31 August 2010

Just one of those days...

Today is the kind of day that I am just going to trust God with.

"God is above, presiding;

Beneath, sustaining;

Within, filling"-- Hildebert of Lavardin

We had a rough start to our day with Julia's swollen eye and going to the doctor's office.  After paying $65 for the visit $22 for the antihistimine, and a potty accident in the car because mommy didn't pull over quick enough, ...it is just one of those days!

At least I'm still able to fester up a smile!

Praying you all have a great day and that we can all trust in God to preside, sustain, and fill us, no matter what comes!

30 August 2010

Long Beach Island

This weekend we spent time with the Lees at their Beach home in LBI.  I'm sorry for not being able to post all our pictures but Blogger has been giving me difficulty in posting new pics so I will be putting them on facebook soon.

LBI is only about an hour and fifteen minutes away from our home.  It was so nice to be with the Lees and wonderful to be sharing the beach with them.

Their home lays right near an inlet at the bay so the kids and the Johns were able to cast their crabbing nets and catch crabs for dinner!  John made some yummy crabs for us!  The kids loved the freedom of the beach and not having a huge crowd around.

Julia got to play with Jacob ( 3 1/2 and Elizabeth (6 1/2) the whole weekend.  She kept asking where her "friends" were!  I love how kids make friends so easily!

We built castles on the sand.  We went in the water.  We crabbed in the bay.  We ate breakfast,  lunch, and dinner with the Lee's.  My John made a delicious red sauce and spaghetti meal for dinner.  And after the kids went to bed (quite easily after being in the sun all day) Mr. John (that's what JuJu calls John Lee) made the adults a crab treat!

It was a great weekend and another good point was we had no traffic either way and Julia had no potty accidents.  In fact I put a diaper on her on the car ride so we wouldn't have to keep stopping to use the potty, and she wouldn't pee in her diaper.  She only wants the potty now!  So on the way home we did stop twice to use the potty!  No big deal :)

Mark got a little stomach bug on Saturday evening, so we cut our stay a little short, but he's eating well today and slept great last night!  Praise the Lord!

Thank you Sharon and John for allowing us to stay over and enjoy your beautiful beach house!  I'm looking forward to more family memories with you guys!

27 August 2010

Home School Recap

I love Pre-school Home School!  It's been going marvelously well!  Here are some lessons mommy has learned and Julia and Mark as well :)

*Julia has learned about Adam and Eve and how they lived in the garden of Eden and ate the fruit, disobeyed God and got kicked out of the garden.

*Julia can tell you all about Noah and the big boat and all the animals.  Her favorite part is the rainbow.  That's my favorite part too!

*Mark has learned all about his body parts and can show you where his head, eyes, nose, toes, and mouth are!

*Mark loves watching Your Baby Can Read Starter video and video 1.  He loves clapping, pointing to his nose, and listening to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  He knows Arms Up!

*Mommy learned that teaching about Noah and the ark for one week, is more than enough!  We are ready to learn about new Bible people next week!  Mommy caught on that Noah was well understood when Julia began reciting the paragraph as I read it to her, as if to say, "Mommy, I get it."

*Julia can write the number 1, trace the letter A, lowercase and uppercase.  She knows that the A says aaah!  Acutually Mark knows the A says aaah too, thanks to our  Leap Frog video!

*Julia is getting good at using Elmer's glue and doing crafts.  She is careful to follow directions and listen closely.

*Mark is learning to have alone time by playing at his own desk and coloring, while Julia and I read a new book each day, so far we've read The Kissing Hand, Jesse Bear What will you wear Blueberries for Sal, and Ask Mr. Bear.

*Mommy learned that snack time is a great time for watching a Pre School Prep Video on Numbers, Shapes or Letters!

*Mommy also learned that it is incredibly normal to be exhausted after the first few days of home school, I'm talking about me of course!  Although my kids have had some really great long nap times this week!  Learning is hard work!

Thank you Lord for great friends to keep me motivated this week, a great husband who listened to all our little successes and accomplishments, and two great pre schoolers who love to learn!

*Happy 15 Month old Birthday Marky...I don't know if it's possible but you seriously get cuter and smarter by the day!  Love, Mom

26 August 2010

What do I do when...I'm so overwhelmed?

We can be overwhelmed as moms, sisters, friends, wives, in our careers, in ministry, and even overwhelmed with joy!

Lately, I have been overwhelmed as a mom!  I just don't think there are enough hours in the day or that I have enough hands to do all the things I want/need to do in the best way possible.

I feel stretched to the limit and very overwhelmed at certain times in the day.  Sometimes, the minute I wake up I am overwhelmed or packing the car and getting the kids ready for an outing, looking at my lesson plans for home schooling, or getting things "just so" before John walks through the door.

