Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday


Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, cinnamon toast, fruit

Lunch: Four-Cheese Toasted sandwiches, baby carrots

Dinner: Upside-Down Cornbread (I make my OWN cornbread), asparagus

To Do: Soak batter for muffins, boil eggs


Breakfast: Soaked muffins, applesauce

To Do: Soak oats for tomorrow's breakfast

Lunch: Kefir smoothies, raw cheese, chips, hard-boiled eggs

Dinner: Baked potatoes, salad


Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal

Lunch: Cottage cheese/olive dip, crackers, carrots, fruit

Dinner: Salsa Burritos (Leanne Ely recipe from my Flylady days. I'll try to post the recipe soon.)


Breakfast: Leftover baked oatmeal, eggs (if needed)

To Do: Soak dough for tomorrow's breakfast

Lunch: Peanut butter sandwiches, fruit

Dinner: Frozen pizza


Breakfast: Brookies

Lunch: Mac'n cheese, green beans

Dinner: Black bean burgers, sweet potato fries

Saturday and Sunday: With extended family. Who knows?

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu plans.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Project 365: Week 5

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gabriel got Saylor this Crayola Dry Erase Activity Center for Christmas. I highly recommend it if you know a kid who loves to write, erase, and write some more. It's great for Saylor to work on fine motor skills while PLAYING. And she's also practicing proper letter and number formation. She chooses this as an activity daily!

Monday, January 24, 2011 

Noah got this Lego Sort & Store for Christmas. It has trays inside that allow the biggest Legos to stay at the top, the middle-sized Legos to settle in the middle tray, and the very smallest Legos to trickle down to the bottom. He is Lego-crazy and has this thing out multiple times a day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gabe got this little magnetic doodler in his stocking. (It was on clearance for less than $2.00!) One thing I love about Gabriel is that he doesn't make a plan as he sets out to create or draw something. Instead, he just gets in there and creates something, and then he decides what he thinks it looks like! (He's my little abstract thinker.)  Today he was playing with this toy and suddenly said, "Mommy! A giraffe!!" I think it really does look like a giraffe, don't you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If it weren't for homeschooling, we'd never have time for big brothers to read to little sisters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We recently decided to sign up for Netflix, so we can get instant movies through our Wii. Tonight while I was looking up recipes and researching various things on Paul's laptop, I watched a movie I've been wanting to see for the longest time...My Dog Skip. Oh, my. What a great coming-of-age movie! And, yes, I bawled my eyes out.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's "Pizza Night" with homemade soaked whole wheat dough for the crust.

 WHILE watching a fun, new movie. (Ha! We are always such serious watchers...)

And to top it all off...homemade ice cream!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My man scored some great complimentary tickets to the Symphony tonight. We have a really great orchestra and tonight was a special treat, as there was a solo cellist. She performed Elgar's Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, accompanied by the fabulous Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. This gal had THE fastest fingers and THE most dramatic musicality I've seen or heard in many years. And she performed all four movements by memory. Wow. In short, she was extraordinary!!

Still no computer 'round here. (Boo!) But I'm trying my best to keep up with my pictures and my blogging. Trying. Sorry I've been so absent from everyone else's sites--linked up, by the way, over at Sara's. Hopefully that will change ONE of these days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Symphony

In response to Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner, Chapters 8 and 9:

At first glance, these two very short chapters seemed to not have all that much to say, but what the author lacked in word count, he made up for in SPACE and QUIET, allowing God to speak. And when God speaks...


For instance, one great quote...

"All our baggage makes it hard for us to move, so it's a good thing God isn't waiting on us."

...provokes a flood-gate of real-life examples in my mind. Mucho baggage. Anybody else stuck in a side room surrounded by bags with ugly labels? And overwhelmed with the knowledge that you've got some places to go and don't know how you're going to get there dragging all this crap? I know about that room. And it's a discouraging place to be.

But I loved the note Kary received that taught him, in essence, that God didn't want him to be discouraged.

That really made me think. Hmmm... God. doesn't. want. me. discouraged.

You know why?????????

Because when we're discouraged, we are really saying less about OUR inability to deal with life and more about GOD'S inability in our lives. Think about that. How can we possibly think HE'S unable to move and work in our lives?! HIS strength is plenty...and perfect.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

The beauty is that He doesn't need us to do the moving. Faith is sometimes hard to drum up. In fact, in the times when we're at our weakest, it may be OTHERS who do the believing for us. It may be a mother who persistently quotes a Scripture over her child as he suffers from a speech impediment. It may be her belief in a God who can heal all things. And that amazes me. That in His providence and understanding, He even provides faith in our weakness. Faith on our behalf.

