My fashionista, and My little boy

school time
Psalm 71: 8 My mouth shall be filled with Your praise and with Your honor all the day!

 We had an amazing week!  We were able to finish school quickly each day and then have a fun outing or be with family and friends.  It was a gorgeous weather week too!

Julia also had a great time learning Chinese with dad this week.  Our new  routine is when he gets home the spend about 20-25 minutes using the Home School Rosetta Stone program for kids.  She loves the quality time with Daddy, and she gets to use the computer, flash cards, and head phones, which is super cool to a three year old!  When she turns four (Lord willing) we are going to enroll her in a Saturday morning program in Edison where they teach Mandarin to students.  John is quite the linguist and took Mandarin in college for a few semesters, which came in very handy when we did missions work for a month in China!




On Tuesday, Aunt Laurie came over to watch the kids while I ran errands and went food shopping!  Mark DID NOT want her to leave!  And Julia was excited to dress up for Aunt Laurie in her princess dress.







This week we learned all about bumble bees and honey bees!  We colored pictures, we learned some fun facts, and with each backyard trip or park trip we even got to see some bees!  And of course we read books about bees and how they live.  We learned that bees can't fly in the rain and that girl bees work outside gathering pollen while boy bees work inside the hive!






On Wednesday, the kids played with Grandma Donna and Aunt Sara while me and my dad visited my Grandpa in the nursing home.  Again, Mark DID NOT want to leave Aunt Sara, we had to distract him to even put him in his car seat.  I'm really happy he is starting to connect to our family more and want to spend more time with them.






We went to Cheesequake park on Wednesday and the kids got to play on the playground.  Mark is such a big boy and so brave now!  And Julia wants to always try her gymnastic stunts on the equipment! 







Thursday was library time!  Take a look at my fashionista!  I put pants and a shirt on her and somehow before we leave a skirt gets pulled over.  She loves skirts!  The kids love bubble time at the library!  And Julia made friends with this cutie pie behind her, Hannah.  She wanted her to sit in her lap and she kept holding her hand during story time.  Such a big sister, she is!





Mark enjoys walking all around smiling at people in the library!  Now he sings all the songs, and does the finger plays, and acts them out, too!  He is becoming quite the chatter box!  Every day he learns something new!











I just had to add this photo in because these kids are too cute!  Mark is actually sitting on his blue potty while Julia is obviously on the toilet.  These two usually do everything together.  Mark is showing a lot of interest in the potty so we are keeping his potty out, and will try some potty training this summer for sure!  Julia, however, used to love Mark coming in the bathroom with her, but yesterday schooled him on how she needs her PRIVACY!!! It was so funny!

Thankful Thursday 2

Psalm 100 

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." 

This week I am thankful for:

Me time is great!
  Times of rest and regrouping!

Trying to find that balance between homemaker and wife and still being true to yourself as a person can be so hard, so I'm thankful for those moments God allows me to have "me" time away from my home.


This week I was able to get a manicure/pedicure on Monday during nap time while my sister Sara watched over the home.


On Tuesday I was able to go to Goodwill to drop off items, food shopping with my coupons, clothes shopping for the kids with my coupons, and the cleaners for John while my SIL Laurie played with the kids.


On Wedenesday my Daddy and I are visiting my grandpa in the nursing home together.  This has become a little ritual for us.  I'm super close to my grandpa and my dad loves having company when he goes.  So my mom watches the kids and feeds them dinner and I get time with my dad and my grandpa!




I'm so thankful for my sister Sara, my twin, my best friend, my buddy, my sweetie!  She helps me whenever I ask her, she always brings my kids prizes, when she doesn't even need to!  She constantly checks in on me throughout the week to see if I'm okay.  And she is just a blessing!




Easter 2011
I'm thankful for this boy!  He is NO LONGER A BABY! When did this happen?  I have no idea! But, he is still on 25% so he is super small and tiny and so God has blessed me with an extended time of a little one to hold and kiss and love on.  And trust me, he loves every single minute of it!  It is true that their is a special bond between mothers and their sons.


Monday, April 25th hair cut...1 inch off...her hair is still long!
I'm thankful for my little "Dorothy" !  That's what we call her with braids in her hair.  She is just so big and smart and such a helper.  She does her best to share with Mark, she helps him put his shoes on, his coat on, she helps him blow his nose.  She gets his milk from the fridge...she is a darling.  








