November 14, 2012

Delicious Grain Free Pumpkin Muffins!

These were so delicious! I started off a few months ago making Elana's pantry Paleo Breakfast Bread, and these are a far reaching adaptation of that, I suppose, though it's not really much like it anymore!

1 to 1 1/4 c almond butter
1 15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 c sugar (I use raw.)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger

For the topping, I just sprinkled mini chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and a combo of both on the top. I used only a few tablespoons of each, I suppose.

This isn't very Elana's Pantry-ish, but throw it all in the mixer and mix on a low speed until mixed! Spoon into muffin tins. Bake on 350 for 15-20 minutes. (I forgot to turn on the timer, but I did the toothpick check to make sure they were done.)

Makes about 18 muffins.

* Yes, that's almond butter, not almond flour.
* B/c of the sugar it's not Paleo. These are awfully moist, so I'm not sure honey or agave would work. Someone else is welcome to try!

My favorite part is that they have protein in them, so it's much more substantial than just a baked treat. Jacob said, "Welcome to muffin heaven!" :)

November 13, 2012

Maybe I shouldn't feel guilty

So as Mattie's first grade year is well into the first semester, I find myself sad that she's getting so much less of the fun stuff that Jacob got.  When Jacob was little, there were several of us that got together to do the fun things (that aren't my strength). We don't have that now for her, and it makes me sad, because honestly, she'd probably enjoy it much more than he even did!  There were cousins his age - lots of them, and we don't have that with her, so it's all just different. But as I was lamenting tonight and feeling sad that I'm just not doing well enough in that area for her, I realized that Jacob's early years were very special... only him, activities geared toward only him, interests chosen for him, time with only him, books chosen for only him, etc.  But then I realized that her high school years will be the special time with only her as Jacob will have likely gone to college... activities geared toward only her, interests chosen for her, time with only her, books chosen for only her, and I guess it will all balance out. I still get frustrated that I'm not so good at the fun stuff, but this did balance it out a bit!

BEECH Retreat

So one of the things I do for my new part time job is blog for Five in a Row.  I do a lot of editing and posting articles written by the authors of Five in a Row, but I also get to input some of my own stuff as well.  Because I have no marketing degree, and a marketing degree isn't really a social media degree, I'm not sure yet what the right balance of different types of information is... product info, how-to, inspiration, etc.  There are so many things I'm still learning by trial and error!  But there's this amazing retreat in this amazing location, and I'm really hoping I get to go!  There's also this amazing giveaway that I'm participating in to increase those chances of attending. :)  If you enjoy blogging and want to learn more, check it out! I know, I think I'd want to go even if I had never blogged a day in my life!

October 25, 2012

What Mattie knows about common sense

Tonight while cleaning up her bedroom, Mattie asked if she should put a toy away.  

I said, "Of course you need to put that away! Use some common sense, Mattie!" 

Her quick reply: "I don't even know what common sense is except that Thomas Paine invented it!" 

lol!!  At least she was listening this year...

October 15, 2012


Just a list of things I'm thankful for today...

a reminder of how quickly the time goes...

Listening to Mattie read her short little reading lessons fluently... at long last!
Seeing Jacob understand some of his grammar concepts... also at long last!
Watching our freshly reinstalled bird feeders get busier and busier with our favorite feathered friends.
Healing after ten months for my cracked tailbone and sacral vertebrae.
Finding an old video of Jacob reading a book out loud when he was little.  Such sweetness in that little voice!
Healing via surgery and recovery for Robert's leg and back.
The joy the kittens have brought to our family.
Hearing Mattie play upstairs with a friend her own age she clicks perfectly with!
Watching Robert find enjoyment in books as he recovers.
Jacob having fun at his first sleepover. :)
Our free art class at Carson-Newman.
Robert's presence at home while he recovers from surgery: company, friendship, understanding in the craziness, help with schooling, family Bible lessons from his perspective, kids' laughter that he causes.
Planning our nature study fun!
Re-doing fun 6 year old things with Mattie.
Hoodie weather.
Looking through old photos and remembering the memories of Jacob's six year old year.
My new job. The way it fits me perfectly. The way it can fit our family perfectly. The way God handed it to me.
And my favorite: God truly opening my eyes and heart to a deep-seated understanding of His grace in spite of me... an answer to prayers prayed for many years.

