Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Playing Basketball with Daddy.

It won't be too long before those little boys will be taller than their daddy! 

All Yahoo was concerned about was stealing the ball..ha ha!! 
Who knows, maybe she'll be a guard and a much better ball handler than I ever was! 

I am starting to realize just how much more athletic one of my boys is than the other but I won't say which because I hate the idea of comparing twins to each other. It's just a very interesting thing to observe with twins. 

"Give it to me Daddy! Mommy needs a turn!"
Yep, that's what she kept saying. 

Basketball kids in the making! 
Do you think we'll be back in Indiana by the time they are teenagers? 
I could really see myself into the Hoosiers basketball lifestyle in about 10 more years!! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running; snow, hills, wind...I love it.

I love to run. I run 6 days a week. My dad thinks I'm crazy; he always tells me that's why cars were invented so I wouldn't have to run everywhere. 

I don't run to lose weight or win races, I rarely enter them. I'm not some jumbo health nut. I just run because I LOVE to run. Running can really be an addiction. Those times in my life, mostly during vacations, where I can't run for 3 or 4 days is painful, literally. My legs ache unless I can run. I can't imagine life without running because I've done it for so long. If I do the math it's been about....crap, 20 years I've been running. I started running cross country my junior year of high school and fell in love with long distance. 

Running is individual. No one can take the blame for my running failures. 
Running is meditative. I get a lot of praying done on my daily runs. 
Running is physical. Well, duh, of course it's physical. But I also mean that through running I've been physically able to experience the world in a way I wouldn't have if I hadn't been a runner. 

Most of my 20 years of running hasn't been on a treadmill; that little blessing has only been around for about 3. Because I've made it a habit of running 6 days a week I've also ran in all kinds of weather and on all the different terrain we've moved around to. 

In Illinois I ran in the winter on a treeless plain. I'd often have 2 pairs of pants and socks on, 3 shirts and sometimes a couple of hats. I ran with snow falling in my face while working hard to lift my frozen feet out of the drifts of snow. My winter runs were silent and clear. I finished my runs with snow in my socks and skin red from the cold but I enjoyed the runs despite the discomfort. It was a wonderful thing to see and listen to God's silence on those runs. 

In southern Indiana I ran on hilly gravel roads. I remember telling DR that my butt burned after my first week running there! I had never ran so many hills in my life! Running in Indiana I was surrounded by thick green trees that isolated me so completely, at least from humans anyway. Many times I spooked deer out of their morning grazing in the cornfields. I even came upon a stray horse one time! My Indiana runs were also accompanied by singing birds and the sounds one only hears in the woods. I ran in Indiana winters but it's the summers I remember the most. The hot gravel beneath my feet that kicked up the dust. The humidity completely enveloped me! I don't know how I ever breathed on some of those runs but I felt a fire in my lungs that made me happy I had worked so hard. 

About 6 years ago I was able to chaperone a group of high school students to West Virginia on a white water rafting trip. What fun that was! At the end of a day on the river a couple of the teenagers were going for a run and I tagged along. Well, dragged along was more like it. Those kids were ten years younger than me and in much better shape. How humbling! And if I thought the hills of southern Indiana were bad, oh boy, the mountains in W. Virginia were killer...but beautiful. I love to gaze on an Appalachian mountain slope because it evokes a sense of gentle aging I suppose. 

In Kansas I haven't done as much outside running as I've done in other states. I blame the convenience of my treadmill for that :) But I do get out on warm sunny days occasionally. Over the weekend I decided to go running on a day that we were having 40 mph wind gusts. You think I'm crazy? Yeah, probably. I ran half a mile to the west and yes it was windy but I was still in town protected by trees and houses. Once I reached the edge of town and turned to the south, where the wind was coming from, it was like running against a wall. I just couldn't move! It was kind of fun! But I couldn't keep it up so I ran back into town to the football field and ran around the track. It was exhilarating! Every turn of the track caused the wind to hit me from a different angle. I had to be so aware of where and how the wind was hitting me that it took some concentration not to get knocked over! I don't think I had ever had a run where I had to concentrate so hard on my body and what it was doing. 

