Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tired of Perfect Moms? Me, too.

I’ve had so many conversations with friends recently about how tired we are of perfect moms. You know who I’m talking about. If Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are any judge, they never have anything go wrong. Their kids never drive them crazy or make a mess or say a bad word. Ever.

I try to be honest about my life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—here at Out of the Boat, but I leave a lot out. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to share with you a few of the things I did NOT blog about in the very crazy month of June.

I did not blog about the morning I was trying to be one of those supermoms who has an abnormally high tolerance for messes. The type who can watch their children soak through their clothing and everything in a twenty foot radius without breaking out in hives. I allowed my boys to play with their new water cannons on the back porch and when this deteriorated into the youngest stripping naked, I rolled with it.

I may have been feeling smug about how cool I was and how this was the kind of memory my children would take into adulthood. Until the morning air was pierced by a howl from James and I came around the corner just as a fresh pile of poop hit the deck, courtesy of the naked two-year-old. So, yeah. I decided not to blog about the next fifteen minutes. They weren’t my finest quarter hour. (Cannot tell you how relieved I was that there were NO witnesses).

Then there was the Sunday lunch debacle. The one where James asked for a cookie and I declined to purchase one. So a few minutes later when he was back asking if he could have some cookie, I not only said “No” but I gave him a lecture on repeatedly asking me for things. Unfortunately, I realized a few moments later that a sweet friend had been offering to share half of his cookie with James, and because James was trying to obedient, he had been asking for permission to have the cookie his friend was willing to share with him.
I felt like dirt. (Yes, there were witnesses).

Oh…there was also the afternoon I opened Drew’s door after his nap and discovered that he’d stripped out of his clothes (hmmm, there does seem to be a trend here) and peed through the crib slats into the floor. I seriously need to potty train that boy!

There’s more, but I think you get the idea!

How about you? Have you had some “not-so-perfect” moments you’d like to share? Come on. Spill it. What kind of craziness has been going on at your house? 

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Summertime is Kicking My Rear!

Whoever ** said, “Summertime, and the living is easy” lied through his teeth.

I say, “Summertime is kicking my rear!”

Emma has school Monday - Thursday and gymnastics on Friday. Next week, James has T-ball camp from 10-12. We always have speech therapy on Thursdays. And we are slap in the middle of a two-week stretch of swim lessons.

Did I mention that in my quest to be a “fun” mom we’ve also been to the pool and had a couple of play dates?

Or that in my quest to be a “fit” mom I’ve been going to the gym? Today, I even managed to trip over my own two feet and crash on the sidewalk while trying to be a “runner” mom.

Every day is something different, which really pulls my pigtails.

I like routine. I like plans. I especially love it when a plan comes together. :-)

Tonight, I had a whole plan that involved a little blogging and a lot of fiction (writing, not reading).
Instead, we had a movie night. Me, the kids, and Boz Christmas. Hey, around here, we rock Christmas year round.

(Lest you start thinking I need a double halo because I’m so awesome, I should confess that my plan was for the KIDS to have a movie night. I was going to hit Play and run. The plan would have worked if Drew hadn’t slid his little hand in mind and dragged me—no, I did not go skipping with glee—back to the bonus room).

So, there will be this post and no fiction because I’m not capable of being a “decent” mom if I haven’t had enough sleep and I can’t seem to convince my children to all sleep in on the same day. Emma and James have been taking turns getting up between 6 and 6:30. (Drew sleeps until 9, which is why he’s my favorite. I’m kidding! Sorta).

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with, well, anything. I’m glad you asked!

I know—really—how insane summers can be. I get it. And I do NOT want you to be discouraged or intimidated about trying to work through a Bible study during the summer. (We are doing Gideon by Priscilla Shirer - you can read about it here!)

Will you fall behind? Probably. Does it matter? Nope.

If you want to join us, go get your book and get started. Don’t worry about whether you can keep up or not. We are hoping to have completed Weeks 1 & 2 by July 2nd. (If you’ve watched Beth Moore’s video you’ll realize we are going to be a week behind her. We are okay with that!)

I learned a long time ago that Bible studies are funny things. It’s not about how fast you work through them. It’s about the fact that you do. If it takes you twelve weeks to do a six week study, you may find that the lesson you cover in the 11th week is EXACTLY what you need when you need it.

If you have picked up your Gideon book, then please give us a shout in the comments. You don’t have to say how far along you are, just let us know you are along for the ride.

**Turns out it was George Gershwin. I hate to say anything disparaging about Gershwin, but I think he took some serious artistic license with the whole “summertime” concept. :-)

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Commit to Staying Plugged In This Summer

My two-year-old learned a hard lesson this week.
The iPod doesn’t work unless it’s been charged.

He doesn’t care that it has a cracked screen or that the operating system is so old we can’t download new apps to it—he loves to push the buttons and find the pictures and listen to the music.

