Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Thrill Of Hope

My favorite hymn sums up the hope of the birth of Jesus Christ:

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angels voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

May you have a blessed Christmas celebrating our Savior's birth!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cookie Goodness

I recently found this GF, EF, CF roll-out cookie recipe through "Living Without". For us, this is huge because there aren't too many holiday type cookies that the kids can enjoy. So, a few days ago we decided to give these a whirl. Above are the cookies the kids decorated... and they didn't taste too darn bad!

Here are my little helpers!

....and enjoying the final result. Mmmmm!
For anyone interested (cause I know finding GF, EG, CF recipes can be a bear) here is the recipe:

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies
Makes 16 Cookies

¼ cup butter, canola oil spread or oleo,
at room temperature (We used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup white rice flour
3 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water or more (we used 4 Tbsp rice milk. Hemp milk would work well too!)

  1. In a food processor, combine the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and lemon peel and process for one minute.
  2. Add the flours, potato starch, tapioca flour/starch, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda, blending until mixture forms large clumps. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula and blend until the mixture forms into a ball. (If needed, add more water, a tablespoon at a time.) Remove dough and shape it into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with baking spray or line it with parchment paper or non-stick baking liners.
  4. Using half the dough at a time, roll dough out to ¼-inch thickness between sheets of floured waxed paper or plastic wrap. Keep remaining dough chilled until ready to use.
  5. Cut rolled dough into desired shapes and place cookies on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Switch pan position half-way through baking for even heat distribution. Remove cookies from oven and wait two minutes before transferring to rack to cool.
  7. When cool, decorate cookies with your favorite gluten-free icing and colored sprinkles.

For Spice Cookies, add ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves. Bake as directed.

This recipe by Carol Fenster, Ph.D., was featured in the Fall 1998 issue of Living Without magazine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Frosty Trees

(hmm... can't get the photo to line up right...)

Aren't these beautiful?! I would love to collect a small forest of these! Head on over to Wisteria to see more beautiful decorations.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Updated Pictures

Here are a few updated pictures of Lucas. Somehow there are no new ones of Lydia. Sorry sweetie!

Lucas is showing me a slug he found on a leaf and below is a picture of the cute little thing. I tried to research "slugs" on the internet so we could learn about them together, but Lucas lasted all of three minutes. They must not be that interesting after all.
Lucas is holding an apple turkey he made at school. It was so cute. Look closely and you can see they stuck toothpicks into the turkey and slipped on Fruit Loops. The kept the cereal in place with marshmallows. And you can see they used a marshmallow and candy corn for the head. It was super cute!

The above and below picture are hats that Lucas made in school to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Friday, December 19, 2008


This poor neglected blog! I've been wanting to post, but I've been busy creating! I will post the things I have been working on some day soon.

It doesn't feel much like Christmas this year. My in-laws have their tree up, but since we aren't in our own home it just feels different. I haven't really stuck to our traditions, so I think that makes a big difference. But at least we have a place to lay our head. And as a friend of mine pointed out, it doesn't matter where we celebrate Christmas. What matters is that we are all together. So true. I am so thankful for our little ones and for my wonderful husband.

My sweet, dear husband asked me if it would be okay if he swept out a little place in our basement for us to celebrate Christmas morning together- just the four of us. Would it be okay? Of course! He was afraid I would think it was corny. I couldn't think of anything sweeter.

The house is still coming along. We have almost every room painted and waiting for trim to go up and then spray painted. Then the last coat of paint can go on. The tile is starting to go down and I LOVE my kitchen tile..... so excited to see the final result! Then the bathrooms and kitchen can be installed. I have big hopes to be in by the end of January. Oh please, please, please!!!!

I have to share a few funny things Lucas has done recently (at least it made me laugh). Last week he meant to say "Oh shoot!" and "Oh dear!" at the same time, but it came out "Oh Smear!" So now that is the new family word! If I can catch him on video I will post it because the way he says it is hilarious. And then tonight, I was getting ready to tuck him into bed when he smacked me on the rump and proclaimed, "You have a big butt and it made a loud noise!" Children!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Snow!

Today is our first snow! It was a hectic morning of cranky kids. Nothing I did seemed to pacify them. But now... all is quiet. I'm curled up on my bed drinking hot cocoa. My thoughts are lost among the mesmerizing snowflakes. I'm so grateful for a few minutes to unwind!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Adorable and Affordable

Yes, this is a shameless plug for Sycamore Lane, the Etsy site that my sister and I created. Unfortunately, my sister is doing all the work listing her adorable creations. One of these days I vow to list some of my own. In the meantime, check out the adorable barrette Lydia is modeling. Very cute! And I must say I have always loved the crocheted hats she has made for each of my kids when they were born. They are so soft and different from what you can find in the store. Go check out her listings!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birthday Girl!