I've written before how blessed I feel to have moved so many places and I'm also blessed to have been able to run in those places in a variety of different weathers. God has blessed me with people and places but also the opportunity to experience his world silently and humbly on my own. I wish I could take you all on these runs with me but I don't think they'd be as special if you weren't on your own. 

P.S. - Good running news! I'm up to running 5 days a week in my Vibram 5 Finger shoes! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

A day at the park.

You'd think that with my kids' grandparents 900 miles away I would have figured out how to post videos on my blog for them a long time ago. Well, no, I didn't. But I think I've finally figured out the easy way to do this. 

We had a very nice Sunday afternoon at the park and I tried to take some videos for grandparents to take a look at. So if you are stopping by and don't want to watch videos of my kids, you won't hurt my feelings :). This post is for Grandma anyway! 

It cracks me up that we go to the park and this is what Yip and Yap end up doing most of the time! 

Yahoo, always the social butterfly :) 

And...are there any child psychologists, or linguists, who'd like to explain this for me?? 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Devotions - Seek Ye First.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

When I wake up in the morning I have every intention of putting God first in all things. But sometimes my prayers aren't all they should be and there are many days I don't get any Bible reading done the way I had planned. Through the hustle and bustle of my day my thoughts tend to drift away from the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and too easily I get swept up in anger, frustration and selfishness. I feel like a child that continually needs to be reminded of my misbehavior. 

Like the Good Father he is, God continues to remind me of my wrongs. But he never gives up on me. He always gives me another chance to do follow his teachings and truths. 

Lord, I want you to be my first priority. It's best for me and for those around me. I confess, though, I don't always put you first. Please forgive me. Help to reorder my life to put you first. Always. Amen.                                                                               

Friday, February 24, 2012

Foody Friday - Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Oh. My. Goodness.

This was such a great hit at dinner the other night! 
How couldn't it be? It involves bacon!! Nothing can beat bacon!! 

I found the original recipe on Diary of a Recipe Addict

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken

4 chicken breasts cut half
Bacon slices
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder
chili powder
brown sugar

Cut each breast in half, rub all the chicken with the spices. My rub was about equal amounts of all the spices.   Roll in brown sugar and  then wrap a piece of bacon around each piece of chicken. Place into an oven proof dish sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and bacon is nice and brown and crispy..or a bit rubbery just for my husband.  

I can't wait until it's warm enough to try this out on the grill! Bacon makes anything better. 

Of course...I'm still not brave enough to try the bacon cupcakes. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Week 8 - Fall

The thing I've enjoyed most about this 52 week project is how surprising my subjects are although I have the themes listed for an the entire year. 

For example, I intended to take my boys to the basketball court with my tripod and work on some slow shutter speeds with basketballs falling from the air. I thought it would be a neat subject to play with. However the weather didn't cooperate, or did it? Instead of some warm weather we have had very windy cold days and one day with some unexpected, but very welcome, snow!

f 7.1, 1/125 sec., ISO 800
 With the snow "fall"ing I had my subject for the week. But it was a lot harder to photograph snow than I thought it would be...and my hands were getting cold. I did find some drips "fall"ing from the downspout though. 
f 7.1, 1/125 sec., ISO 800
I had no reason to shoot in black and white other than I thought it may highlight the snowflakes better. 
But, I made the mistake of shooting snow without thinking of my light meter and everything turned out just too gray. 

f 11, 1/200 sec., ISO 800
So I did do some editing on these; increased contrast and played with curves. 

This was the before image. 

Next week, Week 9's theme is LOUD!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Public Speaking, Captain America and Being Stuck in the Shower.

On Saturday our 4H club participated in our county's Club Day. 