Another thing that jumped out to me was a moment in which the author felt like he had lost God. And he wondered how the things he was living through could possibly "harmonize with God's preordained plan." And I knew exactly what he meant. Because...ahem...I've lived. And life? Well, it ain't always easy. It ain't always pretty. And when life is hugely the moment, when we're still reeling with the shock and trying to understand WHY...

Why did my baby have to die?
Why have I been rejected?
Why do I have cancer?

In those heartbreaking moments, we often lose sight of the fact that "it's not about us."

Our experiences don't NEED to harmonize with His preordained plan. Because His plan is not. about. us. It's about HIM.

But here's the thing. Those past experiences--those heartbreaking, awful, "I-can't-live-through-this" moments--they WILL harmonize with His plan. 

As time passes, you'll begin to hear the refrain. You'll see that in losing your baby, you now have compassion for others who have lost and a greater appreciation for the miracle of life. You'll see that while others may, God never rejects you--that you are held fast and close by His mighty, loving Hand. You'll see that your cancer is the tool He is using to shape you into a more beautiful creation.

In the won't need to strain to hear the harmony. 

There will be a symphony.

Read other responses at Marla Taviano's blog

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Project 365: Week 4

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A few of my friends and I have decided to meet every other week starting this Wednesday to hold each other accountable in three areas: meal planning, homeschooling, and God time. This is my planner. The one I've had for quite some time but have utterly neglected. I'm hoping to do better with a little help from my (real) friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

We are ALL working at sitting at the table during school time. Oh, it's crazy alright, but it's been fun seeing the little ones explore and learn, especially together. (Besides, this way I know they aren't destroying something three rooms away...)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The big kids and I had dentist appointments this morning, so Gabriel and Atticus got to go spend a couple of hours at work with Daddy! They were so excited. They each had a backpack with necessities, a few small toys, and a movie to watch in case Daddy had to attend a meeting, which he did. It was a big, big thing to get to go to Daddy's office for such a long visit. It must have been exhausting work, though!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gabe had a rough night last night for whatever reason. At some point he climbed into bed with us, so this little squinty grin is what I woke up to this morning.

Sort of makes the rough night worth it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This was my "Young Musicians" shirt from the musical "Jonah's Tale of a Whale" in 1983. (I was in 3rd grade.) Atticus wears it to sleep in now. I'm assuming it shrunk a lot over the years.  ????!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I was on a mission today to find a particular book I just KNOW I purchased for Noah's homeschool curriculum. I went through every. single. book. in our little book nook under the stairs.

I never found the book I was looking for, but two things came of all the time I spent doing this: All the books are now alphabetized by title...AND I found a long-forgotten book I knew one little boy would really love...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I attended a friend's wedding today. Noah and Saylor came along with me, and I made them dance with me at the reception, although there's no picture of that (...that I know of). Sara says it's my JOB to embarass my kids. I think I managed to fulfill my duties...

Sorry so late. I'm finding it hard to get the blogging and photo uploading done on my husband's work computer, considering it's only HERE in the evenings. That and his computer has been ruining picture files, so it's just hard right now. Not sure what we're going to do about a computer for me at this point. :(  And I don't know how this week ended up being the "Gabe and Atticus Show," except for the fact that I pretty much didn't USE a camera all week long. That doesn't exactly explain it, but it's all I've got. I guess I'll have to try to be more equitable next time. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am working with a small group of friends on accountability in a few motherly/wiferly (can that please be a word today??) duties. We sent each other our menu plans for this week and someone suggested I post it to the blog. I don't know how long I'll continue to do so, but I'm willing to give it a whirl. Feel free to ask questions or request recipes. I will try to link where I can, but there will be some things left out, as many of my recipes are not available online. Also, I apologize for any weird formatting issues. I am blogging from my phone! (Have I mentioned my contempt for all things Dell lately?)

