Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hiking the White Mountains: Coppermine Trail (And a Fun New Nightgown!)

My kids roll their eyes when they hear me say how amazed I am that little old New Hampshire has such breathtakingly beautiful mountains because they probably hear it no less than 70 times a year.
And then I proceed to wonder- aloud- how impressive some of the other state's mountains must be if we have these.
Now their eyeballs are literally bobbing around in their sockets.
I think it will be one of those charming things I'm long-remembered for.
"Hey, remember when Mom used to say...?" Insert laughter, smiles, and nostalgic joy.

Mother's Day was gorgeous. The kind of day that beckons you to the great outdoors. 

 That water was friiiiiiiiigid - Caleb had to walk through the brook to get there...he was the only one. =)

 We had The. Longest. Winter. Ever. this year, and what is she super excited about?
Finding snow.

 This was a really beautiful trail, complete with a mountain brook bubbling alongside you almost all of the way. There were several rocky areas which would not be suitable for very young children or for older folks who are a bit unsteady on their feet. As you near the waterfall, there is a rickety bridge to cross, which my angelic children would never, ever dream of hopping, jumping, shaking and/or swaying upon just in the hopes of sending their mother over the edge. Both figuratively and literally. Go figure.  ;)

I like steady ground. What can I say?

Now onto the fun summer nightgowns. I don't think I've shared this yet...sorry if I did and just forgot. It's a fantastic option for those of you who have something particular in mind but A. you don't sew; and B. you can't find it in stores or online.

Design Your Own Nightgown
 For Baby, Little Girls, & Teens

You can visit my shop, Rose & Ruffle, HERE for more details. Thanks!

Have a super weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

You feel defeated when you...

...see pictures of your sweet baby girl on the internet associated with explicit/illicit subject matter and content.

It has been a really difficult week. I'm heartbroken. I'm angry. Most of all, I'm so discouraged.

I feel completely defeated.

I love blogging and meeting other Moms around the world who are striving to be their best- it can be such an uplifting and encouraging experience. But then there is this side. At first, I just shut the blogs down as kind of a knee-jerk reaction, as well as deleted some pictures from Facebook and Etsy, because I felt desperate and afraid. I still don't know what I'm going to do.

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.
Lamentations 3:40

The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
and he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

These are the things I want to reflect and focus on, not the things not of this world that all too often begin to consume me. God is the mighty creator of the universe, and yet He adores and delights in me. In you. In all of us who are called His own.
Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
- See more at:,-victory-over#sthash.kzZfePYy.dpuf
Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
- See more at:,-victory-over#sthash.kzZfePYy.dpuf

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Best of our Busy Week

I was just going to type "Happy Monday morning," but since here we are already at Wednesday, I think the ship may have sailed on that one. I don't ever want to forget the snippets of my life with these crazy-wonderful people, so today is definitely a more journal-like post of the past week or so.

Caleb with me, pre-game (they won!)

This is pretty much all I'm ever able to capture for one of Ethan's soccer games.
A big blurrrrrrrr. Boy is fast! ;)

Ah, and the big braces day! We had to commemorate by going out for lunch.
Plus, I was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to eat later on once the soreness kicked in. Such a nice time, just the two of us.

Mother's Day flowers we arranged for Mimi and Grandma.
(I didn't notice the tag until afterwards...oops.) I don't care how many commercials lately try to steer me away from flowers, it's never going to work. Flowers are always the best!

 I got whisked away for a Mother's Day hike up in the White Mountains. I'm going to do a separate post on that because, well, it deserves it. =)
This turkey of mine, taking an icy cold dip.

Such a beautiful day!

Visiting with Great Gram on Mother's Day
Caleb and Daddy are missing- they had gone to give Grandma her flowers only to discover that she was was with my s-i-l and her family for the twentieth time that weekend. So they dropped them off. Great. That made me pretty annoyed to have missed out on this for nothing.

 Moving on. These two are something else. 
FYI, I don't do elevators. And of course they all jump to make poor Mom howl. It works. Every time.

This is them last week. Something about staring in each other's eyes until they became a cyclops? Love is weird, I guess. ha ha

 And this boy. This friendly, talkative, adventurous boy of mine. Well, he has a fierce competitive streak, and I got to watch him pitch for the first time the other night. I am a wimpy sports Mom- I watch with a giant pit in my stomach because I get so nervous for them. Every. Single. Time. Every. Single. Sport.
The parents were really great this time, encouraging Caleb the whole time; in years' past, it's the parents who yell the most awful things when things don't go perfectly well. I've kept my distance a little bit because I don't know them, but maybe I'll put in a little effort this week.
He pitched like a pro, by the way.  ;)

Since most of the places I want to bring the boys aren't even open yet (Memorial Day weekend, which stinks, in my humble opinion), we opted for America's Stonehenge in Salem yesterday. It is touted around these parts like some magnificent, awe-inspiring wonder of history.
Um, it's a bunch of rocks.
Neat, but awesome? I think not.