On Easter I was thankful for a low key day, sun was shining, my kids were able to nap in their own beds, wake up at their leisure, play with Grandma in the back yard and front yard, and I was able to enjoy a few rounds of Blokus with the family!  Time passed so quickly we were able to enjoy two meals together!  John whipped up a batch of his famous red sauce for dinner!

I'm always thankful for an amazing husband who works so hard, and plans fun day trips so we can still make time together for just us!  It means so much to me!  My love language is TIME!  Time with the people I love!


Thank you God for times of great memories, and rest, for an amazing family, and for reminding me to stay thankful!

A Day of Rest--NYC trip

Okay all you hard working people, you have full time jobs, and responsibilities to your family, your friends, and your ministry.  You give 100% to whatever you put your mind to, whether it's performing at work, cleaning your home, taking care of little ones, or home schooling your children.  And that's probably not all you do.

On the side you might tutor, babysit a friend's child, visit a family member in a nursing home, teach a Sunday School class, or cook a meal for a shut in.  When you give, give, give sometimes you wind up feeling so exhausted not only physically but emotionally, right? 

God knows every part of us...He knows when we are exhausted, at our wits end, lonely, cranky, moody, happy, excited, or anxious.  He cares about all our emotions.  He wants us to feel peaceful and live a life of balance.  He knows our deepest needs, even better than we do!

Here is an excerpt from Jesus Calling for April 27-

"Come to Me with empty hands and an open heart, ready to receive abundant blessings.  I know the depth and breadth of your neediness.  Your life-path has been difficult, draining you of strength.  Come to Me for nurture.  Let Me fill you up with My Presence: I in you, and you in Me.  My power flows most freely into weak ones aware of their need for Me.  Faltering steps of dependence are not lack of faith; they are links to My Presence."

(John 17: 20-23 and Isaiah 40: 29-31)

As a stay at home mom of two one of my biggest faults is pride.  Pride that I can do it all and not ask for help.  Pride that I don't need anyone and that I shouldn't bother anyone.  God has been teaching me to open my heart and allow people to help me so that I can be blessed, so that I can be filled to the brim with blessings and have even more strength and energy to pour into my little family upon my return.  On Good Friday, we asked John's parents to watch Mark and Julia while we headed out into the city for a day of togetherness and rest.

First we stopped at John's empty office so I could picture where he works.
He has an amazing view.
Now when he calls me I can picture him working hard at his desk.
John and I headed into the city at around 10 am.  We rode the bus he normally takes, I got to take the commute he takes and just sit on the bus and read a magazine, a true luxury for a busy mom of two!  We then stopped at his office, he showed me around. (I noticed that he needed more pics of his family, so I sent him some Monday morning to spruce his office up)

Tulips in NYC
We got to walk hand in hand around the city.  John made reservations at an Indian restaurant in Midtown called Amma....delicious!!!

Looking at the menu...how do you choose when everything sounds yummy?
John ordered a chicken dish in a spicy red sauce with Nan...Indian bread is amazing
I ordered a rice dish with chicken...it was so good! John finished most of it.
I'm so thankful for my in laws coming over and watching the kids all day.  We got home around 4pm and so they were with the kids for the better part of the day, I'm telling you by 1:00 my heart started hurting because I missed them so bad!  My mother in law kept texting how good they were how they went right to sleep at nap time...I came home to find my sink cleaned, my laundry folded from the dryer and two very happy children.  Who could ask for more?

God wants to richly bless us and give us rest if we are open to allowing Him.  And sometimes that means we have to humble ourselves and allow other people to be a part of the blessing.  My in laws went home with the biggest smiles because they had a day with their two favorite grandchildren (okay their only grandchildren, but you know what I mean!)

We walked through central park
saw horses
and famous hotels
NYC is beautiful in spring, everything is blooming
Thank you for filling us up Lord, and giving us those days of rest when we seek you and are open to your plan.  Thank you for directing our steps as we depend on you completely.  You are so good to us!  This was truly a three day weekend we will never forget.

James: Do Not Boast About Tomorrow

James 4: 13-17

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. 

