Monday, December 29, 2008
Governing authorities have decided to restrict hair thingies to residing on reservations provided specifically for them so that they can be protected in their natural state and so that they can be used for their created purpose (which seldom happens if they're in the bottom of the toy box fraternizing with matchbox cars).
Here are some very simple hairbow reservations I created today. The addition of the little wood critters makes this super cute in my opinion.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Encouragement is an amazing thing. It works wonders and has results like no amount of criticism ever had.
For me, it's taken practice to encourage. It's not always my first thought by any means. You look at the bad and say "In what way could this be good?" Was there anything good in this? Or maybe, how could this be made good? Or how might it be good in the long run? What could God be doing here? And sometimes, it's all about timing. As apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in the right circumstances (Proverbs something).
Something happened at our church today that our pastor is bound to catch some flack for this week. It wasn't his fault and he couldn't have known it was going to happen but he will very likely have some hard times this week because of it. My first thought was to express to him my thoughts on what happened. Then I thought how silly that was because he'd be thinking the same things I was but more so because he'll feel responsible and people will hold him responsible! And the more I thought, the more I realized that what he'll need this week is encouragement and prayer.
So, I sent our pastor a quick note, not complaining but telling him that, knowing people go to him with complaints, I would pray that he receive an extra bit of wisdom and grace this week should he need it. Also, the little thing at our church today made me think of something I value in our pastor but hadn't thought to actually "value" before. So I also took that opportunity to let him know about that. What started out with me being fairly appalled and wanting to complain, turned into a perfect time to encourage.
My honey bunny isn't overly intrested in eating healthy food. He could probably go weeks without eating any veggies beyond fried potatoes and a slice of tomato and a bit of lettuce on a burger. Not to say that he doesn't LIKE vegetables but that he doesn't make a concerted effort to eat them. The effort, then, is placed on my shoulders.
A few weeks ago we joined in with a few friends to get veggies wholesale from a local farmers market. Every week we get about a laundry basket full of a variety of produce for $15. It changes every week and you never know just what you're going to get. I LOVE it because it means we have lots of produce every week, you never know what so it's almost as exciting as a Christmas gift and since we often get something that I haven't used much of in the past, I have to branch out a bit.
This week we got a package of mushrooms. Mushrooms. I don't like mushrooms but my honey bunny does so I asked him what I might make with them. His response was stuffed mushrooms so tonight I tried some. He LOVES them!! Yea!! I tried some and the stuffing part was good but I still don't like mushrooms.
Here's the recipe.
8-10 fresh mushrooms
1 tbl spoon butter
2 tbl spoons minced onion (I got two recipes mixed and didn't use that much)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tbl spoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. soft bread crumbs (I used 1 slice of bread)
1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbl spoons water
salt/pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Wash mushrooms quickly under running water. Pull stems from mushrooms and chop stems finely. melt butter in skillet over med-low heat; add chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic. Saute until tender. Stir in worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. Sprinkle salt over mushroom caps and fill with sauteed mixture, mounding over top. Put 2 tbl spoons water in shallow dish and arrange mushrooms in dish. bake about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
This was one of those that was REALLY a big hit with him. He ate nearly all of them.
Friday, December 26, 2008
I used a sack of quick drying concrete. Not the best choice because, though it's not real expensive (it was a little more than $5 for a 50 lb bag), it has lots of little rocks in it making it difficult to stamp the letters and numbers. But it works.
I mixed it in an empty plastic ice cream bucket. Just enough to do one at a time since it sets within 30 minutes. We poured it into the clear plastic flower pot dishes (surely there's a name for that) that we got at Home Depot for less than $1. They have similar things at Michaels near the stepping stone kits that sell for nearly $4. Not a good deal if you want to do 6 of them.
I DID buy the letter stamps at Michaels.
Something I might try sometime is buying patio paint and painting the handprints onto already made stepping stones.
Monday, December 22, 2008
So, a little paper and a little glue and here are a few of our wiki stix gifts.
