Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Planet Earth

As I mentioned in my post below, we have been watching The Planet Earth series on The Discovery Channel. These shows are simply breathtaking. When I was on my computer this morning, I went to read Keeping Awake's latest post. I'm sure some of you have been following her story as well and have been blessed by her beautiful writing. She was talking about how her family has been watching this series. The following is an excerpt from her blog post in regards to The Planet Earth.

I don't know what God wants for the rest of my life. Sometimes I find myself feeling suppressed, or depressed, or just anxious, as though my spirit knows there's more but my mind can't fathom what the 'more' is. I don't mean Heaven. I'm trained, as a believer, to understand that Heaven is great, Heaven is where we should want to be. But when I have absolutely zero framework for what Heaven might possibly be like, I find it difficult to imagine, much less look forward to. Isn't it odd that most of our musings on eternity focus on something more like a grandiose church service, white robes and Southern Gospel included? If the God who created the place I'm going to spend eternity also happened to create the place I'm currently residing in, wouldn't it benefit me to get a better glimpse of it than through my tinted windows as I drive 45 miles an hour to get groceries? Would it change your relationship with Jesus if you knew the place He was preparing for you was just like where you happen to live now - only redeemed, whole, new, fresh, more alive and vibrant? That when we look on these images of animals and plants and water and earth brimming with possibility, we can honestly know that, without voices like our own, each is singing a song of praise and anticipation and hope - a song that cries out for rebirth? What if you started a walk with God that began simply based on the acknowledgement of His creativity, the majesty and wonder of His works, instead of choosing to walk away from God because of a human effort to convert you? What if His message is stronger than anyone else's? What if this is all for you?

Wow. I don't have much to say, it just resonated deep within me and has given me a lot to ponder on.

Go read the whole post here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recipe and Planet Earth

I guess I should have included the cookie recipe in the cookie post below. It's just the Nestle Toll House (please tell me someone is saying that in Phoebe's french accent, I know Carly is!) recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. I just made a few adjustments. I always add more flour and more vanilla extract. I use real butter and I like to add a little "spice" to it with a little bit of cinnamon. If I have toffee pieces laying around, I'll add those, that is actually my favorite way to make these cookies.

My friend Carrie adds a little bit more brown sugar and says that this makes the cookies a little chewier. I've never tried that, but I'm going to. I watch them like a hawk when they are cooking and at the slightest tinge of brown, like if one cookie has a slight little brown spot, and they aren't too shiny, I pull them out of the oven and let them sit for a little bit on the cookie sheet. In my opinion, a cookie is not a good cookie if it is crunchy, it's got to be soft and chewy.

Like I said in the other post, I usually only make one batch at a time. When those are gone, I'll make another with the dough I keep in my fridge. If I happen to make all the dough, I store the cookies in a tupperware with a piece of bread. This usually gives them an extra day of freshness and keeps them from being stale.

So, nothing special really. This is just the combination I have perfected to make my perfect cookie. What about y'all? Any great cookie making tips you can share with us?

On a completely different note - have any of you seen the Planet Earth series? We watched them a few years ago and loved them. I'll never forget Neal calling me with the boys laughing in the background. They were watching the one where the little bird falls from a huge tall tree while he is learning to fly and thought it was the funniest thing. They watched it over and over again. Anyway, when I heard they were showing the series again on The Discovery Channel, I set Tivo. We just watched Shallow Seas and the boys sat here mesmorized through the whole thing.

Go check it out if you haven't yet.

That was a close one.

I love cookies. Any cookie that doesn't have a raisin in it is one that I will eat. Years ago, after seeing the Friends where Monica wanted Phoebe's grandma's cookie recipe because she wanted to be the mom who made the best chocolate chip cookies, I decided I wanted to perfect my cookie making skills. Especially since I was going to have kids, and all those wiser, older moms say that the best time to get kids to talk to you is at the table with a yummy snack waiting for them.

I went to work finding the best possible recipe and making the changes it needed to be the perfect cookie, for me. Before we moved to the new house, I could make those cookies in my sleep, and made them quite often. Our whole family loved them and they were my staple dessert to bring to friends who just had babies.

