Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pay It Forward

Popping in with a special offer for my blog readers...

Random acts of kindness have turned into little gifts for you. A great opportunity to get something handmade just for you and pay it forward. I would especially like the opportunity to create for people I've never met (but I'll make stuff for the people I love too!!)

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.

2. What I create will be just for you, with love.

3. It'll be done this year (2009).

4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something strange.

6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to blog.

7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you.

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I do not see you post your own blog to pay this forward.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I've Lost It...

...the will to blog, that is.

I just haven't done it. It isn't for lack of ideas, or lack of photos, or lack of anything really. It just hasn't been really high on my priority list lately.

I'm sure at some point I will pick it back up again. Until then, you can catch me on facebook.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kitchen Tip: Washing Grapes

I've discovered an easy way to wash & measure out grapes for lunch boxes or snacks. My Pampered Chef can strainer is just the thing! It holds just the right amount and I can rinse & drain them easily. It's small too - doesn't take up much room in the drawer. I thought it was just for straining tuna, so I'm glad to have another use for this little tool!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Broccoli Slaw Omelet

So, I had a Pampered Chef cooking show a couple of weeks ago. We made this yummy recipe, Thai Chicken Stir-Fry served over rice and a salad (for more meal options!) It was the perfect recipe for me. Most of the PC recipes call for boxed mixes and prefab foods. This one was all fresh whole foods. Perfect!

One of the ingredients that I bought was broccoli slaw. It's a prepackaged salad mix (which is technically prefab, but still a whole real food). I had never heard of it before. But it was on the list, so I bought it.

After the party, there was half a bag of broccoli slaw left. Upon further discovery, I realized that broccoli slaw is just shredded broccoli stems with a few shredded carrots thrown in for color. Well, now that I know that I can totally make my own this summer when the broccoli is garden fresh. But I digress...

I had to figure out a way to use up the leftovers. I've been eating eggs for breakfast a lot lately. One morning as I opened the refrigerator to grab an egg, I saw the broccoli slaw and was hit with inspiration. Of course! A broccoli slaw omelet!!

(Now, technically, it is actually more of a scramble than an omelet, but it's my recipe, so I'm calling it an omelet anyway.)

First, melt some REAL butter in a hot skillet. Then throw in a handful of broccoli slaw. Cook until the broccoli slaw is crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Break your egg (or eggs) into the pan and stir them up real quick to scramble. (I used 3 "banty" eggs from Tanna - they are half the size of normal eggs and have very yellow yolks an account of the chickens being free-range and grass fed.)

When the eggs are mostly set, flip over and cook until done.

Finally, butter up a slice of homemade bread and pan-fry it while the pan is still hot. Sprinkle the eggs with a little seasoned salt and enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pampered Chef has landed!

I love me some new kitchen toys... I mean tools.

This is what I got for hosting my cooking show. Pampered Chef is really good to their hostesses. The boxes landed yesterday. I got my guests' orders sorted & packed before dinner. I told myself I couldn't sort through my goodies until all the kitchen work was done for the day. Nothing like incentive to get the job done!

I'm very pleased with everything I got. I'm using my new stone baker to roast a chicken for dinner. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The T-shirt Dress

I love a little girl in a dress.

One of the things I had to come to terms with when Jade was smaller was her lack of girlishness. She hated wearing dresses. It just wasn't in her programming. When I had Ruby and then Hosanna, I immediately began dressing them in pink, ruffles, and all manner of girly things. Then I waited to see if it would stick.

It did.

Ruby loves dressing up, and even Hosanna now enjoys wearing pretty dresses.

And I love that my little girls look like little girls. Even covered in dirt, there's no denying the girly-ness of a little girl in a pretty dress.

As spring approached, I began to evaluate the girl's clothing needs. Hosanna needed some summer clothes because I had nothing left in storage after last summer's clean out. And that was okay with me because it gave me an excuse to make her some cute little dresses.

I got some shirts on clearance at Walmart, and one brand new (with tags still on) at a rummage sale. I have tons of fabric in my stash, so I just went out to the bins and dug around until I found something that matched. Here is the finished results. Each dress took about 30 minutes to put together.

The one on the left is for Hosanna, and the one on the right is for her cousin, Abby.

These are made from the same yard of fabric that I got on the clearance table at Hancock fabrics a few years ago. It matched both t-shirts so well! But since one has the teacup border, you can't really tell. And she's not going to be wearing them both at the same time anyway.These will fit her all summer, though the skirts may be a bit shorter by fall than they are now. Each dress cost less than $5. And they are much cuter and more modest than the summer dresses I've seen for sale lately. I may make a few for Ruby too.

I love a little girl in a dress.

