Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Cake Pops Cure All

Sometimes when I'm stressed, I bake.  Nothing like adding one more thing to the mess, right?  Well, during a break in sickness a month or so ago, I saw this recipe pop up, and just by chance, we had everything we needed.  
I feel like she is the Pioneer Woman of baking.  There is nothing I've ever made on her site that wasn't easy to follow and delicious!  So, of course, her cake pop recipe had to be, too.

It was!
I made her vanilla recipe but coated most of them with chocolate.  I just prefer milk chocolate to white chocolate.  The kids seem to, too.

I didn't worry about finding styrofoam to put them right-side-up, so they look different but still taste the same.


Do yourself a favor, and make these!


Monday, April 2, 2018

He is Risen...and Lent is Over

Well, Lent is over.  And, once again, I feel like I kind of failed.  I know that's an issue with pride, and that, in and of itself, needs improvement.  I didn't give anything up.  I was only going to read my Lenten study and pray more.  Guess how many days I even made it with my study this year?  I think 14?  And, I hear over and over again that we need to let Him write our Lent.  But, sometimes it's so hard for me to not view that just as an excuse to not try or a cop-out.  Isn't this supposed to be a period of fasting from the things that pull us away from Him?  Aren't we supposed to turn our eyes and heart back to Him and His passion over and over again and in some way feel that in our own lives?

Instead, maybe I only participated in two weeks of my study.  Maybe I ate more junk than I typically do during ordinary season.  Maybe I even did more internet shopping than I have in months.  And, that plan to not yell at my children maybe even got worse than it was before Ash Wednesday?

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

I had it all wrong.  I seem to always.  I want to focus on making me better.  I want to correct all of my failings (and believe me, there are a lot).  I want to be less addicted to sugar, online shopping, yelling and failing again and again to make prayer a prominent part of my daily life.

I want to fix me.  

But, I can't.

He can.  But, I can't seem to let Him, and I have no idea why.  And as every Ash Wednesday rolls back around, I give it my hardest try (or maybe I don't)...but again it ends in a way I don't want it to...with a greater inward focus and an even farther distance from He who is calling me closer.

Lent was truly given to me this year.  It came in the form of the death of a grandmother, maybe ten days that weren't infested with sickness (we finally fumigated our home, ha!), and exhaustion.  It came in the form of having many opportunities to work on my patience with my children yet missing them almost every time.

And, in the stillness, I know He was saying, "Little one, I'm giving you so many opportunities to come to Me...to lay it all down and let me envelop you in my love.  Stop trying so hard to do it all on your own.  Humble yourself and come to Me for help.  That is all I want...you...to come to Me."  But, I didn't.

It was late one evening that I was spent and ready to fall flat into bed that I picked up He and I.  I had not journaled, read my Bible, or prayed silently in days.  I really just wanted to sleep but I felt guilty.  And this is what I read...(Jesus' words to his daughter, Gabrielle)

"Keep in mine this prayer, 'Lord deliver me from anxiety about trifles.  Everything is insignificant apart from God whose life in you should daily seek to increase.'"

"With your merit in mind, I wanted you to seek Me in the darkness and to discover Me again in the half-light.  Light untold will be for later on.  Didn't I myself pass through dark hours when My divinity seemed to drift apart from My humanity?  How I fraternized with you, taking upon Myself all of your weaknesses, My poor little ones.  I was indeed 'a man' among men.  And even before my passion, I knew what suffering was.  I loved it for the love of you, My children.  Love it for the love of Me.  I'll transform it into transformations for others, and into glory for you, since you find everything again in Heaven.  So take courage for suffering, My little children.  There are some people who can't do without suffering, so deeply have they experienced how it brings them close to Me."

"Then turn your sorrowful eyes upon Me.  Show Me your sufferings, My dear little ones.  You are already in My heart even though you thought you were so far from Me, so far.  Day by day, try to find Me in you, and there, like very little children, give Me the marks of tenderness that you would give to a mother or a beloved father.  How happy you will be when you have acquired this habit.  How sweet your life will become."


Love suffering.

Love suffering for the love of Him.

Got it, God.  Help me to turn my everything toward you.

My pride fills me up so much that I desire perfection and convince myself that He desires that, too.  And, while I do believe He wants us to strive after Him in the very best way we can, He doesn't want us to do it on our own.  We can't.  And, in thinking so, we don't need Him.  And, in failing over and over, He shows us that His mercy endures, and than only His hands can both carry His cross and ours.  

Forgive me, Lord.  And, help me.

We truly did have a blessed Easter.  Even in my frustrations with myself, I do know how much I have to be thankful for.  Thankful for this faith that continually pushes me closer to Him, for the trials that make me do these inner-critiques, and these seven people who show me what it means to be His. 