Yesterday was Lydia's birthday. It was a beautiful sunny day! Probably the last of it's kind for this year. We were really busy finishing up yard work so we wouldn't have to worry about the rain that was forcasted today. But she and daddy sneaked away for a little one-on-one time at a local park.

I made her homemade pizza and we gave her a few small gifts- one of which was a little stuffed kitty she spotted in Jo-Ann Fabrics. She cried so hard when I told her we weren't going to buy it that I had to sneak back a few days later to give that little kitty a home.

We officially celebrated her big day this evening. We had a fun gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free menu planned for tonight. On the menu:

Roasted Tomato Soup
Sweet Potato Cornbread
Potato Wedges
Maple Frosted Pumpkin Cupcakes
(all recipes or adaptations from The Gluten Free Goddess!)

Here is her cake combining two of her favorite things: dogs and jelly beans!

And here is the birthday girl: (a few pics to reminisce her 1st year since I didn't have a blog at the time...)

Our little sis at 3 weeks...

...and 2 years later!
Little Lyds,

Oh how we love you! You have brought so much joy to our hearts. Your smile and laughter are contagious and even your temper tantrums have a strange way of making me laugh to myself. I'm so thankful to God for the 2 years we have been given to cuddle you, play with you and watch you grow. Your love for animals is precious and I love to see your face light up when you see something furry pass by. You are such a blessing to our family and we look forward to the days ahead! We love you, sweetie!

Monday, November 3, 2008

That's Very Bad!

Yesterday was a gorgeous day! Spectacular! It was warm and sunny and the smell of autumn was in the air. Brian was scheduled to be gone all day so the kids and I went to a local nature reserve to go hiking. They did really well, but after 45 minutes they decided they'd rather watch "Monster, Inc". Not me! I wanted to keep going! It really brought out my crazed desire to go trail running like I use to a few years ago! I do miss it so much this time of year!

After lunch I laid Lydia down for a nap and Lucas and I went to our house to finish up some yard work. I began trimming an overgrown climbing rose bush. All was going well until I tried to break off a large dead branch about 2 inches in diameter. I figured if I pushed it down far enough it would just snap off. Not so! The other part of the branch I was holding onto snapped off and the remaining portion came flying up from 4 feet down and blasted me in the eye. It almost knocked me out! I'm sure to an observer it might have been slightly comical. I was stumbling all over the side yard convincing myself I was going to be alright. I was afraid to move my hands for what I might find... would my eye be intact? Thank goodness... no blood. Just one big bruise to the outer side of my eyebrow and a very sore eyeball. Thank goodness it wasn't worse, but I should've stopped and gone home... but NO... Marisa must press on.

Oh, how I wish I had called to quits! The next hour and a half was uneventful and I had great hopes of finishing up all my yard work. Lucas and I were pushing along at a great pace. I was clipping away at a withered peony and he was cheering me on. Then he reached down to help just as I was clipping some stems... and yup, his thumb was in there too! I was horrified! I praise God because although he didn't cry out something (well, the Lord) told me to stop immediately and let go of the handles. It is a miracle I did not cut his little thumb off. He was bleeding quite badly (I'm talking a steady trickle!), so I whipped off his sweatshirt and held pressure. Brian's dad drove us to Children's Urgent Care so I could continue holding pressure and by then Lucas was crying great big sobs! I felt SOOOOO bad! Luckily, if we keep his thumb splinted straight for a week the skin should heal together without any stitches. Thank goodness!

Throughout the evening Lucas reminded me very sternly, "Mommy, you cut my thumb. That's very bad! Don't do it again!" In fact those were his last words to me as I tucked him into bed. Ouch! I had just stopped getting teary eyed over the whole thing! I guess I have a lot of making up to do!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Dressed Up

Well, below are the kids in their costumes. We didn't go trick-or-treating because of the kids food allergies. I felt like it was pointless and cruel for them to collect candy (for me) when I would have to take a majority of it away (for me). We did do an outreach activity with our house church so we dressed them up for that and they had a good time.

They have had these adorable masks since last year, but they developed a nasty bout of croup, so we didn't get to use them. This year we were able to put them to good use (at least with Lucas anyway). This is the costume I quickly threw together the day before his party. Inexpensive brown sweats and long sleeve t-shirt from WalMart and a little left over fleece from last year's costume/pajamas made for an easy outfit.


