Thursday, February 28, 2008

Goodbye Grandpa

Grandpa, Grandma and my brother Colter, last summer.

Grandpa and Grandma meet Jeremiah for the first time.

Last night, Grandpa Brown passed away. I am glad he was with family and that his suffering ended quickly rather than drawn out for many days. It is hard to believe he is no longer a part of my life here on earth. I will miss him so much, just as I miss my other Grandpa who passed away in August. My grandma was released from the hospital after only a few hours of observation yesterday after her car accident so she was with Grandpa all evening and when he died. She is fine (thanks to air bags, seat belt, and having a big vehicle) and is merely sore. I'm glad we didn't lose them both in one day.

As I'll be making a last-minute trip to MN here in the next day or two my blog will be out of comission for a while.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Grandma's Hardest Day

Thanks for your kind words and thoughts about my Grandpa. Please be in prayer for my Grandma as she was in a bad car accident today. As if life wasn't tough enough for her, she was driving to her Doctor's clinic for the test results on some tests they ran on her a couple of weeks ago at Mayo clinic and got in an accident that totalled her Durango and sent her to the hospital (no, not the same one Grandpa is in). She had some health issues recently (due to getting lost in downtown St. Paul after visiting Grandpa in the hospital and getting trapped in crazy rush hour traffic). This episode sent her heart to racing and she was hospitalized for a few days and then had tests ran at the Mayo clinic. Anyhow, on her way to get the results, she ran a red light or stop sign going 55 and had a bad wreck. She's going to be fine, though she's sore, but this is definitely an added trial considering they think Grandpa won't last beyond Saturday. I'm also not sure she will have an income once Grandpa passes away since she was a homemaker all her life (she did sew dresses and bake fancy cakes for folks from her home but it wasn't a full-time business) and she doesn't get any Social Security that I know of. They invested what they had for retirement with my uncle, their son, a while back as he promised them they would make tons of money. They lost it all in a stock crash! So, I have no idea what she will live off of once she's alone. Of course her kids will help her out.

My poor grandparents need so much prayer! It's hard to see loved ones going through trials.

Sour Cream Advice

Thanks to all of you for your condolences and prayers regarding my Grandpa's approaching death. I am so glad he is not going to be in pain much longer and will soon be ushered into the presence of God to be whole and happy and healthy. It will be hard to not have him here, but I'm learning with each family death we experience this year that life is so fleeting and eternity is what really counts. So, thank you all blog readers!

I need some advice from anyone about what to do with sour cream. My dad gave me a large tub of it that was leftover from his men's retreat and I have used it on burritos, tacos, and nachos, but still have lots to use up before it spoils. How can I get rid of it? Anyone have any "sour-creamy" recipes? Thanks!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What to Look for in a Mother's Helper

Today is the last day of my "wonderful Christmas present" aka my Mother's Helper. My Mom and Dad paid for her to come for 7 weeks to relieve me, during my weeks of intense sickness. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed having her here! She keeps the kids entertained while I'm cooking or reading, and most of the time I run errands while she stays with the kids. Last week I was all caught up on grocery shopping so I went to the library and explored leisurely, having the time of my life looking for interesting cookbooks and CD music for Ali to dance to.
As I've thought over these last weeks of having a Mother's Helper once a week, here are some tips I would give to anyone who might consider having one for a difficult season of mothering:

*It would be wise to lay out a list of her duties at the very beginning, as well as telling her how much she can be expected to make per time. I feel like my parents paid my helper a little more than they needed to, but it really was nice for me that her parents brought her and picked her up, which makes up for that!

*Figure out your expectations and look for someone who fits them. Do you hate to cook supper when nauseous and want a high-school girl to come in and make a meal once a week? Do you have trouble scrubbing the floor or vacuuming when you are 9 months pregnant and want a cleaning assistant? Or, do you mainly want someone to corral the kids and keep them out from underfoot or busy if you are on bed rest? I have a very young helper, age 11, who is responsible and good with children, but doesn't do much else. In the future I think it would be nice to have an even older girl come in and not only play with the kids, but supervise some clean-up, and help me with some housework or cooking too. I'm seriously considering lining up some Mother's Helpers for after the new baby comes. It will be well worth the money to have someone take the kids outside or to the park as Grammy and Daddy will have to go back to work just a week after the birth and I will be nursing around the clock as well as recovering.

