December 31, 2007

Manic Monday

I'm copying Candy's saying about her Mondays- Manic Monday! Things never go like you plan, and last night after I posted I was going to do lots around here before bed. Well, my stomach didn't cooperate- tummy ache! It wouldn't be so bad, but I get really nervous when my stomach gets upset and of course that just makes everything worse. I ate chili several times this weekend made by someone else, and it may have had pork in it. Sometimes pork makes me sick. So, I just sat on the couch and then went to bed- nothing else got done.

I invited my parents and my sister's family here tomorrow for lunch and didn't get to some of my regular cleaning last week, so, I've been going like mad today. It's kind of funny, but since I posted my new schedules, I haven't managed to even get started actually doing them. We haven't had a 'normal' day in awhile. Of course, my children haven't had naps in two days because of family gatherings, ate lots of junk and are tired and cranky. Actually, they've been pretty good, and I was dosing them with vitamin C, probiotics, and elderberry syrup after we got home these last few days.

So far I've done most of the cleaning except the floors, I need to put laundry away and put sheets on my bed, and take down the tree! This is our first year to have fake tree, so instead of just throwing it outside on top of the burn pile, I have to actually take it apart and put it away. I'm an intelligent person, so I'm sure I can pull it off...new experiences though, are sometimes intimidating, LOL!!!

If I can manage it I want to take pictures of my 'experiments' for you all. It's very interesting and COOL to me.

December 30, 2007

Kitchen Lab

Weekends are always so busy! Every Monday it seems that the laundry has just multiplied overnight and the rest of the house is dirty- even if I just cleaned it Friday and maintained over the weekend.

Anyways, my kitchen is alive! I ordered some cultured foods from fermentedtreasures.com and they came in yesterday. I have sourdough starter going that's supposedly started from the colonial days. It smells good and I made pancakes out of it this morning- pretty good.

Also I have kefir grains and made the first batch. Generally it can take a few batches before it gets going good, as it didn't thicken that much. We'll see.

I have a kind of yogurt called Caspian Sea yogurt or matsoni. All you have to do is heat the milk, let it cool, add the culture and let it sit for 24-48hrs the first time, then the next batch should only take 12-24hrs. The cool thing about it is you can add half and half or cream and make it rich tasting, which I love.

Of course I have my regular kombucha brewing as usual. I always wanted to be a scientist when I 'grew up'. I guess I'm getting to experiment in kitchen.

December 28, 2007

Just stuff

Well, I'm still pondering the kitchen/meal series of posts- trying to decide what the goal of it would be :)

Thanks for the suggestions about children getting up early. I think they slept a little later this morning. I do remember from Babywise, that children who are well rested tend to sleep better or longer in general, rather than keeping them up later in hopes of them sleeping well.

I took down our Christmas decor today. All that's left is the tree and the outside lights/wreath. I used to feel so sad when it had to be taken down, but now that I am the housewife I want it down- it's been up since the week after Thanksgiving!

We finally got some sunshine today, so the girls and I went outside to play on their new swingset. (I didn't swing, I pushed them, LOL) Then I decided to help dh out and stack all the wood he chopped up and rearranged the patio so we would have more room. Then I raked and raked and raked all the piles of leaves into one gigantic pile. I worked up a sweat, but the weather was nice and it was fun doing something for my husband-he'll be so surprised! And relieved.

I am so proud of Leiah. Today I put her in panties just to see how she would do. She stayed dry all morning and was able to put herself on the potty( a little one for now), let me know when she wanted to sit on it, and then finally peed in it!!!! I am planning to cut up some cloth diapers and sew strips in the crotch area of the panties as 'training pants'. Since she's older the regular Gerber ones are a bit tight. But, we might not need them as much. YEA!!! I was so dreading this.

Anyways, if I'm not too tired, in a little while I may post my re-vamped schedules and stuff. I typed them up yesterday during naps. I sure hope it works well- seems like I'm doing this every couple of months or less!

December 27, 2007

Question: How do you get your children to sleep later than 6:30am? They go to bed at 8pm and their light is usually on at 6:30. We keep their door shut, so they don't come out until we let them, but still, it's early! I don't want to keep them up a lot later- we've done that before and it didn't work. Their windows have room darkening shades and we have a noisemaker in there. When they get up, they are grouchy and whiny and fighting. They do take naps in the afternoon- about 1-2 hours usually sometimes less.

Anyways, I've also been re-doing my daily routines and schedules. I will post them soon after I get them ready. I've been thinking about doing a series of posts, but haven't come up with a name for it yet. Maybe something called "In my Kitchen" or " At the Table" for a week or something. I thought it might be interesting to see what everyone cooks in their kitchen and in what way, especially those of us who ferment things :)

Well, I need to get the kitchen cleaned up and the girls dressed. We're about to head to Wal-Mart for some things- prayers please!

December 26, 2007

Giving

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas. We had a great Christmas and are very tired today :) God has really blessed us abundantly this month and I wanted to not only give Him praise for it, but also explain the reason why He has blessed us.

A lot of Christians seem to misunderstand what the Bible says about tithing. We did for a long time. At first, we only tithed occasionally and not 10% off the top of our income. We just either forgot or didn't think we had enough money to cover bills and such and tithe. We would hear testimonies all the time of people who gave out of their need, and how God blessed them for it. Most people know the story of the widow giving all she had in the offering.









"And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called [unto him] his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all [they] did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, [even] all her living." Mark 12:42-44


Seems backwards, but God's ways are not our ways. He also teaches that when we give, are to give expecting to receive something back; that we are sowing seed into His kingdom, and can expect a return.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." Malachi 3:10



God wants us to be blessed and live abundantly, however He doesn't have any actual money in Heaven, He uses us on earth to bless others for His purposes and glory. I don't know where the idea came from that it's Godly to be poor and suffer- we are rich spiritually, but does that mean God is glorified if we don't have what we need to live and maybe some things we want on the earth?

"It is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly." John 10:10 (a little paraphrased)

It is the enemy who delights in our suffering and hurt. Not God.

Anyways, so we started giving 10% off the top of our income back in the summer. Sometimes things were pretty tight and we didn't really see much 'blessing' from it. I 'reasoned' with God too- where is this blessing you said would come if we gave out of our need? But I knew He could not fail and was ever faithful. I knew He was with us and that someday we would see the result of our giving. Keep in mind, our goal is not to give just so we can receive back, we want to give, we have a desire to give all we can, and out of that God blesses us for our heart attitude and our faith.

So we 'kept the faith' and continued to believe that this was His plan for us. The whole month of December, our blessing came in. Through random checks, and special, unexpected gifts, we have received around $1500. That's 100 fold increase from these months of tithing our 10%! Also, when we bought our van, the way it worked out, we didn't have a car payment this month either, so we had some 'extra' too.

He is truly faithful even when we aren't, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The key though, is expecting a blessing, knowing that you are sowing seed and expecting to see a harvest, whether it be in money form, souls saved, or whatever. We certainly weren't expecting all this at the same time, but it came in His timing.

I hesitate to write about this subject, because a lot of people, especially non-believers get the wrong idea. Some might think we're using God or something. No- we are simply doing what He says in His Word, being obedient, and He wants to bless. He wants to bless you too!

December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve


I think I enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day! I guess it's the anticipation and getting ready that's fun. Plus, this year my children understand a lot more about Christmas than ever before, and I'm excited for them. I remember how excited I used to get- the girls have been jumping and dancing around all day. I hope I can sleep tonight.

Today we walked to our neighbors' houses passing out gifts of homemade treats. Alexa really got into it- just walking up and knocking or pushing the doorbell and saying 'Merry Christmas!' all by herself. I'm very proud.

I have been cooking all day. Tonight we will have a semi-traditional Swedish smorgasbord. I thought it would be a neat tradition to start. In Sweden, that is what they do- Christmas Eve dinner is the big one, and that's when their version of Santa Clause comes too. So, since my husband has Swedish blood in him, and so do my children, I thought we should do something related.

