Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Live Abundantly!

"A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. Og Mandino (1923-1996)

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

Also linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A New Muffin

Here's another muffin for you out there (yes, I'm still crazy about muffins)!
This one's an Olivia tweaking of the Betty Crocker cookbook "Popular Muffin."
Fruit Muffins
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain or fruit flavored yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 +/- teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped strawberries
3/4 cup blueberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottoms of 12-16 muffin cups. Beat egg, stir in milk, yogurt, and oil. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Add fruit last.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

These muffins turned out not very sweet, so if you prefer a sweet muffin, you could add another 1/4 cup of honey or sugar. They were very soft and light. Yum! I think I'm going to make them every day this week because I've already consumed most of the first batch on my own!

Linked with Tuesday's Tip JarTuesday's TipsToot Your Horn Tuesday, Making Monday MarvelousTempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tea Time With Annie Kate and Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Few Awards

Yeah! This is has been a great weekend for Of Such is the Kingdom. I feel blessed and honored to have received two awards!
The first is a "Versatile Blogger" award from Crystal over at Crystalized Reflections. Thanks, Crystal!
In order to accept this award, I have to tell you seven things that you don't already know about me. That's kind of hard since I reveal the main to the mundane in the Me section of this blog! Want to know what each room of my house looks like? See it here. Want to know me from Age to favorite Zoo animal? See that on this post!  Didn't know I had a large scar on my cheek? You can read about here.  (Plus I have to save some things for my Walk Down Memory Lane with the Mommy's Piggy Tales!) But I'll see if I can come up with something.
1. I wore a corrective retainer in high school because I couldn't afford braces. It worked but now I have to wear a plastic retainer every night or my teeth will return to their crooked ways. I recently lost my last retainer, so I'm suffering until I get a new one made. (Ugh!)
2. When I had my first daughter I thought I hated pink. I avoided it like the plague until she began to pick out pink things on her own. Then I began to secretly like it. Now I'm out of the closet, so to speak, about my love of pink.
3. I'm very opinionated. Wait, I'm sure you all probably already know that!
4. I'm picky about shoes. I want them to be cheap and eternally comfortable. Maybe I'll find some I really like in heaven. : )
5. I LOVE natural lighting in the bathroom. (There's a random fact for ya!)
6. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to climb a tree with a good book, balance somewhere on a limb, and read, read, read!
7. I also love to travel (which I'm sure you know); I've been to Belgium, The Netherlands, England (briefly), China, Thailand, Canada, and (I think this is right) 28 states.
There you have it! Seven whole things that (maybe) you didn't know about me.
Check out these versatile blogs:
1. Alicia over at A Beautiful Mess has the best pictures! She tells life like it is and is quite versatile in doing it.
2. Traci Michelle at Ordinary Inspirations for the Everyday Wife, Mommy, and Homemaker is definitely one of the most versatile blogs I know! I get ideas for activities, recipes, and motivation from her!
3. Simple Mom is a great place to get all kinds of very wise advice for parenting! The main blogger behind Simple Mom is out right now on maternity leave, but she's picked out some great guests to post for her until she comes back mid-July.
4. Windy Poplars has recipes and activities and crafts--very versatile indeed, and I love the Anne of Green Gables feel to the site. It's always great to find a kindred spirit!

The second award is the "A Blog With Substance" Award. Thanks so much to Cameron at Ingenue Mom for this one!
For this award I'm supposed to tell you my blog philosophy. This one is easier because it's in my first ever post on Of Such is the Kingdom:

