Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Treats

It doesn't get REAL cold around these parts, but it's chilly today so this evening, for supper, we're having soup. I'm not a big soup person but THIS soup is fantastic. A tad spicey but everyone 6 and up loves it. I got the recipe from my mom who got it from...someone else. :)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 chicken breasts, boiled

6+ cups chicken broth (I just use what I boiled the chicken in)

14 oz. can of Rotel tomatoes (you know...the chopper tomatoes with green chilies in them)

14 oz creamed corn

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garlic

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup diced onion

Simmer all of the above.

1/4 cup cornstarch disolved in 1/2 cup water.
Add to soup and simmer.
6 slices of American cheese (um...I don't think this makes a real big difference)
1 lb velveeta cheese

When you're done, throw some tortillas in a pan with some butter to brown them a bit and then tear them in pieces and put them in your bowl of soup! Delicious!!

Another yummy thing we made today is "haystacks!" They're pretty quick and easy...a nice little treat to take to a Christmas party (which we're going to tomorrow)! And your kids will think you're amazing! Well, mine do anyway. My Grandma used to make all sorts of treats for us when we would visit and this was one of them.

We got some chow mein noodles, (should have gotten peanuts to go in as well, but forgot) and a bag of butterscotch morsels. We melted the butterscotch in a glass bowl in the microwave and then stirred in the noodles until they were well coated. I dont' have just pour them in and stir until they're covered and it looks like you don't have enough to cover too many more. I got a bag of chow mein noodles at Wal-Mart and had at least half the bag left over from the one bag of butterscotch morsels. Then you make little piles of them on a cookie sheet and let them cool. And that's it!! My picture turned out a little odd...they should be the color of the ones on the right.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blog? What blog?

I was doing pretty well blogging for a very short while and then the bottom dropped out!! Wonder if I can get this wagon train a movin' again.
Tonight I'm again pondering on how much I love my Ergo baby carrier. That's one thing I would definitely recommend to any new mom. It's worth it's weight in gold to me. You can start using it early on and use it...well, for a long time. I still carry Ella in it (2 years old). I didn't think Jacob would like it because he's not big on being snuggled chest to chest but he was happy as a lark in it this evening. Happier, I think, than in the Maya Wrap sling. He likes the sling, but it's not the instant soother that it seemed to be for my other babies. But he was quite happy in this. Fell asleep in it...slept while I vacuumed, swept, washed dishes. It's a little difficult to do all that with him on the FRONT but he's a bit small for me to manage getting him on my back in it so you do what you have to do. Though I might see if I can figure out a safe way to get him back there because if that works for him, it would be great. He has reflux something crazy and really likes being upright so that probably plays a part in why he was so content.

He's a little small yet, to have his legs sticking out both sides, so I just rolled him up in a blanket and tucked him in with his feet under him.

Other things of interest: I made an army tank birthday cake for Nate on Monday.

It's not great but my little boys think it was awesome and loved helping me with it so...I guess it was great in all the important categories. I used black licorice for the tracks on the tank...EEEWWW! I think they're nasty and smell yucky to boot. one minded that either.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What a Happy Day!

I had my first doctor's appointment for this pregnancy today and they did the usual "anatomy" sonogram. We got to see baby number 7 and little boy number 5!!! Yep, a boy!

While most of the boys were rooting for another girl ("Why would we want another boy?! We have 4 boys but we only have two girls!" was the comment one made), I have to say that I was REALLY wanting another boy. You see, after you start your mothering years with boy after boy after boy...a feast of baby boys really, and then you have a few girls and your little boys are getting tall and gangly and they aren't small and chubby anymore, you start getting nostalgic. My days of baby boys are a faint, sweet memory that I wish you could relive. I miss the little chuncky guys who pick up the tiniest bugs in the back yard, the little guys who dip their foreheads in mudpuddles, the little guys who don't care about "pretty" but just do the things little boys do. While I love little girls, I MISS my baby boys!!! And I'm SOOOO excited that we've got another little guy coming to join us!! Yea!! And the boys have decided they're glad they're going to have another baby brother!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

About "Inadequate" Mothers

I recently heard one lady (with 3 children, expecting their 4th and last child according to her) report that another woman with a larger family (by 3 or 4 children) had said she wasn’t able to spend time with each of her children each day. The mother with fewer children said that “You are a bad mother if you can say that.” She went on to say it was weird that the lady wanted more children and she said “Why would you want more when you don’t have the time to spend with the ones you’ve created already?” Let me just briefly point out the fallacy implied in her comment “You’ve created”. The Bible says that GOD is the creator of life. We cannot create, nor can we accidentally allow a life that God didn’t PURPOSEFULLY create. But that issue is not what I want to address in this post.

It sounds, from the comment of the mother of three, as if any woman who would voice feelings of inadequacy is a bad mother (afterall, she's admitting to being inadequate!) and worse if she feels inadequate AND would desire more children! I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and inadequate (patience wise) lately. I can’t say that I feel like I’m a horrible mother, though. Not as good as I would like and not as good as I could and not as good as I ought to be. But still, a good mother who loves and takes care of and raises her children the way the Lord leads as well as I can, given my flawed human nature. Lord, save me from sharing any of my feelings of inadequacy with such an uncompassionate, judgmental woman!!

Of course, it leads you to wonder, can you avoid being a bad mother?! Doesn't ANY mother find herself in the position of seeing things she should have done differently? Things she did wrong!? Or are there really mothers who know they have always done the best thing for their child in every situation? Something to think about, anyway.

But is this woman right? Is that mother a bad mother on the basis of not spending time with each child on a daily basis?

I have 9 siblings (one born after I got married so he almost doesn’t count in my part of what I’m about to say). Did mom spend personal, one-on-one time with each one of us every single day of our life at home? No. The majority of our personal time we did get was for school work (which, I imagine, added up to far more than the average amount the kids from public school with a working mom and 1 sibling gets). I’m sure there were times when we were in the kitchen helping to do things or, doing laundry or gardening with her or…who knows what else when no one was in there for a few moments, but there was very little “time with each child every day” in the one on one, specific way the lady’s statement implies.

I ask, IS personal time with Mom every day or even most days something we needed to have?! If so, why? Is there a Biblical reason that we needed special one on one time? Let’s not go into psycho ideas that counselors have conjured up out of nowhere with no real background to them, but give me a real, honest to goodness, known for thousands of years kind of reason that time with a parent and siblings just doesn’t count as time with your parent.

My mom was with the whole lot of us all the time. We were with her ALL day, she was with us ALL day. Anytime we wanted to go talk to mom, she was there and it wasn’t as if we had to submit a request in writing, squeeze our talk in between appointments or wait until she got home from work or we got home from school. But, at the same time, she didn’t have time set aside for each person every day. If we wanted/needed to talk, we found her and did so. But our bonus was/is, we have siblings we could talk to as well. We had our CHOICE of siblings to talk to!! I know that these days I might call my mother but then again, I might call and talk to one of my sisters (children #5, 6, 8 and 9). A number of my siblings have best friends in other siblings and they’re the ones to whom they tell all those things that you might not really say much to Mom or Dad about. While Mom and Dad are certainly nice to talk to, my siblings are definitely indispensable! Thank goodness my parents didn’t cut our family off at 2 or 3 or 4 children so they could personally give us all a specific amount of time or have money to give us certain lessons of some sort! Good grief! What robbery that would have been! If there were only 4 kids in my family, NONE of my sisters would have been born and OH, what I would be missing in my life right now!! Ugh!! What a horrid thought! I love and value my first three siblings, but we would all be lacking greatly if we didn’t have the other 6!! It happens that all but maybe my oldest brother wants to have a large family of their own. I can see in my friends what you get with smaller families and I have to say that I wouldn’t trade what I got…changing diapers, babysitting for no money, doing chores that friends seldom did and all that…wouldn’t trade it for what they got. In my opinion, my friends in smaller families didn’t get a single thing better…they just got less. They may not know they’re missing anything, but if I try and imagine life in a family of four, all I can imagine is the things I would have missed. We all feel incredibly blessed and we really value growing up in a crowd, so to speak. Enough to want to bless our children in the same way. I know many children in small families who grow up kinda lonely. It’s harder to find that in larger families.