This spot looked a little more interesting in person, but it's still nice.

Fuzzy alpacas on site. A sign said they make wonderful pets. Hmm.....
I thought we were going to be able to get close and pet them, but no. Don't they look like they want me to come see them???

We bought a special rock in the gift shop in honor of our day at Stonehenge. I thought it might look more impressive if they'd bothered to remove the "Made in Brazil" stickers from them, but oh well. I'd planned a little ahead and found a Domino's pizza place because I had a gift card, so we enjoyed a lovely pizza picnic. With supremely overpriced but pretty yummy pastries from the local bakery next door, I might add. 

The funniest part of the day?
One of the pizza guys kept giving us extras, even though the gift card was already emptied out, which was nothing out of the ordinary...except that Ethan couldn't get over the fact that the guy was working so hard to impress me. Ha Ha! Ethan was thoroughly disgusted, and kept letting me know it. It's like all of a sudden, he sees things differently, and stuff like that doesn't get past him like it used to. I thought his being protective of his Mama was so cute. (And for the record, all I did was smile, and say "thank you.")

Okay, busy day ahead. Have a great one!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Crepes with Strawberries, Cream & Chocolate Drizzle

Wow, it's Friday! This has been a big week over here. We finally got over multiple illnesses; a certain someone who commutes 45 minutes each way was in dire need of some new wheels, so we got that taken care of (and I still say car shopping is THE worst!); the big trip to see the Red Sox play...and win!; our newest teenager got phase two of braces (let me just come right out and say YIKES here!); more baseball games, soccer games, gymnastics...just the stuff that you do when your kids do the stuff that they do. And even though it can be challenging, I love it!

I still like to cook good things on even the busiest of days, though. Sure, we eat out occasionally, but bigger boys means bigger stomachs, and that doesn't come cheap! So I've got a few recipes up my sleeve that I can rely on when time is near non-existent. I'm sharing this easy crepes recipe with you today because it's an all-time favorite with my crew. And it's really yummy!

You'll need:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
strawebrries, sliced
whipped cream
chocolate drizzle

Whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl; cover batter and let stand 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and slice strawberries.

Lightly spray or butter a small-medium non-stick pan; you probably won't need to spray or butter it again, and sometimes I forget altogether and they come out fine. Using a ladle, pour enough batter to coat the center bottom of the pan; you'll "swirl" the batter around to cover the entire pan, but move quick, as it sets once it reaches the heat.

Cook for 3-4 minutes or until edges begin to curl up; use a fork to gently flip the crepe in the pan. (I loosen up the edge of the crepe with the fork and then just use my fingers to hold it and flip it over.)

Lay the crepes flat on a plate to cool, but don't place them one on top of the other- stagger them a bit.
Aw, this little crepe looks sad...

...that's better!


I've found that chocolate syrup works best for these, and I'm generally not a fan of that stuff. But for these? Perfection.

You can load the crepes up with blueberries and kiwi, too, for a delightful no-fuss summery dessert. They are so light and good! For a richer dessert, try a dollop of custard or pudding as a filling in addition to the fruit, whipped cream and drizzle. I bet you'll be making these as often as I do once you see how easy and versatile they are!  =)

Fore more desserts, check out the label in the sidebar...

FYI, these crepes make for a lovely breakfast or brunch item. Simply load them with a variety of fresh fruit and voila! Perfection!

For other delicious breakfast recipes, see our favorite Puff Pancake

or this light and buttery Crumb Cake

Okay, I'm supposed to be going over spelling words right now, so I'd better sign off. Have a super weekend!

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tickle my tastebuds

Thursday, May 8, 2014

One of Those Beautiful Days

Okay, so I started this yesterday and got sidetracked. And tired! So now here I am, bright and early. And still a little tired.  =)

Caleb had a very big night on Tuesday with his Dad...his surprise Easter gift was a ticket to see the Red Sox at Fenway, and he was ecstatic! Couldn't wipe the wide smile off his face for days prior, and of course now, after the fact. William kept texting me Caleb's comments throughout the game, but this one pretty much sums it up: "Best night of my whole life!" Poor Jonah and Isabelle, on the other hand, were still recovering from some stomach thing (and really poor Jonah, who had managed to get himself a double ear infection and possible strep throat immediately following the New England Rev' game!), but feeling well enough to enjoy dinner with my in-laws while the Sox fans were out of town.


