Monday, June 29, 2009


Last week I had the joy of having 3 extra kids around the house. I offered to watch some friends kids while the Mom and Dad were in Ethiopia picking up their new daughter. I wasn't quiet sure how the week would turn out, so I did myself a favor and treated the week like camp. We named it CAMP PEAPOD, and we had a blast.

Each day was full of fun activities and I had an organized schedule so everyone knew what was expected at each part of the day. Our daily schedule included (this is for you Tiffany)...

7:00-8:00 Rise and shine
8:00-9:00 Breakfast and get ready for swimming
9:00-11:00 morning activity (some kind of water activity - swimming at the pool, water slide...)
11:00-12:00 return from swimming and get cleaned up
12:00-1:00 prepare and eat lunch
1:00 - 2:00 rest time on beds (reading or games but no talking)
2:00 - 3:00 craft time in the basement
3:00 - 4:00 project time (we made an Ethiopian lapbook)
4:00 - 5:30 free time (this included a TV show, or free play or hand held video games)
5:30 - 6:15 dinner prep including kids helping set the table
6:30 - 7:15 dinner
7:15 - 8:00 outside play on playset or in the yard or catching fireflies (coolest part of the day)
8:00 - 8:30 group bible time and recap the day
8:30 -8:45 jammies on and tuck in
9:00 lights out

It really helped me to have a schedule and it prevented me from being on the computer or getting distracted by other time wasters. I think it helped the kids know what was expected of them too, and they knew that there were expectations of each part of the day. And to be honest, we were able to get those lights off each night by 9 (the youngest kid was 6 and everyone needed rest).

For our bible time each night, we learned a name of God and talked about how in order to praise God for who He is, we need to know His character. And these were names that all kids can relate too. Jehovah-Shammah -- The Lord is there (present). It was neat for the kids to learn that God is with their mom and dad and their new sister in Ethiopia. Jehovah -Raah -- The Lord is my Shepherd. We studied Ps. 23 and talked about how God cares for us as a shepherd cares for the sheep and comforts us. El Elyon -- The Lord Most High. God is above all and over all. He is in charge of every detail on earth and none of it is a surprise to Him. Jehova - Jireh -- The Lord who provides. God provides everything we need, including a savior. God provided the money that it took to complete this adoption for their family.

During this same time, the kids either wrote or drew a picture on a card of a favorite part of the day. That way when they get back together with their parents, they would be able to share highlights about their time apart. It also helped the kids focus on positive things and not focus on just missing their parents.

On the last day, I took the kids to a nature center and we explored around and then did some nature rubbings. I had little pieces of paper and peeled crayons and they each did 3-5 rubbings, and then we had to try and guess what they were. Even though most of them looked like a bumpy sidewalk, the kids had a good time sharing their discoveries.

Lastly...a few pictures of the week. It was a blessing to serve part of the body of Christ in this tangible way. And to see theses friendships blossom was great to witness.

Craft time
Water time
Just having fun.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

So honestly, you can't really taste the zucchini in these cookies, they are moist and have more of a cake consistency than regular chocolate chip cookies. If you don't tell your kids, they may never know that you are sneaking in a healthy veggie in their cookies.

I doubled this recipe because I had a HUGE zucchini and it was enough for a double batch. I started off by shredding the zucchini to see how much I had to work with. But here is what the recipe calls for...

1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1/2 C butter
1 C grated zucchini
2 C flour (I used fresh ground soft flour)
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1 C chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar together, combine dry ingredients, blend together and stir in zucchini and then chocolate chips. Chill dough for one hour ( I even did mine over night) and bake at 375 for 8-10 min.

I tried baking mine on a stone and then moved to parchment paper. It worked better on the paper and regular tray. And I am still getting used to my oven and it took longer than 10 min. for min. Closer to 12-14 min., but my cookies were pretty big.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We call him, HAYSTACK

We have had fun watching this little cottontail rabbit who lives outside our house. They are quiet common here and fun to spot in the yard. This one is little and seems to be a young one. We named him Haystack, he likes to sit there and be still and pretend that we can't see him.He seems to have a favorite hideout under the stairs out back. We often see him tucked under there in the shade trying to stay cool.