Once we got settled into the new house, I got the craving to make my cookies. I did what I always did, but when I pulled the first batch out of the oven, I realized something had gone horribly wrong. I like my cookies to taste delicious, of course, but I also like them to look delicious. This batch did not look delicious. They looked like the flattest cookie you have ever seen with chocolate chips sticking out of them, and they didn't taste great either. I was horrified. I threw that batch and the dough away and swore off cookie baking in my new oven forever.

A few months have passed and I had the craving a few days ago. We are on a budget and it was in the evening, so I couldn't go to The Puffy Muffin and buy a box of cookies. I had a little talk with myself and decided that I was ready to try again. I watched myself very carefully as I was adding all the ingredients and I watched those cookies every minute they were cooking to find the perfect time they needed to cook in my new oven. When I pulled them out, they looked beautiful and tasted even better. Ah, sweet success! I usually make one batch at a time and store the dough in the fridge. This works out great because Neal likes the dough best and I like the cookies fresh out of the oven.

Last night, after dinner, the boys and I enjoyed perfect, fresh from the oven, chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. The best part though, was the wonderful conversation that came from that time together. Seriously, make it a rule with your kids that you only eat at the kitchen table, give them some cookies and sit down to hear what they have to say.

So, I'm proud to say that I am back in business with my mad cookie baking skills. What a relief!

We might have had to move if they had turned out badly!

And, yes, I just wrote a really long blog post about cookies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Flu

Sam came home from school yesterday with a temp of 102. A trip to the Dr this morning confirmed that he does, in fact, have the flu. Awesome. Gabe is on Spring Break this week (he and Sam are in school in different counties right now that take different Spring Breaks), so I've had to re-evaluate our week. I don't think Gabe will mind much though, since he'll have Sam home, and that makes him happy! When he has some Motrin in him, Sam is feeling pretty good, so it could be worse. He is NOT throwing up and for that, I am SO thankful. I'm just praying no one else comes down with it...

Monday, March 16, 2009

My prayer lately...

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Isaiah 51:3

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's a new (hair) day.

I took Sam and Gabe today to get their hairs trimmed up a bit. Gabe has had long hair from the time his hair was long enough to be long. I've taken him in a few times to get a cut, but I usually do it myself. I found a new girl this past year for myself and have started taken the boys to her. She has become a friend and one thing I love about her is her honesty. While we were growing Sam's hair out, I brought him in for a clean up and she told me it didn't need to be cut, she said she would do it, but that if I wanted to grow it out, we needed to wait. So we waited. This afternoon, when we walked in and she saw Gabe, she gave me a look and told me it was time. This is the longest his hair has ever been, and I even cut some off the length a few weeks ago. I knew it was time for a shorter, less "she's so cute" cut, so we went for it. I'm still feeling a little sick about it, but I think I like it. It's good to see a little more of that sweet face looking at me. I loved his long hair. Maybe I liked it too much, maybe I had fun playing with it and maybe I pulled a straighter through it every once in a while...maybe. I'll probably let it grow out again, but for now, it's fun to have a little change. Here he is sporting a lot less hair than the pictures below in his birthday post.
Sam, on the other hand, has had short hair for years. We started the growing out process in the fall and have almost reached a point where we really like it. He has even started mastering the hair toss when it gets in his eyes...such a little dude. She just cleaned it up in the back and thinned it out a little bit...this kid has got some hair.

You'd think I had girls with the way I'm going on and on about their hair!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Gabe!

Gabe's 4th birthday was yesterday, so we have been in full celebration mode this weekend. We had his big birthday bash Friday evening with 23 of his closest friends. We had his party in the indoor playground at his school. He had such a good time and felt very special. On Sunday, we had our traditional birthday breakfast at Krispy Kreme, where my camera battery died on me, so we will have to just remember that memory in our heads. We came home and opened more presents from family. Whenever anyone would tell him "Happy Birthday" he would always reply sweetly, "Happy Birthday to you too"!
We have been blessed with 4 sweet, joy-filled years with our little Gabe. He came into this world quickly, much to our surprise, on a snowy (ish) day in 2005. It was fitting that we woke up on his 4th birthday to a blanket of snow in Nashville. Not that Gabe went out and played in the snow. He is my warm weather lovin' kid. He loves to wear his flip-flops around the house and talks everyday about when it will be warm enough to go swimming. I like to think that even though he was born in Nashville, he's got a little Texas in his blood.
Happy Birthday Punkin Noodle Head. We love you!