A Couple of Funnies

Bentley got sick almost two weeks ago, and it had the trickle effect through the family. Bentley got well, but is now sick again. Which means we are all still sick! Though, it is not fun, we are thankful that we really haven’t had any sickness all winter until now. We almost made it!

So, needless to say, not much has been going on around here besides watching more movies and reading books. Since I don’t have more of an update, I figured I tell you some of the funny things that have been said this weekend!

Bentley: (praying in circles the first night he was really sick) Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. Help me to obey, share and love. God help me to obey, and um to obey, share and love. Help me o-b-eee-yyyy….. and shaaarrrreee …. and loooovvvvee. Help me to obey. Amen.


Bentley: (upon being told that we were going to watch Tangled) Uggg. I can only watch movies with guns in it!

(at dinner time, while the movie was still running) Umm. Are you going to pause it…. for Marseille. (sheepish grin)


Marseille: (wearing her Snow White costume carrying a basket ball in Bentley’s knight helmet like a basket) Who wants an apple?

Me: I want a bite! (I take a bite and pretend to fall asleep. She has never seen Snow White)

Marseille: That’s adorable!


Marseille: I love marshmallows, you can call me Marshmallow! (We’ve seen The Lorax, one too many times!)

There have been more, but I can’t remember them because I didn’t write them down right away. Hope you are staying well!

xo, nikki :)


Date Nights

Last night was the second date in my 52 week challenge. Check it out the date here at Romance on a Shoestring. While getting stuff ready for the date, I decided that I would make a little date for them too. They loved the idea. So each date that Danny and I have, they have a little date too. It will work out well since they help me set up the table, I can make a little extra for them. To keep costs down for our dates, I decided that I will cook the same dinner for us and the kids, we will just eat at different times. Yesterday’s date night worked out perfectly!

Our date was office themed, so I carried that over to the kids. They got paper airplanes, and a post it note with an encouraging note on it! They thought it was so much fun eating out of containers and off paper plates. You’d think they died and gone to heaven when they each got to eat a fancy cake.

A couple years ago, I read the book Practicing Hospitality by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock. One of the chapters talks about showing hospitality to your family. It’s easy to get wrapped up in showing hospitality to others to the neglect of your own family.

If the Lord has given us a family, extending hospitality to our family is our first priority. Once we have established the ministry of hospitality within our family, we can include extended family members, friends, strangers, the needy, and the poor. Hospitality towards others then becomes a natural outworking or extension of what we are already practicing within our homes. p.74

Neglecting to extend hospitality to our family can discredit our witness. The testimony of a wife and mom who loves and serves her family is a powerful witness to a watching world; it is also something that separates a believing woman from the world. The manner in which we serve and love our family should reflect the transforming power of the gospel in our own life (2 Cor. 4:17-21). In other words, our love, dedication, and other biblical character attributes manifested toward our family are a testimony to the world of God’s powerful work in our lives. p75

Treat your family “as good as guests.” Often we treat our guests better than our family. Establishing the habit of treating our family as we would a guest will assist us in communicating our love to our family. Extending hospitality to our family allows them to reap the same blessings our guests receive in our home. Also, modeling for our children how to honor guests– they learn by example. Treating our family as guests also reinforces the concept of family first. p80

I asked Bentley, “Why do Mommy and Daddy have dates?”

Bentley said, “Because you love each other. And we (Bentley and Marseille) have dates because we love each other!

I’m not adding this on to my plate out of being fair or guilt. Because Mommy and Daddy are having dates, the kids need a date too. I’m doing it to show them hospitality and hopefully giving them an example of creativity and love. The kids enjoy helping me set up, what Bentley calls, “date nights on the table” for Danny. They think it’s so special eating at the counter by themselves for dinner. The point of date nights is relationship and memories, so I’m more than happy to spend a little extra time setting up a date for them.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; “Many woman have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. – Proverbs 31:28-31

Hospitality looks different for every family! Don’t compare! Just love on your family with your talents! They will reap the fruit of your hands and your love!

xo, nikki :)

Snow day!!

We finally got snow!!! All day, Bentley and I kept praying that it would snow. It was the oddest day. For a little while the clouds were dark, then you would see a patch of blue sky, and then the sun would come out. After about an hour later, it was dark again. Finally the snow came. Just a little at first, then the wind picked up and all you could see was snow!! Unfortunately, Bentley has been sick so we didn’t really get to play in it. BUT, we did go out for a quick ride in the sled and a snow ball fight! Of course, the main concern for Bentley and Marseille was having a real snow cone! Spring now has our blessing to come ;)

xo, nikki :)

Valentine’s Day 2013

This Valentine’s Day was the best one that I have ever had! Even the kids had fun! We celebrated Valentine’s Day Eve as a family. We had gyros to begin Danny and I’s GYRO’s 14 dates of Valentine’s (not sure what I am talking about check it out here at the Romantic Vineyard) I recently found a gyro kit at Aldi, it’s pretty authentic and everyone likes it, so it’s a winner. Anyway, we had the Valentine’s Day Eve because Danny and I were going to have a Date Night In on Valentine’s but I wanted the kids to have a special dinner with us too.

