Monday, May 30, 2011

Water Play-Summer Fun

Today at the park as I was pouring my kiddos water in their cups, this precious little (1 or 2yo) daughter of a friend came up and asked for some with a pantomime and cute little noise. I gave her a cup and we laughed as she drank it and spilled it and splashed in what she spilled and giggled and then asked for more. Hoping her mother didn't need her completely dry, we obliged and were fascinated as she explored water a little more--with a bottle and a cap and a puddle and a few more cups and lots of smiles and giggles.
All of this made me remember how cheap I was when the oldest was little--I wouldn't buy her one of those kiddie pools because they were cheaper at the end of the season. But since I always forgot to buy them come fall, we would spend each summer without one. SO, I got creative. We pulled buckets outside and filled them with water. I got out spoons and bowls and cups and water toys and let her go to town. She would play until there was no water left and then I would fill the buckets again.
You know those $5 plastic ice buckets that you can get at Walmart? Those would make perfect water play areas. And full, they are too heavy to just dump out, which was always the problem when I tried to play this game with the boy.
Anyway, all of this reminiscing is just to say, play with water! Especially for the the 3 and under crowd, it is highly entertaining. Oh, and my favorite part of the playing with water thing? How fun it always was for the oldest to pour the water on my feet! Just a tiny spa moment in there for ya!
Linked with  Makes My Monday  and Tackle It Tuesday.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Answered

Thankfully, God considered that last post a prayer. And, as always, 
He answered. 
Loud and clear in a place I wasn't expecting it, I heard this:
(and yes, I've quoted it here before!)
"Ho, Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters, 
And you who have no money,Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come buy wine and milk
Without money and without price." Is. 55
And later in the same chapter...
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth
So are My ways higher than your ways."
And throughout reading all of that, I heard Him whispering,
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness 
and all these things hall be added to you." Mt. 6:33
So what is the answer for who we should listen to about parenting--
for how much is enough and how much is too much? THE answer!
The real answer is to come to Him
to seek Him.
That's it.
Nothing else is necessary.
In fact, if we want to do parenting His way, we have to know that His ways are SO much higher, so much more, than what anyone else says. So how do we satisfy such a God? 
Seek Him.
Come to Him.
And everything else will be added.
Amazing.
I know this.
I knew it when I was dizzy with the parenting voices of the world. 
I'll know it and probably forget it the next time I start to wonder too. 
Praise the Lord! 
He loves to remind me that the real answer is simple. 
Though I have no money, though I (and everyone else) will never understand Him completely, all I have to do is
Come,
Seek Him.
Linked up to Brag On God Friday.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Be A Good Momma: Slow Down

Maybe you, the Of Such is the Kingdom readers, can help me out with something. This has been making my brain swirl for a few days now and I just don't seem to be able to come to a good conclusion.
As mommas we are supposed to encourage our kids' talents, right? I take the boy to baseball and soccer and art lessons. I take the oldest to ballet and piano. I pay for them to go to a great half-day tutorial where they learn all kinds of wonderful stuff, right? I even make sure the youngest has play dates with friends.
As mommas we are supposed to feed our families well--healthy well-rounded meals preferably three times a day. And maybe even coupon too so that these healthy well-rounded meals are inexpensive or free.
As mommas we are supposed to keep our houses clean so that company feels comfortable, and we are supposed to teach our kids the upstanding ways of cleaning up after themselves.
As mommas we cloth our children (consignment sales and sale racks, anyone?), we play with our children, we teach our children, we nurture our children.
And I love all this stuff; I really do!
AND AT THE VERY SAME TIME I KNOW THAT
We mommas need to slow down. We need to take time for ourselves. We need to use the gifts God has given us. We need to love our husband and make time for him; we need to take care of our bodies--exercise and eat well.
What gives, people? We have a million voices telling us to do a million things, and thinking about it makes me a little bit dizzy.
So, I'm on a quest. Please, if you have ever wondered about this question, FB or Twitter this. Repost it on your blog. Ask your moms or grandmoms or wise neighbors. Bring it up in your women's group. I would love to know what women think on this. And comment with some answers, please will you? Meantime, I'm going to watch my brain keep spinning.
Of Such is the Kingdom is linking up with I'm Loving It, Six Word Saturday, and Super Stalker Sunday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GE Momsperience Blogging Conference Part #3

If you've been reading my posts this week, you already know that I went to a blogging conference called
in Louisville, KY last week. I hope you're not tired of hearing about it, because today's post is one sharing some amazing recipes that come straight from the full-time chefs in the GE test kitchens Chef Joe Castro and Chef Brian Logsdon. We were able to make our own lunch one day under their tutelage, and I will definitely be making some of these recipes for my family and friends soon!


