Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kinder Farm Park

a fun activity if you are in the area! (thanks jen for the tip!)

how to find safe sunscreens for your babies!

my friend shannon sent this link to me on safe sunscreens - check it out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

summer time

out here in maryland its lovely and warm and breezy. i am sitting on the back porch enjoying the jubilant blowing wind. there are some kyackers a ways out and we have seen two jolly tugboats coming down the river this morning. seriouly folks i feel like i am living in a virginia burton book! can i say that it is heaven here? we witness the movement of nature all around us. the kids are learning the names of the osprey, the cormorant, the canada geese with their goslings, the purple martins, the blue herons and the family of regal swans that visit our point. i am determined to get some more nature guides on the chesapeake bay area so that we can learn all there is about our new home. we'll be staying here for several more weeks before we move in to our digs. ps there goes a mallard duck flying overhead.

so i am here to give a review of sunscreen. i was at target looking for some lotion for this new summer season and was determined to find something natural for my kids rather then that creepy stuff i used to buy. the last few years while we were up in newport, i used nature's gate brand. i was not happy with the taste of it (somehow it always seemed to make its way in to our mouths!) nor was i impressed with the quality - just not my favorite. of course it gave no rashes and worked well-enough preventing sunburns but i was in the mood to find a replacement. so ... i am here to say that the pricey ($12.99+tax) california baby 30+SPF is amazing!! goes on evenly. not greasy. doesn't taste funny. doesn't rubb off. its great.

does anyone else have any other natural/organic sunscreens they like? i know that i could probably find a few others to try through amy karol's site (angry chicken) or simplemom. i will be on the hunt.

enjoy your summer breezes!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

its a small world

i am sitting in a lovely hotel, drinking a lovely glass of wine. children are sleeping - at least 3/4 of them. hubs is crusin his new ipad and i am actually writing a post. been so long. so here is a little update. we moved. today. we packed out yesterday and with the help of some AMAZING friends (got to love community in jesus!) cleaned our home spotless for the inspection. we stayed on the water in monterey - it was so breathtaking. i heard the waves crashing all night. i think that is what you hear in heaven. anyway. we just had dinner at my brother and his wife's home and now are going to be driving down to san diego for a few days with the rest of my family. so excited about that. kids are doing well. we love road trips. as always when we leave an assignment and are enroute to our newest destination, we marvel at the hand of the Lord in our lives. i was overcome with the beauty of creation and the reality that all creation groans and cries out in praise of our God. (in particular when we drove past pyramid lake).

so now to the "small world" bit of this post. i was reading one of my favorite blogs: www.simplemom.net, in the comments was a response written by "tacy". that name rang a bell - hmmm my sister in law was good friends with a girl name tacy in annapolis --- it was her!! so i am now subscribed to www.homemakinghabits.blogspot.com. she is so thoughtful and direct. i really think that i need to become good friends with her - since i am moving to annapolis!! maybe she will see that i also posted a comment at on simple mom!:)

Monday, March 29, 2010

easter eggs

monday morning is a perfect time to dye ones easter eggs. the girls and i boiled the eggs using the Joy of Cooking directions and then i prepared the dyes and mordents. i would like to try some natural dyes but for today we used what we had. the eggs were still hot but the girls could not wait. so much fun. now we are eating them. they didn't use to like boiled eggs - i guess they are starting to get more grown up?:) these moments always surprise me. enjoy your week. we are anticipating family coming to visit on wednesday from the east coast! the kids are still not completely back to health. it was once again musical beds last night. i feel like i was up with a newborn. that has been the m.o. in our family for the last 2+ weeks. oops i have to run ... baby is up!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the final word

