Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's not fair

One of those days...

There was those 20 precious moments when your kids were happy and giggly and playing well. Then you tried to put them down for a nap, just so you'd have a few minutes of peace before cleaning. Neither went down easily. You finally sit down for lunch at 1:30 with one asleep and the other still crying. After eating, the baby has exhausted himself asleep. You wonder if the neighbors think you torture your children by the incessant crying that sometimes lasts hours each day. You take a brief break. Those 5 minutes alone to gather thoughts and try to motivate yourself. Because the house is a wreck, Christmas presents still aren't finished or purchased. And why would you want to clean when you have to pack up and move everything. Again. The second time this year.
You get only a few dishes washed before crying starts again. You muster all your patience and start rocking the baby. 30 minutes for his only nap of the day is not enough. Why don't your kids like sleep as much as you do? As he's almost asleep, you breathe a sigh of relief. Then the 2 year old screams. What happened to waking up happy? It's of no use. As much as you try, you're losing patience fast. Kids crying because they're tired and yet, they won't sleep. You lose it. There's crying from kids and yelling from mom to just "stay in your room till you're happy!"
You walk away and try washing dishes still while barking at them to be quiet. And then the crying gets louder and more upset. Your potty-trained 2 year old wets her pants for the second time today.
It's just not fair. Life isn't fair. Where is dad? How many nights this week has he missed dinner and bedtime? It's not fair. This isn't what you signed up for! It's not fair. Life isn't fair.

No, life isn't fair.

Life is not fair.

We're about to celebrate a baby's birth. A perfect child. A sinless man. Beat and insulted and hung to die. For you.

He didn't deserve it. It wasn't fair. He did it for your sins. For every time you lose it. Every selfish thought, every angry word. It is forgiven. And that's not fair either. That's grace.

So I pick myself up. I wipe away tears of frustration and I try again. I've received grace. Oh so much grace. My kids need that grace and love too.

Lord, thank you. Thank you for Your love and grace. Thank you for forgiveness. Father, pour into me. Keep my eyes on You. Help me to keep loving and forgiving and offering grace to these beautiful children you've entrusted to me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Real life isn't a movie

Don't all girls wish they could find the man in the romantic movie? The one who says just the right things, does the right things and looks great?
I wonder why guys dislike these movies but then I think about it: does the movie man ever get his romance? Does he get his guy time and space? Not usually.
So aside from not watching these movies, in order to keep your expectations realistic, how do you deal with these mixed emotions? How do you sway so much to a movie man but sometimes lose interesting in the one you've been married to for 5 years?
I think it's communication and giving yourself. And I know I agree with all the talk methods and set times and ways to carry on discussions, but I'm married to a man who doesn't care for all the structure. What works for us is just to talk. To be open with each other. To be point blank and obvious.
It can take awhile for me to come around. After a few weeks of feeling let down romantically, I just give in to my bitterness. I sit around angry and bitter that he can't figure out how to make me happy. And then it hits me. First, what am I doing for him? He's not in the mood for giving because I'm not in the mood for giving. It quickly, all too quickly, becomes a downward spiral. Second, have I just come out and said it? I'm so lucky to be married to a patient and understanding man. I finally took my feelings to him. I told him I felt overworked and under appreciated and I was bitter. Then I took a deep breath and gave him some ideas. Bring home flowers, find a song that has romantic lyrics and tell me it makes you think of me, help with the dishes or toys. And before I sat back waiting, I asked what I could for him.
So he helped out more immediately. I put into action things he wanted and needed. And I got my romantic song.
And I'm swooning again. This time over the romantic man I married, not that movie man.
As women, we can't sit around whining and wishing. Love takes work on BOTH sides. And it takes communication. The movie man has many writers telling him just what to say and do. Your real man needs you to give him a few suggestions. Then listen to his too. Pretty soon you'll be giving more, he'll be giving more and you'll be in a perpetual UPward spiral.
And turn off that romantic movie. That guy just doesn't exist. Love the one in front of you, he's wonderful in His perfect way.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Graham Cracker Cookie Goodness

I still think that the dough is better than when the cookies are baked. In fact, as I was munching away on the unbaked cookies, I thought it might almost be what they used for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream...minus the chocolate chips (which is much better in my opinion)

So here it is. Tracked down through 2 blogs and originally from a cook book, here's the link to the graham cracker recipe.

Here's what I did when I cut it in half, made it dairy free, subsituted what I was missing and turned it into cookies: (I know, phew!)
1 1/4 to 2 cups flour (You'll see why I'm not sure at all of this amount in a minute...)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (this was what I used instead of dark brown sugar as I had no brown sugar in the house, and the turbinado looked closer than white granulated sugar...someone should tell me what turbinado sugar is supposed to be used for, ha!)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (though since I didn't measure, it might have been closer to a tsp...or more)
1/2 teaspoon (or really just some sprinkles) kosher or coarse sea salt  (I happened to use my cute sea salt grinder)
3 1/2 (or so) tablespoons unsalted butter (And this is where I used my dairy-free butter-like spread)
1/6 cup (or about 2/3 of my quarter cup measurer) mild-flavored honey
3-4 tablespoons milk (They say full fat is best but I made mine with almond milk)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (be generous here. I love vanilla and perhaps why I love this recipe!)