Garden '09: First Sprouts

I planted my first seeds of the year on April 30. I started with nice, cold-hardy crops: spinach & sugar snap peas. It's a good thing I didn't plant anything else... we've had a number of frosty nights since then.

The spinach was up first, on May 8. It looked at first like little green hairs coming up through the wood chips.

Next came the peas. They took a bit longer. I spotted the first sprout on May 11.The peas are big enough now that I need to get them a trellis. I noticed the first little tendrils yesterday. I bought some bamboo u-hoops at Menards that I am going to use to build a pea fence. That is my project for today.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hey, It's Me

Well, howdy! It's been like 2 weeks, so I figured it was time to get back to my blog. I have all these ideas running around in my head just waiting for time to sit down and do something with them. I'm working on a few posts about my garden, cooking, sewing, and parenting. For now, some cute shots of the kiddos!

Well, just of the two little ones. (Why is it the little ones get all the camera time, huh?)

Ruby & Hosanna got some new kitchen tools during Rummage-O-Rama a few weekends ago. They have quite the collection now. Ruby is always cooking up something interesting, and teaching little sister too.

I tried to put Hosanna's hair in pigtails. It kinda worked. Of course, she's had a haircut since then as we continue to "blend in" Ruby's handiwork.
Check out the peepers on that kid! Wow!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Again & Still, Plus Other News

I thought I should pop on and let everyone know what's up.

Last week Ruby & I came down with strep throat AGAIN. That made 4x for me and 3x for Ruby. The wise nurse practitioner we had seen each time finally brought in the rest of the family for testing. As it turns out, Teagan & Kordell were carrying it without symptoms. So, we didn't have it again, we STILL had it, as in, it never went away. They put the whole family on antibiotics and we are getting retested next week. Hopefully it is gone for good.

We are STILL working on the new garden. We brought home a load of black dirt from the in-laws yesterday, so we are getting closer. I planted spinach & snap peas in the other garden. No sprouts yet, but hopefully by the weekend there will be signs of life.

My camera cable is STILL missing, so that's why there have been no photos lately. I found one that might work at a rummage sale, but I have not had time to try it out yet.

Kordell went to an art class last week and learned some awesome techniques for improving his drawings. I'm hoping the desire to continue improving will get him interested in learning (in general) again.

Jade went to her first sleepover party last weekend. The mom of one of her friends just happens to be Jade's former speech therapist, and she wanted Jade to come to her daughter's birthday party so badly that she organized the whole thing, food and all, to accommodate Jade. So Jade got to be normal for once. How awesome is that!

Ruby is pushing every button there is to be pushed. She is wearing us out.

Hosanna is very glad that it is spring and she can play outside again. Daddy's tractor is her favorite thing right now.

Teagan has too many projects going. Radios, antennas and gardening... oh my!

I am hosting a Pampered Chef party on Friday so this week is all about finding my house again. I spent all weekend rummaging and ignoring the housework, so it's time to buckle down and whip this place into shape!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Coming Home

I had a great day today. I got to hang out with one of my best friends and work on a sewing project. The project went well, and we had a great time. Then I got to make a couple of t-shirt dresses for Hosanna & her cousin. And they went well too. It all came together, my machine behaved, it was all good.

Sitting at my sewing machine felt like coming home after a long absence. I haven't done much sewing since Christmas and it felt great to sew again. Putting fabric to machine is such a relaxing activity. I need to do it more often.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise: FAIL

Just so you all don't think everything I touch in the kitchen turns to gold (so to speak), I wanted to share today's disaster.

I was trying to make bacon mayonnaise because well, I like bacon and I like mayo and the two combined sounded mighty tasty. (Read the recipe. It will make the rest of this post make sense.) I had bacon grease left from making baked beans on Monday that I had saved for just this purpose. I got out my blender and set to work.

Problem 1: When I started the blender, the egg & stuff that was in there splashed immediately up onto the sides, making it impossible to see what was actually going on in there (other than splashing).

Problem 2: I wasn't watching the clock. Since I couldn't see whether of not my egg and little bit of bacon grease was emulsifying, I just sort of guessed that it had been about 2 minutes, and started pouring in the rest of the bacon grease.

Problem 3: It hadn't emulsified yet. So adding the rest of the bacon grease just assured my doom. It will not now emulsify and turn into mayo.

I tried another method. I put the mess into a wide mouth jar and tried this method with my stick blender. My hand was numb by the time I gave up. It will not emulsify. So no bacon mayo for me.

Bacon Mayo: FAIL

I Could Be a Vegetarian

For the record, I am not a vegetarian. I never have been. I never will be. I like cheeseburgers too much.

But there are days that I contemplate becoming a vegetarian and making my whole family suffer with my veggie ways.

Like yesterday.