we got the final word yesterday in an email from my husband's detailer: moving to maryland in may!! yep - on to our next assignment a little bit early. we are thrilled. although enjoying the beautiful monterey peninsula since october, our lives here have been extremely busy and stressful. hubs has worked harder then he has ever worked, learning arabic and he'll be continueing his studies on the side while working in d.c. the family will be close to his parents and so we'll have the support we have not had since we lived in san diego near my side. so what does this mean for mama? ahhhhh we are moving in 6 weeks!! glad i didn't put up any more shelves or pictures. i will start taking a box around the house and purging. and making things easier to pack up and send back east. i guess i need to read simple mom's guide to moving and brush up on my navy moving strategies - has anyone heard of cross-packing? yep - a seasoned navy wife told me its when the movers take random things from multiple rooms and put it all in one box - a NO NO!! so that will NOT happen. she told me she had heard of one wife setting friends up in each room to watch for cross-packing. brilliant!

we will have the whole beautiful, glorious summer in maryland and maybe a few trips down to virginia to visit my folks at the farm!! lots of crabbing off the dock, playing in the tree fort at the farm, milking goats, knitting, swimming in the pond, sunbathing, listening to the frogs, sailing in the boat on the bay ... oh endless summer love!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

brothers

how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity ...

the girls were out of the home today, and so i just had the two boys with me. today is when the maintenance crews are out mowing and cutting the grass on our street. which if you have boys means complete fascination with the work being done around us. so here are a few shots (coming soon!) of the spectator sport known as "watch the mowers". i love seeing them play together now that they are getting older. oh and did i mention today we have sunshine and clear skies? its been raining so much (not that i am complaining b/c its still beautiful and we get rainbows) here that to have a blue skies day is GLORIOUS!!! i am sitting outside right now, enjoying the fresh scent of cut grass and my morning coffee; so blessed to have this home and this moment with ransom (blaise is sleeping in his crib).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

prayer cards

a project that i have been wanting to do for several months was finally (almost) accomplished last night (as i burned the midnight oil and stayed up way past my bedtime!). what to do with all of those christmas family pictures everyone sends? i never want to get rid of them - almost sacreligious. reading somewhere on the net (please excuse my incompetent memory) of an idea to laminate the photos and put them on a metal ring and use them as prayer cards. its a wonderful teaching tool for children. they see the pictures of loved-ones near and far and can learn to actively participate in prayer and intercession. i am thrilled to incorporate these cards in to our daily living. thrilled to begin to bless dear friends and family. so if you sent me a family picture in the last 2-3 years - you are going to receive lots of daily prayer from our family starting today!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

lent

although i am not a Catholic, i embrace the celebration and the solemnity with which my sisters and brothers worship Christ our Lord through the liturgical year calendar. these sisters are being mindful of this sesaon of lent - remembering for Whom we abstain for, for Whom the symbols stand for, and are sharing their wisdom with those who are younger and less experienced.

Let us use sparingly words, food and drink, sleep and amusements. May we be more alert in the custody of our senses.

please do go and read ... i think that leila is an incredible mother to us younger women:
Like Mother, Like Daughter: Spring Cleaning for the Soul: Lent & Proclaim a fast, or, Ask for the old paths.

hamantaschen recipe

here is the amazing recipe for the traditional pastry treat served during purim. unfortunately, i did not write down the wonderful blog i found this recipe. my apologies b.c. i really want to give you credit! but i do have the location of the said recipe: the great hadassah cookbook. my messianic jewish friend said that these were delicious and the best she has ever had - they were the biggest ones she had ever eaten, too! having no picture i wasn't sure how they were going to turn out. one thing is for certain - you can't eat just one!! the will surely sabotage your diet! primary reason hamantaschen are only made once a year.

Hamantaschen Dough:

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl. Add egg. Mix together the extracts and the milk in a seperate small bowl. Whisk flour and baking powder together in a third bowl + and add a little to the creamed mixture. Add the milk mixture, the remaining flour. Refrigerate for up to two hours.

Roll dough out 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into small rounds, dot each with a spoonful of filling, form into triangles, and bake at 375 degrees F for 15-30 minutes or until delicately browned. *i used a glass to cut out the rounds - making the cookie shape come out a lot bigger then most come out. it was almost like a pastry.

