Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday Traditions

What is Saturday morning without pancakes or french toast?  Mine may not be perfectly round, but they sure are tasty!  {Just ask the kids...they eat about 3 each!} 

~Buttermilk Pancakes~
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 - 2 c. of buttermilk
2 tbs. sugar (or try substituting brown sugar)
4 tbs. vegetable oil
2 ts. baking powder
1 ts. baking soda
1/2 ts. salt

Beat eggs until fluffy.  Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth.  Not thick enough?  Add a little more flour.  Too thick?  Add a little more of the buttermilk.

For Apple cinnamon pancakes, add cinnamon with other dry ingredients and add 2 peeled and chopped apples to the batter. Mmmm!

(Don't have buttermilk handy?  Sour your own milk by adding 2 tbs of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 2 cups, let it stand at least 5 minutes.  OR I always have extra goat's milk sitting out to sour for cottage cheese...fresh milk takes a day or two to sour, but makes every thing extra delicious.)

Saturday is also the day of haircuts...if needed.  This Saturday was Sammy's first cut!
 We started out with the scissors and ended up using the razor.

 My cute, little baby boy.

My handsome little man.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cake & Wife Lessons

Yesterday Bree, Lina, I and the kids headed over to Kristina's house for her Bible lesson on marriage.  This week though she asked that we come early and teach her how to make a cake.  The cake she wanted to make was Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes...except we doubled the recipe and made it a cake.  This is a must-make for me every year which I always anxiously look forward to.  I've tried making it with frozen strawberries, but it just doesn't taste as good.  It was pretty interesting trying to convert everything in my head to grams AND explain everything in Russian as I was going {I taught the "cake lesson" without Lina there}.  We completely winged it.  We didn't have vanilla for the frosting, so we just added extra strawberry puree and we also had less powder sugar.  We just whipped together what we had.  They said it was EXCELLENT.  (Cake and frosting note: beat the butter until it is super fluffy and smooth BEFORE adding any other ingredients.  WARNING!  This cake is pretty sweet.)

Lydia as we were walking over...everyone else was carrying something.
It didn't last long!

GROSS!  Bree took a picture then gave the pot to Max.  He "cleaned" the pan.

The lesson did not go as well as I had planned because the kids were already getting restless AND I forgot my Bible and notes!!!  We talked a little about last weeks assignment {finding ways to serve her husband}.  She also surprised us by having her verse memorized!  She had mentioned last week how sometimes she just didn't feel like serving her husband so her memory verse was:

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;"
Colossians 3:23

(Did you know that earlier in that chapter it tells wives to submit to their own husbands?)  She was supposed to tell me in what ways she has gone out of her way to serve her husband, but she skipped that part.  This week she is studying joyfulness and is working on developing a more joyful spirit.  I felt like I was not able to discuss things as well as I would have liked because Yuri's mom came out and the kids were getting really restless by then.  She does have a printed lesson to read for the week as well.  I ask that you will pray for me as I teach these lessons on the role of the wife that God will give me wisdom and that He will provide good situations for teaching.  Pray also for Kristina as she studies to be a godly, christian wife.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Want to Know a Secret?

This photo has nothing to do with my big secret, but thought I would keep you waiting for a little while.  Hehe. :)  It was taken on Thursday.  Eric took me out to a classical concert for a late anniversary date.  It was beautiful!

Ok...I think I've made you wait long enough.  At least long enough so you couldn't find out on your blog reader. ;)
We're expecting baby Curtis #4!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Little Man is 1!

Samuel James - always full of giggles and smiles; sometimes a little mischievous; very active; with a love to put things together; a super tiny baby, now turning into a big boy

Friday we celebrated Sammy's first birthday.  I can hardly believe how fast this year has flown!  We didn't have a big party, just a small, quiet family "party".

We started the day out with balloons all over the floor.  This is starting to become a 1 year old celebration tradition.  I love seeing how big their eyes get when they first wake up to colorful balloons covering the floor. :)

We then had pancakes.  I didn't put whipped topping and strawberries on them this time, but instead did sprinkles and fun little shapes.

As you can see, he LOVED them.  {We're working on the not stuffing the face thing.}

Then it was time for presents.
{Yes, I know.  It's a Christmas bag.  The heat is making me miss the snow...JUST KIDDING!}

I think he had more fun putting the cars in and taking them out of the bag. ;)

After Sammy had a nap, we ate homemade pizza and lemon poppy seed pound cake.  I really had my heart set on making this train looks super adorable and easy, but sometimes plans have to change.  I had stashed away a little train that I put on top of the cake.  Sammy thought that was great.  Doesn't the train look like it's on a snow topped mountain? you have to use A LOT of imagination.  Eric liked it better because it makes less mess...I kinda like the 1st birthday frosting-all-over-the-face pictures.