I was ill-possessed of mind or something, and I decided to cook a whole chicken. I don't know what I was thinking. I don't like cooking meat at all, really. Not because of any misguided love of animals or anything, I just think it's kind of icky. The cooking part. Not the eating part. Because I love a good roast any day of the week.

So here I am, with a whole chicken. I took it out of the freezer Monday, with intent to cook it Tuesday. Tuesday morning comes along, I pull out my chicken, and it was pretty firm for a thawed chicken. I guess I should have gotten it out on Sunday. It was still awfully frosty. I knew I had to take the giblets out of the middle, but which end were they on??? The whole thing was frozen shut anyhow.

Henny Penny took a warm bath while I made a few calls to try and determine a course of action. 2 mothers later, I had enough information to continue. Lots of prying, wiggling, dunking in water, wretching noises, and hand-washing ensued and I finally got the bird in the cooker.

The good news is... we had delicious juicy chicken for dinner. My carnivores were happy. I was happy. The bad news... I'm too frugal to pitch what's left, so I have to spend today picking the carcass and making chicken stock.

I could be a vegetarian. I really could.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fingers in the Dirt


(Can you tell I'm excited? Because I really really am!)

Spring has finally sprung here in the great white north of Wisconsin. The snow is melted and gone and little green things are finding their way through the dirt. And my fingers are finding their way into the dirt!

I spent yesterday raking out the flower beds in front of the house and raking along the edge of the fence. Ruby helped me load up the leaves in the wagon and take them to the compost pile. Then I started raking around the edge of the rock garden. But I couldn't finish that because the pile of wood chips we took to the garden last year was still spilling out into the yard. They had never gotten raked into the garden like we wanted. So Teagan raked them out over the garden. A few of the rocks on one side had gotten moved last year (to dump out the wood chips) and never got put back in place. Well, we started moving rocks, and pretty soon we had almost doubled the size of our little garden! It's amazing, but when we rearranged the rocks, we had enough for a much bigger circle! We raked up the piles of leaves from last year's raking (which were mostly decomposed) and put that in the new garden area. Then we spread out the wood chips over that. We will add some more something to the new area of the garden, but we've got a good start so far!

Today I went out to re-consider some lilies that grew around the edge of the garden. They were beautiful, sure, but I got tired of pulling lilies out of the eggplants. I dug up all I could, about 40 little lily shoots, plus as much of the root system as I could get. Those things are tenacious! We worked up a little dirt on the edge of the woods and threw them in there. I didn't go through a lot of trouble for them. From what I've heard they will grow anywhere. I lightly spread dirt over them and threw leaves on top. If they grow great, if not, oh well.

All in all, I am growing to love my yard & garden. I love going out there and digging around in the dirt. It's very satisfying.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We Be Jammin'

Remember the strawberries I got last week? They became jam yesterday!

5 pints, and 4 half-pints, plus a bit more

In my quest to improve the nutrition of the food we eat, I chose not to use white sugar to make my jam. I used raw honey instead. I had tried to make peach jam with honey last fall, but it never jelled. I wanted to try again.

Tanna gave me some Pomona's Pectin that she had bought but never used. Pomona's is a different kind of pectin which can be used with low-sugar, no-sugar, honey, any sweetener or none at all! It's a great product for those of us who want to ditch the white sugar. This was my first time using it, and I was very pleased with my results! All of the jam jelled perfectly as it cooled.

Another great thing about Pomona's pectin over traditional pectins... you can double or triple the batch! I used 12 cups of mashed berries and 2 1/2 cups of honey to make my jam. And I did it all at one time.

It tastes wonderful on hot pancakes!

So, how does it taste? In a word: Fresh! Instead of being overly sweet, it tastes like fresh delicious strawberries. We ate it on our pancakes this morning and it was delicious! Without all that sugar, you could actually taste the pancakes, the butter, and the strawberries. The flavors swirled around each other, doing a little dance on my taste buds. Mmmm...

Bottom line: I will be using Pomona's again. It worked great. I plan on making more jam this year with honey or other alternative sweeteners. I have some Bing cherries in the freezer that would be delightful and Teagan has requested that I try raspberry jam this summer. We'll be jammin' again soon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Easter

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating the Resurrection with your families. We were able to attend church on Sunday - everyone was mostly healthy- and then we spent the rest of the day with Teagan's parents & brothers and their families. It was a very nice day.

Here are a few pictures from the day...

All dressed up for church

My poor children had to pose for pictures outside in 32 degree temps with no coats and the early morning sun blazing into their eyeballs. Because I'm mean like that.

This is my favorite. The 3 older kids were all looking down at Hosanna telling her to stand still and look at Mommy...

While we were at Noni's, Hosanna got her first real haircut. Mostly to attempt to blend in Ruby's haircutting job. It kinda worked.
Would you believe I forgot to save a lock of her hair?? What kind of mom am I anyway?? Oh yeah, the busy distracted kind...

