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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lunch Inspiration


I plan my meals for supper time, a week, sometimes two weeks, at times for even the whole month and do my grocery shopping accordingly. It is still a system I plan on tweaking--I need to sit down with all my recipes and then I'm hoping to plan 3 two week menus that are PERMANENT, and have the grocery lists for each menu all saved on my computer. That way I never have to plan out a huge grocery list again. It's been my goal for awhile, and I'm hoping to get it done before we start school up in a week and a half.

However, lunch is neglected. I mean we eat it and all, but it's not a very inspired affair. Sometimes leftovers, sometimes mac n' cheese, sometimes sandwiches . . . It can get rather boring. But I discovered a blog where somebody plans a theme for a "muffin tin monday". The whole idea is you serve your kids these cute little lunches in the cups of muffin tins. Sometimes there are color themes, like all the same color, or rainbow, sometimes "under-the-sea" or a "fairy" lunch. I think my kids would love it, and it would give us something exciting to look forward to at the beginning of the week. I need to find some "6-seater" muffin pans though. Serving it up in a 12-cup ones feels a bit daunting to me. ;o) So there it is, my grand plan, and I thought I would share it, just in case somebody else might think it is as fun as I do. ;o) Have a good day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And it appears . . .

Team BOY has pulled into the lead!
Oh boy. ;o)

I really was about 90% sure this was going to be a girl, and in the past my initial inclination has proven true. But I was way wrong this time. A third boy. I've got to get my head around that thought. Not that I don't love my boys or anything because OF COURSE I do. But let's be honest here, they have presented a bit more of a challenge for me than my girls. *ahem* ;o) Causing me to wonder at times that perhaps I do a better job at parenting girls than I do boys. Or maybe God is giving me one more chance to get this "boy thing" right. ;o) The sisters shed some tears at the announcement and on the drive home, but they're coming around. And now we must buckle down for the name hunt, because I had a whole bunch of girl names I was really liking, but have been struggling to find boy names that "struck a chord." But I have Marissa on that right now--she's made it to the "C" names in the book, her favorites thus far being Bryan, Brandon, Bobby, Carlos, Charlie, Collin, Coby, and Christopher. None I'm really digging . . .

Oh, two girls, three boys, I think we have officially gotten our "full house." ;o) Ha, ha, laughing at my own little play-on-words. :oD

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Day Off!!!

Eight hours, count them 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8!!!! were all mine this past Saturday. I cannot remember the last time I had a whole entire day to myself--if ever I did. When it's possible I may get out for about 2 hours by myself here and there, but for the most part Josh's schedule keeps him gone from home a whole lot. So, it really is a rarity when he has some free time. How did I spend my day? Oh, a little bit of back-to-school shopping (continually adding to my supply of 20 cent glue sticks), a little bit of "window shopping" at some favorite stores (this is where I peruse and admire but refrain from buying), a stop at a home improvement store for some pine board for a project, and lunch at Pan.era Bre.ad. Where I sat quietly by myself with a delicious sandwich and a hot bowl of soup with my planner and a "good" pen (planning is so much more enjoyable if you have a nice pen to do it with). ;o) Josh hates Pan.era Brea.d--claims it a "foo-foo" restaurant (whatever that is?). I think it has something to do with there being "field greens" on sandwiches--it just doesn't sound very manly to him. So, on my day off it would require that I eat lunch here. ;o) Back at home I did a bit of putting the house back together, which is something that needed to be done after being gone at VBS all week. All in all, a very relaxing, enjoyable, "recharging" of the battery sort of day.

And where was my family? Well, I'll give you a few guesses . . .



Would you believe my crazy husband decided to take them to Hen.ry Door.ly Zoo, taking advantage of the free admission they were offering Saturday? Yep. And it was crazy busy. We had actually talked of making a family excursion of it, but by Friday night, I knew I just wasn't up to fighting crowds, not loosing children, and being gone from home anymore. And I must admit, I felt rather guilty letting them go by themselves. It's one of those things you feel you MUST go to. But they had a wonderful time without me. Josh kept them well-hydrated and even sun-blocked them all. And returned with all four. Very impressive. ;o) A great day for all of us!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

When Life Happens . . .

This weekend we lost a member of our church, a mom to one of Josh's high school classmates, a grandma to a lot of young little people I know. And as always, when a death occurs so unexpectedly it stuns you, I think no matter how close or removed you are from the situation. You ache for those involved, and find yourself facing the reminder again of just how frail life truly is.

