A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Evening at the Park

September winds down to a close today ... paving the way for a trip to the pumpkin patch, putting together Harvest Party costumes, planning Thanksgiving Day activities (including another run, hopefully!), and lots and lots of fire pit nights!

The now famous "say cheese" grin Matthias gives us!
The weather has been picture perfect as of late, so we took the boys to the neighborhood school park last night. The big boys brought their scooters to use on the basketball court area, and Matthias was content to run around, go down slides, and swing in Mommy's lap. He also got the high excitement of getting to pet a dog! We don't usually to get to be close up to animals because of Reuben's allergies, but Matthias LOVES animals, especially dogs, so much! This was a big dog, but brought by three little girls and their mom, and super gentle. All evening long, long after the dog was taken home, he would wave his little hand towards the direction they left in, and say in his little mumbled way: "Bye bye, dog-dog, bye bye".

Love these two big brothers!

Love this one! Got anything up your nose?

And this video is of him discovering the lower bar ... workin' those abs! = ) Hopefully we'll remember how great the park felt from 6-7pm, and taken advantage of repeating this activity on nights that we don't have events planned.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Caramel Popcorn

The are many traditions that are important to me, Eli, and our families. And even now, I continue to love how each of our families is sooooo different, and how they have different holiday, seasonal, birthday traditions that live on. It makes it so much fun!

When I started to be around Eli's family more during the holiday/Christmas season, I was introduced to his mom's AMAZING caramel popcorn. I can't remember off the top of my head where she got it from, I wouldn't be surprised if it was her mom's, because many of her favorite recipes are. All I know is that it is worth the indulgence. It certainly is one of those things that none of us really make other times of year. Maybe for a special movie night or get together with friends ... but it just sings autumn and holidays!

A couple weeks ago, though, the weather turned cool for a few days (Um, we're back in the 80's now!), and it really  felt like fall had come! I had the urge, people. Pumpkin, apple, baking days are here! I just need to get people over to the house to share things with. Truly, the big joy for me is making and giving. I do like to taste - hello, sweet tooth! - but I also l.o.v.e. to give and share goodies. But, caramel popcorn just sounded so good! So, oh well that it isn't November yet, I made it anyway!

It seems like a fairly foolproof recipe to me as long as you follow it as given! Try and enjoy!

Caramel Popcorn 
8 quarts popped popcorn
2 c. brown sugar
1 c. margarine or butter
1/4 c. corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

*Put your popped popcorn in as big a baking dish/roasting pan as you've got. Heat your butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan on med heat until boiling. Boil for 5 min - continuing to stir so nothing burns. Stir in salt. Turn on heat and add in baking soda, stirring well as you'll see the baking soda causes a reaction in your sugar mixture, it will change color and possibly double in size. Pour over popcorn and stir well so every kernel is coated! Bake at 250 degrees. I like to stir mine about every five minutes or I find it starts to burn on the bottom. About 15-20 min, and then pull out, let cool! YUM!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jonah - Tall and Straight

During our science work today, we were wrapping up a unit on the human body. It ended with a little questionnaire about how the child takes care of their body on a daily basis. Jonah wanted me to ask him the questions so he could answer them.

We going down the line, talking about sleeping enough, eating the right foods, etc.

One question says something to the effect of: sitting and standing straight to help your back stay strong and healthy.

Jonah: "Why is that important?"

I stand up, show him someone walking slumped over, explain the importance of standing "tall and proud" as well as sitting that way.

He looks at me, shakes his head: "Mom, pride in our hearts is wrong. We are not suppose to have pride. We should stand tall and straight, but we should not be proud."

My little boy has been intently doing his Bible studies each day! And yes, 6 year old, I stand corrected = ) Another day, we'll talk about the other 'good' meaning of proud.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Glorious Fall!

I think, I hope, that fall is truly here! The evenings and nights and mornings are cool, but the days are sunny and still warm. Soon, leaves will start changing and girls will pull out their boots and sweaters! L.O.V.E. this time of year!

Matthias and Mya!
We celebrated a beautiful weekend by having a fire pit tonight. Hopefully the first of several this season. It's fun, and it's busy - trying to keep a very bold little one year old away from the flames! But, who can resist popping sparks from a fire, and warm s'mores? No one should be able to!

Jonah and Mataya

Eli's mom, niece, and brother came, as well as my sister and niece! A bit of family from each side, to sit with us, and visit while roasting dinner and dessert together. Couldn't ask for a better start to my week.

Aren't cousins the greatest?
He was happy just to get his little hands on a marshmallow!
Mom and Reubs - love this guy!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grandma Time!

Last weekend, we headed off to Silver Dollar City in Branson, for a much needed weekend away from the daily life! Not that life isn't good = ) But, since summer is a busy time for us, we didn't get any vacation time then. So, back to Branson for a three day family time. We had such a good time! I hope to post some pictures tomorrow once I can get them off Eli's phone.

Eli's mom sent each of the big boys with a $5 bill, to buy a special cookie cutter in their specialty baking shop there, to bring home so that they could make and frost cookies together. Boy, were they excited! They debated over that big wall of cookie cutters, and make their decisions with lots of excitement on the day to look forward to.

After I taught at the gym this morning, we headed over to Grandma's to make cookies. The boys helped (some) roll out the dough, and then cut out cookies to bake. In addition to the ones we got, she has a big tub full of different sizes and shapes of cookie cutters. My sister in law and niece were there to participate as well. Once cooled, they all got frosted and decorated! And tasted, of course ...

I realized yesterday when scheduling something out for two weeks, that it would be October in two weeks! OH MY!!! Fall is here ... although it's still 90 degrees outside! Time to get on top of fall crafts and all kinds of fun "fall-ish" activities.