Sammy wouldn't let anyone near that cake.  haha

After naps, we went out to fly a kite...
...or at least we tried.  Bree said at least it was entertaining to watch us run all over the field.

I guess Sammy didn't think so...

"You get back here, boy!"

Happy Birthday smiley!
I love you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Obedient to Their Own Husbands

Ouch, ladies...think you can handle this one?

If you're still with me, brace yourself.  This is the last of our study on Titus 2, but may be the toughest.  Even though I'm sure I've read it many times, really hit me hard this past summer.  

Obedient - dutifully complying with the orders or instructions of one in authority 

It's funny {or more like sad}, but I've always thought and heard that a wife was SUBMISSIVE, which everyone said was different from obedience and made us equal.  The Bible doesn't actually say we have to obey, does it?  Only children have to obey, we have to be submissive.  How could I have missed this fact for so many years? 

First, I looked up the word obedience, then obedient, then obey.  There were so many good directions to take this study, but the one that grabbed my attention was

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." 
Ephesians 6:1 

The same word is used, OBEY.  All I could think of was the title of that book {which I've never read but heard is good} "Me?  Obey HIM??"  So I thought about what obedience means in relation to my children.  With my children I expect them not only to do what I tell them, but to also have a good attitude, to do it right away, etc...or it is not obedience.  I also have certain expectations that they know they are to abide by~which I do not repeat to them {like never going to the neighbor's yard without my permission}.  I then looked up the word comply {to act in accordance with another's command or WISH}.  That's what I expect out of my children.  Can you imagine if that's what husbands today expected of their wives?  They'd never make it out of the house alive!  But that is the way the Bible says we should live.  Most of the time they are not going to give us a command, but we do know what they wish and we are to comply with that...not slowly or with a bad attitude, but immediately and happily.  Their wish should be at the top of our priorities.  How often does that happen?  If my kids put something else above obeying my command they would receive a punishment, but our husbands put up with this every day as we put the children and other things above his wishes.  Two other verses stood out to me. 

 "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
Hebrews 13:17

He has been given the responsibility of watching and caring for our souls!  No matter how good or bad of a job we think he is doing, he is the one who must give account and we must submit.  The second verse was

 "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." 
Isaiah 1:19

If we wish to eat of the "good of the land" in our homes and see only good fruit produced, we MUST be obedient unto our husbands.

Titus 2:2-4 is ended with ~ "that the Word of God be not blasphemed".  Wow!  That is pretty powerful!  When I don't obey my husband I am blaspheming the Word of God.  We would not even dream of blaspheming the Word of God, but many of us do it on a daily basis when we won't follow the instructions God has given us in Titus 2:2-4.  I pray that this study has been a blessing and help to you.  It sure was an eye opener for me!

For the rest of the studies on Titus 2 click here .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo Shoot

Grampy and Grammy sent the girls some beautiful desses. 
Of course you know what that meant... 
a photo shoot!

I just let them do their own thing.
Sometimes it was beautiful...

and sometimes...
well, they're cute anyways.

Little angels aren't they?

This is what Anna looked like AFTER services...

It's hard to see, but yep, that pretty, satin-y dress has dirt smeared all over it.
{Excuse - there was a puppy outside the church building}
And yes {for those wondering} the dirt did come out.

I thought girls were always pretty and CLEAN?!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

9 Years into Happily Ever After

June 8, 2002
I never thought that I could love you more than the day I married you
But our love only continues to grow and grow with each passing year.

I thought it was only in fairytales when dreams came true
But I really am living Happily Ever After.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Good ~ morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; having admirable, pleasing, superior, or positive qualities; not negative, bad or mediocre; beneficial

Again the definition itself is strongly convicting.  So many times I am satisfied with what I am doing. Satisfied to do a halfway job, satisfied to have the basics covered. I cannot be just an okay wife and mom. I need to not sit down and relax, but rather go above okay or mediocre and become excellent.  The definition of good also says "not negative".  How many times have I allowed negativity into my home or even BROUGHT it into my home? According to the Bible, I need to be only beneficial for my family.

I looked up verses for the word good, but the verse that stood out to me was actually one on virtuous.