Someone was extra sleepy yesterday morning and couldn't deal with the usual 4:38 wake-up time. Wimp. Just kidding...they didn't get home until 11:30, and considering how he traveled into MA for work, came home for an hour only to turn around and travel even farther into MA for the game, we won't pick on him too much. I took full advantage of that situation and made a beeline for the grocery store after dropping Isabelle off. Those fridge shelves were looking pretty sparse, folks. Time to shop.

You know how sometimes you just take a glance around you, and within seconds, you can tell it's going to be an adventure at the grocery store today?  Yeah. That was yesterday. I knew I was either going to laugh or cry by the end. Except for that one guy who must have had a severe allergy to soap- and deodorant- or rather some other norms-defiant mentality. Because he just kind of made me choke on the air. There were teen girls proudly belching up and down each aisle (think Elf-sized), others arguing over how many packs of canned sodas they could fit into the trunk of their car (what!?!) because they were on sale (although they weren' was just the way they were priced that made it seem like they might be on sale). Another lady lamenting over the high cost of cigarettes. Or at least I think that's what she was talking about; she spoke in one continuous cough, so it was hard to tell what she was saying at all. But she called the check-out lady "honey" at least a hundred times, so in my mind, she was redeemed.

So as I'm finishing up, I started to place my things on the belt, chuckling inside at the cigarette "conversation" up ahead of me, and one of the belch girls (and I know this because I can hear her coming a mile away) is suddenly cramming her ramen noodle packet/boxed-arms into my back and rear, pushing past me in order to dump them out onto the conveyor belt. I thought she grunted at me, perhaps as an absent-minded, "Excuse me," or "Sorry about that." No problem. Whatev.  Carry on.

And do you know what made this moment even more awkward than it already was? Well, I'll tell you : the shouting match that progressed between the two of them as I stood there, stuck in some weirdo grocery edition monkey-in-the-middle game. I thought we were going to have to call the paramedics! Of course I'm rooting for Cough-Lady throughout this fight because even though I can't tell what she's saying, I can hear "honey" this and "honey" that. Meanwhile Belch-Girl has just about come to the end of her rope, hollering and carrying on, and I'm standing there trying in vain to figure out what they're even talking about. I must have been so entranced that I'd forgotten to keep putting my things up, until I got a dirty look from the person in back of me. And I laughed. Because sometimes, you just have to.

Now I realize that the title of this post seems sarcastic, but it's not! Yesterday was such a great day! I didn't think the whole grocery store story was going to be that long, but I had to include the details for prosperity's sake.  ;) The weather was delightful, and we enjoyed it to the fullest.

We spent an hour or more outside playing catch and hitting the ball. I throw like a total girl, so they were giving me pointers. I made Jonah pose in this pic for me after he sent the ball flying into the woods. I bet you can't see it...

Pretty impressive, considering we were playing up near the house at the time. We got a big kick out of that!

Oak Hill Trails with Dad and Ryder. Ticks are out full force this year. So gross! And scary- my Dad battled Lyme Disease for over a year and a half, and it was dreadful. Everyone gets so mad at me because it stinks!), but I rely on this natural, non-toxic homemade repellant.


Fire Tower #... um, I have no idea, actually.

There was a state guy eating his lunch up there, and the boys said he wasn't friendly at all. They all said hi to him and he ignored them. Jerk.

They're coming!

I like this part of the trail- I feel so small amid all those huge trees.

Blooming forsythia beside the parking area. So pretty!

I'd been feeling overwhelmed and frazzled in general with homeschool stuff, but I've found some great articles and websites, which was just the shot of encouragement I needed. I love how God does that for us, points us in a certain direction or gives a gentle nudge. And then I got to hold babies last night in the nursery at church. =)

Today looks to be another glorious day. Jonah is feeling a little nervous because today we go in for phase two with braces. His parents are nervous as well. Phase two has a high price tag. Ouch. Now would be a great time to put in an order (or twenty).  =)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo: Easy Chicken Quesadillas

I really cannot believe that we're already into May this year! I need everything to just slooooow down a little. Anyhoo. Way back when I was a college student and contemplating living abroad in Spain for an entire year, the one thing that always brought my plans to a screeching halt pause was this: the prospect of eating nothing but spicy food. I've never been a fan of spicy food, Tex-Mex or other- it just never agrees with me. Sad, right? Well, come to find out that my fears were unfounded, Spanish cuisine is not spicy, and I loved the food. And now, even spicier fare is growing on me. A little. ;)

This quick and easy Chicken Quesadilla has become a staple in our dinner rotation, so I thought I'd share it in honor of Cinco de Mayo today. Enjoy! 

