Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year?

Well, we got strep for Christmas, so guess what we got for New Year's?

A stomach bug. Yuck.

Teagan is very sick and I am kinda sick. So we have to skip the New Year's party we were planning on going to this evening. What a bummer.

I am going to go to bed early and try to sleep this off. See you all in 2009.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Crafty Christmas

As you can see, I was a crafty mama this year. Actually, there are a few last-minute things that didn't make it into the picture. But this is the bulk of it. I had a lot of fun creating gifts for our family. It didn't cost as much money and everyone seemed to appreciate their gift.

My only regret... not starting sooner!! I was at my sewing machine for a week straight right in the thick of the season. At least I had finished the knitting ahead of time. I will probably do many homemade gifts next year as well. Maybe I should start planning now though...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

White Christmas

Well, it certainly was a white Christmas this year. We had record snowfalls all month and record cold too, so none of it melted away. The kids have been so excited about the snow, but it's been too cold for them to go out and play. How terrible!

As I mentioned yesterday, it finally warmed up enough on Christmas Day for them to play outside. And it stayed warm enough for them to play outside yesterday too! Woo-hoo!!

Teagan has been blowing all the snow in the backyard into a pile again this year. The kids love it because then they can go sledding, even though we don't have a real hill. The snowpile is bigger already this year than it has been in the entire winter in years past. They are loving it!

Of course, it was 40 + degrees last night and the yard has turned to puddles and mud with a snow island in the middle. No playing out there today, I'm afraid.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at Our House

Merry Day-After Christmas! I hope you all had a blessed day with those you love!

We had a great Christmas Day. I slept in. Notice I didn't say "we slept in". No, the kiddos were up early. But Teagan is an early riser so he let me sleep. That was a great present. I love my sleep! Anyway, once everyone was up we assembled in the living room. Teagan said a prayer and I read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Then we sang a few carols and finally got to the presents. The kids got some good stuff, mostly practical things.

Hosanna's favorite was the packaging. She just had fun carrying around the gift bags and putting things in them. As always, the "box" is better than the present.
Ruby being the exuberant little kid she is, just loved every single thing! Even the socks were exciting to her. Here she is in the hat I made her.
Jade got another shirt. I made it to look like the pictures she always draws. Her "perfect" shirt, so to speak. She put it on as soon as she opened it and hasn't taken it off!
Kordell, being a 9 year old boy, didn't appreciate anything he got. At least that is how he acted. I know deep down inside he secretly liked his gifts. He just didn't want us to know he liked them. sheesh.
We had cheese fries for lunch and then everyone played outside. It was actually warm enough to play outside!!!! It's been so cold they haven't been able to go out for over a week. So that was a great treat. I baked up a nice ham dinner and we ate on the "good dishes" with candlelight and everything. The kids thought it was funny.

We had such a nice day. The whole Christmas vacation so far has been very nice. The kids made cookies on Christmas Adam (all by themselves!) On Christmas Eve, we spent the day with Teagan's family for the annual gift exchange and snack buffet. Christmas Eve night was the only bummer. Ruby ended up in Urgent Care with strep throat. But so far everyone else is okay. We are gearing up to spend the weekend with my Dad & Karyl and all my step-sibs and their families. That will be fun. I'm preparing some posts to go up while I'm gone so you all aren't lonely here without me. I'll be back for New Year's.

See you then!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Reason

Since today is Christmas, I wanted to share with you the reading I compiled and performed for the church talent show a few weeks ago. Not because I think I did a wonderful job presenting it, because I really didn't even do it justice. No, I share it today as my way of shifting the focus. The cookies are fun, the presents are great, time with family is wonderful, but this is what it's all about. The REAL Reason for this Season. Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

The Reason

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule...over all the earth.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Scriptures taken from Genesis, Isaiah, Luke & John.
New International Version.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Strep for Christmas

Yup, that's right. I have strep throat. I feel icky and am going back to bed. My Christmas presents are not all going to get done. I'll have to send Teagan to the store for some last minute shopping. Poor guy.

Does anyone know how long strep is contagious?

Do You See What I See?

Because I see cookies! Lots and lots of cookies!

34 dozen cookies plus a batch of fudge, to be exact.

Last Monday was just frigid, so I decided to stay in the house and do my Christmas baking. We baked and baked and baked. Ruby helped with the sprinkles, of course.
And Kordell was the cookie arranger... Kordell Wallace, Cookie (ar)Ranger. Okay, well we thought it was hilariously funny. He was named after Walker, Texas Ranger, after all.
Looks like the Ranger snuck a cookie. Are they allowed to do that?

