Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Midnight baking

Normally we don't stay up overly late as my husband likes to get up early to go and play basketball before he goes to work. But for the next two weeks there was a mandatory shut-down (due to the economy) and the offices are closed too. He will need to use up his vacation for this but we are enjoying having him around! So, we stayed up late last night and I caught up on blogs while he played video games, trying out the system he bought from someone at work that we will give the kids for Christmas.

Earlier that evening I had started pizza dough but my husband decided to run into town instead and pick up frozen pizzas so I didn't need to do anything and we were in need of some cereal and a few other things. I thought I would just put the dough in the fridge until the next day when I was ready to bake it.

Well, around midnight I decided to head to bed and opened the fridge to put something away when I noticed that my dough had risen up and out of the bowl! I was no longer in the mood to do baking but I couldn't just waste that beautiful dough. I ended up making cinnamon rolls and putting them in the fridge overnight. I baked them this morning and wasn't sure how they would taste as it was not a sweet dough typically used but they were quite yummy!

This morning Pete wondered when I could have made cinnamon rolls as I was still in bed when he woke up and he never saw me in the kitchen. So, midnight baking was kind of nice, as long as I can sleep in the next morning.






Snow & Weekend Ramblings...

Yesterday was a goofy day as we couldn't make it into church and we had been planning on going to see my nephew in his Christmas program. The snow here has been crazy and yesterday there was a wind chill advisory in addition to blowing winds. We had drifts everywhere and my husband got out the plow but ended up stuck in a snowbank closing off the driveway. Thankfully his parents were here with their 4-wheel drive truck and were able to pull him out later but it was also so bitterly cold. We found out later that one end of our road was drifted shut with drifts that were over John's head!

Our church Christmas program was supposed to be last night and we made the decision not to go as we have a 25 minute drive and there were white-out conditions. In addition my husband was afraid our driveway would get drifted shut again in the meantime. Thankfully it was ultimately canceled! The boys had been so concerned that they would miss saying their part. It will now be on Christmas Eve instead which unfortunately means their Grandparents will miss it. :(

We had a nice weekend with my in-laws and celebrated Christmas with them. The boys each got a pair of snowshoes that they were finally able to try out this morning, although it was still only 10 degrees. They received the game Blockus from an Aunt and have been playing it ever since. It is quite addicting and a challenge but fun. Their goal is to beat Daddy as he is really good (it's the mathematician/engineer in him.)


There is more snow in the forecast for the week so we will certainly have a white Christmas here (maybe a little overly white). I'll have to post a picture because the amounts we have already are amazing!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's About the Cross

School in Our Home posted a YouTube video with the song "It's About the Cross" by Go Fish. I had never heard the song but it is really good! I encourage you to pop over to her blog and watch the video and listen to the words that tell of the true meaning of Christmas.  Click HERE.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mittens and Sweet Words

The boys have needed new mittens and gloves as no one seems to have a match or they have holes in theirs and so they come in from playing outside with cold hands. You can never have enough mittens I have found! (Socks are the same way.) Last night I bought everyone a new pair. They were all happy about it but today Tank was beaming and so excited to go outside in his new mittens that he was "so proud of". When he was getting dressed in his snowpants and things he said, "Did you buy me these nice new mittens because you love me SO much?" Ah, that boy can flip a switch so fast in personality but certainly melts my heart with his sweet sentiments. "Yes, T---" I love you SO much!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Me and Cameras

I love to take pictures and have ever since I was a little girl and had one of those point and shoot automatic cameras with the cheap flash attachment you popped on and used until the flashes were all burned out. Before we got married we invested in a nice SLR camera that I really enjoyed. I never did learn to use it to it's full capability but I took a lot of great photos.


Around the time when Tank was a baby we tossed around the idea of buying a digital SLR camera but ultimately decided we couldn't spend the money on it when what we had worked fine. With time though digital was becoming the way to go and so right after Missy Blue was born we bought a small pretty much automatic digital camera and that has served us well, although I still like the quality of photos with an SLR much better. The ease of popping this camera into my purse or wherever is great. The downside is that is is also much easier to misplace. I have lost it a number of times now but it has always turned up at some point. This is due likely because my scatter-brained mind cannot remember the last place I set it down, especially when distracted by little ones.


 Well, it happened again last month and I was without a camera. I would say to my husband, "Oh, if only I had a camera right now." I borrowed my Mom's when I really needed one but figured ours would turn up as always. In the meantime my husband thought it was time for a new camera and so used a few gift cards he had to buy a new digital camera, even in pink! (Missy Blue thought it was for her). It was like my Mom's camera and admittedly had more options and would hopefully take a little bit better of picture as we still cannot afford to get a digital SLR. Wouldn't you know that our other camera turned up not a week later in the van of all places (I was sure I checked there!) but Re-Pete pulled it from under the seat. The kids claimed it as their own to take pictures with.


I was getting used to our new pink camera and trying out the various settings and had just finished taking the family Christmas picture. I popped that camera in my pocket carrying it around all day taking pictures of the kids with the tree, etc. Needless to say I forgot it was there. Later on Tank was taking a bath and I went in to wash his hair. I heard a "plop!" and had a sinking feeling as Tank lifted out my camera and said, "Ahhh, Mama?" I couldn't believe that my new camera had fallen into the water!!! I ran to dry it off with a hairdryer the best I could and went online to search for the fate of my camera. There were mixed reports but I found one that did say if it dried out enough it could possibly work again.


