Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Storytelling Club

Goodness, bed is calling. But I just found these photos from last week and had to share. Our kids participated in our library's storytelling club this summer and last Wednesday they had the opportunity to perform for visitors at the "showcase." It was neat to see them present stories they'd worked hard to prepare on their own, and with the help of beloved "Miss Trish;" especially for me, the Communication major. Especially because, as teacher-momma, I'm often involved in all the little preparations, and they did this independently. I actually heard Brian's story for the first time live! And especially because for my princess-girlie, this was the year that she conquered her fear and did the whole story, in front of a crowd full of strangers, and didn't let her proud momma's tears distract her (I didn't cry! I didn't!). I say it again, girlie, I wanna be just like you when I grow up.


Yes, I am proud of them. Yes, I am a biased momma. But I don't know too many kids whose mother-bear can ask them at 5pm to chop some veggies and saute them, who can produce potato-leek soup for dinner. (I do know a few - you know who you are!) I did the pureeing myself with the stick blender - a favorite kitchen toy/tool! Add some sour cream, fresh parsley, and Sriracha, and dinner's good. REALLY good. Of course, we tacked on refrigerated biscuits. Hey, we're human! Oh, how I love our organic produce co-op. Good work, Joshie, and Anna, and Bri!

Date Night with One of My Men

Tonight my firstborn and I got some sweet one-on-one time. His growing interest in photography made me invite him to attend a class with me tonight, and afterwards meet up with client/friends on the way home. He is absorbing as fast, or really, faster, than me!
Afterwards he surprised me by treating us to dessert at our favorite fast-food spot (think ICEDREAM). I got teary-eyed (who me?) when he addressed the teenage girl at the register as ma'am - she was blown away, too.
Best of all, though, was our late-night neighborhood walk when we got home. We'd started a chat about girls, and life, and anticipating or dreading the future, and about God's hand in it all, and we didn't want to end it so soon. Man, is it cool to see Him working in the heart and mind of this young-man-in-training. This son of ours is as wise as he is unpredictable; as deep and mature as he is ornery and youthful. It's a privelege to be your mother-bear, Bri.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


My Daddy here in the shadowlands is an addict. (Sorry, Poppy, I'm ratting you out.) He's a salt junkie and a hot sauce fanatic. I've tried helping him convert to sea salt, but he's not really buyin' it. As for the hot sauce, though, I can't argue his addiction. It's a really fun one, and he's left his legacy to his firstborn, his son-in-law, and several of the Sackett grandkids. In fact, we can't eat our mac n' cheese (WHOLEGRAIN, of course!) without it.
We don't just want the heat, though; we're all about the flavor. Jr. and I personally like a bit of sweet and smoky in ours. My sweet love of a husband can live without it, but he'll gladly use the cheap kind if offered. Today I thought I'd catch it in action - Here's our newest favorite - Sriracha! You gotta try it! (You got us hooked at Christmas, Daddy, and we are keeping well stocked!)

Fresh Water

We like to grow things at our house... well, TRY, anyway. Things of the plant variety, mind you; I have enough poop and doctors' visits to warrant postponing pets for a LOOOOONG time. (For a view into my sweet mommy plot, you should know that I have offered my children that as soon as they complete a full year of SPOTLESS ROOMS, without ever once having been reminded to pick up that first item, or as soon as we move to a house in the mountains with lots of land, we will buy a dog of their choosing!)
Back to the topic at hand. Our plants. Basil, rosemary, and pineapples, to be specific, are what we "grow." I'd like to get adventurous but we've killed a few tomato and other herb plants and we live in a three-story townhouse, so for today, that's the extent of our home garden.
Sometimes we get a little busy and neglect our little plants. Like today, as we did our Bible reading, I noticed in a panic that my basil was WRINKLED and very sad looking! Quick, in a flash, my sweet E filled the pitcher and watered our little babies. Maybe there's hope. Well, around lunch time, Anna said, "Mom, LOOK at the basil!" Would you believe, that little guy has perked right up and there's not too much sign of his period of draught!
As I look at this little guy, my Abba gives me a gentle heart-nudge. I've been neglecting Him lately; specifically, I've been avoiding reading the Word and have been really thirsty. I see it in that I've become all wrinkled and don't have much flavor or aroma to give my family and friends. I guilt trip myself and easily fall into a slump and feel hopeless for the loss of all that nourishment. But Papa gently reminded me today, "Little One, I will give you sweet refreshment just as quickly." Of course, I need a steady diet of good clean water and food (for my soul), but He's MAGIC (I mean, He IS, the definition of it, not our man-made imaginations), and He will revive me in less time than I imagine. If I just come to Him and drink.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This growing international "sport" captured our interest when a fellow 4H-er gave a talk on it at District Competition, and last night, on a whim, we did some reading and set up a free account at . Geocaching involves special "caches" hidden in remote locations, and people use GPS to locate them. They are filled with odds and ends, and most importantly, a log book. You are free to take stuff out, but you must replace it with goodies of your own bringing, and you write in the log book. We had to giggle when the log book we read included an "accidental finder" who had been using the restroom in its hiding spot. Thanks to Aunt Carrie and Uncle David for inspiring us last night - maybe sometime we can find one together!

