Friday, August 29, 2008

End of Summer

Labor Day is usually the official end of summer...so we are entering the Labor Day weekend...and I am so ready for the school year to start. That's why seasons are so great...there is a time and a place for them, and when they end you are so ready. Today I cleaned the grout in my kitchen and dining room and cleaned the leather couches and moisturized them. So that completes my list of things that I wanted to get done this summer. I made a list that I wanted to finish around the house before school started, and I have completed it and now I am ready to move on to the school year. I used to school in the summer until a friend of mine who has eight kids told me that summer is the only time you get to clean your closets out. So I now take the summer off as a mental, emotional and physical break, and I am so glad. It gives everyone a breather and then we are in the right mind when we start again. And of course I was able to complete a lot of tasks that I would have never been able to finish while working with the kids on their school work. Every inch of my house was touched and changed. I purged files, went through closets, painted, cleaned off shelves and now the tile and the couches. So, I feel like I really accomplished a lot. So, I am relaxing a bit more this weekend and getting ready for my two kindergartners and one six grader...and one three year old who wants to be included in everything. I am posting a picture of my sun girl...couldn't she be from fifties?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So proud of Bryn...

I realized recently that I haven't written anything specifically about my oldest child, Bryn. I usually have something funny to say about William, or my prayers for Caleb, but Bryn is my
special girl. She is the one who made me a mommy. Only 21 years old, married only one year and out comes this beautiful girl. I remember being in such awe of her and how God granted us such a beauty. It was just Matt , Bryn and I for a long time. It was fun just having one child. She went everywhere with us...camping, traveling, Walmart at 10:00 at night. Where ever we were, she was. Life changed a lot for her when Caleb came and only 19 months later we had Esther. She went from being only child to one of three in 19 months. That is a lot for any 5 year old to take on. And since then she is now the leader of this five pack. And what a responsibility that is. Not only does she have more responsibility than the others but she also has the burden of being the example for others. A long time ago, I read about this mother of nine who said, "Show the first born the right path and the rest will follow." I truly believe that. If she shows respect, they do too. If she gives grace, mercy and love then they do also. But the flip side of that is that if she shows hostility then they will also. The best part though which I remind Bryn about is that she also receives the double portion inheritance. God had it lined up perfectly. The more to carry, the more received later. It has been a hard walk for her...so many siblings and also having Caleb with his special needs has been difficult for her. I know how hard it is to have a special needs child, but of course I am an adult so I understand and can rationalize everything. Being so young has made it hard to understand and be compassionate. She is changing and becoming more mature about the whole situation...I love seeing that in her. So, now for the real reason I wrote this. Our body is in a 40 day fast right now, and the youth are fasting on Wednesdays. Last week she fasted two meals and then stopped, but yesterdays she was able to fast the whole day and to be in her bible during meal times. I think it is a lot for an 11 (and 1/2, she would say) year old to fast. She understands why we are fasting and is believing with us. She almost stopped mid-day, but I reminded her about her commitment and how important it is to stick to that. So she persevered...she is becoming an awesome God's girl! She is pursuing God and seeking his face. She is looking to him for her destiny. I am excited to see her go into pre-teenhood...I am expecting above and beyond what I experienced as a teen. I am once again in awe of my beauty!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pretzel Time

Yesterday, the kids and I enjoyed making pretzels. I have never tried this before with them, but I have memories of doing this when I was a kid. Since we aren't doing much outside, because of the mosquitoes, I decided to try this new recipe I got from Family Fun magazine...if you have never seen this magazine then you are missing out. It is full of recipes, crafts and fun ideas to do with your kids. I got a stack of them free at the library and I found this recipe in there (I also found a great egg roll recipe that I did with our homeschool group, what a blast that was).

Here is everyone while we were making the recipe...very simple ingredients (see bottom for recipe) and everyone got to join in. Note: Judah is in the picture, but he didn't care much about stirring the bowl like the rest of them, but he sure did like eating them, lol.

Here is everything put together...we let it rise for 45 minutes and it reached the top of the bowl...the kids loved the fact that it grew.

Here they are rolling out their "snakes." What a mess! I had flour on the ceiling before this was done. But that is the best part...watching them create. William wasn't too sure about how to do this...and I think Esther took a couple bites of the dough, yuck!