*Choose someone you know well and trust with your kids. Choose someone who is a good role model for your own daughters.

*Save up your non-kid-friendly errands for Mother's Helper Day. It is so nice to go to the post office or run business-type errands without two little ones in tow. I can also shop for groceries or the thrift store so much faster! When you're low on energy to begin with, it makes all the difference in the world not to have to lift kids in and out of carseats!

Odds and Ends

Here are some little snippets I've been meaning to post on.

Does anyone believe in the healing power of Apple Cider Vinegar? Just wondering. I have taken it before with great results for a very sore throat (half honey, half ACV). I saw a tip on passionate homemaking about it and decided to try it when I had a bad cold a week ago. I tried 1 tsp. in a 6-8 oz. glass of water 3 times a day. All the gunk in my throat was gone within a day or two! My nose had been running like a faucet non-stop for a few days and I was going through Kleenex and hankies like crazy, but after the ACV, I've only used one or two Kleenexes a day! I've heard it's amazing stuff and now I believe it! I was using the organic kind, "with the mother" as they call it, and so that stuff is probably much more potent than the cheap grocery store stuff.

I'm feeling SO GOOD lately! The last two weeks have been mostly nausea-free and I am even taking my giant prenatal vitamins, which is miraculous! I can hardly keep a Flinstone gummy down in my first trimester, let alone swallow a horse-pill without throwing up. Pregnancy vitamins ALWAY make me nauseous so it's truly wonderful to be able to keep them down by eating them with a large meal and lots of water now. When nausea ends, you feel like a whole new person! However, I still can't take many sweets and chocolate still makes me sick, which is so weird since I was fine eating it through my past two pregnancies.

It looks like I will lose another grandparent in the next few days. My Grandpa Brown has been in the hospital for 4 months with serious complications. When he first went in, his heart had stopped for 5 minutes in the ambulance on the way there. They discovered a stroke, heart attack, clot at the base of his brain, and he had pneumonia on top of all of that! His doctors said they hadn't seen someone with all of those challenges at once. He did get better and was improving, but still in the hospital and I'm thankful we all got to see him at Christmas. He loves kids and was so happy to see them. Lately, he has had a blood infection and now a lung infection and his children and wife have made the decision to stop resuscitating him as his doctors say there is no hope of recovery. I'm so glad he knows the Lord, but it will be sad to no longer have his presence in our lives. My dad has already started building his father's casket and if I can, I will hitch a ride out to MN with my folks, with the kids, for the funeral. It will no doubt be an exhausting trip though!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Making My Home a Haven--Kids Clothing

This is Ali's side of the closet. We put the changing table in the closet since we weren't using it much from about the time Jer was 8 months on. Empty suitcases on the bottom, the next shelf holds winter snowpants on the left and a box of Ali's shoes on the right. The next shelf holds extra disposable diapers and wipes on the left, 2 bins of socks and undies on the right. The top holds her clothing tub, where her pants, pajamas, and skirts go. Shirts and dresses and complete outfits are hanging on either sides. On the top shelf are 2 apple boxes, one for Jer, one for Ali. In these boxes are the next size up of clothing for them. I've already sorted out the clothes they have for spring and summer so they're ready to go. When they outgrow clothing, they are usually bagged up and taken to our shed and put in either the blue "boy" tub or the purple "girl" tub or sorted to be given to friends as "hand-me-downs". I have one tub each for infant clothes of each gender and one tub for 1 year old and up for each gender in the shed. Any clothing larger than the next size up is stored under Jer's crib in a separate box or in our shed and is only checked through once or twice a year. I try to mainly keep the next size on hand, but not clothing that is so big that I will have to store it for several years before they can wear it. On the top right of the shelf is games/puzzles/blocks/Duplos that I keep out of the kid's reach so they don't scatter little pieces everywhere. If they want to play with one item, they can, but it goes back up on the shelf and not in the toybox.
Most of Jer's sweaters and complete outfits are hanging and I use a closet shoe organizer for his onesies, pajamas, and t-shirts. The bottom half of this closet is used to store our baby blankets, extra comforters, and tub full of linens since we don't have a linen closet here. The top shelf on this side of the closet is for our game collection.

