Monthly Archives: November 2006

Question and Answer Thursday: Advent Traditions

December 1st is tomorrow! Time for me to rush around the city looking for pink and purple candles for our Advent wreath (why do I always wait for the last minute?).

Every Sunday up until Christmas we light our Advent wreath and read the corresponding Scriptures. Each child gets to take turns lighting the candles and reading. We also will light these at dinner during the week, but only with a little reminder about the candle’s meaning. We have also done the Advent Alphabet [This link will probably not work…if anyone on WordPress can clue me in to what I’m doing wrong, I’ll be forever grateful! For old-fashioned cut and paste: http://www.theologic.com/oflweb/xmas/alphabet.htm%5D. This is a fun game, especially for little guys. It comes from our Greek Orthodox friends, so you may have to tweak it here or there. My children love it.

I was thinking about this game yesterday and how my kids now know all of the answers when my doorbell rang. My dear friend, Julie, had come to give us a new Advent, or Jesse, tree that she and her children made for us!! I was so excited. It is a huge, green felt tree that you put on the wall. They cut out 25 different symbols and included a guide with Scripture that tells the salvation story from Genesis to John. Some of the symbols are an ark, an altar, a coat of many colors, a whale, and the familiar manger and star. This is so wonderful…it connects the Old Testament stories with the coming of Jesus, which is often lost in the week-by-week Sunday School setting. I so wish I could load a picture for you! Maybe St. Nicolas is packing his bag right now for me with a new computer!

So, my Thursday question for you is this: How do you celebrate Advent in your home?

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Filed under Babies & Kids, Question and Answer

Twice-Baked Pizza Potatoes

Sometimes a celiac gets a little desperate for the wonderful flavor of pizza but doesn’t want to go through the work of making her own crust.  I made this recipe up tonight and everyone, especially the kids, loved it.  The amounts I used were based on 8 medium potatoes.  This is actually my estimate, I just threw the cheese in until it looked right.

8 baking potatoes

1 1/2 c. mozarella cheese

1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese

1 can pizza sauce

dash of salt

1 bag Hormel turkey pepperonis, chopped

Bake (or microwave) potatoes.  Cut them in half and scoop out the insides and put into a bowl.  Arrange the potato skins on a foil lined tray.  Mix the mozarella, 1/2 can of pizza sauce, salt, and 3/4  of the chopped pepperonis with the potato insides.  Stir well until creamy.  You can microwave the mixture if your cheese won’t melt.  Fill the potato skins and top with parmesan cheese and the reserved pepperonis.  Broil until the pepperonis are crispy.  I suppose you could also bake them at 350 F for a thoroughly twice-baked potato, but we were all hungry!

Heat the rest of the pizza sauce for dipping.

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Filed under Celiac/Gluten-Free Stuff, Homemaking&Cooking

Toddling along with my Daughter

I just tucked my ten y/o daughter into bed.   She was begging me from down the hall to tell her a bedtime story.  A few minutes later she emerged, again pleading for a story.  I walked my little girl back to bed, like so many nights before.  As I lifted her pink and green quilt back,  she swung her ladies size 8 foot into bed, and the image jarred me for a second.  My oldest girl is a toddler again.

She would be horrified that I just said that.  But she is between stages right now, just like the toddler walking and falling its way from infancy to childhood. Toddlers are playful, determined, fun, independent one minute, dependent the next. They also get lots of bumps and bruises.

I remember when my oldest was a baby and I asked my mother-in-law what her favorite stage of children was.  She thought a moment and said, “I like them all.  Every stage is different but wonderful.”  I know what she means now.  I do not feel as sad as I thought I would as my “baby” gets older.  I delight in our conversations, the way we can laugh together now, and even in the way I see her establishing herself apart from us.  I also hurt for her, as the certain inevitabilities of growing up scratch her and rough her up.

I have found myself praying lately for more understanding and wisdom than I ever have before.  I don’t want to stand in the way of who God wants her to be.  I don’t want to rush her childhood, but I don’t want to hold her back either.  It’s tempting to want to shape her into a mini-me.  It’s equally tempting to berate her when she is acting like me.

As I write this, I am beginning to see that we are both toddlers of sorts…navigating our way between one comforting stage and an unknown, exciting one just ahead.  Pray for us – we are having fun, but the trip is a little rough.

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You know you’re loved when…

…your mom makes you a gluten-free pumpkin pie and a gluten-free pecan pie for Thanksgiving. This was in addition to a regular pumpkin, pecan, and apple pie for everyone else. Thanks Mom. I love you, too.

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Filed under Celiac/Gluten-Free Stuff, Giving Thanks, His Banner over Me

“Are you done yet?”

UPDATE: I won the coveted GOLDEN KEYBOARD award! Thanks, Owlhaven!
This answer is in response to Owlhaven’s Opinion Saturday regarding family size and how do you know when “you’re done.” Of course, that phrase always makes me think of being a turkey, but, anyway,…here goes:

I wonder how many times I have heard the question, “Are you done?” in regards to my family size. This question and other comments like that began immediately after my second child was born. The nurses crooned, “Ooh, look now, you can stop. You have a girl and a boy.” Most people assume you have children to check the “girl and boy” box on your life checklist. It is still acceptable to have three children, but only if the first two are of the same sex. If you would want to have more than that, well, you are downright crazy.