And in case you're wondering what happened to Hosanna's nose...

She fought the sidewalk. And the sidewalk won.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Presentation

I didn't talk much about it here, or anywhere really, but I gave a presentation yesterday. It was kind of a big deal. To me anyway.

Our parent's support group asked me to give a presentation on Jade's diet. We invited people from all over the area. I baked and bought food and researched. I'm a little obsessed with food (if you haven't noticed) so it was pretty fun for me.

Last night was the night. We had 17 people in attendance, not including me. 3 parents of kids with autism, and 14 therapists and staff from local schools. I talked for a little over an hour, covering the basics of how the diet works and talking a whole lot about food.

I baked peanut butter cookies, spice cake (with sprinkles!), strawberry-banana muffins, and brownies! I made a lot. There were leftovers....

Jade spent the whole weekend eyeing up my tote full of treats. I promised her that on Wednesday she could eat her treats. She's been snacking all day. Breakfast, lunch, and 2 snacks worth of treats so far....

I think I may have gotten a bit carried away with the food part of it. But I really wanted to give people a feel for what the diet is really about. Going into the natural foods aisle for the first time is daunting, and I wanted people to be armed with information. I also sent everyone home with a list of resources and some recipes.

It went very well. I was a little nervous going in, but this really is a topic I know well. Once I got going, it was all good. Those in attendance said they learned a lot, and I was able to encourage one mom to keep trying... the rewards are worth it. My whole intention was to inform and encourage, so mission accomplished.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Strep & Strawberries

Yesterday was interesting. I woke up with a familiar feeling...

A visit to the doctor confirmed my suspicions. I have strep throat again! For the third time this year! And Ruby has it too, for the second time. What in the world?! Craziness.

On our way home from the doctor, we picked up 16 lbs. of fresh strawberries. My fruit co-op friend called Sunday night with a great deal on berries. I didn't know I would have strep throat the next day, so I ordered 2 flats! They were really gorgeous, and a really super deal. But they needed to be done up right away. If I were to wait until after my presentation and do them on Wednesday, I would have had a lot more go south. As it was, I only had about 4 berries that I couldn't use.

Look at those beautiful berries!

I ended up just capping them and running them through the food processor. I put half of them in a big bowl in the refrigerator. They will become jam on Wednesday. The rest I measured in 1 cup increments and put in baggies to freeze. The plastic boxes that the berries came in worked perfectly to hold the baggies of puree. These will be perfect for smoothies, strawberry bread & muffins, and who knows what else!

I was super-duper excited about the strawberries, because I just last week used up the last of my berries from last year. I was expecting to wait until the end of June for good fresh strawberries, but the Lord blessed us with these right after we had run out. What a good God!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Popcorn for Breakfast

The kids & I had a new taste sensation for breakfast today.

Popcorn Cereal.

I popped up some popcorn, put it into bowls and poured milk on it, just like cereal. We topped it off with sucanat & cinnamon. It was SO tasty!! It tasted like Corn Pops, but not quite as sweet. I wonder if that's how Corn Pops started? Hmmm...

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with how good this was. Cheap & easy. And more nutritious than any box of cereal (especially Corn Pops).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Look Closely...

Something's different about Hosanna. I didn't notice at first. Look closely...

If you click on these you can get a closer look...

The second picture is pretty telling...

See that bare patch in the middle?

Unbeknowst to me, Hosanna got her first haircut. Courtesy of Ruby. And I didn't notice until the next day.

We met Noni in town and went to lunch. As we were waiting for our food, Noni looks at Hosanna and says, "She looks different. Did you cut her hair?" No, I say, it just looks different because it's laying down. After her bath last night it hasn't been sticking up anymore. No, she insists, the hair is shorter on top. I look again. Sure enough.

Suddenly, I have a flashback to Monday afternoon. I had picked up a pair of scissors from the kitchen table and put them in my pocket. I didn't know where they had come from. I figured Ruby got them out of Kordell's room.

I turn to look at Ruby. Ruby, I say, did you cut Hosanna's hair? Ah, the mischievous smile told all. She did indeed cut Hosanna's hair. Thankfully, she didn't cut it quite to the scalp. It's still a whole half inch long. Noni said to just leave it and we'll gradually blend it in as she gets haircuts.

No more fountains for awhile. I'm sure glad I took pictures of it while I had the chance.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ruby's Angeled Eggs

Ruby did such a good job helping make the "angeled" eggs yesterday that I wanted to share a picture! She was so proud of herself. She peeled the eggs, mixed the filling, and filled the eggs. Mama put on the "sprinkles".

What a big helper! I think I'm working myself out of a job. At least I hope I am...

