Thursday, May 27, 2010

Visit from a friend

One of the many sweet "God providence" incidences following our loss of Francesca was a visit from my dear friend, Michelle, who just "happened to be in the area" for a family function they were attending. She brought her children David, Grace, and Gregory with her. She came up on the 15th of April, just 6 days after Francesca's birth. It was SO NICE to see her and visit with her family.

Michelle and I

Miss Arianna

All our kiddos playing

Grace pulling Edmund on the wagon.

Michelle and Gregory

Arianna and Cassandra (and Shadow, our Husky).

All our "babies":
Benjamin, David holding Gregory, Grace, Cassandra, and Arianna holding Edmund.

Grace and Cassandra

David and Benjamin were like two peas in a pod.
Having a good 'ol time playing the "protector" role!

I love this shot of Gregory. He is SO cute. Baby chub at it's finest!

David and Benjamin hugging on each other...

Then tumbling to the ground in laughter.

Thank you Michelle. Your visit was a wonderful solace from the difficulty and pain we were going through.
~Much love.

Nummies from the kitchen

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Johanna Mezetti
Serves: 6-8
1-1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 C chopped onion
4 oz. dry egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 C chopped mushrooms
1-2 Tbls worchestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste
Brown beef and onions in large skillet. Drain. In separate pot, cook noodles until tender. Drain. Add cooked noodles, sour cream, milk, mushroom soup, mushrooms, cheese, and worchestershire sauce to browned beef. Cook on medium-high heat until heated through and cheese is melted.
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Chinese Side Salad
Serves: 12
Salad:
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1 pkg. crumbled Ramen noodles
2 moderate handfuls of frozen peas
1 large carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/4 C chopped onions (green onions)
slivered almonds (optional)

Dressing:
1/2 C oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbls white vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
flavor packet from Ramen noodles
Pour dressing on salad just before serving.
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Ham and Bean Soup
Serves: 10
Soak for 12-24 hours the following dry beans:
1 C pinto
1 C garbanzo
1 C black
Once rehydrated, drain and place in large crockpot.
Add the following:
leftover ham bone from roast (with bits of meat left on it)
2 carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
whatever leftover veggies happen to be in your fridge :-)
1-2 tsp minced garlic
2-3 tsp savory
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on LOW for 6 hours (HIGH for 4).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mom's say the darndest things!

Here are just SOME of the funnies that have passed through my lips as a mother:

-Leave my nuts alone and take care of business! (I left a container of mixed nuts on the table and Cassandra was playing with it when she should have been getting dressed.)

-Stop shooting your sister!

-Please, stop painting the table with cheese!

-Your finger is not bologna! (Benjamin bit his finger while eating a slice of bologna during snack.)

-Edmund, get out of the dishwasher!

-Farts are NOT funny!

-Get your brother out of that princess dress!

-Don't eat dirt!

-Don't eat your boogers! (Ewwww.)

-Peanuts do NOT go up your nose!

Food randomness

- trying my hand at soaking beans for the first time. Got dried great northern, pinto, and garbanzo beans soaking in pots on the stove. Going to make a ham, veggie, and bean soup tomorrow. Using a ham bone I saved from a roast for the meat and broth. Mmmmm.

-RD and I are really wanting to eat no-hormone/antibiotic meats from now on. We already get beef from my brother-in-law's father (who's a cattle farmer). They also have access to purchasing pork (which we will be doing once we get a bit more freezer space). Here's our first purchase of "happy chicken" we bought at the local bulk food store. Their prices are a bit more than that which you'd get at the grocer, but really not too bad at all. Tasted SO yummy!!!


(The two packages above made more than this, but a few pieces were nabbed already before I was able to get the camera!)
*They didn't shrink during the cooking process!*

Also tried frying up some sliced radishes. Got the idea from Happy To Be Called "Mommy". They were really yummy!!!

Exercise Stats

Week 1:
Time on EA Sports Active: 2 hr, 3 min
Time of Wii Fit: 1 hr, 37 min
Calories burned: 601.4
(also doing sit-ups each day)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happenings...

