Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Contentment

We are on Christmas vacation here at our house. Although Reed has gone back to work, the kids and I are taking this week to just relish in Christmas. I am on break from being a teacher, but I am looking forward to what we will be exploring and learning in the second half of the school year. But for now, I am content. The kids aren't running around looking expectantly at gifts under the tree nor are they unsatisfied with the gifts they were given. Of course, Jonah thinks that there still is not enough Thomas related paraphernalia in our house and is already adding things to his 'birthday list' (His birthday is in April!!). Otherwise, the kids are for the most part quietly playing with the new toys and Lily is busy reading like crazy. These last few days I have been especially mindful of the areas of motherhood that I could work on a bit more. And, with the new year right around the corner I think it will be a good time to work harder. A few things on the top of my list: patience & better discipline with the kids. There's a lot more, but for now I also want continued contentment. It does my heart, mind & soul a lot of good. We'll see how long my resolve lasts.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Purpose of Christmas

As advent is coming to a close and the Christmas season is upon us, I am trying to keep in mind the reason for our celebration. So, the other day I bought the new book by Rick Warren, 'The Purpose of Christmas'. I had heard that it was a quick read and figured with less than a week until Christmas I'd get it finished. I am just about done with it, but I am thinking that it may be a good book to read again and re-direct my attention. If nothing else, I think it will be a good advent reading book for me each year. Yes, some of the things it covers aren't anything new to me, but it does have a way of giving the gentle reminders needed in this season. Here's a little peak at what it offers:

Christmas is a time for Celebration!
*God loves you!
*God is with you!
*God is for you!

Christmas is a time for Salvation!
*Jesus saves you from something.
*Jesus saves you for something.
*Jesus saves you by something.

Christmas is a time for Reconciliation!
*Peace with God
*The peace of God
*Peace with others

I need to remind myself what the true purpose of Christmas is this year and celebrate it as a birthday party for Jesus! I hope to accept, unwrap and enjoy God's Christmas gift for all of us.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You know Gordon & Henry and Rosie & Percy....

....but do you know the most famous engine of all? Thomas the cheeky engine...

Ok, if you are not a parent of a 3 yr. old boy or have not been around my son Jonah, you may have no clue what I am talking about. If any of these names are frequently used in your house, then you probably have a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine living in your midst. Yes, Thomas is HUGE in Jonah's life. He knows each engine by name and can recognize them instantly. This obsession of his had me stop and do some counting the other day as we played:25 engines, 20 coal cars or other cars, 11 vehicles/other non-engine friends of Thomas. Yes, we really have that many! That isn't even mentioning the tracks and buildings that we also have in our house! Granted, we haven't purchased him all of these since he's received some as gifts and he has added to his collection probably for about 2 years, but at an average of $5-$6 an engine...well, you do the math. I will admit that although sometimes his Thomas-itis gets overwhelming, I don't think this is the worst toy to get addicted to. He loves playing with them and it really encourages his imagination as he has the engines all interact together. So, I'll continue to tolerate more Thomas in our lives and enjoy his fascination with him. Although I will say, great marketing and appeal to little boys (or even girls) like mine? Yes, I definitely think so!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Outside My Window

It's December in Minnesota. And Winter has officially hit. Enough said. Here's what things around my yard look like.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanks HG-tv!!

While watching HG-tv the other week (something I rarely get the chance to do), they were airing a holiday decorating special. They were showing 25 inexpensive ways to decorate for the holidays. A number of them caught my eye, but this one I figured I could actually do and would be a wonderful addition to the Christmas decor in our home. I was able to purchase all I needed at Menards(similar to Home Depot)for around $11!! I was THRILLED when I actually pulled this off and I am LOVING the addition it makes to our dining room.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Beginning to Sew

We bought Lily a beginning to sew kit for her birthday. It was a basic, pre-packaged kit with all the supplies ready for use. I thought it would be a good starter for her to get into some easy projects that her little hands could handle. I am also putting together for her some fleece squares for a tie blanket as a Christmas gift. Since winter can get kind of long here, I figured that would be an enjoyable project for us to work on. We'll see if she enjoys it as much as the little kitty and heart that were her first projects.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Can I have fries with that?

