Malachi’s Lego Party On the Cheap

gratituesday[2]

Malachi has been planning and dreaming of a Lego party with his friends for no less than two years now.  We didn’t schedule it in though, because I figure, why act in haste?  Also, there is the fact that planning and throwing parties is really not my gift and I very much do not enjoy it.  As a result, every few hours during the past 730 days, Malachi would throw out a new Lego party idea to which I would respond with a look on my face as if he had just suggested we go lick the spoons of people who were currently running high fevers.

Poor kid.  Such great ideas.  Such a boring, non-party type mom.  714 days after Malachi’s party planning brainstorming began, I finally got over myself.  He and I sat down, looked on Pinterest, found some fun ideas, and got to work.  Surely there would be a way to make a Lego party fun, but keep it simple and inexpensive.  Yes, indeed.  (For the record, there are also many ways to make it complicated, elaborate, and spendy – just in case you feel like the 8 and 9 year old boys in your life will appreciate all the time you spent coloring individual, personalized placemats and notice all the tiny details on a cake which you have carved and decorated into a replica of a life-size Lego spaceship.)

One of Malachi’s biggest desires for his party was that we have a piñata.  We agreed to fill the piñata with some of the Legos from his collection that could be played with together once the piñata broke open.  Cost?  Free.  (Okay fine.  Already paid for.)  We also agreed that it was a wise idea to put the Lego pieces into a ziplock bag so that they wouldn’t fly all over the yard with the final blow of the piñata.

Did you know that it’s very possible to make a Lego-looking piñata out of one shoe box, 8 bottle lids, and three pieces of tissue paper?  Malachi decided I was a genius for thinking of this.  I had to agree (with great humility.)

lego party 3

Who doesn’t love putting on a blind fold and swinging at air?  Every boy got exactly two turns each, and then…

lego party 8

…the rope I had strung through it popped out and the piñata flew into the grass.  Did you know that if you blind fold a child, give him a wooden sword, and set him lose in the yard, he will eventually make his way to said piñata and give it a whack?  We thought that was perhaps a better plan that having Asa hold the piñata in the air while the kids swung the sword.  (You’re welcome, Asa.)

lego party 9

We spent a few dollars on colored sacks, cups, and plates.  My artistic ability is very limited, but drawing Lego people faces on cups I managed to pull off well enough.

lego party 1

lego party 5

I am well aware that little boys at parties are not super interested in “come on to the table, children, and let’s make a craft!”  Still – Malachi and I thought it would be fun for everyone to make a personalized container for their Lego projects at home.  94¢ per container, plus some stickers and contact paper?  No problem.

lego party 2

The boys had lots of fun and turned out great Lego storage containers.  I’m very sure that now that they have these, they will each and every one do a very good job picking up all of their Legos after working on a project so no one in their households will ever step on a Lego.  Again.  Ever.

lego party 10

Party food included popcorn served out of a very thoroughly washed Lego bucket, and pieces of pizza that tried very hard to look like 1 by 2 Lego blocks.

lego party 11

See the jar full of Legos below?  Each kid wrote down guesses as to how many Legos he thought filled the jar.  The boy who guessed the closest got to take the first swing at the piñata.  In case you ever need to know the following recipe conversion:  128 Legos equals 1 quart.

lego party 4

And possibly my favorite free game/activity:  Malachi gathered all of the pieces of two small Lego sets.  He divided them evenly into 10 plastic eggs.  Our older boys hid the eggs around the yard, then the party goers got to enjoy participating in a L-egg-o Hunt.  It was super fun!  Once all the L-egg-o’s had been found, the boys worked together to put the sets together.

lego party 7

Malachi was flying high the entire week.  Planning, creating, and executing the party was so much fun for him.  I’m so thankful we were able to do this together. Maybe I shouldn’t wait so many hundreds of days next time to work with him on a fun project like this?

lego party 6

But wouldn’t you know it.  Our party guests had been gone precisely 3.75 minutes when Malachi, gleam in his eye, asked, “So when should we have the next Lego party?”

