Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recipes From the Blogosphere

Until we bought our computer in the spring, any new recipe I tried was from my cookbooks or given me by a relative or friend. Suddenly, the internet has opened up so many, many recipe sources and I've had a blast trying out new dishes.

Mrs. Boesch's Scones with
Simply Spicy's Blackberry Jam--

This was my favorite of all my recent recipe trials!

Whole Wheat-Honey Cookies--
These cookies were good and relatively nutritious, but not a huge hit with the young-folk!

Jess's Dutch Puff--
We enjoyed this delicious and very filling dish for Sunday breakfast. I made the 6-serving version and had lots of left-overs which reheated nicely.

Tammy's Quick and Easy Breadsticks--
Maddie and I made these together. We had the garlic variety with chili. Next time, I'd like to try the cinnamon kind.

Hyperactive Lu's Simply Lasagna--
I've made this twice! Both times I used whole-wheat pasta and the second time, I used a meatless version of my own spaghetti sauce recipe.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Teaching Children to Help-- Part 1

I believe children should have plenty of time to play, have free time, and explore their interests, but I also believe children need to be taught to work. In our house, everyone--and I mean everyone-- helps out with the work that needs to be done to keep things running. But...

Why Should They Help?

1) It is necessary with a large family. We are not the largest family by far. Three children is no record, but with the family continuing to grow, I can't keep up with the entire workload. That is why I teach the children notice small things and take the initiative to get them done. Putting their dishes in the sink after breakfast and lunch is a small task, but it saves me extra steps. Putting their own dirty clothes in the hamper is not a big job, but it sure saves me the time of going through the house picking up piles of laundry. Even the littlest ones can do these task with little effort!

2) It teaches everyone to contribute to the household. Even if helping out wasn't necessary, teaching children to work makes them realize that everyone is a useful member of the family and has a part to play.

3) It teaches servanthood. Serving others is a key point of Christianity and helping around the house lays this foundation. Putting a diaper in the trashcan for Mom or helping a younger sibling put on his shirt or putting place settings on the table for all the family members enforces the concept that there are others to think about besides yourself.

4) It prepares children for the future. It is never too early to learn practical skills! It is so much easier to learn to cook while helping Mama than to start from scratch when you get married. Likewise, learning to vacuum, take out the trash, fold laundry, change the oil in the car...are all easier to learn at a young age.

5) It builds character. The habit of daily work teaches children to do without complaining. It encourages confidence, patience, satisfactions in a job well done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mexican Casserole

I have been craving Mexican this whole pregnancy so this dish meets my needs! I especially like it because it is quick and easy...and we always have leftovers that I can warm up for lunch the next day. It is fairly nutritious and everyone can find something in it they like. (I have one who eats only the beans and cheese and another who eats everything but the tomatoes!)
Mexican Casserole

  • Brown 1/2 lb. of ground beef in a large skillet.
  • Add 1 packet of Lipton Fiesta Sides Mexican Rice and 1 1/4 cups of water.
  • Drain 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 15 oz. can of black beans, 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, and 1 15 oz. can of corn and add to skillet.
  • Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally so rice won't stick to bottom of pan.
  • Serve topped with any (or all) of the following: cheese, sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Are You Reading? May Edition

This past month, I spent most of my reading time systematically finishing the books I started last month so that I could start with a clean slate! As a result, my list is slightly shorter this time.

The Bible-- I'm currently reading II Thessalonians
The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis-- 2nd book in her The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series
The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination Is Not Immunization by Tim O'Shea
Socks by Beverly Cleary-- read-aloud with the kids

SO, WHAT ARE YOU READING? Now it is my turn to see who is reading my blog! Leave a quick comment and tell me what you've been reading (even if it is only magazines or the newspaper) or let me know something you recommend! Audio books count, too!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Kid in You

This post is part of another photo contest from 5 Minutes For Mom.

"Mama, I'm cooking you breakfast!"
Cleaning up the mess from the counter, from the floor, from him... it took a long time, but it was so funny (and sweet), I couldn't be mad!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We're Having A...


