Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breakfast at Emily's

We love Waffles here at our house. So today over at Cowgirl Clippings I'm sharing the recipe we use. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breakfast at Emily's

Wow, I'm not really on my game this week.

I completely forgot that I needed to post the link to Breakfast at Emily's over on Cowgirl Clippings.

This week it's my favorite recipe for Zucchini Bread. Now you know what to do with all that extra zucchini...that is if you have extra. And if you do, could you send some my way? : )

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Window Shopping

Yesterday Erik came home from work and "caught" me with a million tabs open to Pier1, Ikea, Pottery Barn and the like. I was furniture dreaming. Internet window shopping if you will.

Other than our couch our furniture has always been modge-podged together. Random pieces that I try to fix up and reuse, often purchases from Cart'm (our local dump re-store). Some have turned out okay and some are...interesting.

Don't get me wrong, I love doing that. I love re-purposing and reupholstering and reusing and hopefully I'll always do that. But the more kids we have and the more toys we have the more I yearn for a living room that looks pulled together. Where the chairs actually match. Where there's enough seating for gads of people but enough room to walk and play and not feel cramped.

I'm tired of clutter and junk. I want my home to be restful and relaxing, even with toys on the floor. So in this vein I have been window shopping. Dreaming of matching chairs and fabric to re-upholster my couch (I'm really hoping my mom will want to help with that or I may have it professionally done; I know my limitations).

So back to the beginning of this post. Erik caught me.

And I explained simply that I dreamed of matching living room chairs.

He asked if we could get rid of the big overstuffed chair.

And I said yes.

Sorry Jessie, I loved the fabric though.

And then he smiled and said, "I think I would like that," and sat down and looked at the tabs I had open.

He's not one to have much of an opinion when it comes to decorating other than he wants a home he can live in and use. Yesterday when we picked out flooring and counter tops he left most of the decisions to me, no matter how much I asked him what he thought.

So I'm kind of excited.

'Cause I like this sort of thing.

It feeds my inner interior designer.

I've posted a lot about houses and homes the last couple days, guess as much as I feel indifferent about our situation, I'm thrilled with getting to redecorate.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Carpenter

John 14:1-3
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

People keep asking how we are doing. They ask if we are feeling anxious, displaced or unsettled while we are waiting for our house to be repaired.



Erik and I are in agreement that we feel very….indifferent.

The other day Hannah was sprawled across a chair and she looked at us and said, “You know, this place (the river house) kind of feels like home.”

What followed was a great conversation with the older three kiddos about what makes a house a home, it’s the people not the stuff and the fact that our REAL home is in Heaven with God and everything good about our earthly abodes is but a shadow of what God has for us there.

Last week I finished reading “In Light of Eternity” by Randy Alcorn and just started his book “Heaven”.

Oh my.

My brain and heart are reeling in anticipation and joy for THAT home.

The thought that has been delighting me this morning though is very simple. Maybe it’s because I’m married to a carpenter…

Jesus, when he walked on this earth, was a carpenter. I never really thought about that being an intentional occupational design. Oh sure I’ve heard so many sermon illustrations about the Master Carpenter etc. and I know that he is the ultimate Creator and Architect of the Universe but I’ve always heard the carpenter part spiritualized and it‘s never hit me that, “He knows how to build”, in the physical, practical description of a carpenter.

In “In Light of Eternity”, in the chapter titled “He Knows How to Build” Randy Alcorn has this to say:

“I imagine our first glimpse of heaven will cause us to gasp in amazement and delight. The first gasp is likely to be followed by many more as we continually encounter new sights in that endlessly wonderful place.

Why will heaven be so beautiful and wonderful? Because the One who’s prepared it for us is so skillful and creative.
Knowing our children were coming, Nanci and I prepared a place for them. We chose the room, picked out the right wallpaper, decorated and set up the crib just so, selected the perfect blankets. The quality of the place we prepared for our daughters was limited only by our skills and resources and imaginations.
Since our Lord isn’t limited in any of those categories, and since he loves us even more than we love our children, what kind of place can we expect him to have prepared for us? It will simply be the best place ever made by anyone and for anyone.

