Cooper Turns 11 !!!

Can you believe that this adorable little boy……..
…..turned into this handsome BIG boy????

And it all happened in a matter of seconds!

It just doesn’t seem that long ago that we were headed to Stillwater medical Center to have baby boy #2! And now he’s so grown up….. …..playing baseball, begging to play football, writing his own stories and creating amazing drawings, strumming on the guitar and keeping a perfect rythym on the djembe! Cooper is definitely our resident artist and one act show. He even performed some of his recently created and original jokes for us this evening….What do you call a man who steals things? Rob! What do you call a grandpa on a battleship? Old Navy! (this one was created in the parking lot of, guess where???)

We celebrated by going downtown to Bart’s for ice cream with friends after baseball practice – a perfect evening for it, too! There was a lot of laughing as people shared what they love about Cooper.
An he just couldn’t wait to assemble the Star Wars Legos that Jim gave him. These three found a table indoors and got to work.

Happy Birthday Cooper!
We love you!

Gluten Free Friday

Today is Cooper’s Birthday, and this is one of his favorite snacks – introduced to us by my friend Sara. We ate it tonight for a snack dinner after baseball and before going out for ice cream!

Black Bean Dip

1 large can black beans (16-17 oz.) drained and rinsed
1/2 package boxed frozen corn
3-4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
garlic powder

Place beans, corn, feta, and green onions in mixing bowl and toss together. Whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pour dressing over bean mixture and toss to coat. Serve with tortilla chips.

Patriot’s Day…..

…..has become a Krum family tradition of three years now! (We skipped last year though, because of rain.) It is a holiday in Massachusetts to commemorate the Battle of Lexington and Concord which began the Revolutionary War. (Remember, “one if by land and two if by sea,” Paul Revere’s midnight ride, etc.) Well, there is a very authentic re-enactment of the battle every Patriot’s Day.
One reason that it is authentic is because it starts at 5:30 a.m. – the time of the actual battle. We spent the night at a friend’s house in Concord Sunday night, and got up at 4 a.m. so as to get dressed and make it to the Lexington green by 5 a.m. We brought our ladders so we could actually SEE the battle. There is no provision made for spectators, so unless you want to arrive at 3 or 4 a.m. bring your ladder so you can see over the 5 or 6 rows of people in front of you!
At around 5:30 there is a scuffle off to the side, and Paul Revere rides through town notifying colonists of the impending arrival of the British. Over the next 30 minutes, the Minutemen gather themselves to prepare for confrontation, and on a loud speaker the story of the battle is told.
Then the Red Coats begin arriving. They just keep coming and coming, and it is immediately obvious that the Minutemen are greatly outnumbered.
Shots are fired, and men fall to the ground on both sides, but the Red Coats prevail and drive the Minutemen off the town green. Women and children then flock to the battle scene to aid the fallen soldiers – their husbands and fathers. The British march off to the to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.”
6:30 a.m. and time for a hot breakfast. We found a great little cafe in Arlington, MA and had omelettes, fruit bowls, scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon, and sausage. Also, much needed hot tea, and take a look at those hot chocolates with mile high whipped cream!
Next, we drove back into Concord (all of these towns are next to one another and minutes apart) to watch their Patriot’s Day Parade. The kids are pictured here with an actual Son of the American Revolution, and a Marine he told us “in case we weren’t impressed simply by his American roots!” These folks take their heritage very seriously….”Those re-enactors do a good job, don’t get me wrong, but WE are the real deal – actual sons and daughters of the Revolution!”
This is a great parade! Lots of colonial dress, marching bands, and even Louisa May Alcott and her fellow authors of the period make an appearance every year. The Alcott Home and Walden Pond are both in Concord and so much fun to visit! (Would you believe that Walden Pond is a popular swimming hole in the area. When the summer heats up, its beach is covered with sun bathers, children with sand toys, and groups of teenagers splashing in the water! Wonder what Henry David would say to that?)
The other big event of the day is the famous Boston Marathon! We love going in to the city and watching the runners enter what is their last of 26 miles. The atmosphere is very festive and there is lots of cheering, which is what many runners credit for giving them the encouragement to finish what is a very difficult course.
Lastly, we took the “T”, the subway, to Quincy Market, an indoor/outdoor shopping and dining area, and then walked to the harbor. We watched the boats coming and going, as well as the airplanes, since the airport in located across the harbor on a sort of island. It was a great day and always a fun tradition and getaway.

Menu Monday – A Week of Gluten Free Meals

So, I’m posting this on Tuesday, because we were gone most of the day Monday. We spent from Sunday to Monday in the Boston area celebrating Patriot’s Day by going to some local events – more on that to come! It was great fun, but exhausting!

Broccoli & Goat Cheese Quiche & Salad

Southwest Vegetable Soup & Cornbread

House Church Meal – Grilled Chicken, Hamburgers, Baked Beans, & Salad

Baked Chicken Breasts with Barbecue Sauce, Baked Sweet Potatoes, & Broccoli

Gluten Free Pizza (kids) Rehearsal Dinner Meal – Ham, Green Beans, & Salad (parents)

Snack Dinner after Wedding – Chips/Dip/Salsa/Hummus/Veggies

Longhorn Steakhouse in Leominster en route to Boston!

