Sunday, March 31, 2013

Books I Read in March (#6-8)

Here are the books I read in March. It appears that my book choices have been predominantly religious this year.

Warrior Prayers by Brooke McGlothlin was an excellent read. As a new parent (of a boy) there are so many things to worry about. As a Christian (who would like to impart my faith on my son) there are ever more things that make me worry. 

I found this book to be an great source of comfort and direction on how I can pray for my son. The biggest thing I took away from this book is that I am not in control. There is nothing I can do to force my son (or anyone) to be who I want them to be, except pray. This is something I already believe, but it was a good reminder nonetheless. 

The book provides many prayers that are based on scripture to pray over your boys. I think the prayers are applicable to anyone and I have found peace in these prayers. Brooke also writes the blog, the MOB Society (mother of boys). She uses her site to encourage mothers of boys in their path to raising their children. I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

You Lost Me is the follow up to the book, unChristian. Both are by David Kinnaman. While unChristian took a look at how nonChristians, or the unchurched view the church (based on surveys conducted by the Barna Group), You Lost Me takes a look at why so many young people who were raised in the church are leaving the church and/or walking away from religion completely. 

I am slightly outside of the age group that this book is talking about, but I have certainly had similar feelings or experiences about the church. I also identified with a lot of the concerns in the book unChristian as well. I thought both books were fascinating and I think it is important for believers to take a hard look at why young people don't want to be connected with the church. 

I recently read a blog post (And Then the Conference Uninvited Me to Speak by Jen Hatmaker) that I think sums up how young Christians are feeling about religion today. I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

Yellow Star is the account of Syvia Perlmutter's experience as a child growing up in the Lodz ghetto during the Holocaust. It is written by Syvia's niece

I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

I am continuing to read The Story and have enjoyed reading the Bible in this format. If you are expecting an exact replication of the Bible, you won't like this book, but if you are interested in reading the Bible as a collective story, then this is an excellent read. 

I have heard people say that the movie, The Bible, on the History Channel has been pretty violent and moves quickly (perhaps too quickly). My take is that if you actually read the Old Testament, it is pretty violent stuff. As for the pace of the tv series or this particular book, there are certainly some things that get left out – probably due to the restraints of the format. At any rate, I have read up through the story of Ruth and have appreciated rereading these stories.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Play Date: The Matrix

Play dates are still relatively new experiences for me and Jack. Until now we have only really done things with my sister and her kids. Which has been great, but has it's limitations since we live about 2 hours apart. 

As Jack continues to grow, I have felt more of a need to get him out playing with other kids and I need some mom friends in my life too. Thankfully there are a few other moms in our church life group and I have enjoyed getting to know them a bit better over the past year.

This morning Jack and I headed over to Huntsville to meet up one of our church friends and her twin girls at The Matrix in Huntsville. 

This was a first for me. I took gymnastics for a brief time in middle school, but I hurt myself doing a flip on a trampoline and kind of lost the taste for it. The Matrix is a huge gymnastics/tumbling/cheerleading and 24-hour fitness gym that offers a variety of classes for different ages. Lucky for us, it also has open gym time on Friday mornings for little kids.

Unfortunately we didn't get to go in the big gym with all of the trampolines. Since it was spring break, there were a lot of clinics going on for older children. We did get some time in a smaller gym and Jack had a blast.

It was $5 for an hour of play. There was an air track to run and bounce on. 

A foam pit to swing into (Jack is too small for the swinging part but he still jumping in the pit).

Uneven bars and low balance beams to try. Jack was really interested in the bars and he wanted to step over the beams. 

There were also two trampolines to play on as well as obstacles like a tunnel and wedged shaped mats to climb over or practice rolling on.

I didn't get much time to visit with my friend – all of the activities required a lot of supervision of Jack, but it was still a lot of fun and I am so thankful that we were invited to meet them.

Since our small town has very few offerings for kids (besides park playgrounds – which we love), I think we will start making a weekly drive over to Huntsville. Right now I am considering The Matrix every other week and Barnes and Noble for a free story hour on the off weeks. 

I'm still getting the hang of this mom thing and the whole idea of getting Jack out to do things that are fun for him. Plus it was nice to be able to run into Target and do a little shopping before heading home... it's the little things in life, right?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Feeding Ducks with Grandpa

See Jack feed ducks with his Grandpa Moore

Yesterday afternoon Jack and I spent some time with Jack's Grandpa Moore. Grandpa M. is getting ready to buy a new house in Chattanooga, so we tagged along for moral support.

We were in town a little early for a house viewing, so we made a pit stop at a park in College Dale to feed ducks.

This was a big hit with Jack. His Grandpa did the feeding and Jack got a big kick out of the experience. I'm pretty sure that Jack just wanted to touch the ducks.

We saw quite the variety of ducks... Young ones and old ones. White ones and brown ones. Some had green heads and some had red heads.

The red headed ducks looked like a cross between a duck and a turkey – I have never seen a duck like this before. There were even a few Canadian Geese in the mix.

The sun was shining and it wasn't too cold. Really a perfect afternoon to feed ducks.

I am sure that we will be feeding more ducks in the near future!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

See Jack {and his cousins – March 2013}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

I'm pretty sure that Jack had a blast spending toddler spring break with his cousins. Here are a few videos that capture some of the fun. 

See Jack and Levi pretend to cook in the play kitchen. 
These boys love this kitchen.

See Jack and Levi play in the (real) kitchen.
Levi had a blast running in circles and showing Jack how to sweep.

See Jack and Izzy ride horses together.
Also Angela teaches Izzy a new phrase, "Mark, shut the front door!"
You have to watch what you say around these kids :)

See Jack ride the big horse with help from his Grandpa Voyles.
 Jack is lucky that Grandpa brought him his own horsey to take home to Alabama...
now if only his daddy would put it together for him!  

