Saturday, November 22, 2008

Give Thanks!

Thanksgiving is on it's way! Only 5 days left. We have been busy preparing to have Thanksgiving at our home this year. YAY! We are really excited. The last several years we have gone to my parents house. It is nice there to not have the responsibility of doing anything but show up with a couple dishes to share, but we really wanted to host it in our new home.

I am so excited- my brother Andy, his fiancee Tiffany and baby Noah(3 months) are coming too. They, along with my parents are going to spend the night too. I can't wait! I am going to offer to let Noah sleep in my room so mommy and daddy can get some much needed sleep. I love that baby (scroll down, that is him sleeping a few posts ago- isn't he precious??)! Andy works swing shift and Tiff works days (getting up at like 3am!!) so they don't have to have a sitter too much. I don't know how they do it! Bless them for their dedication to Noah and each other!

Speaking of babies, my friend Leeanne is preparing for the birth of her second baby. She is having a c-section in mid December. They don't know what they are having, but I am rooting for a girl. I didn't get her a baby shower gift because I figured if it was a girl, they would need some girly clothes for her, so we will have to wait and see. It won't be much longer before we know! She also has a little guy who is just about to turn 1! He is my sweetie pie! He is beautiful- lovely skin like his mommy and beautiful crystal blue eyes. Quite a smile as well(with his bottom 2 teeth). I got to spend some time with little Elijah and Leeanne on Friday. Guess what? Elijah gave me a kiss! I am so lucky! I kiss on him all the time, so I guess he figured he would return some of the affection! I will always treasure that moment! What a sweety!

I am so thankful for the babies in my life (and their mommies!). I have given birth to as many babies as I can handle, so now I get to love on these little ones and give them back when they get cranky! What are you thankful for this season? In addition to the little babies, I am thankful for Jesus, my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my home, D's job, my job. Please Lord, let me never take these things for granted!

So, what is your family having for Thanksgiving dinner? I got many of my recipes from my beloved Pioneer Woman. She has great recipes, step by step directions and fabulous photos of each step. In addition to the fact that every recipe I have tried of hers is delish!

My mom is bringing a ham and I am going to ask my brother to bring some soda. I am making the following (items with an * can be found at

Apple Brine Turkey
*Creamy Mashed Potatoes
*Dinner Rolls
Green Bean Casserole
Black Olives (we have these with every holiday meal for some reason)
Cranberry Sauce (from a can)

Homemade Pumpkin Pie (with homemade pumpkin puree)
*Homemade Pecan Pie (which I have never even had, but after seeing PW do it, I thought it looked good)
Autumn Leaves (these are pie crusts cut into triangles and stuffed with mini chocolate chips and peanut butter chips, then baked)
Homemade Marshmallows

I am excited to get cooking! Some of the recipes require advance preparation, and I actually can't wait for Monday to get here so I can get started! I really think my love language is cooking for others. I just love it when people like my food. Weird huh?

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." 1 Chronicles 29:13

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ranch Chicken & Noodles

Is yours a family of picky eaters? Mine is! Including my husband. There are a few things on my dinner repertoire that please everyone, but this has to top the list. I love it too- it is super easy to prepare!

Ranch Chicken & Noodles (serves 5-6)

3 cooked, cubed chicken breasts
2 packets of powdered ranch dressing
1 1/2 sticks butter (not margarine)
3 cups of whatever frozen veggies your family likes, I used corn, peas & broccoli
1 box of wheat spaghetti

Cook spaghetti noodles until desired doneness. I cook the spaghetti at the same time as I do the following:

Melt the butter in a large pan, when melted add both packets of ranch dressing and combine well. Add cooked, cubed chicken and frozen veggies. Stir together until everything is coated. Place lid on pot over medium heat. Let cook until spaghetti noodles are done. Drain noodles and dump into pan with chicken and veggies. Toss until the noodles are well coated. I don't salt this in the pan, but let each diner salt their own. It really does need salt to bring out the ranch flavor best. Serve- delicious!

I love it because it is an all-in-one dish. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lazy Days of November

Today we were supposed to do school. We don't do school on Mondays because D and I both have the day off, but of course we usually do on Tuesdays. However, the kids convinced me the only way they could properly honor our Veteran's was to take the day off of school. We still did our Bible devotion time though.

We are using this fabulous book called "Herein Is Love." It is the study of the book of Genesis. It is amazing! It is so indepth and I look forward to doing as much as the kids. We have been learning so much. We are on day 22 and Eve just yesterday ate the forbidden fruit and shared it with Adam. In comparison to the Bible, this event took place in Genesis 3:6. You can imagine how detailed this study is that it took 21days to get to it.

