Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Raising Homemakers! GIVEAWAY!

Sarah Mae over at Raising Homemakers is giving away SIX books of encouragement as part of Raising Homemaker's 1 year...and counting! Check out the giveaway HERE!

Silver Lining to 3 Year Old's Antics

Hubby and I were in the other room getting ready for church and in deep conversation. My 3 year old daughter found a bottle of nail polish that was given to her for her birthday and began to paint. Hubby caught her, legs, feet, hands, lips covered in nail polish. We laughed, but quickly worked together to remove the nail polish, wash her down quickly, and talk to her about it. So, while we shake our heads at yet another antic of hers (I REALLY need to discipline MYSELF to tomato stake her) I get to buy a new living room rug since she painted that, too!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Even Yet Another Reason Why I'm Homeschooling

Caps and gowns for pre-K "graduates"?!!! Really?! Ok, I know. It's adorable. It's sweet. It's even more money out of mom and dad's pockets for the sake of some feel good thing. It also takes away from the specialness of wearing a cap and gown for high school graduation. It's also just a bit, well, unnecessary. Granted, my kids aren't even going t pre-K, or kindergarten for that matter. We're doing informal homeschooling up until 1st grade when we have to register with the school district and keep records and have a set curriculum. But, REALLY?!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Daughter!

Happy 3rd Birthday to my Dear Daughter!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Refrigerators and Hospitality

I've decided that cleaning out your refrigerator is not only a public service, but high on the list of hospitable tasks.

Two facts:

1. Other people's refrigerators gross me out. The smells, the look, the clutter, the unidentified moldy objects hidden behind the milk jugs, the food I can't believe they eat....LOL.

2. I just cleaned out my refrigerator today.

We have a picnic coming up this weekend. As I surveyed my house to see what needs to be done (everything!), the very idea of people opening up my fridge made me pity them. Other people's fridges gross me out, so mine must gross out other people. That made me want to clean it out. My beloved grandmother might be coming and she might open my fridge. That made me scrub it out! While my grandmother is not judgemental at all, and very understanding and kind, the idea of this beautiful, graceful woman opening up my fridge and fridge...made me embarrassed. She is a champion housekeeper. Me? Well, not so much. Why? Well, for one thing, I spend too much time online. LOL!

And just as an aside, if you find out you're pregnant and don't have morning sickness yet, CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE! You'll be so glad you did!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Their First Rainbow

I was sitting in my living room while the evening sun poured in through the picture window. I glanced out at the beauty and noticed that it started to rain.

"A sun shower," I exclaimed to my kiddos.

My 5 year old pouted that we couldn't go for our promised walk now.

I told him we can do something better. "Get your boots on, kids and grab your umbrellas! There's probably going to be a rainbow!"

Sure enough, there it was! One of the biggest, brightest rainbows I've ever seen! It visually stretched about 1/4 of a mile. My kiddos were fascinated not only with the rainbow, but with being able to be outside, in their pajamas, with wellies on their feet and umbrellas overhead.

They were upset when the rainbow started fading and imploring it to stay. We had a little science and Bible lesson during this time, and then I ushered them back indoors and into bed before they saw the rainbow "die."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast!

My mommy heart is breaking and filled with joy all at the same time!

Last night, my 5 year old and infant couldn't sleep, so I let them join me in the living room while we went through the box of clothing I had stashed away for 5 year old. Not only is it a new season, but he's a new size. Later, while he watched a video about monster trucks, I went through the closet and folded and put away his outgrown clothing. I actually started to cry. Once again, another page turns and my oldest gets older. He's learning how to read. His matchbox dump truck witnesses to his other vehicles (and not just cute Jesus loves you stuff, real meat and potatoes scripture is going on here! I'm in awe!).

My infant, who will officially be a toddler next month, decided that he does not want Mommy to spoon feed him anymore. He's much more content to feed himself. I begrudgingly allow him, not out of fear of messes, but because I simply don't want to give up babying my baby! He's cruising furniture, and speaks several words.

My daughter, though resistant to potty training, is maturing in other ways. She loves to carefully paint. She's very interested in gardening and cooking. She's caring for her baby dolls more and more now. Oh, and suddenly she quite likes the idea of dressing up and being a princess. She was tromping around the house in my dress shoes the other day. When I asked her if she was all grown up, she threw her head back and declared, "No, I a print-tess."

Time is flying by. Even this morning is soaring on past me. So, I better get off this silly computer and go enjoy my family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Published Recipe!

One of my recipes is published in the 2011 Best of Country Cooking Cookbook from Reiman Publications! Go to page 149 and look for Swiss Macaroni and Cheese. They did alter my originally submitted recipe, lowering the total amounts to make a smaller batch and changing the milk from whole to fat free (I do not endorse the use of fat free milk, or as my husband calls it, wash out from the milk lines). But, there it be! I got a complimentary copy of the cookbook, but I have to return it in 30 days or pay $14.99, which kinda stinks because I don't want to be bothered having to go back to the post office, nor do I want to pay $14.99. Oh well. LOL!

