Thursday, July 28, 2011

Five Friday Favorites

Ending the week with some randomness. Here, in no particular order, are 5 favorite things from this week:

1. Fresh veggies... We love our veggies we're reaping from our garden. And, I love my little helper too. He's helped with every step in this garden. Every seed that was started, every transplant, weeding and watering. It's only right that he harvest as well.

2. York photo album... Super excited about this! Although I've scrapbooked quite a bit in the past, the time for this hobby is in short supply. A dear friend of mine recently ordered an album through an online photo developer, and I loved it! The short end of the story is that looking at the album got me thinking. So, I took my family's vacation pictures and made an album. It helped that York was running a special on their albums, at 50% off! I'll admit, the album arrived last week, but I love it so much that I had to mention it. The whole family loves it! The boys have each looked at it many times already, read about the memories we made, and always end up doubled over laughing. This definitely will not be the last photo book I order.

3. Flowers... in addition to our vegetable garden, we also planted some flowers. They're each beautiful, keep the bees and butterflies around, as well as add some pretty color to our yard.

4.Biscuit pizzas... that's right... biscuit pizzas. They may not look like much, but they are tasty and super easy! We love them for a quick and yummy dinner or lunch. Just lay out canned, refrigerated biscuits on a cookie sheet, smash them down a little. Spread spaghetti sauce on top of them, and grated mozzarella cheese. Bake them according to directions on the biscuit can. Whalla! Biscuit pizzas!
5. Surprises from my boys that let me know they were thinking of me....
This is what I found on my chair when I went to teach piano :-)

What favorite things have you found this week?

Welcome M.O.B. Society Members!

Hello everyone! If you're a regular reader of this blog, this entry will be a bit different. I'm linking up with  The M.O.B. Society , a wonderful blog for mothers of boys, in an effort to get to know some other mothers whose goal is to raise their sons to know and love Jesus Christ. The blogging community can be one of great encouragement. If you have 1 or more boys, you should definitely head over to The M.O.B. Society Now, on to the post...

Hello ladies!! I'm so glad M.O.B. is doing this blog hop, and I'm thankful that you stopped in!

I'm Allyson, mother of 4 incredible boys. My desire was always to be a godly wife and Mommy. By God's grace, He gave me the desire of my heart. I'm blessed to be home with them, homeschooling, and playing our days away. There's nothing I'd rather do with my time than be with my boys and husband. My husband's a pastor of a thriving, growing, wonderful body of believers. We're extremely blessed to have such a great church family. I play and teach piano, as well as sing. I love worshipping my Savior! I've got a thing for bright colors, wild flowers, and cheetos.

My blog is a smattering of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. The majority of content is about my Savior, my boys, husband, and the joy I find in all of them throughout my days. My hope is that the stories I share are not only a keepsake for my family, but also an encouragement to those who read them.

My boys are 12, 11, 8 and 6. My 12 and 11 year old are becoming men right before my eyes. I've found that there are no warning signals for the arrival of "manhood". No flashing red lights or yellow yield signs. They both are, and continuing to become, young men after God's own heart. Not to sound "cliche'-ish", but I truly cannot believe how quickly time is flying. Each of my boys change seemingly overnight. My 8 year old is our "thinker", more quiet, loves music and math. He's also a little zany, and loves to laugh at/with his brothers. My 6 year old is spunky, a fireball of energy and fun, with dimples and a cow-lick front hair spike that will both get him into, and out of, trouble. All of my boys are truly the joys of my days.

 me with my boys

Some of the books that my boys enjoy, and have enjoyed reading are:

The Boxcar Children (series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner... my boys began reading these at age 8, still enjoying them at 11 and 12

Magic Treehouse (series) by Mary Pope Osborne... same as above, ages 7/8-12

The Hardy Boys (series) by Franklin W. Dixon ... my 11 year old has just peaked in his interest in these books, although my 8 year old is also enjoying them

The Answers Book for Kids, Volumes 1-4 by Ken Ham with Cindy Malott ... excellent source for answers to questions children may have about God's Word, suitable for any age reader

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis ... ages 8 and up

Thank you again for stopping in! I'm excited to read your blogs and get to know you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wrapping Up Our First Year in Youth Group

We're wrapping up our first year of having a child participating in youth group at our church. This was the first year at our church that 6th graders were allowed to participate. I'll admit, I had some reservations concerning our eldest being involved.

