Monday, April 20, 2015

An Unexpected Way to Feel Rich

Every spring when the weather warms, an army of ants begins to invade my kitchen, prompting me to clean out my food storage cupboards and make sure anything that might be enticing to an ant is safely sealed in jars or plastic bags (although plastic bags can be iffy, depending on how aggressive the army happens to be that year!).  I DO NOT LIKE THE ANTS; but if it helps motivate me to clean a neglected area, I suppose I can give thanks for that.  ;-)
 One night last week, I had taken everything out of my spice shelves; and while I was at it, I decided to organize and alphabetize my seasonings again.  If I were the only one who ever cooked in my kitchen, this isn't a project I would ever need to do because they would stay in alphabetical order!  ;-)  But Moriah, in particular, loves to pull random spices out of the cupboard when she's standing on a chair, "helping" me cook; and of course she doesn't know anything about putting spices back in alphabetical order!  But she'll learn someday.  ;-)
 When I managed to get all the jars neatly in a row, I discovered, to my genuine astonishment, that the line stretched from one end of my table to the other, and even had to curl around a bit at one end.  And I don't exactly have a short table!  I didn't realize I had so many seasonings; but there they all were -- from Allspice (ground and whole) and Alum to Turmeric and Za'atar.
 As I've studied history with my boys during the last few years, I've been reminded of how incredibly precious various spices were in different times and places.  Even salt, which is so common and so cheap now, used to be valuable enough to be used as currency.  Imagine getting paid in salt!  :)  And speaking of imagining...
Can you imagine what people from ancient times would think if they could see the contents of my spice cupboard?  Can you imagine how wealthy they would think I must be to afford such extravagant luxury?  Can you imagine how their tastebuds would pop if they could sample the food I prepare with these seasonings?  What if we took some chicken and prepared a portion of it as Chicken Korma with curry...and another part as Chicken Parmesan with plenty of garlic...and another as Sweet and Sour Chicken with fresh ginger and pineapple...and how about Chicken Enchiladas with jalapenos...and there would have to be good ol' southern BBQ Chicken, too...and my country roots would insist on some old-fashioned Chicken & Dumplings with a generous sprinkling of parsley and black pepper.  Can you even imagine?

I couldn't.  Thinking about what their reaction might be like made me feel rich--absolutely, positively, I-have-more-than-I-deserve RICH!

I'm grateful to live in a time and place in which I can have a whole shelf full of delicious spices...

...even if my bank account says I'm definitely not rich!  ;-)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Peach Tree & Other Springtime Delights

On a night when I have many *important* things that I could blog about - birthdays, a concert, other extracurricular activities, etc. - I find that all I have the heart for is scribbling a quick post about, of all things, our peach tree.  I'd really rather go hide in a cave and fall asleep; but before I get my wish, I decided to find a bit of beauty to share.  I think these pictures will suffice.  :)

We haven't yet had our peach tree for a whole year; but so far, so good.  It isn't dead yet.  ;-)  It's been delightful to see the beautiful blossoms come out on it this spring - our first spring in which we get to watch our own peach tree bud.  New life is beautiful.


We took these pictures yesterday as we enjoyed the pleasure of a warm Saturday evening outside.  I was 18 weeks, 6 days pregnant; and Tobin was my photographer.

And then I watched Moriah on the trampoline and wished for the enthusiasm and lightness and buoyancy and joy that she has!

Next spring, it will be my turn to jump and twirl on the trampoline.  ;-)

Friday, April 17, 2015

David Is a Decade! {Sneak Peek}

Just a peek tonight at one of the joyful parts of this oh-so-special day for David.
 The birthday boy got a bike!!  :)
We love our 10-year-old so very much!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This by the Door...

...can only mean one thing:  Jason is here.
And who is Jason?  Why, he's the little five-year-old son of our next-door neighbors.  Yes, the Old Order Mennonite ones.  He was born a month before Shav; and within the last year or two, he and Tobin have become particularly close, and Shav usually--but not always--tags along on their adventures, too.

Out of respect for the Old Order beliefs, I never rarely take pictures of Jason (well, OK, I snapped a couple photos of him on Easter, but it was from far away, and you can hardly tell it's him in that trio of little boys ;-) -- those photos are pretty far down in that Easter post, just after the ones of Jeff and the boys burning brush in our garden).  But a couple days ago, when I spotted his boots with its traditional Old Order hat perched on top by our front door, I decided that would be a good way to commemorate these years when either Jason or my boys cross the lane (Buggy Boulevard, my dad calls it) virtually every day to visit each other and have all sorts of fun together.