Our bunny Clover loves to hide under things. She isn't likely to run away, but she will burrow under just about anything to try and escape. Notice here, she could tell that someone else has been living under the stairs. Haystack, the wild bunny, is just on the other side of the stairs.

It was fun to watch how Clover suddenly turned into a hound dog and couldn't get enough sniffing of that bunny burrow. She was very interested in checking things out. She backed herself into that corner and wouldn't come out.
Since I took these pictures, we have discovered a smaller bunny who the girls think is Haystack's baby brother, we named him Cookie Dough. These little cotton tail bunnies make Clover look like a giant.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


When I mentioned earlier that Tally got to the top of the rock wall at camp the other day I didn't have pictures to show how tall it really is. On the last day of camp, I wanted to get some pictures of her next to it and express how proud I am of her.

I don't know the height of this, but when I had her stand next to it for a picture, she looked so small and fail. I love that she tried something new and dug down deep and found some determination to get all the way to the top. Let's be honest, I am not sure I could have done it. As you walk up close to it, it seems a little overwhelming.

Needless to say, I think I under estimate my kids. They often exceed my expectations.
Way to go Tally !!!!

Almost forgot to mention the balay team. Both the girls loved being part of the balay team (the ones that encourage you on and hold the ropes). What a neat lesson in life, to have your friends around you to spur you on to keep going. They also help you find the right place to put your foot and where to step. I hope my kids continue to find those "balay" kind of friends.

this and that

Just a few moments to sit and use the has been a busy week so far. Here is my crazy list of thoughts.

  • The girls had a great time last week at camp and then I forced them to rest most of the weekend to prepare for this week.
  • We have 3 extra kiddos around the house this week. I am taking car of a friends kids while they are in Ethiopia adoption their daughter. So far we are having a good time and it is going really well. I am sure they are really missing their mom and dad by now but they have been able to hold it together. Hope that continues until Friday when we head to the air port to pick them up.
  • I have been treating this week like camp with organized activities and a schedule of events. I think it helps everyone involved not just to have free time all day. Our days have been full of swimming and craft time and other things like that. I even get them to rest each day after lunch.
  • I have enjoyed trying some new things with my produce from the farm. I guess no one else had heard of the tuna on a potato. Did I scare you all off with that? Will I freak you out when I share about ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES?
  • Still so thrilled that the scooter was returned. God is so good.
  • I got some neat pictures of the kids at camp. And when I have a few seconds to myself, I will post them. Let's just say...that rock wall was TALL !!!
  • I am a month into a new exercise routine, and it is kicking my hind end into shape. I am working out like a maniac and sweating like a dog. Whew. I hope to see some great results.
  • Next week I take the kids to the ortho to be fitted for retainers and braces. Cha-ching.
  • I measured the girls the other day. They have each grown over an inch in the past 3 months. Can we say...growth spurt. I think when Tally out grows her shoes she can pass them on to Grammy. Then she will be in a women's size 9 (she is still only 10 years old). There are times I notice that she is taller than adult women.
  • We have gone 6 months with no cable TV and to be honest...I don't miss it at all. I am sure 6 months is nothing compared to some of you, but remember, my husband works in the TV industry.
Pictures coming soon...with lots of recipe posts too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Salad Spectacular (and a scooter update)

This one is a little bit of a salad stretch...but I wanted to share it anyway. And again, I am not sure what to call it. Maybe Tuna Salad Topper (maybe Chuck can help with a creative name).

I learned this from some friends that were from England. If I remember correctly, they said it was common to find a baked potato cart (like a hot dog cart) where you could put different toppings on your potato. It all sounded yummy until they mentioned tuna. That's right...TUNA SALAD on a baked potato.

Let me just say...give it a try. It is actually pretty good. Here we have a baked potato (cooked in the microwave, so it is fast and doesn't heat up the kitchen) and yummy toppings. I topped it with tuna (I like the foil package tuna flavored like herb and garlic), cheese, tomatoes and green onions.