Share what you’re grateful for this Gratituesday!

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Asa’s First Few Days in Ecuador

I mentioned a few days ago that our oldest son, Asa, is in Ecuador on a mission trip right now.  It’s been fun to check our church Facebook page to see updates of the group’s work in Ecuador.  Here are some pictures I grabbed to share…

This is the entire group of teens and sponsors.  Asa is on the back row in a purple shirt.

asa ecuador 1

The first day, the men all worked to clear out brush and debris.  Here’s Asa all decked out in work gear and eye protection, using what appears to be a machete.  :)

asa ecuador 2

They seem to be quite proud of their work:

asa ecuador 4

Ah yes, now this is what I’m used to seeing:

asa ecuador 3

I loved seeing this next picture.  Two of the girls are loving on some Ecuador children.  If you look in the background, you’ll see Asa playing soccer with other kids.  This was one of the activities he was really looking forward to doing while he was there.  It was fun to see him in the midst of futbol with Ecuador children!

asa ecuador 5

If you care to pray for Asa and this group while they serve in Ecuador, we appreciate it.  It’s great to see God at work in the lives of our teens!

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

I Give Up. I’m Just Going to Sit Here and Cry.

I love my kids so fiercely, sometimes I can’t inhale air.

Parenting our four boys is the most difficult, gut-wrenching, frustrating, exhausting, awesome, joyful, incredible, amazing gift.  Watching our boys create music and movies together, play pick-up games of soccer or basketball together, laugh at inside jokes together, work outside with their dad together – really.  I fear that I might explode with love and happiness right here in my chair.

There’s all the other stuff too, so don’t think that I don’t hate every minute of puke and sibling arguments and disobedience.  Daily I have to get on my knees, giving my boys’ future over to God, knowing that as a human parent, I alone do not have what it takes – not even a little bit – to create in their hearts an attitude of Christ.  I hang onto the promise that God has a plan for our kids, and He will work out in them His perfect plan.  In spite of me, with me, without me, on behalf of me – God is working in our kids’ hearts.

I’ll take every bit of the “did I not just tell you three times to put your shoes in the closet?” and endure all the rounds of “mom he keeps touching me but he touched me first please make him stop touching me” and persevere through the “he said this to me I was just kidding no you weren’t” stuff.  If only they would always be magically perfect and work outside with their dad so that watching their precious actions would steal away my breath and overtake my heart with joy.  There’s all that and then there’s all the mud smeared into the rug that nobody claims.  But I’ll take it.  I’ll take it all, and I’ll even appreciate being right here, right now, doing this thing with its grass stains and question marks.

Because here’s the deal.  The six of us?  Matt and me and our four boys in this house?  We’ve spent so many years of our lives together working and schooling and living and laughing and arguing and learning and problem solving and crying and traveling and reading and tripping over shoes that still didn’t get put into the closet.  Our oldest turns 17 in one week.  In the fall?  He will be a senior in high school.

I am full of joy, excitement, and hope for what God has for Asa and all of our family after next year.  I realize life doesn’t end when our oldest graduates.  But the truth is that life as the six of us – the way it is now – changes.  It’ll never be the same, because it’s not supposed to be.  This is all part of the journey.

Today, that makes me cry.  The recent graduation parties we’ve attended for friends has put into perspective that this will be us next year.  Then this morning, I got up at 3:30 to see Asa and 14 others off at the airport as they head to Ecuador to do 10 days of mission work.  Watching his grown up self smile and wave as he went through that gate pretty much did me in.

Here’s our 4:45 am picture, right before he went inside to check on his luggage.  Yes, he does keep getting taller.  No, I did not brush my hair this morning.

asa leaving for ecuador

I’m so proud of that kid, I could cry.  Oh wait.  I am crying.  I decided to give up on holding it in, and just sit here and feel it for a while.  Feel the pride, love, wonder, amazement, excitement, joy…and sadness.  At the same time.