TO DO Sunday morning: Soak oats for Monday's breakfast and a batch of granola

Breakfast: Soaked oatmeal

TO DO: Dehydrate oats for granola
Lunch: PB sandwiches, fruit

Dinner: Lentil soup (made with homemade stock) with bread and butter; optional side salad

TO DO: Finish granola
Breakfast: Yogurt with granola

TO DO: Boil eggs

Lunch: Hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese with fruit

Dinner: Crunchy chicken sandwich melts, sweet potatoes

TO DO: Soak flour for biscuits
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, soaked biscuits, fruit

Lunch: Leftover lentil soup (or Sunday's chili), cheese, fruit

Dinner: Mac N Cheese, carrots, Brussels sprouts

TO DO: Soak flour for pancakes

Breakfast: Pancakes, fruit

TO DO: Soak oats and beans

Lunch: Four Cheese Toasted sandwiches, fruit

Dinner: Baked fish, couscous, asparagus

TO DO: Soak flour for pizza dough (or...if not, whatever pizza we can drum up)

Breakfast: Soaked oatmeal

Lunch: Hummus with veggies and chips

Dinner: Pizza
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner: Daddy either chooses, cooks, or both. We wing it.

Breakfast: Toast or bagels

Lunch: TBD

Dinner: Popcorn Night (supplemented with raw cheese, fruit, veggies, olives, leftovers, whatever's on hand)

You can find this post linked up at Organizing Junkie's "Menu Plan Monday."

Friday, January 21, 2011


In response to Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner, Chapters 5-7:

I was especially in awe as I read through the chapters for this week. Not so much because the author exposes his past life as a "cutter," but because of how easily ANY of us can (and do!!) end up going down a path like that. And, let's be honest here, one doesn't have to be a physical "cutter" to do some pretty extensive damage with the sharp blade that is one's OWN MIND.

We all try so hard to be something we aren't. Sometimes, I suppose, it's because we just want to. But many times it's because we perceive that there's something FOR us if we will. Affection? Attention? Understanding? Acceptance? Control/order? Something.

We just REALLY want to be someone else. Maybe it's because we know who we WANT to be or who we want others to THINK we are. And that's all that matters at the time. For the author...and for myself...we often find ourselves running from the "given" names that have landed on our proverbial desk plates, whether by force or by apathy. Some of our desks are quite full. Hmmm...who will I be today??

I can certainly relate to the author's intrinsic motivations to BE so very much as he was growing up. Captain of this, best at that. I was that way. And I've recently spent some time thinking about that person I was--that person I am--in an effort to determine WHY. What drove me to those extremes? Why did I care so much? I did come to some interesting conclusions, but these chapters have helped to give me a lot more insight into how I allowed Satan to get so close to me I could hear his constant whisper in my ear, though I kept close to home and church. (And if you think he's left me alone, you'd be mistaken.)

Because each and every time I name myself (LAZY, SELF-ABSORBED, FAILURE, ANGRY, INEPT, UGLY, QUITTER), I welcome Satan by my side. To pal around with me throughout my day/week/month/ he can make sure I know who I REALLY am when no one is looking. He makes it real clear. And then I make sure to follow through with the punishment I deserve. The blood from THESE cuts has been flowing for so long I'm beginning to lose consciousness. I'm no longer aware of either the scars or their cause. Tethered to reality by only the echoes of the names--names I hate about myself--ringing in my ears.

But here's the thing.

There's one name I keep forgetting GOD has given me.


It's the only name that counts. It's the only name to which I need to answer. And as I listen to Him calling me by name, it drowns out the whispers.

"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." Romans 4: 7-8

This post is part of a read-along with Marla Taviano.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project 365: Week 3

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It snowed!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gabe has come a long way since last year when he got stuck on the snowy slope in our front yard, panicked, and decided to stay inside throughout the snow-playing time. Now he's an old pro. And, like a good big brother, he's confident enough to help those younger than himself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rackleys left for a new life in Uganda today.

One must needs go up and down the escalator a time or two with friends when one has a chance.

The hardest part, by far, was seeing the big brother and big sister goodbyes. The 20-year-old twins stayed behind.

Such precious friends. (I shed a lot of tears today.)

We covered them with lots of prayer.

And will continue to do so...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Christmas Leftovers

Anybody else have this problem? Everything's all nicely packed up and put away in the attic, and now there's this little collection of thingies. A couple ornaments were stuck in the verrry dead tree and found once outside on the curb. (Whew!) There were also several tragedies this year. Heartbreaking ones, unfortunately. (See the tricycle ornament box? That's all that's left of that ornament. The bad thing is it was Gabe's for THIS year! It never even made it onto the tree.) So I guess I'll be scouring the auctions on eBay all year for replacements. But one bright spot: I scored a Prep and Landing ornament at Hallmark marked down to $4.00 from $15.00! Yessssssssss!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Noah made a board game during school today. It was in his Anti-Coloring Book.

