Monday, April 30, 2012





I’ve discovered PicMonkey. Go ahead… Google it. My pictures will never be the same.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Catherine’s brisket….

I’ve got a good friend who is a wonderful cook. I really can’t think of many things that she’s ever served me that haven’t left me swooning at the first bite.

She also happens to live just down the street. When she calls up and says, “Hey, we’ve got half of a homemade apple pie that we don’t want to eat. Do you want me to swing by and bring it to you?,” I’d have to be a complete imbecile to say “No.” I never say no. Never.

I’ve told her that if she ever decides to move away, I’m lying on the ground in front of the moving truck until they haul me away.

Soooo, about her brisket. It’s to die for. I made it today, and I highly recommend you try it.

I digress, but did you ever stop to think how much we owe the humble cow? Steak, hamburger, milk, cheese, cream, butter…. I could go on. Hug a cow when you get a chance.

Catherine’s Brisket

5 ½ lb. brisket

Mesquite  or original flavor liquid smoke

1 T. each salt, chili powder, sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder and a little pepper

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Coat the brisket with liquid smoke. Combine spices and rub them on the brisket. Put it in a large roasting pan, fat side up, cover it airtight with foil, and roast it for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. (I let mine sit in the fridge for several hours after putting on the rub and the liquid smoke to let it marinate before roasting.) Then you turn down the temperature to 200, and roast another 8-10 hours (closer to 8 than 10). Let it rest for a little while, and then trim the fat off before it cools too much. Then you carve it against the grain and serve it with barbeque sauce. You can also refrigerate it with sauce on the bottom and reheat it in the oven.

I cooked a 2 ½ lb. brisket, and I cooked it for 5 ½ hours, and it was perfect. I also used half the amount of spices in making the rub.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

low key….


It’s naptime, and I will soon join the other members of my family. =) But for now, I thought I’d show you a view out of my kitchen window. Notice the two little boys sitting on the woodpile?

It’s been a wonderfully low key weekend. David took the big boys to soccer on Saturday morning, and I got to do some yard saleing. Ben is suffering from the pollen in the air, so his stuffy nose kept him from taking much of a morning nap. That was a win for me on this day. We just headed out to catch a few more of the yard sales… =)

David mowed the lawn, and after a simple dinner prepared while the boys all played in the back yard, we were met with cheers when we suggested a little walk on the local Greenway path.

We took our neighbor’s little girl with us, and she and Evan had the stroller for a lot of the way. I put Ben in the baby carrier, and Seth rode his bike (with training wheels). Toward the end, Seth was getting tired. He asked me if I’d walk next to him so he could have some company.

I asked him if he wanted to sing some songs. We sang the “Winnie the Pooh” song together while we walked along. I had one hand on Ben’s tiny head, snug in his carrier, and one hand on the back of my big 5-year-old.

These are the kinds of weekends I will love to remember one day when my boys are grown. We plan very little these days for our weekends, and we try and accomplish as little as possible besides just playing and being with each other.

Sometimes I feel very out of the mainstream of life with this schedule. We tend not to invite others to join us to play because we’re pretty sure they booked up weeks ago. It’s tough for us to make a decision about what to do until the last minute, since we don’t know how the day (or week) is going to go with three tiny boys.

But this really works for us at this stage of life, so I’m going with it! =)

Friday, April 13, 2012

stunt riders…

On the Saturday before Easter, our little family went to an Easter egg hunt and BMX bike show at a local church. The 3 bikers went up and down ramps, did lots of flips, etc., and the boys LOVED it. One of their stunts involved asking for 4 volunteers to lie on the ground for them to jump over. They also told everyone not to try their tricks at home and to always wear a helmet.

Fast forward a week, and our house has been invaded by “BLF motorcycle” riders. =) Seth begged me to drag his helmet out of the shed, and he and Evan have been having “motorcycle shows” on the front porch for me to watch. Since the porch is concrete and runs the front of the house, I let them go outside there as long as they don’t go off the porch. I can hear what they’re saying or doing from the playroom, and I can see them out of the windows.

This morning, Seth asked me to lie down on the porch so he could jump his “motorcycle” over me. I laughed, and I told him that he could jump over a pretend person instead. Since he didn’t even pretend to jump as he ran over the pretend person, I decided that I’d made the right decision.

Right before nap, I heard him ask Evan to volunteer to be jumped over. Evan chirped, “Ok!,” and ran outside. I heard Seth talking to him about this stunt, and then they both started riding bikes, and I concluded that it was all pretend again.

I told them I was taking Baby Ben upstairs for nap, and when I came back down, it would be their turn to go up for nap. A minute later, I open the front door, and what do I find?

I find Evan lying face up in front of the doormat with the front wheel of Seth’s bike on his chest, a giant smile on his little face.

Fortunately, Seth wasn’t actually riding on his bicycle. Apparently, he’d been walking it over Evan. (Yeah, like that makes it sooo much better.) I spoke to him seriously about how much he could hurt Evan putting a bicycle on top of him. I talked about the hospital, serious internal injuries, etc.

Seth’s answer? “But he VOLUNTEERED, Mommy! And he had a very brave face!”

Life with little boys is never, ever dull. =)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BBQ Chicken pizza….

Y’all, the dinner I made tonight was seriously good. And it was seriously fast. Double win.

Ok, so you use this recipe for Instant Thin Crust Pizza. You’ve got several bags of the dry ingredients in your pantry that you made up one day during nap time, of course. Or maybe not.  =)

Early in the day, you take a bag of the cooked, chopped chicken breasts that you’d frozen out of the freezer. Dump some of your favorite BBQ sauce in there, and then let it thaw in the fridge all day. We like Trader Joe’s Smoky.