I made this twice this week for lunch when Chuck was home. It sounds kind of odd, but it is surprisingly tasty.


And just one quick note...the scooter that was stolen last week has been found and is home. It looks like some kids took it and joy rode it (scratches all down the side). What a blessing to have this answer to prayer. Thanks for praying for us. Someone called the police after seeing it behind a vacant building here in our town. Bummer no finger prints were found on it and we don't know who took it (nor will they get punished for it). But is home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

crazy campers

Here they are showing me some kind of game they learned which requires making a mask and pinching your cheek. I think they look hysterical. I am not sure my arms bend in that way.The highlights this week have included...canoeing, riding the zip line and jumping off into the lake, archery, shooting a BB gun, and climbing the rock wall (which Tally made it to the top of).

Did you catch that list??? My little sweet girls tried all of that stuff. And if you know my kids personally, I think you would agree that they have been brave. I am so proud of them. For trying new things, for participating, for jumping in and having fun.

Not sure what to write ???

Do I share some recipe ideas that I have come up with from the fresh produce I get each week?

Do I post some cute pictures of what the girls have learned at camp?

Or do I give updates on the missing scooter?

OK....I would want to know about the scooter too. =) We thought we had a lead on the missing scooter yesterday. Chuck has been checking Craig's List from the first day to see if it might show up for sale. We have also had our eye on things for sale by the side of the road. Yesterday there was an add for a scooter for sale with no title so we hunted it down and requested some pictures.

The pictures don't match Chuck's scooter, but we will keep looking. Such a bummer. Not giving up hope yet. We kind of feel like detectives now. =)

I will post the recipes and camp updates later. Somehow, they just aren't as dramatic as hunting for the scooter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Camp

What a highlight of my watch my kids enjoy camp. There is something so very special about camp. Being part of a cabin. Singing silly songs. Swimming in a lake. Hiking in the woods. The sound of the gravel path under your sneakers as you walk to the craft tent. Being hot and sweaty and exhausted and yet not caring. No TV or video games. Mosquito bites. Bible time. What a great experience.

This week my girls are at camp. And they are having a blast. What a blessing to watch them enjoying camp as much as I did. Note to self...always find some money in the budget to get to camp each summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

count it ALL joy

I am going to count it all joy today. Even though I don't want to. Even though everything feels icky inside. As I process through the weekends events and relationship encounters. I am going to consider it all joy. Because I know that the testing of my faith produces endurance. And more than anything, I desire to glorify God in everything. In how I respond in EVERY situation.

So I am clinging to the truth of His word...I am focusing on what is...

good reputation
anything excellent
anything worthy of praise

I will dwell on these things.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Someone stole Chuck's blue Yamaha Zuma scooter out of our garage last night (got into his truck and used the garage door opener to get in). It is something in between a big moped and a small motorcycle. -- Street legal with license plate.

The police think it was likely taken by kids. If anyone in our local area see it being ridden or at a garage sale, PLEASE call the police! It's the only one like it that we've seen in this area. -- Praying friends, please pray with us that we get it back.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thanks for asking...

I would say yes again. I love you Chuck!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's get organized - kids closet edition

Though I would love to post about our daily activities with wonderful camera is having a hissy fit and I can't get it to work. I discovered this when we were letterboxing and picnicking as a family on Saturday. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was great and...I kept getting some kind of an error on my camera. So I am digging into my pictures that I have already uploaded so I can keep posting.

After moving in and unpacking, my next order of business was to organize closets. Several years ago I used my birthday money to buy some basic closet organizers. I have now used them in 3 different houses and both master bedroom closets and kid room closets. I like how you can move them from closet to closet depending on the biggest need. They have gotten a lot of wear and tear on them. To freshen up the ones that looked bad, I used white contact paper to cover them up. It worked wonders and rather than tossing them out and getting new ones, we can refurbish the old.
These are really intended for shoes but they fit will with bins on them like shelves. Again...I always start the same way. Pull it all out, make piles of like items and then find some kind of container to hold the items. And of course...label with my handy dandy label maker.

