Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Idea of Camping...

has always been to go to the Marriott.

My husband was a boy scout throughout his high school years. He and his brother camped many, many weekends with their scout troops. They camped way out in the woods.

I, on the other hand, have been camping only a handful of times and I did NOT like it at all.

So, I've told him down through the years that if he wanted to take the kids camping that's fine but I will go "camping" at the Marriott while he camps in the woods.

That was until dear husband started looking at campgrounds. I wasn't really thrilled about camping at first, but as the time drew closer, I found that I was actually excited. I learned that you must be prepared to have a good camping experience. So...we prepared.

And we had a great time! We want to make camping a monthly 'habit' as much as we possibly can.

When we got there, we immediately set up camp. We (I should say Walter) set up the tent in a nice grassy area. We got everything out of the van and organized it all.

While the tent was being set up the boys were playing in the trees and having a great time.

The boys were headed to a trash can to throw something away. Phyllip approached the can and when he got close to it, he accidentally scared a squirrel. The funny thing about it was he screamed, Tyler screamed, and the squirrel screamed in unison. I happened to look up right at that moment and saw the whole thing! Hilarious! The squirrel was huge and he scampered off immediately. The boys were laughing as was I! I only wish I had gotten it on video - maybe I could have won some money for that one!

After the tent was done and lunch was finished, the boys went fishing.

Tyler caught a fish.
Both boys caught a fish, but we didn't get a picture of Phyllip's fish.

Shortly after the fishing was done, I noticed the sprinklers were getting very close to our campsite. I commented to Walter that I hoped they didn't turn on by us because everything would get wet. He dismissed the idea. Not 5 minutes guessed it! Water water everywhere...all over our stuff!

Walter was upset! We called the ranger and asked them to turn the water off so we could move our things. The tent was wet - inside and out. Sleeping bags and pillows were wet. Ugh!

So, we went from here...

to here...

and had no more problems after that! Goofy thing was that nobody told us we weren't supposed to camp on the grass. There weren't signs, either - that was until the ranger pointed it out. The sign was facing a different direction from where campers would look and if that wasn't bad enough it was covered up by a tree branch. Go figure that one!

We enjoyed the rest of the day. We had dinner and at dusk started a campfire. We roasted marshmallows and made smores.

Next morning, there was a hawk in the trees above us. I got a picture of it.

We even found the hawk's nest. Apparently, there were 4 babies in it.

More tree climbing happened that morning.

Last but not least, our little dog had a great time. We were supposed to have her on a leash the whole time. Easier said than done because she HATES the leash! She's very good off the leash but...rules are rules! We were the only tent campers and had the entire area to ourselves so we felt some liberty to keep her off the leash at times. She loved chasing all the squirrels and us as well.

We played hide and seek and Ruby thought she needed to play, too. She gave every one of us away every time!

Her favorite person in the family is Walter. She follows him around like his shadow. Hence the following picture. It's like this every single day.

Technically, she was on a leash. We just weren't holding it!

Ruby never slept until we went to bed that night. She was on alert and didn't want to miss a thing! She was so tired when we left that she slept on the way home. She moved very slowly the rest of the day after we got home.

Such a tired face!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tomato & Basil Pasta with Chicken

This is not the real name for this dish. I actually don't know the real name. I made it up. But I got this recipe from watching food network a couple years ago.

There is a saying - Necessity is the mother of all invention. Well, I invented yesterday.

I didn't have a lot in the fridge or cupboard so this is what I came up with. It's a new twist on an old favorite pasta dish.

1 lb. pasta (I like penne and shells, but you can use whatever you want)
8 roma tomatoes cut up (not diced but small chunks)
1-4 large cloves of garlic (we like a lot of garlic - but it's to your taste)
1 lb. mozzarella cheese cut into small chunks (fresh mozzarella is incredible but you don't have to use fresh)
fresh basil, julienned, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
3-4 chicken breasts cut into chunks

Heat large skillet with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add in chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until juices run clear. While chicken is cooking place pot of water on stove and heat to boiling for pasta. Cut up tomatoes, garlic, cheese, and basil. When water is at a full boil add pasta. Watch the pasta closely - you don't want mush - you want al dente (with a slight firmness). While pasta is cooking add tomatoes, garlic, and basil to chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tomatoes are tender. If need be turn burner off so you don't overcook the tomatoes. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and more fresh basil. Keep the heat on low so as not to burn the food. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Food is done when cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

Variations: I usually don't make this with any meat. It's usually a compliment to whatever meat we are having. I said necessity was the mother of all invention. Well, I didn't have any mozzarella so I used Monterey Jack instead. My family loved it! They said it was better than mozzarella! I also added a shallot with the tomatoes and garlic. I didn't have fresh basil so I used dried. It was still good however, fresh gives an amazing flavor! Add any meat you like. I only had chicken. I only had 2 tomatoes but it was still good. Experiment for yourself and see what you come up with.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Word of Encouragement

I received a little devotional booklet for Mother's Day from our church.