The other day as I was going about my duties in the kitchen, I noticed how peaceful things were in my home. The kids were contently playing together and they were going about the house playing something or other. A few minutes later I overheard Jonah talking in front of the fridge. I couldn't hear what he said and wondered what they were playing that would lead him into the kitchen, talking to the fridge! Shortly after Lily came in and proceeded to do the same. As she stood in front of the fridge I quietly stood behind her as I heard her place an order for food. I soon realized that they were out and about in 'town' and each had gone thru the 'drive-up' and placed their order! It was too cute, especially when I saw the reason they were ordering in front of the fridge: we have a magnetic Leap Frog Fridge DJ and the speaker on it does resemble a drive-up speaker! I had to chuckle at their creativity in recognizing the similarity. They certainly have wonderful little imaginations and I'm glad I get to see them in action every day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Christmas preparations are in full swing (almost) here. We've decorated the house and have started wrapping gifts. Christmas is my FAVORITE time of year! Of course, we try to also keep in mind the season of Advent in our home as well. We've been working on advent crafts and coloring pages already. We try to also use gentle reminders to the kids about the real reason for our celebrating at Christmas. Last year we were given a book titled 'Jotham's Journey' by Arnold Ytreeide and we used it throughout advent. The book is a wonderful storybook and we enjoyed incorporating it into our family advent reading. Each day the story unfolds and continues as you journey with a small boy as he searches across Israel for his family after getting lost. He is faced with meeting thieves,robbers,and kidnappers along the way and finally he encounters the wise men and shepherds as he finds his way to Bethlehem. Our kids enjoyed it, even at their young age. Let us all keep in mind who's birth we eagerly await at Christmas. This Advent, I know I need to be more mindful of preparing my heart for the birth of our King.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


As Thanksgiving preparations are in full swing at my house, I am reminded in the midst of it all to be grateful. Thinking on this the last few days has made me well aware of blessings that I may easily overlook if I didn't search hard enough. It also made me contemplate the difference between being thankful and being grateful. I'm not sure what that difference is exactly, but I am trying harder to be more grateful for the abundance of things I've been given. At times this is hard for me since I can easily focus too much on the things I may not have been given. Sometimes,perhaps, prayers (seemingly) unanswered. Mostly, my deepest heart's desire, to become pregnant and bear another child. Unfortunately, I will not be spending Thanksgiving aware of a new little one inside me or feeling the light flutters in my belly. For now, it's not meant to be. And for today I understand that and I breathe deeply as I marvel at who God did bring me this year to help me along this journey of infertility. I am grateful for my husband and his understanding, love and support; for words of compassion and encouragement from family & friends who have supported us; for a lady at my childhood parish who has offered daily prayers for me; for the humble prayers of strangers who I've only met via prayer requests online; for those who have helped direct me medically toward answers and toward alternative treatments; for those kind, faith-filled few who have quietly listened and have offered silent prayers for us. I realize that there is so much more that I cannot even begin to list here, but this Thanksgiving I will be celebrating with a big, grateful heart, that's for sure!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Toy Clutter

It has become obvious to me lately that although we have a fairly good size house, we also have a fairly good amount of toy clutter in our house. My living room has two corners devoted to them, my dining room has a separate table with barns and houses on it, my one basement room (future playroom)already has its share of toys as well. Why it suddenly seemed to be staring me in the face I do not know. Perhaps it was while I was making a mental list of Christmas gifts we would get for the kids and I stared at the vast amount of floor space that they already cover. Or maybe it was when my ears started hearing the increasing amount of toy commercials gearing up for the Christmas buying season. It could have also been that when my children saw these commercials and declared "I wanna get that" that I shuddered. So, I now have a revised Christmas list in my head for each of them and it includes only 1 toy each and that toy is only an addition to a set they already have (Thomas & Polly Pocket). Beyond that it will be useful items like clothes, books, games or art/craft project kits. I am also hoping to purchase a kids digital camera for them to share since they both seem to enjoy taking pictures with mine already.The books, games and kits I feel are very educational and something I'd rather have filling my shelves. I'm actually looking forward to heading to the craft stores to find some great educational projects for the kids, rather than buying toys that will just take away my precious space. Although I really don't like the idea of giving away a bunch of their current toys since most have been gifts by kind and generous family, I do feel that a toy de-cluttering may be happening in our household very soon. Now I just need to find a worthy cause that will take them.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Patriotism, Elections & America

