Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Progress!

Still workin' on losing that baby weight. Only a few more pounds to go!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And I HAVE to share a few funnies...

Funny #1:
So this morning, the kids and I are sitting around the table quietly eating breakfast when I decide to seize the teachable moment to discuss the true meaning of Christmas. Here's how our conversation panned out:

Mom: So kids... tomorrow is Christmas day. Who can tell me what we are celebrating?

Arianna: (without missing a beat) Presents! We get lots of presents!!!

(Mom starts to open mouth in order to provide the correct answer)
(Arianna see's mom's mouth start to open)

Arianna: I mean... Jesus! He was born as a baby!

*smart kid.
**perhaps you had to be there. ;-)

Funny #2:
Arianna and Benjamin collectively decided that they wanted to write a Christmas story to share with the family tomorrow. It's a "Transformer's Christmas" story. I just HAD to share! (This is definitely something I'm going to keep through the coming years!)


Bumblebee and Optimus Prime With Two Hats On Sitting By The Christmas Tree Opening Presents
~by Arianna and Benjamin D.

At the Transformer's house, all the robots were eating Christmas bread with sprinkles on it, grapefruit, and orange fruit. Bumblebee was making a snowglobe for Optimus Prime. It had a snowman, two presents, and a Christmas tree with snow.

Optimus Prime was eating a robot chicken with his robot friends. But not the "airplane guy" or the "cop car guy". They are bad. They can't come to Optimus Prime's house.

Bumblebee goes to Optimus Prime's house. And the good robot girls come over, too. Their names are Rachel, Aunt Cyndi, Amy, Amara, and Auntie Shauna. The girls and Bumblebee open presents and eat candy. Rachel got lotion so she can go to the beach and not get burned. Aunt Cyndi got a necklace to make her look pretty. Amy got a purse. Amara got two rings. And Auntie Shauna got a "sweet baby Jesus". Bumblebee got an Optimus Prime poster. Optimus Prime got a Bumblebee poster (from Optimus Prime).

Then they all went to so see Jesus' birth at Bumblebee Church.

Isn't this cute?!!!

Merry Christmas!

~2008~

Wow, I cannot believe it's already Christmas '08! And that today Edmund turns 6 months old! I know I said that I was not going to post during the month of December, but inspiration has overtaken my best of intentions. So, here's not only a photo of my growing family, but here I will also include a reflective list entitled:

The Many Joy's of Christmas!
1- the smell of Monkey Bread baking and coffee brewing Christmas morn
2- reading the Christmas Story from the book of Luke first thing in the morning while everyone is still in their jammies
3- seeing my children dressed up in their Christmas best
4- for that matter, seeing RD dressed up in HIS Christmas best! :-)
5- outdoor lights decorating homes and yards
6- the smell of Christmas scented candles burning
7- getting a family picture taken for Christmas cards
8- a chance to update my address book!
9- getting Christmas cards from beloved family members and friends with their family photos on them
10- having Shauna and Charles home (my sister and brother in law)
11- hilariously wrapping gifts (the more creative and weird, the better!)
12- rest and relaxation
13- colorfully wrapped presents under the tree
14- watching my children busting at the seams with anticipation
15- Christmas lights, garland, and tinsel that warm the home environment
16- Christmas music quietly playing in the background
17- seeing friends and family (esp. those we rarely see throughout the year)
18- Christmas dinner (an all out feast)
19- the Christmas program at church
20- working in the kitchen with all the other ladies
21- the joy and thankfulness on other people's faces as they unwrap their gifts
22- rolling around and wrestling with the children on the floor amidst wrapping paper and ribbons

... and most importantly...


23- celebrating Jesus' birth

As I sit here rocking little Edmund in my arms, I catch myself imagining what it would be like to see Jesus, my Lord and Savior, as a mere infant. He was human. 100% human! He grew up to be 6 months old (like Edmund)... 2-1/2 years old (like Cassandra)... 4 years old (like Benjamin)... 5-1/2 years old (like Arianna)... As I look into the eyes of my children, I catch a brief glimpse of the reality that Jesus was once among us... that He, too, was a child. Oh, how I praise God for sending Jesus in such a way! He was like us! He, too, had a body of flesh. He shared in all the human experiences we do today. Jesus, fully man yet fully God... an equation I cannot fathom in through my human lens of understanding. A tiny babe... yet a mighty King.

