Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rant Against Rude Comments

I know I've probably ranted about this before and that many of you get way more comments than I do, having twice as many kids as I do, but I just can't help but rant today about this subject again. In the past week I have once again been reminded of how little this world cares for children and how crazy folks consider anyone who has more than the usual 2-kid quota.

Comments addressed to me from a few different folks:

"How many are you gonna have? You do have a stopping point right?" When I expressed that we would likely have four or five, she replied, "Good! I'm glad you are going to stop!" (As though I'm doing something bad, like littering or something.)

"Are you done?" From someone that hasn't seen me in years and hardly knows me. Upon replying that we'd probably have one more, this gal said, "That's a lot of kids" her tone implying that I'm crazy and that she's very glad that I have a stopping point.

Comments spoken about me when the person thought I was out of earshot but I wasn't, "That's her THIRD kid!!!"

Lots of folks eyeball me when I have all 3 little ones shopping with me. I think it's strange how so many people will give me adoring looks when I just have the baby with me. Grandmotherly types will come up and offer advice or coo at the baby with the assumption that it's my first. If I mention I have two others or if folks see me with all of the kids in the cart, they immediately put on their "Wow, that's a lot of kids!" face and treat me as though I'm crazy, even though just a generation ago many folks had 6 kids.

Now, it's one thing if my good friends ask me if I'm done or want to talk about the issues of mothering and reproduction. I'm totally open to that. But people I see once a year or less, who don't know me at all, some Christian, some not, seem to think that my reproduction is their business. The main view that comes across in many of these types of quick conversations is that they hope I'm done having children, and if not they want to know how many more until I'm done, all the while acting as though being totally done is the highest goal. I wonder what they would do if I said we aren't totally sure how many children we'll have or if I said that we would have as many as God gives? They'd immediately think I was a mental case!

I understand that in today's world, larger families are the exception to the rule and usually shock and amaze people, especially in our neck of the woods. A new doctor who moved to town started attending our church and he and his wife have 6 kids. I think it's awesome! It's funny how everyone in the congregation knew that fact about him and mentioned it, even though they didn't know his name or where he was working, but they were all shocked since it's rare to see a family that size in our town nowadays.

I understand that people may be surprised to see me with 3 in such a short time (with a little under 2 years between each of them). Yet, it's not like I'm having them every 10 months! And even if I was, would they have a right to make rude comments?

I don't go around asking folks that waited 5 or 6 years between kids or folks with only one or two, "Why did you wait and space them so far? Don't you think that's hard on the kids not being able to play as much with their sibling? Is your only child a spoiled brat? Did you have infertility struggles? Why won't you have more? You must not like children!" Yet, so many people seem to think that if you have a lot of kids and you don't space them exactly like the world expects or thinks is wise, they can ask personal or unbiblical questions, like, "Was he an accident?"

Instead of being rude back or telling folks to mind their own business, I try to mention that I love being a mom and my kids are wonderful blessings. They truly are! Of course there will always be rough days as a mom, whether we have one or six, and we can vent about and pray about those rough times with our close friends, while still affirming to a culture that doesn't value families, that kids are a gift from God! Whether God has blessed you with 10 little ones or only one, whether by conception or adoption, or whether you only have nieces and nephews right now I hope that you, too, will live out an appreciation for the blessing of children. If folks are concerned that we have too many kids to provide for, it opens a door for me to talk about God's amazing provision for our family! If folks don't understand how we can do it, it's an opportunity to talk about God's grace and strength and about biblical discipline and living frugally and simply.

So you the writing of this little rant post, I have reminded myself that people's rude questions can open doors to share the Gospel. John Piper would probably say, "Don't waste the rude comments people make to you!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Recent Photos

Justus "talking" to his big brother.
Uncle Coco is very popular with the niece and nephews!

An incredible sunset the other night.

Brudder kisses

Ali and Jer helped Mama try a new recipe. We made our healthy cheese crackers.

Justus is always chewing on things. He loves to suck and chew on everything; more than either of our other kids ever did.

I won't be posting much over the coming week due to having lots of food to make and bake for Thanksgiving and spending the holiday with my family as well as gradually packing up to move. I will likely be going Black Friday shopping too since a few things we need are on super duper deals. I wanted to share these photos via scheduled post!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Thank You God Game

Sometimes life feels too busy or too crazy or just overwhelming. This is when it's time to play the "Thank You God Game." I invented this game one day when Justus was screaming at the top of his lungs in the van and the kids were cranky and I felt like I had a million and one things to do. Instead of joining in and screaming along with the kids, I said, "Let's play the Thank You God Game. What can we be thankful for even during this stressful time?"

