Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cooking with Jamie

Normally I'm a self professed pretty good cook.  I'm no Martha but I've dabbled in Paula Deen and my beloved P-dub (Pioneer Woman).  I guess one might say I'm a poser for either of the above.  I don't go so far as making step by step photos of my food but the consumption by my family and guests is all the same.
My ingredient lists are not extremely elaborate.  I moonlight with goat cheese frequently but I also see no shame in opening up a can of Hunt's tomatoes.  I make fine use of Greek yogurt as substitutes for sour cream and such but I also shake on the Kraft powdered parmesean like nobody's business.   I also have no holds barred when it comes to the use of the "b" word.  Butter that is.  I mean, I like it so much I learned to make my own!  I've also been known a time or three to use the "c" word as well.  Cream, heavy, high fat cream.  So, no, most of my recipe repertoire is not light and health but you can usually rest assured it will be GOOD!
Yesterday I felt a bit of voodoo cast upon me as I managed to burn not one but 2, yes 2 Pillsbury crescent crusts for the veggie pizza I was making for Bible study.  Now, it was in the midst of bedtime routine and I personally will no longer suggest cooking anything during that process as it requires all of your attention and more.  At 9 pm when the second one was toast.  Burned toast.  I resigned to hitting up publix at 7am after my morning run.  The rest of the veggie pizza went off without any fingers chopped or burning episodes.  Luckily most of the chopping had been completed before the voodoo struck.
This afternoon, I decided to make a toasted flat bread type veggie pizza for after school snack.  Lincoln was quietly napping and I popped 2 flat outs in the oven and plopped down in front of the ol' computer to zone out and enjoy my peace and quiet.  A moment later I see the oven flash a bright white and then turn to flickering red and yellow while making a terrible popping sound.  It was frightening to say the least.  I actually heard myself yell " No, no, Stop, stop, Stop!" to the oven, as if it should obey me.  I had the flash thoughts of if I was going to grab water to throw on it or run upstairs for my sleeping baby and yell screaming to the neighbors house.  Both were unpleasant and the oven seemed to have calmed.  I turned it off and opened the door to find a bit of smoke and nothing else suspicious.  There was a fine powder substance all over the inside so I knew the flat bread was toast (as in unfit to eat.) No sooner did I pick up the cell phone to call Jason in a full panic, the fire alarms start going off because of the smoke.  Did I mention I had a chatty 2 year old ASLEEP upstairs?  So I'm flinging the doors open, breathlessly reliving the nightmare to Jason on the phone while fanning the smoke detectors to shush and allow my baby to sleep and me to grab a drink maintain my composure.  When I gathered my thoughts and called the home owners to fix it, I thought I was in the clear.  No oven cooking for me until Thursday.  I'm not heartbroken about that.  So tonight was Beef Salad for dinner.  Until I realized I wasn't comfortable eating the beef that had been in the refrigerator longer that I was aware.  I just couldn't chance it so we played it safe.  Now we were down to salads and Jason requested grilled cheese.  I made grilled white sharp cheese flat breads with avocado.  I made them in my brand new pan from T J Maxx.  I had to get new ones because SOMEBODY used metal and scratched mine.  I noticed a funny smell but thought it was reminiscent from this afternoons fiasco.  Then I went to wash the dishes.  Did you know that you have to remove the price tag from the bottom of pans before cooking in them?  Apparently that was something I was not aware of tonight.  Luckily no one was harmed in my cooking with the price tag on but how embarrassing.  So, now, who wants cooking lessons?  Right now they are half off and will consist of microwave cooking.  And yes, I'm aware that metal isn't recommended in the microwave.
Here's hoping for better days and fireproof ovens.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cause and Effect

There's been no earth shattering occurrences happening in the deFoor household lately. Of course there's always something going on and this is the best way I knew how to explain it.

Cause:  We like to eat.  We like to eat good!  And, we eat out what most people would call a lot.  We also eat A LOT of pizza.
Effect:  Jackson recently told me when he grows up he's going to have his own restaurant.  It's going to be called Fiano's and it will have the world's best pizza Ever.  I think he's onto a good start!

Cause:  I've recently been threatened by a gun in Kroger if I didn't purchase fruit snacks (Lincoln) and permanently disposed of 2 sets of expensive Beyblades over a crying 6 year old.(Jackson)
Effect:  I just purchased "How to Unspoil Your Child, Fast" on Amazon for my Kindle.  Now, I better get to reading, fast, before I perish in Kroger of embarrassment!

