Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo (finale)

Yea! I did it! I posted every day during the entire month of November. Surprisingly, it wasn't really even that hard. It was actually quite inspiring. Hopefully, it created a habit that will continue through the future. Don't think I'll post something every day from here on out, but a lot more regularly, that's for sure.

Can't wait to post pics from our family Thanksgiving feast. RD's mom got some sweet pics of the table spread and decor. Soooo pretty! My mom actually got to celebrate her birthday this year ON Thanksgiving day! How cool is that. Love you, mom!

Today, the kids and I worked all afternoon putting up Christmas decorations. It definitely IS the most wonderful time of the year. We got on and listened to Christmas music. Now all I need are some Christmas scented candles to add the finishing touches.

That's about it for now. Gotta go finish supper. We're having mini cheese stuffed shells & sauce and salad. Made a homemade vinegar & oil dressing, too. Yum!
Just out of curiosity, from you my readers, what posts/topics do you find most interesting here?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Healthy Pregnancy

Came across a couple of informative websites about having a healthy pregnancy.

American Pregnancy Association
I was pleasantly surprised to see they have a pretty wide pregnancy wellness section that embraces natural health and herbal care.

Also found Mother and Child Health
LOTS of information and interesting articles!

Mother Love
Organic products for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and babies.

And these are definitely on my Christmas wishlist!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More later

Today's going to be a bit hectic as we are prepping for our last Thanksgiving celebration. This morning, I am making 3 dozen deviled eggs! Not sure when I'll get a chance to get to the computer before midnight, so here's my post for the day. Sorry it's so short. I should have time to write a Thanksgiving wrap-up post tomorrow to let you know how our weekend went. It's been so much fun!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Newman's Own Organics

Anyone interested in a giveaway? Enter to win here. Good luck!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving List

1- that I was one of God's elect! PRAISE GOD!
2- that my husband was one of God's elect! PRAISE GOD!
3- that God sovereignly brought us together in marriage!
4- four beautiful children
5- and Baby #5 :-)
6- the ability to stay home full-time and homeschool
7- for a church body that desperately seeks God's Word and His best- one that's not afraid to teach on touchy/sensitive issues
8- for Biblical teaching on gender roles & marriage roles that God clearly gives us in His Word
9- that hopefully within the next 7 months we can purchase our first home!
10- that my two oldest children are now loving to read (and it's rubbing off on Cassandra who's lately been asking to go through flashcards and phonics!)
11- that everyone in my family is healthy
12- dear friends and family we share our lives with
13- wisdom that God freely grants to those that only ask


Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Have a blessed holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My list

Been slowly working on my Thanksgiving List for tomorrow. I should have plenty of time to finish it, especially tonight since RD will be working late. He's been cramming 5 days of work into 3. It is always so wonderful to keep a written record of all the many ways God has blessed, moved, and worked in our lives. Oftentimes we live so much in the here and now that we forget (too easily, unfortunately) how God has worked in the past. One of my girlfriends has a "Praise Basket"- every time a blessing comes their way (any size) she writes in on a 3x5 card and puts it in the basket. A year or more later, her and her husband will go through the basket together and basically have a praise and worship service as they relive God's goodness to them. I'd like to have something like that for our family. Maybe a book, journal, or scrapbook of some sort.

What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Right now I'm experiencing a strange mix of gratitude and sadness. See, my husband and I were recently reacquainted with a sweet family that used to go to our church. I posted about them not too long ago (the Tiramisu & Killer Salad post- Nov. 11th). We are like-minded in so many different ways (our views on Christianity, politics, marriage roles, parenting styles, homeschool methods, what we like to do for fun, etc). They also have 4 children close in age to ours. The wife is pregnant with #5, just weeks behind me. It was one of those relationships that just naturally and quickly fell into place- it just clicked. Where I am beaming with gratitude is that the husband, who's been unemployed for 7 months, finally got a great job! We have been praying and praying that God would provide them with something secure and stable. A huge sigh of relief can finally be drawn. They have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!!! Where the sadness hits is that they will be moving in 3 weeks... to Illinois. It's not like they'll be moving across the U.S. (it'll only be a 3.5-4 hr. drive) and we'll never get to see them. But they'll no longer be "just down the street" (literally). It's kind of a funny spot to be in. And not funny "ha ha". I am overflowing with joy at the blessings that have been poured out upon that family. But we will miss them.