A lot of my friends say, "Loosen up Kristi!  You need another baby to calm you down!"  Oh, my, I'm not sure if having another baby would calm me down at this point.  People know that I am a very driven, organized, baracuda type of person.  I like things done orderly, planned, and thoroughly.  I don't like to forget any details, (and with mommy brain, let's be honest, there are times I do).  I like things done immediately and on time, early would even be better!  I have very high expectations, for the people around me, and for myself.  And this leaves me...overwhelmed at times.

So, what do I do when I'm overwhelmed?  Honestly?  Oh dear, I guess I do have to be completely honest here, right?  Well in a perfect world I would stop and pray and breathe deeply, but the world isn't perfect and neither am I.  So sometimes I say things I regret, I get impatient, I get mad at myself, I get frustrated with the little people who I am caring for, I get annoyed that John can't seem to multi-task like I can, and the imperfect list goes on, and I get more overwhelmed.

God has been teaching me to practice what I preach and start living out my beliefs.  I have a lot of head knowledge about God's Word and what I am supposed to do and I need to start living it.  If I want to leave behind a legacy (like Suzette wrote about this week)  than I better start by changing my attitude and doing what Jesus would do.

I love the verse that says, "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and lives."  Philippians 4:6

When I am overwhelmed all I want is peace.  I want God's peace.  It surpasses all understanding.  In other words, there is no earthly reason why I should have peace at the moment, but I have it because I know the God of the universe loves me and is in total control even when I am totally out of control.  I want God's peace to guard my heart and my life.  I want to have a peaceful home.  I want my kids to feel peaceful.  I want them to trust God in difficult, overwhelming situations, and so I need to model that.

Another great verse (Matthew 11:29)  I love that talks about how we can give our burdens to Jesus.  He says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  I want rest for my soul.  And only Jesus is capable of giving it to me.  I need to let my "control freak" in me relax and learn from Jesus.  Even Jesus got away from the crowds and the busyness of life and escaped away to be alone with God.

What do I do when I am so overwhelmed?  Well, I'm going to bring my prayer requests before God.  I'm going to ask for peace in stressful situations, and I'm going to meet with God and learn from Him.

What will you do?

25 August 2010

The Power of a Praying Wife: Trials

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's learning to dance in the rain."  This quote is dedicated to my John.  John, I love dancing in the rain with you.

We are in Week 14 of our series in The Power of a Praying Wife (Book by Stormie O'Martian).  Thank you guys for sticking with me and being so faithful in reading these blogs on how to be a better wife and how to pray for our husbands, whom we love dearly.

This week's chapter was all about Trials.  I don't know about you, but life lately seems to be filled with trials for us, not all bad or horrible, but just trials that stretch and mold us to make us into the men and women that God wants us to be.  And Stormie made a good point in this chapter.  She said, "We all go through difficult times, but it's the attitude we have when we go through them that matters most."  Now, I would love to say that if we pray hard enough we can take away all our trials from ourselves and our husbands, but we all know that isn't always God's Will for us.  Sometimes the trials God allows us to be in are for our own benefit so that we draw closer to Him, so that we learn to be more compassionate and loving, so that we become more trusting and patient, whatever the goal is God sees it clearly from beginning to end, but for us finite humans it can be awfully uncomfortable, confusing, frustrating, and extremely stretching and difficult.

I'm talking about trials like not being able to conceive a baby, not being able to move or sell your house, struggling at your job, struggling financially, struggling with family members, illness, pain, heart ache, we've all been there, right?  Stormie O'Martian was also saying that "If we go through trials with thankfulness and praise to God, He promises to bring good things despite them."  I guess that's where the prayer part comes in, because in the midst of a trial to praise and thank God is not humanly possible or normal, it may even seem crazy, right?  But we can ask God for supernatural power to be praising and thankful and to have a postivie perspective because we know that God works all things together for good for those who love Him.  That doesn't mean that everything in our life will seem good, but He can make it work all together for good.

He says to "count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." In James 1:,2,3...wow, count it all joy, be joyful, because we ultimately have a choice how we will respond when trials come.  Will we complain and sulk?  Will we lash out in anger?  Will we take it out on loved ones?  Or, will we trust God even when we don't understand what He is doing?  Will we praise Him in the midst of the storm?  Will we dance?  It goes to show you how our attitudes and our heart attitudes really matter to God.

So, my prayers may not change some of the things that John must go through, but my prayers can help John to have a positive perspective in the midst of a trial.

This week let's pray for our husbands that...

