I haven’t really enjoyed ice cream for a long, long time. I mean, I have enjoyed it to a point, but every time I eat some *real* ice cream, I feel this slight guilt…because I know I’m consuming concentrated sugar, and all sorts of other ingredient combinations that will not help me lose any baby weight! And I’ve been “losing baby weight” for about 6 years now. 🙂 🙂 🙂 (Only to gain it back with the next pregnancy…but that’s okay! I’ll lose it again!) So when I started using Briana Thomas’ cookbook, Necessary Food, I thought, how sad that I am not using her extensive ice cream section! For she is the crowned queen of healthy, THM ice cream. Craig and I really got into the peanut butter shake recipe from her book. In fact, we often have that for a bedtime snack. It’s very satisfying and lovely. 🙂 But still…all those amazing ice cream recipes…
I researched ice cream makers on Amazon. Ow. We just don’t have $60 lying around! Finally we said, “We will buy an ice cream maker after we land our next roofing job.” And we did! So now, we have it.
We love it. And we are still learning to use it! The first time we used it, we made the mistake of stopping it to get some out for the kids. It immediately froze the dasher up, and there was no more turning happening! But the ice cream around the sides soon froze too hard to even chip off. Today, we made Briana Thomas’ chocolate custard style. I cooked the custard and cooled it in the fridge. (Most of her recipes are simply blend the ingredients and pour into the ice cream maker–so easy of a dessert!) It was incredible. We let it churn until it was no longer freezing the ice cream. It was thick, creamy, and fantastic. Honestly, the texture is not exactly as a *normal* ice cream would be. But we loved it. And the kids did too! Score!
And so now I’m dreaming of making all manner of toppings, crumbs, syrups, etc., that are healthy, so I can whip up some ice cream for our dessert, and we can pile on whatever we wish…
In closing, I’ll give you the link to Briana Thomas’ cookbook. It’s amazing. Amen.
And in closing once again, I’ll post just a few kid pics.
And last, but not least, I forgot that I was going to rave about…Roasted Okra!
Okra, my friends, is amazing in it’s nutrient value. It includes vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Furthermore, okra contains high levels of mucilaginous fiber. This is healing for your gut lining, and just plain…good for you. But seriously…unless it was pickled, I did not eat okra. It is slimy! Oh yes, except out of the fast food restaurant. 🙂 THM is now, however, incorporating it into all manner of recipes! My favorite easily, is the Cry No More Brownies. Yum.
But Briana Thomas spoke of Roasted Okra, and how she eats it like candy! So I tried it.
Oh my. OH.MY. It’s sooo amazing. This is how I do it.
I buy it frozen, cubed. I open a bag of frozen okra. Only, I can eat up to two bags by myself, so I make as much as comfortably fits on a large pan. I use parchment paper, frequently reminding Craig of how it is really my best friend…cuz no scrubbing of pans–you just throw it away and tend to the other 100 crises in your house! 🙂
I pour the frozen or thawed okra onto the parchment paper. Stick it into a 400 degree oven. Or 350. Doesn’t really matter. Then once the water has evaporated out of it, and it’s starting to dry roast, I take it out, and put a chunk of refined coconut oil onto the pan. I stir it all up so that the okra is covered with a nice layer of oil. Then I salt it. Stick it back in. I stir it every 15 minutes or so. Then once it’s caramelized and browning, I take it out. I eat it…and eat it. Oh my. Soooo yummy!
So…I had this delectable, expensive, and amazing hour…all to myself. Well, me and Baby Doll. I had some shopping to do before my “hour”. Then I decided to try out Lindy’s Treats & Treasures on the square. I was so excited! I had something especially important to work on online.
I arrived. Parked. Gathered together my chromebook, baby, etc. Walked up to the door. And they were closed on Mondays! Ack! Disappointment ran high…as she has the best croissants in Texas.
I piled everything back into the van. Drove around the square, and finally decided that I would enjoy sitting at Hero’s Cafe more than I would enjoy sitting at Starbucks. So I pulled in there. Piled baby and things onto my stroller. Walked in. No wifi.
I hauled back into the van. 🙂 🙂 🙂
And drove to Starbucks.
