Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Things Others Have Taught Us

"The Clearwater family is heading west.  But when Granny and LIttle Critter get thrown from the wagon, they are quickly on their own.  Full of determination and armed with a taste for adventure, the plucky pair set out to find the rest of the Clearwater clan.  On the way they catch an infamous thief, deliver mail on a Pony Express, and pan for gold.  This Wild West tall take is packed with larger-than-life characters and good old swagger!"
-From the inside of the book

Granny Clearwater was very clever and used tips and tricks she'd learned from her family to get them where they needed to be.  I wondered what our kids had learned from their family.

Little Man 

  • Grandaddy taught me how to make train set-ups
  • Grandma taught me how to chew gum
  • Daddy taught me how to use a hammer
  • Mommy taught me how to be the best back rubber
  • Aunt Katie taught me how to write
  • Nanama taught me how to cook
  • Papa taught me how to use a gun
  • Uncle Jason taught me everything about Batman
  • Uncle Matt taught me how to play video games
  • Grandaddy and Grandma taught me how to do flips
  • Nanama taught me how to sing Frere Jacques
  • Papa taught me how to ride in the back of a truck
  • Aunt Teri taught me how to drink water while chewing gum
  • Mommy taught me how to make coffee
  • Daddy taught me how to sip coffee
  • Silas and Ariel taught me how to clean my room

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Welcome Back Daddy!

EDIT:  Turns out we didn't leave early.  His flight was delayed and the kids and I slept in.  We drove to visit my parents since they live a little closer to the airport and we weren't sure exactly what time Chris' flight would arrive.  He didn't get in until about 7pm and the kids didn't want to ride to the airport. He got his signs when he got back to my parents!

The kids and I left early this morning to meet Chris at the airport.  He's had a great time this past week in Manta, Equador and has lots of stories/pictures to share.

It shouldn't be hard for him to find us...we'll be the cute ones with the homemade signs that can hardly contain our excitement that he's back.

His goal was to cover it completely with stickers.  I love the little beach scene he made in the bottom , right corner. 

According to Squirt, that's a picture of my face.  She did everything on her own, except for the purple words. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Lasagna

I love lasagna....really any pasta dish, paired with a salad and bread is A-OK in my book.  Up until this week I've always made it in the crock pot.  This recipe was so easy and delicious I had to share.


  • 8 ounces, weight Cottage Cheese (or substitute whole milk ricotta)
  • 16 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Slice 6 Thin Slices And Then Cut The Rest Into 1/2" Chunks, Divided Use
  • ½ cups Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, Minced (I substituted dry basil...didn't measure, just tossed it in)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Oregano
  • 2 whole Large Handfuls Fresh Spinach (I used a whole bag of frozen, spinach that I thawed and drained)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 jar (32 Oz. Jar) Sauce (I used Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara)
  • 1 package (9 To 10 Oz. Package) No-cook Lasagna Noodles
  • 8 ounces, weight Crimini Mushrooms (I used sliced, baby bellas that were on sale at Aldi)
  • 2 cups Italian turkey sausage, casing removed; meat cooked and drained

  • Directions
    Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
    In a medium mixing bowl combine the ricotta, mozzarella chunks, parmesan, egg, basil, oregano, spinach, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
    Pour a couple of tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ pan. Then place 3 to 4 noodles in a single layer over the sauce. Then spread half the cheese mixture over the noodles as evenly as you can get it. Sprinkle half the mushrooms and half the chicken over the cheese mixture then cover with some more spaghetti sauce. Layer 3 to 4 more noodles over the top and repeat layers, ending with a layer of noodles. Top the final layer of noodles with a little more of the spaghetti sauce and then the fresh mozzarella slices.
    Cover and bake about 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake another 10 minutes just to brown things up a bit, but if you are pressed for time, you could skip this part.
    Remove and let set for about 10 minutes before serving.  Top with fresh parsley.  

    Too Small to Ignore

    I recently finished the book "Too Small to Ignore" by Compassion International president Dr. Wess Stafford.  You've got to read it!

    Towards the end of the book he quotes Francis Xavier: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."  He continues with an incredible example that makes so much sense...

    "When you poke your finger into wet cement, you get instant results.  You don't have to push very hard.  The indentation is there for all to see.  That's what it is like to bring the imprint of Jesus to a child's soul.  

    Later on, as the cement begins to set up, you have to push harder to make an impression.  So it is with ministry to teenagers and college students.  The fact of their unique culture creates greater resistance.

    When it comes to full-scale adults, the concrete has become like rock.  If you want to reshape the spirit at this point, you need a hammer and a chisel.

    This is why is makes good strategic sense to concentrate our efforts on the most receptive stages of life - the early ones.  Otherwise, we'll miss the golden opportunities."