And, in case you were wondering, NO we did not keep all 34 dozen for ourselves. I had a cookie exchange to go to last week, plus we gave away cookie plates to some of our friends and neighbors. Share the cookie love, man. ;-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Celebrations

Last week we got to see what Jade has been doing to celebrate Christmas at school. I mean, celebrate "winter holidays". It is a public school after all. *rolling eyes*

I attended her "Winter Program". Tolerance! Tolerance! Fa la la la la! *ahem* They had arranged a conglomeration of generic celebration songs, Santa songs, Hanukkah songs, Kwanzaa songs, Chinese New Year songs, Los Postadas songs, and oh yeah, a couple of actual Christmas songs. They ended the program with a "why can't we all just get along" song and the music teacher gave this big speech on how we all should be united to celebrate the same thing.... world peace. *rolling eyes again* I wanted to scream. We all should be united to celebrate the same thing! And that "thing" should be JESUS!! I guess I should be happy that they sang Christmas songs at all... *sigh*

That same day Jade brought home all her Christmas art projects. And I got a good laugh. The handprint tree was cute and all, but check out the angel with feet and, my favorite, technicolor Santa & Rudolph in his party clothes.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!! I laughed so hard I cried. I can just hear the teachers, watching her work... "she's putting feet on the angel! Is the angel supposed to have feet? What do we do?" "What is she doing to Rudolph?? Oh the horror!" *snicker* *giggle* *snort* What a hoot. I love that kid. She is too funny.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Basketball, Cappuccino, and a Bear

A few months ago, Shelli asked me to share the story of how Teagan & I got together in the first place. Well, today is the day! It's the 13th anniversary of the day we became a couple.

Back in 1995, I was a senior in high school. I went to a teensy little school - 20 in the high school and 3 in my class! But we had a basketball team, and I kept the books during games. Teagan's mom was the basketball coach, and Teagan & his brothers all played. So, we all spent a lot of time together in the school van going back & forth to games. That's where it started. Conversations in the dark, on opposite sides of the back seat. (It was a Christian school you know.) After every game, we went to Culver's. One particular December night, Culver's was shutting down but Teagan, his brother Willie and I were still talking. With permission from his mom, we hopped in the car to hang out around town.

The three of us went to Walmart, Shopko, Kwik Trip (for cappuccinos, of course) and just drove around. Willie mostly listened to his walkman. Teagan & I talked and talked. It was 2 o'clock in the morning when they dropped me off at Grandma's house.

Unbeknownst to me, Teagan smashed up their car on the way home. OOPS! Not my fault...

The next week at school we started hanging out more. It was the last week before Christmas vacation. On Wednesday he slipped me "the note". You know, the note saying "please be my girlfriend". We were in high school. LOL He called that night to get my answer. Of course I said yes. On Friday as we were leaving school, he gives me this huge box. It was a Christmas present. I wasn't supposed to open it until Christmas Day, but I did. Inside was a big squishy teddy bear... one of the bears we had seen at Walmart the week before. Awww...

That's how it all started. We saw each other on the weekends, and sat together at lunch. No one at school knew we were "a couple" for months. We were mostly friends and then we fell in love. And life was forever changed.

So, Shelli, now you know the rest of the story. ;-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy

I am running like a madwoman this week, so forgive my lack of posting. We have 4 things on the calendar just for today! This week has been cram packed! But be patient... I have blog posts coming up! Before Christmas I will be showing you homebaked goodies, crafty presents, and pics of the kiddos too! We'll even take a trip down memory lane. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merry Christmas to Me!

I got my Christmas present last week.

Yeah, I'm spoiled.

Actually it's a gift for our family, but since I'm the one who gets to use them, it's really for me.

A member of our family who shall remain nameless bought us the Bosch mixer and the Nutrimill for Christmas. I used my Bosch fund money to order the slicer/shredder and cookie paddles for it.

And there they are.... In MY kitchen!

I was a little afraid to use them at first. But last night I ground up some flour and made cookies. It was great! Today I made 3 big batches of cookie dough to bake tomorrow. Double and triple batches were no match for my Bosch!! It's SOOOOO nice!!!

Birthday Outfit

Just wanted to show you all Hosanna's new outfit that I made for her birthday. I didn't dress her in it for her party because I didn't want to have to wash frosting out of the wool. Anyway, I knit the pants and made the shirt. Doesn't she look so cute?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Hosanna!

My baby is one today!! I can hardly believe it. Where on earth did the year go?? She is becoming such a delightful little person.

Here are the pictures from her birthday party. We just had a small party. She was such a little ham though. And she was so careful when eating her cake. Like she didn't really want to get messy. I barely had to clean her up afterwards. Anyway...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Coming Soon...