Starbucks, just so you know…someday I’m going to give you a run for your money. I’m going to create a large, cozy, gorgeous, classy, amazing coffee and tea house. In Cleburne. It will be full of comfy corners, classy tables and chairs, and the best coffee drinks in the world, made by the best baristas in town. As well as the highest quality teas in small teapots from Asia.
Just so you know.
🙂 🙂 🙂
And so here I am. Baby doll is waving her arms sweetly next to me. I’m drinking green tea. And I’m praying and thinking…and working…
And then I came crashing home…home to my hundred kids. Home to my baby who is turning two, today…
He lives up to every bit of his name.
Enzo: ruler of an estate
Shaviv: spark; ray of light
But back to Something New…
After Baby Doll was born, and we traveled and came home, I began to settle into a routine. A life with five kids. And I began to hear from Father God, that my home~husband & kids are a huge part of what He has me to do right now. But there is something else. New things He wants me to do this year.
So I said, okay! Let me know what You want me to do!
And I waited. And listened.
And yesterday in church, during worship, it began to settle into my head and my heart.
I say began.
Because I have no idea how, what, where, this is going to do and be. But I’m starting out. And if it feels vague and fuzzy to you, trust me…it does to me too. 🙂 But that’s okay! Because we’re following Father!
There is now a ministry called Wildflowerdays. It is specifically for those (women and girls) of us who are living with a broken heart. The Bible also calls it a broken spirit. There is a facebook page called Wildflowerdays. On there we will be posting words from our Father God to you. More personal ministry will be taking place by email. Right now you can send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email ministry will be one-on-one, and I will be conducting an interview with you via email, to discern whether or not it will be a good fit.
That’s about all I’m going to be putting on my blog. 🙂 May your week be filled with peace from Father God!
I should be getting beauty sleep for my date tonight! As it is…Baby Doll gave me about two minutes of dozing off… 🙂 I’m at that strategic point right now where my one year old, who will be two in a couple weeks!, sleeps from about 1:00 – 3:00. And no, he can’t wait any longer than that. He gets really too tired and grumpy. And Baby Doll is awake during that time, more often than not! It means Mom, who is awake parts of the night, is a tired person. But not to grumble! Talia actually is giving me a nice, long chunk of sleep the first half of the night! I sometimes feed her without even totally waking up…the blessings of cosleeping. Love it. Enzo was my personal teddy bear, as per Craig. And Talia is my personal doll baby. 🙂 🙂 She sleeps tucked against my side, or up on my pillow with me…
Anyway. I have something in my heart that I am going to try to put “on paper”…
It has to do with “Family”.
I come from a strong Mennonite tradition where family is held very high. Holidays automatically mean hanging out with family! Sundays might mean family. You call your family. You stay connected. (Except for Kuepfers, who, having grown up overseas, and some live abroad even now…tend to skip out on some of this!) (Although we kids have had a facebook chat group on messenger for nearly a year now, which is very cool, and makes us feel quite connected!)
There is something, though, that niggles in my soul, with all of this. It is the lifting up of this “family is important” thing…until it is a spiritual thing. It is a “you are good or you are bad” thing. It defines your maturity and goodness. And honestly, I don’t find that in Scripture. I am thinking of the Scriptures that speak of honoring your parents. Being good to your children. I remember how Jesus took care of His mother, even as He was dying.
But I am also thinking of where He told us that if we put family members above Him, we are not worthy of him. And the time people told Him that His mother and siblings were outside, and he said, “Who is my mother, and sister, and brother…?” And it was those who follow and love Him.
I don’t find it in Scripture. I just don’t. Nowhere does it elevate the “family is important” thing. Nowhere does it even tell us that we need to keep that as a priority.
This sounds treasonous. Especially to Mennonites. But here are some questions for you…
What about those of us who are not able to hang out with family on holidays?
What about those of us who are…more or less…outcasts?
I’m going to be honest. It’s not that much fun to join your family occasions. It highlights my own losses. My aloneness. I feel weird. Intrusive.
If “putting family first” is a spiritual thing, then…what am I to do if I cannot? What if my father is not safe? What if I am a single mother? What if my family has cast me out?
Maybe my main question is…are we here for us? Or are we here for them?