With elections next week, our children are very aware of what we as Americans will be doing next Tuesday. For weeks now they have noticed campaign signs and all of the media propaganda on the television. They also know who we support in the presidential election and know why. Without going into detail with the kids, we have made sure that they understand that we vote for the candidate who shares our morals and beliefs. Someone who will hold their office and fight for the dignity of EVERY human person, from conception to natural death. Although they are young, I do believe that they can be taught about our great nation and the beliefs and truths we were founded on. With that in mind, I chose to scour the local libraries and bookstores for books that will help instill patriotism, teach them about our first president as well as our current president and give them a basic understanding of America. I think it's important that our kids appreciate America and understand how to be a good citizen. We will also show them by our actions when we take them with us into the voting booth next Tuesday!

Yesterday I informed Lily & Jonah that we would be spending the next week learning about presidents and elections and America. At the end Lily said, "we're too little to learn about government!" I was surprised to learn that she knew such a big word and knew that it was exactly what I was referring to. I knew then that this was the perfect thing to be discussing with our kids. They're ready.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Looking back...a fond farewell

Tomorrow I am turning 30. Unbelievable to me where my 20's went exactly. However, if I sit and ponder the last 10 years, I've done a lot of things that have been quite momentous. My twenties were good to me to say the least.
Shortly before turning 20 I began service for a year with NET Ministries(www.netusa.org) and was placed on a team with 11 others and traveled to different states in the U.S.- Michigan, South Dakota, Louisiana & Alabama to name a few. While I was 21, I spent that year working for a number of Catholic parishes as their Youth Minister and met my future husband,Reed. Around my 22nd birthday, Reed and I became more than acquaintances and soon after began dating. We also became engaged a few months later, still while I was 22! We began building our own home and about six weeks before my 23rd birthday, Reed and I began our lives together and were married. Three months later we found out we were expecting baby #1. A month before my 24th birthday, our daughter Lily was born and I began the journey of motherhood. When I was 25, we became pregnant with baby #2 and after 8 weeks we miscarried Natalie Noel. A couple months later we found out we were expecting baby #3! At 26 years old I gave birth to our son, Jonah. Another blessing! The last couple of years have been spent being a wife and mother and have been filled with lots of happiness and many blessings. When I look at these last 10 years as logged here, it has been a busy 10 years! I cannot begin to recall all of the fond memories that have filled these years, some sad memories are also sprinkled throughout, but mostly I realize that I have been abundantly blessed. My life as I know it has closely followed the visions I had in mind as a young woman. I am a wife and mom and enjoying it. I was able to rely on God and all of His plans for me and thankfully, He guided me to a wonderful, faithful, Catholic husband. He blessed our lives with little children to raise, teach and love. He filled our lives with joy with many family and friends. As I celebrate my 30th birthday tomorrow I will be so grateful for the life I have led and I will gracefully embrace the thirties. I look forward to all that God has planned for this new season of my life.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Fall. Autumn. Harvest. Whichever term you use it still means it is the short amount of time between beautiful summer weather and the cold,snowy days of winter. Being that I am not a big fan of winter and the weather it presents us, harvest time always goes by too quickly. This year I have been able to enjoy the sights and sounds of harvest time. I have noted the brilliance of the abundant colors on almost every tree, the crisp air, the falling leaves. I've also seen the ratio of tractors to other vehicles going past my window increase as farmers continue to work in the fields. In the distance somewhere I can hear the faint buzzing of corn dryers and combines running late into the night. I even created a harvest shelf this year in my dining/kitchen. When I hung that shelf there last winter I was hoping to use it for this purpose--to recognize and celebrate every season we enjoy. So, again today I breathe in the beauty of the season, for all too soon Christmas gift lists will be running in my head, cookie baking will begin and the ground will be white. All of this beauty may be wasted if I didn't stop in the midst of it all and thank the God who created it.

Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am a planner and organizer. I like when things in my home are functional. Yes, I may go overboard at times in wanting things 'just so', but I realize that since I spend lots of time in my home I need it to 'work' for me. I can easily recognize when things in an area of my home aren't being used to their capacity or serving their purpose. For me though, this organization and even cleanliness in my home helps to keep my heart and my spirit at peace. I have been seeing more lately how this inner peace draws me toward simplicity. Of course, there are things I can't live without (like Walmart and Target!), but somehow having peace and simplicity in myself easily overflows into other areas as well. I know when I am settled and enjoying the simple things in life, I am happier and it reflects in the happiness of my kids and my family. I also find that it is easier to relieve stress and anxiety when simplicity is being sought. As a wife and mom I can easily get caught up in each trauma and drama that whirls around me, but I am finding that I need to keep myself focused on remaining calm and at ease. Not only for me, but for my household. I hope that the slower pace of fall and winter will continue to help me take time for myself and recognize where I need to make things simpler in my daily life.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Looking out my window....

Red,Orange,Yellow,Brown. Cooler weather. Slow rains. Here,It's Fall. I've been taking more time this year to enjoy the wonder of God's creation and the beauty of the changing of the seasons. The leaves on the trees in our yard and around the area are glorious this week. What beauty to behold. Just had to share it.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Bedtime in our family has always been a sort of ritual that we follow closely. The kids now even know that 8:30 is their appointed bedtime. When it rolls around, if the kids aren't already in their jammies, then is the time to go pick them out. The last kisses and hugs for the day are given to mommy and then it's the last call (or in Jonah's case, the last order)to use the bathroom one more time. That's followed by brushing teeth, picking out books and then the stories are read. Finally, daddy sings a couple of songs. There is even a sequence of songs and the kids know which on is the last one for the evening. Yes, we are that routine!! Bedtime has been something that I usually take a less active roll in and Reed takes over. At that point I usually start relaxing for the rest of the evening, if I haven't already started. I kind of enjoy it that way and I think the kids really like bedtime as their special time alone with daddy. Final kisses and hugs are then distributed by daddy and then he leaves the room. What happens after that depends on what pattern we are in (right now we are in a good one, thankfully!). The kids know that they need to stay in their room and go to sleep and after they go to bed it's mommy and daddy's time to be by themselves together to talk about their day. Most of the time, this is followed and we can hear the kids either talking or arguing as they settle in. Sometimes they will play around up there or read, but usually in good time they eventually fall asleep. I won't even go into what all goes on when they are in a different pattern and decide not to stay in their room! Trust me, those are some pretty rough nights at our house!! Any way,usually when it's time for us to go to bed, the kids are asleep and Reed goes in to turn off the nightlight. Sometimes I like to peak in there and see their little sleeping faces and grab a little "mommy moment". We never know what we'll find when we go in their room at bedtime. Last night,I could hear the kids were up chatting for awhile before they fell asleep and I could hear a bunch of rustling about. This is what we found when we went to check in on them at bedtime..I guess they just wanted to go camping instead of sleep in their beds! Priceless.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

40 Days For Life

Today begins the 40 Days For Life(Sept.24-Nov.2)national campaign of prayer and fasting. This is an ecumenical effort. Please join my family and take the next 40 days to offer whatever you can in prayer for the end of abortion in our country. Communities across our great nation will be involved in different ways displaying peaceful and prayerful efforts to make known their prolife stand. Fasting can be from a certain food, TV, or whatever might bring you closer to God. A suggestion for prayer would be to set aside a specified amount of time each day or a specified hour a week. Let's unite together in prayer as we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves! www.40daysforlife.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lily turned 6!

