28 September 2009

Farewell Party

Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends. - Robert Bach
The Clements' family hosted a farewell party in our honor this weekend. The above quote was on the invitations. Barbie assured me that if it were scheduled early enough from the departure date, than it would be fun and not sad. And she was so right. We had a wonderful time with so many of our dear friends. Of course, there was tons of delicious food and beautiful weather...
Logan decorated our cake...

And the kiddos could hardly wait to pick out their piece...

...they were quite pleased. It was rather yummy, and Brad's favorite - white cake!!!

Barbie had asked Wilson a few weeks back about what games to play at the party. He only had one suggestion, "Pinata!" (that boy loves pinatas!) I think the other kids were pretty happy with his suggestion as well!

And here is the big man's loot. We made him share a bit with his brother... (and maybe me too).

Earlier in the evening, the kids kept themselves entertained with plastic spoons and soil...
...it was fun to watch them happily dig in the dirt with their miniature shovels.


Brad, JC, and Curry joyfully agreed to a picture...

And here is a collage of us with each of the families that were at the party (...except for a few who had already left before we did our posed photos.) Treasures for sure. (You can click on the collage to see the pictures better.)


Wilson is counting down the days left of September. He is anxious, but also a bit excited. I got a little teary a few weeks ago at PWOC when I passed out some invites to this party - a friend said, "Be thankful for the tears, they show that you really lived here. It wouldn't be hard if you hadn't." God is good. He is giving me a lot of peace about this move. I know He has great plans for our family - always.

25 September 2009

Meal Planning 101

Seriously, I am not a great cook. And furthermore, I don't really love cooking. Its a challenge. It always has been. My dad used to joke that if I had to unwrap something before I put it in the microwave it was too much work for me. And that's not far from the truth. When we were first married I tried to cook a few things rather unsuccessfully. We ate out a lot, and our best home-cooked meals were the ones Brad made. When I first became the stay-at-home wife, I felt I needed to cook our meals... but they often consisted of canned soup, frozen foods, and the occasional cream-soup-based casserole. Not great. Which made the eating-out option much more pleasing. But when we got serious about paying off our debt, God began to deal with my heart directly. He convinced me that I needed to do a better job of providing meals for my family. He also brought some like-minded friends into my life, which have encouraged me greatly! And He may have mentioned that whether I really liked it or not, it was a big piece of our family puzzle. The following verse spoke deeply to my heart, and still does. I plan to eventually display a version of it in our future dining room. Here are three versions, perhaps one will speak to you more than another.

"Better a meal of vegetables where there is love, than a fattened calf with hatred."
Proverbs 15:17 (NIV)
"A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate."
(New Living Translation)
"Better a bread crust shared in love than a slab of prime rib served in hate."
(The Message)
If you are hoping to make a dent in your budget; if you want to change your eating habits; if you want to just be a bit more organized; then I hope this helps you. Providing meals at your family dinner table is an opportunity to reap huge dividends in your family dynamic.
I plan my meals one week at a time. Usually Tuesday-Monday. Often I sit down on Monday evening or Tuesday morning...I usually grocery shop on Tuesdays. {Just so you know, I dread this part. Dread it. Really. A lot. BUT, if I don't do this part, then the rest doesn't work. You know?} I found it helpful to have some cookbooks handy while I make the meal list. Some tried and true cookbooks, nothing too crazy.
I also have a three-ring-binder with recipes that I have been collecting from friends, family, and the internet. And some magazines. Magazines with simple, practical recipes. Nothing too crazy.
Now here is an important thing. Have your grocery list right next to you. As you fill in the blanks, write down what you need to buy to make the meals. I also have another paper handy so I make a list of things to check on in the cupboard, fridge or freezer - you know like pasta; to see if I need to buy more or if I have some on hand. After checking, I either add those items to the list (or not, if I don't need them).

I only plan dinners. Our lunches are simple. Usually leftovers or sandwiches. After I make the grocery list from the meal plan, I check on lunch supplies that we might need and also breakfast food. I try really really hard to stick to my list at the grocery store. I used to add "sweet snack" and "salty snack" to the list so I could have the freedom to add two random things to the cart while shopping. I have to admit, I have been straying a bit lately, so I might have to go back to this strategy.

In the pictures above, you see I am compiling a whole month of meals. But I only plan one week at a time. I just thought if I saved my lists, then in the future it might not be such a chore to plan. Oh, and I usually only try one new recipe a week. (Or two if one is a side dish). I am much messier when making a new recipe. One more tip. Because cooking is not one of my favorite things to do, I try to make it easier on myself. Whenever I make lasagna, I divide it two pans and freeze one. This way, one day down the road I won't have to cook. Or better yet, if someone I know needs a meal, I have one in the freezer for them. Because our family is still relatively small, pretty much any casserole recipe can be divided this way. When the boys are older, I am sure they will eat way more!

Start simple. Hang your meal list on your fridge. One of the best part about this whole thing is when someone asks, "What's for dinner?" You don't even have to think about it - just look at your list. If you google 'meal planning', you will probably find a multitude of helpful information. I am sure there are even sites that generate a plan for you.

blessed.