Josiah confessed to me the other day that he wonders what kind of effect Tobin and Shav will have on Jason as they grow up, and he hopes the Fisher boys won't pull Jason away from the Old Order church but fears they might.  In return, I confessed to him that I had had those exact thoughts when he and David were the little Fisher boys who often played with Jason's big sisters!

So far, neither they nor us have converted to the other's style of worship; but during the nearly 10 years we've lived beside each other, our respect for and appreciation of each other has only continued to grow.  May it ever be so!

And may there be many more times when that cute little hat, worn by that cute little blonde-headed boy, appears at my front door!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday {Let's Go Fly a Kite ♫}

Josiah is smiling... this is obviously before the kite got stuck in our tallest pine tree.
We got it down, sparing its life so it can fly again--hopefully, more safely--on another beautiful, windy day.  :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Now She Is Three! :) {Morning Edition}

If life would only slow down for a little while, I might have a chance at getting caught up--both in life and in blogging!  But no, special events as well as ordinary-but-wonderful days keep coming (imagine that!), one right after the other, forcing me to pick and choose what I focus on.

Well, tonight is her night.  :)
Moriah celebrated her third birthday last Thursday; and every time I have a child who turns three, I'm reminded what a HUGE birthday that is!   When a child turns two, he or she is probably vaguely mindful that something is special about that day and that the special thing has to do with himself or herself; but by three, children know that this is A BIG DEAL and are able to anticipate the event for days and weeks, as well as look back on the event and verbalize what they remember about it.  When a child turns three, he or she is aware!
Quite a long time ago, I had spotted this dress in a thrift store; and when I peeked inside to find the label, I discovered that it was handmade.  I snatched it up and brought it home, saving it for when my own little daughter turned three and could wear it.  About a week before Moriah's birthday, I got it out of the closet and hung it up in her room so she could see it and look forward to wearing it on her big day.  As if she needed any more anticipation!!  ;-)
Because I wanted Moriah's dress to stay clean all day so she could wear it for her birthday supper, I helped her put on her apron before we started our big project of the morning: making her cake--a strawberry one, like she had been requesting for weeks.  While I was getting things ready to begin, Moriah was doing one of her favorite things when I cook with her: reaching into the spice cabinet, grabbing the plastic bottles, and unscrewing the lid so she could smell what is inside.  :)
After we got the spices put back in their cabinet, our first step for the cake was mashing some fresh strawberries (or "straw-bay-bys," as Moriah calls them, although sometimes she adds extra syllables and calls them "straw-bay-bay-bay-bay-bys").  :)

These matching aprons were a sweet gift from Gail, a guest in our home back in February of 2014; and I think of her every time I wear mine.  :)
Moriah was quite happy to help me make the cake, and I was happy to do it with her.  I even neglected my regular homeschool activities that morning, just so I could take my time making the cake with her--because as you know, cooking with the "help" of a three-year-old is guaranteed to add extra time to the process!  ;-)

The kitchen helper always gets to lick the spoon, and Moriah was delighted to do so.  :)
I thought she was adorable and just couldn't get enough of the sight of her, busy at work.  :)

The boys and I got a good chuckle when we saw the April 9 page in our page-a-day Mary Engelbreit calendar (which I love!).  How appropriate that on Moriah's birthday, a queen bee would be pictured, because yes, our little girl does like to try to run the show sometimes!  ;-)

Moriah certainly takes after her big brothers in their love of climbing and jumping and other "risky" behaviors.
This is the kind of stuff that makes Jeff's hair turn gray.  ;-)

"I'm flying!"  :)

Ready to do it again?  Yes!!  :)
The boys had emptied all the dirty clothes out of our laundry chute and were having fun climbing up into it.  
Little Miss couldn't let the boys have all the fun, now could she?  ;-)

In case you can't tell from the pictures, this birthday morning with Moriah was pure joy.  I relaxed and focused on what was most important, the boys enjoyed the time off from school and played happily, and our love for Moriah caused us to delight in her and to relish each bit of her anticipation and excitement that her birthday was finally here.  It was the perfect birthday morning.

After lunch and a nap, the celebration continued, but that will have to wait for the Evening Edition birthday blog post!!  :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

After the Concert

If I had more energy tonight, I would write more and share more pictures from the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir concert this afternoon.  (Bottom line: it was fantastic.)  :)

But my tank is running on empty, and I'm hoping that a good (long) night's sleep will begin to fill it again.  So for tonight, only one photo from today.  My favorite part about this one? The way they spontaneously put their arms around each other when they knew I was taking the picture.
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!
~ Psalm 133:1 ~