Tears.  They are good.  God.  He is very good.  Because of that, I truly can feel peace about the future of my kids and our family, however it looks.

But when I need to cry, I’m going to cry.  Praise God for tears.  And Kleenex.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest2Tweet about this on Twitter2Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

The Boy Who Saved Christmas

After having three baby boys within four years, Matt and I ceased to have the ability to finish sentences or call our children by their given names.  Our little fellas became accustomed to answering to “A-Jus-El-um-um-COME-HERE-BUDDY!”  Having more than three children didn’t seem to make sense to us since obviously, we were no longer making sense.

When those three little boys were ages 5, 2, and 6 months – my mom was diagnosed with ALS.  Thus began a journey in our lives that was filled with grief, pain, and hardship as we traveled back and forth to Kansas to be with Mom as often as we could during the next 22 months.  If I couldn’t get my act together before, I certainly couldn’t even find my act during this time.

I remember crying out to God during one of my lowest points, just a few months before she died.  It had been a year and a half since her diagnosis, and she was failing quickly.  Knowing that we were soon going to lose her, I fell on my knees and asked God to help me find joy again.  He listened.  He heard.  And He answered.  Just a few weeks later, we were shocked to find out that we were expecting baby number four.  Now that was a surprise we had not anticipated!  Indeed, we were filled with joy.

We were able to share the news with Mom (who was convinced that we would surely have a girl this time).  Suddenly all of us – my dad, my brother, all of us - had a reason to smile.  We had something to look forward to!  God is so much fun.  Little did we know how this baby would continue to be the perfect blessing we would all need during the coming months.

When I was about four months into the pregnancy, Mom finished her race.  We were relieved, sad, grateful, devastated, and exhausted.  We all began a new journey of life without her - enduring that year of “firsts” that families experience when they lose someone.  The first birthday without her.  The first Mother’s Day.  The first Thanksgiving.  The first Christmas.

Oh, Christmas.  Mom loved Christmas.  How would we ever have Christmas without her?  Should we try to carry on the same traditions she loved?  Should we plan the same menu?  Should we have Christmas at Dad’s or would it be too painful and empty without her there?

As it turns out, the new baby we were expecting answered all the questions for us.  On December 20 (nine years ago today), our fourth baby boy was born.  It was decided that all of the family would come to Nebraska to meet him and to celebrate Christmas in our home.  We would eat whatever we found in my freezer and we would keep the holiday simple.  That sweet baby boy was just what we all needed to be able to smile through our tears as we shared our first Christmas without Mom.

Happy 9th Birthday, Malachi Mark!  God gifted you to us, bringing us tremendous joy and hope.  May you always allow yourself to be used by God to be a blessing to others.

malachi_age_9

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter2Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Our Family’s Favorite Games

It happened again tonight when Justus (our 13 year old) was eating his potato soup.  I started giggling for no reason.  This happens to me occasionally when my family is around the table playing games.  Tonight, we had to head out the door after dinner, so we were finishing our game and eating at the same time.  Justus took a bite of soup, and it was outrageously funny.  Except that it really wasn’t, even a little bit.

I admit it.  I was getting loopy.  We had been playing Settlers of Catan, the Cities and Knights version for way too long.  We started it last night after church, took a turn at breakfast this morning, played a few more rounds after lunch, and by dinner, my brain was fried.  The game is awesome, but it takes some thinking skills.  And we had been playing in and around our regular day of school and work and life.  Thus, the potato soup eating hilarity.

Ah, but this is what memories are made of.  As our boys get older and are now able to gather around the table for “big kid games” we take advantage of every spare moment we have to spend time playing together.  Their schedules are busy, so we have to be intentional to make it happen.  Here are some of our favorite games:

Settlers of Catan, especially the Cities and Knights version

ticket to ride

Ticket to Ride

bohnanza

Bohnanza

Apples to Apples and Apples to Apples Junior

Manhattan

Uno Attack

 

Sequence

Farkle

 

Pass the Pigs

Disney Scene It

blink

Blink

headbandz

Headbandz

Don’t tell, but here’s the new one we’re getting this year for Christmas.

