Sunday, September 21, 2014

Coconut oatmeal cookies

Today was a warm humid day here in Southeastern CT but I was in a Fall baking mood!  My daughter discovered how much she loves coconut so I found a recipe for coconut oatmeal cookies HERE on Lil Luna's website via Pinterest.

I didn't change the recipe at all but now that I've had them I will definitely make again and add nuts or chocolate chips.  They taste like sugar cookies with more texture and the coconut flavor is subtle but noticeable.

Per the directions, I didn't just spoon them onto the baking sheet.  I rolled mine into balls about 1.25 inches wide and slightly flattened them with my fingers.  I also baked them for 10 minutes.


Ingredients & Instructions {per Lil Luna's website}
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup coconut
  1. Cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spoon onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. ENJOY!

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tailgate Swap

We did it again!  Friends and I got together for another tailgate swap!  "A what????", say some newbies to my blog.  Well I know a very generous group of people who share items they no longer want before donating!  Hence, the name... one person's junk is another person's treasure.
I blogged about it before in July 2013 and January 2014.  {Click on those dates to read those summaries and get more details on what it's all about.}

14 of us pulled in with our junk in the trunk.  ha!  We met at a local park so the kids could play and we could shop.  We walked around and found lots of "treasures".


Here's some of the stuff I got:

Some people no longer used certain seasonal decor while I hate spending money on it!  Score!


I don't understand people who part with this sort of stuff.  It's my world.  If I could purr....

And this basket with a metal handle!  Love it for my living room!

Bows and wrapping paper!  Yay because I like wrapping gifts.

I found some great homeschool stuff...

V is learning to type using a free website but I thought I'd try this CD-ROM instructor too!

Some fun stuff for me!  Crafty bits and toiletries.

And even a couple new shirts for me!

See... you just never know what things you're sick of or don't use anymore that might be useful to others!

After we were done, many of us drove straight to a local donation center with our leftovers!  Yay for sharing and yay for clearing out the clutter from our homes!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Hi-dilly-ho, neighborinos! -Ned

DORKY CHRISTIANS READ BIBLES IN PUBLIC
I wasn’t always one of them Jesus follower types.  In fact I rather enjoyed making fun of the Ned Flanders of the world and don’t even get me started on street evangelists! 


I remember when I worked at a call center I made fun of a particular co-worker reading his bible.  There were usually 3 or 4 of us who worked the overnight shift so it was slow.  While some of us liked to chat, there was one guy, Mike who used this time to read.  What a dork… he read a bible and double dorkness… at work!  Another co-worker and I were really mean to him.  We talked back and forth using the Lord’s name in vain in jest.  We talked about that g** d*mned caller and J***us it was cold in there, all the while laughing.  We thought we were funny.  I don’t remember Mike’s reaction to be honest, but I know he didn’t confront us.  After all, we were being light-hearted and it was all in good fun of course.  *rolls eyes in retrospect*
me. 15ish years ago
Fast forward a few years when I came to faith in Jesus myself.  Ned Flanders {cheery, upbeat, happy, kind, dorky} is the perception, but most believers would fully admit that we are FAR from perfect.  We are not worthy of God’s love… whether it’s because of things we’ve done or how we’ve treated others… like me being so utterly disrespectful and short-sighted about the way I treated Mike for reading a bible. 
 
photo from morgueFile
FORGIVENESS
I understand now.  The bible is key for us believers.  It’s where we learn about God’s character, history of the faith, and how we should live.  It’s poetic and inspiring. It is so powerful and has totally changed me.  So once I understood this, I felt I had to apologize to Mike. 

photo from morgueFile
I looked up his name in the white pages online.  There were only six or so in the town I used to live in so I started dialing.  I don’t remember how many I called til I got him, but I reached him! 
He remembered me.
He remembered my taunting.
I apologized and he accepted my apology without hesitation.
Slate clean.  
Guilt lifted.

MESSING UP
And that’s just how this Christian thing works.  I mess up.  I admit it.  I apologize.  I move on. Forgiveness is a powerful thing.

photo from morgueFile
I mess up all the time and am grateful for God’s continued love and for those amazing people in my life who put up with me even with my flaws.  Love and forgiveness are the key messages from Jesus.  Tis rather simple when you get past all the human rituals and religion that turns so many off.

If you know me, you know I like to talk.  {Ahem… hence this blog!  Gets me thoughts out of me head!}
And sometimes I put my foot in my mouth.  Or I say too much when I should be quiet.
Some say I’m confrontational but I like to clear the air and get that dang elephant out of the room.  
I’m often misunderstood.

WORK IN PROGRESS But I’m a work in progress and this week I was reminded about that in my bible study. {Because I am now that "dorky" person who reads her bible every day. Ha!}  
We read through 1 and 2 Peter and here’s a goodie in the New Living Translation {NLT}:

…make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8

photo from morgueFile
Did you catch that or was it all goobily guck because you were speed reading?  {I have NO idea how I know people skim… *wink*}  But knowledge comes from reading God’s word.  And while I learn, there is growth in moral character, self-control {I’m working on it!}, patient endurance {another work in progress}, brotherly affection with love for everyone {I’d like to think I love people better now in my old age} and do you see that word in red?  The more productive and useful I’ll be in my knowledge of Jesus?  I saw that and got so excited because of my blog name! 