Fillings:

raspberry jam, blueberry jam, strawberry-rhubarb jam, apple butter or poppyseed filling. *i used what i had on had - smucker's strawberry jam. they were fantastic!

catch up post

the month of februray has flown by and now its MARCH! so here are a few updates:

- my mama and i are starting a new blog about knitting - but its still in the planning stages!:) i am so excited about this since she and i live nearly 8 hours away. it will be a means to stay connected through the beautiful craft of knitting.

- i turned 32 years old on the 10th - whahoo! it feels good to be a mother of four little ones, a wife of a very successful and amazing husband, and to be where the Lord has me in his kingdom, every day i am learning what this means.

- i hosted the neighborhood Bible club at our home on rhys' birthday. we did it on Queen Esther, b.c. Purim falls on the last day of feburary. i borrowed a felt board from my friend, made the traditional treat of hamantaschen, and had the kids decorate burger king crowns with sequins and office stickers (i got the crowns for free, had the office stickers already and bought the sequins for $5 at michaels + some glue sticks and target for under $5). we had almost 20 kids and several moms. it was so much fun! i got the idea for a purim party from Walk With Y'shua Through the Jewish Year by janie-sue wertheim and kathy shapiro.

- our little rhysie-pie (aka juliet rhys plaster) turned 5 years old on the 24th - amazing! we celebrated all week long, ending with an afternoon birthday party! it was a beautiful day - it had threatened to rain all morning, but held off til just the end! (really really beautiful - like rainbow weather!) the party was actually the most stress-free children's event i have put-on! for those who have not planned parties for littles, with littles underfoot here are a few tips (from someone who usually stresses out and makes it difficult for the hubs on said day of the party!):

#1 it should only be for 2 hours - preferably in between meals, so that you don't have to put on a big lunch/dinner. also don't worry about munchies for the parents. if its two hours long you can just serve cake and ice cream. water for the drink.
#2 if you can - get a cake at costco - they are pretty good and feed about 20+! i always make my own cakes, but this time i was missing key ingredients and graham could only stop at one store.
#3 make a schedule/game plan for the party activities - things run so smoothly.
#4 when your kids get older they help you! my girls were eager to give me a hand and my perfectionist-self was reigned in - yes come and help me. so they stuffed the pinata (which they loved!) and then helped with the goodie bags and the decorating. it was really an unexpected blessing. i think maybe the Lord is showing me that i need to let them do more helping, especially when they ask to help. i need to let go of wanting everything "my way" i.e. perfect, and just give in to the beauty of life with little ones!!

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and there you have it: a short catch-up for this month.

ps did you know that today it is dr. seuss' birthday! we read the cat in the hat and i plan on doing some sort of art project/craft to celebrate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SIMPLE HOMESCHOOL

treat #2: check out simple homeschool for giveaways!

SIMPLE MOM giveaways!!



head on over to simplemom.net for some great giveaways in honor of the launching of simple mom media!

rain day



its been crazy weather out here in monterey. we have had on and off rainstorms. then it gets really pretty and blue with warm sunshine. so i decided to get the three kids outdoors for a "trek". we all need some fresh air and a walk. its a bit of a hassle to get cranky kids into boots and raincoats but it is so worth it. blaise had fun picking up treasures. bits of multch, rocks, leaves. it reminds me of the simple things that bring wonder and joy to the little ones. how quickly we get distracted with the bright lights and noise of commercial "fun". i know that blaise was exposed to more of the beautiful creation around us this morning. that is a lovely accomplishment if i get nothing else done today.

our pastor said on sunday that God made the world around us, creation, to have community with us. i love that. simply put this rainy day was a love letter to us.

i hope that you can enjoy the outdoors sometime today and remember how much The Creator loves you.

Friday, February 5, 2010

thrifty books




on wednesday i took kyrie to a doctor's appointment, just she and mama. we took a little stop off at the pacific grove st. vincent de paul's thrift store. she and i found a pile of great books for very decent prices (although i personally think books at thrift stores should be around 50 each - maybe i am just being cheap!) tomorrow is the post-wide yard sale and i am hoping to find another large stash of children's books for our home library. some of our best books have been from a large library sale in honolulu when we were stationed there.

how do you shop for thrifty books for your children?