I put the wet camera on the fireplace to dry and my husband wondered why I had it sitting there. I didn't want to tell him at that point but my little Tank said, "Guess what Mommy did?" Can't that boy keep a secret? (At least for a little while?) He pretty much just shook his head and said, "You're not getting a new one". So, I tried every few days and the camera did turn on but there was still no picture. I assumed it would need a new lense and was going to price that out. About a week later I was using my old camera again and thought, I sure wish I could use my new one. I figured it wouldn't work again but I whispered a popcorn prayer as I ran down the hall to try it out. "Lord, I sure would love to have use of that camera again". I picked up the camera, turned it on and low and behold there was now a picture! I was so happy and relieved that it was not ruined afterall! Thank You Lord!


Long story but yet you know, God cares about even the seemingly insignificant things in our lives. Sure, I didn't mean to drop my new camera in the water and yes, I did have my old camera to fall back on but God knew the desire of my heart and he blessed me with causing it to work again. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

I love the tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree but it changes from year to year depending on if I have had a baby or not, the weather, etc. Last year Baby Boy was only a few weeks old, I was still recovering from the c-section and so we bought one from a tree lot and our son who is full of tradition, George, was none too happy about that. This year he began talking about cutting down a tree months in advance reminding us that we cannot abandon this tradition.

The day after Thanksgiving we had wanted to cut down a Christmas tree but my husband's back was bothering him from playing football the day before (he says he is getting old) and so we waited another day. It was a beautiful, sunny day . Not too cold and not much snow on the ground yet. We went to a tree farm not too far from here and enjoyed a tractor ride that took us to a field of trees. It didn't take too long to find the perfect one. It wasn't perfectly shaped but it was tall and full and so my husband and George began working to cut it down. Timber!


Unfortunately the tractor had problems and so we were stuck out there for awhile. We debated hiking back and pulling the tree behind us but the kids enjoyed throwing snowballs and running around and so we waited.


Our tree is much larger than I had thought but it fits. I only dreaded putting the lights on. In the beginning of our marriage I was quite particular about how the lights went on which is something I got from my mother. I would wrap them around up and down each branch and make sure there weren't any dangling down. Beautiful! But, with time and more children and maybe larger trees also, I gave up on that. Especially since I would get tired of hearing the children say "How much longer?"

I can remember the days when I was a child and my sister and I would sit watching my Mom put lights on the tree just itching to put ornaments on and often would end up having to wait until the next day! What, and I still struggle with patience?  This year I decided to throw them on as neatly as I could and make sure it was covered so that when I squint my eyes I don't see any holes where lights should be. It worked out well, although I do have quite a few dangling cords but when the lights are dimmed no one knows the difference and the children surely don't care.

So, we decorated the tree and it looked wonderful. I only needed to put a few more at the top as we need a ladder for that. Not long after I heard a crash and knew immediately that the tree had fallen down. This happened to us last year also, but not on the day we put it up! My husband had planned on wiring this one to the wall but a little too late. Thankfully, no one was hurt as no one had even been in the room. I was mad for a moment and then cried too as I found ornaments that had broken. It wasn't that the ornament was broken so much as the memories that a particular one conjured up. My favorite was broken last year and this year dangling glass bells that were my Grandma's broke and that was hard. But, I know memories are in my heart and not in an ornament and so it is okay and I talked to the boys about that. Our tree is now wired to the curtain rods and looks beautiful. Baby Boy is in awe of it and purses his lips in an "ooooo!" each and everytime he sees this huge tree in our living room. I love it!


Right now the song that is playing through my mind is called "The Perfect Tree" by Ray Boltz and reminds me that the perfect tree was not dressed in ornaments but it was the tree that Jesus laid his life down on - a gift for you and me! I am thankful for the tradition of the Christmas tree and all of the lessons we can apply from it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Marriage fun for Christmas

One of my favorite websites is Family Life Today and last week I found something fun to count down the days until Christmas with your spouse. It is called Mistletoe for Marriage - 25 days of comfort and joy. Sound intriguing? It did to me and I plan to do as many of them as I can. To give you an example, tonights activity is:

Make some hot chocolate, snuggle up on the couch or in bed and read


Luke 1: 26-38


There is a quick link to Mistletoe for Marriage on this PAGE. Have fun!

Mayflower Meal

We began a new tradition this year that I found at Doorposts. I read about it and immediately knew that the kids would really enjoy it. Unfortunately, I threw it all together in a matter of days and so it wasn't quite as I would like but we had fun together and I think got a glimpse of what it might have been like for the pilgrims. We have been doing an overview of American history this year and I slowed down over the past months to take more time with this period of history.

Our meal began in the storage room of our basement which is the most dark and dreary room we have. The boys were so excited to be going on the "Mayflower" that they cleaned up the room enough for us to setup a bench for a table and a few areas to sit. We learned a few phrases that the pilgrims would say, such as "How do you fare?" (Hi, how are you?) and "God bye to you" (goodbye). The boys especially liked using "Pray pardon me?" when they wanted to be excused from the table later on in the evening. I had an ocean CD playing loudly in the background (until Baby Boy pounced on the cd player and that ended it).

Our meal consisted of hardtack, dried beef and beef jerky and beer to drink. We never do drink beer and so John wondered if I was out of my mind but it was authentic as the water supply on the Mayflower was bad and so they did drink beer, even the children. Tank wanted a drink and so I poured him a little bit and he complained that he didn't get enough. After he took a sip though he made a face and didn't want anymore. Everyone thought it was disgusting! "Eeeww!" We talked a little about the smells and sounds on the Mayflower and then proceeded upstairs for our Plymouth Meal.

This meal consisted of foods that the pilgrims may have eaten on a daily basis and all were new to our family. I made clam chowder that had good flavor but none of us were crazy about it. We used the rest of our hardtack to dip in the soup. We had bread with cheese and had lightly sweetened cranberries. Our favorite part was the Indian pudding but we weren't authentic as we had ice cream with ours but it was so yummy!

I hope to continue this new tradition next year and plan to invite more people to join us on the Mayflower. Watch for pictures later on...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Last week

A few tidbits from last week...