On Valentine’s Day, the kids had heart shaped toast, fruit and some leftover popcorn (they get excited about leftover popcorn) for breakfast. For lunch, the kids had heart shaped pb and honey sandwich bites and veggie straws and some fruit.

Together the kids and I made Valentine’s cards for each other with glitter… it went better than expected! The kids also helped me decorate the table for Daddy and Mommy’s date. Marseille thought it was really exciting, she actually prayed that we would have a “good date at the table.” Before they took their nap, we made rice crispy treats for dessert. That turned into a science lesson about states of matter: solids, liquids and gas (which the kids thought was hilarious… we’re in trouble!).

During their nap, I set up a special table for them. I even put flowers and candles for their fancy dinner. After setting up their table, I finished the prepping for our at home date. That involved picking out my clothes, since we were having a themed dinner.

Around 5:30pm, I fed the kiddos. They ate Sausage, Peppers and Onions with pasta and a heart-y salad. They loved the rolls and the rice crispy treats.  While they were eating, Bentley said, “This is the best day that I have ever had! The fancy dinner was a success!

After Danny came home and got cleaned up, we exchanged some small gifts and got Bentley and Marseille ready for bed. (On a side note, and to point out God’s grace in my life, just as Danny walked through the door, Marseille had an accident in the bathroom. Rather than, like last week, get angry that cleaning pee off the floor was not in my plans and it was going to waste time, I took a deep breath, prayed, and told myself it was not a big deal and that we would still eat tonight. So, quickly, I cleaned her and the mess up and that was that! Thank you, Lord for grace!)

After the kids went to bed, Danny and I fixed our dinner of filet mignon and scallops, with roasted asparagus, heart-y salad and rolls. We quickly got dressed up for the Phantom of the Opera themed night. The soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera serenaded us as ate our delicious meal! It was a great night!

Hope you had fun celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved ones too!

xo, nikki :)

Recap 2012, Goals 2013

This is a post devoted to revisiting my goals of last year and setting new ones for this year. It’s a long one, so thanks if you read it all!

Here were some of my goals from last year and how I fared:

Read Bible everyday – I didn’t do that one. I really enjoyed the first few months. But then I hit passages that were so familiar that I almost couldn’t concentrate and would get discouraged. So, I wasn’t consistent at all.

Get healthy/ lose weight – I successfully kept off 7lbs, and 3lbs keep floating on and off.  So, I’m almost there. Having had a stress fracture, my bum shoulder and travelling so much at the end of the year makes me grateful that I was able to keep any of it off!!

Book list – I didn’t finish all the books that I wanted but I read a lot this year and it was so much fun!

Finish what I start – I can’t say that I achieved all that I wanted to in this area. But it is getting easier.

Anger and expectations – This area will be a growing process until the day that I die. I can’t say that I conquered in this area, but I did have  many victories. Sometimes it was seeing it and correcting my heart before I acted on my anger or expectations. Other times was realizing my sin in the middle of it and asking for forgiveness.

Keeping the house in order – I can say that there were only a few times that I didn’t clean the house on the designated cleaning day. I think there was only one week that the house didn’t get cleaned. How is that for improvement!!

Schooling with Bentley – We did school here and there. After this summer, we officially start Kindergarten!

Staying on grocery budget – Negative. I have been really trying to work at this. I’m getting closer ;)

What 2012 taught me…

When I look back on 2012, besides seeing a whirlwind year, I see a range of emotions: connected, disconnected  joy, loneliness, and peace.

The beginning and the middle of the year went well but shortly after I got back from my trip up north, I went through a hard time. In the middle of it, I thought this must be what it’s like to feel depressed. I was completely unmotivated to do anything. I didn’t want to cook, sew, make crafts for the kids, can you imagine?! I was so confused, during this time I was doing a book study with some of the ladies in the church and the book we were going through was Because He Loves Me. It was excellent, I was learning so much about God, myself and our relationship, which is why I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so bad! One day after reading my Bible in bed, because I didn’t feel like getting up, God said, “you need me.” I thought, “Oh yeah, I need you.” I then prayed but it wasn’t for God to help me out of the “out of body experience” I was having, it was a prayer of dependence. I acknowledged my need for God and asked for forgiveness and immediately the fog lifted. It was night and day.