Now tell me about the games you and your family love to play!  (And do you ever get loopy after playing games just a little bit too long?!)

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest7Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Malachi’s Business Dream

Earlier this week, Matt saw an opportunity to win college scholarship money for Nebraska kids 8 and younger.  We quickly acted on it and would like your support!

He’s been entered into a “Big Dreams” contest that will be judged in November, but we’d like to get people to give it a bunch of thumbs up so the judges will see its likeability. 1st place-$10,000; 2nd-$5,000; 3rd-$2,500.

Asa did the video and editing as part of a school project, and he and Justus collaborated on the original music.  Matt and I did next to nothing.  It was great to see the boys working together on this project!

If you have a minute, would you go check out Malachi’s Business Dream video and click on the thumbs up for us?  You can click it once each day through the end of October.

Thank you for helping us with this fun project!

malachis_big_dream
Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Books We’re Reading this Year

Books, books, the magical fruit.  The more you read, the more you…

Oh wait.  Wrong poem.  Sometimes I get confused.  Although I’m sure if I threw that poem starter out to my boys, they’d be sure to finish it with something creative.  And by creative, I mean gross.

I am excited to share that all four of our boys are now all independent readers.  It was a little slow in coming for our youngest, who is now a 3rd grader.  But late this summer, it all clicked for him.  He now loves reading!  Last week he said, “I can’t believe math used to be my favorite.  Now reading is so much fun!”  Awesome - just what I love to hear.  (Although you still have to do your math, Buddy.)

malachi_reading

Here are some of the books currently at the top of our reading list for the year:

Boxcar Children Books
These books were some of my favorites when I was little.  (You know I had my very own boxcar, right?  Okay, it wasn’t my very own.  I shared it with my cousins.)  All of our boys have loved the Boxcar Children books, and now I am reading them to Malachi (age 8).  Elias (age 11) has already read most of these books, but sits in to listen when he can, because who can resist?

boxcar_children

Ralph Moody Books

We read through most of the books in this series (as a family) a year ago, and now I’m having my two older boys read the last few on their own.  What I love most about these books is that they show how important it is to be a hard worker, how much fun it can be to work together as a family, and how if you put your mind to it – you can always find a way to provide.  I am so inspired by these books, and my boys love the adventure aspect they include.

Books by Clyde Robert Bulla

These are the first chapter books our boys have read.  We have about eight of them on Malachi’s shelf this year – and he’s made his way through two of them already.  I love that Clyde Robert Bulla keeps his vocabulary simple and easy to read – all while teaching history and making his books fun and intriguing.  When I pulled these books out for Malachi, all three of his brothers said, “Oh, he gets to read those this year?  Malachi, you will love them.”  I love hearing the boys talk together about books they’ve all read.

clyde_robert_bulla

Ramona the Pest Series

Malachi pulled his first Ramona book off the shelf this year, too.  So far he’s loving it, just like his brothers did.  I read this series several times when I was younger.  It’s so much fun re-reading these books with my kids.

ramona_2

Christian Heroes Books

I can’t say enough good about all of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now books by Janet and Geoff Benge.  We’ve actually decided to use about 15 of these books this year to go along with our History/Geography studies with Justus, Elias, and Malachi.  What better way to study the culture and history of a country than to learn about missionaries who worked there?  These books are so well written and inspiring!

I also have to share that as we reach the end of each book, Justus (age 13) likes to point out, “You know Mom, this is the chapter when the missionary dies and you cry.”  Pshaw.  Okay, fine.  So I cry at the end of all of these (and the Ralph Moody Books, and just about every other book I read aloud to the boys).  I can’t help it.

benge

In addition to these sets of books, our three older boys are all reading lots of books from the Sonlight reading lists for their grade level.  Asa (a junior in high school) is reading some Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, The Hiding Place (you MUST read this!), and quite a few others Sonlight recommends.

