February 29, 2008

Yooper Mac-n-Cheese

For those of you who don't know what I mean by 'Yooper' it's the nickname for those that live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

This dish is my husband's and his brothers' favorite thing their mom made for them. I tried making it once based on dh's description, but of course it didn't turn out quite the same. Later I learned I'd left out a few things. (big surprise) So while we were visiting I watched her make it and made it yesterday. The good points about this dish: it's cheap; can be healthy depending on how you make it; it makes a lot; everyone likes it; it's easy.

Ingredients:

1 pound package or 4 cups regular old elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
3 or more cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c breadcrumbs, seasoned or plain
1 15oz can diced tomatoes and juice
1/2 to 1 whole stick of butter, preferable cold
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Note: the results are much better if you use a deep casserole dish as opposed to a 9x13. The deeper the better- somehow it's cheesier and tastier that way.

Butter the dish you are using and spread a layer of macaroni on top. (approx. 1 cup of macaroni, however I probably did more because I only had room for three layers)
Sprinkle salt and pepper next, then a layer of cheese. Next sprinkle enough breadcrumbs on top for a light coating. Cut the butter into pats, about 1 tsp per piece and layer on top,or you can crumble it all over the top. (works better if the butter is cold) Repeat layers making sure there's plenty of cheese for the top. After putting the butter slices on the last layer, pour the juice from the can of tomatoes all over the top and spread the tomatoes on the very top. I added a bit of salt to them as well. Bake, covered with foil or lid of casserole dish for at least 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

If you like lots of tomatoes you could use two cans and layer them with the other ingredients too. I may try this next time. Serve with a green veggie (we did sweet peas) and a fresh apple cake :)

Matt gave his approval of the authenticity of my version of this dish. Glad to know I can make it like his mom did :)

February 28, 2008

Questions

Ok, thanks to everyone who has commented on toy organization.

I have more specific questions now. How do you know if you have too many toys? I went and bought two large storage tubs (1 pink and 1 purple) and two smaller ones for markers and stuff. I already have a few somewhere in the house as well.

So, this is what we have:

Massive amounts of dress up stuff- jewelry, shoes, purses, hats...

Barbies-my old ones in a container already

several different types of blocks

Little People Dollhouse and Barn plus the many pieces that I find all over

Lots of books, the nice ones on shelves

kitchen set with dishes and two tea sets

magnadoodles

coloring books, crayons, markers, playdough

DOLLS!!!

Strollers-3

stuffed animals

puzzles and games (board type)

large basket of 'baby' toys

a plastic vanity

a rocking horse

chalkboard and chalk

two doll 'Heads' with hair to play with

various other random bits of stuff



I would say what they like the most is the tea sets, strollers and dolls, blocks, dress up stuff, books and anything arts/crafts. (all playdough, markers etc.) So should I stick with these categories and sort it accordingly?? Store the rest? The love getting the puzzles and games out too...But, I really, REALLY want to end the toy madness. It's everywhere I look and creates brain clutter. So, I am planning to tackle some of it after the girls wake up, which means i gotta go and finish cooking while they're asleep.

Thanks wonderful women of God!!!!

February 27, 2008

Oops

Sorry everyone, I accidentially delete a bunch of comments...

TOYS!

I need some help.

This morning as I was desperately trying to get all the laundry folded and put away, I realized my children's toys are out of control. It's not awful, but there are pieces of things all over the place in hidden nooks and crannies. I can't figure out how best to organize. There are some things that need to be tossed out, but most everything else I want to keep.

How do you moms decide what gets to stay out and 'available' for them to play with all the time, and what needs to be kept out of reach? How do you store the toys? What I like to do is rotate them, but lately I've been too busy to keep up with that. I made many things easy to get to, but they don't understand how to stay focused on that toy and before you know it puzzle pieces, potato head pieces, chalk, crayons and playdough are all mixed together on the floor. (yes, the carpeted floor, this happened today) Letting them be able to access those things helps them to play more independently and keep them BUSY!

Yet, it can be quite overwhelming to clean up the mess. Lady Lydia at Homeliving Helper recommends limiting children to only a few toys, such as a tea set and doll, or set of blocks and a truck. In my mind I don't see how that would work.

So what does everyone else do to control the toys??

