Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Where I’m at… and a Vanilla Pumpkin Muffin recipe

1st February 2011

Man, if only you could hear all the blog posts I have written in my head!  This blog would be full of honest thoughts, real struggles, and gracious inspiration.  But alas… I’ve not moved any of these thoughts from my head to the keyboard.  I do want to start somewhere, though, and this rainy February evening is a perfect place.

I can’t believe it’s 2011.  And February already!  Crazy!  And I can’t believe I have a 6 1/2 year old and a 4 1/2 year old.  Honestly, every time I see Analise after being away from her for a bit, my breath is taken away by how amazing it is that she’s so tall, bouncy and beautiful.  Singing, dancing, full of lots of smart thoughts, amazing at math, learning really great penmanship, SOOOOooo creative (which means endless paper clippings, lots of tape, and all kinds of craftiness). It amazes me how much she can understand of things, far more than I give her credit for.  She learns so quickly.  And Josiah… my little guy who is not little at all.  He’s sprouting up and his ankles and wrists are showing so I’ve got to put some of his too-small clothes away.  He plays so well with his cars, airplanes and trains.  He’s got such a great imagination.  He’s an AMAZING cyclist, legs spinning so fast on his tiny bike, barreling down the hills, through the woods.  And he’s so full of love.  Ah… just yesterday I leaned across him to buckle the seatbelt (in his new booster seat), and he wrapped me in a big hug.  And as siblings… they are just amazing.  I love it.  My mom-heart is about bursting lately.  Thank you, Lord, for so much love and friendship between these two.

So I’m busy, as we all are.  But I’m really prioritizing.  God first, which means I’m really pouring myself into two awesome discipleship Bible studies with some AMAZING women.  So thankful for them! Digging into God’s Word, and so thankful for how full it is of life and truth and grace.  Memorizing scripture, right now in James, and it’s feels so good to have the Word hidden in  my heart.  Trying hard to quiet my heart more often and draw into prayer.  It’s such a balm to the soul.  And though I feel like I’m so busy, THIS amazing post has brought me to my knees and helped me realize nothing I am doing on this earth is more important than prayer. I’m reading One Thousand Gifts (by the author of that post), and it’s drawing me to a heart of gratitude.  So much to be thankful for!  All joy flows from our gratitude… (more great thoughts in this short post).  Joy could be a good word to describe my heart lately. *peaceful sigh*

So God first, my amazing husband second, our kids third.  They are such a joy right now.  I have loved being a mother, but the early years were exhausting, crumb-covered, and blurred by baths, sleepless nights, tantrums, diapers and messes.  We’re past all that, and I am just really, really loving it, loving every minute of it, making a point of enjoying the crazy moments when they’re leaping off the couch like they’re not supposed to, making some messy, heavily-taped creative project (after which I will surely find myself out of tape at an inopportune time!), or even breaking up disagreements and trying to find peaceful, loving resolutions.  God is so in every single moment, and I’m so thankful.

And so because I’m choosing all these other things first, very honestly, my house is cluttered, and lived in/loved in, with endless to-do projects.  I wish it wasn’t, but such is life.  And no apologies, because I’m so happy with where God has me.  Some women can find balance in prioritizing God, their marriages, their family, and keeping life and house in order.  They have my full respect, and most of the time, I wish that were me.  But it’s not, and so instead of being frustrated with myself, I’ll tackle the most important things, and fit the rest in without wearying myself.  And if you happen to come over tomorrow, you might still find a sparkling Christmas tree lighting your way through our window.  Yes, it is February, and yes, it’s on my to-do list (um, hopefully before the Super Bowl party on Sunday! Go Packers! Or maybe I’ll just throw on couple strands of green and gold lights…).  But while it’s here, we’re still enjoying it, especially Brian, who has sat by it and read something like 8 books (Harry Potter series and the 1st Lord of the Rings book) since it’s been up! He’s really trying to convince me it needs to stay up until he finishes the whole LOTR series, but I’m not on board with that. Yet.

If you’re still with me, I’ll reward you with my absolute favorite, easiest new muffin recipe.  Made it twice last week, and if I had another cake mix, I’d have another batch ready in 10 minutes for a pre-bedtime snack.

Vanilla Pumpkin Muffins (from Bake at 350)

1 15-oz can of pumpkin

1 french vanilla cake mix

2 egg whites (made it with one egg instead, tastes the same)

sparkling sugar (not a necessity, but it really makes them lovely!)

Click on over and scroll down to the 2nd recipe, and then you’ll get to see her lovely picture.  These taste like cupcakes.  My picky-eater gobbled these up, and asked for them in her lunch.  Enjoy!

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