I think the blessing of many siblings for the REST OF OUR LIVES, far out weighs any benefit of special time with mom on a daily basis while we’re growing up. But again, I still don’t see the need or even the benefit of having special time alone as opposed to time with mom AND siblings. Time with parents is important…yes, but all by yourself, not so important. Did Jesus spend special time with each of His disciples every day? No?! You mean, He didn’t set aside a 20 minute block to pour himself into each individual every day? No? Well why not? Maybe because it’s not needed or necessary in order to pass on the things God wants us to pass on. It’s not necessary in order for a person to feel significant, needed, valued, loved. Indeed, I have to say I feel like the world needs me more because my many siblings are in it. I feel like I have greater opportunities to be a good (or bad) influence because I have 8 younger siblings. I feel blessed because when I have a baby, my MOM doesn’t have to come stay with my kids but my sisters (far more energy and less aches and pains) CAN! Oh, I cannot tell you the THOUSANDS of blessings that come from a large family!! Yes, one so large that Mom might often feel like she just can’t handle it. But it’s not all about Mom really, is it?

I think often a MOM (including me at this point in my life) is a lot harder on herself than her kids are. I think non-understanding neighbors and friends can also be a lot more critical “for the sake of the children”, than the children are. I know that, certainly right now, I go to bed at least 4 of 7 nights, thinking about my short comings and how I did NOT do what I feel I should have that day. I imagine the mom quoted was feeling pretty bad, feeling like she wasn’t doing all she should and while she loves her children and would delight in another wonderful blessing, she feels that she cannot do enough. I believe this is deception initiated by Satan with the very purpose of discouraging Christians from doing something effective. The fewer children born in to Christian families the better and what better way than to actually make the parents think they’re doing the best by NOT having more. It’s so easy, in this culture where 1 or 2 children families are the model “family” and expectations of parents are based on this model. But this is NOT God’s model and the expectations that spring from this lack of fruitfulness are not God’s expectations.

When moms think they don’t have enough time for their large family or feel like they just aren’t doing enough, we need to remember that GOD knows what He’s doing when He gives you the children He gives. We forget, our children and what we do are not ALL ABOUT US and being just perfect. And if we're not perfect in our parenting, it's very arrogant of us to think that it would be better if our children weren't here. We make ourselves out to be far too important when we start thinking like that. We and our children are a part of some bigger picture God is working on and God still works through the weaknesses of His children. Yes, it’s true…God uses OUR weaknesses in the lives of our children and in everything else we touch. We just need to be open to Him. Ahhh. That's a refreshing thought to an overwhelmed, inadequate mommy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I have this little short person in my house who really likes to get into things.
This is where all interesting things collect. The top shelf there is everything that this particular little person should NOT have. It's where all those things she gets and should not have gotten get placed because I'm in the middle of teaching/cooking/doing something or other on the computer or whatever. This is also where school books and lesson plans collect sometimes, where recipes and notes about next years curriculum turn into snow drift-like piles of paper, where homeless CD's collect, where soda bottles are seldom found but were there today because some little person (hmmm, who could that be) was carrying it around the living room while I was looking at Sonlight curriculum.

So, this place is, of course, the one spot that attracts her. Afterall, most of these things were things that she found interesting elsewhere and have been deposited here. It's like a treasure desk! A marker and notebook in her hand, she's giving the rest of it a once over to see what she might want to make off with. I think she's planning on making a list so she's prepared next time she gets this opportunity.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fabulous Food!

I have a couple recipes to share with you guys today. Two we tried out this week and both were a big hit.

Garlic Lovers Chicken (actually, it didn’t have that much garlic- you could certainly add more)

½ c dry bread crumbs (I made these by cutting 2 slices of bread into strips and broiling them on both sides and then crumbling)
1/3 c. parm cheese
2 table spoons minced fresh parsley (I used dried…maybe a tsp or so)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Put all these in a bag or Tupperware dish to toss your chicken in

¼ cup milk
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup of butter or margarine, melted
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
paprika (I forgot this…oops!)

Dip chicken in milk, shake in crumb mixture. Place in greased baking dish.
Combine butter, garlic and lemon juice; drizzle over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika. I also sprinkled a little extra garlic powder on the ckn.
Baked uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Mmmmm, mmmm! All the adults and kids loved it.

Next it ranch dressing similar to Outback Steakhouse' ranch. Not exactly but close and YUMMY!!

Outback-like (but not precisely) ranch dressing

1 table spoon Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (the little package of powder, and it’s the dressing NOT the dip)
1 C. mayo
½ cup milk
¼ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Let chill for one hour (you MUST do at least this for the flavor to take effect)

And everyone loved this, too.

Potty Training Adventures

This little lady who is in the process of training is one interesting little person. She's stubborn and cute and hard headed and sweet, independent and helpful, resistant to commands...

Well, without going into great detail, I will say that this morning she had an accident in her undies, DIDN'T tell me about it and went on to "clean up" everything on her own. Her attempts to take care of everything on her own was a situation that was a first, after potty training 4 others. Usually they have NO desire to take care of it (and really, does ANYONE want to?!). Of course, clean up carried out by the inept is... Well, I'm sure any mother reading this knows how that sort of thing goes. It was one of those things where it takes a little while to solve the whole mystery as to what exactly happened but as the clues unfolded I didn't know if I should laugh or cry, praise her or admonish her! What can you do but a little of both followed by a sigh and a shake of the head?!

I just want to EVERYTHING with girls going to be more work?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Potty training - one of the ironies of life

There are so many of these with children. You're so excited that they're talking and then you get so tired of them constantly asking "Why?" when you have no clue why or "When?" when you haven't even planned on a when and just pretty much talking nonstop.

Well, I got my fill of another one of these this morning. First, let me just say that I'm a very laid back potty trainer. Usually I put training pants on a little tot one morning, tell them whats expected, put them on the toilet a few times and when they don't successfully make it several times that morning and I go back to diapers. A couple months later, I do the same thing. Sooner or later, it just works and they take it and run with it with very little effort on my part. And by golly, I like it that way. Because what I did this morning was ridiculous.

The little princess is getting pretty close to three and while I've done the training pants thing several times and I've put her on the toilet many times, she's NEVER used the toilet. Ever. This is unusual for us. I've not had one to NEVER use the toilet by this age. Course, I've not had one this stubborn either but that's another line of thought entirely. So, this morning I was thinking that, by golly, I'm at least going to get her using the toilet so she can get an idea, at least, of this potty training thing. So I made some lemonade (we only drink water around here so even watered down 50%, it's a big hit) and filled her up. Sippy cup full after sippy cup, she guzzled quite a few.

I figured we'd hang out in my bedroom this morning...I'd fold clothes, the boys could sit at the chest at the base of my bed and do school work and we'd be right there by the bathroom to do the potty training. And the first hour or so, that worked out okay except she wasn't going to the bathroom! I was starting to despair. I pulled the big bag of M & M's out of the cabinet to display the promised treat. It's probably 1/3 of a 5lb bag that a "friend" of mine had given me several months ago. I don't know how friendly that is to dump that much candy on a person with 6 kids but, I'm sure she meant the best. (Her time is coming.)