That is where my thoughts have been since I heard the sad news yesterday afternoon--how much I take for granted. I assume I have tomorrow and next week, next year, and ten years from now. I assume if I lose my temper today with my kids and find myself overly frustrated and annoyed that I'll have tomorrow to make amends and do a better job. But the truth is I only have the day I am given. There is this day and only this one--to live in a way that will please and bring glory to God. Maybe in His graciousness there will be tomorrow and next week and next year. But only He knows that, and He has already allotted me my days. I need to be striving to make each day my best--not coasting through or getting by--but to take each and every day and make it something worthy of hearing a "well done, good and faithful servant."

And sometimes, life is going to throw us curve balls. Sometimes we are going to face a situation we never thought we would have to, sometimes we are going to watch someone we love suffer a terrible illness, sometimes we are going to lose a dear one unexpectedly. There is so very much hurt out there. However, if there is one thing I have learned at this point in my life, regardless of what God brings our way, THERE ARE NO EXCUSES. God brings into our lives what He knows we need whether we think we do or not. Sometimes, I don't know that it will be in this lifetime that all those things will be understood or explained in a way that will satisfy us. But one day it WILL all be redeemed. In the meantime, we push on, STEADFASTLY and resolutely, with thoughtful consideration for a life well-lived. No, we don't get to have control to the circumstances that come our way, picking the ones we would prefer, but we do get to choose our reactions. Life is going to keep happening, whether we agree with it or not--we must take what we are given and run with it, bringing God the glory no matter where or with what He has placed us.

*sigh* Just a few thoughts in my heart today, a heart so saddened by such sudden and unexpected loss. I'm hoping I remember to stay mindful of each day I am given, and choose to live each and every one so that if it were my last, there would be no regrets. A tall order, to be sure.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happiest 6th Isabella Faith!!!

I still remember that early morning 6 years ago, awaking to what I was pretty sure was my water breaking. But no contractions, not a single one. In no hurry we got our stuff together, dropped off Marissa with Grandpa and Grandma C. and headed to the hospital where it was confirmed my water had broken. Being Group B Strep positive this time around, and because my water had been broken several hours already it was decided that pitocin should be started. Again. I had been hoping for such a different labor than I had with Marissa. I was sure Marissa's had been a fluke since she was the first and all, and THIS time things would be NORMAL. Well, after a long day of what would end up being my worst labor ever, the pitocin, the back labor with "double peaking" contractions--causing me to question my sanity for sticking with the whole "au natual" mode I had chosen to go--you did arrive, at 5:46 p.m., healthy, safe, 6 lbs 11 oz with a whole lot of very black hair. We were officially the parents of two girlies. You were one month old when we moved into our very first home--a home in the process of major remodeling. I was one overwhelmed Mama. We survived that era, and things worked themselves out (as things often do . . .).

You were a sweetie--I loved your curlies and the adorable thumb-sucker and hair-twister you became. The hair twisting got so bad that by the time you were three I had your hair cut into a bob. You would get your fingers caught so tight they would turn purple. Every morning you would wake up with knots all over the left side of your head. There wasn't all that much hair left on that side! (And now you would never know--you have the thickest hair of all the kids!)

Your big blueberry eyes melted me. They still do.

And now you are six, on the brink of starting kindergarten, my quiet one, the tender heart. Your shyness reminds me of myself as a girl. Your flare for decorating, creating, accessorizing delights me. I love you so much for being you. You are sweetness itself. And growing up just way too fast for this mommy. Sometimes it does just feel like it was yesterday, you were my baby girl and other times it feels like another lifetime ago. This aging thing is so bittersweet. Happy birthday my beautiful Bella.

You are so very, very loved.

Monday, July 20, 2009

VBS Day 1 Survived

Ah, peace. The boys are napping soundly, the girls quietly "scrapbooking" in their room (this involves scissors, a glue stick, and a stack of old catalogues). I am sipping some tea and nibbling on a cookie, quite pleased with how smoothly the day has gone. VBS week usually wears me out. And I'm sure once Friday rolls around I will be tired. But for now, the laundry is caught up, there's only a small pile of dishes awaiting their turn in the dishwasher, the house is fairly in order . . . That's a good start to any week, and an especially good start to a week filled with being gone all morning, every day, and afternoons with midwife and physical therapy appointments, and a Friday where a special someone turns 6 (Isabella). So, for now, I'm on top of everything.