I wanted to take pictures but alas, my camera is in hiding. I did use my Mom's for some things and am working on a slide show.

Monday -- I potty-trained Katie. Okay, girls are a whole lot easier! In my opinion it also helps to wait until they are 3 as it comes so much easier. I really didn't have to do much except tell her what to do and no longer use diapers. She took it from there and wants to be very independent so never even tells me she has to go but just goes and does it then empties it into the big toilet. Surprisingly with no mess. The only problem is she is that she no longer has a diaper to help hold her pants up. This is the first time in SEVEN years that we have only had 1 child in diapers! Wow!

Tuesday  -- was my husband's birthday and I have been planning for the past year to make sure that his day was as special as he was. I didn't do anything really big, just little things to remind him he was loved. Of course we did the typical birthday tradition of streamers in his doorway. Now, I suppose I should do this every day but this day I packed a nice lunch for him and put a loving note along with it. I had a note in the fridge as well. The kids and I made sure the house was cleaned up during the day and I prepared a meal to go with the gift he requested -- his exact words when I asked what he wanted were, "due to the economic times, I want a plate of garlic bread all to myself". What a goofy answer (to me anyway) but I obliged and made lasange and a salad to go along with his garlic bread. I did make a plate full for the rest of us also. We set the table with a tablecloth and my fine china and crystal goblets and had candles lit. The kids thought that was great and I wasn't sure if John would enjoy that or not but when the day was complete he said how much he enjoyed his day, candles and all.

Wednesday -- the kids were involved with a play that we presented at church that evening for our Giving Thanks service. The art group we are in along with a few other families from church decided to venture out into a new area of art -- drama. We found a short play online about Squanto and the 1st Thanksgiving. Re-Pete played a friar who purchased Squanto from the slave auction, George was Samoset, Pete was Captain Dermer who brought Squanto back to America.
The kids had a lot of fun with this and it turned out really nice.

Thursday
-- We celebrated my husband's birthday along with my Dad's and brother-in-law's as they are all within a few days of each other.

Friday -- I took George along with my friend's children on a field trip to see an injection molding plant where they make toilet seats and Target shopping carts among many things. Fun stuff! I love to see how things are made.

I think we actually took it easy on the weekend. Sigh! Baby Boy had a cold that turned into the whole asthma-type cough and needed breathing treatments all week. :( That made for a few long nights as he would wake coughing and having difficulty breathing.

This week has been such a enjoyable break doing a few thanksgiving things, reading pilgrim stories and getting ready for our Mayflower Meal tonight (idea from Doorposts).

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Blog Anniversary

I realized today that it is my 2nd year blog anniversary. Much has changed in those two years and our family has grown. I have learned and grown in many ways as well. I thought I would link back to my first post to bring back memories. Alas, our visits to restaurants and other places is very similar to this first post but I am again thankful that we are consistent and can go out to eat without any fear of our children misbehaving. Yes, they have their moments but they are few and far between. Click HERE to reflect back.

Writing Class - Newletter

The next few posts I am going to be catching up on things I wanted to blog about but haven't had the chance to...

The boys had writing class a couple weeks ago and this was Pete's first time writing and then giving a speech. He was so excited to do this. The assignment was to write the family Christmas newsletter. He was all gung-ho and after listening to examples of what I typically do he wrote a little bit about each of us. I typed and printed it out for him and he decorated the edges to make it look like a newsletter. George wasn't quite as excited but once he got started he came around. He took the letters of Christmas and found favorite events of our year for each letter. I was very pleased with what he came up with and he does quite well, despite the fact that he has had such a hard time reading/writing.

The time came to give speeches and Pete was ready and excited while George was quite nervous. Pete seems to enjoy being in front of people and I love that about him. He just doesn't get nervous and wow, I wish that was me! While both boys desired to go first and continued to raise their hands to do so the "teacher" never looked their direction and so they ended up being almost last. Both boys did really well though! We get a kick out of watching Pete as he cannot read what is on the paper but yet his eyes follow the sentences and move to the next line as if he really is reading it when it is actually memorized. Re-Pete was sorry that he chose not to write and so he is gearing up for January's assignment which is a Poetry Night. That sounds like fun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Four Musketeers

Do you remember last year when first I told you that in addition to me, 3 other friends from church were pregnant and due all within a few weeks of each other? Then, that October the first baby was born. Three weeks later on the same day the other two were born, and four days later Baby Boy was born. They have all grown and changed so much and the last picture of them together was this past spring. On Baby Boy's birthday we took another picture now that they have turned ONE! They are each at various stages of developing with two walking already (thankfully not mine!), and obviously Baby Boy is the only baldy but it is slowly coming in. We plan to make this an annual picture for as long as we can. We joked that when they are 18 we'll try to have them squeeze on this little bench.



True Woman Conference -- details (finally!)

The True Woman conference was last month and I have wanted to blog about the experience but it is difficult to put into words. Moody Radio has been broadcasting a different speaker each week so I have been listening again on the radio to help remind me of what I came away with.

It was an overwhelming weekend to say the least with 6000 women! There were 20 ladies of all ages from our church together and we had times of sweet fellowship which began on the drive down. Arriving at the hotel, we were privileged to stay at the conference center itself but did have a few glitches at check-in. The Lord knew what we needed however and everything worked out.

The teens and our Pastor's wife

I had chosen along with two others to volunteer for the weekend. None of us knew what that entailed as the details were very sketchy to say the least. As we found out this was a huge undertaking and no one had put together a conference of this magnitude before. I was working in the resource center keeping books on the tables and bagging for the checkers while the other two ladies were ushers. We had lovely pink aprons to wear but found that when wearing these ladies assumed that we must know what was what and that was not the case but we helped out as much as possible.

Not quite our whole group -- here I am in my pink apron.

