Make Your Own Muffin Tin Dinner

It's been a while since we've had any muffin tin meals, but recently had a make your own dinner-muffin tin style.  I think we'll have to do it again sometime!

For starters we had rice, beans, and tortillas on the table, and then the little ones had a muffin tin full of things they could add to their burritos.  There was sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and limes.  I'm happy to say they tried some of everything on at least one burrito.
For dessert we had make your own ice cream sundaes, with coconut, chocolate sauce, bananas, chopped walnuts, strawberries, and raspberries, and of course ice cream, that's not pictured in my terribly lopsided picture.  :) 

The little ones loved having two muffin tins in one meal, and mommy loved how simple they were!


Food Faces

Our family loves to eat, and my children especially get into their food!  Since I'm in a little end of summer rut I thought I would give us all a reason to grin for a minute, and share some of my favorite little people food faces from this summer.

We often call Manly "Noodle" and it's not without justification!  When I turned and saw him shoveling his noodles in like this I nearly choked I was laughing so hard.  He was so funny to watch, and in fact another customer stopped on her way out of the restaurant to tell me how much she had enjoyed watching him eat and how cute it was.
The only thing Lettie enjoys more than eating her ice cream is to show how proud she is of her ice cream face!
This one is one of my absolute favorites!  Bitsy just wants to serve herself and get down to the business of eating, and Manly's busy being a connoisseur carefully selecting the best of the options.  It is such a contrast to their normal responses to things.

I hope our food faces brought a smile to your face.  Happy end of summer!


Momma's Sentimental Moment

Today my two oldest babies, Bitsy and Manly, took their first swimming lessons.  Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones but as I sat there watching them hold hands to get into the pool together I couldn't help but feel a little overwhelmed by that moment. 

I wanted to capture the moment and hold on to it forever, not just because it was so sweet and precious, but because as I watched them they taught me so much.  Holding hands together they taught me that as long as we're a family we can do anything together.   
They were so curious about everything their teacher had to say.  I want our family to be just as curious about what our Father in Heaven has to say.  Have I taught them to always seek His wisdom through scripture, prayer, and promptings of the Spirit?
Bitsy couldn't wait to do everything she was asked.  In fact she was so excited she started flailing her little legs around while she was floating.  Am I that excited to follow my Heavenly Father?  Do I jump at the change to serve Him and follow where He leads?
Manly wasn't feeling much like being brave and floating, but when I told him if he did I would take his picture so daddy could see it he jumped into his teacher's arms.  My little man would do anything for his daddy!  Will I do ANYTHING to make my Father in Heaven happy?  Do I trust those He has sent to teach me enough to do as they've asked, even if it seems scary?
Before class finished they were each asked to hold their teacher's hands and jump into the pool.  They were both so willing.  They've helped me recommit to being willing to jump in with both feet, trusting that my Heavenly Father will keep me safe.  The smiles on their faces as they came out of the pool were incredible, and our reward in Heaven will be even greater.  

I thought I was taking my children to swim lessons today, but really the lessons were for me.  I'm grateful my children were willing to teach me by their precious examples.


Brown Paper Packages

Last Friday was a red letter day for our family, and I've been thinking about how to write about it ever since.  This morning when I read my friend Tamara's "My Other Half Moments" post I knew just how to do it.  For safety and security reasons I don't write much about my husband on my blog, but today I want to pay tribute to my my best friend.  He works so hard to provide for our family and to make us all happy, and last week he, well, I'll just tell you the story...   

My children were happily playing in their wading pool, and nothing I had done all day had gotten them out; until the mailman came.  When I casually went outside and told the little ones that we had gotten a package from daddy I was nearly run over as everyone tried to be the first to get inside!  (Since they were all wet I wouldn't let them inside, but I did bring the box onto the deck for them to get into, or should I say rip into?!)