Random things as they flow through my mind this afternoon:

-starting a hard core exercise regime. Been at it for several days now. Hope to lose the baby weight and get skinny/healthy! I only had 13 pounds to lose last time I checked. Weigh-in's on Sunday. Curious myself to know where I'm at.

-really monitoring carefully my diet. Trying to cut back on carbs and sugars. Karen Hurd uses a LOT of beans in her diet. Using her plan to control depressive symptoms as I am trying to wean off of Zoloft. Immediately following the whole Francesca thing, I got on it (as a preventative measure) but I don't want to be on it any longer. Personally, I'm not sure it's helping. Secondly, I don't think I need it. God has truly and radically helped me get through my worst fear in life!!! To Him be all the glory!!!

-homeschool is in full swing! Lovin' it!

-looking forward to a weekend getaway with my hubby the weekend of June 12th! We're planning on visiting Michigan City, IN (lake, dunes, hiking, shopping, casinos *LOL*). Can't wait! My parents are coming down from Michigan to watch the kiddos. (Thanks guys! LOVE YOU!!!)

-also looking forward to some up-coming camping trips with friends and family. Going rustic and "tenting" (as the children call it).

-got my garden in. Originally, the plan was to go simple (flowers & tomatoes). But I've really found gardening to be incredibly therapeutic and it's turning out to be a bit more elaborate: onions, garlic, cilantro, parsley, mint/lemon mint, roses, lavender, and pumpkins. RD's aunt was clearing out her garden and brought over a wonderful stash of perennials for us to have: cone flowers, a walnut tree, columbine, and various other flowers. On top of that, we were given a crabapple tree and lilac bush in memory of Francesca. Perhaps the reason gardening is so intriguing and healing for me is because I can see and cultivate "life" during an experience of death. It's really spurred on a love of plants and greenery. As of late I find myself drooling over gardens and nurseries and green houses. RD and I have jokingly mentioned someday starting up an "organics" line of produce to sell. You just never know...

-finally dragged out the bags of blanched tomatoes I have had in the freezer since 2007!!! I thought for sure they were gonners, killed by freezer burn. But I was pleasantly surprised and mistaken! RD and I canned 33 pints of salsa this past weekend!!! SO fresh! Tastes an awful lot like Herdez salsa you get at the store (which has all natural ingredients). If you're local, stop by and pick some up!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

YES!!! Right on!!!

Compliments of Keeping the Home.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is it an Experience, or an Excuse?

There are many types of people in this world, but for simplicity's sake, and for the purposes of this article, let's say there are two - those who don't necessarily relish their lives, and they have plenty of excuses for it, and those who have many of the same rough situations occur in their lives, but they count them as experiences and learn and grow from them.

I hope I fall into the second category, for that is where I want to be. I think I naturally do, because I've never been much of a victim mentality sort of person.

Life is full of difficulties, and many a Christian has pleaded with the Lord to know why He had let certain things occur in their life. I've done that, and now look back years later and see the bigger picture. Sure, "y" hurt and was hard, but if it weren't for "y," "z" wouldn't have come about, and "z" is very important.

We all have trials, hardships, and tribulations. We all have minds, free will, and therefore decisions to make. When hard times hit you, what are you going to do about it? The way I see it, is that you could be the "victim," and use those hard times as excuses as to why you aren't getting out of life what you wish you were, or you could be the victor, and come out swinging.

The victim rarely learns from their hardships, except how to be good at making excuses. The victor, on the other hand, refuses to get beat down. The Christian victor tells the Lord "I know this is in Your hands, and the Scriptures promise me that things will work out for the good, so I'm going to smile, even if it is fake at first, and I am going to persevere." The victor comes away with more from their downtrodden experience than they did before entering that dark time of their life. They come away with life experiences they can look back to, and an enriched character. They come away with tools, such as more wisdom, which will be used later in their life, not only to help them through other rough patches, but also to help others.

Yes, the Lord will let certain hardships fall upon us, but if we keep the faith and keep our eyes on our Saviour, then we see that He never leaves us - ever. He is there with us, strengthening us, telling us what to do. We must look for what the Lord is telling us in these rough patches. Trust in the Lord, and He will see you through. You will come out the victor. Don't be the victim, but be the one who learns from these hard experiences. If we allow the Lord to work in and through us, then each of these experiences will grow us to be more like Jesus. Growth doesn't come from an easy life; character certainly does not. Growth and character come from persevering, and being the victor, instead of the victim.

