40

I turn 40 today!

And I can honestly say I am not upset about it.  (I think in my mind I’ve always been 40, I just needed my body to catch up.  HA.)

My husband and good friend Jessica planned not one, but two!, almost-surprise parties for me on Sunday.  How wonderful to be fully loved by so many amazing people.  First was a tea party at a local restaurant, filled with beautiful women who are some of my favorite people in the world.  Many of these ladies I have laughed, cried, and shared life with over several years.  God has provided these women to me to comfort me, pray with me, bring joy, and teach me.

Then the surprise continued with a party at home with more of my family and friends.

Again, I am so thankful for the people God has brought into my life over the years.  My husband and kids are precious.  I’m thankful for God’s presence with me (even when I didn’t notice it), his provision, and his protection.   Thankful that He has brought me this far and has granted me more days to do His work and bring Him glory.

 

So here’s a few quotes that either made me chuckle or felt fitting for today…

It takes about ten years to get used to how old you are. 

~Quoted by Raymond A. Michel in The Leaf

A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life:  maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves.  A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. 

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell

I’m not 40, I’m eighteen with 22 years experience. 

~Author Unknown

 

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Layered Ice Cream Cake – A Birthday Tradition

This cake has become our family “biRthDaY” tradition.

I love this cake because it’s easy, it’s yummy, it looks fancy, and it’s customizable to the birthday kid because you can pick whatever their favorite ice cream flavors are!

Here’s the recipe:

Layered Ice Cream Cake

18 oreos

1 -2 T milk

9 ice cream sandwiches

3 pints ice cream (whatever flavors you want and would taste good together!)

8 – 12 oz. whipped topping, thawed

Coat bottom and sides of a 9″ round springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Line the sides with waxed paper, using spray to help adhere it to pan.  Finely crush 15 oreos, add milk, and mix until mixture just sticks together;  set aside.  Working quickly, unwrap and cut ice cream sandwiches into quarters.  Stack strips of sandwiches on end, side by side, snugly around the pan.  Spoon cookie crumbs into center of pan and press firmly.  Freeze for one hour.  Remove all three flavors of ice cream from freezer and allow to soften for 15 minutes.  Scoop the first flavor into a bowl, stir until spreadable, and spread into pan.  Repeat with other flavors.  Top with whipped topping.  Crush remaining oreos and sprinkle over cake.  Freeze overnight.

Here’s a couple more pics (sorry for the quality – I’m better a better chef than a photographer!)

Do you have a family birthday cake tradition??

to go or not to go…

that is the question.

My 20th high school reunion is in 2 months and I can’t decide if I am going to go.

I really think of myself as a pretty confident person.  In most settings and circumstances, I really don’t care much what other people think of me.

But when I think of going to this reunion, I get all weak-kneed and sweaty-palmed and wonder why I would want to put myself through this.

I think those who were part of the “in crowd” in school don’t have this problem.  But as I’ve mentioned before – I wasn’t.  I was a bit of a, ahem, geek.  And for the most part, that was ok with me.  I was overweight and when I was young I think I figured if I couldn’t be the prettiest, I’d just be the smartest.  But I’ve learned that vanity by a different name is still vanity.

And now I’m anxious about the thought of being in a room with all those people.

The boy that in 7th grade sat next to me in band and made fun of me for being overweight.  The group of “friends” that I so desperately wanted to be a part of, but who made me feel at every turn like I wasn’t really good enough.

But on the other hand, I was not perfect either.  Do I really want to see the girl that I gossiped about and hurt her feelings?  Do I want to see the boy that I thought I was just friends with but then he surprised me with inviting me to the prom and I had to say no?

What is it about this that brings me right back to those feelings of insecurity that I felt then?  It was so loooong ago.  Shouldn’t I have gotten past this? 

(is this normal???)

But I guess those childhood wounds are hard to heal.  And when you leave high school, or at least when I did, you leave those people behind and they are forever – to you – the way they were.  You don’t have the opportunity to see them grow and change. 

But we all do grow and change.  I am a better version of myself now than I was then.  And maybe I just need to remember that probably most of them are, too.

So will I go?

I’m still not sure.  There are a few people who I really would like to see. 

That may be just enough to get me there.

Star Wars Birthday Weekend!

My son turned 8 on Friday.

This is a picture of him on his birthday at a local restaurant – at his request we went out for dinner so they could sing happy birthday to him!

This is a picture of him when he was about 5 months old!

