eats lately (travel + fast foods)

It was almost back to life as usual in the eating department after the excitement of having other people prepare your food for 7+ meals. :D

For lunch at the conference, they served us boxed meals like a turkey sandwich with a pretzel bun:

There were other people at the table with us (business people), so I felt super weird taking a picture of my boxed lunch. :) I didn't tell them I take pictures of nearly everything these days, I just let them think I was weird. ;)

The second day we had chicken pesto sandwiches on ciabatta bread, and they were so good they made me want to recreate them at home:

One night after the meetings were over we ventured out for Indian food and this place was yum:

We ordered Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Biryani, and lots of naan bread:

I loved it, but we ended up eating in rotation because the baby wouldn't stop screaming, and the restaurant was tiny. (I hate to make others endure that, so we ended up taking her outside alone in turn.) The food wasn't cheap, but I thought it was great!

When we got back home, we were totally out of groceries so I kept it simple with things I had in the pantry for lunch:

We were out of sandwich supplies, so one day I threw together a pot of mac and cheese:

We were out of butter so I used olive oil and a little flour to make a roux and added 1/2 and 1/2, lots of cheese, and salt, and garlic.

Today we ran a few of our errands on my to-do list, and we stopped and got bake-at-home pizza for family night (plus 2 more not pictured):

Thankfully, we finally made it to the grocery store last night so I'm looking forward to making regular meals again soon. We are so blessed by God to have easy access to all kinds of food for crazy weeks like these! :)

thursday thoughts

These are just a few random thoughts from the last couple days... :)

(Par for the course around here, right? :P)

1. We were waiting to get a hinge for this cabinet for over a week, but my handy man (ha!) was able to fix it without needing the expensive hinge after all! 

It surprises me how even new houses need repair more often that you would think! Plus, we need to repaint the doors again for the third or fourth time since we built the house 2.5 years ago. This is the side of the life that's not so pretty to share, but hey, now you've seen it too. :)

2. I love two things about this picture from yesterday afternoon- #1, she fell asleep in my arms which never happens, and #2, her Batman paci:  :D

3. Both boys were studying hard for their tests well after 5 p.m. last night which makes this homeschooling mama's heart happy: :)

They want to do a good job, and that alone is exciting!

4. Never try to break a stainless tumbler's fall with your foot:

A child dropped his big cup while I was cooking last night, and I decided to quickly stop it with my foot because I thought it was my water bottle. Not the smartest. :)

5. When I was growing up and my Granny would come and stay, we made yellow cake with warm chocolate icing. It was so delicious. I tried to replicate it last night with what I had on hand and it was not quite as good as hers, but it did the job and the kids were happy. :)

6. We had an entire day without leaving the house and it was wonderful! :) I took a long nap with the baby, worked on a project, made dinner, the kids and husband washed the car, and then we all went on a walk and went to bed early. I felt a ton better! Staying home and getting a few things back on track really helped our day feel less chaotic. :D

two kinds of people in this world

There are two types of people in this world: the people who like to keep their hotel room neat and tidy, and the people who stay for one day and make it seem like they've lived in the room for years and never cleaned a single day in their life.

You can clearly see which camp I fall into:

And it can't even be the kids' fault this time. :)

We only spent a little time in the room over the three days, but when we were there, we were 100% on vacation. :P

just trust + goals this week

Last week was… crazy. :) I don’t think I did even half of my goal list. I keep telling myself it won’t always be like this, that it’s only a season. :) We seem to have a lot of things happening at one time that are killing our routine and normal sleep schedule.

After being gone for several days and missing our Saturday work day, I decided I really wanted to clean the house this morning. We went lighter on school, and spent an hour picking up the rooms and sweeping the floors. The floors are still dirty, and we didn’t finish as much as I hoped before we needed to do the next thing, but it is what it is. :) It felt good to get the house back in a little bit of order. 

we always have a pile of something waiting to go upstairs, LOL.
Tidied up feels so much better!
Here are my goals for this week (I'm really behind so any progress will make a difference!):

:: do ::
pray alone
wash sheets
clean bathrooms thoroughly
weed-eat yard (husband)
catch up on laundry
go grocery shopping
wash car (automatic, ha!)
errands: drug store + hardware store
make eye appointment
exercise when possible
mop floors
baby appointment

:: learn ::
Psalm 16

:: read :: 
Perspectives assignments
1 Sam, Psalms, Luke

:: be ::

We see no end in sight, but I want to remember that even this time of what feels like chaos is also God’s plan for us, and He works it all together for our good and His glory. I want to remember that no matter what happens, I have peace because I know who is in charge.