Cause:  We are slowly trying to potty train my spoiled youngest child.  Mostly at home but I am not opposed to taking him when I'm out.
Effect:  I asked the ladies at church to take him in a few minutes and they did.  In the bathroom he loudly explained to them that "He'd pee pee at His Mama's house!"  So they gave up and let it be.

Cause:  Again, we're potty training, slowly.
Effect:  Underwear.  I hear more about underwear than I ever cared to hear.  I listen to it non-stop.  Specifically after Jason taught them this awesome new song that goes:
"Lincoln likes to wear dirty underwear"
Jackson likes to wear dirty underwear" in a real sing-song type chorus that just can't help but be repeated over and over and over.  Thanks Jason!

Cause and Effect here are in the same photograph.
The Cause:  I'm still buying diapers, still.
The Effect:  In addition to my diaper purchases, it has become necessary to also purchase anti wrinkle cream.  It is certain that the diapers and all that accompanies them is the cause for any wrinkles that have or may occur and this is how I make myself feel better in caring for them.  The wrinkles, that is.

Cause:  We jokingly questioned Lincoln's masculinity recently while we were hanging out with some friends that have a little girl a little older than Lincoln.  He let her put kiddy make-up ALL over him and he proceeded to paint his nails and everyone else's that would let him.
Effect:  Ain't nobody going to question whether not he's a boy.  You might call it well rounded but he wouldn't think twice about shooting your eye out!

Cause:  Jackson has finally learned to read Lincoln's favorite book.

Effect:  No more bears, chairs, mice or mush for me!  One day I'll miss that book but it's not today!

Cause:  The local recreation center has free roller skating on Friday's from 4-5pm.

Effect:  Bruised up hyper kids happy that it's the weekend and not nearly as tired as one might expect them to be after an hour of "butt meets floor".  And the need for a large margarita...for ME of course!

Cause:  The Zoo is not quite as lively in January.

Effect:  Our "free" membership zoo trip cost me $15 in tickets to ride this short and kid professed boring train that went in a small circle around some pine trees.  We could have jump started the ol' Husqvarna lawnmower in our garage and taken a more exciting trip around our own house.  Ah, the things we do for kids and those smiles!

Cause:  Same zoo, same cold animals.
Effect:  This time it was the carousel.  I do find it odd, however that Jackson chose the snake while Lincoln chose the monkey to ride.  One would think it would be the other way around.  Those 2.  The carousel was a hit.  I rode the ostrich for photo ops.  It was a pleasing ride.  Now, I think I'll go stick my head in a hole.

Cause:  Daily, I mean daily, we all still make references to our friends back in NC.  Don't get me wrong, we LOVE LOVE Nashville but those girls in NC were like my family and I still miss them dearly.

Effect:  I just book cross-country plane tickets for a summer-time trip to CALIFORNIA!  We're takin' the deFoors (plus my mom!) to see the Higerd girls in Cali for a week.  Hollywood, Lego land, Coffee, beach and lots of gossip are currently on the agenda!  It's sure to be a heck of a time!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Everything Changes

I've never concerned myself with the weather.  I've never lost sleep over bad weather conditions.  I've survived "hurricanes" in NC and it never seemed much more than a little wind.  I weathered severe thunderstorms alone in our house while Jason was deployed and never gave it more thought than I wish it would pass and I hoped we wouldn't loose power.  That changed in April of 2011.
We were moving out of our house in NC and made a trip to Walmart to get Carbon Monoxide detectors for our house to rent.  It was raining  and seriously dark and I knew if I got out, I'd certainly melt so I stayed in the car to peruse the latest facebook gossip.  Jason called and said some people inside said there was a tornado and suggested I come inside with him.  The power was already out in there and after we stayed in the dark store for several minutes, we ditched the effort and headed home the back way.  We knew something seemed amiss as the emergency workers drove toward us and the traffic was significant and many were turning around. We could see some debris in the road and we found an alternate route home.  When we got there, we discovered that the Lowe's (across the street from the Walmart) had been severely damaged by a tornado along with several other buildings in it's path.  I'm still not sure how we not only escaped that severe weather but didn't even know what had happened until we got back to our no power empty house.  And if that wasn't a close enough call, we drove (moved) to Alabama on April 27th.  That was the day before tornadoes destroyed large portions of middle Alabama including a significant portion of the city of Tuscaloosa, Phil Campbell and Hackleburg.  The damage and coverage was consuming.  It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.  It had the power to instill fear in someone who had never before been afraid of weather.  It was powerful.

