CLICK HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF FREE BLOGGER TEMPLATES »

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another First

Yikes! I just noticed that I haven't published anything for about 6 weeks! Mom, I am so sorry! But at least you have seen us a couple times recently, so you aren't COMPLETELY grandchild deprived.

Anyway...for everyone else, now, I have to tell you about another first that happened today...and this time it is not about Jacob but is about Samantha instead. I made an appointment for Jacob to get his haircut because it was getting quite long and his curls were REALLY showing up. Brent had been threatening to just buzz his hair, so I made the appointment.

When we were getting ready to leave the house, Samantha said that she wants to get her hair cut, also. I told her that we could ask Ms. Sherri if she has time or not, and that if she does, then we will get it cut, but if she doesn't then we would have to try again another time. Well, Sherri did have time, so at 3 years 8 months and 8 days of age, Samantha got her first haircut. She was so excited and sat very still for Ms Sherri. She said that she really liked getting her hair cut and she wants to do it again. We may have created a monster! But at least her hair really does look cute...at least for today, we'll see how it looks when it is my tunr to fix it tomorrow!

There were supposed to be picures attached to this post...but something is wrong. I have tried 3 times to uplaod the pictures and it keeps coming up with an internal error and therefore my pics are not publishing. I will put them on facebook, so that until this problem is resolved, you can still see the pics.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Choices, Choices

Our new house is coming along very nicely and quickly, too. There is currently brick sitting in the yard, and the rock will also be there in a few days. The sheetrock is up, and I believe there is texture on the walls. The cabinets are set to go in the beginning of next week, and we should be done 30-45 days after that.

So now we are in the make TONS of decisions stage. I never thought about how many things there are to choose when building a house, AFTER choosing a floor plan, that is. Shingles, brick, rock, exterior paint, windows, doors, door knobs, cabinets, countertops...both bathroom and kitchen, floor tile, backsplash tile, the rest of the flooring, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, appliances, interior paint, and I don't think I have even come close to naming it all!

Yesterday, the kids and I drove to Belton to look at granite for the kitchen countertops and brought home four samples to look at with Brent, hoping that he would like at least one of them. Before starting this housebuilding process, I had no idea how very different our taste tends to be. For example, when we started talking about appliances, he asked if I wanted stainless or black. I said "NOT black, either white or stainless." He waited a while and then said, do you REALLY want white appliances?" I told him I hadn't decided for sure, but maybe. I asked if he didn't like that and he said that he thinks that white appliances look cheap. So we went with the middle ground.

I am learning all about how to make decisions together peacefully with Brent, how to not get my way all the time, how to compromise. Hopefully we will continue to use these newly refined skills with one another in other areas of our life.Some of the samples we are currently looking at for bathroom counters, kitchen counter and flooring. (Since taking this picture, we have chosen the granite for the kitchen and the marble for the bathroom. Our granite is the largest piece, on the far right of the picture, called ornamental brown. The picture doesn't come close to doing it justice. And the marble is the very top piece in the picture. This picture makes it look yellowish, but it isn't at all.Jacob is fascinated by all the samples we bring home. Apparently he wants to help in the decision making process.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Busy and Social Bees

This summer has been just flying by! We have been very busy and have been enjoying ourselves tremendously. We had our VBS here in Clifton. We had Benjamin with us for 2 weeks and one of those weeks we spent at the beach and in College Station. The day that Benjamin left, we went to Dallas to go to the Prestoncrest VBS where I taught 3rd grade, Samantha had a blast and Jacob didn't spend all of his days in misery...just most of them. (I really felt bad for poor Ms. Leslie and her helpers who had to listen to him cry for most of the week.) I have all kinds of things to write about...such as finishing Jacob's 18 month post and actually posting it, writing about his first haircut, our beach vacation, 2 different VBS programs, etc, but for today, I am talking about making new friends.

We came back home after VBS and had a few days off, then Samantha started swimming lessons. (I will give you a post just about the swimming lessons later, too.) Those swimming lessons have been almost the best thing that has happened since we moved here! I am SOO glad that she was allowed to participate even though she is 3.5 and not 4. Not only did she make great progress, but we made friends!