I thought of Hannah, a young woman (homeschooling mama of 5 little ones) serving a life sentence in prison for a crime she didn't commit. Her story has deeply impacted my life and I pray for her daily and write to her often. (You can find her link in my sidebar). As much as my little one's crying was grating on my nerves as I was driving, I knew that Hannah would give anything to be with her baby and hear her cry. So, I said, "Thank You God that we can hear Justus cry. Thank You that we have a little baby in our family. Thank You that our hearing is good and we can hear him. Thank You that he can express to us when he is hungry. Thank You for giving Mama milk to take care of his needs as soon as we get home. Thank You for the blessing that tiny Justus is to our family. Thank You that we have the ability and the vehicle to be out running errands. Thank You that we just had food to eat and yummy hot cocoa to drink."

It is amazing how this little game can re-orient your focus and remind you that even if the current moment isn't fun, God is with you and has given you much to be thankful for. Try it with your kids today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Exciting News!

We finally got a rental after months of looking! The only way we got one is because my cousin's husband knew we have been looking for one and gave us first dibs on it before he advertised. The drawback is that it is no bigger than our current place, but we are still excited because it is a HOUSE and has a huge back yard for the kids to roam and play. Yay hurray! It's an older home, but it looks like it will be very comfortable for us for the time being. I am excited to have windows with sunlight since our current place is so closed in and only has two windows to the outside (in the pantry and in our bedroom). I remember specifically praying to God and asking Him in recent months to help us to find a place with sunlight and a large back yard (fenced if possible!) And even though it's not a 3 bedroom like we were hoping to rent, God did provide those two things I wanted. Isn't He good to His children? Other perks are: Fairly safe neighborhood close to the huge city park, a bathtub, laundry facilities (yay!), a clothesline, and flower beds and capabilities for a garden of my own! There are also a couple of storage sheds we can use in the back yard for bikes and larger toys. There is even space where I can set up some recycling bins too. I know this may not sound too exciting, but all of this is so much more than where we currently live!

The gal who was in the rental before us had 3 dogs and apparently they peed all over the carpets because it really stunk and neither of us would have wanted to rent the place if that issue couldn't be taken care of. The previous renters still had yet to do a deep cleaning and my cousin and her husband will be doing a deep cleaning and of course we will be doing a major cleaning before moving in as well. If you have any tips for getting rid of pet urine odors please post them here! We did just recently decide to invest in a quality steam vac so we are glad to have that to use several times on the new rental's carpeting.

We'll probably be moving out on Dec. 6th and 7th so it will be a crazy busy next couple of weeks. I feel a lot more relaxed about this move though since I have more time to pack. When we moved to this current apartment we had only 3 days notice to move and clean both places and I was very pregnant and had a toddler getting into everything!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giftorama!!! Ideas #19 and #20.

I found a few of these little heart-shaped basket-boxes brand new at a yard sale this summer. I crocheted some dishrags and plan to give each of our grandmas one of these and nestle some Hershey's Bliss chocolates in with the dishrag!
These finger puppets at Cabin Fever Books were adorable! There were so many cute ones, I wanted to buy all of them for my kids! However, I limited myself to just one for our favorite librarian, Miss Becky, who loves to use these during Toddler Time story hour. I knew she would love one and would use it with her own granddaughters too. We've been attending her class for about 3 years now (since tiny Ali was in her Babies N' Books class) and I've always wanted to bring her a Christmas gift as a thank-you for being such a wonderful librarian, but I never remember or get too busy. The ironic thing was that while I was in the store, getting ready to buy this puppet, she walked into the store and immediately went over and admired the display of little finger puppets! Go to to browse their puppets and toys. Buy this ballerina puppet at:

Giftorama!!! Ideas #17 and #18

At a Ladies' Craft Night at church, we learned how to make beaded wire bracelets. Being my first time, I went a little overboard with the large beads and should have interspersed them with some smaller beads. You can use all kinds of beads and colors. This one, in Wordless Book colors, is a gift for a special friend. These are fun and simple to make! You cut a piece of wire long enough to make 3.5 loops (loops large enough to fit around your wrist). You twist the end of the wire into a little circle to hold the beads on. Twist the wire into 3.5 loops and string your beads on. Then when you are done putting the beads on it you twist the other end into a circle too! Use all seed beads for a more delicate bracelet. You can make them child-sized in bright pink and purple for little girls for gifts!
This remote-controlled fire truck was a birthday gift Jeremiah received from my folks. I love it because it is simple to use (for a child's first remote control) and it's got a soft and rubbery body to the truck, making it gentle on furniture and cabinets and on the truck itself. My mom ordered it from a catalog but I'm sure one could find it online. It's called a GoGo Auto. A great gift option for a small boy. Warning: You husband may become addicted to this toy or may use it to drive you crazy by driving it in circles around you after the kids have gone to bed!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Three 3 and Under--Bringing Chaos With You