I will post about Hosanna's 1st Birthday Party! I have a ton of pictures to show you, but I am tired and my computer is tired. Tomorrow I will work on uploading. For now, here is a preview.

Oh yeah, it's good to be one!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

I'm a few days late with this, but better late than never!

This year, the week of Thanksgiving, we made a "Thankful Tree". Each member of the family made handprint "leaves" and we wrote on it what we were thankful for. Kordell made a lovely tree trunk for us.

Thanksgiving Day we spent with Teagan's parents. I didn't realize until almost dinner time that it was Hosanna's First Thanksgiving!! I was still pregnant last year at this time. Here she is, ready to feast...

Giving Daddy some love...

Ruby & her cousin Jacob got to sit at the counter for dinner. They're big kids now.We made sure to have plenty of goodies for Jade. Here she is getting her self some milk. She also had cornbread, mashed potatoes, jello and a little turkey. Mostly just jello.

Kordell and Logan took over the kids table. Looks like it was a hostile takeover...After feasting with the Anthony's we went to a friend's house for an evening of games & snacks. It was a very nice day.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Monday, December 01, 2008

RIP Mr. Blender

Well, I killed my blender today.

I was making this recipe and it started to fade. By the time I added the final ingredients, it refused to blend any longer. I wasn't surprised. I knew it was on it's last leg.

The good news: the pancakes were almost worth it. They were SO yummy!! If I can get a new, more power blender by Christmas, they would be a perfect Christmas morning breakfast.

And now I have more motivation to save my pennies for this beauty...


The Universal Plus Bosch with blender attachment. Oh yeah baby. It's on sale with the Nutrimill right now. Saving my pennies. Rubbing them together.

It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine. ;-)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Red Baby

Did you have a favorite toy as a kid? I did. It was a bear named A.G. and I loved it. I took it with me everywhere.

Ruby's favorite toy is her heavy baby waldorf doll. She named it "Red Baby". She treats Red Baby like a real baby. It is so sweet to see her natural mothering skills coming out at such an early age. She nurses her baby, feeds her baby, takes her baby for stroller walks, even wears her baby in a sling. She's going to be a great mom someday.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Poor Hosanna!

In this season of family get-togethers, it's a joy to see cousins playing together... right?

Well, not so much.

Hosanna just wanted to play with her cousin Abby. (Abby is 5 months younger than her.) Abby was in the walker playing with some toys. Hosanna walked up, smiled, said something in baby language and started playing with one of the toys on the tray. See, nice cousin fun.

Abby did not like Hosanna playing with her. She cried and flailed and threw a giant fit whenever Hosanna came over to play.

Poor Hosanna!!
She just wanted to play nice. She didn't hit or bite or anything. She was a good girl and kept getting in trouble for it.

I hope this is not a sign of things to come...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thankful List

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I've had trouble this year getting into the mood for Thanksgiving. I remember when I was a kid being SO excited about it, waking up on Thanksgiving morning SO happy that the day had finally arrived. It was almost like Christmas! Even as an adult, I've always loved Thanksgiving. But this year was different. For whatever reason, the excitement just wasn't there.

I happened upon this blog post the other day and was inspired. I made plans to sit down the night before Thanksgiving with my tea and write down what I was thankful for. Then last night, shortly before my "thankfulness appointment", I read this post. What glorious perspective!! If my thanks is not going to God, then I may as well not even bother being thankful.

So, with a prayer of thanksgiving to God, here are a few things I am thankful for:

  • Potty training! 3 out of 4. I never thought I'd see the day.
  • Hot tea on a cold night, the warmth rising up to steam my glasses
  • A happy baby, even if it is after bedtime
  • Clean countertops after a long day of cooking
  • A home warmed by more than just the furnace
  • Children laughing together instead of fighting
  • My husband's smile
  • A son still young enough to want his mom to tuck him in
  • Warm cornbags at the foot of my bed
  • Handpainted yarn and smooth bamboo needles
  • Books strewn around the living room by my exuberant "reader"
  • A comfortable chair
  • Casual conversation in the grocery store -a miracle from the child who didn't say mama until she was 4
  • Food in my cupboards
  • Clean water in abundance
  • Indoor plumbing
  • Laundry
  • 2 cars in the driveway
  • Healthy children
  • A faithful husband
  • Close knit extended family
  • Restored relationships
  • Forgiveness, given and received
  • Grace like rain
  • Mercy, new every morning
  • Trials, for testing produces faith
  • Lean times, for they bring creativity
  • Sovereignty of the Almighty, working all things to His glory
  • Perfection soiled by earth's dirt to feel what I feel
  • Sacrifice, His life poured out for mine
  • Victory! O death where is thy sting?
  • Savior, taking my hand in His
  • Hope that there is more than this
  • Life, eternally
  • Joy, forevermore

Oh, yes. There is much to be thankful for.

