Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friends


Late night thai food, thoughtful conversation with friends we rarely have opportunity to see...
does a heart good.

Saturday, March 28, 2009




Canaan was mentioned this week over here. A super cute blog! Check it out!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Theology



The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees.
Psalm 104:12



Ezra and I sat in silence and listened to the birds sing while we ate lunch today. After a while, I asked him "what do you think the birds are singing?"

He said immediately:

"Jesus. And the squirrels are singing, Holy, Holy, Holy".


I was taking Canaan to tennis lessons the other day and he and I got to talking about getting upset. Canaan is rather level headed but occasionally will get a bit of an attitude problem (usually when he is sleepy). Anyhow, we got to talking about it and he said to me:

"Sometimes when I am mad, my mouth says what I don't want it to say.
My mouth doesn't always say what I want it to."

Yes Canaan, so true of us all, so true...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Marshmallows Company






For a while now Canaan has loved marshmallows. It isn't quite an obsession, but a definite love, for sure.
He started talking about having his own marshmallow company a while ago. He will talk about the flavors he will make (peach-mostly), how he wants to make them healthy marshmallows, and other fun little business ideas he dreams up when we're driving in the car or making smores out at the fire in the backyard.
Last Thursday he was talking about the upcoming party on Saturday. There had been an entrepreneur fair for 5th graders at his school that same day and in his mind it all came together that he should have his own little booth at our party...hence, "The Marshmallows Company" was launched.
(I will interject here that I am a firm believer in encouraging my boys to pursue their dreams! I always want to encourage them to go for what they want and to follow their passions...so for now (or who knows, maybe longer), marshmallows it is! )
On Friday we made marshmallows after he got out of school. He aptly named it The Marshmallows Company (not marshmallow company because no one buys just one marshmallow-he says). He designed his own logo which is so absolutely amazing! I love, love, love his little logo.



Friday night I made him a freezer paper stencil shirt and printed out labels for his bags. He admitted to me that he was scared to actually have to sell the marshmallows and would now rather give them away. We talked it through and I explained that everyone coming is his friend and would be so excited to see him selling his marshmallows. This made him feel much better and by the next morning, he was ready to sell!



We brought down his little wooden desk from the craft room and set it up next to Mike's sampling table. He put the quilt on as a tablecloth and hung his sign. He even had a sample plate with toothpicks sticking out of each little sample.
He was apprehensive at first when the guests started to arrive, but as the day proceeded he was walking around with his sample plate offering samples to everyone. H
He sold out of his goods and profited $14 from the day. He remembered to pull out his 10% tithe for church the next day and put all but $5 in his "boat money" (the money he has been diligently saving for 2 years to go on another cruise).

I laughed when my sister told me at one point he and his cousin were at the marshmallow stand and the samples fell off the plate. They wanted to make sure the ones that had fallen still tasted ok to pass out to customers so they opened up a new pack and "sampled" those against the fallen ones to make sure they all tasted the same. Since they did, the samples that had fallen on the floor promptly went back onto the plate and were given to customers.

(Some brotherly love before the big sale)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Beer Fest '09




Mike's first annual beer tasting was held on Saturday. We had over 30 friends spread out all over the house, on the new deck, down on the covered porch, and into the yard. It was a beautiful 60 degree day and we had an amazing time.







We re-arranged the house to accommodate a "tasting room". That meant moving the living room into the dining room and holding the tasting in the living room.
Mike designed his own beer labels and titled these "FieldSmith" (his friend Matt Fields brewed the stout).



Mike was definitely in his element giving his beer lecture and sampling out the brew. He even had an article printed out for everyone to read called "the zen and art of beer drinking". Love it!



The reactions to his beer were great! I think people were really surprised how well they tasted (3 kinds). The resounding favorite was the brown ale which was to be expected. It is the smoothest and most lightweight of the bunch. The bock is my favorite, and the favorite of true beer coneseur. It is really complex and full flavored...not for everyone.



Tomorrow, I'll post about Canaan's entrepreneurial efforts on Saturday as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Embracing Each Day





I snapped this photo yesterday (St. Patricks Day) as Ezra and I headed out to lunch. He always picks out his own clothes now days and actually picked out these bright green vintage overalls without any suggestions from me! Smart kid...

The weather has been amazing which has allowed for alot of outdoor play, gardening, deck building and dinner outside.

I was so saddened tonight to read about actress Natasha Richardson's death. I am not really too familiar with her work but I have always loved her husband, Liam Neeson's acting. I am completely saddened by the thought that her 2 young boys now are motherless and her husband is a widower. Each time something like this happens I am reminded again and again of the frailty of life and how much I want to savour and embrace each day I have with my amazing family.