A few moments after seeing the very big bag of candy she decided she needed to go potty. And she DID!!! Oh, what excitement and celebrating there was! After the whole "now you pull your undies back on and you move the step stool (made by my father-in-law for potty training my first) over here and wash your hands and then you dry your hands...and get candy... and then you turn the bathroom light off", we called Dad to tell him so he could stop to celebrate with us (hee hee! It's kinda funny to think of interrupting someone for that). She was so pleased and so was I. Very nice. So, I went back to teaching the boys. And after I got two sentences out of my mouth, she came back and said "I need to go potty!" That really wasn't very long at all but at this point we want to keep the the excitement, don't we?! So I jumped up and said "Okay, let's go!!" So I got up and helped her through the whole sequence (minus calling daddy) and then went back to teaching. And not 2 minutes later.... And two minutes after that, and two minutes after that and then she walked out of the room and walked back in to use the bathroom AGAIN in far less than two minutes. It was INSANE!! For the next hour and 15 minutes the insanity of constantly (and I am NOT exaggerating that there was not a break of more than 3 minutes and often it was shorter) going to the bathroom and ACTUALLY using it went on while I struggled to accomplish anything else. And I greatly struggled to not just totally lose my patience and slap a diaper back on her!! Even my 9 year old, after about 15 minutes into the ordeal, laughed and said "You thought she was never going to use the potty but now I bet you're really tired of it." Ah, yes, a diaper was looking *real* good after 30 minutes of that.

I say, kudos to the people who do the concentrated "potty training in one day" thing, but based on my small, one and a half hour experience, I am absolutely not equipped with whatever personal traits needed to deal with that! Whew!

Reviving? And K'nex!

Could energy be coming back? Oh, I hope so. The first trimester of the last few pregnancies have been a bit tough when it comes to having the energy or the desire to do much of anything. I think I'm doing good to keep up with laundry, keep kids fed and do school work. I've not really felt up to even doing that much (though you do what you have to) so anything past that really hasn't happened. However, this morning I laid in bed for a little bit with great thoughts for what I would accomplish today. Not that I will accomplish all that I was thinking about, or even half, but the fact that I was thinking about it could be a sign that the sluggishness is about to leave! Oh, and is my house ready for that!

Well, today I was going to share something that I think is great for kids to play with. K'nex. While they come with instructions for building a number of different things, it's the things they think of on their own that I like to see. It's really cute to see what they come up with.

It seems to me that creativity needs to be encouraged in children or they become very dependent on other things (games, sports, organized actitivies) to keep them entertained, to keep their minds engaged, to keep themselves busy. Hmmm. I wonder if a childhood lacking in practicing creativity is why so many women struggle with how they "don't use their minds" when they stay at home. They never learned how to engage their minds without direction from someone or something else. Hmm. A thought.

ANYWAY!! The really neat thing about K'nex is that there are so many creative possibilities! Many more than with Legos. Now, we enjoy Legos around here too, but with K'nex, you have all sorts of different things that link together and can move and all sorts of good stuff. Hours of good creative fun in these things!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Importance of Being Homemakers

So many times, as some of us stay at home moms go about our lives, we run into the opinion that women who stay at home, who spend much of their time on taking care of babies and children, changing hundreds of diapers, teaching their children at home, trying to make their home lovely and their food good, and just generally trying to be good, successful and efficient in their work are simply wasting their time and that they’re doing nothing for the world. What we do is nothing with any purpose or significance is what too many, even those within the Church believe. We often feel like we are alone, like we are making little impact, like the difference we’re making is no more than a footprint on the beach that will be washed away with the next tide.

This is so far from the truth!! Satan would LOVE for us to think that our duties in the home are insignificant. God, however, wants us to know that our work in the home is an important part of the Christian community. Titus 2:3-5 says “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” We aren’t all older women but we are older than SOMEONE and here is a description of the things we are to be learning and practicing in our lives.

As people miss God’s purpose and God’s design in the small building blocks of life, more people abandon doing exactly what God wants us to be doing. It’s these little things that lay the foundation for the godly success our children’s generation and it’s these things that hold our own generation together. When we act as if the only significant life is a life focused primarily on vocal political activism or spent in a vocation of missions or spent on relief work to those in dire need or whatever someone other than God deems worthy, we are demeaning what GOD has put in place as the foundation for greater things. God has shown us what He desires for us to do. It’s what He has commanded and it’s through these little things of working at home, loving our husbands, children, etc, that we are taking part in building a structure God has planned.

A majority of us here spend most of our time caring for children, teaching them, puzzling over how to better teach them, praying that God will guide us in training them so that they will be equipped to be future leaders in our nation, praying that God will help us figure out how to deal with the strong willed attitude in one of our children, making schedules for dentist appointments, we cook 21 meals a week, we are in charge of the nutrition of our family, we are in charge of keeping our children clothed, in charge of filling these young minds with things that God desires their minds to be full of. We’re responsible for loving our husbands which includes feeding them like we love them, keeping their home like we love them, caring for their children and keeping ourselves like we love and care that our husbands should be able to enjoy and benefit from his family. The list goes on and on and some people would belittle many of these things, acting as if most of them could be done given only 10 seconds or 10 minutes a day and you should be able to do these things in your leftover time from a “significant” job.

The things we are concerned with are incredibly varied and some seem more important than others but remember, they ALL come together to build a structure designed by God and each little part is of great significance. Sometimes we think that the LITTLE things we do don’t really matter. We might think that our attitude about changing diapers and training children isn’t really a big deal but when you imagine all the ways God could possibly use that, you begin to realize that God can and does use every little thing we do to inspire others, to pass on good things to our children, to make others feel the love of Christ. We may not think our cooking or attitude towards cooking matters but our family is impacted when they see how we approach caring for them and they are impacted when they see the effort we put into it and they are impacted when they have a pleasant and enjoyable experience at the table with their family.

Don’t allow yourself to believe that what you’re doing is unimportant. God says that your efforts in these things has an impact on whether or not God’s word is dishonored!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Baby Announcement

Back when we first started adding to our family I didn't do anything especially interesting to "announce" the pregnancies. Largely because I'd never heard of it being done before. But, too, with your first few, people are excited and/or suprised and have a delightful reaction that you have lots of fun with when all you do is TELL them!!

Well, as time goes on and you have more, YOU are very excited but sometimes the reactions you get are not quite like the first one or two. I don't exactly get why this is because the announcement still means an amazingly precious and wonderful person, just as amazing and wonderful as your first and second born. But, whatever. So, I started spending more time planning the announcements and really soaking up all the pleasure I can from this amazing news. I may not get the MOST excited and certainly not the most surprised reactions (though some of our family members and friends did have WONDERFUL reactions!) but I get to spend the time coming up with the announcements just thinking and enjoying my news on my own.

For this little one, I decided to make a banner. I saw Valentines banners on a blog just before we found out we were expecting so I thought it would be really fun to make a banner announcing our little one.

This is made of scrap booking paper and ribbons. I wish I'd gotten a better picture to share but I JUST finished this before getting together with my in-laws and was in quite a rush.

Creative Cook

Last month was a busy month. We found out we are expecting and so I spent much creative energy on announcing that, we visited family and had a miscarriage scare (which was apparently just that, a scare). All of that kinda kept me from spending too much time sharing here.

