Category Archives: Family

Rhythm

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Five Minute Friday
Today is my grandmother’s 89th birthday and we share a birthday, just 60 years apart. We are here celebrating with her. She is towards the end of her days, and I’m in the middle of mine; my kids are at the beginning of theirs (Lord willing). I am so thankful for the rhythm of faith and joyful service that has been passed down from my grandmother and pray that the Lord continues His grace to my children. My grandmother has loved her Lord most of the days of her life; her life has been a song of praise to her God.  In laboring to raise my own children and live led by the Spirit, I am increasingly thankful for the patterns that have been passed down to me. As the pace of her days slows, I am so blessed to realize how the rhythms of a life well-lived continue even to effect even my own children, 4 generations later

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Alloco

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IMG_4658Most people do not get super excited when they see fruit like this in the store. But I do!! These are not just old, bruised bananas, these are plantains, and they are just perfect for frying. Plantains look like bananas on steroids, but you can’t eat them raw. They are delicious cooked. I like them best when the skins are getting black and the fruit inside is turning golden. When they look like that, I have to fry them up! Where I grew up in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, fried plantains are called alloco, and you can buy them on the side of the road for a tasty snack.

So to make fried plantain, you peel the fruit by cutting off one end and pulling the skin off. Then cut the fruit across to make chunks that are about 4 inches long. The slice the chunks up lengthwise so it looks like this. Don’t slice too thinly, or you’ll get crunchy plantain, which is ok, just not as delicious. The fruit may be very slippery, so be careful. IMG_4659As you’re getting towards the end of slicing, start heating some vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. You want the oil to be about an eighth inch deep. When the oil is nice and hot, put your slices in the skillet. If the oil sizzles when you put the plantain in, then it’s hot enough. IMG_4663Let it cook on that side until the edges turn golden and flip over. Cook on that side until the fruit is turning a dark gold color. Take out and place on paper towel covered plate. Let cool! Plantains retain a lot of heat, so really make sure they’re cool enough to eat before taking a bite. Molten plantain in your mouth is not so pleasant!

IMG_4668We enjoy lots of international food around here, and I love the opportunity to expose my kids to the flavors of many of different cultures. I think it’s a great way to begin encouraging a global world view, as well as giving my kids some connectors as we pray for people all over God’s world. If you’re wanting to do the same, this is an easy recipe to use for much of West Africa and even the Caribbean.

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Ice Smashing

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Don't Just Pin It - DO it!
One of my favorite aspects of pinterest is access to fun ideas for activities for my kiddos. I like activities that are simple to set up, cheap, and fun for my boys. I had seen this pin for a huge ice block a while ago, and saved it up for the hot days of Texas summer. Since the temperature broke 100 this week, I decided to create one of my own. I basically followed her directions, except I took a few days to make the enormous ice cube, just adding water and little bugs and animals whenever I thought about it. One afternoon we were playing outside, and the boys started complaining about being hot, so I grabbed the ice block from the freezer, ran some warm water over it to pop it out of the container, and took it outside.
IMG_7063Hammers were procured and the boys went to town!
IMG_7067 IMG_7068It didn’t last very long, but they had a lot of fun whacking the ice and finding the treasures inside.
IMG_7077 IMG_7074We will for sure do this again! It’s basically free, so easy to set up, and the mess is outside! Best of all, my boys enjoyed it so much! Of course, they like anything that involves hammers and smashing stuff, and the ice is good for cooling off.

{5} Years

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My first son turned FIVE this week! I can’t believe it’s been five years since we went into the hospital as a couple and came out parents. Five years since I was shocked that they would let me go home with that little life, five years that we’ve been learning how to be a family together, five years of seeing the Lord growing Luke from a tiny baby into a strong, smart, funny boy.

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We were so blessed to get to celebrate this birthday with family and friends! Luke really enjoys the Richard Scarry Busytown books, so we had a Busytown Birthday. I had so much fun setting it up for him!

IMG_7102 IMG_7100We had animal masks for the boys and their friends, along with birthday bunting, a cardboard and peg people Busytown, and a sneaky Goldbug hiding all over the house.

