Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday Caroline!

I can't believe it's been 11 years since God brought you into this world and blessed our family! Whew... time flies when you're having fun, right?! Here are some fun memories of your birthday celebration:

Ann-Marie, Abbey and You at the movie theater ready to see "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"! (Obviously, we have an onlooker who wanted to be in the picture, too. )

Flashing your "11 sign".

All the girls crowding around the cake and hoping to eat it soon. You all are so cute!

You and Ann-Marie pose for the camera. Shopping money is awesome!

You and Abbey smile for the camera, too. Love that purse!

Surprise, surprise... now you can be speed racer, too! :)
(That look on your face is priceless)

You all had fun swimming in the spa. You also had a blast jumping into the pool despite the cold temperature... daring and brave souls you are. :)

"AHHHHHHH!!! The flash is hurting my eyes!"

"Much better now... night, night!"

You had so much fun with your dear friends that night. We also had a family birthday dinner at Chili's, but I haven't gotten the pictures from Emily, yet. (hint, hint!)

Caroline, you are such a bright and fun-loving young lady. Your enthusiasm for life is truly a joy to be around! God has gifted you in so many areas... you are so artistic and have the sharpest memory out of anyone I know (besides Poppi, of course). May God continue to use you to bless others and may He grow you strong spiritually to be used to further His Kingdom!

I love you so much, Caroline... it is an honor and a joy to be your mother! I am so blessed by you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This morning something wonderful happened:

I awoke to our home security alarm blaring loudly, and I turned off my alarm clock in the process of Erich disarming the security alarm. (It was a false alarm, of course) So, since I turned off my alarm clock accidentally, I overslept by two hours!!! The whole house didn't wake up until 8am!!! (That's not the wonderful part, in case you were wondering)

So, knowing that we were going to be 2 hours behind on schedule, I told the girls that we would school until the afternoon today to make up for lost time. I got in the shower and got ready for the day as I normally would, even though we were way behind on time.

When I got done, I went upstairs to check on the girls... and guess what they were doing?...


Praise God! One of our school goals is to establish an independence in the girls so that they will be self-starters and have a desire to learn on their own accord. We have always tried to foster in them a true love for learning. Today was awesome to see the fruit from the labor.

Caroline and Ava had done their spelling, copywork, history, geography & even downloaded our weekly praise song so that they could sing to the Lord.

Again, this was all on their own accord!!! It was truly wonderful to know that Caroline and Ava took the initiative to learn and due to their hard work, it made a very smooth and productive school day! :)

I read a wonderful post today on my sweet friend, Meghann's blog that discusses the very point of discipling our children to love learning.

And, for those that like looking at schedules like I do, here is our school schedule for the Fall Term:

They love school so much that Caroline told me yesterday, "I want to be homeschooled as long as I can..." and then started discussing her plans to homeschool her children when she's a mother. What a praise to God for instilling in their hearts the love of learning!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Who gets the Glory?

I was blessed this morning by the reading of Colossians 1:9-14:

"For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. " NASB

What beautiful words that God has written through the hands of Paul! Erich and I prayed this passage to God... that we would be filled with the knowledge of His will, and that we would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. That we would bear fruit that would please Him and we would increase in wisdom. That God would strengthen us with power according to His glorious might and that we would attain steadfastness and patience. We joyously thanked God for his salvation, and for rescuing us out of darkness and transferring us to the Kingdom of Christ. I pray that this passage in Colossians encourages you as well.

Later, while doing Bible study with the girls, we read Exodus 14; twice the text reads, "... and I will get glory over Pharaoh... and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord..."

I was reminded that our purpose on Earth is to bring God glory and that God will make sure the World knows that He is the Lord Almighty. He will accomplish His purpose, with or without our obedience. How much better to obey Him and be a part of His good, pleasing and perfect Will!

Caroline and I got into a discussion about the choices we make and the temptation that we struggle with in choosing our own desires above obeying and honoring God's Will for our lives. I told her that in light of our study of Exodus, she needs to approach her decisions that she's preparing to make by asking herself a question:

"Will what I am about to do... bring Glory to God
will I try to bring glory to myself?"

Think about the people who attempted to build the tower of Babel: They did it saying "...let us build... and let us make a name for ourselves." (Gen. 11:4)

They were not at all interested in working to bring God Glory; quite the contrary, they were working to bring themselves Glory. Their selfish hearts brought about the demise of their self-serving work.

Caroline had the huge realization that by simply looking at the decisions we're about to make from the standpoint of who it would bring glory to, we would be sure to keep our hearts following God's Will and not our own self-glorifying desires. What a great way to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

May you choose to Glorify God today and have a blessed day!

"So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Your kids are going to love this broccoli and cauliflower...

I made some of the yummiest broccoli and cauliflower last night and had to share the simple recipes I found from Southern Living. I’ll be honest; I DO NOT like broccoli or cauliflower, and I REALLY liked this! Erich said, "This is the best broccoli and cauliflower I’ve ever eaten.” Ava and Caroline ate it so fast, they requested seconds. OK… so here they are:

Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews
Prep: 4 minutes Cook: 15 minutes

1 ½ lbs. fresh broccoli
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup salted roasted cashews *(I didn’t have cashews on hand, and the recipe was still delicious)

*Remove and discard broccoli leaves and tough ends of stalks; cut broccoli into spears. Cook in a small amount of boiling water 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well. Arrange broccoli on a serving platter. Set aside, and keep warm.

*Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Stir in cashews. Pour sauce over broccoli, and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings, Calories 168, Fat 13.8g, Cholesterol 28mg, Sodium 688 mg

Cauliflower with Herb Butter
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 10 minutes

1 large cauliflower
Juice from 1 lemon
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or ¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, crushed

*Remove large outer leaves of cauliflower. Break cauliflower into flowerets. Cover and cook in a small amount of boiling water 8 to 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Arrange flowerets in a serving dish and sprinkle with lemon juice.
*Combine butter and next 4 ingredients; pour herb butter over flowerets. Enjoy! :)

Yield: 6 servings, Calories 115, Fat 10.4 g, Cholesterol 28mg, Sodium 229mg

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Ava!

6 years ago, God blessed us by your birth! You were such a sweet and precious little baby! Here are a few fun pictures of your 6th birthday celebration:

Waking up to yummy birthday pancakes!

For your birthday, you had your choice of ice skating or going to the park... you picked the park. We even brought Fly and Rocket along! :)

You were so excited to get a new soccer ball... Fly better not chew this one!

Excitedly opening up one of your presents (this was a doll apron that matches yours)

Going on a scavenger hunt to find your present...

After several clues... you found her!! You named your "Life of Faith Doll", Addison. You were so excited to get her! You are always grateful for gifts received, but you were "extra" happy about this one!!!

Caroline and you pose with your dolls!

Opening up your new roller blades... watch out Speed Racer!

Of course, you picked a pink & purple cake with a soccer ball!

We had fun at your roller skating party! Daddy and Caroline are working up a sweat! :)

Posing with Rachel while opening your presents!

What a busy and fun day! You've dressed Addison for bed, and you're ready to hit the sack yourself!

You are such a sweet and kind-hearted young lady. God has gifted you with so many abilities, but the strongest gift I see is your heart for Him. You are always sensitive to His leading, whether it is through bible study, prayer or serving others, your love for Christ is evident in all you do. I am so blessed to be your mother... may God continue to use you, Ava, in mighty ways for His Kingdom! I love you! This was a blessed day!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Best of... Summer

My sweet nephew, Blaine, graduated from high school! He is the most amazing 18 year old I know (OK, I guess I don't know that many 18 year He is a very mature, funny, sweet, Godly young man. He spends the majority of his time volunteering at his Church and went to S. Africa this summer on a mission trip... what a blessing he is to God's kingdom and to our family! We love you Blaine! :)

Megan, Caroline, Kenedy & Jessica posing at their last Choir production.

Ava posing with her little Pre-K choir right before singing in Church service. Too Cute!

Ava and Erich admiring the fireworks! We had the entire family over (all 40 of them) for swimming and B.B.Q.-ing. (I forgot to take pictures). The cousins had so much fun playing together. Happy 4th of July!

This one cracks me up... Caroline and Ava dressed up as "Ma & Pa" from Little House on the Prairie. :)

Heather and I at Mattito's restaurant. I just love her and feel so blessed that she's in my life... she is such a loving and nurturing friend.

Michelle and I at Mattito's, too! I have been friends with Michelle for 9 wonderful years. She is hilarious and so much fun to be around... a true blessing in my life.

OK, so I'm not sure if Nancy Drew wore this, but this was the girl's rendition of detective apparel. Maybe more like "spy gear"... who knows?!

We had a baking day at the Klauese's home. We made TONS of cookies (I lost count, but I think it was over 12 dozen). Caroline and Kennedy are donning their "Little House" dresses. I mean, you just can't bake unless you look the part, right?! lol! :)

Ava and her best friend, Rachel participated in the Challenger Soccer Camp together. They had so much fun. Caroline and Erich made the flag you see in the background (while I was at Mattito's with Heather and Michelle)

Ava with Coach Greg from England. (He's a big POSH fan, so we gave him the flag)

Ava with Coach Yam-Yam from England... he is absolutely hilarious!

Ava painting a picture for Caroline on her easel. She is quite the artist. Caroline is a very gifted artist, too... just pretend you see the picture of her painting as well... :)

Caroline took this picture of Ava wearing Erich's old motorcycle helmet with our border collie, Fly. I omitted the picture of Ava riding Fly like a motorcycle in case Animal Protection Services saw this... lol!

We went pear picking with the Klauses. The girls had so much fun picking out the "perfect" pears. We ended up making yummy pear pie and pear cobbler with our beauties.

Is Ava playing "hide and seek" while picking pears?

Look at those precious cheeks!!! This is the Klause's youngest daughter, Addison. She is such a cutie pie!

The "Pear Picking Gang": Addison, Bailey, Caroline, Ava, and Kennedy
Caroline and Ava dressed in their "Little House" nightgowns. Is it obvious that they LOVE "Little House on the Prairie"?

Ava lost her 3rd tooth... I told her that it will be very easy to drink out of a straw, now.

The girls goofing around during school break.

I guess Ava got a little "paparazzi hungry". Poor Caroline.

Caroline and her friend, Christine at rollerskating. They planned their little matching outfits ahead of time... super cute. (I remember doing that with my friends) The girls love to roller blade and are very speedy at it too. Ava will even participate in racing the "big 8 year olds" and usually wins!

We've had a great summer and started back to school on August 18th. The girls LOVE this year's curriculum! I'll have to post our Fall Schedule next time... along with the girl's birthday party pictures and our California vacation. Have a blessed day!