The Menu

pickles, olives, Texas sweet hot pickles
summer sausage, Swedish farmer's cheese, muenster cheese, crackers
homemade Limpa Rye bread and butter
Swedish Meatballs
Potatissalad (potato salad with vinegar-dill dressing)
Creamy, dill cucumber salad
Rice pudding
cookies
coffee


I've done everything except the meatballs and putting things in dishes. I tried to pick things that could be made earlier in the day and served at room temperature so it wouldn't be so much work. My girls are still a bit little to really appreciate the significance of the meal and all the work involved, so we'll work up to a larger spread someday.

We usually watch either A Christmas Story or Christmas Vacation too. Then the rest of the evening is spent finishing up with the Christmas presents.


Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

December 22, 2007

Baking Day

Today will be a massive cookie baking day. Last night I made the cherry tumbprint recipe from The Sparrow's Nest (link in left hand column). They are really good. Today I will experiment with a chocolate mint cookie, and the kids and I will to do cut out cookies and decorate them. (I just went ahead and bought cookie mixes and premade frosting) Every year I made these cookies with either my mom, grandma, or just me and my sister or friends. Some of them will be for our neighbors to pass out on Christmas Eve, some for Santa, and the rest for us to eat.

If I can manage I will take pictures- should be interesting :)

December 21, 2007

Too Early for New Year's Resolutions?

I have already been thinking about how I want to start the new year. Life is altered quite a bit with all the Christmas preparations and such, so I keep putting things off until after Christmas is done. I mostly just have two things I want to do next year.

1. Be more loving and kind to my children; spend more quality time with them and not always being busy scurrying about the house. I want to see them as a ministry, not ankle biters. Also within this I want to really give homeschooling a try and work on teaching them to read and listen to me read.

2. Get rid of 50lbs or more. I want to buckle down and do the Nourishing Traditions diet 99% of the time (within reason- I can't get free range meats at a reasonable price) and exercise. I know a lot of people say they want to do this, but I've had excess body weight since Leiah was born, 5 years ago, and I am tired of it. It's not coming off by itself obviously, and I'm not growing a baby or anything, so the time is now!

I want to get my priorities straight and have a smooth rhythm to our days. I write up all these plans and it never works. Certain things do work, but a lot of it doesn't. I have such a hard time getting distracted and just focusing on the house and meals. My kids are left to themselves a lot, or watching TV. Why does this happen? Why do I desire perfection? I never cared before, but since my housekeeping was critiqued once, I have been obsessed with it. How do I keep from getting side tracked??

I know my life should be God, Husband, Children, Home. Much of the time it's Husband, Home, Children, God. Everyday is different though- some days I do get it right. This wife and mom thing is so much more complex than I would have imagined.

December 20, 2007

My Quick and Easy Meal

I created this meal last spring, that turns out we really like and it's real easy. It's pretty cheap- I figured it for 6 people and it came to $1.09 per person. Our grocery store sells chicken legs at discount, so I can get 8-10 legs for about $3-4 and sometimes even cheaper depending on sales.

Quick and Easy Meal: BBQ chicken legs, cole slaw, corn on the cob

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange chicken on baking dish without the legs touching each other. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and slide into oven. Let cook for 20 minutes.

Fill a saucepan with water and set on medium high heat. Leave that alone.

In a large bowl, mix 3 T apple cider vinegar, 2 T honey, 1/2c mayonaise or more depending on preference, salt and pepper. Whisk it up good, then add cole slaw mix. I generally add extra shredded carrots, but I didn't today. Put in fridge to chill.

Put frozen corn in pot of water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes till hot all the way through. Take chicken out and baste with storebought bbq sauce. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Take it out again, turn them over, baste liberally, return to oven another 5 minutes. Chicken is now done, serve with extra sauce if desired.


We are having this meal tonight and it certainly is a kid pleaser. One time I had the tiny chicken drummettes and used those for the kids and they loved it!

Brain Gym

Monday I took Leiah to see a Brain Gym Specialist. What is Brain Gym? Well, from what I understand, it's actually Brain kinesiology, and the movements that you do are actually working the brain. I heard about it through our pastor and his wife, and one of their relatives did actually show us some exercises a couple of years ago. However, we didn't really stay with it, mostly because we didn't know much about it.

The movements are kinda strange, but basically we are balls of energy, and by moving the energy around our bodies, we are helping our brains to process better. Leiah of course freaks out when anyone touches her, and now I know why. Our brain stem is the part that controls our emotions, the middle part of the brain is the part where we actually think. Because of the genetic change in Leiah, her brain is receiving all touch and other things as pain, even though it's not painful. This would explain why she flips out when we cut her toe nails.

The wonderful lady worked with us for over an hour. Leiah wasn't doing too well, so we went to the floor and she did the movements on me. Well, then Leiah wanted her to do it to her, and she did great! She sent home diagrams of all the exercises we need to work on to get Leiah calmed down and de-stressed and 'out of her brainstem'. In January we go back to hopefully work on more speech related things. At home I've been trying to do as many as I can twice a day. Alexa likes it too, so we have a Brain Gym party.

Other things we are to work on for Leiah is to increase water and foods with high water content- water being a conductor of electricity, which is what our whole body uses. Of course plenty of sleep, and oddly enough, things like spinning till she gets so dizzy she falls down, hanging upside down, swinging high, jumping on trampolines. She loves to do all of these things!

Brain Gym is for everyone. Athletes use it, teachers can use it on their class, it's for everyone to help thinking be more clear, to de-stress, to get more flexible, to even get over fears like taking tests etc. Amazing!

December 19, 2007

Christmas Plans

Wow! I canNOT believe that it's now less than a week till Christmas Day. What seems so far in advance is almost here already. Time does fly. So what are we up to?

Well, this week I've been culling out toys etc. and rearranging the house a bit to prepare for the influx of stuff next week. For some reason everyone wants to give our children gifts :) It was starting to get a little overwhelming, trying to figure out what extended family would want for presents etc. But, my amazing and wonderful husband helped me get all of that straightened out. I must brag on him for a moment. Lately I've been so tired and not really getting up early like I did before. So, he doesn't always get a good breakfast unless he cooks it and he makes his own lunch, but he never complains. This morning he didn't wake me up at all, made breakfast and had written a note and put it in our refrigerator for me to find. What a sweetheart.

Ok, back to Christmas. Sunday afternoon we get together with my mom's side of the family with food and just visiting. Monday I am planning a traditional Swedish smorgasbord for just our family (if I could find some people who weren't busy I'd invite them- everyone is busy!) which will include Swedish meatballs,boiled tiny new potatoes, cucumber cream salad, rye bread, smoked salmon, pickled things, saffron buns and rice pudding and coffee. Earlier that day I plan to deliver some baked goods to our neighbors with the girls. Then later we will eat dinner and watch a Christmas movie, probably A Christmas Story (my favorite) or Elf. After the girls go to bed Matt will begin re-assembling the swing set we bought-yea. I will stuff stockings and put them in front of the tree. Christmas Day we'll do our presents, have the traditional eggs benedict breakfast and then go to my mom and dad's house later that afternoon for exchanging presents and a Tex Mex Feast. The Saturday after that we will meet with my dad's family at my grandmother's house, then go meet with Matt's youngest brother and his family- then we'll be done with family gatherings for awhile!

I've done ok not going nuts with presents. The swing set only cost us $50 because we bought it from a family, and I got most of Sarah's stuff from the dollar store. Yesterday I went to another resale shop and got some presents. So, the breakdown:

Leiah- a talking alphabet toy by V-tech, a 25 piece puzzle, slippers, a movie (Bug's Life), art supplies, doll dress and bonnet, plastic play guitar from Santa and some stocking stuffers

Alexa- Hungry Hippos game, 25 piece puzzle, slippers, movie, art supplies, doll dress and bonnet, guitar and stocking(socks, undies, mittens)

Sarah- doll stroller, tea set, magnadoodle, playdoh set, pjs, doll clothes, stocking

Plus the swing set, and my parents generally get them clothes and a toy- an adorable baby doll for Sarah, and hairstyling Barbie head things for the other two, plus a real Barbie jeep for them to ride in. Yeah, they're spoiled :)

And of course, Alexa's birthday is the 26th, poor kid, and Leiah's is Jan. 3rd,so I have gifts for then too.