The first is an amazing and inspiring idea: a breakfast green salad! Why haven't I done this before? I'm always chafing at the fact that there are no greens in our breakfasts. Here is the perfect solution:
Breakfast Salad (from Chef Joe Castro and Chef Brian Logsdon)
1 8oz container strawberry yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1 T cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups crunchy granola
2 bananas sliced
3/4 cups greens
Mis the yogurt, honey and vinegar together in a large bowl. Just before serving add the remaining ingredients and toss well with the yogurt dressing.
(The salad they served us had mixed berries instead of bananas and it was great!)


We made Kentucky fried chicken for our lunch--which was essentially a double battered, fried chicken breast. But what we put on top of it was ah-mazing! The salad that we topped it with was not included in our written recipes (a new recipe just for us, perhaps?) but it had bean sprouts, corn, cherry tomatoes, bacon, garlic and a vinaigrette dressing. AND on top of that we poured a heavenly 
Red Eye Gravy (from Chef Joe Castro and Chef Brian Logsdon)
1 C country ham-julienned
1/4 cup onions-diced
2 T butter
1 1/2 T blour
1 1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C coffee
1/2 C cream
salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 T oil in saucepan until it begins to smoke. Add country ham and spread in a single layer and cook without stirring for 2 minutes. Add onions, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt. Add flour and mix to make a roux and let cook for 1 minute. Add chicken stock. Allow to come to a boil while stirring. Add coffee and cream and season with salt and pepper.


After lunch we had a wonderful 
Bread Pudding (from Chef Joe Castro and Chef Brian Logsdon)
1 Quart cream
15 eggs
1 1/2 C sugar
2 T cinnamon
1 T vanilla
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 French baguettes
Mix the cream, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla very well. Slice baguettes lengthwise then cut into 1 inch pieces. Soak the bread in the cream mixture in the refrigerator overnight. Spray a casserole dish with pan spray and layer in soaked bread but not all of the liquid. Leave the bread about 1/2 inch from the top so it has room to rise when baking. Cover the top with brown sugar and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove when center is set.
Linked with Menu Plan Monday and MMMmonday.Linked to Tempt My Tummy TuesdayTuesdays at the TableAnything RelatedDelicious DishesSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTuesday TwisterHearth and Soul HopGraceful Abandon's Blog HopTuesday TastesHandmade Tuesdaysand Tasty Tuesdays over at Balancing Beauty and BedlamShades of GreenWhat's Cooking Wednesday, and This Week's Cravings.

