Carrie ~ You’re Gonna Love This One!!!

So, my kids are awesome. They are well disciplined and well behaved. We get comments on them everywhere we go. They stand out because there are 5 of them and they are always on their best behavior. Eye rolling and heavy sighing is a normal sight when we walk into a restaurant but by the time we have finished eating those who have rolled their eyes have already come up and complimented our parenting and our children. I don’t have a problem talking about this, it really isn’t bragging, it is just the truth. They are exceptional kids.

If you know my kids you may want to take a breath and sit down before you continue. Duuu, you are already sitting down, you are at the computer.

Imagine my surprise the other day when my 3 oldest, 12, 9, and 6, decided to START A FIRE in the back yard. Yes, I said START A FIRE!

Okay, now breath.

We have a large concrete slab in our backyard that a previous owner had laid as a basketball court. My 9 year old has learned how to burn ants and such with his magnifying glass and he likes to get pine cones smoking and whatnot. I have no problem with this and we talked about the importance of keeping it all on the concrete and gave him some safety rules about using his magnifying glass for such things.

Well, my dear daughter came in to get some water and I smelled a campfire smell on her. I asked her why she smelled that way and she said “we were burning moss with the magnifying glass”. I said, oh, okay, just be careful. She smiled, mumbled something I couldn’t make out and turned to go back outside. I ignored the mumble as she is your classic mumbler and I am always tired of asking her “what?”; oh, and her mumbling is never rude she just doesn’t always speak clearly.

My husband arrives home just a few minutes later and goes out back to say hi to the kids. There he finds blackened gravel all over the concrete and he said “Where did this come from?” My daughter (12) announces proudly that they were starting fires with the magnifying glass. My husband asks “Does your mother know about this?” She tells him that I did and he shrugged and said “okay”.
I went out to see what mess he was talking about and I was amazed! Not only was there a fire pit in the center of the concrete slab but all the scrap wood from our remodeling project was gone from the trash pile behind our house.
Kait proudly announced that they had burned it all up just by using the magnifying glass.

Apparently this was no small fire and I don’t know how I missed it. We are avid campers and my kids know how to build a safe fire, however, even when we are camping they are not allowed to start or even mess with a campfire without my husband right there with them.

My dear husband was very successfully in scaring the beegeezies out of them by telling them that backyard fires are ILLEGAL (he was very calm until he got to that word). They were appalled
that they had broken the law with such criminal activity. He also discussed safety hazards that neglected to think about and he took the magnifying glass away which completely broke my 9 year old’s heart. We are also very good friends with one of our towns fire chiefs and we talked to him about it as well.

My kids have been successfully cured of fire starting – there is no doubt in my mind.

However, they seem to be in some odd state lately where they are just doing crazy things that are very out of character for them.

All this has happened in the last 7 days…

  • Joe (9) decided to dig deep holes all in our yard. He told me he had dug a hole and I said he had better ask dad before he continued with it. It did not deter him from digging many more with our big shovels.
  • Gabe (6) threw a down and out temper tantrum two days ago over a tricycle that isn’t even his. If you know my kids then you know they NEVER throw temper tantrums after the age of about 18 to 24 months. We are very good at training in this area.
  • Joe ate a live worm the other day. I HATE MOVIES!
  • After my husband and I went on a walk the other evening after dinner we came home to a sopping wet kitchen. Even the top of the refrigerator was wet. Apparently my kids decided to have a water fight in that short 20 minute period using spray bottles and the kitchen sink sprayer.

Needless to say they are not happy campers right now and my house is getting cleaner and cleaner every day. I have told them that since I can no longer trust them out of my site I will be giving them activities every day to keep them occupied so I know what they are doing all the time. We have been incident free for about 36 hours now.

I guess I could sum it all up as spring fever. Still, that is no excuse. Being 8 months pregnant has caused me to lay down on the job, literally. I guess I need to suck it up and get back to being a mom first. After all, my kids need me, obviously.

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De-cluttering ~ My Constant Battle

For the last few months I have been de-cluttering my home. I have gone over every room twice and now I am making a third round hoping to scrounge up more stuff.
Usually, I just give my de-clutter mess away or toss it – I don’t like the mess it makes waiting for a garage sale. So far, I have donated and trashed numerous boxes and massive trash bags full of needless junk. I am always amazed at what else I find.