Well, here's one thing that was just SOOOO cute that I have to share.
One day I was making some Alice Spring's Chicken (as in, Outback Steak House). It was delicious and if I can find the recipe card (I can't right now) I'll share it. I was frying the bacon to go on the chicken and my little cook wanted to help with it. I told him that he couldn't because the bacon would pop grease in his face. He said, "Hmmmm." And left. I went on with my business only to turn around a few minutes later and see that he was back, helping with the bacon in some home made protective gear:

This is a Narnia knight's helmet with sunglasses.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the front row seat I have to these amazing little people God made!! Awesome!

Home Made Baby Wipes

If you're a baby wipe user, this is a great money saver. When I first started having babies, the bathroom we used was really too tiny to change diapers in or even to store diapers in so using a washcloth when changing diapers was really not a very convenient thing to do. So we used wipes and sometime about 7 years ago I started making my own.

Here's what you need.
-Bounty paper towels. Don't go cheap or they won't work well.
-2 cups water
-Baby wash/shampoo
-tea tree oil (optional)
-Rubbermaid container

Cut the paper towels in half. You can use a large sharp knife or an electric knife if you have one. I was given a used one several years ago and it does make it a bit easier. You'll use half of the roll now and the other half will be ready for your next round of wipes.

Next you mix two cups of water with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of baby wash. I just give a couple good squirts and stir it in with a spoon. You can either put this in the rubbermaid container and drop the paper towels in after (which will take a while to soak in) or pour it over the tops of the paper towels. If you pour it over the top, the cardboard tube will get soaked quicker and you can pull it out sooner (if you're in a rush to use your wipes).

Once you've pulled the cardboard tube out, start pulling the wipes from the center. Notice my lid. You don't have to do this at all, but my lid started out with a LITTLE x in the top for pulling the wipes out (exacto knife). As it's been used for years and years, constantly, with usually 2 babies in diapers the whole time, it's gotten a LOT of use and the original little X split all the way to the edges. Which is not a big deal...the wipes still stay wet. You don't, of course, have to cut your top at all. You can just leave the top whole and take it off when you use it. The choice is, of course, yours.

And, ta-da! Here are home made wipes! For me, with 2 in diapers and using wipes only for diaper changes, we usually go through half a roll a week, more or less, so a 12 pack of bounty paper towels which were a bit under $7 last time I bought them, will last about half a year. In the course of a week, they don't get the mildew smell. If you use yours more slowly, you might want to use a few drops of tea tree oil to keep them fresh (I never have). I don't know how long it actually takes for them to start smelling a bit stale.

Last note. I've looked for the round rubbermaid containers like the one I use and I haven't been able to find any for the past few years. Some of my friends who have started making wipes more recently use a square rubbermaid container that's just a bit taller than the half roll of wipes. It'll have a #6 on the bottom. Here's the size (this is my flour container).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are children just an "illustration"?

I’ve been doing a Beth Moore Bible study lately, the one on Psalms. This past weeks lesson contained a quote, the implications of which I found to be offensive. I don’t always agree with her conclusions but usually I find that I disagree on minor points. This, however was a bit different.

This past week we were studying Psalm 127 and 128. I was amazed at how actual, physical children were brushed over but more than that, I was taken aback that she would share the following quote as if it even made a very clear or beneficial point! It almost seemed as if the quote was added to make sure no one might leave with the impression that God could have meant for us to think this was REALLY about our physical children.

The quote is by Eugene Peterson and is referring to Psalm 128’s reference to a wife being a fruitful vine and the children being like olive shoots around the table. He says:

“The illustration is, as we would expect, conditioned by Hebrew culture, in which the standard signs of happiness were a wife who had many children and children who gathered and grew around the table: fruitful vine and olive shoots. This illustration is just that, an example that we need not reproduce exactly in order to experience blessing. (We, for instance, don’t try to have as many children as possible – or try to get them to stay home for all their lives!) But the meaning is still with us: Blessing has inherent in it the power to increase.”

Oh, the problems I have with this quote!! The first is his reference to “Hebrew culture”, as if to say it is only their culture that happened to value children. It is important to realize that the HEBREW culture is the one that was formed and influenced by God like not other culture we know. Their value of children came because children are literally gifts given by God and they accepted that as fact. God made that clear and they believed Him and their attitude reflected it. That attitude should be part of ANY culture that knows and believes God. It’s not a cultural thing, it’s one of our Creator’s things.

I also find it interesting that he thinks it’s just an illustration. Perhaps Biblical talk of a husband having but one wife is also just an illustration, and not something we’re meant to reproduce and hold to. And talk of working diligently that we find so often in Proverbs is just an illustration, not something God really expected to see His people put into practice. And, hey, while we’re at it, let’s just call everything an illustration and read the Bible according to our culturally accepted views, rather than seeing our culture through the clear view of God’s Word! (Tongue in cheek here, folks.) Where does this man get the idea that this picture is not truly God’s heart for His people and that this is just figurative? Does he get it from God’s Word? Or does he get it by trying to adjust the Bible to what is culturally acceptable?

The part of this passage that is illustration is the reference to the wife being like a fruitful vine and the children to olive plants. What we’re supposed to picture is the wife like (illustration) a lush, green vine that not only gives fruit but is beautiful and happily growing and producing in the home. This is how a woman is to be in her home. Literally. Not a thin, feeble, fruitless vine, but lush and green. People should see the wife and see that she is bountiful in her element. The children are illustrated by olive plants. Olive plants were very valuable. It was a good thing to have them and to have them growing tall and strong, to one day bear a valuable fruit. With that illustration we are shown that actual, literal children are valuable and mean good things for the future of God’s people.

It’s obvious to me that he really misses a really big point. Children ARE the primary blessing you find in Biblical references to blessing but Mr. Peterson says, basically, you need not have children to experience blessing. Well, yes, God does bless in other ways but in THIS passage children are THE blessing. If you do not accept God’s blessings (children) you WILL miss out on this particular blessing, and likely many more blessings that come as part of the child blessing. Without multiplying with children, you are greatly limiting the ways God can bless you in other areas. Had God not blessed Abraham’s line with children (even in the midst of the unfortunate circumstances of slavery), they would not have been able to take the Promised Land. What blessings might we not be able to take because we’ve refused the first blessing of fruitfulness in the area of children?

Finally, I found absolutely misguided, this part of his quote: “We, for instance, don’t try to have as many children as possible – or try to get them to stay home for all their lives!”

God is the God of conception and apart from His divine intention and plan, no child is conceived. What we, in our culture don’t do is accept God’s gifts! We resist and in many ways make it clear to God that we have no desire to take as many blessings as He would like to give us! If God did not want us to have these gifts from Him, He would not give them as much as we “try”. In the same way, God doesn’t give when He doesn’t have a special purpose and plan for all involved. This quote assumes that God is not intimately involved in each conception, an idea that is refuted by a number of Old Testament scriptures. But, Mr. Peterson might argue that those are just “illustrations” as well. Yes, I suppose if you don’t want to believe something, just tell yourself it’s an illustration and you no longer feel like you have to take it as if God actually meant what was written.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Born to Mother

I recently had a friend tell me she used to wonder how people with large families did it and then she met me. Now, she said, she understands. (Needless to say, at this point I was REALLY wondering what she thought she'd learned!) She said that I am a born mother, that she can tell that mothering is my special calling and she felt that she (with three children) did not have the same thing.