My perspective is always re-evaluated during these times too. I learn again, not to get hung up on the trivial things~ the little drama's throughout the day that can put me in a bad mood, the frustration I allow myself to feel when things don't end up the way I expected, or allowing issues such as the economy affect how I am living my life.

As I always tell my boys, we always have a choice in how we live. We choose our attitudes, our thought patterns, or actions. I have to remind myself of this too. I want to diligently choose to always have a grateful heart and a gentle spirit; to speak words of encouragement and affirmation to my family and friends, and to live each day to the fullest with the talents and gifts I have been given.

I heard someone say recently on an NPR broadcast, "It is not possible to know what is possible". That phrase has been running in my mind for over a week now. It is so true.

That is whats on my heart tonight. My prayers are with those children who lost their mother today and for their father who has to go to bed tonight alone.

May we all live each day to the fullest and give our love freely to others.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Drinks

Both Mike and I have a thing for drinks. We are always thirsty and although I love a tall glass of water, it is nice to have something different from time to time( We aren't really soda drinkers).
Our drink choices are constantly evoloving and here is the list of current favorites in our fridge:


Iced Green Tea with Honey
I went through my McDonalds unsweet tea phase last fall~oh how I love that stuff. But I am trying to switch to green tea (healthier)which isn't half bad. I make it at night before bed and mix in just a touch of honey. Then I refridgerate it overnight and have it to drink throughout the day.





Hot Cocoa
My mother-in-law has always made the best hot cocoa. I thought for years that it was a top secret recipe but go figure~ it is the recipe from the Hersheys Cocoa box. It is absolutely the best! So easy and super yummy. The slight hint of salt and vanilla make it oh so yummy! I make up a batch and keep it in a nalgene bottle in the fridge. It is my afternoon pick-me-up. When I need a little sugar to get me through the afternoon, I pour some into a coffee mug and heat it up. So, so, good....




Club Soda with a splash of Nectar
For those times that we want a little something with carbonation, this drink does just the trick! Club soda is dirt cheap and adding a slight splash of juice or nectar makes it really refreshing and good. I find mango and guava nectar for under $2 a carton at the store in the mexican section. It lasts for a long time too!

I also find that having a few special drinks on hand helps keep me from unneeded snacking throughout the day too!

Chickens



So I am totally on a chicken kick...I really want to get a couple of chickens for our backyard.
(Yes, Kristie, I know...I really am crazy. :)
Last Easter I wanted to get a baby chick for the boys. Mike was against it. This Easter again, I am pleading my case for another chick. But this time I am doing my research and finding out all I can about raising chickens in an urban setting.
This website and this one have been loaded with a ton of info.
I think I have determined we will get a couple of crested chickens. The crested chickens are the cute ones with the feather mohawks on their head. They are supposedly much more docile with children and are better behaved than other breeds.

So once again I am pleading my chicken case with Mike. (To no avail yet, though).

Any thoughts on raising chickens? I know in large quantities they can be messy and alot of work, but what about just 2?
Mike grew up with over 50 chickens so I think his negativity is coming from cleaning the coops for many of them.

And for those of you wondering, in most states (cities) it is legal to have chickens in city limits...just not the rooster. You can still get eggs from the chickens just not fertilized ones (thats where the rooster comes in).

In other news, we have been building a small deck out back. Also Mike's first annual beer tasting (homebrew) is this weekend with over 30 expected to taste the fine samplings :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Patience Pays Off



After months (maybe even a year) of looking for a pasta maker, I found one last night. Yes, I could have gone to Williams Sonoma and picked one up for $100 but that just isn't in my DNA. I have a firm belief that I can find ANYTHING at a thrift store if I remain patient enough. With this said, I don't stop at the thrift store everyday looking~in fact I hadn't been to one here in town for well over a month. But last night after Canaan's tennis lesson I sent the boys home with Mike and headed to the Wednesday "family day" (50% off clothing) at the Salvation Army.
There, I found my little treasure. Still in the box, wrapped in plastic, was the pasta maker I had been patiently looking for. It is a really nice one. Super heavy duty with 3 different rollers for lasagna, fettuccine, and spaghetti.
I am thrilled with finding it...for $7.99!