Our home is being built for us by the Carpenter from Nazareth. Building is his trade. A good carpenter envisions what he wants to build. He plans and designs. Then he does his work, carefully and skillfully fashioning it to exact specifications. He takes pride in the work he’s done and delights to show it to others. And when it’s his own children or his bride he’s made it for, he takes special delight.”

Sure, I’m excited to move back into the home we own here on earth. I’m even more excited to sell it and start construction on a new home. A home, as I’ve said before, that we pray to use to bless others; to invite in and hopefully show others a tiny glimpse of heaven through the joy of home and rest.
But really, I’m looking forward to a country and a home who’s architect and builder is God, just like Abraham and all those others mentioned in Hebrews 11.

“For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. … All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:10 & 13-16

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Breakfast at Emily's

I'm beginning to see a pattern here. We've got more dessert for breakfast over at Cowgirl Clippings. This week it's Orange Cake. It's not one of those beautiful to look at desserts but it is oh-so yummy.

I had this post all ready to go yesterday but our neighbor's internet router wasn't sending out a strong enough signal to load pictures and post it and then we took the kids to the zoo. I almost forgot to post it today but you're in luck. Enjoy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

God's Blessings and Provision

I promised you a story of how God has brilliantly provided for and blessed abundantly through this fiasco of flooding, so grab a cup of tea or coffee and read away.

Back in July my mom was "given permission" to tell all us kids that Grandma Olive was giving away money. My Grandma Olive has been blessed with a very giving heart and loves to give money away to her kids and grandkids, she has also been blessed with the money to give away. We have been on the receiving end of her generosity many many times, and she has helped us through many tight months financially without knowing that it was indeed a tight month for us. God has used her so many times with out her really knowing it. Grandma does not know Jesus and we pray everyday that she might come to know him. So Grandma giving away money wasn't a shock or anything. What was different was that she was giving out a large amount to every grandkid all at once. We received a check from her on August 9th - 5 days before our house flooded.

If you remember Ivan had been to the emergency room and the Doctor's the week before and we were not overwhelmed because we knew about Grandma's money.

Then our house flooded. But we were not overwhelmed because Grandma's money was then residing in our bank account.

Let me back up a little. I'm sorry if this is disjointed, there are so many things I want to share.

As I've mentioned we are looking forward to selling our house and buying property to build our own house, a house that we've designed to house not only our growing family but hopefully use to bless friends and family. We were just a few short projects away from calling a real estate agent to list our house. But as I've been cleaning and looking around "objectively" I've started to realize how lived in our house really is, thinking, "Oh my, there's a nick/cut in the linoleum, the counter is slightly bubbled there, there's a rust mark from water and a cast iron pan I didn't get to soon enough, we shouldn't have gone with white carpets, I should repaint the laundry room (not everyone likes orange), I don't know if the grime from years of not cleaning the toe kicks on the cabinets will come off, I'm pretty sure there's mold behind our bathtub from when the house flooded before we moved in"....oh yeah, lots of unimportant things but things that might drive down the value or sell-ability of our home in a slow market.

Everyone of those "concerns" have been literally washed away by our house flooding. With grandma's money we are able to pay our home owners insurance deductible as well as replace carpet and linoleum in the back bedrooms and bathroom; rooms that were not damaged. We are getting all new flooring, a new kitchen and because the drywall had to be cut out in the rooms that were flooded so they could dry out the insulation they are repainting the walls, which means if I want I can change colors.

Now moving on.

While all of this is happening Erik is not working all that much, they are between houses and so the work is slim, so not only do we get to have him home with us but we can "save" money on the work to be done because the contractors are allowing him to do some of the demolition and we have no fear of not being able to pay our bills because we have the money from Grandma.

Our insurance is also paying rent for us to live somewhere else while our house is being fixed. That somewhere else is a house belonging to good friends of ours. I've posted pictures of the view but let me tell you about this little house.