I am also thankful for the stint of time that we did get reacquainted. Albeit short, it has been a blessing. We were able to renew a friendship that will hopefully last for years to come.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another toy purge

Our kids have soooo many toys. We've seriously been blessed beyond measure in this area. We have hardly had to ever buy them any toys because so many have graciously been given to us from others. Well with Christmas fast approaching, we decided to do one more big toy purge. What we did was pull out EVERYthing from their rooms and storage and then laid them all out on the floor/bed in our master bedroom, basically like a toy store. All educational toys were immediately removed and placed in quick retrieval storage. We then individually led the kids through the "store" and allowed them to pick out (10) toys a piece*.

Someone here had commented a while back that toy boxes are abysses- well they are right, and so, we got book shelves for the kids to display their toys. Some good toys like Mega Blocks, train sets, a wooden doll house, etc. did not get chosen this round and so those went back into storage for a later rotation. We also kept out community toys like their big kitchen set and dress up clothes. But through this process, we were able to separate the "wheat from the chaff" (so to speak) and purge the trickety things that no one plays with.

Having less toys out has helped not only with cutting down the messes made during the day, but it has also reduced the number of arguments and fights between the children. It's also dramatically increased our children's level of contentment.

*Cassandra and Edmund obviously needed help.
*And we picked out some cool toys for Baby F, too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Game Day!

Colts (9-0)


Ravens (5-4)

Well, you know what we're doing this afternoon! :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


It must be pregnancy because I've never encountered this phenomenon before. But I just cannot muscle through the process of eating cold cereal. Not even granola,which is unheard of! So we've been eating all kinds of other things: cottage cheese and pineapple, muffins, toast, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, fruit salad, etc.
Here is one of our new quick and easy favorites:

Cheesy Egg Sandwiches:
*this is one of our favorites.

Toast the bread with the cheese on it.

Grease or spray PAM in a cereal bowl. Add 1 egg, a splash of milk, salt & pepper. Scramble and microwave on HIGH for 30+ seconds until completely cooked.
*I usually do two at a time and it takes 1 min.

Slap the egg on the cheese. Lightly butter or spread salsa on the other bare piece of toasted bread.

*We will sometimes do this same procedure with English Muffins and add a slice of bacon (or sausage) for a homemade Egg McMuffin.

Other breakfasty things coming soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Beat the flu this winter

Got this in my email this week from Above Rubies. Thought I'd pass along the useful information!


Dear friends,

As we approach flu season, it is good to be reminded of ways to prevent it. There are better ways to prevent the flu than being vaccinated. Check out the following points to keep yourself and your family in good health during this winter season.


This means to not only refrain from sugar, but all foods containing sugar, which are most foods on the shelves of the supermarket. Read labels very carefully. In fact, when you read the labels first, will find that you will have to put most foods back on the shelf.

Sugar makes a perfect environment for viruses. Sugar completely destroys your immune system. It destroys the germ-killing ability of white bloods cells to kill bacteria and viruses up to five hours after intake. It interferes with the transport of vitamin C which is needed to fight the flu and robs the body of nutrients such as zinc that are vital for the immune function.

Sugar affects everyone, but has more serious consequences for children. Keep your children away from all sugar and especially when flu viruses are around. That means at Christmas time too!

Also, please reduce carbs as they turn to sugar in your body. Especially eliminate all whites--not only white sugar, but white flour, white pasta and white rice. Completely eradicate pop and sweet teas. I refuse to have sugar in my pantry.


The stronger your immune system, the less likelihood of getting the flu or any disease.