Special Children

I never entertained the idea that I would have a special child. I mean, of course everyone's child is special and unique, but what I mean is a special needs child. I didn't think that scenario was possible because I was 19 when I conceived Leiah and in great health. But, 2/3 of the way through her pregnancy it became evident that something wasn't right. What we didn't know is how much in danger her little life was.

What I believe, is because we were praying so hard long before she was conceived that she would be an instrument of the Lord, sensitive to His spirit, healthy, sweet tempered etc. that the enemy did his best to try to snuff her life out. Others may have their own opinions, but that is what I believe. Now that we know that her 'diagnoses' is something serious and rare, it's amazing to us that she is ALIVE and doing so WELL! She has always been very, very healthy, and hardly ever sick. Her heart murmur closed up (thanks to prayers and standing on God's Word) at 4 months, she grew well and had no digestive issues. She learned very slowly, but always progressed, never reverted back. She can learn well with lots of repetition.

The main reason I am writing all of this is because I am discouraged right now. Imagine a 5 year old little girl who looks totally normal, is happy most all of the time, sweet and obedient, with a stubborn streak towards her sisters. Imagine that she desperately wants to learn and interact with her sisters and friends and parents, but can't. She can say a few words that are hard to understand except for 'Yeah!' and use a few signs but always has to be prompted. She is afraid to go anywhere in the house without me. (I can't say 'Leiah, go put your shoes in your closet.' because she just can't go back there by herself) She knows her letters and numbers and shapes, but she can't say them or write them.

Imagine how you would feel if you put her on a school bus at the age of 3 so she could get some specialized help. And then when she comes home she is tired and goes to bed very early. I felt like I didn't know her. Imagine how you would feel, if, despite your efforts, she isn't receptive to you, the mom, teaching her. She is too emotional around me, so now I have to take her to a therapist.

Then, imagine how you would feel because she needs a lot of attention, yet you have two other little ones that need you, a large home that is always needing cleaning, healthy nutrient dense meals to prepare, weight to lose, a house to pack up etc... I always feel guilty for not giving her enough. I am not enough for her, she needs others who are more skilled. I'm here to love her and show her Christ; God can use others to help her too. And that's the hard part- I want to be the one that 'makes the breakthrough', not other people.

But, God put her in this family, and she isn't neglected or anything. I just want to be able to communicate with my daughter; to have a relationship with her, and to be able to understand what she wants and needs. If I have to learn another language I would!!

February 26, 2008

Tuesday

I have nothing great or wonderful to say, really. We're still just trying to recover from living out of suitcases and traveling. I did quite a bit yesterday, however me and dh's suitcases aren't unpacked yet. The weather is so different here! Almost 80 degrees yesterday- today it will be cooler though. Still, it's nice to not have to bundle up before you go out.

Today is Leiah's speech day. I am planning to stop at some resale shops as well because she has outgrown everything for warmer weather, and I don't have time to sew. I'm also planning the church Good Friday Passover meal again and Sarah's birthday party. She didn't have one on her first, and since the other two had a very large shin dig I want to be sure she has one this time. I was planning to do a tea party, but I'm not sure how much time and energy that will take yet :)

We've been steadily looking at houses. There is a lot available, it's just finding what we want, where we want it, for the right price. Then of course you have to make an offer, inspect it, get approved for the loan, closing costs and dates etc....You need at the very least 2 months before you can move in. My husband wants something with a bit of land, and we've found a few that have about 4 acres, so we'll see.

Anyways, that's all the inspiring information I have for now. :)

February 25, 2008

I'm here

Well I'm back finally. That trip home was a doozy- got to our house at 11pm Saturday night. Yesterday we didn't make it to church, but dh played some praise songs on his guitar and read from the Bible. We tried to explain to Alexa that we are the church, not just the building :)

Today I will be trying to rescue my house from the awful mess it is in. At least the kitchen is clear and the dishes are being washed. Last night I just bought some groceries with no list- ahhh!!! But i did good- we might make it a whole week with what I got, we'll see. My cultures have been neglected, so I have to revive my sourdough starter, make some yogurt quick, and start kombucha- hope it's not dead!