You see, earlier in the summer...maybe about a month ago, I met a couple of ladies at the pool one day. They said that they have a playgroup and got my phone number and e-mail address and told me that they would let me know the next time they were doing something. On the first day of swimming lessons, I saw one of them, Amanda, again. Her younger daughter, who is about 6 months older than Samantha, was placed in the same class that Samantha was. So when we came back for the second day, Amanda and I talked during the lessons and Jacob and her older daughter played in the baby pool. Then during her older daughter's lesson, we stayed and the younger daughter played with both Jacob and Samantha. And the 3 girls were suddenly fast friends. Each day after swim lessons, they don't want to leave because they like playing together so much. And I really enjoyed spending time with and talking to Amanda.

They had a play group this past Tuesday afternoon, so after swim lessons, we went to Amanda's house and had lunch, then followed her out to another lady's house for the playgroup...which was an afternoon in the pool at Jill's house.





I met a bunch more ladies, and really enjoyed getting to know them. They are all so nice and so friendly! One of the ladies told me that they started the playgroup a few years ago because there were two of them who could not seem to find a friend when they moved to town...then they met each other. And now whenever anyone in the group meets someone new, the new person is invited to be part of the group as well, because they don't want someone else being as lonely as they were. It already feels like I am part of a group now, and although the individuals may be different each time, I think we will be able to find someone to do things with us fairly regularly. And they have a FB group, which I have been added to as well. That makes planning times and things for getting together VERY easy.

Then on Wednesday, we went by our new house, and met some more neighbors while we were there. They have a daughter about 6 months older than Samantha, a son about 6 months younger than Jacob, and a brand new baby. And they were also very nice and friendly. Our girls really enjoyed each other's company and were sad to say goodbye when we headed home for the night. We promised them that they would get to play together frequently once the house is finished.

Then some ladies from the playgroup decided to come to the pool on Friday for the afternoon. So I brought our lunch for the last day of swim lessons and my kids and I just stayed through all 3 classes of swim lessons, then got out and ate lunch during the 30 minutes that we had to wait for the pool to open. We were at the pool from 9:20am until 4:00pm. That was CRAZY! But we had a great time and once again I got to talk to people more and make more friends. And Samantha decided that she would rather jump into the pool to Amanda than me, and Jacob cried when Amanda tried to give him back to me, then stopped crying when she held him again...so I know that my kids are happy with our new friends, too.

I have to say...I am exhausted after the week and a half of swim lessons and I am grateful that they are over...but I am so glad that we went and had so many days in a row of making new friends and spending time with them!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Day of Swimming Lessons

Samantha had her first day of swim lessons yesterday...and I missed it. Yes, I am completely serious. You see, swim lessons were supposed to start at 9:30 and I needed to meet with the cabinet guy at our new house at 10. So I called a friend from church and she came to be with Samantha at the pool. When I left the pool at 9:45, they were just beginning to get in the water. Then when I got back at 10:40, Samantha was already done and getting dressed. They told me that she did great, and she was excited to tell me so herself. I did get a couple of pictures as they were beginning to get into the pool...and you can bet I will be taking more today since I will be there for the entire lesson!



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Morning Visitor

We had a new visitor this morning. When we looked out the kitchen window we saw a grey fox just looking around and sunning itself. It stayed around long enough for me to get the camera out and take several pictures through the window (hence the noise in the pictures, the screen was between the fox and me and I couldn't get quite close enough to the window to make it disappear) then it calmly walked up the road to Charles and Ginger's house, went across their carport and into the trees in their front yard. This is definitely one of the bonuses to living in the country. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

First Haircut

Someone got a first haircut today. Any guesses who that might be?

Yes, this curly head needed a trim pretty desperately so that he wouldn't start being mistaken for a little girl.



I must admit...I think it is COMPLETELY unfair that my boy is the one with the thick hair and curls...that must be cut off...and my girl has thin, very fine hair without curls...and she still hasn't had her hair grow enough...at 3.5...to have a haircut yet.

Since we were in San Angelo to pick Benjamin up, we took Jacob to Sports Clips. Kathy had occassionally taken Benjamin there and they do many 1st haircuts, so we decided to try it with Jacob. It turned out to be a good choice. The lady cutting his hair worked so well with him!

