Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Way Little Boys Play

As a mother of four sons, I thought I would impart some of my hard won wisdom about the world. Boys do not play like girls (I have addressed this in an earlier post but today's antics brought the point anew to my mind).
For Christmas my 11 y/o received an airsoft gun, a bow and arrow set, a survival knife, and a guitar. The first thing that boy did was to go out into the front yard and use all the ammunition he had to shoot many tiny holes into the guitar box. Then, he took his bow and arrows outside to shoot them as well (Yes, his first few shots were at the box but then testosterone took over, warping his brain, and he shot an arrow directly above himself into the sky...and watched it coming back to his general direction. Yes, I opened the window and informed him that that was perhaps the most foolish thing I had ever seen and that if he did it again that I would be forced to confiscate the weaponry.). The knife was examined carefully, used on some branches, and now clings, proudly, to the side of his jeans. After all of this the boy finally sat down to play his guitar. He loves his guitar but he needed to get out the destructive, or protective, or whatever you call it, done with before he could sit down and be creative and quiet.

The incident that was the impetus for this post happened this morning. I had locked myself in the bathroom so that I could have a mostly uninterrupted conversation with my husband on the phone (Listen, it is the only room in the house with a lock on the door and 2 y/o will not leave me alone on the phone. He yells into the receiver the whole time about wanting to talk.). All mothers know that when you are on the phone is when the real ruckus begins. There was hooting and hollering, crashing and banging, caterwauling and wild rumpuses. In the midst of the chaos, while also listening as attentively as I could to my husband, I heard my 6 y/o yell out to my 9 y/o, "Get on the ground with your hands behind your back!" We have obviously been watching too much Cops. I told my husband who laughed the proud dad laugh. And, then I had yet another thing to add to my list of things that my sons do that I never did and never thought of doing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feeling Isolated During the Holidays

I hate the generic term "holidays". It is like someone has stolen something from the joy of a special day. The only reason I use it here is because I think I feel isolated on more than one holiday, not just Christmas. I want Christmas (or Easter, or New Years Eve, etc.) to be wonderful, joyous, free from strife.
I have childhood memories of things being wonderful. Perhaps, I viewed things through the rosy lenses of innocence. Perhaps things were actually better. I know one thing for sure, more of my family got together when I was younger than now. Also, being married and around someone else's family with their "normal" is also hard to adjust to, especially for a gal like me who doesn't appreciate change.
I hear people talk about plans to go to different family members homes for party's (most of them grumble when they talk about it) and my heart leaps. It wants to yell, "I want to go to house after house, laughing, playing games, and talking!!" I control myself and try to gently remind people that being busy during this season is not a bad thing, it means you are loved.
But, I must pull on my big girl panties and make this Christmas the most wonderful and joyous for my sweet boys. I will make cookies, play games, get them a present with purpose--something just for them, for who they are, not just some piece of junk to be broken and thrown out. I will make loads of delicious foods with my own two hands. I will sing with them. I will take them to church. We will worship together. I will not tell them that I am grouchy because I don't have what I want. I will not be grouchy. (I have to write this to remind myself. )
Maybe when they are older, I can be the fun one who invites the whole family over. Until then, I will content myself to my portion.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookies-The Perfect Sugar Cookie with Shiny Glaze

So, with the first cookies (these trees above), I decided to go with more traditional decorating. But, with the later cookies I decided to use marbling for the decoration (which, I must add, I love marbling).
I got the outstanding, delicious, perfect recipe for the sugar cookies at Here is the link to the recipe:

Here is the link to the fantastic icing:

Note: The icing is a bit thick when made to exact specifications of the recipe but just add milk alternated with corn syrup, a bit at a time, until you get it right where you want it.

I doubled the recipe to make enough icing to do all the cookies made from the sugar cookie recipe. It was plenty. I divided the icing into 4 cups so that I could do different colors. To get the marbled effect, I put the base color on first (using the back of a spoon to "paint" it on), and then I dribbled small circles or lines (depending on what I was doing) and then I used a toothpick which I pulled through the colors. It was super fun.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sock Owl

Sock monkeys are my latest craft obsession. I was nearly out of sock monkey stuff when I found that I could make a sock owl out of the leftovers. Isn't he cute?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sock Monkey