But yesterday, all he got was a blank screen. That thing was D.E.A.D.

Unfortunately, no matter how many times I placed the iPod on the charger and tried to explain, all he wanted was to play with his toy. So he’d yank it off the charger as soon as the silver apple appeared on the screen, and then wail in anguish when it promptly disappeared.

I couldn’t make him understand that I was more than willing for him to use the iPod but until it spent some time plugged into the power source….

It. Would. Not. Work.

I wonder if God does the same thing with us. I wonder if He continues to draw us to Him. To His Word. To His house. To His people. But we are so immature, we simply can’t get it through our heads that if we continue to play and live and work without plugging in to Him that…

It. Will. Not. Work.

We will falter. We will sin. We will drift.

This may come as a shock, but we are in a battle. Spiritual warfare is all around us. And here’s the simple truth.

Christians don’t get to take the summer off.

No matter how many days we plan to spend at the lake, or the beach, or the pool, spending some time plugged into the source of Power is the only way to get through the days ahead without our screens going blank and our effectiveness for the Kingdom disappearing.

We are either drawing closer to Him or we are pulling away from Him. There is no in between.
Disconnecting from June-August (or, let’s call it like it really is, from May-September) and expecting to still be growing in our faith is as ludicrous as Drew believing his little hand-me-down iPod will work without spending some time on the charger.

So here’s the challenge.

Stay in the Word. Keep moving toward Him. Don’t let September roll around and be so drained you have to take until Christmas to get your spiritual strength back to where it is now.

Commit to staying plugged in this summer.

My dear friend, Ginger, and I are going to be working through a study on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer. (You can read the blog post from Beth Moore about it here). If you’d like some accountability (because I’m not pretending this is easy!) we’d love for you to join us. Get the book, and be ready to start next Tuesday. I’ll be blogging about it as we go through the summer.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Currents :: Iced Coffee and Homemade Creamer

It's Summertime!

When summer rolls around, I start thinking of things like watermelon, chilled in a river. Or my mom's pasta salad. Or hamburgers sizzling on a charcoal grill. All key ingredients to a perfect summer cookout. Or just a regular summer day. I'm not picky.

This summer, I've added something new to my "It wouldn't be summer without..." list. Well, really, it's now on my "I need this every afternoon..." list.

Iced coffee ... complete with homemade creamer.

My sweet friend, Carla, shared her recipes and tips with me as we sat on a swing and watched our boys race around a playground. I couldn't have known when I sat there, typing her directions into the Notes section of my iPhone that I was already sliding down a slippery slope...

Because, as Carla says, this stuff will make you happy!

I'm hardly a food purist. I've consumed more than my fair share of random chemical goodness in my time. Even now, if someone showed up with a box of Sociables and a can of squeeze cheese...well, I wouldn't turn my nose up at them.

But, I do try to at least pay attention and, when possible, avoid random chemicals and craziness in my food. Especially food that I consume on a regular basis.

So when Carla told me that she'd modified The Pioneer Woman's iced coffee recipe AND that she made her own creamer to go with it...well...I was intrigued.

And by intrigued, I mean I went straight home and started whipping up my own batch.

Guess what...Carla was right! This stuff will put a smile on your face and it's way cheaper than swinging through the Starbucks drive thru.

Try it. And then get back here and tell me how much you loved it!

If you're local, come on by the house. I'll share.
I will.
I promise!

Iced Coffee
If you want to make a ginormous batch, you need to go to The Pioneer Woman's site because she's got it all figured out. (And, her idea of putting sweetened condensed milk in her iced coffee...sweet mercy!)

However, if you'd like to make a little less, just find an ancient plastic half-gallon pitcher. You know, the kind you have tucked in the back of a cabinet somewhere. Put a cup of ground coffee in it and fill it up with water. Then let it sit on your counter overnight. Twenty-four hours. A day or two. Whatever. It's not an exact science. Then strain out the coffee grounds through some cheesecloth and put the remaining coffee in the fridge until chilled. It will keep for at least a week. Probably longer, but I wouldn't know because that's as long as mine has made it.

Now, when you want some, just pour it over ice. Voila! Iced coffee yumminess!

Of course, if you want that iced coffee to put a smile on your face, you'll need to add some creamer.

Here's Carla's version:

Homemade Creamer

1 cup of powdered milk
1 Tbs. of vanilla
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup of sweetener (you pick your sweetener of choice here and you can always adjust it by adding more or less to your personal taste - I've used sugar and coconut palm sugar. Both worked great. Carla uses Truvia. I'm planning to experiment with honey and maple syrup)
Blend it up.
Then blend in 2 cups of milk (skim, half & half, heavy cream)

This will make about 32 ounces. Pop it in your fridge and enjoy in your coffee. It's also A.MAZ.ING  over fresh strawberries or peaches.

I'll be smiling!

Thanks to Carla for sharing this with me and allowing me to share it here on Out of the Boat!