Today we have been made aware of a severe weather cell headed for much of the south including Middle Tennessee.  It's been on everyone's mind today.  We have the luxury of fair warning but it can't help the fear subside.  It also doesn't help that the storms are rolling though in the middle of the night when one is supposed to be sleeping.  So I, the one who's never been afraid of the weather, is feeling much anexiety.  I can't help but loose my breath a little when I hear the heavy rain or the strong winds hit the side of our house.  A moment ago, my heart skipped a beat because I heard the sound of a train.  It is the same train that runs though our neighborhood every single night at 9pm. The normal night time sounds are spooky and eerie.  How do you sleep well with that kind of fear?  Yes, many things changed last April, including a new found respect (translate:PANIC)  for the "possibility" of severe weather and all that it entails.  

On a much happier note, another experience changed the way I think this morning.  Growing up in church, I've always seen Baptism services.  As an adult, the baptisteries that I grew up seeing have changed a bit.  In the churches I've attended lately, the baptisteries have been temporary pools set up on a day set aside for baptisms. They are pseudo pools that are set up in the sanctuary to serve as the baptismal waters.  It works and it's definitely all the same action but today, it took on a whole new meaning to me.  At the end of our Sunday sermon and before the baptismal candidates entered the pool, the children k-5 that usually have their own service filed into the front of the church and sat on the floor to watch the baptisms.  Several of them were children and they wanted the kids to be a part of it.  That's when I realized that my 6 year old was among the ones watching this life changing event in their friends.  Kids slightly older than him making THE most important decision of their lives and professing it with their friends there to witness.  I was crying before the first one even hit the water and I wasn't alone.  I look around to see hardly a dry eye in the house.  Like I said, I've seem my share of Baptisms in my 30 years but as our praise team sang "I believe that Your my Hero, I believe You're more than enough for me, Jesus you're all I need."  I cried happy tears for the new brothers and sisters I have in Christ.  I cried for the friends they were reaching by making that step, I cried for the wisdom I'm going to need God to provide me to lead my 6 year old and 2 year old to make THE most important decision of their lives sooner than later.  I placed my heart in that pool with every person that was Baptisted today.  I rejoiced with them more than ever before.  Later this evening, I had the opportunity to serve at church helping the Baptismal candidates.  It was my honor to stand behind the screen and hand out towels to the newest members of my family!  Again, I cried tears of utter joy that Hell no longer has a hold on them.  I praise God for the new Christians and I praise God for leading us to CrossPoint where I feel like I can really place my heart into serving God's people.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Very Pinterest-ing

I think we are all aware of the Pinterest internet sensation by now.  Everyone who wants to be a member has been invited and the website has grown tremendously over the past few months.  I'll be honest, I joined in the craze for a while.  I spent countless hours designing our future house, pinning crafts I'd never have the patience to do and planning rainbow parties for the girl I currently do not have (and probably never will!)

  I spent so much time that I became aware that it was consuming me.  I was judging myself and others by the things I saw on pinterest.  There was no doubt, I was coveting the things I didn't have and things I wanted.  It seemed to always leave me with a feeling of discontent or "I'm not good enough."
I made a decision at the beginning of the fall that I would have to take a step back from pinterest.  I loved it, however, life was happening around me and I was about to miss it!  Keeping up with my friends on facebook and my beloved blog following was all the computer face time I could handle.  It sucks to place yourself on restriction.  It's like mothering yourself and you don't like it and want to rebel against it.  But who are you hurting besides yourself.
I took a complete break for a while and have recently been using it for looking up the perfect recipes for dinner and cooking club, crafts that I DO have the patience for and ideas for the 100th day of Kindergarten.  I'm far better off if I have a goal in mind when I get on there.  I still find time to peruse a few pages but it is not all consuming.  Now if I could imply this kind of discipline in other areas of my life (on screen and off!) then I could add a few more hours to my day!
 Recently  I read one of the more profound blogs I've read on one of my favorite deal following sites.  You can read it HERE and I highly recommend it.  It puts perspective on that "I'm not good enough" feeling you get from comparing yourself to others.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