The biggest challenge to my romantic side has been the advent of children! After our second was born, I chafed quite a bit in the fact that I was so "tied down" and couldn't be useful to the kingdom. I guess I knew intellectually that my children were my kingdom work, but my romantic side just didn't feel that. So in the last few years, God has used His many resources to begin to teach me what an adventure being a home maker truly is.
There is not as much glory, not as much recognition, and not as much time to think in this adventure. There is a lot of sacrifice and quite a bit of beautiful reward. This truly is the kingdom "not of this world." The world often says that a career is so much more important than a family--and don't get me wrong, a career is an important thing! I just want to live out the fact that this daily grind is the dangerous, adventurous kingdom work God has given me.
This blog is dedicated to little ideas that help us, as parents, "rejoice always" in this adventure.
If you want to read some more blogs with substance look at these:
1. A Foreign Land is an eclectic place to get away from the kids (mostly) for a while. This blogger deals with clothes and t.v. shows and photos and a lot of other things. That may not sound substantial, but if you really read closely, you'll see that her blog is really about her coming to love the life she's living--becoming content in all things. I love that!
2. A Pocket of Rocks is another eclectic life story blog about a mom and her kids and the tough questions they ask and the fun they have and the things that she, as a person, loves. She also takes a lot of great pics!
3. Katherine Marie Photography is one of my favorite blogs out there. Her photography is amazing and she often posts about her "theme of the week" for her children. These are INCREDIBLE! Most recently she has vegetables as her theme and the kids painted vegetables and made a vegetable stand and did vegetable matching cards. You get the picture, right? She has a great gift!
4. Amy over at The Finer Things in Life is a very positive gal! I love the fact that her posts are uplifting and inspiring!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This Week in Review

Blogging: A Colorful Week in Review

Tuesday: A Review of His Dark Materials--I loved the fantasy part, but I was so disappointed with the world view!
Wednesday: Pictures from my flower garden along with a verse--Do not worry... do not not worry!
Thursday: A funny poem about my first day of first grade
Friday: An outline of the money I make, how, and why
Linked with Six Word Saturday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

One Housewife's Income

As I see it, there are two ways of being a frugal housewife. One is to save all of the hubby's money that you can by being careful with what you purchase and using coupons. The other is to make money in simple, time-efficient ways. I'm trying my best to do both so that our family can A. get out of debt, and B. travel and have fun together without being super-stressed about money.
Here are a few of the ways that I try to make money for our family.
1. I teach ballet. My mom made the wonderful investment of paying for lessons from the time I was 4 until I was 18. (Thanks, Mom!) I would never have considered myself a true ballerina, but when I got to college the idea and opportunity presented themselves to teach little girls beginner ballet. It was a great way to make money through college, and I always said I would start teaching again when my own daughter wanted to take. A few years ago the oldest came out with a "I want to take ballet, Momma," and that was all it took. Since then I have taught semesters of ballet, ballet clinics, and ballet camps. I have taught in a mirrored room in a friend's house, in a studio, and in a school gym. This summer's ballet camps are located in a near-by school "skating rink" which is really just a big basement room. Low time commitment, time with my daughter, and a little extra cash are huge benefits. I love to dance, and I love to teach, so teaching ballet is a great fit for me!
2. I have signed up for various on-line survey opportunities. The two that I am most involved in are Inbox Dollars and MyPoints. They both send survey opportunities and "paid emails," emails that you click on to earn a penny or a few points. I signed up for Inbox Dollars about six months ago, and I've probably put 3 hours into surveys. Right now I have earned $38.69 and they will send me a check when I get to $40. I signed up for MyPoints only a couple of months ago and I have 1,135 points. At around 1,500 points, you can cash in for a $10 gift card. Both of these places also give you points for shopping online through them. If you're interested in Inbox Dollars, please click to them through this site! If you do, you'll get a $5 sign-on bonus, and I'll get $5 too!

3. There are also various online shopping communities. I'm a member of Shop At Home. They have coupons available and cash back opportunities for almost every store online. Some stores give you a higher percentage back than others. I currently have a balance of $18.87 there, and they will send a check when my balance reaches $20. Again, if you're interested in Shop At Home, please click the ad below because they will reward me for referring members!
ShopAtHome Banner
4. My last money-maker is one I would like to see grow! I advertise here on this blog for Adsense and Amazon. If you click on my Adsense ads and see where they go, I make money. (You don't have to buy anything!) And if you click through my Amazon ad to buy something, I make a percentage of your purchase. After nine months with Adsense, I have a total of $47.29; they will send a check when I reach $100. After a month with Amazon, I have $3.45. They will send an Amazon gift card when I reach $10.
So there you have it. My earnings for the year are not much, but they have been enough to pay for the kids' mother's day out program and the earnings I have now will pay for their school this coming year. Last fall we used what I made in ballet to buy a swing set to replace the dilapidated  one in our back yard. And with the bits and pieces of internet earnings, I hope to not have to disturb our regular monthly budget in order to buy Christmas presents.
Linked with Friday Finding BeautyFiner Things FridayTickled Pink, and Frugal Fridays.
(Isn't saving money a beautiful, finer thing?)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First Grade

