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Friday, October 9, 2015

Week in Review: List Style

Woohoo! Friday is here at long last. We had another crazy, frustrating, hilarious, non-stop week with the four munchkins. Thought I'd share some highlights of the past week list-style. How would you fill in these blanks for your own week?

Laughing: over our family picture session yesterday. Jude lost a one shoe ten minutes in and was consequently a barefooted bumpkin in the rest of the shots. Also, I fell into a stream. Literally. Fell into a stream. Wearing nice boots and cute jeans. Reminded me strongly of this post about our family pictures from years ago. What is it about our family that suggests wading into streams?

Anticipating: Traveling to Savannah to see my partner in crime from college tomorrow. She's getting hitched and I cannot wait to see her beautiful self! Also - I bought a "big girl" dress for this occasion. I'm tired of never having the right thing to wear when nice occasions come around. I'm hoping this dress is a somewhat universal solution.

Sorely missing: the YMCA. I cannot seem to figure out how to make working out fit with our schedule currently and I am missing the classes I usually attend so much.

Pondering: this NY Times article on what's happened to face-to-face conversation in the age of smartphones. Your thoughts?

Devouring: Dove Dark Chocolates with Almonds. Every. Single. Night. It's like a reward for getting the kids and myself through yet another day alive.

Giving thanks: for margin. Financially, relationally and time-wise. I feel like we have established some good boundaries over the past few years and are currently enjoying the fruit of those decisions.

Ready: for autumn weather to stay.  Just switched out my summer clothes for the rich tones and beautiful plaids of fall!

Reading: The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. Could really use a group to discuss it with...but I'll settle for regurgitating my every thought about it to B Daddy.

Missing: my small group of high school college girls. Really excited some of them will be home for fall break soon.

Baking: these indulgent Apple Streusel Cheesecake bars. A cookie mix and a can of apple pie filling makes them quick and easy.

What's your week been like and what are your weekend plans!? 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

5 Ways to Turn Your Bad Day Around

You oversleep, miss your workout and reach into the pantry to discover you're out of coffee.

The kids won't stop bickering, it's the 4th rainy day in a row, no one can find two shoes that fit and you should have left the house 10 minutes ago.

We have a lot of days like this around here.

I typically don't recognize what's happening quickly enough, but when I do, a little principle learned in physics class long ago comes to mind.

'An object in motion will not change its velocity unless an external force acts upon it.'

This principle works itself out quite clearly on bad days. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day gains steam as it heads rapidly down the hill towards ruining everyone and everything around you - a significant external force is desperately needed to turn things around. And external forces can be hard to come by if you're alone at home with 4 small humans.

So I made a list: 5 things I can do to change the velocity of my day. When our day is careening out of control, one of these is usually enough to change our trajectory. Or at least stall the impending doom until Daddy gets home. The point is to force a change of direction. Physically, mentally or emotionally.

1. Take a shower - Get dressed - Put on make-up. 
Not all three. That would be some crazy talk. Choose one and get to it. On a day when it feels like I can do nothing right, if I happen to pass a mirror and look like a total failure, my reflection taunts, "Look at you! No wonder the kids aren't listening." If, however, I catch my reflection and look like the pulled together human I am trying to be - a smile consoles me, "Look at you! Must be them."  

2. Turn on some music.
Any music will do. Siblings bickering and driving you batty? Go with soothing/classical tunes. The walls of the home are closing in on you because you haven't been beyond them all day? Dance party. Often the kids are stunned into better behavior when they find me twirling in the middle of the living room.

3. Lock myself in the bathroom and pray/meditate.
Nothing fancy - just small words from the gut. Help me Jesus. Thank you for these kids even though I am utterly overwhelmed by them. I am not enough, be enough for me Lord.
And my favorite Scriptures for the dark moments:
Psalm 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength. An ever present help in times of trouble. 
Exodus 15:2 - The Lord is my strength and my song. 
Psalm 78:70,71 - I won't quote it cuz you'd be all, huh?. But it gives me great peace in my role as a SAHM. One day I'll write about it. 

4. Go outside.
There is magic in fresh air. Even when it's too cold. Even when it's too hot. Even when it's raining. (Perhaps especially if it's raining?) If the boys in particular are WAY too energetic/trying to kill one another, I make them run laps around our house. Yup, laps. I stand in the driveway and count them off as they pass. It's pretty entertaining.

5. Do something completely out-of-the-norm.
I am not a crafty mom. Finger paint makes me nervous. Messes increase my anxiety. I like giving the kids baths at 11am for an out-of-the-box experience that fits squarely within my comfort zone. Bake something. Give the kids a Clorox wipe and tell them it's time to play Cinderella. Have everyone pile on your bed for a middle of the afternoon read-aloud.

The next time a bad day threatens to consume your spirit, try inserting an external force on the day and see how it works for you.

What do you do when you are in the middle of a terrible, horrible, very bad, no good day? I would love to add a few new things to my list.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Favorite Flat Apple Pie

For those of you who have a counter full of apples from your recent trip to the orchard or who love the idea of apple pie but not the process it usually is the easiest apple pie recipe you will ever come across. (Besides the one that goes, take Mrs. Smith's out of the freezer, put in oven for 90 minutes.) I served this when we hosted small group at our house this week and it was so perfectly fall I swooned.

Flat Apple Pie - Makes 2 pies
Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

5 peeled and sliced Granny Smith Apples 
(Granny's are great in a pie since they don't turn to mush with the baking and the sugar, but don't let having the wrong variety of apple on your counter keep you from making this right now)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 pie crusts (I've used Pillsbury and I've used homemade...they taste approximately identical) 
6 Tbsp butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients. 

2. Roll out two pie crusts into large circles, place on large (rimmed!) baking sheets
3. Place half the apple mixture on one crust and half on the other crust. (Rocket science)
4. Fold over the edge of each crust so that it covers 2 to 3 inches of the apple mixture. Don't fuss over this part, rustic is better!

5. Brush the crust with an egg white wash or do what I do and spray it with some Pam and sprinkle with raw sugar for some sparkle and crunch. 
6. Dot the tops of the pies with chunks of butter.
7. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is golden and bubbly. If the crust browns too quickly, cover the edges with foil until done. 
8. Drizzle with jarred caramel topping, slice into wedges with pizza cutter and serve with vanilla ice cream. 

It's absolutely heavenly right now and not too heavy. Enjoy!

My Favorite Flat Apple Pie originally posted 10/20/2011
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