Monday, February 1, 2010

thank you Lord for ...

holy experience



today i am thankful for:

sunny california mornings
blue skies
singing, cheerful children
pac n' plays
kleenex
full pantry and frig
menu already planned for the week
time in the word before everyone wakes up
husband kisses
coffee
strong coffee
hot showers
mother-in-laws
my mama
my daddy
my beautiful children
family meals around the dinner table
requests from children to listen to worship music
our neighborhood
that we are going to be living near family next year!
getting back to my bloggin
early bedtimes
walks in the mornings
father-in-laws who volunteer to care for people in haiti

#2 habit "the rule is ..."

we have instituted a new habit around here just this past week (again another practical solution from my dear m.i.l. rebecca). its called "the rule is ..."

with four children under 6 1/2 years we have lots of little voices and opinions when mama tells the kids to do something (b/c you never ask them "do you want to do ___?" they will always say "no," which will become a point of contention.)

the first step: i say "the rule is _______." for example when my oldest, kyrie, says definantly with her arms crossed, "i am not going to do that." i say (making sure she is looking me in the eyes) "the rule is mama is in charge, not kyrie."

the second part of this habit is having the kids repeat the rule: "the rule is mama is in charge, not kyrie." the three oldest are responding well to this habit. but sometimes i have to take more time to get their attention. getting down to their level, (gently but firmly) holding their chins and getting their eye contact.

i have noticed a remarkable positive response from the kids. ransom smiles cheerfully and repeats me. sometimes it takes a few tries. but he feels a part of the process, like he has a responsibility to respond and then obey. of course all this works if i have allowed plenty of time to get from points A to B.

sometimes mama needs to repeat the rule: "the rule is prior proper planning prevents p-ss poor performance." (a little diddy my hubs uses in the navy.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

#1 habit - menu planning

this habit seems to be all over the mama-blogs but this is the first time i have actually jumped on the band-wagon! i have a white board that is up in my kitchen. i have breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner posted for the entire week. i am very specific and fastidious about meal times. reason being - kids love a routine. the menu does a number of things:

1. eliminates the constant questions of what are we having for dinner? snack? etc. this usually sapped about 1/2 of my energy just answering. so no more questions. i point them to the board.
2. no more arguments over what we are eating - if its on the board there are NO changes. its whats for dinner, if you don't like it, then don't eat. no complaining. and absolutly no short-orders for this cook.
3. they eat their veggies (i give them veggies and main course first) because they are actually hungry at meal times! they haven't been snacking all day. yes they are cranky come dinner but that was always how the witching hour was anyway. i just keep referring them to the menu board and saying cheerfully, "i am so glad that you are hungry b/c dinner is almost ready!"
4. although i don't actually have proof of this - i think, i will be saving money for our family. if we have all the things for our weekly menu, then i am not running to the store for odds and ends, thereby probably buying extra groceries and racking up the bill at the check out line. if anyone has proof of this please post in the comments b/c i would love to know.

tomorrow: #2 habit "the rule is..."

2010

having been gone from bloggyland for quite awhile, i hereby begin again! no regrets not getting to post, i say to my creative heart, just lots and lots of LIVING going around here. we have had company since mid-december and today marks our first day as just our family. well actually, graham is not here this weekend either so maybe technically its less then our whole family. but you get the idea.

marmie (aka rebecca) my mother-in-law, left today for home (after five weeks of visiting!!) she and pop (aka mark) stayed in monterey, while he worked on a book. (he is in haiti, working alongside the other docs in his hospital group!) we are very sad to see her go - she has been such a blessing, inspiration and wealth of knowledge for this mama. things around our home are a lot more organized, simplified, and more peaceful. so ...

for the next few days i am going to share some of our new habits. enjoy!