memorial day weekend

Our morning routine has changed since the college children have come home.  Ethan and Jacob have a work-out routine that they need to do for sports this fall so Rich gets up with them early (around 5) and they go next door to our garage.  The upstairs of our garage is set up with a variety of gym equipment; everything they need for their work out each morning.  They have leg day, arm day, etc.  When Rich comes back into our bedroom to walk through to the bathroom, I wake up and go out to the living room.  My intention is to make coffee and sit with my one-year-Bible.  I like to sit and read and sip my coffee while David and Caleb get ready for school and Ethan, Jacob, and Rich get ready for work.  This is also a good time for them to come to me with complaints.

  • We are out of bananas.
  • We are out of milk, cream cheese, and bagels.  Also yogurt.
  • Jacob’s pants shrunk.
  • where is the cast iron pan?
  • where is the blender?
  • Ethan needs gas money.  Ethan cannot find his wallet.
  • Caleb needs money for school lunch.
  • I made beans yesterday, causing Rich to have to run back to the house several times during his work out.

To be fair, these didn’t come across as complaints (except the food.  David was truly annoyed about the bananas.  He ate peanut butter toast with chocolate chips and when I questioned him he said it would have been healthier with …… the bananas.)

Jacob laughed about his pants.

Ethan was cheerful about his wallet.

David almost forgot his lunch money.

I still haven’t finished my Bible portion of the day because then Seth and and Sarah woke up.

Sarah came down the stairs happy that tomorrow is her birthday.

As she walked into the kitchen with Seth I heard her say slyly, “And Mom is NOT picking you up early from school with me.”  It immediately became an argument.

When questioned, Seth told me that the other day when I asked Sarah to go to the house and get me my magazine, she had Seth do it, with the promise that “I will tell Mom to pick you up early from school on my birthday, too.”  So Seth got the magazine for her and  then she carried it the rest of the way to me, or I would have already figured this plot out.  (The child I asked to bring the magazine brought the magazine so I was not suspicious.)

That was two days ago.  In the meantime, Sarah had changed her mind.  It’s her birthday, she doesn’t want Seth to get picked up early with her.

Seth was saying one thing and Sarah was saying another.  She even pretty much lied about making the promise to Seth, I am very sorry to say.  She said, “I don’t remember saying it like that.”  hmmmmm

Rich came out of the bedroom so I asked him to be the judge.  Except the man didn’t even know that I had told Sarah I would pick her up early.  He takes school seriously and never lets the kids stay home unless they are truly sick.  So, it should not have been a surprise to me that after he got involved no one was getting picked up from school.  

I thought Sarah would be sad but she ate breakfast and perked right up.  Everyone’s happy now.

But meanwhile, through all this, Parker (our dog) had tried to steal the cat’s can of cat food (the cats get ONE can a day, the rest of the day they eat dry).  I sent Parker outside.  Sherlock ate his can and then Samantha came inside for her can.  Sammie is a really tiny female cat and Jacob stopped to cheer her on as she wolfed down her food, “Yeah, Sammie, get nice and fat!”……. and then to us, “I swear this cat only eats once a week.”  She promptly turned away from the bowl and threw up the entire can on the floor.

All this while I’m trying to read the Bible!

Sammie ran off so we let Parker back inside the house to clean up the cat’s mess.  After all, it wasn’t even digested, it was barely even chewed.  But he didn’t even see it, he took the empty can and ran downstairs.  Ethan decided he wasn’t hungry for eggs anymore.

I was hiding behind my journal on the other side of the room.


Now everyone is gone and the house is quiet.  The dishwasher is going.  I took the silverware tray out of the drawer to wash that, too.  The vacuum is sitting in the kitchen as I have decided that today would be a good day to vacuum all the crumbs out of cupboards and drawers.  I am going to Costco soon for cream cheese, bagels, bread, butter, milk, mayo, paper towels, and yogurt.

Seth and Caleb have baseball games tonight.

