He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

25 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Happy Christmas, Everyone! 
{That includes my favorite people currently "across the pond"!}
Today we celebrate the first step of salvation,
With love from the Monti's

And... just because I can't help myself...
I found another great Christmas song that's meant for kids but seems to sum the whole thing up... 
It's About the Cross by Go Fish

23 December 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

I found another great Christmas song to add to my list of favorites...
How Many Kings by Downhere

The chorus is great... 
How many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
to romance a world that's been torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me.
And... I heard Luke 1 read in church today and something struck me today that I've heard a million times before and glossed right over. 
Verse  48 says 
"For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me..."
 Mary knew, even then, right after the angel told her of what was going to happen (not what HAD) that all the world to come after would know of her honorable place in history and the immense responsibility that was placed upon her. 
There's nothing monumental to my point here, just that I cannot imagine being a young woman told of such an incredible future that I was to have and have the sense to believe and know that my name would be forever known and held in regaurd. 
She was a pretty special chick if you ask me! 

And that is all! 
Happy Christmas Eve! 

18 December 2012

Encouragement for Today

Sometimes life gets in the way.
Sometimes the distractions win.
Sometimes my Bible lays unopened on my nightstand.
Sometimes opening a daily email from Encouragement for Today is just what I need to kick start my day and motivate me to make more time for the Word.
I'm not getting paid to say this I just know that there are moms out there who struggle to find/make time, like me sometimes and think that a couple minutes is just the start you need.
You can sign up HERE at Encouragement for Today from Crosswalk.com for daily emails sent right to you. You can also read the daily encouragement on their website.

These aren't silly little tidbits either.
I have yet to read one that doesn't apply to me or at least get me thinking.
And that's all for today.

10 December 2012

Instant Fireplace

Do you like the ambiance of a wood burning fireplace but either don't have one, don't want to deal with the mess of one, or don't like the loss of heat that can come with using one? Do you have a TV?
Well...Netflix to the rescue!

If you have it, you can simply search "Fireplace for your home" and you have two episode options. Episode 1 is an hour of continuous burning with only crackles and pops to be heard. Episode 2 is set to mellow, word free, Christmas music as it burns for an hour and two minutes.

Hubs told me about it and I'll just say that round one completely confused the kids...
At first they thought they were going to sit down and watch something fun.
Once I explained that this was all there was to it they were concerned that it would be too hot.

I love how kids think.
And yes...  I see the weirdness of a fireplace over a fireplace but I ask you to just let it go this time.
Happy Monday!

img source

07 December 2012

Christmas Cards and Slaying Dragons

We spent some time at the greenhouse trying to get Christmas card pictures.
For those of you who say I always take good pictures... the lighting may be nice and the subjects adorable but it takes at least 100 not-so-card-worthy pictures to get a handful of usable ones.
So this is for you...
 Miss Mak fell twice during the shoot.
Yes son, that's how we all feel about taking family photos.
OH! I almost forgot... as for dragon slaying...
THIS is how awesome my husband is!
{In case you're wondering, the fire extinguisher is necessary... the dragon's in our house are fire breathing.}
Happy Weekend!

04 December 2012

Best Butternut Soup

I mean it.
I believe this is the best butternut recipe I've had to date.
Of course, it's from Martha.
The ingredients are simple.
It's just about as homemade as you can get.
And the flavor is perfect-warm-you-from-the-inside-out-gonna-have-to-share-with-a-friend-delish!
Anyway... as usual, I've tinkered just a smidge but the original recipe is right here at Martha Stewart. The recipe below is with my changed but again, the original recipe is HERE.
Martha has this recipe at about an hour from start to finish.
What You'll Need:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 medium butternut squash, about 2 1/2 lbs, peeled, seeded, and diced medium.
1 small onion, diced medium
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
4 c chicken broth or water
1/4 t ground cumin
1 to 2 T fresh lemon juice
What To Do:
Heat oven to 425. In a roasting pan or jelly roll pan layer whole chicken thighs, diced squash, and onion, single layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oil,
Roast for 30 minutes, no turning necessary.
Let cool for a few minutes and remove chicken thighs to another plate for just a moment to cool further.
In a soup pot add 1/3 of the roasted squash and onion, 4 cups of broth, and 1/4 t cumin and begin to heat over medium heat.
Meanwhile, using a blender or food processor, puree the remaining 2/3 of the squash and add puree to the warming broth.
Add the 4 chicken thighs to the food processor or blender and pulse several times to break up.
Add chicken to the warming broth and heat through.
Right before serving, add lemon juice to taste and serve immediately or...
  as I did, place in a jars to cool and share. 
Hubs likes it! Kiddos like it! I love it!
I meant it! Try this! You won't regret it!
Happy Tuesday!