Jer has a sock box on top of the dresser. This makes it handy to just reach in and grab a pair even if I'm holding him in the mornings. Stray socks are laid next to it, waiting for their mate! The dresser holds things that they don't need on a daily basis, like fancy church clothes, shoes to grow into, clothing that's too small and needs to be taken to the shed and put in the blue "boy" tub or other baby odds and ends.

Two bins hold socks and undies for Ali. One of her chores is to put these laundry items away when I'm folding laundry. As soon as Jer is potty trained, he will have bins too.

Two empty child-size suitcases I got at a yard sale for 25 cents each work great for trips to MN. However, they are currently empty, but I'm thinking they would be a perfect hiding spot for toys that are rotated out for a week or month at a time. Shhh! Don't tell my kids!

Keeping the kid's closet organized isn't too tough at our house if we keep at it and if I consistently go through it every couple of months and do some rearranging and sorting of clothing. As time goes on, I get more and more into my system and have figured out how it works best for me. Eventually I want to convert Jer's clothing to a tub, perhaps this week as there is a local sale on storage tubs. I really like how Ali can go through her tub herself and choose her own clothing and put stacks of clothing away for me. While my closets aren't picture perfect, elegant, and straight from a designer nursery magazine, they are functional, and that's all that matters to me!

One note: If you use tubs for your child's clothing instead of a dresser, be sure that you put them up high enough so that they can't get into them if they are really little. I learned this the hard way as Ali used to empty out her clothing tub repeatedly when she was a year old because it was just sitting on the floor of her closet! She's now at an age where she never empties her tub, because if she did, she knows that she would be responsible for folding and putting it all away!

Now, on to something I really struggle supplies! Now that we're accumulating more and more educational stuff like coloring and tracing books, lacing cards, alphabet flash cards, paints, crayons, markers, craft ideas, etc. I need to set up a system for keeping that all in one place and organized! More on this another day........

Respect for YOUR Hubby

As many of you probably know, the book Love and Respect is a huge part of my life and one of the books I most recommend to anyone who is married, getting married, or wants to learn about the opposite sex. It's a book that is very personal for me as God prompted me to buy it for my parents 3 and a half years ago after I heard Emerson Eggerichs on a Focus on the Family broadcast talking about his book. My parents were at the time separated after years of living out "the crazy cycle" and were on the brink of divorce. I was pregnant with Ali at the time and miserable at the thought of my family breaking apart. The great news is that God used that book mainly (although they read many other good ones and counseled with pastors) to get through to my folks and help them recognize patterns of sin in their marriage that were reaping disrespect and unloving behavior. God saved their marriage just weeks before Ali was born and they have been going strong ever since. They are actually counseling their THIRD couple now on the same principles (2 success stories so far!) and have seen God use them in amazing ways as they've shared their testimony with friends, family, and even at Men's Retreats my dad helps with. Love and Respect is one of my top choices for a wedding gift for someone and it has benefitted me and my understanding of my hubby as well as scads of other couples I know. While there may be little parts of the book here and there that seem redundant or generalized (putting all men and women in a box), the overall message is one we desperately need to hear today because we hear a lot of fluff about love, but we don't often hear about a man's need for UNCONDITIONAL respect and the fact that God created men and women with different needs in their relationship.

Even if I've heard the personal accounts, seen the way my parents have changed, read the book and discussed it many times, seen the video series and done the Bible study with my young adult's group at church, it's still not always easy to put into practice the concept of respecting one's husband. It's a lifelong process.

For example, the other day, I caught myself thinking of some other woman, "Well if you would just do that one thing he asked of you, your husband would feel so respected! My goodness, he's not asking for much! Give him a break!" But of course, pride goeth before a fall! That very evening my hubby happened to bring up to me the fact that he would feel most respected and loved if I would try to go to bed at the same time as him and get up with him! I was mortally offended! While many women would think that he had "not asked for much" if it would mean the world to him, it was a crushing blow to this gal who is a night-owl, enjoys personal time of absolute quiet in the late night hours, and hates to get up really early! I thought of my hubby's insanely early bedtimes recently (between 9 and 10pm) due to his 6:30 a.m. log-peeling shifts and thought there is no way I could do it! I began to pull out the excuses: "I'm pregnant for pete's sake!" "You want a groggy, cranky wife to eat breakfast with you?" "How can you ask me to go to bed at such an early hour when I have so much to do?" "I'm going to be up all night with a newborn soon! How dare you ask me to get up with you when I've been up all night nursing!!!" "How could you ask me to actually get up BEFORE the kids do?" Waaaahhh waaaahh wahhhh! I was not a happy camper! He could have asked me for homemade cinnamon rolls every day, for me to work on the cars with him or for more romance or whatever and been met with a smile, but this?????