 I could write a book on this tiny little passage, because I am so guilty of making my plans and forgetting all about including God in them or consulting with Him first!  It's not that I mean to, but we are so accustomed to doing our own thing, making our own way, creating our own little schedules, that we forget there is a MUCH bigger plan out there, and a MUCH mightier God out there who wants us to put Him first and not last when it comes time to planning our lives.  It's almost laughable.  I mean who do we think we are that we can do ANYTHING without Him?  Much less, plan our lives!

As a teacher, planning is detrimental to running a proper classroom.  You have to thing broad scale, long term, and constantly measure how well your students are learning.  You have to constantly plan each day's events in order to meet your learning goals.

As a mom, planning is detrimental for pure survival!  Just kidding, but sort of true!  Moms don't only have to teach, but feed, clean, wash, and take care of their little ones, so planning is even more detrimental for life.

We all have to plan and schedule and keep a calendar of events for our lives to run smoothly, but sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and we forget WHO is directing our steps and leading us.  We can become haughtly and proud about our little schedules and then when something interferes with our plans we can become angry at God for messing with our lives.  But if we take each day as it comes (and trust me I am STILL learning this one and God is constantly working on me) and each step as it comes and surrender our hearts/lives to Him no matter what is thrown at us or comes in our path, we can look to Him who directs and leads us for wisdom, peace, and guidance!  Thank goodness we have a Shepherd, right???  One of the first verses, besides Ephesians 6:1 (children obey your parents) was Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want!

Some verses that remind me of the sovereignty of God, and how He knows all my plans even before I make them are: (NKJ version)

Psalm 33:10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 19: 21 There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel-that will stand.

Don't laugh, but lately I've been realizing the more I just "give the day to the Lord" and take one step and each moment at a time, the happier I am, the more relaxed I feel, and the better my kids behave and learn.  For example, today we were outside playing and waiting for Aunt Laurie to come over and the kids were really nervous about all the bees.  I calmly kept telling them not to be worried, the bees won't sting them, just leave them alone.  But they were really worried.  I took the time to explain how bees pollinate and go to each flower and their goal is to make honey, etc, etc, we went for a wagon ride around the block, we looked for bees, we talked about bees, and I realized this week we are learning everything we can about bees, in fact maybe even this month!  Because we see bees, we hear them, the kids are interested in them, and there is a lot even I can learn, and instead of stressing out or worrying about being outside, I made it a teachable moment, and God gave me a curriculum change idea!  It's little things like that when we just give them over to the Lord that He helps us and guides us and directs are very next steps.

So, if the Lord wills, that's what we will be learning about for the next few days around here, BEES!  Thank you Lord for directing my steps, giving me counsel, and living in my heart!

Vegetarian Pasta Salad



I hope you had a wonderful Easter!  I had all my family over yesterday and we had such a great time!  I hope to post some pictures this week.  I served lunch after church and this was one of my dishes on the side!  Everyone loved it, including me!  There's nothing like a flavorful pasta salad!!!  Enjoy!



Pasta Salad: with feta, garlic, and black olives

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
8 oz feta cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped basil
1 tbsp finely chopped mint 
grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 lb of penne pasta
1 cup of pitted black olives

Directions:

1. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, feta, oil, basil, mint, and lemon zest in a large salad bowl.  Toss well and season with salt and pepper.  Let rest for 30 minutes.

2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.  Drain well and let cool under cold water. 

3. Add pasta to the bowl with the tomatoe and cheese mixture.  Add olives and toss well.  Garnish with basil and serve.


Happy Easter 2011

 Happy Easter Blog Friends & Family!

Jesus is the Reason for the Season...dyeing eggs, and eating jelly beans, and having egg hunts is extremely fun BUT let us remember the sacrifice and love that was poured out for us...we are SO blessed!

We serve a Risen Lord who has conquered death!

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Sending you an Easter hug!

xoxo
with love
all the macs

School Time

This is what my dining room table looks like on Saturday afternoons or Sunday evenings.  This is my planning time.  I gather as many books, my planner for Julia, the reading curriculum we use, our Bible and Kid devotional, and I start filling in the new concepts we will learn, the new books we will read and re read, the crafts we will do, and I grab my own schedule and start planning the playdates, park trips, and library times we will go to.