first day of first grade
truck got stuck along the way
Mom's distraught because we're late;
I'm just happy with the stir we'll create.
new school, muddy lot
bright red clay is all we've got
We are late, but no one's mad;
First day fun is to be had!
new teacher, new desk
shedding wet lace socks is the best
Friends move over and giggle
My piggy toes are free to wiggle. 
rain, mud, worry? well...
at least there is a story to tell!

It's funny what you remember! I think I was a little worried that my first grade teacher would be mad that I was dripping all over her clean floor, but in the end I was extremely happy to get so much attention from my teacher and peers on the first day of school.
I went on to get in trouble quite a bit in first grade. The teacher couldn't figure out why I was incessantly passing notes to Davey Jacks. ("I love you!" and then a few minutes later, "I hate you!" Don't ask me; I can't remember why!) Finally my mom asked her to assign me extra work and that helped a lot. They kept me busy and hopefully out of the principal's office for the rest of that year!

I'm participating in a great link up over at Mommy's Piggy Tales where on Thursdays from June 10 to September 16 we chronicle our past.

Memory lane is definitely a place I love that brings me great joy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do Not Worry

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?...
 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:25-34
Also linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

His Dark Materials

After I finished The Golden Compass I published that I liked Philip Pullman book and couldn't wait to continue reading. It didn't take me long into the second book to realize that I was wrong about Pullman. Though he understands the beautiful triad of fantasy fiction (1. There is more to life than what you see. 2. There is a great battle or journey. 3. We have a big part to play in that battle or journey.) he does not understand that mixing up good and evil ultimately cheapens and destroys the beauty of his books. I was very disturbed by the fact that this writer with the true gift to create beauty used that gift to push an ugly anti-God agenda.
In The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass Pullman sets forth a series of worlds where there are legions of fallen angels who care for men. The god figure is an angel who decided to fool the worlds into thinking that he had created them. He is now ancient and is all too glad to die when the heroin opens his glass bed. The ultimate hero of the books sacrifices the heroin's best friend in order to get to a world where he will build an army to fight the non-fallen angels and establish the "Republic of Heaven." A good part of the books confirms that the heroin greatly mourns her dead friend: she goes to the land of the dead to find him and apologize for leading him to danger and subsequently opens a way for all the dead souls to come into a world where they can become one with the trees and the wind. But the heroin never questions the right of the hero to sacrifice her friend.
It all sounds dark and depressing, does it not? But Pullman is an excellent writer, and you long for the children of the book to find their way to goodness and happiness. In the end, their goodness and happiness is in finding love for each other (not a bad theme) and then separating to tell their own worlds about the fact that the way out of the land of the dead is to have a good story of one's life to tell the guardians of that land. See what I mean? Good and evil have been confused and at the journey's end, the only benefit of all the fight and all the sacrifice is to have a good story to tell.
So my recommendation is to stay away from the His Dark Materials series. There are so many better books for your pre-teens to read or for you to read with your children. Because the Pullman series disturbed me so much, I have been revisiting some of my fantasy favorites. Here are a few:
1. Anything by C.S. Lewis: The Narnia series, The Space Trilogy, Till We Have Faces 
2. All the E. Nesbit books like the Psammead Series: Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and The Story of the Amulet
3. The Artemis Fowl Books

4. Anything by Robin McKinley
5. The Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini
6. OF COURSE The Lord of the Rings and anything else by Tolkien
7. Books by Avi like The Book Without Words and Midnight Magic
8. Inkspell and the ensuing series from Cornelia Funke
9. All of Madeline L'Engle's books
10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Linked with Tuesday's Tip JarTuesday's Tips, Top Ten TuesdayToot Your Horn Tuesday and Random Tuesday Thoughts.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Check this Out

My memory lane walk so far:
My Name: an old essay from high school telling how I got my name
My Butterfly: the story of the large scar on my face
Linked to Six Word Saturday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Love Iced Tea