It seems in ways unbelievable, but my oldest turned 6 on Sunday. And yet, it makes perfect sense that she is six. I almost cannot remember life without her here. It is amazing how fast time has gone. Although I have shared almost every day with her by my side,I still feel as though time just flew by and I may have missed something. Of course, I realize this isn't possible since I can almost recall every milestone and challenge that we have conquered. I can easily remember almost every minute of her 24hour labor and delivery. All definitely worth it to see my baby girl face to face for the first time.*sigh* As a mother I understand deeply the scripture verse that says that Mary "cherished all of these things in her heart". As a mom, I also cherish all of these things in my heart. Even when there may come a day that I can't correctly remember how old Lily was when she got her first tooth, when she was potty trained or when she rode her bike for the first time without training wheels, I know that these moments, these memories will be in my heart filling it to overflowing. These are the cherished moments of a mother's heart.
Just as the first six years of Lily's life have filled a special compartment in my heart, I eagerly await what the next six years will bring and the cherished moments that will find rest in my heart as well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Are we rich or poor?"

Yesterday, while in the garden digging potatoes, with urgency my daughter mentioned that she had an important question. I turned to her as she asked,"Mom are we rich or poor?" I stopped, wondering where this had come from. The answer that quickly came to mind was something along the lines of "We aren't either.We're kind of in the middle." However, something in me urged to explore this a bit further. I instead asked my daughter what she thought poor meant and what she thought rich meant. I then pressed further and asked her if we had food to eat at every meal? if she had enough clothes to wear? if we had a cozy house to live in? if we believed in God and had faith? She answered "yes" to each question. I then asked,"so, which do you think we are, poor or rich?" A smile broadened across her face and her eyes lit up as she loudly replied, "We're rich! Mom, I'm glad we are rich!" Of course, this led into a short lesson on the views society has as to what classifies one as rich or poor, but that we don't have to follow those views because we know what makes our family rich.I was glad to have this innocent moment with my daughter. It still amazes me what goes on in their minds while their doing something as simple as digging potatoes!
Later in the evening as I excitedly retold the story to my husband he was quick to point out that she hopefully won't be declaring loudly to neighbors that "We're Rich!!" We'll see. You never know when one of these lessons we teach at home may be vocalized publicly!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Krispie Brownies.....LOVE these!

If you know me, you know I enjoy things that have peanut butter and chocolate as main ingredients. If either, or even better, BOTH are in a recipe, I am bound to love it. Here's a new recipe I tried and took to a friend's house for dessert. These will definitely be repeated!

Krispie Brownies:
1 box brownie mix
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3 c. Rice Krispies

Bake brownie mix in a 9x13 pan as directed.Cool.Spread marshmallow creme on top.Melt together the peanut butter, chocolate chips and Rice Krispies. Spread on top of the marshmallow creme. Refrigerate. (I used "off brand" ingred. and a brownie recipe from scratch and it turned out great)

Oh, did I mention that these are super easy to make?! YUM!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary!

Heard in my house:
My youngest: "Is Mary (as in The Blessed Virgin Mary)going to come to our house to see her cake?"
Reply: "No, I don't think she'll be coming"
Again: "Is she going to come and eat a piece of her cake?"
Reply: "I don't think so, but we can sing Happy Birthday to her if you'd like."

Yesterday was Mary's birthday.We usually make some mention of it to our kids. Mostly we do it since my husband and I also celebrate our wedding anniversary on the same day. So, in our house it's kind of a special day. I decided to make a cake and although it was mostly for our anniversary, I told the kids that we'd use it to celebrate Mary's birthday. I don't always do this, but I had wanted to try my hand at covering a cake with fondant instead of frosting and seeing how that turns out. As you can see, it didn't turn out too bad. I used pre-made fondant that I bought at Walmart and it actually went rather smoothly. Unfortunately, I think my kids missed the taste of frosting and my daughter opted not to have fondant on her birthday cake later this month. Oh well, at least I know I can use fondant and know where to get it if the occasion ever arises again! You may also notice that we had to bring a statue of Mary to the cake and sing Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

Today is my daughter's first day of school. I am officially the mom of a Kindergartner (and teacher of one too!!). Yikes. Where have these last almost 6 years gone? I know where they've gone and although I've been with her virtually every day of her life watching her change and grow, it still amazes me how the days, months and years quicky become memories. Precious, beautiful memories. Ah, motherhood,on monumental days like today it catches you and it fills you with emotion. It is all of the other "regular" days that are used to form my childen for these more "important" days when they blossom before my very eyes. I wouldn't trade these days for the world.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homeschool Prep