Everyone seems to have plenty of Christmas traditions but often a majority of those traditions really don't have a whole lot to do with Jesus Christ. It's easy to celebrate the Christmas without thinking much about Christ. Just think! The one question that children get asked this time of year is "Are you ready for Santa?" People assume you'll be celebrating with gifts and Santa but don't even think about asking if you're excited to celebrate Jesus!
With so many traditions that aren't specifically about Christ, it takes a little extra effort to make sure you pass on the true meaning of Christmas to your children. There's one Christ-focused thing we've been doing the last two years that my children really enjoy. It's an "interactive" nativity set. It has several boxes, each with a character from the story of Christ's birth. The kids take turns opening each one and setting their person in place and we read about that character (Gabriel, Mary, Jospeh, Jesus...) and talk about them and what the story means to us, etc. You can see this nativity set and read more about it here: http://www2.familylife.com/wgwfc/
A brief tidbit on how poor my memory is. Since we got the Christmas stuff down from the attic several weeks ago, I'd been thinking how I'd really like a hands on thing that I could do with the kids and I was thinking maybe there was a nativity set or something I could get from the Christian book store. Finally, last week I went to the bookstore and asked for something that fit this description and the little gal showed me our exact set which we had used a number of times last year. She looked at me like I was a bit nuts when I exclaimed "I have that!!" Sigh. Yeah.
We did it several times last year. Part of my problem is that I didn't put it away with the Christmas stuff. I'll try to remember to do that this year so it'll be there when we start getting stuff down for Christmas.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
We don't have a little CD player like this at our house so it was quite a novelty while we were at my parents house this past week. Here's the scene I walked in on. If you can't tell, each boy has one ear-bud and they are listening to the CD together with the little guy leaning on his big brother.
Here's a close up. Look at all the honey in there! Isn't it crazy to think that they put honey in there a little tiny bit at a time and think how much we eat on one serving of toast!!
Here's mom cutting some off to show my sister how she should do it so we can put it in the jars.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I asked my mom if she would be interested in making a similar baby for La Princess this year for Christmas. Long story short, she's making her a doll but it's a different kind. But OH! SO cute! I'm at my parents right now and have been able to see the doll in the making and she's cute!! The pattern and supplies were ordered from http://dancingraindolls.com/
Sunday, December 14, 2008
As I was saying, deeper discussions. Far too often it's on spiritually related matters and to be honest, I'm just not qualified to answer half the questions they come up with. Well, this week we were heading somewhere and Little Chef was riding up front with me and started asking me about the new bodies that we'll get when we're in heaven. He asked if they'd look the same, he asked if our skin would be the same color (rubbing my arm as he asked), he asked if people would have, um, certain body parts (try responding to that in ANY form or fashion with a straight face), the list goes on. To these questions I'm saying "Hmm, I don't really know. We'll see!" Finally he asked if we'll have the same faces. Without much of a pause he said "I hope so. I hope YOU do. I like your face." Awww. My little sweet boy! You just gotta love 'em!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Here are a few in the beginning stages of being painted. Obviously we have plenty more to paint.
And here are just a few finished ornaments. We used acrylic paints we had on hand as well as some shiny fabric paint.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Today was a bit crazy. It started off yesterday. Yesterday we did a gingerbread contest (our house won 3rd place!) where I was reminded that, for the party today, we had to bring a dessert of some sort and found out that we were also supposed to bring along some sort of finger food or something. After lunch (at Chick-fil-a where the gingerbread contest was held) we went to pick up stuff to make the necessary food went home and put kids down for a nap and tried to catch up on a little stuff at home and before I knew it, we had to leave for "Bethlehem". A church about an hour away has a wonderful live town of Bethlehem including the nativity which SOMETIMES has a live baby for Jesus. This year they did not. For goodness sake, Jesus is the main character and in this LIVE nativity, they couldn't get a LIVE baby?! I digress. We did that last night, got home pretty late, flopped into bed. I made some spinach dip with the bag of fresh spinach before we left so that was taken care of and I figured that I would bake brownies as soon as I got up in the morning so they'd be ready for the party at 9.