We were lead in worship by the Getty's and it was a truly uplifting time. If you haven't heard of them you probably have heard of their music as they wrote songs such as "In Christ Alone".


I would write about each speaker but this post would be too long. If you are truly interested I recommend that you click HERE to Moody Radio and scroll down to True Woman to hear each of the speakers from the conference. (You can also download them from iTunes.) I will say that I really enjoyed hearing Mary Kassian, author of "The Feminine Mistake", whom I had never heard before. She talked about the feminist movement and how it has shaped our culture and effects each of us as women today.


Janet Parshall especially spoke to my heart . She talked about the joys and trials of raising children as she told the story of the life of Hannah in such a way that it felt as if Hannah was one of my closest friends. In the end I realized how tightly the hold on my children is and was reminded again that they are on loan to me by God to raise for His glory but are not to be my all-in-all.

(I found some of these pictures from TrueWoman.com and cannot find one of Janet)

We also enjoyed various breakout sessions and I laughed and cried during a session about "Intentional Mothering" by Holly Elliff (Pastor's wife and Mom to 8 children) whom I often hear on Revive Our Hearts.

It was difficult to come home to reality from a mountain-top type experience but I am thankful for the time away and have been trying to apply what I have learned to become a "counter-cultural" woman -- a true biblical woman.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Show & Tell Friday -- Advent Puzzle

For Advent, a time of preparing for Christmas, we typically will read stories including Jotham's Journey and this year we will probably read the next one in the series. When my in-laws last visited they brought us an advent puzzle that we are all looking forward to putting together. The boys love puzzles and can put the 1000 piece puzzles together in a matter of days. So, they are itching to get working on this new puzzle but we will wait until Dec. 1st. The puzzle is called Passion Tree by Jack Dawson and it follows the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Each ornament in the painting illustrates an event and shows HIS story. It includes a short devotional for each day as you search for the various things hidden in the painting, all the while pointing us to the only reason we celebrate Christmas. They sell this on FamilyLife today and I see they have an accompanying hardcover devotional book to go along with it. (Click on the photo for more info.)


For more Show & Tells please visit Mary aka Canadagirl at Raising 4 Godly Men.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Show & Tell -- New Glasses

I have had the same glasses since Pete & Re-Pete were babies. I remember clearly picking them out as it was one of my first outings with three children. I was by myself trying to carry two baby carriers along with getting my 2 1/2 year old to follow along. Oh, those were the days.

Anyway, I usually wear my contacts, at least when in public, and so it didn't matter much if I had new glasses. This time when my prescription changed I decided after 6 years it was time for a new pair of glasses and I planned on wearing them more frequently seeing as the contacts are disposable and more costly than I had thought. So, I have new glasses and am enjoying wearing them and will now wear contacts only periodically (that's the plan for now).

Pete took this picture of me at the pumpkin farm. If I have my hair "poofed" enough when pulling it back, some say I look like Sarah Palin. :)

Thanks for hosting Show & Tell Friday Mary! To see more visit her at CanadaGirl

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One Year Old Today!




Baby Boy turned one year old this morning! What can I say about my little ray of sunshine? He is one of our happiest babies (Tank was our other) and loves to smile. I would say that he is the cuddliest baby, which I thoroughly enjoy! Thankfully he is still a Mama's boy and what a wonderful feeling to watch his face light up when I walk into the room.

Baby Boy has had quite a year, first being diagnosed with laryngomalacia (floppy esophagus) and going through testing for that. Thankfully he seems to have outgrown it for the most part and only occasionally will I notice a stridor when nursing. He also had two hospital stays both for respiratory problems. Through it all he kept a cheerful disposition to which the nurses always commented on.

Baby enjoys being with his siblings and doesn't care much for playing alone. He needs to be where the action is and lately he is working on joining in. At this point he doesn't walk for which I am very happy about but he is walking along furniture and tries to walk pushing anything that moves.

He loves food (but don't most babies?) and it seems that he would eat constantly if I let him.  He has 7 teeth right now and I thought he was cutting his 8th but this one is slow in coming. His best friend is his thumb, either one. He is rarely without it, which makes me wonder how we will ever stop this habit when the time comes.

Baby makes the sweetest little "oo  oo" (as in "moo") sound with pursed lips when he is excited about something and we love to make him do it. Of course he likes to make us laugh and we have such fun with him. Baby Boy is such a joy and delight to our family.



Thank You Lord for blessing us with this precious little boy who brightens our days and reminds us of Your goodness to us!






Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Race Banquet

I am slowly trying to catch up on blog-worthy events from the past month, so, a few weekends ago John and I were able to attend the end of the year race banquet. As he was points champion in his class we looked forward to the evening and the time away alone.  We arrived at the banquet and as I was looking through the program for the evening saw that he was also named Pro Driver of the Year!!! He had no idea and was thrilled about that. He had nine podium finishes and four wins this season and what an honor to receive that title with all of the competition! I enjoyed watching him give two speeches with a huge picture of him on the screen behind. Words seem to come easily to him in this venue. He came away with a monetary award, two trophies, and a remote control truck (the boys were thrilled!). Unfortunately he said with the economy the way it is right now this was the worst possible year to win a title as potential sponsors for the coming year will be buckling down. Congratulations on a wonderful year John! We enjoyed watching you all the way!


There he is, my 2008 Super-Buggy Champion!



Here he is with his Dad and trophies.



Don't we coordinate nicely! :) I never realize how much taller he is until I look at pictures of us. I was even wearing heels. (This is the same day as my last post which is why I am wearing the same thing).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Show & Tell -- Ladies Tea

A few weeks back I had an event-filled day. My day began at a harvest fest on the riverfront where a  children's folk singer was preforming who the kids so enjoy. Even Daddy was getting into the actions and singing songs such as "Eight Hugs A Day!"

