Why We Celebrate Lent {Shhh! We’re not Catholic!}

 

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It is February 18th today and already, again, Lent is upon us. Every year it sneaks up on me even though I know it is always 40 days before Easter. Last year it came and went without any celebration. I just didn’t have it in me. I was exhausted. I was nursing all the time and trying to stay up with school. The kids were branching out into extracurricular activities and friends and our time was being sucked out from beneath our house feet.

And the kids felt it. Maybe not until it was closer to Easter but, they felt the lack of liturgical fluidity that links Lent to Easter. And they asked about it. And they whined that I “forgot”. So when I was checking the date last night I was sucker-punched again as I realized it was the next day and that, again, I still hadn’t planned for it. But after realizing how much this meant to my kids, I resolved, however imperfectly, to acknowledge and celebrate today.

And the Lord, in His infinite mercy and goodness, helped me along. One of my best friends handed me a 2015 Lenten Devotions guide that she received free through a community service event a few weeks ago. I fished it out under a pile of books and flipped to the first day’s devotion while making breakfast.

Mathew 4: 1-4

The story of Christ and his temptation after 40 days in the wilderness.

At breakfast we read the verses. We read the devotional. We discussed all the rich links.

Why is Lent 40 days before Easter?

What is the link between Jesus 40 days in the Wilderness and Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness?

Why are we to sacrifice for Lent?

What does our sacrifice have to do with Jesus and his 40 days? And with his ultimate sacrifice?

How or what do we sacrifice?

But my favorite discussion came from the little conversations surrounding the quandary of what to give up. We talked about keeping our sacrifice between ourselves and God. (The last thing I want to be is the Lent police picking out how my kids are failing one more time or in correcting them with a more appropriate sacrifice.) We talked about failure and how that is actually a positive thing. Failing at Lent is a perfect practical application for us about how trying to “be good” on our own will always fail. Only one will not fail. Only one has not failed. That one – Jesus – is why his 40 days resisting temptation really means something and why his ultimate sacrifice covers everything. This allows Lent to truly become a walk to the cross as we practice living for Him but, in our failure, rejoice in the Resurrection on Easter morning.

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So, how do we do Lent as a family?

First, we discuss the meaning of Lent, why it comes before Easter, and what sacrifice means.

Next, everyone picks something they would like to sacrifice for the next forty days leading up to Easter. Note – this can be something tangible like giving up desserts or coffee, or it can be something intangible like giving up anger in exchange for self-control towards siblings. And for littles we let them pick regardless of if it seems sacrificial enough for us or not.

Then we take our sacrifices to the fire. Just as we, as Christians, are refined in the fire of the Holy Spirit in order to make us more holy, we offer these sacrifices to be burned out of us in a physical representation of fire. A candle flame is a tangible symbol of this. Each child is allowed to relinquish their sacrifice to the death of the flames.

Afterwards, we take the ashes and make the sign of the cross on our foreheads. This is a great reminder of our promise to God especially as we go out into the word. We are set apart as a people. Others notice. What better way for your child to evangelize as another child asks them why they have soot on their forehead? This is a perfect opportunity for you, as a parent, to also role play with your older teens on how you explain their budding faith.

And – my kids favorite part! – then we color the Lent Countdown Calendar to Easter! What a fun way (that doesn’t involve candy) to countdown to, what should be, the most celebrated holiday of the year for us, as Christians.

 

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So just because you may be reading this post after Lent has already begun – maybe way after – don’t let that stop you from participating with your kids this year. Start where you are today. Your kids won’t mind coloring in extra spaces on their calendar. In fact, you may discover next year that you, too, have started a new family tradition that makes your family’s faith walk much richer.

 

 

How Do You Prepare Him Room?

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I’m feeling the stress of Advent creep into my bones.

This weekend we had our big Christmas at the Cabin weekend with my side of the family and friends. Such a good time. So full of wonderful Christmas memories for the children. So good to visit and not have a baby attached to me that I need constant supervision over. Christmas carols, food, late conversations into the night, Nerts games by day. All is well. We come home and unpack in a reasonable time and fix a light dinner then realize the Christmas Encounters church program is in less than half an hour. Little girls need to be in dresses, hair needs brushed, boy needs jeans, kids need shoes and winter coats.

We’re almost there. No time to redo my messy braid but I do manage to throw on a red Christmasy-ish shirt and ribbon. Girls are beautiful with a special strand each of mom’s pearls. Dad says all are ready and we rush toward the van. Then I realize that boy is still not in jeans. He is in van with coat and shoes but also pj pants covered in food from the past two days. I rush him back inside as he whines that he has no jeans. I yell. I am not pleasant. We hurry into jeans that I find for him and rush back to car.