The last few weeks I have been making my list and checking it twice (or three or four times!) as we prepare to home school our daughter. It's one of those things that we've been talking about for so long that all of the sudden reality hit and I realized that we really are about to start this journey very soon! It kind of snuck up on me, despite how prepared I am! I have had most of my curriculum chosen and here at home for a few months now, but finally sat down to "take it all in" the other week in order to refresh myself with everything. It's an exciting (and intimidating) adventure we're embarking on. I find so many great resources and guides out there that I have to remind myself that I have 12 years to teach my daughter all these things and I certainly don't have to pack it all into a Kindergartner's schedule! Any way, we should be ready to start things in a couple weeks despite our "school room" not being finished. There's lots of work that needs to be done in there and it may take awhile, but that's ok. I will have to share pictures of that once we are officially working in our school room and not just the kitchen table.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Outings and Adventures

This summer has been busy. Nothing big, just all the little things that somehow fill the days and weeks. Summer goes by entirely too fast. The kids are growing and enjoy when we have what we call Fun Family Outings or Family Adventures. We've tried to "sprinkle" these events throughout our summer this year since the kids are at that really good age that they will enjoy and remember them. So, since we currently are without a little one in our house and we never know what next summer will bring, we decided on doing a couple 2 day outings as a family. We just returned from another Adventure where we found a great hotel with a water park for little kids (and big ones too!)and plenty of other attractions to enjoy while we were there as well as along the way. Everyone had a great time and it ended up being a relaxing time too. It's fun to begin making family memories and hopefully the kids will appreciate them as they grow and get older. While away, we also had the chance to have an Old Time photo taken. We couldn't resist picking out our outfits and dressing up. The kids were patient while we waited and we had a pretty cute picture in the end. Lots of fun and a neat photo to remember our Family Adventure.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Summer Fun...and "Poor Man's S'mores"

This past weekend we visited my brother's hobby farm a couple hours away where we got together with some family and had a TON of fun!! There was lots for the kids to do since my brother has 18 goats and a few acres to run around and roam, not to mention swim and play! We had lots of time to hang out and talk and even played some fun lawn games. We are so glad we went and added some family fun like this to our summer! Of course, when we get together, there's got to be eating. Trust me, we ATE!! Everything was delicious! Yum! Thanks to my sister in law, we were introduced to "Poor Man's S'mores". Instead of using graham crackers and Hershey's chocolate with your roasted marshmallow, substitute Fudge Stripe Cookies! It's so much easier to eat and doesn't fall apart either! Less ingredients to bring too! What a great idea!! This is something we'll definitely be using again.
Thanks, Lori!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Ah,the lazy days of summer. Although, not really here. Somehow we've managed to keep our calendar busy enough that summer is unfortunately, flying by quickly. A bit too quickly! There seems to be so many things I'd like to do yet. Trips (however small they may be due to the rising cost of gas!), projects and the on-going to-do list. Lots to accomplish yet and soon my garden will be in full-swing, which means more freezing and canning to do as well. Oh well, I do enjoy it all even though at times it leaves me with a lot to juggle at once.
Something that has made my life easier this summer is a quick and easy summer salad recipe I received from my sister in law. I can't count the number of times we've eaten it since the 4th of July when I first prepared it! I like to throw it together as a last minute addition to our main meal, especially at suppertime.

Here's the recipe:

Fresh Romaine lettuce or Spinach
1 cup Mandarin Oranges
1 cup Pecans or Walnuts
1 firm Banana

Mix up the lettuce, oranges and nuts. Add banana just before serving.

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vinegar
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed

After mixing dressing ingred. you can put them in a squeezable bottle to serve dressing with salad or to save for a later serving.
Feel free to alter amounts of nuts, oranges or banana to your tastes.

