day with the husband

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Rich and I celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary on Sunday the 16th of September and since Sunday is a busy day for us, Rich took today off so we could spend time together while the kids were in school.  He’s at an eye doctor appointment now (4:30pm) so I have time to post a few photos.

We ate breakfast at a diner, the next town over, even though at the moment we don’t “like” this town because their youth football teams beat our teams very badly last week.  That was Rich’s remark anyway, which made me laugh.  This diner was hopping with folks “of a certain age.”

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This is a small town to have so many people at a diner for breakfast and Rich thinks it’s because it’s such a nice place but I think it’s because there is a senior living community just down the road.  It was fun to see people coming in a various times and getting enthusastic welcomes from their friends.  There was an older lady that looked similar to my Aunt Betty and I kept looking at her.  There was an older man with an oxygen tank.  There were hugs and loud conversations.  “Yeah, I feel good today!” said one gentleman to another.  Rich and I settled in to our eggs and potatoes and just enjoyed the atmosphere before heading to my hair appointment.

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This was taken in the car after my appointment.  My hair stylist, I think, let the dye sit a little too long because my head along the hairline is also dyed and it will not come off yet.  I had the roots done and a little trimmed off the ends and Rich worked on his laptop outside in a lawn chair while he waited for me.  We had enough time that I could have dropped him off at home while I had my appointment but he said he wanted to stay with me.   Then we drove the backroads to the mall and stopped at an apple stand/coffee/bakery on the way.

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Rich picked out a nice apple but when he ate it in the car he said it was mealy, so that was a little disappointing.  Out it flew through the car window into the trees.

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He saw this toy tractor and pointed it out because he liked it.  He’s a farm boy still.  He has a small John Deere tractor in our garage.

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He took me to Barnes and Noble and I bought the newest Flow mazazine but once I got home I realized that someone had taken the free wrapping paper out of it so I’m a little annoyed about that.  I also got a Breathe magazine and the Newbery Honor book Echo, which is a big beautiful hardcover book with 585 pages!!!!  I hope it’s as good as I am anticipating.  I can’t read it until I’m done with The Windy Hill (1922).  Rich got a couple of men’s fitness magazines and one of them has a young Arnold S. on the cover only wearing a small bathing suit which was horrifying to see.  Rich is slowly easing into running again after his disc surgery but has been able to keep working on his upper body and to me, looks amazing.  I’m so proud of him and the way he continues to get up early three days a week to work out and keep himself healthy.

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I took a photo of the cover of this book because……..

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Inside there was a photo of fiestaware (mixed with Bauer).  SO pretty!

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We sat at a table by the window for a while.  He had a pumpkin spice latte and I had a matcha green tea latte and then we drove back home.

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We ended up having a good hour to ourselves before the bus came.

breakfast treat (brownie muffins)

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Chocolate Brownie Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl combine the first 6 ingredients.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs, milk, melted butter or oil, and vanilla.  Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients.  Stir until just blended.  Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

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I made these muffins for the first time this morning, with Seth as my helper.  The recipe said it made a dozen but I got 48 mini-muffins so you could probably get 18-24 regular size muffins.

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We leave tomorrow to take Grace back to college and then spend a few days with Caleb, Seth, and Sarah on a weekend vacation together.  School for them starts on the 30th.

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The muffins are SO SO SO SO SO SO GOOD!!!!  Make them!

 

 

of muffins and monarchs

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“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” ~J.Calvin

Sarah Joy had a check up yesterday with her surgeon.  I hate to admit this but I did bribe her to be nice to the poor doctor.  Ever since her first surgery, Sarah has had a very negative reaction to all the nurses and doctors.  Dr. K, her main surgeon, has been so polite, kind, sweet, and loving to Sarah every step of the way and has felt Sarah’s dislike keenly, although she completely understood and did her best to reduce contact with her, keeping her conversations directed toward me and Rich instead.  I bought Dr. K a necklace and had it wrapped up very prettily, with a bow.  I gently explained to Sarah that she was going to bestow this lovely gift to her doctor with a smile and a hug, “OR ELSE YOU ARE GETTING NOTHING FROM THE GIFT SHOP after your appointment!!”  “WHY do I have to give her a hug?” she cried.  “Because it will be good for YOUR HEART to be kind!” I said, wisely, with a prayer that this would work.

Success!  What a joy!  She was more relaxed and talkative to the Doctor than she has ever been.  She made Dr. K so happy with the necklace, but most especially with the smiles and conversation and hug.

Sarah was told that she was healing very well and could now do anything she wanted to do, as long as it was okay with her parents. We were given lollipops and then went skipping down the hall to the gift shop, where Sarah happily chose a 1.99 bracelet as a reward for her good attitude.  The brothers were with us, too.  Caleb chose Jolly Ranchers (making me remember an old xanga friend), and Seth chose a stuffed animal.