So, make up the thin crust. I’ve discovered that you don’t need a mixer to make the crust. Just use a spoon and a mixing bowl.

Roll it out nice and thin, and bake for 5 minutes at 450 on a hot pizza stone. Then spread about 1/4 c. of warm bbq sauce on your pizza crust. Sprinkle a little shredded mozzarella on top. Warm up the marinated chicken, and sprinkle that all over. You’ll need about 1 c. of chopped bbq chicken. Take an onion, cut it in half, and thinly slice it. Spread some of those onion slices on top of the chicken. Top it all with more shredded mozzarella.

Then it’s back in the oven for another 6-8 minutes until the cheese is a little brown.

Scurry around the kitchen and throw together a quick salad with your mom’s lettuce from her garden.

It was heavenly, people. I’m looking forward to having the leftovers tomorrow for lunch…. =)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Thoughts on Easter….

I didn’t grow up celebrating it. No, really. This would be because of the Eostre goddess who saved a tiny bird from freezing to death by turning it into a rabbit that laid eggs….

I get that. I have my own issues with the Easter bunny. But I don’t think we should’ve thrown out the Resurrection with the bunny and the Easter baskets…

I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t get to celebrate Easter growing up, but Easter is more exciting for me every year that I celebrate it. This is especially true for me since my children are old enough to participate. I get to share the exciting news of the Resurrection with them!

I made them Resurrection Rolls this morning for breakfast. I put out marshmallows and bowls of melted butter and cinnamon sugar. I told them that we were pretending that the marshmallows were Jesus. Evan dropped the marshmallow in butter. Then I told Seth that we were pretending that we were anointing Jesus with spices for His burial while he rolled the marshmallow in cinnamon sugar. Then I rolled “Jesus” up in the crescent roll “tomb,” and sealed it really tight. Then we put him in the oven for “3 days and 3 nights.”

They sat there by the oven and watched to see what would happen. What happened was that a lot of marshmallow leaked out all over the tin foil I’d put on the cookie sheet. =) Fortunately, they’d moved off to play by then.

But when I served them up, there was a nice empty crater in each roll. “Is Jesus still there, Seth?” “No, Mommy!” “That’s right! He’s risen from the dead. He’s not in the tomb anymore!”

I think that Easter is THE high holy day for Christians. What would Christmas be if Jesus had never died for us?

I love driving around and pointing out all the blossoms on the trees to my boys. I tell them that God gives us new life every spring to remind us of the new life He gave us when Christ died for our sins on the cross. As I remind them of this, I remind myself.

I LOVE that celebrating Easter can come with very little commercialism if you choose. We don’t get new clothes for Easter. I make a nice dinner, and we do little things like Resurrection eggs and Resurrection rolls, and yes, an Easter egg hunt and a little Easter basket for each of them.

Easter is a day when a lot of people go to church. Our church prepares to see high attendance on this day. I understand that we should take every opportunity to share the gospel when someone walks through the door…

But I’m starting to resent this focus on Easter Sunday. Easter is a holy high day of celebration for those of us who have embraced new life in Christ. Shouldn’t we be allowed to concentrate on celebrating instead of being worried about creating the right impression for the C+E churchgoers? I would think they’d be more impressed by that focus than the latter one anyway….

Oh well…. lots of thoughts today. The end of the matter is…. “He is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” =)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012



Making Haman’s Hat cookies for Purim with a dear friend….


Spring soccer league at a local church…. Seth is in the hoodie on the right.



First time that he can remember on the Pullen Park carousel…. He now loves it, though things were shaky in the beginning…. =)


“Hey, Evan, we both have a steering wheel. Wanna pull the bell rope?”


“Betcha I can get to that last Easter egg before you can…”

Sunday, April 01, 2012

baby sweetness….


Ben is 7 months old now. I’m not taking enough pictures, and that needs to change.

He’s become more and more smiley all the time. He squeals constantly. We bring him in the overflow room at church with us after I pick him up from nursery to feed him, and he’ll stare at Pastor Horner on the big screen and occasionally squeal loudly in pleasure. Everyone smiles, and an older lady told me today, “He’s going to be preaching one day. I love hearing him every week.” Hey, at least it’s a joyful noise.

I never want to forget how I’ll be holding him, and he’ll look me in the eyes, give me a big smile, and hold out both of his arms wide. He’ll reach forward with both hands and plant them on my cheeks. It’s like he wants to grab my face and give it a big, wet, slobbery kiss.

While the boys were away, he did lots of showing off for me. I got lots of gummy grins. BUT, when Seth and Evan got back, he was grinning fit to beat the band. He hadn’t smiled that much since they’d been gone. He wanted to be wherever they were, watching them.

I baby tent trained him while they were gone, and it worked. He now takes all his naps in there, and he sleeps in it at night. I move the tent into the little vanity alcove of my room, and I’ve put up a spring rod and a white eyelet cloth shower curtain. He can’t see me if I sneak in there to read or lie down.

Last night was the very first time I’ve put him down without rocking him to sleep first.

It’s been tough having a baby that wouldn’t go to sleep without being held and that wouldn’t nap in the afternoon without me. I will enjoy the ability to do more.

But I know I’m going to miss it, too. I’ll miss those naptimes with him curled into the crook of my arm.

And I’m going to rock him to sleep some. I can’t give it up completely. =)