I like it strong and sweet like any good southern gal, and I'd love to share a glass with you!
Did you know this prestigious southern drink has it's own month? Yes! June is National Sweet Tea month. And to go along with that, there is a Sweet Tea anthem as well! I know this post is going to make you want some, so after you pour yourself a glass, sip it to the sounds of "Sweet Tea" by the Bushels.
I've always loved the fact that sweet tea has many moods (kind of like this writer!). Pour it over ice and sprigs of mint, and you've got a tea that will transport you from the stress of a hot summer day to a mountaintop of cheerful spring breezes! But then there are a host of harder sweet teas as well (sweet tea flavored vodka, anyone?) Mix it with lemonade and you get a drink fit for any country club--it even has a name! Arnold Palmer. According to this site tea has a host of medicinal qualities that makes it rather like an anxious nurse hovering around a sickly child.
My favorite side of tea is that it is a representative of all that is good in the south. It's a frugal "make it yourself" kind of drink, which to me seems very southern. And it has that slow-down, sit-on-your-front-porch mentality. It brings to mind a neighbor stepping in for a spell and hearing that natural "Care for some tea?" in a beautiful southern drawl.

Linked with Friday Finding BeautyFiner Things FridayTickled Pink, and Frugal Fridays.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Butterfly

My momma's tummy began to grow when I was four years old. As soon as they told me that there would soon be a little brother or sister to play with, I created an imaginary little sister who was with me wherever I went. When my parents found out the little one was a boy, they were afraid to tell me for fear that my little heart would be broken. But when they gently broke the news to me, my imaginary sister cheerfully became an imaginary brother and all was well. When my little brother was born there was much rejoicing. I loved him, held him, fed him his bottle, and was a very happy big sister. Many came to see him, and this part of my story focuses on a day when my dad's secretary came to see my baby brother and brought along her dog.
"Can I stay on the porch and play with him?" I asked, and the adults gave me permission as they headed in to the living room to sit and coo over my chubby little brother. Our dog, tied away from the house in readiness for our doggy visitor, was barking unhappily over the situation. I pet the new dog--a big German Shepherd type dog--and in my childish mind it seemed that this visitor needed good Southern hospitality: an offer of some food.
And so I poured him a bowl of our dog's food and squatted down to become acquainted. He didn't much like the interference with his meal.
He growled and lunged at my face. I must have cried out because my next memory is dad, the secretary, and my mom holding my little brother standing at the door out to the porch frozen in shock. And this is the real horror of the situation. Can you imagine being a momma and seeing your little four year old covered with blood with her cheek hanging open? I remember no pain from the dog bite, but I do remember the look of horror on my momma's face, and that is enough!
After that must have come a flurry of movement. My mom took my little brother to the her parents and then rushed to the hospital. The secretary held a wet wash cloth over my cheek as my dad rushed me to the hospital. On the way there my dad ran a red light. When I pointed that fact out to him, he said through gritted teeth, "Olivia, you can do that in an emergency." 
When we arrived at the hospital, I was put in a room to clean the blood off of me. To me it seemed that everyone else was much messier and I can remember the incredulous smiles from my family when I pointed that out to the nurses.
It wasn't long before I was being wheeled in to tiled operating room. A masked doctor offered to let me choose a small stuffed animal from a box full of different animals. I took my time, deliberating over whether to choose the bear, the cat, the owl... They finally reminded me with slight impatience that we needed to begin the surgery and so I settled on the little owl. After 60-something stitches, I was ready for recovery.
The eight days that followed are a blur of gifts and the hospital toy room and visitors. It really was a marvelous time for a little girl of four. 
The doctors did an excellent job of stitching up my face. There were several parts of skin missing, which they were able to manufacture and as you can see from the picture above, the scar was not a predominant feature of my face. When I was in third grade I had plastic surgery to remove the larger pieces of scar tissue.
When I was a babysitting teen, one of my little charges (an inquisitive three year old) asked me one day, "Where did you get that butterfly?" After puzzling for a while, I finally figured out that she was talking about my scar. To her the lines on my face resembled a butterfly. What a beautiful picture of what my scar became to me. I was proud of being different. My parents must of have done an excellent job of teaching me about real beauty. I was never scared of dogs, and I knew that my scar was a gift, not a curse from a loving Lord.
Now my scar has faded quite a bit, and I get a little frustrated when I mention it and people look at me puzzled and say, "What scar?" To me, this large mark on my face, is nothing but the artwork of my creative God.
Linked with Mommy's Piggy Tales.
Memory lane is definitely a place I love that brings me great joy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Confessions of a Mass Murderer