He had to sit on Grandma's lap because he started screaming as soon as I tried to put him in the chair. Even in her lap, he was still a little unsure about the whole thing, but he did stop fussing.

The first cut...and she even had an envelope ready for me to place that first lock of hair into.



The end of his "mohawk"...I wonder if Samantha will miss seeing it during bathtime.

She even managed to get Jacob to let her use the trimmer. She started by letting him feel it on his hand, then when he was used to the sound and the vibration, she moved to his hair...and it worked great!

Almost done now.

What a handsome little boy! There will be NO mistaking him for a girl now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weird Storm and Blech!

We had a crazy storm last night. Lots of thunder and lightning, and some rain. The kids both woke up crying, but fell back asleep when I stayed in their room for a while. It didn't sound like it was very windy, but then this morning, this is what we found.
The bird feeders were still right where they started, but a limb was blown out of the tree they hang from.

The gate was ripped off it's hinges, but the fence was not damaged at all.

The plastic swimming pool (which was empty, and therefor very light) was right where we left it, but the trampoline was upside down and across the field.

And unless it is safe to weld a trampoline back together, I am afraid that we no longer have a trampoline...blech!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting Started



Monday, June 6, 2011

Blessings?

A couple months ago, Brent and I were talking about blessings, or, more specifically, how we say that we are blessed when something good happens or when something goes our way.

I had been thinking...and mentioned to Brent, that if that is the case, if we say that God is faithful, that he has blessed us, when good things happen or when we barely miss being in a wreck or when someone we love is healed, what does that mean for someone that didn't have those same things happen?

Does that mean that God didn't bless my friend whose baby died? Did he choose not to bless my friend whose husband was unfaithful and left her, then took custody of their children and who then found out she had cancer? Did he decide not to bless the woman whose husband died of cancer and who was left to raise two young children on her own? And if he didn't, why didn't he?

And if I say that I have been blessed with the good things that happen or the bad things that are avoided, what does that say to the person who is enduring hardship or tragedy? What does it say to the person who didn't have that good thing happen in their life? Am I being sensitive to their needs and feelings? Am I, in essence, rubbing their face in their lack of blessing?

How is this seeming randomness of blessings possible with a just and loving God?

Yes, I know, we live in a world that is fallen, that is affected by sin, in which people choose to ignore God and choose to hurt others...but I still struggle with this whole idea of blessing. I cannot understand how God chooses, even, or maybe especially, among people who are faithful, who to bless and who not to bless on earth. I have been completely unable to wrap my mind around this concept. Something is just not right to my way of thinking. Am I missing something? Or do I just not understand God? (Of course the answer is that I don't understand God, no one does, but what I guess what I mean is really "Is what understanding that I do have of God actually that flawed?")

These are things that I have been wrestling with in my mind for a while.

Then about a month ago, I read this blog post, by a woman whose husband suddenly died while she was pregnant with their 3rd child, with a link to Laura Story's song called "Blessings" in it. Then I heard the song on the radio last week. Then last Sunday, in Bible class, our preacher referred to someone commenting that God is faithful after his wife was unharmed during a terrible storm in which many lost their lives. And he mentioned that he wonders what that says to all the people who lost their loved ones. And that made me think about the whole blessings disconnect again. Then I saw a link to the same song on another blog. And now I have been hearing the song nearly every time I get in the car. It's like this song is knocking at my heart to tell me something. Or maybe God is using it to try to teach me something.


Lyrics:
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,
It's not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise



So I read the lyrics again. And after I listened to the song again, I listened to a couple of videos in which the singer/writer is talking about where the song comes from and what it means.

Talking about the song


Talking about the album


And I wrote down this statement that Laura made. "Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances that we don't understand, or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God?" Wow. That most definitely takes some thinking about.

Then I also saw a different blog post, with a link to a speaker, Francis Chan, speaking on a completely different topic, but also saying some of the same sort of things about our not understanding God...that we don't have all the answers. That maybe God knows something that we don't. It gave me even more to think about.