As we discussed it, I realized that he wasn't asking me to keep his exact hours during this stage of life, with special circumstances like his earlier days and my pregnancy and the dealing-with-a-newborn-stage, but to be willing to make it a pattern when it is possible as a way of blessing him greatly so that he could have more time to spend with me and talk with me in a day. When the baby settles into a good schedule and when he goes back to working 8-6 ish hours it is more do-able. The fact that he said, "I know you would never do it though even when you are not pregnant or nursing" confirms to me that he knows me all too well!

It hit me so hard that it is easy to pass judgement on other women whose hubbies have different requests of them that seem so do-able to us, but it is so difficult to listen to the advice or rebuke of our own husbands because often what our spouse asks of us is so contrary to what we want to do and requires a sacrifice!

I have a very good marriage and am more in love than ever with my guy, but since no marriage is perfect, I have chosen to share this little area that I am going to work on to inspire other women out there to do the same. It may take a lot of time to get used to and it may take starting with one thing (getting up together for breakfast) and mastering that before I tackle going to bed at the same time but I am determined to change my hubby's mind and show him that he does mean enough to me for me to make this sacrifice in order to bless him!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Latest Shoe Project

Here are my latest shoes, made for a friend's new baby girl. I think they are the cutest little girl pair I have made yet, but then again my husband says that I say that about every pair! I love having all kinds of beautiful leather colors to work with, thanks to a woman from church who found lots of neat scraps in Billings for me! This was the first time I tried using a multi-colored thread (purple, pink, and blue) and I love the way it added to the look of the zig-zagging.

The Highlight of My Week

One of the best treats in life, and I didn't have to go through a death, a move, or extreme pain to get it! Some of our good friends, Jesse and Shiloh, were given a turkey and knew they wouldn't be able to eat it all so they offered to bring us a hot supper on Sat. night. It was delicious! Juicy turkey, buttered green beans, real mashed potatoes and cake still warm from the oven! No cooking and no big dishes to clean up and a hot and tasty dinner delivered to our door for FREE! Yeah! Thanks to our friend's for blessing us "just because." It makes us want to bless someone too!

Deals of the Week

The Walgreens hit this week was pretty good! What was even better was 2 hours out of the house on a "mommy break" with a girlfriend for a drive in the beautiful sunshine to get there and back!

I got everything in the pic for $29.60 plus the $5 RR from the Venus razor, which I spent on one of the Fusion razors (I did 3 transactions to make it all work). I spent the $29 on my Walgreens card from previous rebates and 60 cents was out of pocket. I got $12 in register rewards to spend next time, and will get $14 back in rebates, making my total for all of this around $4!

3 fancy $10 razors

4 Jane make-up items (which I got paid $1.50 to buy because of the awesome internet coupons!)

5 packages of feminine hygiene products (which I can use for missionary blessing packages OR save since I will need them after the birth)

2 boxes of Kleenex

Spa Radiance body wash
Permanent markers
Also, I noticed that at least one of the razors has a thing you can fill out to tell the company how you liked their product and they will give you a $10 gift card/debit card to spend anywhere for it! So, if I get that reward, I will have gotten paid $6 to buy all of this stuff!
For those of you who think all we eat is junk, this week's groceries happened to be milk, cheese, and tons of fresh fruits and veggies since our pantry and freezer is stocked! How nice it was to see strawberries and mangoes and broccolli and cauliflower on good sales! I usually only highlight the super good deals I get on groceries so people never see the fact that we DO buy healthy food!

