Monday, February 28, 2011

Project Life 2/13- 2/26

Two more weeks of Project Life~ wow!  How time flies here!

First up: Valentine's Day!  At our house the guys go out of their way to bless the girls and I...  we feel very spoiled!  This year Tom completely surprised me with a new running shirt.  The boys combined money and purchased running jackets and shirts for Hannah and Abbie~ woo hoo!  Now for some warmer weather!

Not to be outdone, Hannah and Abbie made some of the most fabulous cupcakes for a special dessert that day~ they were super-delicious!
How 'bout a recipe, you say?  Sure!

Here's our favorite gluten-free chocolate cake recipe and a super-delicious chocolate icing recipe that Abbie recently found.  Hannah used a cake decorating bag to make huge chocolate icing swirls on each cupcake.  They were simply *begging* for some sprinkles, so we happily obliged!  Mmmmm, so good!

Very Yummiest Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (or cupcake!) Recipe

2 c. sugar
2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. guar gum
1c. butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 c. water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients.  Place butter, cocoa and water in saucepan and melt, stirring over medium heat.  Bring to a rapid boil and pour over dry ingredients.  Stir to mix well.  Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla.

Pour into sprayed 9" x 13" pan (or lined muffin tins).  Bake cake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min.  I believe the cupcakes took about 10-15 min.  Remove cupcakes from muffin tins to cool on cooling racks before icing.

Super-Yummiest Chocolate Cupcake Icing
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, softened
1/4 c. crystalline fructose or honey (we used fructose)
1 egg
1/4 c. carob power or cocoa (we used cocoa)
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend the butter and crystalline fructose until light and creamy.  Then blend in egg, cocoa powder (sift first to remove lumps) and vanilla.  Spread on cooled cake or cupcakes.
OK, back to Project Life!  Here's a close up of the left page from 2/13- 2/19. 

I added an adorable house drawing by Timmy to an 8 1/2" x 11" page protector:
And on the back of that, the journaling from this blog post, telling about my little trail-running accident.
 A close-up of that journaling:
The right side of that week's pages:
I *love* capturing photos that show relationships between siblings, like the one below of Josiah and Timmy.  Josiah was taking Timmy out to sled on a warm day.  It is so cool to me how loving and gentle he is with little Tim.  Also some great little "snippets" of life here~ Timmy reading to his bear, our Great Pyreneese Lance inviting me to play with him, a group photo of some of the younger boys posing with their favorite project this week: handmade darts!  I think the creativity that they invest in their play is really fun!
 And week 2, Feb. 20-26th:
Lots of fun here... I'm back on crutches with two fractures in my foot/leg, but the full/happy life goes on here, we're still working on school, etc.  Actually the children were thrilled to get Monday off school since I needed to go in to see my orthopedic doctor.
Here's a close-up of the right side of those pages.  I actually used a Verizon bag, just three-hole-punched it... more on that in a minute, and included a portion of my receipt from the urgent care visit on Sunday to have my ankle x-rayed.  I added a little journaling at the bottom and called it good.
When you flip that page/bag (!!) over, this is what you see:
OK, I'm about to reveal my deep, dark secret here~ ready?  I'm a total geek!  I have been enamored by iPhones since they first came out.  Alas and alack though, we have been faithful Verizon customers for many years (no coverage from other carriers at our house) and until recently Verizon did not carry the iPhone.  Now they do and my (very sweet) husband told me that I could get one this week!  Yay!  (Just between you and me, I think he felt sorry for poor me, on crutches *again*! sigh)

Here's a close-up of the back of the bag page (I left the handles on the bag~ thought that it was cute with them still attached), added a photo of my iPhone and the super-cool box that it came in, and some journaling.
And I *do* heart my iPhone!  

Here's the right side of the pages from this past week.  Can you tell that I *love* documenting our life this way?  I *really* do! It was fun to take some of the photos this week with my iPhone.  I really like using my Canon Rebel, but the small size and portability of my iPhone (especially while I'm on crutches) was wonderful!

That's about it from here (at least on the Project Life front!),

Hope it's warming up where you are!

Linking up with:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hello Tuesday!

Hello Timmy + teddy + book= adorable cuteness
Hello blue skies!
 Hello to little boys who grow up too fast!
 Hello Henny Penny!
Hello to big dogs who still want to play....
 Hello curly-tailed ducks...
Hello to my new "boot" which looks so much better to me than a cast!  No running for a few weeks, but I'll be able to swim~ yay!
 Hello growing boys and growing puppies too!
 Hello sunlight streaming across favorite quilts....
"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;"
Ps. 138:8

Still rejoicing in the everyday here,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A little prayer request

I never would have anticipated this, but I'd humbly like to request your prayers. Yesterday Tom, Jake and I went for a trail run on a beautiful local mountain bike trail near our house. The weather was fabulous... upper 40s and a little breezy. The trail was a bit muddy from the huge amounts of snow that have melted here recently and a few more recent rain showers, but we were having a blast running up the switchbacks and delighting in the views from on top of the limestone ridges.