I have shared this experience with a few others and they have all said that travelling a lot can cause you to feel disconnected and sad. I think I was so distracted by all that we needed to get done and what I was learning that I forgot about God. The exact message of the book that I was studying. Months earlier, during one of my therapy sessions on my shoulder, there was a stretch that they told me to do. I simply needed to tilt my head back and look up. Look up. I remember how as the man was showing me, I was convicted. I focus all my attention on what is right in front of me and how I am going to get it done, that I rarely look up. God reminded me of this after I felt better. Since then, I have remember to pray with dependence and to do the stretch. I don’t put expectations on the days that I remember to pray this way. I know that just because a day went “well” does not mean that it produced fruit.

On to 2013…

One unexpected gift from the sad time last year was compassion. While I felt terrible, which was a total of a month, one of the things that I kept thinking was people live liked this?! I had never experienced not wanting to get out of bed other than because I was warm and cozy or still tired. It made me pray for Danny and my friends that struggle with depression from time to time.

During one of my quiet times, I was reading in Matthew and I was overcome at the compassion that Jesus had on all who sought him. He never turned anyone away. As I was thinking about this, God revealed the next thing he is going to teach me… compassion. I have to tell you I’m a little nervous about this one ;)

Each time God has revealed what he was going to teach me a trial comes. It seems it’s the only way he can get my attention. He always very clearly tells me what he is going to teach me.

First it was faithfulness, I got pregnant and Bentley ended up in the NICU and both of my children have ARPKD. Yet, lesson learned… God is faithful to his people.

Second, God’s love for me. This specific area of God’s love has always been weird for me, never really personal. I felt like God blanket- loved everyone. I never see how he specifically loved me. After my time of “depression,” I realized how much he loves me. He could have left me to myself, but he told me “you need me”, because he cares for me specifically. I learned that God’s love is not like human love, it is perfect and I don’t have to strive for it because I already have it. I need to rest in and be assured of his love for me.

Now let’s see…. compassion. There are so many ways that this could go, I am thinking of anything in particular, but based on the other ways that God has moved in my life, it has been pretty dramatic! I’m looking forward to this new adventure with expectation.

Goals for 2013

Being consistent.

Reading my bible consistently. Working out consistently. Eating well consistently. Praying consistently. Talking with family and friends consistently. Date night consistently. Cleaning consistently. Meeting with others consistently. Have the TV off more consistently… you get the picture! This year I just want to  preserver and be faithful with what I have going on right now.

This year, I am following the Bible Program for Shirkers and Slackers, don’t you just love that name?! It has been very encouraging. You read out of a different book of the bible everyday. I believe it takes 54 weeks to go through the entire Bible. I started on Jan 8th and have missed a total of 4 days. Three of those days were Sundays, which is always rushed in the morning and that is when usually I read. Overall, I think that this is the best plan that I have followed so far. It’s motivating because it is different everyday.

Otherwise, I’m taking it slow and trying  not to over extend myself, so that way I can serve and do things as needed!

Well, if you made it this far. Thank you very much for reading!!

Do you set goal for yourself? I’d love to hear some of them if you do! Thanks for sharing!

xo, nikki :)

The Year of the Snake

Sunday was Chinese New Year! Did you celebrate? Growing up my family would always try to celebrate it but somehow we would miss it.

I wanted to hang up decorations and the like but since we had Bentley’s party the day before it wasn’t possible. We didn’t get to watch Kung Fu Panda either. But we did have was a Kung Fu Panda dinner.


We ate:

Po’s Secret Ingredient Soup (Clear Soup)

Crane’s Egg Rolls (Shrimp Egg Rolls)

Master Shifu’s Dumplings (Pork Dumplings)

Tigress’ Universe Carrots (Raw Carrots)

Mantis and Viper’s Chicken Fried Rice (A “kitchen sink” recipe using leftovers from the fridge)

Monkey’s Secret Stash of Almond Cookies (I added some almond meal to enhance the almond flavor)

The kids quote this part of the movie like crazy!

Don’t tell Monkey! Source: google image search

The Fried Rice and the Almond Cookies were homemade, while the other foods were store bought! There was just not enough time to make it all!! The kids’ favorites were the clear soup, dumplings and cookies… I’m sure you could have guess the last one ;)

xo, nikki :)

A New Challenge

In light of Valentine’s Day, my friends at The Romantic Vineyard are having a challenge!

Check out the challenge here:

I was definitely up for it because this is an area that I really lacked in last year. As my ideas for the date nights expanded past the challenge, I decided to make another blog devoted to the date nights.

So, let me introduce you to: Romance on a Shoestring.

On this blog, I will be explaining my ideas, sharing photos, recipes and my sources. I want to inspire creative in home dates that don’t seem cheesy because of trying to save money.

Feel free to check it out!

xo, nikki :)

PS- Don’t worry, I won’t let this new blog take me away from posting regularly on this blog!