Friday, March 28, 2014

Thankful For Everyday Life {link up}

Joining Jamie in being Thankful for Everyday Life today. It reminds us to notice the blessings of our daily life and be Thankful.

Thankful for Legos and the creativity they spark within my kids. Jonah literally can spend hours creating and re-creating. The fulfillment he gets out of building his very own idea and bringing it to life is priceless. And the possibilities are endless!

Thankful that a friend told me last fall about an online Lego Club that meets once a month. Jonah has absolutely loved it and looks forward to it every month. Earlier this month he even shared his Lego creation live with his clubmates. He came up with his idea after seeing the Lego Movie and incorporated different elements of it in his original, unique creation. Pretty awesome.

Thankful for little helpers in the kitchen whom I've learned to let assist me even in the most simple ways. Thankful for a day at home with just the little girls to enjoy their interesting conversation, simple play and no fighting.

Thankful for small hands who have discovered the fun of Playdoh.

Thankful for a little girl who asked for her picture to be taken and then posed all on her own. She sure is growing up fast. This photo only began to capture the spunkiness that she has found since turning two last month. 

Thankful for hubby and his springtime birthday. Thankful for a wonderful husband who was able to take time off work to man the fort while I am out of commission due to a back injury. Thankful for big kids who help with their sisters and around the house while mom directs from the couch.

Thankful for field trips and adventures. The big kids headed out Monday morning with Reed to a maple sugaring tour. They enjoyed the Sugar Shack tour and explanation of sugaring.

Then they headed outside to see what filled the buckets. Unfortunately, with the fluctuating temps lately it doesn't provide the ideal for the taps to be dripping. They pretty much came up empty handed. 

Afterward, since the tour was on the campus of Reed's alma mater, he showed the kids around a bit. Of course that included lunch at the infamous refectory. The kids were pretty sure they were in heaven with all the food choices.

Thankful that God saw the future and I had lesson planned for several days off this week for quarter break. It worked perfectly for the field trip the kids took and also the extra rest I needed for my back.

Thankful I found a gentle chiropractor who helped me feel at least 75% better in just one session. I feel like a new woman and should be 100% very soon. 

Be sure to stop by Jamie's to read her list of Thankfuls (and about her move) to check out more linkies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why I Need Spring

Call this post Spring Fever 101 or whatever you wish, but a recent moment of quietude brought to mind why we all NEED spring.

If you all endured the winter we just did and still survived, you know what I'm talking about. This winter will be one we'll be talking about for a while. I'm taking it upon myself to hand out medals of honor for those of us who survived with our sanity intact. And while that may be a s-t-r-e-t-c-h for me some of us, sanity still remains.

What are the things I look forward to this spring? What are the things I need this spring?

1) Easter. You need a good Easter to look forward to after a humbling journey through Lent. The journey of 40 days sometimes seems to be the longest liturgical journey, my friends. It should be celebrated with something as amazing as an empty tomb and a resurrection. My thoughts of Easter have always been equated with girls in bonnets, springy dresses and pastel colored baskets of goodies. (Besides all of the other liturgical highlights, obviously) And Easter definitely means Spring.

2) Healing. I find that over the last week as the snow has been melting, a part of my heart found a wound in need of healing. The part of me that was covered and forgotten as the winter lingered and the snow piled up. The piece of me that lost my dear papa in December needs to go visit 'him' in the cemetery. Perhaps it's closure, but most likely it's facing the spring time and family time that does not include his face or presence. That place where his absence is felt, but healing begins.

3) An outdoor run. After a winter of hibernation and getting by with walking and miles of it indoors, I'm ready for outside workouts again. Namely, some good outdoor runs with the breeze on my face and my feet hitting the pavement. There's just something about spring that helps bring about new changes and old familiar ones back into place.

4) Color. Nothing quite says spring like the budding trees, the brown grass that eventually turns green and the green in my flower beds that peaks out of the soil. One of my absolute favorite things to look forward to each year.

5) Flip flops, sandals and slip-ons. I just love the carefree easy style of footwear in the spring/summer. With so many cute styles coming out, how will we choose?!

It's true, without a winter there would be no spring. Or without the pain of a winter, there wouldn't be much joy in the celebration of spring.

I guess when it comes down to it, I'm a Four Seasons gal. I need them all and the turning from one to another has become a part of my life.

I just wish I could select which ones would last longer and those that would disappear a bit sooner.

What are you looking forward to most this Spring?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Winter Survival Recipe: Oven Caramel Corn

One day around the new year I was in search of a snack recipe. Suddenly I recalled a homemade caramel corn recipe I had made a couple of times before. That recipe quickly became my go-to snack for the rest of the winter. I can't recall how many times whipping up a batch of yummy caramel corn seemed like the perfect Sunday treat.

I'm sure you've seen it since it's a Betty Crocker recipe, but I thought I'd share it any way.

Because I still have little ones in the household who do not do popcorn hulls well (and I'm not really a fan either), I opted for a bag of Puffcorn instead.

It proved to be the perfect alternative and I dare say we enjoyed the caramel corn even more with Puffcorn.

- Heat oven to 200 degrees.

- Choose to either use an entire bag of Puffcorn or around 15 cups popped popcorn. Place it in a very large roasting pan or divide it between 2 ungreased 9 x 13 pans.

- Heat 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/4 cup corn syrup and 1/2 teaspoon salt in saucepan over medium heat.

- Stir occasionally, until bubbly around edges. Continue cooking 5 minutes without stirring; remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda until foamy.

- Pour mixture over popcorn; toss until evenly coated. 

- Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. I dare you not to be tempted to snatch some with every stirring. I tried. I couldn't do it. 

-Remove from oven and spread on aluminum foil or wax paper. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. 
Store tightly covered.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Beginning Of March Daybook

Outside my Window...

The sun is out and it's nearly 20 degrees. Heat wave! It almost makes me believe that spring is around the corner.

 I am Thankful for...

The next day or two at home without plans, especially since a couple of us have come down with colds.

I am Thinking about...

The Winter Carnival/Mardi Gras event at our parish last Saturday. While I think everyone had fun, especially the kids, it really was a lot of work and planning.

Due to the extreme cold, our horse and wagon rides for the event were cancelled. A couple of guys took out any willing soul in the 'cutter' behind a snowmobile. Jonah was up for the challenge:

From the School Room...

Plugging along through our third quarter with a short spring break coming up at the end of the month. Nearing the finish line, but it's not quite in sight just yet.

What I am Reading...

With our parish for the Lenten season we are reading Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody. Our priest bought each family a copy and we'll read and reflect on a couple chapters each week.

Reed and I are using the kindle edition of Lent & Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II for our daily meditation this season.

In my 'spare' time, I'm trying to pick up Black As Night by Regina Doman. Again, Kindle edition, which I'm kind of getting used to and find it easier to read when I have the time.

From the Kitchen...

Leftover chili from the freezer for supper.

Praying for...

Many mamas and babies due in the coming months.

A priest who is having health issues due to stress and anxiety.

I am Hearing...

A toddler chatting and singing; another toddler sniffling and snorting snot. Always two ends of the spectrum around here.

Around the House...

I am trying to get back on the running/jogging routine 3 days a week and it's feeling pretty good.

The winter décor is packed away, but it's not quite time for spring time pastels. A few spots of purple remind us that it's Lent.

Picture to Share...

A piñata of Olaf from Frozen that our priest made for the Winter Carnival. Yes, you read that right, our priest made this for the kids. It tied in well with the winter theme, but also the movie Frozen that a bunch of kids, parents and our priest watched at the end of the evening.

How awesome is that?!

Blessed Lent Everyone!

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