Here are some ideas for building up your immune system for you and your children. You can do what suits you best--or do them all!

My daughter, Serene, who has eight children, gives herself and the children the following once a day or more as needed.

½ cup chopped onion
A whole bulb of chopped garlic
2 TBS chopped fresh ginger root
1 chopped jalapeƱo

Put all ingredients in a quart jar, cover with raw vinegar and let sit 4 - 6 weeks. Strain out vegetables and use 2 TBS. or more each day. If you do get a cold or the flu, take every hour. Serene gives her children 1 TBS. each day as a preventative.

1, 000 mg morning and evening

Give children three drops in water once a week. If you notice any signs of flu or colds in the family, give three drops in water once a day. Adults should take 10 - 15 drops in water at the slightest sign of a cold or flu. You can obtain this extract at a health food shop.

To make it easier for toddlers to take these vitamins, mix the following:
1 TBS. or more of yogurt (no sugar added)
Crushed Vitamin C tablet, smaller dosage for toddler
Juice of ½ orange
2 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
Stevia for sweetening
Mix together and give to toddler as needed.

1,000 mg each morning to children
1,000 each morning and evening for adults. Most adults need much more than this. The consensus is that anything up to 5,000 mg a day is safe and beneficial for most people. After a hydroxyl test, most people find they need more than this. The optimum levels for the body are 60 - 90 ml. Vitamin D builds the immune system and also fights cancer.

This is a marvelous food that builds up the body's own natural defenses against viral infections, disease and cancer. Take as much as you can each day. You can't take too much. Use the Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil for medicinal use. Put 1 TBS. or more in your smoothies. Use it for all your cooking instead of other oils. You can use Expeller Pressed for cooking.

If there are any signs of flu in even one of the children, Serene gets her children to take a banana and dip it into coconut oil (about 2 TBS coconut oil). This is an easy way for the children to eat it. You can also get the children to put the coconut oil behind their ears and massage it into their lymph glands and also in their nose.

Use coconut way every way you can. Use it for all cooking instead of other oils. To try some delectable recipes with Coconut Butter (it is called butter when it is cold and goes hard, and oil when it is soft in the summer or heated) you can order COCONUT RECIPES by Serene Allison from the Above Rubies website:

This is another super oil. I only use Coconut oil or Red Palm oil for cooking in our home. Every other oil turns to Trans fat when it is heated. Not only are these safe oils to cook with, but they add many nutrients to your body. Both Coconut oil and Red Palm oil strengthen the immune system.

You can put a little Red Palm oil in your smoothies. My husband spreads it on his bread, but I have to admit, I cannot take it that way. But use it as much as you can in your cooking. The following is a smoothie recipe to try:

Ginger Sunrise
2 fresh oranges
2 lemons, peeled with knife, removing yellow rind, but keeping the white pith
1 - 2 bananas (great for children, eliminate for adults as fattening)
2 TBS. Red Palm Oil
1 large handful of flax seeds or chia seeds
2 TBS. Coconut oil
2 chunks fresh raw ginger (about 1")
Sweetening - Stevia
Ice cubes
Blend very well in Vita Mix or good blender until smooth.


Charity Callis, Toll Free: 1 877 841 2861

Go to and check out their website.
Toll Free: 877-558-5518

To find out more about these immune boosting oils, check out THE PALM OIL MIRACLE and THE COCONUT OIL MIRACLE by Bruce Fife.


There is nothing like lack of sleep to run down your immune system. Sleep and a healthy diet are your best preventatives against the flu and colds. Make sure you have adequate sleep, especially during flu season. Try to get to bed early.
I grew up with the old wives' tale that the hours of sleep before midnight are the most beneficial. Science has now proved this adage, although I must admit I have broken the rule most of my life. I am now trying to go to bed earlier. The plan is to go to bed no later than 10.00 pm--9.00 pm is even better.
Staying up much later than 10.00 pm causes your adrenal glands to make cortisol. This is taxing on the adrenal gland and can lead to adrenal fatigue. Does this sound too hard? It is actually better for your health, and you will accomplish just as much by getting up earlier in the morning. And remember, I am preaching to myself!