The sun is out and it’s a clear, cool, and sunny morning.


I did copy down one verse in my journal before putting morning Scripture reading aside:

All of us must die eventually.  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.  But God does not just sweep life away; instead He devises ways to bring us bak when we have been separated from Him.  2 Samual 14



How was your Memorial Day?  I’m thankful that Seth and Caleb were in the parade or we may have not bothered to get out the door to attend.  It’s always such a fun atmosphere in town when it’s parade day.  We dropped off the boys at the parade start and then parked the car.  We walked to the coffee shop for 1 soda (Dave), 1 apple juice (Sarah), 1 regular coffee in a mug that he returned after the parade (Rich) and 1 caramel latte (myself).  Grace didn’t want anything.

Grace went across the road to sit with Dave and Sarah.  Rich and I walked to a shop down the sidewalk a little ways and said hello to the lovely lady who owns the shop.  I picked out a little gift for a sick friend and he bought his two girls each a bracelet.  Then we joined the kids on the other side of the street, saying hello to Grace’s boyfriend’s parents on the way.




Such dear girls.  They have been close friends (same grade in school) longer than Jacob and Brittnee have been a couple.  What I love about Brittnee is her good-natured cheerfulness.  And she can hold her own in this family, too.  For example yesterday Seth came over to say something and when he walked away she said accurately, “He’s so cute sometimes.”  and we laughed and laughed.  We’ve baked together and she and Grace are working on a garden (I have my doubts of whether it will be a success bc it’s like a mile away from the house).



I took a photo of the garden behind us because I want to find the purple flowers which are on the left and the pink flowers on the right (growing tall out of the green leafy clump).  They are so pretty and would look just right in my flower beds.



Seth in the parade standing close to his teammate (wearing Jays uniform).

Caleb was in the marching band playing a percussion instrument that looked like a plastic football with ridges that he had to rub with a stick.  In the video you can see at the very last second he makes eye contact with me and sort of grimace-smiles.  He will be 13 in July and is at the sad age when he leans away from me when I try to pat his shoulder, or put my arm around him or hug him or touch his cheek or make any sort of motherly contact.  He LEANS AWAY without a word of complaint.  It’s quite painful but all part of the growing up process when the boy has to teach the mom to stop with the babyish personal contact.  Motherly touches are now reserved for special occasions (severe injury, terrible sickness, at the moment of return after a long absence *or* birthdays) *or* when HE initiates.  (He does still come to me for a hug now and then in the privacy of our own home).

I had to post the video because I didn’t get any photos of him for the same reason that I didn’t touch him.  He wants no part of it.  I didn’t want to beg.

Also there are no photos of our other son, Ethan, as he was away with Tessa all day long.



Sarah made out pretty good.  Grace and the brothers were amused that several little boys yelled, “HI SARAH” to her as they were in the parade marching and saw her on the sidewalk.  They asked who one of the boys was and she said, “You tell me!  I don’t know his name!”  She has attitude.  We don’t know what will become of her as she has had a very full life so far and she’s only 8.  The youngest child is just as interesting as the rest of them, don’t you agree?  So unique and fascinating.  A little scary.  In a good way.

Her dad calls her Sally.


The other side of the bridge is a drop off down into the shallow stream.  Like, if he fell he WOULD have been hurt pretty bad.  But that didn’t stop him from running to jump up on the wall and walk around on it.  I try so hard to keep my mouth shut………….. most of the time I fail.  He had a big handful of Sarah’s candy in his sweatshirt pocket.   Yesterday he told us he was growing out his hair long and I said “I always wanted another daughter” just to make him laugh.  What I really wanted to say was “Please don’t”.

The beautiful brick buildings in the back are a church and the town museum.  The little road leading to the right is the entrance to a park.  I just love our town.


Later on that day we went for a walk and Jacob found this bug.  It was like 3 inches long! It’s so pretty!


