Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seeing Stars

"Two Men looked out through prison bars; one saw mud and the other saw stars."

Lord, help me to see the stars.

Monday, March 28, 2011

1,000 Gifts

29. For friends who borrow books, thanks Becky for "Calm my Anxious Heart"

30. For unemployment coming through. His provision never fails.

31. For our Gather Around the Table group from Church and a great time of fellowship last night.

32. For playlands

33. For time with Daddy who "can't go to work anymore. Why won't they let you come to work Daddy?" We are making the most of his time off.

34. For my parents and unexpected gifts in groceries. Generosity and hospitality gifts abounding.

35. For sweet Gabby and Gods hand in her birth. Praying for her to start eating on her own. Praising God for her life.

36. For my in-laws loving on our kids while we were away last night. We love you Grandpa "Keef" and Grandma Pat.

37. For fresh fruit season approaching.

38. For my childrens health. Blessed.

Our past few weeks

I've been a little MIA here recently. Seems all of us have been sick the past three weeks or so! Started with the kids and I getting a cold, then it lead to Kevin getting sick and then Liam ending up with a sinus and ear infection. Poor guy. Topping it off was a strange fever that's been coming and going for Miss Sophia the past three days. Today was the first day that everyone has been healthy and its been great! :-)

Little Liam just broke my heart being so sick. He is normally the most snugly and smiley guy you could ever meet. But being sick he was either sleeping, crying, or throwing himself on the ground in fits of frustration. It was hard to know how to comfort him. It was also hard for me to know at the end if he was still sick or stuck in the pattern of fit throwing. But thankfully it is over and he is back to being my funny little man.

Some of his favorite phrases right now are:
-"UH-HUH, I DO!!!" This is no matter what you ask "Liam, should we go outside?" "UH HUH I DO!!!" "Liam are you hungry?" "UH HUH!! I DOOOO!" "Liam, do you want to play with trains?" "UH HUH, I DO!!"

-"I'll do it" Anytime you ask anyone else for something he jumps in yelling "Ill do it!!" Too cute!

-"Yah, OKAY!" He walks around repeating over and over "yah, Okay! Yah, Okay!"

-"We'll see, maybe!"

He is just repeating any phrase he hears. It makes us giggle. I post too many Sophia pics and stories and so I included the picture of our sweet Man this morning. Ready for Spring and the Twins to start! Go Twins!!

Flourless chocolate cake

I've made this cake a few times now and been really impressed. I made an almond chocolate ganache (Chocolate, pure almond extract, cream, and butter) to put on top and then added strawberries. It was great! This recipe would be fabulous with fresh raspberries or a homemade raspberry sauce over-top. Its incredibly rich and dense so I'd recommend that you would cut your slices very thin! Enjoy!! :-)

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling
preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

(I found the recipe here)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Yes I deactivated my facebook a week and a half ago. Yes, I have been meaning to type something up as to why. For now, I'll just say that Im a workin' on time management, self control, and priorities. Spending time with people in real life, investing myself into my kids, husband, home, and others, devotion times longer than 15 minutes, slaying the laundry monster ect. Will I come back? Maybe, someday. But, its kinda nice. Find me here, at my phone number, and email if you need me. Will try to add more photos here too as requested. Love to yall!

Work that matters

Sometimes I fall into a trap. Its a trap that I set up for myself by looking at parenting blogs or peeking into others lives. I see that their grass appears greener and I try my hardest to keep up. Did you see the curtains she made herself?! Look at how organized their school room is! Their kids sound so brilliant and obedient. I scrub the floors a bit harder, try and make extravagant meals by 5:30 every night, and try to micromanage my childrens behaviors, especially in front of others. Sure, my kids are asking me for the 100th time to play a game or snuggle on the couch but kids, I am busy cleaning for you! I will be right there, reallly, I will. In the end I just feel like I can't keep up and have failed.

In the end, no one will notice (or care) how often my floor has been scrubbed. My family will not starve if we don't eat until 6. But the time I invest in training those little lives means everything. That is my job. I may have to sacrifice my free time. Put down the book. This stage doesn't last forever and I need to make the most of every minute I am given as Sophia and Liams Mama. When I am investing the time in eternity, I feel like a parenting failure much, much less of the time. Because, its worth it. Is it easy? No. Is it pretty? Sometimes not. But, it is required.

Here is an excerpt from "Loving the Little Years" that really spoke to me.

