Thursday, December 23

Taking a cue from the Muppets

The Muppet Christmas Carol is probably my all-time favorite Christmas movie. My brother and I watched it countless times when we were growing up, and now I am thrilled that my Bees love it as much as we did.



I'm not gonna pretend. The Muppets make me cry. Every time. Little froggy Tiny Tim sings a song that has turned into a prayer from my heart. The lyrics are simple, yet so full of hope and love and Meaning. Its words are such that, had I planned it a little better, I would have read to Jeremy at our wedding.

Life is full of sweet surprises
Every day's a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of Love and know that I belong

Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam

Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere

Let us always love each other
Lead us to the Light
Let us hear the voice of Reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all

Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyful tears
We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask You bless us all

Bless us all




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Tuesday, December 21

Sandwiches and Stitches

It all started because The Boy wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.

This past Saturday morning, my mother and my husband and I were scurrying about the house, trying to get it in order for The Baby's birthday party. My mom fed the kids breakfast, but some time later The Boy asked for a grilled cheese sandwich. I think I told him to wait, that I would get him one later. I may have just blown him off completely, deferring the situation to my mother.

I ran to Kroger to buy supplies for more Super Awesome Candy Cane Dip (and also to pick up the ingredients to the Easiest Truffles Ever, which my best friend makes, which I completely ruined, even though they're the Easiest Truffles Ever), and ran back home.

When I got here, B1 and B2 were having a dance-off in the living room. This is not a random occurrence in our house, we shake our tail-feathers on the daily. Except, on this particular day, our furniture was moved back to allow more dance floor, and our dining table chairs were moved in to provide party guests a place to sit. Again, The Boy asked for a grilled cheese sandwich, again, I told him to wait.

Clearly he had gone stark raving mad with hunger while I was out, and upon hearing that he wouldn't be immediately ingesting the gooey goodness of melted cheese on toast, The Boy proceeded to throw himself against a wooden chair. And split his head open.

this is his pitiful flesh wound face

this is his pitiful flesh wound

I don't know what it is all of a sudden with my kids and their head traumas, but they really need to cut it out. 


(Ok, so, he didn't actually throw himself onto the chair. He was dancing it out, and fell into the chair. But, fits of rage make for a much more interesting story.)

So, after a brief round of "Which parent gets to go to the ER this time?" I took my bleeding firstborn in to the clinic, where he was promptly stitched up. I watched the entire stitching without puking one bit. Make sure they spell my name correctly on my Mother of the Year statuette.



it took some work but I finally convinced him that chicks do, in fact, dig scars
When we called Jeremy on our way home to tell him about the head-sewing, he told us to stop and get something to eat for lunch.


The Boy's choice? Sonic. Where he got that grilled cheese sandwich after all.





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Thursday, December 16

Hippos Go Berserk! (a gift guide?)

crazy hippo party

I recently had a revelation: We love hippos.

In our home, we have a lot of hippo-related books and toys. I'm sure we have an equal amount of puppies and bunnies and kittens, but hippos are just so much more fun than domesticated animals. Right? Right.

Sandra Boynton is the undisputed Queen of Hippos. If hard pressed, I might even admit that Ms Boynton is the Queen of Everything, we love her so.



Hungry Hungry Hippos: because greed and instant gratification is precisely what we need to teach our children. That, and it's really fun to slam the hippos' backs and catch those balls.



The Hungry Hippo, an Animal Tales book. I had to take a picture of this book because apparently, there wasn't one on the whole internet. My brother and I read this copy over and over when we were little, and now my Bees love it too. It's a cute book with a good moral spin. Something about not stomping on your friends when you get mad. Or hungry. Maybe.

 

We don't own this book, but the old Christmas song has been on repeat. The Bees are obsessed with it. I am bordering on sheer unadulterated hatred.



Madagascar 2: featuring Gloria, the sassiest hippo around. Also, she is wooed by a hilariously smooove dude, voiced by will.i.am., which is always awesome.


 
Clare Beaton's textured graphics are gorgeous in Hidden Hippo from Barefoot Books. You can buy it right here (from me!), and if you purchase the $5 edition, it will ship directly to a school library in Africa!


