Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Spring Easter

We had a splendid Resurrection Sunday! There are no words to express the thankfulness that fills my heart when I think of Christ's sacrifice for me. We enjoyed all the Easter festivities while remembering that our joy comes in knowing that Christ did as He promised, and we will one day see Him in all His glory. Enjoy the Easter "photo shoot," and the candid shots!

Cami's New Favorite Toy

Cami has claimed this very cute vintage towel as her own. She wears it around the house, snuggles it, and plays peek-a-boo. All because I used it to dry her after a bath. When I put it in the laundry, she cried and cried. When I pulled it out of the drier, she noticed it in the laundry basket and dug it out and hasn't let go of it since.

Rainy, Snowy Easter Eve

I woke up yesterday morning hoping for another beautiful spring day, but I was quickly discouraged when I opened up the curtain and saw WIND and SNOW!!! This is the end of April, but what a wonderful opportunity to do some indoor projects that have just been waiting for us! We took an extended breakfast so we could indulge in our new Mad Lib book. We absolutely LOVE Mad Libs not just because they are funny but also because what my kids learn about adjectives, adverbs, nouns, etc. We all take turns inserting our favorite exclamations or nouns then roll with laughter when the story is read.

Then onto some drawing. Alan started this sketch (I bet you never knew he could draw) for Jeremie and is still working on it, but here are some of the phases of his masterpiece which will be framed and hung in Jeremie's room when it is finished.

While Daddy was drawing, Kalli was making her own envelopes.

And here is Jeremie's masterpiece of the day which is already framed and hung in his bedroom.
Notice the ship, the sea monster, and the birds. He was especially proud of his birds.

Pyramids are always a fun way to pass the time. We did not get a photo of our enitre family pyramid because...well....there was no one to take the photo. But SUDDENLY the pyramid turned into a boat that was caught up in a great seastorm, and the children were spilling out of the boat into the raging waters while the boat split in two!

And I got to start a project I have been waiting oh so patiently to start.....pillowcase dresses for the girls! My dear friend, Tamara, gave me this idea, and it is really very simple. The girls and I took a quick trip to the local thrift shop and bought an armful of pillowcases to start with. I was so happy with the end result. Kalli's is the only one completely finished. I am going to add pockets to Cami's and Kaylynn wants a shirt instead of a dress. I will post pictures of those when I finish them. I made them a bit long so the girls could grow into them, but you can make them whatever length you want. These were super easy and quick. So, if you are a busy mom (like me), these are a perfect sewing project. Cousin Audrey, yours is next...the girls picked a cute pillowcase for your dress; I cannot wait to sew it and send it off. Who knows....maybe Tamara and I will start selling some in craft fairs this summer and fall.

We ended the day with our traditional Easter Eve events: family fun that leaves us all thankful, blessed, excited, and tired! I enjoyed the day at home doing our various projects, but I was so thankful when the sun came out again today and temperature reached 60!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Star Wars and Sewing?

We planned a Star Wars Open House Night for the Teen Center. This was a HUGE event and went very well! Of course, we had some honored guests (the 501st legion) which is the costuming club that Alan is a part of. We had an Awesome Vader and some great StormTroopers all movie cannon! Alan worked diligently on my Padme costume (I don't have any pictures), and it turned out very well. Many of the teens came in costume and enjoyed Light Saber wars, Star Wars Trivia, and the best part of all, the Canteena Band!!! Our staff at the teen center really got into this and had some very creative costumes. They all participated in the Canteena Band and we danced the night away. Here are the costumes I made for the kids (except the Princess Leia one). I had so much fun sewing, sewing, sewing. The best part about it was the kids' thankfulness. I love blessing my kids, and they were "blown away" by my expertise. I am so glad that children look at the whole picture and not the details. If they did, they would have seen the unmatched seams, the one sleeve that was longer than the other, and the funny stitching behind the hood. Every inch was sewn with love and tenderness, and that is all they care about!

Tired Baby

After a long day...