See Jack and Levi jump on the trampoline.
It was a little cold, but the boys had a great time. 
They will be wrestling in there in no time. 

See Jack and Levi and Grandpa Voyles.
Grandpa sure makes a lot of crazy sounds! 

See Jack play with his cousins. 
This is just a little bit of our crazy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pancakes, Eggs and Bacon in a Muffin Tin

Sunday night I had still not had time to go grocery shopping... I was still decompressing from Toddler Spring Break. We had already ate out (a couple of times that weekend) and Daniel was ready to eat in. So I consulted my fridge and Pinterest and decided to make breakfast for dinner in the form of Pancakes, Eggs and Bacon in a muffin tin. Can I just call it Panegcon?

Daniel isn't a big fan of eggs over easy (and Jack probably doesn't need to eat uncooked yolk, not to mention that would be messy), so I made their eggs scrambled. To achieve this I followed the recipe, but I whisked the eggs individually before pouring them into the muffin tin.

Also, I only had 6 eggs on hand, so I used the rest of the pancake batter to make mini pancakes and I also had a couple extra slices of bacon that I cooked in my leftover muffin well.

These were a big hit for all of us. I got to eat my eggs over easy while the guys enjoyed theirs scrambled. Plus the leftover pancakes have been great for breakfast the last two days. Simple, delicious and fun. Thanks again Pinterest!

Panegcon (or Pancake Eggs and Bacon Cups)
This is the recipe as I made it. 

6 Eggs
8 Slices of Turkey Bacon
1 Batch of Pancakes for Two
Preheat Oven to 350ºF.
Cook bacon in microwave on high for 1.5 minutes (I did mine in batches of 4).
Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour 1/8 cup of pancake batter into each muffin (this filled up 11 of the 12 tins when I made it).
Bake for 4 minutes or until set.
Increase temperature to 400ºF.
Wrap a piece of the partially cooked bacon around interior side of the muffin well.
For overeasy eggs: crack egg directly into the muffin well.
For scrambled eggs: whisk individual eggs in a bowl before pouring into muffin well.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are set and the yolks are still runny (if you prefer your eggs completely set cook longer). It seemed like the scrambled eggs actually took a little longer to set, so my eggs weren't as runny as I would have liked.
*You can add more eggs and bacon to finish out all 12 muffin wells, 6 eggs was plenty for our family of 3. It was also nice to have the extra pancakes as leftovers.

Random, but I just saw that Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Eggs in Hashbrown Nests today. I might have to try those next.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My name is Jack, I like to stand on things.

I am sure that this is indicative of his age, but it cracks me up every time I find Jack standing on something other than the floor. He hasn't been that interested in climbing up and standing on things like tables (perhaps that is coming) but any kind of object is fair game.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Toddler Spring Break

A week with no blog posts – did you miss me?

Jack and I spent the last 5 days visiting with some of my family in Nashville. I don't think that I have taken a "spring break" type of trip in a decade and going on one with a toddler is certainly a different type of trip.

My mom had the week off from work, so she and my dad drove over from Searcy. We have found that my sister's house is a great central location for all of us to get together. My brother works 5 minutes away and was able to take his afternoons off so that he could hang out with us as well.

Monday night we visited and the kids played. We ended the night with the cousins taking a bath together. I'm not sure what Jack thought about this, but he seemed to have fun.

Tuesday, we made our way over to the Nashville Zoo. 

I think Jack had the most fun when I let him walk instead of riding in the stroller. 

Also the ginormous playground was a big hit for the kids.

I thought the best part was listening to my dad make various animal noises and watching the animals respond.

The funniest (though perhaps meanest) thing was when he made a call like a hawk while we watched the meerkats.

This poor little meerkat dove from his watch post into a hole to take cover.

Dad also got the flamingos going and a cassowary took notice of him as well. 

When we made it to the lemurs, Izzy wanted dad to call to them as well, but there isn't really a noise that the lemurs make.

I enjoyed seeing the zebras, giraffes and elephants. 

One reason I like to take my own photographs is that when you hand a stranger your camera, you take a gamble that they will take a blurry picture or cut someone out of the picture. In this case, the strollers holding Levi and Jack were left out!

After the zoo, we headed back to my sister's house, where my aunt and cousin met us for dinner. We enjoyed getting to visit with them.

Wednesday we were supposed to go to an Easter Egg Hunt at the library. Unfortunately the librarian booked the wrong event and we were treated to a ballet lesson instead. Izzy enjoyed it.

The boys were ambivalent.

After the library, the boys took naps and Angela and I took Izzy to a local consignment sale. Angela got a boat load worth of clothes for her kids. I was excited to find a kid carrier for our bicycles. As soon as it warms up again, I can't wait to take Jack on his first bike ride!

Wednesday afternoon we let the boys jump in the trampoline. I'm pretty sure that they will be having full blown wrestling matches out there in a year or two.

After bedtimes, the adults either watched Duck Dynasty and/or played Rummikub.

Thursday was cold and everyone was a bit tired from all of the playing and visiting. We decided to take the kids to CFA to wear themselves out a bit. One of Daniel's 3rd cousins met us there. She has been dying to meet Jack, so I'm glad that it worked out.

Jack climbed to the top of the Chick-fil-A playland. This was a first ever for him. Cousin Izzy helped him go down the slide, twice. He was pretty excited.

Friday morning, we got up and said our goodbyes after breakfast. I think Jack was pretty worn out from a week of non-stop playing. It may take a few days for him to adjust back to his normal schedule!

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...