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When we got home, the only thing Sarah wanted to do with her renewed freedom  was go wild-berry picking with her Mama.  We walked up to the raspberry patch and picked big beautiful jewels of berries.  When we came back home to put on bug spray, she saw that Seth had turned on a movie and decided to take a rest from berry picking because she wanted to watch the movie, too.  (It was “Home”).  I went in my room to relax and when her movie was over she came in, looked into my eyes, and said, “Are you ready for a berry-walk?  Or do you still need to rest?”  I looked at her and thought, “I’m not the one who just had surgery.  If you don’t need any more rest, I don’t either.”

Off we went to pick BLUEBERRIES this time!  The bushes in the woods are small, and low to the ground–nothing like my parent’s property covered in nice tall, fat and mature bushes.  But we found “just enough” berries and the sun was at the golden hour…..making everything glow like magic.  We found blueberries of all shades.

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This morning I woke up to my daughter right in front of my face, telling me it was time to wake up and make muffins.  My mind was willing but my body felt leaden.  I tossed and turned for a few minutes and then got out of the covers, not so much to make muffins, but because I was curious about how my monarch caterpillars were…….

I found Sarah waiting for me on the little couch and I kissed her face.  Together we went into the kitchen to make the muffins she naturally knew we just had to use the berries in.

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She sat on a stool to scoop out batter with an ice cream scoop.

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She kept tasting the dough and saying “yummmmmmmm”.

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I filled the regular sized muffin tin and soon they were baking in the oven and we called up the boys to have their breakfast.

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*****

I ate a warm buttered muffin with a cup of coffee, perched on a stool in front of the aquarium which held a dangling caterpillar, two chrysalises, and a caterpillar.

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I knew this caterpillar was very close to shedding it’s skin so I determined to wait and get it on video.

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These two attached to a stick that I put in the aquarium.  They were the compliant caterpillars, the other one was a rebel and escaped the whole set-up to attach to a iPhone charging cord.

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When I saw what it had done, I draped the cord over the top of the tank.  (I had blocked half the top with a cutting board.)

I sat for a while watching the dangling caterpillar gently convulse.  I knew it was almost time and called the children over.  We were able to get the whole process on video.

As I sat, I couldn’t help but think about how astonishing God’s creation is.  Why did he make these detailed, intricate creatures, and millions more beside?  He is The Creator–Creators MUST CREATE.  Just think of the things humans make and how we get “in the zone” as we sing, or draw,or sew, or garden.  That urge to create came from Father-God, we are like Him, in a very small way, because He made us in His image.  It is good and we enjoy it all.

So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.  Genesis 1:27

He brought the most mind-boggling things into existence—plants, humans, animals, all of these things reproduce and continue the cycle of life.  Self-sustaining creation.  A-MAZE-ING.  Overwhelming.  No one is like Him, but we have a touch of the divine within us, allowing us to enjoy life, and all parts of living.

No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Jeremiah 10:6

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“If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.”  Edith Schaeffer

waffle summer

This is fun.

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I love making breakfast for the children.  The best thing about summer vacation is that the extra time we have makes it possible to do so.  I’ve been making waffles.

I suppose it has something to do with the moment a few weeks back when my Mom and I were organizing my pantry and we discovered that one of the boys had put my waffle maker back with waffle stuck all over it.  It was shocking. I remembered the day years ago that Rich bought me that wonderful waffle maker from Williams and Sonoma.  I was so proud of it, but had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.  I immediately felt like nurturing my waffle maker again.  As soon as I had extra time again (days later), I took it outside and cleaned the crumbs out of it.  The dog was by my side, eating them out of the grass.  Waffle makers have the potential to be the filthiest appliance in the house if they aren’t perfectly cleaned after each use.  Even the cord itself was coated in old batter.  (I blame the boy who used it last.)

Of course once it was clean again I immediately wanted to use it.

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This morning I made cornmeal waffles from a Bed and Breakfast cookbook.  Before I mixed them up, I thinly sliced 2 quarts of strawberries into a fiesta bowl and sugared them.  The kids could put strawberries on their waffles, maple syrup, or both.

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Cornmeal Waffles
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons melted butter

In a large bowl beat the eggs and add the milk.  In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and store into the egg mixture.  Gradually add the melted butter.  Spoon into a greased hot waffle iron, and bake.

Notes:  I use one of those silicone pastry brushes to grease my waffle maker.  Also, I added extra flour to this recipe because I like waffle batter to be thick.

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When I made them, only Caleb, Seth, and Sarah were awake.  So all the rest are waiting in a 200 degree oven, waiting for the big kids to wake up and eat them.  Last week we had someone spending the night with the boys and he was so amazed that I had made waffles from scratch that he took a picture of the recipe.

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(star wars and elsa)

I have something to say to you that has nothing to do with waffles!

God is Sovereign, is in perfect control of all things.
Jesus had harsh words for hypocrites.
Self-righteousness is a terrible attitude and scares people.
Strange and Unusual Joy is a mark of a Christian.
A key to a content life is purposefully living the one God gave you and enjoying each part of it.
Continuous study and learning…having a curiosity about life and living….is another way to grow in grace.
If you believe in the blessedness of marriage, put extra time and effort into your own.
At some point in the very near future all the children of God will experience the best happy ending in History….and I just cannot wait!!!!

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”