With that being said, I 'have been looking into some valentine crafts for me to do lately.  I wanted a new wreath for the front door and all over pinterest, I've seen the yarn wrapped wreaths.  I even have another blogger friend that made one and I decided I could do that one.  So, I went off to Michaels with my 40% off coupon and big plans for my wreath.  I got all the necessary materials.  A straw wreath, my choice of yarn color, 3 runuculus flowers (because I decided against making my own felt ones.), and a love plaque that needed to be painted a different color, pink paint and floral wire.  Ok, now with what I think is all I need, I go to wrapping the wreath.  I do this beside Jason in the floor and he looks at me like I'm crazy.  It's going to take a while.  Hours probably.  I finished one layer of yarn but to look nice, it's going to need another.  After that, I cut, place and hot glue my flowers.  I remove the country looking bow motif  from the wooden plaque and prime and paint it pink, twice.  When it's dry, I also hot glue it to adhere it to the top of the wreath.  I hang it and decide that it's still missing something.  Back to pinterest, back to Michaels, I finally have a finished product that I can be proud of.  Just out of curiosity, I checked to see how much I'd have paid for this baby on etsy.  I was quite surprised to see that aside from the cost of shipping, I could have nearly the same wreath, delivered to my door for about the same price.  I was a little smug at this discovery but I'm trying to convince myself that I need to be uber proud that I took the time out to do this, regardless of cost.  That's where you come in I guess!

Next I wanted to make cake balls.  I've been hearing about them for years and I think staying far far away was still a good decision.  Curiosity got the best of me and I'd been craving some strawberry cake anyway.  Cue the Valentines bug again, I wanted to do some pink cake balls and easily found my vice on pinterest.  I found several but the winner included cream cheese along with the frosting in the cake mix.  It too was  a process.  Bake the cake, cool the cake, crumble the cake, mix the cake with frosting and cream cheese, chill the mixture, roll the mixture into balls, freeze the balls, melt the candy coating, dip the balls and let them cool AGAIN.  Yeah, a process but I'm telling you right now, this one was WELL worth it.  They were a hit!  They were worth the hour I'm going to spend in the grueling Cardio Blast class next week to burn a few of them off.

I'd love to hear about some of your latest pinteresting projects.  I'm already a little excited about St. Patty's day.  It's the one day a year my boys can properly participate in rainbow crafts!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So Much for being Green

Starting the new year off right, my accomplishments today have been to run 5 miles and make a trip to the recycling center.  I'm going to have to make almost 2 trips a week to keep up with my new years resolution to strive to recycle everything we possibly can.  I had to wait for Jackson to get home to head to the recycling center on the way to Walmart to have a low tire checked out.  As we drove down the road, I felt my car pulling a little bit but I figured that was exactly why I was taking 2 kids to Walmart at nearly rush hour so we'd be fine until we got there.  At the recycle center between the cardboard bins and the glass drop off, I thought to take a look at my tire.
Well it wasn't low.
It was FLAT.
Like, breath a little harder.  How could I be so stupid? did I ruin it?, flat.
I looked around for the nearest recycling male.  I profiled just a little in deciding to pass on the elderly man and go with the middle age guy that had a fatherly vehicle.  I asked him if I could even drive safely across the street (4 lane highway at a red light) to the Firestone place.  He thought not and I called them to see what I should do. They were uber helpful in taking my number and asking me to wait 10 minutes and never bothering to call back.  Thanks for that!  So we (and by we I totally mean HE) proceeded to change the tire to the spare.  I knew where the jack was.  That's about where it ended.  My dad and Jason have always tried to teach me how to change (and inflate) my tires and I consistently tell them it is not a skill I long to possess.  I don't really want to know how to change a tire.  Have you ever seen how BLACK their hands get after doing that?  No, thank you!  So the guy lays on the wet ground to figure out my jack (did I mention it was raining?) and proceeds to change my tire.  All the while, I stand there holding a bottle of hand sanitizer, a tissue and a $5 bill (which is more cash than I usually carry!)  There is no photo of this but please tell me you have a mental picture of me and my earrings standing there in the chilly rain trying to look helpful (or possibly helpless.)  Occasionally, I lean into the car to threaten screaming, fighting children in the car.
Now screaming children and dirty diapers, I can handle that.  Dirty tire changes, not in my job description.  After getting the spare on and loading the large heavy (or so it looked!) tire in the back of my car, we were able to drive to the Firestone place (SO, not helpful) and they told me that someone could fix the tire but they could not.  Do  they not WANT any business?  So, after wrangling my kids from "riding" the tires in the waiting room, we drove home with no resolve.  When we get home, Jackson realizes he has forgotten the kindergarten stuffed animal that came home with him today at the tire store.  I call to make sure it's there and send Jason by to get it.  In the mean time, I wash my hands (you know, just in case) and pour myself a nice glass of red!  I rank car issues right up there with taking out the trash.  I hate it, it's not my job.  I'm thankful for a man who does both!
So much for being green and trying to recycle.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Butter Makes it Better!