December 17, 2007

Christmas Candy


This past Saturday I was part of the candy making crew. Me, my mom, my sister, my grandmother and two aunts all got together at my mom's to make the traditional Christmas candies. We were on our feet from 9am to 4pm! They got a little bossy too- ordering me around here and there like was 9 years old! It was all good natured though.

Anyways, I am not kidding, but I bet we had about 500 pieces of candy overall made up by the end of the day. What did we make?

4 pans fudge with nuts

2 pans peanut butter fudge
2 pans caramel fudge
3 batches pralines
2 pans spiced pecan bark
100 chocolate covered cherries-this was my project, more on that later
3 batches of divinity
peanut brittle
white and milk chocolate covered raw peanuts
chocolate covered Ritz-peanut butter crackers
300 Martha Washingtons? (coconut/pecan nougat stuff covered in chocolate-look like bon bons)

We were melting chocolate, rolling balls of things and stirring up a storm! When my aunt had the divinity going we were all ready with spoons as soon as it was ready so we could start spooning on wax paper before it hardened in the bowl. It was rather intense sometimes, LOL!

So what did I make specifically? I did the spiced pecan bark and the cherries. A word about the cherries before you all register in shock. When I was in Holland I ate a chocolate covered cherry about about choked- there was alcohol in it. Yeah, the cherries had been soaked in congac. After the initial shock, I like the. We are not against drinking- the Bible says don't get drunk, not don't drink at all ever lest you go to hell.

So, I thought it would be fun to try. I bought 3lbs of marachino cherries and poured out the juice, then replaced it with cognac. They sat overnight, then I drained them well. Wow were they strong! Then I made fondant with 3 T butter, 3 T corn syrup, 2 cups powdered sugar and a few drops of water. This is the tedious part- you have to wrap the fondant around each cherry, then chill it before dipping in chocolate. After they're wrapped and chilled, you dip in melted semi-sweet chocolate. They're supposed to sit for 1-2 weeks, and as time goes by the fondant sort of melts and becomes liquid like the kind you buy in the store. I was afraid they would be really strong, but they aren't- and wow are they good!

Spiced Pecan Bark
2 cups pecans
4 T butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2t cayenne
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
pinch of salt
dried cherries
12oz each melted white, dark and milk chocolate


Melt the butter and sugar in skillet, add pecans and spices. Cook till sugar dissolves, then pour onto sheet pan and put in 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Melt the chocolates- important note- melt them all at the same time in separate containers. Put wax paper on cookie sheet. Put pecans and dried cherries on top-mix together. Pour on the chocolates making pretty swirls. Let set, then break into bark. When you first eat this, you just taste chocolate and nuts, then after you swallow it, you feel with warmth of the spices in your throat. Interesting.

The worst part about this is that I have all this candy just sitting here, tempting us to eat it, and we do!

Encounter with Santa

Last Thursday night was my husband's work Christmas party at Cracker Barrel Restauraunt. The girls and I were all dressed up eating cornbread and hamburgers :) Anyways, one of the guys there always dresses up as Santa Clause, and this is really the first year our girls have really understood anything about it. Yes, we 'do' Santa Clause- I honestly don't see any harm in it, and if they start asking questions, we'll tell them the truth-simple. I grew up doing Santa Clause and I was not damaged in any way when I found out at the, ahem, age of 12! (Hey, my parents went all out with phone calls and letters and such from Santa- I was a believer now!) If anyone would have been crushed, it would have been me.

But I digress...here are a few pictures.

Alexa was so excited she was trembling all over.

Sarah held her arms up for Santa to pick her up, but she doesn't look too sure about it here.


Leiah was not having anything to do with touching Santa Clause- she snatched the goody bag from him though.

After sucking on her candy cane for awhile, Sarah decided it would be best to stick it in her hair. Nice.

December 15, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posting. My hand is so much better! Praise the Lord. I've been making homemade candy all day with my mom and aunts- we made probably 500 pieces of candy!!! Talk about sugar highs going on!

Anyways, I do have stuff to post about, just not the time to do it. I'll get to it soon!

December 13, 2007

The Past Two Days Bullet Style

Yesterday-

It was cold and rainy

Me and the girls got out in it anyways

We visited a friend from church who was in the hospital over the weekend.

We went to a resale shop trying to find a coat for Leiah

No coats and Leiah was crying.Sarah pooped.

We went to the dollar store.

I changed the poopy diaper in the back of the van- no trash can at the store.

Set diaper on the car hood so it wouldn't stink up the car.

I bought the rest of Sarah's Christmas presents.

We went to Dairy Queen and I threw away the diaper.

We ate steak fingers, gravy, french fries and Root beer.

We came home.

They took naps.

I cut out more fabric for doll clothes.

My wrist on my right hand started hurting badly.

I made dinner, we ate, did bedtime stuff, girls went to bed

Wrapped some presents.

Made tea and cookies for dh.

Did some sewing.

Took a bath to soak my wrist.

Went to sleep with a heat pack on it.


Today-

Woke up late- wrist was swollen and sore.

Got myself and kids dressed

Made breakfast.

Made an appointment with a chiropractor.

Made arrangements for my children to be looked after while I went to dr.

Sarah took off her diaper, pooped on the floor, then picked it up and squished it.

Cleaned up floor and baby.

Dropped kids off,all except Leiah.

Went to chiropractor- I have tendonitis, don't know how it happened.

Go to Wal-Mart to get epsom salts for soaking it (yeah right, when can I do that?)

Go pick up girls.

Leiah trips and busts her lip open.

Come home, make lunch.

Cousin that works for the chiropractor I went to arrives to eat her lunch.

Power goes out.

Power company says it will be 4pm before someone gets out here.

I put Sarah in her bed.

Walk to kitchen and notice the lights are on-hooray!!!

Other girls are napping.

Now:

I am online, my wrist hurts very much, and there's not a lot I can do. I'm supposed to rest it and ice it, but how can I do that?? I still have sewing, baking, cleaning, Christmas cards etc. to do- and the only thing I can do is grin and bear it. Jesus has taken care of it- 'By His stripes we were healed..."

December 11, 2007

Tea Party

Yesterday I whizzed through the house doing an Emergency quick clean and the girls did a good job of keeping themselves busy, so I rewarded them with a real tea party. We gathered up every doll and teddy bear or rabbit we could find and dug out the plastic tea set. They played with those while I made the real tea.


As you can see Snow White and Belle were also present at the tea. Then came the real tea. I brewed chai tea in my teapot and set out real sugar in the bowl and real milk in the little pitcher. I made little pizza toasts (sauce on bread topped with cheese and an olive), apple slices spread with peanut butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and poppy seeds, little toasts with strawberry jam and powdered sugar sprinkled on top and some leftover sand tart cookies. They all did very well, and had fun 'making' their tea.
Again, I can't seem to take a good picture- something is messed up on my camera and of course the kids wouldn't all look at me at the same time- that would be a miracle!

I started yet another project last night- making vintage doll clothes for the girls' dolls for Christmas. I saw the patterns one day at wal-mart and just loved it! I really wanted to make real clothes my children with them, but that would be a bit difficult, LOL.
This is the one I picked- I started a jacket and bonnet for Sarah's new baby, then I will made a dress for each of the other two's dolls, and hopefully a pillow and blanket too. I want to make a whole wardrobe for each doll, but I don't know if I'll have time.

Well, time to do baths for the kids and then get to work on laundry and bread dough. Hopefully I will get more time to sew today!

December 7, 2007

Kids say some funny stuff

Tonight after dinner we decided to go for a drive and look at Christmas lights. There is the this one house in town that is AWESOME- they have a huge lot and it is filled to the brim with amazing Christmas lights, figurines, everything. As we were driving around it, Alexa is oohing and ahhing over it all, then says ''I don't care. I need some pantyhose!"

What?

Then I figured it out. Today I was telling her that since it wasn't cold outside we could wear dresses and didn't need pants. Generally if it's pretty cold we wear pants or leggings or tights.

I asked if her legs were cold and she said yes. It was so random, hubby and I busted out laughing.Oh well, you had to be there :)
Santa Claus and St. Nicholas

Everybody loves Santa Claus. He embodies holiday cheer, happiness, fun, and gifts—warm happy aspects of the Christmas season. How do Santa Claus and St. Nicholas differ?

