Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family Devotions

For over the past year, we've been using this book for our family devotion time before bed. It is a very cute book and I really liked how it included a little devotional, verse and prayer for each day. I would say it is appropriate for ages 2-4. We're ready for something different now (at least for Caedmon) since he is getting older. I picked up this book

and really like how it uses real scenarios that kids deal with, but think it's a little too old for Caedmon yet. Our routine before bedtime usually includes a devotional, scripture memorization, prayer time and talking about their day a bit. Sometimes we'll all sit down together as a family for this, or Kevin and I will split up with each child.

video

I would love to hear what your bedtime routine is for your children...or what you would like to see done if you had children...or what you did when your children were young. I'm looking for some advice here. If you have used a certain book that you really like, please let me know as well. Do you have one big family devotion time, or do you tailor it to fit each individual child?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photography

In the last year, I've taken an interest in photography and have enjoyed taking pictures of my own children...just experimenting and learning more about it. I love capturing precious moments that would otherwise be forgotten forever. On Saturday, I had the privilege of taking pictures of my cousins two girls. Isabella just turned eight and Suzanna just turned two. They were wonderful models and very gracious about having the camera in their face so much.
The funny thing is, we have been trying for the past month to get together for these and have had to reschedule a few times for sicknesses, mosquito bites and last minute family gatherings. I was glad it finally worked out. It was a beautiful evening and the lighting was perfect.
Our husbands watched the rest of the kids in the playground area at the park while we were taking pictures. After pictures we stopped for ice cream at Ritters. Here's a picture of all the kids together.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Emmi - Three Weeks

My mom travelled down to Southern Indiana yesterday afternoon with two of her sisters to finish the last part of the details concerning her father's estate. I know she would really appreciate any prayers you have to offer up for all the siblings as they work on the details. There are many joys and sorrows and emotions that surface during times like this. We are all thankful for a family that has a Godly spirit, works together well and in a way that brings glory to God.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus. Romans 15:5

By her request she has asked me to post these pictures of Emmi that my dad took for her siblings to see. I have heard through the grapevine that my aunts check my blog...did you know you can leave a comment on my blog by clicking on comments? I would love to hear from you! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Milwaukee Annual Meeting 2008

Wow, what a trip we had to Milwaukee these past few days. This was our fifth year to go to the Northwestern Annual Meeting in Milwaukee. We always look forward to it and it's so family friendly which is such a blessing. We left on Saturday morning, stopped by the Jelly Belly Factory on the way there and arrived in Milwaukee early evening. Here's a video glimpse at some of the fun...


video


I got sick right before coming home and by the time we walked in the door, I had a fever and was aching all over. Kevin sent me to the couch and he and the kids unpacked everything. Thank you, honey! You are amazing!


As I was laying on the couch in pain it was so sweet to hear the kids saying their prayers that night with Daddy before bed. They prayed for mommy to feel better and after Caedmon thanked God that we could go to Milwaukee, he broke out in tears...he was so sad that he had to leave Milwaukee and come home. I told him that we will go again next year and that seemed to help, but then I realized the next morning that his sense of time isn't quite right yet. When he woke up, he thought we would be going back again that day. On the way home he asked Kevin how much longer we had to get home to which Kevin replied "two more hours"...a few minutes later Kaiya asked how much longer and Caedmon replied "two more weeks". Thankfully it didn't take that long!


Well, I'm feeling a little better today. The fever is gone, but I haven't been able to eat more than a couple crackers and a little chicken noodle soup. My mom was so sweet to drop off the soup this afternoon along with supper for my family tonight and cookies and cinnamon rolls. Thanks Mom! I don't care how sick I am, I couldn't resist eating a roll even though I was in pain from it later...it was worth it! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blueberry Pickin'

On Monday all the cousins headed to the blueberry patch and had a ball pickin' blueberries. If you've never picked blueberries before, you should consider it (if they grow in your area of course). It's a lot of fun and a great activity that kids enjoy too. Caedmon and Kaiya both had their own buckets, but for some reason when we were finished their buckets were still empty...even though they picked lots of berries. :) That came back to haunt little miss Kaiya later in the week with a huge mess running down her legs...yeah, I'll stop with the nasty details right there. Did you know that blueberries are at the top of the list for the healthiest food. Because of their dark blue color, they're packed with antioxidant power. By eating them along with other popular berries, you are infusing your body with a forceful weapon that fights against some of the most common and deadliest illnesses known to man. Ok, there's my little healthy tip for the day. I LOVE blueberries! They are probably my favorite fruit along with black raspberries. It was a berry picking day because after the kids had naps, I headed over to the raspberry patch that same day. Yum! There are lots of things you can do with blueberries. I've made jam before, but usually freeze most of them whole in freezer bags. I like to make smoothies with them and use them to make pancakes, muffins, cakes etc. Here are a couple recipes: Blueberry Pancakes

3/4 cup each whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda
1-1/2 tablespoon sugar
2 egg whites
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup blueberries
In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, buttermilk, cottage cheese, and vanilla.
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently stir in blueberries.
Blueberry Pudding Cake
(mom's recipe)

2 cups blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, toss blueberries with cinnamon and lemon juice. Place in a greased 8 in. square pan. In a bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar and baking powder. Whisk until smooth. Add milk and melted butter. Spoon over berries. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over batter. Slowly pour boiling water over all. Bake 45-50 minutes or until cake tests done.