I found an email I sent to a dear friend, who's daughter was beginning kindergarten. This was last August, right before D began attending:

This has been the most emotional year I've had in a while too. With D beginning 6th grade, he's able to go to our youth group on Wednesday nights. He's also going to be part of the middle school Sunday school class. He is SO excited about this, but I'm having tremendously differing emotions about it. I know he'll be OK, and that he's a strong leader. But I can't help to worry about my "baby" boy. Obviously, he'll be 1 of the younger ones in each group. This fact keeps going through my head... logic says that he doesn't have anything in common with a junior in high school... I just have to pray that D will lead from the bottom as a youngster.

A couple Wednesday nights ago, the youth were all gathering in front of the church, getting ready to leave for an off sight activity. I was standing off a distance, just watching them...and thinking about D. Little did I know that D, who was on the playground with his brothers and some friends, was watching me. I watched the youth, off and on again, for the next 10 minutes. I was teaching the K-5th that night, and waiting for all of the kids to arrive at the playground. Once all of the youth arrived, they left for their activity. It was then that D walked up to me. At that time, I hadn't talked to him about any of my concerns. But he put his hands on my shoulders, and looked at me, sincerity pouring from his big brown eyes, and said, "Mommy, I promise you don't have to worry about me." As I type this, tears are in my eyes. That night, they streamed down my cheeks. My tender D.

Parenting is definitely not for the faint of heart. And I realize why parents who don't have, or don't trust Christ as their Rock and Guide, give up. They disengage, putting walls up around their emotions. And although they seldomly voice this, they reason that by not allowing themselves to love their children fully, they won't be hurt as much when their kids fail. When they make a bad choice.

With God's strength and guidance though, we love our children fully. That's why each and every moment with them is special and, well, the "big" moments are emotional ones.

D's first year of youth group has passed. And, it has been a great one for him! I love that I can look back at this message, read of my concerns, and realize how God has grown and taught D throughout the course of this past year. He's become, and is becoming a young man of integrity, and man after God's own heart. I'm proud of him. I could write for hours about this, but I'll just leave it at that. I'm proud of him.

So now I prepare my heart for my second son entering. He's already been able to participate in a few Wednesday night activities, and is greatly enjoying his "right of passage" into youth group.

Here they both are, having a blast at this past Wednesday night's activities... (thank you, Kathy Crampton, for capturing the fun times and sharing them with us!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Saturday nights.
Preparing my family.
Laying out clothes.
Precious, fleeting days of choosing what they wear, and hanging them out for them to put on in the morning.
Some day soon, I will choose 3. Then 2... and then 1.
For now, I choose 4. Happily.

Saturday nights.
Preparing my heart.
Praying about tomorrow.
Listening to music that glorifies His Name, and reading God's Word.
I choose to prepare. To make my heart and mind ready.
I choose this tonight. Every night.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Proceed With Caution

With the heat index over 100 outside, we spent our day indoors today. I accomplished quite a bit of laundry, partially cleaned out a closet, taught piano lessons, and otherwise enjoyed the day with my boys.

The boys seemed to appreciate the change of pace of being indoors as well. They watched some home movies, read, listened to an audio of The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, and swept the floors. Yes, you read that correctly. They swept the floors. Not because they were asked too either. They had a hidden ambition behind their domestic ways.

Yes, the floors are clean and shiny. And, wow, are they SLICK.

Hours of fun, with one blanket, slippery floors, and 4 energetic, housebound boys.

The only problem is that, for now, we cannot wear socks in this area of our house. To get through this area, we must proceed with caution. :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Front Line

My boys keep me living on the "front line" of reality. Finding little army men on every flat surface has a way of reminding me that...