Santa Claus belongs to childhood;
St. Nicholas models for all of life.

Santa Claus, as we know him, developed to boost Christmas sales—the commercial Christmas message;
St. Nicholas told the story of Christ and peace, goodwill toward all—the hope-filled Christmas message.

Santa Claus encourages consumption;
St. Nicholas encourages compassion.

Santa Claus appears each year to be seen and heard for a short time;
St. Nicholas is part of the communion of saints, surrounding us always with prayer and example.

Santa Claus flies through the air—from the North Pole;
St. Nicholas walked the earth—caring for those in need.

Santa Claus, for some, replaces the Babe of Bethlehem;
St. Nicholas, for all, points to the Babe of Bethlehem.

Santa Claus isn't bad;
St. Nicholas is just better.


J. Rosenthal & C. Myers



**Taken from www.stnicholascenter.org

Decking the Halls

Warning to all Scrooges- this is a Christmas post, so if you don't like Christmas trees or Santa Clause or Christmas in general, you might want to leave.

For those that do like Christmas and are interested, here are some pictures of our decked out home. For starters, I have always loved everything about Christmas. I love dragging out all the boxes of Christmas stuff and placing the decorations about and making new things, making food and baking, planning and making presents, listening to Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas music all time and so on. My favorite part of getting ready for Christmas is the Christmas tree. I go all the way, put every ornament we ever had, multi colored lights and twinkling ones at that, and the rainbow tinsel star on top. Hey, Christmas is all about being gaudy,LOL!

Our front door from the inside. I made this wreath five years ago and it's not my favorite, but this year I added some holly leaves and berries to freshen it up a bit. The Santa Clause jingles when you open the door.

Here's some of the decor on the shelves. The Nativity Set was a gift last year and the wooden Santa I bought a few years back. He has a 'twin' with birdhouses on his robe. Love the homespun look!!



And here is the $30 tree from Wal-Mart.
It does have blinking colored lights, but my husband changed the resolution on the camera and I can't figure out how to fix it back. The stuffed animals underneath the tree is a Nativity set the kids play with. Also the snow lady on the far right gets wrapped up in blankets and 'fed' everyday by Sarah.

Next is our fireplace/mantle- finally we have an actual mantle to hang stockings on :)
And here is my 'Swedish Tree'. My husband's family comes from Sweden, or actually now they're saying they moved from Finland to Sweden, then came to America. Anyways, when we go to Michigan (where Dh is from) we go to a store called the Swedish Passport and I bought these little traditional ornaments last year. Sweden's colors are blue and yellow, but it's hard to find those colors for Christmas stuff, so I went with red and white.
The little straw ornaments are the ones from the store. I already had the bows and pinecones, then white balls with red toile print are the ones I made Wednesday.
We spray painted clear glass balls white, then took Aleene's decopauge glue and some toile tissue paper and glued it on the ball. The hard part is cutting out the images, but it's just tedious. I made more than this little tree could hold so I have others on the big tree.

My kitchen was kind of messy when I was taking pictures, so all I have is the window above the sink.
The snowmen collection. I have several more, including a teapot. What's weird is that I never bought any of them- they were all given to me at one time or another, so I have a collection without meaning to.

I know a lot of people don't do Santa Clause, but I found an interesting article about him the other day and plan to put it up soon. We like him and don't see any harm in it.

December 5, 2007

Being Flexible

Well, the menu changed already!

Ha,ha- I spent all day with my mom shopping and working on crafts at her house (pictures soon) and still hadn't bought groceries. We were completely out of some major staples, so on my way home we stopped at the store. They had roasts on sale for $3.55! I bought all they had, which was only three.

So, today we ate tuna casserole and leftover corn casserole. Tomorrow we will have pot roast with veggies- carrots, onions, potatoes and green beans, probably some salad and rolls. Friday will be beef tips or stroganoff depending on leftovers. I can try the homemade noodles then. If there aren't any leftovers from the roast (it's one the smaller side) I'm sure I will be back at the store before Friday evening since I only got a few things today.

I like being able to be flexible. I had planned to just do some cleaning and grocery shopping today, probably an outing to the park. But, my mom called me last night wanting us to go shop at Hobby Lobby, which I wasn't going to turn that opportunity down! So we went this morning and made several other stops, including McDonald's-yea...We went to one that has you dispense your own ketchup into paper cups. Miss Sarah was drinking hers! Gross, yack...

Then we did our ornament project, which I will post about later :)

December 4, 2007

Being at Home


For several years I have been a reader of Lady Lydia's blog and articles on LAF, which you can view by clicking the links on the left of this page. (Homeliving Helper is her blog) She is always writing about making our homes comfortable, peaceful, beautiful and how women are truly fulfilled by being at home.

Having been at home for over 5 years now, I have concluded that she is right. I tried to write a comment on her blog, but for some reason it wouldn't let me, so I'll just write what I want to say here.

Her most recent article, Better at Home, really struck a chord with me. For two years my oldest daughter has been going to public school. Every morning we rushed around, getting her ready and out the door. This fall, I made it even worse by making her lunch and also enrolling my second daughter into preschool. Every morning I would get up early, get dressed in a hurry, make lunches, make breakfast, hurry and get her dressed, get her bag packed, force some food into her and have her on the bus by 7:20am. Then I would get the other two dressed and fed and drive up to the preschool, drop Alexa off, go home and rush around doing chores or run errands, and be back to pick her up at 11am. Then she would be cranky, tired and hungry. When Leiah got home she would also be tired, hungry and have a short fuse, so there was much discord to say the very least.

What a world of difference now. None of my children are in school now. I can get up reasonably early, make breakfast and do some chores before the kids get up, we can eat breakfast in pjs, and conduct our day how we want. Everyone has cabin fever? Then we go to the park. No time constraints or papers to be signed, or whatever. If naps and bedtimes need to be later, they can be with no worry of tired children at school the next day.

I am much more relaxed, I have more time to get things done, and time to enjoy my children. We can take walks, read books, play dollies, bake and they can assist me with cleaning and other things. Life isn't just perfect, but things are so much better. No rush, no hurry up, no wasting gas running all over the place.

Being at home is a blessing, truly. I am so thankful that I know this and am able to be at home.

December 2, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Here's the week's menu- doesn't necessarily mean I will follow it, but it's my plan. I buy groceries on Wednesday, so this menu goes through next Wednesday. Lunches aren't planned- we just figure it out as we go.

Monday: Breakfast- scrambled eggs and toast; Dinner-split pea soup, biscuits, salad, baked apples (with honey, nuts and craisins)

Tuesday: Breakfast-baked oatmeal, turkey sausage; Dinner- beef and rice, corn casserole, salad

Wednesday: Breakfast- egg and ham burritos; Dinner- roasted chicken, veggies, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked custard

Thursday: B-French toast, turkey ham; Dinner-chicken noodle soup (going to try homemade noodles), grilled cheese sandwiches, raw veggies

Friday: B- fried eggs and toast; D- BBQ chicken pizza, Hawaiian salad, healthy cookies

Saturday: B-muffins (probably banana or blueberry) and cheese omelets; D-hamburgers, oven fries, pickles, leftover cookies

Sunday: B-leftover muffins, fruit, ham; D-tomato soup, BLT sandwiches

Monday: B-oatmeal, fruit, toast; D-tuna casserole, green beans, banana pudding (no wafer cookies)

Tuesday: B- scrambled eggs and toast; D-Lentil-ham stew, biscuits, salad

Wednesday: B-rice cereal, toast, fruit; D-spaghetti and turkey meatballs, broccoli, garlic bread, peaches and whipped cream (the kind you whip yourself)

December 1, 2007

Good news

Yesterday I took my oldest daughter, Leiah, to see an orthopedic surgeon. A few weeks ago we discovered that her left leg was longer than the other. I took her to a chiropractor friend, and he said her hip was rotated, which I guess meant out of place.

They did an x-ray yesterday and it turns out her hips are fine. He said they weren't normal looking, but that there was nothing really wrong. So, the only option for her leg is to put a lift in her shoe until she stops growing, then correct it. We need to do another x-ray and follow-ups with this doctor every year to check the progress of the her growth.

