Monday, June 29, 2015

Cookie Baking Night 06/29/15

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, Alli, Rylar, and, special guest, Myla. Myla is a friend of Carissa's, and it was fitting for her to join us on this particular night since tonight was Carissa's birthday choice (Carissa will turn 10 years old in a few days). As is our custom here at Cookie Baking Nights, the birthday person gets to choose what we have for supper and what "cookie" we make that night. Not being one to dismiss a good idea from the past, Carissa chose macaroni and cheese for her "birthday meal" and for the "cookie" Dirt Cups.

Carissa and Myla did the work of scraping the frosting off the chocolate cookies before everyone arrived. Then I crushed them in the blender. This ingredient will resemble the "dirt" for our project.

Then we made the chocolate pudding and cream cheese mixture.

Next we layered the pudding, cream cheese mixture, cookie crumbs, and gummy worms into plastic cups with lids.

We used foam flowers to decorate them to look like flower pots. 

As you can see we overflow with artistic and creative gifts around here, each with our own style. 

Tonight we continued with our Bible lesson from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Tonight was lesson 10, titled "God is Three Persons" We had a lively discussion about how God is one God yet three persons. Our lesson showed us the example of Jesus being baptized. In that account in the Bible (Matthew 3:13-17), we see Jesus the Son being baptized, God the Father speaking from Heaven, and God the Holy Spirit descending from Heaven. This also prompted a discussion about baptism and what that means. God gave us many opportunities to talk about Him tonight and to speak of His greatness.

We ended the evening watching "Frozen" (per Carissa's request). Let's just say there was a lot of singing going on tonight and, as usual, a fun time was had by all. 

P.S. We had a few other special guests visit us this evening.  My brother (John) and Dad-Larry surprised me with a visit from my mom part way through the evening, so we (Greg, the kids, and I) took a little break from our project and went out to the driveway to say hello. 

My mom had a stroke at the beginning of this month and has been staying in a rehabilitation facility to recover for the past few weeks. This was her first big outing in a vehicle that didn't involve her being transported in a wheelchair (it was a big day in our family).We're grateful to God for her continued recovery and for the many opportunities to know Him and love Him more during this time. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. 
God has blessed me with two fathers in my life. 

My Dad-Robert 

My Dad-Larry

One relationship was given to me on the day I was born (Dad-Robert) and one was given to me by marriage (when Larry married my mom 29 years ago). Both relationships mean a lot to me. Both men have taught me much about life, love, and fatherhood. I'm grateful to God that He has given me these relationships. 

Happy Father's Day, Dads!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cookie Baking Night 06/15/15

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, Carissa, Alli, and Rylar. Today is Greg's birthday and also his Cookie Baking choice. For supper he chose Cheese Dreams (a broiled open faced sandwich with tomato, bacon, and cheese). For his "cookie", he chose "Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares" (melted butterscotch chips, peanut butter, nuts, coconut over mini marshmallows -- what's not to love?). Unfortunately, Greg managed to allude all the pictures this evening but, trust me, he was there.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, Emily led the little ones in a game of Sequence For Kids. 

After the "cookies" were cooling, we read from chapter 9 (God Knows All Things) from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Tonight Carissa read Psalm 139:1-10 from the Bible for us. I can see we're getting a little restless with our second time through this devotional book. They're not engaging their minds with it as much as the first time. Time to look at other material. Stay tuned. 

We were going to take Greg up to the local gas station for a birthday ice cream treat but he rushed off to an activity shortly after supper, so we went in his honor (we did buy him an ice cream sandwich -- his choice -- and brought it back to the freezer).

It was a lovely Minnesota evening (sunny and 70ish), so when we returned from our walk, we decided to roll down the hill in the backyard (something we haven't done for a long time). When we got to the backyard Emily said, "I think this hill is smaller than it used to be." I'm sure to the little ones (who hadn't yet engaged in this fun activity in our backyard) the hill looked huge. 

Another summer Cookie Baking Night has come and gone and, as usual, a fun time was had by all.

Katrina's Musings (Graduation Tour)

In the middle of May I was able to attend two graduation ceremonies in other states within the same week. My husband called this event my "graduation tour".

The North Carolina Trip

First, I was in North Carolina. My young friend, Katelyn, and her brother, Chris, graduated from high school. Katelyn used to attend our church in Minnesota before her family moved to North Carolina a few years ago. During her time at our church, she and I struck up a friendship. It has been both a friendship and mentoring/teaching relationship. I believe strongly that God instructs me in the Bible to maintain relationships with young ladies and to teach them what I know about God (Titus 2:3-5). Many people have been giving me credit for doing this in Katelyn's life (especially after making the trip to NC), but I deserve no credit for it. God is the one who brought this relationship about and God is the one who gives the drive to maintain it. And ... because Katelyn and her parents are so receptive to the idea, the entire process has been pretty easy, and it has been a joy

The graduating twins

My favorite family in North Carolina

Katelyn's grandmother, Ruth, (pictured above) has become a fast friend of mine as well. My favorite memory of the trip to NC was my last night there when Katelyn, Ruth, and I all stayed together in the commuter apartment that Ruth and I were renting for the weekend. We sat in the living room for hours before bed that night, three generations, laughing and talking about life and God, all at different stages in life, all with different experiences, but all serving and praising the same God. It is a memory that I will cherish always.

Another young friend of mine, Katelyn's sister, Karis. She's a hoot!

The Arizona Trip

The second trip was to Arizona to attend my niece, Julia's high school graduation. I haven't had opportunity to spend a lot of time with Julia over the years because she has always lived in Arizona and I have always lived in Minnesota, but the opportunities we've had available to us, we have seized. I am grateful to God for the ability to attend her graduation ceremony.

It also afforded me the opportunity to see my Dad-Robert who, since retirement, lives in Panama. He made the trip to Arizona for the graduation as well and I was ever so grateful to spend time with him.

Left to Right: Sandra (my stepmother), Julia (the graduate), Elan (my sister), Sean (my nephew), Tom (my brother-in-law), Robert (my dad)

Me and Elan 

(Technically, Elan and I are stepsisters, her mother married my father when I was 9 and she was 8, but the word "sisters" describes the relationship far better). 

I am very grateful to God for my time with family in Arizona. It was marked by both happiness and sadness as tragedy has been as much a recent part of this family's life as has joy. I am glad that God is in control, that He knows all things, and that He placed me in this family. 

There was so much laughter in this trip (and some crying) and so much needed time together. This trip to Arizona, in particular, is another memory I will cherish forever.

Two different states, two different graduations, two different families. Grateful to God to be a part of it all. 
All in all, it was a wonderful graduation tour!

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...