And here are the first creations...not as thin as the recipe pictures show, but you get the idea.

And everyone loved them. Here they are eating their "experiment." Let me tell you...they were so yummy and soft and quite wonderful. Worth every bit of mess!

Scrumptious Pretzels

1 3/4 cups of lukewarm water

1 packet of yeast

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

3 1/4 cups of unbleached flour (I used spelt)

1/4 cup of hot water

1 teaspoon of sugar

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons of melted butter

Pour yeast in lukewarm water, stir and wait five minutes...add brown sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour...stir 100 strokes. Gradually stir in rest of flour until semi firm, then knead for 7-8 minutes on a floured surface. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and coat ball of dough. Cover with saran wrap and put in warm place (I put mine right outside) for 45 minutes. Then take dough out, knead for 1 minute, divide in half and then divide new section into 3 parts..shape into ball, let rest for five minutes and then roll ball in your palms until 3 feet long and 3 inches thick. Heat oven to 450 degrees...make ropes into a circle, twist the end, fold back and pinch the dough (make it into familiar pretzel shape). Stir teaspoon of sugar in hot water and brush lightly on pretzels, then top off with kosher salt. Set pretzels aside for 10 minutes. Bake until golden brown for about 12-15 minutes, rotating well greased or oiled cookie sheet midway through baking. Let cool on wire rack with foil underneath..and brush melted butter liberally over the pretzels. Eat when warm. You can also sprinkle cinnamon sugar on or anything you desire!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Longest five days...

Well, I must admit that I will think differently the next time I am told that a tropical storm is heading our way. We have had five days of being totally cooped up in our house...with five kids! My kids are used to swimming several times a week and to have the option of going in and out. They kept on asking me if they could go outside...and then I would point out the window and they would shake their head in disgust! I must admit that it has been a very productive week. Since we only have a week left until school starts, I finished all of my summer cleaning. My room was uncluttered completely, the kids room were organized, all the toys were gone through and thinned out...so here is a few pictures of this week, so you know what we were up to.

Here is Esther with her treasured umbrella. Matt went into work for a few hours every morning, and he took a kid with him each day. Here she is dressed in her "office" outfit, ready to work.
Here is William being super creative. He built a camera and was snapping away...
Here are the girls sleeping in PapPap and Nana's upstairs room. On Thursday we lost power and it didn't come on for another 30 hours...they loved going over there and hanging out!
Here we are on Tuesday...before the power went out for five hours. I made them fresh strawberry shortcake...yummy fresh biscuits made of spelt and cut up strawberries...it is a favorite here at the Reynolds household!
Slave labor...Bryn stuffing envelopes for my clients. She stuffed and sealed a 100 envelopes...so I was able to address them and get a lot of work done. Why waste time?
Okay maybe the slave labor is getting a bit ridiculous...haha. Bryn cleaned the outside of all the cabinets and appliances (she is so good) and I just finished cleaning out the oven (my favorite job). I also painted two walls, but I figured you didn't want to see a picture of a blank wall. Okay, I couldn't turn this around...well, I did but then I couldn't switch it...so here is Judah helping out with the cleaning.

Here are the kids on Tuesday night...they thought it was fun not to have any lights...of course this was when the house was still cool!
So, that was a short breakdown of our past five days. Edgewater received 13 inches or rain, and you can tell at various parts on the property. God though was faithful the whole time and blessed us...we are safe in our home, without any damage and we are all safe. Psalms 91...we live by that word!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the house...

So, we are hanging out today...tropical storm Fay is dragging through the state. It is overcast and rainy and the storm is right below us. We have been through this before...so, we are just hanging out...getting some things done around the house and waiting for the storm to blow through. We need some dead limbs to come down in various places over the property, so I hope they fall down. Storms are the Lord's natural way to clean up. If it looks messy, I will post pictures in a few days.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Let the summer continue


As the rest of Volusia county prepares to start school on Monday, I must admit that the Reynolds family is going to be still splashing in the pool, the beach and soaking in the air conditioning, oops I mean the rays! As a Northerner I think it is almost illegal to start school before the Labor Day holiday. August is still summer...hasn't the Florida school districts figured that out? I just can't get into the school mode in this blazing heat and long humid days. Now don't get me wrong, my school schedule is in the back of mind, trying to push forward. I just scream, two more weeks...just two more weeks! So, while the rest of the moms are packing lunches and stuffing backpacks, I will be enjoying the last few weeks of summer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

How has our culture touched our homes?