I used to really like the white bins but my new favorite is the clear bins with attached lids. I love how you can see the items. Notice Tally's rock collection (I had one and my grandmother had a HUGE rock collection, guess it runs in the family). If I run out of containers, I use shoe boxes. Sometimes I cover them with contact paper. Great way to reuse what you have.
Rather than let the kids keep their own toys in their own spaces, I make them put them all together. Then each child keeps different toys in their space. For example, Tissy keeps the baby dolls in her room and Tally keeps the puppets. It helps with sharing everything - like family property.

This is one of Tissy's closets (her room also has a linen closet in it). I used to have these shelves for clothes in my closet, but let's be honest...I am not into clothes so I put them to better use. I love how they look like cubbies. Tissy loves to organize and keep things tidy. A girl after my own heart.

Here is the linen closet in Tissy's room. We are using it for toys right now. For large items like the baby dolls, I find laundry baskets work well. If you don't have a closet to use for storage, under the bed works great. In our last place we used these bins under her bed and she could slide them out when she wanted to play with certain toys. Notice my cardboard box that says doesn't have to be fancy. That kind of container works well too, as long as our things have a place.

Happy organizing - what a great way to spend a summer day...getting tidy. =)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer day...good book...beautiful spot...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Salad Spectacular

Wanted to pass on a recipe (that I kind of made up) for a warm salad. Not sure quite what to call it, I should ask Chuck to come up with a good name, he is creative. This idea came from trying to mix up some of our produce from our crop share program that I mentioned earlier. One of the reasons I wanted to do this crop share, was to force me to widen my recipe repertoire.

I made some bow tie pasta to use as a main filler (to make the meal stretch).

I cooked up some red potatoes and green onions with oil (or butter) and tossed with fresh rosemary. To make this go a little faster I cooked them in the microwave for a few min. (They almost had the consistency of breakfast potatoes).
I add these to toasted pine nuts, raisins, and a diced cooked chicken breast, cooked broccoli (or asparagus). Then I added fresh greens and tossed with olive oil and grated fresh Parmesan cheese.

I have made this a few times now and everyone seems to love it. I think the pine nuts really make it taste great. Hope you are inspired.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

enjoying the play set

We finally got our play set up and the girls have been enjoying it so much. We have had this play set for 5 years. We have had it at 3 houses now. After much hunting, we decided to go for the Rainbow play set and it has been a good investment. I'll be honest, they aren't cheap, but they come with a really good warranty. When we were moving this last time, we took it apart in just a few major parts and loaded onto the truck in big pieces. We had to order a lot of replacement wood to take care of the rotten areas. After the replacement wood arrived (under warranty) we hired the local Rainbow play set place to come and replace all the wood and put it back together.

I had no idea they had to take almost every piece apart and put it back together again. I think it was worth hiring the professional on this one. It looks like a huge puzzle with no picture to follow.

Most of the wood is new. After being in a REALLY humid area, a lot of it was rotten and needed to be replaced. I have been impressed with Rainbow and how they stand behind these products. It has been a joy to work with them.

Can you believe it is 5 years old??? It looks practically brand new. We were able to find a spot in the yard that gets afternoon shade from a hack berry tree. The girls have really enjoyed playing out there and the neighborhood kids have been over to play a few times too.

This is one of my favorites...a new place to read.Sorry for the lack of posts here in the Peapod. We have been busy and today's activities included checking out a dentist, orthodontist and getting 2 teeth pulled for Tissy. Prayers appreciated for my little one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Is it summer yet?

Because I don't have the energy to finish our last 2 official days to make it to 180 days of school. The weather is sunny and warm and beautiful. The play set if finally up and they girls want to play on it instead of do school. The neighborhood pool is open and it is only open through the summer, so I think we should swim instead of do math facts. And we are having fun letterboxing in our new area (it is more fun than phonics and language arts).

I feel like throwing responsibility out the window and just have a little fun instead. See ya later...we are off to the park.