It has been entirely too long since my last blog post (as Chelsea tells me every time we speak). So, I decided to post some pictures of my lasted excursion into the world of crafting: sock monkeys!
This is Benaiah's Christmas sock monkey. A friend gave me a pair of these red-heeled socks that she found at a yard sale after I told her that I wanted to make a sock monkey. It was harder than I first thought (mostly because I was frequently interrupted by some cheeky homeschooled boys). As you can see I also made the monkey a crocheted scarf, knitted hat with a pompom, and a vest with pockets. The only thing I got right the first time was the scarf which was just a chain of 80 stitches and then double crocheted for 2 rows. The hat, O the hat! The hat took me 3 tries. It is 40 cast on stitches which was then knitted for about 7 rows and then decreased twice. The vest also took me 3 attempts.
But, doesn't he just look like he needs a big kiss? I brought him to see some of my friends and one of my friends' daughter reached out for him and gave him a big squeeze. It made my heart melt. I think he needs a crocheted banana, don't you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Keeping Boys Busy on Sunday

Now, I cannot claim to be the inventor of this idea. Nevertheless, it is a good idea. As most of my friends know, I keep my children with me during church. This has its drawbacks, especially with one of those children being a squirrely toddler. With the bigger boys we have kept this pretty simple, bringing a bag with notebooks and pens. Some parents I know have the children draw a picture of the sermon (how educational!) but we don't ask for a particular drawing.

I have been thinking lately that Nai is getting old enough that he can be entertained by something other than nursing, but how does one keep a toddler occupied without making that the point of church. My plan is thus: I am going to make a church bag. I was thinking that it would be great to have some Biblically themed felt prints and coloring book, some small snacks, and a couple board books.

Another idea, perhaps for slightly older than toddler (due to choking hazard): A friend of mine used to hand each of her children one piece of hard candy at the beginning of the sermon. She would remind of the verse that tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good. Isn't that cute?

So, after payday I will be trying to get this fun sack together and I will let you know how it goes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How Dinner Gets Made....

Easy steps to getting a homemade (not from a box) dinner on the table:

No, I'm not a magician or a homemaking workaholic. I simply do not like to worry about dinner so I plan ahead. I also abhor all things from boxes (except presents....presents are wonderful in boxes).

Step 1: Make a Plan.

This could as complicated as sitting down once a week and making a complete menu or as simple as saying, "Tomorrow we will have meatloaf and mashed potatotes."

Step 2: Have Groceries in Your House.

I should add have groceries in your house that you could make an actual meal with because some of you are cheeky and look for any oppurtunity to sass me. You can easily make a grocery list using your menu plan. Or, if you are more the fly by the seat of your pants type, you can just have a ready stock of things you often need for your recipes.

Step 3: Start Early.

I think this is my most important step. We have energy early in the day before the children drive us batty or the desire to become one with our couch becomes too strong to resist any more. To start early means a couple things. It could mean having your meat defrosting from the day before. It could mean throwing things into the crockpot while your coffee brews. Also, if you are making a meal that doesn't not need to cook all day, then setting out the ingredients. There is something about seeing all the things one needs for a meal laid out before us that seems to make everything easier.

Step 4: Commit.

Knowing that it is better for your family (both in health and in pocketbook) is motivation enough for most, but, let's admit it, unless WE DECIDE that we are going to do it, want to do it, feel good about ourselves doing it, then we are not going to do it.

That is it. The added bonus of starting early is that there is plenty of time to get the dishes done/kitchen clean before dinner so that it doesn't not seem like such a chore. So, tonight at our house we our having bacon mushroom pasta with garlic toast and a salad. Happy eats!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughts on Boys...

I would like to announce to some of the uniformed of the world that boys are not girls. While they will love on the occasional baby doll, as dear Naiah did last night (he alternated between loving it and telling it no it couldn't nurse on his mama by yelling gibberish at it and throwing it into the pack-n-play), but this does not mean they will play with that doll like a girl.

When I was a child I loved all things girl. I had no interest in the stunts these rascals come up. For example, when I climbed a tree I simply climbed up, and then later, down the tree. Lij the other day attempted some Olympic inspired tree branch switching feat (wherein he missed his mark ending up flat on his back after an eight foot fall with the air knocked out him, looking very surprised). I, as a girl child, would have seen this was foolhardy and never tried it and looked at all boys with snobbish girl disdain at their macho antics. Now, I am the mother of the macho antic doers. I write this because I now know how VERY different boys and girls are (and I would like my neighbor to quit acting like everything my boys are doing is crazy. They are not crazy...they are boys.) Boys hold a fierce wildness in their hearts that our society needs and so lacks these days. Their aggression and fearlessness need to be honed but not squashed. Their tendency to dominate is the raw material for future leadership. The very boyish way they doggedly pursue their tasks (be it trench digging for combat, fort building for later friend ambush, or trap laying for the unsuspecting burgalers they are always waiting for) is the foundation for the confident, hardworking, innovating men we all hope for our future.