Well, I'm pretty sure I hit my peak as a domestic goddess today.
I've been moving on up ever since PW (that's  Pioneer Woman) started showing me her ways but today, I think I outdid myself.
I certainly made her proud, that's for sure!

I, along with the help of the neighbor kids, made Butter.  Yes, I said butter.
We milked the cow, placed it in the churner and took that stick and went to town churning.
No, we didn't.  We don't have access to a COW!  And if we did, I might get mud, or something MUCH worse on my shoes if I milked one!

But we did use heavy cream from the local Publix and a good ol' mason jar to make fresh homemade butter.
Jason was a total skeptic and said it would never work.
It wasn't nearly as complicated as one might think.
Just in case you ever run out of butter in the midst of making any one of P-dubs lovely recipes (because they ALL contain copious amounts of butter), then you can make some of your very own.  Assuming you have heavy cream on standby, as we all should!  Can I get an amen?

Ok, here's what you are going to need:
A mason jar with a lid
Heavy Cream
a pinch of salt (if you wish)
Time and energy to *shake what yo mama gave ya*!
(your arms, I mean use your arms.)

You are going to fill the mason jar to about 3/4 full so you have enough room to let it shake around and get whipped.  The cream, right now let's focus on whipping the cream, the kids will come later!  

You will need to move it and shake it for about 20 minutes.  It is fun and exciting to take turns doing this.  We set a timer and everyone took their turn.  Somehow, I seemed to finish everyone's turn for them.  

 After about 20 minutes, we took a peek and a taste.  It was surely whipped cream.  It was salty and creamy and fluffy.  
 We placed the lid back on and started shaking again.  By we, I mean I started shaking it again, the kids had lost all interest and gone back outside.  I walked around shaking it for another 5-10 minutes thinking is this going to work.  It didn't feel like anything was even moving around it was so fluffy. 

I peeked again and to my surprise, the milk was beginning to have a grainy appearance.  I quickly re-tightened the lid and shook my heart out.  I could feel the butter solidifying inside the jar.  

When I stopped, there it was!  It was like magic, a large clump of smooth yellow butter was in the middle of the jar.  It is surrounded by a white liquid that remains which is butter milk and can be used to make buttermilk pancakes which would taste wonderful with none other than...homemade BUTTER!

To perfect your butter, you can run cold water over the yellow butter and drain the liquid. 

What results is perfectly delicious, rich and creamy BUTTER.

The kids were pretty impressed, I don't think they believed it would work either.  And now that I've done all that shaking, I'm pretty sure I've earned myself a teaspoon or two on a big fat yeast roll.  Yummy!

Hey, I did make it to the gym today.  Thank goodness.

A likely better tutorial and the one that I used can be found here.

Now, get out there and shake up some butter of your very own!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Resolutions

It's never too late to write down your new years resolutions, is it?  The truth is, they have been written down on my "to blog" notebook ever since Dec 30th.  Before I even finished the reflections blog.  I just haven't found the time to sit down and compose them on the keyboard.  So they were there.  I just have to get started on them.
 Up first....stop procrastinating!
Just kidding.
But seriously, maybe I should think about that one considering the slack.

Every year, my sister prompts me to make resolutions.  Sometimes, I'm totally in for it and make something "usual" and we hold each other to it for several months (or weeks, who's counting?)  Some years, I'm not in the mood or situation to desire making resolutions.  That has been the case the last several years.  Two years ago, Jason was still deployed and my resolutions was to not go crazy until he returned.  It was  a close call as can be read about here (man, that got UGLY!). But I made it.  Barely.  Last year, we were really diving into the whole, life change, get out of the Army thing.  I was feeling the weight of moving, selling the house, making new friends along with sending my first born into Kindergarten in a whole new town where I knew no one.  My resolution was a crabby "find a decent place to live and a spectacular public school for my child to attend."  I was already feeling the anxiety about making those two things happen in the same location.  But alas, I did.  With only a hint of skepticism, we are happy in our place and I'm pretty happy about sending him BACK to spectacular  public school tomorrow so I can get started on the rest of these!