One of the hardest things about having Three 3 and Under is the chaos you bring with you wherever you go. Once you master going somewhere with the three, you realize it's not difficult to do, especially as your oldest becomes more and more obedient and helpful. However, you do notice that whenever you do end up going to events, you bring a lot of chaos/mess/destruction along! For example, the other day a friend invited us to a playdate at her home. It's a nice place, and the kids enjoyed all the exciting toys, both indoor and outdoor (since it's been very warm here) that they could play with. When it was time to go, it felt like I was trying to herd 50 cats! It literally took us an hour to leave. The baby was a bit fussy so I couldn't just put him down and I was standing-nursing him off and on throughout my attempt to get the kids to clean up. I was also trying to be-coat kiddoes who were not at all happy to leave and get them to clean up about a trillion toys that they had gotten out both outside, inside, and upstairs and downstairs in my friend's house.

This is the scenario that occurs everytime we go to my parents' home too. When it's time to go, the kids are usually tired because it's bedtime and it feels like a futile ordeal to get them to clean up, find coats, find shoes, get these things on, clean up toys, give hugs, etc. It seems like you get one ready to go only to find that the other one has taken their coat and shoes off again! Or you prod your oldest to clean up an area and when all the toys are picked up, you turn your back to gather your things and the 2-year old has emptied the toy basket again! Now, if my husband is with me, he helps round up the kids and my parents and brother help me too in getting them to the van and buckling them in, but I feel bad that I haven't been able to help with the dishes or meal clean-up and sometimes even the toy clean-up. Even with two of us working at it, we still leave an impact (used sippy cups, wet floors from cleaning up the kids' dinnertime spills, dirty high chair, crumbs, stuff re-arranged that the kids have picked up and moved, etc.) and proof that we have been there with a lot of little ones!

Church is the same way. If we attempt a conversation with anyone, our kids will run off with the other kids and usually do something they shouldn't, like drench their clothes at the water fountain, run along the balcony making horrific noise in the church, or Jeremiah will wander outside and stand behind vans backing up in the parking lot (parental heart attack!). So, we have to resign ourselves to physically holding the kids while quickly visiting, or trying to get out of the church quickly so no one tries to talk to us. Sometimes one of the older kids at church will take our kids to the playground outside and that is wonderful! I'm also thinking about putting Jeremiah on my back in the Ergo after church so that I can keep both of my little boys with me and safe. Jer is at that age I can only describe as "I'm discovering as many ways as I possibly can to hurt or almost kill myself without!"

I really don't have any good answers for how to avoid bringing chaos with you wherever you go. I do know that staying home all the time is about the best answer, but that's impossible and stifling for both the mom and the kids. With 3 kids I'm staying home a lot more because it's just not worth it to go out much when I have to chase a 2-year old, discipline a 3-year old, and nurse a baby 24/7. I shop on Thursday nights with Justus after the other kids go to bed and am cutting back on thrift store runs and have cut way back on Walgreens runs (boo-hoo). I know that it will get better when they are out of this really small stage where there are lots of messes and lots of tears and the need for continual training and watching. At this point though, I feel like taking the kids with us to someone's house is more stressful than not going at all, unless I leave them with a sitter or go by myself when Daddy's with them.

Here are some ideas that may help in controlling the levels of chaos you have with several little ones:

*Short playdates at friends' homes

*Only shopping or running errands during times of the day when kids are energetic and happy

*Playdates in places designed for kids to get exercise (swimming pool, parks, play gyms)

*Not taking kids to places where it is too stressful to watch them or keep them from destroying things.

*Being prepared (have kids eat and go potty before running errands or going somewhere)

*Have a game plan (discuss with your spouse who will watch which kid(s) after church and be sure your kids know the rules and the consequences for behavior at church. An area we need to work on!

*Immobilizing the kids (bring a portable high chair to strap them in or a stroller or an Ergo)

*Consistent discipline at all times at home which will eventually bear some fruit (though you may not always see it!)