And I saw 4 lady slippers growing on the side of the road.  These two and then another two that were about 4 feet away.


This morning Parker the dog was wandering around with a lollipop in his mouth.  Must be Sarah left her candy lying around on the floor.

He’s currently snoring flat on his side on the couch next to me.   I think he’s relieved to have a quiet house today.   He’s an old dog now, trying to keep up with his busy family!




We were watching A Christmas Carol last night and Scrooge was saying once again, “I hadn’t noticed….” to which the spirit said, “You hadn’t noticed.  One would think you had gone through life with your eyes closed.” and I thought to myself, oh let my eyes be open…….

…open to see messy beauty all around

….open to love my community, my family, my people, not only to give it, but to see it happening

….open to see the hand of God and His works in the land of the living

…open to see what is true

…open to see what is lovely

Let me not miss a thing.

But see, I WILL miss seeing some things!  And even that fact is a wondrous revelation!  God is doing so much good, more “behind the scenes” good than we will ever count or notice!  Things so hidden that they will not be revealed until life truly begins (in Heaven).

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.  With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.  Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you……


Seth read a little book in school about how places around the world celebrate the holidays. The page about Italy was the only one that mentioned baby Jesus and he noticed.  He had the eyes to see and the mind to understand that Italy was the place for him to visit.  Because he is a Christian.


Because Sarah is so little, I have to walk her to the bus every morning, right up to the bus door on the other side of the road.  It’s so very cold, I often have a secret dislike in going outside with her to do this mothering job.  But when I hold her hand and get ready to let go of her for the morning, I say, “Have a nice day, Sarah, I love you!” and she says, “You too, I love you, too!” to me and my heart melts into a big puddle and I feel that love that she has for me and I remember to be thankful.


Last night I was tired and Ethan was hungry.  He had just arrived home from visiting his girlfriend and he was wandering around opening cupboards looking for food.  Even though I didn’t want to, I took pity on him, got off the couch and made him a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel.  Yes, he could have done it himself, but he has been away at college for weeks and weeks and was hungering for not only food, but an act of love from his Mom.  I ended up serving him his food on a small fiesta plate, happy to cook for my boy, my heart changed from one of grumpiness because I wanted to just lay on the couch, into one of gratitude that I could serve my family in this small way.  It only took 5 minutes, for goodness sakes.


Grace had committed herself to making 25 corn bags for music kids at school.  Oh how I was inwardly groaning because I had packed all my sewing stuff away about a year ago, I could not even recall where I had put the sewing machine.  To make a long story short, she did find it, it did still work, it was still threaded, we did not run out of bobbin thread, and I did all the sewing of the bags because she did run out of free time.  Once again, what began in groaning ended in yet another lesson on selflessness and doing what I am meant to do right now–be a mom.


I wasn’t thinking.  I wasn’t thoughtful.  I made a big pot of baked beans because Sarah was craving them, but the boys ate them, too.  The next day I made chili for dinner.  Then the boys had wrestling practice.  You see where this is going.  David said to me on the way home last night, “Mom, you gave me chili and I far*ed 13 times at practice tonight and I just did again while I was saying this to you.”  I had to roll the window all the way down as I drove….laughing….later I told my mom the story and she said, “That is a tactical move” and Rich said, “Offensive, too.”  There is no point to this story.


Ethan and I just spent a most comfortable day together doing nothing.  I wasn’t feeling well and no one else is here for Ethan to hang out with so we just lounged around.  I made him pancakes for breakfast and toasted cheese for lunch.  He put wood pellets in the stove and carried in boxes for me.  We took naps and I read a book.  We hardly spoke but we enjoyed each others company.  He said a quiet day like today would be awful if he was alone at college, but to be home makes all the difference.


