Saturday, March 30, 2013

{Easter Happiness}

Oh, the baking, pinata making and egg dyeing going on over here today!

We've made a pinata for Easter ever since I was little, and I suppose I took it for granted and never explained to my own kids why we do it. Aidan walked by the pinata-in-the-making the other evening and said, "Whoa! For a minute I thought that was a huge egg!" I paused, furrowed the brow and explained that that's exactly what it's supposed to be.

One by one, as the kids entered the room I questioned (with some trepidation), "So . . . you know that this is supposed to be an egg, right?" And, one by one, the light dawned. I have since learned that it's a good rule of thumb to not assume things when it comes to children.

(I'll admit I was a bit miffed as we Skyped with my brother and three-year-old niece this morning. She saw the pinata and said, "Look at that egg!" Stinker.) 

The Easter bread is rising (another growing up favorite from my "Auntie" Marlene), and we thought we'd dye our eggs a little differently this year. I followed the directions as shared over here, and we had a lot of fun with the whimsical botanical patterns.

Today the sun is shining, the sky overhead is as blue as a robin's egg and the finches and chickadees are trying to outdo each other in their merry chatter.

But -- most joyous of all -- today I know that my Redeemer liveth. May you know that joy today, too. Happy Easter, dear ones!
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Monday, March 25, 2013

{Lessons from Sunday School}

Aidan was very impressed with Sunday School this week. This was due mostly to the fact that the Bible story was acted out in class by "LEGO dudes." (His term.) What a great teacher.

Inspired, Aidan asked if he could recreate the Palm Sunday scene for me. With LEGO dudes.

They happened to be Star Wars figures, which made for an interesting triumphal entry.

Jesus (who bore a remarkable resemblance to Luke Skywalker) came into Jerusalem on the donkey, overturned the tables in the temple, healed a blind man, and endured some grumbling from the corner of the high priest (who bore a remarkable resemblance to Darth Vader.)

Apparently Aidan plans to continue this form of storytelling. This evening while cleaning up, he designated a whole box to be devoted to the amusement.

Little Miss was also very impressed with Sunday School this week. She's casually dropped the name of a certain boy a few times today.

She even devoted a portion of her evening to writing a play in which she is the princess and he is the prince.

This is alarming because:

1. My seven-year-old isn't supposed to know that boys exist.
2. She should be thinking only about the Bible in Sunday School. That's all. Period. Amen.
3. It's possible that she's already met her future husband. I had.

Tonight, after reading me her play thus far, Little Miss attempted to calm my fears with a reassuring sketch of this boy's character: "Don't worry, Mom. He's one of those boys who pays attention in class."

Why can't we just stick with LEGOs?   
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Saturday, March 23, 2013


I realize that my title may suggest that I've done something new to my hair. This is not true. (Although I'm starting to come to grips with the fact that it's just about time to take on the sneaky grey in a pretty serious fashion. I'm thinking caramel.)

Really I'm thinking along the lines of the week's highlights. Which were not caramel. But colorful, nonetheless.

The first highlight comes in the form of a lovely bouquet of pink flowers. Last week while checking out at Trader Joe's, an Irish tune started to play on the radio. How fun. St. Patrick's Day and all. Then it got personal. The checker, usually rather taciturn, suddenly piped up, "I'll give you a free reusable bag and a bouquet of flowers if you dance an Irish jig!"

I was taken aback. I hedged about the issue, eager to bolt. As he pulled off my receipt, he gave me a final challenge. "C'mon! Don't be shy!" I thought about the truth of the matter. I am shy. Which is why I now have a free bag and bouquet of flowers. Sometimes shy people just need to suck it up and dance a jig.

The next color is sage, represented by my teacup. We've been without a microwave for a while now, and it's actually working out just fine. Every time we think about replacing it we realize that it hasn't been too tricky to live without one. We kind of like it. I've discovered that butter can be softened for cookie making purposes by sticking it in a plastic Zip-loc bag and smacking it with a rolling pin. This is fun.

I've also discovered that drinks can be reheated using a double boiler method. This is effective but cumbersome. So I've been on the lookout for a candle warmer. Last week I found this candle-thingy which, now that I think about it, looks rather precarious. But. It heats up a cup (or a pot) of tea quite nicely, and it's much more quiet than a microwave.

Highlight number three is red, yellow and blue (and fuzzy). We celebrated Jamie's birthday this week, and I came across this picture from our beloved high school days. We were dressed as Jack and Jill (note the broken crown) for a church carnival. He was a good, good boyfriend to not run away from the many dress-up opportunities I so eagerly embraced. Oh, the pictures I could show you.

The kids celebrated him with many coupons and hugs and giggles, which is just the way he likes it.

My fourth highlight is brown. (And red. But that's gross.) This would be the salamander that I found in my washing machine on Thursday. After I had run the cycle. The kids had scooped up the outside towels from drying off the trampoline, and I'm assuming that he innocently wriggled his way into the pile. He became very clean. So clean that he died. I am extremely grateful that he was not washed and dried. It still gives me the creeps to think about it. I do not have a picture to show you. You'll have to take my word for it.

My fifth highlight is actually a real highlight color: a lovely gold. These muffins will be my undoing, I tell you. This morning after dropping off Drew at the church for a youth project, I suddenly needed French Breakfast Puffs. So I made them. (And will have to walk miles to pay for it.)

Little Miss was very eager to help, and hoped to be the one to remove them from the oven. "Can I take them out? I've had lots of experience." I was curious what "lots of experience" looks like in the mind of a seven-year-old. She defended her position. "I can prove it. One time when I was four." Well then. She removed those muffins. And did a mighty fine job, I might add.