Still on time, I think. We pull into parking lot and I realize, with a pit in my stomach, that my camera is sitting on boy’s bed back home. I’m feeling really frustrated. I wanted a picture of their song. I wanted a picture of the girls in front of the Church Christmas tree looking beautiful. I wanted this Christmas memory captured. I seek out hubby to take over kids and run back home. I hear an emphatic NO and I know he’s right, but I feel panicky. We rush in to find seats in the crowded auditorium.

We sing. The opening song is beautiful. Mary Did You Know. This was the song my mother requested we learn this Christmas. My kids know the words and are excited to hear it. It is a beautiful accapella rendition except one of the main singer’s microphones aren’t on and you can barely hear him compared to the sound of the others on stage and I see the worship leader straining a smile as he keeps singing and pretends it’s not happening and I know he has a pit in his stomach too because this isn’t how the night was suppose to go.

I start to slow and say a quick pray for God to change my heart. What I want to do is tell my boy that it was his fault that my camera is not here to capture this moment. What I do instead is bite my tongue and hug him him and rub his back during the song. My heart is pierced with how broken I am. I am so glad I did not let ugly sin words stain this night and break my boy’s spirit.

Soon my littlest girl is squirming in my lap and making noises that are disruptive. I realize that with her I wouldn’t have been able to hold a camera and take pictures anyway. I remover her after hearing the kids sing and we traverse to the bathroom and then hang out in the foyer. I meet another large family mother with two littles crawling around her and we commiserate together. I tell her my story and she tells me hers. She didn’t want to come but her son really wanted to go. She capitulated at the last moment and dropped everything, very literally, with her mixer still sitting in potatoes and milk and no supper in anyone’s belly except for a rushed grabbed cookie. She realized that if she was going to make the decision to go it had to be now regardless of circumstances. And here she was in the middle of that act of love sitting on the floor in the foyer with littles that wouldn’t sit still and be quiet missing the whole thing.

I returned to my seat for the last two songs thinking about this woman and her story while singing the chorus of O Come Let Us Adore Him. The last song was a raucous rendition of Joy to the World. As I was swaying the baby and enjoying the music a line jumped out at me.

Let every heart prepare Him room…”

How do we even do that? Prepare Him room? What does that even mean?

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I think of our tradition of keeping Advent. Of meeting nightly and reading scripture and singing songs to remember. Surely this is good. Surely this is what that means. Or so I have always thought. Yet every Advent season I walk away feeling slightly still empty. Sure there were good memories, beautiful pictures. Yet there is always something that I can’t put my finger on that seems missing or off kilter. I always thought of Advent as a time to draw nearer to the Lord. And I always chalked up my not feeling nearer due to this season of life with littles. Surely one day when everyone was bigger and could sit still and not fidget, when everyone really got what Christmas was about, surely then Advent would fill up my soul and satisfy that yearly holiday longing.

But as I listen to Joy to the World and think of that line again I begin to wonder if my thinking is what’s off kilter.

Let every heart prepare Him room…”

I think of Mary in that dirty stable. I think of her in real pain from labor. I think of the messiness of birth with no sanitary hospital staff to whisk it away. I think of being up all night with a crying, fussy child who won’t latch on properly. I think of being bone-tired and no matter what not abdicating responsibilities. I think of raising a toddler who won’t sit still while wise men come in a formal display of gifts. I think of the frustration of how this ceremony feels less than ceremonial with a toddler’s antics. Did Jesus hide shy-like behind his mother’s skirt or did he interrupt wise speakers by poking at the fancy feather on the turban?

Mary was in no different season of life than I. She knew this was the Holy Child. The Savior. Did she so very often ask her Father above why this experience didn’t feel very “holy” at all? Or did she understand in a way that we too often don’t that He chose this vehicle of human experience exactly because it’s not holy. Because in our brokenness He meets us.

Maybe preparing for Him is recognizing those moments when life interrupts and instead of trying to fix it we allow Him in during that very unholy moment in order to sanctify us. Maybe we need to stop waiting for a feeling to show up and instead focus on moving over a little in our hearts. We make room in our own brokenness to prepare room for Him to show up. Is it as simple as that?

So I’m going to hop off this mom guilt-train of not “feeling” spiritual enough and just prepare Him room by allowing Him into my mess this Christmas. Won’t you join me?