I have a friend who uses the following for her family. The taste is wonderful.

½ cup elderberries (check the Internet for dried elderberries)
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 TBS grated fresh root ginger
2 cups water
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Add ½ cup honey. Store in refrigerator. Take 2 TBS. each day to prevent colds and flu. If you have the flu, take every hour. This recipe only keeps two weeks in the fridge so you will need to make a fresh batch every two weeks.

Any easy fighter is to chop up 1 or 2 garlic cloves very, very finely. Pop in your mouth and swallow before you have a chance to taste the flavor or imbibe the smell. This is an easy and wonderful way to fight the flu. I find this simple and effective.

Many folk use the following Natural Antibiotic Recipe using Young Living Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils. Here is the recipe from Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils, compiled by Connie and Alan Higley, 10th edition.

12 drops Thieves Oil
6 drops Oregano Oil
2 drops Frankincense Oil
Put drops in a "00" size capsule and ingest one capsule every 4 hours for 3 days, then every 8 hours for 4 days.

To purchase oils, go to

BURIED TREASURE - ACF (Acute Cold and Flu Formula)
This is highly effective for fighting colds. You can purchase it as your local health food store or online. Our daughter, Pearl, always has it on hand for use at the first sign of a sniffle.


Horseradish root is a powerful antibiotic and useful for fighting the flu, as well as urinary tract infections and even cancer. I have just harvested the roots from m y garden and am getting ready to prepare it as a sauce and to use in other recipes. Check the Internet for all kinds of wonderful recipes.

Prepare the following to use as needed. Slice or chunk the horseradish root, place in blender and grind, adding small amounts of vinegar for a good consistency, about 1 TBS vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar) to 1 cup horseradish. The vinegar preserves the horseradish and enhances the flavor. Vinegar stops the heat-building enzyme activity that grinding causes. If you want hotter horseradish, wait before adding the vinegar. Adding the vinegar right away will make the horseradish milder.

Horseradish will take your breath away, bring tears to your eyes, but at the same time clear all your sinuses, help ward off the flu and make you feel great!

You can add 1 TBS. of horseradish to your coleslaw or even to your meat loaf you are preparing.

This is another old wives' tale that I grew up with, but I still do it and believe it works. If someone gets a cold or flu in the house, I cut an onion in half and put it in a strategic place. Supposedly the germs go to the onion. If my husband has a sniffle, I cut an onion and put half by his side of the bed and half by my side of the bed. He complains of the smell but puts up with it!

A lot of germs come through the ears. As a preventative, pour a little Hydrogen Peroxide in the ear. I love to feel it bubbling in my ear. Do it once a week (perhaps on the weekend), one night in one ear and the next night in the other. I find it easier to do it this way as the peroxide doesn't run out from one ear when pouring it in the other ear.

An herb which strengthens the immune system and fights off infections. Check the Internet for purchase. Adults only.


Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially before eating. Wash under running water for 20 seconds or sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY while washing. It is most important to train your children to do this.


I find myself doing this and am having to get into the habit of not rubbing my eyes, mouth or nose. Teach your children about this also.


Check the Internet for a Neti Pot to clear nose and sinuses.


The H1N1 vaccination has many dangers. Check out more information before allowing yourself and your family to become a victim to these shots.

The Swine Flu Vaccine, unlike other flu vaccines, contains squalene, an additive which when introduced into the bloodstream, causes crippling auto-immune diseases like Lou Gehrig's disease, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, polyarteritis nodosa, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Squalene in vaccines has been strongly connected to the Gulf War Syndrome. The H1N1 vaccine contains 1 million times more squalene than the vaccine given to Gulf War soldiers (which resulted in 140,000 veterans contracting the auto-immune disease Gulf War Syndrome). The use of squalene is illegal in the USA and UK but is being allowed under the emergency pandemic decree. Dr. Russell Blaylock states, "If you receive the vaccine, there is little you can do to protect yourself--at least by conventional medicine. It will mean a lifetime of crippling illness and early death."

