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Saturday, July 26, 2014

When Church attendence seems like an episode of Survivor

Keeping three small children quiet and obedient during church is a daunting task!  Getting them ready for church on a school night, feeding them, getting to church on time is even more daunting!

In our first year back to Maryland, we resolved to attend Sunday morning church service and that is basically all we managed. We had good intentions for Sunday night and Wednesday night but frankly speaking, the amount of energy it takes to get 3 kids ready for church on a school night and keep them up past their bedtime was simply too overwhelming. 

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with two of my childhood friends who are sweethearts and had children 20 years ago so they've already been through this.  They encouraged us to persevere for these reasons:
  1. Consistent and regular attendance shows your children this is important.
  2. The effort is worth it in terms of meeting with other Christians mid-week and getting that spiritual boost that comes from fellowship.
  3. It becomes easier over time.
So with year two in Maryland, I'm resolved to attend Wednesday nights for these reasons:
  1. They have children's church on Wednesday night so I can dispose of the 2 oldest for 1.5 hours!  Violette will probably stay with us until she's 3 but that's only one more year.
  2. We did one Wednesday night recently and despite having Violette cry all day from shots and a bee sting and worrying about how she'd do - she simply fell asleep in church and we had a most enjoyable evening!  This just goes to show most of the anxiety pre-church is just worries for nothing.  Doesn't Philippians 4:6 say "Do not be anxious about anything"?  Maybe it's time to put this to use and see what Wednesday church can do for our family.
So there, it's in writing!  Now we must make it happen!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thank you Food Lion clerk, for showing me what a great family I have!

This week at the grocery store I used my debit card only to have it immediately declined.  "Oh dear", I told the clerk, "I had to report that stolen last night.  Let me use another card."

She quickly listed the many ways she protects her funds including a receipt email for every purchase because you never know when someone might "borrow" your card and bring it back without you knowing it.  I must have looked confused because she added, "brothers, they've been stealing from me since I was old enough to get birthday cards".

Wait, what?!?  Your brothers STOLE from you and still do on a regular basis?  What kind of crazy family did you grow up in?!?

I grew up with two brothers and both are meticulous and honorable with money.  We were so respectful of each other's piggy banks that we wouldn't even dream of taking from each other or our mom's wallet. 

Unbelievable, yet another persons reality.  So thankful for my smart honest brothers!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A tale of "Unintentional Gardening" and Acorn Squash Bread

In the spring I made a batch of acorn squash bread and in thinking the seeds might be a good add for our summer garden, I left them out to dry.  After a few weeks they looked moldy so I threw them into the compost bucket because my husband declared that any seeds would be destroyed by the intense heat created inside the compost bin! 

The below photo is our compost dumping zone.  Apparently squash LOVES compost!  So much that they've grown, thrived and completely taken over the compost zone so that we've had to start a 2nd compost location!

We call ourselves "Unintentional Gardeners" of squash and next year Mike plans to build a trellis so the squash has a place to travel because it's quite a space hog - you can see it's literally spilling over the sides!  

I may have picked it a bit early, the inside was more yellow than I'm used to seeing and the seeds were quite soft so we will let the remaining squash stay on the vine for a few more weeks. 

Now for the amazing bread!  First I slice the squash in half and bake for 1 hour at 350, bottom down so it can steam itself.  Second I puree the squash about one hour after it's cooled.  Third, make bread!

I used this recipe for "Whole Wheat Applesauce Loaf Cake" from "Eat, Live, Run" and substituted the applesauce for pureed acorn squash.  I find that squash has far less juice than applesauce so the mixture was too stiff.  I added 1/4 cup of buttermilk and it was perfect.

This bread is amazing.  It's got a hard outer shell and soft chewable bread on the inside.  The flavor is so mild and yummy!  I love it! 

Now what am I going to do with the 50+ squash growing in my compost zone?!?  Recipes welcome!  Donations of squash will be granted, first come first served!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Introducing our very own canoe!

Our last family canoe ride was February 5, 2012 where Sam fell into the water.  Prior to that was May 31, 2011 - that one stands out as the most horrific ride EVER thanks to a hot day and miserable kids.  So what could have caused my husband to have obsessed over canoe's for the past two years to get our very own? 
Let's see, prior to children and blogging, we had some good times canoeing with our dear friends Brett & Shelly.  The first time was in the Everglades where we nearly paddled straight into a nest of three of the biggest alligators I've ever seen in my life!  After that, husband and I took several vacations in the Keys and west side of Florida and every single time rented kayaks or canoe's so I guess you could say the fondness was built up before children arrived with attitudes and opinions! 
We did get quite tired of having to pay rental fees every time, maybe that was also the spur that drove husband to troll Craig's listings for two years straight. 
Regardless - we are now the proud owners of our very own canoe!  We took it out for an inaugural ride and since Charlotte is still in Texas, it was just the two younger ones.  After a few initial mishaps like Sam trying to get into the boat while it's still on dry land and knocking Violette down in the process, we all managed to have a very good time.  No one cried!  We stayed out for almost 2 hours, ate snacks, I paddled the entire ride which is a good sign that children were not demanding my attention and no one fell in!