The entire contents of the box was emptied in under thirty seconds, and within five minutes I was getting pleas from little ones to take their pictures to send to daddy.  I don't think they were happy at all about their gifts, do you?  :)  I love these precious smiles!
Bitsy received this BEAUTIFUL apron from Korea, and I kid you not has worn it every day but Sunday since.  When we were in Costco the other day the bagger asked why her apron was so colorful, and she looked at him and with a little disgust in her voice said, "Because my daddy sent it to me from Korea, and it's beautiful."  He didn't ask anymore questions.
Manly decided he didn't need to swim anymore, and that he should get ready for bed so he could wear his new silk jammies.  His favorite part about them?  "Daddy sent me jammies with gold dragons on them!!!  I have dragon jammies, mommy!"  I'm pretty sure they'll be able to stand up and walk on their own before he's going to let me wash them. 
Seriously Lettie's little smile cracks me up!  She sees the camera and she gets that silly grin.
And lest you think Lettie and I were left out, Lettie received that cute little pink silk change purse she has a death grip on, and I received a gorgeous purple bathrobe.  Lettie's been putting her treasures in the purse ever since, and when her hands are to full to carry it, she carries it between her teeth.  

When we start back into our normal school routine in a few weeks we'll be beginning by studying Asia, so daddy's gifts were not only beautiful but a great inspiration for our studies.  I am so grateful that even though he's so far away he still encourages us in our schooling!

Speaking of schooling, there was one final gift...  At the bottom of the box the little ones found a book and a DVD.  They were THRILLED to get a new book and immediately wanted me to read it to them.  I suggested that we watch the movie first, and they reluctantly agreed.  (They LOVE to read!)  
Pardon the diapers, it was laundry day and some things, like daddy videos, can't wait for a clean room!
They decided they had made the right choice when the movie came on and it was daddy reading them the book he had sent!  We were blessed to receive the book and video through the fabulous United Through Reading program.  This amazing program donates books and recording equipment to deployed service members so they can read books and send them home to their children, helping to keep families connected.  Bitsy and Manly love to curl up and have daddy read them a book, so we are all extremely grateful for United Through Reading for giving us the next best thing. 

I have been in a school and blogging slump for the last two months, but this package has gotten me motivated to get back on track.  I am so blessed to have a husband who works so hard to support me even when he is thousands of miles away, and who goes out of his way to make sure his children know he loves and supports them even if he can't be right here with them.  I wish I had the words to express how much I love, appreciate, and admire this man!  He truly is my other half.

We love you daddy, be safe, and hurry home!!!

P.S.  This is my second post this week on my poor neglected blog...  I think I'm finally feeling more positive and ready to start sharing again!  Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive while I've taken a little break.


Finding My Joy

I'm thrilled to be pregnant, and I'm thrilled to be in Utah with family and to have so much help.  I'm even making new friends.  But I would be lying if I told you that the last several weeks haven't been hard, and last Saturday, well, last Saturday was the hardest.

Notice those two little letters under my name, the ones that say "ER"?  I spent the morning in the Emergency Room getting IV re-hydration, medication to temporarily stop my vomiting, and generally feeling sorry for myself.  By the time I got there I had been sick every 20 minutes for six hours.  I was discouraged and scared.  I prayed for relief.

After just a few hours the baby and I were fine and I was able to go home, but I still felt awful and spent several days not wanting to eat and asking "Why me?"  I asked not because this was an isolated incident, but because this is how I've spent nine months for the last three pregnancies.  I asked because I wanted my Heavenly Father to make things easier for me this time because I have three children and my husband's gone.  I asked because I want to understand His plan and find joy in it.
On Wednesday morning I found my joy.  For the first time I was able to hear my little baby's heartbeat.  I had an ultrasound four weeks earlier (pictured above) and I even had one in the ER, and each time I felt such relief and happiness.  But Wednesday morning when I heard that little heart beat 160 beats per minute I was overwhelmed with tears of joy, I was overwhelmed by my Heavenly Father's answer.  That little heart is one He is blessing my husband and I to train and lead back to Him.  That little heart is pure and coming to me directly from the Father of us all.

Why me?  Because our Father knows that the sorrow and affliction will help me to cherish that little heart for the rest of my life.  I've found joy in this moment, and now I can ask, "Why not me?"   


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