Something to Do.

Tea and biscuitsA barely there Monday commences with a dark October sky, a warm cup in hand, and a stinging chill in the air.

Ready or not.  Another week comes.

Since the school year began this past August, I feel like this family of six has been burning the candle, not just at both ends, but every possible which-way.

Slow down.  Please, stop.  Let us breathe for a moment.  New plan?  “No.”  Just.  Say.  No.

To unnecessary goings-on.  To rat races begging to be run.  To the things that wear away at our little (maybe not-so-little?) family.  (And to drugs.  Always so no to drugs.)

We only one get one chance.

Peanut, Ladybug, Lovey, and Cupcake are sweeter than an Oklahoma tea on a sunny day.  And The Man?  Well, he is just as lumberjack handsome as a man can be.  (swoon)  Sometimes, we just need to be together.

No screens.  No phones.  No distractions.

Most of you know how adorably rambunctious my sweet 5-year-old Lovey can be.  Last week, she absolutely outdid herself all in one day.

Oh, let me count the ways:

  • The entire salt container emptied onto the carpeted stairs.
  • The unwanted cheese from lunch strategically placed in my boots.
  • The mysterious disappearance of all the breath mints and gum from my handbag in one sitting.
  • The “lemonade” she made in her own bedroom for the Barbie doll party.
  • The markers she used to make Cupcake into a tiger.
  • The “washing” of the entire bathroom with the cloth diaper sprayer (massive amounts of soap included).

Her response?  “I was bored.”  That sweet little thing just need to something to do.  And attention.  Intense, undivided, full-of-wet-mommy-kisses, attention.

But then… books.  “Lovey, let us read.”

We reorganized the book shelves together and put our favorites all in one spot.  The new books we ordered the prior week arrived just on time and we organized those, too.  And we read.  And read.  And read.  Fairies, pirates, and Curious George.

She was not bored anymore.  My boots remained pleasantly cheese-free, my handbag was locked away, and the bathroom stayed dry.

(Cupcake garnished my hot coffee with a red crayon, but that is a story for another day…)

Here’s to a beautifully beginning week of stimulating busy little minds, keeping busyness at bay, and a healthy dose of coffee.

Happy Monday!

Love & Coffee.

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The Bad Thing About Butter

20140714_182051272_iOSIt is just so good!

I came of age in the eighties.  I grew up on aspartame, margarine, and imitation vanilla. I did not know any different. It was the way we did things.

There was no blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook meme to indicate otherwise.

But then.

Butter.

Homemade chocolate chip cookie dough with real butter. Real vanilla. Real chocolate.

What is that they say about raw eggs, salmonella, and violent illness? I must apologize that I cannot hear you for I am too busy licking every last morsel of decadent goodness off of the spoon.

Yes, this happened in my kitchen today. With caramel drizzle coffee. And I liked it.

And to the salmonella party-poopers (because I know that is exactly what some of you are thinking)…

nana boo boo.

Love & Coffee.

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Spring Love.

,The end of a tired, worn-out school year is utterly exhausting. No one wants to sit at a desk (or the kitchen table) and do anything related to education. The horrendous, years-long winter has finally given way to a beautifully welcome spring. (I thought it would never come.)

We would all rather be outside.

Springtime chores on the homestead are plentiful, yet mostly enjoyable. After a crippling winter (good-bye “polar vortex!”), there is much pleasure to be found in simply being outside, smack dab in the middle of God’s creation, no matter what the task may be.

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Growing things!

The garden is partially in and we all hope, pray, and cross our fingers that something will survive the summer. My back is sore and my knees are screaming, but even the hole I wore into the thumb of my gardening glove makes me smile. I have come to crave the earthy smell of freshly turned Iowa soil. Rich. Black. Dirt. (Please, something grow. Please, please, please.)

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Lovey’s treasure.

The chickens are hearty and well. All thirteen of them. I have come to be very good at counting them quickly. (They are so fast.) The Man must finish the chicken run soon, but they are utter entertainment running amok around the yard. Peanut and Ladybug (and sometimes even Lovey) are a great help with chicken work. Cupcake is newly walking. And chasing down the chickens to give them loads of slobber kisses.

Dozer continues to steal our hearts, love on my girlies, and chew my couch pillows. But he is great with the chickens. And great for evening snuggles. And I am pretty sure he is a keeper.

After another week of illness, and another week of travel, I am settling in to Monday, somewhat wary to take on the tasks this week will require.

Yet as I sip another lovely Caramel Truffle coffee, bathed in the light of a blazing country sunrise, I am reminded that this week is full of promise, hope, and goodness.

After all, it is “the week.”

Peanut’s birthday.

My birthday.

Mother’s Day.

And graduation parties galore.

This annual deluge of celebration leaves us tired, broke, and full of cake.

But it is so much fun.

Thank. God. For. Coffee.

Love & Coffee!

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The lilacs promise to impress this year.

 

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Run, Run as Fast as You Can

Close-up of gingerbread man pastry cutter “Run!” they said.  “Don’t. Walk.  Run as fast as you can!” they told me.  Common sense (and the event rules) said otherwise, but I did it.  I listened to those teenagers and I ran as fast as I could towards the homemade slip and slide on the giant hill.  It was terrific for about half a second.  Before my feet shot upwards to the moon and the back of my head smacked the hard ground.  Very.  Hard.