Lydia didn't really care for her headband at all. She looks thrilled! On the other hand, she loved Lucas' mask and had a ball pretending to be a crazed horseman! Notice the mask is on upside down!

They were so cute! Now on to thinking about a new Halloween tradition that doesn't include chocolate, peanuts and red dye!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fun and Games: Halloween Bowling

I put this game together for Lucas' class Halloween party. Not an original, but fun, nonetheless. I drafted the characters I wanted to use to represent Halloween on blank paper. Then I used my pattern as a template to cut out two of each shape from felt. I designed their faces using a combination of felt, floss, buttons and fabric glue. To make them a little more sturdy I sewed the second piece of felt to the back of each one.

Once my characters were finished I applied peel-n-stick velcro to the back of the felt and then to the back of plain white cups found at the dollar store.

Our bowling ball was a tiny baking pumpkin I found at Kroger. It was the perfect shape and size so it rolled really well for the kids. I hope they enjoyed it!

Overall cost: felt- $1.20
6 white cups- $2.00
Buttons and floss- $1.50
Baking pumpkin- $2.00
Sticky velcro- $2.00 (?)
Time- 3 hours

Not too bad for a game that we can use over and over... and it would be easy to make more felt characters to match what the kids are enjoying at the time or to match the current holiday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Are You Kreativ?

According to my dear sister, Jenn, I am! I think she fudged this one a little for me. I am not nearly as creative as others when it comes to my blog. In fact, it's often a rarity for me to get more than 4 posts done in one month. My creativity lies in my crazed passion of sewing and creating little crafty projects. Unfortunately, most of those ideas stay trapped in my head just waiting for a few quiet hours so they can spill out onto paper. But, regardless, this award I will gladly accept!


The plan for this award calls for a listing of seven items under each heading. Like my sister, I'm going to keep it simple with one answer under each heading. It will make it easier on all us busy ladies!

1. What I Did Before: Was there a "before"?! Let's see... I worked full time as an RN in a surgical center in pre-op and recovery room. I would run almost every afternoon and even achieved a dream of mine- to run a marathon in under 4 hours.

2. What I Do Now: I still work 2 days a week at the same surgery center (nearly 9 years now!). I have fought and begged and dreamed my way out of working there, but I have decided that the Lord must have me there for a reason, because I just can't get away! But more importantly, on my days off I chase after my two crazy kiddos, loving them and thanking God that I do have at least 5 out of the 7 days to invest in their little lives. And maybe someday I'll get back into running.

3. What I'd Like To Do? I would love, love, love to spend a whole weekend catching up on my sewing projects while drinking great coffee and listening to classical music.

4. What Attracts Me To My Husband? He's not afraid to chase his dreams... or be goofy. He has a tender heart that desires to do right... and he lets me put my ice cold feet on his toast-o-matic legs when we go to bed at night!

5. Favorite Food: I have a serious problem with coffee and chocolate- but mostly coffee! And inevitably when winter rolls around you can add peppermint to that list!

6. What I Say Most Often: Well, with a 3 1/2 yr old and a nearly 2 yr old... it has to be "No!", "Stop" or "Come back here!". Seriously, though I probably say something like "Oh goodness!" or "Gracious!" most often. I know, I know... I really need to work on my potty mouth!

7. Pick Seven Other Bloggers: Well, I'm not sure I even have 7 people who follow this blog so I will pick a few who do and then fill in the rest with well deserving bloggers....

1. Amber at Mama Loves A Deal and 2.)Kate at Fell In Love At 22 are two wonderful women who have a lot in common (hope you girls don't mind I paired you together). Collectively they are they best bargain hunting duo I have ever met! These ladies have beautifully and creatively decorated their homes on a budget. They are inspiring. They each also have a separate blog detailing the journey of their adoption. Check out the exciting details of God's handiwork in bringing home two new little ones!

3. Stacie at Musing From Inside the Hobbit Door is a creative cook. The girl is not afraid of the kitchen! She is always trying something new or exotic. Recently she baked 7 loaves of various types of bread, 2 pizzas, and 10 caramel rolls. Dare I say she's nesting? Check out her beautiful loaf of Challah bread.

4. Brandy at Punkin and Peanut has the creative bug! Check out her blog page... so cute. I love the header! She always has a project for improving her home up her sleeve. And she tells of everyday life with hilarity!

5. Jenny at The Crew is a great story-teller! I love to listen to her recount events in her life. She can take any situation and make me laugh!

6. Lisa at The Journey Of a Superhero Mom is someone I've never had the pleasure of meeting in person. Her blog is inspiring. She has great insight and does a wonderful job of incorporating Jesus into everyday moments.