PS... If you look really closely at her left hand, you can see the scar from her bagel-cutting incident a few weeks ago. It's looking pretty good now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Suzy Homemaker Hard at Work

We're all finally feeling better, so it's back to the normal routine around here.

Having been sick myself or taking care of sick little ones for the last two weeks, I haven't done much more than the bare minimum required to keep us all from starving. But today I plowed into my kitchen with renewed vigor!

For breakfast, I made strawberry bread with chilled strawberry soup. (Because yesterday I was looking longingly through my Simply in Season cookbook longing for spring vegetables and decided to splurge and use my last bag of strawberries from the freezer to make something springy!) I also made spaghetti for Jade to take in her lunch.

For lunch, Ruby & I whipped up some "angeled" eggs and served them with cheese and leftover strawberry bread from breakfast. (Because while I was surfing the internet this morning, reading about Laura's Angeled Eggs, Ruby came in and said they looked yummy and we should make some, so we did!)

After lunch, I decided to make bread. We'd been out for a few days. I'm not sure what I changed or what I'm doing wrong, but the last few rounds of bread-making have been a bit dangerous! During the kneading (which my mixer does for me) big hunks of dough are coming to life and flying out of the mixer and across the kitchen!! It's a little scary! Plus, my dough consistency just hasn't been right the last 3 times or so. Hmmm. I'm still learning all the science of bread making. I'll keep tinkering with it. Anyway, I made 3 loaves of bread and a pan of cinnamon rolls.

While I was making the bread, a pot of black beans simmered on the stove. I cooked up 2 pounds of beans with intentions of freezing them for future use. From the 2 pounds, I got 6 cans worth of beans (6 2-cup portions) and 3 cups of bean broth. So easy... the beans don't need much babysitting. The hardest part was bagging them up for the freezer.

On the menu tonight... Black beans & rice, of course!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

11 years ago...

Who are those kids!? Man, we're getting old...

Eleven years ago today, I married my sweetheart. We were just babies, at 18 & 19 years old, having no idea what lay ahead. "For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" - though we mostly assumed that meant richer and in health. Because the world is full of optimism when you are young and in love.

The last 11 years have held a lot of excitement. We have moved 6 times. We've welcomed 4 children into the world and let one go on to heaven. Gone through 2 surgeries, and more doctor visits than I can count. Endured disability and bankruptcy. Yet the Lord has always provided for us. He has kept us close to each other and close to Him through all of it.

I love Teagan more now than the day we married. I have seen him grow into a mighty man of God, an amazing Daddy and a wonderful husband. I can't wait to see what the next 11 years hold.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quiet, but not in a Good Way

Well, we never did get to go out on Saturday night. Kordell took a turn for the worse, as did a few other children, and we called it off. The night wasn't a total loss though. We tucked the kiddos in early and watched a DVD at home. All the entertainment, none of the driving.

Over the next couple of days, it was one sick kid after another. One would get better while another got worse, and they just went round and round. I was sick again on Monday. Thankfully, it was short lived. Yesterday we finally decided to take Ruby & Hosanna in to the doctor. They both have this junky sounding cough and a fever that won't let up. Ruby's strep test was negative, and she has no bacterial infections, just a nasty virus. Hosanna has another ear infection, and likely the same virus as Ruby - a double whammy. Teagan & I have been up with them two nights in a row.

On the positive side, sick children are quiet children. It has been a nice reprieve for a couple days. We've spent a lot of time snuggling and reading books. It's been nice. But I am ready for everyone to be healthy again. We've had our fair share of this germy stuff and I'd rather have healthy kids than quiet ones.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

His Compassions Never Fail

Sometimes God is just sweet to us. (If you're in my Bible study, I totally stole that line from Beth, but it's so good!)

It's true! I know, cerebrally, that God is good and faithful and mighty and all that, but sometimes He's just sweet to me. He knows that's what I need Him to be sometimes. I might be able to ignore or take for granted His goodness, but His sweetness just touches me and lifts my face up to His.

A few days ago, I was really mad at God. Really mad. Like whiny kid whose plans got spoiled mad. Pouting and whining and I told Him so. God, this is not fair. What kind of cruel joke is it to perfectly arrange 2 date nights in a row (which are desperately needed) and then have the kids & I get sick?? I am so mad! This stinks! Part of me wondered if it was even okay to be mad at God. But I figured telling Him I was mad was better than just stewing in it.

Over the next day and a half, the Lord just poured out sweetness on me. He used Ruby and our family memory verse to soothe my aching heart. Just try to stay mad at God with your 3 year old telling you this at each meal (and in between):
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
- Lamentations 3:21-23
I finally accepted the fact that we just weren't going to get to go on our dates. But, can you guess what happened? Yesterday morning, we got up and Jade wasn't coughing. Hosanna wasn't throwing up. I was feeling better. We were able to take the older kids to our friend's house and go to the concert last night, like we'd planned! And today, things are okay. Kordell was a little under the weather, but already feeling better this afternoon. We might just get to go out again.