Daughter and Sons of His Story giveaway!

Still can't post pictures.

Anyhow, Raising Homemakers is having a giveaway of Daughters and Sons of His Story. You can choose from the paperdolls set or a DVD of the Revolutionary War.

I'm choosing the paperdolls set. We're re-enactors, so the DVD isn't really needed. We live it many weekends a year (though we haven't done much recently).

You can enter HERE.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Plan

My daughter is very strong willed and stubborn and also a very picky eater. If she so much as thinks she doesn't like it, she won't eat it. No amount of discipline, urging, prize-offering, or forcing will get her to eat the food. If you physically place the food in her mouth, at best she'll spit it out. At worst, she'll vomit. She's also sneaky in that she'll pretend to eat the food, only to hold it in her mouth and deposit it behind (or in) a chair. Foods she gobbled up 2 weeks ago are suddenly garbage to her today.

I'm at a loss. I followed all the "rules" when she was an infant and started her on solids. I was so proud of her eating mixed veg like it was candy at 18 months. She hit 2 years old and it's been a downhill battle since. She'll be 3 at the end of this month. I talked to the pediatrician after her told me she's underweight and I explained my plight. He said, "feed her picky foods." Well, that's not very healthful and I certainly shouldn't as a parent cave to her every whim. Caving results in an even more limited diet until she can manipulate enough to just eat junk food.

On top of that, letting her go hungry doesn't really work. Not only is she already a skinny minnie, but she'll just go hungry and then go find non-food items to munch on or just fill up on water or milk.

She's definitely a great candidate for tomato staking. But, I've been praying and thinking too how I can encourage her to eat more foods without WWIII breaking out in our household. Under all that stubbornness and strong will is a very sensitive little girl with a heart that shatters easily.

So, I'm going to put together a list of foods she actually does eat. That'll help me know what menus to create for her so she can have healthful meals 3 times a day. Nutrition is very important to a quickly growing body and mind and she's already proven that she won't return to a meal she doesn't like once she gets hungry enough to eat it.

Then, I'm going to create a chart of different foods and put 2 weeks worth of slots next to the foods. They say it can take up to 2 weeks (14-16 times) of trying something to get a taste for it. Every time she tries said food, she'll get a sticker and plenty of praise.

I can see this taking a VERY long time, years in fact. But, I'm done making meal time a very negative experience for all of us, especially her.

Does anyone else deal with extremely picky and strong-willed eaters? How did/do you handle it? I'd love advice and testimonies.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Urgent Prayer Request, Please

One of my sister's friends from high school came back from her missions work in Uganda with a very severe case of malaria. You can read her story here:

Please lift her up in prayer as she fights this deadly disease. Please pray that the Lord will give the doctors wisdom as they deal with a disease virtually unheard of in America.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My baby "squirrels"

It was a gloomy, chilly day. Drops of rain fell sadly to the ground now and again, but no real storm made it past the threat. I was making the begrudged walk to the mailbox when I spotted something on the ground that made my heart start beating hard and fast. There, in my gritty driveway, was something small, pink and curled up in fetal position. As I bent on closer inspection, my heart slowed to normal, but broke a little as a tiny, newborn creature breathed, still alive there alone in the cold.

I happened to have a container with me, so I scooped up the little guy carefully and I resumed getting the mail, but as I returned there were two more critters curled up and alive. I had mail and a container with me, so I carefully scooped them up, holding the container to my chest and wondering what to do with them.

About that time, my oldest kiddos came running outside, wondering what mommy was standing there for. I showed them the creatures and explained their plight. We decided to move them to a safer, warmer place nearby but out of the driveway in hopes mommy squirrel would come and claim them.

Hours passed. No mommy. Babies still alive. No sign of a disturbed nest. No ballistic squirrel screaming in the treetops. No dead squirrel in the road. I concluded they were either abandoned or mommy fell victim to a neighborhood hawk.

Leaving them to cruel nature seemed the most logical choice. After all, I have a teething infant with allergies, a resistant to potty training almost 3 year old, and a 5 year old with enough questions to fill a Trival Pursuit game. Not to mention a husband who prefers I leave wildlife well enough alone. There's no way I could render them the care they needed to survive. On top of that, it's illegal to harbor wildlife in my state.

But, my heartstrings were tugged and my 5 year old fully believed that we needed to do something for the critters, to at least try for them. So, in they came in a snug box with a heating pad and receiving blanket. I found a website that said baby squirrels can be rehydrated with pedialyte. I already knew how to make them evacuate. Another online search led me to a wildlife rehabilitator nearby. I called and asked if she'd be willing to take them or if we should just let nature take its course. We arranged a meeting.

So, I pile the kiddos in the car way past their bedtime and we head for the meeting place with the little squirrels nestled together. The tired-looking woman opened the back of her jeep and showed me the two baby foxes she just picked up. So precious! If foxes could be pets, I'd have one! Anyhow, she peeks into the box and announces, "You have mice!"