GROWTH
So when you see people reading the bible, it’s probably because they are building that knowledge so they can grow spiritually and be more productive and loving human beings.  That’s exactly why I’ve been doing an online bible study called Good Morning Girls for the past three years!  
It's easy for me to look back and remember the girl I once was, because she is so very different from the person I am today.  Grateful for God's word and how He's changed me to be a more loving person, and how He continues to work in my life.




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Thursday, September 18, 2014

A parenting laugh

Parenting is so hard and as a homeschooling mom there are days I literally am in tears praying to God for strength and looking to friends for encouragement.  Seriously without support, I don't know what I'd do.  It's hard people!

And sometimes, a mood lifter comes in the form of a YouTube video.  I had to share with hopes to make someone else smile at this mess we're in!!

These videos are from "mylifesuckers" on YouTube!  I subscribed to her channel... so funny!  She does these parodies of popular songs and seriously I wish I had her talent!  {Thanks Whitnee for tell me about her!}

So instead of "I'm all about that bass", how about "I just need some space"?  {YES!}


Or instead of "What The Fox Say"... how about "What Does My Kid Say?".  Oh the sounds they say.. so familiar.... haha!

And the classic... "I'm so cranky" because we know kids and moms aren't so fancy...

Hope that brought a smile to any weary moms out there.  Break time is over... back to it...

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our 1st Big E experience

We have lived in Connecticut for 14 years and had never attended the infamous New England Exhibition called The Big E til yesterday {Monday}!  We decided to take the kids this year because I have always wanted to go and we haven't done any local fairs in a couple years!  We bought our tickets at Big Y to avoid waiting in lines when we got there, but the lines actually weren't that bad at all.  {But I can see how this tip would be useful on a busy weekend!}

Parking was easy and well organized.
We got the kids bracelets for the rides so we didn't have to worry about tickets or how many times they went on something!  The lines were pretty much non-existent for the kid rides and it was awesome! Colin stayed on one ride 3 times!  haha!
Pop a wheelie!
Poor kid didn't have a clue... He got on the motorcycle backwards!  I laughed so hard!!!  In his defense, it does seem safer to hold that taller bar!  haha!

The people there were friendlier than I remember from any fair I've EVER gone to and they seemed to be more attractive and clean cut too!  haha!  {Just an observation from this people watcher!}  The kids had a good time on the rides and there were many to choose from!
Just some of the rides!  Click photo to enlarge!
The biggest problem we ran into was because of the ages and heights of OUR kids.  Vienna was too tall for some of the kiddie rides.  She was exactly 54" tall {max height for some kiddie rides} so it depended on the ride and operator if she was able to go on.  And poor Colin was too short!  At 4 years old he's on the small size and was 2 inches too short for the fun houses, submarine, or spinning dragons unless he was with an adult!  So he cried and was disappointed.
Vienna was too tall and Colin was too short!
We did our best to manage the rides but I would have preferred going with friends so the kids wouldn't be alone!  {Jay or I could have gotten a bracelet and tickets to go on with him, but there was enough for him to do and we already spent so much money.  It was just hard have the mix of ages as we do.}
My thoughts:  This section of the Big E is ideal for 6-8 year olds!  They are big enough to go on all the rides without an adult and still young enough to enjoy the thrill of the kiddie rides!  Lance was the ideal age!

I went on the dragon with Colin.  Vienna and Lance behind us.
Also just to say... there were a couple fun house operators that let Colin go with Vienna!  They had many of them and I asked at each one with 2 yes's and 5 no's!!!  A couple were just a simple obstacle that a 4 year old could easily do!   I wouldn't let a 2 year old go in with the moving floors but Colin is steady on his feet - just short!!  I thanked those guys a lot!  Totally made Colin's day!

Colin, Daddy and I waited while Vienna and Lance went on the bumper cars.  Lance made me laugh because he just drove in circles!  So fun to watch them try to figure it out!!!  We really enjoyed so many firsts this day!

On the flipside, Vienna was able to go on the bigger rides but she is only 9 and wasn't quite ready to go on them all.  Some scared her and some she wanted us to go with her.  Someone gave us tickets {how nice!} so I escorted Colin on the Dragon roller coaster and I went with V on a fun spinning roller coaster.  Jay went on the Polar Express with Vienna which was a fav of mine growing up!  My Mom loved going on rides and I remember she and I going on this one!
The FAST Polar Express.  Jay in sunglasses with V beside him.
We went to the State Buildings in search for the glorious good food people told me about.  Oh did we eat!  Between us all we had a lobster roll, pulled pork and beans, corn dogs, samosas, cotton candy, whoopie pies, popcorn, fried dough, deep fried Almond Joy, and we shared a snow cone!!  Good thing my smart-always-prepared husband brought water for us to drink!