The afternoon brought me to a "Ladies Tea" with the theme being brides. I enjoy tea parties and getting dressed up and so I enjoyed this time in addition to being with my sister, my mom and my grandma. It was also a good reason to get my wedding dress out of hiding as dresses were on display. It was neat to see the different generations represented and you could always tell which time period the dress came from. Some were very yellowed with age and then there were some with an empire waist from my Mom's generation. Next came the dresses with puffed sleeves, many sequins and beads covering the dress and on the pictures also "big hair". The dresses from when my sister and I were married began to be more simple but elegant in style and finally the dresses of today are also simple but sleeveless seems to be in. One of these days I should actually try on my dress as the kids were so excited to see it. I look forward to more tea parties and am thankful for a little girl to share them with.


My sister, mom and me with our wedding dresses. Mom's dress was originally white but mine and my sister's were cream to begin with.

Here we are with my paternal grandma (middle) and her sister, my great-aunt.


For more Show & Tells stop by and visit Mary, aka. CanadaGirl.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday!

Happy Birthday Missy Blue Eyes! At 8:11 a.m. you turned 3 years old! The reason I really remember that time is because she weighed the same amount when she was born -- 8 lb. 11 oz. I know I say this with every birthday that comes but I cannot believe how fast time has gone!

Missy is a sweet little girl and every bit the princess -- sometimes taking that role a bit too seriously. Thankfully she has proven almost everyone wrong in that she is not a tomboy but a definite girly girl despite having five brothers. She loves her dollies and everything PINK! She enjoys having a tea party and I am so happy that the boys oblige her with that. I think they are fascinated with her as she is so completely different then they are.

Missy calls herself "Daddy's girl" which she began after wearing a t-shirt bearing that phrase. She is a petite little one, weighing only 2 lbs. more than Baby Boy (he is 24 lbs. and she is 26 lbs.) making it difficult to find pants that stay up. She enjoys dressing up and having her hair done pretty and is such a show-off when she is. Missy Blue Eyes is a joy and a delight to our family!


Missy Blue Eyes 1 day old



Taken in August



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

True Woman Conference

I am so excited to be getting ready to attend the True Woman Conference in Illiniois this weekend!!! I was able to coordinate a group of 20 ladies from our church to go together. We are each looking forward to this time away and to see how God will work in each of our hearts through the biblical teaching. I have never been to an event this large before and so look forward to hearing 6000 voices joined in praise to our God!


Two ladies from our group and I have decided to volunteer as there was a great need for this and so I am not sure how that will all come together. At this point I will be in the resource center beween sessions.


We providentially were able to get rooms at the convention center itself and are so thankful for that! At first we were staying a mile away as the convention center hotel was filled quickly but over time I continued to check availablity until the day came where I was able to secure the six rooms we needed.


So, we leave tomorrow and I am still working on getting packed and getting food together for my family for my time away. I know it will be a wonderful time though!


If any of my blog-readers will be there please leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to meet you! And for those not able to attend this awesome conference there is an option of watching it live by visiting the site at www.truewoman.com.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Mmmm Monday -- Sausage Stuffed Eggplant

In working at the farm we have been getting a lot of eggplant this year. Last year I tried a recipe or two and none of us really cared for them. It was too mushy and not a lot of flavor. This time I wanted to find some way to use it up and came upon a recipe for Sausage Stuffed Eggplant. This is yummy! I don't think you can taste much of the eggplant as you scoop out most of the inside and mix it up with Italian sausage. I chop it so fine so that no one can find it. Anyway, I am sharing the recipe with you on this MmmMonday. :)

Sausage Stuffed Eggplant (Or I call it Italian Veggie Bake for those who might be turned off by the thought of eggplant)




1 (1 1/2 lb.) eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 T olive oil
1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage ( I like to buy unseasoned meat and season it myself to avoid the nitrates)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
ground fennel -- to taste
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 c. spaghetti sauce, divided
1 c. mozzarella cheese, divided (the pesto flavored one is really good with this!)
1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Brush cut sides of eggplant with olive oil and place, cut-side up onto a baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, brown the Italian sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place into a mixing bowl, and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir in bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and the beaten egg; mix well.

Once the roasted eggplant has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh to within 1/2-inch of the skin to create a shell. (I did a little more) Roughly chop the eggplant meat, and fold into the sausage mixture. Divide evenly among the two eggplant shells, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake in preheated oven until the filling has set, and the cheese is bubbly and golden-brown, about 30 minutes. While the eggplant is baking, warm the remaining spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat to serve with the eggplant.


ENJOY!!!




I used two of the skinny-kind of eggplant for this.






Traveling and Flight Trackers

Two weeks ago my husband was in Korea for a few days on business. Unfortunately to get there in time for a meeting on Monday he left here on a Saturday, leaving us on our own for the weekend. Now he has been traveling almost every other week as of late but this time I was quite emotional and nervous as the thought of him so far from home was not sitting well. His flight was 14 hours and he didn't look forward to that.

I went through my day in kind of a blur not knowing what I was doing. Thankfully I found a real-time flight tracker where I could watch exactly where my husband's plane was at that very moment and I felt a little more connected to him. I did become a little addicted to watching and the boys enjoyed it as well. Flying over Canada took the longest but by their bedtime he was over Alaska and headed to Russia. Most trackers do not allow you to see anything past Canadian or US airspace but I did find one that I could still see his plane over Russia. I so wanted to wait until I could see his plane land but that wasn't until 2 a.m. and so I reluctantly went to bed. By the time I woke it was nighttime in Korea and he was headed out for a late supper.

So, if someone you know is taking a trip by plane try out  some of the live flight trackers and watch the little plane move over the map. www.flightstats.com is the one I like best, although it doesn't track internationally.

My husband had a good time seeing the Hyundai plant which is who he is working on a project for. He also was able to do some sightseeing and try interesting cuisine such as cow heart, intestines, and stomach. His was fried and he said it tasted good, just a little rubbery.   I'd share pictures of his visit but he still has them on his laptop. He was happy to come home again and said it was crazy there in Seoul with millions of people.

The kids and I were thrilled to have him back home!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My little scavenger

Baby Boy has suddenly become my little scavenger. It all began when he started to eat cheerios and some would end up on the floor for him to find.

For the longest time Baby did the army crawl but lately has really picked up on crawling faster on all fours. This has led to him finding anything and everything dropped on the floor but he is especially on the lookout for dropped morsels of food. Now, I know other Moms have told me their children pick up everything on the floor and into the mouth it goes. But I have never had a child interested in what is on the floor, at least not that my husband or I can recall. So this has been a new experience and of course our floors are never spotless.

Baby Boy's routine is playing in another room after a meal but then he tends to make a beeline for the kitchen, especially to the counter where the kids sit on stools as there are always crumbs there. He will circle it and see if anything was left. He reminds me of a little puppy. Yesterday he figured out that our swivel sweeper might have some leftover cheerios or other appealing thing for him if he bangs on it enough. That is disgusting! My husband says that is smart. I guess we'll make sure to empty it after every sweeping.


Baby Boy pausing from his search to pose. Oh, I see he missed a cheerio!

Baby was following Tank around as he swept. Tank kept saying, "Get him away from me!!" Here he is banging on the sweeper. Don't worry, he didn't get anything out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Miscarriage

I have wondered if I should blog about this or not and decided that I would as I know other women have experienced this same thing and this is a journal of sorts. A month ago I had a miscarriage. My feelings on this were so mixed as the way I found out I was even pregnant was when I miscarried.

I am still nursing baby boy and so my cycle had yet to return. Typically for me it begins once the baby is eating more solids and so I was expecting it anytime. When I started spotting I thought nothing of it. A few days later I had cramping unlike anything I have had before. I told John that the pain was so intense it felt almost as if I was in labor and I could even time it. So, I had thoughts flash through my mind of "could I be?" but "no, not possible". I took ibuprofen to help with the pain and then went to the store figuring that by the time I got there the pain meds. would have kicked in and I'd feel fine. I took George along with me, just in case.

As we walked through the store I started to feel faint and got really hot. I had to keep stopping for each cramp I had. George was planning out what he would do if I should pass out and had my cell phone in hand. By the time we got to the parking lot I felt a big "whoosh" and immediately I felt fine again. We went home and I found that I had passed a clot.

I talked to a friend of mine who has miscarried too many times and talked to her about my experience. She told me if I wanted to know for sure to take a pregnancy test as the hormones would still be in my body. John went out to get one and in the meantime I was online looking at signs of miscarriages and stumbled upon a picture of a baby that was miscarried at six weeks. It was amazing!

I took the test and found that indeed, I had been pregnant. What a mix of emotions! I had honestly not desired to be pregnant at that moment in time but yet, I had life inside of me and didn't even know it. Well, I had saved the clot for reasons I don't really know but decided to look at it more. I have always been fascinated by the various stages of a baby's development, especially when I am pregnant and so I was curious. When I turned it over I could see the form of a baby at about 3 weeks after ovulation. I could see the head with a dot of an eye, the arm buds and the spine which was still in the form of a tail. It was simply amazing to see the beginning stage of my little baby that God had knit together and yet had also decided for one reason or another that it was not to be. I took a picture to remember, but I won't share that here.

So, if you are wondering, as I am sure some of you might be, yes, we would love to have more children if God blesses us again. For my thoughts on this subject I stumbled upon a post that puts into words feelings that I have. You might enjoy reading  HERE.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Writing Class - 1st Assignment

I signed George up to take Writing Class which is through our homeschool group. He has participated for the past two years, you may remember his wax museum Patrick Henry speech from this past spring. Last week was the first class which was a Show & Tell and George decided to write about racing of course. We put pictures together of our summer along with a poster he has of all of the cars in his Daddy's Pro-Super Buggy class. This class is as much of a speech class as it is writing.

George was quite nervous and this time Pete went up with him to assist in holding the poster and pointing to the pictures as George talked about them. He did a great job for his first time in awhile. He typically memorizes his speech and then pretends he is reading as of course you can't look at anyone. George spoke clearly and not too fast. It will only get easier with each time. Pete and Re-Pete have decided that they would like to try this also so we'll see how it goes with the next month's assignment.



Thursday, September 11, 2008

First Week of School

"Welcome to the first day of our homeschool!" were the words that greeted the boys Monday as we officially began school. They giggled and snickered but we were excited to begin. Our schedule is still in rough draft as we have some modifications to make but we should be able to complete everything by lunchtime and then they have the afternoon to play. I had been preparing the boys of my expectations for them and was amazed that they took it to heart. They actually all made their bed, got dressed before breakfast and then completed their chores. I still have to add to their chore schedule and am using Chorepacks software for that which I hope will help and will avoid me having to constantly ask "did you do _____?"

The only problem I've had is with Missy Blue as she adjusts to the boys new schedule and only Tank to play with. She screamed about every little thing that didn't go her way on Monday and I had to stop and take care of that. Thankfully she has gotten better as the week progressed.

On Monday George was a help to me in making sandwiches for lunch while I finished up working on reading with the three younger boys. He made pj&j and cut each person's initial in the top of their sandwich. He is creative that way, well they all are for the most part. I think I let them play with their food too often, making creations. :)- Anyway, I need to get in the mode of quick lunches rather than always trying to make something.

Our curriculum for the year is:

-  Bible, History, and Science we are using My Father's World - American History and that is all-together. I love that it has a teacher's guide and everything all planned out for me.

George
Sequential Spelling
Queen Language Lessons
Italics Handwriting
Math-U-See


Pete & Re-Pete

Math-U-See
Reading Made Easy

Tank
Reading Made Easy
Various flash cards

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Last Race!

Labor day weekend was my husband's final race of the season! What a relief to be at the end, although it also means an end to our summer. This was a big weekend celebration and so we went to Crandon on Thursday night. Friday was spent in town as the race cars and trucks are on display parked along the streets, which is followed by a small parade. The weather was warm, so it finally felt like summer to me. On that note, according to my Dad, this has been our coolest summer in the past 34 years! I know some of my blog friends live in warmer climates where you are sweltering but we have come no where near this year. We never even hit 90° this summer! This has been too cool for me but where is that kind of summer when I am big an pregnant?!?

The kids watching the parade next to Daddy's car

Back to the story. My husband went into this weekend being the points leader in his Pro-Super Buggy Class by 37 points and needed to finish in at least 8th place on Saturday to clinch the title. He had two plans depending on his start. If he could get the hole-shot he would run with it but if not, he was going to play it safe and hold back to make sure he finished without breaking. He ended up going with the second plan, which made for a boring race on our part, but sealed him with the victory  as points champion for the year! Yippee!

Daddy and his pit crew celebrating his victory! Number 1!!! The kids shirts say "Go Daddy Go" which they wore to every race.

Sunday we spent part of the day at the beach as the race was late afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and we all enjoyed the time together just relaxing. We looked forward to the race as my husband was ready to give it his all and go for a podium finish but it was not to be. About three or so laps into the race he pulled off the track and had to be towed back to the trailer. According to my source, George, an aluminum pulley came off causing him to loose power and oil pressure. A podium finish would have been a nice ending to the season but I am so proud of John for the excellent and very exciting race season! He is a talented driver and is more fun to watch with each year. Congratulations honey on being the points champ for the year!!!!

My and my Man in a rare picture together. Tank took this for us and did really well! You can see Missy Blue walking in the background.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pictures

I mentioned in my last post that I had entered a group of four pictures in the county fair so I thought I would post them here for you to see. I didn't think I would get anything for them as it was a last minute thrown together group but this is the category I seem to get a ribbon in each year. Most of these were taken in our "tree tunnels" of Sumac and one in our climbing tree, which is a large Silver Maple.

This was the best one out of many of the six of them.



I had George on this photo also but cropped him out as the lighting was wrong in his area of the tree.

My happy bald baby. He didn't even mind the grass. I took a series of him playing with the weeds and such that were cute too.

I took a really cute one of George and Missy in this pose but looking at each other and laughing and of course it was blurry as they were moving and so I couldn't enter it. :(

Two weeks of Odds & Ends

My Mom reminded me that I haven't blogged for two weeks so I thought  I'd list a few things that happened in the past two weeks.

1. We had a small fire on our hot water heater. It was around 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night and I was checking to make sure everyone was covered before I turned out the lights. I went into the hall and there was a strange burning smell. I called my husband and he ran to the basement. He thought it was the dryer but it turned out that the panel of the hot water heater had burned and thankfully went out on it's own. After church on Sunday he picked up a new one and installed it right away with my Dad as he was heading to Alabama the next day. The old one had lasted 22 years and we are happy to have a larger one now as we ran out of hot water quickly with all of the baths and showers around here.

2. Hubby was in Alabama Monday and came home Tuesday but the kids and I spent the night at my parents house as I had a homeschool mtg. Monday night and I didn't feel like driving home (25 minutes) yet that night. That is always fun as we are then in town and I can run to Target and places like that in a few minutes time rather than having to drive in. The kids also enjoy camping out in the livingroom. We picked up my nephew and took him home with us for the day. Tank especially enjoys having his cousin over. The kids played all day in the sandbox much to my sister's delight. 

3. The Homeschool group meeting Monday night was exciting to see all of the opportunities available for the year. We are looking forward to writing club (okay, maybe just I am) and a music class being offered. There are also fun field trips as always.

4. I typically enter photos in our county fair and as each year, I wait until the last minute. I had started getting them ready two weeks earlier but couldn't come up with one that I thought I could win with as my favorites ended up a bit blurry. So, I took new ones and the kids were sick of my camera, printed them out and matted them. George and I took them over to the fairgrounds Wednesday night and had fun looking around as everything was being setup.

5. I finished up packing for our trip up North for the last race of the season and left on Thursday afternoon. I forgot to get a picture of our sleeping arrangements in the motorhome as I wanted to share that and this past weekend we stayed with my in-laws. One of these days.

More to come about our race weekend in another post...

6. When we got home we went to the fair on Monday along with my parents. I always enjoy looking at everything and I did get a 3rd with a grouping of four pictures I entered. I also sat for awhile at the MOPS booth with my sister who is a coordinator for a group. It is fun to sit and watch people and have time to actually sit and talk with my sister.

7. Tuesday was another dentist appointment. Turns out that after all of that work a few months back two of my teeth were in need of a root canal. I debated over and again if I would rather just have them pulled for various reasons but ended up deciding to go with the root canal. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, although I am in a bit of pain now. I am hopefully waiting until next year for the other side. I am spending way too much time at the dentist!

8. Wednesdays we are in town as George has his reading lesson and he also cuts grass. We have church in the evening and when we got home listened to Sarah Palin give her speech at the Republican Convention. I loved listening to her! I don't know if any of you watch it but it was so cute when they cut to her little daughter holding her baby brother, licking her hand to pat down his hair. So sweet!

9. Thursday was spent as always working part of the day at the farm. It was rainy and cold but the kids loved it and were soaked. Tank had a rough day and ended up stung by a wasp.

10. I am not getting anything done today yet here I sit blogging. I need a break as Baby is quite fussy and needing to be held (my carrier is in the van with my husband of course). We both have thrush and let me tell you I am tired of it! I finally called to get a prescription for him as he passes it from one side of me to the other and I end up having to pump my milk due to the pain in nursing him. Baby is gassy as from what I read the yeast is in his gut and he burps quite a bit.

Tonight I plan to get the bookshelves emptied of anything we aren't using this year and put our new materials in place to get ready for our start of school Monday.

Now, I see that I had quite a bit I could have posted about almost each day. If you made it to the end, I sure hope I didn't bore you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Show & Tell Friday -- Mei Tai Baby Carrier

At the beginning of summer I began to contemplate buying a new baby carrier. I had a framed backpack carrier that I used with a few of our children, especially at the races. That worked okay but my shoulders would be so sore from wearing it. I saw a few posts where my blog friend was wearing her baby Hope in a Moby wrap and it looked so comfortable and convenient and so I began to research my options. Little did I know the vast amount of baby carriers out there, from slings, to backpack carriers to asian-styled mei tais.

After a few weeks of research it seemed as if a Mei Tai (pronounced may-tie) would best suite my needs, in addition to the fact that they have fun fabric choices! While the majority of Mei Tais have two tie straps I did find a custom made one that had a buckle waist that I thought would make it easier for me. Needless to say, I really love my new carrier and cannot believe it took me 6 babies to realize how much easier it is to strap a baby to my back or front rather than lugging around a stroller (or car seat carrier as I did early on). Now when we go to the store, I strap Baby Boy on, have Missy Blue in the cart and we are set.

Another advantage is that Baby Boy will fall asleep during naptime if I am wearing him. Typically my babies have all been trained to fall asleep in their crib without intervention which works wonderfully, except for those times when we are out and about and a nap is needed but no bed is in sight. I have never had success in getting any of my babies to fall asleep in my arms, but this baby carrier has solved that problem as baby is nice and cozy and can't really squirm about. The only problem I have found is that when he is on my back and falls asleep his head flops back but is okay in front. I am working on figuring that one out. It also takes practice to get him on my back but the comfort level of this is much better than what I had.

My back will hurt after wearing Baby for long periods of time (and that is typically when working on the farm) but then my husband said that no matter what type of carrier I wear, wearing 22lbs. on my back for two or more hours is going to make my back sore.

If you are interested in this carrier you can view it at My Blessed Baby



I love the fun fabric! You can't see this but the straps cross in back and come forward and are tied under baby's bottom.

To View More Show & Tell's stop and visit CanadaGirl.

Update: Tank took this picture of me this morning carrying Baby on my back. Baby loves to pull my hair though so I always have to have it up and even then, he grabs a fistful and yanks. Ouch!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Everything Pink

We took Missy Blue with us when we were looking at refrigerators (see previous post) . I find it amusing shopping with her as she stops to look at anything PINK. That is her favorite color and she only refers to it as "____'s color" and does not say "pink". It is kind of funny because her brothers each have a favorite color and Missy will only refer to the color by that boy's name also. For instance red is "George's (his real name obviously) color".

So, we were looking at TV's and low and behold there is a princess TV that is bright pink with a crown and has a matching remote. Missy was so excited and of course immediately she said, "that's mine!". She also picked out clothes only in pink, a pink backpack that was, "mine", stopped to sit in a pink little chair and found other numerous pink items. I am so enjoying my little girly-girl who adores the color PINK! (And also seems to enjoy shopping!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Refrigerator

For the past few years we have talked about purchasing a new refrigerator. Ours came with the house and while it still works decently we do have occasional problems. Every couple of months it will suddenly freeze everything on the top shelf, despite the settings. The bar on the door to hold the condiments has been glued on more than I can recall. Last week after I opened the door to have the condiments fall to the ground and another day found the corn on the cob frozen, I said, "maybe we should look into a new fridge". The reason we haven't before is that I have yet to find one that has a large enough produce drawer to hold all that we go through and keep it fresh.

So, we began doing a little research and found one to meet our needs. Sears had them on sale this past week and then I became "friends" with the salesman so we could attend the "Friends and Family" sale and receive an additional 10% off. We ended up with a side-by-side whirlpool with features that we like such an ice-bucket in the freezer door to leave more shelf space. It also has a "fresh-n-ready" bin to keep fresh washed fruits and veggies ready for a quick snack. We picked it up yesterday and at the moment our kitchen has two refrigerators until I get the chance to empty the old one out. That will then go to our garage for further storage space. As soon as everything is setup I will post a picture. Today everyone is quite excited to have cold water and crushed ice at the touch of a button.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Surprise Daytrip

Last week Friday John took a day of vacation and we surprised the kids with a day trip.The drive there (a little over an hour) got a bit long as there were never-ending comments of "Where are we going?" "Why can't you tell us?" "How long yet?" We started to think maybe a surprise wasn't the best choice.

Our excursion began with a visit to a small zoo in the area which was nice, although they didn't have any zebras or elephants which were the most requested animals for our crew. We also enjoyed a picnic lunch and then headed to an amusement park where rides are only 25 cents a piece! That is a deal!!!

We had a great time and the children were all excited about this surprise. After a short train ride around the grounds I looked at storm clouds rolling in and kept my eye on them. John decided to take George and Tank on the Scrambler while I had the others headed on a little helicopter ride. As I stood in line and watched the Scrambler startup a big gust of wind picked up and it began to drizzle. We headed for cover and just in time as a downpour began. From our dry spot we watched as the Scrambler kept on spinning and ended up being the only ride in the park still moving. There was John trying to shield the boys from the pelting rain and as they finally got off ran for cover. They were soaked! John has now renamed the Scrambler the "Washing Machine - Rinse Cycle". Thankfully the rain didn't last too long and it caused the park to empty out, although we needed to wait while they dried off the rides. We were able to enjoy a little more time and hope to go back again before the season is over.



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