After much debating, we decided to find out
what we are having this time.
We did it mostly for the kids who were dying to know!

Everything looks is on target for gestational age (8 oz.),
the heart and other organs developing well,
and he has all 10 fingers and all 10 toes !

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fabric Fun!

My goal for this weekend was to finish up these onesies. I did most of the work last weekend while I was working on my bag, but I had some detail stitching to complete. I love how they turned out. I used a combination on fabric fusing and embroidery.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them all yet, but I was having too much fun to stop at one or two. (Hubby even suggested a few designs to try!) I gave one away as a baby gift on Sunday. Maybe I'll do the same with the rest or maybe I'll keep one for our new baby (boy? girl?). I've thought about trying to sell them, but I don't really know how to get started. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tales From the Trenches!

Anticipating my fourth child in the fall, I've been thinking back on my last birth. I have very fond memories of the experience, but I also have a few, hmmm, interesting memories, too.

The hospital where my midwife practices is about an hour from our home. (There are at least four hospitals in our area that are closer, but that is where she practices so that is where we go.) I went into labor 2 1/2 weeks early with my third, and having been on the late side with my first two, I was unsure it was the real thing at first. But the contactions kept coming so we set off for the hospital.

We got there around 5:30 am and were introduced to our nurse who happened to share my first name. Neat, I thought! The hospital has a birthing center with labor/delivery/ recovery/postpartum rooms so once you are admitted you stay in the same place for the duration of your time there. However, before being admitted, you go to an observation room to "make sure you are really in labor." As Kristin hooks up a fetal monitor, she asks the standard, "So is this your first?" I tell her it was actually my third and she says, "Oh, you're a glutton for punishment!" Not what you tell a laboring woman. First sign that Kristin and I would not be doing any serious bonding!

Well, she watches the monitors for awhile and tells me she might need to send me home because I don't seem to be in active labor. Keep in mind, "home" is an hour away and this is my third child! In her defense, my contractions were strong, but coming anywhere from 4 to 11 minutes apart. While she goes to talk to the doctor on call, I ask to go to the bathroom. When I come back to the room, I sit down on the bed...and it falls in half. (It was one of those beds that breaks apart for the pushing stage.) My 8 1/2 month pregnant self goes straight into the floor. Kristin comes running back in the room asking if I'm alright and comments that she must not have secured the bed properly! Hmmm.

Kristin decides to check me again and discovers that even though I'm "not in active labor" I've managed to go from 3 cm to 7 cm in the last hour so I get admitted.

Lucky for me, shift change arrives, Kristin goes home, I get a new nurse who I adore, and Owen is born about two-and-a-half hours later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Better Late Than Never

It has been awhile since I've done any counted cross stitch. It takes so much time and I prefer projects where I can see more immediate progress. However, I used to cross stitch quite often. In high school, I tackled this HUGE piece where every square had a stitch. In other words, the places that were meant to be white had a white stitch, not blank space! It took me several years to complete the whole thing. But then I put it away and never had it framed. I've been meaning to have it professionally framed for years but never took the time or money. Finally, I decided to just frame it myself. Even if the framing was done poorly, it was better than sitting in a Ziploc under my couch! So here it hangs years after the final stitch, above the bookshelf in my living room.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Devoted Daddy

This post is mainly for Brian. However, it can't hurt to let others know how special I think he is! As a result of our fun, long weekend, he has been working extra long hours to keep up with the workload. Yesterday, he was gone from 7:30 am to 8:15 pm. We really missed him. Not only do I miss his help, but I miss having someone to talk to (that is, someone older than 5!).

Last night, when it was supper time, I told the kids to come to the table. They asked if we would be eating when Daddy got home. I told them he was working late and we would have to eat without him. It is our routine to wait to eat together so this was a little strange to them. Then I told them Daddy probably wouldn't be home until after they were in bed but that he would hug and kiss them as soon as he got home. Gavin got all teary-eyed and said, "But then we'll be asleep." After bedtime snack, we settled down on the couch to read a few books before bed. Usually, bedtime is at 8, but since I was operating alone, I was a little behind. Suddenly, we heard the key in the door and the book was forgotten. Brian became a human tree for awhile as all three kids climbed on his back and chattered about the day.