Wipe Envy

I never thought I'd see the day when I would be envious of baby wipes, but after that amazing deal at Target around Christmas time, I think I'm spoiled when it comes to buying wipes! I envy all of you who live near a Target and stocked up for about year at 5-25 cents per box of the Huggies brand! I bought a few boxes when I was visiting relatives in MN but now that they are gone I had to go and search 3 different stores before I finally plunked my money down for some cheapy, thin wipes for $1.09 for a package of 80. Even with some amazing coupons I had, the Walgreens wipes deals weren't good and the stores here in town are about double the Walgreens price. I've tried making my own wipes and it just doesn't work for me! I'm also very opposed to the idea of cloth wipes, although I don't mind cloth diapers! So, maybe I will just have to go back to buying the bulk boxes from Wal-Mart of Parent's Choice wipes for an average price of $1.33 a package. The shame of it all! Those of you who have an entire pantry full of wipes from the Target deal should count your blessings! And if anyone sees any good wipe deals advertised at places like Walgreens, Safeway, K-mart, Family Dollar, etc. let me know!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Good Reads!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately! I'm almost done with the 4-book fiction series by Joel C. Rosenberg. If you like fast-paced political thrillers, this is a great Christian series!

I can't remember if I've mentioned on my blog what a great book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney is. It is the best and most concise book I have read on Biblical womanhood and it is a thin book and an easy read. I've mentioned before on my blog the problems I have found in Created to Be His Helpmeet. This book is infinitely better! When you contrast the two side by side, you see such a stark difference. While CTBHH is not all bad, there is an underlying theme of trying to "be a certain way" so that you can gain for yourself a heavenly marriage and to be submissive and sexy in order to manipulate your man. The Gospel is glaringly absent from that book. However, in Feminine Appeal, Carolyn states, "The commands found in Titus 2 have been given to us for an all-important reason that transcends time and culture. That rason is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These virtues are not about our personal fulfillment or individual preference. They are required for the sake of unbelievers--so that those who are lost might come to know our Savior." Page 26

Another lengthy, but rich quote from her book, " This book is about the transforming effect of the Gospel--because that is what Titus 2 is all about. The climax of Titus 2 announces that, "the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people." It heralds the news of "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness" (v. 11-14)

The seven feminine virtues we will consider in the this book are not an end in themselves. They point to the transforming effect of the Gospel in the lives of women--women who have turned from their sins and trusted in the Savior, women whose sins have been forgiven and whose hearts have been changed. Can you conceive of anything that sets forth the beauty of the Gospel jewel more brilliantly than the godly behavior of those who have received it? Consider the lovliness of a woman who passionatley adores here husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self-control, and kindness in her character and who gladly submits to her husband's leadership--for all the days God grants her life. I dare say there are few things that display the Gospel jewel with greater elegance. This is true feminine appeal." Page 28-29

One other book I want to highlight as a great read is, "French Women Don't Get Fat, The secret of eating for pleasure" by Mireille Guiliano.
It was a fascinating read about how to enjoy food to the fullest! Sometimes we American women miss things that are simple in favor of beating ourselves up with diet plans and no-mercy exercise routines. The author is French but lives in America now with her American husband. She first came to America as a high school exchange student and gained about 20 pounds after adopting American styles of eating. After working hard to get the weight back off once she returned to France, she studied the differences between the view of food in both cultures and has made many observations about the subject. It's interesting that the French have so much wine, cheese, and gourmet pastries, heavenly baguettes, and delicious desserts and yet stay so slender. I was fascinated by her recipes and descriptions of luscious foods and the way the French delight in their cooking while still practicing moderation. Guiliano doesn't have a "super method" or "10-step plan" to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks like many dieting books but I think her book is probably the most practical and effective I have ever seen on this issue and would get the best results long-term! Even if you aren't looking to lose weight but just want to read more about excellent French cooking, this is a great book! Some of the differences between French women and American women (as summarized by me from reading the book) are:
*French women don't see food as a "shameful" thing and they delight in little pleasures and food treats without guilt
*French women drink water constantly
*French women walk many places and exert themselves in daily tasks rather than hitting a gym or forcing themselves to jog every day
*French women don't ever allow themselves to get famished and neither do they ever leave the table feeling totally stuffed
*French women delight in excellent food, fresh and ripe and bursting with flavor. They enjoy cooking and choosing their food from the market and take their time at it. They aren't afraid of carbs and don't tend to jump into fad diets.
*French women eats tons of fruits and veggies
*French women don't eat while watching TV, reading, or computer surfing. Enjoying a pretty table setting and letting yourself savor each bite and enjoying the "experience" of eating helps them avoid the mindless eating we Americans tend to do since we're always in a rush.