May you all have a blessed day of giving Thanks to our Glorious God.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If the Pilgrims Could Eat Popcorn on the first Thanksgiving

Then we can eat pretzels!

Especially turkey shaped pretzels!!

I made these fun, yummy pretzels to take to a friend's house for Thanksgiving tomorrow. They were pretty easy, all things considered, and they are so tasty! I got the recipe from Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers.

I am, however, sorry to report that the turkeys didn't make it. Their feathers were a bit fragile and they didn't survive packaging for travel. Oh well. They will taste just as good dismembered.

My First Co-op Order!

I had the opportunity to join a food co-op with some friends of mine. I can get all kinds of bulk grains, flours, dried fruit, natural sweeteners, etc at much lower prices than the local health food store, and in many cases, even cheaper than Walmart!

Being the healthy-cooking nut that I am, I was SO excited to place my first order. And here it is...

25 lbs. of brown rice, 5 lbs. of soft white wheat berries, 5 lbs. of steel cut oats, 5 lbs. of organic cane juice crystals, 2 lbs. potato starch flour, 2 lbs. tapioca flour, 5 lbs. whole grain cornmeal, 1 gallon of honey, and a 5 lb box of date coconut rolls!

These foods will go a long way toward healthier eating for my family! Plus, it's easier on my budget. I am so grateful that I got to join this co-op!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wagon Train

Proving once again that children do not need toys to have fun...

Ruby pulls a laundry basket which Jade hangs on to while riding in a plastic tote and Hosanna chases along behind them.

Actually this was quite entertaining for the adults too...

Oh That's Not Good

This was the scene last Friday.

You know when a major appliance is undergoing surgical procedures that it can't be good.

My washer stopped working while I was washing diapers. (of course it was diapers... couldn't have been just sheets or something, no... diapers) It smelled hot and I feared the worst.

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Teagan took it apart, unjammed the spinny thing and it worked! Whew, that was a close one.

Hopefully it won't happen again. We create a lot of laundry around here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Go Play This!

I found this link at Rocks in my Dryer. It is hilariously fun!! So go play already!

Line Rider

Finger Food

I don't really consider mashed potatoes a finger food...

Apparently, Hosanna disagrees with me.

Spoons are overrated anyway.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Love and Lentils

We've been a bit under the weather this weekend. Wednesday night Jade got sick, but was better the next morning. Friday night Ruby was sick all night, and continued to be sick Saturday and Sunday. Hosanna got sick Saturday and Kordell got sick on Sunday. And by sick I mean...well... let's just say I've been doing a WHOLE lot of laundry.

We stayed home from church yesterday and had a quiet day at home. When lunchtime rolled around I wanted to make something nutritious, something that would help Teagan & I stay well and maybe help the kids get well. Of course, I reached for the onions & garlic. Garlic is our magic cure-all around here, and onions have similar properties. I looked around for a recipe and ended up combining a couple different ones. I didn't have any chicken for chicken soup, so I went with a lentil stew instead.

First the onions (4) and garlic (20 cloves) ...

Ruby helped me add some carrots. A lot of them. She kept bringing me carrots! I think there were 6 or 8 in the pot.
Then tomatoes, lentils, water, and some spices. I used paprika, ginger, pepper and salt. 30 minutes later I had a delicious steamy bowl of nutritious soup. Just leaning over the pot and taking a whiff made me feel better!

Teagan loved it! It was really really good. And we felt much better after having some. Soup does that. And I know all those yummy, nourishing ingredients will help our bodies fight off this sickness that the kiddos have.

Yay for soup!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Different Christmas

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas.

I love spending time with my family. I love baking cookies - and giving them away! I love the sparkle of Christmas lights in the dark. I love cracking open the Bible and reading the Christmas story. I love singing songs about that Holy Night in Bethlehem.

But here's what I don't love... Materialism, greedy corporations, Santa Claus, overblown gaudy decorations, gifts bought out of obligation, toy catalogs, greedy kids, credit card debt, greedy grown-ups, stress, crowded stores... forgetting the REAL reason for the season!!

Last month, as I began to think about Christmas, a sense of dread began to settle upon me. We don't have money to spend on people, on our kids, on ourselves and how was I going to make it all work? I was frustrated by the thoughts in my own head telling me all the worldly things that Christmas is supposed to be, and yet knowing that Christmas is about something so much bigger than presents and decorations.

Then I stumbled onto this little video. Please take the 2.5 minutes to watch it.

