Things I Should Do?

cakeThere are all of these new-fangled parent things that I keep hearing I should be doing. I am not sure exactly when it happened, but suddenly, I find myself living in a world full of souped-up Betty Crockers and hyper Suzy Homemakers.

I blame Pinterest. Mostly. And seriously? I am too old for this.

I guess the one-year-old cake smash is the thing to do now? *shudder* So I am supposed to purchase an over-priced, over-the-top cake, chock-full of artificial food dyes (because that is what makes it so pretty) and let her utterly destroy it while wearing an equally over-priced, brand-spanking new outfit (which will wind up impossibly ruined because of the aforementioned food dyes). Furthermore, this should be done before the actual first birthday so as to have proof-positive of the entire shenanigan on display at the forthcoming birthday festivities. And on Facebook. And Instagram. Twitter. And so on.

(Honestly, I just see dollar signs, an ungodly mess, and the potential plethora of “likes” from my social media friends whom I never talk to in real life.)

I also missed the gender reveal party that I should have done, too. (Any reason to party, right?) This is where we choose a fabulously cute (and probably complicated) idea from Pinterest, creatively incorporating pink and blue to reveal the gender of my baby in front of select amount of family and friends. And probably post the video on Facebook, too. And of course, issue a press release.

I do not mention these things to offend, but only to say… not.  for.  us.

And ultimately, I can not get over the fact that somewhere along the line there would be future sibling angst over the fact that Cupcake got extra “pampering” even though these things were quite unheard of when the big ones were little.

There are probably other things I “should” be doing, too, but I simply have too many other lovely moments to make happen in my day like: scrubbing filthy little hands after an afternoon in the dirt, baking another delectable loaf of pumpkin bread with my sweet girls, and watching the sun set over the field from the deck off the kitchen.

(What do you think?  Is this mommy guilt for real?  Or am I just grumpy and have not yet consumed a sufficient amount of coffee on this chilly Monday morning?  Comment below!)

Love & coffee. 

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For the Birds. Part 1.

Eggs

Eggs. Finally.

I put off things. I especially put off writing about unpleasant things. Like writing about my chickens. They are dead. Mostly.  There is no sense in going about sugar-coating the grim fact of it all. All but one. 12 of 13 dead and gone.

The Man went out to care for our brood months ago and there was nothing left of our precious flock. Not one.  Oh, The Man was angry. Spit fire and venom. He discovered a hole under the door, nearly the same as last year. Upon further inspection, he unearthed a clever little den. Under our chicken coop! As fate would have it, the feet of one dead chicken were visible within. Angrily, The Man yanked the carcass away. “Not this one! You won’t get this one!” he steamed.

It was then that he caught a glimpse of a small badger. Small. Meaning, surely there were more. I think I saw smoke fizzle out of his ears and from each flared nostril.
Not. Again.

The Man waited until evening. He disappeared into the black with the dog and his shotgun. Nothing. The next day, we found one traumatized (but seemingly healthy) hen hiding in the tall grass. The girls call her Clover, for she is a very lucky girl.

Clover

One lucky chicken.

So we have a badger problem. (And The Man is still pretty steamed about it.) And ultimately I had one very lonely chicken who did not have any interest in laying an egg.
Twenty-two chickens lost. One survivor.

What. To. Do.

I was fearful of again free-ranging that brave bird so we cooped her up in the barn, making sure she got plenty of sunlight during the day. The Man was still miffed at the badgers and the whole chicken situation in general. He refused to spend another penny on anything to do with chickens. Without chicken feed, I set to work to spoil that chicken rotten. All I wanted was one egg. ONE. EGG. For our two years of hard work. Every day, Peanut and I worked together in the kitchen to concoct he most wonderful things for her: melon scraps, seeds, oats, strawberry tops, corn meal, etc.

And, wonder of wonders, that girl eventually laid an egg. And kept on laying them! Twenty-two chickens and we finally had a handful of farm-fresh eggs.

But sickness hit the homestead. Really hard. All six of us. We tried to give Clover away. We did not really know what to do with her. So at some point during our week-long family illness (we share everything) The Man sneaked out to the barn and set her free. He figured she could take better care of herself than we could at that point.

Was he crazy? Or right?

Continue reading the series here:

For the Birds, Part 2

For the Birds, Part 3

Or you can read more about the demise of last year’s flock here:  Counting Chickens.

Anyone else have the same wonderful luck with chickens that we do?  I would love to hear about it (and maybe commiserate just a bit).  Comment below!

Love & Coffee.

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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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Throwback Thursday #1: Nice Things

Throwing it back on Thursday seems to be the thing now, so here it is, one my all-time favorite posts, albeit from 2011.  I really cannot read it or think about it without getting misty-eyed.  It is truly one of my most-loved.  I hope you like it, too.

Go here to check it out:  Nice Things.

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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Some days.

dandelionSome days just cannot be put into words. Some days the headlines are too wrenching, too blatant, too hard. I sip my coffee in my sweet little corner of the world and wonder…

how. can. this. be?

For while I continue my sipping on an unusually cool July evening, bathed in the glow of a dim porch light, with a loyal dog at my feet and fireflies entertaining in the yard, somewhere else, albeit far, far away, life is coming apart at the seams.

I study the tiger-lily filled mason jar on my patio table and the small blueish sidewalk-chalk footprints carelessly left by young, carefree spirits just hours prior and ponder whether such garish tales could possibly be true? It would be much easier to close my eyes, to forget, to pretend, but…

it. is. not. so.

I pray. And I sip. And I pray some more. I pray for peace. I pray for love. I pray for mercy.

And I hold my babies oh-so-close. Some days are just like this. (And some days, quite thankfully, are not.)

And tomorrow will come. And I will pray some more. And we will laugh and we will dance and make merry under the mulberry trees. And thank God that his mercies are new every morning.

Love & Coffee.

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The Real Maker

imgr01We were traveling home after a long day of errands and activities in town and as it often happens, The Man and I found ourselves with two separate vehicles there. The big girls routinely beg to ride in the car with Dad, and the littles settle in with me. Several times a week, this arrangement seems to happen and it is during these twenty minute drives home where Lovey and I chat.

 

So precious.

 

Even at four, (nearly five now) she fights to be heard amid a houseful of giggling girls. They all have so much to say. All. The. Time. Lovey seems to have only one volume level: Dora the Explorer. (If you are not familiar with Dora, she shouts everything she utters. Every. Word.)

 

It is during the oft-evening drives home through the Iowa country side that Lovey indulges me with stories, songs, and witticisms. She makes music of the happenings of the day and spins wild tales of adventure, mystery, and intrigue. When she has all of my attention (aside from the driving, of course) she gushes. And I revel in every delectable morsel.

 

My heart cannot help but smile.

 

It happened on one of these recent drives, that Lovey quite surprised me. Together, we were marveling at the first signs of spring: trees just barely greening, flowers springing, and the just barely detectable scent of freshly mowed grass. It was then, I took note of the remarkably, colorful sunset stretched out before me. It seemed it was a show just for us. Nearly speechless, I mused, “Oh, Lovey. Do you see the sunset? Isn’t God the most incredible of painters?”

 

“No, Mommy. He is not a painter at all. He’s the real Maker.”

 

Now, truly speechless, I took a moment to think on what she said. Of course! In her mind, a painter is merely a mimic, only able to create something already in existence. And Lovey’s understanding of her Creator, even at four, is much more complex than I could have realized before.

 

“Yes, yes, Lovey. You are exactly right. He IS the real Maker. Yes, indeed.”

 

Love & Coffee.

 

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