My heart shattered in a million pieces over mice. Mice that I kill on a regular basis in my house because they poop everywhere, make us sick and scratch all night long. Mice!

I felt bad that I made that poor woman drive all the way out to the meeting place to pick up MICE! But, my embarrassment faded just a little when she started cooing over the little guys. My embarrassment faded just a tiny bit more when I looked up pictures of both baby mice and baby squirrels on google images and discovered they're practically identical to the layman's eye other than the rather large difference in size!

I'm still ready to slam my head into the keyboard in red-faced humiliation, but at least my children got a little animal science lesson and a lesson in compassion.

But, as I typed this, I realized what puzzled me all day. Why were my heartstrings tugged so hard? Why did my heart start pounding when I saw that little pink body curled up in my driveway? As weird as this may be, upon first glance, that little mouse reminded me of my 2nd miscarriage when I passed my dead baby right there on the exam table alone in the hospital. Maybe I can't explain it any better than that. Maybe that's just totally off the wall, but for a moment, that's what I recalled, and boy, was it intense.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"I Hate My Life!"

Spouting off. Doesn't the Bible call it railing?

Off days happen. Some worse than others. I recently had a super-busy, crazy, insane day. You know those days - when the children won't stop misbehaving, the baby is screaming and getting into everything, you're seemingly constantly juggling two or more things at once, and the house is a wreak no matter your efforts. I was at the end of my very frayed and frazzled rope. I had two misbehaving kiddos outside, and I was inside with a screaming infant trying hopelessly to find my lost mei tai wrap so I could take the baby outside since he hates the outdoors unless he's attached to me. I caught myself slamming door as I looked everywhere and I said out loud, "I hate my life!"

The Bible says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. That is true, but sometimes we're just saying something more impacting to blow off steam. I don't really hate my life. I love my life! I just hate when my kiddos can't go 2 minutes without misbehaving. I hate when my infant screams and nothing soothes him. I hate when I've got a 1000 things to get done and nothing's getting done because I'm constantly having to quit in the middle of it to take care of something else! I hate when I lose my cool and let my emotions get the better of me.

But never mind all that. What REALLY slapped me in the face was this immediate thought after I said, "I hate my life": Inside, I heard, "What if I just took it all away, then?" I looked at the screaming, tear stained face of my infant and just wanted to huddle....put it all (my life) under my protective wing like a mother hen does with her chicks.

I'm sorry I said it. I'm sorry I had such a crummy day in so many ways. It was good in others, but overall pretty crummy.

We have these days as mothers. They come, they go, we try to improve upon them and erase them from our memories. But never, never do I want to give up my life...this life that God gave me. I'd like to change a few circumstances, but not LIFE.

Return to Homemade

Still not allowing me to post pictures! Sheesh!

Anyhow, I've recently felt the need to return to making more homemade things. As the economy dips and gas prices rise ($4.09 yesterday when I put gas in), we have to find ways to save somehow. Not to mention homemade usually equals healthier.

I've been wanting to do more homemade things for a while now, but I thought of all the time "wasted" in the kitchen, away from my children. So, I just spent the extra money at the grocery story buying convenience, but I soon tired of spending so much time grocery shopping (away from my children because my mother kindly watches them for me while I grocery shop) AND spending SO MUCH money!

When I ran out of bread, I dreaded heading back to the supermarket just to buy bread. So, I started hauling out bags of flour. Soon, I heard the scraping of the child's chair behind me as my daughter pushed it to the counter to help. Making the bread didn't take as long as I thought AND I got to spend quality time with my daughter. My son joined in, too, the baby either napping or nearby. We added kefir, buckwheat spaghetti, and violet jelly to the menu. Homemade soups, yogurt, and cookies are on the agenda, too.

I thought I'd be spending time away from my children, when I'm spending amazing quality time WITH them in our homemade endeavors! I even started sewing again. And while they can't join me with needle and thread just yet, they enjoy getting measured and fitted.

Gardening and caring for our ducks are other fun things we're doing more at home!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

For some reason blogger won't let me post pictures today. I have a multi-generational photo I wanted to share for Mothers' Day. Instead, I'm going to send you over to THIS BLOG to listen to a song written for a mother by her son. It is so stinkin' cute! I do know these people personally and I, yes, she is one amazing mother. Her children have every reason to rise up and call her blessed and they do! Now, head on over and be prepared to smile and wipe a tear as well.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Soup's On!

Due to some digestive issues in my household (and the rising food prices), I'm exploring the world of soups more. Today's dinnertime soup is a variation of THIS Spiced Butternut Squash Soup.

I've also put salads back into my diet. I've discovered the delicious combination of grapefruit and balsamic vinegar in salads.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Yet Another Reason Why I Want to Homeschool


That's it! My reason is May. May here is such a beautiful month, my favorite month. The weather is usually agreeable. The grass has finally turned green. The leaves are popping.......

It's such a shame to coop children up in institutions during such a beautiful month! May would be a great month to take off of school or at least lighten the load. Instead, I'd use it to send my children out of doors as often as possible.