It was all great fun until I twisted my ankle on a rock on the trail. My ankle popped so loudly that Tom and I both heard those two loud cracking noises. "That didn't sound good,". I exclaimed! It didn't feel good either. : ) Tom and Jake sat down with me and prayed. I sat for a few minutes then got up and began to (vey slowly) make my way back down the trail. Of course my little accident happened at the point in the trail that was the furthest from our car and at the high point, elevation-wise in the trail. Not only that, but as soon as we had we begun our descent it thundered and began to rain! I don't mind running in the rain, but walking slowly in 40 degree temps in the rain isn't quite as fun. I just had to laugh. Seriously! What else can you do?

In order to cut some of the distance that we needed to go, Tom and Jake helped me skip the meandering switch-backs by cutting straight down the hillside. Wow! That was exciting. Tom actually offered to carry me, but all I could picture was both of us falling and rolling down, down, down. The mental image seriously cracked me up (and scared me) so I declined.

Once I made it home I elevated my poor foot and kept ice on it. When I couldn't walk on it today we decided to have it x-rayed. Just for the record, the old adage "if you can walk on it, it isn't broken" isn't true! (I walked out to our car after getting hurt). sigh. Yep. I fractured both my foot (5th metatarsal) and my leg (distal fibular fx). That would explain the two loud "pops" that we heard. So I'm back on crutches again. (last summer and fall I spent 12 weeks on crutches when I developed a stress fracture in my hip.)

All that to say, would you please pray? I know, this too will pass, and I am totally confident that God's plans and timing for me are fabulous, but just humanly-speaking, sitting makes me seriously crazy. seriously. crazy. And I'm terrible at resting. Really, really terrible.

Ok, I'm done complaining now. Gotta' go add some items to my thankfulness journal.

Rejoicing anyway,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whose battle?

We have friends who are expecting their first (second, third and fourth!) babies right now! Yes, quads! Can you imagine? They are doing a fabulous job of not only trusting God to provide all that they need, but also in giving public testimony of Gods sufficiency in their lives.

As I prayed for that sweet family this morning I was reminded that we are all called upon to trust God in ways that seem insurmountable.
I love having a large family, and I even love being pregnant, but pregnancies have not been easy for me. I am prone to extreme morning sickness... losing as much as 20-30 lbs some pregnancies. In addition I battle "very close veins," as the children say (varicose veins).  In spite of all that, I do count it a privilege to be blessed with another child. As I gaze at each baby's face I find myself thinking, "What if we had stopped before having this child?"

Some years ago now we had four children, five and under. Our baby Jacob was a mere three months old and we found out that we were expecting our fifth dear baby! Oh my! To say that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed would be an understatement.

That morning as I read my Bible, the Lord met me and encouraged me with this verse:

"Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's.'"
2 Chron. 20:15
 I've got to believe that the Lord has a sense of humor.  I have thought about that verse many times since then as I have relished my "great multitude" of children.  
Granted, I do have a responsibility to obey, but the battle is the Lord's.  I can equivocally state that He has never failed.  Never.  We have never lacked the resources to accomplish what He has called us to do.

Oh!  How strong His arm is for you, in whatever challenge you are facing...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Project Life 1/30-2/12 2011

In the spirit of "keepin' it real" here... I've got to admit: this winter has been hard for me.  While I have still been able to tend to my responsibilities, I have really felt like I was dragging myself through my days and had very little interest in even the things that I typically *love* doing like photography, sewing and garden planning.  Still I persevered and for the most part continued working on those things that I always tell other people that they should be doing when they are "down" like exercising, getting plenty of rest, spending time in God's Word, listing my blessings, etc.  All to little avail many days. 

When our oldest married daughter Micah fell at the beginning of January and fractured her arm in multiple places lab work revealed that she was very low on vitamin D.  As you are probably aware, low vitamin D can cause bones to be more fragile.  Hmmmm, I thought, "I wonder what my vitamin D level is?"  Last summer I spent many, many weeks (actually almost 3 months) on crutches trying to get a stress fracture in my hip to heal.  I finally ended up having three screws placed in my femur to stabilize my hip.  I had my vitamin D level checked and (surprise!), my vitamin D level was very low as well!  Turns out that in addition to bone weakness, one of the side effects of having not enough vitamin D is depression.

