Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just for Fun 08/26/14

My favorite thing about summertime in Minnesota is cheap Farmer's Market flower bouquets ($7 thank you, very much). I love arranging them. 

It's a brilliant God who created the beautiful flower. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cookie Baking Night 08/18/14

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, Carissa, and Alli. Alli turns 4 years old in a few days and tonight was her birthday choice. For supper she chose corn dogs, french fries, and blueberries. For her birthday cookie she chose the ever-so-popular blueberry cookie (I tried really hard to talk her out of this decision but she was having none of it).

I told Emily about Alli's birthday choice and we threw around a few ideas, but nothing brilliant came to mind. When we were on our way back from our Iowa road trip last week, Emily and I stopped at our favorite chocolate shop, The Droolin' Moose, and we came across this little treat (pictured above). That's right, chocolate covered blueberries that look exactly like the real thing. Emily said, "Why don't we use these for the blueberry cookie and make them like we do when we make M&M cookies (w/ sugar cookie dough)?" I said, "That's a great idea!" And a container of these little beauties came home with us. 

The cookies turned out to be pretty tasty. My brother, Rob, tried them at the end of the night and he said he thinks Alli is onto something with this one. It might be his new favorite. He is a bit of a cookie aficionado, so that was high praise for sure. 

We managed to squeeze a lot into this evening. We played a couple games of Zingo. 

We read from Training Hearts and Teaching Minds by Starr Meade. 
Tonight we worked on Question 4: "What is God?"

Answer: "God is a Spirit, whose being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth are infinite, eternal, and unchangeable."

That was a mouthful. The kids looked at me like I was crazy if I thought they were going to quickly memorize that and repeat it back to me. So, we broke the ideas down a bit and focused on God being a Spirit who is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. Then we talked about some of God's attributes, truth, justice, holiness, goodness, power, wisdom, and what those words mean. 

I'm finding this book to be just a bit over the heads of our varied age group and experience, but we'll stick with it for awhile yet because the questions generate great conversation and they cause us to think big thoughts about God. As long as we can break the concepts down into our language, this train is worth riding for a few more stops. 

At the end of the evening we decided to go for a walk. 

I found the contrast between  cousin Ethan's height and cousin Alli's height to be worth documenting (and they look so cute together). 

We walked to the local gas station for an ice cream treat. Mmmmmmmm.

Alli had a difficult time walking and eating ice cream at the same time, so she lagged behind the crowd quite a bit. Carissa immediately noticed this and stuck right with her, patiently walking slowly next to her until we arrived back at the house. Later, I was commenting about this to Greg and he noted that Carissa is a lot like her mother, Diana (Greg's sister), and that she would have done the same thing. It's true, Carissa has her mother's tender heart for others. I  thank God for that and pray He will use that greatly for His purposes in her life. 

Another Cookie Baking Night has come and gone, another birthday celebrated (Happy Birthday, Alli!), and as usual, a fun time was had by all. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Road Trip Musings (Iowa) 2014

My husband, Greg, is in the profession of audio-visual production and one of the jobs his company does is provide video for the grandstand events during the Iowa State Fair. It's fair time, so last weekend my niece, Emily, and I made our annual (third time now) trip to Iowa for the weekend to see Greg and to enjoy the sites.

If you've followed this blog for very long, you've probably picked up by now that I enjoy a good road trip because "real life happens on the road trip."

On Saturday morning, we checked out the Des Moines Farmer's Market, which is like a mini state fair in itself (it stretches for 5 blocks)

In the afternoon, we visited family. (Emily is pictured here with my cousin Sandy). 

My Aunt (Wanda) and Uncle (Arnie), pictured above, celebrated 50 years of marriage the day before we arrived, and we were able to drop in on a little family summer birthday/anniversary celebration taking place at a cousin's home.

These are my identical twin aunts, Brenda and Wanda (they married my mom's two brothers Walter and Arnie). Still two peas in a pod after all these years. 

My cousin Brenda and my aunt Brenda

What's a day with a teenager without a little shopping at the local mall?

Our visit to the Iowa State Fair started out with a bang. We parked in a lot that was quite a long distance from the fairgrounds. As we started walking toward the fair, a pirate clown in a golf cart stopped and asked us if we would like a ride, which we did. As we were making our way toward the the fairgrounds, several other clowns in golf carts passed us. I felt streams of water hit my arm a few times on the ride, and at one point, our driver handed me a squirt gun and said, "If you see another clown, shoot them" , which we did. (Emily thought the clown/golf cart thing was hilarious. I found it pretty amusing myself). 

The fair is not the fair without a ride on the sky ride (and eating a corn dog). Last year, Emily didn't feel brave enough to ride on the sky ride by herself, so Greg had to ride in a chair by himself and she and I were together in a chair. This year, she was ever so eager to taste the feedom of being one chair ahead of her aunt and uncle, all by herself. Ohh, what a difference a year can make.

It's always fun to see where Greg works and to get an idea of just how hard and long he works to provide for our family. 

At the end of the day, we were exhausted!
 (Emily said, "Do you have to take that picture of me sleeping on the air mattress every year?" Yes. Yes, I do.)

Home again, home again jiggity jig. 

As I mentioned above, real life happens on the road trip, and I'm grateful to God for those moments. As you interact in real life situations, there is much opportunity to work out your own Christian theology, put it into practice, and try to lend a little guidance to a 13-year-old girl who is working through who she is, why she's here, who God is, and what that means. It makes an Aunt ever so grateful for the Sovereign God of the universe who holds all things in his hands, including the road trip. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cookie Baking Musings 08/10/14

In Cookie Baking News, our youngest nephew, Enzo, turns 1 year old at the end of this week. We're saving a spot for you, little guy. Should the Lord allow, we'll see you at Cookie Baking Night in two years.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cookie Baking Night 08/04/14

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Alli.

I'm always looking for treats in the summertime that don't involve turning on an oven in order to make them. And this tasty little treat fit that criteria perfectly.

Peanut Butter Bars
1-1/2 sticks (12 Tbls) butter, melted
2 cups pretzel sticks
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

First, Alli used a rolling pin to crush the pretzels into fine crumbs. 

Then she measured out the peanut butter 

And the powdered sugar

I added the melted butter, and Alli stirred it all together. 

Alli pushed the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and then we melted the chocolate mixture and spread it over the top. It makes a nice little salty/sweet treat. 

Since it was just the two of us this evening, we took a little walk up to the local gas station for an ice cream treat. Alli chose the biggest freezie pop she could find. 

The walk home presented a few challenges as it is ever so difficult to walk and push up a freezie at the same time. 

Ahh, safe back on the front step to finish the job. 

Again, since it was just the two of us this evening, I went a little different route for our Bible lesson time. I dug out a book I used to lean on back in my preschool teaching days: Devotions for Little Boys and Girls (Old Testament) by Joan C. Webb. It's geared toward children 3-6 year olds. We read the first lesson taken from Genesis 1:1-13 called "What Did God Make?" This book was at the perfect level for Alli. She listened intently to the lesson and then enjoyed participating in the questions at the end

A houseful of children on Cookie Baking Nights is always a fun time and the evening flies by in a flurry of discussion and activity but occasionally God allows me those evenings with just one child in attendance, and I enjoy those times just as much.

Another Cookie Baking Night has come and gone and, as usual, a fun time was had by all (all two of us)!

Cookie Baking Night 06/25/18

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Enzo (Allison and Rylar were attending a birthday party els...