I was in my quiet time this morning (at least I am quiet, with a dull roar around me, lol), and I was faced with this question in my notes from a few weeks ago. How much has our culture touched our lives? And is it the world's culture or Gods? How many things do we do are from what we have learned over the course of our lives and how many are from the Lord? How much "culture" are we allowing into our lives? And how is it getting into our homes? I was reading the first chapter of Daniel where the king was teaching the children of Israel the language and literature of the Chaldeans...they were taught this culture for three years to be ready to serve the king. Daniel "purposed in his heart" not to receive any of the kings delicacies. What in our world would be considered the "kings delicacies?" I am sure to each of us it may be different. Also in 2 Kings 17, we read about the children of Israel being captured and brought into the land of Assyria...where they became captive and sinned against the Lord. How do we become captive? I believe it is by walking in the customs of this world. We fear other gods...and what gods would these be? How about finances, sickness, loss, failure...you put in your own here. So are we walking in the customs or culture of this world? Obviously this is a personal question and can only be asked by ourselves to the Lord. I am asking myself this same question. How much television or media do I let in my home? Do I discern what is coming in? How many outside influences are influencing my children? How much news can make us fear for our jobs, finances, homes and our future? As believers, we walk with in the same authority as Jesus. He said that we would do greater here? Have we? Sometimes we are so webbed into our world, that we can't see this or even touch upon this. So my thoughts for today, are to examine ourselves and see where we have allowed our culture to leak into our lives and how we can recapture the Lord's culture for our families!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reconciliation


I was thinking this morning, what should I write about today. There is usually always something funny going on around my house...I could pick from anyone of those...but instead, I felt like the Lord wanted me to talk about reconciliation. I feel like I have entered a season of reconciliation these past few weeks. If anybody knows me, they will quickly realize that I don't like strife in my life. It wears me down and I try to push through any hint of it around me. I truly desire peace in my life...but at times because of certain circumstances, I haven't had peace with certain people. During those times I have continually prayed for those people and believed that God had the best for all of us. As the body of Christ how do we reach out to unbelievers, if we do not have peace amongst ourselves? As I am getting older, I am personally trying to maintain positive relationships and work towards easy forgiveness. What exactly is easy forgiveness? It is a place where you allow yourself to forgive others without hindrance and to go to others with an apology quickly. Sometimes we won't give others forgiveness because of our own pride or personal attitudes. I don't ever want that. What a waste of life. So what does this all mean? I have recently reconciled with my father...moving past past hurts and trying to work at our relationship. Funny thing about him, is that we are so similar...which makes it easier to butt heads. And also, with the Coslow family...we had separated when we left our last fellowship...and I truly believe God is bringing us back together...for a different type of relationship, but one that can serve the body. What a force we could be when we are in unity. Our common goal, must always be to show unbelievers the way to Christ. I am excited to see what God has for me and for these people in my life. I am excited about this season in my life. How about you? Do you have someone you would like to reconcile with? Ask the Lord, "have I made it difficult for someone to apologize to me...or...do I need to apologize to someone?" What a force we could be, by these few words.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's cooking for dinner?

I wanted to share what is cooking in my crock pot right now...it is my husband's favorite dinner. I have made it several times now, and it is so scrumptious every time!

White Chili
5cups of cooked chicken, cubed
3 cans of great northern beans, drained (I cook my own beans, and actually add more than this)
320z of chicken broth
16 ounces of salsa, mild (or you can use your own salsa that you have made)
8 ounces of mont. jack cheese, cubed or shredded ( I shred mine so that it melts better)
2 tsp of cumin
Put in crock pot high for three hours and then low for two hours, stir occasionally-Garnish with cheese or sour cream
This is such an easy recipe...I boil my chicken and then use the broth for the recipe...I make it early and then it is ready that night. And I will usually have some good bread on the side to dip in. And it is very nutritious...beans are so good for you...full of fiber, which many of us are lacking in our diets. And you can easily double the recipe, I just don't add more chicken, that way keeps the cost down and five cups is plenty! So, give it a try. I know it brings a smile on my husbands face!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Check this site out