" Dry erase boards and chore charts are all well and good, but it does not change the fact that what you have on your hands is children, not an organizational problem. When Scripture says to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, it is not talking about finding the most effective way to organize them. This is a very easy trap to fall in, because the more children you have the more difficult it is to keep them clean and clothed and fed. Just the basics of life are a full time job. It is also easy for parents to fall into this sort of lifestyle because cleaning and sorting makes you look and maybe even feel like you have your act together,even if you seriously don't. What you are doing is finding a way to contain your children, control them, and keep their sin from making you look bad. But you are not actually dealing with anything....
The more children you have, the more you need to be pastorally minded. Look to each of their souls and their needs. If you are focused on upkeep of the house and the schedule, as long as your child is not interrupting that, you don't worry about it. If you are being a parent who is pastorally minded you will stop whatever it is that you are doing to go see how your daughter is doing up in her bedroom.Be a pastor to your children. Study them, Seek them out. Sacrifice the thing you were doing to work through minor emotional issues. This is why you may have known families who seemed to have it all together. Everyone to his own bunk. Dinner from the crockpot at 6:00pm on the dot. Family worship in the living room. Children quietly doing dishes afterward. Then as the children hit their teen years, you start to see that alongside of all that organization was some serious neglect and hurt. It is possible to organize your children right out of the church. So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice. Sacrifice your peace for their fun. Your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs. Your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had. Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done. They are the only part of your work that really matters."

Monday, March 14, 2011

1,000 gifts

19. For my sweet husband who took care of me all weekend when I was so miserable and sick. Breakfast in bed, entertaining littles, sending me to sleep and read, cleaning. I am so blessed.

20. For a daughter whose favorite game is "I love you more than __________" and cracks me up with what she comes up with and melts my heart. ( I love you more than 15 glasses of lemonade!! I love you more than 20 ipods!! I love you more than butterflies!! I love you more than inside playplaces Mama!! Sometimes under her breath she will say "Thats a lotta love!)

21. For sickness to remind me that I need work on my patience with the kids and my husband.

22. For above 50 degrees being in the forecast, dare I say SPRING is coming?!

23. For kids who desire to dress themselves. Ahem. So what if the clothes are on inside out and backwards. And that plaids are with polka dots. And that one superhero boot is on with normal clothes. Gotta keep things interesting! :-)

24. For kindles so I can wish to read a book and within 1 minute be reading wise words from wise women (Loving the little years, Moms- read it!!)

25. For a co-worker who kindly took my shift tonight since I am still not well.

26. For playdates in the immediate future and laughter amoung kiddos and Mama friends alike.

27. For his word and an increased desire to read it. Its amazing that once you that you really lose the problem of not wanting to do it, or not finding time.

28. For my sweet Man who just learned his first song. Caught him singing "Jesus loves me" yesterday. Got teary. Yes sir, he sure does.

holy experience

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


marker on the carpet. messy pigtails. hot chocolate slurping. dog whining. snow falling. george in the background. coffee hot. son snuggling. heater chugging. books piled. animals scattered. etch a sketch scribblin. tent hiding.washing machine whirrlin. yawns all around. grace abounding. wednesday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Keeping Toddlers/Preschoolers busy

This winter seems like it has lasted 5 years. We are all anxious to get to a park. And soon! Here in MN however, we have more snow coming down this week. Yippee.

Thought I would compile a list of fun things to do for anyone else going stir crazy and for myself on those days when my brain isnt fully engaged and all i can think to do is press play on a movie. again. The ideas come from things I did as a kid, my time working in an ECFE classroom, ideas from fellow Moms, and things we have tried from blogland.

If you have any ideas to add, please comment! I love to hear what other Mamas are littles are doing.

1. Blow bubbles and have a dance party

2. Play dress up

3. Give the baby dolls a bath in a small tub (with a table cloth underneath or in the bathroom)

4. Paint with trucks, trains and cars (picture soon to come)

5. Paint with noodles

6. Dip rubber ducks in paint and create a masterpiece.

7. Hide and go seek

8. Fort building

9. Cook- even the littlest chef at our house likes to mix and play with kitchen utensils.

10. Paint with those kitchen utensils- think potato masher dipped in paint

11. Use whipped cream or shaving cream as a sensory activity

12. Window crayons and markers

13. Read

14. Grab an old spaghetti sauce jar, fill with water, food coloring and fun objects (buttons, bouncy balls, glitter ect.)

