Friday, July 28, 2017

Happy birthday, Sarah

Our two July birthday girls are SO different.

Where extroverted and boisterous Olivia wants a big party with lots of people, 

quiet, introverted Sarah only wants to make her own birthday cake 

and eat it surrounded by the other five members of her immediate family.

I marvel in God's creation of intricate and unique personalities.

Sarah's delight in her creative and decadent cake filled us all with joy and celebration as we looked back on her last eighteen years of life and looked forward to the upcoming changes and growth that will occur in her next year.

Oh, how I love this crew that God has given me.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come....

...Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:25, 30

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How do I even begin to describe the big hearts of these friends of ours?!?

They rip off old wallpaper and meticulously recover old couches, only pausing to sneeze occasionally when some ancient allergen gets in the way.

Our friends helped us beat the heat by taking a trip to the Museum of Discovery, 

where we learned that we are fascinated by the same kinds of science experiments.

We read lots of books together (particularly "Library Lil", over and over and over!)

We visited the Rong Restaurant and discovered that the food was absolutely delicious, especially when you slurp your noodles.

The crowning touch of the week together was listening to the orchestra concerts.  We are super proud of the hard working viola and cello players from our two families, and we are thankful for the organizers and clinicians who made the week so very special.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Peeling back history

One day last week, Gayly and I started peeking underneath the peeling wallpaper in the kitchen.  We got bold and starting ripping off the layers...

...where we found two layers of wallpaper on top of drywall.

And underneath, we discovered Johnny Appleseed.

Gayly looked up this article from December, 1949, about this wallpaper and matching fabric made by Waverly.

We peeled back layers of history to find Johnny, and for right now, he is staying in the kitchen.  But there is still one layer of wallpaper waiting to be discovered...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blackberries and Books

Even though we weren't able to pick blackberries earlier this week, we still had some berries in the freezer from our last foray to the orchard.

And two of our favorite things are food and books!  I just purchased the lovely book "A Fine Dessert:  Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat", so I knew that making (and eating) blackberry fool was going to be happening at our house.

We also took advantage of the local library and checked out "Blackberry Booties" (a familiar favorite from a few years ago) and "Just One" (more appropriate for the little ones visiting us this week).

And then we dove into making delicious blackberry fool!

Blackberry Fool
2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (Other berries will do -- but the fool won't be such a nice purple color; frozen berries will work, though fresh are nicer.)
1/2 cup sugar, divided in two
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Mash the berries with a potato masher or a large fork.  If you've got a food processor, you can use that.  With clean hands, press the crushed berries through a sieve to remove the seeds. (And if you want to imitate our household, make sure you pretend to be Brutus with Julius Caesar's blood on your hands.) 

Sprinkle the fruit with 1/4 cup of the sugar.  Stir.  In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the vanilla and the cream.  Using a whisk or whatever kind of beater you have, whip the mixture until it makes soft peaks, but not stiff ones.

Fold the sugared berries into the whipped cream.  There should be streaks of white and purple.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or more.  Eat!  And don't forget to lick the bowl.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Orchestras and Orchards

This week we are enjoying some of our favorite people, the Conards, while three of our children attend UCA's orchestra camp.

We made a trip back to Cadron Crest Orchard, hoping to pick blackberries, but by the time we got there, blackberries were gone and only peaches remained.

We weren't terribly disappointed.  Every trip to the orchard ends up with sweet things coming home.  Jonathan apples were ripe, so we snagged a few pounds of those in addition to the BIGGEST watermelon I have ever seen.

Meanwhile, while the rest of us were soaking up the orchard, I'm getting texts and pictures during breaks in between rehearsals at strings camp.

I am so very excited that our kids are getting to take advantage of musical opportunities while we are back in America.  And this week, we get to share those musical experiences with friends!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Twenty Years

Everything I posted five years ago is still true, but even more so.  And Ephesians 5:33 is more true, too:  

"Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Because of God's grace and Aaron's unwillingness to give up on our marriage, today we are celebrating twenty years of sharing the same last name.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Olivia's birthday

Olivia turned fourteen years old this weekend.

We celebrated with a "blue velvet" ice cream cake (including cream cheese ice in between the layers of R2D2)

Lots of family and friends crammed in our little house. 

I love that my kids have two great-grandmothers living nearby who can be a part of our daily lives.

This birthday gathering included adventure when a two-year-old bolted the bathroom door and we had to pull her out through the locked window (a neighbor with experience to the rescue!)

We also circled round Olivia to thank God for her and to pray blessings over her.  I think that's my favorite part of any birthday celebration.

Our house was so full of joy and people and celebration that I didn't even get pictures of everybody who came to celebrate with us!

We are so grateful for the gift of Olivia and for the spunkiness and authenticity she brings to our home.