    The most important focus of my efforts as a mama (along with the help of their daddy) is to imprint Jesus in their lives.  I desperately want them to see Jesus, to love Jesus, to know that He loves them.  At 6 and 3 they're still in the "easy to leave a mark" stage but time is all to quickly moving along.

    A few weeks ago my husband preached about Ascending the Hill - The Battle for Family at Kinetic Church.  He used Deuteronomy 6:4-9.  We're commanded here to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and strength...to keep that always on our hearts, to impress it on our children, to talk about it at home, when walking, when lying down and when getting up.  That's a huge responsibility but oh so important.

    I will invest in my kids.
    I will pray for them.  
    I will teach them.
    I will be patient with them.
    I will dance silly dances and sing silly songs with them.
    I will listen to them.
    I will snuggle with them.
    I will encourage them.
    I will let them know that they are important and that God has created them for a unique purpose.

    Join me?

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    New Friends

    The kids and I spent this rainy afternoon at our local library (super close to our home).  Squirt is our social child these days and is very interested in other people...especially those her age.  Thanks to her I met a new friend who works part time and stays home with her 2 girls (one who shares the same name as Squirt!) the other part.  She's involved in the local MOPS group and has lived in the area a couple of years.

    In other news....the three of us have survived a week without daddy home!  We're excited that we have one more day before our home is complete again.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    Little Explorers

    The kids and I went exploring this afternoon and ended up at Carolina Beach State Park.  We stopped by the visitors center first where we met one of the park rangers and he gave us the 411 on the park.  Sea turtle shows, snake exhibits, nature trails, fishing, boating, camping - Little Man could hardly contain his excitement!

    Showing off their ranger stickers.
    Both kids were really interested in the hands-on exhibit/education area.  They matched animals to their habitats, pretended to be an insect avoiding prey while flying around the water, captured a stuffed fly with a venus flytrap puppet and read/looked at information on several native carnivorous plants.  

    Thankfully we had Little Man's binoculars and compass/whistle tool in the car.  He was disappointed he didn't have his belt to hook it all to.  

    We decided to walk the Flytrap-Trail in search of venus flytraps.  On the way we saw a deer grazing in the woods.  We were unsuccessful in the flytrap hunt Little Man did point out 2 other carnivorous plants - the pitcher plant and the butterwort.  

    We hope to catch one of the ranger lead hikes around the Flytrap-Trail.  The ranger we met today mentioned that they were tough fellas to scout if your eye wasn't trained.  We're also excited about taking our camping gear out one night once the weather cools a bit.  And...Little Man made note for grandaddy that the boat ramp area was really nice - they even have gas!  

    On the way home I overheard Little Man saying he was carnivorous and his sister was an omnivore because she likes vegetables and meat.  


    Chris and I grew up in the same small town.  We know lots of the same people from back home.  We first met as kids in a high school geometry class.  Almost 10 years, 7 moves, 2 kids and 4 church families later we find ourselves in yet another new spot.  I'm so glad we're doing this together.

    This week Chris is in Equador with Stadia and Compassion International.  We were able to talk tonight thanks to facetime and mentioned how cool it was that we could talk and see each other while being on 2 different continents.  I was immediately reminded of how difficult it was back in 2001 for us to talk while he was away at college.  My how times have changed!  

    The kids started school today.  
    Little Man is in first grade. We're using Confessions of a Homeschooler's Expedition Earth this year and are very excited about it! She's actually doing a giveaway this week and you could win your own!  We'll also be working through the Red Learning Language Arts Through Literature book.  For Math we'll continue with the McGraw-Hill first grade books we got from a friend whose school was throwing them out.  We'll practice handwriting using a mixture of weekly word lists, a handwriting workbook from BJU given to us by a veteran homeschooler and occasional creative writing prompts.  We'll be incorporating science throughout but aren't using any particular curriculum.  So far I have plans to study space, the human body, and simple tools.  We may also do some of the experiments in this free e-book.  We'll also have calendar time each day as well as Bible reading.  I'm sure there will be lots of library trips for this book loving family too.  Other trips will probably be the planetarium, the aquarium, the museum of life and science and the children's museum.  

    Squirt will be doing preschool.  We will be working on letter recognition because she seems very interested in it.  We'll also be using different resources from our Smart Start Resource Center to play and learn.  Today we checked out one about the beach!  She'll also do a lot of coloring, cutting, gluing and playing.

    Tonight I made lasagna and had a few girlfriends come over to share.  I learned that a childhood friend lives just around the corner and she has kids close to Little Mans age.    We've finally begun to settle into somewhat of a normal life routine and that makes me happy.  We are home.  We are together.  Life is good.