The US government has given vaccine manufacturers (Novartis, Baxter, Glaxo-Smithkline, CSL) complete legal immunity from any deaths or injuries resulting from their vaccines.

If you are interested you could check out some of the following sites which are listed below.

Blessings from NANCY CAMPBELL

Above Rubies is a magazine to bring strength and encouragement to marriage, motherhood and family life.

Internet sites to check out:

Meal Planning

Here's what's on our menu for this week:

Fri: Chicken curry and brown rice
Sat: Potato soup
Sun: (am) Egg & sausage casserole; (pm) lunch meat wraps
Mon: Chicken celery soup
Tues: Pan Burritos
Weds: Asian stir fry
Thurs: Pizza
*We're celebrating Thanksgiving this year on Friday. Here are the things we're responsible for bringing:
*Fri: garlic mashed new potatoes; spinach artichoke dip

-applesauce muffins
-homemade cinnamon raisin bread
-pumpkin pancakes
-homemade chocolate pudding

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Date Night


I'd post a little something more for today, but I'm running out of time. Hubby and I are getting ready to head out for our weekly Date Night here in a couple moments.

A few quick things on my mind...

1- the kids are doing FANTASTIC with their pictureless readers! They have both individually read through 5 books a piece!!! Arianna is absolutely ecstatic that she's reading and can't wait to read more! It's like all she needed was a bit of success and she's now off and running! I LOVE watching her develope a love for reading. Some day, once she's got a good hang of reading, illustrations won't be a problem for her (or Benjamin). But during these beginning stages, removing them has been the best thing since sliced bread over here!

2- I've got a twin in South Carolina! My sister found a comment on Passionate Homemaking (see comment #15) about a woman named MelissaD that nearly fits my own description as mom and homemaker. (She thought it WAS me until she followed the link.) I hope to get the chance to introduce myself to her when I've got a bit of time. Uncanny how closely our lives resemble one another!

Post more tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Taste of Home: 10 Healthy Casseroles

Spark Recipes

Cooking Light


Kraft foods

Can't wait to give some of these a try! Also looking into healthy crockpot casseroles!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


-went to the midwife today and everything looks great! Yea! Good, strong, steady heartbeat. Measuring right at 17 weeks. Due date of April 22 still looks like a go. Have gained 5lbs total. Have only felt little flutters, but no kicks just yet. Usually happens anywhere between now and 20 weeks. Definitely got the belly bump going. Wearing exclusively maternity stuff now.
-call me a nerd, but I enjoy Nintendo Week videos with Gary and Alison on the Nintendo Channel. RD and I watch the new one every week.
-getting another big declutter bug. Arianna's got it, too. Tonight she went through all her crafting stuff and started organizing, sorting, throwing out, etc.
-we got a housekeeper!!! Laura, our childcare provider on Friday's when I work for RD, will be helping us. Awhile back she had mentioned that she was looking into doing housekeeping so we asked her if she wanted to start with our house. We feel very comfortable with her. That, and she takes initiative in things- if she sees something that needs to be done, she does it. It's wonderful!!! We still have to hash out the details, but sometime soon she'll be starting! Yippee!
-on a casserole hunt. Healthy casseroles, I should clarify. Got any good recipes?
-NaBloPoMo prize list.
-I love John Wayne movies. My father-in-law seriously looks like him. I'll have to post comparison pics between the two sometime. It's uncanny.
-am so tickled at the outcome of the Colts vs. Patriots game last Sunday night. It was incredible! Good reminder to never fall asleep on the couch during the last few minutes of any game!!!
-wondering if the Wii Fit Plus would work during pregnancy...

Monday, November 16, 2009

It worked!!!

