The heart of a child

January 1, 2014

Our daughters, aged 5 and 7, have been playing with their new drink dispenser all afternoon having tea parties and pretending to be princesses. This “drink dispenser” resembles a Keurig coffee maker, so they feel like adults.

After hours of playing and many cups of “tea” later, they approach me with a plan…

“Mommy, we want to use the drink dispenser to have a lemonade stand and send all the money to an orphanage so that those kids can have a mom and dad some day.”

Wow. WOW! Where did they come up with this?!?

Yes, we have been talking a lot about orphans lately because of the command in the Bible…

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)

We have been praying about how we, the Flener family, can take care of orphans and widows in their distress.

But…I had no idea that our kids were processing any of it.

They notice. They hear. They listen…even when it doesn’t appear that they do.

And, I guarantee you one thing…this Mommy is going to do everything in my power to make sure that lemonade stand is successful! I am, after all, an entrepreneur at heart. 🙂

So, in the Spring, when the grass is turning green, the flowers are blooming and we are all struggling with allergies…the Fleners will be selling lemonade, homemade donuts, bread, bracelets (and whatever else we can come up with) to raise money for children who are far less fortunate than my sweet children.

Anyone thirsty?!?

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bunny & school field trip

October 6, 2011

We found bunny!  Thank goodness…  Daddy found her in the toy room.  We had looked there a MILLION times, but   oh well.  The important thing is she was found!!!

Yesterday I got to go with Grace & all the Kindergarteners to Mile High Farms.  When Grace first heard about the field trip she said, “Mommy, can you please go?!?!”  Fortunately, a friend and I had made an agreement at the beginning of the year to help each other out with the kids so we can go on field trips, help with the parties, etc.  So, I told Grace I would make it happen…I was determined to find someone to watch the kids (even if Adrian couldn’t) because in preschool Grace never wanted me to go with her on field trips.

Adrian was able to watch the kids, so I rode with 4 other moms and Grace took her first school bus ride.  🙂

We had a great time at Mile High Farms.  We learned about corn and pumpkins, went through a corn maze, had a hay rack ride, and picked pumpkins.  I really enjoyed getting to know Grace’s classmates and some other moms better.

It was a fun day and I’m so thankful that I got to go.  Before we left the farm Grace ran up to me and said, “Mommy!  Thank you SO much for coming on the field trip with me!!!”  Melt my heart.

For whatever reason, my kids have had really thankful hearts lately.  During dinner they’ve been saying “Thank you SO much, Mommy, for making this dinner!”  The other night (while I was making dinner) Grace came into the kitchen and said, “Mommy, I am so thankful for you because you make us delicious meals.”  WOW.  I’m not sure where it’s coming from or how it started, but I love it.

As moms it’s great to see some fruit from all the blood, sweat and tears that we put into our kids.  We don’t always get a glimpse of the results of our day-to-day labor, but every once-in-awhile when we do…grab it and don’t let go.

 

lost bunny

October 4, 2011

When Grace was a year old, we visited Nana after her double knee replacement surgery.  It was around Easter time and a friend had given Nana a cute little bunny that Grace was instantly drawn to.  A few months later we visited Nana…and again, Grace was drawn to the bunny so Nana gave it to her.  From then on, Grace had a buddy…or should I say bunny.  The bunny’s name has always been “bunny” …even when I tried to get Grace to give it a “real” name, all she wanted to call it was “bunny.”

Well, in the last couple of days this “bunny” has gone missing.  We have torn the house, the cars…everything..apart to find this bunny.  No signs of her.

Today when Grace got home from school, she asked for some blank paper.  She sat down at her little table and got to work.  Before long she brought me two pieces of paper that she had decorated with “bunny missing” messages and pictures of her and bunny together.  She begged and begged and begged and begged for me to help her hang the signs on the trees in front of our house.  That way, if someone else has seen bunny they could return her to her owner.

It made me cry…seriously.  It was so sweet…so innocent…and so desperate.  And she did it all on her own.

I’ve got to find that bunny!  I’m on a mission and it’s driving me crazy.  I tore the house A-P-A-R-T tonight looking for it.

Tonight Grace prayed asking God to help us find her bunny.

Please, Lord, help us find bunny!!!

granola bars

October 2, 2011

I have a favorite cooking blog…smittenkitchen.com.  It’s “from scratch” recipes that are sometimes a bit time-consuming, but super fun and very rewarding.  As I use her recipes, I’ll share them because I have quite a few favorites.  I used to make her stuff all the time, but when Chase came along, my time for cooking decreased dramatically.  But, now that he’s almost 10 months old, I’m feeling like I’m getting a handle on life again and ready to get back to cooking and baking from scratch again!!!  I’m so excited.  🙂

Yesterday, the girls and I made her thick, chewy granola bars.  Boy are they yummy!  Not just yummy, but lick-the-plate-and-eat-every-last-crumb yummy!!!

Here is the recipe (with my modifications)…  You can also find her original recipe here.

1 2/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes (it took me 40), until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.  

I put my individual granola bars in snack-sized baggies for easy, on-the-go snacks.  Grace is excited to take them to school for snack time!

out on the farm

September 28, 2011

Last year we went with some friends to this fun little farm. They have some fun activities for the kids, but the best part is going on a hay rack ride through the farm to pick your own veggies. It is amazing!

We were trying to find a good time to take the kids, but our schedule is super busy. So, we settled on a Tuesday since Matt is off work. Unfortunately, that meant Grace didn’t get to go because she is in school. That’s been my biggest (and really ONLY) struggle with the school schedule. I feel like if we do anything while Grace is in school, then she misses out. However, I remind myself that she’s getting to do super fun things (including a field trip to another farm!) and I can’t deprive Alyssa & Chase of fun activities during school hours.

So, all of that to say, we went to Miller Farms on Tuesday…and had a BLAST!  Another family from the Denver area was on our veggie-picking-tractor and we had such a great time with them.  We even exchanged phone numbers.  🙂  And, she inspired me to re-start this blog.  They too have family far away (in Texas!), so she’s very diligent to update their blog with pictures, videos and updates.  I’m going to do the same.  🙂

Speaking of which…here are some pics from our day on the farm…

To enter the farm, you pay per person and each person gets 5 shopping bags to fill with goodies.  We had 20 bags to fill, which is a ton of food.  Our kitchen is now stocked with a plethora of corn, potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, celery, melons, pumpkins (orange & white), tomatoes, many different types of peppers…am I forgetting something?!?  We had so much food that we decided to bag up some groceries for our neighbors and share the wealth.  It was fun to share.  🙂

I’ve been busy making homemade spaghetti sauce, decorating with pumpkins, and searching for other recipes.  In the near future I’m going to make (and freeze) some potato soup and salsa.  🙂  Yummy!!

 

Through a new lens…

March 16, 2009

So, Carrie and I just upgraded to two new lenses for our Canon Rebel XTi. We are still learning quite a bit about them, but they are capturing some beautiful (and hilarious) pictures of the girls.  Here is a sampling!

Grace Flener poses for the camera

Grace Flener poses for the camera

Alyssa Flener poses for the camera

Alyssa Flener poses for the camera

With Carrie's Sunglasses

With Carrie's Sunglasses

Grace is human

Grace is human