And I have begun to wonder...maybe the blessings are not the things we have, the circumstances that surround us, the requests that are granted, but maybe the blessing is simply being God's child and having him love and comfort us. Maybe it is his faithfulness in never leaving us, and always remaining where we can return to him no matter how often we walk away and no matter how long we are gone from him. Or maybe it is a little of everything. I have a feeling that I will be continuing to ponder this for some time to come.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I've known for a while that Cori's time on earth would be coming to an end before too terribly much longer, and I tried to be mentally prepared for that to happen. But I don't think there is any way that you can really be ready for the loss.

Two weeks ago, she was doing great for a 16 year old dog. You would never guess how old she really was. But then, about a week ago, she stopped eating much at all. She got very skinny and started moving much more slowly. Late Friday afternoon, I started wondering if I should have taken her to the vet earlier that day. Then she seemed to do a bit better...until this morning, that is.

This morning, she had a very hard time getting up, she had a very hard time walking, and while she was trying to stand to drink her water, her back legs could not support her and she fell. I brought her into the house and tried to give her water in a bowl. She could not support herself enough to drink it, but she was thirsty. I gave her water from my hand and she lapped it up over and over, then drank what I had accidentally spilled on the floor as she laid beside it. She did manage to stand up and walk around again for a little bit, but her legs were quickly giving out again. I called the vet and they told me to bring her in at 3.

I was hoping for the vet to be able to give me a miracle, but I was fully expecting that Cori would not be coming home. So I started preparing Samantha for that likelihood. She understands, at least as much as a 3 year old can...and we just had the same type of conversation a few days ago about Grammy. So when I told her that Cori is very old and very sick and she might die very soon, Samantha told me that she will go to heaven and be happy, but that we will be sad. I told her that is right.

I kept Cori in the house and she finally got over being nervous and laid on one of the towels I put down for her. Samantha had been wanting to pet her, but I had Samantha stay away since Cori was already nervous and the kids quick movements tend to make her a little nervous anyway. When she finally settled down, I let Samantha come over to pet her, though. Cori enjoyed the extra attention and laid her head down in Samantha's lap. Samantha sat still with Cori, just gently petting her, for quite a long time for a three year old.

Pat came over to watch the kids for me, because I knew that there was no way that I could take them with me to the vet's office if Cori wasn't going to be coming home. And even if she were coming home, it would be very hard to manage getting her and the kids into the office when she is having so much trouble getting up and walking. Pat also said that they can help me bury her if need be. I am so grateful for good neighbors and friends!


At the vet's office, the vet said that we could do some testing and see if Cori was well enough to try some anti-inflammatory medicine and that might help her (he said that if she is strong enough to take them, it was a 50-50 chance of them helping her), and we might have another 3-6 months with her then. But he also said that with her eating problems and the huge amount of weight that she had lost, that it was very likely that there was something else going on. He talked about people wanting to do everything possible to help their pets, but that you also have to weigh the possibility that you would just be making things worse by prolonging the misery.

When I made the decision to let Cori go, he told me that he thought that I was doing the right thing, that he would make the same decision at this point if she were his dog. It was so hard. It was so hard to say goodbye, it was so hard to be alone there in the office. I sobbed as I told him my decision. I had silent tears rolling down my face while I held her and loved on her as they prepared the shot. I cried as I held her and petted her while he gave her the shot. And I sobbed very loudly when the vet told me her heart had stopped. Later, I felt like I should be apologizing to all the people who had to listen to me, but then, I just didn't care. I did not want to lose Cori. It turns out I wasn't nearly as ready to say goodbye as I thought I was.

I got home just a few minutes before Brent did, so when he got home, we got the kids ready to go and then went on to Glenn and Pat's house. Pat suggested burying her near their front gate and I chose a shady spot between two trees. Glen dug a hole with the front loader and while he was doing that I had to answer Samantha's questions about what we were doing. I explained that even though Cori died, her body is still here and needs to be buried. Samantha said that Cori is in heaven and she is happy. I told her that is right. She said that we are sad, though. I told her that is right. And she asked again what we are doing. This time I told her that even though Cori is in heaven, it looks like she is still here because her body is here and we need to bury her body. She didn't say anything else. I fully expect the same questions again in the days to come. Because, really, how on earth can a three year old understand these things.