*They will know (Romans 8:28) "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
*God will teach us how to trust Him during trials
*Our faith will grow
*Our walk with God will deepen
*Our love for one another will grow
*invite the Holy Spirit to move through the circumstance and transform us
*we will press closer to God and praise Him no matter what!

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

Praying for all of us to grow through our trials and to praise God in the midst of them.  To God be the glory!

22 August 2010

Home Schooling Begins

Dear Blogger Family,

We are very busy this week with mommy.  We are learning our numbers, ABC's, all about God's Creation and Noah, and making lots of fun crafts.  Please pray for us as we learn to obey mommy the first time, listen closely and follow directions.  Pray that mommy has lots of strength and patience.  We are super excited and so is mommy!  Mommy won't be blogging much this week because she has lots of prep work to do.  But, she will be continuing The Power of a Praying wife on Wednesday and her new series:  What do I do when....? This week!  We are waiting on God this week with hope, service and obedience!  Have a Jesus filled day!

With Love,
Mark Ciro and Julia Star

20 August 2010

This Week's Highlights...

This week was a great week!

1. Julia is now totally diaper free except at bedtime!  She can be found in the bathroom on the toilet, holding her dress up (we wear lots of dresses during this potty training time) wiping herself and of course saying, "Mommy, my do it!  My a big girl!" (the pink kiddy potty is now in my trunk because little miss uses it while we are at parks and such and if we are in the car and she has to "go" I can quickly pull over and let her "go!")

2. Allaire State Park trip with all my friends and a boat load of kids.  It was truly awesome, especially the train ride!  Visit my facebook account to see all the cool pics!  Marky even wore a conductor hat.  He was quite the cutie!

3. John came home at 6:30 on Thursday evening (this never happens) and we just got back from playing at Barnes and Noble after dinner, and the kids ran out the car and squealed for "Daddy!" to pick them up!  Seeing their excitement and Daddy's face light up, melted my heart!

4. My devotion time with Julia this week has been amazing!  Her new Toddler KJV Bible came in the mail (I got a used copy online for only $4!)  Julia and I are learning all about Creation, and Adam and Eve, and sin, and she is being such a good listener!  I love being able to talk to her and listen to her and explain God's Word to her!

5. Last night at bedtime, after we all read books and the Bible with Daddy (Our new favorite book is The Kissing Hand...we got a book and CD set and Julia loves to "hear" the story and turn the book's pages, we listen to it in the car as well) we prayed together, and then our routine is to give Julia her kisses and put her in her bed and then Marky.  Tonight for some reason I was holding Julia and John had Mark (usually its the other way around) and I told Julia to give her brother a kiss, which she always does.  Then I said, "Marky, give Juju a kiss"...he leaned in and gave her a big wet kiss! It was so precious we all asked for one, and Marky was so proud of himself and the kisses were so wet and sloppy, but so, so cute!  I'm in love with my boy!

6. I'm excited for tonight because a few of the teens that I am mentoring are coming over for a girl's game night.  Holly's coming too!  We are going to have pizza and salad, play with the kiddies, and when I put my kids to bed at 7:30 we are going to play games, watch a movie and have girl talk!  I feel like a teen again!  John doesn't get home til late on Fridays so I thought it would be fun to have my "girls" over!

7.  Tomorrow is a family reunion at with my mom's side of the family at Belmar Beach!  All the aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins are coming!  I am so happy!  And you know I will have to peel my children away from the water and the sand!

8. Playing in Aunt Debi's pool on Thursday with the kids was wonderful, and the kids both took a 3 hour nap afterward!

9. Debi's son, Eric, called to thank me for the care package he received from John and I, and he never does that!  I had the biggest smile on my face listening to his message!

10.  And the biggest highlight of all...next week we start PRE-SCHOOL HOME-SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am so ready, so excited, and aching to start!  I have so many fun things planned and tricks up my sleeve and I am super pumped!

***No recipe swap for tomorrow, but I will be seeing you all on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

August Happenings

As you know, we don't do much lounging around the house around here, unless Daddy is home, and then we love to lounge around!  The month of August has been an exciting one so far...Here are some fun things we have done, and look forward to doing...
This is actually a photo from the early Spring, but here are all the Foster boys!
On Sunday, August 1, John and I visited our "new" home in Marlboro...we didn't know it yet, but this would be the house we put a contract on (Lord willing our house sells soon so we can move in!)  We also surprised Liz Foster with a birthday party since they drove up to New Jersey to spend time with their church family.  A bunch of ladies brought her out for Thai food and then all the men and kids hung out at the Berry's house to give her a second surprise with cake and desserts!  Julia and Mark had a great time with all the kids.