In other news, the seedlings are started. I have started the cold weather seedlings (lettuce, spinach, and beets). I have the worst luck with seedlings so we'll see how it goes this year. Any tips on getting these suckers to produce nice little plants for the garden? I follow the directions, use good soil, etc...but they usually don't pan out. Hopefully this year!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Canaan & Ezra

The weather has been incredible outside. Today (and for the next week or so) it is back to the 40's which means our days of running around barefoot and eating grilled hotdogs outside on our patio (as we did last night) will have to wait awhile again.
But while the getting was good, here's a few pics I snapped.





Monday, March 09, 2009

Hello Spring!



This past weekend was so incredibly beautiful outside. The weather finally warmed up and we were able to get outside and enjoy our yard again. Both Mike and I arrived back from our conferences. He had a work conference in San Francisco (I won't even tell you how jealous I am of that!) and I got back from Ohio.
Saturday morning we took the boys out for doughnuts and went looking for decking supplies. Next weekend we hope to put a deck out back~~if the weather holds up.
So back to the yard... Saturday afternoon we started cleaning out the flower beds (oh the many many flower beds in this yard!!), tilling up the garden areas (we'll have 3 this year), laying grass seed in our super shady backyard that has a hard time growing grass, re-establishing rock paths and borders, painting, continual cleanup of branches from the ice storm, and general cleaning debris from the back porch, etc...

Canaan giving the front porch a fresh coat of paint



Poor Mike spent hours yesterday trying to dig an old root system out of our front flower bed. It was back breaking work but he got it done and it is ready for planting.

(Our new tiller we bought at auction this winter)


In our large flower bed out front I have a new plan. We moved in last year in March and weren't sure what would come up in the various areas around the yard. This enormous bed in the front just never really did anything. There were occasional things that would pop up from time to time, but for the most part it looked barren and sad.

(The area to the left is the new "veggie/herb bed" mixed with a few ornamental grasses too)


This year we have tilled it up and I am going to use this space (that gets alot of sun) to plant some herbs and veggies. I have seen some vegetables being used as "decorative" plantings and I like how it looks. Plus with our backyard being so shady I need the sun for some stuff. The rhubarb, asparagus (both of which are perennial), herbs, and some lettuce's will go out front. It is all experimental at this point, so I'll let you know how it goes.

This morning I was back out in the yard with Ezra. It was chilly yet sunny and gorgeous. I am looking forward to a great year of yard play, gardening, and relaxing in our great green space !

Load one of debris ready for trash day

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Oh the places I go....

So here I am at a hotel lobby in Columbus Ohio...alone. Yes, alone. No floppy haired boys trailing behind me trying to get my attention, no dishes in the sink to be washed, no dinner to prep, and no husband to welcome home in a couple of hours...oh how weird and sad it is :(
I am up here for a women's conference for Vineyard Churches USA. The conference is called "Ordinary Women, Extraordinary God".
Yesterday I spent the day in a fog wondering what the heck I was doing so far from home without my guys with me. It felt so odd to eat dinner at a restaurant alone and have so much QUIET time to myself.
Yet as weird as it has been, it is more needful and important than I had realized. Today I am finding my groove a bit more and have gotten over the initial oddity of it all. I have had the past couple of days to reflect alot and just spend time with my thoughts. I have had alot of time to pray and talk with God, time to read (I had forgotten the lost art of reading beyond a Dr. Seuss book!), and time to even shop a bit (ok, maybe more than a bit).
Intermingled with the great sessions at the conference I have had some down time to hit some of my favorite shopping spots (I grew up in Columbus so I have my certain "spots"). I picked up a great Anthropologie skirt at the goodwill and a couple of incredible leather belts (I'll definitely have to post a picture when I get home).
I am reading the book "Love and Respect". I had heard a ton about this book and finally have had a chance this weekend to read it. It is an INCREDIBLE read. Really--I think it has revolutionized my thought process and the actions I will take as a wife in the future. If you want a book to challenge you as a wife and help you take your relationship to the next level with your husband, read this book. As much as I do respect my husband I never realized to what degree it is essential for husbands to have respect from their wives. It is in their DNA to protect and fight for us and they need our respect in order to feel fulfilled in life.
Along with all of this, I have had time to actually stand at the bathroom mirror and curl my hair with a curling iron! Can you believe it? It took about 20 minutes which is 20 minutes more than I normally take to do my hair!
I miss the guys in my life desperately and can't wait to get home tomorrow. With that said, I think that one of these little 3 days excursions may be in order once a year or so. Time to clear my mind, listen to as much hip hop on the radio as I want,shop for jewelry at Forever 21 for nearly and hour, and take time to step back and evaluate how I am doing.
I'll be back on Monday....till then, have a great weekend.