So, it is good news that she doesn't need surgery- I was dreading that she would need it. You know it's crazy- every time we find something 'abnormal' or 'wrong' with her, we take her to a specialist, and it turns out to be nothing. Of course we are always praying, so we shouldn't be surprised when everything is ok.

She has been so happy since we took her out of school. Her and her sisters have been doing pretty well together. The only thing is we never had a chance to get into a good, solid routine before we had company and Thanksgiving, and that has thrown us all off. Hopefully after Christmas we can get something concrete going as far as homeschool and therapy.

Well, time to go make breakfast, have a good weekend.

November 29, 2007

Never say Never

Well, remember how I said that if you say you'll never do something, you most assuredly will? It has happened to me again.

I said I would never drive a minivan- look at what I'm driving now.
We traded in our 2003 Tahoe (that we bought used in 2005) for a used 2007 Chevorlet Uplander. We were thinking of other ways to cut some costs, and we started looking around at some vehicles that are easier on gas. A friend of ours works at the nearby Chevorlet house, and showed us this van on Saturday. We prayed that if we were supposed to get it, that things would work out like we wanted, and if not, we would keep looking .

We went back up there on Tuesday and got it for exactly what we wanted, and ended up with a newer car and a smaller monthly payment, plus better gas mileage. " A blessing! A blessing from the Lord! God be praised!' (sorry, little random quote from Monty Python there)

One big plus with this vehicle is that it comes with a built in DVD player, the doors open with the touch of a button, the seats are part leather, part cloth (no sizzling or freezing skin upon sitting down) and, we can separate the kids so they aren't in one row up against each other. (this means less fighting)

I still kind of miss my Tahoe, it was great, but this is better for us and I am very thankful. And yes, ours is white too. Oh, and now I can actually park under our car port- whoo hoo!

November 28, 2007

Bean problems

The title of this post makes me laugh, ha,ha.

Ok, really, in my quest to be more frugal and save money while still feeding my family nourishing foods, I have been focusing on the legumes. I'm a pretty good cook, but when it comes to beans, things just don't work out.

First I couldn't get the right texture or flavor. After many attempts I have finally gotten that part down. But now we, or my husband and I, have other problems. No matter what I do, the after effects of the bean eating is very unpleasant.

I have:
soaked overnight, drain off the water and rinse, then cook slowly on the stovetop

soaked 24 hrs in water and an acid medium, drained and rinsed, then cooked slowly

sprouted lentils, but we don't have problems with them.

done the quick-soak method- boil 5 minutes, cover and let sit an hour, then cook till soft

added baking soda while cooking the beans

I've taken probiotics with the bean meal

The only thing we haven't done is taken beano with the bean meal.

We don't seem to have a problem with canned beans, but I've heard pressure cooking isn't all that healthy for you. Who knows?

So, if anyone has any other tips, PLEASE let me know :) Our bellies and our wallet will thank you :)




Speaking of frugality- this year I caved in and bought a fake Christmas tree. Yes, I vowed that I would never use an artificial tree, but I've come to the understanding that you never say never, because it will surely come to pass.

Anyways, it was the easiest route for us this year, and so today I went to Wal-Mart and bought the $30 prelit 6.5ft tree. Wow that thing is rinky dinky- BUT, when lit up it looks pretty good. It isn't very full and the branches don't come down low enough, but by the time we get it decorated and all, it will be fine. I'll try to get some before and after pictures so you can see what I mean.

Well, it's bed time...

November 27, 2007

How to Use up Leftovers

Wow did I get creative this year with using up the leftovers. I was thinking over everything I had 'recycled' last night and started laughing.

Friday night, after our dinner, I picked off all the large bits of turkey meat and put the carcass in a pot and covered with water. Then I simmered it all evening, turned it off for the night, then simmered it all day Saturday. I strained it and put in the fridge.

Yesterday morning I made my husband three turkey sandwiches on leftover rolls, and I also had a turkey sandwich. For breakfast yesterday I took the leftover mashed potatoes, added an egg, some flour and a bit more salt, then dropped dollops of the mix into a hot buttered skillet. We had this with turkey ham and raisin toast- so much turkey!

For dinner I sauteed carrots, onion, garlic, celery and carrots, added the turkey stock and the leftover turkey and some seasonings, and that was dinner.

For breakfast this morning, I crumbled up all the leftover rolls, layered half in the bottom of a 9x13 pan, then layered chopped granny smith apples, the leftover Jamaican cranberry sauce, a little extra cinnamon and brown sugar, then the rest of the bread. I mixed 3 eggs and 1.5 c of half and half and a drop of vanilla extract together, then poured over the bread. (I had to add some milk too to cover the bread) Then I baked it covered with foil for about 30 minutes, then uncovered it and baked it about 15 more minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup.

Now, I have leftover stuffing, but I have no idea how to use that up. I probably need to chunk it now :)

November 26, 2007

After holiday sicknesses

It comes as no surprise that one of my children has a fever today. After being with so many different people in different places for several days, being cooped up because of the rain, and eating too many sweets, little Lexer (our nickname for Alexa) is ill.

She's been laying on the couch all day, very lethargic with a 104 temp. I have given motrin twice, but I've tried giving her a bath, getting her to drink vitamin C and some other herbal teas (no luck, she won't drink). She did eat a good breakfast this morning, so I guess that's carrying her through.

I did something I never dreamed I'd do- I put egg whites on her feet. Yes you read that right. I went to my favorite health info place -welltellme.com- and several people said raw egg whites on the feet broke their child's fever. Well, I will try it again tonight before bed, but it didn't do much this afternoon. I may also try a vinegar-epsom salt bath- 1 c vinegar and 1/2 c epsom salts are supposed to bring the fever down. We'll see.

Hopefully I can get some homemade turkey stock with lots of garlic in her tonight.

I also made some sage tea out of some leftover fresh sage leaves- supposedly this helps the 'faucet nose'. I've given this to Leiah twice today and it seems better. I'll keep going with it. Yea for herbs!

An Honest picture of Me

Well, I've been having a sort of discussion with another blogger, Stephanie.

Anyways, her latest post got me to thinking that I may be misleading you all regarding myself. I know none of you have ever met me and probably never will, but still, I'm all about being real with people- I don't lie or live a lie.

First off, I love Jesus- I always have, for as long as I can remember I've desired to live for and serve Him. He gave me wisdom and maturity at an early age and my desire for His Word and witness to others grew. Never once has it crossed my mind to go in another path, or follow someone/something else. Never was there a desire to rebel and do bad things.

I have always been 'left out' because of this. No other girls my age were like this. I did have friends in school, but none with a deep conviction- I was a floater from one group of people to another- I guess I was everyone's friend. I related better with adults, though I loved children.

I played with dolls and barbies until I was... ahem... 13? I loved dirt and animals and bugs, but loved all things feminine too. In highschool, once I switched to a Christian school, I was excellent in volleyball, so-so in basketball, and I did track. I cannot run well, but I could sure hurl that discus and shot-put. I am big. I am 5'9 and over 200lbs- always have been.

I started learning about health and nutrition about 6 months after I married. It's become a passion, though I've not always stayed on track with it. I am a firm believe in taking charge of your own destiny, and relying on doctors and over the counter medications is not being in control. My goal is preventavive- be healthy and prepared, not wait till your sick to do something about. We're still working on this area.

I am a pleaser personality. I don't like for people to be mad at me or dislike me. I tend to like to impress people with my abilities- whether I realize it or not, I do. I am working on this too. Being number 1 is not the end all, be all of life. We all need and enjoy praise, but we need to be secure in who we are in Christ most.

I love heavy rock music. I am currently listening to a band called Disciple and they are amazing- like a revival in a CD! My husband was in a rock band and our whole house would vibrate when they practiced. I also love Celtic and classical music and various other things too- however rock wins out above all.

I have a weird sense of humor. I love movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura, Young Frankenstein, you get the idea. On a more serious side my favorites are The Sin Eater, The Matrix and Lord of the Rings. We are quite silly around here though- the current favorite is Nacho Libre...for reals :)

I have read Created to Be His Helpmeet and Fascinating Womanhood. I am doing my best to be a loving submissive wife to my dear husband. AFter a few years of practice, the old feminist still tries to rear her ugly head up at times, and I have to 'beat her back into submission' with the Word of God. It can be a struggle too- the flesh wants what it wants- the spirit is willing though.