Melanee and Julia at the Cheesequake Lake
On Monday, August 2, My mom and I took the kids to the lake for the first time. It was a huge success!  Mark and Julia loved the park and the sand and water, and I was so proud of my Julia for using the potty in the stalls with Grandma...she's getting so good at going on the potty and not wearing diapers now!

Geick Park
On Tuesday, August 3rd, we hung out with Aunt Paletza at Geick Park.  She was so helpful with Julia who constantly asks for help because she loves to climb everything.  It was very hot though and we were glad mommy thought to pack a lunch.  We sat by the picnic tables and enjoyed some cold watermelon, hard boiled eggs, and blueberries and string cheese.  I'm learning that toddlers don't need a big lunch...they need food they can eat quickly and get out there and go again!

Happy Birthday Grandma Judy
On Wednesday, August 4th, we had a great time at our photo session for Grandma Judy's birthday gift.  It was so fun seeing the kids play with the grand parents and look great in the pics too.  I was glad I thought of this fun, easy, idea.  And even I got to sneak in some pictures!

This photo was taken last summer...oh my word, can you see how much my Julia has grown!?
On Thursday, August 5th, Liz and I decided to meet at her house and have a playdate.  It was so much fun to catch up with her and the kids.  We chatted while all the kids played together.  We fed them lunch together and then me and the kids left for nap time.

 Friday, August 6, was a deep cleaning, food shopping, get ready for the grandparents type of day.  These are the type of days where mommy doesn't sit still since I need to do all the cleaning, cooking, and prepping, and packing!

On August 7th, a day before our anniversary we headed to the John Wesley Inn a Bed and Breakfast in Cape May...it was wonderful.  Two jam packed sunny days, with just me and my man!  I loved it!  It was our first night sleeping out and having grandparents sleep over.  It was the first time Julia did pee pee and poopy on the potty for other people besides mom and dad...I was told she did beautifully and really cared for her brother while I was away.  My mom said she is such a little mommy.

On Sunday, August 8th, our 7 year anniversary was spent in Cape May at the beach, the shops, hand in hand and at the Cape May zoo!  Thank you Lord for 7 years of being married to my dearest, bestest friend who loves me lots!  I'm so blessed.  August is always one of my favorite times of the year!

19 August 2010

What do I do when...I'm waiting on God?

Have you all seen the movie Fireproof?  If not I highly recommend it.  John and I love that movie.  I love it because it not only talks about how to fireproof your marriage, but it talks about your commitment to God and growing close to God.

When Kirk Cameron's character is trying to show his wife he loves her and gets nothing in return there is a song that plays called, "I'm waiting"  And I love that song.  Right now that is the song of my life.  I feel like I am waiting on God and holding on tightly to His promises.

I'm waiting on Him to pull through for us.  I'm waiting on Him to provide for all of our needs.  I'm waiting on Him for a miracle to sell our home in such a difficult selling market.  I'm waiting on Him as John is struggling to keep his taekwondo school afloat and manage a new finance business.  I'm waiting...

It is so scary to wait on God.  Well for me it is.  I know God has awesome things for us (Jeremiah 29:11)  I know He has a plan.  I know He loves us.  But it is so scary to wait on God because sometimes you don't know if He will answer your prayers the way you've hoped.  You don't know when He will answer your prayers.  You just have to hold tightly to his hand and wait on Him.  I'm waiting...

In 2002, I did a Bible Study with a group of women and Christy Weaver was the leader.  We did a study called "Calm My Anxious Heart."  Let me post a paragraph that has really calmed me and given me a peace lately:

"In time of trouble say, "First, he brought me here.  It is by his will I am in the is strait place; in that I will rest."  Next, "He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child. "  Then say, "He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow, "  And last, say, "In his good time he can bring me out again.  How and when, he knows."  Therefore say, "I am here 1. by God's appointment, 2. in his keeping, 3. under his training, 4. for his time."

I'm waiting on you God...

I'm waiting on you Lord, and I trust you completely.  Please hold my hand tighter and show me you are here with me.

18 August 2010

The Power of a Praying Wife: Week 13

Babe, every time I see this picture I am reminded of just how much I love you!

Chapter 12: His Protection

Psalm 27: 5
In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle he shall hide me;  He shall set me high upon a rock.

Stormie O'Martian said in this chapter, "Our husbands are on the battlefield every day.  There are dangers every where.  Only God knows what traps the enemy has laid to bring accidents, diseases, evil, violence, and destruction into our lives."