I do not remember much about the rest of that long, awkward slide to the bottom of the hill.  When it was all said and done, I had a throbbing headache, a knot on my head roughly the size of Asia, and not a shred of dignity left.  I think it was what many Broken gingerbread man.would call a humbling experience.  And also an excellent reminder that I am not anywhere close to thirteen anymore.  This little shenanigan also earned me the distinction of having my very first (and hopefully last) concussion diagnosis.  From a homemade slip and slide.  At the urging of teenagers.  You might think this all happened when I was young and stupid, but unfortunately this was only last summer.  *sigh*

Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and try something new.  And sometimes that is a very, very bad idea.  And sometimes it is very difficult to discern between the two.  As much as I like to paint myself conservative, I crave the thrill of doing something totally different.

Yesterday, Lovey was telling me her Bible story from her Sunday class.  It was Jonah and the Whale.  She recounted every minute detail, even commenting that Jonah should have paid more attention to his mother when he was growing up.  (Yes!)  Lovey is a fantastic storyteller and as she speaks, we banter.  I intermittently comment and she shoots back and it is always time well-spent.  At one point, I said, “Well, I sure hope a whale doesn’t come and swallow me!”  She was quick to respond with that sassy 4-year-old eye-roll, complete with hand gesture, “Mom.  We live in Iowa.  There is no ocean here.  Not even any water.  Besides you never even leave the house.  You will not get swallowed by a whale… ever!”

First things first.  I am pretty sure I leave the house a lot more than she realizes.   In fact, I feel like I am not here nearly enough.  (Seriously, the proof is in the size of my laundry pile.)  But she definitely got me thinking about the thrill of new adventures, accompanied by a little risk.  Perhaps it is time to try something newish…

Love & Coffee.

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A Morning Moment.

Nothing like watching a hazy, autumn sunrise from the window, swallowed up in a well-loved sweater with a steamy coffee settled between my fingers.  

I revel in the quiet.  But in just moments, this house will spring to life, bursting at the seams with much too much to do in one day.  

(Does anyone else ever look at their calendar and just want to cry?  And, by the way, where did October go?.)

But for now, for just a moment longer, it’s quiet.  And my coffee is still warm.  And the house is still sleeping.  And I will think on this…

 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Phillipians 4.13 (NIV)


Love & Coffee.

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The Old-Fashioned Way.

I sauntered into the kitchen, intent on whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  I sneaked.  I was discrete.  But I got caught.  

“Mommy!  I want to help in the kitchen,” Lovey said.  She is my helper.  She is always there.  If I am in the kitchen, she is glued to me.  And most days, I don’t mind.  I welcome the company and the playful banter of my sweet Lovey.  But today, I just wanted… to be.  To think, uninterrupted.  To ponder, uninhibited.  

I tried to dissuade her.  

“I’m going to be very boring in here.  I am going to do dishes and not even turn on the radio.”  (Which was mostly the truth, because I still had a sink chock full of lunch dishes and random containers from my morning fridge-cleaning session.) 

She took the bait and decided just this once to go watch Max & Ruby.   

But then…

Ladybug appeared in the kitchen doorway.  “I want to do dishes.”  

Perhaps I had heard wrongly.  “I’m sorry, WHAT?”

“I want to do dishes.”

I have this weird control-freak thing, especially when it comes to my kitchen, however, I am trying really, really hard to just let go and let my girlies do more things. Even if they are done the wrong way at first.  Freedom to fail, right?

“Ummmm… okay.  Well, how about you rinse these off and arrange them in the dishwasher like so.”  This was also really hard for me, because I am notoriously particular about how things are arranged in the dishwasher.  

“No, Mom.  I want to do it the old-fashioned way.  You know, I just want to scrub them in the sink.”

“Wouldn’t you rather help me bake cookies?” I urged.  (So much for the just being thing.)

“Mom, don’t you just get a great feeling when you do things the old-fashioned way?  Like you baking cookies from scratch?  Or when you make laundry soap?  It’s like you really worked on it and made it special and it feels good, doesn’t it?  I just want to do that to the dishes.”

*crickets chirping*  (And seriously, there is a random cricket chirping in the far corner of the office as I write.)

“Okaaaayyy.  Well, here is the footstool.  And the rag.  And a little soap.  Have at it, Sweet Ladybug.”  

Suddenly, she had made perfect sense to me.  Because I do get that.  I still do all kinds of crazy things like write in a journal, keep a datebook, wear a watch, patch my jeans, and write hand-written thank you notes.  There is something inherently sacred in performing a simple task “the old-fashioned way” that seems to connect me to my childhood, my mother, my late grandmothers.  

And here I sit, enjoying the morning “the old-fashioned way.”  Sunrise and a steamy cup of joe.  


Love & Coffee.

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Still here.

Really, I am.  

We started school.  

(And I cried only a little.)

I have been nursing a concussion.  

(Please, don’t ask.  It’s terribly embarrassing.  And no one even caught it on video so I could win some cash on AFV.  Boo.)

And we said goodbye to summer as we returned from a Labor Day road trip.   

(Which will NOT be happening again anytime soon.  If Google Maps says it will take 5 hours, it will inevitably take us EIGHT.)  

But fall is approaching.  And lovely things are happening outside.  And sweet, delicious coffee is brewing along with wonderful things in my head that I need to write about.

So many good things are coming…

Love & Coffee.

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