I have a confession to make. I'm a mass murderer. Every morning I awake with a desire to wipe out as many as I can. I have thousands on my record. This is beginning to be a little bit of a problem, I think. Not only have I murdered, but I have taught my children as well, and "Kill it!" is a common command in our house. The youngest is a little too young to be in on it yet, but basically the rest of our family is guilty. And yes, the victims are ants. Many, many ants have been killed--in our kitchen mostly, but wherever we find them, we gleefully squish, stomp, or smear as many as we can. The hubby has poisoned outside, we have cleaned inside, and still they come. I guess our next step is to hire a professional; hopefully they will accomplish what our futile murdering spree has not, and hopefully too, our children will not be permanently scarred by our murderous rampages.
The above is a guest post from myself. (He he) I posted this on April 15, 2009 on our family blog before we started a year with Terminix. After our year was over (May, 2010) the ants returned en masse! So at this very moment Terminix is here again (We're pretty slow to learn our lesson! You'd think after a year still seeing ants we'd look for someone new, but they persuaded us that this ant bomb will take care of them.) At some points, I wouldn't mind just blowing up the house, erm, I mean, I hope it just kills all the ants!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Real Heroes

Has anyone out there seen Iron Man 2? The hubby and I often go to the fast paced thriller movies in the theater because we agree that those movies are better seen there. (Consequently we don't often see girl movies in the theater for which fact I mercilessly badger my hubby.)
We saw Iron Man 2 on our last date and liked it. We liked the plot of the first one better, but I can say that #2 was cleaner.
When the hubby and I watch movies, we invariably spend a good hour afterwards hashing out the philosophical meanings of the movie (sometimes we are just trying desperately to justify the fact that we just spent 2 hours of our lives watching that movie!).
While we were hashing out Iron Man 2, I realized something really cool about these "Save the world" kind of movies. They often have a message not unlike this blog: Know that your job as a parent is truly the great adventure for "of such is the Kingdom of God!"
Here is what I mean: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is recklessly brave when it comes to fighting the evil, intelligent bad guys, BUT when it comes to telling the girl that he loves that he loves her, he is a nervous fool! Isn't this a common theme in hero movies? And what do I, as a momma, hear? I hear that I'm doing the really difficult job. I mean, how hard is it to look at a villain who is about to kill hundreds and shoot your laser beam or whatever? It's simple--a no brainer. But what about the decision of whether or not to spank for your own daughter's offensive behavior? Or whether or not to go running to the kids' room every time someone screams? Or forgiving your best friend when they hurt your feelings? Or loving your hubby even when you're tired and your emotions are just not in it? These things are the real adventure in life! They are the things that require the real bravery.
Next time your hubby says, "Let's watch that full-of-special-effects-shoot-em-up movie, you can give a resounded, "Sure!" Then look for that theme. I bet you'll find that the real heroes are sitting on the couch (or in the theater seats) watching the movie.
Linked with Tuesday's Tip JarTuesday's Tips, Toot Your Horn Tuesday and Random Tuesday Thoughts.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More Planning

In case you haven't noticed, I love to plan. So giving you a little snippet of our planned week is quite fun for me. Here is a bit of what we'll eat and do this week:
Monday: breakfast: Newly Created Yogurt Cinnamon Muffins (recipe below)
dinner: leftover cheeseburger pie (I had a whole one left over from cooking for small group last night.)
Tuesday: breakfast: cereal
dinner: crockpot pot roast with potatoes and carrots and salad (I'm going to P&P produce on Tuesday morning so the veggies will be fresh.)
Wednesday: breakfast: waffles and yogurt (using my pancake recipe and beefing it up with extra egg whites)
Thursday: breakfast: leftover waffles or cereal
dinner: leftovers of roast with loaded corn bread
Friday: breakfast: cereal and yogurt
dinner: My mom, aka the Granna, will have the kiddos. (Woohoo!) The hubby and I are contemplating a long hike and picnic during the evening.
Saturday: breakfast: probably cereal because I am making brunch for a planning party at the local pregnancy rescourse center where I volunteer. I'm making grits casserole, egg casserole, fruit salad and blueberry muffins.
dinner: We'll be at my mom's, so I won't be making it!!