We spent the day at one of my most favorite Masses of the year (Christ the Lord is Risen Today will always be one of my favorites) next to Good Friday, ate a wonderful meal with family, and sat back and watched the joy of childhood.

I get caught up in myself too much and in trying to do it all right all the time, but the truth is, I don't even know what that is, and I just run myself ragged trying to be something that is impossible for me.  I'm going to try not to feel like a fraud.  I'm going to try not to busy myself just for the sake of being busy.  And, I'm going to try to let Him regain control of my life...if for nothing else than showing these sweet ones how to let Him love us.












Have the most blessed Easter season!  He. Is. Risen.  Alleluia!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mid-week Likes & Links


Were gold bars just a New Mexico thing in the school cafeteria?  If so, make these as fast as you can and taste the goodness!  Brings back so many memories.

A peek into Easter for the girls

Maybe the best movie I've seen in a long time.

This makes my make-up last so much longer.

I love this as much as I love The Crown.

I've made this soup meatless for Lent, and I love it!

If you are ever going to spurge on Lulu, get these pants.  Trust me.

What are you loving these days?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Thirty-Six

Another year, another sweet birthday from the family!  Jeremy ordered hotdogs from Portillos, since we love a good Chicago dog, and it's always a crowd pleaser.  He added some tamales this time, too.  While they weren't the typically New Mexico tamales we are used to, they were still so good!  My sweet mom made a strawberry cake (a childhood favorite), and they came to celebrate with us!

What I love most about my birthdays now is the excitement from the kids!  Sure, I love celebrating with family (I am not that into a big party with everyone singing me happy birthday, though), but seeing the kids' faces when they wake up to scream happy birthday to me is really what makes it all.

We had to have hats, and Henry even wore one.  


And, he wasn't too sad about a piece of cake to celebrate another birthday either!

God also painted the sky so beautifully that February evening...reminding me that it's not really about me at all, ever.  It's always about Him and noticing the very life He's given us.  


Sure, I love a good giftcard or a fun surprise, but as each birthday comes, I'm able to reflect a bit more on the life in these years and not just the packages on this day.  I've got my seven greatest blessings in my home every single day, my two greatest examples living just minutes away, and a way of life that allows for a slower pace and the opportunity for a bit more reflection.

Sure, I often fail in the day-to-day to sit and reflect on those blessings.  I notice them in waves, and I fail to notice them, too.  But, on my birthday this year, they were so obvious.  I know I said it's been a long winter in my last post, and it has in ways.  But, there is always good.  Always.  And, I really have so much to thank God for. 

You included!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Not Something You See Every Day

It has been a long winter.  Usually it's one of my favorite times of year.  But, it hasn't snowed here this year (the part that creates the coziness that I love).  And, we've been sick most of it.  Flu B, strep, stomach bug, ear infections, RSV, Flu A and sinus infections.  We've had something every week since January 5th, with a few days of reprieve here and there.  None of it was anything we couldn't handle, and as always, it could be so much worse.  Then, my grandmother passed away.  It's all life, I know -- it just seems like it has made for an interesting first part of 2018.

I mentioned it to a friend the other day, and her response was, "Have you been praying for patience lately?"

Umm, yes.

Based on her follow-up, praying for patience isn't for the faint of heart.  In fact, it's almost like asking God to test your strength.  But man, do I need that patience.

I feel like I start my days thinking, "I will react calmly and lovingly to everything today."  And, then someone opens their mouth, and I'm already failing.

I get tired of telling my kids to quit fighting, quit arguing, and quit pouting.  I struggle with the homeschooling days that take much longer than they should simply because a task isn't fun.  I, sadly, even get frustrated when at times, I cannot walk because a crying baby is attached to my leg.

Yes, I love these little ones with every ounce of my being, and I pray daily that they know that.  But, some days (and those days seem an awful lot lately), I know I'm not showing them enough.  I know my actions are glazed over with a coating of frustration and irritation that even those two-year-old eyes aren't blind to.  And, I hate that.

I've made Lenten promises that I don't even remember (that's how great Lent is going this year).  And, I feel like I wake up to the same resolutions to make this day a new day, only to make the exact same resolution the next because of a(nother) failed attempt.  Every day I think, oh "I'll do this or that today" and almost every night comes, and I haven't done it, and I just go to bed instead.  It feels somewhat like the same day on repeat.

I haven't picked up my camera in weeks.  I haven't blogged in longer.  The winter projects I wanted to do...undone.  How I wanted to give more energy to homeschooling and making it fun...still haven't.  The time I wanted to carve out just for Jesus...still not carved out.  So, here we are, almost mid-March.  And, there isn't much to show for it around here.  