In summation, celebrate their boyishness!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today is a very slow, gray, drippy Saturday. Chris was hard at work on his paper for his class. I decided to distract myself with drawing in my sketch book. Without a word, all three boys assembled themselves around me with papers and markers of their own, even baby Nai (especially cute with his one arm strapped to his chest due to his broken collarbone). It just goes to demonstrate how much our little ones mimic us naturally. This brings to mind how God says we are to teach our children, as we go along the path, to teach them in all of the daily outworkings of our life. How can we do that if they are not with us? Let us be the ones they mimic.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Love My Man.....

I do. I love him. I love him when I do his laundry, or love on his babies, or homeschool (even when the little dears are spending more time argueing than learning). You get the point.
I think so often as ladies we get so entangled with being loved, adored, treated like a queen, that we forget the way we got our darling's affection in the first place. We got his attention by being pretty, pleasant and peaceable.
With these things in mind, I will make the bed (I detest bedmaking). I will make cookies for has bedtime snack. I will resist the urge to eat all those cookies myself because I am working on being prettier myself. He is the reason I gussy-it-up daily and never wear sweatpants. =)

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Arts

I enjoy art... making it, viewing it, performing it, hearing it, talking about it. I think that creavitive ability was placed in us by God. God is creative (obviously) and as we are made in His image He made us creative too. He could have made one type of each thing (flowers, water, trees, etc) but instead He made a myriad of wonderful of things for us to enjoy which stimulate all of our senses. In this line of thought, I do not find art sacreligous, but rather an expression of life.

What I don't enjoy is going to art districts, art museums, listening to music and it being filled with grossness. I know I should expect it (and I do) because sin is a part of life therefore it is expressed in art but still I find it frustrating. Is it just me, or do the arts seem to attract extra nastiness?

Don't worry your pretty little heads. I will continue to create. I just wanted to say my piece...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Knitting Parties

I just wanted to put it out there that getting together with other women to knit, crochet, stitch, rug make, or any general craftiness that your heart may desire makes rainy winter days pleasant...almost sunshine-y. So, after attending a couple of these happenings myself, I decided that I would reach out and host. I'm so glad that I did. I did it today, in fact, and very little crafting was done but it felt VERY PRODUCTIVE (we made endorphines). That's all. =)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Typical School Day

This is where we do our school. It is nothing fancy. The boys do each have their own desks in their room but they don't like to be separated. Luc and Nai scramble in and out of the empty chairs or build tents. Everyone stays close together.
Every week I write out a lesson plan for each boy and post it on our corkboard. The big boys read their list daily and do their assignments, occasionally working ahead if they want a lighter day later on in the week. I use the plan to keep me on tract and accountable with Luc. Nai is currently copying all our phonics sounds.
After school is completed we stack the books into a pile and replace it back on the bookshelf in the hall. Our curriculum is inexpensive (about 200 dollars for the current years for all the will get more expensive as they get older, but not horribly so). We keep the school supplies (pencils, glue, crayons, etc.) in a buffet table (big, wide dresser) in our dining room.
The point of this post is to say that homeschooling does not have to be overwhelming. Keep it simple because it trully is not the most important part of your day and your life need not revolve around it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Number 4...Mess Maker Extraordinaire

In retrospect, I would say that I used to be one of those mothers who wanted everything scheduled, everything timely, and everyone exactly on their appropriate milestone...or early, earlier was better in my book. This isn't to say that I now I don't care about those things, I do, but rather I now care more about being with them and letting them be. There is a being that can only happen when the heart is more important than the rule. Baby Naiah is a whirlwind of mess. I can tell him one moment to get out of Daddy's desk and the next minute he is in the pantry. It is annoying. He interrupts continually. But it is ok with me now because I have finally learned to enjoy the process of childhood. Before anyone thinks that I am trying to convince anyone that I am "Mrs. Mom-the-Awesome", I'm not. I'm just a little better than I was. =)