*Power snacks--healthy snacks with lots of protein throughout the day to keep kids blood sugar levels even and help prevent meltdowns

*Adjust expectations--We crave friendships with other women and a chance to talk with them but we have to realize that our friendships and our conversations with other adults will be majorly stifled when there are little ones with us. More on this in a future post on this topic.

I would love to hear from experienced moms on this issue. What is your exit strategy when it comes to leaving someone's home or visiting with folks at church? Please help those of us moms dealing with these endless demands of motherhood!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Giftorama--Ideas #14, #15, and #16

A friend made this chokecherry syrup and gave me a jar. I love the way she packaged it, with a guazy red cloth, lace, and some dried baby's breath sprayed with sparkly glitter. My pic doesn't do it justice! It's really pretty!
This craft activity is sure to be a hit with Ali this year! She loves princesses like most little girls her age. I got this kit to decorate your own princess mirror at the place with all of the cool, educational toys in town: Cabin Fever Books. I could spend loads of money there! It's so nice that they give each child of ours a $5 off anything in the store coupon for their birthdays!

Another gift for Ali: A princess "paper" doll set made out of wood. The dresses are magnetic so they will stay on the doll. They had many different kinds of doll sets to choose from but I knew the princess one would be Ali's first pick!

Giftorama--Ideas #12 and #13

Someone got this belt for Justus for his baby shower (although it's to be used for Jeremiah too!) It was perfect timing. Our skinny-buns Jeremiah can't seem to keep most of the pants he owns from just dropping right off. This one-size-fits-all belt has a magnetic clasp, but neither of my kids can open it when they try so he's going to need help when he potty trains but we love it! You can buy this belt from I believe they sell some in girl styles and have various colors and designs. Often, if you wait for a sale, you can get a good discount but I noticed the shipping charge was pretty high on this site. If you want to be ultra frugal you can try making your own child's belt with colored, thick elastic and velcro. This site, will give you an idea of how to do it, or you can just purchase a belt from this site.
I heard about this book from Girl Talk and was anxious to get it for my kids as a family Christmas present. It is unique in that it talks about how all of the Bible stories correlate to the Savior and point to His coming. I love the artwork in it! Such an interesting book in a world of dumbed-down kid's Bibles. This is a book I would love to read with my kids nightly because it's unique but still rock-solid in truth.

When there is a story about a prophet's letter, sometimes the words are diagonal.

Every now and then the picture is a vertical one instead of a horizontal one.
We got this book for our nephew for his birthday and my kids will open theirs on Christmas Eve!
We got this off Amazon because of the free shipping offer (we combined a bunch of gifts) and it's usually around $11 on,,, and at other Christian book sites.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giftorama!!! Ideas #10 and #11

Every year my mom's family has a Christmas cookie-making party and cousin ornament exchange. This year we had to find ornaments for two little boys and a seven-year-old girl. I couldn't find anything I liked online and the stores around here didn't have much. So, I decided what little boy wouldn't think it was awesome to make a Hotwheels car into an ornament? All you need is some gold or silver wire and you're done! This hummer is for cousin Gage.
This jeep is for cousin Kade.

I wanted to get Edaine a figure-skater ornament since she loves to skate. This was the only one I could find. It wasn't very bright and had an ugly gray Santa painted on it so when I got it home I painted the boot with white nailpolish to cover the Santa. I painted the skate blade with shiny silver nailpolish and then added her name and the year. Much better! It was on a 40% off sale at Pamida so it only cost me $3.
Now my kids are all ready for the upcoming cousin party and we were able to do it frugally!

Giftorama!!! Ideas #8 and #9

Remember when I posted pics of Ali and Jer's wooden letters? I knew I wanted some for Justus too and that I'd have to wait until I get to Billings again to find any. I saw these small ones (3 inches) at Cabin Fever books and thought that due to the fact that his name is pretty short, and because they are very bright and cute I would save myself the work of tracking down letters next year and painting them and just get our little guy these for Christmas. If you have a local shop that sells wooden letters, it is very simple to paint them and makes a great gift! Other than a sippy cup that I snagged on a mega Walgreens clearance for $1, this is the only gift Justus is going to get from us this year!
I wanted to get my children some good literature for Christmas. This book for Jeremiah is sure to become a favorite! Ali has a similar one for little girls.

I purchased it off of Amazon. By combining several people's gifts at once I got free shipping! Shopping without even having to leave the house; I love it!