She also rolled them in the butter . . . and the cinnamon and sugar. And then we devoured them.

Which is why I must now walk for miles. And so I bid you adieu, hoping that your weekend, too, is filled with a rainbow of memorable highlights. 

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Monday, March 18, 2013

{Happy Bookmarks}

Because we usually have books strewn about the house, we also usually have bookmarks strewn about. I use the term "bookmark" loosely. Anything that marks the place will do, as long as the book isn't left open, face down, squishing the poor binding. (Anathema.)

A receipt. An envelope. A gum wrapper. They all do nicely. Bethie's favorite way to mark her place is by using a postcard. I have a two-inch stack of old postcards ("old" as in from the 60s) that she has confiscated and uses liberally. I like to think she's also learning a bit about geography as she flips through various antiquated shots of San Francisco, Mt. Rainier and the Redwood Forest while reading Nancy Drew

One of my favorite ways to mark a book is by using apparel tags. Some of them are so very pretty. Have you noticed? It seems a shame to toss them. I feel so very frugal when I tuck them between the pages of my latest read. And they're nice and durable, too.

I've now gotten my kids on board, and they're quick to set aside promising bookmarks. Especially Aidan.Which can lead to interesting results.

Heidi, anyone?

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

{Star Wars and Sunshine}

He wanted a Star Wars party with his friends. I said yes. He began to list (in great detail) the many light saber games and duels he planned to stage. I started to pray for sunshine. We both got what we wanted.

Friends, let me tell you something. The Lord cares about the small details in our lives. As we prepared for the party, I prayed that it would be special for Aidan and special for his friends. We pulled our ideas together, and Aidan wrote plans and "bulletins" like crazy (he wanted to hand out programs).  But I still wasn't sure what to do about party favors. I searched Pinterest for ideas and quickly ruled out the option which involved the mother dressing up as Princess Leia. I saw something about using swim noodles as light sabers, but they looked too floppy and I wasn't sure how they would work.

Well. Two days before the party, I had an hour to zip into Fred Meyer and come up with something. I prayed. Often when I go shopping I pray for wisdom and decisiveness (I desperately need both). This time I prayed that a really fun idea would pop into view. And fast. Almost immediately, I saw the noodles. I pulled out a lime green tube and the wheels began to turn. We could cut them in half. And decorate them with duct tape. Boys love duct tape. Voila! A craft and party favor in one. Thank you Lord.

The day dawned beautifully, and Aidan's eyes shined the entire time. The light saber creations and ensuing battles and games were a hit (literally), and I was extremely thankful that Jamie had a few youth group game ideas up his sleeve that could be turned into Jedi training experiences. We weren't wanting for diversions, that's for sure.

As Aidan finally bid his friends goodbye, I again thanked God for the day He orchestrated and for the boy we celebrated. From the friendships and sunshine right down to the "bulletins" that Daddy helped print and the lime green noodles that became super fun light sabers, the Force certainly was with us. And I didn't even have to dress up like Princess Leia.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

{Double Digits}

I didn't think he'd ever fall asleep last night. Way too much excitement. But he finally did, and I was at last able to tip-toe into his room to leave a "pillow present" for my almost ten-year-old.

A note slipped under our door this morning (much too early, I might add) confirmed that he not only received the gift, but that he loved it. Such a simple note, but I love what it captures about our Aidan: his spontaneous heart of gratitude, the joy he finds in simplicity, and a bit o' wit to boot.

Last night, as he fidgeted and squirmed in anticipation of the big day, he reminded us every few minutes that this was his last such-and-such as a nine-year-old. His last dinner. His last bite of dinner. His last good night. And his last bedtime blessing. Then, as I blessed my still nine-year-old, he, in his sweet, comical wisdom advised me, "Savor the moment, Mom!" And so I did:

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. 
The Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace.

This morning as I looked through the birthday pictures, Phil Wickham's Beautiful started to play in the background. Tears threatened. I thought of the beauty that it is to raise a child. The beauty that it is to be loved by a child. And the beauty in knowing that it's happening. Right now.

Once again, I find myself heeding my son's advice: Savor the moment, Mom.
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

{A Student Have I . . .}


A student have I named Miss Kate,
Whose outfits are always first rate:
Heels and a hat,
Then paint ("I'm a bat");
I tell you, my job is so great.

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Monday, March 4, 2013


When Drew was little he had a fun set of Winnie the Pooh books. One of our favorites was Winnie-the-Pooh's Opposites. We loved it mostly because of the way Drew pronounced opposites: oppinsince. We still pronounce it this way.

I got to thinking about this word when popping a bit of chocolate into my mouth this afternoon. As I'm prone to do. (The chocolate-popping part, not so much the thinking part.) I was looking at the orderly chocolate squares in my Swiss bar with their pretty little floral prints and still wondering over my reaction just the night before.

Jamie and I had been sharing the bar, and I was taking great pains to make sure that every square was broken right along the lines. Because it tastes better that way.

I was quite pleased with myself when I successfully broke off two perfectly shaped squares. Jamie had no idea that I relished such pleasures. After we had polished off the first two squares, he absently reached toward the bar and snapped off a piece. A jagged piece.

I think I might have yelped.

My eyes widened and I was quite literally speechless. I stammered and gurgled unintelligibly, and he finally caught on. "Oh. I did it wrong, didn't I?" I mutely nodded. He apologized and we both started laughing -- he because it had actually made me speechless, and I because I was so silly to be affected by an imperfect piece of chocolate.

So this afternoon I naturally felt it to be my bounden duty to straighten out all of those jagged edges. Which just made me love him even more. I guess it's true what they say: Oppinsince attract.
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