It so happens there are several caches hidden less than half a mile from our house... we'll try to keep the location discreet, but can you find it?? WE DID!!!!

Super-fun School "Tool"

Usually I am most excited about books...I love books - I am convinced they are one of God's greatest creations. But on my list of "wants" this year for school was a sand/water table for Isaac and Ethan. I'd been looking at them online for around $120. Well, guess what God did? At the big, happy red-circles-land-of-everything, I found this gem on clearance for just $20!!! We were waiting till Fall to open it up, but just couldn't help ourselves. No sand yet, but already I thinks it's a BIG hit!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh man, go try this recipe!!!
And while you're visiting this blog, look around a while! I just found this mama tonight and I think we are, as Ann-with-an-E would say (of Green Gables fame, if you didn't know...) "kindred spirits!!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Once a year, some precious girlfriends gather for a girls-only grace-filled weekend where they party and dig deep into each others' hearts and encourage and challenge one another and laugh, and laugh, and cry, and laugh more. I was priveleged to spend a few moments as part of their weekend last night, and reminded that "the Gospel is (truly) lived out in relationship." This has been unofficially declared my YEAR OF FREEDOM, and my year of learning to love women again... thank you for giggles, and for being REAL.


Say to self:
I will not buy ice cream.
I will NOT buy ice cream.
I will not go down the aisle to see if ice cream is on sale 2-for-1.
Above all, I will NOT buy Publix Chocolate Trinity Ice Cream and eat it in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY sprinkled with instant espresso granules. I WILL NOT.

Then instead, make this:

Southwest Caesar-Steak Salad (4 servings)
1 1/2 lb Boneless Strip Loin steak, grilled to desired doneness
8 c grape tomatoes, halved
2 c croutons (see recipe)
Southwestern Caesar Salad Dressing (recipe on back)
Parmesan cheese shavings (opt)

Slice steak into slanted 1/4 in strips
On 4 plates, arrrange romaine, tomatoes, croutons, and steak slices. Drizzle dressing over salad. Top with parmesan shavings.

Southwestern Caesar Salad Dressing (1 cup)
3/4 cup corn (or veg) oil
3 T lime juice
1 T finely diced jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 T chopped cilantro
1 T anchovy paste
1 clove minced garlic (1 t)
1/2 t dijon mustard
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Homemade Croutons: Place 2 c (1-inch cubes) cuban or other bread into a bowl. Mix together one Tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1/8 tsp kosher salt or garlic salt; toss with bread. Arrange cubes in single layer on baking pan. Bake in 350 degree oven or toaster oven until golden. (Note: I do these by melting butter with oil in large sautee pan, quick tossing bread to distribute, and then tossing with salt and peppper. )

Serve this with Southwestern Corn Chowder.
source: Publix Stores, and Kathleen Perry, the everyday gourmet

*And when tempted to do above, go visit my Arizona friend Amy's site and be reminded of simplicity.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sewing Class

What fun this class has been. For a few Fridays this summer, various families joined us to learn the basics of sewing. You guys are so cool! As you can see, it was "all hands on deck," as mommas who were there coached, substitute taught while I nursed, fed Littlest while I taught, threaded machines, untangled machines, ripped crooked seams and helped guide straight ones, and giggled right along with us as we did everything from thread the machine, to learn the use of a serger (thank you my sweet neighbor Patty!) to make custom pillowcases, to taking our measurements and choosing a pattern size, to fabric composition, (WHO CAN TELL ME THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WARP AND WEFT?) to giggling at little brothers who wear Anna's headbands, to finishing our last class with a crazy laundry sorting relay!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sweet Georgia Peaches...

Our precious friends since before we had our first babies spent a week with us... we're all tired and blessed from our time swimming, "beaching," and wandering our favorite local haunt, Heritage Village historical park. My friend C has four girls, and they're all praying God will bring them the little brother who needs a home - but this week hanging with our boys was a good diversion.
It was a great week of childish giggles, late nights, "family" naps, girly sleepovers (taking turns in the hideout!), Polly Pockets, baby-wearing, and of course (as promised, girlfriend!) "bad" food and good wine... and CHOCOLATE.