 
This is, without a doubt, the best hippo book ever. Happy Hippopotami shows ridiculously rotund hippos on "a hippoholiday in the merry month of May." Lines like "Happy hippopotami, on a sunny beach do lie..." and "Happy hippopotamamas wearing pretty beach pajamas..." crack us up. Bill Martin, Jr is a genius and Betsy Everitt's illustrations are unbelievably cute.



Yes. I realize that this is a rhino, and therefore not a hippo, but The Girl has this stuffed guy (and the Rhinoceros Tap book) and loves him hugely.
See also: Sandra Boynton is the Queen.




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Monday, December 13

BFP: Candy Cane Dip

Remember: BFP is my Big Fun Project tag, of which, we've only done like, one.

My friend Sunshine has a delicious-looking cooking blog, aptly titled Make Life Delicious. Last week she wrote a post about Candy Cane Dip. (In fact, she has a whole section devoted to Christmas recipes. I think the Bees and I are going to do the Hot Chocolate Dippers next!)

I saw the link that Sunshine tweeted and thought, "Hmm that's interesting." I'm not a huge fan of candy canes, just because I'm not a huge fan of pepperminty things. (I think it's leftover trauma from my first pregnancy when I tried any and every homeopathic nausea remedy before begging my doctor for non-puke drugs. What were we talking about? Oh yeah.)
Then I saw her post at Arkansas Women Bloggers and again thought, "Hmmm." And then I thought, "The Bees and I need something to do today. Let's wreck the kitchen."

Let the BFP begin!

The ingredients are simple. The prep is minimal. The payoff is huge.
I asked Sunshine if I could post her recipe here, and like the gracious pretty lady she is, she obliged.

Sunshine's Candy Cane Dip:
(Sunshine's instructions in bold, my notations in italics)

Ingredients
1/2 Cup crushed peppermint candy canes I didn't know what a half-cup would be, so we obliterated three candy canes in the food processor. It was loud. And fun.
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed I assume 12 oz is one delicious tub, but we made a small batch for our trial run, so we used about a third of the tub. (I just asked The Boy what one-third of twelve is and he told me it was four. One more confirmation that I'm actually teaching him things. Hooray, homeschool! What were we talking about? Oh yeah.) So, 4 ounces. Sorta.
Wafer Cookies I know Sun was trying to be generic, but really, there are NO wafer cookies other than 'Nilla Wafers. None. So, use the 'Nillas. (No one at 'Nilla headquarters paid me to do that, but if they wanted to, I'd say it again. 'Nilla.)

Directions
Fold crushed peppermint into whipped topping (the easiest and fastest way to crush is by using a food processor…Warning-it is rather loud!) (See!? I said it was loud!). Cover and refrigerate overnight. Oh, shoot. I totally read over that "refrigerate overnight" part. We dug in the very moment we got done folding. Whooops! Before serving, stir dip to distribute the peppermint bits. Serve with wafers. 'Nillas.


Do you SEE how easy that is? The Bees and I broke the candy canes, tossed them into the food processor, donned our science lab goggles (no, we didn't. note to self: buy science lab goggles), then took turns mixing the candy cane crumbs in with the Cool Whip.
Big. Fun. Project. (That You Can Eat.)

And truly, so delicious. It's not very minty at all, just sweet (without being tooo sweet) with a hint of pepperminty-ness.

Most importantly, the judges' reactions:
yes, The Baby's mostly naked.
yes, The Boy is wearing mismatched jammies.
yes, The Girl picked out her own clothes this morning.
but, THE CANDY CANE DIP IS DELICIOUS


They loved it. They gobbled it, in fact.









Easy + Yummy = Win.
Thank you, Sunshine!

Sunday, December 12

a little help here?

So. Blogging. It's awesome. We love it.

But then sometimes we don't. I caught the dreaded Blog Flu a week or so ago. Turns out I shared the germies with my friend Audreya, who then came down with it. And wrote about it (see: above link. Seriously, see it. It's good.)


It's a blog gang sign. How awesome is that?
I found it via google images from www.dailynugget.com

I am planning on might be making some changes around this hive. For the better. Hopefully.

In the meantime, I'd like to ask all both of you who read this blog for some help on a couple issues:

1) Tell me some of your favorite blogs (and their links). Why you like 'em. What makes them work for your tastes.
2) Tell me why you do or don't comment on those lovely blogs.
3) Tell me why you blog.
4) Wire some money into my Nigerian bank account.