Are we here to stay and keep our kids in our safe, little bubble, which…sadly, is not always very safe?
Or are we here to bring love to Mary Magdalene.
To lift up the head of the woman caught in adultery.
To hold the hand of doubting Thomas, and believe in him.
To pour oil into the wounds of the man caught by thieves and left for dead.
I guess my heart is screaming out…
What would Jesus do?
What did Jesus do?
Some of you may have noticed that things were a bit strange with my blog in the past few weeks. This is because we changed servers. And because of the thousands of pictures on my blog, it took some fine work. But things are back right side up again, and so I’m hoping I didn’t miss too many comments or questions from you all!
One comment I remember reading, but can’t find now…was from a lovely lady reader. I don’t actually know who you are. 🙂 But it was about my mini-crib. So, here’s some info on my mini-crib!
I was actually looking for a bassinet. Something high enough that Enzo could not reach into, and also, I thought it could help keep baby “safe” if he couldn’t see into it! But I had maxed out my baby budget, which was nonexistent, but still maxed out. 🙂 Then a dear friend popped by with her mini crib, and gave it to me! Her little girl, who is Enzo’s age, had just come out of it. That’s how long you can use these things! It is white. Solid wood. And so darling cute. I was so excited!
Enzo has not found his way into the crib, except when there is something close by that he can crawl up on. Only once did he crawl in and wake Talia. That wasn’t a happy moment for anyone. 🙂 I actually think that if he couldn’t see into it, he would be even more curious. So for me, right now, this mini crib is perfect! I am about 5′ tall, and the top of the rail is about waist height for me. The top of the rail is about 34 1/2 inches from the floor. The mattress is about 24 inches from the floor. It’s adjustable, so when she gets bigger, we’ll put the mattress down further. It’s pretty easy for me to lay her in and pick her up. I really like it. And since Enzo is still in the other crib, she will probably use this for the next year!
Blessings on your day, friends!
It’s been…a pretty crazy month. 🙂 (Bomani really wanted a “shield”…so Craig made him one.)
Having a baby come in December, we decided to do our traveling in January. It was nice she came early! Because anything earlier than 5 weeks post partum may have put this mama into *cannot do* mode. 🙂
As it was, every time I thought I cannot do this…the feeling passed. 🙂 And so for our first trip, we headed to Kansas!
Lots of good times with Granpas, Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins!
Forgive any blurry pictures. 🙂
There was a show done by the Craig Miller Kids, on the Birth of Jesus. 🙂
Then we drove back home!
She is my very maternal little girl.
Playing with his gift!
Chick-fil-a cool wrap inspired salad. 🙂
The best part of pizza…
Getting into this mozzarella dough thing!
And this two-baby thing… 🙂
Co-op day again!
I think the day wore someone out! 🙂
I painted a piece of wood with chalk-board paint. Craig secured it to the back of my window frame. Ta-da!
I made it to practice words with the three big kids. But so far, I haven’t done a single word. 🙂 It’s all in what you prioritize, in this stage of life! Actually, probably in every stage of life…
He loves his daddy…really much. When Craig is home, (which is often now-days, as he is working on parts of the business that need to be done online, etc), Enzo “sticks closer than a brother”, to quote Craig. 🙂
Our current favorite breakfast. 🙂 (THM S) I saute peppers and onions, then add two dozen eggs, salt, and cheese. We keep that in the fridge. In the mornings, we heat up a bowl of these eggs, then wrap them in a low-carb tortilla, and fry in (unscented, processed) coconut oil. Yummers! We use enough coconut oil that it’s sort of almost deep fried. (Like, a quarter inch of oil.) I leave the oil in the pan for the next day. 🙂
I made this from Briana Thomas’ cookbook, Necessary Food. She is my favorite THM recipe creator. 🙂 If you can get past some of the changes in texture, this pumpkin cheesecake dessert is fantastic! (Craig ate the two top layers.)
Seriously, Talia’s smiles are the dearest thing ever. Ever. It kinda’ goes straight across, and she has dimples! Ahh…melt my mommy heart…
Some of my phone pictures are not extremely clear. I think it’s a cross between low light, and learning to use my phone as a camera…
I call her my “almond eyes”. 🙂 I think her eyes are shaped like almonds, and tipped up at the corners ever so slightly…
Big pot ‘o curry. Chock full of vegetables!
