Please Don’t Eat That

… Well my little darling is not ready for play dough. It was a rough morning at the Wilson household. It was only 12 degrees out and the flu bug has been ravenous in our apartment building. That meant another day of avoiding the children’s playroom downstairs. There are only so many trips down the hall to be made, and only so many stairwells to be climbed before your 18 month old has just had enough. As she sat on the stairs wailing, I knew I had to be creative. As a mum, what can I do today to keep Izzy busy?
… Well we broke out the Swiffer dusters (which Izzy loves) and dusted the apartment … We played hide and seek behind the sofas, and read almost all the books in our collection. We made some art, put another diaper on Mr. Bear, and organized the bins underneath the bathroom sink. We baked (Izzy decided on bagels), and as we sat on the floor eating our fantastic, chewy creations, I looked at the clock in horror. Is it really only 9!! What else can we do?! I’ve got it! Play dough! … so Izzy sat on the counter, manning the mixing bowl and spatula, while we made pink, purple, and blue. Izzy grabbed her ravioli cutter, rolling pin and cookie cutters with glee, and went to town. I showed her how to roll out the colors, and cut shapes. There was however one problem. She though it was for eating. We went three rounds before finally it had to put it away. Each time a nice little clump went in her mouth she wailed and wanted water, and each time I tried to get it out of her mouth I failed. So the consensus of this tired momma is: wait. I don’t think we’re quite ready to be unleashed onto the creative world of play dough.
Alright you creative mums out there … what do you do when you’re confined to the house with your kiddos?

Redeemed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a vegetable in the cabbage family known both for their beautiful, edible, buds, and for striking fear into the hearts of children and adults alike, when on the menu for dinner. My mum never fixed them when my brother and I were growing up, due to bad memories of her mother fixing them when she was a child. My dad had a similar story, so when she told me she fixed them this past week, I wondered why?! She then proceeded to tell me they were fantastic! What on earth! Apparently she served them alongside a juicy rotisserie chicken and her luscious Yukon gold mashed potatoes …this at least had me listening. My mum is an incredible cook. Just ask my hubby about her Kahlua espresso cheesecake and the steak dinner we had for Christmas two years ago (moment of happy foodie silence). So where is this post headed you might be asking? Well it’s headed towards our dinner table. Last night I roasted a chicken, made mashed potatoes and fixed Ina Garten’s Brussels Sprouts Lardons. In short they were indeed fantastic. My official taste-tester husband and I highly recommend them to anyone needing to erase and replace any horror meal moments from childhood. All you need is Brussels sprouts, bacon, olive oil, kosher salt, golden raisins (trust me), and chicken stock. In 30 minutes you have a cracking good side dish to complement your main course. Thanks mum you have redeemed the Brussels sprouts!

So try it! Need reasons?

Bacon

Cost effective

Contains sulforaphane (a chemical believed to have anticancer properties)

Bacon

Source of indole-3-carbinol which boosts DNA repair in cells

Bacon

High in vitamins A,C, & K + fair source of iron and folic acid

NOTE: store unwashed sprouts in an airtight plastic bag for up to 3 days in your fridge. According to what I was reading if you leave them longer they will develop a strong unwanted flavor. eek!

“Baby its Cold Outside” … so lets make some Ice Cream

Today it was 43 degrees in Dallas and 33 the day prior. In my hometown it was a mere 9 degrees with a windchill of -8. Naturally, since 43 and 33 are arctic temperatures to Dallasites, and 9 is quite arctic by anyone’s measurements, I want to talk about ice cream. I have recently discovered that no matter the weather, ice cream sounds consistently fabulous.

Is it just me?

Last year I purchased a lovely Cuisinart Ice-21 Frozen Yogurt Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker and have had two major failures (my own fault not the machine), and one success. Tonight as my craving for ice cream increases, it has me thinking of my one success: David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Caramel. Just the name evokes a moment of happy silence for caramel lovers. So, as temperatures in much of the United States continue to remain excessively cold, I thought we could add a log to the fireplace, imagine we’re on a lovely beach, and make some ice cream. If you have never visited davidlebovitz.com please do. He has simple guidelines on how to make fantastic ice cream with or without a purchased maker, so no matter your tools you can do it! The Ice Creams and Sorbet tab is most excellent but I dare you to stop there.

Happy Churning and stay Warm!