These are just some of the highlights I gained from this great book! The author is not a Christian and therefore there are a few things in the book you may disagree with (as with almost any book) but her perspectives are quite interesting!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Safeway Shopping Rally

I already mentioned my Rice-A-Roni deals in a previous post. However, I didn't realize that there were MORE things in the Safeway deal until our friend Jesse, who recently became an obsessively awesome Money Saving Dad, mentioned it. Thanks to Jesse's tip, I looked over a 53 page list online to find what other food items we needed were included in the deal. I took my $20 coupon back to the store and bought another 25 items, which generated another $20 coupon, which I used to buy another 25 items! All together I spent around $70, but I still have a $20 coupon on anything in the store to spend for next week's groceries. So, for about $50, I got everything above, plus 25 boxes of Rice-A-Roni (77 items total). Included in the above photo are:
1 Crockpot Meal (which last for 2 meals for us)
2 jugs of Wesson Oil
14 cans of diced italian tomatoes
3 bags of chips (hey, my hubby likes junk for snacks!)
3 boxes of crackers
Cake mixes
Muffin and coffee cake mixes
7 packages of Green Giant vegetables
3 boxes of popcorn
3 boxes of Pony fruitsnacks
etc. etc. etc.
I used coupons on a lot of the items too. I figure all of the canned tomatoes were free, as well as 20 boxes of Rice-A-Roni and the popcorn and fruit snacks were under 50 cents a box averaged out. Awesome deals! Hit up your Safeway today! You can save even more money if your store doubles coupons!
Wal-Mart cost of everything I bought here would have been a minumum of $90. I saved as much as 80% on one order, 60% on another, and 39% on the third one! Safeway is my new favorite grocery store!

Happy #3 Little Girl!

It seems like just yesterday we pulled Alathia Joy out of the water and into our hearts and lives forever. She was so alert and chubby and ....0000oh so tiny. It's hard to believe she's running around in play high heels talking about pwincesses and singing Sunday School songs with wild abandon. She's now too old for nursery and has graduated to Children's Church! She's now a preschooler instead of a toddler! She has definitely taken us on an adventure as we learn how to parent a very determined and stubborn little thing who is full of spunk, life, opinions, and zeal for people. She has taught us so much about God, about ourselves, and about our own parent's love for us. We are so thankful to have been blessed with a precious little girl and we hope and pray that she comes to know Jesus and lives her life for Him. Happy Birthday to our favorite little girl!

It's Rough Having a Sister

Life is tough when you're constantly surrounded by girly neighbor girls and a very Type A sister!

Birthday Tea #2

Ali was tickled to get a little dog, we named "Fluffy" from her friend Anne.

Southern Belle Bonnet!

Last week when we were at the Dollar Store, Grammy insisted on buying these little purses for the party to hold the favors. We put a candy bracelet inside, along with their tea cup and a shiny bead necklace (10 for $1 at the Dollar Store!)

The tiniest lady at the party, Arianna, age 1, acted very ladylike (okay, except for dunking her fingers in her tea cup!)

Ali's great-grandma, who is 90, made these lovely little doll outfits for her and sent them for her birthday. One of the doll's outfits matches a bonnet Great Grandma made Ali over a year ago!

Birthday Tea

Tiny tables set up for tea

Grammy reads the girls a fun story called, "Granny's Purse."

Fernie makes a lovely little lady!

Kennedy seemed to love the party but her expression says she doesn't know what to think of her hat!

Lindsay is ready to delve into the mini muffins, cheese cubes, carrots, and chocolate kisses!

Alathia's birthday tea was so much fun! All the little girls seemed to enjoy it. It was kind of a new experience for them, even though they spend lots of time playing tea at home. I was racking my brain for craft ideas and I didn't really want to spend a ton of money buying hats from the dollar store to decorate. One day I got to thinking about those paper plates with bows they make brides wear at bridal showers. Ta da! Our Southern Belle Bonnets were born. They had fun decorating the paper plates with various tissue flowers, bows and ribbons that we dug up and hot glued on! Ali actually picked out the colors for her party and chose purple and yellow. At first I thought it was going to look awful, but the fake flowers made it blend well! The tea cups and vases were from the thrift store and the girls each got to take their glass tea cup home in their party bag. It only cost me 20 cents a cup!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Deals this Week!