Ok, no, you don't have to do number four. My bank account is here in Arkansas. No wiring necessary.


Really though, I want to fully kick the Blog Flu's bottom and get on over it. I want to build a digital idea board of what I'd like my blog to be. I need new inspiration. A new palette of words, more pleasing to myself and my both of you readers.



And then I'll be back and ready to become the Next Top Blogger, or the next American Blogidol, or the next Real HouseBlogger, or possibly just your next favorite blog.






I like the last possibility the best.

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Wednesday, December 8

BEES!

And the winner... of her very own buzzing bees... is... BECCA! She left a sweet comment on my Thanksgiving post and I have a feeling her brother will so SUPER PLEASED if he gets a stocking full of stingers. :)



So.
The Baby's got jokes.
We're all about the jokes around the hive these days. Puns, riddles, fancy wordplay, we love it all. The Boy is killer at knock-knock jokes. He's got great timing. The Bunny Baby's timing is not so great. I mean, she's a natural ham, but at 23.5 months of age, she's not so awesome at her delivery.

Her favorite joke is the one that's all "Knock-knock" "Who's there?" "Orange" "Orange who?" "Knock-knock." You know the rest. Except, The Bunny never gets to the rest. There is never. any. banana. She orange/knock-knocks her way into oblivion. At some point her daddy and I will finally double over in laughter and then she just beams with pride.

The Boy has two Best Ever jokes. One of them involves a fish running into a concrete wall. The other one was especially funny when I was still nursing. Both of the jokes come directly from his daddy... and that should tell you plenty.
"What kind of bees produce milk?" "I don't know, Guy Smiley, what kind?" "BOO! Ha! Get it? BOO-BEES?!" It's funnier coming from a 6 year-old boy than from a 32 year-old man, trust me.

(Guy Smiley)
So the Bunny has her jokes mixed up. And also she talks to herself sometimes. Today when I heard her talking to herself (or possibly to one of her stuffed animals), I snuck up to the doorframe and peeked into her room.
This is what I heard:
Knock-knock!
Who's there?
Ha, ha! BOOOOOBEEEEEES!
Knock-knock!
BOOOBEEES!
Who's knock?
Booooooooooobeees!
Ha, ha! Knock-knock!
Whose boobies?

She went on for a solid three minutes.

My baby. She's like George Carlin, only less drunk and dirty.








#sofar
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Thursday, December 2

Small, Medium, or Large? How do you take your Theology?

My sweet Ladybug says funny things sometimes often constantly. She is a source of laughter and light in my life. Sometimes she makes things up, sometimes she pulls them from the back of her memory.

Today at the homeschool co-op, seemingly out of nowhere, she said, "God will protect us when we are inside a fire."
Obviously she was remembering the Bible story when three of Daniel's buddies (teenagers, at the time) were thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship the king's false idol. (It's entirely possible she was recalling the time, 3 years ago, when Jeremy's grandmother's hundred-year-old house burned down, and Jeremy's aunt and grandmother escaped safely. But Ima go with the Daniel bit for now.)
The thing that always blows me away about the story of Rack, Shack and Benny is that they never once wavered on the question of the Lord's Sovereignty and provision. They were confident that God would keep them safe in the midst of inescapable danger. HOWEVER. They told the king that even if God chose not to save them from the fire, they would still not bow down, and would die for their firm belief in the Lord.

When my Ladybug made the statement that God would keep us safe in the middle of a fire, I was hesitant to answer her. I finally came up with, "Yes, baby. God can keep us safe in a fire. But let's not play with matches anyway."


Small Theology:
There is a difference between what God can do, and what He will do.
Yes. I tweeted.

Medium Theology:
We as Christians take that as it stands. We accept that God, in His omnipotence, can do anything. We also accept that God, in His sovereignty, will not always do what we think/hope/pray He will do. It can certainly be a hard pill to swallow. We are told over and over throughout the Bible that we will be taken care of. That God supplies for our needs. That He protects us. That everything good comes from the Lord, and that all things work together for good for those who love Him.

Large Theology:
So, why is that so hard to understand? The Sovereignty of God is one of the most difficult aspects of Christianity. I don't even pretend to fully grasp the doctrine. But. I know the difference in God Can, and God Will, and I trust that God will be gracious and that God is filled with mercy and that His will will be done, even when we flat out don't get it.