50 Ways to Upcycle Tree Branches and Logs

So … one thing I didn’t mention in my ‘about’ tab is my obsession with tree branches. My husband would just laugh if he were in the room. He doesn’t have anything against my tree branch fetish but isn’t strongly attached to it. Over two years ago when I came home and announced that I was going to hang tree branches over our bed he looked at me like I had two heads. When we moved from Kansas to Texas I was told the tree branches had to remain behind. It was a sad day parting with them but I knew I could find new ones. Well folks it took me almost a year but we have good ‘ol Texas branches hanging from the ceiling over our bed (Pictured above). It’s still a work in progress but I wanted to share this blog article I found last month from Living Vintage. There are some beautiful ideas here and the blog itself is quite lovely. I have finally found a kindred tree branch spirit. Enjoy! http://livingvintageco.com/2013/08/50-ways-to-upcycle-tree-branches-and-logs/

My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness

It has been one of those days . . . One of those days where if I crunch another cheerio underfoot, my anger will erupt  . . . One of those days where the fussiness of my daughter makes me want to give up . . . One of those days where I simply feel worn out . . . One of those days that brings the painful truth that I am a sinner screaming to the forefront of my mind. Starting in verse 5 of Colossians chapter 3 Paul says to put to death and put away those things in which we once walked such as sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk. He says in verse twelve to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. This morning when I read those verses for my quiet time, the words anger, wrath, kindness and patience jumped off the page and dove at me like darts. My heart was reeking of these things (or the lack thereof). I kept hearing in my mind a recent memory verse “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” which comes from II Corinthians 12:8.  Paul uses the present tense here. God’s grace “Is sufficient.” I love this! God’s grace is sufficient! It’s not past tense. It doesn’t have an end date. It is ever present, ever available, and ever sufficient! My days look very different than the apostle Paul’s but we have Christ in common. Everyone who puts their hope and trust in the Lord has this promise. When we are weak He is strong. Have you trusted Him? I am always weak. On days when my heart reeks of things that are not pleasing . . . on days where I am not patient, loving, and kind to my husband and my daughter . . . I need the Lord and am thankful for His Grace and forgiveness.

Intentionality, Fever, and Chronicles

I have been increasingly convicted about being intentional with my words. I am realizing that I say “good luck” a lot or I respond to situations with a nonchalant, sinful attitude that minimizes the Lord and what He is doing. I said good luck to my husband as he was walking out the door to take his mammoth Greek exam last week thinking I was a good little encouraging wife. He said “there’s no such thing as luck.” Before my spirits crashed to the depths I realized he was right. When I took our daughter’s temperature Tuesday night and the thermometer read 104.9 it was not luck that drew it down. It was God.
God is not in the business of luck. Everything happens because He lets it. It is not without reason. There is no luck or coincidence. This past week has been a challenging one, but it has also been a beautiful learning experience about my Savior. Our daughter has been sick. What started as a low-grade fever quickly escalated and remained high. That, coupled with her lifeless behavior, became concerning enough to take her to the immediate care clinic Monday night. We got a few possible answers, but there were still unknowns. Tuesday we had to go back in to get a urine sample tested, which resulted in blood work and concern over a mounting infection. That night her fever spiked to 104.9. I woke Matt, we prayed, and Matt called my father for help as I got Izzy in a lukewarm bath. Praise God her fever receded to 102.8 and we did not have to go to the children’s ER. We kept a sharp eye on her that night but there were lots of prayers lifted up for grace and protection. For the first time we were confronted with our daughters’ mortality and our limitations. I have been reading in Kings and Chronicles for my quiet time over the past few months but in the midst of this sickness I read II Chronicles chapter 20 which is an account of King  Jehoshaphat. He is faced with the information that a horde of armies bent on his people’s destruction is marching towards Judah. In my mind I pictured Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings. His first response is to lead his people in seeking God’s face. In verse 12 he says “… for we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Later in verse 15 Jahaziel speaks for the Lord and says, “… do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” Back to my conviction regarding intentionality . . . reading this chapter in light of Isabella’s sickness was not coincidence or luck. Tuesday night we realized just how powerless we were. We did not know what to do other than keep our eyes on the Lord. It was His battle, not ours. Yesterday marked day 1 of Izzy being back to her busy, ornery self. After 7 days of sickness she is recovering. Praise God! I know more times like this will come . . . times where my husband and I will realize our powerlessness but Praise God when we are weak He is strong. This passage in II Chronicles will always be a special passage between me and the Lord. It is a beautiful reminder for all of us to constantly fix our eyes on the Lord. Our battles are not ours but His.