You'll Need:
package of burrito-sized tortillas
jar of salsa
1 boiled or cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
1 bag "pizza blend" shredded cheese
 sour cream, optional

You can bake these in the oven or brown them in a frying pan on the stove top.

Or do both, like I do, because I've got lots of hungry people after me, people. =)

I use the smaller burritto size tortilla in order to fit 2 nicely on the cookie pan, but you can use whatever size you want. Next, lightly coat one tortilla with mayo, sprinkle on some shredded cheese (enough to cover the tortilla), add the chicken, salsa (I use mild...of course!), and add more shredded cheese on top of the salsa. The cheese on top and bottom help keep the quesadilla together when it melts, which makes it much easier to turn over/flip.

Once the cheese is added, place the second tortilla on top. Bake at 350 F for about 10 minutes or until browned; Carefully flip the quesadilla over to brown on the other side. You can also cook these in a frying pan on medium heat, flipping once when ready. (You don't need to spray the pan.)

They are quick and easy, and fantastic!

We serve them hot with a dollop of sour cream, but they taste great cold, too.

If you prefer more heat, use a medium or hot salsa. You can also toss in some black olives, beans...whatever you like! Happy eating!

We'll be having these scrumptious Homemade Brownies with Cream Cheese Topping for dessert. IF there's any left by the time dinner rolls around...

And if you're looking for lunches that go beyond PB&J, I've got you covered. Click here for the post.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fun Stuff

I didn't mean for the whole week to go by without posting about last weekend's adventure. We surprised Ethan and Jonah with tickets to see New England Revolution play at Gillette Stadium...and it was awesome!!!

Clearly we were a little to to the left.  =) But no one was complaining because we were eight rows back from the action. Pretty darn close.

Who, me? That wasn't my foot sticking out in front of him...
Though maybe I should post a pic of the opponents getting reprimanded.
Like this one. Red card, baby. Buh-bye. (I'm a total wimp, though, since I felt bad for the guy. I know, I know.)

Do Paul Revere and his pals attend sporting events in your hometown? Too funny. Behind them was a massive crowd with flags and banners, and extremely loud voices. Did I mention that they were loud. 'Cuz they were. Really loud.
No, really loud. And energetic/excitable/perhaps slightly inebriated.

Just to show the massiveness of the place. This is where the NE Patriots play, only the stands are filled to capacity. I cannot even imagine the crowds. I do not like crowds. I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it.

At the end of the 90 minutes, 3 minutes stoppage time was added to the clock since neither team had scored. And about a minute and a half in, we scored! Unfortunately, this was exactly the time J and W were, well, taking a pit stop so they missed it, but Ethan and I were jumping up and down like crazy. So exciting. I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life. Thankfully, when J and W returned, the Revs had another chance to score with a penalty kick...and they did! 2-0. What a great night!

Until 3 am, when poor Jonah was puking his guts out. And then 4, 5...and so on...

Oh, I forgot about Patriot Place. And the rest of Gillette Stadium. The whole stadium is magnificent- there is shopping and food all along the upper side. I didn't venture inside Victoria's Secret (while with my teenage sons), but the point is, I could have. It was our first time eating at 5 Guys, too - I should have known something was up when J couldn't finish his burger!

Massive. And impressive.

For some reason, this set up reminded me of Hunger Games, when they were training.
 The wall of retired numbers.

Around the corner, there was a kick station (I tried and FAILED every time); everyone else got a field goal. I did get a kink in the back of my leg when I kicked the ball at a weird angle. That was lots of fun. (Not really.)

Hangin' with Jerod Mayo. He seems to be enjoying his rather intense-looking conversation with Jonah.

Jump, Ethan, jump!

Poor guy is going to kill me when he sees this, but I can't help it. The man loves him some Larry Bird.

Okay, so after looking up #51 above, I'm not looking this guy up too...Mr. So and So here was beckoning me to check out his ring. That thing is HUGE! I had no idea the NFL liked its bling so much, ha.

Sorry it's blurry, but you get the idea. That's a whole lotta diamonds.

Caleb is the football fanatic in our house (besides his Dad), so we both agreed that we'd have to bring him down to visit this place. He will love it! Speaking of Caleb, he has had a GREAT start to the season...

Line drive, sending two guys home. We ended up with a 5 or 6 point lead before the second inning.

But this is baseball, and things can change quickly.
Not this night. We ended 15-0. We've been on the "0" end so I know what that feels like. Not a happy place to be.

Oh this picture. I die. Where did my baby boy go?

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