IMG_7114Luke and his friends played outside. Turns out soccer is even better with animal masks! IMG_7107 They colored and hunted Goldbug, and laughed and enjoyed hotdogs and dirt cake. We are so very thankful for these young friends! We are also so thankful that Grammy and Grandpa got to come celebrate with us. What a blessing to get to share our joy together!

IMG_7116Grandaddy and Mumsi skyped from across the ocean to wish Luke a happy birthday, and he was so happy to talk to them, and very thankful for his new cowboy stuff!

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IMG_7147Luke ended his birthday exploring his new legos and enjoying time with our family.

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Luke is a wonderful big brother, he loves Levi and adores Anna. He is fast-moving and busy. He likes to be using his mind whether that’s in building something “ingenious” or doing a puzzle or learning letters and counting. He is certainly not lazy! He has been growing a lot recently in obeying and likes to help me with cleaning or putting away the dishes. He is a great memorizer! I’m always amazed at how quickly he can tuck something away in his memory! He loves spaghetti, his blankie, reading, working with Daddy, and going places or seeing friends.

Somehow, five seems like such a BIG number! Like my Luke is all of a sudden a big boy. It’s a hard reality to wrap my mind around, really. He is so precious to me, and it is such a joy to watch him learning and growing. I can get to caught up in the busy, and the crazy energy and the million questions that the days fly past, and all of sudden, he’s five and reading and riding a bike, and BIG! Some days and seasons have been really hard, but the Lord has been so gracious to bring us this far, and to teach our family so much of Himself, His forgiveness, and gracious provision!

 

Imagine

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Five Minute Friday
Looking out my window, I see two little boys, happily playing, totally absorbed in all they’re doing. They are flying spaceships, driving buses, digging roads and foundations. There are houses being built, daring ambulance rescues, and amazing feats of strength. All this in our little backyard. Their imaginations are hilarious! Their creative minds make our home a jungle of wild animals or outer space or a busy city street. They don’t need fancy toys or even lots of toys to enjoy and explore.

By their simple enjoyment, I’m reminded that I don’t need all kinds of stuff to enjoy life. It’s all in how you look at it!

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This is a prompt from the Gypsy Mama. Go check out her blog, and the other Five Minute Friday posts.

Song

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Five Minute Friday
When I was a little girl, falling asleep under a ceiling fan swirl of muggy air, listening to birds, bats, and drums, my mom or dad would come in and sing me a song. I’m pretty sure I asked for “Go, Tell it on the Mountain” and “Away in the Manger” every other day for a year. And my parents sang to me of Jesus and His balm for my soul.

When I went to boarding school, my sweet mom made me a tape. She was singing the Jesus-songs and giving them to me for comfort when I was far from home for the first time.

Now, at night, after supper, after the daily daddy wrestling-match, after teeth-brushing and washing, my little family sits on the couch and reads God’s Word. Then we sing! And we dance. Our singing is not necessarily in tune, and our dancing is certainly not ballet or even in time, but we are enthusiastic as we rejoice in the Lord, we make a glad sound to him and we move our bodies in worship. And I pray that my kiddos are comforted and strengthened by the songs of Jesus, even as I am.

This is a prompt from the Gypsy Mama. Go check out her blog, and the other Five Minute Friday posts.

A Weekend in May

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Bret & Luke
We have had a weekend of fun celebrations. We celebrated Bret’s birthday on Friday. He got special food and unique, one-of-a-kind art. I am so thankful that the Lord has given us this man to guide and shepherd our family. He is so patient, gentle, content, and kind. What a blessing!
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Bret and Anna
Our sweet girlie turned 10 months old on Saturday. Even though we don’t do anything special for month birthdays, I do want to remember. She is pulling up, crawling some and army crawling a lot, eating everything in her path. She even knows where crumbs collect and goes searching for them. Talk about motivation to keep the floor clean!
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She certainly has opinions, from delight in any animal she sees to anger at not getting something she wants. She is very willing and able to share them very audibly with us. She loves her brothers and daddy and always grins and starts excitedly babbling at them. She is sweet and happy for the most part, and such a delight to mother.
My girl
Our church had it’s 8th anniversary picnic on Sunday. I didn’t get to go because several of us were under the weather, but I did enjoy reflecting on all that the Lord has done to build up, purify, and grow His people together. I give thanks to God for the people of our church and His grace towards us shown through each other.