Aunt "Missa" and Tirzah!

Look at the size of those gingerbread men cookies! This is a "two day" cookie!

Matthias has developed a cheesy camera grin when we pull it out to take a picture!

Matthias and Grandma ... we are so so blessed!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Heavyweight = )

Matthias is on track as the biggest Brooks boy yet. The kid just looks solid. He starts the day of fairly normal looking, but by bedtime, he is rocking a big 'ole belly! = ) Makes us laugh. He wasn't born the biggest - Reuben was - but he definitely has surpassed his brothers.

Since we don't have traditional insurance, he hasn't been to the doctor for a well child check in awhile for me to see his growth curve or get percentages from them, but I put him on the scale in the weight room a few days ago, and it read 26 lbs. even. According to an online percentile calculator, that puts him between the 50th and 75 percentile range. The other boys were lucky to get above the 10th percentile range ANY time in their history 3 years and under! I looked back at their baby books, and although I don't have a weight recorded for 16 months, I have them both recorded around 24.4 lbs. at 18 months. By 18 months, Matthias is likely to be at least a pound heavier than now at the rate this child is going!

He is a mover and climber. Yes, my other boys could climb, but they weren't so nearly inclined. He regularly climbs their bunkbed ladder, has fallen off it, and still continues to climb it. And a couple days ago, he realized he could easily climb up onto the dining room table. Um, that is where we would stick everything we didn't want those little hands to get a hold of. Meaning NOTHING IS SAFE. If this child wants it, he is finding ways to get it.

And then he gives this big 'ole grin and runs over and squeezes my leg with glee when he sees me. Ahhhhhh, can't stay frustrated long with him! He keeps me on my toes all day long, this one does!

Brooks Boys: all around 16 months old

Mr. Matthias hard at work

Seeing this little face made me smile ... Jonah - how is he already six years old?

And working to get a smile from Reuben, who was always more serious than the others ...

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Last night I attended the funeral of a friend's son. Her son was 19 years old, and she unexpectedly lost him last Sunday morning in a horrible circumstance. Oh, my heart aches. The moment I saw another mutual friend's number flash on my phone screen that evening, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.

All week long, many of us have been enduring heartache on her behalf, heartache on behalf of the sadness of a life lost in what seems too soon.

And most of the week, though I grieved, I felt strong, texting her encouragement, encouraging others in their sadness. But last night ... oh, last night. Seeing pictures flash on the screen of him as a baby, a toddler boy in his mother's arms, an elementary boy with silly antics ... and the tears fell. The tears of a mother who CANNOT imagine life without my boys. Cannot fathom what it would be like to see your child's life end before your own. And end young. And I wept for her: wept for her arms that will ache to hold her boy.

I came home, kissed my boys goodnight with fervor ... "Mommy loves you soooooo much ...".

She was strong and clothed in grace during the service, you could see. It was a beautiful time to remember him. But so, so hard.

I am not usually prone to emotion during these times. I hug, I reminisce, and I feel like I often am there to be strong for others (whether or not I actually am, I feel that way!). But I am overcome for my friend. Today as I rocked Matthias before nap, he was sprinkled with my tears. Realizing that life is short. Time is precious.

I cannot number my days, nor Eli's days, nor my childrens' days. And I trust that ultimately, what I do not understand, I lay in the hands of my Lord. And even what I think I understand, I place in His hands as well. He knows the hairs on my head: He knows what is to come.

What has been given to me is such, such a gift. My I remember to smile more, to let some little things go in order to enjoy a chubby, sticky cheek offered up for a kiss. To ignore the drama in life and treasure my family, my friends. To support others in heartache. To offer my hand in help when needed. To live each day to the fullest.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I have been known for as long as Pinterest has been alive, to comment that I would not "foray" into the world of Pinterest because I kept hearing people say "I just get on there and end up being on there for HOURS ... and didn't mean to!"

That scared the daylights out of me.

I already have small and sacred computer time. The small amount just got a lot smaller with school starting four weeks ago. Matthias' nap time used to be my "get the boys on an extended project so that I can clean like mad, work on work plans and emails and photos and all that stuff. And for the most part, I was able to keep up with all those things. The house stayed fairly clean, which I really like - I admit it! And I felt like I was more on top of computer work.

Add in homeschooling and the time is smaller. I need naptime to sit on the couch and discuss common vs. proper nouns, teach Reuben the sounds that the letters of the alphabet make, etc. Some school works works great with a one year old running underfoot: other subjects we need more quiet.

And I heard a friend comment: "Pinterest is my brain."


Re-thinking. Re-thinking how I think that I can "remember" all the blogs that had the lessons I wanted to use, the recipes I wanted to try, etc etc etc. Heck, I finally starting using my phone to input all my calendar things and has majorly helped me! So, I got on Pinterest. And h.a.l.l.e.l.u.j.a.h.

I don't have to get stuck on there. But, when I have something that I want to be able to "find again" that I always thought Oh, I can remember that! but never do. I can put it somewhere! Yes, I have certain websites I go to again and again that have recipes and daily life devotions and school ideas that I go on a semi-daily basis. BUT, for those little ideas that I want to save. And my brain is full enough!

Pinterest isn't my brain yet. It's only been a couple weeks = ) But, it has given me a bit of a sigh of relief. Ahhhhhhhhh. I can see something, tuck it away for later, and not panic because I can't find it again. It's waiting for me. I don't have time to get lost on Pinterest, but it's given me more time in the long run, because what I am looking for is now at my fingertips ... instead of lost in my own brain!

On Pinterest.