I know some of you are probably disappointed that I'm highlighting a lot of purchased gifts in my Giftorama series instead of all handmade. I do this because I love getting gift ideas from other moms and have found some of our best kids' books and resources this way. I want to encourage other moms with ideas for educational toys/character-building books for their kids if they are at a loss for ideas for the grandparents this Christmas.
I will get to some hand-made gifts eventually, so don't despair! Because of the stage of life I'm in, my homemade gifts this year won't be super elaborate, but there will be a few.
For more inspiration, check out my Gift section and my Sewing section under my post categories on this site to see ideas for gifts I have made in the past like bead socks, leather shoes, a bucket of natural cleaning supplies, etc.

Update on Friend

Thanks to those of you who saw my post on helping my friend in Northern MN and prayed for her or proposed to do something to bless her. She called last night to tell me she got a new job! Yay! She's going to be working 2-3 days at a very high-quality care center for 10 residents in a family-style environment. The pay is slightly better than her current job in a bakery and there is opportunity for a substantial raise after only a month.

With her current job offering her 1-2 days a week, she will now be able to work a full week with possible overtime between the two jobs. And if she does an excellent job the CNA job should continue giving her more and more hours and perhaps eventually bring her on full-time. What a huge praise!

Because things have been so tight she could definitely still use groceries or help. It'll be a while until the paychecks come in and the hours build up so if you were planning to give, please don't mean this update means you don't have to now. I also want to let you know that she puts me to shame with her frugality and she doesn't squander gifts. She is eating right now because of generous roommates, and has cut all her expenses down to true necessities.

Giftorama!!! Ideas #6 and #7

This is the Baby Bee Bop Band set, a Parents Choice toy. It contains maracas and tambourines and chimes, as well as being a drum. After I bought this for Jer, I wondered if all my brain cells had gone on vacation! Even my mom said she had seen this toy and wanted to buy it for the kids but thought I would kill her if she did. Even if it is loud and even if the kids have trouble remembering to beat the drum instead of each other's heads, I wanted them to have a musical toy that was educational and encourages them in making music with Daddy when he plays guitar. Two of Ali's best friends have this toy and my kids play with it constantly when we are at those houses. We know it's sturdy. How do we know? Let's just say that some of our friends' kids like to use the drum as a football helmet! This was originally $27 at Pamida but with a sale it was only $21 and we had a $20 gift card from his birthday! It's a birthday/Christmas gift (the joys of having a birthday close to Christmas!)
There is a store in town that carries the most wonderful, educational toys. It's called Cabin Fever Books. They have all the Melissa and Doug wooden toys and art supplies. This travel paint set will be perfect for Ali's stocking. She paints all the time! It was only $3 for high-quality, non-toxic paint!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Giftorama!!!! Ideas #4 and #5

At a local craft fair this weekend, I found this horseshoe photo frame for my dad! Just his style! And it was wonderful to be able to support my cowgirl-friend-from-church who was selling these!
This pottery is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! I love pottery and especially this "Fallen Leaf" style. Someday I will have to ask my hubby to buy me some of the larger bowls/serving dishes. These mini bowls were 3 for $10. If I can bring myself to part with them, I will be giving them as gifts to my aunts who love stuff like this.

Since my mom thought they would make good tea bag holders, I am going to give a few tea bags with them. All I need is a pretty ribbon or some raffia to wrap around this and it's ready to go! What a great, and inexpensive gift!

The potter has a web site if you are interested in his gorgeous stuff. It's

Giftorama!!!! Ideas #2 and #3

A humorous ("gag") gift for my sis-in-law and brother-in-law. Our nephew turned two the other day and to honor the occasion we gave his parents some Magic Eraser, antibacterial wipes, some papers highlighting 31 ways to pray for your kid, Buddy soaps (will I ever get to the end of my stash?), a doorknob cover, and a wooden spoon. We didn't have to spend a cent on this goofy gift as we had everything around the house from the coupon-freebies stash!
Our brother-in-law Danny turned 30 this year and they bought a camper. Unsure of what to get him, (am I the only one who thinks guys are majorly hard to buy for?) we put together a camper kit full of things that you are likely to forget camping. He can store this in his new camper and have lots of doo-dads on hand. What's in it? Antibacterial wipes, peppermint tea (for upset tummies), matches, toothpicks, safety pins, Q-tips, hair rubberbands (for his wife), rubberbands, pens, chapstick, various types of medicines, band-aids, etc. etc. This gift didn't cost us anything either but we hope it is very useful for their family!