In front of two judges and a bunch of parent our club put on a skit; There Was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly. The old woman was a 18 year old boy who sure didn't seem too excited about dressing up like an old lady :) but he was a trooper and didn't complain too much. 

The skit ended with my boys, the horses, saying in unison, "She's dead of course!" after the old lady swallowed a fly. 

After the skit my boys participated in a show and tell. They chose one of their 4H projects to share with the judges. Even though we practiced their "speech" they never said the same thing twice. I'm not too concerned about that though. I think the most important thing for them to get out of this experience was the confidence to speak in front of a crowd....which I think they were born with. 

Yip shared the Captain America stuffed toy he sewed. 

Yap shared his Electric circuit board. 

Yep, they both did very well. No nerves, lots of confidence. I'm thinking they are born speakers. 

I wish I could say the same about myself. I do NOT like to speak in front of a crowd. Once when I was a junior in high school I was required to give a speech in front of the class. I chose to speak about one of my favorite artists and I even had posters to share. But when it was my time to get up in front of everyone my hands were shaking so badly my teacher had to have a couple of boys hold the posters up for me. I eventually got over my stage fright enough to get up in front of my art classes and speak. It seems so much easier to speak in front of kids than adults. I had to give a short presentation to some adults a couple weeks ago, and although my hands weren't shaking, I did have a slight tremor in my voice and I forgot a lot of what I had planned to say. 

I don't know where I got my stage fright because I have plenty of siblings who have no problems getting up and talking to people. I have a brother, Mountain Man, who can get up and talk to hundreds of people without barely having to prepare. He's always cool and collected when talking. My sister Mrs. Einstein, the science teacher, went to numerous national FFA conventions and giving speeches. I remember one particular contest she was preparing a speech for and she would practice it whenever she could. She even came into the bathroom when I was taking a shower once to recite her speech knowing that I couldn't run away. Dang, by the time her contest rolled around I had the speech memorized too! But I'm sure glad that I wasn't the one getting up in front of an auditorium to recite it. 

I'm glad my boys have the opportunity at such a young age to practice public speaking. I think if I had started at a young age too maybe I wouldn't be so nervous as an adult. But as it is I'll just stick the background and paint, rather than speak, in silence! :) 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Marker Monday - String Painting with Toddlers

I love painting with my kids but I had to take a big break from it with Yahoo for the past six months or so because every time I let her paint more paint always ended up on her than on whatever it was we were painting. 
Or she'd just eat it. 

But she's getting more grown up and listening better (sometimes) so we've been tackling more painting projects lately. She really loved painting with string. First she covered her string in slightly watered down paint. 

Then I gave her a piece of paper creased in half and helped her place the strings on just one side. Let a little of string's end hang off the edge. 

Fold the paper in half and rub the back thoroughly and next, slowly pull out the strings....

...and unfold! 

She loved it! I think she loved the fact that the final painting was such a surprise. 

Thanks to Preschool Powol Packets for the great idea.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Devotions - Be Fearless!

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear seems to lay everywhere, or at least the potential for fear is everywhere. I read in the news a woman died from teh water at her dentist's office. Carcinogens that cause cancer seems to be everywhere; in what we eat and where we live. Droughts. Unemployment. Wars. The possibility of personal failure, illness, grief, disasters. If I allowed myself to dwell upon all the things that strike fear in my heart, well, my blood pressure would be through the roof at least. 

I found this quote the other day on Pinterest. 


I'm not sure if "do not be afraid" is really written 365 times, but I wouldn't doubt it. Psalm 27:1 and 23:4, Isaiah 41:13, Exodus 14:13, Deuteronomy 31:6, Luke 1:30 and 2:10, Hebrews 13:6, John 14:27

Do not be fearless!! What good does fear or worry do us anyway? Nothing at all. Be Fearless!! 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for giving us strength and courage and fearlessness! You are with us every hour of every day. We have nothing to fear, ever, with you by our side. Amen!! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Coolest Valentine Gift

Look what we got in the mail this week!! 