These past 3 weeks, however, I have been de-cluttering again (the 3rd time in about 4 months) for a garage sale tomorrow. I was really sure that I wouldn’t come up with much myself but I knew my husband had reorganized his garage so we would have plenty of guy stuff to sell.

OH MY GOODNESS, I actually found more than enough clutter in my house to sell! Where on earth did all this stuff come from? I have been through my house twice already this year and I still have so much junk to get rid of! Also, I am noticing that the more junk I get rid of the more I seem to find the next time around. Is my house breeding junk without my knowledge? And, if so, can I have it neutered?

How on earth do you “Born Organized” mamas keep your house neat? Where does your junk go?
My kids claim it isn’t them. I think this is because they don’t consider their precious stuff as junk. I had them take bags down and told them they had to load 15 things up for the garage sale and they filled their bags with clothes. Good clothes.
I had them go back down and I said “no clothes this time”. So, they brought up books – some of them belonging to the library.
I guess I should go down there and do this for them and I know they won’t like it.

Anyway, if any of you have any de-cluttering suggestions; you know, how to get it all gone and keep it gone, please let me know!

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A Blessed Easter Weekend

Our weekend started out with a wonderful Good Friday service at our church. A small bunch from church have made it a tradition for many many years now to carry a cross through town from the grocery store and up a long hill to our church building. It is very moving and those who participate in this yearly walk take turns carrying this cross the 2 to 3 miles this walk takes. We were unable to participate this year but we did get to the church before the group arrived.

The following service was small and short but very meaningful. We were given a chance to morn and rejoice over Jesus’s death and it was quite moving. The kids stayed in the sanctuary during the service and really behaved themselves. For having as many kids as adults in that room it was amazingly quiet and went off without a hitch. My kids came away with quite a few questions that I was more than happy to answer! I love it when they attend a service and understand it enough to ask questions about it.


Saturday found us spending the day out at Papa and Grandma’s farm riding the 4-wheelers and spending time with each other. We sat out in a grassy area and had a picnic and enjoyed our unusually warm weather. It was an awesome Saturday. We did have one accident – Joe.
Joseph misunderstood a direction given by his father. Our smallest 4-wheeler has weed-eater engine in it (this is lady talk for something more complicated) and needs to stay revved just a tad bit or it will stall. My dear son thought this meant to keep it wide open, his 4-wheeler is a bigger 110 so he is just learning the difference in riding the smaller one. He took a turn with it full-on and drove up a fence post, flipping over sideways. He was wearing a helmet, jeans, and closed toe shoes which helped keep him from getting hurt. As it is he walked away with just a few scratches. Lesson learned: Always wear your protective gear no matter what size the machine you are operating! He was shaken up but got right back on and tried again, this time with a better sense of what he was doing.

On Sunday we woke up to a cloudy, chilly morning. I was a little disappointed in the weather but by the time church was over it had warmed up quite a bit and became a perfectly warm day!
We readied ourselves for church and got there an hour and a half early to get prepared for band (my husband plays the drums) and preschool/kindergarten church class (which I teach with the help of my 12 year old daughter).
I was amazed by the amount of information my class at church was able to soak up. It isn’t a normal Sunday without a bunch of 4, 5, & 6 years olds running wild but yesterday was different. They were all attentive and curious and it felt so good to be able to relay a message that these little ones appeared to drink up. I try to view every Sunday with this class a blessing no matter what mischief they get into but yesterday really did remind me why my role there was required.
After that we came home, got a snack, and headed back out to Papa and Grandma’s farm for swimming (they have an indoor pool) and more 4-wheeling. The cousins, aunts and uncles came out which thrilled my kids. We had a great time and it was an absolutely beautiful day ~ and NOBODY got hurt which is very unusual when you have 9 kids under 13 roughing it up in the fields!

Ben enjoyed hanging from the monkey bars.
He thought this was pretty cool!

My brother-in-law, Travis, gave directions and
tips to help the kids figure out the small 4-wheeler.
My nephew, Trae (4), picked it up very fast!

A determined Gabe, 6, was finished riding for a bit
and wanted the bike parked in just the right spot…
Up the hill!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
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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.

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