Zucchini revisited

A couple years ago, I solicited zucchini recipes from my friends and family to share on the blog. It’s almost October, but there’s still plenty of zucchini at our Farmer’s Market. I should have posted this earlier, but better late than never, right? Extend the summer and give these  try before you pull out all your pumpkin recipes.

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Zucchini smoothies

veggie stew

Moroccan vegetable stew

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Summer sauté

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Zucchini salad

stuffed zucchini

Stuffed zucchini

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To Hannah, on turning four

Dear Hannah,

Today you are four. Four years ago, you made me a mom. I held you for the first time in a surreal fog, soaking in the reality that I was chosen to be your mother.

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Four years ago, really?

Just the other day, in a sentimental moment, I looked in your eyes and marveled, “I can’t believe you’re almost four! You’re getting to be such a big girl!” With equal seriousness you replied, “And since I’m getting bigger, my poops will be bigger.”

Well, true, I guess.

The last year has brought a lot of changes for you. The biggest one – you became a big sister.

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After three years of starring the show, you had to share mommy. And you did considerably well! You are the most enthusiastic big sister and want to do everything for Violet. Change her diaper, pick out her clothes, push her in the stroller, buckle her in the car seat, breastfeed her, pick boogies out of her nose… Of course I don’t let you do all those things, but you are truly a wonderful helper to me. I am so thankful for the smiles and giggles you and Violet share. But Lord help the sister who comes between you and your blankie bear.

You’ve grown up in a lot of ways this year. You walk by the cart in the store! This sounds like a silly thing, but it’s really big for us. A year ago, I was 8 months pregnant and hoisting all 35 lbs of you into the cart seat, and I couldn’t even picture you with the maturity to get through the store on foot. But you got it.

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You’ve always been a pretty good eater, but this year you got even better. You usually swallow your “no thank you” bite instead of spitting it out. You eat more vegetables. And you finally like soup! I love how you will try any food, and you are always eager to help me in the kitchen. You even made dinner yourself one night.

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You crack me up.

I’m thankful for how independent you are – potty solo, dressed completely, carseat buckled, shoes on, backpack packed – if only you could turn on Netflix by yourself, or not. Yesterday, as I was taking extra time soothing a teething Violet down for her nap, you decided to get out all the materials for our “homeschool” lessons and started doing them yourself. And you did a great job!

You don’t need me as much. Or you do, it’s just different. We’ll figure it out.

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I’m looking forward to the the next year as your sister relationship blossoms with Violet, as you continue to grow patience, as God brings out the positives of your spirited personality, as I grow as a mother and gain patience myself. I think this is going to be a big year with some big stuff, but as our pastor handyman said about you, “That girl is going to take on the world.”

Love,
Mommy

Red – Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

My second time joining Five Minute Friday, a link-up where dozens of “rabid, vociferous mommy bloggers” (aka PicMonkey addicts) write on the same topic and post their links together. Each Friday, a new word is posted, and the challenge is five minutes of writing – unedited, real and flowing. This week: Red

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Go

Red is an icy cold Coke after walking for hours at a dusty Texas fair. With a side of Frito pie. Refresh and recharge.

Red is a pair of bright shoes I keep telling myself I could pull off. But I don’t have the guts.

Red is my baby’s first bloody nose, staining the sheets and causing panic to her momma. Just breathe and snuggle.

Red is a shiny Kitchenaid mixer on my counter, alluring and inspiring. What can I whip up today?

Red is a classic wagon with my smiling daughter yelling, “Faster!” to her daddy. Sweet memories.

Red is a stop light. A stop sign. Beware. Do not enter.

Red is the color of the blood that flowed down the face of someone who loved us so… Anyone remember that song?

Stop

Thursday thoughts align

Each morning, after my shower, I climb back in bed for some quiet time before the small people wake up. This morning, I was reading through my blog roll, and several new posts hit my heart. Then at our first MOPS meeting, our speaker, Amy the women’s director at our church, spoke on the same theme I’d been reading earlier in the morning!

I want to share the links as well as some things that stood out to me:

What a cab driver taught me about excellence, Sarah Mae – I don’t want to just “get by” in life, I want to pursue excellence! “Does it intimidate you to think about becoming excellent in marriage and/or parenting? Me too. But that’s because I have considered excellence to be perfection, but they are not the same. Perfection is completion, no more work to be done. It’s finished. Not so with us. We are only complete in Christ, but in action, in life, not so much. But excellence, that’s different. Excellence is working hard at becoming the best you can at something, failures and all. It’s intention, and giving, and caring, and going for great.”

Giving yourself grace, Vanessa – “Truly giving yourself grace isn’t about giving yourself anything. It’s about being open to His grace and fully accepting it, not just for the big hurdles, but for the tiny every day stumbles.” I read this after Sarah Mae’s excellence post, and I thought they complemented each other so well!

Give your children the gift of a happy mama, Sally Clarkson – This is not a superficially happy mama, this is a mama whose joy comes from being intentional in faith, fun and thankfulness. “The grid through which you see life will determine how you behave in life. Children want a happy mama–that makes them feel acceptable, as though they belong, and filled up in their own little hearts because mamas are the compass that lead children to joy in life.”

Changing perspective and giving your family grace, Amy – I took notes on her message and posted the recap on the MOPS blog. “Pray for God to help you give your family your best.”

An interesting note, both Sarah Mae and Vanessa have personal blogs which I follow, but both their posts today were at (in)courage where Sarah Mae is a regular contributor and Vanessa was a guest poster.