I have had three c-sections and a d&c. With my first child, I knew absolutely nothing about childbirth and would not even consider doing it completely natural. She ended up being a special case anyways and we had an emergency c-section. When I got pregnant three months after that, I still didn't know anything and had another surgery. Now I'm pretty much doomed to c-sections forever.

I tried breastfeeding my children. I pumped for a month for Miss Leiah, and had I known then what I know now, I would have kept it up. I tried with my other two, but the pain from surgery was too much along with the pain from nursing. All my kids are formula fed. I started cloth diapering with my older two were 21 months and 9 months old. I've been doing it off and on up till now. I have used birth control- pills in the beginning, the patch, none, the IUD, and now back to other methods. We wanted a big family, but with the special one and c-sections, we aren't sure about that anymore. We enjoy being married a lot, which is why we've had so many babies so fast :)

I wear dresses/skirts about 3-4 times a week now. Some days I just don't feel like it and wear black stretch pants and a bright blue fitted tee or blue jeans and a nice blouse. I wear flip flops year round. I have had very long hair and had it chopped several times. I've dyed it as well.

I used to LOVE reading for fun, but now I feel it's sort of a waste of time, so I focus more on reading things that will help me be a better wife, mother, homemaker etc.

I am a republican and very conservative in my political views- that's all I want to say about that.
I live in town, in a very small town, on a quiet street. I dream of living on a farm with a big old timey farmhouse, gardening, canning, caring for animals, making quilts etc. Maybe someday :)

We watch TV- yes I allow my children to watch TV more than others, but I don't care. At this point in my life, I have to have some help from somewhere. I am trying to get my children used to playing and learning more than watching TV, and honestly, they watch Baby Einstein, Wiggles, Barney, Little Bear and Richard Scarry. How's that for brainwashing?? This is an area we are working on. They are all so little and limited and there are several of them- Alexa is the only one really capable of helping me without making more work. I have massive amounts of laundry, dishes and food to work on each week. (trying to save money you know, makes more work for me) I am trying to teach my girls how to help me more and take responsibility and to obey, but things have been very crazy with guests and holidays- we're working on it.

I do sew, but I don't have a lot of time for it. I make what I can when it will save us money. Mostly I buy at resale shops or people just give things to us- thank you Lord. Wal-Mart comes in handy too. I like to entertain and be a host, but it sure is a lot of work, and I've done way more of it these past few months than I intended.
I love to travel and have been blessed to have visited New York City, Pennsylvania Amish country, Seattle, Jamaica, Mexico, Grand Caymen, England, Holland and Paris. Also upper Michigan- where my dh is from.

And now I'm taking too much time on this post. I'm not the pious little Christian homemaker that does everything perfect. I whine and complain sometimes. I get angry and yell at my girls sometimes. I make wrong decisions and worry too much or spend too much. I am real and make mistakes.

But I know where I'm going and Whom I serve- that is my goal. " Pressing on to win the prize..."

November 25, 2007

Taking a Deep Breath

Ahh, finally a breath!

Well, we've had a busy few days. A massive cold front came in Wednesday afternoon and literally blew my in-laws in, LOL. Thursday we went to my family's gathering at my mom's- kids played and ate to their heart's content. Friday morning began my own Thanksgiving preparations. Wow!

First my turkey wasn't cooking fast enough- not sure if it was my oven or what, but in the end it turned out wonderful. (sage butter on the skin is a must- way to go Tyler Florence) I had homemade rolls and stuffing to bake also, but had to wait for that turkey because my oven isn't big enough for everything. On top of that, my husband and father-in-law were in the kitchen replacing some pipes under the sink for a couple of hours, so I had work around them or stay out.

Our dinner was two hours late, but we had presents to open (early Christmas from grandparents) and the men put up Christmas lights on the house. All went well. Today dh's parents left to visit their youngest son for a few days and we're back to 'normal'- sort of :)

So, what's on my mind now?? Christmas of course :) However, we are downsizing majorly this time around. I want to create family traditions more and focus on the fun of getting ready for Christmas. I will be spending some time looking for fun crafts etc. for me and the girls to do. We plan to wait awhile to get our tree this year- those things get dried out by the time Christmas rolls around if we get one now.

Also, I'm working on being more frugal. We are trying to get a vehicle with better gas mileage right now, and I will be working one the grocery budget etc. Christmas on a dime?? We'll see...

November 22, 2007

Cousins


November 21, 2007

Goings On

The preparations begin! So far I've baked a pumpkin pie and made the cranberry sauce, and I was hoping to get my refrigerator yeast roll dough going..we'll see.

First, because I have nothing else to ramble about, let me tell about our night. Our girls really didn't want to go to bed early- I would have let them stay up longer, but dh's parents are coming in today and we had things to do before their arrival. (meaning kiddies needed to be out of the way)

So about 10pm or so, Alexa woke up crying because her face hurt. Sunday she fell down some stairs and landed on her face- but, she didn't complain about this Monday or much yesterday. So, she cried and cried, Matt stayed with her till she fell asleep, then she woke up again and cried some more. Finally, he took her into the living room to figure out the problem. By then Leiah was awake and thought it was morning. I got her settled and went to talk to Alexa. Finally we put them both back to bed (because by that time Leiah got up again and was skulking in the hallway). We got them to sleep, walked out the door and Leiah got up and woke Alexa up!!!! GRRRRR!!! It was after midnight by now- needless to say Leiah got a swat and after that we didn't hear anything till 2am. More crying...Sarah started coughing all night. Everytime I would get to sleep, someone would wake me up. I slept about 4-5hrs because I woke up before 6am.


So, this is not a good set up for a pleasant day. However, for once the girls actually slept longer- till 8am no less. (Except for Sarah) Anyways, long story short, we've had a great day so far- the grace and mercy of a loving God! We made a pumpkin pie together- I let them have dough scraps and tiny cookie cutters and we made 'cookies' with them- just brush with egg and sprinkle sugar on top and bake them. The house is nice and tidy- we cleaned up the front and backyards- and dinner is in the crockpot. All we do now is wait for them to arrive in the next couple of hours.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving History 4

There is a lot of information in the next several, several pages, so I will condense. One thing I forgot is Bradford didn't really highlight on their Thanksgiving Feast, but I can pinpoint when it happened. I will do my best at paraphrasing.

"All this while the Indians came skulking about them, and would sometimes sometimes show themselves aloof of, but when any approached near them, they would run away. And once they stole away their tools where they had been at work, and were gone to dinner. But about the 16 of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand but marveled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some English ships came to fish with whom he was acquainted, and could name many of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language. He became profitable unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number, and strength; of their situation and distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them. His name was Samasetl he told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself. Being, after sometime of entertainment and gifts, dismissed awhile after he came again and ive more with him, and they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before. and made way for the coming of their great Sachem, called Massasoyet; who, about four or five days after, came with the chief of his friends and other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto. With whom, after friendly entertainment and gifts given him, they made peace with him (which has now continued this 24 years)...

Next the Indians and Pilgrims made a 'peace' agreement to abide by, basically not to hurt each other, and what to do if someone did hurt the other.

"...The spring now approaching it pleased God the mortality began to cease amongst them, and the sick and lame recovered apace, which put as it were new life into them though they had born their sad affliction with much patience and contentedness...Afterwards they began to plant their corn, in which the service Squanto stood them in great stead, showing them both the mnner howt to set it and after how to dress and tend it. Also he told them except they got fish nd set with it (in these old grounds) it would come to nothing, and he showed them that in the middle of April they should have store enough come up the brook by which they began to build., and taught them how to take it, and where to get their provisions necessary for them; all which they found true by trial and experience."

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength, and had all things in good plenty; for as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass, and other fish of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was not want. And now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they first came (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides water fowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison etc. Besides they ahd about a peck a meal a week to a person or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. "

So, I am thinking that after the harvest of corn, and the plentiful wild turkeys, this is where the harvest feast occurred, or Thanksgiving. What happened next was more ships with more people began to come in, and the people came with no provisions, thus they were very hungry that winter. After awhile, their commune idea fell apart- no one was prospering because they couldn't reap the fruit of their own labors, so they finally put a stop to that- for each man
himself.