What books are you and your kids reading these days?  I know I’m not the only mom who cries at the end of a good book.  Help me out here – do you get choked up when you’re reading books to your kids?

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest198Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Thanks For Letting Me, Mom

Matt had been gone all day with the York College soccer team at an out-of-state game.  The boys and I stayed home to get school work done, can tomatoes, and forget to put our shoes where they go.  (It happens so regularly that I figure I might as well put it on our to-do list.  “Leave shoes in the middle of the living room floor…check.”)

It was late-afternoon, right around Mom’s starting to get really tired and not able to make rational decisions anymore o’clock.  The school work was all finished, the tomatoes were in jars and their lids had said “ping.”  I was finishing some work at the computer and about to get up to start dinner.  That’s when my eight year old asked the question.

“Mom? Can I make a ‘Welcome Home’ sign for Dad and put it on the front door and then can I turn the living room into a Lego Adventure Land by bringing all of my Lego platforms with the Lego guys and the clone bases down and set them up on the big white table in the middle of the floor {by the shoes we didn’t put away} so that when Dad comes home tonight he’ll be so excited and he’ll get to see all of the Lego Adventure stuff we set up and he’ll love it so much!”

With joy, I smiled and grabbed him up in huge bear hug and said that I could think of nothing better so please start bringing down every Lego we own and let’s also get out glitter.

But what I actually did in real life was give him a look which clearly stated, “Did you forget that it is now half past Mom can’t stand the idea of seeing one more mess?”  And then out loud I was able to mutter, “Probably not but let me think about it.” Since that was so very nearly a ”yes” he ran upstairs to start making Lego zip lines.

After dinner, he brought up his idea again, which had now developed into a bigger attraction since his original idea about transforming our living room wasn’t quite big enough and now the kitchen table and countertops needed to be included as well.  Dinner had helped my mental state significantly, but no amount of protein can make me excited about turning 1000 square feet of house into a Lego Adventure two hours before bedtime.

Together we came up with a compromise.  He could make the signs for the door.  I would help.  And he could use the kitchen table if he helped clear it off first and if he promised that I wouldn’t be finding Lego bricks in the butter two weeks from now.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him so excited.  Some of his brothers even joined in.  They set up the entire table with a Lego Adventure any dad would be pleased to see after being away from home, on the road, and in the hot sun for 16 hours.

Once the set-up was complete and we were headed to bed, Malachi grabbed me and squeezed the life out of my mid-section saying, “Thank you so much for letting me.  That was so much fun.  Dad is going to love it.”

I am happy to share that not only did saying yes to Malachi’s request bring him much joy, it didn’t even kill me a little bit.  Perhaps I should get past my I love how creative you are but can’t we just this once sit down and read books quietly feelings more often.

The next morning, God and I were able to share our quiet time with no less than 47 Lego guys, some of whom were balancing on one leg even better than my yoga instructor.

legos_with_breakfast

Matt had loved his welcome home – from the sign on the door to the Lego Adventure that made us all hold our breakfast plates in our laps as we ate together that morning.

welcome_dad_sign

Would you look at that.  We forgot the glitter.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest1Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Food from Venezuela, Denmark, Belgium, and Djibouti (sort of)

We’ve done some international traveling this week.  In the kitchen.  And online.  Ahhh the blessing of experiencing a taste of four different countries, right from the comfort of our own home.

Each of our boys chose a different country to study and write a report on last week.  We’re wrapping up our official school year this week.  This was kind of our final “big project.”  Yay!

