Friday, January 4, 2008

Crafty and eco-friendly

I always save material for us craft-driven Lee women to have fun with, and of course Ron tolerates it, nice guy that he is. So egg cartons, leftover gift wrap, old cards, you name it. I guess it's the ten year plus years of having worked in early childhood in some capacity - preschools and daycares generally have very little money, so we teachers learn to use everything.

So you will understand my excitement at having found this video on the Nature Moms blog.

How To Make An Origami Gift Box - video powered by Metacafe

Less waste, lots of fun for children of all ages. I've already made several. Works great with origami and scrapbook paper since they're already square to begin with, but you can literally use any kind of paper.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

This and that

We've just stuffed ourselves with a simple but grand spaghetti meal, and now are happily sitting next to one another in the family room. I am buzzing behind my laptop while Ron and Amanda are watching the Orange Bowl on TV. Abigail is napping on my lap. This is one of those evenings I cherish.

New blog banner - did ya notice? :) Time for a change.

Have you ever had this before?

This is the newest Lee Family Achilles' heel! And it's the mom's fault - yes, me. We were walking through the frozen foods section when I saw the Strawberry Sundae Crunch sitting there in all its glory. Just the sight of it immediately took me back to the mid-80's, standing in front of the ice cream truck, penniless, watching other kids buy this. The dollar it cost per bar was simply too much, so it remained elusive to my yearning taste buds. Some people think this is nasty (and if I were brave enough to look at the nutrition facts, I'd probably puke), but the Sundae Crunch means childhood summers! Oh well. We'll all go to the Rec Center and walk a few miles to compensate the yucks.

The model in this gorgeous photo is Amanda! This photo is one of ten finalists in a Best of 2007 photo contest. Please vote for my Amanda's entry #9 here. You can vote once a day until January 10th, so join us in our fun! BTW, if you're interested in booking with photographer Lauren Harms (she does great work), let her know you were referred via my blog, and you will be able to receive a 20% discount!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

On parenting - imparting roots and wings

Parenting: an obligation or joy? Depends on how we approach it. Here are some of my favorite quotes on parenting:

"It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself."

- Joyce Maynard

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."

- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.

- Hodding Carter

Consider the magnitude of the last quote. Nurturing the growth of ROOTS and WINGS is a deep, spiritual, mental, physical process, and it takes blood, sweat, and tears to cultivate. But the rewards - ! If my children can be the people they are meant to be - with all the potential talents, dreams, visions realized - that is the idea of success. Not how much money they can make or how famous they become. I hope my children will turn to me some day and say, "You weren't the perfect mom, but you tried to be the best mom you could be. I learned from you."

Thank goodness I don't parent alone - Ron is the best sidekick I could have asked for.

Look what I found among the pointsettia - a Panda!

And Ron and his Mini-me:

(click on photos for larger images)

I love my family. So much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Onward along our sojourn, 2008 is here

Happy New Year, dear family and friends! It is with much anticipation that we look ahead to this year.

I had a million things to write down to flesh out my new year's resolutions list. But then I encountered Ann V's thoughtful and eloquent blog, and as I read through a few of her posts, I realize my life isn't to be lived checking off a long, frenzied to-do list. Where has my yearning for God been? Do I hear His voice? Am I a vehicle through which His light illuminates my children's steps in this sojourn? Does my home reflect the awe and wonder I felt for Him when my faith was new? For whom do I toil?

Ann V. posted this beautiful poem that I feel is worthy to share this day:

by Annie Johnson Flint

I do not ask that I may steer
My peaceful bark by peaceful shores alone,
Nor that I linger, harbor-bound,
And sail no stormy seas unknown;
I only ask this boon of Thee:
Be ever in the ship with me.

I do not ask that I may dwell
From din of battle far removed,
Nor ever feel temptation's force,
Nor ever know mine armor proved;
I only ask, through Life's long fight,
Grant me the power of Thy might.

I do not ask, that I may walk
Only on smoothly trodden grass,
Nor ever climb the mountain's height
And trembling, through its dangers pass;
I only ask, on rocks or sand,
The sure upholding of Thy hand.

I dare not pray for any gift
Upon my pilgrim path to Heaven;
I only ask one thing of Thee:
Give Thou Thyself and all is given.
I am not strong not brave nor wise;
Be Thou with me - it shall suffice.

When I start looking at things through this new mindset, I hope to see the little things that make life a joy....

Here is a photo that I took in early December. Look at this understated beauty. God's fingerprints are everywhere. I just have to stop and realize them.

(click for larger image)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pumpkin streusel muffins with orange glaze

Early February, we went to a Home & Garden Show at the Idaho Center, where Amanda planted a single pumpkin seed in a styrofoam cup and brought it home. That seed nearly took over our pathetic summer vegetable garden and produced some humongous pumpkins. We had all kinds of pumpkin delicacies until we couldn't take it anymore. So we made pumpkin puree and froze it. A lot of it.

Fast forward almost 11 months: we made pumpkin streusel muffins today. Yum. I always cut down on the sugar, and replace a third of the white flour with wheat, and I usually get great tasting, more nutrient dense results. This time, I tripled the recipe and it didn't come out sweet enough. Soooooo, I drizzled an orange glaze over the muffins to compensate. Thankfully, that was a good save.

We shared with various neighbors.

Incidentally, pumpkin is very high in beta-carotene and potassium, not to mention a good source of magnesium and iron.


The recipe:

Pumpkin streusel muffins with orange glaze

1/4 c margarine or butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2/3 c cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tblsp molasses
1 tsp orange zest
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

streusel topping
1/3 c flour
3 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp cold margarine or butter

orange glaze
3/4 c powdered sugar
1-1/2 tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp orange zest

1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugars.
2. Add the next 5 ingredients; stir to mix well.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients; gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined.
4. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
5. For streusel topping: mix together the flour and brown sugar; cut in the margarine with a pastry blender (or two knives) until it resembles coarse meal.
6. Sprinkle evenly over each muffin batter.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tests done.
8. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and orange zest in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Use a fork to drizzle glaze over cooled muffins.

Makes 12 muffins.

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