Back in 1996 it was flooded. The house was raised but not much work was done to fix it up after that. Our friends bought it a few years ago but never with the intention of moving a family of 5 (now 6! Baby boy born this morning!) into it. Economy went sour and with it many dreams of an investment property and they moved into this house. A tiny house, partly unfinished with one small bedroom, small living area, small inconvenient kitchen for a family with food allergies and mold. Yep, mold. Nine months ago they moved into her parents' basement for a "short" stay so that they could finish up the unfinished part and clean out the mold. That short stay turned into a much longer stay than they anticipated and the house turned out to be a bigger problem than they anticipated. Slowly the work has pressed on, but a man must support his family and this house was not doing it, so the work on it was slow indeed and money for it was running out.

Then our house floods and we need a place to live. It was almost to the point of occupancy and a couple days hard work by the husbands and it had a toilet and running water, though no bathroom sink. Because of Grandma's money we were able to front the money to get it to the occupancy stage while we wait for the rent money from insurance. We get to finish up inside projects; something I've been dying to help with (I love these sorts of projects, it fuels my inner interior designer). Money for rent has paid for important things like a stack washer and dryer, a fence so that no kiddos fall into the river and drown, doors for the bedrooms and bathroom and many other projects small and large. Projects that make the house fully livable and move-in ready for them when we move out. Projects that probably wouldn't get done for awhile otherwise with a brand new baby in the house.

And we get to live here too! That is a huge blessing for us. It's a darling little house, right on the river with an amazing view. There is tons of natural light that comes in, the walls are painted a very light cheery yellow and the floors are cherry laminate wood flooring that just glow when a tiny bit of sun hits them. The sun rises just out the kitchen window and it sets out over the river which I can marvel at through the 10 foot slider. It's open and light and airy. Anyone need a vacation home?

It has been a rest for my heart, in spite of all the projects it has been a blessing to me to enjoy this house for the little while that we get to. I had a place to can all the peaches we will eat for the next year.

And more blessings for Grandma's money, we were able to give 10% right off the top to Ecola Bible School. I know that it will be put to good use there, and multiplied many more times as the school is used by God to teach many more classes of students about himself and living in relationship with him.

When we first heard that Grandma was sending us money we thought, "Yay, we can actually put some money in savings, set some aside to save for emergencies and someday."
But God had other plans; plans for provision and blessing for so many others instead of ourselves. Sure we don't have money set aside for a rainy day, to plan and provide for ourselves but God has proven over and over that He provides when we have need.

I've always loved these verses from Proverbs:

Proverbs 30:7-9

"Two things I ask of you. O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

The only thing missing right now is my piano. When my heart is this full I just need to sing and praise God.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My House Right Now

Today Erik is pulling out the rest of the flooring and stuff that needs to be gone so our house can be put back together. The contractor is allowing us (read Erik) to do the work to save us some money that we can use towards upgrades and replacing carpet in the kids room (which wasn't damaged) that needs to be replaced and because Erik is between houses right now and isn't working. The kids and I joined him over there this morning to discuss a few things we want to change and so I could take pictures.

It's bare over there.

It's strange.

But I'm excited for what's going to happen.

Don't worry, I'll try and keep you updated.

Here's what you see when you walk through the front door:

The kitchen, minus a few cabinets already, that Erik's parents' wanted for their garage:

Laundry room, minus everything...I think the orange is going to go away too. I'm going to go with a light yellow. It's called "spiced applesauce".

Master bathroom. The vanity cabinet will be replaced. I'm keeping the same color paint but I'm hoping that I can find a cool mirror to replace the plain monstrosity that is there.

And the master bedroom. I'm keeping the same paint color in here; I just finished repainting it after all. I'm excited for new carpet in here, as well as in the kids bedrooms.

Turns out this whole flooding business has been more of a blessing than anything else. God has so brilliantly provided for us as well as others. I'll tell you more about that later. It's a nice long story.