Well, this will be all of the Thanksgiving history. There is much, much more written about the colony, which is rather boring :) Hope this helps shed some light on why we even celebrate what some people call ' Turkey Day'!

Blessed Schedule

Last week was so chaotic, I didn't see how I was going to manage with all of my children at home with me. A long time ago I purchased Candy's e-book for making a home management binder, and she has lots of detail on making a master schedule.

I have never really been a scheduled person- I'm very 'fly by the seat of my pants'-ish. However this will not work for our current situation. So Friday I moved all the toys with pieces, like puzzles, blocks, crayons, potato head etc. to the kitchen in the large cupboards that just had random items in there. Saturday I put together a master schedule, cleaning plan and menu plan that would hopefully be something I could stick to.

Well, so far things have gone so well! I am dumbfounded. I've always had a hard time keeping the kids occupied, but by moving all those toys to the kitchen and including them in my work, things have been going very well. The kids have just sailed along happily, with no mention of watching TV. We don't have it constantly on anymore- just a few short videos here and there.

I will give a basic rundown of what we're doing:

6am- I get up and will alternate Bible study and exercise on different days of the week
6:45- I get dressed, make bed and tidy room, start laundry
7am-make breakfast and dh's lunch
Get Leiah and Alexa, get them dressed and tidy room
Then I get Sarah and change her diaper
7:30 breakfast and read a Psalm
clean up- Leiah wipes the table, Alexa brings dishes to sink
8:00 Get Sarah dressed, brush everyone's hair and teeth, check laundry
Start crockpot if necessary, set meat to thaw etc.
8:30 Begin 'school'- today we did puzzles, coloring, play-do, a number worksheet and the speech video
9:00 I had planned to break and do some cleaning, but they were really into play-doh, I did some cleaning
9:30 Kid's help with chores (we did dusting, wiping appliances/surfaces, clean screens and mirrors)
10:00 snack time, I continue with cleaning
a little more school
Sarah in playpen while I finish mirrors, Alexa in playroom, Leiah with me
Fold and put away laundry
11:00 make lunch- we ate tuna sandwiches, pretzels and oranges
11:30 eat lunch, then clean up
'free time'
12pm read out loud time- I tried to read Little House in the Big Woods- they weren't cooperating
Sarah takes a nap
12:30 continue with reading or a short video
1pm naptime for the other two, I will work on sewing, meal prep, whatever, or resting myself!
3pm naps over for older two- snack, then work on craft or more worksheets
3:30 Sarah up, snack
outside play or' PE' if possible
4pm- finish up any chores/laundry
kids at table with activity
4:30 work on dinner/cleaning up kitchen
Kids can watch a video or free play
5pm tidy the house
5:30 kids eat if fussy, if not we can play a game or read
6pm dinner
6:30 clean up-kids help
7pm family time
7:30 baths and bedtime routines
8pm bedtime for kids
free time for me and dh
9:00 tidy up and do any prep for the next day's meals
9:30 get ready for bed- bath/shower etc.
10pm bedtime


These are the goals anyways. I had scheduled outside time mid-morning too, but it didn't work out today- I'll just stay flexible.

And here's the broccoli salad recipe- it really is good!

"Favorite Broccoli Salad"

1 bunch broccoli florets
1 head cauliflower florets (I omitted this)
8 bacon strips cooked and crumbled
1/3 c chopped onion ( I used red onion)
1 c chopped seeded tomatoes
2 hard cooked eggs (I omitted this too)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 c sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar

In a large salad bowl, combine broccoli, cauliflower, bacon, onion, tomatoes and eggs; set aside. In another bowl mix the mayo, sugar and vinegar and mix till smooth. Just before serving pour dressing over salad and toss.

*Note: Once I made this in advance with the dressing on it and it still tasted good- not sure why you're supposed to do it separately.

November 17, 2007

I want to put more of the Thanksgiving history up, but it's getting late.

I don't know if anyone is really that moved by the writings I've put on this blog, but I want people to know what the Pilgrims sacrificed and went through to start this country. They had such a vision from the Lord, and laid their lives on the line to see it happen. How many people would be willing to do that today, especially if they knew that someday their toil and hardwork wouldn't be allowed to be read in the public schools? I can assure you they were most thankful that first Thanksgiving, and while most of us have never been in those circumstances, I can imagine how grateful they were.

I hate that America just glosses over Thanksgiving going right into Christmas. It always feels wrong to me when a place is decorated for Christmas in early November. I absolutely love Christmas and getting ready for it, but we have the whole month of December- let's teach our children the value of giving thanks.

We are so wonderfully blessed to be Americans and I want everyone to understand that. So, sorry if the orginal writings of William Bradford are boring- but it's important and valuable to know.

November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving History Part 3


" I shall a little return back and begin with a combination made by them before they came ashore. being the first foundation of their government in this place; occasioned partly by the discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them had let fall from them in the ship- that when they came ashore they would use their own liberty; for none had power to command them...The form was as follows: (The Mayflower Compact)


" 'In the name of God, amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, Kind James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, Frances, and Ireland king, defender of the faith etc. having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of he Christian faith, and honor of our king and country , a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony, unto which promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape cod the 11 of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty fourth. Anno:Dom 1620' "

Afterwards they elected officers and formed the government for the colony once they were ashore.

"In these hard and difficult beginnings they found some discontents and murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches and carriages in other; but they wee soon quelled and overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage of things by the governor and better part, which clave faithfully together in the main. But that which was most sad and lamentable was, that in two or three months time half of their company died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with scurvy and other diseases, which this long voyage and their inaccomodate condition had brought upon them; so as there died sometimes two or three of a day, in the foresaid time; that of 100 and odd persons, scarce 50 remained. And of these in the time of most distress, there was but six or seven sound persons, who, to their great commendations be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard of their own health, fetched them wooed, made them fires, dressed them meat, and made their breads, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them, in a word, did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomaches cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren.

What I've been up to

Lots! I've been online a lot getting information about homeschooling with special needs. It's interesting that the family members that were previously opposed to homeschooling her are now all for it :)

However, I need more than ever to organize and simplify- working on that.

I've also been sewing! Flannel nightgowns and robes for all the girls:

I have Alexa's done on the left- the patchwork pattern is the robe (still needs the ribbon tie) and the yellow is the gown, which till needs a button. Leiah's is the mint green gown which still needs the white flower buttons in the middle of the bodice and the lace trim at the hem, and the material behind it will be the robe. Sarah's will be the pink with the flower trim- no robe for her. Here are some more close ups:

Also, I am planning to get more of the Thanksgiving History up soon especially since it's getting closer to the big day.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I finally decided the menu plan. I've never cooked a turkey before, so I plan to get a smaller one. Hopefully I will still have plenty of leftovers to freeze and make stock.
So here it is:

Sundholm Thanksgiving Menu 2007 (yes that's our last name, think Swedish)

Turkey- duh!
Sausage apple stuffing (Southerners usually use corbread, I'm using regular bread)
Broccoli Bacon salad(de-lish, will try to post the recipe)
Mashed potatoes
Gravy
Jamaican Cranberry sauce
Pecan Shortbread bars (we have millions of pecans in our yard!)
Pumpkin Pie (because I love it)

Jamaican Cranberry Sauce

*Note: nothing is measured exactly here, you know me :)

2 bags fresh cranberries
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 inch fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
juice of two oranges
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 t allspice


Combine all ingredients in larger saucepan. Add enough water to cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until berries 'pop' and the sauce thickens. Let cool and refrigerate, or serve warm. It's wonderful with turkey and ham. You may want to adjust the spices and sugar- I usually tweak it with more, but I start with those amounts to be safe. Easy!

November 13, 2007

Quick Post

Leiah ended up being sick today- I had to take her to the doctor, again. She has a sinus infection- this is crazy. The child has never had anything like this. She has been so miserable, and doesn't understand how to cough the phlegm up, so she chokes and gags and throws up. Of course they prescribed more anti-biotics, a very powerful one, but I don't know what else to do. Anytime I've had a sinus infection, that was the only thing that nipped it.

