First Day of School

This past Monday morning Jay and I had an experience that is poignant in the lives of most parents: our oldest started Kindergarden! The entire family accompanied Abigail down to school to attend opening chapel with all the other students, and their moms, dads, brothers, and sisters. After walking Abigail to her new class, we said goodbye. Abigail was very happy to settle down into her seat and begin work with her seven other classmates.

And being a proud Mom, I have to tell you just what a super job she did in the morning getting ready for her big day. In honor of starting Kindergarden, we presented Abigail with a very sweet and girlie Hello Kitty clock that has both an alarm and a radio. We taught her how to use it and so, when her alarm rang at 6:15 she turned it off, switched to her classical station, made her bed and got dressed, all by herself. This from the little girl who is most definitely NOT a morning person.

Given school is a bit of a drive from where we live, we are going to be keeping a rather early morning schedule, but everything went well on our first day. We actually arrived at school 20 minutes before start time so it did not feel at all frantic.

When we picked her up after school, Abigail reported happily, “I love it there!” She seems to have had a fantastic day and is looking forward to her big year of Kindergarden. Here is a picture of Abigail on her first day of school, with her new teacher, aptly named Mrs. Newsome! And here are some more photos of our day.

We are all very excited about the start of Abigail’s scholastic journey and pray she will have a wonderful experience this first year.

Abigail on Jesus the Runner

For devotions tonight, we sang “O, For a Thousand Tongues” and read a short devotional written by Joni Ericsson Tada. Afterwords, Abigail began asking about heaven, and whether Joni would be able to run again. This lead to a discussion on our passage to heaven after death versus the later resurrection of our bodies… at least, that’s where I thought I was going when Abigail piped up:

Abigail: “After we get our new bodies in heaven, will Jesus still be able to run more faster than us?”

Jay: “Quite frankly, Abigail, I’m not exactly sure how fast Jesus can run.”

Abigail: “Faster than lightning!”

If you are wanting an explanation, you’re in luck, because we did too. After recovering a bit, Tricia asked: “What makes you think he can run faster than lightning?”

Abigail: “Daddy told me. He said he made the lightning.”

And there you have it.

Weekend Joys

By way of disclaimor, I am stealing a theme from Leslie here!!

Some of my weekend joys were:

a dinner and a movie date night with my husband
dancing with my children
Starbucks!! a grande, nonfat, half caf vanilla latte with whipped! (no joke)
shopping for a school backpack with Abigail
hearing Jonathan read over 25 new words
Cleaning out a closet!
Cooking supper with all three kids
listening to Nicolas sing “Crinkle, Crinkle Ittle Tar”
a yummy cannoli for dessert
worshipping today with 9 other family members
ending the day listening to Jay serenade me on a yellow plastic saxophone (he’s quite good!)

Great New Recipe

We had some family over to eat this past Tuesday evening. Though we were still in a rather unsettled state due to unpacking and laundry from our vacation, I felt compelled to try out a new recipe for our company, and so I hunted through my various cookbooks for something enticing. I hit upon what I was looking for in Our Best Five-Star Recipes From Southern Living that my sis-in-law gave me a few years ago (thanks, Jennifer!). Everyone (including me!) loved the end result so much and it was so different from anything I’ve prepared in the past, that I wanted to share it with you. Maybe someone else will be able to enjoy it too before this wonderful grilling weather is gone. Ok, here’s the recipe:

Chicken Bundles
6 whole chicken breasts, skinned and boned
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
10 green onions, sliced