Last week I got the Walgreens free family photo package thanks to the tip at Money Saving Mom! All you had to do was upload one photo and you got an 8x10, 2 5x7s, and 4 4x6s absolutely free, no coupon necessary and I didn't even have to pay any tax on it! There were quite a few good deals for other freebies at Walgreens this week but I didn't have the time or energy to make it over there! Sick kids, lots of snow, car troubles, and just being pregnant!

This week I scored some cool green terrycloth at the thrift store for $1 and it was about a yard or two worth of fabric that is perfect for diapers. I have found that old dishtowels or baby towels/terrycloth fabric work best as the layer that goes directly against a baby's skin. Much more absorbant than fleece (obviously!)

Thanks to the Safeway-Shoppin' Gals that comment at MoneySavingMom, I got 25 boxes of whole grain Rice-A-Ronis for $5! Yeehah! We love Rice-A-Roni, especially the natural ones or brown rice ones and so this was a steal of a deal. You buy 25 of certain items at Safeway and then you get a $20 coupon to spend on anything in the store! Can you guess what we'll be eating for a while?

Is living frugal just so we can GET, GET, GET MORE MORE MORE? No! I like Lindsay Edmond's motto at It says, "Living simply to give generously." I have to remind myself that while it's wise to save and be frugal in order to stay out of debt, it's also wise to be frugal in order to give more. My husband recently got an unexpected raise and determined we would bless others with part of it! I'm thankful he has a heart to give! I have used so many of the Walgreens freebies to give to people as gifts, whether for holidays or when they are sick or recovering from surgery, friends struggling financially, etc. I have to remember that it's not about stockpiling everything for me, or saving money so I can spend more, but saving money so that money can be given to those in true need.

Valentine Fun #1

Grammy (my mom) made these adorable chocolate covered pretzel sticks for her class and we got some too!

Valentine's Day was busy at our house! We kicked off the day by making pink pancakes and then having devotions and talking about love and reading verses in the Bible on the subject.

Then 3 neighbor kids came over (they were skipping school because they wanted to stay home on V-day) and we spent an hour making valentines for their parents and siblings.

Ali was overjoyed to receive a heart sucker from Mommy and Daddy after lunch!

Valentine Fun

King Jo got me a lovely bouquet and some little chocolate kisses! Tulips are my favorite flower and he got me 2 pink tulips for the 2 girls in our family, 2 purple irises for the guys in our family, and one sprig of baby carnations for our baby-to-come. This is our Valentine box stuffed with notes, cards, and little surprises for everyone!

Can I eat my monkey Valentine from Grandma Kathy?

What's on the menu? Fruit Salad, Lettuce Salad, Garlic-herb breadsticks, and homemade Fettucini Alfredo, with raspberry cheesecake for dessert! My in-laws brought the frozen raspberries out a couple of weeks ago when they came. They have a luscious summer crop! The heart bowls were 10 cents at a yard sale last summer. A gal had about 100 of them from her wedding reception leftovers. I only bought 6 though!

My parents and brother Grant enjoyed the meal and time spent with us!

Valentine Suckers

The kids sure had fun with these suckers Grammy made for them. Ali's is a lips and Jer's is a mustache made of foam and slipped over a sucker stick. I think this was the first sucker we've ever let Jer have!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Devotions With My Kids

I've always wanted to make the most of these young, impressionable years to train my kids in the Lord. Sometimes it's hard to get into a working routine though. In the past I have used the book "Playtime Devotions" for the kids, which they absolutely love! It has rhymes and little ditties with hand motions. My friend Heather recommended it and our kids have almost all of the pages memorized!

In recent weeks this is what we've been doing:
  • I quiz Ali from her new book I requested for her birthday from the grandparents. It's called "My First Book of Questions and Answers," by Carine MacKenzie. It's a training tool to teach kids about faith and the answers to the big questions. John and Noel Piper highly recommended it so of course that interested me! Ali has already worked her way up to question 9 in just a week or two. I wish I had learned catechisms as a kid!
  • We read some from Proverbs and Mark.
  • Sometimes we read a children's Bible story as well.
  • We sing 4 hymns we are working on learning. Just the first line of the hymns. We also sing a few children's Bible songs that Ali loves, like the CEF song, "Just Turn Around" or "I've Got Joy Down in My Heart," etc.
  • We pray for the needs in our family and for Mommy to have patience and for the kids to learn obedience today!