Big news- we are moving! My inlaws have decided that they won't be moving to Texas after all, and need to sell this house soon. So we are looking around for somewhere else. I do like living in the town we're in, but for Leiah and Matt's sake, something closer to the city would be better. The problem is the cost of living is higher the closer you get to the city. We did find a home in the country that we like- we just need to look inside it and see if we can afford it. Rent around here is crazy- why pay over $800 per month for a house we won't own when we can buy one and only pay $4-500 per month and own it?? Those pesky down payments and loans are the difficult part.... I do NOT want to re-pack all our stuff- it's been less than a year since we moved in here, but, at least we'll be getting rid of a lot, a nice perk to moving.

Anyways, my mother-in-love sent home some organic dried peas, beans and oats, so I'm set for awhile on those.


Menu for the Week

Breakfasts: today was oatmeal and raisin bread; french toast and bacon; baked oatmeal, yogurt and fruit, eggs and homemade bread toasted; pancakes; regular cooked oatmeal

Lunches- don't know yet, tuna sandwiches at some point and leftovers

Dinners: M-baked spanish rice
salad
Tu-crockpot white bean and ham soup, cornbread, salad; W- Farmhouse Chicken casserole, broccoli; Th-Susan's Mac-n-cheese (dh's mom's recipe, will reveal later) and green beans; Fri- Italian chicken and rice bake, salad, garlic bread; Sat-whatever dh wants; Sun- tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Please excuse the lack of order in this post- things are anything but orderly here!

February 22, 2008

Going home


I'm at our hotel now. It's been a week of winter now! We left the highest drifts of snow I've ever seen and have been driving in it all day. This morning not too long after we left Michigan we heard that there was to be a large ice storm in St. Louis, which is where we were heading. We had to stop and find an open wireless network so we could check the weather and make an alternate route. In the end we came the same way anyways, just stopped a little further north than the storm.

We are so tired and so ready to be back home. We have a much longer drive tomorrow because we didn't make it as far. I pray we can get up early and get moving so we can get home before 10pm!!!



Oh, and one night while in the UP, it got down to 20 below zero!

February 19, 2008

In Yooperland!

Well, we made it. What a long trip-such an understatement! The girls did wonderfully- I could hardly believe it. I credit that to them being separated the whole time. By the time we got to Missouri we hit colder weather and snow. However, we didn't have any rain or snow while traveling. Now we are in Iron Mountain, and the temps barely reach 20 degrees during the day, and this morning it was -2. Sunday after we arrived they had a big snow storm, er, over 5 inches of snow coming down very hard. Matt and I tried snow shoes...HA HA!!!! I'm sure we looked like fools out there, falling down all over the place with a gian German Shepherd jumping at us. (inlaws' dog) The girls are not enjoying the snow or cold weather. Today Alexa finally stayed out for longer than 10 minutes. I tell ya, I admire all you moms that live in places where you get lots of snow. By the time I get them all bundled up I am exhausted! Not to mention carrying them around outside while garbed up in all my snow gear too.

Anyways, it's very pretty and peaceful here. Hopefully I will get a chance to get some pictures uploaded soon. I don't think we would make very good yoopers, eh?

February 14, 2008

Just uninteresting stuff

Wow I'm tired...didn't sleep well last night. I worked really hard yesterday and today, and my work is almost done. I tell ya, I'm almost looking forward to sitting for a couple of days to recuperate!

The last time I made this trip I had to haul a box of babyfood, formula, bottles, playpens, strollers etc. So, it is nicer to not have to take so much stuff like that this time around. Someday they will all be potty trained! How simple a trip could be...I'll feel lost without a diaper bag :)

Thanks for the tips on what things to stock our car with in case of emergency. I was able to get most of it at our walmart, but not everything. We aren't planning to need it :) My wonderful mother bought some things for the girls to play with in the car. She got these books that you and magnetic paper dolls or something like that; special crayons and paper for Sarah; My Little Ponies with hairbrushes and I am bringing map pencils, paper, some books and the movies. I also invested in buying a "Soothing Sounds for Relaxation" cd. We might need some help with that. Wally World didn't have any books that looked good, so I guess I will have to re-read some books I have. Of course sometimes reading in the car makes me sick, but usually I can recognize the signals of when to stop before I feel too bad.

