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 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 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


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

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 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


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.


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.


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!"


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

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.