My husband told me today that Nabeel Qureshi, a 34 year-old Christian apologist died this weekend after a year-long battle with stomach cancer. He was so hopeful in the midst of physical pain and very scary circumstances. Thinking about his wife and daughter puts everything in a better perspective; our problems are very easy to deal with in comparison. Please pray for his family if you think of him.

verses God encouraged me with this week

I read this on Tuesday, feeling the Holy Spirit testify of this for me in the midst of discipline (though I could not foresee what would happen), and God strengthened my heart on Thursday!! I saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!! :)

God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love!!

practically a vacation

Ivy was feeling well enough and moving around as usual (miraculously!), so we took the kiddos to the grandparent's house and headed out of town this weekend to attend a conference.

Who would have thought that a day full of meetings would feel like a vacation? :)

No dishes to do and someone else to make my food and supply me with endless amounts of fruit??? 

It's basically a 15th anniversary getaway. :)

We had dinner dates where I enjoyed large helpings of bread and butter... :)

And then this little lady slept all night last night, and through most of the day, so we were practically alone. ;)

I think I am feeling a little more tired than a typical vacation though. :D Hopefully we'll get to sleep in a little tomorrow before church!

our 5th little duckling

Yesterday morning, each of the older three kids brought me their special pen and their stories to edit. One at a time I marked them up, and not long after I finished the last one Zane brought me his special orange pen along with an old copy of a source text he found in the schoolroom. I asked him what he needed, and he motioned that he wanted me to edit his paper too. :) 

I made a few markups for him and he hopped away happy to have his paper edited like the big kids. :) 

I don't think this little boy could get any cuter. :) Maybe I'm getting old and sentimental, but things like this suddenly overwhelm me with this heart love so strong it almost makes me want to cry. 

back to baking school + that kind of week

It was back to baking in the kitchen this week with my sous chef: :)

It was my mom's birthday on Tuesday and I wanted to make something I thought she might like: a coconut cake. Only I didn't have a bit of coconut extract or coconut milk. I did have coconut oil and unsweetened coconut on hand, so I combined them in the blender and made an expensive reconstituted coconut milk instead: :)

I'm pretty sure I over beat my egg whites because the middle of both cakes fell, and while the cake itself was delicious, it was very dense. Any ideas as to why? I didn't follow the recipe or anything, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it. ;) 

Luckily my mom didn't mind what it looked like, and really liked it as a trifle cake. :) Can you believe she has a 34 year-old daughter? I'd never guess if I didn't know already! :D

Ivy-loo was a little sedated but she was happy to eat and talked too, so we're coming along. :D 

This morning we took this little lady for her first donut run:

I'm pretty sure they aren't a right of humanity, but we definitely felt like we wanted some happy donuts after a broken bone ER trip and a tough week. :)

The kids were ecstatic about this many sprinkle options:

Every once in a while a pink donut hits the spot. Sprinkles have always been my favorite.  :)

wordless wednesday: daddy & tiny daughter edition

our first ER trip (this year)

Last night Robert called the kids in from the forest to get ready for Bible study, and just as he did, our little Ivy-loo fell right out of her brother's hammock. She hit the dirt hard and gave us a good scare by going into shock and having trouble sitting up, so we took her to the ER right away.

They did x-rays and a CT scan, and thankfully she only had a broken collarbone:

On the way there I was afraid it could be much worse! Accidents when they're this little are even scarier because you can't fully tell what hurts by asking. We are so grateful to God that she is okay!!! 

On the way home she perked up and even waved goodbye to her Nana and Pops with her broken side. :) We felt relieved to have our little girl back. Today she is sore and needing to be held, but as well as could ever be expected for having a newly broken bone.

Life is full of God's grace at every turn, and He definitely has a way of opening our eyes to gain a new perspective.

a fair entry, goals this week, + pressing on

Late Saturday morning, we took our entries to the local fair for the first time. The kids were super excited to bring their best Lego entries. We were all glad Lego building was a category!! :)

These days I've been making the boys and Isabella fill out their own paperwork whenever they can.  I am happy about this new stage. Mostly. :D I love to see them getting so old, and yet at the same time I don't want them to be, ha!

We just talked about the fair for the first time when Noah asked me on Monday, and it was just in time because the deadline was Saturday. I felt like they did pretty good despite the short notice. I think this one turned out especially cute for an original design:

The rest of Saturday included no major cleaning, no mowing, a good nap, and a pizza run, so it felt very restful considering how busy we've been in the last two months.  :)

It's time to jump back into work, though. :) Here's my goal list for this week:

:: do ::
pray alone
Bible study homework
take extra clothes and shoes to donation place
exercise 4-5x 
weed flowerbeds
make plans for a conference
two family birthday get-togethers

:: read ::
1 Samuel (a.m,), Psalms + Proverbs (lunch), Luke 1-2 (bedtime) (scheduling idea from Jim Elliot! :D)
Bible study homework 

:: learn ::
Psalm 16 (the rest of this month)

:: be ::
pressing on

I feel sick about the attitude with which I've responded to the Lord about a particular discipline lately. I have not felt very willing to do what He asked of me, and I am extremely sad that I am so rebellious in my heart when the rubber meets the road. But I know nothing else to do but cling to His promises of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and being made clean by His righteousness, and keep pressing on toward what He has called me to do, even when my flesh doesn't want to do it. I am so weak, and I'm so thankful His will is stronger than mine. Nothing good would ever happen in me otherwise! 

holiness and obedience

These verses and quotes have been so encouraging to me this week as the Lord is giving me what feels like some very difficult discipline. I have to trust that His ways are higher than mine, and that it is for my joy and His glory.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 
Romans 6:22

17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:17-24

“Choices will continually be necessary and -- let us not forget -- possible. Obedience to God is always possible. It is a deadly error to fall into the notion that when feelings are extremely strong we can do nothing but act on them."