Enjoy! I know this is quickly becoming our family favorite!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Concert To Remember

My husband and I enjoyed another "date night" at a Christian concert last weekend. The artist, Mark Schultz, again got us up on our feet for some of our favorites like, "You are a Child of Mine", "I Am the Way" and more! He again warmed our hearts with songs like "Letters from War", "Broken & Beautiful" and "Back in His Arms Again". To put it simply, he is a great entertainer!! We have enjoyed 4 of is concerts now in the last 16 months and wouldn't miss another! He keeps his audience laughing and totally entertained throughout the show. Newcomers and concert veterans like ourselves seem to enjoy his kind spirit and gentle, Southern-way that leads the listeners to Christ. He's currently in the studio preparing another album sure to be FILLED with hits and heartfelt songs. If you have the chance to see him in concert in your area, I strongly encourage getting tickets. You'll want seats up close to enjoy every minute!!
Check him out at :www.markschultzmusic.com

Monday, July 14, 2008

Suppertime Prayers

If you were to join us for supper in our home, in addition to our before meal prayer you would also hear a list of prayer intentions offered by our kids (mostly our daughter), that goes something like this: we pray for a baby sister, two more brothers, grandpa's leg and grandpa's leg,Carrie & Mike & Olivia, Joseph & Katie, Josh & Becky's baby, Hannah's knee. So, if you made the list, you can feel honored that you are thought of and prayed for. If not, I guess you need to do something important enough to be worthy of their prayer intentions or that you have some type of injury.
Notice that mommy and daddy are not on the list. I wonder why?? Although, thinking about it, I guess we are in a way since we're supposed to take care of the "baby sister & two more brothers" part!!
Some times other prayer requests get added, however, these are the major ones covered. I'm starting to consider putting the food on the table AFTER prayers have been prayed, BEFORE it gets cold!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Potty Party

Ok, so the idea of throwing a "Potty Party" seems kind of odd. Unless you are the mommy of a certain 3 year old who is stubborn to get going to the bathroom and not the least bit interested in wearing "big kid" underwear! Then you know where I'm coming from. The Potty Party idea was one I read about when we were potty training our daughter. It was used as an incentive for her and once she was going potty on the toilet and staying dry (at least most of the time)she was allowed to invite whomever she wanted to her party. So, at 3 1/2 she invited both sets of grandparents, an aunt and uncle and a cousin. And of course, my husband and I and our son. We made it into a HUGE deal complete with decorations, cake and of course, GIFTS!! Well, we finally were able to celebrate with another Potty Party, this time for our 3 year old son. This past weekend we went ahead and stuck with our now "family tradition" and held a Potty Party! We kept it simple, but followed the same rules...same guests, cake and gifts. We've got a ways to go until complete toilet mastery, however, I am happy to have my big boy in his Thomas, Cars and Diego underwear!! Hooray for Jonah! Who would've thought these were the memories I'd be making as a mom!!??

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My latest indulgence

This could really list a number of my latest indulgences (ok, besides the usual, chocolate). Any way, I've found something new just for me. I have found that massages really help me and so I have committed to give them a try 2 times a month. Nothing extreme or overly spendy, however, something that for me is TOTALLY worth it! I know, massages have been around for awhile and have been promoted due to their benefits, but until recently I didn't feel like they were something I should spend my money on. I've changed my mind. For someone like me, with lots of stress and pain carried in my neck and shoulders, this is something that helps me out and I look forward to it. I think in order to care for my husband, kids and those around me I have to do a better job of taking care of me, physically. Just had another one today. I can feel the difference already. How relaxing!
Another indulgence? Facebook. Still figuring that one out, but maybe I'll understand it soon. A friend invited me and I figure I'd give it a try. We'll see how it works out.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The love of reading

Even as a child, I think I was a pretty good reader. I remember loving to read since just about forever. I can fondly recall sitting curled up with a book and preferring that to many other activities. My parents must have instilled something in me early on to foster this, although my mom would probably say it was not from her (she can't stand to read!!). Any way, although these days my reading time is VERY limited, I still love to do it when I can. Most of my reading these days is spent with more "educational" reading, rather than leisurely reading. I'm a mom. I feel like I've got lots to read about and learn on parenting, homeschooling, etc. etc.