A pair of Red Shoes

Many of you know about our transition from standard footwear to minimalist footwear. I did start another blog with my first few footwear reviews, but I simply do not have the time to keep up with both, AND I don't have a whole lot more to say about feet. So, occasionally, you might find a little blurb on this blog about shoes. This one is all about Kaylynn's new shoes. We recently ordered her a pair of the VivoBarefoot Pally. These are a super cute Mary Jane style shoe, and she absolutely LOVES them. I have to mention that never would we spend $65 on a single pair of shoes for any one of our children (it's just not in our budget), but we received a timely $50 off coupon from Terra Plana in the mail, and since Kaylynn was the one in need of new shoes, we picked these up for $15!

"Mom! they are super light!" she exclaimed the minute she took them out of the box. "And mom, look at the box, I can keep this and use it for my special treasures!" (and she has many, many special treasures). Then she put them on. We ordered a couple sizes larger so she could grow a bit, and it worked perfectly. She can wear them now but has room enough to grow into them. She wore them around the house all day long and EVERY time I came into the room, she had something new to say about them, "they are super light," "I LOVE the color," "they are super stretchy," "I can jump higher in these shoes, mom." The only negative comment she had was that they hurt her heel, but after wearing them for a couple of weeks, she says they don't hurt anymore. I believe this might have been because she was not used to the barefoot style.

Jeremie also had his own thoughts and impressions. My favorite: "Kaylynn, they are like ninja shoes! You are so quiet when you walk around the house!"

So, there you have the thoughts of my 8 year old and my 5 year old. I would encourage any of you who have problems with your feet to invest the time in researching minimalist footwear. We are part of a great resource called Toe Salad. If you have questions, this is a good place to start.

And because I have been asked, I will also add that for infant footwear, we use Robeez, and I recently came across some cute shoes for outdoor use called Skidders. Cami LOVES hers, and I feel happy knowing that her feet are free to be feet while still being protected!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Remembering Lent

I cannot believe that April is coming to an end and May is just around the corner. Time certainly does move more quickly as I get older. Remember telling me that this would happen Dad? I remember it, just as I remember last summer. Well, our Lenten Fast was one of those things that went very quickly (yes, we ended it early) and a little different from what I expected. And now, we have what we remember.
A few thoughts and new perspectives when fasting with young children:
  • Remember that it is not a law nor is it about what we take away but what we add.
  • We gave our kids flexibility so they changed what they were fasting about halfway through.
  • That change made the whole Lenten fast more difficult.....when fasting as a family, it is best to all fast the same thing.
  • Regardless of what we were fasting and how much and when we ended the fast, we all made more time to sit in the presence of our Lord and Savior.
  • I love listening to my husband teach the Word to my children!
  • I love listening to all the questions my kids have!
  • I love hearing Kalli pray...."dear Jesus, help Jesus, Amen!
This week we have stopped the "fast," but our time with the Lord has remained the same, and I am very excited about that! We are taking this week to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Those of you who know us well enough know that we do not celebrate various holidays just because of their "religious" connotations (as most of them have pagan roots), but we are not opposed to using the season, holiday, and time of year as a means to remember. The Israelites were always setting up "signs of remembrance," and I believe the Lord loves it when we do this as well. I have been so blessed to REMEMBER this week. To remember our new passover lamb, to remember what the passover used to mean and remember what it means now, to remember Jesus eating with his disciples knowing what was to come and going forth anyway. And most importantly to remember that because of His sacrifice my sins have been forgiven, and I can live eternally with Him. I encourage you to take time this week to remember whatever it is the Lord wants you to remember, and allow that remembrance to lead to thankfulness.
Feel free to leave a comment if you would like to share what you are remembering!

Dairy Free/Soy Free Chocolate Cake

Here is my recipe for a DELICIOUS dairy free/soy free chocolate cake. I have been asked for this recipe too many times to count so I figured it was time to blog it. I have sold a few of these cakes, and the response I get is, "that cake was to die for." So be prepared to share so you won't eat it all!

2 Cups Sugar (I know lots...but hey it is cake)!
1 3/4 c flour (I use King Arthur)
3/4 c cocoa (fair trade and/or hersheys both work well. Do NOT use Nestle)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 c Goat's Milk
1/2 c olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c boiling water

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all your dry ingredients then add eggs, goat's milk, and oil. whisk it all together (I do not use a mixer, but I assume you would mix it at medium speed until it is smooth). Then add the boiling water and mix again; your batter will be thing. Pour into pan (I use a bunt cake pan)
Bake 30-35 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean.