I have a different perspective. I was not a "born mother." I know people who have always wanted to have children and I know people who just love babies. I was neither. I was never drawn to be around children and didn't grow up desiring children in any numbers. People who are like that are, in my mind, "born mothers." They just naturally like the mothering stuff. I'll tell you right now, I had a night last night that wasn't really all that bad relatively speaking. One of my little ones was up a few times in the course of about 2 hours crying about her leg hurting. It was nothing compared to what some people have with newborns and really, I can't say that if I told people they'd have that much sympathy but I was ready to go nuts! My husband saw that I had ZERO patience and sent me to bed! My lack of giftedness at nighttime parenting (my gift has been God allowing me to find ways to NOT be awake for any amount of time at night) is one huge sign to me that I'm not a "born mother".

I do believe my friend is right in one sense. Mothering is my calling. But it's also the calling of any woman to whom God gives a child. The key is that I have "embraced" that calling, to steal a phrase from Nancy Campbell of the Above Rubies ministry.

That's the reason some might perceive a difference. It's all about perspective and actively deciding to alter your attitude to enjoy what God has most obviously planned for your life. Too often we just do what we have to do, enjoy the nice moments and complain about the difficult ones. We often fail to see the bigger picture of what we're doing and wonder why WE have to be stuck with these small and annoying things. We look at others doing what we think are more significant tasks or perhaps more enjoyable things and we wish that our lives could be like that.

When I look at my children, I see potential. Potential that God wants us (my husband and I) to help equip and direct! This is the future of our family, of our society, of His Kingdom. What I do with these children, every little thing could be of greatest significance!! It could be of little significance but I don't know! I don't know what enormous plans God could have for these children but I know that I'm a part of those plans and some of those plans rest heavily on what I do or don't do with my children. As you catch that vision and just imagine the ways God COULD use your children in the future, you start finding more purpose and significance in what you're doing. As you start to see that you have an impact on your children that you couldn't have on anyone else in the world, you start to see the value of this relationship! The longer you think along those lines, the more you get caught up in the bigger picture where, before, you focused on piles of laundry, dishes, messes, arguements and runny noses but now, you can get lost in thought about the view of that big picture while you're doing the little things that go into that big picture.

Isn't it exciting to be a part of something God is doing?! No, I wasn't born thinking how awesome it would be to mother. I didn't even start thinking it was awesome until I was two children into it but now I can say that there's NO job as awesome, significant and blessed than this!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mudpies and Mary Janes

I'm not big on just browsing through people's blogs but from time to time my searches for something takes me to a blog that is a jewel. Mudpies and Mary Janes seems to be just that sort of thing. Check them out at

This blog apparently has give aways ALL the time! And for people who love to win free things, that's definitely a plus. But for me, what really draws me in is the ideas that are sparked from the things they give away. About a week ago I was inspired by their Emmie Cakes Giveaway! I'll have a picture of the resulte of my inspiration before too long!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bingo - Reading Games

Yesterday morning we went to Chick-fil-a for breakfast. Chick-fil-a resturants in our area are giving away one free breakfast item every Wednesday morning of this month and it was a chicken biscuit yesterday. One of my children looked at me like I was nuts and said "Chicken isn't for BREAKFAST!!" Well, it was yesterday.

Apparently they have Bingo every Wednesday morning and we got to join in. It reminded me of a game that I had made a while back for reading and I decided to make a new one.

While phonics is very important for reading words we don't know, MOST of our reading as adults is from having memorized words that we've seen many times. Our beginning readers, however, have to struggle through sounding out each word as they go along. While I would definitely not stop teaching them phonics, it's helpful and makes reading more fun for them (and us) if they have more words memorized so that they can recognize them instantly. Word Bingo is a fun way to help your kids get familiar with words.

Today I made two different games, one for my beginning readers and one for readers a bit further along. I picked 24 words. I chose words they struggled with from a recent story they read or words from a list of most frequently used words. I put the same 24 words on each card (construction paper) in a different order, with the usual free space. Then I wrote out the words on index cards (not shown). To play we stack them up and have the child draw a card and read it out while we both cover the word on our card. We continue until one of us calls out bingo after having covered 5 words in a row. If you have more than one student on the same level, they could do this together. This is a FUN way for them to get a little reading practice!

Solving Front Seat Wars

My friend, Kendall, was unable to leave her comment but here's her idea on solving the "who gets to sit in the front seat" delima for anyone who has kids sitting in the front seat.

“here's a thought on the justness of who sits in the front for which leg of the shopping trip. Have each young person who is old enough to be allowed to be in the front seat have a week in the front. on Sunday a new week begins and a new child has their week in the front. It ended all arguments when Mum implemented that regime as I was growing up.”

We not only have front seat wars but also wars over who's turn it is to sit by the baby. This is a great idea! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Okay, yes, I do have my hands full!

In exactly the sense that they mean it! My day isn't long enought to do all the things that ought to be done. Thankfully, I'm not one of those people who stresses terribly over that kind of thing. All the same, things need to be done around here, ya know?!

I have to admit that I really do more than I personally ought to be doing with all the other little hands in my home. The older kids do some simple chores around the house. Make beds, of course, empty trash, unload the dishwasher, vacuum to an extent, clean out pet cages. It's time to pass some of those on and have the older ones doing some more difficult things. Yesterday I had my 2 and 4 year old kiddos unloading/loading the washer and dryer (with a little kitchen step ladder) and they also emptied the dishwasher while I had the 6 yo load the dishes in. The older kids helped fold laundry but they're horrible at it. That's going to need some work. Sweeping the floor is something else that I need to train some kids to do. While I ask them to sweep from time to time I always have to go back and do it over. I guess the key would be for me to make THEM go back and do it until it's done properly. Ugh!! So not my idea of a fun time. But it's not about fun, is it?

Do any of you have other suggestions for what kids ages 9 (almost), 7, 6 and 4 could be doing around the house? And while you're at it, how do you go about training them WELL? Somebody, give me some thoughts!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday - Grocery Day

I don't like grocery shopping. Nope, no I don't. I have to plan, I have to go, I have to spend, I have to put away in a half organized fashion. However there are a great many things in life that are much worse and it's not doctor appointment sort of misery or anything like that. Our grocery day is currently on Friday which also happens to be produce day.

Here's a glimpse of grocery day. Hopefully I've checked the sales at Winn Dixie and Publix on the internet on Thursday and finished my list mostly if not totally. Often, however, I haven't and I have to do that Friday morning. Then we load up in the car and set off for the three stores we visit. We go to the one furthest away first JUST in case I feel the desire to quit after the first and closest store. Last week I wanted to quit before we GOT there. Yeah.

Publix is usually the first store. I usually spend the least there because we ONLY hit the sales there. Even buy one, get one sales are often more expensive than the generic brand at Wal-Mart and unless it's something that we just can't have substitutes for, we don't get it. But you know, I enjoy Publix. The people are nice and even the customers are nice! You really feel like you've been to your neighborhood grocery store. Of course, NO trip to the store would ever be complete without a comment or two about our crowd. This is normal...the comments started when there were only two but obviously there's a few more exclaimation points on the end of people's comments now. Today we had three people say something about the number of kids in our family from the start to finish of Publix. When we got in the car (the last guy poked his head in my car as I was loading everything/one up) my kids commented on the number of people who said something today. It's so precious their point of view. As they are wondering why so many people say things to us, one suggested it's just because they like our family. When I pointed out that most people only have 2 kids (give or take) and they just don't see families with more very often, one of my kids said "It must be hard to have two kids." That one definitely made me smile.

Next is usually Winn Dixie. They generally have great meat sales but today there weren't too many things we were needing from there so it was a quick run. I will take this time to say, one of the reasons I don't really like doing grocery shopping is the getting in and out of the car. Not a huge deal, of course, but slightly bigger when you have to buckle people into carseats and deal with people discussing the pros and cons of sitting in the front seat and how just it is that one should sit all the way here from home, while another only sits from one store to the next and so on. And yes, if I only went to one store, it would indeed cost me more to shop.