Words cannot express my thankfulness, Father God, that You would send Your Son to earth for us... for me... Jesus left His throne of royalty and power to live, and die, amongst sinners. You lived to die... in order that we may find forgiveness of our sin and live in eternal bliss with You. Not because of anything that we have done, but because You first loved us. There is so much I do not understand. But today, hear my prayer of thankfulness for sending Jesus to earth as a precious little baby... to grow up and die so that we, as a race of humans, could be blessed with the gift of salvation. Tomorrow, as we all open gifts from our beloved friends and family, may our thoughts rest upon the best gift even given in all of eternity... You. ~Amen

Have a blessed and merry CHRISTmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bye for now


After much prayerful consideration, I've decided to take off the rest of December from blogging. (For those of you with access to my family blog, I do intend to keep that updated through the month.) I'm sensing that God is wanting to take this blog in a different direction, and so, I am wanting to bathe these next several days in prayer in order that I may be fully in line with His will. I do not plan on quitting this blog... but I do feel as though God is pushing me in a different direction. More than anything, I am wanting to encourage my readers to further pursue God, especially in regard to femininity, women's roles, marriage, mothering, etc. I've been rather directionless as of late, but I do believe God has got some plans. See you all in January! Have a wonderful CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Check-In


:-(
I didn't do a thing...
And when I finally worked up the nerve to do a little something, my back got out of whack and I've been basically out of commission all weekend long. I can't fathom what I did, but the small of my back hurts! Hopefully today I can slip in and see the chiropractor.
Oh man... I feel it. Yuck. I've GOT to workout this week.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Peg People

This is such a cute idea! I especially like the Super Hero Peg People. Hmmmm.... Christmas is coming....

Miscellaneous crafts

While we were in Michigan visiting family over Thanksgiving, my mom pulled out a little something she's been working on for a while now... a tradition she wanted our family to start. Being the creative genius she is, she made the most adorable "count down to Christmas" stockings to string up and add to our Christmas home decor. She knitted 25 of the cutest mini stockings! The kids put candy in each sock so they could eat 1 piece each day until Christmas. Boy, was our brood excited. Here were Arianna's and Benjamin's expressions when grandma pulled out the candy! (You can see some of the socks, too.)
Loading up the socks.
Thank you, grandma. We love it!
You can see the little clothes pins with the count down numbers on them in this picture.
Here's a close-up. Aren't they darling?!


Remember me talking about the free fonts page? Well, here's our Akbar font put to use. My mom's birthday was the day before Thanksgiving and so the kids and I made a card for her. Here's what we made:
You can't really tell in this pic, but the beak actually opens up! We clipped off the corner of an envelope, colored it orange, and pasted it in. (We are still finding glitter all over the house!)
Made with love.
(I've always thought it was neat that my mom's b-day is around Thanksgiving... her birth is an awesome thing to give thanks for.)
Love you, mom!


My kids are enthralled with the simplest of things. It's so fun. Who would have guessed that toothpicks and mini marshmallows could be so entertaining? They have a blast creating all kinds of things! And, of course, they get to eat the marshmallows when they're done playing. ;-)

Here's Arianna's snowman.

Weight Loss Progress!

Slowly but surely...

Monday, December 01, 2008

A revelation...

Ever seen or tasted one of these? It's a Wendy's Spicy Go-Wrap. Not much to it. A slab of spicy chicken meat, a little bit of shredded cheese and lettuce, and a splash of Ranch Dressing. Seemingly harmless... or so I thought.

On Monday's, I do secretarial work for my husband. When he took me out to lunch at Wendy's, my choices of healthy foods were limited: baked potato, chili, or salad. Hmmm. So in the spirit of branching out, I decided to choose the next most seemingly harmless option... a Go-Wrap. As I was waiting for my order to come up, I was (conveniently?) standing next to this huge poster of nutrition facts. As my eyes perused the menu item list, I was absolutely shocked! ONE Go-Wrap is 320 calories/16 grams of fat! Before I started running, these numbers meant very little to me. But the treadmill doesn't lie. (Just like the scale, eh?) When I run 3 miles, I burn approximately 250 calories. 250!!! And ONE Go-Wrap is 320!!! I couldn't believe it! I'd seriously have to run over 3 miles to burn off just one of those little suckers! I ate it... but I had a hard time enjoying it. Next time I'll order a baked potato, chili, or salad... ;-)

Check-In


Mon. 11/24: ran 2.7 mi @ 5.2 mph; speed walked .4 mi; total: 3.1 mi.
Tues. 11/25: ran 2.6 mi. @ 5.2-5.4 mph; speed walked .6 mi.; total: 3.1 mi.
Fri. 11/28: speed walked 3 mi.
Sun. 11/30: 3 mi. video w/ 3 lb. weights; 250 various sit-ups

Doing good in the exercise department. Portion-size department... not so good. -sigh- I just don't know why it is SO HARD to control how much I eat. I'll be doing good for several days in a row and then I start slipping back into old habits. By my eating habits, I'm thwarting the hard work I'm doing with exercising. I'm not eating bad... just too much. And I like my carbs... :-/ My prayer today has been that God would develop the "fruit" of self-control in my life. I know my body is His temple and I need to be taking good care of it. But only He can truly help me control what enters my body... I fail in my own strength.