One of their assignments was to make a recipe from their selected country.  I mentioned this to you on my menu plan post earlier in the week.  When I suggested that you all send us your Djibouti recipes, I had no idea that so many of you actually would!  Ask and you shall receive.  You all are da’ best.  :)

And now I have to sheepishly admit to you that between finding and making all these recipes, finishing all of our school assignments, and preparing to go on a big trip next week (can’t wait to tell you about it!) – we still haven’t tried any of the Djibouti recipes.  We’re leaning toward this one though, because it sounds like our family will really like it!  In the meantime, Elias (age 11) took the advice of several of you and made milkshakes, naming them “Shake Djibouti.”  You’ve gotta love it.

shake_djibouti

Asa made Belgian Waffles.  After looking at recipes online, knowing we would adapt it anyway to use healthier grains and oils – we pretty much just used our regular waffle recipe in a Belgian waffle iron.  They were sooooo yummy!  Especially topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. 

belgiun_waffles

  Malachi made Danish Cinnamon Snails.  We adapted the recipe (surprise, surprise) to use whole grains and sucanat and we loved how these turned out!

danish_cinnamon_snails

Last but not least, Justus and I made Venezuelan Tequenos.  Sort of.  I mean, I really don’t know how to convert kg and ml to cups and tablespoons.  Not even a little bit.  And searching online didn’t help.  So, we just guessed at it and made a dough of sorts, wrapped it around some cheese, and fried it.  They turned out tasty…but ugly.  It’s okay.  They got eaten in about five minutes.

venezuela

It is now obvious to me that after eating all of these rich foods this week, it is time to Shake Djibouti. 

I’m talking about exercising.  Not eating ice cream.  Just to be clear.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Four Boys, Three Meals Each, One Happy Tired Mom

This has been one fun week!  If you recall, our four boys were in charge of planning and cooking meals one day each this week.  Here is their menu plan if you’d like a reminder.

I took pictures throughout the week, although you’ll likely notice that there are more pictures of food than boys.  Trust me – this is not because they boys weren’t doing the cooking.  It’s simply because the older my boys get, the less excited they are about having their lives documented on my blog for all the world to see.  I respect that.  So instead of seeing them stir their muffins, you just get to see the muffins.  (With the exception of one Elias picture and several of Malachi – who is still usually okay with having his picture taken.)

We’ll begin with Monday’s meals – the day Asa, our 15 year old, did all the cooking.  He actually didn’t make breakfast that day (logistical issues), and is instead making breakfast on Saturday before soccer games. 

For lunch, he worked and worked, cutting chicken and potatoes into nuggets and fries.  He then used our fryer (the one Matt and the boys gave me for Christmas!) and cycled through batch after batch of fries and chicken nuggets.  I was impressed with how he never stopped working until the last batch was finished.  In fact, at one point, I stepped in to help and he said, “Wait.  I thought I supposed to be cooking this meal?”  Sweet!  I promptly put down the knife and went over to eat fresh french fries. 

boys_cook_13

For dinner that night, Asa and I worked together to make a double batch of fresh whole wheat tortillas for tacos.  That was quite a job, and he did awesome once again!  He also took the time to make Peanut Butter Brownie Cups.  We devoured that meal.  SO good!

boys_cook_12

Tuesday was Elias’ day – our 11 year old.  He got right out of bed and made a big mountain of French Toast. 

boys_cook_11

Just like his brother, he didn’t stop to eat until all of the bread and eggs had been made into French Toast.  That’s saying a lot for a kid who is typically ready to eat his pillow as soon as he wakes up.  This boy wakes up hungry and is a HUGE breakfast eater!

After breakfast, we cleaned up, then I taught Elias how to make pie crust.  More on that later.  :)  For lunch, Elias used the Corndog Maker he got for Christmas to make 40 corndogs.  (They actually were 20 hotdogs cut in half.)  There was a grand total of three corndogs left after our meal.  We sliced up pears and got out baby carrots to go with the corndogs.  Oh, and we decided that our corndogs would be stickless.  No need to go to the trouble to put a stick in the dog when we’re just going to devour it anyway, right?!

boys_cook_9

Right after lunch, Elias got busy making two Cream Cheese Lime Pies.  Into the fridge they went.  Then, he browned hamburger meat and put his dinner into the crock pot.