Are you having a rough time right now? Look to the Lord, and this too shall pass. Will you let this be an experience in your life, or an excuse that you will look back to, excusing why aren't who you want to be?

Have you heard...

... of "Hurd"?

Karen Hurd is a nutritionist that uses food to heal. I daresay I am intrigued with her work and her concepts of food and health.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

4:30-6:30pm (continued)

I think instead of just having "recess" I'm going to start taking the kids out for a walk. We have a nice subdivision next door that is two miles in length road-wise. Figure I can get some exercise, reboot physically/emotionally/spiritually, and wear the kids out all at the same time!!! :-) Then we can come home to mood lighting and soft music. Kids can have quiet read time while I prepare dinner. We'll see how it works this next week!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

4:30-6:30pm craziness!!!

For SOME reason the 4:30-6:30pm portion of any given day (weekday or weekend) is CRAZY at our house!!! Am I alone in this???

Quiet Time's over. Daddy's coming home soon. Dinner will be on the table soon.

Apparently "transition" means "let's be crazy nuts!". ;-)

So I'm gonna try changing my approach to the day to counteract this.

1- "recess" following afternoon Quiet Time (which ends usually around 4pm)

2- play soothing/quiet music when they come inside for dinner

3- dim the lighting to a few lamps

4- burn candles

We'll see if it works.

Anyone else got any ideas on how to create a mood of calmness as they day comes to a close?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Easing back into it

This week the kids and I started easing back into the realm of school. Hopefully this weekend I'll have time to get lessons for each day prepared. Even though we've taken about a month off from "formal" school, it's been amazing to see the two older kids testing out their reading skills on signs and cereal boxes and such.

Hopefully this little break will have been beneficial for the kids. It's been less structured and much more relaxed. It's been nice.

Thinking about redoing our schedule as well, having "recess" and garden time in the morning when it's cooler and doing school during the hottest part of the day.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Update and stuff

We are holding up really good... surprisingly good. So often I hear how tragic things can make people and marriages crumble. But through the sustaining power of God and through the prayers and help of others, I feel as though we are stronger. Losing Francesca not only has brought RD and I closer as a couple, it has also brought us closer to God. We are seeing and knowing Him like we've never experienced before. It's been a bitter but sweet road to healing.

Hopefully as time goes on I will unfold some of that which has been happening. As it stands, I could seriously write a novel!

Here are just a few random thoughts as they pop into my head:
1- started exercising today using the Wii EA Sports Active "game" (LOW impact). Also did a mild set of sit-ups. Feeling pretty good! Gained somewhere around 30 lbs. Have 13 lbs to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
2- our church has been amazing! For the past 3 weeks we have been provided with meals! Today, we had our last meal. So this evening I did inventory and meal planning. Getting out to the grocery store tomorrow AM. It's been absolutely WONDERFUL having meals made for us each evening. But it will definitely be nice to start making some of our own food again. I miss being in the kitchen. It's therapeutic. :-)
3- Benjamin isn't taking Francesca's passing very well. He's SO tender hearted. And he wanted a baby sister SO bad. He'd hug and talk to my belly every day, loving on her. He's been acting out and getting frustrated and angry quite a bit. We're going to talk to our church counselor tomorrow to see if he's got any resources on children and grief. The other kids seem to be handling it ok.
4- reading an amazing book entitled "Shattered Dreams" by Larry Crabb. A MUST READ for anyone facing a trial or tragedy in their lives!!! Also reading through the Psalms and journaling.
5- really need to get back into the swing of homeschooling again. We basically took off the entire month of April (go fig'). We've still been reading the Bible and library books, doing arts and crafts, playing on PBSkids.com and Starfall.com... but as far as phonetics, reading lessons, handwriting, etc... Think I'll spend this next week lesson planning and rewetting my feet so to speak. Start school back up again in a week. But that's the bliss of schooling through the year: you can take breaks and still get your days in!