Seth snuggling with me on the couch

washing Sarah’s hair for her, blowing it dry and braiding it for bedtime

loving texts from my husband

having Jacob wake up David because he overslept and almost missed the bus

cats and a dog that cannot talk yet we sense and know their love and loyalty

christmas cookies


The other night David took a bowl of burning hot soup to bed with him and dumped it down his pants.  That same night Caleb went to bed with an ice pack for a groin injury.  He fell asleep with it, only to wake up hours later with wet shorts and a perplexing problem…until his mind woke up enough to realize what he had done.


Truly, having children is a guarantee that there is always something to laugh about.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”


**christmas dishes**


**wrapping all the gifts**


**christmas past**


**I see boys having fun, little bits of them left behind everywhere**

I just know I’ll always stumble across nerf bullets and legos far after they’ve grown and gone.

I am determined to go through this Christmas season with my eyes and heart wide open.  (I may have to take a break now and then.  LOL)

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” … the Little Prince


PS, the corn bags

baked beans recipe (yum)


The sun was almost down behind the house, and in front of us like a living piece of art was a dusky early evening.  How many times have I stopped what I was doing in the house to run out on the porch just for a moment; to soak in the beauty, breath the fresh air, cool my busy mind?  Called the children to come and see the pretty sky?  So many times that now sometimes they do it, too.

“Mom, come look!”

s h a r e d  J O Y  i s  a  d o u b l e   J O Y


The darkest of blues and a world washed clean.


A year ago I put together a recipe file of all the baked bean recipes I could find in my cookbook collection.  I tried out a few of the recipes and then lost interest in beans for another year.  It is interesting to me how we become seasonally predictable.  All of a sudden I’m getting the urge to bake beans again–exactly a year later.

I selected the next recipe to try and for this recipe, I needed dark rum.  Rich and I drove downtown on Saturday to get some while the beans were soaking on the stovetop and the children played.  I sat in the truck while he ran into the liquor store for a nice bottle of rum.  Then we went downtown for coffee and a walk.


We ate dinner together around the table at the end of the day.  A big pot of homemade baked beans and fresh bread from Price Chopper.  The children all ate a plate of beans, so piping hot that they had to spread them all around their plates to cool faster.  They all liked them and several of us had seconds. It is a contented feeling to make such simple foods and have them enjoyed.

Rich and Jacob go to the gym three times a week and Rich told me that Jacob should probably not eat beans the night before, ever again.  Jacob replied, “It doesn’t matter what I eat, it’s going to happen.”

I thank my Aunt Mary for this recipe, because it came from a wonderful cookbook that she gave to me years ago as a bridal shower gift.  I’ve studied and used it so much that it’s falling apart now.  Every recipe I’ve made out of this cookbook has been extra delicious.

Molasses and Rum Baked Beans

1 pound dry navy beans or dry great northern beans
1/4 pound bacon (six slices) or salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup (we used maple syrup)
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper

Rince beans.  In a 4 1/2 quart dutch oven combine beans and 8 cups cold water.  (I also added a bay leaf).  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 1 hour.  Drain and rinse beans.

In the same pan mix beans and 8 cups fresh cold water.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 1 hour and 15 minutes or till tender.  Drain beans, reserving hot liquid.  Transfer beans to a 2 1/2 quart casserole or bean pot.

In a medium saucepan or large skillet, cook bacon or salt pork till fat begins to accumulate.  Add onion and garlic.  cook and stir over medium heat till onion is tender but not brown.  Stir onion mixture into beans along with 1/2 cup of the reserved bean liquid, molasses or maple syrup, catsup, dark rum, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, ground ginger, and pepper.

Bake, covered, in a 300 degree oven about 2 and a half hours or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.  If necessary, add additional reserved bean liquid.  Makes 10-12 servings.