Now, the Winn Dixie part reminds me that I really have to share that another reason I don't like grocery shopping is that it's not as calm and orderly as people perceive. On a number of occasions I've had someone from church say that they saw us at the store and the kids were so well behaved and I looked so calm and when someone else came down the isle the kids just moved to the side without a word from me and so on. I try not to look TOO shocked when people say this to me. That they would have that impression is miraculous to me. I won't go into great detail but suffice it to say, sometimes I feel like I have a small tornado whirling about me as I walk up and down those isles. A lovely, joyful tornado, but still a tornado.

Today, standing in line and following a little tug-of-war with Abby over the blasted, strategically placed candy during which she shrieked her piercing, glass breaking sort of shriek followed by a whine (only quieted by the threat of calling Dad, *sigh* at the lack of influence on my part), two of my kids crowded into the little area where the cashier would stand for the line next to us and they turned on the conveyor belt. Folks, I've never worked at a grocery store and I have no idea where they turn those off and on. For a brief moment I thought "Maybe I can ignore that and we can check out and leave and be long gone before anyone realized this conveyor belt is running." But no, I wouldn't want to do that AND of course, my kids would spend the next five minutes trying to turn it off and in the process they would turn on the light, turn on the speaker (price check on isle 4 please), and who knows what else. Luckily, I am not altogether lacking in intelligence and mostly good at undoing things that shouldn't have been done in the first place and I was able to turn it off without too much delay but it's just one of those things. After you've walked through two stores with little boys bouncing off of each other and a little girl having a fit when her shoe falls off and trying to stay out of people's way, that's just not something you've got a lot of patience to spend on.

Finally there is Wal-Mart. There are always too many people in the isles and I always wonder how I spent as much as I did and by that point I'm really ready to be done. When I go to Wal-Mart, I walk FAST. It's a huge store and I always need something at both ends so, to make up for the fact that I have to cover the whole thing and that I'm ready to be done, I walk fast. Apparently I'm the only person in this store to do this because I'm always getting behind those who stroll. Argh, matey!! Me thinks they should stroll the plank!! Today one of my little guys asked why we were running. I pointed out that I was walking (see my legs...they're longer than yours and THIS is a walk) and that HE was hopping (which is what he does anyway) and so his question wasn't a valid one. So, got our goods, loaded in the car, realized we forgot cereal, went back to get it. Took it home, loaded the fridge, got back in the car to go get the produce (got 3 avacados which we've never gotten before and guess what I bought at the store today? yep), dropped by a friend's and visited for a bit, went home, threw people in bed and went to work on the horrid mess that this day creates in my home.

And that, my friends, is a more-than-you-wanted-to-know post on grocery days.
I am not spell checking because I've got company coming and still have a mess to finish working on.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Favorite Baby Carriers

My last post was talking about cooking which I am not an expert in. I figured that this time I would share about an area where my experience exceeds the experience of the average mother in my country.

In my nearly 9 years of continuously mothering little babies, there is one thing that I think is absolutely indispensable. A good baby carrier. I'm a baby carrier junkie, so I'll share my top three.

My first carrier was a sling called The Over The Shoulder Baby Holder. My sister in law gave it to me when my first was about 3 or 4 months old. The first few days I didn’t think I’d ever figure it out and during the time I couldn’t figure it out, my little Wee Boy was not enjoying it. However, I didn’t give up and then it became a part of my life. I also found that USUALLY it depends more on the mom than the baby. I've demonstrated sling wearing a number of times to mothers who have been unsuccessful with theirs (I think everyone has a hard time right at first) and the baby does just fine so I really think that once mom figures it out, baby is good. Usually. Anyway, I used that sling for 4 children and can’t imagine what I would have done without it!

When I was pregnant with my 5th I got a new sling. A Maya Wrap. Because I’m the one who wears it and I’m the one who takes pictures, the only picture I have of it is not me wearing it but it IS my baby in it.

Crying babies were always easily calmed by carrying them in the sling while I went about doing whatever needed to be done around the house. One baby napped in it because he had reflux and couldn’t sleep any other way (until I defied doctors mandates and laid him on his tummy). They were always perfectly content on hour long grocery shopping trips, often falling asleep. Because they were used to being held in a sling they would always sit contentedly in them while holding them in my arms would be like holding a crazed monkey. I used a sling every where…the park, sightseeing, church, the mall. Even now that I have a different “most used” carrier, I use the maya wrap frequently. I always use it for church, I usually take it along if we’re going out to eat… I use it for anything where I’m going to need to have it on and off quickly or frequently. One big plus to the maya wrap sling is that it’s also a nice cover should the baby need to eat while we’re out and about. I think I bought it for about $45 on ebay. It has definitely been worth the money.

Now, my current most used carrier is the Ergo. Again, pictures are limited for the same reason as before AND the fact that when we take pictures I usually get her off my back so she can be IN the picture! In this picture
you don't really get a good look (you could of course go to the official web site but here I am wearing our teeny tiny at Disney. She's leaning back to look at the carosel we're about to get on.
This carrier was more expensive. I'd heard about it for a while but the price turned me off. However, with Christmas money in hand and testimonies of friends, I decided to look and see if I could find one a little cheaper than a new one. My dear SIL that got my first sling found one for me on Craig's list in her area for $70 I think. Again, way worth the money in my opinion. This carrier is the most comfortable one ever. I can wear a 20+ pound baby in it ALL DAY and not feel it in my back because the weight is carried around the waist. With a sling I have a limit of maybe 1.2-2 hours at a time The awesome thing about this carrier (other than the comfort) is that with the baby happily on my back I can easily do laundry, lean over students while we're doing school work, do house work, wash dishes, start dinner, pick up another baby and a great number of other things that are difficult with a carrier that has the baby in the front! And my two smallest people who often get crabby in the evening when I'm busy are VERY happy to be carried on mommy's back. One at a time of course.

yellow squash patties

Since I have a lot of posts about cooking, I figured I should share that I'm not what one would think of as a good cook, really. I'm not doing this to show people how to cook or anything like that. Good heavens, no. don't come to me asking for cooking help! It's really just lately that I've been trying lots of new things. Some of this is due to the fact that I'll have a few things that I cook regularly and at one point my husband will say he likes them or at least he'll eat them with no apparent objections and then he'll say he doesn't really like it, that he's tired of it (once every two weeks is frequent for him and left overs are definitely not his thing) or that he likes it a different way (that I don't like). It seems that recently there were lots of things that my dearly beloved wasn't so tickled with. So, rather than try to tweak the recipes and too often, not being successful at pleasing his tastebuds, I tend to dump the recipe nearly altogether and look for something new.

Also, of course, there is our weekly supply of produce pushing me to try new things in order to use up what we get. So, if any of you guys every have a recipe for anything that I mention, please share it with me!

In our produce we've been getting lots of yellow squash. One thing we really love is a squash casserole recipe that I got from my aunt. However, we've gotten enough squash to have at least one a week if not more often. I needed a new recipe! Plain ol' steamed squash isn't a real big hit so the other day we tried some squash patties.
We used about 6 medium squash, shredded
1 small onion shredded (which was a pain, using the shredder, maybe should have used the processor)
1 tsp salt
1 c all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 table spoon olive oil
We were supposed to let the shredded squash sit in a strainer for 30 minutes, letting the liquid drip off but I didn't and it went alright anyway. Here's my little chef, shredding the squash for me. He did every bit of it except for half of the first one! What a diligent little man!
We mixed the squash, onion, salt, flour, egg and cheese in a bowl and then dropped it by the serving spoon into oil in the skillet which was on medium heat. We cooked it for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. I think I might add a little garlic next time but it was yummy and even reheated the next day the left overs were good!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bell Peppers and Rice

Once again, our produce co-op has prompted a new dish. This past week we got several red and yellow bell peppers. In past weeks we've gotten lots of green bell peppers and while I've used some, I ended up slicing many of them and putting them in the freezer. I decided to use some of those peppers today!