It Happened

We walked into a restaurant with just our 2 oldest. As we were seated, I realized that the hostess had not asked us how many kid's menus we needed. Nor had she given us any crayons.

This had never happened before.

My guess is that the prescence of our younger 2 usually prompts the question. And, looking at my husband, myself and 2 young men, the question didn't seem necessary.

I hadn't given a thought to not having kid's menus and crayons on our table though. They are part of our dining experience. They've been on our restaurant tables for 12 years. I've become accustomed to gathering the crayons before the meal is served, and often having to store a neatly folded, child's drawing/treasure in my purse to take home with us.

Alas, it wasn't to be...

My 2 young men never mentioned the lack of pictures on their menus. Neither did they miss the crayons.
I, however, felt a sudden urge to go get the kid's menus myself and play a game of tic-tac-toe.

Different seasons of life. They come to us quickly, sometimes showing up when and where you least expect them too. There are no warning signals. It just happens.

image credit:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"I'm so glad this isn't a dream!"

Each Summer, my parents take my boys on a trip for a few days. My parents, being *a little* older, and admittingly more easily tired than my husband and I (the boy's younger parents) choose to take the boys 2 at a time. The 2 oldest had their time with Grandmom and Grandad last week. Now, my 2 younguns' are on their trip.
Each of my boys look forward to this time with my parents all year long. They complete one trip only to begin talking of what next year's trip may be like. And, their anticipation is never unfounded. They have more fun each time than they could possibly have conjoured up left to their own minds and dreams.
These few days they spend with just Grandmom and Grandad are overflowing with love, reckless love. My parents dote on, laugh with, listen to, cuddle with, and completely spoil my children. In the midst of all of this fun, they mostly love my children unconditionally.
THANKFUL, I am to have parents who desire to be so intregal in the lives of their grandchildren.
The memories made in these days each year will be treasured forever in the hearts of my 4 little men.

When I spoke to my 2 youngest this evening, to find out about their day and to tell them "goodnight", my Mom relayed a conversation from their dinner.
....while talking about how excited they were to be with Grandmom and Grandad for the next few days, my youngest speaks up.... "I'm so glad this isn't a dream!"

I'm glad it's not a dream either, little man. We have much to be thankful for.
Please forgive the Christmas picture. It was the latest picture I have of my parents and all 4 boys. (mental note... I need to make a point of taking more!)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

A couple of weeks ago, my little man and I went strawberry picking. This was the first time we'd ever been, and we loved it! It is work, kind of hard on the legs and back, but we ended up with 20 pounds of strawberries for about 1/2 of what we would have paid for them from the super market.
Isaac worked very hard, filling up his little green bucket 5 times. The last time he filled it, he said he only chose the biggest ones he could find. He said that they were all for eating, not for jam. :-) He didn't complain at all while we were picking. That's a pretty big deal for him. We had gotten up at 5:30 that morning, and he's my child who's difficult to wake up at 8 when we have to. I know he was tired that morning, but he kept on picking. We had a great time together, picking and making memories at the strawberry patch.

Still not complaining, but visibly tired. It was now 8:45 in the morning, and we'd already picked 20 pounds of strawberries.
We froze about 1/2 of them for later use.
Besides that, we made freezer jam, and enjoyed many of them within the next days after picking.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy fresh strawberries is with shortcake. Here's a fantastic recipe for fresh homemade shortcake:
  • 2 cups flour                                         
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 3 Tbspn sugar
  • 6 Tbspn butter
  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • whipping cream
  1. Prepare strawberries-wash, cut, and combine with sugar. Set aside at room temp for an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter and flour 9 inch cake pan (this size works well for this size of recipe. If you're doubling it, use a larger pan.)
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  4. Stir in milk slowly, mixing only until dough is moist.
  5. Form dough "biscuits", they will be lumpy. Place in pan.
  6. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
I know it may seem like quite a few steps, but it's really not difficult. And the time spent making it is totally worth it for the yumminess afterwards! It's SO much better than those sponge cakes from the grocery store. Hope you enjoy it!

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