January 23, 2013

The Scent of a House

Do you ever wonder what your house smells like to other people?
Some houses I go in to smell so odd.
Some smell wonderful.
Some I don't really notice a scent at all.

I wonder what my house smells like to others.
Does it stink?
Smell old?
Like dirty socks?
Or laundry detergent?
Or my current favorite candle?

More often than not, it probably smells like cookies.
Because I make lots and lots of cookies.

I get tired of making the same cookies over and over.
Chocolate chip and chocolate waffle cookies mostly.
So sometimes I like to create something new.

One of Brookelynn's favorite cereals is Frosted Shredded Wheat.
There are A LOT of crumbs in these boxes.
And I hated throwing all of those crumbs out.
Apparently, sometimes I'm ridiculously frugal.

Other cereals,
like Honey Bunches of Oats
and Frosted Flakes
or Corn Flakes,
seem to never quite get all eaten.

A year or so ago,
I decided to do something with all of these crumbs.
I started "collecting" them all in one bag.
And when I had what I thought was enough,
I made some cookies.
I've made them several times.
Changing the recipe a bit each time.
I think this time I finally got it about right.
I could not tell you
why the cereal is in a separate bowl from the flour.
But I love all three of my Pyrex bowls.
The smaller two where my grandma's on my mom's side.
And the yellow was my grandma's on my dad's side.

I like the texture of the dough.
Cereal Cookies

2 cups cereal crumbs                           1 cup butter
2 cups flour                                         1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda                                1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder                           2 eggs
1 tsp salt                                             2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips                  1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combine cereal crumbs, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Beat cereal and flour mixture into butter mixture. Add chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

Drop by tablespoonful onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire rack.

Yield: about 5 dozen
Most people think they look like oatmeal cookies.
But they've got a great crunch to them.

You can, of course, change the kind of chips you use.
I've made them with butterscotch chips
instead of peanut butter.
We just really liked the peanut butter better.

Come over.
Enjoy some cookies.
And, please, tell me what my house smells like while you're here.

January 18, 2013

Love Jesus Today and a Kiss

As I've said before,
I don't do new year's resolutions.
Why set myself up for failure?
I'm bad at following through on things.
Terrible at it, really.

So I learned long ago not to make them.
Within a week, or so, I've blown it anyway.

But the Holy Spirit has shown me 3 things already this year.
Areas in my spiritual life that are lacking or where there's sin.
Areas that I need to commit to work on/change.

Monday afternoon I was sweeping my floor.
Pondering my Bible study for the next day.
Suddenly, completely convicted by how little I pray for my kiddos.

This is hard for me to admit.
If I love God.
And love my kids.
Why am I not praying for them more?
You would think that would be the #1 thing to do, right?

It's easy to pray for them when things are rough.
When I'm frustrated with them.
Or when they are struggling with something in life.
Or when I see a yucky attitude or heart issue.
But the everyday.
That's when I...forget...

Everyday I send them out the door,
well, the older two anyway,
with a kiss on the cheek.
Then, as they are walking across the yard,
I holler at them:
Love Jesus today!

Immediately I turn back into the house
and rush the little boys to finish getting ready.
The older two quickly forgotten 
as I search for shoes, 
sign planners, 
finish packing a lunch,
wrestle with coats, hats and gloves.

Then it's out the door we run.
Walking as quickly as I can
with a 5 and 8 year old
across the yard or down the sidewalk.
(we always seem to leave the house
a couple minutes later than we should).

At the door to each boys' classroom,
I give them a kiss on the cheek,
tell them I love them
and head back out the door for my solo walk home.
Thinking about my day.
What needs to be done.
What's for supper.
How am I getting everyone to this practice or that practice.
Blah, blah, blah.

This imperfect mom 
had sent her imperfect kiddos
out of our imperfect house
into an imperfect world.
And was foolishly thinking
Love Jesus today!
and a kiss on the cheek
was enough.

Not nearly.

So thankful the Holy Spirit breaks through sometimes.
In spite of me and my foolishness.
It's only by the grace of God.

Now, each day,
as I kiss them,
I try to say a small prayer.
Of some sort.

Lord, show Jobie how to be kind today. 
Father, help Ezzie 
to show Your love 
to someone in his class today.
Lord, Jakie needs to
feel Your presence today.
Please show Yourself to him.
Father, give Brookie the courage 
to love the "unloved" or "unpopular" today.
I know there will be days I forget.
Days I'm rushing around like a crazy lady.
Days I'm crabby.
Days I'm just not thinking.

Thankful the Lord is gracious.
He won't let me, or my lack of prayer,
get in the way of accomplishing His will in their lives.
But I so want to be an instrument
to help draw them closer to Him.

So, I will pray.
Lots more.

January 11, 2013

Jake's Dream

For many years Jakie has had a dream.
A dream of going to a KU basketball game.
On Sunday, that dream was finally fulfilled.
And to sweeten the dream,
It was just him and his dad.
No brothers, no sister, no mom.
Although, I would like to think it would have been ok
if I had been along.

When Ryan sent this picture to me that day,
I teared up.
I could tell he was just soaking it all in.

They stayed for two hours after the game was over.
He got nearly all of the players' signatures.
Plus pictures with them.
Jake said he had rap music playing.
Very loudly on those beats.

A little fuzzy.
But this is his favorite player.
The same one who signed his ipod touch.
So glad he got to go.

So thankful for a daddy
who takes the time to make his boy feel special.
And to fulfill his boy's small dream.

January 08, 2013


I'm putting Rentzville away today.
I'll miss it.
It will never look like this again.
Every year I marvel at the way Ryan creates it.

It's fun to look at.
Especially at night.