15. Use your old egg cartons to make caterpillars, ants, and birds!

16. Make puppets out of socks, your old toilet paper tubes, or brown lunch sacks.

17. Use duck tape to create letter fun

18. Use duck tape to create balance beam lines. Have the kids walk sideways, backwards, or hop down the line!

19. Have a picnic in the living room

20. Pile up some pillows and blankets, pull out the popcorn popper and some snacks and have a movie afternoon.

21. Dye some rice or pasta fun colors. Use a TBSP of white vinegar and then add a few drops of food coloring. Shake up in a gallon sized zip lock-super fun for the kids- and then let dry in the sun or on a paper towel. Use for various art projects.

22. Blow up an air mattress and let the kids be jumpin monkeys

23. Gather some snow in a pail and fill your sink. Give the kids stools and scoops of all kinds and let um at it.

24. Make some hearts or cards with directions on them. Laminate them and put them in a circle. Play some music and have them walk the circle. Like musical chairs, when the music stops, they freeze. Whatever they land on- they must do! (Hop on 1 foot, sing their abc's, do the crab-walk, count to 10, ect)

25. Make marshmallow sculptures. Mini Marshmallow and toothpicks are all they need. See if there are any marshmallows left uneaten, they are irresistible to little ones.

26. Bathtub swimming party! Swim suits, bubbles, and lots of bath toys needed. Food coloring is one of our favorite things for baths. I remember swimming in colorful baths as a kid and my kids ask for colored baths pretty much daily too. (Doesn't dye the skin or the tub, just the water. :-))

27. Make compassion kits- gather some large Ziploc baggies and some supplies (travel toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes, socks, hand sanitizer, local fast food gift cards, travel wipes, hats, mittens, little bibles, ect) Have your kids help you put them together and take the opportunity to teach them about serving and have compassion for others. Put them in your car and next time you pull up to someone with a sign- pass them out. (Great idea for a group activity, have each Mom and her children bring all of one item and put your resources together)

28. Practicing sorting- colors, shapes, sizes, ect.

29. Lace. Make your own lacing cards or pick up some Melissa and Doug lacing cards.

30. Games! Some of our favorites include; Hi Ho Cherry-O, Kids Charades, Candyland, Dora and Shrek Memory, and Kids Boggle

31.Make gloop. Mix cornstarch and water. It gets all goopy when they aren't touching it but turns into a putty like substance once they are playing with it. Fun, fun, fun!

32. Pick up a tunnel on the cheap at Ikea and let them crawl through and create their own playland.

33. Kids tents- often on super sale at Target and Walmart. We read in there, it becomes their house, a castle, the possibilities are endless.

34. Puzzles

35. Let the kids "do the dishes" Put out a water table or a large Tupperware bucket and have the kids wash their play dishes and toys. Give washcloths and if you want add antibacterial soap. Fun for the kids and gets those poor neglected slobbered on toys a much needed cleaning!

36. Stuffing activities. Use a empty clear coffee creamer and some craft sticks. Littler ones especially enjoy putting them in and pulling them out. Use a Parmesan cheese container and have kids put pipe cleaners or uncooked spaghetti into the holes.

37. Letter hunt- cut out the clear section on the front of your pasta boxes and glue it to a craft stick. Get really invested and act the part as you hunt for letters. (could be searching for things of a certain color as well)

38. Simon Says

39. Follow the Leader


41. Collect scarves and pull them out for fancy dancing.

42. Lego and block building contests

43. Color on the walls- cover your walls with butcher paper and let them at it!

44. Putting away the silverwear. One of Sophias favorite things to do. Helps her to sort and helps me! :-)

45. Washing windows- another one of Sophias most requested house tasks.

46. Sponge play- you can paint with sponges or transfer water from one bowl to another.

47. Listening games. Have the kids close their eyes and guess which sounds you are making. Jingle keys, coins, silverware. Tap on a glass, click your tongue, tap on the window. Whistle, roll a car on the table or open a door.

48. Pillllllllow Fight!

49. Magnetic activities- use your colored rice or pasta and hide things that are magnetic and some that are not. Use a magnetic wand and have the kids fish out what is magnetic and sort.

50. Tea Parties with all the stuffed animals. Get fancy. Make finger foods, and drink lemonade out of tiny cups (or hot chocolate)

Monday, March 7, 2011

1,000 gifts

13. For provision from God, even when it comes packaged in a way that I would could have never imagined myself.

14. For a sweet girl who asks so many questions that even when I feel my head may explode, cause me to question the important things as well.

15. For my dear friend Michelle and yummy painters mochas from Black Sheep Cafe. Accountability.

16. For our pastor, Steve Lonetti, and his faithfulness to the word and our congregation.

17. For the new class we are a part of and how it causes us to question and reevaluate and ultimately gets us back into the word as we strive to honor God in our marriage and glorify him through what should be a picture of Christ and the church.