Prepare Him Room

♥ Considering Love

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♥ Updated and reposted February 2014. ♥

As Valentine’s Day approaches we immediately set out to “do” something for our significant others. And, within reason, there is nothing wrong with this quaint tradition. We all long to give to those we love. Some say it with flowers, some with chocolate, some with jewelry.

At this house, we’ve never been much of a giver of traditional Valentine’s gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers and chocolate…especially chocolate…but it has never seemed prudent to spend our money on temporary things that don’t last.  Some years we dine out, other years – when tight on money – we don’t. Some years we buy cards, some years we make, some years we go without due to a season of busyness. We do try to make it special for the kids with activities and a small gift and much love through food and feast, sugar and sweets.

This will mark the 18th year our marriage has celebrated this special season. Our marriage is better than it ever has been and keeps getting sweeter every year. As I was reading in bed I came across this marvelous passage that struck me as utter truth and reminded me of why our marriage has sustained its sweetness.

I think that as the years go by, the same love would enrich any marriage as the love which builds and enriches a community of celibate monks; and that is the love which is pledged to lay down its own wants and preferences for the sake of the other. The marriage that was built on natural affection, and had nothing of such love would, in the end, sour, however promising its beginning, I think…if their love has not that Christ-like quality of humble service, then neither is it built to last for ever.      ~Peregrine’s conversation with Clare in The Dove and Hawk Trilogy (Boldface my emphasis)

We have learned on our walk together that serving the other is when love truly grows. As I aim to meet my husband’s needs (an ironed chef coat without asking, making the bed, picking up the house before he gets home, making sure I always have something I can make him to eat after he gets in late at night) without worrying what I will get in return, it is that precise moment through the humbling of those acts of servitude that my needs are fulfilled. I give out so that love may increase. And as he seeks to serve me (doing a load of dishes without being asked, making us breakfast whenever he is home, working three jobs to support our family’s vision) without seeking a need in return, he is blessed with his needs fulfilled. It is this beautiful ebb and flow created through our perfect Father and perfected through Jesus Christ.

Some days the yoke of Christ does NOT feel easy and light. But it is precisely those days when I need to stop and ask myself if my heart is truly serving the needs of my family. It is easy in this world of technology and information to become self absorbed. The moment I step away into myself, even an inch, love slips away and is replaced with selfishness and wanting to gratify my needs. It is only when I turn back to serving others and laying down my life (my wants, desires, needs) to lift up their’s, it is only then that love returns and the peaceful yoke settles around my neck like a breath of fresh air.

So on this day of love, may we remember an oft heard verse but read it with fresh eyes…the eyes of a willing servant.

Love is patient (even when you’re right), love is kind (even if you’ve been wronged). It does not envy (even if there is righteous cause to be jealous), it does not boast (for it understands that there will be low days too), it is not proud (for that is the perfect foothold for the enemy). It is not rude (even if they deserve the comment), it is not self-seeking (no matter how many needs you have that are not being fulfilled), it is not easily angered (even when you have every right to be angry), it keeps no record of wrongs (even if those wrongs are grounds for divorce). Love does not delight with evil (even though your friends want you to join in with the complaining of your spouse) but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (even when the relationship seems dead and lifeless for love is a choice, not a feeling).”  ~I Corinthians 13:4-7 (amplified interpretation all mine)

So, if any of you out there are saying to yourself that is impossible, you don’t understand, shouldn’t marriage be about give and take, fifty-fifty split? May I just offer you this small token of advice. Put down the Love Dare book. Look at your significant other and forget EVERY SINGLE one of your needs. Look at his (or her) needs only and find how to serve. I promise you the impossible will happen. God’s grace will grow love where you never thought possible, will spark desire where you never knew it was missing. Miracles will happen…jealousies will subside…hearts will soften…forgotten prayers will be answered!

Happy Valentine’s Day, my precious kids whom constantly teach me how to love!

Happy Valentine’s Day, my best friend, soul mate, and most cherished companion!

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day, World! ♥

♥ XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO ♥

The Silent Advent

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Advent and Christmas time is notorious for being filled with busyness. We are all subject to it and it is hard to escape even if we wanted to.

The malls are decorated and ready and waiting for shoppers not even a day after Halloween. We skip right over Thanksgiving and learning to be content and rush right into a season of the gimmies.