On a good note, I happened on a great website with lots of info on natural healing and cheap, healthy eating. You should visit :)
http://www.fromfieldsandgardens.com/home.html

Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone's kinds words of encouragement and your prayers. I have been very grieved in my spirit today with everything going on. Life seems so hard sometimes, almost more than I can bear. I am so thankful that I have Jesus and my family to help me!

November 12, 2007

Thank God He is my Rock

Friday, Leiah (my oldest) came home from school limping. The aid told me that someone tripped her (accidentally I hope) and she was crying a lot, but they didn't know where she was hurt. I was bit upset.

So, I checked her over she looked fine, she wasn't crying or really complaining about anything hurting. Saturday she was limping still, but not as bad. Sunday morning while my husband was changing her into her church clothes, he was looking at her ankle again. He was in their room a long time, and when he came out he had a serious look on his face. He laid her on the floor and made her very straight and we realized for the first time that her left leg is 1/2 inch longer than her right.

I noticed that she always put her full weight on one leg, and the other was always slightly bent, but I just thought that was her thing. Nope. Matt rigged up her shoe with a thicker sole and she did walk much better. Rather than take her to a regular doctor, we are taking her to a chiropractor today to get an x-ray. Children with trisomy 9 tend to have problems with joints dislocating, and it could be that her hip is out of place. (I would think she would be in a lot of pain though) I'm afraid a medical doctor would want to break the leg and then work on it.

Anyways, that's what I'm about to do- I dread it a lot- she totally freaks out when people touch her :(


***Edited to add: I went to the chiropractor and he said that her hip was rotated, meaning I guess that it's out of line. He said she needed a pediatric orthopedic specialist. He was quite angry that her pediatrician had not noticed this before, as am I. He (the chiropractor) even said this should have been identified at day one of her life. The whole time I have been the one to suggest things to the pediatrician, voicing concerns, pointing out problems etc. He is very laid back and easy going and I like him- he is a good Christian man, but, he has overlooked a lot of things. I am very upset that he didn't do more for Leiah as a baby.

This is so frustrating. Since her birth we've been to the pediatric heart specialist, the pediatric eye doctor, a developmental specialist, a pediatric neurosurgeon, a geneticist, and now we need the pediatric orthopedic, AND, we'll eventually need to get an ultrasound of her kidneys. I am thankful that she is doing so well, but this makes us realize even more that she needs some very intensive help.

We've decided to take her out of the public school and do something better. I request prayers for wisdom and guidance because I feel like I am in the dark. For 5 years now, we've been trying to put the pieces together ourselves, and now it all comes together and the 'if onlies' start. If only we had known before we could have...

But at least we do know now. I just need a lot of help because this is scary. Thanks.

November 11, 2007

Busy People's Bread


I have been experimenting with bread recipes for awhile now, trying to find one that either doesn't use a lot of yeast and the flour has been pre-soaked or is sourdough without being so strong. We generally eat storebought bread when I don't have a lot of time in the kitchen.

I was given a book for my birthday (my 20th) called Laurel's Kitchen: Bread Book or something- can't remember. Anyways, the whole book is filled recipes, how to's and all sorts of great things to know about baking 100% whole grain breads. I've tried several recipes but the bread was too strong for our liking.

I was talking to my grandmother not too long ago and she was remembering how her mom made bread and how great it was. She made a 'sponge' that 'started' the dough overnight. My brain instantly flashed to a section in my book about sponges. So I looked at it and thought I could tweak it to do what I wanted. I tried it awhile back and was totally amazed at how well the bread turned out-probably my best ever, besides the challah :)

I tried it again Friday and it is GREAT! I love everything about it and the best part is I forgot about the dough and left it sitting way longer than I meant and it still turned out great. So here is my recipe, however things aren't exact- I go by feel, not measurements.

Busy People's Bread

For the sponge:

1 teaspoon yeast
3/4 c warm water
3 T honey (I used brown sugar this time)
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour


For the bread dough- add to the sponge after rising:

1 cup warm water
2+ cups all purpose flour
1 T salt (I use Celtic sea salt)
2 T butter

First, dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Then add the honey, buttermilk, and 2 cups flour. Mix together, then add the rest of the flour until you get a smooth elastic dough. You will end up just kneading it all together after the first few cups of flour. Butter bowl and top of dough, set aside in a cool place with a damp towel covering it. Let rise at least 6hrs, 8-12 would be best.

*Note: I had intended for this stage to occur in 6-8hrs, however, things happened, I forgot and left it 18 hrs. A thick crust had formed on top of the dough and it had deflated, plus is smelled very alcoholic. I kneaded it a bit, proceeded with the rest of the recipe and it was great.

Punch dough down and add the warm water. (If you have a mixer with a dough hook happy you, if not, squish it with your hands till sort of mixed) Add in salt and flour- you may only need 1 cup, but I needed at least 2 cups to get a good elastic dough. Then knead in butter- you do this by putting small bits on your fingers and kneading it in with the dough. Or you could melt it and pour it all in at once before adding the flour.

Once smooth and elastic, cut dough in half and form into loaves. Put dough in greased loaf pans and let rise 1-1.5hrs. Put in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to and hour. Turn out of pans to cool, slice and eat it.


This bread has a mild flavor, good with anything. It has a semi-crunchy crust but not too much, and the texture is even and slightly chewy, like al dente pasta, not squishy. My daughter who is not a bread eater at 2 pieces in one sitting- crust and all!!

I plan to try it either all or mostly whole wheat next time. I had also intended to add wheat gluten but I forgot. More tweaking in the future.

Explanation

I don't really have time to go into it, but there are a lot of confused people over my post about the kombucha scoby. If you go this website it has a lot of information about it.

Also, here is a picture of what it looks like as it's brewing. ( scroll down to the first post at the bottom- the big pickle jar with a coffee filter on top) We don't eat the mushroom thing, that is just what turns the tea into the kombucha drink- then we drink it.

November 9, 2007

Revelation

The past few weeks I've had a lot of thoughts rolling around in my brain. I just felt that something wasn't right, either in the way that I was thinking or in some things that I have read, but I couldn't really pin point what it was. I just read this article

Everything just fell into place. That's it! I guess as I've been wondering what to do regarding my oldest daughter's schooling, about my younger children's training, our diet, what we wear etc. etc. I've just had no peace. Only stress and worry and turmoil and always feeling like I am coming up short in some area of my life.

Just the other day I started thinking about how all these things are good- dressing modestly and femininely, homeschooling, training our children well in obedience, making our own food, living frugally etc.- but, sometimes we do make these things into idols. I know I did without even realizing what was going on.

Ultimately, all that matters is that we are raising our children to know God and make Him known. That's the crux of it, right? If we are doing that, then does it really, really matter if one mom works part- time, feeds her kids cheese wiz, sends them to public school, wears blue jeans?? Those issues are things that the Holy Spirit must lead and guide people into, when they are ready to receive. Of course we are to be in the world and not of the world, and don't want to look or act 'worldly'. But frankly, and I don't want this to sound bad at all, I am getting rather weary of hearing about how bad it is in the public schools and that women being at home is the only right path. Maybe that is the truth, but the reality is many women do work either because they have to, or have no understanding of the Biblical teaching about women being the keepers of the home.

So what is so important about the home? Aren't we supposed to go out and preach the Gospel? What about people who have home businesses, homeschool and home church? Their lives are centered around each other all the time, being at home all the time. To me that's not my ideal, but to others it may be what God is wanting them to do.

What I'm getting at, is that somewhere along the way I acquired a self righteous attitude, thinking that I was better or holier because I stayed at home, sewed our clothing, wore dresses, made all our food from scratch, had long hair etc. The worst part is I didn't even realize that I was getting to that point. I was judging other women, even those closest to me, based on those 'requirements'. How dumb is that? It's like I was trying to fit in to a club or something.

Before anyone is extremely disappointed and upset with me, let me clarify. I have been in an area of spiritual pride. I fully support women being at home, homeschooling, celebrating feminine and modest dress and good home cooking. These are practically lost in the world today and I am so thankful that I get to be a part of it. I just had a revelation and am loving the freedom it has brought to my heart. I can still be a loving submissive wife though I wear blue jeans, a t-shirt and serve frozen pizza. It's the heart that matters most.