12 slices bacon
Vegetable Cooking Spray
Hot Cooked Rice

(I’m going to slightly paraphrase the directions for my own purposes!)
Pound chicken to 1/4″ thickness and place in a large shallow baking dish. Combine molasses and next 6 ingredients; stir well. Pour over chicken; cover and marinate in fridge 8 hours, turning chicken occasionally.
Melt butter in large skillet; add mushrooms and next 3 ingredients. Cook over med-high heat until liquid evaporates and veggies are tender, stirring often.
Remove chicken from baking dish, reserving marinade. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside. For each chicken bundle, place 2 slices bacon in a crisscross pattern on a flat surface. Place 1 chicken breast in center of bacon. Top with 3 tablespoons mushroom mixture. Fold sides and ends of chicken over mushroom mixture to make a square-shaped pouch. Pull bacon around chicken, and tie ends of bacon together; secure with wooden picks.
Coat grill with cooking spray. Place chicken bundles on grill, tied side up; grill, covered with grill lid, over low coals 30 to 45 minutes or until done, turning and basting with reserved marinade every 15 minutes. Remove wooden picks. Serve over hot cooked rice, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Tricia’s Notes:
IMHO, this recipe is too salty, and I say this having used low sodium soy sauce. Next time I make it, I would plan to still use the liter soy sauce, and also cut the amount of soy in the marinade, maybe as much as half. It’s just not needed given the great amount of flavor, and the additional saltiness the bacon adds. If you need to make up some of the liquid from leaving out the soy, throw in some wine for good measure!

Instead of green onions, I used garlic chives from my garden which worked well too. However, they might not be quite as strong tasting as the onions the recipe called for.

I added some white wine into my mushroom mixture while sauteeing. Just for fun!

Regarding the assembling of the bundles: I found that using a toothpick or two to secure the chicken BEFORE I tied the bacon around the sides was actually helpful. There were a couple more toothpicks in my bundles, but they stayed together beautifully.

A Delightful Breath of Fresh Air…

…has blown into our neighborhood. Has anyone else been awestruck by this amazingly mild weather we seem to be enjoying? This evening, the sky was a deep shade of blue with bursts of white fluffy clouds everywhere, and if you stepped outside to admire this canopy of beauty, you might have been a little surprised to feel a cool breeze!! What? In August? Yes indeed, and how lovely it was. The children and I chose to eat our supper of chicken tacos out on the patio while listening to birds and watching planes as the sun slowly set. We all had a wonderful time until finally (I am not joking) we got too cold to stay outside in our summer shirts and shorts. It was, after all, only 75 degrees! Brrrrrr!!


We have just returned from a week’s stay at the beach on Dauphin Island, AL. Grammy and Grandy Horne were brave enough to join us for our Island Adventure, and we all stayed in a great house on the Mississippi Sound, complete with our own private beach and pier.


Some of the week’s highlights included:

— Beautiful weather for which we were most thankful. We enjoyed lots of time outside every day, loved the ocean breezes, and even got to witness a couple of great thunderstorms Island Style!

— Frolicking on floaties with Abigail and Nicolas (Jonathan preferred the sand to the water). Grammy was quite an enthusiastic participant in the water activities, and she did a fantastic job of keeping up with the children’s antics. We think she had a lot of fun too!

— Eating fresh Gulf Seafood. YUM, YUM, YUM!!!

— Fishing! The men in our party used both poles and nets to land several creatures, many of which were thrown back or sadly, lost. (Ask Jay to tell you his “Fish Story”!) Grandy Horne, it turns out, can throw a mean cast net, and he caught enough mullet in said net to provide us a feast of fish which we all enjoyed eating. (It should be noted that Baby Nicolas was quite a fan of the tasty fish!)

— (More fishing!!) Abigail and Jonathan also spent a great deal of time with their Dad and Grandfather out on the pier. Abigail caught her very first fish all by herself, and Jonathan helped to reel in a sting ray. Jonathan also became quite the expert caster in his own right, and would do an exuberant “I did it” dance after each successful cast. That was fun to watch!

— The blessing of relaxation (well, the sort of relaxation which parents and grandparents of very young children enjoy!). Lounging around in jammies till late in the morning, eating pancakes all together twice in one week, reading, visiting, snacking ALL DAY, resting on the beach, sleeping very soundly at night.

We are most grateful we were able to have such an enjoyable week on Dauphin Island and hope you will have fun seeing some of our pictures from our time there.