The Connecticut building had a Lego play area!  The kids really enjoyed that but otherwise they were pretty uninterested in the crowded State buildings.  I can see this being much more fun if I went without kids.

We explored the Farm-a-rama building and I could have stayed in there a lot longer than we did because I love animals!  Colin took a break to watch the veggie show.  Sometimes I forget that we have a 4 year old and he likes stuff like this, whereas the older two don't care as much.  Look how tired he was...

The Newman boys watched the veggie show while Vienna and I walked around to see the piglets and chick hatchery.  It was a great set up but the kids were anxious to play games so we didn't linger in here long.  They ended up bringing home medium sized stuff toys that they were so happy to win!  Vienna got a panda bear, Lance a furby and Colin, a stuffed Lego man!
Lego Man came in handy as a pillow while waiting for siblings on rides!
After the games, we did more rides and then we went to the 7pm circus.  I didn't take any pics so this is from their Facebook page:

The acts were ok and sadly, many people got up and left early.  Jay and I thought thought it was rude but we enjoyed what we could.  I don't attend circuses with wild animals but they had cats and dogs doing tricks.  I loved the acrobats and the funny clown who was throughout the show.  He made us laugh a lot!
pic I took before going to the circus
After we came out of the circus, the Midway was all lit up and pretty!  After spending 8 hours at the Big E, we were pooped and it was time to head home.  I didn't get any pics of the circus or lights because I was carrying Colin who was exhausted!

We had a great family day with lots of fun but overall, I wouldn't recommend The Big E if you have kids the same ages as mine: 9, 7 & 4.  Just do your local fairs til they get older and save yourself some money.  I think it would be a blast to go to the Big E on a date though!  We never made it to the craft vendors or the horse shows and many, many other things they offer!  There is definitely a lot to do and I'm glad we had the chance to check it out!  We needed the family time together and thoroughly enjoyed that!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We were that family

My husband and I went to the beach on Labor Day.  Our kids played in the water and sand while we sat on our comfy chairs relaxing and taking it all in. 
Sept 2014
I like to people-watch and I was particularly taken with a young family.  Mom was pregnant and she and husband doted on their 2 year old daughter.  I watched them walk along the beach, play in the water, build sandcastles and go eat a picnic lunch together.
I had revelation. 

We were that family.  
Picnic lunch summer 2007.
And time has quickly passed and here we are.
We went to the beach with no stroller, no sippy cups, no cheerios and puffs, and no diapers.

My thoughts drifted… thinking how different it is…
I no longer have to watch the clock for nap times and meltdowns.
A tired lil Lancer. 2009.
I don’t need to carry around bibs, nursing pads, burp clothes, baby wipes, special spoons and pureed food anymore.

When I was in the thick of sippy cups and spit up, I remember wishing for relief.  I was told that it doesn’t get easier, just different and that is sooooooo true.  Although raising school-aged kids is less physically exhausting, I am more drained emotionally and feel just as beat up at the end of the day!

My kids are 9, 7 & 4 and we are in another phase of life.
Yes, I sleep through the night.  The kids can get their own snacks and drinks.  And every day they are moving towards more independence.  But we have plenty of new challenges that keep me praying to God for strength to get through the day!

But what would I like to say to that couple on the beach with a toddler and another on the way?
Enjoy the simplicity. 
Enjoy the smiles of new discovery. 
Enjoy the big diaper butt waddling as they find their footing.
Enjoy the dimpled hands and soft skin. 
Enjoy the adoration they have for you. 
Enjoy that YOU are their whole world.
Enjoy the possibilities.
Enjoy the morning cuddles and desire to be carried.
Enjoy the hands at the back of your neck.
Enjoy the sounds of a baby nursing in the darkness of night.
Enjoy naked bums running through the house after a bath.
Enjoy the innocence.

Because before you know it, you will blink.
Summer 2011.  Me and three little monkeys.
And you’ll be left only with your memories that seem like a lifetime ago.

{This is the sort of thing that helps me ENJOY the phase I'm in now.  Because like the baby/toddler phase, it is short lived too.}


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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lois Frye

Today I went to the memorial service for Lois Frye.  She was a sweet woman who certainly lived well for God!  It was wonderful to hear about her early days and how she has loved her family and friends!  She had no children of her own, but wow oh wow did she love her nieces, nephews and extended family!  "Everyone should have an Aunt Lois," were words spoken by her nephew today.  


I met her years ago because I am friends with some of her extended family.  She often brought a yummy zucchini dish to potluck gatherings.  I loved it so much that I got the recipe awhile back.  I shared it on my blog two years ago so CLICK HERE to get it, especially if you have a garden and need new zucchini ideas!  I can't make this without thinking of her!  It's a regular around here all year round!

She was a sharp lady and I know I will miss her smile at church.  She and her husband Lester {who is 95 years old!} attended the same service as me.  They were a cute couple!  Oh how Lester will miss his bride so if you read this and pray, please remember him.  


This is the verse shared on the handout today.  Good one to end with...

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Thanks for swinging by,
Mary