On Tuesday we had a lake day and picnic at Pokagon with all the cousins again.
Even the littlest one joined us. Emmi Klair almost two weeks old
We leave on Saturday for Milwaukee. Kevin has business meetings there and it's very family friendly which is nice. So I need to get packin'. Just wanted to post a few thoughts from an email I received from a friend about a hurried lifestyle. Great reminder for myself!

Unhurried moms take the time to explain to their kids where they are going. Hurried moms tell their children to get in the car and they'll find out soon. I think the children of the unhurried mom learned a bit more about their city, streets and addresses.

Unhurried women take time to chat with a tired sales clerk, and brighten her day. Hurried women rush in and out, glancing at their watches, and tapping their nails on the counter if there's a delay. I think the sales clerk got a touch of Jesus from that unhurried woman.

Unhurried women think about how to show love to others - whether it's picking out the right gift, a hand-written note of encouragement, or a phone call. Hurried women wish they had picked out the right gift, written a note, or made that phone call.

Although Jesus was busy, the Bible never mentions Him being in a hurry. Others around Jesus tried to hurry Him up, but Jesus refused to be rushed. He always made time to hold a child, touch a sick man or talk to a woman whose wrong choices ostracized her from others. Jesus could have hurried – He had more to accomplish in three years than we can imagine accomplishing in a lifetime. But He chose to put people over His schedule.

Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (NIV)

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(NIV)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Welcome Home Picnic

On Saturday evening we attended a welcome home picnic for our cousins, Chad & Jenny, who recently made it back from China. We had requested prayer for them earlier this year during the earthquake that occurred in the area where they were living. It was great to see them in person and give them hugs. Quite amazing to hear about their experience and survival...something they will remember forever I'm sure. Babies are everywhere it seems these days. This one is sweet little three month old Judson, son of our cousins Craig & Rachel. He sure is a cutie! And in this picture Arlene is getting close to her due date in three weeks. Next in line is Jenny who has to wait until November.Girly cousins - Arlene, Jenny, Me, Heather, Sarah & Rachel

Matthew, Kaiya, Suzanna & Lincoln

The kids had fun riding bikes, swinging, blowing bubbles & taking wagon rides. So fun to see all the littlest cousins playing and interacting together.

Here's another one of my sweet blog sister's, Heather, who faithfully reads my blog and leaves me nice comments too. :) Love ya, Heather!

Beat the Heat

Here's how we beat the heat this past week.

video

Fun at the pool.

Thanks, Vicki!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jumping Into July

Our weekend was jam packed with lots of fun, but work came before play. Friday the fourth was spent at home mowing, doing laundry and even a little painting. We've been looking at and pricing trampolines this summer and finally bought one last Thursday evening at Menards. That was the very first thing on Caedmon's list to accomplish that day. He was super excited.
Daddy had two eager helpers to put the thing together. I didn't take long at all and the kids spent the rest of the day jumping...and jumping...and jumping! The kids were hogging it the whole day and I finally declared that it was mama's turn...they were pretty impressed with my moves. :) I saw Caedmon trying to copy me later. Later that evening we headed over to my sister's house for a cookout and fireworks show. Shanna hadn't even made it home from the hospital yet because of a delay with one of Emmi's blood tests. She insisted that we go ahead as planned and they made it home around nine. She is so amazing, she even brought Emmi out to the campfire a little for her first fireworks show. I got to hold the little pumpkin...such a snuggler.
We got home after midnight and the kids and Kevin officially broke in the trampoline by sleeping on it that night. I slept in my warm bed inside...I really am usually more adventurous, but knew we had such a big day the next day and didn't want to take the chance at losing any sleep. Amazingly, they all slept the whole night.
We headed up to the lake the next day for a get together with friends and had fun day filled with swimming, boating, birthday celebrating, games & food. Thanks Ryan and Renee for the invitation. Their parents hosted the party at their lake house and really made us feel so welcome. Renee's mom, a former teacher, did such a great job with all the kids. She planned games and had a birthday party for her granddaughter...little princess Cora with gifts for all the kids as well. Kaiya was on cloud nine at the princess party.
We left around eight and decided to stop at Pokagon on the way home for their fireworks show at dusk. They're favorite fireworks were the smiley face ones. Caedmon fell asleep right before the grand finale. It was a big day for him. And once again we got home around midnight. Thankfully the service at church the next day was a Family Service at 10:30. A picnic lunch followed then home and straight to bed for us.