My heart leapt! YES! That's it exactly! Less Spending. More Giving! More Worship!

Teagan & I resolved to do things differently this year. Instead of a big tree, we are doing a Jesse Tree. Instead of going out and buying cheaply made, expensive, mass-produced stuff for our loved ones, we are making gifts ourselves and trying to give things that are practical, needed, or will be greatly cherished. If we must buy a gift, I will try to buy handmade whenever possible. We are also planning on giving to Samaritan's Purse and/or World Vision. We plan to have the children help us choose a gift or two to give through one of those organizations. We want them to learn that giving is as much fun as receiving!

We will also be doing nightly devotions as part of our Jesse tree. I also want to incorporate Scripture memorization from Luke and Isaiah. I want our Christmas season to be saturated and rooted in CHRIST. After all, He is what it's all about.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mr. Dishwasher's Vacation: Week 3

Did you know that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit?

We have just completed week 3 of hand washing the dishes. As expected, the "I don't wanna do that" attitude picked up in force this week. Well, for Kordell anyway. I'm still plugging along.

I'm not sure if our little experiment really accomplished the goal with Kordell. He still doesn't really seem to get it. Or he just doesn't care. He doesn't like work period, so it doesn't really matter what form it takes.

As for me... I like having a clean kitchen. I like having all the dishes available for food prep at each meal. I like having the dishwasher out of the middle of my kitchen. I don't like Mr. Dishwasher clogging up my newly acquired wide open spaces, namely the office formerly known as the sewing room. I'm not sure where we go from here. Mr. Dishwasher may soon be looking for a new home...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The "S" Word

That's right, SNOW.

We had our first real snow of the year overnight. I'm not ready, but the kids are loving it. Here is the conversation I heard while in bed this morning...

Ruby: (excitedly while looking out the window) It's snow!! There's snow on the ground!!! It's absolutely perfect!!

Then thump thump thump as she runs to look out the windows on the other side of the house...

Ruby: (more excitedly) There's snow in the backyard! There's snow on my bike!!!

Thump thump thump as she runs to look out the window in the office...

Ruby: (even more excitedly) Dad! There's snow on your TRACTOR! There's snow on the truck!! There's snow on the car!!!

Thump thump thump as she runs to the back door, then the door opens... She runs outside in her rain boots, then a minute later the door shuts...

Ruby: (a little upset now) DAD!! There's big huge snow all over your MOTORCYCLE!!!

Teagan: Yes, Ruby. Take off your boots.

Jade: (dressed in shorts and tennis shoes) Outside!

Teagan: No outside. It's cold and wet.

Jade: Outside!

Teagan: No Jade. No Outside.

Jade: (yelling very loudly) OUTSIDE!!

Teagan: No! No Outside!

Jade: Teagan! Build a cave! Outside!

Teagan: No, Jade, there's not enough snow for a cave.

Jade: (lots of loud screaming...)

In years past Teagan has blown all the snow in the backyard into a big pile, complete with slides and "caves" (which were hollowed out of the side, not really caves). She figured that if there was snow, Daddy could make a cave.

Let me add that there was like 1/4" of snow on the ground. Just enough to cover everything very lightly. I'd show you a picture, but I'm having battery issues with my camera. Believe me, it was not very much snow for all the excitement around here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It Is What It Is

I wasn't going to post about the outcome of the election, but here I go anyway. Are you ready? This is going to be deep...

It is what it is.

Yeah, I'm not thrilled about Obummer, I mean Obama, being the president elect. I am concerned for the state of this great nation in the coming years. But it is what it is. There is nothing to be done about it now. No amount of sharp-tongued complaint or criticism will change anything. We just need to continue living our lives the best we can for God's glory and the good of our families.

Striving for self-sufficiency wouldn't be a bad idea either. ;-)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gratituesday: When It's Over

Today is Election Day. Duh. Like anyone in the United States could forget. We've been bombarded with advertisements, yard signs, and media about this election for over a year now. The date November 4th has been burned into our brains.

There is a lot of anxiety surrounding this election. There is much at stake. I admit that I also have concerns about what will happen. But there is still much to be grateful for, no matter who is elected.

Blessing 1: The election will finally be over. No more political ads. Thank the Lord. Can I get an AMEN?

Blessing 2: (This is the important one) When it's all over, no matter who wins, no matter if I like the elected person or not, this I know...


The following verses came to mind this morning as I was preparing to go to the polls.

Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said:
"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.

He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.

He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him

I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king."

~Daniel 2:19b-23

"He sets up kings and deposes them" That goes for presidents too. The Sovereign One who has set up and taken down every king in history is in control of this election too. We cannot fathom the mind of God. We do not know what He is orchestrating through the events that unfold today. But I know that He will work them all for His glory and for our good.