GE Momsperience Blogging Conference Part #2

I don’t know why, but it’s always amazing to me that other cities are unique and destination-worthy. (I’m sure it’s part of my arrogance problem.) I recently was treated to a wonderful trip to Louisville, KY as part of a blogger’s conference hosted by GE. Now, I do think of places like New York City and Boston and Washington D.C. as very interesting places to visit, but Louisville, KY probably would not have made the list. This trip proved me wrong (imagine that!).
Here's a list of ten cool things I learned about Louisville:
in the KY Derby Museum
1. For one, Louisville is the home of the great Kentucky Derby. It is much akin to a religion there and the three or four weeks focused directly on the derby in April and May are only the times when the ardent worshipers pay their direct homage. 
2. Seriously, though, I learned a lot about it! Did you know, for instance, that a horse can only run in the derby if he is three years old? 
3. Did you know that the center of the track is a place of legends of crazy, alcoholic-induced antics? 
4. Did you know that the Friday before the actual derby is the time for the race called “The Oaks” and the day is very feminine-focused? Only the phillies run in The Oaks races and everyone wears pink in honor of breast cancer survivors and awareness. There is even a group of breast cancer survivors voted upon by the city to walk in a parade held that day. 
5. I also learned that a general admission price of $40 will give you the rights to go anywhere within the derby grounds on derby day. Since some people (who sit in a locally dibbed ‘millionaire’s row’) pay in the many thousands for their tickets, $40 is a pretty good deal. It does sound like a lot of fun.
metal tornado in
art exhibit at 21C
Does that car have feet? Yes!
It's art, people!
6. Then there are the other perks of Louisville-a great art community for instance. 
7. For the conference we bloggers stayed in a modern art museum. Literally, 21C is both motel and museum. 
8. We also visited the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and saw the creative and beautiful arts of those who live nearby. 
9. Just down a block or two from 21C is the home of the Louisville Slugger, and to mark that a 68,000 pound baseball bat towering 120 above the street. 
10. For our family, a particular interest is one of the farm team’s of the STL Cardinals is also in Louisville. Cardinals are everywhere too since their university teams are the much adored Cardinals.
So if you live within driving distance, or just want a new and unique destination, I definitely recommend Louisville.
Linked with Top Ten Tuesday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

GE Momsperience Blogging Conference Part #1

What if I told you that you could boil water in three minutes on a stove that was only warm to the touch? And what if I told you that you could bake a whole chicken in 33 minutes? AND what if I told you that a light bulb that could help you feel better could also last 22 years without being replaced? Does is sound just a little bit like science fiction? Or maybe a lot like science fiction?

Because of winning a trip to the wonderful GE Momsperience blogger conference (from iDreamofClean), I was able to view these products (and more) at the GE Appliances Park in Louisville, KY. What is even more amazing to me, some of these products have been available to the public for about 10 years and I didn’t even know about them!


The Induction Cooktop (also available as a slide in unit with an oven) uses magnetic power so that only magnetic objects will heat on top of it. It is 46% faster than gas heat. The downside to this is that most Teflon pans are not magnetic, so they will not heat on this stove. The stove top is reinforced glass and the stove eyes are flush with the stove top. The way GE showed this stove top off to us was to boil water with half the eye while a piece of ice lay unmelting on the other half of the eye. Pretty amazing stuff! When you lift the pan off the eye, you can literally touch the eye with your hand and only feel heat, not burning.
The Advantium Oven uses different kinds of heat, including some microwaves to cook food quickly and evenly. The Advantium can be a speed cooker, a convection oven or a microwave oven. We ate steak cooked perfectly in 14 minutes—and it was medium well! It literally tasted as good as a grilled steak.
The Reveal light bulb is a bulb that creates a completely different color of light from the normal incandescent light bulb. Instead of a yellow light, a reveal will give off a cleaner, whiter light. As they showed us in the showroom, reds also look much more red, as opposed to fading a bit orange in a normal incandescent glow. Reveal is introducing both CFL and LED lights to prepare for the great light bulb replacement campaign that our folks in DC are getting ready to put into practice.
I would like to shout out a huge thank you to GE for hosting this blogger conference. Each GE employee I met took the greatest pains to accommodate and encourage me and every other blogger there. Along with flight and food, we were given a swag bag of wonderful PG products and more! We were treated to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and Churchill Downs. Two of our number also won their choice of a GE appliance. Amazing! I enjoyed everything. Thank you for showing us your city and your pride in it. Thank you for sharing your products and your ideas with us. Thank you most of all for asking for our ideas and listening with genuine interest to us as representatives of mothers and bloggers. Thank you!

Linked with Motivate Me Monday and Makes My Monday

Friday, May 20, 2011

Publix Winner

As you all know, General Mills gave me a $25 Publix gift card to keep and one to give away, as part of the MyBlogSpark program. I am proud to announce that the winner is......
Shirley, 
who said,
Thanks so much, everyone for coming by, following and making my week so much greater with all your comment-luv! Have a great weekend!
Oh, and in case you're the kind who likes a little teaser for what's coming up, next week I'll be telling lots of stories about my very first blogging conference, the wonderful GE Momsperience. Come back to check it out; I learned so much and I'll be sharing lots of it here next week!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Love Publix $25 Giftcard Giveaway

Giveaway closed. We have a winner!