Wouldn't you know, I got up this morning and La Princess was in her bed yelling/crying "Mom!! I'm poooop!" I went to get her and YIKES! I couldn't tell where the leak was right off so I carried her superman style to my bathroom only to discover that the leak was in front and now my carpet and i both required cleaning. Argh!! So after bathing her, washing the carpet, taking a shower myself and doing a load of laundry I could finally do the brownies. Thoughts of calling it off were dancing through my head (forget the sugarplums, okay?!) but of course I had already told them we were going and I hated to disappoint.
We arrived at the church for the party about 25 minutes late, Little Bit had taken her shoes and one sock off (and it was pretty chilly out so I hated to haul her in like that...) and La Princess was SO not cooperating with anyone. It's okay though, we were there and things were bound to smooth out a bit.
I spent much of the 3.5 hours we were there with one little lady on my back and one in my arms. Both were tired, one would have been best left at home or just about anywhere else in my opinion. All in all, it was one of those things where my arms were given a workout, my patience was given a work out and I was rather looking forward to going home. I felt somewhat frazzled, especially by the time they got around to eating, which was the last activity for the party. At that point Little Bit had been stretched beyond her limit and was way tired. La Princess wanted mom, wanted her carseat, wanted to go home and whatever happened, did NOT want me to do anything but sit and hold her.
Interestingly, I had one lady come up and tell me she saw us in the grocery store and complemented the kids on how well behaved they were and how they all just stepped to the side and got out of the way when other people were coming down the isle without me having to say anything. She also said we all looked so calm, etc. You know what that reminds me of? You know those stories you hear about people smuggling Bibles into other countries and the border guards don't even look in the box with the Bibles or perhaps they do but they don't seem to see the Bibles? That's what this seems like. Like they're missing something that's so obvious I can't believe it's not some sort of trick. Because I don't think there's a time in the grocery store where I don't have to instruct my kids to step aside and watch out for people. And calm!! It's true, I don't yell at my kids in the grocery store. I actually drop my voice and hiss at them! Ha! Not really, but I do drop my voice to correct them in public. I don't much like hearing people chew out their kids, myself. Really though, I'm amazed that it seemed calm to her. I always figure people see us coming and it's like a small tornado coming down the isle, you know?! With little heads flashing out from time to time, a hand shooting out there to grab something off the shelf, and on down the twister goes. Perhaps I had just issued a death threat and they were all contemplating how serious I might be. Or, maybe, like in those missionary stories, she really just didn't see it! I always worry that I'll be a bad testimony to the world as related to having a larger than average family. Maybe that's how God takes care of that!
Back to the party. First they had a craft. Three of the boys made some baseball game, my little engineer chose a more complicated car to do and La Princess and I did a mailbox sort of thing. Here are a few carpenters, busy at work.
They also had a cupcake walk. Sheer numbers worked in our favor there (or worked against us as bringing home cupcakes isn't the best thing in the world) and we won twice, netting us twelve large chcolate/candy coated cupcakes. Here are a couple of pictures of the boys during the cake walk.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
We just got a gingerbread house kit from Wal-Mart. Actually, it was one of the little chef's birthday gifts. Here it is at the start. They didn't even put it together straight. A certain brother of mine would have been in there with a crow bar to reset the thing correctly. I have no such tendancies. Actually, I had to give the gingerbread house over to God before I started so I wouldn't get upset that no one was doing it the right way. If you listened to the Pineapple Story, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Monday, December 8, 2008
This week we had a pineapple in our box of produce! I'm not a big fan of pineapples but I have several kids who like them. I also just came across a recipe for Hawaiian chicken which calls for pineapple so we'll try that out. Since I never buy pineapple whole, we've had a good time with ours today as I was cutting it up for the chicken.
First we discussed why it might be called a pineapple (which I've never really contemplated before) and came up with a pretty good explaination. They observed that it looks a bit like a pine cone on the outside and tastes a little bit like an apple. Works for me!