Newly Created Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 (+/-) cup white sugar
1 t cinnamon 
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease mini-muffin cups. Mix dry ingredients. Mix eggs, yogurt, and butter. Stir dry and wet ingredients until just moistened. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Dip muffin tops in margarine and then roll in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Enjoy!

The oldest is participating in a little camp up the street--a neighbor and her friend have hosted this for three years running for a group of girls. The boy and the youngest and I will endeavor to get a few chores done around the house and rest. I know we need this because I tried to take the boy and youngest to a friend's nearby pool this morning and it was a disaster. My overgrown 4yo boy would not stop screaming like a baby because the shallow end was up to his ears, and he didn't like that. We went home quickly in defeat. Don't worry, we'll try again soon; I just knew that as busy as we have been, rest was probably the best answer today.
I am looking forward to most of Friday with no kiddos--I wonder what I'll do?! Ha! I might just make the breakfast casseroles for Sat. and then cozy up with a good book. Maybe.
Have a great week, everyone!

Linked with Motivate Me Monday and Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

5 Things To Do (In Our Town Anyway)

My oldest was involved with a nature center camp this week, so I decided to round up some of my boy's buddies (and families) and try to hit some of the inexpensive fun things in our town. Wow! It was fun and boy, are we tired!
1. On Monday we gathered at a downtown park with a huge fountain. Two of the boy's buds also came and four other little girls were there. The kids LOVE to run in and out of the fountain. I was a little concerned that the youngest wouldn't touch all that force and water with a ten foot pole, so I brought washed out yogurt cups for her to play with. This worked well! She filled them in the smaller outer ring fountains and then poured them on the paws of a giant stone lion statue. She was thrilled, and soon she was comfortable enough to venture to the next ring of fountains. We all rode the carousel nearby as well.
2. On Tuesday we hit the coolest. playground. ever. It's on a nearby mountain and it's filled with wooden structures, huge slides (even one down a huge hill) and tire towers. We had a total of 17 (I think) other children join us there. We'd never been, but even though it's a 30 minute drive, we'll be sure to go back.
3. On Wednesday we visited our local zoo. It's not the biggest or best zoo in the world, but on Wednesdays, they let everyone in for just a dollar, so they get five stars from me! The animals cooperated, we rode the carousel, and the boy bought us all ice cream with two nickels (I slipped the concession stand attendant a couple of dollars to add to the nickels when the boy wasn't looking. The boy felt SO grown up buying us all ice cream! Oh and one other fam joined us for the zoo.
4. Thursday was the best day yet. The boy had a bud with him and so did the youngest. We started out at the streams in front of our aquarium downtown but then moved to another amazing watery fun place. Forgive me, I had to steal the picture from here because I didn't bring my camera on Thursday. These are stairs that lead from the street level all the way down to the river and are covered with rushing water! At the bottom there is a huge wading pool. And if the person taking this picture had turned around and taken another one, you would see large fountains shooting into the river. It really is a cool place!
5. Today we hit the trails near our house and hiked down to a waterfall. With two buds for each of the kiddos, we waded and ate our lunch near the water.
I spent a total of $12 for the entire week (we brought sack lunches to each place), and most of that money was on carousel rides.
So the moral of this story for those who don't live in our town is that your very own town can be a wonderful and frugal place to vacation.
Linked with Friday Finding BeautyFiner Things FridayTickled Pink, 5 Friday Finds, and Frugal Fridays.

Wow! Featured Blog of the Week

I feel delighted, humbled and privileged.
Of Such is the Kingdom is the "Blog of the Week" over at Mom's Misc. Adventures!

Mom's Misc Adventures
Thanks, Lisa, for featuring Of Such is the Kingdom!