Friday, January 14. 2011

We had dinner with new friends tonight. Noah played soccer with their oldest. And Saylor takes ballet with their middle child. I couldn't get a good picture, because there were too many busy bodies in the shot. Oh, well.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saylor had a jewelry-making birthday party to attend this morning. She was excited ALL week about it.

Well, January's flying by like all the rest of the months in my life. I'm grateful to have a photo record of my days. This post is linked at Sara's Project 365. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who Are You?

In response to Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner, Chapters 1-4:

Do you know who you are? I mean, REALLY know who you are?? Or do you merely know who you've been TOLD you are? Have you become more and more the person that your family, friends, peers, teachers, circumstances, and/or environment made you? Do you know what it is to strive against a reputation? Or to strive toward it? Have you ever wondered why your parents named you what they did? Or have you ever looked up the meaning of your birth name?

It's a hard question to answer really: Who are you? I'm afraid I don't entirely know what the question even means. I certainly think there are a lot of things that get in the way of ME. Things that I've added to my life unnecessarily. Things that take up space in the picture of "me," and I'm not sure those things ever really belonged there. But neither do I know what DOES. Not with any certainty anyway.

I have a friend who used to theorize that whatever your name means...that is how Satan will choose to attack you. For instance, if your name is Joy, he will try to keep you from having joy. If your name means "pure," well, he will obviously do everything in his power to keep you from being pure. This theory always made me laugh a little, as my firstborn son's name means "rest," and that child gave me such fits with not napping!!

Anyway, our birth names are supposed to give us some form of identity. To some extent, even some knowledge--if only for our own benefit--of who we are inside. I don't know about you, but I've always felt sort of unattached to my name. Not that I don't like it. But just that thinking of myself as being this "Lori" person is something I can only do when I step outside myself. And, frankly, I find that whole process surreal and sort of something on which I'll never quite get a grasp.

Our "given names" are another story entirely. These are the ones which have been handed down to you, based on some known or unknown circumstance. Maybe it was the kids in the schoolyard who "named" you. Or maybe it was an unsatisfied parent. Or maybe it was you, looking in the mirror and seeing yourself falsely; maybe it was you who named yourself. These are the names we have a hard time shaking. There's a whole list of these "given names," and I honestly had a tough time figuring out what mine might be. Because I kept struggling with WHO thinks so: me or others? others or me? Sometimes the two became one, making it a little easier, but mostly I was unsure.

Thankfully, this book is providing a little insight into why I may have trouble knowing myself. 

You see? God didn't name Adam and Eve "Adam and Eve" before the fall. He didn't need to. They found their identity in Him. They knew Him intimately, and He them. They had nothing to be ashamed of; they walked with God. Who were they??? They were His. 

His creation, His beloved, His worshipers, His friends, His family, His people. And all was right with the world. 

But it didn't last. The day Eve, and then Adam, decided they wanted to be like God, they lost their identity in Him. And they no longer knew who they were anymore. They only knew their shame. And their need. Go here and read what Adam did first after being banished from the garden. (I had never noticed that before!) Adam, who had been given authority to name the animals but not his wife (that was God's job), immediately named her. There was suddenly a need for a name--now that they no longer walked hand-in-hand through the garden with their Maker. 

And, in a sense, that is where WE all are today. Because so much of our identity is found in this world, in our upbringings, in the labels people have placed on us, in the struggles we've faced, in our dreams and desires, in our reputations, and, of course, in the names given to us at birth. Yet many of us are still searching. Searching to discover WHO we really are. Why? Because apart from God, our Creator, we have no true identity. Only facades that cover up who we really are--who God created us to be. And it is only THROUGH Him and BY Him that we are truly named.

Now that I have the first four chapters under my belt, I am left with one dangling question. One I'm a little uncomfortable with. Who have I been (all this time)? Who have I been...pretending to be? Because, as Satan had hoped, the one I've pretended to be has hidden the true ME from myself. And only God can reveal her to me.

(After taking part in the Radical Read-Along, I am now reading another book along with Marla Taviano. Check it out: Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner. And I'm starting a bit late. If you know me, you are not one bit surprised by that. Now THERE'S a "given name" (earned name? whatever...) I'd like to get rid of.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project 365: Week 2

Sunday, January 2, 2011

These three girls love each other so. It's going to be sad to not have sweet, little Annie with us anymore.

Her family leaves on the 11th for Uganda.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welp. My computer officially died today. 