Giftorama!!!!!! Idea #1

Some of you may remember me temporarily posting this in August around my mother-in-law's birthday. I had family and friends come up with 60 total reasons we love her on her 60th birthday. She loved it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Request for Help for a Friend

We all know the economy is doing poorly and times are tight for most families. Now imagine how tight they must be for folks who work very low-paying jobs who keep getting hours cut.

One of my best friends could use some help right now and I feel led to mention it since so many of you know my friend and live in her town. She's been taking care of herself ever since she left Indonesia to go to college in MN (she's an MK) and though she's very frugal and lives a very simple life, it's not always easy to pay the bills. She recently got certification to work as a CNA and is job searching and her current low-paying job is majorly cutting her hours. If you know of a job opportunity in this field, give her a call! If you would like to bless her this holiday season with a bag of groceries or $5, I know she would be blown away and so incredibly thankful! She hasn't asked for money or help, and I don't want to embarrass her or anything but I know her very well and I know that she is doing everything possible to be ultra-frugal and times are very, very lean for her. So, for all of you crazy-coupon-shopping gals in Northern Minnesota, here's an opportunity to share with a sister in need. Her parents are giving their lives in service to translate the Bible for the Mpur people, we can help in their ministry by taking care of their girl! =)

Awesome Deals Recently!!!!

All of this at Pamida for under $9! I think the cashier must have goofed since it's $38 worth of stuff! However, her manager was helping her take off all of the coupons. A 3 bar-pack of Zest, 2 bars of Olay soap, 4 jars of babyfood, 1 package of pacis, 1 package of baby spoons, 1 bottle of sparkling juice, one Sally Hansen lip shine, 1 bag of Chex Mix, and an extra-large package of Luvs! Gotta love Double Coupon week, which is going on this week through Nov. 21st! I love that our local Pamida is renovating and improving their store and starting to do mega sale events! They recently had toys 40% off for a day and all last week they were 25% off. This week it's Buy Two Toys Get One Free! A great deal if you are buying hotwheels cars for a little boy in your life!
Every time I check out at Safeway I get catalina coupons for random items. I had a couple for High Fiber Oatmeal and saved them until the boxes went on sale. So, I got each box of oatmeal for only 50 cents!
Thanks to my friend Laura, who mailed me tons of coupons, I had a couple of B1G1 coupons on the Reach toothbrushes. They were on sale for $3 at Safeway and each of them had a $1 off coupon attached to them. Because my cashier took off the max amount allowed on the BIGI coupon, I made 10 cents buying each toothbrush! I went back the following day and got two more!

When I went on the mega-shopping trip with all 3 kids I got tons of good deals at Smiths (a Kroger-affiliated store) because they were doing the Buy 10, get $5 off deal on so many things. I can't remember everything I got but I do know I got 14 boxes of cereal (we'd been needing some) and lots of sour cream, yogurt, apples, and some baking supplies, jam, and Palmolive.

That same day I also got some great deals at Walgreens. I had a catalina for Pampers as well as a manufacter's coupon and they were on sale, which meant I only had to pay around $6.50 for some really good diapers for Jer. I got quite a bit of other things there that day, including baking supplies that were on a great sale, the Nov. free-after-rebate items, and my Christmas photos for my Christmas letter.

Safeway recently had some organic whole wheat pasta on the clearance rack. I didn't see a price tag on it so I went and asked, expecting that it would be around $2-$3 even on clearance. It turned out that it was 54 cents for a 16 oz. bag so I scooped up about 7 bags! My family is learning to like it since it's the only kind of pasta we have on hand right now! What a deal!

Recent Pics

He likes playing with toys now. However, sometimes he gets his book stuck on his face and can't get it off!

The kids had fun sorting Operation Christmas child stuff into the boy/girl boxes with me!

Jer loves swimming!

On Halloween we went to a church party. I was dressed as a woman from Bible times, Jer was Pooh, Ali was a princess (what else?) and Justus, having no choice in the matter, was a carrot who kept getting mistaken for a pumpkin!

My mom even went in cognito to shock her 2nd and 3rd Grade students!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Odds and Ends

I'm totally in a blogging mood today so that's why there are tons of posts!

You may have noticed that I've added a couple of ads on my blog on the right. I don't want to get into having tons of ads or advertising things I don't even approve of, but I do want to occasionally feature products I love so you will know how you can get them too. I recently came across Bugaloo shoes and I think they are so cute! Many people have asked me if I can make them some shoes and unfortunately due to lack of leather and mostly lack of time and energy, I just can't. But I'm happy to recommend another Christian lady who does and does it for half the cost of Robeez! They are darling! Buy 3 pairs and get free shipping! In a few days she'll be raising the price on her shoes from $15 a pair to $18 due to rising costs so if you're interested in them buy them soon! Please click on the photo button on my blog to take you to her website because if I recommend sales, I get a smidge of the profits too!