With cauliflower rice.
The end result. The creamyness comes from full-fat coconut milk. So yummy!
So…an update on our kids’ education. 🙂 Just for your interest. 🙂 So, I’ve struggled with feeling pressure (mostly my imagination) to get the show on the road with starting the three kids in school. I am at a rather wild level of busy and crazy right now, and although technically I have time to teach them, I do not have the mental and emotional space to do it right now. I do want to homeschool though! And I do not want to be a lame homeschool mom teacher, where I don’t actually give them what they need to learn! And so I struggled around to know what to do. Bomani is six. The twins are five. I cannot just start Bomani; the twins won’t let me do that. 🙂 So it’s all three or none, which is cool. I am happy to have three in a grade going all the way up! I’m gonna’ get my mileage out of this three-kids-the-same-age thing. 🙂
So after Craig and I talked it over multiple times, and I thought and prayed and wondered and thought some more, we purchased two additional kindles and downloaded the abcmouse.com app on three kindles for them. So every day, during “naptime”, they each pick a kindle and work on “school”. Whoever helped me unload the dishwasher that day, gets first pick. 🙂 I am not monitoring their abcmouse schooling at all. Like, every now and then, I tell them to do their lessons, not just songs and books. But truth is, this abcmouse thing is really cool. They learn, no matter what they do on there.
But I still struggled with guilt. And they were begging to read. And with the huge amount of things they learn on abcmouse, I was afraid it would take them too long to learn to read. They want to read now! And what kind mom refuses that? So I ordered the book, Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Sadly, I felt this enormous weight at the need to carve that out of my life every day. And we only did it a few times, but then, we were also traveling like crazy people, so there was that too. The main problem was that they knew pretty much everything I was trying to teach them out of that. So it felt like wasted time…which I can’t do right now.
Finally one night we said, we’re going to see what these kids know! And we proceeded, with a tiny bit of teaching, to help them read. I was astonished! They ARE learning to read from abcmouse, and I don’t need to worry about it any longer! And so with a sense of relief, I just let them learn. This is right for us now. We will probably go with Abeka online later. But right now, I’m grateful for this option, and no…not worried about them developing weird things because of working on a screen. And no, they are not losing their imagination. Trust me. 🙂
Get these kids some orange sparkling water, and they are very happy!
Talia and I on a Burleson chiropractor and shopping trip! More recently, I decided to take all the kids. We are all getting adjusted every two weeks. So good for us in every way! And it helps things drain and keep us from getting sick. The way I pay my chiropractor makes this all very possible. 🙂
And now… for the Kuepfer trip to Ok City! We stayed at a five bedroom house. (Air B&B) It was a lot of fun, with a lot of kids! Five one-year-olds… Just think of how much fun they will have all growing up together! 🙂 🙂
The ladies went out for coffee!
All the grandchildren. 🙂
They thought this was the best thing ever…
The business men talking. Hey, where’s Tim? Tim is a businessman too…
Was so fun to have Brenna, Titus’ girlfriend there!
My sweet, little traveler. She did so well!
Enzo…yeah. Did some yelling. 🙂 I twisted around and held his hand enough to put my back out 4 inches. 🙂 But we got there and back!
The bros arm wrestling.
Grandpa…being grandpa. 🙂
Talia spent a lot of time sleeping. 🙂 Here Roxie is…interested. 🙂
There must always be this game. Played. At a Kuepfer gathering. 🙂 If I’m not careful, I’m going to learn how to play!
So blessed with a good Grandpa and Grandma!
And the level of inspiration that hit me upon arrival home, to organize my house, to cook, to do things with the kids…told me that these two trips took a much bigger toll on my mental state than on my physical state! Ahh…if only you could always make your inside keep pace with your outside! But now we have all the memories and it was fun. So there. 🙂
Peace on your week!
(Ah yes, prayers appreciated. Craig is going to Conklin National Convention and will be gone for four days, Thursday through Sunday. Amen.)
The difference between then and now. When the twins were babies, I spent entire forenoons doing fun photo shoots! Now? Talia is six weeks tomorrow. And today I did her first photo shoot. 🙂
But that’s okay! It means life is full and wonderful.