Psalm 27:5 "He shall set me high upon a rock."
When John's only job was working 7 miles away, I really had it good.  I didn't worry about him traveling on buses or trains into NYC.  I didn't have to worry if he was warm enough or cool enough.  I didn't think about the people he would see as he walked into work.  I didn't worry about him traveling late at night.  I didn't think about muggers or thieves.  I didn't worry if he remembered his car key from the office, or his wallet.  To me New Jersey was a pretty safe place, and how much danger could he get into driving less than 7 miles to work?  But now...

John's commute is long and far.  He works incredibly long hours.  And we all know the dangers of city life.  So this chapter has reminded me to really bathe my husband in prayer each day.  I think when I'm making my coffee in the morning (putting in my cream and 2 sugars) I will quietly say a prayer for his safety.  The kids and I pray for John throughout the day because we miss him so much and when the kids talk about Daddy that reminds me to pray too.

Psalm 37: 32, 33 says "The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him, the Lord will not leave him in his hand."

We live in a wicked world, where sin does affect the righteous.  And there is also a spiritual battle going on.

Proverbs 30: 5 God promises to be "a shield to those who put their trust in Him."

Today pray that your husband will be protected from harm, safe in travel (especially in cars and planes), Hide him from violence and the wicked plans of evil people.  Pray that he will dwell in the shadow of God's wings.  Pray that even though bad things may be happening all around him, that they will not come near him. 

When I read this chapter it just made me see how vulnerable John is (5th degree black belt or not) to the evil in the world.  It made me see how blessed I've been that he has remained protected, and it has reminded me to pray, pray, pray for my husband, because there is power in my prayers.

My challenge (Love Dare) this week is for you to call up a friend or pray with a friend who may be visiting and pray for your husband's safety.  God's word promises that when two or three are gathered together in His name He is there in their midst. 

I'm praying for your safety John.  I love you.
Psalm 91: 11, 12 "He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone."

17 August 2010

Baby Bee

Baby Bee's shower
Psalm 127: 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Dear Baby Bee,

On Saturday we got to "shower" you with blessings and gifts and prayers.  I am so excited to meet you on 10-10-10!  You should know me by now, I'm the one that talks on the phone with your mom for stretches of time.

Your mom makes me laugh, she gives me great godly advice, and she is one of the most beautiful pregnant women I've seen.  She is lovely on the inside and outside and you are super blessed to have her as a mommy.

One of the things I love about your mommy is her laugh!
We celebrated at your aunt Liz's house and it was gorgeous.  Aunt Liz has excellent taste!

Your mommy loves having friend's and family members with the names Kristi and Liz, try not to be too confused, don't worry we will help you!  Aunt Liz is the one in the picture above with the cute headband, and she is also pregnant and due this month!  Did you know that when you will be born you will have a cousin right around your age?  How cool is that?

Miss Carol and Mrs. Meg
These are some of your mommy's teacher friends, and my friends from TCS, we love them dearly.  They make us laugh a lot too!

Sara my bff and sister
Here is a picture of my side kick of the day at the shower.  We were put right to work and felt right at ease.  Neither of us likes to sit still so we were happy to help and make your mommy's day super special...did you see how beautiful your mommy looked?

Grandma Boulos
Your daddy's mom was super happy, I can tell she can't wait to meet you!

Your mom was overwhelmed by all the love and support she felt in the room.  I could tell.  She already loves you so much, but now after her shower, I bet she is super eager to finally meet you and have you in her arms.  You are a blessing baby bee.  We love, love, love you!

16 August 2010

Domestic Training 101

Christine and Marie came over on Thursday for some, uh, er, Domestic Training by yours truly!

Honestly we just wanted some girl baking time, but we've decided to gear our "girl time" to doing some domestic things, since Christine and Marie are getting older now (Marie is the older sister who is working on her Masters now, and Marie just graduated from HS and will begin college this Fall).

Our last trip as a "family" with John, Mark and the Odejar girls we went to the city to the museum since Marie loves history and art and so do we.  Christine was telling us all about Wesley this wonderful new guy she liked at the time (now they are boyfriend/girlfriend) and we started talking about how to cook, bake, etc, and I promised to help out in any way I could!

This is one of my favorite aprons from Cape May!

So Thursday I gave each girl an apron and a homework sheet of 45 tips on cooking and baking!  Come on, you knew I'd give them homework!!!

We had lots of fun!
 First we made Raspberry Crumble muffins from scratch!  Visit my Saturday Recipe Swap to see the recipe.  We cleaned up, ate a chicken ceasar salad made by yours truly, and then we enjoyed a muffin!  They were delicious.  I packed some muffins for the girls to take home and we saved some for John and the kids. 