Notice what it says about inserting a CD-ROM? Three weeks ago the computer just suddenly "lost" the CD-ROM drive. It was nowhere to be found. I tried downloading the driver from Dell's website, but it wouldn't install because of some sort of glitch. Lovely, huh?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We dropped the kids off with my parents last night and then got up this morning to drive to New Orleans with my father-in-law, Paul's sister, and her husband. (Otherwise known as Poppy, Aunt Wendy, and Uncle Mert, respectively.) New Orleans! Yeah, baby! We set the tone for our stay by stopping off at Camellia Grill before doing anything else.  :)

Reasons to like Camellia Grill:
1. Comfort food galore
2. Très cool wait staff who banter with the customers and wear bowties
3. Pink walls
4. Quick, made-to-order food
5. Melt-in-your-mouth burgers
6. Two locations: the original (where we ate) and one in the French Quarter (so when you're hungry after a ballgame and would rather not try the food at some random bar, where you'll have to wait at least an hour for the drinkers to get up from their tables, you'll have a tried-and-true, down-home-good joint to satisfy your hunger). This is foreshadowing...

Then we checked in to our hotel, which was a couple of blocks from the Superdome. Why were we going to the Superdome? To see the Razorbacks hopefully win the Sugar Bowl!!!! 

Hootie (without his Blowfish) sang the National Anthem, but it was unimpressive, at best. The kids would have liked the indoor fireworks, though. Let me just say, the Superdome is definitely pretty.......super.

Okay. So this has nothing whatsoever to do with football, but I was quite awed by Ohio State's band!! I'm a former band geek, and I've always been the type to stay in the stands during halftime to watch the bands perform. Ohio State's band was BY FAR the best marching band I've EVER seen in my life!! 

Now back to football. In case you haven't heard, we lost. It was a heartbreaker. We looked like nervous wrecks the entire game, made bunches of mistakes, but by the end, still managed to get within a mere five points of our formidable opponent. We fans were definitely on our feet a lot. And I may never sing again, I screamed so hard. The game ended LATE, but Paul and I were hungry, so we walked through the Quarter until we found the other location of Camellia Grill. Twice in one day. It's that good. I DID order something different the second time, at least.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our second day in New Orleans started with coffee and beignets at Cafe DuMonde, though I don't eat beignets. (I know. I'm weird. I also don't like funnel cakes. So I probably need to be committed, right?) I love outdoor cafes...because of the hungry birds. That's the major draw for me. ;)

After a tiny bit of shopping for those we left behind, we took a taxi to the next food stop: Domilise's Sandwich Shop for poboys. A nice walk was just what we needed afterward. And then we took the St. Charles Streetcar back to the hotel.

We rested our bellies up a bit and then went out for dinner at La Crepe Nanou. Oh, my. It was goooooood. This was my dinner: A crepe with smoked salmon, boursin cheese, capers, and a little bit of red onion. FABulous!!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, they brought out the Creme Brulee. Mert and I shared it, and we both agreed it was the best we've ever had! That's saying something!!

After dinner we took the streetcar back to the French Quarter to visit Pat O'Brien's piano lounge. I had so. much. fun. They have dueling pianos on stage for the all-request show. It's amazing!!! Awesome musicians. They play, they sing, they do anything. Even beatboxing! I highly recommend this place. Only downside is all the smoke I had to inhale. (YUCK!) Killed my throat. (Again.)

This guy was my fave. He won me over with the harmonica on a Billy Joel song.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It was a long drive back home, but once we were home with the kids and had had our dinner, we gifted them with their surprise from us: pralines from New Orleans! Deelish!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Today was all about laundry, cleaning, and taking down the Christmas.

Saturday, January 8, 2011
"Missionary Day"

My good friend from college came for a visit with her family this morning. We haven't seen each other since her wedding day over eleven years ago. A lot has happened since then.  ;)  We packed in SO much talking in not very much time. She's the kind of friend you just pick right back up with from where you left off. It's a beautiful thing. And speaking of beautiful, her children are, too!! She and her hubby are missionaries in Germany and are in the States for five more months before going back. (They don't live near here; they were just passing through after visiting family.)

Almost immediately after our visitors left, we got ready and headed over to the Rackleys' house. They leave for Africa three days from now. It's our "last hurrah."

We miss them already.

Wow. Week 2 was a might busy. I'm actually looking forward to next week when things can get back to normal (whatever that means) with homeschool. It's high time. My post is linked up at Sara's Project 365. Happy Snowstorms!

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