Since everyone is blogging these days, I have been reading other blogs off the lists presented on the blogs. It has been quite fascinating reading about other lives in different places...sometimes I read so many I can't even remember where I started. So, I wanted to tell you about www.thepioneerwoman.com. It is about a city girl who married a rancher and all of her exciting tales. It is really great and have enjoyed reading it. Anyone else have a favorite to share?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Complete and Content

Last night I was in bed talking to Matt and I was expressing to him that I am so content with my life. I am so happy in this season in my life. I love my kids and all their idiosyncrasies...their laughter, their funny phrases, even their naughtiness. If I had walked out my original set plan for my life, I never would have been able to walk out this chapter in my life...God knew what I truly wanted and needed. Matt and I have been married for 12 years, together 14 years and friends for 16 years...we are at a place where we know how we work...our desires, thoughts and moods. We have become the team that God desired...our unity is so strong, it brings peace into home. I love my job and all that it entails. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would become a lactation counselor. It is so awesome to work with moms and walk through their daily struggle to breastfeed and love on their babies. My job brings out my strong points (points that I didn't know that I even had)...and I have the best support team at work...anytime I need to yield a situation to my boss, she is right there for me. And of course I love our body, Rock Church. It has been a place of healing, joy, and change. This body constantly pushes us to be better people...to know more of God and what he has for us. We are developing awesome friendships and bonds that are making us into stronger believers. With this strong covering, we see the change in our lives that couldn't have happened without it. And last but not least, I have come to a place of being content here in Florida. Yes, it is not my first pick to be here, but I know that this is where God has us for now. And yes, it could change and I am okay with that. So, overall, I am so excited about this season. He is molding and making me into this incredible believer...I so desire to be more like him...more loving, insightful, discerning and compassionate. My life could never be like this without him. I give Him all the glory!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday

I must admit that I am so tired today. I have had such a busy week. I worked about 33 hours this week...a lot more than my usual 15-20. I attended a conference on Monday, which let me gain hours towards my license, and then I had major breastfeeding problems with several moms this week. My job is feast or famine...one week it will be so dry and no one calls and then the next week I can't keep up with the demand. So, today I am totally staying home all day with my kids...hanging out with nothing important to do. I love it. I hate when I am gone several times a week. Every time I get dressed up, William looks at me and asks, "where you going mommy?" And then the other day, he gives me the big eyes and says, "I don't want you to go to work." So, these busy weeks are a strain, but they only come every once and awhile. So, let my weekend begin...beach tomorrow if the weather holds up and lots of couch time...ahhhh!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Garden of Life...

Just wanted to show you our first step in our garden for the fall and winter. Caleb and I put down our black plastic so that we can kill off the grass and weeds. He was busy bringing rocks to me and then he held it for me while I unraveled it. What a big helper! Especially since the nasty Florida mosquitoes were swarming us. So this is as much as we got done today. I hope to show you progress reports as we move along. When we were done, Caleb asked me if he could get a penny for all his work...what cheap labor!

Friday, August 1, 2008

What a crazy week...

Sorry that I have been missing in action this week. This week has been super busy and I am so tired. I have been on my couch all day...I feel totally worn out. My mom had a heart catheter on Wednesday. When they found two arteries blocked they sent her up to Daytona Beach to have another procedure done to put a balloon in the artery...so, it turned out to be a long day at the hospital. She is fine and came home yesterday afternoon. I was in Daytona yesterday for cultural diversity training (doesn't that sound like fun) for my job...one of the many requirements for working for the health department, then I had a meeting with my boss and some co-workers...then home for 2.5 hours and then I went to teach a breastfeeding class. By time I got home last night I was so exhausted. So today, I have been lounging and enjoying my day. I did clean out my school closet this morning to see what I have for this next school year...I can't believe that school is starting in another month. I hope to take the kids shopping for their school supplies this weekend...they love to pick out all their pencils, and crayons. Do you have any special memories of that? I do...there is something about fall around the corner that gives me goosebumps...Fall is my favorite season! So, lots of lounging today. Feels good to do that sometimes. I posted a picture of Mia...the ultimate lounging dog!