Except this...



This is how I found these two the other day.  Reading together.  Sitting together calmly.  Even sharing books without hitting, screaming or otherwise hurting the other.

I took it all in.  

You see, I get in these little funks here and there where I feel like either I'm not doing things "right" or I'm not doing enough.  I'm not sad.  I'm not throwing a pity party (please know that as you read).  I'm just getting this out there on paper, because sometimes, it just feels better.  I know how blessed we are, and I truly love my life.

Sometimes, like this winter, I just wish I was doing a bit better job of it all. 

Maybe I just need to pray for detachment instead ;)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mid-week Likes & Links



I received the sweetest little bows in the mail for the girls.  If you know me, big bows are just not my thing.  So, you can imagine how much I love these precious ones for Sophie's braids!  And, I love the vintage material for Gen's.  Check out Baby Wisp for more adorable options!

I thought this was a good article on fasting.

My girls are loving their little mice, (no, not real!), Dorothy and Toy.

I love this Matt Maher song

We've loved watching these little guys do their trick.

I don't think I've ever listened to one of his homilies I didn't love!

I am loving this new workout gear line - particularly these pants.

I'm reading this book, and it's hitting WAY too close to come, as much as I hate to admit that.

Send me your new favorite things!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A World Without Parents

This lady.  This lady sitting here with one of her favorite grandchildren (who really is a grandchild by marriage) left us last week.  


For a few months, she had been sick and in the hospital for the better part.  So, we had time.  We had time to grieve.  We had time to visit.  We had time to say our goodbyes.  Selfishly, it still didn't seem enough.  Why not just one more hug?  Just one more squeeze of the hand.  Just one more, "I love you, Me-Me."  Why not?  Because...it was time.

Upon hearing of her death that Monday afternoon, what I thought I had grieved for, I quickly realized I had not.  As the tears rolled down my face, I had to explain to my babies that their Gran Me-Me had left this life.  You know what it's like to see your parents cry?  With eyes the size of quarters, they comforted me, and they tried to think of ways to comfort their Papa who had just experienced the unthinkable...the loss of his Momma.

Sophie just knew she needed to call my mom's parents and ask them if they would be my daddy's new mom and dad.

Carter wanted me to know that this was a part of life.  That we all die.  That he would die.  That I would die.  And, that all would be okay.  Because Jesus died first...for us...so that we may live in a better place.  He is right.  Yet sometimes, it still hurts.

And it has hurt.

This lady in this photo...she was my grandmother, my dad's mother.  The one who would tell it like it was, even if you didn't want to hear it.  The one who never missed cooking one of those meals you could taste just from the smells coming from the kitchen.  The one who laughed like you were the funniest person alive when you told a joke.  The one who made Christmas fudge-making look easy (I had seven failed attempts this year).  The one who sat down with all of us granddaughters time after time and taught us to craft (mainly wooden Santa Clauses).  The one who loved to play cards, antiqued like no other and who always had a new recipe cut from a magazine waiting to be tried.

It was her house where we built towns along the creek, were we learned to drive (on and off the road much to her dismay), where we made bets on how many rabbits would run in front of our cars on the evenings coming home from a local dance.  It was there where we learned what a good antique was (I'm still learning), how important it was to take care of things, and how to dress alike on family vacations.  It was there where I failed to learn to sew summer after summer and where tournaments of washer pitching never ended.  Where we decorated Christmas stockings with paper bags and countless markers, and where I learned to make a margarita (she swore it was better for her ailments than a handful of pills).

She was a spit-fire.  The very obvious matriarch of a family who sought to raise children just as she had...to be loving, respectful, giving members of society.  She had three, and each of them had three.  My little family broke the three mold, and she was concerned about it until she left here...wanting me to tell her we were "finished" before she passed.  I couldn't.  She'll know eventually if we are.

But, she loved us.  Each of us in her own way.  And no matter the length of her life, the fullness of the time spent on earth, death always comes too soon.

I miss her.  Boy, do I miss her.  But even more, I ache when I think of my dad no longer having parents here.  A world without parents is one I am not ready for.

I know many tragically lose parents much sooner than my dad lost his.  I know there are deaths that are so much more difficult to bear.  But, as we walked into the church on Thursday, with her casket in front of our heavy steps to our pews, and my cousin singing, "Joyful, Joyful" the tears flowed relentlessly.  Seeing from the corners of my eyes, dare I look into the eyes of someone I loved for fear of sobbing uncontrollably, the pews full of those who loved her...who loved us, was a gift I am unable to thank everyone for.