September 09, 2012

They're growing up!

Got a few pics of my sunshines together tonight!  

 I'm so happy with how they turned out, I had to show you!

I think the two above are getting framed to go in my kitchen.  :)

Mattie is 6 1/2, and Jacob is 10 1/2.

And at this point, they're having more fun than is helpful...

August 11, 2012

Some Nameless Additions

We have been wanting to let the kids get kittens for a long time.  They both love playing with them every time someone we know has some! (I know, what kid doesn't?) I don't have much affection for cats, and actually have been around quite a few nasty ones!  But both of the kids love them.  Robert's parents had some they needed a home for, so we let the kids each pick one.

But because I was fairly allergic before my allergy shots and Jacob seems to be following in my footsteps, I've been afraid they'd fall in love and then we'd have to get rid of them.  I'm still afraid of that!  But we have only rugs (as opposed to installed carpet) and only one upholstered chair (all our other furniture is wood or leather), so we decided there's no way to know except to try.  The kids know the risks.  I'm just praying we all do fine with them!  I'm also praying that Pepper likes them when she gets home!

Meet Nameless #1 and Nameless #2!

The jury is still out on the names... Lucy, Snowflake (not sure I understand that one!), Sam, Tony, Romp... 

My tenderhearted boy said he thinks this is the best day ever and has teared up more than once with joy. That makes it worth a try!

June 11, 2012

I just have to say

I. love. my iPhone.

I have always felt convicted that a data plan was an indulgence for which I was not supposed to pay.  (Not that you should not be paying for it.  I'm talking about me here!) I'm a stay at home mom who really stays at home a lot!

Well, my phone died last month.  Because we have a lot of family travel scheduled for this summer, and much of it in areas we're not used to, Robert wanted me to have the GPS and the flexibility of changing my plans mid-day without a computer and printer for directions.  It actually seemed justifiable.  So I traded my sister for her upgrade and ordered it.  I won't say I did not feel guilty (though I did not feel convicted... I'm so thankful for that difference!).

I. love. it.

I love that I can use it as a point and shoot camera and get pictures worth printing.  And that I have it with me because it doesn't weigh as much as my DSLR camera.

I love that I can put stuff on my google calendar before I forget the date or lose the reminder card, which means before I walk out the door of any particular medical office.
I love that I can find a McDonald's, Dunkin', Taco Bell or Starbucks just by asking Siri. And that that allows me some spontaneity previously lost with my kids' food allergies. 
I love that I can write a grocery list by talking to it. And find that grocery list when I get to the store.
I love that I can google that question to which I do not know the answer and my child wants to know.  Now.
I love that I can get my favorite recipes when I'm not in my own kitchen.
I love that I can find out if the nearest gas station is within my typical gas light on warning range.
I love that I can get lost and not worry if any other stay at home woman in my family is home to google map my way to my destination for me! 
I love that I can read a chapter of the Bible - in any version - whenever I want to.

I am completely aware that it's a luxury.  And one I don't take for granted! But it is a luxury that has simplified my life in both trivial and legitimate ways. 

I don't love it like I love my man or my children or my siblings or my dearest friends, but as much as one can love a small, white, inanimate object, I love it.

May 16, 2012


 Here are all seventeen grand kids on Robert's side of the family!  It's rare that we're all together, so it was fun to get them all in one frame.

They had been playing in the rain for about an hour before it occurred to me that we had all of them in the same place!  It's far from a professional photograph, but we captured a moment in time.  And I dare say the children had a lot more fun!

April 11, 2012


My miracle is TEN years old today! 
This boy made me a mama all those years ago.  I longed for him, and he filled my empty arms.  Little did I know, he'd be the only miracle to grace my womb.

When we got to bring him home after eight long days in the NICU, I wanted to keep him all to myself.  I didn't want to share!  We had worked hard and waited 2 1/2 years for him.  Adding those eight additional days was not easy for this hormonal mama!