And not only did we get to go last night, but we were really blessed by the concert. Andrew Peterson's music and storytelling just have a way of getting right into your heart and touching those hurt places with the soothing balm of Jesus. I wanted to share with you a song that really touched my heart last night, courtesy of youtube.

Thank you Lord for being so sweet to me! I pray that all of you reading this will be blessed by the sweetness of our faithful, compassionate God this week.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sick Again


We all took turns a few weeks ago, and Teagan was the last one still fighting it. Not anymore! I came down with strep throat yesterday (again!), Jade has been coughing non-stop, and Hosanna has a tummy bug of some kind.

The worst part...

Teagan & I were going to go out on a date not one night, but 2 nights in a row! The babysitters all fell into place and we were so excited. But unless we have a miraculous touch from God overnight tonight, we aren't going anywhere.

I'm so bummed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Almost Spring!

Spring is so close I can almost taste it.

We've had gorgeous weather here the last few days. Well, for March in Wisconsin anyway. All you southern people, I don't want to hear about how it's 75 and sunny!! It's been 50-60 here and sunny and the snow is melting away! There's grass in my yard! Brown grass, but grass nonetheless.

I'm so excited!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The little Green Project: Cheesy Broccoli Penne

For today's installment of The little Green Project, I wanted to share a recipe.

Lately I've had a hankering for macaroni & cheese. I used to love that blue box stuff, but the more I know about food, the more unappetizing it is. I started making my own macaroni & cheese, using real, good for you ingredients. Yesterday I decided to take it up a notch and add a green vegetable. So "Cheesy Broccoli Penne" was born.

Cheesy Broccoli Penne

8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup or so chopped onion
1 T. butter
1 T. flour (soft white wheat works well)
sprinkle of pepper
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 cups frozen broccoli, thawed or fresh broccoli, steamed

Cook the penne in a large pot. While it is cooking, in a 2 qt. saucepan, saute the onion in the butter. Add flour & pepper. Mix well. Add milk all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add broccoli and cook, stirring often, until broccoli is warmed. By this time, the penne should be all cooked & drained. Add the broccoli cheese sauce to the penne in the larger pot. Stir to combine. Serves 4.

I was actually surprised at how fast this was to put together. It didn't take much longer than boxed mac & cheese and it is so much better for you!

For more green ideas, check out Heavenly Homemakers little Green Project!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Clean Fun

Hosanna got to take a bath in the sink a few weeks ago. Every kid has to have a sink bath at least one time in their life, right? Well, she loved it. It was super cute and she had a blast. (Sorry no pics of the actual bath.)

Well, Little Miss I-Can-Climb-on-Anything decided she wanted to do that again. Upon hearing strange noises from the kitchen, I walked out of the office to see this:

Cute! But naughty!! Now we can't keep her out of the sink!! Every time I turn my back she is trying to get in there. She's going to keep me on my toes, that's for sure.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bad Mom Award

I get the Bad Mom Award for today.

It's just been a bad day all around.

I was awakened by my husband saying, "I'm sorry I let you oversleep and Jade is wet." Which means the whole bed is wet. And all her clothes that she had picked out the night before to wear today. And she was even more unhappy about it than I was. After a harrowing 40 minutes, we got her safely on the bus. Whew.

Teagan left to go to a friend's house for coffee like he does every Tuesday. I was in the office catching up with Facebook and my blog reader, printing out Kordell's school work for the morning, and shopping for the best price for coconut flour. Ruby came into the office crying and holding her hand... which was bleeding.

She had tried to cut a bagel with the big (sharp) bread knife. It had slipped and sunk deep into the top of her left hand. I applied pressure and called Teagan. He came blazing home to rescue us. He bandaged it the best he could, but we decided that she really should go get it looked at. I was really thinking she needed stitches. I called Noni and she headed right over.

At that point, I started to feel a little woozy. I tried to relax, take some deep breaths, but it wasn't working. I said, "I think I'm going to faint". And sure enough, I did! Let me just say that the only superhero in this house today is Teagan. He did a great job getting Ruby finished up and out of the way so he could take care of me. I don't know how long I was out, but I had no idea what was going on, and I felt really terrible for a long time after I came to. Noni arrived, and Teagan left with Ruby, and I was too out of it to go with them.

As it turns out, she didn't need stitches. But the doctor said it was close. She almost cut her tendon. And if Teagan hadn't bandaged it as well as he had to start with, she would have needed stitches. Praise the Lord! She has to wear a splint to keep her pointer finger straight so the top of the hand will heal properly. But otherwise, she is okay.