I love how the first thing people ask when you mention you are home schooling your children is: "What about their social life?"  It is truly laughable because what do they think we do all week?  Do they think we lock our children in their rooms with books and manipulatives and expect them to learn and teach themselves?  No!  Obviously we do things outside of the home, we are involved with church activities, our friend activities, gymnastics, library story time, park time, my kids have PLENTY of social time and interaction, they are social bugs I call them because they love meeting and playing with other children.


Lately I've gotten a lot more serious with Mark's learning time, he no longer does the two naps so he joins us for all of our learning time.  But we no longer have a set learning time.  We learn throughout the day, sometimes once we wake up til right before bed.  I just have a very difficult time caring for the kids, house, meal planning and having set "school time"  we work best by being flexible throughout the day.  Some days Julia wants more and more school time, and some days she says, "Mom, that's enough."  And I really try to be very sensitive to what my kids are telling me because after all they are only almost 2 and 3 1/2 and sometimes the concepts can be overwhelming, especially teaching your child to read.  I've gotten so much good advice from my home school friends, what a support they have been to me.  So now when I plan for the week ahead I have a Mark paper and a Julia paper and I list all the concepts I want the kids to learn/practice that week and throughout the week I keep checking my list to make sure we hit them all.


We have been having a great time learning to count and teach Mark his numbers.  I really think Julia might just be a teacher some day, she is so serious and patient with teaching him new things, I think she may even have him potty trained!

I also am loving teaching my kids social skills and social awareness through The Clifford books.  We do two books a week (I bought over 10 they are about $3.99 each) and we read the book during the day and before bed time and we talk about sharing, spring cleaning, counting, fire safety rules, etc, and it is a fun way to teach your kids because my kids love Clifford the Big Red Dog!

I'm loving this time God has given me with my children, I'm not sure how long I will be at home, but I'm ready and willing to stay as long as He allows! And I think both my kids are better off because of it!

My boy is totally growing up in leaps and strides and let me just brag on him for a minute.  He is the sweetest kindest little guy.  If you sneeze or cough (anyone, even a stranger at the library) he will walk over and go, "You ok?"  He is so tender hearted.  When I'm driving and someone cuts me off and I go, "REally!? How rude!"  Mark goes, "MOmmy what happened???" He's so aware of other people's hurts and injustices-es and he really seems to understand and care.  I think he just might be a doctor some day, just a guess, but you never know!

Thankful Thursday 1

This is my Julia when she was 5 months old!
I Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  

"Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son
And now let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us..."

This has always been one of my favorite songs we used to sing at camp and in church.  It's an oldie but goodie.  I have to be honest, in my mind I am a huge grumbler and complainer.  Outwardly I try to be positive, upbeat and happy but inwardly I really struggle sometimes with being thankful, and grateful for just what God has given me.  In my mind/heart, I sometimes struggle with keeping score and feeling like I am doing so much at home with two toddlers and I forget just how hard John works and how much he does for us. 

Last weekend I had an inward battle because as John went off to Love Your Neighbor outreach program our church has at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday to help people in the community, I began grumbling and complaining.  "Again!  Another weekend!  We never see him!  We miss him!  What about loving your family!" I wanted to cry out.  Instead during my devotions (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young) God spoke tenderly to me and said, "Kristi, are you trusting me?  Kristi, are you thankful for all I have given you?  Kristi, do you know how much John loves you?  Kristi, don't you want a husband who is willing and excited to serve?"  Yes, Lord.  I said.  "Well then Kristi, show me by changing your attitude..."  It wasn't harsh, it wasn't cold, it was so lovingly said and immediately I felt like I really had so much to be thankful for.  That moment with the Lord allowed me to greet John excitedly at 2pm when he got home.  I couldn't wait to ask him how his time went.  I truly was happy he went, even though we did miss him, I had a fun day with the kids at the library family time that they have on Saturdays at 11:00.  God allowed me to share my John, with a thankful heart and not a stingy one!

Thankful Thursdays are all about remembering how God is in control.  Remembering that God loves us and is trustworthy even when we don't understand why certain things happen.  God is always blessing us and giving us things we don't deserve and it is our choice to choose a thankful attitude over an angry or bitter one.

So, as always I will be honest and transparent with you because I believe when we share our struggles it connects us and it allows others to feel safe and accepted and it also shows that God isn't finished with us yet and we are all working towards living a life of thankfulness to the Lord.

  
I'm thankful for family time!