Oh, and my husband completely surprised me today. I knew we were going to be busy packing and stuff and that we wouldn't really have time to celebrate Valentine's Day, but he remembered. He came home with a very pretty birthstone ring for me. I've never gotten jewelry on Valentine's Day before, and have been wanting a birthstone ring for awhile. It's a gold band, with tiny diamonds on either side of a princess cut emerald. He always surprises me- it is so hard for me to surprise him!

So anyways, all this rambling is the result of my tiredness...sorry. I guess this is my last post unless I'm able to get connected in the U.P. (upper peninsula) Talk to yall later!

February 13, 2008

Getting ready

In the midst of guest preparations now. I've got quite a bit done already and just have a few food things to work on, plus making sure we're presentable. Tomorrow my older two girls are going to 'Granna's' for the day while I work on packing. (Thanks Mom!)Guess what? I haven't packed a thing yet!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even have a suitcase for the girls' clothes!!!!!!!! Actually, I"m waiting for someone to bring me one that I'm borrowing, so there's an excuse. No, I do have everything we need, and it's grouped together, just not packed yet. Mainly because we use the stuff we need to pack so I have to wait till the last minute.

I'm going to transport kefir grains, yogurt starter and sourdough starter- I hope they make it :) Surely they will do fine in the ice chest. Our plan is to get everything done tomorrow night so that all we have to do Friday is get up, get dressed and get in the car. We are leaving around 5am. ('and there was much rejoicing, yay...') We have to make it to Springfield, Illinois. Yes, it will be a looooonnnng day. We are taking the computer and camera, however dh's parents do not have a fast internet connection, so I don't know if I will even attempt to blog while there :)

Anyways, that's all. Oh, and if anyone has any tips on being prepared for snow emergencies while driving, please pass them on. We want to be prepared.

February 12, 2008

My Other Half



**Note- click on pics please, you can see them much better.


My husband is wonderful.

I'm going to list several things here that have led me to this conclusion :)

1. He brought me flowers last night 'just because'

2. He lets me call him anytime even at work if I'm having a bad day-and he takes the time to talk constructively.

3. If I ask him to do something he always does it. ( will you please take out the trash?)

4. He is GREAT with his daughters- they are so happy and secure when Daddy is home. Last night they made tents out of blankets and hid from Mama.

5. He's not afraid of doing what is right and doing it right away.

6. He puts the girls to bed each night. (I assist with baths and pjs, but he says prayers etc.)

7. Big one- He gets up with them in the middle of the night. The main reason why? I don't hear them :( But he doesn't just wake me up, he takes care of them.

8. He is game for anything and spontaneous. (12pm on Saturday- let's go have a picnic at the park!)

9. He is creative and inventive. (he's always telling me some new idea for an invention he has, and can figure out how to make it work, just no time or money to do it, and then obviously, the mural on my girls' wall!!)

10. He tells me he loves me pretty much everyday. Ever so often he will leave me a love note somewhere, or do something for me like unloading the dishwasher etc.

11. He always makes the bed if I'm up before him- I've never asked him to either.

12. If I'm late getting around he will make breakfast and get the girls' diapers changed before going to work.

I could go on, but I'll stop there. I knew when we were courting that he was going to be a good husband and father. But, I didn't realize that it would take years to grow and change and become what we are today. The turning point was when I read "Fascinating Womanhood" and learned about our roles as determined in the Bible. I stopped whining about what he didn't do etc. I became less selfish, although having two babies in the same year kind of helped that along too. He in turn became more confident, more thoughtful and loving. He is the head of our household and I can go to him for prayer anytime. It is wonderful to be able to lean on him and trust him with our care.

During his illness, we had lots and lots of bumps. (this was most of last year, about 6-8 months total) He lost his confidence, had much wavering in faith and became depressed. Thankfully God was able to keep me strong for him. I did have my low spells, but He was able to use me to uplift my husband and give beyond my own strength. It was very hard, but the rewards are so great. I look back on that time and smile because we made it through that valley, and are more refined than before.

Thank you Lord for giving me an awesome man of You to love. I am blessed indeed.

**unfortunately I have no pictures on the computer of us together and our scanner is broken...

February 11, 2008

Preparing for a guest


I'm not sure why, but I love having guests. I seem to have a gifting in hospitality or something, because I just light up and get excited about having people into my home, especially if I get to cook for them.