(Jason and I are in a disagreement about resolutions.  He says you only make one or you are setting yourself up to fail.  I say, the more you make, the more chances you have to succeed .  You decide.)

1.  Strive for JOY in motherhood.  And in wifelihood for that matter.  I love my job as a wife and mother of these boys but I know I don't always do it joyfully.  Complaining becomes a way of life.  This is the best job I've ever had and I would like to start acting like it.  Joyfully, of course!

2.  Listen to people.  Especially Jason, but everyone.  Make mental notes about conversations and ask about them again later.  Be that person that when I walk away, someone thinks, "she is so thoughtful."

3.  Positive thinking.  I would like to start thinking of everyone, every situation on a more positive note.  I think I start out that way but as I become more comfortable with people, I begin to say things that are not quite so positive.  I want to be the girl that people claim never says anything bad about anybody.  I'd like to think I'm off to a good start as indicated in the line above my first resolution.  See, positive thinking.

4.  Run 10 miles a week.  I would also like to visit the gym 2 days a week.  This may include some of my running, especially when it is 19 degrees in the mornings.  This should be easy to accomplish until May.  The Country Music Marathon training will have me well over this most weeks.  After that, I just have to keep it up!

5.  RECYCLE.  I have always taught the boys abut recycling.  Jackson has always been an earth friendly kid.  He's been known to call my mom out recently on a recycling error.  He has a strong opinion on littering.  We currently reycle plastic, glass, aluminum and paper.  This year, we are going to strive for recycling as much of our trash as possible.  We have no excuse.  The recycling center is on the way out of our neighborhood.  It's nearly walking distance.  We just need to commit to making at least one trip a week.  This house is going GREEN-er!

6.  Enjoy this year in Nashville.  We already know we probably won't be here forever.  We will have to move where Jason's job takes us.  We love Nashville dearly already and we are still learning.  I want to enjoy every aspect Nashville has to offer in the next year we are living here.  It is likely this time next year, I'll be consumed with house hunting and school hunting again so I intend to enjoy the time we have here.  Want to visit?  Now's the time, the fun is just beginning!

7.  Spend quality time with the friends I've made here.  Again, my time here is likely short lived.  I want to nurture and continue to develop the friendships I've made here and really invest in them.  I want to sit, drink coffee, talk, learn.  I'm not the kind of friend that floats in and out of life and when I leave here, these friendships are all I'll have to take with me.  Get ready girls, Starbucks is calling!

8.  Explore GREEN spaces.  Nashville is blessed with green spaces beyond your wildest dreams.  There are so many green spaces here, I'll never visit them all but I'm putting green spaces, greenways and all the Warner parks on my agenda for the year.  When it warms up a little of course.  Join us?!

9.  Better bedtime routine.  We've always had the  bath, books, bed routine but lately it seems a bit harried and rushed.  It is usually my fault for not starting it earlier or eating dinner too late but it has always been one of my favorite parts of the day.  I think it is critically important for winding down wild boys into a peaceful and restful sleep.  I would like to start earlier, eat earlier so that we have time to clean up, dress, brush and choose books without whining, yelling or utter chaos before saying our prayers and turning out the lights.  I think we could all benefit greatly from spending that 45 minutes a night together.  Those are the exact moments I want my kids to remember.  Maybe I should move this one to #1?

10.  Serve.  There are so many ways in which we have opportunities to serve others for God.  I have been enlightened in the fact that those opportunities are all around us.  It's sort of a pay it forward mentality.  Just remembering to think of others before yourself.  Letting them see God through you.  It isn't hard, you don't have to travel far or spend lots of money.  You just have to make yourself available to serve.  I would love to find a way to involve my children in serving.  How great to have them see God's light through helping others!

And what kind of post would this be without a few deFoor family photos?  These were taken on New Years Day after church.  We started the year off right but I'd be lying if I didn't say that these pictures were made with a lot of bribing going on behind the scenes.  Mostly directed towards the bald guy in the back.  Why are men the hardest to photograph?  He's usually  a pretty good sport, he doesn't realize that one day he'll value these photos as much or more than I do.  I adore them, thanks again, MOM!