I really like Publix. If it weren't 35 minutes away from our house, it would be the absolute perfect grocery store. It's basically like going to a festival for the kids--they get to ride in a cool car buggy, they get a free balloon and a free cookie, and momma is happy the whole time! Why am I happy? Well, the workers are friendly, the sales are great, and they take my groceries to my car for me without even asking! (The only thing that could be better--Ahem, Publix, take note!--is a grocery store that a friend told me about in her old hometown. They had a childcare service with experienced and friendly caregivers ready to play with, read to and take good care of your children while you shop in peace!)
I have a new thing to love about Publix this week. From  now through May 29th you can visit GreatDealsOnGreatMeals.com to download $10.80 in coupons valid exclusively at Publix. And, as if that were not enough, General Mills has given me one $25 Publix gift card to keep and one to give away, as part of the MyBlogSpark program!
Would you like to win it? The process is very, very simple. 
First, become a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom and comment telling me that you are, 
then do one, two, or all of the following:
1. Comment on this post with your favorite thing about your favorite grocery store.
2. Comment on any of my last four posts and leave a comment here for each time you do.
3. Visit GreatDealsOnGreatMeals.com and print all of the coupons for Publix.
Winner will be chosen May 20th at 9pm.
[Five people have commented already. Their information has been saved, but because of complications with blogger, I had to repost this giveaway.]

Photo Story Friday and Mom Start. Also linked with Works for Me Wednesday.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Books I'm Reading


Who doesn't love an old classic? I read to the older kiddos before they have a little afternoon "rest time" (in quotes because there is really no resting going on--this is just a fancy way to say that they play quietly in their room for a while). When the oldest requested that we read this one I realized that I have never read it! And to shame me more, she says (and she's 7, mind you), "I've read it twice and I love it!"








This is a heavy book about how we learn, or as the subtitle says, "Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation." The author makes the case that we are what we love, and this is something I have believed for a long time: our passions must be stirred before we can learn anything. He also talks about learning through liturgy. It's interesting. If you're in to education at all, you'll enjoy this one. Sneaky inside tip: If you "click to look inside" the book, you can read it right on Amazon. It's one I think I'll want to own, though.






When a friend's mom was getting rid of some old books and let me look them over, I was pleased to find old Mrs. Pepperpot among the freebies. I immediately brought her home and shared her with the kiddos. They were enamored, and we will continue to look for her in used book piles.










I am writing the curriculum for our church's VBS this summer. It's going to be quite a show--one of those where everyone is in costume and the church courtyard looks like a Marketplace from Jesus's time. We are going to be studying the four spring Jewish feasts: Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Firstfruits, and The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost). It is truly amazing how these feasts were fulfilled by Jesus on the exact day of each feast. This author outlines this beautiful planning by God in a very clear and understandable way. I am so in awe of our God!






For mothers and daughters everywhere, this book and its sequel, Her Mother's Hope, are must reads. I have long thought that one of the best ways to learn is through fiction (it pulls at your heart more!) and these books are a great way to learn about relationships. When written by such a gifted author, the struggles and pains of five generations of women are certainly inspiring!








This book is just a fun read. It had me guessing just a wee bit more than Christian fiction usually does. The protagonist can't prove, even to herself, that she didn't commit the murders. And since I read part of this in a court house, it was all the more real and eerie!

Linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother Bird

The kids have been eagerly following the events happening in the bush by our mailbox. A nest, four bright blue eggs, and a fussy mother bird are just as entertaining as all the toys in their room. The poor mother bird, bless her heart, has had to endure all the neighborhood children checking on her babies at least three times each day. Once, my over-zealous boy even knocked the nest out of the bush (imagine the mother bird's horror as she watched and chided from a nearby tree!); an older neighbor child returned the nest and eggs, both unharmed to their spot in the bush. Today's news was that the last egg has hatched and some of the babies have "yellow hairs!" (my oldest's words).
I have a lot in common with that mother bird. 
I have meticulously built a home for our family--no, I'm not a carpenter, but you know what I mean--I've put some of the twigs together.
I plan meals which I dole out to each little hungry mouth. 
I fuss to no end when others seem to be mistreating my little ones. 
I learn, as they hatch, as they grow, as they are watched by all our neighbors, how little power I really have as a momma. 
I snuggle with them, I train them, I encourage them. 
And someday soon, when I've taught them all I can, I will tell them to fly away. 
Yes, I might even push them out of the nest if that is what they need to become who God has made them to be. 
Photo Story Friday and Mom Start. Also linked with Works for Me Wednesday.  