It's truly been a blessing to me.

I thought I'd share one of the devotions.

Numbers 6:23 "On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel."

Our God is "God of the details." When it comes to things that really matter, He exercises infinite care to ensure His purposes for our lives will be fulfilled. Jesus once told His disciples, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30).

Perhaps you know the children's prayer that makes this same point, but in a different way:

A little sparrow cannot fall
Unnoticed, Lord, by Thee,
And, though I am so weak and small,

You care, O Lord, for me.

As the Lord gave to Aaron the blessing that would endure for all time, He chose the words carefully: "On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel" (emphasis added). In this way and with these words, God said. Why? Because the details matter. This blessing would open the channels whrough which the Lord would pour out gifts of His love. The words had to communicate precisely the intentions of our Father's heart.

With that in mind, consider: If God took so much care to get the details of His benediction just right, how can we possibly doubt that He will get the details of our lives precisely right, too? If even the hairs on our head are numbered and on file in heaven's high throne room, why would we ever fall into worry? Why would we lie awake at night, trying in desperation to figure out our own solutions to our dilemmas?

But we do, don't we? The "little sparrows" may not fret, but God's human creatures do! All the more reason to pause and ponder our Saviour's "good word" to us.

This blessing belongs to "Israel," to God's faithful people of all time and in every place. He calls us together to receive His "good word":

"Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." Psalm 50:5

The sacrifice of Christ and our connection with Him by faith have sealed that covenant of unconditional acceptance forever. So, what details will you entrust into His hands right now?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Then & Now

I can't say enough how it seems time flies by so fast when you are raising children.

I have 'then' and 'now' pictures of the kids.

Then - 2000/2001 (I can't remember exactly.)

Now - 2009
Is it just me or are my kids looking grown up?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

1 Week Old

The babies are now 1 week old.

My, how they've changed.

Here are the new pictures.

Isn't Mama gorgeous?! Look at the turquoise around her eyes!

Monday, May 4, 2009


What is patience?

If I knew what it was I don't think I'd ask the question.

Since I seem to be struggling so much as of late with this very thing I decided to look up the definition.

According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, patience is defined as the following:

1. The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness. Patience may spring from constitutional fortitude, from a kind of heroic pride, or from christian submission to the divine will.

2. A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent.

3. The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent.

Have patience with me,and I will pay thee all. Mat 18.

4. Perseverance; constancy in labor or exertion.

He learnt with patience, and with meekness taught.

5. The quality of bearing offenses and injuries without anger or revenge.

His rage was kindled and his patience gone.

6. Sufferance; permission.

All I can say is, "Wow."

My heart is grieved because of my lack of patience. I have many regrets because of it. Oh, how I wish I would have learned patience when I was a child. Perhaps I wouldn't have had as many hardships of my own doing in life. Perhaps my children wouldn't struggle with patience if I had shown them patience while they were little. Perhaps.

As I walk with my Lord, I am reminded that life is not going to be a bed of roses each and every day. There are still going to be bumps in the road. I am not promised a life of ease as a Christian. I still have my struggles with myself (because of my choices), family, friends, and acquaintances.

As of late, I am struggling with a person I met several months ago. She happens to be old enough to be my mother. I pick her up for church because she is legally blind and cannot drive. We "locked horns" twice last week over the silliest things. Those aren't the only times I've been frustrated with my relationship with this person.

I believe that she doesn't know the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour.

If she doesn't know Jesus Christ as Saviour, why do I lack patience with her? I should have compassion and love for her. I should. I must. But I don't. At least not yesterday. Hopefully today.

Last Sunday she was mad at me. After she let me know of her irritation with me, I had to pick her up for church. I was not exactly happy about this. I got myself in the car and began talking to the Lord. I told him how unfair it was that I was being treated like that. And I asked for patience, love, compassion, to have a teachable spirit, etc.

And then it hit me. If I show my irritation to her and start yelling at her, how is that any different than how the unsaved treat each other? How am I any different? I need patience to work with her. I must have a calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent. I must show her the love of Christ. I must possess the quality of bearing offenses and injuries without anger or revenge. I must not let her get under my skin.

Lord, please help me!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Remember this post?

Here are pictures of mama's babies that hatched yesterday. There are 2 of them.

Walter accidentally scared mama dove away from the nest. While she was away I quickly snapped a couple of pictures of the babies.

Friday, May 1, 2009

She Did It!

My absolutely gorgeous and very wonderful daughter finished her very last day of high school today!

She is thrilled to say the least!

We are very proud of her and look forward to her graduation in June.