Marie, I loved how Mark kept giving you special waves!
Then we made some Rice Krispie Treats.  I wanted to practice with the girls, because I had to make my own batch for a baby shower on Saturday, and I wanted to get into "the groove" of the treats, I hadn't made them in awhile.  Plus, I promised some neighborhood kids I'd be bringing some by.  What kid doesn't LOVE Rice Krispy treats???

Mark was our first taste tester!  He approved!
Team work
The girls did a wonderful job, we got to bake, we got to "girl talk" and we got to share a meal together (all perfectly planned during Miss Julia's nap time)  And after just 2 hours which flew by...domestic training 101 was accomplished!

Wax paper is needed over each layer of treats because they are so sticky!
Thanks Christine and Marie!  I had fun! Love you!

Our next goal...Domestic Training Part 2: The Dinner Meal

14 August 2010

Saturday Recipe Swap--Raspberry Crumble Muffins

After New Year's We took the Odejars to the Metropolitan Museum in NY
On Thursday, Christine and Marie Odejar and I made these muffins and they came out so good!  I'm going to blog about it next week so stay tuned...the ingredients and recipe are as follows...(John and I enjoyed some for our "tea time" after dinner!

Raspberry Crumble Muffins

Ingredients: Makes 12

* oil or melted butter
* 2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 tbsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/8 tsp salt
* heaping 1/2 cup superfine sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup plain yogurt
* 6 tbsp sunflower oil or melted, cooled butter
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
*1 cup frozen raspberries

For the crumble topping:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp superfine sugar


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease muffin pan or line with paper liners
2. Crumble Topping: put flour into a bowl, cut the butter into small pieces, add to the bowl with the flour, and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, stir in the sugar and set aside.
3. Muffins: sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl, stir in the sugar.
4. Lightly beat the eggs in a larger bowl then beat in the yogurt, oil, and vanilla extract.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the beaten liquid ingredients, and add the raspberries.  Stir gently until just combined; do not overmix.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan.  Scatter the crumble topping over each muffin and press down lightly.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.
6. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. 

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or a cold glass of milk!

Happy Saturday!

13 August 2010

Home Schooling Two Toddlers Part 1

Last night I finally began a book a dear friend (Lisa Coyle, and Christy Weaver had passed it to her) called, "Night Light for Parents" by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson.  What a tear jerker so far, and that was only reading the intro and days Sunday through Wednesday to catch up.

Reading the book is going to be my new bed time ritual, because I really could use the extra encouragement.  As moms, we work so hard to plan our day, meet everyone's needs, make lunch for our husbands, cook meals, bring little miss to the potty while little brother follows...and sometimes, I feel so tired that I am completely worn out and numb by bed time.  And for me that takes a lot.  I'm usually a well oiled machine by 6:30 a.m...you know after coffee, breakfast and quiet time it is go, go, go, or rather chase, chase, change!

I've been planning mini lesson plans for both my kids for pre-school, of course I'm gearing most things for my Julia's well being, my little man will not be ignored, and I plan to include him with every single lesson somehow, even if it is as simple as M is for Marky, or God loves you too Marky, or Marky we color with crayons, noooooooo mou-outh!  Somehow everything turns into a song for my Mark, and Julia and I love to sing and make up silly songs.  Just today in the car we were listening to a CD made by the Lambertson girls and the song was "Adore, Adore, Adore, Jesus I adore you...ooh oooh oooh oooh, well Julia sang Zach's name to the entire tune just to be silly...oh my Julia what will you think of next?

Julia Update: Potty Training and Sharing

About 2 or 3 weeks ago, seriously it's hard to keep the days straight they seem to blend in...sound familiar?  I called my friend JaneAnn to pick her brain about how to get my Julia to share with Marky, and after sharing how frustrated I was, and how naughty Julia was being JaneAnn asked me some great questions that I hadn't thought of...Have there been any major changes recently (yes, daddy's hardly home and I know she misses him) Does Julia get a lot of attention?  (sort of, I mean I'm home all day, but with 2 it is a lot harder to give undivided attention) Does Julia get big girl time when just you and she get to do something special? (rarely, we went to see Elmo at the theatre but that was months ago) How is potty training going? (well, I kind of dropped the ball on potty training bc Julia just wasn't interested and it was a lot of work, and it became more of a sporadic thing instead of an hourly thing like it should be)  Then JaneAnn suggested that I start the potty training more intensely again and each time sharing a Bible story on sharing and how important it is ...the little boy and the five loaves...the Good Samaratin sharing his time and money...talk about how sharing blesses others...talk about sin...What? Talk about sin, to a 2 year old...well wouldn't you know I started doing all of this and not only was Julia potty trained within 2-3 days, and has been doing awesome ever since, but we got our girl bonding time, and it was in the bathroom, the place where most girls bond, right?