1) Cut butter into dry ingredients: I started with what the original recipe called for (1 1/4 cup) flour and added the sugar, salt, and baking soda. I used dough hooks on my hand held mixer, but I'm not sure why you couldn't just use the regular beaters. Anyway, combine the dry ingredients, stir them around a bit then add the butter cut into chunks. Now mix until its all combined well. I was tempted to melt my butter first though the original recipe says to start with it frozen. I think that would never mix with a mixer, but perhaps thats a reason to use a food processor.
2) Mix wet ingredients then add to dry: Measure the honey, milk and vanilla into a separate container. Use a whisk to mix these ingredients. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix with the mixer.
3) Even it up to cookie dough: Then I just added a bunch of flour and used a fork then my hands to mix it in. The final product was a dough that held together well and was hardly sticky at all. A good nice unsticky ball of dough :-)
4) Eat the dough or bake the cookies. I suggest 350° for 10-14 minutes.

Enjoy :-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A day at the Berry house

First we had a leisurely morning of pancakes, wetting through diapers and pjs and getting dressed. Then my beloved babysitter came over :-D
I got to some sewing (backing this T-shirt quilt) before Isaiah wanted mommy then I put him to bed and did some prep work in the kitchen.
After naptimes, we went swimming in the baby pool. It's quite small but has a cushioned bottom and surprisingly, all 3 of us fit... ;-)
After that, Isaiah went down for his fourth nap, I caved and put Thomas on for Samantha then I whipped up a few ice trays of baby food.

It's about time Isaiah got real food. I mean, doesn't the kid look like he's starving?

And after bedtime, I took a delicious graham cracker recipe, turned it dairy free, substituted because I was out of brown sugar and added a lot more flour to turn it from crackers into cookies. Delicious end to the day. I even managed to bake a few ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A group effort: Quiet book!

Quiet Book: A group effort!

I thought this would be easier for posting all the pictures and ideas out there. Feel free to comment and I will gather all the thoughts and send out a note to everyone. I think we still need more people to make a GREAT book!

I think it’ll be easiest to put the book together with 2-3 rings, like this one.

And to make the pages heavyweight, I think we could just iron-on a stiff backing. I’m guessing it’ll be easiest for everyone to make their page from cotton (instead of all of us trying to find the sameish weighted decorators fabric)
However, that means everyone will need to add an extra $5 or so to help me pay for the backing and other materials to assemble the books.
So each person makes a spread (2 pages that either go together or two different) but because of the rings putting together, the pages must not be attached.
Size? One site suggested 10” by 12”. Leaving an inch border on all sides to put it to the page behind it. We may need to leave a little bit bigger border on one side where I would be attaching the rings. I’m thinking maybe button holes on each page to put the rings through? It may make it time consuming to assemble, but I want it to last through many kiddos! (The one my mom made for my brother and I is still around, though a few things have fallen apart)
A lot of pages may have pieces that you take on and off with velcro. To make it last, be sure to use sew on velcro, not self sticky. A suggestion is to put all Velcro with the soft side on the page, so that pages won’t stick together if the pieces aren't attached.
I think the front and/or back cover should have a big pocket with closure so when the kids take everything off every page, you can just stuff it all in one pocket if you need to clean up in a hurry. ;-)
It would be best for everything to be sewn down. If you're not a sewer, maybe you could get with someone and help each other. One person cuts out everything and one person sews?
A lot of people make many pieces out of felt. You can draw straight on the page or pieces with permanent or fabric markers. The felt needs to be heavy duty. And felt can stretch over time, so some things (like pockets or pieces with button holes) need to be either reinforced or made of a different material. I have seen examples of books and have ideas, so once you decide on what you want to do, let me know if you need help picking materials and whatnot.

Logistics: We will all make our pages and then somehow (mail for some) get them to me. I will then assemble the book (if you'd like me to) and send the book back to you. So for those out of town, you'll be mailing just twice. (Please send me a little money to help me mail it back to you) If you'd rather me send you all the pages, you can put it together yourself. I think it would be nice too then, if you all found your front and back cover material and decorated it however you'd like and mail that too (if you wanted me to put your book together)

And our goal might be a completed book for Christmas. Since I’m thinking this is gonna be a big job to put them all together…
I think maybe 2-3 months for people to get their pages completed, then send them to me and a few more months for them to be put together :-)

One other thought was to make a few extra pages and as a group, we can sell those completed books to help pay for shipping and extra costs of assembling. That way you're only paying for materials to make 10-12 of the same page. Just a thought and idea if you know people that may want a book but may not participate in the making of it.

Ok and here are some ideas that Paula and I had for pages, plus links to more:
1) Shapes matching and/or color matching
2) Hand in something (like an oven mitt or baseball glove)
3) Counting beads
4) Velcro face (like Mr/Mrs Potato head)
5) Dressing a doll out of a closet
6) Ladybug with zipper and her dots inside
7) Page with pockets for pictures
8) Something to tie/braid/weave
9) Pockets with paper and crayons

If theres a page you're super excited about making - claim it now :-) Remember you're really making two pages (a spread) so if you have a one sided page, you will actually need to make 2 one sided pages.
And tell your friends, let's see if we can get more people involved!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Testing pictures

Ok, added the blogger app to my phone, so I'm hoping this allows an easy way to post pictures.
When Isaiah was sick, we watched a little bit of the curious George movie.
Saturday, Sam got to go swimming at Mimi's.