Technically this could be filed under the Sundays With Sarah posts but since I helped I am putting it under the pinterest test kitchen. It's one of the perks of being both the blog owner and mom so even though Sarah mixed and made the dough I'm still claiming it :-)

homemade_pretzel_bites_recipe

Plus we tried it once before and it could have been submitted to that pinterest fail site. But we read up on homemade pretzel making and figured out what to do differently and easy peasy we had a delicious treat for this summer's first ladies swim night. (What is a lady's swim night? An evening moms and ladies eighteen and older bring a favorite finger food and beverage to my house and come float in the pool. It's so fun and relaxing!)

We served them with both sweet (chocolate and caramel) dipping sauces as well as two different kinds of cheese sauces. I couldn't choose a favorite...it was all good!

What you'll need:
1/4 oz packet of dry yeast
1 TBS sugar
1 cup of warm water
1 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour 
4 TBS unsalted butter, divided
3 TBS baking soda
coarse salt



What you'll do:
Mix the sugar and yeast together in a small bowl
Add in warm water and stir until the sugar completely dissolves
Put it aside and let it sit for 10 minutes
Mix the salt and flour together
Chop 2 TBS of butter into chunks and add to the salt and flour mixture.
Mix on low speed until it becomes coarse crumbles. 
Still on low speed slowly add in the yeast mixture just until combined.
Using your hands gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead until it is no longer sticky.
Place the dough into a bowl, cover, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in the baking soda.
Cutting off small pieces of dough roll it into about 1/2 inch thick ropes.
Cut the rope into bit size pieces.
Boil a few pieces at a time for about 30 to 45 seconds until puffy.
Remove from the boiling water and place on baking sheet.
Brush with melted butter and top with a sprinkle of coarse salt.
Repeat until all of the dough is used.
Bake on 350 degrees until golden brown, about 8 to 11 minutes.

The original recipe did a few things differently. Firstly, they left the dough in ropes and made sort of long pretzel sticks instead of bites. Secondly, they also had a second  20 minute rest before they boiled the dough.

Hope you enjoy!



I understand for most people that living without a microwave seems utterly barbaric but we've managed it for five years without much trouble. Although I think it has caused a little hiccup here and there when family and friends have come over for some gathering or other and they couldn't just warm something up.

We also did fine for several months when the dishwasher died. I found washing dishes to be quite therapeutic but I also found that I must be a better parent than I thought and I haven't messed my kids up to the point that they need therapy. At least they don't think they need dish washing therapy.

I kept a pretty stiff upper lip when the oven died figuring I could make the grill and stove top work if I needed to. But thankfully Rob found a really great deal on a set of appliances and some friends had an extra stove that we could use until our new stuff arrived.

Much to the joy of our offspring the deal Rob found included a microwave that could be installed above the stove. Losing counter space was my main reason for not having one. Rob still isn't sure that they don't give off gama rays that can cause bodily mutations but sense just about everyone we know seems to have one with no lingering ill affects he got it.

The kids have microwaved everything they can. Even hot dogs. I've never seen them move so fast to get lunch. Really, boiling a little water for a hot dog takes too long? Can you see my eyes rolling?

Popcorn? They are blowing through the bags like they've been endlessly deprived of nourishment.

I'm pretty sure Emily has pinned a gazillion cake in a mug recipes and it won't be long before that gets tested. Hmm, maybe a pinterest test kitchen blog post on the best ones?

I did enjoy being able to heat up Rob's dinner the other night when he was out late with a board meeting.

And reheating that cup of tea I forgot about has been pretty nice as well.

It's kind of nice joining the microwave club. But it's not nearly as fun as seeing the looks on people's faces whenever I told them we didn't have one.

Barbaric, indeed.

(The dishwasher works fantastic, by the way. Unfortunately, the oven had a huge dent in the top at
delivery so we declined it. A new one should be delivered in a couple of weeks.)


Any tips and tricks for keeping stainless steel appliances clean and shiny is appreciated!


The oldest is about to turn twenty-one and the youngest is forever reminding me that she will soon be my last child to hit double digits for the first time. (We don't do huge birthday celebrations every year but going double digits is a milestone we usually mark with some extra hoopla. Is anyone surprised that Claire is working her status as the baby and the "last one" to get a little extra something something for her celebration in November?)

What I am really coming to terms with is that my babies are babies no more. This year in particular seems to have been a tipping point when that reality is just so sharp. Because of the eleven years that stretch between the first and the last it's not like we're on the home stretch of parenting obviously. But we do seem to have moved into the late summer and early autumn season of child rearing. There's weeding and pruning still to do as there always will be but it's different than before when they were little.

It's an interesting season of life. Having them home for the summer is putting their various stages of maturity into relief and it's so easy to see how they've grown and matured. Oh, they still have moments where they are the best of friends or the worst of enemies but it's just different somehow. They are growing up. They have grown up.

And oddly enough I feel like I have too. I was talking with a friend recently and we were sharing how humbling it is to be a parent of older children. When they're little you have it all figured out...you're the grown up and they are learning from you. At some point though they should be entering the battle with you, along side of you, fighting the same fight that you are as brothers and sisters in Christ. They begin more and more to join you in the labor rather than being so much a part of the labor.

Honestly, I didn't mean to get all philosophical and meandering. I really just wanted to share one of Sam's drawings with you and it just got me to thinking how much they've changed and that's how we ended up on the stroll down that rabbit trail.