The kids read through 3 books all by themselves today!!!
I covered the pictures and only revealed one sentence at a time. After they worked through the text, I revealed the corresponding pictures and we discussed. It worked wonderfully!
The kids even, individually, thanked me for a more simpler reading format. They said it made things a lot easier for them.
I'm so tickled it worked!
And they loved the Pathway book! We'll have to look into getting more of those.


My sister uses the Pathway Readers for her child who is in Kindergarten and her daughter loves them. Since she's completed Book 1 (<-- you can see a few sample pages here), I'm borrowing it to see how it works with Arianna and Benjamin. They're sort of like Amish Dick and Jane books. The kids are tickled to start working through this book at school today. Also going to try covering the pictures on their other readers and revealing it when they've finally worked through the text. Let you know how it goes!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Christmas coming around the corner...

... and for stocking stuffers, I can't wait to fill them with these!

I second Our Little Monkeys in my love for homemade natural soaps. They are just beautiful!

Bethany at Happy To Be Called Mommy has some tips on how to make homemade soap.

eHow tells you how to make it, too.
Someday, I want to make our own homemade soaps... :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Baby Steps to Eating Real Foods

I have totally been loving reading posts from Passionate Homemaking. Here's a link to her November 11th post on 12 Steps to Nutritious Eating. Eating healthy really is a series of baby steps. It is terribly overwhelming to jump on the "good food" bandwagon, only to get burned out after a couple months or weeks (or days!). But to start simple and build upon that- those are the habits that keep.

A few things we do to eat real and healthy:
-buy local honey
-eat farm fresh eggs
-stay away from prepackaged foods
-cook from scratch as much as possible, limit eating out
-only eat brown rice
-limit white flour and white sugar
-replace with whole grains and demerara
-drink water, 100% juice, and milk pretty much exclusively; little to no soda (I'm still a sucker for caffeinated coffee, though- but at least I drink it black- that makes it better, right? *grin*)
-try to eat fish at least 1x/wk
-salads mostly contain spinach or dark greens
-homemade oil & vinegar salad dressing
-fruits and/or veggies at every meal
-soak our oats
-eat whole wheat bread, pitas, tortillas, pastas, etc.

One area that I would LOVE to crack down on as a family is eating more organic and eating meats from grass-fed/pastured animals that have not been treated with hormones. Our biggest issue is with cost, BUT... we are also willing to crack down budget-wise and invest a bit more cash into our grocery budget. It'll be worth it, I know!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pictureless readers?

As I am currently trying to teach our 1st grader and our kindergartener phonics/how to read, I find it extremely frustrating that all of their readers have illustrations. What I'm finding is that my children are trying to read me the story from the pictures rather than from the words. Grrrr. As an experiment, I re-wrote a reader onto a blank piece of paper and had them read through it... and it worked tremendously!!! I just don't want to keep on doing that! Surely there have to be some pictureless readers out there that I can use for our children. Do you ladies know of any?

Mmmmm.... pomegranate

Pomegranate is by far my family and I's most favorite fruit. It's like candy. And it certainly doesn't last long in our home. Imagine my joy when I saw at Kroger last week that they were selling them 10/$10!!! We loaded up! Yum yum yum. If you've never eaten one, you surely must try it sometime.

I found this page to show you how to cut one open.

Health benefits of pomegranates: here & here.

For recipes: here & here & here

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall leaves- quick dry

The kids went outside yesterday with a mission: find the prettiest leaves in the yard for a Fall craft. Boy, they sure did. Here's their loot. Sweet gum, maple, decorative pear, and peach tree leaves.

We were needing to dry them quickly so... we microwaved them!
Just place leaves between two pieces of paper towel and microwave on HIGH for 30 sec. or until the leaves have no more moisture.

Here it is dried.

Here's the whole batch dried.
Once dried, you can glue them with craft glue to whatever craft you're doing!

Their Fall projects turned out really cute. I'd love to share photos, but I can't until this weekend. The project is for my mother, who will be visiting this weekend. Once she sees it, I'll post pics.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Been busy today

Today I:
-widdled down, folded, and put away ALL the clean laundry
-switched over my wardrobe to maternity
-cleaned & reorganized our huge walk-in closet/storage area

I'm pooped.

