Friday, June 21, 2013


Today we had Sam and Lilli come over to play at our house while their parents were working.  We started off inside for about an hour, but then started getting ready to go play outside – you know, snacks, shoes, sunscreen, water bottles, change a diaper, etc.  During this getting ready process, the kids were sequestered inside, but could hardly stand it.


What are they all looking at? Raccoons!!


While we were getting ready to go, two baby raccoons headed over to our house.  I herded the kids in because 1) the coons seemed too friendly to be safe, and 2) they were out in broad daylight; also not normal.  They were super cute though.  When we went out to check on their whereabouts, they would want to follow us back in.  It was so strange.  So, we snuck out the back and crept passed them in the front.  They spotted us though and started to follow us.  Their behavior was quickly explained when the neighbor from across the street ran over and picked them up!  Yep, they were friendly, but not because they were sick; they were pets!  It made me want to take the kids over to pet them, but the neighbor seemed unwilling to engage in conversation with me and scurried on home.  (It should be noted that he was probably about 13-14 years old.) 

After that excitement, we headed to the park.  We entertained ourselves on the playground.  Then, they discovered the trees.  Sam loves to climb trees, so this was perfect.


We enjoyed a snack under the shade.  Madison, Sam and Lilli up in the air; Ellie and I down on the ground.


Then, we headed back on the hiking trail.  Suddenly, a “secret kingdom” with little workers emerged before our eyes!  It was magical.  (Really, it was a group of people setting up for a wedding, but it was pretty cool.)

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The kids played in the creek – chasing crawdads, digging, and stomping in the water.  It was a great time. 

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We headed home hand-in-hand (or stomach to back in some cases) to pancakes and eggs for lunch. 

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It was a good day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our Photo Session

Really, it wasn’t.  I took my camera, and I was lucky to get some good (well, I think so) pictures… and some just fun ones.  Hope you enjoy the picture post…

Madison – Senior Picture Preview (she has a few more than Ellie because she is older…)

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Ellie – Senior Picture Preview

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The “Look”

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Playing and Creating a “Restaurant” with Mulch

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Pushing, Riding, Going, and a Close up

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Sisters – the love is there amidst the stealing of toys, the running over with trikes, the screaming, and the I-won’t-let-you-hold-my-hand moments.  I catch these glimpses into the future and see what their relationship could be like, and it makes  me happy.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I am not sure I am always remembering to talk about my pins.  Here are a few…DSC_2332-610x937
Black Bean and Rice Burgers – I thought these would be more of a consistency a burger, but they were more a rice and bean patty.  That being said they tasted okay.  They did not hold together well, and I don’t know that I would do it again.  It would just be easier to make rice and beans.

Skinny Cheesy Potatoes – Cheesy potatoes are a hit at my family’s gatherings.  So, I thought I would see if this lower calorie/fat version could replace them.  (A number of years ago, I found an excellent skinny version for Corn Bake, so I thought it was worth a shot.)  These were not comparable, although they weren’t bad.  They were just a different potato side dish – more garlicky, less cheesy.  I don’t think I will make these again…

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing…. Yep, this was good and a hit with my family!  I doubled this for a gathering, and although we all ate it, it made too much.  Lesson learned, one batch goes a long way!  I will definitely make this again.  I don’t have many salads in my recipe box, so it is nice when I find one that works.

And the winner is….. White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.  I give props to my friend Sandy for pinning this on her board “Things to convince Erin to make".  I don’t make many things off this board, but these caught my eye.  They were excellent, raved about by all, and a definite keeper.  I will reduce the salt by half.  It wasn’t overpowering, but enough that I want to take a little out. 

I am sure I have done a few more since my last post, but it is later than I wanted to be blogging, so I am going to sign off.  There is another new post below this one.  Have a nice night.

Gardens, Bikes, and S’Mores!

This is a little mish-mash of everything from the last week or so.  The girls are enjoying their sandbox now that we finally filled it up with sand.  We picked a good location back by the garden.  I don’t know that it is always out of the sun (which was my hope), but at least they can do that while we do garden stuff.


Speaking of the garden… it is looking fantastic – no thanks to me.  My husband designed, planted (well, I did help plant the seeds), and watered it.  I just look at it and wonder if I should pick anything.  The lettuce is growing in abundance.  Tonight, I almost didn’t take the time to pick, rinse, and tear up salad for our pasta supper.  It would have been a shame not too.  I had some feta cheese and some balsamic vinaigrette in the fridge that really make a good addition to the meal. 