“God will never disappoint us. He loves us and has only one purpose for us: holiness, which in His kingdom equals joy.”

a mama's saturday morning

For some reason, every Saturday I seem to wake up earlier than normal. I have no clue why I do, but I'm always glad for the chance to get some unrushed time alone.

As I quietly escaped downstairs this morning I thought today would be the same. But the Lord had other plans, because I found three sleepy faces suddenly staring up at me as I brewed my coffee. :) 

"Hun-ree, mama!" Ivy is always hungry right away. :)

I hoped to quickly prepare oatmeal in the microwave so my coffee wouldn't get cold, but I was a little greedy with how much I tried to get out of one heating and it overflowed... 

I'm so thankful to have a microwave again- we went several months without one again and it's such a luxury to be able to reheat your coffee after you wash off your spilled oatmeal!! ;)

(p.s. Microwave makers got so smart and made the inside black!! I love it! It looks so much cleaner than it really is! haha!)

Once I made it back upstairs with my warm coffee, I found my favorite spot I usually only enjoy on the weekends. I have a rocking chair right by the window in our room and it's so peaceful to look into the woods:

Not long after I made it up there, this little sunshine made some noise. I get so excited when she wakes up. Even after seven kids, I have to say I'm still in love with babies. :) Those first smiles of the day, ahhh!!

Mornings around here are certainly never lonely! :D My coffee may have to get reheated, but soon enough I know the hun-ree, mamas will be no more and I'll miss their sweet little voices. :) 

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

hello weekend, easy dinner prep, + it flew by

I'm soo happy the weekend has arrived!! :) Even though he works out of the house, I'm super glad when it's Saturday because Robert is far less busy with work. I think he's always relieved to be a little more off duty too. 

The kids and I stayed home again all day today. I think I'm fully recovering from our day trip on Wednesday, ha! Instead of our takeout pizza (we had it on Monday!), I threw some frozen food in the oven while I went on a run. I ate a salad but prepped the spaghetti squash for other meals because I really want to try this recipe!

I hopped on the treadmill while the husband took over tiny baby duty. :) These guys lingered a little longer, and then watched a movie while I tried to get a workout in:

I warmed up by walking to this sermon excerpt:

Then the running part flew by so much faster watching another episode of this: :D 

I did a little bit of weights after the treadmill. I really miss teaching bootcamp but I don't miss the 4:30 wakeup time. :) I'm already up from 3-4 nearly every morning, and just falling back into a good sleep about that time. But I do miss the consistency of training, and getting it knocked out before the sun is up. Right now I'm way behind on exercise for the week, but I'm hoping to get close to catching up tomorrow! We did get the shoes back in the bin and the books off the shelf, so maybe I'll have new things to work on too. :)

We're finishing the night with a chapter of Bruchko, a South American missionary as I write:

Good thing I've already read it because I would hate to miss a chapter! It's a great book.

Happy weekend to you!! :DDDD

our trip north, small town love + storage projects

Oh, this week has been a really long whirlwind! Yesterday we left town early and drove to Oklahoma for the funeral. On the way there we stopped in one of the bigger towns and ate at Subway- a treat since we never, ever eat with the kids there because they can eat a footlong each. :)

We didn't buy them that many subs this time, but we did get 3 foot-longs for the kids to share and one for the dad. :) $31 is almost a good deal for us to eat out these days with five adult appetites in the house. :)

This was after the funeral- I love, love her tiny hand on top of her daddy's:

Robert officiated the service and I thought he did such a wonderful job. It's absolutely amazing to see how God has worked in and changed someone who passionately hated public speaking into a preacher. God still does crazy miracles, I tell you!! What a blessing it is to have the chance to speak.

On the long way home, I got to see the beauty of old East Texas towns:

This kind of situation greeted us when we got home late last night. For some reason on Tuesday, I reached the limit of my ability to handle the overflowing shoe storage problem we have so I had the kids sort through and take out all their old ones. :) We just never had time to finish it!

This morning we were back to school again, so I decided to tackle another reorganization project- culling the old curriculum:

And I have yet to finish that one either!! Life has been :)

I was extremely tired this afternoon, so I rested while the kids happily made their choice of blueberry pancakes for dinner:

Good thing I didn't plan too much else this week, right? ;)

So, so thankful tomorrow is a new day to try again. :) Lord willing, I'll wake up and finish something! :P