7. Lindsey at Imperfect is one creative momma! I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, but she deserves to be awarded anyway! Take a look at her store, The Pleated Poppy. She makes some pretty cute stuff!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fun Giveaway!

Check out this cute Etsy shop and this great giveaway from Frugal Mom! They have had great giveaway prizes all week. Come check out a great blog and join in the fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cute Sayings Remembered!

I love the way my kids say things! You may not find these as endearing, but they made me chuckle:

Old Navy= Old Lady

Chic-Fil-A= Chic-to-Pay (Lucas' way to say we're "going Dutch"?)

Probiotics= Poke-an-Ox
(started the kids on Probiotics because of their allergies and some intestinal issues... still waiting to see if we notice a difference)

It's always something new...that's just one thing I love about being a mom!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plodding Along...

***After posting the following I realized it may sound like "whoa-is-me". That is not my intention- just sharing the facts. And finding humor in our situation, especially my attempt to get in shape***

Hello! It's me again... is it October already? I have not forgotten my blog... it's just my "free" time is a little limited these days. I find that while living with my in-laws I tend to have to keep a closer eye on the kids- not that I let them run willy-nilly when we were in our own home- but I don't want my mother-in-law to feel like she's responsible or a built in babysitter. Things are not quite as "baby" proofed as they were in our own home.

Luckily, on the days when Lucas does nap I can still get Lydia to nap at the same time. During those moments, I get busy doing things I can't do while they are awake... like mowing our lawn, cleaning out our flower beds, paying bills, grocery shopping, etc. I even tried to get back into running. Last Saturday afternoon I ran for 30 minutes. It was a struggle, but I felt fairly good once I was done... until I woke up on Sunday. It hurt to move my legs for 4 days. Forgot I'm not in my 20's anymore.

The deadline on moving into our house keeps stretching out. I am praying we will be in our place by Christmas. Truly, that would be the BEST Christmas gift I could receive...ever. In the meantime, we just keep plodding along trying to get as much done as we can. I know it will be worth it! And I have to say I think living with my in-laws has improved my relationship with Brian's mom. I think we have a new understanding and appreciation for one another. So, living under the same roof has brought some unexpected blessings.

Well, I was going to post some cute things the kids have said lately, but they've completely left my mind. Time to go get the kids up anyway! Perhaps next time!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

There He Goes... (and I survived!)

Today was Lucas' 1st day of preschool! He was excited about taking Dixie cups as part of his classroom supplies. I, on the other hand, was so nervous waiting for the bus to come pick him up this morning! I wasn't sure how he would react to riding the bus without Brian or me. Over the past few weeks I tried to build the excitement for him. We talked about how the bus would be for only he and his friends to ride and that mommy's and daddy's couldn't ride the bus. It seemed to work. He looked a little apprehensive as I led him to the end of the driveway, his little hands closed in tight fists. But then a grandmotherly looking woman popped off the bus and greeted him, "Hi Lucas!" Up the steps he climbed without looking back. A minute or two later we saw his little hand waving goodbye. It was so hard to see him go! I shed a few tears, but then Lydia and I went shopping to buy her a new pair of shoes. A fun distraction! So, one day down, 200- something to go! Here's my cutie:

Waiting for the bus in new shoes and a new (huge) backpack.

Still waiting...

and waiting...

and there he goes!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys?

I took the kids to the park today. Lucas loves to pick up sticks and bang on the equipment. There are so many different noises to hear, and let's face it, the boy loves to drum! So, I was observing all the other moms telling their boys to "put the sticks down" and "don't pick up that stick!" I'm not always the most confident in being a parent... not sure why, so I kept struggling with myself about if I should conform to the other moms' desires. But I feel boys like sticks and it's okay to let them play with them. Now, if he's about to harm another kid or running with a stick that's a different story. So, I let him bang away and throw sticks up the slide to watch them come back down. What do you think? Do you let your kids play with sticks on the playground or do you try to keep that under control? And if you don't mind-why?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Updates and Other Randomness

Wow! Two posts in August! I'm on a roll!

I feel like life is kind of at a stand-still... the renovations on our new house are going slower than I had hoped. The expected stay has slowly expanded from 6 weeks to 3 months and now I fear even longer. Moving in with Brian's parents has gone better than I had expected and I think we are getting settled into some sort of routine. But I am looking forward to moving into our own place.