Jacob has always been very serious and a heavy thinker.  His wheels started spinning the day he was born, and I don't believed they've ever rested!  As soon as he could crawl, he spent more time at his book basket than any other toys.  He went through a stage with a strong bent toward all things Thomas, but his love for books remains.  I often find him out in the sunshine reading a book.  That love for books has translated into a talent for writing as well, though he wouldn't say yet that he loves it.  When he's not reading a joke book, mystery, or humorous novel, he's building with Legos.  Like most ten year old boys, he would be playing wii at any given time of the day if we'd let him!  He survives with the limited time he's allowed.

Jacob loves to laugh!  He loves to tell jokes, loves to watch silliness on tv or on youtube, and loves to add humor to his school assignments.  The sweetest thing I watch him do with his humor is pull out all the silly stops to make Mattie laugh when she's upset.  He has a tender heart toward others who are hurting and is quick to do what he can to help them.

It has not escaped me recently that this boy who challenges me has completed over half of his growing up years already.  How is that possible?  
He wants to be like his daddy and needs him more than he needs me now.  He is trustworthy when it matters.  He has a sensitive heart that helps keep him on the right road.  He already has a strong worldview that is rooted in Truth.

I pray that these feet will walk roads that change lives and point people toward the God who created them.
Thank you, Jesus, for these little boy feet you gave me ten years ago!  Thank you for all the challenges, joys, and tears you've given me with him.  Thank you that I've had to allow You to mold me to be a better mama.  This boy has pushed me toward You as I've desired to do my best for him.  
Thank you for giving us this one miracle!  He is one in a million!

March 16, 2012

She's growing up!

How can you not smile back at that proud grin?  She has worried this tooth all. week!
When I tucked her in, she put her tooth under her pillow and asked me to give her more than two dollars this time!  I guess I'm a cheap tooth fairy.
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March 14, 2012

Mattie's Art

We are alive, but more on that another day.  I have 4 months of pictures to share!
Today we talked about illustrating the effects of wind in a picture. I told the kids to draw an outdoor scene including stuff that was being blown by the wind. Look very carefully at the bottom of the picture.  You may have to click on it to see it full size.
I guess Mattie's wasn't up for drawing much!

January 08, 2012

Good, not Tame

Sorry for the blog desertion. Not that anyone notices! But to be honest, I haven't really known what to write. I'm kind of in a weird place right now, and have been begging God to help me out of this place for more than several months.

We watched Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time last night and I loved every minute of it. Jacob and I read the books together a few years ago but hadn't seen the movie yet.  My favorite line is coming back to me still:  Mr Tumnus says as Aslan walks away at the very end, "After all, He's not a tame Lion."  And Lucy says in response, "No.  But He is good." 

I was also struck with the names Aslan chose for the kids at the end... especially with "Edmund, the Just."  Amazing that "just" is what Aslan calls the traitor.  Makes me wonder what He'd pick for me.

I've been in a strange spiritual funk for several months, but I can't really put my finger on what my trouble is. I try to put it in to words, but it never really makes sense.  I think watching the movie and actually longing to sit and watch it again it has all made me realize that I'm missing the heart of God.  Whether it's my circumstances that have me discouraged (I really don't think that's it), minor depression (my sister in law's idea I hadn't thought of, but it seems to make sense), or other things, I don't know.  I miss Him though, even though I'm seeking Him.  It's like these things I'm hearing - good things - are going in and being pondered, but falling flat.  I don't know.  I totally don't get it.  Anyway, as odd as it sounds, I'm longing to hang on to His goodness even though I know it's right in front of me.

I think in seeing His wrath in the Old Testament, I'm also realizing as much as much as He was against those who didn't acknowledge Him, how much He is for me now.  He will fight for me as much as He fought for His people three or four thousand years ago.  All He asks of me is to choose Him.  I think I'm growing a stronger heart for those who don't have Him on their side, and in doing that having a hard time trusting His heart, because it's hard to imagine why He does some of the things He does.  But as I learn about Him, it's not about fitting Him into my box.  It's not my job to tame Him.  It's my job to believe He is good.