We also found The Pine Apple Story on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8M3SWFbeQk&feature=related) and listened to that. It's an excellent true story (close to an hour) about a missionary who wasn't really able to reach the people he was trying to share the gospel with until he turned his possessions over to God. I highly recommend the story. Turn it on while you're doing a little cleaning or something. Now I need to go chop up the chicken for tonight!
SO! I pulled out a book of science experiments last night thinking which ones I might want to do with the kids this week. I should have known better! I left it on the table and this morning #2 flipped open the book and in a few minutes he was quietly gathering up what he needed and starting an experiment on his own. Course, he was following the pictures and not reading the details so I had to help him out but this was today's experiment. It was on air pressure. Very simple. We put hot water in a 2 liter soda bottle, capped it tightly, set it in a bowl.
Then we poured ice water over the bottle and watched it collapse.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Instead of the traditional birthday cake, we're doing brownies. In my family of origin, birthdays weren't always celebrated with all the traditional things (cakes, parties, store bought cards, properly wrapped presents) although it's not that there were NEVER any of those. But not as frequent as in many homes. And I love the way we did things. To me, that made birthday's extra special. One thing was that we often had something other than cake. Which makes sense to me seeing as how everytime we do a cake, half a cake sits around until I throw it out. When I make somehing people LIKE, it's gone within 2 days.
This leads me to ponder on birthday traditions and situations I've had to deal with because of the way we celebrate. It's always within family because people outside don't seem to mind how you do it and that makes it even more frustrating. As I was mixing the brownies a bit ago I came to the conclusion that it's best to assume that each family's traditions make their special time (be it birthdays, holidays or whatever) a really special time TO THEM. It's hurtful and offensive to say things that imply that certain things were more 'special' in your family than in that of the person you're talking to. Obviously YOU think your traditions are great but maybe they just have different ones that are equally special to them. Too often we're in a hurry to tell about what we do/did and why it's so special. Next time, I plan to just take the time to ask them about their traditions and ask what they enjoyed rather than feeling like I have to prove that our untraditional celebrations are some of the best memories in the world to me.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
So, just how do you do this? Well, lately we've had the opportunity to take part in a new organization (http://elpisinternational.org/) that my brother-in-law and his wife have helped to bring together. An Ethiopian congregation meets at their church and the pastor is originally from Ethiopia. He and his brother (who lives in Ethiopia) started a feeding center for children there. I gather that a couple times a year, this pastor flies back to Ethiopia with funds for his brother to feed children who have no parents or with only one parent. This past year, my brother-in-law flew over to Ethiopia and visited and since coming back they've been working on getting this organization together so that people can sponsor kids. Hopefully this will grow and they will be able to feed and teach more. We've had the opportunity to sponsor one of the children who is just the age of one of mine. We have his picture above our kitchen sink and pray for him, too. Since this is small scale right now, we have been able to send a Christmas package with a group from the church who are going over there. While we've done the Christmas shoeboxes for several years, this is so much more real to the boys because they have a face and a real story of the person who is getting this. Talking about it and having them take part in getting things for him has been really great. Today we grabbed lunch at a fast food place and several of the kids chose to save their kids meal toy for sending in the future (some of these will have to go in the Samaritans Purse shoe boxes)! How awesome is that?! It's a little thing but that's where this stuff starts!!
I used bakers clay. You can find the recipe for this all over the internet but here it is:
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of salt
3/4 to 1 cup of water
Mix the salt and flour and then add in the water. Knead with hands until smooth. Last time I baked the little bear but since these guys are a little chubby, his back cracked in the baking. FYI, I understand that less chunky pieces won't crack. I read that you can also just allow them to air dry over a few days. I'm going to try that this time and see how that goes. I'll paint them in a few days.
The kids really love playing with this stuff, too. I think we may make some ornaments by rolling it out flat and cutting it with cookie cutters, let the kids paint them and give them to adoring grandparents.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Supplies: yarn (100% cotton is best), paraffin wax, wax ring of toilet sealant, wax paper