Pinterest abounds with ideas, ideas and more ideas. Delectable ideas, to be sure, but so many that we are either paralyzed into doing nothing or we try to be super moms and take extra lengths to crowd into every day an activity that will spark creativity, grow the minds of our child, inspire character growth, bring home the “reason for the season”. We advent our kids to death in the hope that this year our child will get it and not be duped by this Santa fella.

And when we are not using Pinterest for this, we use it to wow those around us. Surely our neighbors will be envious over our lights, our tree, our decor, our china, our food, our community gift-giving efforts. We do this all in the name of family and Christ. We are sure that this year we did Advent right. This is the year we will wake up December 26th full of soul satisfaction at a job well done.

But I know us. I know me. And we won’t. Ever.

Not unless we slow down. Not unless we stop doing. Not unless we allow God to pull us into forced silent retreat.

This was my Advent this year. My lights still aren’t all the way up. Parts of my home do look beautiful but among that is the mess of moving rooms around, school not put up for vacation, and boxes of Christmas decor still sitting in my living room that I walk past daily completely in denial and convinced that the last few things will get put up even if tomorrow is already Christmas Eve. My advent calendar never got put up. I did not get to do the Christmas Story Advent countdown. We didn’t do the Jesse Tree. We barely made it most nights to carols and quiet advent time as a family. There was no special activity for each day. No marathon of special Christmas cookie baking to hand out to neighbors or take to family gatherings. We missed the hometown Christmas-y stuff. We missed sitting on Santa’s lap or making Christmas lists or writing letters to the North Pole. Our Netflix box sits full of Christmas movies that we haven’t watched.

But it’s okay. At least that is what He is whispering to me. God chose to equip me with something more beautiful this year. A forced silent retreat. {I sense a reoccurring theme here.} And I panicked at first. I wanted to be a part of all those special Christmas events. I wanted my children to carry those memories. Instead I was graced with being forced to socially retreat. And during it I was blessed to have found this Advent book to read during this time of silent night, holy night. The only Advent devotional book available for me to check out at the library. God’s Advent gift to me.

Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent.

And daily (mostly) I read and wept and prayed. The focus was not on Mary or Joseph or baby Jesus but instead on Elizabeth and Zachariah and their forced silent retreat. God needed them both to stop, listen, prepare and to do this they were taken out of the busyness of life. Okara’s take on how God used them is beautifully, breathtakingly simple. Every day I took something very powerful away to ponder. And while I encourage you to pin this book to your Advent board to remember for next year, I’d like to leave you absorbing a few of it’s treasured nuggets for yourself this Christmas week.

Part One – Surprised and Silenced By God

Traditionally when we think of Advent we immediately call to mind Mary, Joseph, and the angel Gabriel. But in the Gospel of Luke, Zechariah and Elizabeth are the first two people we meet in the Advent narrative. Much as John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ, his parents Zechariah and Elizabeth seem to be the forerunners for the holy family. The angel Gabriel comes to them first to astound them with good news. Yet, Zechariah and Elizabeth teach us that receiving divine good news can be fraught with all kinds of tensions and questions. It is an understatement to say that Zechariah and Elizabeth are caught by surprise. Their shock dumbs them into silence and seclusion, affording them time to dwell with the news.”

Lamentations 3:26

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:28

Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.”

Day 2 – Lament

In America, we live in a pain-avoidance culture that rarely sees any meaningful significance in sitting with discomfort. When something feels bad, society and corporations have conditioned us to self-medicate with media, food, or shopping. It may take discipline and practice to learn to appreciate the importance of lament for our soul’s and our community’s health”

Day 10 – Silence

What if the silence God bestowed on Zechariah was not fully punishment but also an odd blessing. What if God was offering Zechariah nine months to sit with the news, to ponder God’s words, and to process the stupefied awe in which he surely found himself. What if the time of formal silence was God granting Zechariah the gift of some necessary internal solitude in preparation to receive the miracle and to dwell in God’s faithfulness…”

Day 12 – Divine Preparation

Most of us would consider a silent retreat an unreasonable way to spend our time when our to-do lists seem unending. But carving out space for contemplation and solitude can invite God to speak into our lives and offer us an opportunity for us to sleep in the depth of what God is already doing and saying. Elizabeth has five uninterrupted months of quiet solitude to take in the reality of her growing miracle. Not even her husband’s voice can intrude on this time of reflection. Both Elizabeth and Zechariah are forced into holy retreat to dwell on what God is doing in their lives.”

Day 13 – Holy Retreat

The more we inhabit silence, the better our hearing becomes. When we step back into the noise of our world, our hearing is a bit more fine-tuned and more likely to hear God’s whispers.”