I love this pic of me and my precious kids, it's priceless!
August 23 Home School Begins

Technically I'm not going to start math and reading concepts til after Labor Day, but I've been so excited with my research of teaching Bible that I decided to start 2 weeks early.  This way I will see how the time will go and how much stuff I'll need planned.  Sometimes you plan too much or too little so I'd like a practice week or two to get the hang of it.

Pre school Bible is going to be fun, fun, fun!  I've decided to do a new Bible character or story each month and throughout the month add to the story and do crafts, and learn songs, etc...here is what Aug/Sept will look like:

*Pick a time that works for  your family...I chose 8:45 because we have eaten, changed clothes, I've showered, Mark's taken a quick a.m. nap and I've made the beds and done a load of laundry and cleaned up after breakfast by then.

Bible Time: 8:45-9:15 (30 minutes...but not straight thru, we will be doing all sorts of things, I don't expect a 2 year old to sit for 1 minute forget about 30)

Monday- 1. Read The Story of Noah (Children's Version)
               2. Talk about how Noah was a good man and obeyed God.
               3. Coloring page 
               4. craft: Easy Paper Crafts Book #1p. 20 "Obey" Plague
               5. Sing a few Bible Songs about Obedience (teach the kids the hand motions)
               6. Memory Verse: Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Tuesday-Ladies Bible Study (no home school)

Wednesday- 1. Re-Read the Story of Noah...and add the part about how the people were wicked and sinning against God and so God told Noah to build the Ark because of the Flood.
                    2. Talk about sin and how there are consequences
                    3. Coloring page
                    4. craft: Easy Paper Crafts Book #1 p. 32 Noah's Ark
                    5. Noah's Ark song
                    6. Memory verse

Thursday-1. Re read story of Noah and continue to add a new paragraph.
                 2. Talk about Noah's obedience, his wife's obedience and his 3 sons.  Talk about how God told    Noah to put 2 of each kind of animal on the Ark.
                 3. Coloring page
                 4. work on ark from yesterday
                 5. Obedience song and Noah's Ark song with hand motions
                 6. Memory verse

Friday-  1. Re read story of Noah and continue to add details like Noah was 500 when he started to build the ark and the flood came when he was 600...so it took 100 years to build the ark.
              2. God always keeps His promises. (rainbow, consequences for sin, etc)
              3. Coloring page
              4. Animal crafts
              5. song time
              6. Memory Verse

How to include my one year old in pre-school Home School

Mommy loves cuddling and kissing you Marky.
My goals/objectives for Mark this year:

When Julia is coloring or working on her craft Mark and I will be practicing some things as well.

1. Teaching Mark to pray (how to fold hands, bow head, close eyes) say "Amen!"
2. Teach baby signing (Cereal, Milk, More, Mommy, Daddy, Thank You)
3. How to hold crayon properly to color (he does pretty good so far)
4. Teach him how to say, "Julia"

*When we read our Bible story Mark will be on my lap listening too.
*He will color with us, craft with us (at least try) sing with us, practice the Bible verse
*When we watch a learning video Mark can learn to watch too, and we can play with puzzles and manipulatives quietly while Julia watches

We are excited for school to begin!

Have a great weekend!

12 August 2010

The Power of a Praying Wife: Week 12

I'm praying for your health my dear!

Chapter 11: His Health

I've been blessed with a husband who really takes care of himself.  He eats right (he believes in lots of protein and very little sweets), drinks a lot of water (no soda), he exercises regularly, plus teaching at Taekwondo and being athletic since age 7 helps!

However, John has had his ups and downs with Epstein Bar (hope I'm spelling that right), it is a virus I believe that attacks your immune system and makes you very, very tired and prone to throat infections, and sinus infections, and flus.  Almost every fall and winter we could count on John going to the doctor to get his monthly dose of antibiotics, it was really annoying and very hard on John's body.  As a new wife it was very frustrating because I felt like there was very little I could do to keep him well, besides cooking wholesome meals, cleaning and disinfecting the house (both of us being around small children and germs was always going to be an issue since I was a teacher and he was an instructor).

I can remember the first year of our marriage getting so worked up because he was sick yet again, and I felt so helpless, so I called my good friend Christy Weaver and we prayed over the phone for John's health.  Slowly over the past 7 years I have seen an improvement.  I can't remember the last time he had a cold or needed antibiotics, and John is working harder than ever at 2 jobs now, so he needs every bit of his strength!

Stormie O'Martian gave some really great Scripture references that I have to share that talk about how God is the great physician and healer.  If He created us, and He did, then He can heal our bodies and give us the strength we need for each day.