I am so thrilled that we get a free dinner tonight!
My father-in-law gave us his tickets to a chili dinner downtown.

Farm fresh eggs!!!

Also from Pat and Michelle last night!

Lots of eggs!!!

I can't wait to have scrambled eggs or egg casserole with these babies!!!


I've never made this before. But my mother-in-law swears that if your make guests your guinea pigs it'll turn out right every time. So far this line of thinking hasn't failed me yet! I made this last night for a a get together we had with a sweet family we know. It's so cool because they have kids around the same age as ours (and they are very well behaved), momma is pregnant with #5 also (just a couple weeks behind me), we are like-minded in many areas, and having a house full of children is a joy to them. Oftentimes I wonder if people get nervous or something when they see our size of family and so decline having fellowship together. I'm not complaining, just noticing a pattern. So, we end up doing a lot of entertaining at our home- which has truly cultivated a heart of joyful hospitality in our family! It's a breath of fresh air to visit a family that whips out some extra chairs and booster seats with ease and loves to have a full table...

Anyways, onto the recipe!
I soooo wish we had a big glass bowl to put this in. It would have been so pretty. As our family continues to grow, I am becoming more and more aware that we are needing to purchase bigger pots, bowls, and the like. ;-)

-Serves: 16
-Prep time: 20 min.s
-Refrigerate: at least 2 hours before serving

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (4 serving size each) instant vanilla pudding
3 cups whipped topping, thawed, divided
48 vanilla wafers
1/2 cup brewed strong coffee, cooled, divided
2 squares semi-sweet Bakers chocolate squares, coarsely grated
1 cup raspberries (fresh or thawed)
Beat cream cheese in large bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in milk. Add dry pudding mixes and mix well. Stir in 2 cups whipped topping. Place 24 vanilla wafers in a 2-1/2 qt. bowl; drizzle with half of the coffee. Top with half each of the pudding mixture and chocolate. Repeat all layers. Top with remaining whipped topping and fruit. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
How to easily grate chocolate: Unwrap chocolate squares, leaving each square on paper wrapper. Microwave on HIGH 10 sec., then grate with the largest hole of a cheese shredder.

*We think this would also be good with chocolate pudding.

Michelle and her husband made a bowtie pasta dish, which was simple and awesome. My entire family devoured it. Got the recipe so I'll be sharing it here soon. :-) They also made gooey buttery garlic bread. Mmmmm.

Arianna and I also made a loaded salad, which is called a Killer Salad in our home. Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, hard boiled eggs, chopped lunch meat, etc. It was so good. And I just love having Arianna help me out in the kitchen. She is really getting good at it. It will be so fun seeing her mature as a cook!

At a Pampered Chef party I recently attended, I purchased their safety cutter for kids. I can't wait for it to come in so Arianna can start cutting things with me!

*As far as salads are concerned, wanna know what our family's favorite dressing is (besides my house oil & vinegar)? We pour a little bit of Ranch and then pour a little bit of Italian, then toss. It's awesome! Gives it a bite!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I'm thankful for a husband that truly loves the Lord and desperately desires to follow Him in all areas of life. I'm thankful that He seeks Biblical truth and knowledge and then lives out what he knows. I'm thankful that he won't back down from his convictions, that he doesn't waver because his feelings or circumstances do. He is steadfast. He is strong. He is our earthly "rock" (little 'r'). He strives each and every day to provide for our family. He totally trusts the Lord to supply our every need. He's not lazy. He takes care of what needs to be taken care of. He is a firm but tender, loving father. The children and I never doubt his love and concern for us. He's a leader. He's my best friend. There is nothing we can't talk about. The children and I are truly blessed to have him as our head for we know that all he does is for the glory of God and for our best interests.

I love you, babe.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Little Twig

Want to win some free samples?...
Nurturing Families Organically

Come and visit Our Little Monkeys for a chance to win!