Find more to be grateful for at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Mr. Dishwasher's Vacation: Week 2

So, here we are at the end of week 2. Mr. Dishwasher is enjoying his time off. He is dutifully holding up my green tomatoes, a basket of squash, rutabagas & onions. He likes all the colorful vegetables. Vegetables are quiet, he says, and he likes the quiet after so long in the middle of the noisy kitchen.

I am still enjoying our little experiment. Dish washing duty is becoming routine, so that's good news. A couple of meals were saved over to the next time because I didn't want to run water for just 3 or 4 items. But, all in all, the counters are always free of dirty dishes. And I just love that.

I've also acquired a dish helper. (Are we surprised?) Ruby is learning to wash the dishes (though she mostly just plays) and Jade has taken a turn as well. I'm glad that they are learning these very important life skills. Kordell only grumps about it occasionally, so we're still good there.

On to week 3...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall in the Garden

My tender summer vegetables are long gone. The last of the green tomatoes are ripening in my laundry room, the green peppers are tucked away in the freezer, and the eggplant are but a memory. However, there are still vegetables to be had! My kale and swiss chard are still green as ever, despite the freezing temperatures we've been having. Ruby & I were out in the garden earlier this week gathering kale for dinner. It's s strange thing harvesting fresh garden greens while all bundled up, but what a wonderful thing!

Praise the Lord for His bounty in my little garden!

Friday, October 31, 2008


My parents will appreciate this. (I am not trying to make you guys feel old, really.)

Mom, Dad, do you remember this dress?
Let's get a closer look shall we?
Yup, that's a vintage frock my Hosanna is wearing. It came from a box of my baby clothes that we found when Dad & Karyl moved a few years ago. And now my baby is wearing it.

Isn't she pretty?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For the Love of Pie!

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers recently hosted a contest for pie recipes. She compiled all of the recipes into a free ebook on her website. I have 3 recipes featured in the book, but there are many others that sound delicious too! So, go to the Heavenly Homemakers site and download your free pie ebook!

Make a Shirt

Jade is very particular about her clothes. When she finds something she likes, you better have more than one or she will wear that one item of clothing until I can't take it anymore and have to peel the grubby thing off her (kicking and screaming) so I can wash it. *ahem* She has this one green shirt that she just loves. It is from a rummage sale though, so I can't just go buy another. So the thought occurs to me, maybe I can find a pattern that is similar and make one! I went to Hancock Fabrics and sure enough, there was a shirt pattern that was the same exact style as her green shirt.

(And the clouds roll open, sunlight beams down on me...) HALLELUJAH!!

She found the pattern on the counter and started asking...

"Make a shirt."

"Make a shirt please"

"Sharm, make a shirt!"

"Mom, Sharm, make a shirt please!"

I could go on, but you get the idea. So yesterday I made her a shirt. I had some bumps in the road. A little misreading on my part, not quite enough fabric, coudn't find my bias tape, etc, but I eventually got it done. I need to add that Tanna had the pattern for a few days earlier in the week to size it down. The only size in stock when I was shopping was the 10 1/2 - 16 1/2 girls plus. Jade is anything but a plus, but I was desperate. So, thank you to Tanna for helping me resize!

Jade was very pleased with her shirt. She had to wear it right away. She didn't even let me cut off all the little threads. Impatient much? I'm just glad she likes it. This is the first homemade item of clothing that she will actually wear.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mr. Dishwasher's Vacation: Week 1

At Bekah's request, I'm going to do weekly updates on Mr. Dishwasher's time out. So here we go...

Week 1:

It was pretty entertaining on the morning following the dishwasher's disappearance. Kordell was all "where'd the dishwasher go?" And we were like, "If you don't appreciate the dishwasher, you can do them by hand!"

I decided to try something new in order to keep me sane. We are washing the dishes after each meal instead of trying to do them all at the end of the day. It only takes a couple inches of water to wash a meals worth of dishes, so we aren't using any more water doing it this way. And it only takes a couple of minutes each time, so it doesn't feel like such a huge chore. I actually don't mind handwashing this way.

Kordell has put up a stink a few times, but as we have gotten into the routine and he knows how little time it takes, he has been more compliant. Plus, I think he enjoys babbling on to me while we work. I'm glad it doesn't take too long because my tolerance for hunting/guns/bows/deer/etc. chatter is rather small. I love my son but ugh. I can only take so much. Anyway, he usually has everything put away in a timely manner with not too much grumbling.