Our apartment building is soooooo quiet! I love it! Ever since the neighbors left, it seems like life has gotten a zillion times easier! Our childrens' lives are so much better too as those troubling influences are out of their lives. I know Ali misses them and I miss Lupe a lot but life is good. We should be getting a new family in soon on our left and we've heard they have two children so I guess we'll see how that goes! We're waiting to hear on whether or not we can rent a little two-bedroom house my cousin owns. We'd like bigger, but unfortunately there just aren't any bigger rentals available in this town and if we hear of one once in a great while they are usually asking double what we pay now per month.

I'm going to be starting a GIFTORAMA post series in the next few days. I'm really excited about being able to share gift ideas with others since I love making and giving gifts! I hope it provides tons of inspiration for my blog readers. Because I'll be focusing on gift ideas for the next couple of weeks, you won't see many of my regular posts around here (PETS for kids, Gentle Mother's Support Club, etc.)

For great inspiration on making a gingerbread house (FROM SCRATCH!), birthday party ideas, or gifts made from ribbons, check out my good friend Heather's blog

One More Funny

I just posted a bunch of sayings/funnies from my kids last night. However I have one more to add that happened this morning. Justus has been an absolute pill the last two nights, not letting me get much, if any, sleep. So, I was laying across my bed, trying to muster up enough energy to get up this morning and Ali came into my room. She looked at me seriously and asked, "Do you feel like you are going to die?" I was so stunned by her question that I decided to humor her. "Yes, I do!" She said, "Don't worry Mom. You aren't gonna die until you are very old. You're not old." Then she trotted off to the kitchen and we heard her say to Jer-Bear, "Mom feels like she is going to die. We need to pray for her."

What a girl!

Recipes you asked for

Some of my readers have been asking for recipes of things I recently posted about. Here they are! Hope you enjoy them!

Go here for my Green Mountain Lava Salsa Recipe.

Lupe's Authentic Enchiladas

1 pound of chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts)
3 medium tomatoes (I used Roma)
1 clove garlic
Guajillo peppers (dried, in the Mexican section of the grocery store, very cheap)
½ onion
Whole cloves
Chicken bouillon cubes or powder
20 corn tortillas
Cheese (if desired)

First step
Boil the chicken until cooked. Then cool and shred with your fingers into tiny bits. Set aside.

Next, put about 1.5 cups water in a small sauce pan and chop 2 of the tomatoes in half and put in the water. Add 4-6 of the dried Guajillo peppers after breaking the stems off the top of them. You can add small, hot, dried peppers in with them if you like your sauce very, very spicy. Lupe usually added one or two.

Chop the remaining tomato and the ½ an onion finely. Heat a large-sized skillet on medium heat with a little bit of oil in it. Then add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the chopped tomato. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions and tomato. Then add the shredded chicken. Stir for a few minutes until heated, then set aside.

After having let the tomatoes and peppers boil for about 15 minutes, use a fork or tongs to take them out of the water and stick them in your blender. Add the clove of garlic to the blender and 6 whole cloves. Add 1 t. of bouillon (or the equivalent in bouillon cubes). Liquify in the blender until completely blended. Add a cup of water to the blender mixture.

Put a large skillet on the burner and put 2 T. oil in to coat the pan. Then pour the mixture from the blender through a strainer and into the oiled skillet. Press the goop in the strainer with a spoon to get all of the liquid out.

Stir the enchilada sauce mixture in the skillet over medium heat until it boils. Continue adding salt to taste.

While waiting for the enchilada sauce to boil, heat a tiny skillet with oil and begin to fry the tortillas. Lupe fried two at a time, one on top of the other to save time. Only 5 seconds is needed per side if the oil is very hot. Set them on a plate with paper towels on it to drain.
When the sauce has boiled and thickened, dip each fried corn tortilla in the pan of enchilada sauce before filling with the chicken mixture and rolling up and putting in a pan. Lupe added just a tiny line of chicken about as thick as two straws so that her enchiladas were very skinny.

Continue dipping, filling, and rolling until all tortillas are done.

Then use whatever remaining sauce you have to spread over the top of the enchiladas. Eat immediately or top with shredded cheese and heat in oven until cheese is melted.