This was when she was several weeks old.
Twas the day before Christmas…no two days before…
Bomani got to wrap Enzo’s gift, and the twins wrapped Bomani’s!
Enzo was especially helpful…
Christmas! We actually opened gifts on Saturday.
So much fun…
Bikes for twins!
Woo hoo! (The team? The one with the lowest price on Amazon.) 🙂
He reminds me of myself. He has worn the football outfit every day since he got it. And he will look at me, hug his helmet, and say, “I really like this…”
Gifts being my love language, this speaks to my heart. 🙂 <3
And cute kids being my other love language…this speaks to my heart every day!
Enzo’s gift…a soft (ish) hockey stick and ball…the Anaheim Ducks!
He can be scary with hockey sticks. So we thought we’d get him one that would hopefully not kill anyone…
Just love him. He still insists on being cuddled and held…even if it is exactly when Talia is being fed…
And so you get creative. He likes to sit on my knees, facing us while I feed her. That way he can sort of “hold” Talia…and be held…
He often says, “hold!” when he sees us…
I’m just so grateful he is kind to her, for the most part. For a while, he would bop her on the butt. I sort of nipped that one in the bud. Not necessary. And he likes to squish her feet. Dear me.
But so far, he hasn’t toppled into her day crib…
Okay, got a little…side tracked talking about my little chubs.
Christmas day at church…the kids got to go up and sing Silent Night!
My Christmas baby. I went back in time…five years…as I put this dress on her. The twins each wore one. <3
Oh, the mini tree? I made it out of cardboard and two greenery garlands that I have used for the past 6-10 years. 🙂
The past week I sat and nursed my baby and watched all manner of Bible story skits. 🙂 Some of them I didn’t recognize… 😉
It’s a wonderful life. So wonderful.
Love. She has such big, almond eyes.
And long, slender fingers.
Miguel, our employee, dropped off a traditional Latino Christmas dinner for us!
Speaking of food, here are some trim, healthy roasted vegetables!
And a peanut butter shake for Trim Healthy Mom and Trim Healthy Dad.
A big Aldi run later… !
Seriously. I want to make a meme of how I feel when I see someone come out of Aldi with a quart of milk and a bag of apples. (I did see this.)
He thought the family Aldi run was fun!
Last evening, Craig gave me a night out! I took Talia and went shopping. No sooner was I out the lane, than I realized that I had forgotten my diaper bag! (Including my Baby K’tan wrap.) Not in the mood to turn around, I told myself, I won’t need it. I rarely actually use things in my diaper bag when I take it with me! She doesn’t poop a lot these days… etc.
We went to Burleson. Talia slept for hours while I browsed and shopped in some of my favorite stores. It was music to the soul! Then she woke up. Hungry. So I found the fitting room, which has nice, little cubicles, and nursed her. Now, Talia is a slow eater. She eats a bit, needs to burp. Closes her eyes, and tips her face upward with the most serene expression. Then eats again…and repeat. 🙂 And she likes to be held for a while afterward, upright. Now came the time when I began to wish for my Baby K’tan! It was a bit challenging to shop while holding a darling doll baby in one arm.
Then she peed. Through her sleeper, and onto her mom.
After that she had a massive blowout.
(Are you laughing?)
Mom has learned her lesson. Take diaper bag. Turn around, drive back through the lane, and get your diaper bag!!!
P.S. We still had such a fun night out!
Dear friends, it’s a wonderful life.
Both babies are are sleeping. The big three are currently eating a snack of cold cereal (from Aldi) and milk. There are a few ways I am streamlining life to make things work well right now, and one of them was to create a “Snack Bar” in the laundry room. 🙂 This is a row of snacks the kids can get for themselves. There are also snacks in the fridge. Fruit. And if they are lucky, cut up veggies. But mostly, they love the laundry Snack Bar. Why? Because it consists of mostly carbs like cold cereal, bagels, chips, etc. 🙂 (This is where my faithful readership swoons and falls onto the floor in a faint.) Oh yes, peanuts. The peanuts save my crunchy reputation, huh?