I'm thankful for my Julia who gets my sense of humor and tells me she loves me!
I'm thankful for my Mark who is getting so big and so funny...he's my mini John!
I'm thankful for the little gymnast I see in Julia!  I'm so proud of her hard work on Fridays!
I'm thankful for my SIL Laurie!  She is always willing to help me!
I'm thankful for friends to laugh with and share a bit of the city with!
Lord, I will be thankful no matter what and I will trust you.  I know you only have the best in store for me!

Blog Revamp

When Dad comes home from work, it's all about spending time with him!


Good Morning!  We're back!  I've missed writing each day to all of you.  But the break was well needed.

I had a chance to think about more of a consistent schedule for my blog, so that you, my readers, can know just what to expect on any given day!






Mark and Julia eating breakfast together.

Mondays- Food Related, Recipes, etc, Kristi's Menu

Tuesdays-Walk through the Bible (Right now we are finishing up James, then we will be moving on to Esther)

Wednesdays- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (A new daily devotional I'm doing...it's so good!)

So thankful for my family!

Thursdays-Thankful Thursdays (I will be sharing all the things God is doing in my life, and all the things I am thankful for, expected and unexpected)

Mark decided to try on Daddy's tie!

Friday-Kristi's Kids (Homeschooling, Our Outings, Play dates, Field Trips, Updates, etc!)

Are they cool, or what???
 Saturdays in April/May: Spring Cleaning (Picture updates and tips how I got there!)

Spring Break

Hello blog family!

We are so busy this week preparing for our final Ladies Bible Study party, family visits on Palm Sunday and Love Your Neighbor Ministry this weekend...so I will not be posting for the next week or so in order to get myself ready for all our commitments!

But I plan on returning next week with more on our study in the book of James, some awesome vegetarian dishes I've been making over here, some Spring Cleaning Tips and Pictures, and some Home Schooling successes!  I'm also starting a new Kay Arthur Sunday School class in May on Esther, so I can't wait to share what God will be teaching me through the book of Esther!

Mark's two year old countdown is drawing near...my little man is no longer a baby...he's a big boy!  Here are some photos we recently took of the kids at JCPenny!

Love you all!  I'll miss you this week!  Have a blessed one!

Donate-Donate-Donate

This has been such a successful Spring Cleaning Week!  My closets, garage, and nooks and crannies are all cleaned out/vacuumed/dusted and ready to serve their purposes!  We got rid of over 6 bags of clothes and 2 bags of toys (we donate to the Goodwill down the street and you get a tax receipt each time, we also donate to Solutions Pregnancy Center)  We found a home for Julia's crib and changing table!  I'm so happy to know the person it is going to and I'm excited to meet their new baby in July!  The reason why we were able to give away our crib/changing table we bought for Julia is because someone blessed us with Mark's bedroom furniture and Julia's new big girl bedroom furniture...so it was time to pass on the blessing!  So we will still have nursery furniture if we decide to have more babies later!!!



Since our garage is completely empty John decided to add to it and buy a mini boat so that he and his dad and the kids can go fishing and crabbing in the summer!  God is so good and he got the boat for such a great deal, and a motor and a fish finder for only $300!  He's so excited to take it fishing on Father's Day with his Dad and Uncles and Cousins...the McInerney Dad tradition!

I just need to organize the baby boy/girl clothes by size/season in bins that I'm saving...there are some things that are too precious to part with!

And today during nap time I will be sprucing up the laundry room with a good cleaning and a bit of organizing some shelves...can't wait to take photos of each area of the house we've been working on to show you all!!!

What are you reading these days?

 I love to read.  I find that my hands are always grabbing a book and a cup of something hot during the wee hours of the morning, at nap time, or right before bed.  I have a library as big, if not bigger than my husband who also enjoys reading, especially being a seminary for 4 years, he has accumulated so many great books by Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, Rick Warren, and C.S. Lewis to name a few.

Life before kids meant I had ample time to read after school, on weekends, and on vacation (one of the highlights of all of our oversee trips was that I could read a few novels just on the plane ride alone!)  Now, I have to really budget my reading time amongst cleaning, cooking, school time, and playing with my kids, and let's just say that John does not like me reading a book every single night before bed unless he has a book he has to read too!