29 November 2012

Pantry Rescue for Bored Boy

CJ is four.
He gets bored easily.

He loves to build.
Pantry to the rescue!

Marshmallows and toothpicks.
That's it!

Happy Thursday!

27 November 2012

Inexpensive Closet Update

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Ours was all kinds of relaxing.
We sat on the couch most of the morning watching the parade snuggled up on the couch and then headed to my parent's for a relatively small gathering around their table.

So... with another little man in our family, CJ is going to start sharing a room and a closet.
The boys' room is a good size but it's also the room with the best toys and books so it is the room to be in when the kids are upstairs so I wanted to ditch the dresser we have in there as soon as I can. That meant the closet needed an upgrade and thanks to Hubs, some plywood, and a nail gun we got just that.

It started out as a standard closet...
We stripped the closet and mapped out our plan based on the height of the door opening and the duct work on the right hand side.
We decided on half of the closet being shelving and half of it being hanging space including two bars, one for each son.
To get started we measured the height of the laundry basket we use and added about ten inches in case I slack on laundry, which I will. Then we divided the remaining space above the basket to fit five shelves.

Using a 3/4 plywood we cut a side wall do the depth and height we needed (in this case 18" by 72").
Then, we took inexpensive furring strips and cut them to the depths we needed and nailed them into place at the distances we planned.
(You'll notice that we shorted the top two rails. The very top one is short because our top shelf was so close to the top of the door frame that we wanted to be able to access what was up there. The second one down is short because we ran out of furring strips and didn't feel like buying more just for the couple extra inches we needed.)

Hubs then measured the distance of wall we could access behind the duct for the other side supports (13.5") and nailed them into place at the same distances as the shelves on the upright piece of plywood. (If you were making this and didn't have duct work, you'd want to match the length of these side supports to match the ones on your ply.)
 Next we cut five shelves. For us, that meant four 18" x 24" and one 13.5" x 24" (for the top shelf).
Remember that duct work we had to maneuver around? To solve that problem we notched out a corner.
Time to assemble.
Hubs marked the vertical line to where he wanted to attach the side wall for a general guideline.
He then attached the bottom and second shelves by nailing the shelves into the shelf supports.
Ideally we will have supports on the back wall to nail the shelves into as well but we ran out of strips and time so for the moment the side rails are doing all the work.
 The side unit is complete and off to bed we all went....
Day two, Hubs used the wood we stripped from the old closet and cut it to work for the new setup.
For us, that meant cutting a rail to support another shelf above the bars, cutting the shelf as well, and cutting the original bar into two, as well as reusing the screws and brackets to support the bars. 
At the very end, we decided to throw in one more shelf on the bottom left for toys because, as I said, CJ's room is THE place to play.
And there you have it. We are planning to finish the closet with some trim to clean up the edges of the shelving and to paint the whole thing but for now, it's doing it's job and with a 2 week old it's likely to be a while before that happens.
Here's to progress and a wonderful Tuesday!

20 November 2012


Four kids.
That's a'lotta kids!
Hubs and I tried a trip to the grocery store.
This poor man did not realize what he signed up for.
Once again, he's AMAZING!
Granted... that's a'lotta cute.
{first bath at home}
And of course... a lot of ... well... let's just say that these three crafty kids are all waiting for a change. 
I swear they planned it!
Family pictures will of course be much more difficult. 
...good luck to whomever tries.
Blessed beyond measure. 


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