He has brought a lot of smiles, love, hugs, and silliness to our family and we love him to pieces. 

Here’s a few more pics of the weekend – which included a Star Wars themed party with friends on Saturday afternoon and then a party with family on Sunday.  It was a busy weekend, but so full of fun.  My hubby was a huge help because he was in charge of managing all the VERY ENERGETIC boys! 

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Where are YOU from?

My friend Esther posted her version on her blog a week or two ago and I couldn’t resist taking my own shot at it.  I am by no means a “writer”, but I was challenged by this writing prompt titled “Where I’m From”.  Here goes:

I am from the banks of a canal, from Kodak and Lake Ontario.

I am from a raised ranch filled with four girls, a place of love that took the form of the smell of good food, the sounds of John Denver, and the feel of heat from a wood stove.

I am from lilacs and lilies, maple trees, myrtle and fruit trees.

I am from long cross-country camping trips in a pop-up and marathon Christmas cookie baking with Christmas music blaring. 

I am from introvertedness, from steady love that is known but with a formality that precluded displays of affection.  From values and morals that are strong but not discussed.  

From fair skin and diabetes.

From “good girls don’t…” and “you can do anything you set your mind to.”

I am from born-again Christians, Free Methodism, deep faith in the saving grace of God in our home, but the absence of how to live in His grace.

I’m from Western NY, meat and potatoes dinners, pizza and wings, and Nick Tahoe red hots.  From fruits and vegetables fresh from the backyard.

I am from a home of faith and love, and adopted as a child of God.  I am thankful.

I hope some of you try this!  (It’s harder than it looks!)

I’d love to hear where you’re from!

Chore Chart Idea

We’ve gone through periods of using a chore chart and periods of not using a chore chart.  Overall, I am in favor of using a chore chart for our family and associating it with the kids’ allowance.  But sometimes it just gets old and we’ll ditch it for a while. 

But it seems to always make it’s way back in one way or another.  I find that it’s good to change it up after a while, both to combat boredom, and as the children get older they may need to focus their skills in one area rather than another.  Our chore chart includes, at the top – either things I want the kids to complete, or skills I know they’re working on and need practice.  They get a certain amount of money each week for each one completed.  Then, at the bottom, we have things that are bad habits or behaviors that they need to stop.  Check marks here mean some money taken away.

Soooo, the chore chart is in play right now.  After several weeks of printing out a new copy of it each week, I had an idea!

 **think lightbulb**

I have a ton of picture frames hanging around that I’m not using.  Why not use it for the chore chart?

And it works beautifully…

(well, the frame works beautifully – I wouldn’t go so far as to say the picture is beautiful!!)

We use a write-on/wipe-off marker and no need to print out another sheet every week!  Yay!

Now it’s your turn.  Tell me, do you have a chore chart for your kids?  Is it associated with allowance?  Is it effective? 

I’m always up for new ideas!

Under Attack

If you are a fellow mama, please watch this…

abercrombie.kids.bikini.cnn

Our children are under attack.  And don’t think that if you just have boys that this isn’t just as serious an issue for you.  Boys are certainly also impacted negatively by the premature sexualizing of young girls.   

We are given an opportunity to raise these children of God, and a big part of that, I believe, is protecting them from the lies that society bombards them with.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of being apathetic, or giving in to things because, let’s admit it, we’re tired or worn down.  Or we may think or be told that maybe our standards are too high.  But that is a lie from Satan himself!  God commands purity from us in Colossians 3:1-10  

 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

And we must teach our children as well.  Lord, help us to be vigilant!

If you’d like to take action, please go to this website:

http://blog.secretkeepergirl.com/?p=557

The Secret Keeper Girl is a book by Dannah Gresh that deals with the issue of teaching modesty to your daughters.  The website has tons of resources and information if you want to know more.  The link above takes you to Dannah’s blog, where she writes about this push-up bikini being marketed and sold to young girls, and gives some guidance on how to take action.

On a more personal note, if any of you local readers have 8-12 year olds and might be interested… I was given a Secret Keeper Girl 8 Great Dates for You and Your Daughter kit.  It includes a book, a CD, and a workbook (go here if you want to learn more about it).  I am trying to think about planning some of these activities for my daughter and I over the summer and was thinking that if anyone else was interested, we could all try to do it together.  The activities are pretty flexible, so certainly we could break up and have one-on-one time when we need to.  Let me know if you’re interested!