Honestly, I don’t like feeding my kids this stuff. But ya know, they do need to eat something. And right now I can’t create the kinds of food they really need. And I can’t be getting a snack around for them at all hours of the day. So we thank God for Aldi and that He gave us livers! 🙂
It’s a wonderful life.
The other evening, Craig and I watched a Christmas movie. It was a sort of twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, where a career lady, sort of married to her work, saw what her life could be like if she would marry and have kids. I know this is unfair. A lot of us would like to marry and have kids! We aren’t married to our work.
But then there are those of us who have a row of little kids. And every day we cook and clean up and wipe noses and butts. And wonder where our life is?
This all sounds so cliche. But I don’t care. It’s so easy to not love the life we are living. So easy. Because loving our life, or you could call it joy and contentment, brings us to the heart of the Father. It brings us peace. It blesses those around us. And so there is opposition to this. This loving of our life’s work. Our daily grind. Our crazy mess. That thing called My Life.
Last week I was given the gift of Loving My Life. I nursed my baby doll. I smelled her soft head. I watched my chunky Enzo play. I laughed and cried at the big three as they acted out parts of the Christmas story. (And other Bible stories I have never heard of…) I sat in my rocking chair, and considered how deeply I love my life. How blessed I am.
There were the crazy moments. Like when Enzo decided to walk out the lane after Craig left. (He adores his dad.) And I was in the middle of nursing my baby. Or the morning both babies woke at the same time. And both were hungry. And I was hungry. And the big baby has his…uh…traditions. And one of them is for mom (or dad) to hold him on the couch after he gets up. Cuddle him for a while. And so he walks over, pats the couch, and…what can a mom do?
But really, I was delighted with the fact that this is going to work! It’s not impossible! I know…I know that women have had a row of little kids, from time immemorial. And a row longer than mine. But this is me. 21st century. And I decided not to freak out about it. But I did wonder how it would go. 🙂
Honestly, I don’t know if I had a single quiet time with reading the Bible, all week long. I’m not super spiritual. I’m not amazing. But last week, I had peace and joy and contentment.
And then the weekend came. And it was Christmas. And somehow, I started stressing out about things. And I’m not going to tell you what things, but the peace left. I ate a lot of chocolate. I cried. (Okay, it may have been post partum hormones too, who knows?) And Christmas day I was a terror. Like, not a nice person. And then because it was Christmas, I cried because I wasn’t okay. And it was Christmas.
All the women reading this understand. 🙂 Ha ha! Some days are just like that. Finally in the evening I stopped holing up inside and talked with Craig. And because he is amazing and wise, he told me things I needed to hear that put truth back into my heart. And I was okay. And we had a nice evening.
And now I look at this week. And I do want to spend time with Father God. Even though it seems like every time I sit down, I should nurse my baby and keep the house running in the meantime, or I should teach the kids their Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons lesson for the day. Or I should get caught up on facebook. (Insert laugh and cry here.)
I am trying to learn to have peace in my soul when my house is in a crazy mess. Yesterday I looked at it and said, Father, please help me to be at peace and joy even when it looks like this… And He did. I just can’t do it all. And really, should I make the kids clean up the house three times a day? That seems excessive… 🙂
Just rambling here. So I’m going to stop. I’m struggling to figure out the best way to post pictures on my blog! I have a new phone Craig got me for Christmas, with a good camera! Yeah! So now my pictures automatically slide into Google Drive. And I am determined to find a simple way to put them from there to my blog. But so far, haven’t. So I may need to give up, fire up the old laptop which we both hate, and download the pictures then upload them…
Craig was with me every step of the labor and delivery. He is amazing.
Herbal bath. <3
The incredible birth team!
Talia Rain. 7 lbs. 7 oz. At 38 weeks!
How long I had dreamed of this…
My amazing chiropractor.
If Daisy sees me with Talia, she might say, “Mom, just a little hold?” 🙂
Brother love. 🙂
Enzo wants to touch her head every time he sees her! He is generally very gentle…for which we are all grateful. He does have this thing where he likes to squeeze her foot and she jumps!
My spark of light. (Meaning of the name “Shaviv”.)
Meeting Grandpa and Grandma!
And so the days ease by. I love this time…just drinking in the joy and love that is my new baby girl. Rest. Processing. Prayer.