I want to clarify that I don't have an attitude of trying to impress others with my home or abilities as a cook. In fact I try hard to make it seem like we're just ordinary people, like anyone else, but want to make others feel very welcome and special. Depending on who is coming determines how much I do to my home to prepare and what kind of food I plan on making.
If it is someone who has never visited before, I generally take a few more pains with making sure the clutter is out of the way, the nooks and crannies are cleaned, and all the rooms nicely straightened so they can 'tour' the house if they so desire. If it is my family or friends that visit often, I'm a bit more relaxed about it, but I still want things to be clean and tidy.

Anyways, we have a guest coming this Wednesday evening. He is in the mission field and we also graduated together. (err, I only had 13 people in my class, so we're pretty good friends) He has been in Nicaragua and other areas off and on for a couple of years now, teaching in Bible schools with YWAM. (youth with a mission, go here)
Anyways, we spent a lot of time together because we were involved in the same things, but over the years have lost touch. I found him through another person and we've kept contact for the last year. So, all that to say, we're excited to talk to him about his ministry and outreaches. It's hard for him to believe I have three kids- so he's looking forward to meeting them.

Since I have a lot going this week with packing and speech therapy, I am getting ready in small chunks. Today I was able to tackle a few 'hot spots' that were bothering me, as well as doing the dusting, wiping down, cleaning appliances and tidying things from the weekend. Hopefully tomorrow I can do the shopping and Wed. I'll do the cooking and bathrooms/floors.

This may seem weird, but generally, if someone is coming in the evening, I wait till the afternoon to make sure floors and surfaces are cleaned. If I do it early more than likely the girls will sticky them up again before evening. I also pick a meal that is fairly simple to make and get it done early in the day. He told me he likes most everything and loves ethnic food. I love ethnic food too and have had a craving for some Moroccan. Since roasting a whole chicken with vegetables is pretty simple, I will do that and change the ingredients a bit. Rice is nutritious and simple, but I will add saffron, nuts and dried fruits. I'm still not sure if I will make pita bread or not, but we'll see, it's pretty easy. A salad can be made early in the day and chilled. I try to think of what stresses me the most, and get as much of that done early in case something flops and I need to run to the store or something.

My day will run something like this:

After everyone is ready for the day and we've eaten breakfast I will tackle any clutter,
straighten bedrooms and clean bathrooms.

Make bread dough and chickpea salad

work on stuff for trip

after lunch, prep the chicken with the spice rub and let marinate

make sure all dishes are washed and tablecloth is ready

make dessert

vacuum and spot mop

wipe down anything that needs it

roll and bake bread-when done put in plastic baggie to stay soft

when it's getting closer to evening, make sure everyone has clean clothes and faces, including me!

preheat oven, take chicken out while I cut up the veggies, then arrange around chicken and bake

start rice

make whatever beverage we're having

set table with fresh flowers (pretty cheap at walmart)

wait...


I have a recipe for a spice rub, which I am actually planning on toasting the spices whole then grinding them in our coffee grinder since I learned how to clean it out. (grind some uncooked rice in it, then wipe it out) I've always wanted to do that, but didn't want to have to buy a separate grinder. I will put onions, zucchini, bell pepper and some carrots around the chicken to roast. I've had an ounce of saffron for over a year and haven't used it yet, so I will cook the rice in it with some dried fruits and almonds. (probably apricots and golden raisins or dates) I will make a chickpea salad with tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese and a dressing that has lemon and cilantro in it. Dessert will either be an apple tart tatin (upside down apple pie) or chocolate souffle. I've never made either of those before, but they look fairly simple, and I will get some ice cream just in case...

Again this may seem elaborate, but I'm used to cooking 'weird' things and it's really not that big of a deal at all to me. Timing things well can be the stressful part, so the salad, bread and dessert are done ahead of time, as well as setting tables.

My goal is to let people know that they are special, that we enjoy taking time during the week to share with them and that we're glad to get to know them. Hopefully they will want to come back! Our children get sooooo excited when someone comes over, and it's much easier to entertain than to go to someone else's house for me, since I have three small children that like to touch things :)

February 10, 2008

Weekend fun

Ahh, the weekends...we so look forward to them and then they pass by so quickly.