Anyway, this tickled me and I thought y'all might enjoy it as well.


The boy has insight, wouldn't you say?


Well, it has been a while hasn't it? The end of the school year and beginning of summer came together for the perfect no-time-to-blog quietness that we've had here on the old blog.

I hope that is about to change. I want to blog. I enjoy blogging.

I have things I want to talk about.

Pictures I want to show you.

I have recipes to share like homemade pretzel bites, mango pudding and key lime pound cake.

I think maybe, just possibly, we are settling into some sort of routine so, maybe things will get a little more regular.

To get the ball rolling I will go ahead and share one of the sweetest moments I've had recently with Claire.

Last Sunday Rob, who is preaching through the book of Romans, was reading the first twelve verses of chapter seven.

I saw Claire write down Romans 7:18 and underline it three times in her bulletin. (She is a prolific note taker and is always jotting down questions or words that she wants to talk about later.) A little later Rob reached that verse specifically and Claire nudged me and ran her finger under the words as he read it aloud and she looked up at me with such a serious expression.

I leaned over and whispered if she understood what that verse was saying and she adamantly shook her head yes, relieved I think, that I understood her. It was humbling for me to meet her on equal ground.

It brought home to me how vital it is that our children be in church with us...so that side by side...sister to sister...we both know that we each struggle the same...face the same enemy...and turn to the same victorious Savior to strengthen us.

Scripture_lessons_in_Romans





She has waited with patience as Lady Winter held sway over the earth.

But finally her time has come and Lady Spring steps out from behind a curtain of green.


Color begins to burst from the ground. Dark gives way to light and the world begins to wake again.


Quietly gaining momentum she gathers harbingers of new life and sets them free.



And sends sweet scented blossoms drifting down the river.


In a dance to music she alone hears she scatters a confetti of petals to celebrate.


Knowing her season is short but without envy or sadness she pours out all she has and settles down by the brook, to wait while the coolness fades.



There is a lot going on in our world today that is demanding a response from us. If your facebook feed is anything like mine than you have been inundated with status updates sharing various opinions about bathrooms and Target, as well as related links to various blog posts or memes.

I've been surprised, not surprised, and disappointed with the things I've read. But today, after having a real live in person face to face conversation with friends about the whole issue I figured out what my response is.

Ready to hear it?

Here you go.


No matter whether we boycott Target or not I pray that we respond with a sense of what God considers just and not some red neck rambo reaction. I pray that how we, as God's people, respond is governed by the love of kindness that He has shown to us while we were yet enslaved and held in bondage by our sin so that we may continue to walk in humbleness along the path He has set before us.


I've been doing the weekly autism blog post every April for years now and this was the first time I shared posts written from other people's perspective. Even though these are all people in my life it was interesting and moving to read their words and see what they see. I'm glad we did it this way and I hope that if you've been reading the posts that you've enjoyed them as well.

I waffled back and forth a lot before asking the author to share his perspective for this post. The other three were written from the perspective of family member or a long time family friend. Also, all grown ups. But this last one, the last perspective I wanted us to hear, is from one of Sam's peers.

Community has always been a big deal to Sam and even before he became a student at Trinitas he knew everybody. He would pour over the girls' yearbooks each year memorizing names and faces. Community has been a big deal for us too as we have walked this journey on the road of autism.  Life with autism is a beautiful complication made easier through the communities of family and friends.
We wouldn't be where we are with Sam if it hadn't been for the love and support of the people around us.

It is a whole other blog post to explain what I mean about community and maybe I will write it in the future, but for now let me just make it clear that I am not talking about tolerance. It's not enough to just have people around you that are willing to overlook or humor certain autistic behaviors. Understanding limitations and taking them into account is one thing, low expectations and excuse making is another.

When I asked the parents of one of Sam's classmates about writing something for this series I knew it was risky, it felt more vulnerable. But we also trusted this family because we've seen the way they've raised this young man and the kindness he has always shown Sam. We've seen him reach out to try and help Sam deal with a hard minute or just include him in the day to day life at school. (I should note that while I did ask this family to write the blog post specifically it's not just because he is the only one to treat Sam this way. Thankfully, this is the norm for our school community to varying degrees.)

From Clark ~

Having Sam in my class is both challenging and enjoyable.  You always have to remember that you have to treat him differently and that some things he cannot control.  You have to forgive the things that annoy you and always remember that you are friends.  You cannot laugh at things that are not normal and you cannot allow your other classmates to lead you astray.  Everyone has their highs and lows, Sam is no exception.  While he might struggle in some areas his cartoons are a gift from God.  Where I can only draw stick figures, Sam can create incredible comics and never runs out of clever dialogue with witty puns and plays on words to go with them.  He is very gifted and a good friend.

Short and sweet and to the point, huh? But it so perfectly reflects some truths that I think we can all be reminded of. Loving people, being in relationship with each other whether there is autism or not, requires something from us. We have to be forgiving. We all annoy each other sometimes. We all can be thoughtless or unaware. We need to be willing to see beyond our differences. We need to look for the good in each other.

In a nutshell we all need grace.  This isn't the first time we've seen that life could be a little sweeter if we all lived a little more autistically. 



A Father's Perspective     A Sister's Perspective     A Teacher's Perspective 


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