The great thing is that after you are done with the reading for the day, it directs you to a section in the back of the book. It has a teachers guide with ideas for visual aids, memory verse work, a craft, review questions, a prayer, Psalms to sing, and field trip ideas. You can get as into it as you like. We typically do the memory verse, review questions and prayer. I love that even the youngest kids can answer the review questions! I am learning as much as they are. I am so thankful that we found this resource (thanks Brooke!). My children will know this stuff now, rather than learning it when they are 32 years old!

After doing devotions we just had a lazy day. I worked and then spent time going through all kinds of magazines tearing out articles with recipes, crafts, games and activities that I would like to try. I get several magazines for free (Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Wondertime, etc...) but one magazine that is worth it's weight in gold if you have kids is Family Fun magazine. They have so many wonderful ideas of all kinds to do with your children. I have an expanding file folder that I labeled with things like "Christmas Crafts," "Spring Recipes," etc... I hope that this will be a good resource for future projects.

Tomorrow is Bible study, so I better get to bed. I think I am finally getting over the "Time Change Slump," but I am trying to take advantage of the sleepiness I have and hopefully get into a routine of going to bed earlier so I feel refreshed and ready for the day.

For my sweet friend Lisa:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:26-28

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Time Change Slump

Is anybody else exhausted? I just can't seem to shake the "time change slump." I am about to crawl into my cozy bed and sleep for many hours. Thankfully I don't have to work tomorrow, D has the day off and we don't homeschool on Monday's. That means I get to sleep in! Yay!

Today was great! We had church this morning. D and J-man lead Worship for the kids Sunday School and then we went to the church service. After that we headed south and met my mom and dad, brother and future sis-in-love, and of course baby Noah- whom I love and adore. He is such a sweetie. I held him for a long time and he fell asleep in my arms. It was precious. It has been a long time since I have had a baby fall asleep in my arms. He love his auntie! Noah is getting so big, he is 3 months old now. After holding him for a while I remembered how hard it is to hold a baby. Arms get achy, back starts to hurt, etc.. It is crazy!

We talked about Thanksgiving and Christmas. It should be a wonderful holiday season. We are not exchanging gifts with adults on either sides of the family this year. Financially it is just too tough right now. I do have a couple crafty ideas to do with the kids though as small gifts. I think they will have a great time doing it and it will be a good lesson to them that it is the thought and time that counts more than the money spent. Plus, the ideas I saw look fun and I want to do it too!

Well, I am off to sleep. My bed is calling my name and it is getting louder by the minute!

"I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations." Psalm 89:1-3

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's not having what you want, It's wanting what you've got

My house is quiet. Everyone is in bed and asleep. I love this time of day (night). D goes to bed so early and would like for me to go in when he does- but it is so hard. I enjoy cuddle time with him, but then I lay there for 2 hours before I can fall asleep. If left to my own body clock, I would easily go to bed about 1am and get up at 10am. Alas, I can't do that (except on Monday's- my day off) with kids, work, homeschool...

I enjoy the quiet of the house after everyone is in bed. It really is the only time of my day that is just for me. I get to watch whatever I want on tv or read or surf the 'net. I wonder though- in the future when our home truly is empty- will I enjoy the quiet or will I crave noise and distraction? Will I miss what I have now?

Isn't it interesting how we always seem to want what we don't have? Remember the lyrics to the Sheryl Crow song "Soak Up the Sun?"- "It's not having what you want, It's wanting what you've got."

I was at the mall today and of course everything is already decked out for Christmas. I really love Christmastime. Every year though I struggle (internally and with D) with not getting too much stuff for the kids. Even when we are financially able to do more- I just come to hate the feeling of more, more, more. Not that I don't enjoy shopping, or even giving my children gifts- but the constant push to do more, get more, buy more gets to me.

Today we got a large Wal-Mart Toy Ad in the mail. Tomorrow it goes in the trash recycling. I just know if it sticks around this house too long, I won't hear the end of "I want this, I want that." The funny thing is- I remember when I was a kid and I LOVED getting the Sears Wish Book. Ooohhh how I loved that thing. I could look at it for hours! I don't think I ever really expected to actually get anything from it, but I sure had fun looking at it. I think things were so different then. Now we are inundated with commercials, ads, billboards, etc.. constantly.

When I was a kid watching cartoons (on one of the 3 channels that we got) there were maybe 3 commercial breaks with a total of 2 commercials before the show came back on. Now there are so many it is ridiculous. We thankfully have DVR, so we record most shows we care to watch and fast forward throught the commercials. On average, there are 20 minutes of commercials for an hour long program! That is crazy!

