bless this business.  Amen.

Slip-n-Slide, Imagery Tuesday’s

The sun is out. Imagine somewhere closer to the equator where eggplant and tomatoes grow vigorously with little coaxing.  Summertime is long and hot.  Rays of sunshine dance on the bare backs of small boys while they run through the sprinkler.  The plastic that once covered their mothers’ vegetable bed like a green house, now rests atop the grass folded over to make a long strip.

Run. Jump. Slide!

A little Dawn dish soap does wonders to move you along this homemade slip-n-slide.  The air is calm with a light breeze.  The littlest boy has apparent goose bumps but he doesn’t seem to notice.  If he becomes too cool he can always whisk away to the back deck.  Stained dark, it attracts sunshine and is almost too hot to walk on.  Standing there for a few minutes will surely warm him through.

A little key chain thermometer waits patiently on the deck and after several hours, I remember where I left it.  Looking down I see it reads 115 degrees farenheit, I think to myself, “This cannot be accurate.”

After slipping around and getting thoroughly soaked we decide it is time to go in and dry off.  It’s almost nap time.  Maybe we’ll even sneak in a snack.  With the boys safe inside, I collect the make-shift slip-n-slide and to my surprise the grass beneath is scorched and resembles straw.  Maybe it is rather hot out today.

🙂

As you may be able to tell, I really enjoy the nice days when they come.  Though sometimes few and far between.  I hope y’all had a nice Memorial Day.

In case we get blessed with more sunny days, check out this blog: http://www.howdoesshe.com/host-a-cool-backyard-water-park/

She talks about the home-made slip-n-slide and several other fun water activities you can do at home.

Dear Jesus, thank you for sunny days.  And the tip from a friend to use Dawn soap for our slip-n-slide.  Thank you for blessing our garden.  We have greens coming out of our eyeballs.  Thank you for time together as family.  Amen.

When Couponing Gets Really Fun, Frugal Thursday’s

Every year just before Mothers Day, Food Lifeline distributes sacks in partnership with the local post office.  You may have gotten one last week too.  Until now I have looked at that sack and thought maybe another time.

Well, let me tell you what makes couponing really fun:

Giving Good Brand Name Things Away!

Donation

We have been couponing for about four months now and to my delight we had enough to toss some goodies in that blue sack.  That makes couponing so awesome.  It enables us to have what we need and give to others.  Did you know that God say’s the more we give the more He will give to us?

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 say’s, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all-sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

This is so exciting! 🙂

If you are local then here are a few places you can give:

The Food Lifeline

The Des Moines Food Bank

Or you can always go global!

World Vision Donation Page

Just a heads up if your new to this, they need non-perishable food and personal care items.  Think canned vegetables, soups, cereals, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. And of course, monetary donations are super too!  If you look around and think, “I wonder if I can donate this?” Give the folks at the local food bank a call and ask if they need it.  Chances are they do.

Dear Jesus, I am so thankful.  You have blessed us.  Thank you that I am now able to bless others out of the gifts and treasure you have given us.  You are faithful and mighty.  Thank you for moving my heart.  Amen.

How I Pick 7-10 Meals: Meal Planning with Supercook.com

This post is a piggy-back to yesterday’s post.  I mentioned yesterday that I choose 7-10 meals for a given meal plan.  I don’t sit and flip through endless cookbooks trying to find recipes that call for specific ingredients.  With the internet, there’s no need to do meal planning the slow way.

My favorite meal planning website (click here to see it) allows you to take all the ingredients you have or intend to buy and easily plug them into a list that auto generates recipes.  You scroll through the recipes to pick the ones you like and add them to your on-line recipe box.  There they stay conveniently waiting for you to retrieve whenever you want. 🙂

I love that you can just click ingredients from a box on the right and add them to your on-line pantry.  Then click “show more” and it will give you more ingredients to choose.

What’s more, this site is free!  You don’t even have to register to use it.  I do recommend registering though so you can retrieve saved recipes later.

Dear Jesus, I remember the advent of internet.  My how it has become a way of life.  Thank you for really helpful sites like supercook.com. Amen.

“What if the sex is bad?” & One Odd Way to Prepare Yourself for Marriage.

What if the sex is bad?

Don’t you want to try before you buy?

What if you’re not sexually compatible?

Any abstinent couple has likely heard these questions when dating.  There is an assumption that “taking a test drive” actually prepares you for marital success!  I would have to say that fornication is like practising to water ski with flippers on your feet.  Yes you are holding onto the rope, and your pulled by the boat.  The sun may even be shining.  The only problem is that your practising water skiing completely wrong!

That person isn’t your spouse.  Until they are you cannot be sure they aren’t someone else’s spouse.  You aren’t gaining “experience” your making a mess!  A mess that will have to be cleaned up.  It won’t go away and you’ll likely bring it into your marriage one day.  I’m not saying your condemned but that all things have consequences.

You water ski with flippers, you just might get away with it but sooner or later your going to make a nasty face plant.

So what can you do physically speaking to prepare for marriage?  Well, as a gal myself I only feel appropriate addressing women on this issue.

Unless you are particularly tall, I recommend practising standing on your tip-toes with your eyes shut and not falling over.

Seriously, this is the only physical thing I can think of that with practise will actually benefit you in marriage.

Isn’t that great?  You don’t need a boyfriend to do this.  In fact it is a solo activity that will serve you well one day when you are married.  One day you’ll close your eyes, then up on your toes you’ll gracefully lean in to kiss your husband without falling over.  

Dear Jesus, I love the gifts you have given me, including marriage.  But, I am so grateful that you call us to love you more.  This means married or single, we are never truly alone and our greatest need for companionship is fully met, only in you.  Please fill the hearts of those struggling with sex and give them rest.  I pray that your design for marriage would be honored in our home.  Amen.