Exhibit A:
My husband's sister died in her sleep, completely unexpectedly, on April 21st, 2007. She was 36. She had been married for seven years, and had three children, ages 4, 3, and 13 months. She was a very strong Christian, she was not without fault, but overall she was a really great gal. How is it that her death is for the good?
We don't know. Now. It may be that her children grow up with an acute sensitivity to loss, and go into the ministry to counsel those experiencing grief. It may be that her faith walk affected one of her coworkers and they gave their life to Christ. We. don't. know. But we believe. Yes, it was awful and heartbreaking  and, in an earthly mindset, unfair.
I heard once that this life is like a great tapestry, with God as the Supreme Weaver, and we can only see the underside. The bottom view is full of twisted thread. It is knotted in places. It has strings that have been clipped. But the top of the tapestry is perfectly formed and more breathtakingly beautiful that we can even imagine. Moral of the story: to us, here, things look crappy sometimes. But on the other side, in God's realm, things are always as they should be. And they are good.

Exhibit B:
My husband's father died, after a very short battle with cancer, on August 8th, 2008. He was a healthy man- never smoked, hadn't had a drop of alcohol in decades, never ate junk, hiked the Grand Canyon just months before his death. By all standards, he was in perfect health, except for the cancer. He was also one of the most educated, most God-filled, most humble, most spiritual people I've ever had the blessing of knowing.
The good in his death was crystal clear.
Yes, the loss of his life was mourned by hundreds. He left behind a wife of 37 years who still needed him. His time with his children and grandchildren was cut woefully short. But.
When he knew that the cancer was gaining on him, he stepped up his personal ministry. He spoke about the Lord to everyone he encountered. Everyone. He spoke at our church on Easter Sunday about the blessings he'd received in his life- and about the death of his daughter and the death of his mother and his walk with cancer. In the hospital, days before he died, he witnessed to one of his pulmonology technicians. I know with absolute certainty that his death, and life, brought people closer to the Lord. And that was the only thing he ever hoped for.
The good in his death was the furthering of God's kingdom, the spreading of God's Word.


Do You Want Fries with That?:
The side item of this (way super extra long) post is this:
There are three ways God can when it comes to the fire.
1) God can spare you from it completely. God could have struck ol' Nebuchadnezzer down where he stood, saving Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego from the fire altogether.
2) God can bring you through the furnace and come out unharmed.
He let the three faithful servants stand in the fire, and brought them out without even the smell of smoke on their clothes. Their lives were a testament to what God can do.
3) God can let you walk through the flames, and bring you out on the other side.
God can, and often does, bring the ones we love to the greatest good there is- Home. While it doesn't ever really serve our earthly purposes or desires, when a fellow believer reaches Heaven, it is right for us to rejoice that they are in the presence of the Lord.


What God will do, is not for us to know. It is for us to trust.
And that can be incredibly frustrating, but it can also be astoundingly freeing. When we learn to trust the Lord, every fear falls to the wayside. Yes, there will be sadness. Yes, there will be pain. But yes, it is for. our. good.



Now. Let's finish this meal with a milkshake. My head hurts, how 'bout yours?


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Wednesday, December 1

Indescribably Undomestic: A Bathtub Tale

(Not our actual tub. Actual tub found here.)


Early on in our marriage, my husband made a grave mistake. He asked me to clean the bathtub. Eager to please my man, I dove under the kitchen sink (isn't that where everybody keeps their cleaning supplies?) and retrieved several spray bottles, a squeegee and a scrub brush. After I spent quite some time in a fume-filled bathroom, my husband came to check on me.
He found me sitting on the toilet seat lid, reading a magazine.

"Uh, honey, what are you doing?" he asked.
"I'm cleaning the bathtub." I answered, using my "duh" voice.
"How is reading Glamour the same as cleaning the bathtub?" he implored.
"Baby! I used Scrubbing Bubbles! The tub is cleaning itself!" I replied, very pleased with myself and my cleaning skills. "Look! They're cleaning the tub right now! All I'll have to do is rinse it off when they're done."

Then he did a very strange thing. He burst out in laughter. I figured the chemicals had gone to his head. He could. not. breathe.

As it turned out, the Scrubbing Bubbles' slogan was a bit misleading. They do not, in fact, do all the work so you don't have to.





On the bright side, he never asked me to scrub the tub again.




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