I think Saturday is my favorite because we don't 'have' to be anywhere. I don't have to get up till after 7am. We make a nice leisurely breakfast, I get to sit in the recliner with a cup of coffee and watch my favorite cooking show- 'Jamie at Home' by chef Jamie Oliver on BBC. That's the only show that I am strict about getting to see.

However, though Sundays are bustling early in the mornings, I do like having my spirit refreshed and getting to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with my parents. Life is about to get pretty busy again though.

This week we are making the looooooooonnnnnngggggg trek to Upper Michigan for a week. March 3 is Sarah's birthday, and she is going to have a party this year. I decided to do the Good Friday Feast again on Good Friday, which will be on the 21st of March, then Easter, then our anniversary, my birthday and then Mother's Day :) I was uncertain about doing the feast again, but God revealed a plan that will work for us. It will be easier this time because I know what to expect and we already have the decorations and stuff.

Anyone not familiar with what I'm talking about, go here and here.

So, that's what's on my plate coming up :) Not sure how the week will go-I"m not making any promises that I will have lots to talk about or be around since I've got much to do.

February 7, 2008

Let me try this again...

The other video I put up before didn't turn out well-too dark. We'll see if this one works better. Alexa seems to like to be princess of rock and roll and her and Leiah are wearing high heels. Sarah is in her own little world, smelling shoes apparently...
video

How I diaper the baby

Well, the baby will be two next month, so you can tell how much I want her to grow up :)

I have been cloth diapering off and on for 4 years now. I think I've tried just about everything out there from pockets to fitteds to prefold to flats etc, not to mention wool soakers, plastic pants, wrap covers, fleece covers...

When my older two were 1 and 2 years we bought the Fuzzi Bunz that I ended up giving to Candy. They were great because I was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time and dealing with poo was making me sick.

So, with Sarah, I bought 20 small fuzzi bunz thinking she would stay little for a long time like my other two did. She grew out of those in two months. So, we used disposables till she fit into the larger fuzzi bunz, then she grew out of those.

So, I started gathering more diapers. (above is a sample of our 'stash')I learned about these ones called 'Thirsties' which were really cute and a good price. I bought 6 of those and two covers which I love. Then I bought three all-in-one pocket diapers from Swaddlebees. Basically it's an all in one diaper- cover and soaker part all sewn together, but it has a pocket in it in case you want to add more absorbency. I also liked that it snapped on the sides.



I also have a collection of toddler prefold diapers, which you have to use pins ( I keep my Dritz pins in a bar of soap so they glide easier through the fabric) or a snappi, the pink 'T' shaped thing there, and a waterproof cover. I have two wool covers that are GREAT! I dyed them with kool-aid and they have held up all this time. I also have several flat diapers that I prefold so when I need one I don't have to fold it first. Also pictured is a Polar Bummi wrap made of fleece. I don't like it- though I've been careful it already looks worn, is bulky, stinks after one use, and of course, Sarah takes it off.


So what is my favorite? Honestly, I like pinning prefolds and using a wool cover. Sarah takes off her diapers constantly with the velcro, so I either do a fitted diaper with wool or other pull on cover, or a flat/prefold that is fastened and then the wrap cover. The rascal! Wool is great because it somehow keeps wetness from seeping through, is antibacterial, and doesnt' need to be washed very often. These covers badly need to be washed and re-lanolinized (wool naturally has lanolin, the property that makes them water resistant), but I'm all out of wool wash, so we just keep using them anyways. Wool is breathable and feels warm in winter and cool in summer.

I also have a small collection of hemp and terry cloth doublers. Doublers are just another layer to add more absorbency without a lot of bulk, and hemp is extremely absorbent. Since hemp is a natural fiber, it also has antibacterial properties as well. Unfortunately it tends to stink after awhile, so you have get used to that.


I moved the changing table to my bedroom, which works well because Sarah is too big to change on it now, so I can use the bed.
Notice all the stuff on the floor-our 'stash' of stuff for our upcoming trip...

In the top drawer I put everything I use frequently, or 'easy to use' items.

In the next drawer I put the prefolded flat diapers, the liners/doublers, and the flushable paper liners I have. The bottom drawer has wipes (I don't do cloth wipes though) and odds and ends.

In the little side door I keep folded prefold diapers and extra covers for the changing pad. On the top of that I have our wipes, powder and lotion, and a little basket with pins, snappis and diaper cream. (I've had that tube for over two years!)