NOTES:  I doubled this recipe.  I used a teaspoon of sandwich mustard rather than dry.  It took my beans much longer to bake.  Plan on this recipe taking an entire day from morning to night.  There is nothing worse than under cooked baked beans.  When done, the beans should be super soft and everything else in the pot should be melted together.  Add liquid as they bake so there is sauce.  Very delicious with bread and butter and cold glasses of cider.

recipe source:  Stay for Supper (Country Home) Cookbook


photos from walk yesterday, which was a warm fall day



the leaves I brought home with me


“….we must never pretend that things are better than they are-but I do want us to look beneath all that is difficult and see the miracle God has wrought in our hearts.  I want us to see that he has placed powerful urges to do good in the deepest recesses of our regenerated hearts.  That’s what the New Covenant is all about.  Something wonderful and beautiful and resilient is within us that no abuse, rejection, or failure can ever destroy.  I want us to relate to one another, not as moralist to sinner or therapist to patient, but as saint to saint, father to child, friend to friend, as true lovers, with the confidence that we can help each other believe that, by the grace of God, there is something good beneath the mess.”
Larry Crabb


easter baked beans


“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:2

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5


My soul, admire the boundless love of God to thee and others of the human race.
Worms are bought with the blood of the Son of the Highest! Dust and ashes
redeemed with a price far above silver and gold!  ~Charles Spurgeon


“I will not glory, even in my orthodoxy, for even that can be a snare if I make a god of it… Let us rejoice in Him in all His fulness and in Him alone.”  Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones


“It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me.”
– Martyn Lloyd-Jones


Good day to you, friends!  It has been a lovely week at our place, although there is a sickness going around.  I’ve been sick since Tuesday but am feeling better although tired out.  Grace was home with me yesterday, and it was cozy indeed.

There is no school today for the children.  Ethan drove to the mall with Dave, Grace, and Emily (his girlfriend’s sister).  Rich and Jacob are at work.  Caleb, Seth, and Sarah are home with me and playing together.

Jacob’s girlfriend Emily was taking care of a duck yesterday.  While she was at school, she had Jacob bring it over to our house so he could watch it.  Of course we all fell in love with the duck.


And Grace wanted to keep it.  She began researching but what I told her was true; you really shouldn’t keep one duck.  It would be a very lonely duck.


So after a visit and much quacking, it went to be adopted by a family of ducks.


Easter Baked Beans

(way back in October I wrote about my intention to try all sorts of baked bean recipes.  Well, I finally got to recipe #2 and it was delicious)

First I’ll give you the recipe and then I’ll tell you everything I did differently.  🙂

Navy Bean and Apple Casserole

1 lb. dried navy beans, 2 cups
6 cups cold water
1 tsp salt
3 large tart apples pared and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 lb. salt pork, sliced

Wash beans and turn into a 3 quart saucepan.  Add the water and salt, heat to boiling, and simmer gently, covered, about 2 hours.  Drain, saving cooking liquid.  Arrange beans and apple slices in alternate layers in a greased casserole, sprinkling sugar over each layer.  Pour in 2 cups of the cooking liquid and top with slices of salt pork.  Bake, covered, in a very slow oven (250 degrees) for about 2 and a half hours, or until beans are light brown and thoroughly cooked.  If they become dry in cooking, add more cooking liquid or hot water.  There should be enough liquid on the beans to make a gravy-like sauce over them.  5-7 servings.


I saved out 2 cups of the cooked beans to use in a chili recipe.  I peeled and diced the apples and only used 2 apples because of my reduction of the amount of beans.  I sprinkled onion powder and cinnamon on the beans (about 1/8 of a tsp each).  I used bacon instead of salt pork (what is salt pork???) and I diced it instead of keeping it in slices.  It took longer for mine to bake, in fact, I let them go on for about 6 hours (I don’t know why it took so long, maybe my oven temps are off?).  I used a can of chicken broth that I had leftover in the fridge for cooking liquid.  I took the foil off for the last hour so they would thicken up and brown.  Adding cinnamon made them perfect–the bacon and apple basically melted into the beans making a wonderful flavor.  We all liked them, and Sarah had three bowls full.  They would go well with a ham dinner, which is why I have renamed this recipe “Easter Baked Beans”.