I am also okay. I didn't break my glasses or bang my head or otherwise hurt myself when I fainted. And that is good. However, I feel like a really bad mom. I should have been in the kitchen instead of the office. It's a laptop, for pete's sake, I didn't have to be in the office. I'm in the kitchen now and they are still getting into trouble! That's kids for you though. I will be more conscious of things in the future.

Shoes of Doom

I got Hosanna some new shoes. What a meanie I am.

Up until this point, she has only worn soft shoes - more like slippers than shoes really. They are better for babies learning to walk because the soft leather bottoms don't interfere with proper technique. Or something like that. Soft shoes=better. BUT... she is an accomplished walker now and it is time for shoes. Spring is coming and she will need shoes to walk outside.

A group of friends online got together and ordered squeaky shoes. We got them at wholesale since there were so many of us. The shoes ended up being ridiculously cheap. So I got 5 pairs in different sizes for her to grow into. I was so excited!! They arrived and I put a pair on her right away.

She was absolutely horrified!! She cried and cried and cried some more. She refused to walk in them! She just stood there like a statue (a crying, screaming statue). We thought maybe she was afraid of them because they squeak when she walks. But we discovered it wasn't the squeak she was afraid of, it was the shoes themselves. She is such a sensitive little bug. She just didn't like the feel of real shoes.

Well, I feel sorry for her in a way, but she must learn to wear shoes. So we had some shoe training. It was kind of humorous, though I felt kind of bad for laughing at her. She would just stand there and cry every time we put them on her. I did figure out though, that the shoes made a great baby-sitter. After all, you can't get in trouble standing in one place.

As I tried to make dinner one day, I stuck her in her shoes and stood her out on the back porch. It was nice outside, and Teagan & the older kids were out there. She just stood there while I cooked. She didn't even cry because she was so busy watching the other kids.

See how cute the shoes are? Scary, huh.

We kept putting them on her. Eventually she would have to get used to them. And sure enough, she did. The night of the science fair I put them on her. I thought how handy it would be to have her stand in one place and not run around. But when she saw all the other little munchkins running around, she overcame her fear of shoes and ran with them. And she has been cool with them ever since.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Pics You Missed

As promised, here is another update of what you missed while I was gone. This time, it's in pictures!

Kordell was in the science fair! Our homeschool group has a science fair every year, but this was his first time participating. His project was on Ham Radio. He made a diagram of how ham radio works. We also brought along some radios. Teagan wired up an antenna on the bottom of the table so we could listen to Morse code signals. It was cool! Kordell did a wonderful job explaining his project to everyone.

I rediscovered the library. It's been there the whole time, but I just haven't taken the time to go. Even when we went to the library, it was to the children's section. But this time I made sure to allow time to explore Non-fiction. I found all kinds of good books. There's no way I'll be able to read all of these in the 3 weeks I have them, but I have enjoyed skimming them, and have even knit a project from one! While we were there Kordell got his own library card. He was very excited! The stack above is just what I got. He had his own big stack! Man, I love the library.

Jade got a new shirt! Thank you Noni! She loves it!

She also rediscovered her love for creating power poles and sticking them in the binding of books and perching them all over my countertops and walking back and forth all day straightening them. *sigh* Look how happy she is. Unfortunately, she gets very mad and throws a big fit when they get bumped, knocked over, or moved so I can cook. I hope this phase is short lived.

And lastly, Hosanna got her first fountain! Oh the cuteness!! I can hardly stand it!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Missed Excitement

Just wanted to bring you up to speed on the excitement you all have missed in the last 3 weeks.

2 weeks ago, I took my test to become a licensed amateur radio operator. I passed with a perfect score. Praise the Lord for blessing me with a mind like a dry sponge. I can just soak up the information quickly and wring it back out on the paper. They publish all of the test questions and answers, so it's just a simple matter of memorization (for me anyway). Anyhoo, I got my call sign (KC9PDP) and I'm on the air. I've had a whole 2 conversations so far.

1 week ago, I had a lovely day away with some ladies from church. I came home and was telling Teagan all about my day. While I was blabbering, Ruby found and ate a moisture-proof tablet from a package of new shoes. You know, those things that say "DO NOT EAT". I called poison control, and they said those are usually non-toxic so she would be fine. But while I was talking to poison control, Ruby started to turn red and blotchy. Upon hearing this, poison control sent us straight to the ER. They even called ahead. Upon arriving at ER, they took us straight back and gave her some cortisone and benadryl. Praise the Lord that her breathing was not restricted. They didn't have to give her adrenaline or epinephrine. But we did have to sit there for 2 hours while she returned to normal color. Her official diagnosis was "allergic reaction". As long as she doesn't eat any more of those things, she will be just fine.