In the hallway I have an open trash can that I toss the used diapers into, and wash them every 2 days or so. Generally if we're going to church or going to be out for awhile I just use disposables for ease on everyone else, but if we're just going to the grocery store or something I use the stuffed all-in-one diaper. The booty is a little bulky, but with a dress on you don't notice.

So, that's it. Hope it made sense, I've had just about every interruption you can imagine while trying to make this post :)

February 6, 2008

Head Injury

Today was our grocery day. I 'sinned' and went to walmart to buy our food, ha,ha. I sure saved a lot of money though!

Anyways, my girls did wonderfully- I almost couldn't believe how well they behaved.

Then we got home. We ate lunch, cleaned up and got on the floor to play with a new toy I bought. (it's a GREAT wooden block set marked down to $5) I was laying on my side, watching Leiah and Alexa, the cat decided to perch on my ribcage when out of nowhere I get knocked in the side of my head with what felt like a brick! I cowered my head to the ground praying that I was ok because it was real close to my temple. As I was trying to recover I got hit again!

My sweet, cute little baby girl, had gotten a large heavy book and threw it at me! The corner of it hit my head. She laughed, then did it again! Finally I got up since it seemed she was gonna keep beating the mess out of my head and I had to forcefully teach her a lesson about throwing things. I had to get an ice pack and finally just take some advil.

I wish I could have seen what that looked like from the outside- I bet it was really funny. I kept thinking, what if she had knocked me out cold? Thank the Lord she hit me and not one of the other girls.

Umm, I think we've hit the 'terrible twos' a bit don't ya think?? I am cracking down on her a lot so that we can bypass most of the terrible twos.

Anyways, I was commenting on someone's website, and instead of a word verification you have to do a simple arithmetic problem. Mine was '9+4= ' and I typed in '12'. Maybe that knock to the head made me forget how to add...Maybe I need to start practicing math in my spare time- me, who made straight A's in calculus and chemistry!!!!!

February 5, 2008

Yokes and Burdens

I got rid of yesterday's post. I find that sometimes in needing 'someone' understanding to talk to, I vent on my blog. While this isn't a bad thing, it's just not what I want to do. I feel that I tend to do that a lot. Part of the problem is I don't have friends.

Wow that was hard to say. My husband is my best friend, then next is my mom. But, to have another friend who is a young woman with a young family staying home and managing it- nope. At least not in the flesh. (well I have met Candy, but that was in the summer and we live too far away to 'see' each other regularly)

What is strange to me is that for almost five years I've been attending MOPS, and in all that time I have yet to meet someone who wants a friend. It seems I am always the one having to initiate getting together with someone or trying really, really hard to create a friendship. And all my friends that are still single are living on another planet right now- their lives are just so very different from mine, it's hard to find common ground.

What's the deal? Is it because I have a bunch of little kids? Do I talk too much, eat weird food, laugh too loud?? Am I too big? What gives? I am a social person, and unfortunately, men think that if we're in the same room we're having quality time, LOL. (dh revealed this to me the other day) So, I have the internet, and of course, the Holy Spirit. But, it's nice to have someone with skin :)

I say all of this in jest, but it's still hard to understand. For most of my life it seems that after awhile I get cast off by my 'best friends' like 'you've served your purpose now I don't need you anymore'. Thank God He won't leave me.

Because of my chosen life, and me realizing the value of such a life, of course the enemy is going to try to confuse me and stress me out. One issue is cleaning- I've been burned about that before, so it's a tender spot and I get all bent out of shape if things aren't up to the right standards, whosever they are. They certainly aren't mine as I've said before, I wasn't a great housekeeper the first few years of marriage.

As I was driving rather sleepily this morning, the Lord spoke to me about it.

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:30


I am the one that is making this so hard. Whatever unrealistic expectations I am putting on myself is what is bogging me down. I am not superwoman, I am not perfect and can never be perfect. What is so great about completing a ton of tasks each day? It's a mindset I've bought into. Yes it is good to be organized and know what to expect. Children do thrive off routine and more gets accomplished, yet as my husband keeps telling me, do the best you can but if it doesn't all get done, work on it tomorrow.