I've revamped my daily schedule as well. The early AM thing just was an absolute no-go. I tried and failed miserably. I used to be an early bird, but my husband has slowly been converting me into a night owl. So after the kiddos are tucked into bed, I throw on my tennis shoes. While I'm exercising, RD gets his much needed "alone time" to relax from a hard day. I take a shower after my workout (yeah, another thing I don't have to do in the AM) and we can still have time together as a couple before heading to bed. It's been forcing me to work more diligently during the day to make sure all chores and cleaning are completed because I desperately covet the time I spend with RD in the evenings. I don't want anything cutting into that time! So when morning comes, I get up at 7:15am, have my quiet time with God, get dressed to my shoes, and by 8am I am ready to go! This new schedule is working marvelously!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting to know you... Christmas style

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer gift bags simply because I am horrible at wrapping gifts.

2. Real tree or Artificial? When we actually have room for a tree, we'll use an artificial. As for now, we'll stick to our super cool fiber optic mini tree... and we'll enjoy everyone else's trees.

3. When do you put up the tree? Ordinarily, Christmas stuff doesn't come out until after Thanksgiving. For some reason I couldn't wait. Our stuff's been out about 2 weeks already.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after the New Year

5. Do you like eggnog? Not really. I prefer spiced hot cider and hot cocoa with mini marshmallows.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Cabbage Patch Kid dolls and legos sets

7. Hardest person to buy for? The person that buys things whenever they want... so they already have everything.

8. Easiest person to buy for? My children.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Not yet, but someday...

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Snail mail, of course

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Christmas '01... I remember it vividly. RD and I were already "unofficially engaged" and so, I was totally expecting a ring for Christmas. Sure enough, there was a small little gift bag from a local jeweler under his parent's tree... and it had MY name on it!!! I knew what I was getting! Christmas day came, all the family was gathered round, and RD excitedly handed me my jeweler bag... he was literally grinning from ear to ear. This was it! This was the blessed moment I'd anticipated all my life!!! As I cautiously pulled the tissue paper out... heart racing... I pulled out... I pulled out a... a set of yellow rubber dishwashing gloves?! WHAT?! RD explained that I had been complaining about the dish water drying my hands out, so he bought some for me. If his family hadn't been there, I would have socked him a good one. Instead, I about cried. He had other stuff to give me besides the gloves... but the bleak memory of NOT getting a ring... and getting yellow dish gloves instead... tainted my memory of whatever else I received that year. His excuse for using a jeweler bag was that he couldn't find anything else small enough to hold the gloves. Whatever! It was all in good jest... and he made up for it on January 9th, 2002... when I really DID get a ring at an unsuspecting time. It's funny now.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? The one with Ralphie in it... what was that? A Christmas Story?...

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? We started back in late summer.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes... and I will never tell who or what.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Oreo truffles, ham

16. Lights on the tree? Yes. Lots! "Would you like a bit of tree with them there lights?"

17. Favorite Christmas songs? The crazy Christmas CD my friend Kris made

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? RD and I's family swap Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families... so it really depends on the year. But yes, almost always we travel.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yes

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve? No

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Obligatory gifts

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? silver & blue

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Ham

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? For my kids to understand that Christmas isn't about getting gifts... but about Jesus. He is the best gift we could ever receive!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another miscellaneous

I hate to waste.
So rather than throw away limp celery...
My mom shared a nifty trick to resurrect celery: cut the bottom of the stalks off and place in a glass of unsoftened tap water. Place in refrigerator. They come back to life within 24 hours!

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My kiddos "camping out" in the living room.

Look at the sheer size of this boy! Edmund is HUGE!
Might I add, Miss Arianna is pretty strong.

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And for THANKSGIVING !!!

I printed off a picture of a turkey and told my three oldest to replicate it artistically. Here's what they came up with using Play-doh and bobby pins:

Cassandra made "baby turkey's"

Fun with fingerpaint!