My mom is so awesome. For Valentines she sent my kids a bag of sugar cookies she baked along with frosting and sprinkles so they could decorate Valentine cookies! Since she couldn't be here when we made a mess I thought I'd post pics so she could check out their creations. 

Hhmmm, not really sure what Yahoo spent more time doing; decorating or eating the decorations. 

We got a bit wild with the sprinkles Grandma! 

A bag full of cookies traveling 900 miles is bound to hit some turbulence and most of the cookies didn't make it in one piece but that didn't deter the kids. They piled on the frosting on every crumb large enough to hold a sprinkle. 

This was a great Valentine Mom, thanks bunches! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Foody Friday - Butter Chicken

You know that feeling you get when you sit down to dinner with your family and NO ONE complains about what's for dinner? It's an even better feeling when you know your kids aren't cheering over hot dogs and potato chips but real honest to goodness food! 

Yeah, I rarely ever have that feeling of euphoria either...
I found a recipe ALL my kids like! REALLY!

Butter Chicken from the cookbook Chicken Recipes to Die For.
When I made this up for dinner the other day I didn't even bother to take a photo of it before we sat down to eat because I fully expected my kids to all veto it. 

So that's why you see shots in the leftover containers. 
This chicken is so creamy and buttery that our leftovers sure didn't last long. 

Butter Chicken - The Easiest and Tastiest Recipe Ever

2 or 3 T butter
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. chili powder (or less if you don't like it too hot.)
uncooked chicken, cubed (I used 3 chicken breasts)
jar of tomato paste
3/4 cup cream

Mix all of the spices together, then add to the chicken and set aside. Melt the butter and fry the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the spiced chicken and continue to fry until chicken is cooked through. Add the tomato paste and cream and simmer gently for 5 more minutes. How easy is that? 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Week 7 - Plug

Week 7 - Plug

I really didn't want to shoot an electrical plug or anything obvious like that. I was trying to think of things that plug holes; a pacifier in a baby's mouth, more babies in the house. 

Then I stepped on a Nerf dart. Man!! Yip has three or four different Nerf dart guns and I am ALWAYS picking up Nerf darts all over the house. 
 But...Nerf darts PLUG up a hole in the Nerf gun. Great!! I've got my subject. 

1/125 sec., f 7.1, ISO 1600

I only got four pictures taken before Yip got tired of modeling for me. If he had been a bit more patient I would have played around a lot more with depth of field. As it was, I was probably really lucky to get these shots. HA! 

1/100 sec, f 6.3, ISO 1600

Next week's, Week 8, theme is Fall.
Well wrong time of year to shoot pics of pretty leaves.
I sure hope I don't have to take a picture of boys falling. That could only mean an injury.

Anyone else out there doing any kind of photo project? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

4H Electricity

With the winter months here we've been slowly working on 4H projects. We've done some sewing and art projects but last weekend DR and the boys sat down to tackle their very first electric project. 

I've posted before on the differences between Indiana 4H and Kansas 4H. There are no guidelines about what is expected for their projects so we decided to do what is a first year project in Indiana; an circuit board. (Thanks Grandma for buying the kits for us!) 

See, I never took electricity but I always saw all these pretty little boards with batteries, wires and lit light bulbs and just assumed it couldn't be that hard right? Right? 

As it turns out it was hard and poor DR did most of the work. The boys helped where they could; measuring and cutting wires, and deciding where everything went but it was probably still too advanced for 7 year olds. There were just too many very small parts that was hard for the boys to manipulate and DR wouldn't even let them close to the soldering gun. 

They do understand the concept of the path of electricity which is the point. 
And we've talked a lot about electrical safety, conductors and insulators. 

They sure were proud of their circuit boards that actually lit up.