Here are some of the main ingredients we had for lunch. Frozen green bell peppers, fresh red and yellow, red onion and cilantro. I used one of each (no, it's not all pictured here). For the cilantro, I used about twice what you see here.

After starting a pot of brown ride and after chopping the vegetables all up, I dumped them in the pan with some olive oil and cooked till the veggies were soft. Doesn't it look great?! I think I'm going to try putting the same ingredients in a food processor, fresh with a fresh tomato and see how that is for dipping corn chips!

Once it was done, I took two tomatoes, one red and one yellow, chopped then up and threw them in and cooked for a few mintues longer until the tomatoes were warmed up. Here is the end result along with the brown rice. It was delicious! My little bitty girly even ate a little bowl full!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Cutest Cook

This is my little cook. He always helps me and apparently he's burnt himself (nothing of any significance, mind you) enough times that he's decided that he can only help using oven mits. Of course, he has been known to touch things to see if they're hot. All part of the learning curve I suppose. Needless to say, the mits are quite limiting.
He decided (after wearing my apron around for about an hour) that he would like his own apron. So, tomorrow when we go grocery shopping I guess we'll get some apron fabric for the little man.

Lots of Onions

A few weeks ago in our basket of produce, we got a bag of small onions and we usually get a couple of large onions every week to boot. I like onions but I've just not been able to use them all. Yesterday I decided to use some up in a recipe that would be most fitting for my Dad (tomatoes and onions, baby!). First I chopped some onions up and threw them in a small pan with a bit of butter. Mmmm! My house smelled great!

Now I tried to tomatoes two different ways. The first was to put them in a pan with a touch of olive oil and cook till they're a bit soft. Or rather, softer than usual for a tomato! I also used them freshly sliced...either way was good.

I toasted some bread. you could use a nice looking bun of some sort but all I had was sliced bread. I spread a bit of mayo, loaded one side with the onions.

I put a slice or two or tomato on each sandwich, covered it with mozzerella cheese and sprinkled it with some basil. On the basil note, I've read that dried basil keeps it's flavor better if stored in larger pieces. I will say that my basil that I've just recently dried and stored as whole leaves (more or less) in a spice jar seems to have more flavor than the basil I've bought already broken into tiny pieces. I will also say that the extra flavor of the basil really made this for me. I popped it in the oven to melt the cheese a bit. I also tried the microwave and didn't observe a huge difference.
And here's the end result. I recommend just a touch of salt.

It was quite filling, 3 of my 4 boys liked it (one didn't like it because of the veggies included, of course) and my husband liked it in spite of the large quantities of onion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Favorite for Cloth Diapers

From time to time, I use cloth diapers on my smallest baby. In the early years I'd do it because money was too tight to get a pack of diapers for the week or it was close to being to tight for that. Sometimes I'd just do it because it felt good to my numbers self to be able to count up how much I wasn't spending on something my kids were just doing to do a number on. Chuckle, giggle, snort... I amuse myself. Anyway. I also read dismal stats on how the planet was going to be covered with disposable diapers (think Wall-E with skyscrapers made of 300 year old diapers) by the time my grandchildren are around and so it feels nice to keep just a few of those ol' sposies out of my grandchildren's future. The list goes on. There are enough things that appeal to my personal interests and not the least of these is that truth be told, I like wrapping my baby in cute things and the latest finds are cute!
For the past year, I've used the cover and snap in liner of gDiapers. So cute!! These aren't REALLY cloth diapers. They're partly a cloth diaper and partly a biodegradable/flushable diaper if you use them as intended. I bought the sample which includes 10 flushable/degradable liners along with the two covers and 4 snap in liners (because sometimes the liner gets dirty but not the cover so you can snap in a new one). After using a few with the disposable, I decided that I really preferred to use a cloth diaper insert. I love the way the diaper fits. I like that they aren't as bulky as other cloth diapers I've tried. They're also better about leaks than several I've tried.

For those who are interested, here's the line up. Diaper cover, snap in vinyl liner, flat fold diaper cloth folded to fit with an extra soaker pad on top made of flannel and fleece (fleece is supposed to keep the baby's skin drier).

And here's the fit. It took 5 minutes to get this shot (not the best, but sufficient after chasing her around with my camera - boy didn't I look silly). Just TRY taking a picture of a 15 month old's moving back side! If you're wondering what the white squares are, that's part of the hook and loop closure (aka Velcro). They close in back...that supposedly keeps the baby from removing the diaper on it's own.

They have a variety of other colors and even some striped ones that are super cute. One day when I'm rich, I'll buy some more.

The Blessing of Family and a Father's Prayers

A week or so ago we went on a mini vacation with some of our family. My brother-in-law was running a marathon at Disney World over the weekend and we all were able to go down there for a few days. My kids have never been, so we were really looking forward to it. I was a little nervous before we went, not sure about all day at a theme park with one baby who still takes 2 naps a day and one who needs one 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. The trip turned out GREAT even with missed naps! And really, the best part wasn’t so much the theme parks, although those were really fun. The best part was spending time and making memories with extended family. The only drawback was that Matt’s sister and her family weren’t there with us.

Here is my family at Epcot:

And here are 5 of our kids (one is on my back as I'm taking the picture) and 2 belonging to Matt's brother.

On this trip I was reminded again of how blessed I am with the family I married into. I will say that it's not 100% wonderful all the time and there have been a few rough patches here and there to work patch in particular was really hard, actually. BUT, all in all, I can say that from my personal view point, God has blessed me incredibly.
I grew up in a conservative Christian home (family devotions, certain standards for dress, music and more), had a big family and I was homeschooled some and went to a Christian school some. Growing up in my family, I don't recall a time of not knowing about Jesus' love and sacrifice for us. Those are all things that I wanted to carry with me into my own family. My husband grew up in a bit of a different background. Pretty much different in every area. Growing up, he wouldn't call his family a Christian family and he didn't know about Christ and what He did until his 20's. His family was smaller with him and two siblings, his parents divorced when he was in his early teens and he went to public schools.
Who would think that his family would be such a awesome blessing to me?! One that shows God holds all the strings in His hands and arranges even the smallest details. His mother and step-father have been absolutely supportive and encouraging about homeschooling, of our growing family and especially of teaching our children about God and His ways. My husband's sister ALSO had 6 kids (and counting?) and she's done a bit of homeschooling with them as well. My husband's brother and his wife will be homeschooling (their kids are preschool age right now), they would certianly like to have a larger family and they plan to be missionaries so there's definitely a Christ focus there. I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who understand where I'm coming from and have similar goals and values. It has made living our convictions so mcuh easier than it might be if his family thought we were just wierd, you know?
You know what I think? I think that the prayers that my Dad prayed for my future husband every night when I was growing up were answered in ways Dad couldn't imagine. ;o)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brussels Sprouts and a new Chicken Dish

I've mentioned before that we're part of a co-op that gets vegetables from the farmers market on a weekly basis. Recently we got some Brussels sprouts which I personally don't recall having before. Perhaps I have, but they have not been regulars in my house so I had to find a recipe for them and YUM!! I ate all but one myself! Pig, I know.