Variations: Since we Americans LOVE cheese, Lupe told me that you can make these enchiladas with cheese instead of the chicken or you can mix cheese with the chicken. I've made them with all different types of shredded meat (elk, beef, pork). This dish is especially tasty served with soupy refried beans and Mexican rice. This recipe makes enough enchiladas for about 4-5 people. It works well doubled if you need to feed more.

If you use enchilada sauce for other recipes, make it yourself since it’s much cheaper!

My Taboule Recipe

You can buy a little box mix of taboule in the store in the rice section and all you need to add is tomatoes and a cup of water. However, homemade is much tastier!

1 C. Bulgur wheat
3/4 C. water
Juice of one lemon
1 t. mint leaves
3 bunches chopped parsley
4-5 green onions, finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
¼ C. olive oil
Salt to taste

In bowl mix water and lemon juice and soak the bulgur (I put the bowl in the fridge) until all water is absorbed (1 hour). Then add all the veggies and spices. Mix well. Add oil last and mix well. Chill and serve.

Taboule is very healthy for you and is a wonderful, light dish for summertime. It goes well as a side with grilled chicken breasts! If you don' t like onions, leave them out or substitute with other veggies.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kid Funnies

So this is what an idol looks like?
Gender compromise. A monster truck tea party?

Jer said, "I wuv you Ali."

Due to the fact that we've been learning the 10 Commandments and sometimes our Bible storybooks talk about the Israelites bowing down to idols....Ali came running into the kitchen one day with a blanket over her head declaring she was an idol. Jer immediately copied her and they both ran around with blankets over their head until Jer bumped into something!

One day Ali was missing Fernie and Frida and declared, “I want a friend to play with who’s not in my family!”

Jer always says, “Dust-this Abe-uh-ham is cute?” or “Dus-this Abe-uh-ham is kwy-ing.” He almost never calls him by just his first name.

Ali asks Jer, “Which princess are you? I’m the pink one” (pointing to one of the three on her swimsuit.) Then Jer will choose one and say, “I’m dis pwincess.” You can tell Jer hangs around a sister all the time. He’s always asking me, “Is dis pink?” or saying, “Want make-up!”

Jer scribbled on a piece of paper and asked, “Is dat my name?”

Jer never fails to remind us to pray for Uncle Coco every single night for months! Ali often asks for prayer for Auntie Kika and Grandpa Joel and Grandma Kathy. Recently Jer has added on to his requests for Coco; “Pway fa Daniel.” Sweet! He also likes to do repeat-after-me prayers.

One of Jer’s favorite phrases, “It’s a MONSTA!!!!” (monster) big eyes, horrified expression) He loves to talk about monsters (mainly because Ali has talked about them and they both love anything scary). He also loves to talk about Gwizz-wee bears and Wy-uns (lions) with a shocked expression too. He always talks about going to the zoo next summer and he gets big eyes and says, “wy-uns bite you!!!” They are both still scared of possums too! Ali points to the killer whale in their animal book and says, "A killing whale!" They love pointing out all the animals that bite! When we were in my dad's pasture and his horses started following us Jer said, "Do horses bite you?"

Jerby goes to Sunday School now. Ali says, “I’ll take care of him and watch him!!!” She is so willing to be a helper and be the second mama.

Today Jer frowned, made a puppy-dog face and said, “My duckie is wost!!!” If I ask Jer where something is he usually replies, “Don’t know. Is maybe wost!” (lost)

The other day I heard Ali coaching Jer on how he could climb on something to turn the lights on an off. Daddy taught him to open door knobs recently too since Ali often would shut him in his bedroom. Uh-oh! The age of newfound independence!

Ali will often kick people to get attention. So, Josiah taught her to gently tickle instead of yelling or being naughty. Then she tickled him so much he couldn’t take it and so he said she needs to ask for attention instead. So now, whenever Daddy is home you will hear her saying constantly, “I need attention!!!!” It’s so funny to hear!

Ali thinks our special prayer days (praying for a family member on the day of the week they were born) is the coolest thing ever. She excitedly asks every day whose day it is to be prayed for. Today she announced, "It's your special day Daddy!" then turned to me and said ecstatically, "You get to pray for your husband!!!" On her day, Friday, she said cheerfully, "Today is my day! You can pray for your naughty kid!" I was horrified and tried to assure her that she is not my naughty kid even if she often does bad things and that she is special and loved and a very sweet little girl!

Pin It
Pin It
Pin It