Linked to Six Word Saturday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


"If she's a girl, let's name her Katy Olivia," the young woman said as she looked excitedly into her husband's eyes. The husband thought for a minute then said, "I like Olivia but not Katy." Willing to compromise, the wife quickly returned with, "Okay, then let's name her Laura Olivia."
Laura Kay, as a little girl, had often prayed to have a girl when she got married. When she had imagined the little girl, the little girl's name had always been Katy Olivia. Kay's grandmother's name was Susie Olivia, and Kay and her grandmother had always been "kindred spirits." For Kay, the name Olivia reflected a part of a grandmother who had always been a loving and friendly part of Kay's life. Kay would like nothing better than to name her daughter Katy Olivia and call her Katy.
When Kay's husband agreed to the name Laura Olivia, they both decided to call their daughter Olivia. Excited and a little nervous about their first child, they awaited her arrival. When Olivia was born, Kay's first words to the doctor were, "Her name is Olivia."
Olivia is the Latin form of olive tree. In the Bible the olive tree was the symbol for peace, so Olivia is commonly taken to mean peaceful. Throughout all of the Bible we hear the whispered words of our Lord, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you."
I like the name Olivia and I am thankful that I was named and called Olivia. I enjoy being the only Olivia in a school of 750 kids, and I am pleased that I am the only Olivia that most of my friends know. My mom tells me that I am similar to her grandmother Susie Olivia, and I am thankful for that aspect of my name also. I especially like the fact that, although my great-grandmother was called Susie, she always signed her love letters to her fiance, "Your Olivia."
The above is an essay I wrote for my senior year of high school. (I took out some drivel about my being a peacemaker etc, etc.) I thought it might be unique to use some of my old writings where they fit for this journey down memory lane. If you're interested in joining in, head on over to Mommy's Piggy Tales, and read about how to get started!

Memory lane is definitely a place I love that brings me great joy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dessert for Breakfast

Who says we shouldn't feed them dessert for breakfast?
Breakfast Trifle--
crumbled angel food cake 
(chopped and mashed a bit to 
make the juices come out)
whipped cream
Oh, and just so you know, tomorrow I will start a weekly blog about my childhood prompted by Mommy's Piggy Tales. It's going to be fun to dig up old memories and share them here. I hope you'll come back for a look-see. And if you're not planning on participating already, maybe you should! (BTW--it's not just for mommies. Everyone can join up.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Food for the Week

Since my oldest is doing a morning camp at a nature center this week and
Since I've overcommitted myself again by inviting all my boy's buddies (and their families) to go to a different inexpensive fun place each morning during that camp
Food will be simple this week.
(And don't forget I'm still reading a novel--it's gotten to the (very) disturbing point; I'll blog on that later in the week.)
So here are my plans for the week.
Breakfast: apple sauce muffins (with yogurt and/or scrambled eggs) Find a great recipe for these in this post.
Lunch: (This will be the same every day) Sandwiches, crackers and cheese, fruit,  baby carrots, granola bars, etc.
In Between: make my own yogurt!! I found this easy recipe and I'm going to give it a try in just a little bit!
Dinner: barbecued chicken--nothing crazy here, just pull the legs and leg quarters out of the freezer, douse them with a bottle of Kraft regular barbecue sauce and put them in the oven around 2pm on 300 degrees. I'll probably cover them and turn them up when they are good and thawed (maybe to about 350 degrees) and hopefully they'll be done by dinner time. I'll serve them with a nice big green salad and some "homestyle" macaroni and cheese.
Tuesday: Breakfast: leftover muffins (with yogurt)
Dinner: leftover barbecue chicken (easy, see!) again with a salad but maybe this time I'll pick up a nice homemade bread from a local deli to go with it.
Wednesday: Breakfast: pancakes and yogurt
Dinner: dirty rice and mixed veggies
Thursday: Breakfast: leftover pancakes
Dinner: baked pork chops, seasoned rice, and steamed broccoli
Friday: Breakfast: cereal
Dinner: Spaghetti and salad, possibly homemade rolls if I get them started soon enough
Saturday: Breakfast: waffles
Dinner: out with the hubby (yeah!) -the kiddos and babysitter will probably have mac and cheese
Linked with Motivate Me Monday and Menu Plan Monday.