Now that I have been supplementing with extra vitamin D for the past month I am beginning to feel better.  (I think the warmer weather we are having this week doesn't hurt either!) Moral of the story~ those of us in the Northern hemisphere are very prone to having inadequate levels of vit D.  If in doubt, have some lab-work done.  Here are two very helpful articles about non-synthetic sources of vitamin D.  Click here or here.

Still totally enjoying my Project Life album this year.  Two more jam-packed weeks have passed since I last posted pages from my album.  We had several visits with dear friends, a real-deal blizzard, a road trip, some fabulous long runs with Tom (in spite of the cold and snow), and lots and lots of everyday life crammed in there too~ whew!

Here are photos of the pages for those two weeks.  Some of the photos are blurry, in some the color isn't right, etc, but they all tell a story.  And that is what I am primarily looking for.  Life is what it is here.  If I wait until I have all of the photo taking skills, the beautiful handwriting and Lightroom expertise that I desire, life will continue to zip by and I'll miss so, so much.  I am learning to embrace what "is" and go with it.

The Lord is so, so good to us.  How very quickly I'll forget if I don't document the everyday here.

First up: the week of Jan 30- Feb.5.

Not only was this a fun week due to visiting with some dear friends, but it was an exciting week as we experienced a "real" blizzard this year here.  The 12" of snow that we received was so fun!  Plus our older boys were able to go out and shovel driveways.  They love helping other people and earning money that way.
 Here's a closeup of the left side....
 And the right side.
Here's the week of Feb. 6-12.  This was another full week~ several visits with some dear friends who are now missionaries in Fiji~ home on furlough. Honestly I think I take super-goofy pictures, but hey, it is what it is, so I went ahead and enlarged the photo of Amanda and I and slipped it in an 8 1/2" x 11" page protector.  On the other side I added some journaling including some thoughts about our friendship with those good friends.
 Here's the left side of that spread.
And the right.
When the page with the enlarged photo is turned, this is what you see.  Yep, we have our first batch of baby Nubian goats for 2011!  Such cuties!  Love this time of year~ not only for the chances for the children to pitch in and help, but also for the extra fresh organic milk!  Yummy!
 The journaling....

I've heard from several friends recently that they are beginning their Project Life and/or their Thankfulness Journal!  I *so* appreciate hearing that.  You will *love*, *love*, *love* having those to look back on.  I promise!

Enjoying the warmer weather here,

Linking up with...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hello Monday!

Hello winter walks...
Hello frosty fingers and toes...

Hello hot winter cooking...
 Hello boy-made beanbags and creative fun...
Hello thoughtful children who invest in their siblings....
What are you saying "hello" to this Monday?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Project Life- January 2011

I thought I'd post some photos of my Project Life album that I have started this year.  I am really, really enjoying this project!  Last year I challenged myself to take a photo per day for the year and those were the content of our 2010 album.  I love how that album turned out~ it is a fabulous overview of what life was around here during 2010.  The challenge of using my camera every day was so good for me... it forced me to pick up my camera even more than usual and also to look at my everyday life more creatively. 

This year I took a slightly different approach.  I am simply using photos from the past week on each two page (or more) spread.  I love this because there are many weeks when my favorite photos for the week all come from 2 or 3 days.  I can include more than one photo/day if I want to.  In addition, I am also trying to include other "stuff" from life around here~ little pictures that the boys draw, store receipts, things that arrived in the mail, etc.

I am using the "Amber edition" album this year, but I am already anticipating that if I continue to add extra pages in each week (you'll see what I mean in a minute), I'll quickly outgrow this album.  If that happens I plan to house the pages for this year in two 12" x 12" albums.  I am mentioning that because you might want to simply purchase 12" x 12" albums and just use Becky Higgin's page protectors (like these or these), rather than purchasing the whole kit.

Here's the first page of my album this year.  I'm not finished with it yet... working on choosing favorite photos of everyone in the family, converting them to black & white, and then slipping them in the photo slots.  Here it is thus far:
And the first week of January:
Here's the left page:
And the right side:
 Abbie and I ended up making a spur-of-the-moment trip to be with our oldest daughter Micah after she fell and broke her arm that week.  I didn't have space for all of the photos that I wanted to include, so I cut a page protector in half and included photos from our little road trip on that.

Here's a photo showing the half-page lifted up:
And here is the other side of that half-page:
Week two:
Again, I had favorite photos that didn't fit on the simple two-page spread, so I enlarged the one of Abbie and Timmy and cut an 8 1/2" x 11" page protector to fit the short photo.

Here is the back of that photo... I used a vintage winter image from the Graphics Fairy for the back.
Week three:
The left page:
The right page:
And finally, week four!  Can't believe January is already done~ wow!
A close-up of the left page:
And the right page:
I can hardly wait to see what the rest of the year holds!