Garlic Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 teaspoons butter divided
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut an X in the core end of each brussels sprout; set aside. In a large saucepan, saute garlic in 1 teaspoon butter and oil for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Add sprouts; toss to coat. Add the broth, salt and pepper; cover and cook for 12-14 minutes or until sprouts are tender. Drain; add the remaining butter and toss until melted.

I didn't add the salt and pepper until after they were cooked and I just used my own chicken broth that I freeze when I boil chicken. It was delicious! And Nathan liked it, too! So I'm looking forward to the next time Brussels sprouts come my way!

The chicken is called Herb and Chicken Pasta but I have other similar dishes so I think this one needs a more original name. I've gotten a lot of basil in our produce lately and really hadn't used much of it so I ended up drying it. I've filled two little herb containers with it so I figured I'd find a recipe that called for some basil and some onion (because we got lots of onions a couple weeks ago as well).

1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (optional)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and reserve.
Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper, basil, rosemary, Cajun seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and stir in garlic and onions; cook and stir until clear.
Return chicken to skillet over onion mixture and add broth. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside; spread mixture over pasta and serve.

Everyone liked it and Matt even specifically complimented it so it went over well. Although, I have to say that I'm beginning to get suspicious of Matt's sincerity. He's complimented far too many new meals lately and he doesn't usually. Is this a new years resolution or something?! It's fine by me, as long as he really means it cause there's nothing as annoying as making a meal someone said they liked only to find they don't really like it that much, you know?!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do Unto Others

As a parent with several children, I spend a lot of time working on how people are to interact with others. As a parent who is in the process of raising little Christians or servants of God, I have to focus some on the practical side of teaching them how to serve God and others. Next to having a personal relationship with God, the way Christians actively love or serve others ought to be one of our main identifying characteristics.

God has been using a number of circumstances lately to remind me that putting others first is very important. While many Christians will agree with that, I think that we easily slip into putting ourselves first and from there it's easy to teach our children to put themselves first, by example, if nothing else. I can think of cases where we have done that.

Sometimes we teach our kids using the 'put yourself in their shoes' line of thought. But sometimes it's a little off. Some use this one: "I wouldn't want to have to do that, so I won't require my children to do that." Sharing a new toy, for instance. We might think, I wouldn't want to have to share something I JUST got when I'm really wanting to play with it so I won't require that they do it. Giving up something, anything, we feel entitled to for the sake of someone else is something that we sometimes struggle with. How we feel about it varies according to how much we want it ourselves. You see, WE are selfish by nature and if we gauge what we and our children should do by what we WANT to do, we'll be way off base. If you're going to use the 'put yourself in someone else's shoes' line, it should be approached from the receiving end. Often we might not want to give or put ourselves out for the sake of someone else, but wouldn't we so appreciate it if someone got something brand new that we really wanted to check out/ look at/ try and they gave it up for a bit just so we could try it and did it with an attitude that indicates they are really glad to share with you?!

Hospitality is built on this idea of putting the comfort and needs of someone else at the top of your list. Not making them feel like their visit or whatever you're doing for them is a burden to you but instead making them feel you're just delighted to have them or to be able to do something for them and you're not thinking about how to avoid mess, work or trying to figure out ways to profit off of their presence. If people get the feeling that you're anxious to avoid the mess their visit will produce or that you're terribly busy and their "intrusion" is taking up your valuable time or whatever, they'll simply come away feeling bad, NOT feeling blessed by you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And so it begins!

I don’t even have teenagers and yet, I’m already being introduced to the wild world of secretive, unapproved meetings that would certainly be undesirable from the parental view point. Right under my nose in my very own back yard!! The culprits?

This is our Smokey.

This is his friend who found a way into our yard last night. Cute, but we're not sure about the character. I mean, what am I to think, sneaking in during the night?!

And has spent enough time here to dig this under Smokey's cage (which I JUST moved before bed last night so I KNOW this was done since last night). Apparently QUITE interested in hanging out with Smokey. A little forward, don't you think?

We will be speaking to the parents of Smokey's friend about this!!

I've Been Tagged!!

Here are the rules to receiving this award:
You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous bloggers in a post.
You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.
You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.

I was tagged by my friend Stephanie at

In turn, here are some blogs that I enjoy and think are tag worthy!

Bethany (whose blog inspired me to keep up with my own) at
She's wonderfully creative, likes homemaking and is artsy... all things I love! I could browse her archives all day!

Carisa at
This one I enjoy specifically for fun teaching ideas and inspiration. I specifically like her lapbook ideas! At the very least, I'm reminded to keep learning fun.

Sarah at
She's the wife of a friend I grew up with and her blog is specifically interesting if you're looking to save a few bucks. I started reading her blog to figure out how to do the CVS thing, where you use sales, coupons and extra care bucks to save yourself lots of money. However, apparently everyone around here caught onto that and when I went to CVS they'd never have any of the good deals left so NOW I go to her blog for the Publix deals/coupon information. She has coupon links and all sort of good information there.

Those are my 3 fabulous additions. I'm afraid I don't have five at this point in time.
Sorry not to be able to follow through with 5. I'm not a huge blog reader and while I could choose some random blogs, those are the only ones that I know of and feel are definitely worthy of a look-see.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My New Apron

Okay, first let me say, I've never been an apron kind of person. Actually, I've never in my years until recently (when I got a kitchen bigger than a bathtub) been a 'spend time in the kitchen' kind of person. My little sister, 10 years younger than I was known for her bread making skills while I was still in college without bread making skills. A little embarrassing that she would be able to do that and I would not, but I didn't let it get to me. I still don't have bread making skills but I have a bread machine so that's how I take care of that problem. Another sister is known for her baking. Or at least, before she was doing the college thing she baked more frequently that I personally would ever do. A sister younger still is known for her green beans! Ha!! Well, not really but once she put a JAR of green beans in a pot because that's what mom told her to do. It's one of those stories that you wish would die but your family will remind you of forever and even blog about it! Suffice it to say, she now knows how to cook green beans without the jar.

Back to my point. I've not been known for just loving to cook and no one ever got me cooking things as gifts prior to my wedding (when everything is about cooking) because WHY would I want that?!

But being a wife and mother 6 times over has had an effect on me. You might as well embrace what you have to spend a lot of time doing, huh?! Maybe having a preschooler who is addicted to cooking shows has had an effect. And maybe having a good friend obsessed with healthy eating has had an impact... I guess a lot of things have come together to give me a greater interest in cooking/food preparation. But still, does one HAVE to have an apron to do this? Well, no, but I personally am not the neatest cook! I have grease stains on most of my shirts (ALL of my maternity shirts) and it's quite frustrating. So, I need protection for my shirts AND I need big pockets. My mother says that my pockets aren't for collecting all the toys in the house but I must explain. My boys have many toys with small pieces that always end up "wost and awone" far away from their place of residence. What happens is that I pick them up and put them in a nearby mug, basket or some other small container because at the time I'm doing something and can't go to the other room to take some tiny toy everytime I find one. So, my apron pockets are for collecting these things as I go and depositing them with their family when I get around to their place of residence, whenever that may happen.

After talking about wanting an apron for a year or more I finally made one over the holidays. I found the perfect fabric. Mary Englebreit ( fabric that has tea pots and tea cups and watering cans and cherries (of course) and little houses and cute little sayings like "Bloom where you're planted" and "Home sweet home" and "Nurture all you love" and "Home is where the heart is" and other things that are perfect for an apron when you consider that you're wearing it as you go about your home trying to make it a lovely place for your family. I've loved Mary Englebreit's artwork for a long time. I love that it's bright and cheery and that she uses LOTS of colors (because all colors are my favorites!). Ah! I love my apron!