Nearly every night before I would turn it off,
I'd get down at eye level.
And imagine myself in the scene.

Next year, we will have a new Rentzville.
It's never the same twice.
For a couple of reasons:
1. We usually get a new piece or two for gifts every Christmas.
This year we got 3 new accessories.
Well, two new ones really.
And one replacement piece of sorts.
A few years ago, a little girl came into my house
before school one morning,
whipped her stocking cap off...
one of those stocking caps with the extra long top...
Good morning, Gina!
As her cap swings in the air and swipes Father Christmas.
To the ground.
In pieces.
I've looked at buying a new one for a long time.
But just couldn't get myself to spend the money.
My hubby's brother and his wife bought it for us this year.
I was so excited.
And the 2nd reason Rentzville will never be the same again:
My guy is way too creative to do the same thing twice.

So, farewell Rentzville.
Until next year...

January 04, 2013

Five Unrelated Pieces of Information

1. We finally got our bathroom done.
Well, sort of.
Remember the toilet box that had become a clothing shelf?
That box is gone now.
And a vanity is in it's place.

And we have a shower!
The tiling turned out cool, I thought.

Eventually we'll get a door.
For now, we're using a shower curtain.

The floor is tile that looks like wood.
I LOVE it!
We just need to get a mirror,
a light for over the sink
and baseboards.
Who knows how long that will take?

2. I did not get a poinsettia this year.

Mostly because it took me months to throw it out last year.
(See same post I already linked to.)

3. I'm subbing.
I've forgotten to mention that.
I subbed 4 days before Christmas break.
It was...exhausting.
Not so much physically.
I'm up on my feet almost all day at home.
But mentally.
And my voice...
Especially when I subbed in Jobie's class.
I had to talk.
All. Day. Long.
I'm not used to that.
Maybe I should talk to myself more at home.

I've subbed in Ezra's class also.
They are a busy little group of kids.

Having your own classroom is very different from subbing.
(Going to have to work on my management skills.
It's been over 10 years since I had my own classroom.)
Now I know why I taught junior high.
Elementary kids have so many questions.
And need so much help.
And always seem to need to go to the restroom.
I like junior high soo much better than elementary.
But I'm only subbing in the little boys' school right now.
Just to simplify our family scheduling.
Besides I'm getting 2-3 days a week as it is.
That's all I need.

4. I really want to change the look of my blog.
But I don't know a thing about that stuff.
My hubby set this blog up to begin with.
It's actually a miracle that I can even do a post on my own.
I don't want to pay someone to do it, either.
So, for now, I'm stuck.

5. I just found 5 Christmas cards stashed away in my cupboard.
All addressed and ready to go.
Sorry to 5 of our friends who are getting late cards.

We took our pictures for the card on our roof this year.
I hate heights.
But I bravely climbed up the ladder.
I took pictures while Ryan was taking the official pictures.

Our neighbor came out while we were up there.
Brookelynn was so embarrassed.
She thought he was looking at us like:
That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen.
Ryan and I read his look as:
How fun and cool.

Teenagers are funny.

January 02, 2013

Fourteen and Driving

My girl is now 14.

My girl got a dwarf gerbil.

My girl earned her learner's permit.

My girl.
Is changing into a young woman.
My eyes.

My girl.
I love her.

(But I'm leaving most of the driver's training to her dad.
My heart is not ready for her to be this old.)

January 01, 2013

Our Sick Christmas

Christmas was...

Christmas Eve is our day at home.
The kids wear their pj's all day.
Watch movies.
Snacky stuff for lunch.
Same meal every year for supper.
Then presents in the evening.

About 10:00 a.m. Brookie says:
I don't feel so good.
An hour or so later,
into the restroom she runs.
You know what that means.

We went ahead with our plans and traditions.
So while we enjoyed our hummus,
fatoush salad,
grilled chicken,
fruit salad
and special Christmas drink,
Brookie stayed on the couch.
Looking miserable.
We debated waiting to open presents.
But the boys weren't too crazy about that.
She can just lay right there on the couch.
We'll bring all her presents to her.

We took our traditional pictures.
They always turn out perfectly.
 Finally convinced Brookie to get in the picture.
As soon as I was done taking this picture,
she ran to the bathroom.
She looks a little pale, huh?

We opened presents
right after she was done in the restroom.
Because, you know, there's a small window
after you loose the contents of your stomach
when you feel a bit better.
We took advantage of that window.

What is this?
 Oh! Hahaha!

Sweet lips.
That's me.
The boys giggled.
Brookelynn found it disgusting.

We made it through the unwrapping.
And I even got a few hours of sleep.
Before Jobie was up.
And making frequent trips to the restroom himself.

So Christmas morning I called my parents.
Not sure if we could do Christmas at their house that evening.
My dad was not feeling well either.
And we rely on him to grill our Christmas steaks.
After several phone calls with my brother's family,
we all decided to just do appetizers and open presents.
As long as no one else got sick later in the day.
And enjoy our steaks another day
when everyone felt a bit more normal.

Jobie had been fine since mid-morning.
But as soon as we got to my parents,
he started acting blah.
And fell asleep on my lap
before we had even eaten.
We let him sleep for about an hour.
Then attempted to wake him up.
The others were anxious to open presents.
He finally perked up.
About half-way through opening gifts.

Ryan got sick 3 days later.
On Brookelynn's birthday.

Then we were at his parents the next day for another Christmas.
The little one, in the middle on Jobie's lap,
was very stinky.
No one wanted to hold him.
We decided this picture captured our family pretty well.

So far the rest of us have avoided getting sick...

Thankful for family.
Thankful for health.
Thankful for flexibility.
But most of all,
thankful for Jesus.