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:
but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones."
Proverbs 12:4

Am I a crown to my husband? Are my actions uplifting, encouraging and making my husband look {and do} better? Or am I destroying him with my nagging words, negativity, lack of trust? Am I rotting his bones? Lord, help me to be the best wife and mother I can be to my family and not to be satisfied with just doing a pretty good job. Help me to be positive and help me to be pleasing and admirable in the eyes of my husband and children.

This is not just an option.  God commands us in Titus 2 to be "good...that the word of God be not blasphemed."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Growing Garden

This week has been so full, both of excitement and discouragements.  Eric has been pretty busy counseling the Christians here with different things going on in each of their lives.  They need your prayers as they grow and we need your prayers as we handle each of these baby Christians that we may do it tenderly and with love.

We have really been wanting a family photo but it is always so difficult to get everyone together.  This past Sunday before we headed out to services, we decided to have a short photo shoot.  Though this is not a favorite photo of mine, everyone was actually looking, even if they don't look very happy.

Yuri drove in, saw us taking pictures and said "What about me?"  Valodia is in the car as well, but he is hiding.  Kristina was at her mom's this week for an orthodox "holiday" concerning the dead.  Her mom is pressuring her so much and I know it is a real struggle for Kristina.  I am the only other christian here in the village and it is very difficult to go for a visit with 3 kids.  I try to visit at least once a week, but even that is hard.  It takes at least 30 minutes to walk over with the kids - usually an hour.

Sammy was standing by the couch and his little chunky legs and feet looked so adorable that I HAD to get a picture.

My garden is doing pretty well.  I have one grapevine. {Aren't the little grapes adorable?}

You can't see all of the little plants in the distance, but I've counted over 15 tomato plants, 15 bell pepper plants, at least 20 cauliflowers (I wanted broccoli but couldn't find it), 10 green beans, 10 peas, LOTS of strawberry plants...then other things which haven't come up yet.  Since most of you probably haven't started your gardens yet you'll think I'm crazy when I tell you that I started mine late!

I also have at least 10 stalks of corn, but not in my garden.  Most Ukrainians plant these along there fences, along with their sunflowers.  Next year I will also plant my peas and green beans along the fences, as I've seen many people doing that and it will save me space in my garden.

I'm really looking forward to canning this fall, but a little nervous.  Ukrainians do not can "the safe" American way and this is my first year canning, so I am on my own.  I am hoping that I can find a pressure caner {at a price I can afford} so I am able to can even the corn, green beans and peas.

When we went shopping the other day, we found this cute little dustpan set for no more than 10 cents!  I had seen some little brooms and dustpans in the children's section before, but they were always at least $10!  The girls {especially Lydia} LOVE it.  Lydia saw a mess the other day and took care of it herself!  Sammy thought it was great fun too, though I don't think he was much help.

Well, guess I need to finish those pancakes.  My kids are just now waking up and it's 8:14!  I'm loving this laid-back Saturday morning!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keepers at Home

KEEP ~ to provide with maintenance & support; to raise; to maintain; to manage or have charge of; to remain fresh or unspoiled; to prevent; to save, reserve; observe; to maintain in good condition; for an indefinitely long period of time  

HOME ~ an institution where people are cared for; comfortable & relaxed; a base of operations {Sounds like a military base preparing our children for battle.  Sending out good soldiers for Christ.}

Just reading the definitions was a lot in relation to how I am to KEEP my home.  After my mind felt like it could handle new information, I moved on to the concordance and my Bible.  Almost all of the verses that I read had to do with two things.
1) Keepers of prisons
Their job was very serious.  They could not be lazy, but had to fervently watch and make sure no one who was given to them was lost.  They were not in charge, but had to answer to a higher authority and were put to death if they lost anyone put in their charge. 

~God has given us a job just as serious as a keeper of a prison.  He has given precious souls into our care that we are to watch with the same intensity a keeper of the prison would watch over his prisoners.  We have not only been given our precious children to keep, but also we are to 'keep' {provide with maintenance & support; maintain in good condition} our husbands.  Oh!  How serious this job is!  We must not let any of them escape or we will give an account before God!

2)Keepers of gates
They stood there intently watching everything that went into the city and out of the city, protecting the city from enemies without and within.  They were not to get careless or let anything escape their watchful eye, for it could bring destruction to their city. 

~Just as the keeper of the gate, we are to intently watch EVERYTHING that comes into our home - by way of friends, music, computer, movies, etc..  We are also to watch everything "going out" - carefully watching our children for any seed of rebellion, laziness, etc...Satan is always looking for an opportunity to destroy the home and family and he will take any little opportunities he can get.

~We are to be a keeper at home FOR KEEPS.~  "...that the Word of God be not blasphemed."

Missed a lesson?


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