I've got my eye on the lavender scented body wash and bodymilk...


My all-time favorite cup of coffee is by far the Senseo. It makes a mean cup of coffee! The machine itself costs $69.99+ depending on how fancy-schmancy you want to go. RD and I were blessed to be able to purchase the display model at our local Sears following Christmas one year. I think we paid somewhere around $20.00 for it. It takes about 1 minute to make yourself a cup of coffee with one of these!

It uses pods.
At the store, packages of pods usually cost around $5 for 16-18 pods. Once again, we are blessed to live near a scratch-n-dent store where I can purchase packages for $1.75! You don't always have to use Senseo brand either, although it by far tastes the best. I know Folgers and few other brands make pods at a cheaper cost. If you don't want to use pods, you can use something like the ecopad and use your favorite ground coffee (Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, etc.).

My second favorite cup of coffee would be from the Keurig. Rather than using pods, it uses little plastic cups (K-cups) filled with grounds. Same concept, it forces hot water very quickly through the grounds to produce a quick (and YUMMY) cup of coffee. A Keurig is going to cost you around $89.00+, once again depending on how fancy of machine you're wanting.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Herbal Studies

For newbies and guru's alike, is one of the best on-line herbal remedies websites that I have ever come across. It's amazing. It's got herbs 101 for beginners, herbs for kids, recipes, cold and flu care, etc. I just love it! And... it's free. Learning Herbs

For a minimal fee (I pay $9/mo) you can have access to their main website Herb Mentor where it goes WAY more in depth concerning herbs. Video lessons, herb radio, wild foods, herbalpedia, specific plant studies, forums, on-line courses, herb games, etc. You'll be taught how to make teas, infusions, poultices, etc. If you are seriously considering wanting to study and know more about herbs (edible and medicinal), this is a one-stop source.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My long-awaited "alone time"

I am just so thrilled for today! My sweet husband out of the blue said that I can have today to do whatever I want (within reason- hee hee) and enjoy a day of "Alone Time"! Oh my goodness, what is that?! At first I wasn't sure what to do with myself, but I was able to fill in the day.

-10am: Pampered Chef home show
-visit local Scratch 'n Dent Store
-visit local Amish bulk food store
-visit my alma mater, Indiana Wesleyan University
-people watch at Starbucks
-take a long walk through the park
-read and journal outdoors

And to boot, it's supposed to be a GORGEOUS day today! I'm SO excited. And can I brag on my hubby? He's the best!


Here's a really neat website on organization: The Organizing Pro. Haven't done an in-depth look at everything, but I scoped out some articles and downloads briefly. It looks really neat! You can also sign up for a free e-zine.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy?

Earlier this week I was perusing my archives here on Growth As a Wife and Mom and revisited an interesting old post. (The link is there in the title of this entry.)

Hope to get a chance later today to research more on this topic. I read ALL OVER about the importance of protein during pregnancy, but I'd be really interested in reading up more on the link between protein and steady weight gain during pregnancy.

So last night, RD and I (during our weekly jaunt to Applebee's and Wal-Mart) bought some Body Fortress whey protein shake mix. Not as a meal replacement, but as something to drink as a snack sometime each day.

I've gotta get on the scale sometime soon because I've got to report to my midwife my weight gain. Don't think I'm doing too bad, but... I did the same thing I've done for each of the other pregnancies: as soon as I'm out of that first trimester I go a bit overboard on food because I haven't been able to eat any for the past 2 months!. My biggest jump in weight gain is ALWAYS month 4! LOL So to be honest, yes, I AM a bit nervous to step on the scales. But I also know that from here on out it's not so bad. I'm just really wanting to keep weight gain at a steady, moderate pace. Edmund's pregnancy was the best. All total I gained about 30 lbs. Maybe if I share here on this blog my weight progress I'll have extra accountability. Already I've cut out desserts and pop. Now I'm adding my protein shakes. Let you know what the scale says. :-o

No way! I just got on the scale I've only gained 2 lbs!!! WOO HOO!!!