A few things on the horizon:

- Lucas starts preschool Sept 2... I'm anxious, but I believe they will be able to help him in ways I cannot... like speech therapy and occupational therapy, for instance. We had his orientation yesterday which helped to alleviate some of my nerves. His teacher and her assistant seem very nice. Hearing about what they have planned for the kids even got me excited!

-Lydia has taken up the task of potty training herself. I was planning to tackle this task once we got settled into our own place, but if she's willing I guess I'm ready. She asks to go "pee-pee" frequently and most of the time there are results. I just need to find some panties to fit her tiny little bum! She has also taken to singing "Jesus loves me"- or her rendition of it- at the top of her lungs! Often Lucas will join in. I love to hear my kids sing praise and worship to Jesus.

-Still working 2 days a week. We've not had any luck with individual insurance policies due to our kids medical history. Maybe the Lord is asking me to stay a while longer. And I read something recently that I hope will help me change my perspective. I need to think positively about this situation and look at it this way: Instead of thinking, "I have to work because I provide the insurance for our family", I need to think, "I have the privilege of providing healthcare insurance for my family." And it truly is a blessing that I get full time benefits while only working 2 days a week.

-Brian is super busy renovating our home. He also has a "spec" home (if you build it they will come) on the market that we are trying to sell. It is beautiful! And we finally have our first pre-sale for a custom home. It has kept him incredibly busy, but it is a blessing to see his business take off. I'm so proud of him!

-I have been greatly challenged by the book "The Mission of Motherhood". It has helped me to see how I need to be more intentional with my kids and my home to bring godliness into all aspects of our lives. I have loved this book! God is using this book and several other things in my life to continually draw me closer to Him! There is so much molding this earthen vessel still needs!

And finally for some fun! Lucas and I had some fun not too long ago making funny faces at each other. I'm not proud (as you know from my poison ivy pictures), so enjoy these fun photos, as well as one sentimental one for mommy!

I love this face!

Frightening, I know!

True love!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Adventure

To my few faithful readers, I apologize for my absence this summer! Especially in July. This past week we officially moved. I posted earlier this summer about buying a house in the neighborhood in which my husband grew up. We listed our house thinking we would have several months to complete the renovations at the new place. Wrong! We sold our house in one month!!! Thank you, Lord! We couldn't believe our house sold so quickly the way the housing market has been lately! So, we moved in with Brian's parents on Thursday night. I think we are all still adjusting. We are lucky they having lovingly opened their home to us! We're not sure how long we'll be staying with them, but we sure are looking forward to making new memories in our new home.
Just a glimpse of our home-sweet-home to be!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Finally Home

For the past few months I have been following this blog. It has deeply affected my life. On Saturday Leslie went home to be with the Lord. Please keep this family in your prayers!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Have You Ever Been This Tired?

Ah, my dear, sweet Lydia... so tired. This morning we had a showing at our house (fingers crossed) so we needed to leave the house for an hour or so. So after a rushed morning of cleaning we headed out to run some errands. Lydia was especially cranky, which is unlike her. I initially attributed it to her getting closer to being two. We made our last stop at a local health food store to pick up some things for their food needs/allergies. As we were checking out she just fell apart. I thought perhaps she was getting hungry so I quickly grabbed a bag of blue potato and sweet potato chips. On our way home I dispersed a few among the little ones and... evidently she was far more tired than hungry. How cute!

**(Yikes! Nice seatbelt job! She is so narrow that it is hard to keep her shoulders in the straps! Oh well, at least she's buckled in.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

For the Love of all Things Electronic

  • One oscillating fan
  • one Ipod charger
  • one extension cord
  • two table lamps
  • one CD player playing a favorite tune
  • one alarm clock
  • One little boy happily air drumming into the morning light.
(I sat down for a moment to catch up on some blogs this morning and the above scene is how I found him. He is so content right now surrounded by all these electronics... he tells me, "this is fun!" We can always clean up later!)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nation Celebration

We took the kids to their 1st parade... in the pouring rain. I've been trying to make an effort to plan more fun outings with them, so we decided to stick with the plan despite the rain. I'm glad we did. We met up with our neighbors and the kids did really well. Although Brian and I were pretty wet and cold, we enjoyed our time with the kids.

After the parade we headed home for a good cup of coffee and lunch. The kids took a nice long nap and then we headed to Brian's sister's home. "K" and "C" put out a nice spread and even had an inflatable jumping area for kids to play! Lydia would've set up home there if we had let her.

At home we could see a few fireworks over the trees to which the kids kept exclaiming, "Fireflies!". We had a great time celebrating our nation with family and friends!

**I guess i need to wrap this up... I told Lucas this would only take a minute. He has now informed me that there are "too many ABC's, mommy!"**