I want to be a homemaker, not a housekeeper or taskmaster. I want our home to be a haven in the midst of this crazy world for all of us. I don't want my children to be inhibited from being creative because their mom is anal about making messes. Yes they should learn to keep their messes contained and be sure to clean them up, but still, gotta lighten up.

Anyways, I know that I've been talking a lot about all of this stuff, but it's what I'm wrestling with at present. Being a wife, mother and homemaker is like being a one-man band. I have all these different instruments I'm trying to juggle and play a perfect harmony with- every once in awhile I hit some clunker notes!

February 3, 2008

Getting ready for the week...

So what have I been up to?

Friday I took Leiah to the Brain Gym lady again and she did wonderful! The lady was soooo excited about her progress and told me she thought we would really begin to see some good changes in Leiah. It takes time though.

Anyways, she also writes curriculum for preschools and elementary grades and had some great ideas for activities. One of which, you won't believe how simple and cheap it is. Take an empty bottle, such as a syrup bottle with a lid that has a big enough hole for a piece of yarn. Make sure it's cleaned and dry, then get about two feet of yarn, knot both ends, and feed it through the hold in the lid of the bottle. After it's all in there, 'squirt' the bottle and the yarn comes shooting out. Part of the game is to get them to practice threading the yarn in the hole. My nephew played with it all afternoon, and he is a high energy kid.

Another thing we did over the weekend was take some plastic bottles, such as those for water or soda, but not liter sized. We filled one with water, added some food coloring, glitter, colored foil bits (I found it in the birthday section of walmart) various small objects (I raided the girls' dress up box and hair accesory boxes) then glued the lid. It's supposed to be a 'calming' toy and it's fun to shake it up and see all the glittering objects. The other we filled with half blue water and half baby oil so the objects 'floated' like boats. I couldn't find any small fish, shells or boats anywhere at walmart though! We keep them up high so curious hands don't get them without us knowing and somehow bust it open :)

We now have less than two weeks before we drive to the UP. (upper Michigan) It is terribly cold there I've heard, and it's in the 70s here! I need to start making packing lists and get that going so there won't be so much to do the day before.

This week I am trying to figure out how to fit everything in that needs to be done while taking Leiah to speech. It's just one day a week for now, but it still takes me an hour one way to get there, so it pretty much takes up half the day, plus any other errands I need to run. I think the only way I will be able to do it all is wake up at 5am!

My FIRM tapes made it in! I have to start this week even though I don't have hand weights or a step stool thingie. If I don't I won't be able to sled or ski much in the snow later.

I'm also looking for a new hairdo. This time last year I cut my very long hair pretty short. I liked it for awhile, then got tired of it, then was stuck with the growing out stage. Now it's considered 'long'-a few inches past my shoulders. I don't consider that long. Anyways, I may try a straight hair style with bangs- do you know I haven't had bangs since the early 90s when we curled them and poofed them out and sprayed hairspray all over? Maybe I should start that trend up again, ha,ha. I couldn't let myself go out in public like that!

Just for kicks, my husband found a free tool on the internet that let me upload my picture and it would put different 'celebrity' hairstyles on my head. You can even change the color and highlight it. Let's just say blond is not me :) We put dh and the kids' faces in there too, silly us!

Busy week ahead! I'm going to try 3 Week Cleaning from Candy's website. (keeping the home)

There is of course the usual cooking, tidying, bed-making, table chores, school, brain gym, sewing, Bible study, blogging, new exercise routine, etc... I also plan to work in a fun Valentine craft in there somewhere, if not this week then for sure next week. Oooh, the brain gym therapist also gave me some GREAT recipes for kids- silly putty, edible playdough, face paint etc. If anyone is interested I can post them.

Gotta go- maybe I can sew a bit on Alexa's dress before bed.

February 1, 2008

Awarded!


I can't believe I got awarded with this one twice, one from Laura and one from Thirdtimemama.

I don't have the time to list everyone I want to award right now, hopefully I can later today.

Thanks so much, I am quite surprised really. Doesn't seem like I say anything all that noteworthy, LOL.


My awards go to:

Candy, at Welcome to Keeping the Home

Pleasantview Schoolhouse

Lady Lydia, at Homeliving Helper

The Sparrow's Nest

Cat, at Welcome Home (used to put out the Making it Home magazine)

And, maybe I can add more later...