Look up!

This afternoon I decided to brave the heat (yes I’m being a wimp but I have a good excuse) and clear my front porch of all the kid clutter that they’ve left behind.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, I’ll list some of the items I found there:  socks, toys, empty cups with spoons in them from yesterday’s snow cone adventures, trash, jewelry, and a selection of Dad’s tools from this morning’s skateboard workshop.

It’s nice to get things put away, swept up, and looking a little more inviting.

As I was walking around the house to put something away, I looked up.

And something wonderful happened.

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I was instantly struck by the beauty of the sky:  the gorgeous blue and fluffy white clouds everywhere.

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It reminded me of a quote I memorized years ago:
“The sky is the daily bread of the eye.”

I paused to turn around in a circle and drink in the beauty in every direction.

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I realized what a blessing it can be to look up in life.
My day was enhanced by simply absorbing a bit of beauty that had been there for the taking for who knows how long.
I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.  I wasn’t aware that my heart was hungry for such a sight.

I realized how often I get my head down, focusing only on the task at hand, on getting through or just enduring.
Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes to look up and drink in the big picture, remembering that there is much of beauty and life and happiness to be enjoyed.

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Much of our experience is a matter of perspective.
In raising my eyes today, my perspective was enlarged.
I felt more appreciative of the simple abundance around me, more aware of the gift of life.
I walked inside feeling like a happier person than when I walked out.
I wonder how many times a day God has gifts like this just waiting for us?  How often has He prepared something of great beauty to buoy us up on our journey?  Do we notice?  And if we do, do we let it change us?
How can we receive his gifts if we don’t see them?

My invitation today:  look up!  Look around!  Notice the simple gifts that are waiting for you, and partake.
Have a wonderful day!

HH

Homemade Cherry Ice Cream

I’ve been dreaming of homemade ice cream for a couple of weeks, and my wonderful husband gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday last week.  It’s small, compact, inexpensive, and makes up to 4 quarts!  So last night for dessert we made some homemade ice cream.

I know that most recipes call for egg yolks in them, but due to my pregnant state we decided to try a recipe without eggs.  Just to be safe.

Start with two cups of heavy whipping cream.  Pour into a mixing bowl.

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Then add one cup half and half.

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Next comes 3/4 cups sugar.

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Now stir until the sugar is dissolved.

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We then added one Tablespoon of vanilla and mixed again.

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We put some pitted cherries in a food processor to chop them up,

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and added them to the cream mixture.

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So pretty!

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Then we poured the mixture into the canister.

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Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach the motor correctly.
Then layer with ice and rock salt and let the machine do it’s magic.

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When it’s finished, the machine should stop on its own.
We doubled the recipe and got about 3 quarts, and it took only 35 minutes.  Not too bad!

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Looks delicious!

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If you want to eat it right away, you can, but the ice cream is extremely soft.  We scraped ours into a container and put it in the freezer to harden a little bit more.

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The kids had a hard time with this step, but in the end we were glad.
Having the ice cream a little bit harder made it even better.

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Homemade Cherry Ice Cream
(you can substitute any kind of fruit for the cherries)

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tb. vanilla
2 cups fresh sweet cherries, washed and pitted
ice and rock salt (if  your ice cream maker requires them)

In mixing bowl, combine cream and half and half.  Add sugar and stir till dissolved.  Add 1 Tb. vanilla.
In blender or food processor, puree cherries.  Add to cream mixture.  Pour into ice cream canister.  Attach motor and add layers of ice and salt.  Freeze according to manufacturers directions.  When ice cream is finished, either enjoy or scrape into container to freeze and harden more.

Makes about 1- 1/3 quarts of ice cream.

Will I miss it?

As a disclaimer at the beginning of this post, I will freely confess that I am not finding the last month of pregnancy particularly enjoyable.    Mostly I’m feeling like surely it’s already been nine months and this whole state of existence should have ended by now… but that’s obviously not the case, as anyone can plainly see.

This morning I took some pictures of my 18 month old trying to do a forward roll.   She’s really good at getting her head on the floor, but cannot push herself over.  Still, she tries and she laughs and she does it over and over again.

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It was cute enough to me that I managed to get the camera out, and even crouch down on the floor in an attempt to get a photo I would like.

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Then she found a pair of my shoes that I didn’t put away after coming home from church yesterday.

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So we took some pictures of her trying to do a somersault in her mom’s heels.

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Little moments like this, I know I will miss someday.   I’m sure I’ll wish I still had a baby rolling around on my family room floor, babbling and laughing without a care in the world.

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Yes, I know I will miss this.

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But there are other things I wonder about.

I just finished watching a slideshow of our vacation pictures, which I turned on to help that same adorable 18 month old snap out of a tantrum she was throwing.  Thankfully it worked, but I ended up with her sitting on top of my pregnant stomach, with my three year old sitting on what is left of my lap, and my four year old sitting on my shoulder, wrapping her legs around my arms, neck, and so forth.

Let’s just say that I felt a little smothered during that 30 minute experience.  And we’ll say that I felt a little bit warm with about 80 extra pounds sitting all over me.  But I just sat there and told myself that I should endure it because the children were enthralled, because we were together, because aren’t mom’s supposed to handle moments like this without complaint?

And the question came to my mind, “will I miss this?”

I honestly don’t know.  Given how I feel at the moment, I would think that the answer is NO WAY!  But what if I’m wrong?  What if I miss the feeling of having so many bodies so close to me that I want to scream?  It happened yesterday at church, too.  I had this moment when I wondered if I would be able to just sit there with so many people scooting closer and closer…or if I would just stand up and scream.  Gratefully I survived without causing a scene.

But really, will I miss it?  Will I miss the feeling of being the bottom of the family dogpile?
Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.”
Believe me, I noticed this one.  But if I wasn’t 8 months pregnant, I might not have noticed it so much.

My guess is this:  I may not particularly miss the feeling of being smothered by lots of wiggly little bodies, but I’ll probably miss what it represents.  I think it represents a stage of  life when all of a child’s problems can be solved simply by closeness, by being near their parents.  A time when the world really is as small as the walls of your home and you can still keep everything unwanted out of their sweet little lives.  A stage when their needs and their hearts are so uncomplicated, when all they need or want is love.  A time when I really can fix most of their problems with a kiss and a hug.  I’m pretty sure I will miss that.

HH

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