I hate to say this, but I almost kinda sorta like not having the dishwasher. There's more room in my kitchen (it's a big ol' portable). The dishes actually get *clean*. I don't have to fiddle around with all kinds of detergent trying to find one that works without filling my home with noxious toxic chemicals. My counters are clean all day and when I get up in the morning. It's rather nice. I was so glad to get the dishwasher because I have always struggled with the dish job myself, but now that I am getting in the groove, it's not too bad going without.

We will see how the situation progresses. Tune in next week!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Love Free Concerts

Especially when it's a free Andrew Peterson concert!!

One of the local churches hosted a free concert last night with one of my very favorite music artists. I don't listen to much music anymore, but if I had an iPod, this guy would be in it. Anyway, I have been planning for weeks to go to this concert, strategizing so we would get good seats and everything because I knew it would be packed. The plan was to leave really early, get a $5 pizza at Little Caesar's, and sit in front of the church until the doors opened so we could get the best seats. We had a little hang up with our plan... Our babysitter forgot. We called him Thursday night to make sure everything was good and he had forgotten. He had to work until 6:00, drive 20 minutes to our house, and then we had to drive 20 minutes back to town for the concert (doors opened at 6:30, it started at 7:00). I was absolutely panicking thinking that we weren't going to make it in time.

Somehow though, it all worked out. He was able to switch with someone else for closing duties, and get to our house in time for us to get there at 6:45. I'm glad we weren't any later!! It was packed already but we found two seats on the far side, in the middle of the auditorium. When it was done and we were leaving, we saw that there had been people sitting outside the auditorium! There were SO many people that they had to set up a dozen rows of chairs out there! So we were very blessed to get there when we did.

The concert was AMAZING!!! It was a one man show, just Andrew with his guitars, a piano and a mic. He sang all of the songs from his brand new album, plus a few old favorites. It was cool to hear all the stories behind the songs. Andrew is a very talented songwriter and each song touched the heart and moved the soul. My favorite was "Hosanna". He talked about how misused and misunderstood the word "Hosanna" is. It is not a name for God, and in the original usage, it was not a word of praise. It's meaning is "Save us" or "Save us now!" It became a word of praise because of the triumphal entry, but the people that day were crying out for salvation! There is so much wrapped up in that one word... a cry for salvation and praise because He has saved us!! Anyway, it was great. All the songs were great, the stories were great, yeah...

At the end of the concert, the crowd gave him such a rousing ovation that he came out and did an encore of 3 more songs! He was pretty funny. He said that he doesn't plan an encore and didn't know what to sing! Apparently, he's not used to playing for people who know who he is, so he usually just gets polite applause and that's about it. But our local Christian radio plays his songs, so he's very popular here, and the audience couldn't get enough. He said we were his favorite audience ever. LOL

I wish I could have bought a CD, or all of them... They had a great deal, 2 for $15, but we couldn't do it. So, if anyone needs birthday or Christmas ideas for me, go here and buy me an Andrew Peterson CD! I will listen to it over and over, I promise.

The best part of the night was getting to be alone with my hubby. It doesn't happen very often, and it was wonderful. He did enjoy the concert, even though music isn't really his thing. And afterward we got cappucino and cookies at the gas station, which is how this family started in the first place... cappucino late at night from Kwik Trip almost 13 years ago....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pinto Bean Week & A Recipe

Building on the Stretchy Beans concept, I made this week Pinto Bean Week! You are all SO excited to read about beans again aren't you? It is exciting because this week I cooked meat too! *gasp* A friend of mine actually thought I was a vegetarian. I assure you, I do enjoy a good hunk of meat now and then. But, boy, meat is expensive! Thus the stretchy beans...

One of the local grocery stores had bone-in ham portions on sale this week for $0.99 per pound - that's half price! I bought a big ol' 9 pound ham and cooked it up on Tuesday. Wednesday I cooked up 2 pounds of pinto beans with the ham bone. I took out 2 pints and a quart of beans & bean broth from the pot before dinner. Then the rest of the week's meals are planned around the extras.

Here is this week's bean plan:
Meal 1: Bean & Ham Soup (boy was that good with real ham bits!)
Meal 2: Kitchen Sink Stew (recipe to follow)
Meal 3: Bean & Rice Tacos
Meal 4: Autumn Vegetable soup

It's a lot of soup, but the weather is cool and damp, so soup is so good and warming!

Here is the recipe for Kitchen Sink Stew. It was originally called Mexican Pumpkin Chili, but there's nothing Mexican about it and by the time I was done I felt like everything but the kitchen sink went in the soup pot! It had a very unusual flavor, unlike anything I have ever made before. Strangely delicious!