Consider this information that I found on

-Trusting little souls, young kids (certainly those less than 8 years) believe what they see on TV and magazines and billboards to be the gospel truth (of course, so do many of us adults) and they do not recognize the intent-to-sell motivation underlying commercials.

-The average American child may view up to 40,000 TV commercials per year (1 hour of children's TV contains about 50 ads).

-U.S. children, ages 4-12 years, influence the spending of an estimated $50 billion/year. Teens influence or spend about $150 billion/year. A billion here, a billion there, and soon you are talking real money and real economic clout.

-As early as 3 years, children recognize brand logos (that's why, in 1991, 5-year-olds could better identify Joe Camel than Mickey Mouse). A recent study showed that kids described carrots in a logo marked plastic bag as tastier than the same carrots on a plate!

So this year, I am going to try a little harder to spend a little less money and a lot more time with my kids doing things they love. Reading to them, playing games and doing crafts. And turning off the TV!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For Such a Time as This

I'm exhausted. I really should be in bed. I didn't sleep a wink last night and felt pretty yucky this morning. I just finished emailing over 350 people INDIVIDUALLY for work. I finally had to turn down the contrast on my laptop to cut down on eye strain. It is done though and I have a great feeling of accomplishment- and hope. Hope that this will get some people motivated to buy a home. I would really love to have a few more closings this year. You see, I work for 4 Real Estate Agents and when they do well, I do well! I am paid commission on their sales. So, that means I am working my bum off to get some people to want to buy. It has been a slow couple of months, but now that the election is over I am confident that people are going to feel more comfortable with making large purchases (at least I hope so!).

I got to see my favorite almost one year old boy today. My friend Lee has an 11 month son. He is a doll. He just started walking and was cracking us up! He even walked to me several times and let me smother him with kisses and loves!

I just cherish that age! I can't believe that my kids are so far past that! J-man is 14 and already counting down the days until he can drive! I don't know if I am going to survive it! KD is just a year younger and they are actually in the same grade. That sure makes it easy with homeschooling them, but it also means that I will lose 2 kids to college at the same time.

I remember when it was just the 2 of them before we had the younger girls. They were busy and I was young. I couldn't wait for them to grow up and go to school. When I would hear older women talk about "empty nest" I thought they were crazy to mourn. Shoot- I was wanting to kick them out of the nest to kindergarten as soon as I could! Fast forward 10 years and here I am- homeschooling! God does amazing things in our hearts when we least expect it!

I never envisioned being a homeschool mom. God knew differently and I am so glad! I love it! I am actually starting to mourn the idea of them going to college. J-man is talking about moving in with my parents- his grandparents- and going to school about 45 minutes away. Even the idea of that is bringing tears to my eyes! What happened to the mom that couldn't wait to have some quiet time? I am so thankful to the Lord that He grew in my heart the desire to homeschool. I am able to have so much more time with my kids now that I ever would if they were at school. For that I am blessed.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work at home and the flexibility that it brings to my life. I am grateful that I will have the chance to instill all the morals and values in my children before they leave the nest. Oh, I know that they will make mistakes and may not always agree with our choices- but I also know that this is what I was called to do. As Mordecai told Esther "and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 -

I have been called to the Royal Position of "Teacher of my Children" for such a time as this.

Praise God!

It's a New Day

Well, whether we were ready for it or not- it is a new day. Literally. It is the day after Election Day and I have been thinking about the direction our country will be going in the coming days, months, is quite strange that I am having these thoughts- I really am "non-political." Ultimately God is in control and for that I am thankful. I know that He is sovereign and therefore I shall not fret. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matt. 6:34

Last night I was invited to a friends house to be a sub for her Bunko group. It was such fun and took my mind off the election. I also was blessed to get "most wins" last night. All the times I have played Bunko I have always lost or come out evens on my wins. But last night- last night, was MY night! I really had no idea that I was even on track to win- but win I did. It was super cool too because my good buddy who was also there as a sub won for most Bunko's! We won some great gifts, had fabulous food, good company and a lovely girl's night out! It just made my day!

Off the subject but- I recently have been doing a bit of reading about an organization called Compassion International
They are an amazing Christian Relief organization. Here is their mission statement: "In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults."

I was looking over the beautiful faces of these precious children and imagining my children caring for, praying for and developing a relationship with a child in need in a totally different country. I am going to talk to D about sponsoring a child (for only $32 a month!) and hopefully as a family we will be choosing a child to share life with by this evening. I already have a little boy in mind, I think J-man would be happy with a boy- he has always wanted a little brother.

The cool thing about Compassion International is that they work through local churches. They know the children they are helping. They are a community, a family. You can even meet your child! So cool! Can you tell I am excited? If you get a chance- check it out!