Gluten Free Friday

This one came out of a Southern Living Magazine a several years ago. I only add one can of diced tomatoes, as there are 3 people in my family who will pick through the soup so as to avoid the tomatoes. I’ll let you guess who those three might be.

Southwestern Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef, or turkey
1 onion
1 bell pepper
5 cups water
2 cans Mexican-Style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn (I use frozen Trader Joes)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 (8 oz) can green beans (Here again, I use frozen ones from Trader Joes)
chili powder to taste
cumin to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef or turkey. Saute onions and peppers until tender. Add all to soup pot. Stir in 5 cups of water and next 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Top with crushed tortilla chips and grated cheese. Makes about 1 gallon.

Menu Monday – A Week of Gluten Free Meals

Chicken Enchiladas, Pinto Beans, & Salad

Meatballs w/ Sauce, Rice, & Mixed Vegetables

House Church Meal – Pasta with Veggie Sauce

Black Bean and Rice Soup & Cheese Quesadillas

Pesto Chicken Pasta & Salad

BLT’s, French Fries, Guacamole & Tortilla Chips (This was a last minute hodge podge of a meal put together by my friend Betsy and me and eaten at her house in order to enjoy the warm spring-like day together with our families!)

Leftovers + Veggies and hummus

A Spring-y Saturday

With all of my complaining about the very delayed spring in New England, I suppose it would only be right to, at the first sign of spring, report on its glory!While the boys went to baseball practice, Kayla and I went to the Farmer’s Supply and bought seeds and soil in order to get started on our garden. (We did this last year also, but weren’t that good about keeping them watered. We ended up buying already started seeds when it was all over!) We also ordered……CHICKENS. (Well, day old chicks.) Ten of them! We can hardly wait to pick them up on May 12th – 3 Barred Plymouth Rocks, 4 Rhode Island Reds, and 3 Araucanas – this last kind lays pink, green and blue eggs! Before we worked on planting, we walked across the street to Dunkin’ Donuts (dangerous location) for an iced coffee for mom, and a Coolata for Kayla. On the way, she kept saying, “I’m so hot!” (It was 72 degrees.)
And the boys have created a kind of shooting range in the backyard consisting of sticks stuck in the ground with various cups, pots, a Kleenex box and hubcap perched on top. They sit on top of the roof of our bulk head – basement stairs opening – and shoot their BB guns at these targets.
And here’s some evidence of their shooting skills. I’m amazed at this, but I’m sure the neighbors are horrified!

Happy Spring!

Be Careful What You Ask For

The doorbell rang yesterday, and the kids received the mail and this package from our mailman. They brought it to me, and I saw that it was from my friend Christy in Oklahoma. It was fairly heavy for a small package, and I went through a mental list of what it could possibly be. (I wasn’t expecting any packages from her.) Then, I remembered that she reads this blog (it’s been such a fun way to keep in touch with her), and that I made a joking request a couple of posts ago for a care package for ingredients to a favorite recipe of mine – ingredients that I won’t buy here in New England very often, because they are so expensive!
And then before even opening it completely I thought to myself……AVOCADOS!
I started laughing. When I told the kids the story, they started laughing too. And we really needed a good laugh – it had not been the prettiest of homeschool mornings! This unexpected care package lightened our moods and made our day. Humor is such a blessing – one that doesn’t come naturally to this take-everything-way-too-serious-girl, but I love it when I can laugh with good friends and my family. Thanks for giving us a good laugh this week, Christy – not to mention good guacamole, avocado salsa, turkey/avocado sandwiches, etc. We’re in avocado heaven for the next few days! (P.S. They arrived in PERFECT condition – amazing!)

Gluten Free Friday

Ok, so even though I am squeamish about both corn syrup and microwaved foods, we do indulge in this treat occasionally! My friend Karla in Oklahoma taught me this incredibly easy caramel popcorn recipe. If anyone knows of an alternative to the corn syrup, I’m all ears! (Oh my, I think that’s a pun! Wow! I can barely ever even tell a joke – you should be impressed!)

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

1 cup unpopped popcorn
oil for popping
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
peanuts or other nuts, optional

1 brown paper grocery sack.

Pop popcorn in the traditional method. (You know, on the stove, in oil. One time I was doing this for a Bible study in our home when a college student arrived and asked incredulously, “What are you doing????”) Pour popcorn into brown paper bag, and nuts if you desire. Place brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt in glass microwavable bowl. Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, take out, stir, and microwave again for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove bowl and add baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will foam and expand. Pour over popcorn in bag, roll down bag to close, and shake to coat. Now, place entire bag in microwave and cook for 1 minute. Remove the bag, shake well, and place back in microwave for another minute. Shake again, and then pour out onto cookie sheets or counter top lined with parchment. The popcorn will take a few minutes to cool and harden. Break into small pieces, place in a serving bowl and enjoy!

Swordplay and Praise

Let the godly ones exult in glory, let them sing for joy in their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand,
to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishment on the peoples; to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written;
this is an honor for all His godly ones.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 149:5-9

Our enemy despises the Word of God. He hates the mention of the cross, and the victory of Christ over death and darkness. He doesn’t like to be reminded of the resurrection. In fact, he will flee at the mention of such things. I was privileged and humbled to see this occur with my own eyes just this week. I was reminded that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) Driving home, I felt unworthy, overwhelmed by the goodness and grace of God – that He would allow me to be a part of such things, and I wept. It was an honor, and I praise Him for it.