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
dash nutmeg
4 c. water + bouillon to make broth
1 butternut squash, peeled, gutted, and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 c. salsa (hot as you want, I used mild)
7-8 drops stevia or a pinch of sugar
2 c. pinto beans
1-2 c. frozen corn
1 can coconut milk

Saute onion & garlic in a little oil until soft. Add spices and warm until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, squash, and sweet potato. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until veggies are soft. Mash vegetable chunks with a potato masher, or use a hand blender to puree them. Add salsa, stevia, beans, corn, and coconut milk. Simmer until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blessings of the Harvest

We were blessed last weekend with some garden bounty! Tanna harvested her squash & onions last week. She sent me home with a few...

Look at the size of those squash! The spaghetti squash in particular were huge this year.
We've been enjoying the butternuts already. Jade really likes it!! I think I will have to get some more while they are in season. I even got Kordell to like it. It's amazing what a little brown sugar and cinnamon will do. :-)

Tanna also let me pick some apples right off her tree. She hasn't picked any yet, so I got first dibs. They were decent size, especially considering that she doesn't spray her trees at all.

I decided to make apple butter with the apples. I filled up my slow cooker with sliced apples and added lots of yummy spices. It cooked on low all day and made the most delicious apple butter! No pot watching required!
I should have taken a picture of the finished product. But I think the scrap bowl with all the curly apple peelings is pretty in a weird sort of way.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Upwardly Mobile

My baby girl took her first steps last night!

Part of me is hugely excited about it!! And yet...

Part of me could just cry and cry.

As I look at our family, I wonder if Hosanna will be my last baby. She may be my last baby for awhile, at any rate. And while I love to see her grow and learn new things, part of me is really sad that she is growing out of the baby stage so quickly. I LOVE nurturing babies. It's completely what I was made for. I just love every part of it. And I'm not ready to let go of that just yet. I guess this is the part where we wait and see what God has in store for us.

Despite my sadness over the whole affair, I am very thankful for a few things:

- I was there to see her first steps! I wasn't at work (Praise the Lord for allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom!) and I hadn't left for my homeschool moms meeting yet (but I was practically walking out the door.)

- Her first steps were to her daddy. He wasn't at work either. One of the biggest blessings of his disability is that he doesn't have to miss these special moments!

God has certainly blessed us. I am so thankful for my little girl and for the joy she brings to our lives.

Find more to be thankful for at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mr. Dishwasher Gets a Time Out

No, he wasn't naughty. But he was so tired of causing fights that he asked for a time out. And we gave him one.

Actually, we took the dishwasher away to *attempt* to teach our son a lesson. He complains every. single. day. about loading and unloading the dishwasher. We have tried to convince him that this is not hard work. But he insists that it is, and takes hours to complete the job to prove to us how horribly hard it is. So we gave Mr. Dishwasher a time out. Maybe he will be back when he feels more appreciated.

Until then, I am washing and Kordell will be doing the rinsing, drying, and putting away. Why am I washing? Well, you see, I like dishes that are actually clean. And I don't want to fight for my clean dishes. I'll just fight to get them dry and put away. *sigh*

I really don't know what to do to get through to this kid. Shipping him off to military school sounds loverly right about now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's Black Bean Week!

You probably all remember the Lentils & Rice Experiment. I've decided to build on that concept and experiment with different kinds of beans. I've always been a bit leery of beans, even had an all out hatred of them for awhile. But now that I'm a grown-up, and I see how nutritious and frugal they are, I am learning to like them. And, more importantly, I'm teaching my children to like them.

My focus this week was black beans. I started with them because I already use them in a lot of recipes and they are familiar to Teagan & the kids. I started with 3 cups of black beans (because that's how much fit in the jar I took to the co-op when I bought bulk goods last time.) Here's what I ended up with after they were cooked. 2 pints, 1 quart, and a cup or so for use in dinner. That's about 5 cans worth. I probably saved about 50-75% by cooking my own beans instead of buying them. Plus, I know exactly what is in those beans.

Our menu plan for the week looks like this:

Day 1: Black bean & veggie quesadillas
Day 2: Spicy Black beans & Rice
Day 3: Black bean Soup with cornbread
Day 4: Corn & Black bean Chili with leftover cornbread

These are all meals that my family already eats, the difference is that I saved a bunch of money cooking my own beans and we ate the meals all in a row instead of spreading them out over a few weeks time. I could also have canned or frozen the extra beans for later use, but I save time and packaging (freezer bags or jar lids) by just putting them in the fridge and using them right away.

I am calling black bean week a success! Next week is pinto beans. I'll start out with Mom's Bean & Ham Soup and go from there. Anyone have a recipe to share?