But to get there we had to skip evening church last night, much to the incredible disappointment and dismay of Marissa (she loves the music/arts camp!). Something was going to have to give-- sometimes I must accept I am not Super Woman, and I really can't accomplish it all. Each year I strive for better organization, I try to remember what worked and what didn't, but even when you try to prepare, sometimes you just can't physically keep that pace of going, going, going. (Particularly when you are in possession of a small parade that must be buckled in and out of the vehicle and ushered through parking lots--you can only do that so many times in one day.) Which is why I skipped last night. ;o)

But I was thinking, I have another reason why I enjoy homeschooling so much. WE DON'T HAVE TO GO ANYWHERE on a daily basis. VBS week always gives me a little taste of what it's like to have to get everyone ready and ushered out the door for a certain time each morning. Truly, I would rather save that experience for the more accomplishable once-a-week for church on Sunday. In the summer, if it's hot, we can just not going anywhere. In the winter if it's cold, we can remain hermits indefinitely. No bags to pack, no shoes to locate, no coats/mittens to bundle into. I really like that "not going anywhere" option. And then I would have to pick them up too! *gasp* Yes, I am very much a homebody.

For others involved in VBS this week--hope your day went smoothly also--just four more to go!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pics from Grandma's Garden

~Rose~
~Hydrangea and a version of Rudbeckia~

~Hydrangea~

~Phlox~

~Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)~
Soooo pretty. ;o)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spraying Fun

Sometimes I wonder at myself. I mean, you would think, if your youngest is obsessed with cans of hairspray, and sneaks off--often--to delight himself with that *pffffffffft* sound, filling up whole rooms with the nauseating smell of too much hairspray, you would think that a mother to such a boy would know better than to leave a can of spray paint on her kitchen counter. Without the cap on. Wouldn't you? To the eyes of a certain two year old it just looked like an extra big bottle of hairspray. And how exciting it must have been to discover the fine ivory-colored clouds it produced.
But as always, hindsight is better than foresight. I came downstairs to the sound of *something* being sprayed, and quickly, in panic knew there was no hairspray in my kitchen--oh but there was spray paint.
The damage isn't too bad at least. Two small spots on the wall--but no cabinets, a $4 metal sign from Hob.by Lob.by that I was a bit fond of ruined, some fake flowers "tinted," a bit of over spray on a dining room chair (his helping hand to the counter)--making me glad we haven't purchased our "real" set yet. An arm and hand a bit of a different shade. You know, nothing that will overly devastate me. The lovely headache-inducing smell of spray paint fumes filling the downstairs area . . . *sigh* I should have seen it coming, should have known that a can of spray paint in plain view was just too tempting.
A mistake not to be repeated. ;oP

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Dresser Completed

Some before pictures--
I had already begun to dismantle the dresser and take off the hardware when I thought to snap some pictures, but hopefully this gives you a good enough idea. ;o) There were some deeper gouges in the top that I used a palm sander on, and those came out pretty good.
After--

I LOVE how it turned out!

How it all breaks down:
$40 spent on the dresser
$70 spent on liquid sander, heavy duty rubber gloves, tack cloths, small foam roller (and extra rollers), good paintbrush, a gallon of paint in "antique white," a quart of Ralph Lauren "teastain" glaze and a can of "hammered bronze" spray paint (I decided to keep the original hardware). I was a bit discouraged to realize I had spent that much, however, I am now all set for a few other projects I have sitting around. I might have only used an eighth of the antique white--if that--and I hardly touched the glaze. So, that made me feel a whole bunch better. In the long run, it'll come out just fine. ;o) I'm now on the lookout for a nice big mirror--so garage salers, and goodwillers, keep your eyes open for me. I'm hoping to find something big and ornate to also paint and distress a bit. And the girls are thrilled with their new piece of furniture and all the space they now have in their drawers. In truth, it may just be my favorite thing right now. ;o)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Simple and Tasty Meal

Spring Chicken~Steamed Asparagus~Baked (or Mashed) Potato
The recipe for Spring Chicken comes from my mother-in-law. The first time I had it she brought it as a meal after (I believe) Emmett was born. Perhaps I'm strange, but after I've had a baby, I'm craving comfort foods, basically anything that includes gravy and mashed potatoes. So this hit the spot. The recipe says you can serve it with rice, but--no offense to any rice people out there--if I have to choose between a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes or rice, well, it's really not much of a contest. ;o) The recipe is really easy, and I discovered tonight, not only does the sauce it makes taste great on the chicken and on the potatoes, but it is also AWESOME over asparagus. I'm actually thinking this might taste really good if you bake the asparagus in with the chicken. And everyone ate really well, except for the boys, but their opinion doesn't count. ;o) So, the recipe:
Spring Chicken
4-6 Chicken Breasts
1 pkg of Knorr's Spring Vegetable Soup Mix
(you can find it as Sup.er Sav.er not Wal-Mar.t)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 cup of Milk
Place chicken in a greased 9x13. Combine the rest of the ingredients, pour over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned on top and chicken is done (roughly half an hour). And you're done. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Weekend

Homemade vanilla ice cream . . . Another tooth lost (and a delightful lisp developed) . . .