It isn't until you are the one who is being loved on that you realize who funerals are really for...those left behind.  

And, as I sit at home today, caring for six kids down with their second round of flu, I find myself wondering if I love enough.  Do members of my family and community feel toward me how I felt just last week...knowing without a word, and even without a touch, just how loved I am.  Sometimes I get so worried that my time is spent so much in the confines of these walls of my home, that I'm not being Jesus to the world.  Instead I'm holing myself up, avoiding lots of social interaction because I would rather just be home.  And, while I know this is my vocation, I also know we are all called to love big.  And, I need to try harder.

As we grieve and mourn the loss of our Me-Me, the meals, cards, flowers, calls, texts, and visits have changed me.  

Thank you for loving me to the point of loving better.

And for you Me-Me, we're praying you back to Hosse every single day.  

God rest her soul.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

I Do It

Oh my Genevieve.  She is a firecracker.  She definitely has a mind of her own, and rarely does she keep it to herself.  Often she says these things:

"I do it!"  - as you can see her trying to feed Henry when he would probably like to feed himself.

"I sait (said)..." repeating herself when you don't do what she said.

"No way!"  Mostly joking when we ask her something.

"No...I Gen-Gen!"  When I call her anything but Gen Gen.

"I lub you TOO, Mommy!" 

She talks a lot...not much to others, but at home, it's constant.

Just when I thought she was our quiet one for so long, she's surprised me.

But, what a fun surprise it's been. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Slowing Down with Sickness

Oh man, it's been a little crazy around here.  Nothing that not everyone has gone through at some point, and nothing serious, but the kids have been sick since the first of this month.  First it was flu, then strep.  Then a stomach bug, and now some other upper respiratory thing.  Yes, we're tired.  Yes, being sick seems to magnify everything else in their little lives.  Part of me is tired of them being sick for my sake, but more so, I'm tired for them.  I'm tired of hearing them not sleeping at night, and coughing all day.  I'm tired of them feeling achey and not hungry.

BUT!  And, this is a huge "but" - we really are so well.  In these teeny sicknesses, I have to always give thanks.  Thanks that this is all we have right now.  Thanks for overall extremely healthy children.  Thanks for the opportunity to slow down.

One of those days, we did a little art.


I have no idea what it is like to suffer with a sick child.  And, I ache for those who know that well.  I don't know how you see them hurt so much and not break down yourself.  These days of mild sickness are constant reminders of the blessings we've been given and how thankful I am for however long they last.  


We are on our way to an immunologist in two weeks to see if we can determine what has been causing a chronic cough in Carter.  I'm ready to know what it might be and how we might make it better.  

God bless those of you with sick ones right now, too!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mid-week Likes & Links - A Day Late

First of all, can I just tell you how excited I am about this Lent study?  If you want to delve deeply into your soul as you purge the pain and reach to Him for your everything, let's do this one together. 

If you use a curling iron or a flat iron, I love this spray.

I ordered this book and cannot wait to delve in.

I'm enjoying listening to this

One of my favorite Christmas gifts!

I've never made a king cake but I think we'll attempt this one this year

This talk is so, so good!

If you work out and have never done any rolling, I just started this week - holy moly!

Have a great rest of the week and let me know your new favorites



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Reading Aloud

I remember my mom reading to me growing up.  It was one of my favorite things to do with her.  She had a beautiful gift of really making stories come alive.  My favorites were the Value Tales and the James Herriot books.  

Since then, my girls have enjoyed those books as well.  I don't read to them as often as I should, but it's my goal to improve that this year.

For now, they really love "reading" themselves.


These have been some of our favorites as of late, if you need some ideas...

Take it to the Queen: A Tale of Hope





Calico


We are reading the Little House series and I want to stat Chronicles of Narnia soon.



What are some of your favorites?


Monday, January 22, 2018

Italians in the Making

So, for Christmas, I got Jeremy a little pasta maker on a whim.  Here is actually what I bought, and for the first time, it was a big hit!  It came with a pasta roller, flour for pasta, a spoon, and a cookbook!  And, can I tell you, this gift has benefited all of us!  Jeremy is on a roll.


We've made braciole.  




We've made rustic pizza.  





We've made fettuccine, spaghetti, meat balls, soups and sauce (every Sunday).  And it has been so.much.fun!  I've loved seeing Jeremy in the kitchen more.  I've loved trying new things, and I've loved all of us getting involved.  I'm not sure I'll love the scale, but ohhhh well.


Jeremy jokes that when our kids are out of the home and avid Italian food eaters and cookers, their friends might ask if they're Italian.  And, I'm sure they'll respond with, "No, our parents just wanted to be!"

Ha!