After that, I was doing better for a while. Until we came home and there was no Cori to greet us. Samantha asked what was wrong when I started crying again. Brent and I told her that I am sad because I miss Cori. Samantha said that she is sad and misses Cori, too. This really stinks. This is so hard. I miss Cori. Samantha misses Cori. And somehow, I have to be together enough to not worry my kids or magnify Samantha's feelings.

She was such a good dog. She was patient with the kids and loved them. She was never jealous, even though she was nearly 13 when Samantha was born. She was so happy here in the country. I am glad that we moved here before she died, and that she had nearly a year of enjoying living here. She loved to walk with us and gave the kids lots of kisses. For that matter, she tried to give everyone lots of kisses. Samantha always told people "Cori is a wicky (how she says licky) dog." She chased squirrels and sometimes barked at the birds, but left all the other animals alone. She always met us at the door when we went outside. I miss my Cori.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

How the babies amuse themselves while I am cooking...or why the dishwasher will be running all. day. long.


Stupid Question

On Friday afternoon, we went to the nursing home again. Mary was there and when she saw me she asked how I am. I replied that I am good, then asked her "How are you?"

I immediately began kicking myself mentally. I mean, seriously...how can she answer that question? Her mother is dying and I ask how are you. It is pretty obvious that things stink for her right now, and we don't have a close enough relationship for her to answer with anything other than the socially acceptable "Fine." So basically, by asking that question, I am either asking her to lie to me or I am saying that I really don't care. And neither of those is what I intended, but I just didn't stop to think. I didn't measure my words before allowing them to leave my mouth.

Thankfully, she just didn't answer.

I wonder how it has become so ingrained in me that my answer is almost always just "good" when someone asks that question. And I wonder why I ask it back even when I know that the answer is "Life really stinks right now," and I also know that the person I am talking to is not comfortable enough with me to tell me how he/she is really doing. Have I become so insensitive to people's feelings and needs? It would seem that the answer right now is yes. Rather than stopping to think and really communicate with others, I go on autopilot and just say what is habit. It looks like I have some serious work to do.

And now, I will go try to remove my foot from my mouth.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Unexpected Peace

Brent called me on Tuesday afternoon and told me that Grammy (his paternal grandmother and only living grandparent) had taken a sudden, bad turn, and that she may only live another couple of days. He left work early and went to the nursing home to be with her and his parents. I waited until the kids woke up and they stayed with Aunt Ginger while I went to the nursing home. I started preparing Samantha for my being gone for a few hours, and told her that Grammy is very sick and will be going to heaven soon. I said that she and Jacob would stay with Aunt Ginger while I am at Grammy's house. She was completely fine with everything. I took the kids over to Ginger and told her that I had talked to Samantha about what is going one. As we were talking, with Samantha right beside us, Ginger looked over and said "Grammy needs..." and before she could finish the sentence with "her family around her," Samantha inserted "...to go to heaven." I smiled and told Samantha that she is right, and that Grammy will be happy and will not be sick as soon as she is in heaven with Jesus. My sweet 3 year old daughter gave me an unexpected moment of peace.

By the time I got to the nursing home, only Brent and his mom were there because his dad had to go get some work done. Brent left to go to Waco after I had been there for a while and his mom and I sat quietly some and we talked some. We held Grammy's hands when she woke up, and Mom called the nurse when she seemed to be in pain. I left at 6:45 to go home and put the kids to bed. I was grateful for the time I could be there. And I am grateful for my mother-in-law, who has such a caring heart, and who takes care of what and who needs to be taken care of all the time.

On Wednesday, Brent went straight to the nursing home from work. The kids and I met him in town for dinner and then they and I went on to church while Brent went back to the nursing home. After church, Brent took the kids home and I stayed at the nursing home. I had planned to stay quite late, but Dad convinced me that it was not neccessary, that the nurses would be in to check on Grammy very regularly and that they could give her pain medicine as often as once per hour if need be. I still stayed for a while, though. She was sleeping so peacefully, unlike the day before. I worked on my quilting, I sang songs to Grammy, and I sat quietly watching her. It was a time of unexpected peace and blessing for me in the midst of heartache and grief.