When it was dinnertime, all Elias had to do was get out bowls and chips to go with his Hamburger Cream Cheese Dip.  I think we had apples with this, but for the life of me, I can’t remember.  And yes, we did just put our chips on the table beside our bowls.  Who needs extra dishes? 

boys_cook_7

After dinner, Matt had a few buddies over to play cards.  Elias served us all some of his pie.  It was crazy good!!

boys_cook_8

That night, Justus, age 13, who was up next for cooking meals, got into the kitchen and made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins to serve for breakfast Wednesday.  That got our morning off to a great start!

boys_cook_6

Justus made us a huge lunch that day!!  Chicken fried steak strips, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas – wow.  I can’t believe how hard that kid worked.

boys_cook_4

It was his first time to make mashed potatoes and gravy and he did awesome!  See, the gravy thickened up just perfectly…

boys_cook_5

Justus also went all out and tried a new recipe for Carrot Cake.  He got fancy and decorated.  To say the least, after lunch, he was exhausted.  :)

carrot_cake_1

Would you believe I forgot to take pictures of his dinner?  :(  He made pasta with Alfredo Sauce and steamed broccoli and carrots.  It was delicious, but we rushed off to church after we ate and taking a picture completely slipped my mind.

Wednesday night when we got home from church, I asked Matt if he wouldn’t mind helping Malachi (age 8) get his Breakfast Cookies made for Thursday.  They went right into the kitchen and got started, Malachi’s excitement level growing the whole time they worked.  I hollered in some insufficient information about which pan to use and how many cookies to put on one pan, so the cookies sort of ran together and off the pan into the oven just a bit, but hey, that’s how we learn, right?  (I’m not talking about Malachi.  I’m talking about old married couples.  After 18 years, we’re still learning more effective ways to communicate.)  

boys_cook_2

I’m debating on whether or not I should tell you about the small oven fire that resulted in this slight miscommunication. Oops, I just did. Well, let’s just say it was smaller than some I’ve started in the past, and we put it out quickly.  The next day, I was easily able to scrape up charred cookie drippings from the bottom of the oven.  My hair still smells strangely smokey.  But the breakfast cookies sure tasted good.  :)

After we ate breakfast, Malachi and I got to work on the Lasagna.  Yes indeed, we used store-bought noodles.  By day four of helping boys cook, I was getting tired.  ;)

boys_cook_1

We ate the lasagna for lunch, since there were soccer games in the evening.  It was delicious!

boys_cook_3

After lunch, Malachi made brownies because he was set on making Death by Chocolate for dessert.  In the late afternoon, he and I made a double batch of Calzones so that we could have some in the freezer as well as plenty for dinner. 

boys_cook_17

They turned out great!  Here’s round one out of four:

boys_cook_15

And the Death by Chocolate?  Well, it was as tasty as Malachi is proud…

boys_cook_16

Sheesh, did we eat a lot of sugar this week!!!  Big desserts every day of the week?  Too much.  But shucks, it was fun just this once.

What was I doing while my boys were cooking up a storm this week?  Standing in the kitchen helping them cook, cleaning up messes with them, and offering a lot of guidance.  I found that everything took at least twice if not three times as long as it normally takes me.  But wow, did the boys learn a lot! 

It was wonderful having so much one-on-one time with each boy.  It was super to see their excitement and willingness to work so hard all day.  And I daresay, they really learned how much effort it takes to put great meals on the table three times each day.  My favorite quote of the week was this:  Upon hearing that it was time to come downstairs and work on making dinner, Justus said, “Already?  I feel like I just finished cooking and cleaning up after lunch!”  Uh-huh.  This is what it is to cook three meals a day for a family.  I let him know that this is why I give them “the look” when they come into the kitchen asking for a snack 45 minutes after a meal.  He grinned sheepishly.  ;)

Did you do any cooking with your kids this week?  Fun as this week was, I’m telling you right here and now – we are having leftovers tomorrow!!  This mama is tired. :)

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter1Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page