Breakfast at Emily's

More dessert for breakfast over at Cowgirl Clippings. I just finished canning a bunch of peaches so we're having Peach Crisp for breakfast.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Love

I've also always had a love for banana bread. Seriously, I could eat a whole loaf by myself.

A Few of My Loves

When I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago I went through old pictures. Lots of old pictures. I thought about scanning them all so that I could share and then decided that would be too much work and I've never been impressed with the quality of my scanner. I had my camera with me and so I took pictures of the pictures. All so that I could embarrass myself and share them with you.

Is is narcissistic to now have so many pictures of myself? Or am I just making up for always being the photographer now (poor as I my skills may be)?

This morning I'd thought I'd share a few gems and let you know that my love of knee high boots started young:

As did my love of red shoes:

And believe it or not I have this secret (?) love of lipstick. Always have. But I guess it hasn't always been a secret. Alas this secret love is languishing away, tucked away in a dark corner of my bathroom where my 20-odd shades of lipstick hide, waiting to coat my lips. I don't wear lipstick all that often anymore. My husband won't kiss me when I wear it and I can't kiss my babies either when I do (I refuse to leave lipstick marks on their faces); two very good reasons to hide the lipstick away until a future day.

My Grandma Dorothy always had the little sample lipsticks in that silver box you see at my knee, as well as her regular shades. She let us wear the sample ones but if you look close you'll see I have a larger lipstick in my hand...oops. I have always loved this picture but when I took the picture of it I noticed for the first time my shadow in the mirror...not a reflection, but my shadow. I love that.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Breakfast at Emily's

Yummy Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe over at Cowgirl Clippings today. I'm off to pick peaches so I can start canning. Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Belated Happy Birthday Clayton!

In all the confusion and mayhem and fun of the last few weeks this boy of mine turned 3. My mind is still reeling. How can this Clayton boy be 3 whole years old!?! He's rambunctious and crazy and silly and sweet.

For his birthday I made him a zebra. He is obsessed with zebras. He has two plastic ones from the Little People Noah's ark he received at Christmas, and he has another little plastic one he received from my mom. I had a hard time convincing him that this also was a zebra even though, "it's not little". It's growing on him.

For his birthday he also got a Black and Decker tool set from Grammy and Grandpa Dante and a plastic Chuck E. Cheese birthday crown from the neighbor girls. Which he wore all at once and fell asleep in.
This boy loves to run and he thinks he's the fastest. The Sunday we were up at my parents' house I was slightly overwhelmed and the kids were grumpy so I strapped them all into their carseats and was going to go for a drive. Right before I pulled out of the driveway my sister Beth called and I told her what I was doing:
" I'm strapping them in so they can't touch each other and I'm going for a drive so I don't beat them all, they are driving me nuts right now."

Shortly after I hung up the phone I hear Clayton's sweet little voice pipe up, "Why are you going to beat us all."

I replied, "Well, I wouldn't really beat you all, I was exaggerating for Aunt Beth because you guys are grumpy and driving me nuts."

Clayton, "I'm going to tell my dad you beat us."

"But I haven't so you wouldn't be telling the truth."

"But I'm faster than you, you couldn't beat me."

It's then that I realized he thought I was going to beat him in a race. I'm glad that's the only beating my children know!

He's not afraid to wear pink, even a pink tu-tu. I think he wears it quite well, only I hope it doesn't last.

He came out of his room the other night to tell me, "Ivan said you didn't make me a Birthday cake."

"You know bud, I don't think I did. I'm so sorry."

"Oh yes you did. You did yesterday." (Yesterday refers to anytime in the past. It's all yesterday.)

"Oh, I did. Okay then go back to bed."


And off he padded in his feet pajamas "with cars and trucks all over them!"

His use of the English language always cracks me up. He's quite articulate and sometimes Erik and I just look at each other and laugh, like yesterday when we were headed to Costco. We had just pulled out of a parking lot from one of our many stops on the way to Costco when we hear Clayton, "Excuse me, where are we going exactly?"

Sometimes I'm not sure but I do like that he's along for the ride. Happy Birthday little man!