Let me back up and say that in my childhood I always pictured having four children. Soon after my husband and I got married, we lost two children through miscarriage and had a shaky start with our oldest girl. It was then that we realized that it was a little presumptive of us to plan the fruits of our womb so carefully in advance. God’s timetable certainly differed from ours, so we figured His plan for our family might be a little different too. Later, this same train of thought led me to just shrug my shoulders to the “Are you done yet?” question. I wanted to be open to what God had planned for us.

This is not to say that from time to time I have not thought differently. I have been overwhelmed by nausea and vomiting with all of my pregnancies. Each time after heaving up my guts, I have held up a number with my weak hand to my husband, signifying that I am stopping with this one. He learned to ignore my hand signs after our second child. I also can hardly think about another child after just giving birth. I always tell friends to never make up their minds about family size the first year after birth. That year is so intense, but so quickly forgotten as your family and the blessings that come with it grow too.

I also hear that “I could never handle that many children…I am swamped with only two.” I, too, felt that way. But the beauty about life is that you keep on growing and changing and (usually) babies never come in groups larger than two at a time. I am a much different parent now than I was when we first began. My first children are also older now, and that has made a world of difference. I fully believe that family life was harder when I had one or two than it is now. Many factors contribute to this: experience, age, playmates, and most importantly, my surrender.

Do I think everyone needs or can have a larger family? No, I do believe not everyone can or is able, but our society has definitely been blinded to the blessings of children. We somehow think that material comfort and luxuries will bless our families more than children. We also forget that God’s strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. He has told us that children are a blessing…the question is do we believe Him. I have never known anyone to turn down more money, but we go to great lengths to avoid more children.

God is urging us in new direction now…adding to our family by adoption. I am so thankful that he allowed us to participate in the creation of our biological children. We are now looking forward to participating in the adoption of our “gospel” children. Of course, we worry about finances, laundry, and all of the other things inherent in raising children, but we know that God will provide for our deepest needs. He has been with us every step of the way thus far. I know He will continue.

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Filed under Adoption, Babies & Kids, Thoughts

Pride, Socks, and My Thanksgiving Menu

I have invited some family members from out of town to come and share Thanksgiving with us.  One of the side benefits of getting ready for guests is that I am forced to do some deep cleaning and organizing.

By now, surely you have realized that this is something I struggle with, but I am beginning to wonder if God is using my disorganization to keep me humble.   How fast pride can creep in my life!!  No sooner than I get my “office” a new filing cabinet, my drawers tidy with everything I need within reach, I start thinking how great I am and feeling smug about my fabulous room.  Then, after I finally cleaned and sorted the tubs of junk in my laundry and bedroom, I really started going.  Vainglory trumped my secret shame.

I knew it was getting out of hand when some friends stopped by unexpectedly yesterday.  Usually, I live in terror of the unexpected guest (no, really, do stop by for a visit, just don’t look at the floor very closely), and my heart really starts to pound when they innocently wind their way into my bedroom.  But I was thinking of almost pushing my friends into my bedroom.  “Oh wow,” I could hear them say, “What a nice bedroom, how clean it is.”  What could I be thinking?  In that very same bedroom just two days ago, I gathered an entire box of mismatched socks that I had gathered from the four corners of the house.  The box kept growing when finally I decided I needed to count the socks.

I stopped at 203.  Yep, I am not kidding.  That’s an average of over 30 socks per person.  And that is not even counting what is in the drawers.

I wonder how many times over the past year I had bought a new package of socks because I heard, “Mom!  I don’t have any socks!”

I have been praying for years to be more organized.  I think that now I need to be praying for humility first.

Now, my Thanksgiving Menu.  I like to keep it traditional and simple:

Roast Turkey, Cornbread Dressing (GF, of course), Cranberry Sauce, Gravy, Sweet Potatoes, New Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole (a must for DH), Rolls, and a Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette, Pecans and Dried Cranberries.  This year I am adding a Walnut Loaf for the vegetarians.

Desserts:  Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Whipped Cream and Gingerbread, Caramel Apples.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Giving Thanks, His Banner over Me, Homemaking&Cooking, Thoughts

More kitchen makeover pics

Yes! Thanks, Carole, for the photographs. Here are two more views of my kitchen.
kitchen-view1.jpgThis is looking through to the dining room.

And this is looking through the dining room arch into the breakfast nook. There used to be window looking into the backyard before previous owners added a bedroom in the 70s. Before our renovation, the window frame had glass shelves and a fluorescent light that I hated. We made it into a false window by adding a mirror and framing it like the rest of our windows. I was worried that the mirror might look a little swanky, but I think that it turned out pretty good.

kitchen-view2.jpg

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