Healing--from swollen cheeks, scrapes, and scabs . . .
(I have a picture, but Miss Bella prefers the public not see it)
To just a small little mark on her cheek (neosporin applied religiously, twice a day)

A basement floor has been unearthed and promptly roller skated upon--oh, but there's still more to do, much, much more.

The dresser is nearly ready for its grand reveal. ;o)

And I have found some new laundry inspiration here. I told Josh of my plans to make my own detergent and find something pretty to store it in and then scoop it out with a teacup. Doesn't it just sound beautiful?
To which he replied, "You are soooo WEIRD."
I figure I am more apt to enjoy something if it is pretty to do, and there is--of course--a lot of laundry done here. Might as well make it pretty. ;o)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Productivity

Yay, we are finally back in routine!
And yay, I've had a good week!
Homeschool paperwork sent off--check
Isabella's birthday gift ordered--check
Birthday gifts for nieces Lexi/Ava purchased--check
Mission organization BEGUN in the "Basement of Terrors"--check
Dresser painting project underway--check
A sneak peak . . .
I got the dresser off of Craigs.list this spring for $40, a nice heavy duty wood one.
(The girls are still using those plastic drawer container things for a dresser, which worked well when they were babies and their clothes were itty bitty, but it's not working so well anymore). I've a plan to "shabby chic-ify" it. I still need another coat or two of the antique white, and then I have a tea stain glaze to rub it down with. I'm already very excited with the results. I love the spindles and curves on it.

And the last picture is courtesy of Jackson. One of many "hermit crabs" he has built over the last month. This one is special because he discovered he could give it a face with some clay.
He's very proud.
And I think it's pretty cute. ;o)
Have a happy Saturday!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Normalcy?

Well, I'd like to tell you we are all recovered from vacation and everything is running like clockwork again. Unfortunately, that would be lying. ;o) It has come to my attention that if you are hoping to get back on schedule quickly, do not plan your return for 4th of July weekend. We had the kids in bed at nine last night, only an hour off track, but we are still finding our way back to the routine. Hopefully TODAY will be the day. And of course there are all those odds and ends things that come up when you're gone, phone messages to attend to, the homeschool paperwork that needs to be sent off this month, etc., etc. We are planning on starting our school year on August 10th, so basically, I have a month left. I know it will just zip by.

Yesterday I hit 16 weeks, and you get another lovely belly shot, courtesy of Marissa's photo taking skills. I think my energy is back, for awhile anyway. And in just three short weeks we will know whether this little one is a boy or girl. The girls are saying girl, the boys, of course, boy. We shall see who is right (I think it's the girls . . .) ;o) I'm just beginning to feel flutterings of life--still haven't had my definite thump, but I'm pretty sure something is going on. ;o)

Yesterday we had another crazy day involving another visit to the emergency room--caused by a 4-wheeler ride down at my parents' house that went awry--just a freak thing involving a stopped 4-wheeler. It got off balance on an incline and tipped, throwing Marissa and Jackson clear, but the handlebars landed across Isabella's face, pinning her to the ground. Part of it pinned my dad also. Initially, it looked like a scratch across the cheek and a puffy lip for Isabella, but as I checked her over more I quickly became more alarmed, then she got rather sleepy and listless. And so, off we were. Her head/face were cat-scanned and there were no signs of concussion and no broken face bones. We are so very thankful. She's not going to look the prettiest for awhile as she is pretty swollen and scuffed up, but it is all superficial (although she is pumped about the loose tooth that managed to get looser). ;o) It would seem God had a protective hand on her. She told me on the ride up that "I'm just glad Emmett wasn't on it because that would be really bad for a 2 year old." She is reveling in all the special attention. And I'm hoping that maybe, the emergency room has seen the last of us for a good long time. Yesterday afternoon Marissa had physical therapy, which will continue twice a week for the remainder of the month. I have to laugh at all the "free-time" I thought my summer would afford me. While it is true that some activities did end, it would seem I just found other things to occupy my time with. I'm guessing this is just a fact of life.
And so I'm off, in my quest to get back to "normal"--whatever that may be!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Vacation Summary


(Okay, I had typed out this huge long day-by-day summary, was like a sentence from being done, and somehow managed to ERASE it. So, maybe I'll fill you in on the details later, but for now, I'm done. );o)

Friday, July 3, 2009

We are . . .

HOME!!!!
(details later . . .);o)