Exodus 15:26 "I am the Lord who heals you..."

Jeremiah 17:14 " Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed..."

Jeremiah 30:17 "I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds..."

Matthew 8:17 Jesus "took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses"

Matthew 10: 1 He gave His disciples power to " heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease" 

Mark 16: 17, 18 He said, "These signs will follow those who believe...They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover

Ecclesiastes 3:3 There is a "time to heal"

I am also going to be praying this week for John's strength for each day and that God will multiply the time he has to rest.  I feel like John works 80 hours a week!  He leaves at 6am and I usually don't see him before 9:00...Saturdays he works til 1:30 at Taekwondo and only Sunday he has off work...so I'm praying that Saturdays and Sundays can somehow be enough for him to recharge and rest and relax and that weekends can be peaceful at home...which can sometimes be difficult with two energetic toddlers!

This week's Love Dare is not from the book, just from me!!!

Find a time this weekend to help your husband feel rested, rejuvenated and refreshed....do something for him that allows him some "Man-time"  Maybe he'd like to go out for an hour or so and just do something alone or maybe he would like you to give him a back rub, or foot rub?  It can't hurt to offer!  Our men deserve to be pampered after how hard they work each day!

Have a great Thursday!

Tomorrow's post will be about my home school adventures with two toddlers!!!  I'm super excited to show you some lesson plans and some great websites and fun things I will be doing with Julia and Mark this Fall!

Home Schooling two toddlers is doable!

11 August 2010

Cape May Anniversary Celebration Part 2

Waking up in Cape May was wonderful for many reasons:

1. I could wake up slowly.
2. I didn't have to make my coffee or breakfast.
3. I could read outside while breakfast was being made.
4. I didn't have to change any diapers or bring any little person to the potty 3 million times before noon (thank you Grandmas!)
5. I could walk to the beach and back for a quick power walk to start my day.
6. I had John ALL to myself, and I got to "mother" him a bit which was nice, since usually all my attention goes to two cute munchkins!  And yes, I did miss putting them to bed last night!
7. While John took a shower I read on the porch in a rocking chair and sipped coffee and read til my hearts content.
8. John and I had time to be silly...here's proof...

I'm sure you know who was holding the camera!
I could spend a million more days like this!

My coffee, my book, and my cell phone to text grandma!
During our belgian waffle breakfast with the best bacon in the world we got to sit and chat with two other couples and hear about their stay in Cape May and about their families, Bonnie sat with us too, and Cindy served us.  It was so nice to be pampered and not have to rush through a meal or clean up afterwards!

One of my favorite shops, they have great coffee, scone mixes, aprons, and lots more!
We headed to the shops to get some gifts for the grand parents who watched our babies...then we went back to the room to change into bathing sutis and went to the beach...then we checked out (check out was by 11am...it was hard to say goodbye, but I was ready for the Cape May Zoo!)

Our wedding rings...priceless
We had time to talk about our walk with the Lord, our family, our marriage goals, our worries and concerns, and John felt compelled for us to pray a few times on our trip, not just before bed, but once even while sitting on a bench in the midst of the Cape May tourists.  Prayer is a good thing.  It keeps you connected to your Savior!

We ate lunch at a cute little sandwich shop and we shared a side of fresh homemade fries!  Ummm, actually John really didn't share all too much, just kidding, they were sooooooooo good!  Then we asked for directions and jumped in John's Acura and headed to the Cape May zoo!  I've never been there, but I heard good things, and it was free, so, why not, right?

Are we in Love or what???
We saw Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!  But someone got very lazy with taking pictures, I might add!  Very naughty...and I was tired already! Ha, how can you be tired on vacation?  But I was!

A friendly goat
A curious monkey
A headless camel?
Two bald eagles
I'm not gonna lie, the zoo just isn't the same without Mark and Julia, so we stayed like, maybe 40 minutes before heading home!
This is me, excited to see my kids!!!
This is John, very happy after inhaling his Java Chip Starbucks coffee and eating my pretzel!

It was a 2 plus hour drive home, but good company and good music, and coffee kept us happy!

And dancing behind the wheel...Oh my!
I took a picture of the kids as we walked in, And Mom was feeding Mark in the high chair and Julia was next to her, Mark almost leaped right out of his chair, and Julia told me immediately, "Paris pooped on the Deck!  She's naughty!!!"  (she is my little helper and informer)

Look at his face, he is not happy that mommy is taking the time to snap a picture!
Well, thanks guys for letting me share our time in Cape May with you.  It was a short but sweet getaway, one I will always cherish!  Thanks John!  I love you!

You are my love, my life, my friend...
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