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On Father’s Day weekend… Oh, yes, I should have posted a blog saying how great a dad my kids have, but I neglected that (or maybe just ran out of time).  So, I will say it now… they have a great dad.  They don’t always show him how much they love him (they are dedicated momma’s girls right now…), but you can see it when he has not seen them for a day, or when he tosses them in the air, or when they make him laugh and keep making him laugh.  They love him.  And I love him even more for the way he cares for our daughters.  On top of that, he CHOSE to take a family bike ride on a beautiful Saturday morning.  I am pretty sure, this was a sacrifice for him – you see, he is an avid bike rider and is training for a four day, bike-across-Ohio trip in July.  So, to CHOOSE to take his family on a bike path for the same amount of time he could have logged about 30 miles, well, that is a sacrifice.  It was a good time.  The girls enjoyed their time in the trailer eating snacks and hanging out. 

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On Sunday, we joined my family for a deliciously huge meal and some fun times.  It was thrown together at the last minute, but everyone made it!  It was good to be together again. 

Finally, Madison and Ellie had their first taste of a s’mores.  Yep, we have deprived Madison of this campfire delight for 3-1/2 long years now.  Let me tell you, she loved it, especially the chocolate. 

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Ellie, too, enjoyed the experience.  Ellie had a hard time waiting for the real deal.  She dug into the “raw” marshmallows as she waited for the roasted ones to be ready – you know, suck on one and then take another kind of eating experience.  She ate the graham crackers before we could smash anything between them.  And I am sure she would have devoured a candy bar had I let her. 

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The girls enjoyed the time around the fire almost as much.  They like sitting in their chairs.  They found twigs to sing “Hosanna” with.  Ellie cheesed for the camera and then took some pictures of her own – the use of the chair as her camera shows a lot of creativity, I think.  And they watched as wood turned to ash, mesmerized by the process.  (Don’t worry, I explained that it was a chemical change and a little science behind it.)

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We’ve had a good week.  I feel like I am working at keeping up with my summer tutoring, summer graduate class, outside chores, inside chores, Madison’s bedtime issues (getting a little better), and just a potpourri of other things.  But I am finally finding a little time to breathe – hence, the blog tonight. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Good and the Bad

I’ll start with the bad… because there is just one thing, and I want to end on some good notes… Madison is three, and from all I have heard and have experienced, this is way worse than two!  She took it to a new step in the past two days.  She fights going to bed or naps.  She cries, screams, says she isn’t tired, pounds on the door… she is relentless.  It was at least 45 minutes last night; it was 45 minutes at nap time today.  So, I read up on this phenomenon on the internet.  Seems it isn’t so much of a phenomenon, more of a phase.  So what advice was given… little, but pretty consistent – let them cry it out if you can.  One practical piece I tried tonight – Leave the light on and the door cracked, but tell them to stay in their bed.  The first time they come out, you turn out the light.  The next time, you shut the door.  So, I did that… with one additional step.  I caved – oh so slightly – at her arm holding, tears streaming plea to please stay in the room and not leave her.  I told her I would do my devotions (scripture and prayer) in her blue chair, BUT she had to stay in her bed with her head on her pillow.  By the time I was done, the crying had ceased, her eyes had shut, and she was almost asleep.  She woke as I stepped on a creak on the floor, but after I said good night again, she made no other sounds.  It worked.  For one night, it worked.  And I’ll take it.

The good…

1) We had an outdoor worship service and congregational hang out last weekend.  On Saturday evening, Madison went fishing with Jeremy for the first time, and they caught two fish.  She thought that was pretty cool.  They also played in the sand and waded in the lake/pool. 

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2) Madison has started telling knock-knock jokes.  (I had to look them up online to refresh my memory.)  Ellie says “knock-knock” too and laughs at the punch line.  It is super cute!

3) The other day Madison spruced up her Barbie’s hair (named Grace after her friend Grace who has red, curly hair).  It was a work of art.  And I caught a beautiful smile on Madison’s face!

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4) We have a sandbox with sand in it finally!  The girls christened it today while I pulled weeds from our garden – that is growing!

5) My college roommate, Rachel, is in town from out of state with her two boys.  It is good to reconnect. 

That’s it, just thought I would throw a blog up here before I went weeks and weeks.  Have a good night – and stay safe in all these storms that are headed our way.