Brian often puts the oldest two kids to bed and reads them a chapter or two from a book. (Currently they are reading The Adventures of Bobby Raccoon by Thorton W. Burgess.) I didn't expect him to do that last night since he had just walked in the door and hadn't eaten supper yet. However, he said he wanted to and carried them piggy-back off to bed. Today will be another long day without him, but we know he wants to be with us as much as we want him here. We love you, Brian!

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Weekend in Pictures

Since it has been rainy for the past few days and since Brian works outside, we had an unexpected long weekend. He was off half-day Friday and all day Monday (and the weekend, of course). We did lots of cleaning and lots of relaxing...and I did lots of projects! My favorite was this handbag I made for myself. I got the bag at Walmart for dirt cheap and then made the applique myself. I ironed it on (with fusible web) and then added a few ribbon embellishments. Overall, it was very easy and I'm pleased with the end result.

We also had hours of family time over the weekend. We spent the morning of Mothers' Day at home.

Then we spent the afternoon/early evening at my parents' house. This is me with my mom and my two younger sisters. My brother lives out-of-state so he couldn't be with us this year.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


(The flowers were a gift from my mother-in-law. Thank you!)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I'm a Contest Winner!

So exciting. Just in time for Mothers' Day, I've won an A & E Romance Collection from Barb on A Chelsea Morning!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Good" Kids

Often when we are out somewhere as a family, someone will stop us and compliment on our "good" kids. We'll be in a restaurant and a couple will stop by the table and tell us how well behaved the kids are acting. Or in the line at the grocery store, the cashier will tell us how nice our family is. A neighbor once commented, "My so-and-so is such a handful. You're lucky! You just have good kids." She was implying that my kids naturally act that way, that they were just born "good." That we didn't have to do anything to get them this way. If only.

It took training to have our children behave the way they do. Gavin, in his self-nature, wants to whop his little brother when he takes away his toys just as much as the kid in the store wants to throw a tantrum when he can't buy candy. But Gavin, unlike the other kid, has been trained that there is a better way. It took work on Brian's part and my part to raise the kids to have Godly attitudes. It takes work every day! One day (or hour or minute) of slack, and the ugly attitudes and actions start to creep in.

I understand that some kids that have temperaments that make them harder to train than others. I have one of those. I could command this child to do something over and over and administer a spanking between each command and this child still would refuse to do what I said. It took more spankings than I cared to give before the child would finally give in. As time went by, this child learned to obey the first time, not the twenty-second time. My point is, good kids are trained kids, not kids that are good by nature.
Thankfully, I'm not on my own! Just as the kids don't act "good" by nature, I'm not a "good" mom by nature. God promises in Psalm 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." What a promise!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Our Dilemma

We have a decision to make. Not a life-changing decision. Just one of those decisions where you want to have it both ways! I should be having an ultrasound in the next few weeks and I don't know whether we want to find out the sex of the baby!

With our first two kids, we found out. We were glad we did. We had clothes ready, a name picked out, etc. With our third, we kept it to be surprise. We were glad we did. We had boy and girl things saved from the other kids so we were prepared either way. It was fun not knowing until after he was born that he was a...he!

BUT this time, we don't know what to do. There are definite pros and cons. Gavin and Maddie want a girl just like they did when I was expecting Owen. Gavin had a bit of an adjustment when my dad told him the baby was indeed a boy, not the girl he had insisted I was having through the entire pregnancy. Finding out ahead of time would avoid those final-hour disappointments.

Another big issue is the fact that we are having a nearly impossible time coming up with names we BOTH agree on. We had a list of 4-5 names for each gender. We recently went back through the list and crossed off almost everything!! So finding out ahead of time would eliminate half of the painful process.

The things is-- I still like the element of surprise. If it was totally up to me, I would wait until the BIG DAY. I was able to see Owen (and his identifying parts) as he was coming out and that was really neat. But it isn't all up to me...
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