On Friday's the PTA has a sale of cheap treats to raise some money. Wilson was up early and digging through his piggy bank so he could buy a sucker for himself and Walker. He came out with a couple gold dollars and asked me what they were... I told him they were gold dollars and tht he didn't need to take those to school, he just needed two quarters. He ran back to his room and then returned quickly and said, "Man, I'm a lucky boy, I have a lot of golden dollars..."
He then preceeded to dump out his piggy bank and count them all... I told him "You are not lucky, you are loved, there is a big difference." I am not sure if he gets it or not, but I trust that one day he will. His great grandparents give each of their great grandchildren 10 gold dollars every year for Christmas... (on the dresser are Wilson and Walker's gold coins from this year). (And isn't it adorable that he calls them 'golden dollars'???)

23 September 2009

its that time of year...





we had to break out the hot cocoa yesterday. even sweeter in the old mugs from Great Grandpa & Grandma Lewis!

21 September 2009

wheel of fortune...

Yesterday on the way home from church, Wilson says, "I have a val in my name."

Brad and I look at each other. Blankly. "A what?" I ask. Curious to know...

He pipes up, "A val. You know, a, e, i, o ..."

"Oh a 'vow-el'!" We say at the same time. "You mean a vowel."

I can only imagine what new words they'll learn in Georgia.

Do you think Pat Sajack will know what Wilson means when he says, "I'd like to buy a val, Pat" Gosh, I hope so, Wilson hates to lose... (You know, in case he's ever actually on Wheel of Fortune.)

17 September 2009

just for fun...

I snapped this picture of the boys playing in their room tonight after dinner. The boys do enjoy their playing-together-time more during the school year, I guess maybe because they have less of it. They told me that they, "turned our room into a tent!" And this little picture is of a gigantic spider... thankfully the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever because this monster was dead before I discovered it. Good grief! Just imagine how big it would be if it wasn't all curled up! (That is MY foot in the picture.... ok, maybe I am exaggerating.... its Walker's foot)

And here is the big man minus TWO teeth! And the other day, we discovered his 'big teeth' are already peeking through the gums!

Our move is fast approaching, and its starting to sink in a little. We are praying for an on-post house with good neighbors and preferably within walking distance to school. We are waiting and watching for God's hand to move mightily. He is so very good, all the time.

14 September 2009

for real?

I just asked Walker to put away some toys he was playing with earlier. To be specific, fold-up matchbox sets.

Just now, I was hanging a shirt up in their closet and Walker ran in and stashed some of the pieces to the sets under his bed.

He said, "I'm putting these under here."

And then ran out to continue "picking up."

When I walked out, he said, "Don't check under there ever ever ever."

10 September 2009

playin' in the rain...

...the satellite went out tonight while the guys were watching "This Old House" It was raining. But not lightening/thundering so Brad decided they should go outside and play... ...I won't lie, there were some tears at the beginning. Perhaps some fear about Daddy losing his mind.

But once they decided to go for it, they really had a fun time.
All of them =)

Oh, and Wilson pulled his second tooth out last night. Dumb tooth fairy forgot to come last night. Who's idea was that anyway? Hopefully she remembers tonight... Walker has informed us that he took the money out of the bag... I am not sure if Wilson knows what to think about that!
Don't forget to enjoy the rain!

03 September 2009

gone.

Big Man lost his first tooth today. Once he discovered that he had a loose tooth, he didn't stop messing with it until it came out. He was disappointed last year when some of his friends lost teeth and he hadn't lost anything (always competitive!). So, he was super fired up tonight when he realized he would be joining the lost-a-tooth-club! He is so thrilled!

We were on the fence about the tooth fairy... you know us, the old meanies... Brad and I had discussed it awhile back, so when Wilson started peppering me with questions tonight I just did a lot of shoulder shrugging.

After the tooth came out, Wilson told us he was going to put it under his pillow, "And see if I get a dollar!"

I gasped and said, "A dollar!!!"

And then Brad clinched the tooth fairy deal with the reply, "I used to get a quarter!"

Its almost as if a switch came on in Wilson's head, that maybe he could really believe in this tooth fairy thing. He said to Brad, "I thought the tooth fairy was just fantasy."

(Fantasy? Really? His teacher wasn't kidding when she said he has a big vocabulary!)

01 September 2009

Hooah!

(please forgive me, Blogger and I are not on speaking terms because everytime I load pictures they appear in a different order. Back in the day {when I blogged regularly} I knew which order they would appear. I think Blogger changed...but maybe its just me. With that said, the pictures aren't in the correct order).

PROMOTED! To say it has been a long time coming is an understatement. God has been faithful through the ups and downs as we waited. Most of which we have shared here, so I won't give you a play by play... Now on to the pictures.

Afterwards, Brad got to say a few words of thanks... see the stripes?? Before the ceremony, the Sgt Major was chatting with us... you can see Wilson was unimpressed with the small talk.

Here's the picture when I "pinned" him. Technically, I "velcroed" him. I found out this weekend that I was supposed to punch him after I pinned him. I think I did alright ;)

This was before things got started but after we were told where to stand in the room. There were soldiers all around the perimeter of the room. Wilson said, "Miss Barbie was the only one not wearing a uniform."
And here is the family shot before the room filled up. Wilson was excited. Originally the ceremony was going to be outside this morning at 9am, but this morning some paperwork wasn't ready so we came back at 1pm. (My hair was way cuter this morning, as if that matters).

We are truly blessed. I am overwhelmed by God's grace and love... sometimes I try to figure out all the details in His marvelous plans for us, but I always come up short. I have seen my husband's confidence grow in leaps in bounds - not in himself or his strength - but in God's. After Afghanistan was a low point, but if we hadn't gone there, we might not be here. Resting in the faithfulness of our Father. He is good, all the time.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
Proverbs 3:5-7