"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

John 10:10

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cinnamon crackle cookies

These cookies taste like Christmas.  They are excellent dipped in coffee or hot chocolate.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars.  Add the egg and extracts; mix well.  Combine the next eight ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Madeline

Earlier this week Madeline and I left Daddy with the little girls, and snuck out for some time to ourselves.  We perused Barnes and Noble, drank some hot chocolate, and did some Christmas shopping.  It was just what we needed. 

One of the most amazing things about Madeline is how thoughtful she is.  Sometimes when I'm trying to think of a gift for someone I will ask Madeline if she has any ideas.  She usually has some fantastic ideas because she is so considerate. 

On our night out together we were looking for a gift for my cousin Kaylissa.  Kaylissa is a year older than Madeline, and they are great friends.  Whenever they see each other they give each other a big hug.  Madeline didn't want to get Kaylissa just anything.  She wanted to get her something that Kaylissa would love.  She wanted to get her something that showed Kayli how much Madeline loves her.  I'm not going to share the secret of what we bought, but we think Kayli will be excited.

About a month ago, I found Madeline and Lydia in their room together, scheming about what to get me for Christmas.  They had their own money, looking through a catalog of things they know I love.  How sweet is that?  That is my Madeline!   

Here she is on our first day of school in our new house.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The moving saga

It has been a jam packed couple of weeks around here, both physically and emotionally.  Moving is hard work. Pretty much everything has gone well and I love our new home.  If you would like the whole story, grab a mug of hot chocolate and get cozy. 

I am not an overly emotional person and do not cry very often.  Last week, I cried at some point during the first four days of the week.  Through our previous moves, I found that I emotionally checked out of the place before we actually left.  This time, I was "in" Iowa until we physically arrived in Nebraska.  Sunday was our last day at Westkirk, and we enjoyed a fabulous supper with some of our small group friends that night.  Leaving our wonderful church family made me cry.  Monday the movers came to pack up all our things.  The boxed up house where so many good memories had been made caused me to cry.  Tuesday was our last day at our Des Moines Classical Conversations community.  I cried because I was leaving a group that helped me to discover what I want our homeschooling family to look like.  When we got home from CC, all of our things were loaded on the truck.  We finished cleaning and took off for Nebraska.

On Wednesday, Anna, Cora and I were relaxing in our hotel room before closing on our new house.  Cora was on the bed with me.  She climbed over to the side of the bed, reached for the light, and fell.  There was a small gap between the bed and nightstand that she fell in to after hitting the nightstand.  She was immediately screaming and bleeding.  She bit the inside of her mouth pretty bad, and had a fairly deep cut on the outside right below her lip.  This was new territory for me.  We are on our fourth child but have never been to the emergency room, had any broken bones or stitches.  What do I do?  Call my husband.  Mark found an urgent care close to his office where he met us.  The doctor decided we would need to stitch the outside cut up.  The worst part of the whole ordeal is that they had to strap her down to do the stitching.  They put her on a papoose board, strapped her arms and legs down, and held her down.  Mark held her hand while I cried on the other side of the room.  When Cora got done, the first words out of her mouth were a shaky "Good Job." with a high five.  We made it to our house closing a half hour later with a very swollen lipped Cora.

She's a tough cookie.
Thursday was move in day.  We had an excellent unloading crew that got done about 1:30.  Mark and I got right to work unpacking our bedroom and kitchen.  As I was moving around a box in our closet, I felt my knee twist.  It felt like my body went one way but my knee went the other.  It hurt, but was not excruciating.  The rest of the day I was a little slow.

Friday the unpacking people came.  They take everything out of boxes and put it on a flat surface, either a floor, counter top, or shelf.  The best part is that they take all the boxes and paper away.  This was a great help, although a bit discouraging to see our house a big pile of "stuff" needing to be dealt with. The worst was the play room.  Our play room was by no means perfectly organized, but it did have a rhyme and reason to the madness.  However, it seems that they packed it up by just dumping everything in to a few boxes.  Do not worry about leaving all the doll materials that were in a container together.  Forget keeping all the pretend food in its original container.  Just dump it.  The unpacking was similar:  dump everything from the said boxes in to a big pile on the floor.   It seems that Santa's sleigh had some mechanical problems, made a dive, and spilled over on to our basement floor.

When I woke up Friday morning, my knee did not feel good.  As I went through the day it got worse so that by Friday afternoon, I was dragging it up and down stairs and really moving slow.  People, this is not good for a mama bird who just wants to feather her 2 story with a full basement nest.

Thankfully, Mark's mom got here Friday afternoon.  She was a huge help with the girls, and brought us food for the next couple days.  Praise the Lord.  She stayed until Sunday morning.  Sunday afternoon, my parents got here.  Praise the Lord.  They have been painting, feeding us, and loving on us since then.  My mom is a crazy good and fast painter.  She gets really excited about it, so we are more than happy to let her paint.  She and my dad painted the piano room, front entry, and halls up through the second floor.  I cannot tell you how big of a help this has been, especially with my knee all whacked out.  Papa and Nana left this afternoon.  We considered slashing their tires so they couldn't escape.
Sunday we attended  a good church.  I think we'll visit again.  We met two families there after church.  One family had four girls, very closely lined up in age with our girls.  The other family is a homeschooling family who follows the classical model similar to us.  Thank you, Lord, for your providential hand.

It seems like the girls are handling everything as well as can be expected.  It is a hard move for Madeline, but we talk about how it is always best to do what God wants for us even if it is not something we would selfishly want.  This is a difficult lesson for an 8 year old, not to mention a 30 something year old.  Lydia has cried a couple of times for her friends in Iowa, even though we would not have seen them any sooner if we were in Iowa.  Anna is thoroughly confused.  She referred to the hotel we have stayed at when we've been here during the transition time as "Nebraska,"  and said she wanted to go back to Nebraska.  She asked just the other day how many days we are going to be staying here.  On Sunday she said that we were leaving Nelda's (our real estate agent) house when we left our house for church.  I don't blame her for being confused. 

We have made significant progress toward making this our home in the last few days.  The guest room is the only area that needs a lot of attention yet.  Then, it will be another sweep through the whole house to put away the mess of incidentals.  My knee felt better yesterday.  Today, I can walk up and down stairs almost normal with using hand support on the walls.  It gets worse throughout the day, but I can feel definite improvement and have hopes of running up and down the stairs again some day. 

Now, for a preview of some of my favorite parts of our new home:

 The Mud Room.  
Oh, man.  I love this. 

The Laundry Room.  
On the top floor, right next to the bedrooms.  With brand new fancy pants washing machine and dryer.  I love this beautiful sight more than a pair of shiny diamond earrings.  (Not that shiny diamond earrings would be bad.)  I may have to buy a stair master to replace all the exercise I got carrying loads of laundry from the basement to the top floor in our last house. 

 My Big Bath Tub.  
Ahhhh. It is calling my name.

The Home School Area.  
All the books and supplies are contained in one area, with plenty of space for mroe books.  
This makes my heart go pitter patter. 

Thank you to my hard working husband for providing above and beyond our needs.  He spoils me rotten.  There are other beautiful things about this house that I'll share with you later.  But for now, these practical areas are shouting my love language. 

I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.