Monday, May 04, 2015

April Family Night

Had a picnic lunch in our yard and our neighbor girl wandered over, we were doing the Resurrection Eggs and story and were glad to include her!

Planted our garden! Definitely serves our family!

Picked up trash at an Easter event at our church while we were enjoying the fun.

Took carts back to the store on our way in.

My littles cleaned out all the CC bins after bringing them home from our last Community Day! Sharpened pencils, cleaned maps, tested markers, pulled out broken crayons, etc...

Took cookies to some new neighbors!And took strawberries to neighbors across the street.

This month, I feel like we did less *planned* service, but still looked for lots of opportunities to help and serve those around us. Emily served her family by making breakfast, we helped friends, we shared baked goodies when we went to others' homes, etc...

This sorta reminded me of when I was working and had come to a point where I could choose between a couple of different jobs within the same place. I spent a lot of time praying and soul-searching to see what would be a good fit and I landed on this thought:

I like to make others' lives easier.

I still find this true and think of this often lately, jumping in there and doing hard stuff is just what I do, going to extra trouble and making things look pretty even if it takes extra time is just what I do, I like hard work and like to feel productive.

Even if you only find one thing to do this next month, what can you do to make someone else's life easier or run more smoothly even if only for a moment? 

Rustic Crust

I recently received a review request from Rustic Crust pizza crusts and sauces who wanted to send me ingredients to host a Pizza Party in exchange for a review. Yes please! Sounded fun!

When my box arrived, there were three large crusts in it and a package with three sauce pouches. I immediately noticed that the ingredients were all normal things that I could easily pronounce like tomatoes, garlic, onion, flour, water, butter, etc...

Rustic Crust uses non-GMO ingredients and no artificial preservatives so that was nice too! And, I think their name is really fun!

One day that week, we were helping friends pack up their house to move and I brought the crusts and sauce with me to make lunch for all of us! We made pepperoni and cheese, ham and cheese and an olive oil, grilled chicken, italian cheese one also!

First thing I noticed was that one of our crusts had a little bit of mold on one edge, I cut it off and used it anyway. If you were buying in the store you'd probably notice that but since mine came in the mail I couldn't choose what I got.

All six kids gobbled the pizza up, of course! My friend and I were trying to really think about taste and texture and things so I could give this an honest review.

The crust was a great texture actually, it was chewy but not doughy at all. It truly is more of a flat bread than a dough crust. It baked really nicely and did not get too crispy. We tried three variations of crust and all were really tasty. The chewy texture actually made it very hard for Emily to eat with two palate expanders and braces in her mouth right now!

But we both especially noticed the great flavor of the sauce! It was so tasty! The pouch looked a little small but it was very well measured and turned out to be the perfect amount for our pizzas.

None of my photos turned out very well {hurry, feeding six kiddos, packing, etc!} but here you go anyway:

Overall, I was pleased with the opportunity to review these products. I think they are definitely worth a try, though I confess I don't really know about if it is a good price/value as they are not available in my area.

Thanks, Rustic Crust, for the free pizza party to share with friends! I received these crusts and sauces at no charge in exchange for sharing my own opinion with you.

Friday, May 01, 2015

On Oak Trees and Roots

This verse. I've been really enjoying Isaiah 61 lately and clearly had read this verse before. This was one of those times that it jumped out at me and lodged in my heart and mind though. I've been thinking about it a lot.

So when the chalkboard was recently bare, I decided this needed a feature there for a while. A day or two later, I sat down during my Quiet Time to really mull this over - here are a few thoughts that emerged:

- oak trees, especially here in the south, are massive, mighty, strong, old, BIG
- oak trees begin from such a tiny seed: the acorn
- the acorn is still visible after the tree has sprouted and begun to grow
- oak trees provide amazing beauty
- with limbs outstretched and up-stretched, they have a far reaching influence
- the one in our yard is a Live Oak {or Water Oak} which stays green year round
- they provide lots of cool shade and are life-giving
- they produce acorns and the gift of life
- consider the root system - the place where the tree receives nourishment and support

Having a large oak tree in our front yard, we are quite familiar with the sounds of acorns dropping, hitting our roof and skylights. It is a heaven for little squirrels and birds who have months worth of food over all these little gifts dropping from the tree.

A woodpecker was having a hey-day recently pecking at a dead branch sticking off one arm. There are frequently birds and squirrels in the tree. It is a place of life.

Because of all these acorns falling, we have baby oak trees all over. They are actually quite a nemesis as they are very difficult to pull out. Weeds will usually just pull out of the ground, but not baby oak trees. Even if you catch them "early" they are very difficult to pull and the larger it has grown the harder to pull.

But frequently when you do manage to pull one out, the acorn is still visible, you can see that it has split open and has a root growing down out of it and a miniature trunk growing up out of it.

When considering an oak tree and the beautiful picture there of raising my children to be strong, deeply rooted, with far reaching branches, life-giving, a planting of the Lord and for His glory and splendor is so, so inspiring and a lovely goal. This can only happen THROUGH Him and His strength!

So it dawns on me as another day begins that I am a gardener appointed by my Heavenly Father to tend and care for these tender shoots. To nurture this planting of the Lord, to cultivate, pull weeds, etc... 

And, I think of these verses also ~

Jeremiah 17:8, "He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Colossians 2:6-7, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

Ezekiel 31:7, "It was majestic in beauty, with its spreading boughs, for its roots went down to abundant waters."

Psalm 128:3, "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table."

May the Lord raise up mighty souls useful to His Kingdom during our daily tasks of tending these young plants He has entrusted into our homes.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Slow: Family Night

We rarely go out to dinner but once in a while it is just the thing for some fun family time! We tried a new-to-us pizza place and then went for a slow walk. It was glorious, relaxing and very slow. Wonderful and sweet time together!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015