I loved 4H and I'll be more than happy to help my kids out with any project they have in mind but man, I never realized that being the 4H parent is a whole different ballgame than being the 4H kid. It's a lot of work! But thank goodness for DR because if I had to have helped with a circuit board we STILL wouldn't be done! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marker Monday - Painting on Snow.

I haven't done this activity in a long, long time. Not since we lived in Illinois in fact. But last week we had an unexpected inch or so of snow. Yahoo so badly wanted to go out and play in it, so did I, but the wind was just too fierce. So I brought the snow into her and packed some into pie tins and added some colored water and let her go to town.

Painting seems so simple that you'd think little kids would get bored by it. But for this age it isn't so much the end result that is important but the tactile and kinesthetic process of just painting with various tools on various mediums. Painting on snow sure isn't like painting on paper! What's the most unique surface you or your kids have ever painted on?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Devotions - Strength in Sickness

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. - Isaiah 40:28-31

Last weekend I missed posting my usual Sunday devotions because the week prior my family was battling a nasty stomach bug. While this particular sickness knocked me down for a couple days, my kids bounced back much quicker. I wish I had a child's energy! 

As I think of my older friends and relatives, who are fighting illness and diseases like cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's,  I realize that sickness is a part of getting older. No matter how healthy of a life I lead this body won't last forever. Sometimes the thought of growing older and the possibility of serious illnesses can be disheartening. But God never gets sick; God never grows weak.

Being sick is no fun and battling a serious illness can be devastating to our spirit. But we don't have to fight alone. If we put our faith and hope in the Lord our strength will be renewed! Even if our sickness takes our physical bodies, our faith in God will provide us spiritual strength forever! 

Dear Heavenly Father, Our physical bodies are fighting battles, some more serious than others. Lord help us heal our spirits first and foremost and then help us heal our bodies. Amen. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Foody Friday - Apple and Cottage Cheese Bake

I found Apple and Cottage Cheese Bake on Spark Recipes the other day. 
It's a very simple recipe that would be perfect for a weekend breakfast or mix it up the night before and pop it in first thing in the morning and allow it to bake while you shower and dress. 

Apple and Cottage Cheese Bake

1-2 chopped apples
1/2 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup regular oats
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mixed eggs with cottage cheese, oatmeal, eggs and apples. Put mixture in a small pie plate sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. Drizzle with honey and serve warm if desired. 

This is a very filling dish and could easily feed two people for breakfast or three kids if you are able to convince them to try such a concoction! I wasn't so lucky. My kids wouldn't touch it, of course. But I sure enjoyed it! 

Yeah, I'll definitely be eating this one again! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week 6 - Wire

Okay, I admit....I whipped this photos out fast and didn't give much thought to how I shot...I just had to get em' done this week. I hate the idea of falling behind as early as Week 6! I barely even looked at my camera's settings. I know I could have done better if I'd given it more thought, or time! Things are just rushed this week, aren't they always? 

First two are shots of this hair twisty thing I wear all the time. I just threw it on my day planner and took some shots. 

1/40 sec., f 5.6, ISO 1600

1/10, f 16, ISO 1600

1/8, f 5.6, 1600

And a quick edit in black and white.
I was manually focusing today with slow shutter speeds so I know that the focus on these is probably wonky. 

Speaking of edits, I have used for my editing for a couple years now. But they are closing down their site in April and merging with Google+. I've tried editing through Google+/Picasa albums but it's now more cumbersome and time consuming than before. 

I did find a new online editing site that I tried today, very quickly, and I think I might be hooked. It's I'm still not convinced that I need to buy fancy Photoshop program when I can free sites on the web that will fulfill my purposes.  

Oh, I almost forgot, next week is....


Crap. Why don't I start looking ahead when I post? I could have used this one next week too! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Something Wonderful to See.

I saw something wonderful yesterday. 

Here it is. 

Big brother reading to little sister. 

What's even better he sought her out and asked if he could read a book to her. 

I've been waiting for this moment since the day she was born. 
Amazing how much him reading to her helps me out. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails