Big, Round, And Blessed…

So here we are at 35 weeks and 3 days with baby Sam. This has been a very good pregnancy, I actually feel smaller than I look,  instead of like the whale I normally feel akin to at this late stage in baby growing.

Kait took this picture right before we went out to my in-laws farm for a fun Easter afternoon. The kids spent the day riding our 4-wheelers and swimming in Papa and Grandma’s indoor pool with the cousins. It was an awesome time even if I did start to feel sick and achy right about dinner time.
The kids had fun gathering eggs hidden by my sister-in-law making a nice ending to a terrific day.

Peaceful morning, worship at church, afternoon spent with beloved family.

Can’t really ask for better.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

A Toddler, Purple Honey, and 15 Miles

They say first time mothers make a lot of mistakes, like a gal I know giving her toddler a tub of vasaline for her lips, or another lady letting her child color with a sharpie because that was the only writing utensil she had available in her purse, or giving your child a honey bear filled with purple honey to hold – oh, wait, that last one wasn’t a first time mom – it was a fifth time mom with #6 on the way.

Yeah, that’s me.

The other day, on our way back from a potluck 4H meeting, I absent mindedly handed the huckleberry honey bear to my 2 year old son to carry – he wanted to help carry something to the car and it was plastic – what harm could be done? All that was running through my mind was to get my brood in the car and get home.

15 Miles later… 

We reach our house. Door opens, dome light comes on.  I turned around to see the honey bear still in his hands, half gone and my son, his carseat, and clothes covered in purple honey.

Oh the joys of being an absent-minded parent. I didn’t even have enough brain power left to think about getting a picture.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

My house? Neat and pretty?

Being 29 weeks along with our sixth child I am very familiar with the whole nesting urge. This time around however, I have been extra nuts about it and I have been frantically emptying out our house of junk we have collected for many years. My oldest and I have been so successful at this last week by just doing a little at a time, one room at a time.
My living room, dining room, and bedroom were completely de-cluttered leaving me with walls that need painting and the ugliest window blinds ever. I don’t mind blinds but the kind our house came with are horrible, in my opinion. I found some cheap curtains for about $10 a panel and I was very excited, that is until I measured and counted how many panels I needed. I was looking at $40 for the living room, $20 for the dining room, and another $40 for my bedroom – NO WAY was I going to spend that kind of money on curtains.
Little did I know that my next de-cluttering project would bring me my answer, and cheap, too!
I found a flat sheet under my son’s bed. It was perfectly folded and had never been used in the many years since I purchased it. He needed curtains in his room, too, so I thought I would cut the sheet up and use it as it matched his and the baby’s bed set perfectly.
Now, if you look at a flat sheet you will notice that the top edge folds over to create that flat sheet look. I got the brilliant idea to just cut the edges of that fold on each side, sew it up, and slide a cheap curtain rod through it. I sewed the matching valance that came with the bed set to the top of it and made the cutest little curtains! This cost me nothing.
Tip #1 – de-clutter! You never know what treasures you will find hiding behind all that junk!

My husband liked the idea and purchased me a couple of king flat sheets he found on sale (we live about 25 miles outside of town so he has gotten used to picking things up for me on his way home from work). In about an hour, cutting the folded edges on the sides like I did for the first set, I made my living room curtains and my dining room curtains for about $40 with plenty of fabric left over to make curtains for our bedroom! Measuring the fabric I found that I would have been hard pressed to find it at a fabric store for less and it wouldn’t have come with that already folded down edge!
Tip #2 – Flat sheets can make cheap, super easy curtains!

In just a week my home is beginning to look manicured! Well, as manicured as it can get with a family of 7 living in it, lol.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Married vs. Unmarried Moms???

Upon checking my mail today I found a Babytalk magazine in my mail box. The cover showed the normal baby magazine stuff – Nursery, sleeping, bad days, and an adorable picture of a baby.
What really caught my attention was this line:

married vs. unmarried moms
Who’s got a better deal? Weigh in and win $1000

(This survey was not speaking of widows so I will just omit those mothers from this argument)
Upon reading this headline, my first thought was, “Duh, of course married moms have the better end of the deal” and my second thought was, “why are they talking about moms instead of the kids?”
Truthfully, this kind of selfishness is playing a major role in the demise of today’s youth. I am overwhelmed by parents who say things like “they are kids, they are tough, they will get over it” or “I need to do what is best for ME right now” or “My kids will survive just fine; they will still get what they need – I love them!”

Of course kids don’t “NEED” married parents who are devoted to eachother and their child’s upbringing but what kid wouldn’t benefit from two unselfish devoted parents? What we need and what is best for us are two different things.

  • We need to eat. We need water.
    What is best for us is a variety of healthy foods and clean, un-contaminated water.
  • We need sleep.
    What is best for us is at least 8 hours a night and 10 hours for children.
  • We need shelter.
    What is best for us is a shelter with four strong walls and warmth.
  • We need an upbringing (as children)
    What is best for us is a mom and a dad who are devoted to eachother and the raising of their children.

As I read the survey questions for this contest I noticed how selfish and one-sided they were. They all revolved around the word “I”. None of the questions had to do with the children’s well being. There was the question of whether a child needed two parents but that was about it for the child’s side and there was no room for elaboration.

No, I do not and will not pay for magazines like these, they just arrive in my mailbox – always have. I am so disappointed in today’s parenting. Whatever happened to selflessness? Whatever happened to putting your children first? I am not a perfect mama but some things are just so clear to me.

Unmarried mama’s? Sad for the kids.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Love For A Baby

A woman has no idea what her capacity for love is until she holds her baby for the first time. Yes, we grow in our ability for showing compassion and understand love more and more and in different ways as we mature but there isn’t a way to describe the love a mother feels upon holding her first child, whether she has given birth to her baby or adopted. We may understand love to an extent up until this point but the true definition of love is lost on us until this eye and heart opening moment. It is the closest we will ever come to understanding God’s perfect love for us, His children. Whether your child is expected or not, your first or your fifth, the results are always the same. Your capacity for love is increased with every new baby you add to your family.
I am not saying that the love we feel for our baby makes motherhood easy, but it certainly makes all the pains worth it. I speak from experience. I am the mother of 5 with a 6th blessing due in May.
In the beginning, all my pregnancies have been the same. Sick defines me during my first trimester but I push through knowing God’s promise that the joy will come with the morning, or the second trimester, lol. Worry then sets in but I am not sure why as all of my pregnancies have gone off without a hitch. Still, I worry just the same. The baby’s first kick is all I need however, to ease my mind.
Now that the baby and I are beginning our final trimester differences are starting to be felt that differentiate this pregnancy from all the previous ones. Not physically, but emotionally. I am beginning to view my youngest blessing as an individual, not just another baby. He already has unique features and is developing a personality. At 27 weeks he even has a chance, if ever so small, of surviving outside the womb. This is unbelievable to me. I cannot see him, yet I can feel him. I know he is there and I know he has all of his little baby parts. I know if I could look at him I would see a very small child. These exact same thoughts go through my mind with every new baby but they are so new every time around.
As I am writing this baby Sam is waking up. He is moving around letting me know he is there. He is stretching, wiggling, and turning over. He is alive and my family is blessed all over again because God deemed us fit to be this new life’s earthly family.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Movie Review – Eragon

My husband, my daughter, and I have all read the first two books in the Eragon series. We love them and we were very excited to hear that a movie was being created from young Paolini’s Fantasy novels. Since this movie was rated PG my husband and I ventured out on our own to view it – we screen all movies, especially PG and up before the children are allowed to watch them.

First, I want to say that the books, although great, are not for everybody. Magic and war fill the first two volumes (the third is not out yet). There is no sex or swearing – this series is completely clean of those things (so far). There are however, many scenes where magic is used, blood is shed, and one fortune-telling scene involving a witch of some sort. All of this, in my mind, was played up very well as being fictional – not at all like the very popular Harry Potter saga, which I believe comes too close to the real world of witchcraft and such, but closer to Lord Of The Rings, although not as graphic. Eragon, the books, come close to crossing the line a few times (magic stuff) but for the most part they are clean and easy on the eyes of young adults. The story line talks about using your gifts for good even when you are scared, family relationships and devotion, the respecting of parents and elders, good v/s evil, accepting other cultures and races, and patience. I personally loved that Eragon’s cousin opted to work hard to earn a living and develop the ability to take care of a family before he married the girl he loved. What an unheard of concept in today’s world. There are talks of prayer, of a god, and of “gifts” as well, but nothing points to Christianity and there was one time that the elves talk of there being no “god” but a power that comes from the earth, or something like that (one negative aspect of the book). I saw this as being just one of many different races with many different beliefs in these books and not an adgenda being played out.
As for the movie – it was well done in the content area. No sex, no cursing, no completely gorey scenes; although there is war, violence, and blood. An elf’s top is a little too low in a scene or two and a small bit of her leg shows in one scene. The elf’s armor looks a little odd on her, showing off a bit of her shape but not well. I don’t think these scenes were meant to be “sexy” but they could prove to be a temptation of sorts to a young teen boy.
Although the special effects were pretty good the flow of the movie could have used some help. It was choppy and bounced all over the place. Some scenes that were meant to be serious turned out to be humerous making it hard for the audience to take it seriously. Some of the acting could have used a bit more direction and the witch lady was laughable (this was probably a good thing).
Overall I think the movie was good and mild and kept to the overall young adult feel of the books. My real beef was the previews shown BEFORE the movie. Most of them were rated R and were VERY inappropriate for the young audiance that filled the theater. I am not sure who’s idea that was but it warned me to be extra careful when I take my kids to the theater (something we don’t do often).
To sum it up:
Although I enjoyed Eragon and will have no problems letting my almost 12 year old view it I strongly encourage you to view it first to make sure it is appropriate for YOUR children. Don’t take my word or anybody else’s word for it. As I said in the beginning, this story isn’t approriate for all children – be on your guard!
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Smore’s Pops

These marshmellow pops were an idea I found in a magazine and we modified it a bit to make smores marshmellow pops.
Step by step I will go through this very simple process. You will be very pleased at how easy this treat is to make.

First you will need these supplies:

  • Melting chocolate
  • Large Marshmellows
  • Gram Crachers (I prefer cinnamon)
  • popcycle sticks, lollypop sticks, or short scewers
  • Sandwich baggies (the kind without the zip-lock)
  • Twist ties

We purchased some chocolate pieces made for melting and candy making. They were easy to find in our grocers baking section near the chocolate chips.

I don’t have a double broiler – I have never needed one. I just use a pot on top of a pot on my stove. I simmer water in the bottom pot and then set a slightly bigger pot on top of it with my chocolate pieces in it. You can melt them in the microwave but the chocolate hardens so fast that I find it works better to just keep it warm on my homemade double broiler.

Make sure to stir your chocolate a lot while it is melted. You don’t have to stir it constantly just make sure you stir it often.
While you wait for your chocolate to melt get your large marshmellows ready. Take popcycle sticks, short scewers, or lollypop sticks (if you can find them) and push a marshmellow onto each one.
When your chocolate is completely melted you will want to dip your marshmellow-on-a-stick into the chocolate. Use a spoon to help cover the marshmellow completely with chocolate.Have your crushed cinnamon or regular gram crackers ready. As soon as your marshmellow is covered with chocolate you will need to coat it in the gram cracker crumbs. The easiest way to do this is to have the crumbs in a bowl where you can grab some and sprinkle them over your chocolate covered marshmellow. Yes, some of the chocolate will drip into the crumbs but that is okay.

Stand your finished pop in a short and thin glass like this:

The chocolate will harden quick but if you want it super quick you can put the pops in the freezer for 2 or 3 minutes.
We use cheap sandwich baggies to cover them with when the chocolate hardens. Then we twist tie them with some twist ties that our grocers deli workers gave to us (we have a great grocery store!) The finished product looks like this.

Here is a photo of a basket full of them:

We made 17 of these in 30 miniutes. They are so easy and the kids loved helping. Even Matthew (3) was able to help make some.

Next we are making hot cocoa cones. These are really cool and so easy! Photo’s and recipe to come tomorrow.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Yummy Christmas…

I am home from church today – Ben (almost 2) is sick and, although he is in a good mood, the bug he has caused my 4 year old nephew to get pnumonia so I am not taking any chances on getting any other children sick. Ben really needs his rest anyway and I am not sure it would be a good idea to drag him out into the cold weather.


Our family absolutely loves to cook and bake during the holidays. We enjoy cookie, candy and desert making and the house smells so yummy every year. This year we have decided to put that love of baking into our Christmas gifts. My idea was to get baskets from Michaels and fill them with the goodies we make. We started baking and yesterday it was – cookies! There
are typically three kinds of Christmas cookes that my daughter and I bake. The classic Chocolate Chip Cookie, Egg Nogg Cookies, and Vanderhoos. My daughter (almost 12) is a wiz in the kitchen. Although she doesn’t bake the Egg Nogg cookies, simple because she doesn’t like them at all, she makes the Chocolate Chip and Vanderhoo Cookies most of the time.
I will
be adding our recipes to this blog as we go, along with pictures of our masterpieces. Most of these recipes are not our own but may be exact or modified from recipes we have found on packages, in books, and on the internet.

Chocolate
Chip Cookies
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter or margarine (butter flavored
    Crisco can replace 1/2 cup of the butter for a very nice flavor and
    texture)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (if you want)

Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. In a different bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture a little at a time until combined. Add your chocolate chips and nuts (if desired). Drop rounded table spoon sized mounds onto a cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each cookie. You don’t want to place them too close together so take your time. Bake at 375 for 7 to 8 minutes
until edges start to brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack or a counter covered in wax paper. When completely cool you can place them in an air tight container.

Egg Nogg
Cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 and 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups softened butter
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmega and mix well. Set aside the flour mixture while you cream sugar and butter in a separate bowl. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks
and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed just until combined and be sure not over mix. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased baking sheets 1 ” apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes at 300 in a pre-heated oven until edges start to turn brown and IMMEDIATELY transfer them to cool on a wax paper covered counter to cool this is KEY to having an Egg Nogg Cookie that is not falling apart!

Also, there are a few flavored egg noggs that might taste good in these cookies. I think flavored coffee creamers might be tasty in these as an egg nogg substitue, as well.

 

Vanderhoos

Oooh, these are the absolute best, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet, crumbly, and gooey filled cookies you will every find and, NO, I will not be giving out the recipe – SORRY, my mother and grandmother would kill me!!! This recipe is family secret. You can find similar recipes
on the internet under divinity but I will assure you that it is not the same. I actually had a very sweet lady get angry and call me names once because I wouldn’t give her the recipe and she rarely talked to me after the fact. That is how unbelievably delicious these cookies are.


Today we will be making Summer Sausage from scratch. We have actually already started this one but it has to sit in the fridge overnight so all we will need to do is bake them to
complete them. Actually, my husband got busy mixing the ingredients yesterday morning. He absolutely loves to bake when he has time and even more than that he loves Summer Sausage. He was not patient enough to wait for me to start it today. We have never tried this
recipe before so I guess we will see this evening if our Summer Sausage is anything worth giving in our goodie baskets. I will post our Summer Sausage photo and recipe tomorrow.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Rainsing Selfless Children

What is it about kids these days that make people think they are not capable of not being greedy? While I, along with my two siblings, were quite the greedy children my children have surprised me with being the opposite. Yes, they do expect gifts for birthdays and such, only because we have accidentally trained them this way, but when they only get one or two they are forever thankful for it.

Although we don’t participate in the whole Santa thing, we usually overdo Christmas. We set out with a list of what to buy for which child and we end up coming back with much more stuff than we set out for. We buy goofy little toys for the baby too, which he inevitably throws aside so he can play with the boxes they came in. As it always turns out, we end up spending $100 or more for boxes because they toys that came in them were just needless decoration to our youngest. This has been the case with each of our 5 children during their babyhood.

A few months ago my husband and I got this crazy notion in our heads to forgo Christmas gifts this year to focus on Christ and our family or maybe we will find a needy family and focus on serving this year. We talked to the kids about it and let them know what to expect this upcoming holiday season. We told them that we might go rent a cabin somewhere for a couple of days and just hang out together and enjoy each other. Unsure of what response we thought we might receive we were quite surprised when the three oldest were completely in favor of this idea. The two youngest aren’t really old enough to understand any of it but Matthew (3) did get excited along with the others.
Explaining this decision to extended family got us very mixed reactions, none of which were favorable. Many of our relatives actually feel sorry for my kids. They are under the assumption that my older children, ages 6, 8, and 11, can’t understand fully what they are agreeing to and will wake up on Christmas morning to no gifts and feel the truth of what my husband and I did to them.
Is it really that hard to believe that kids can actually not be greedy? Our kids have everything they need plus an endless supply of things they don’t need. We have been blessed abundantly and our kids are some of the happiest children I have ever known. The idea of giving is more exciting to them than getting. I see this as I watch them give away their own stuff to visitors, adults and children. They don’t want anybody to leave our home empty handed. I honestly have no idea where they get this from but I want to keep it growing.
I love to give to my children. I want so badly to be able to run out to the toy stores and buy them every toy they ever wanted. More than that however, I want to give them a gift greater than anything we could ever purchase. I want to give them the gift of a giving heart. I don’t want to overshadow that with needless stuff that will clutter our home, minds, and hearts.

It is true that the less you have the less you want. I could never imagine wanting all the stuff I have now when we were first married. We had to scrounge around in the car for change to buy milk and bread. A couch was a dream of mine. Any decent couch would do, just something to put in my completely empty living room. After many years of marriage, a large wrap around couch, a lounge chair, and a rocking chair my desires changed a bit. A big screen TV was next on our list along with nice speakers, a new computer, and an X-Box. I would never have dreamed of these things during those newlywed years but not long ago they seemed very important all of the sudden. We just weren’t happy with what we had ~ we wanted MORE.
Now, with 5 children and one on the way and a house full of un-needed stuff we have decided that we are absolutely GREEDY! What are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them to be giving instead of greedy? Nope. We are teaching them that a 65″ TV isn’t a bad idea although there are families that could have used that money to keep from having to skip meals.

I am rambling but my point is that kids aren’t going to die because they don’t receive Christmas gifts. The truth is they might learn to live for a more joyous purpose.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

A Small House, PLEASE!

I want a smaller house. I told my husband this the other night and he looked at me as if I had gone mad. Right now we live in a decent sized 4 bedroom house with a living room, dining room, recreation room, large laundry room, and two bathrooms. We live here with our 5 kids plus the one due in May. Our house is 100 years old and has great bones. I wouldn’t call it beautiful but it is very nice and does the job of sheltering us perfectly.
I still want a smaller house. My idea of a good sized house is a master bedroom, a room for the boys, a room for the girls, a dining room (only so that we can seat our family together at meals) a living room (big enough for our couch, table, sewing machine and computer), a laundry room, and one or two bathrooms. A nice sized storage area would be helpful, too. My store inventory does need a place to live.

Yes, this does sound big but we have more than this now and every room is completely full of furniture. It all just feels like too much. I would really love to downsize, get rid of stuff, and live in closer quarters so I can be closer to my children all day, everyday.
My dear husband tells me to get used to it, that this is the smallest house we will have from now on. YECK!

Why is it lately that I feel the need to simplify everything? Smaller house, pre-made frozen meals (homemade), and reduction of junk. Maybe this is just part of my nesting this time around or maybe I am just wanting a simpler, cheaper, easier life.
I want so badly just to throw stuff away. I look at something out of place and my first thought is “toss it”. I cannot exactly do that – it would end up costing us more money in the long run, but I am just tired of having so much stuff with no where to put it all. I feel like a smaller house would force us to get rid of those things we really don’t need. It would cause us to have to re-evaluate our “need” standard.
My husband is in the Navy so we will be selling this house in just over a year and shortly after we will be moving across the country again. Maybe our next house will be the house of my dreams, maybe not. I am satisfied that God will put us where He wants us and I will be happy with it.
I am not really complaining, just having some feelings about our material surroundings. God has blessed our family with so much and I don’t want to clutter and suffocate that with stuff we don’t need.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

 Page 182 of 185  « First  ... « 180  181  182  183  184 » ...  Last »