This past week, we spent one entire day going back and forth to the doctor's office. Hosanna has a double ear infection and slight bronchitis, and Jade has a UTI and an ear infection. But of course, the timing was such that we were running back and forth all day trying to figure all of that out. Ugh. Thankfully, they are both on the mend now.

There's more, but I'll save it for next time...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The little Green Project: Green Scarf

Since I really wanted to participate in The little Green Project over at Heavenly Homemakers, but my brain is really fried and I couldn't think of anything else green, I decided to share something green that I am knitting!

This is my clapotis scarf. The pattern is free, thereby saving me some green. The yarn was, well, not free, but it does have all sorts of lovely shades of green! The colorway is Fruitful Vine (vines are green!) and it was dyed by Lamar at ...a time to dye.

This is my purse project. I keep it in my purse and knit on it when I'm out and about. It's half done. I can't wait to wear it when it's all done. I'll make everyone green with envy! LOL

3 Tenses

I took this picture yesterday morning after I took Jade out to the bus. I was walking back to the house very carefully, watching every step because the driveway was glare ice. As I looked down I saw these 2 leaves. They were frozen in the ice, but surrounded by a puddle. I thought it was so neat, so I had to go back out onto the ice to get a picture.

Here's what is so cool... There are fall leaves, frozen in winter's ice, surrounded by spring's melting. 3 seasons in one picture. Past. Present. Future.

It made me think about God. How He sees things. He sees all of the world and time itself as 3 tenses all at once. What was, what is, what is to come. It is all in His Hand. What was He has not forgotten. What is does not surprise Him. What is to come He has planned and known before the beginning of the world.

What a comforting thought. Oh, if I would just trust Him more completely! I AM, Creator of heaven and earth, Keeper and Sustainer of life. Who is more trustworthy than Him?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dear Readers...

Dear Lonely Abandoned Blog Readers,

I am so sorry for my absence these last weeks. I know you are missing me terribly and anxiously awaiting my return. We have been sick, busy, etc. Plus winter is really getting me down.

I have so much to tell you! I will return very soon with a bunch of updates. Until then, think warm sunny thoughts!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winter Begone

I'm so done with winter. I know it's only February and I know I live in Wisconsin, but I really want it to be spring. Like now.

I present to you my really good reasons for spring to come now...

10. Everyone is sick. We need some fresh air to blow these germs out of the house.

9. The baby wants to play outside. She is just not big enough to play outside yet, and she wants to.

8. Ice is dangerous and I'm tired of walking on it.

7. I miss my garden. Fresh vegetables from Walmart in the middle of winter just are not the same.

6. We're all getting sick of each other in this little house.

5. My feet are longing for some flip flops.

4. Jade needs monkey bars. The lack of those big movements is making her SO squirrely!!

3. We need a good excuse to drink lemonade. It's just not the same in the winter.

2. We're all turning pasty white. Need. more. sunshine.

And the number one reason...

1. I'm sick of all the winter gear!! Snow pants, snow boots, coats, hats, mittens, scarves... they're everywhere!!! We don't really have anyplace to put them. The main entrance comes right into the kitchen. There is no entryway or mudroom or closet or anything of the sort. So the winter gear just takes over. It's everywhere!!! Make it stop!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Help Than I Need

Little Miss learned how to climb on the kitchen chairs.

And she saw how Ruby pushes chairs over to the counter to help Mommy.

And she decided to help too.

I think I have more help than I need right now.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jade's Valentine

I just wanted to wish all my friends, family, and faithful blog-readers a Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you get to spend the day with those you love. And don't forget to celebrate the greatest love of all - God's love for you!

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.
John 3:16

Monday, February 09, 2009

Handsome Lad

Kordell got a new haircut.

He's had either a buzz cut or a grown out buzz cut for most of his life. This time he didn't really want his hair cut, but he was growing wings out the sides and I insisted he get one. So, we headed to Noni's house. And of course, Noni saved the day! She gave him this stylin' shaped haircut. It looks so nice! He looks older now.

Mom, would you please stop with the pictures already!

You're going to put this on your blog aren't you?

Why yes. Yes, I am. :-P

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Baby Love

Hosanna is only 13 months old, and she does stuff that I've never seen a baby her age do.

Her latest development...
She's started carrying a baby doll around. She hugs her baby and kisses her baby and rocks her baby. She has a favorite baby even! It is just the sweetest thing ever!! I've never seen such a little girl take a liking to baby dolls so young. She is just amazing.

I am so thankful.

I always wanted a little girl. I was so heartbroken because Jade didn't (and still doesn't) like or do anything girly. I thought it was some cruel joke that I had a girl that wasn't girly. But the Lord is gracious. He has given me two more girls and they are so girly! They more than make up for Jade's lack of girly-ness.