I'm one of those readers who can read 3 books at a time and still actually know what is going on in each story line!  It's more interesting that way for me...I know, I'm weird!  Right now my mornings have been wonderful with reading the book of James in the New Testament, and a new devotional by Sarah Young called Jesus Calling...it is AMAZING...she uses Scripture to write a letter each day to you from the Lord, and it really feels like your quiet time is Jesus speaking right to you! I am loving it.  There is an entry for each day.

This week has been Spring Cleaning week, so I really haven't gotten much "fun reading" (my Bible time reading in the morning is much deeper and life changing and something I can't live without) in like my Amish novels by Shelley Shepard Gray or my Christian novels by Karen Kingsbury...but right now I'm in the middle of Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury and it is awesome as usual.  I love how she uses real life situations, and weaves them into the christian characters life, who choose to face life's challenges a godly way...and she always leaves you with tons to think about and scripture to ponder on!  Some of the older teen girls at my church enjoy her books and some of my friends my age so we get to discuss the books together and share the books we've finished reading.

On Tuesday, my friend Karima from Ladies Bible study was returning a book to our church library when she saw me.  She said it was a true story about a Rwanda survivor and that she read it in one day because she couldn't put it down.  It's called Left To Tell: Discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.  Well, I started it Tuesday after Spring Cleaning, and it's been hard to put it down.  It is so enthralling and so sad and knowing its a true story just breaks your heart because you know these people lost so much, not just their homes and livelihood but friends and family members.  The woman Immaculee is telling the story of her survival and I would highly recommend this book because it is always amazing to read the power of God and how he spared these 7 women who hid in a bathroom for over 90 days!  People kept coming to kill and find Immaculee but her prayers and faith truly protected her!  She believes she survived to tell her story and to share that God does exist and miracles do happen, and angels are real!

What books are you reading these days?

Aunt Kat's Black Bean/Mango Salad...a look back at our Florida trip

For my 30th birthday, on June 1, 2008, we spent a few days in Florida with John's family.  Aunt Kat treated me like a queen!  We got to spend time with Aunt Kat,Uncle Philip, Cousin Philip, Aunt Patty, Uncle Dick and Holly the dog!

Florida was just beautiful at that time of year (I'm sure it's lovely all the time, but a Jersey girl like me loved it in June).  Julia was just about 5 months old and traveling on the plane with her was nerve wracking for me, but she did fine.


Aunt Kat is known for her cooking!  Oh man, can this woman cook!  Anything she touches turns to gold, and her whole family helps with either setting the table or chopping veggies for her.



Aunt Kat really spent time with me, and made me feel so special.  I'll never forget the way she prayed for me at the dinner table saying that she was so thankful that I was born, and she kept reminding John how blessed he was to find me.  I will never forget how great I felt at her home.  At ease, comfortable, loved, and taken care of.








And she was a dream with Julia!  She just exudes love and compassion and warmth!  Look at her smile!  She is just a sweetheart.  It doesn't surprise me that everyone calls her in John's family for advice or prayer because she is a wonderful, godly woman.








And she is crafty too!  She makes her own jewlery, cards, and she made this "Julia" blanket as a baby gift for Julia!  We use it all the time when we go to the park for a picnic!  I love how bright and colorful it is, and I love that is handmade by someone who loves us.











Uncle Philip was wonderful to us as well, he told us police stories from Hoboken and just enjoyed our company.  He is a great husband and father.  I couldn't believe how sweet he was to Julia.  Sometimes men don't know what to do with little ones, but Uncle Philip was a pro!

And Julia enjoyed every minute.







Whenever we went to the beach, Julia would pass out asleep within minutes, the waves, the warmth, the sun, was so good for her.  And the family time was wonderful.  I miss Florida and our family!









This is John's younger cousin, Philip, he is currently volunteering as a Firefighter!  Oh, the stories he tells us.  It is so awesome to see his passion for serving other people.  He has great parents who have raised him well!







I do have something to share with YOU from Aunt Kat...her BLACK BEAN/MANGO Salad...it is out of this world!

Ingredients: 2 cans of black beans, 1 small onion minced, 2tbsp cilantro, 1/2 cup chopped mango, 2tbsp diced red pepper, 2tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp lite evoo/ pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp cumin, allow flavors to merge, chill before serving.

Enjoy!  Now you can have a little bit of something from Aunt Kat's Kitchen!

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