1/2 cup Earth's Harvest Dairy Free/Soy Free buttery spread
(this is a great substitution to use when you are need of butter, but it does have canola oil in it so if you are allergic to canola oil you may have to try something different)
2/3 c cocoa
3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c goat's milk
1 tsp vanilla
Melt the butter, stir in your cocoa...make sure you get a smooth mixture of the two before adding the powdered sugar. Alternately add the powdered sugar and the milk until it is spreadable consistency. You can add more milk if you need to....then stir in the vanilla. Frost your cake, add a side of Coconut Milk ice cream and you have a perfect dairy free/soy free birthday dessert!!!!

My photos of the cake are not the greatest but I added one anyway so you get the idea. You can make this Vegan as well and it tastes just as delicious. Simply substitute 2 tablespoons applesauce for the eggs and use Almond milk or Coconut milk instead of Goat's Milk. ENJOY!

Cami Turns 1

Cami is quite the big girl now...walking, talking (well a few words), and FULL of personality. Yesterday, she claimed an old towel as her new favorite toy and today she played with it all day long! Her birthday was celebrated with family at home complete with her own Dairy Free/Soy Free birthday cake (recipe to follow in the next post). Yes, she is allergic to both so meals get creative around here. She also LOVES markers so they found their way onto her cake. Here she is enjoying every moment of it.

We have an artist in the family. Anyone want a copy framed and autographed?

The beauty of Maine

We have spent so many years traveling back and forth to the West Coast that we have missed out on some of Maine's Spectacular outdoor excitement. This year we have committed to visit every state park, but we are finding that we are also enjoying the state preserves, local hikes, and some the "mountainous" terrain as well. Here are some pictures to enjoy of some of the day trips we have taken by ourselves, with family and friends. We are so blessed to live in an area where there is so much to do outdoors, and now that the weather is warming up, we are enjoying our time outside so much more!!!

Streaked Mountain

Beautiful views from the top of Streaked Mountain (a small mountain about a ten minute drive from our home). This was a very challenging hike for the kids, but it was so fun to see them encourage each other and work together as we climbed up and even when a few of us starting slipping and sliding down!

This beautiful Great Dane met us about halfway up. We have no idea where he came from, but he was a fun guest....well for most of us. Kalli was not too pleased with this Gargantuan animal. And who can blame would be like a horse running up to us and licking us all over.

Riverlands State Park

We enjoyed a long and fun walk/hike with Brian and Louise on Louise's birthday. A new state park....Riverlands. It was so beautiful. There was a lot of old foundations, a little stream to cross, wide open fields, and of course fun times with the family! We hope to go back here in the next few weeks and enjoy it after all the snow is gone. Thanks Brian and Louise for getting outside with us! I especially loved Jeremie's attitude at the end of the hike, which happened to be something like 3-4 miles. He was tired and saying he couldn't possible go on. We shared the verse that we can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives us strength, we prayed together, then instantly off her RAN! I am so thankful for all the miracles in my life.

Greenpoint State Wildlife Preserve
We enjoyed a walk on the coast at a very beautiful wildlife preserve with some great friends. You see Jeremie above on the BEACH (yes, I was so excited to walk on the beach) with one of his little buddies. They have so much fun together playing "hunting." They have matching homemade "hunting rifles" which they use to hunt turkeys, deer, bear, and the occasional dinosaur.

Me and my dear sister in Christ Tamara (squinting into the sun)!

The guys and their walking sticks. These were cool because one of them had been entirely chewed by a Beaver. This was very exciting for all of us!

Kalli with her dear little friend. They are so cute and have lots of fun playing kitchen. Kalli acts as the little mama and wrangles Daisy all the time! Thanks Mark and Tam for a great day and fellowship!!!!

Mt. Apatite
Mt. Apatite is such a fun Rock Quarry to visit. A nice walk for the kids, and we always end up with loads of rocks to learn about when we get home. This trip was full of creatures, including this cute little porcupine that Alan happened upon and some catfish. We even found some Maine Tourmaline!!!