18. For fat falling snowflakes that cause me to think of how he washes us white as snow. Undeserved.

10 Points of Joyful Parenting

In case you haven't been to any of Ann Voskamps blogs, I thought I'd encourage you to check them out! Whoa, huge encouragment. Thoughtful, incredibly well written, word saturated, realistic blogs.

Heres an excerpt from her book that was so helpful to me.

A parenting manifesto of Joy

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals -- because children's hearts feed on touch. I'll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible --- the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

Copyright 2010, Ann Voskamp @

Classic Cocktail Party

Our lovely new friends Johanna and Kyle invited us over for a classic cocktail party at their home last week. Everyone dressed in retro digs and the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served. Think pigs in a blanket, cream cheese stuffed celery, chips with french onion dip, rainbow jello mold, and a bundt cake! :-) Its a pretty new group of friends and we really enjoyed getting to know each of them! Johanna surely has the gift of hospitality! My photos are taking forever to load, be back to upload them shortly! :-)


Our church recently started a young families married and parenting class. It was our third Sunday and we are really enjoying the teaching and fellowship! Great discussions, growing together, accountability, and laughter- what else could you ask for in friendships? This past Friday night our fearless leaders, Doug and Bonnie, had us over for a game night and it was a blast! Everyone got sitters, brought some yummy food and lots of laughter. Thankful for them all. Heres some photos of our evening.

Gratitude and Joy

"I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson, Seasons of a Mothers Heart

(Loved this quote seen here)

Super Mom vs. Abiding Mom

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1,000 gifts

I will be starting to chronicle gifts that I have been given in an effort to continually thank God for everything given to me. To produce joy in the tasks of my seemingly mundane everyday life.

1. For the sweetest little boy who greatly enjoys snuggling up with his Mama for more than half of our day.

2. For new friendships (Becky) and play dates with those friends. Thank you Lord for friends who are close by, who love you, and love us.

3. For growing friendships (Em, Johanna, Bonnie, Kelsey and many more) God has blessed me greatly with wonderful women of faith to surround me, encourage me, and uplift me. I pray that I can be a thoughtful, kind and uplifting friend to them.

4. For old friends (Marie, Amanda, Crissy, Tami,Tina) I love that no matter how close or far we live; or how often we see each other, you all seem like sisters to me. We can pick up right where we left off. I pray for you all often.

5. For mail, real life mail. Birthday cards, just because cards, valentines ect. My sweet sister in law and some friends have blessed me recently with cards. This is an area that I personally am weak in, but you guys give me joy at my mailbox and for you, I am thankful.

6. For a husband who stops by the store for milk and comes home with my favorite candy and some new laundry baskets to aid in my killing of the laundry monster. So thoughtful is he.

7. For a sunny, above freezing day.

8. For Ann Voskamp and her blog. Seriously, check it out, you will be glad you did.

9. For mocha caramel coffee goodness.

10. For a Mom and Dad who love Christ and love me and my family.

11. For nails and blood. Sacrifice on my behalf. Because without this, I am wretched and hopeless. Without this, I fail. Thank you for everlasting life, for grace.

12. For a women of character. Of hope. Of encouragement. That she is home at last. Whole at last. That her legacy lives on.

What are you thankful for today?

Last time

I changed our blog name. For the last time. Promise. First we were the Beyer family. Well, we still are the Beyer family, but really I was the only one writing and it wasn't perfect. Then I found a passion for teaching the kids and discovered some lovely blogs along the way. One described what we did every day as Tot school and I wanted to focus on the kids and our daily life. So "Me and My Tator Tots" is what we became.

It still wasn't right. I've pulled back a bit on the uploading of picture we take. While I will still document projects, ideas, and fun we have, it wasn't my passion and my heart cry. It wasn't the root of what we do every single day.

I want to live life Praising God, glorifying Him daily, and giving thanks no matter what. In the midst of a foul diaper change. While finding crayons on the wall. When scrubbing behind a toilet that no one will ever notice got cleaned. When battling the laundry monster and never winning. While wiping a nose. As I notice dog urine on my freshly mopped floor. As I get down and look a defiant toddler in the face and run out of the right words. I want to glorify Him. I want me to shrink back and my kids to only see God. I want to point them to Him and only Him. I can't save them. I can only be an instrument in His symphony.

So, as I read my bible this afternoon it came to me. One of my favorite verses, John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less.”

Lord, if anyone were to ever take comfort or advice or encouragement in this journal, I pray that you would be that comforter, that you would be where people turn when looking for answers.Thank you for your grace. Help me to live a life that is more of you and less of me.