On Thursday afternoon I took the kids to the nursing home to visit a little. When we arrived, the rest of the family told me that Grammy's condition had progressed and that she was not expected to live through the day. There were quite a few family members there, so with the crowded area and the kids having been cooped up for a while, it was time for them to go home. I told Staci that she could stay and I would take the kids to my house, but that first I wanted to take Samantha in to see Grammy.

Every time we have visited Grammy in the past, we have asked Samantha to sing to Grammy. But she never would. I asked again as we sat beside Grammy's bed, and Samantha said no. I told her that I would sing with her, but she still said no as she nervously looked at the other people in the room. I told her that this will be her last chance to sing to Grammy, because she will be in heaven very soon...and she said yes. She sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Sweet Sweet Spirit" I sort of sang with her as tears rolled down my face. Then she gave Grammy a kiss and we said goodbye. It was bittersweet moment. It was also a moment of peace.

This watching and waiting really stinks. We know that the end of Grammy's life on earth is coming. We know that it will be fairly soon but we don't know when. Each day we wake up in the morning wondering if Grammy is still alive, wondering if today is the day. This is hard! I am grateful that in the middle of the waiting, of the uncertain grieving, that we have these moments of peace.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls


Yesterday I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls. I scoured several cookbooks and didn't find a single recipe that was exactly what I wanted, so I ended up making the dough from the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book, and then just made up the filling and glaze on my own.

I accidentally made a double batch of dough, because I was looking at the wrong side of the page when I put the milk in the pan, and I added 2 cups rather than one. I decided that I would make kolaches with the extra portion, but then when it came time to make the rolls, I forgot about doing that and just made a massive quantity of cinnamon rolls. After we ate the rolls this morning, though, I decided that the dough really would be perfect for kolaches, so you can expect to see something about how that goes before too much longer. :)

Here's how we got our results.

Dough:
4.75- 5.25 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
small amount of half and half or light cream (I used heavy cream because that's what I had in the fridge)

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2.25 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan, heat and stir the milk, butter, granulated sugar and salt until just warm (120-130F) and the butter almost melts. Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture, along with the eggs. (The directions now say to mix with an electric mixer for 30 seconds, then beat in as much of the remaining flour as you can...but I don't do that) Mix well. Add most of the remaining flour, about 1 cup at a time, until you can no longer mix with a spoon.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch dough down and then turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half, cover and let rest for about 10 minutes. Lightly grease baking sheets. Roll each half of the dough into a 12X8 inch rectangle. (I completely ignore the dimensions and just roll until it looks good to me...this usually means that I roll it out to a larger size than the recipe calls for.)

Spread filling over the rectangle, then roll up, jelly roll style from the long side and seal seams. Slice each roll into approximately 1 to 1.5 inch pieces and place on prepared baking sheets.

Filling:
I actually did 3 different fillings, one with raisins, one with cream cheese and one that was just cinnamon. I mixed granulated sugar with cinnamon until I liked the color of it. On the rolled out dough, I spread very soft butter, then heavily sprinkled the cinnamon sugar mixture over it. One I left like that and rolled up, and the other I added raisins to before rolling. The cream cheese rolls had cream cheese rather than butter, and I put a much heavier coat of cream cheese than I did butter.

After adding the filling and putting the rolls on the baking sheets, you can let the rolls rise for 30 minutes, then bake. However, since I wanted them for breakfast and didn't want to start cooking at midnight, I made the rolls yesterday afternoon, placed them on the baking sheets, covered loosely with saran wrap and put them in the refrigerator overnight. This morning, I took them out of the oven, let them sit out for 30 minutes. Just before putting them in the oven, I brushed the dough with the cream and then baked at 375F for about 20 minutes.

Glaze:
While the rolls were baking, Samantha and I made the glaze. I have to warn you, I didn't measure anything. I put some cream cheese in a bowl and microwaved it until it was super soft...almost liquid. I splashed some vanilla into the bowl and stirred it up, then started adding powdered sugar. I added a splash of whole milk, then kept adding powdered sugar until it was a good consistency for glazing the warm rolls.