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…”

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As you sit with these words of encouragement and wisdom, I urge you to revisit Luke 1:5 – 2:40 and sit with the Christmas Story for a while. Allow it to penetrate your hearts this Christmas.

If you are, like me, in that season of forced retreat (health, kids, stress, depression, life!), consider also reading some more encouraging Christmas Advent posts from myself and other mothers who have been there.

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A Heart of Thankfulness {A Blessings Photo Essay}

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This year season of my life has been hard…really hard. Since last August I’ve been struggling with various teeth and body issues that no doctor or dentist can figure out. I’m desperately trying to stave off new symptoms while trying to maintain life by masking current symptoms. Life has been hard. I’ve had to give things up that I didn’t want to in order to hang on to the most important stuff. (Do you hear the crickets chirping in this here blogosphere?) But despite that, I’m sitting here this Thanksgiving day looking around and knowing I’m blessed. I see His hand all around me and if I don’t look to the little things and count them then those blessings that fall like living rain can roll right off my back soaking into the ground, wasted.

So today I need to count because gratitude needs to be my lifeline during this time of not understanding.

Can I start with the beauty of the season? Just look at the simplicity of the pumpkin above. The shape and color, the contrast against my weathered porch, the complimentary fallish leaves strewn just so. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Perfect.

Then there’s the dying back of the garden that holds it’s own in beauty compared to it’s spring and summer counterparts. Sunlight bouncing off of maroons and mauves in the morning light. Tawny browns of seed heads contrasting against bronzed, dying leaves.

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And the mornings. Oh how I wish I could enjoy more of them but whatever is attacking my body seems worst then. The mornings that I do make it to my front porch are like an oasis to the chaos of my day.

Hot coffee.

Living words.

Feeding souls.

And this town…

I’m thankful for this small, midwest town. The community is strong here. The houses are mish-mashed and beautiful, ornate and simple. The business is small, local and cozy. The churches are reaching hearts and building family.

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I love that my children can walk to the library or to the drugstore. I love that they can bike to a friends house or walk up to the park. I love the memories they are making. I love the security that a small town affords us for our growing family.

And my heart swells with thankfulness for my children. They are growing faster than the weeds in my yard. I watch them stretching their minds. I listen in on their sibling conversations. I inwardly smile at the first awkward stirrings of teenage years quickly approaching. I treasure the conversations in my heart. I laugh at little hands and little feet stirring up trouble. And I breathe deep baby fat and double chins. These are my legacy…my stories…my beautiful mess.

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And as Advent draws near, I am thankful for the Lord that provides. Our dollars are tight. They already have to stretch beyond our means to cover our chosen life-path. This month He provided a new couch set…well, new to us. Perfect in condition, color, and style to nestle into the space of our Victorian living room. A chance stop-in at the Goodwill. Under $100 for the whole trio. As Advent approaches and winter settles in, it means dark mornings, candlelight and the thankfulness of my heater as I curl up with His word and wait for the Christ-child.

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For to even open up the door these days invites in the too chilly air. Frost sparkles the world and for very brief moments I soak in the beauty of upcoming winter. My imagination runs wild with thoughts of silver fairies and legends of jack frost. And when I return to the warmth of the house, to the smells of fall cooking and fill my belly with the comfort of potatoes and pumpkin and squash, I am again reminded of how blessed I am compared to most. My house is old and I don’t know if I will ever find the money to make it whole and not broken, but even amidst it’s brokenness it brings me daily joy.

As does my husband whose very heart and commitment to our family sings of his sacrificial love of us. His talented hands feed us, sing to us, embrace us. He is father and still soul mate. I am lucky indeed.

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Let them give THANKS to the LORD

For His UNFAILING LOVE

And His wonderful deeds for men,

For He SATISFIES the thirsty

And fills the hungry with GOOD things.”

Psalm 107:8-9

happy thanksgiving

The First Snow

Don’t you just LOVE the first snow? It’s always so exciting especially with little ones in the house! This is Eli’s first year comprehending what snow is and Ivy (3) is extra excited this year about this white sparkly stuff.

“Mom, mom, mom…..come quick! There’s white puffy sparkles coming down from the sky!”

Can’t beat that!

Even better, since we homeschool this sort of thing weaves perfectly into our day. I quickly grabbed a few well-chosen books and my camera as they gazed out the window and had an impromptu science lesson for the littles while the older two worked on math and history.