I'm signing off until after the Thanksgiving holiday. We'll be gone from Wednesday to (late) Friday visiting family in Michigan. Hope you all have a WONDERFUL and safe Thanksgiving!!!

Apples Apples Galore!

We've been mighty busy this past weekend.
Here's what we were up to:

MORE APPLE BUTTER!!!
This time, instead of using Macintosh apples, we used a kind called Downing Tart. (Ok, but a bit too tart. It worked, though.) We went back to our local orchard and purchased 1 whole bushel!!! After trying to peel some of the apples by hand, we finally broke down and borrowed an apple peeler from our neighbor. (Thanks, Vickie!) SO MUCH FASTER! RD found an apple peeler online at Target for a really good price. Guess what I'm getting for Christmas!!!

So anyway, here's RD peeling apples. It was something "mechanical" so he thoroughly enjoyed playing, er, I mean, working with it. Vickie also let us borrow a slab of countertop to use as well. Very convenient. (If anyone is looking to buy one of these, may I suggest purchasing a kind that clamps rather than suctions to the countertop. I've heard the latter do not work so well.)

1/2 bushel done in like 10 minutes, if that!

Then... we were left with THIS:
Did I ever tell you that I simply HATE wasting?
There had to be something we could do with apple peels!
Then I remembered a fellow mommy blogger friend who made JELLY from peels. Intrigued, we tried it.

Here's our adventure: Apple Peel Jelly

Cook the peels down. (We threw everything in: peels, cores, seeds, stems...) We also added a cinnamon stick.
Looks yucky but smelled blissful!

Strain it.



Our's was a beautiful pink color!

Finished product.
We canned 14 pints!
Amazingly simple recipe. SO good... and you'd never believe it was made from apple peels!
*If you prefer a really clear jelly, use a jelly bag instead of a strainer.


We discarded what was left of the peels after straining. But apparently you can even use THOSE remains to make cider vinegar:
Take strained peels and cores, put in bucket. Cover slightly with water and allow to ferment. Strain once more. Use for cooking and/or cleaning.

Miscellaneous

Here's what we did with Arianna's pressed flowers.

Here's what the flowers looked like post-pressing.

Arianna made a get-well card and some bookmarks. We bought some thermal laminating sheets at Wal-Mart and are going to laminate them all so we can use/treasure her creativity.

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry. Very yummy!

Ya know those kids' sleepers with the footies?... The ones that are only good for one winter? They frustrate me! So... I cut the footies off and sewed a hem! Good to go one more winter.

Did a Google search the other day for Scooby Doo coloring pages, per Arianna's request. After printing it off for her, she runs to her book shelf and finds her Scooby Doo book... just so she can match the color of their clothing (so it's "juuuust right"). Smart kid!

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Vodka vanilla.
This stuff tastes SO GOOD in baked goods. RD and I are making some for Christmas gifts. Here's how you make it:

Vodka vanilla (makes approx. 1 pint)
Split 2 large vanilla beans lengthwise. Pack into a 1 pint glass jar. Pour over beans 1-1/2 cups of 100 proof vodka. Cover tightly. Let set in cool, dry place for 6 months for full potency. Use exactly as you would conventional store bought vanilla.

Happy 5 months!

As of yesterday, 11-24-08, Mr. Edmund is 5 months old!
We cannot believe it!
Here's some pics of our "little" guy...






He just passed out right in the middle of the floor.
How he did that with all the commotion from his brother and sister's I'll never know...

When he starts sucking his thumb we know he's getting tired.

Gnawing on a pizza crust.

Mr. Edmund:
-eats oatmeal, applesauce, bananas, yogurt, Cheerios (and pizza crusts!)
-sucks his thumb when he gets sleepy
-gets up on all fours, sometimes pushing his bottom up so he's on his hands and toes
-rolls with ease
-sleeps on his tummy
-is getting too big for his carseat!
-wears 6-9 months clothes
-sorta scoots on his tummy
-still loves being outside, even if it's cold
-loves to watch movies
-loves music
-let's Arianna feed him
-has pretty decent control of his hands (so watch out!)
-loves to lay and watch our fiber optic Christmas tree
-will finally take a bottle!
-sleeps through the night most nights (from 9pm-8am)
-analyzes everything he sees; very contemplative
-very relaxed/calm personality; easy-going
-hates wearing socks; kicks them off any chance he gets
-can sit up ok with support
-when laying on his back, he lifts his legs up and grabs his toes