When the rolls were done baking, I immediately moved them, one by one, to a platter or a clean baking dish. This step is VERY important, I almost didn't do it. The only reason I did is that the baking sheet didn't have edges on 2 sides and I didn't want to have the glaze dripping all over the place. I am so glad that I did move them, because I used a large baking sheet and by the time I got to the last quarter of the rolls, they were sticking very badly. Next time, I will use smaller baking sheets and just bake more batches so that the rolls don't have time to cool too much and get stuck before I get to the end of the sheet. As soon as the rolls were on their new container, we put the glaze over the tops by drizzling with a spoon or fork. Since the rolls were still warm, the glaze spread perfectly.
And they sure were yummy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Letting Go

If you don't know, I am usually a pretty laid back person. Unless it is about something big, and then I really want to be in control. I want things to go according to plan, and I don't want that plan to be changed mid-stream. Letting go of that control is hard for me. It doesn't happen very often. And I am not in my comfort zone when it does.

Brent and I have a very important decision to make. We have been trying to make it for more than a year, and we just can't decide what to do. He has one idea. I have another. And no amount of talking about it has changed either of our minds. It is so hard, for both of us, to be on completely opposite pages about this.

A few months ago, after another failed attempt of each of us to change the others mind, and many tears on my part, I was praying for God to show us a way through this. For Him to help us make a good decision.

After several days of praying about this almost constantly, I finally heard an answer. It was NOT an answer that I liked. I continued to pray, and I continued to hear the same answer. I heard that I need to ask Brent to pray about it, and then to leave the decision between Brent and God. I questioned how this could be the right way to work out this situation.

Our preacher had, not very long before this, talked about how you can discern the voice of God in your life. One of the ways was that if it is truly God, it should be in line with His voice in scripture. As I asked if this was really God giving me an answer, it came to mind that scripture tells us that a wife should submit to the leadership of her husband. Yep, it lines up. I still didn't like it, but it seemed that this really was God giving me an answer.

So a couple of days later, I talked to Brent about it after the kids were asleep. I carefully explained ALL of my thoughts and feelings on the whole matter, and I sobbed as I told him about my answer from God, and that I am willing to completely give up my part in making the decision as long as he is willing to pray about it honestly. That he will be open to either outcome and that he will pray about what is best, not what is easiest. And I would not ask him about it or mention anything else about the decision. In essence, I gave up my chance at having things go my way that night as we talked.

It took Brent a while to give me an answer. He did not want to be open to any other outcome than the one he wants. Eventually he did agree to this arrangement, though. I still pray that Brent will change his mind, that the outcome will be what I want. But I also realize that it is very likely that it will not go my way. I also pray that if that is the case, that God will give me the strength to handle it gracefully, and that he will help me to not harbor any resentment.

I thought that it was all over for me after that. But I have found that it is not. Every day is a struggle for me. I want to try to influence Brent's decision. I want to talk about it. And every day, I have to again make the decision to leave this outcome at God's feet and to have nothing to do with it myself. And as it gets closer and closer to the end of the time that we agreed on, it is harder each day to make the decision to let it go again. I have a feeling that this is making me stronger, that my faith will be shaped as a result. But I still do not like letting go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chalk and Bubbles

Since it's been a rainy, stormy, inside-only day today, and because my mom called me this afternoon only to tell me to update my blog (yes, seriously, that is the entire reason she called me!), I thought I might share a few pictures of the outside fun that we had a few days (OK, actually a couple of weeks since this was before Easter) back. Enjoy, Mom...I am up late at night to post something just for you...and I'll try to be a little better about posting more regularly again...but you know me, sometimes I am all gung-ho, and sometimes I just let things slide, so we'll see how it goes. But you love me anyway, right? :)


Samantha had me testing my artistic abilities by requesting all kinds of pictures of animals. I think the best by far were the Easter eggs, though.




I have to admit, the crayola bolder brighter (or whatever it's called, I can't remember for sure) sidewalk chalk is definitely worth the extra cost...it is amazingly prettier than the regular old sidewalk chalk, and it has SOOO many more colors!

Don't you love where the chalk rainbow ended up? I couldn't resist taking a picture. :)

It constantly amazes me how quickly Jacob figures things out. He is already blowing bubbles at 16 months. Samantha didn't figure it out until sometime after Jacob was born (and she was 23 months when he was born!)