Any way, we have always tried to foster a love for reading with our own kids since they were very small by incorporating it throughout the day and especially at bedtime. So, after my daughter turned 5 I started to wonder how I could help her learn to read and love reading. Even before the new year I would say that she wasn't overly thrilled with phonics, although she was pretty good at sounding letters and words out. I decided to take my time with her and not "push" reading so that she would turn against it. We tried the book, "Teaching your child to read in 100 easy lessons". At first, she liked it, but then easily turned against it. So, I did some research and looking online and found a series of books called the "BOB books" that are written by Bobby Lynn Maslen. I decided to take the plunge and purchase all 5 sets (each set contains 10 little books) I am so glad I did! My daughter LOVES them!! Why? It doesn't leave any room for her to "fail" or become frustrated. With the first book, she could easily read it and proudly say that she had read a book! That's pretty exciting for a 5 yr. old! We take the time a few times a week to sit down and read the next book in the set. They are short, but yet cover all the basics and keep encouraging her along in her reading journey. I would highly encourage them to parents who have taught their kids phonics,letter recognition and sounds and are ready to start on the path of reading.

Hopefully, one day she'll remember these books as the ones that gave her a love of reading.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The sound of children....

While the weather here has been in limbo between winter and spring lately, the "spring itch" seems to be hitting those of us here in the house day after day. After suffering from numerous colds, coughs, flu and everything in between this winter, let's say we all need some time to run around outside! As I was contemplating this and regretting another cold, blustery day last week, I stopped for a moment and listened. What I heard weren't the usual voices of childhood rivalry or those declarations of "I was playing with that first" or "Mom,(brother)or (sister) took my..." In the quietness of my kitchen I stood and listened to the little voices of my kids playing...together. They were downstairs in one of their imaginative play modes where every toy spoke and every object became something else. I couldn't help but feel proud as I listened and heard my little children interacting, learning, socializing and having fun together as brother and sister. Moments later,they were both re-enacting scenes from one of their favorite movies (right now any way), Thomas and the Magic Railroad. They were accurately reciting back and forth line after line of dialog. What amazing kids! What an amazing moment. It was one to cherish and enjoy as I realized how glad I am to be a mom. And to hear the sounds of children. My children.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Look Inside

Ok, to say that this is long overdue would be an understatement. When I started this blog I figured it would be a place to quickly type out the latest thought on my mind or something I want to share. So, I am hoping to start fresh and renew my commitment to do just that. Not that I always have so much to share, sometimes it may serve as a place to share what I cannot verbalize.
So, what I wonder is what happens to someone who is given no better reason (after 1 1/2 yrs.) for not conceiving another child other than "unexplained infertility"? And where are the other women like me who must endure "secondary infertility" (women who have conceived and had children in the past and struggle with conceiving again or may not be able to have any more children)? I have decided that although this may not be an important subject to very many people and also tends to send most out of their comfort level, there must be a reason that God has chosen me (and my husband) to go down this dark and lonely road. Do I want someone to feel sorry for me? No, that's not my desire. Compassion? Understanding? I think so. A little of that could go a long way sometime. Rather than having someone dismiss it and use excuses to cover it up ("you're young, you'll have more someday", "your kids are young yet" or "you've got plenty of time"), sometimes a thoughtful prayer goes a long way.
But don't worry, this whole thing has provided me with something. A Look Inside. Yep, a better chance to draw closer to God, my husband and my kids by taking a better look inside. An affirmation of faith, renewed love and greater hope. Easy? Most days, no. I do keep trying though every day.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year Awakening

Well, here we are in 2008. Somehow it's hard for me to believe that 2007 is already in the past. You see, I love the Christmas season and all that it brings. So, with the new year comes the task of packing away Christmas decorations and embarking on an unknown new year. It's a wonderful awakening in many ways as I begin fresh with new commitments and new optimism. However, I am not one for making resolutions. Never have been. I tend to just glide through the year occassionally making new resolves maybe for eating healthier, exercising more often, becoming more patient or trying harder to be a better person. Somehow after making these new resolves I am reminded of even more things I could work on harder and tend to get discouraged. So, I just work on being the best person I can be and do what I can for today. You know why? Because tomorrow will come with its own challenges and I will find plenty of other things I need to work on. I don't mind though since each day, each year is a journey. A time of growth and change. Neither is always easy, but both can be very rewarding.
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