 

 

We read “Why Does It Snow?”  (a Just Ask series) and talked about snow crystals all having six points but each being unique unto itself. We discussed and narrated how snow forms in the clouds and comes to fall here. Next we read “In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?” by Lindsay Barrett George which is a fun little book that takes kids through an exploratory adventure through the snowy woods. Each page has a clue of an animal visiting and then asks the reader to guess which animal it was. I let each child take turns guessing then turning the page to see if they were right.

After that we suited up and headed outside with some dark felt to catch snow crystals. I’m pretty sure more snow was eaten than captured but the thought was there. The snowflakes were too small this time to really see the distinction of crystal patterns and my kids lost all our good magnifying glasses. Still, they had a fun 15 minutes running all their energy off.

Now, lest you think this day was shrouded in warm fuzziness because of these beautiful pictures, (And aren’t they beautiful? Just look at that magnolia bud frosted in snow!) just know that we still had our share of school battles today. I spent over an hour arguing and standing my ground on making a six year old little boy finish a phonics lesson that he could’ve finished in five minutes. It was as if his memory was suddenly erased on everything he’d learned phonics-wise so far this year. And his poor five year old sister was every-so patiently sitting next to us waiting her turn while helping me clean flash cards and did finish her’s in less than five minutes when we finally got to her. So never let the pretty pics fool you into thinking our day was something other than what it was…just a day. Beautiful moments captured between ordinary, trying times! In other words, life!

Other books we’re planning on reading today ~

  

Red, White, and Blueberry Waffles {and other Fourth of July Pinterest Stuff}

Don’t you just love the festive color combinations of this creative breakfast my hubby came up with? Okay, maybe the breakfast isn’t that creative…we actually have this quite a bit at our house…but my husband is totally proud of his creative name for it.  Although I must say, it is the best waffle recipe we’ve ever had. Adam has tweaked it over the years to get it just right. No crunchy, overfluffed Belgian Waffles for us. We wanted something old-fashioned, classic in flavor. Slightly crisp but just the right softness when our homemade syrup is poured over top! {See Recipes Below!}

And here is a lovely shot of the one beautiful hibiscus that bloomed in our yard. I didn’t even know we were growing hibiscus! (I’ve always wanted them!) So imagine my surprise as Delilah swooped into the bathroom and showed me her treasure find. I laughed as I remembered my post from yesterday and then turned it over to show her how these flowers first inspired making fairy doll skirts out of flowers. Gorgeous! I see a girlie summer project going on. That is, if we can get the flowers to bloom before being plucked forever out of existence.

My day is pretty mellow today. I’m deciding NOT to clean the house (against all my mom instincts). Who really is going to notice my dirty floor? Besides, little kids running in and out all night with smoke powder on their fingers and feet…who am I kidding? I’d just have to re-do tomorrow! So today is a lazy day. Kids are heading out swimming and I get to sit here and right this post. Later this afternoon we will be watching Independence Day (a no-brainer!) and staying cool in the air-conditioning. Then it’s brats and dogs and smores and yumminess mingled with explosives and lots of little kids. Good combo, right?

One fun project we’re going to try tonight is glow-in-the-dark bubbles. Saw this on Jolanthe’s Homeschool Creations Blog last week and fell in love with the idea! Hopefully I’ll have some fun pictures to show you tomorrow.

Glowing bubbles courtesy of Homeschool Creations.

Speaking of Pinterest, thought I’d throw out some of the fun Fourth things to try. Check out my Fourth of July Pinterest Board. Killer stuff here! I only listed a few so, please, go see for yourself…there’s MUCH, MUCH more!

{ 1 } Sparkler Shield

{ 2 } Fourth of July Punch

{ 3 } Tin Can Windsocks

{ 4 } Cup Cake Liner Bug Protectors

{ 5 } Independence Day Paper Plate Hats

And now, for the waffle recipe (adapted from James McNair Cookbook). We double this recipe for our family of 8 as well as doubling the syrup recipe.

Butter Rich Waffles

  • Melted butter for greasing
  • 2 Eggs, room temp, separated
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk, room temp
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Stick Butter (1/2 cup), melted
  1. Preheat waffle iron.  Grease grids with melted butter.
  2. Beat egg whites to form stiff (but not dry) peaks. Set aside.
  3. Combine egg yolks, milk, baking powder, flour, and melted butter till smooth.
  4. Fold in egg whites.

Homemade Syrup (cheap and easy!)

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water

~ Boil 10 minutes, turn to low and stir in:

  • 1 pad butter
  • splash of vanilla

Have a wonderful, safe, and happy Fourth everybody!!!