Another 10 Top Ten Recipes

I can't believe it's already time to do this again!
Here's the last list of ten top ten recipes--this is a great page to bookmark if you need some recipe inspiration for your family meals!
Now on to the new stuff!
1. 10 Yummy Meals: This one includes my very own recipe for homemade cinnamon biscuits plus pot roast, cornbread, and Kung Pao Chicken as a new recipe.
2. 10 Basic Specific Carbohydrate Diet Recipes: I don't know if you've ever heard of the SCD, but I have a friend who's having to follow it, and that made me want to find out just what kind of recipes are out there for it. This diet cuts out almost all starches. The recipes in this list are creative and very healthy!
3. Ten New Recipes includes yogurt biscuits, beer can chicken, and homemade mozzarella. I wish I could tell you I've tried all of them by now, but (ahem) honestly, I haven't. A few of them, though, have become household faves.
4. Food Remixing: This blog is about inspiring parents, and most of the posts are (I hope) inspiring, but still I find them to be a bit run-of-the-mill. Occasionally, though, I have a burst of brilliant thought. The chart on this post is one of those times. Choose one or more foods from each column to create at least 30 different meals!
5. Another Ten Recipes includes such family standards as ham fried rice and spaghetti pie.
6. Ten Chocolate Cakes: Amazing, wonderful, incredibly yummy list of mouth watering chocolatey-ness. (Can you tell that I like chocolate cake?)
7. Ten Zucchini Recipes: Is your garden going to turn out a literal ton of zucchini? Come back to this post for creative and family-pleasing ways to use all of those summer squash!
8.Yet Another Ten: New ones here are BBQ Chili Pasta and Cupcake Kabobs.
9. Ten Recipes for a Christian Seder Meal: We did most of these for our Seder this year and it was really great! I definitely recommend it!
10. Meals...One girl's boring week of food, just might have a treasure for you! Check out how I use pantry surplus. 
Linked with Menu Plan Monday and MMMmonday.Linked to Tempt My Tummy TuesdayTuesdays at the TableAnything RelatedDelicious DishesSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTuesday TwisterHearth and Soul HopGraceful Abandon's Blog HopTuesday TastesHandmade Tuesdaysand Tasty Tuesdays over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Shades of GreenLinked to Top Ten Tuesdayand Lucky Linky Tuesday What's Cooking WednesdayThis Week's Cravings and It's a Keeper

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

This Mother's Day finds me...
Longing to be the Mother I was made to be:
Peaceful
Watchful
Wise
Caring
Godly
Sacrificial
Happy Mother's Day, Ladies. There are few greater callings than watching over those of whom the Kingdom is made. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

T-shirt Dresses

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that my mom is amazing. Her doll clothes and smocked dresses are for sale at grannasdesigns.blogspot.com and I've talked about her bracelets here. She has made a dress for me out of an old prom dress's skirt, a picnic table for the kids out of decking, and countless other things from wood and fabric for our family. 
For Easter, Mom bought the girls inexpensive t-shirts and attached fabric for skirts. They are simple, cute, and will be SO easy for traveling this summer. 
Faux smocking makes this one a little dressier for the oldest.
Instead of shorts and shirts for our two-week summer travel, I will be throwing in 10 or 12 of these kinds of dresses. Along with sandals, that will clothe the girls. No mix and match, no fuss, and very little laundry!
These two (that are sort of matching) for the oldest and youngest were what they chose to wear to church last Sunday. The layered skirts make the girls feel very dressy--even though they are just attached to simple t-shirts!