Of course this isn't the full extent of our training. There are meal time prayers, stories throughout the day, bedtime prayers, Sunday School, Children's Church, and times when I need to correct throughout the day and explain Biblical truths. But I think it's SO IMPORTANT to make spiritual training the biggest part of your child's day and have a regular time each day set aside for this. There will be days when I can't get everything on my schedule done and days when all I can manage is fast food and a dirty home. But as long as I have gotten the most important things done, teaching my kids about God, reading His Word with them, and helping my husband, that's all that counts!

What do you do to help train your children in the Lord?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dancing Girls

Poor Jer is always outnumbered and surrounded by girly girls!

My daughter has never taken a dance class in her life and yet she innately loves to dance and dress up in her "ballerinas." Here are more pics of her and the neighbor girls having a blast! They dance to classical piano favorites. I've found that the more relaxing and peaceful the music, the less wild they get!

Valentine Plans

My friend Heather asked me what my plans are for Valentine's Day. It inspired me to write a brief post on what I plan to do. I really LOVED her own ideas for serving her daughter strawberry milk in fancy plastic Valentine goblets (we call them lady glasses) and making heart-shaped, pink rice krispie bars. She's going to give her daughter valentine stickers and talk about how Jesus loves her and wants her to love others. How sweet is that for a great way to help a 2-year old celebrate?

Growing up we always had a lot of fun with Valentine's Day. There were school parties and it was fun to make Valentine cards up for all of my friends. My mom always got into the holiday and she made up a big box that was covered in Valentine paper and had a slit in the top. We would drop Valentines in there for the people in our family and she had little surprises in there for us (like a candy necklace and a chapstick or something like that.) After a fun Valentine supper (where perhaps things were red or pink or it was a fancy candlelight meal) we'd rip open the box and have our Family Valentine party. I liked this so much that I'm continuing the tradition with my own little tykes. Jeremiah won't really understand it, but I'm going to put red construction paper hearts on the table next to the box for Ali, King Jo, and I to write encouraging notes on and stick in throughout the day. We can write down things we appreciate about each other and why we love them. I am totally a gifty person (if you couldn't tell already) so I had to get my little ones a small toy each and my husband a big Reese's peanut butter heart! King Jo will also get his coupons, which I've mentioned before in a recent post.
For dinner, I plan to make homemade Fettuccini Alfredo, breadsticks, vegetable, and cheesecake. I have considered serving the kids dinner, then doing the Valentine box, and then having a candlelit, kid-free dinner with King Jo. Or, we will have our neighbors watch them while we eat since they have asked us to trade babysitting sometime this week so we can both go on Valentine Day dates.
For the grandparents, we had some Valentine photo cards made this year on
I plan to have Ali help me make a special Valentine for her daddy with pretty paper and glue and stickers.
I plan to talk about Jesus' love for us and loving others too on V-day. In the past I have often given Valentines to singles or to unsaved friends with Bible verses about love on them. This year we will probably make some pretty Valentines with Spanish Bible verses on them for our little neighbor girls who are over here playing every day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

God Provides

Just when I was thinking that Ali was getting low on dresses for the spring and summer and I might have to buy some cute fabric and get to sewing, God provided! A friend gave me some hand-me-downs in beautiful condition, including some dance leotards that Ali and the neighbor girls wear constantly! I had to showcase this photo to tell you all that even though this world will tell you that kids are an enormous burden and terribly expensive, God is the one who gives them to us and He provides! My kids have wonderful clothes and have always had scads of adorable and name-brand stuff and yet I don't think we have ever truly needed to buy them more than a few clothing items in the last few years of being parents. People have given us so many hand-me-downs at church, many with the tags still on them, that we have had opportunity to bless about 10 other families with young children whom are our good friends by passing them along.
I'm not talking about getting one garbage bag a year. We get an average of 10 huge garbage bags a year of kids clothes (mostly girls' clothes of course!) One of the only pieces of baby equipment we have purchased is our double stroller, which we got at a yard sale for $5 and have put MANY, MANY miles on it! The only other thing I can think of that we bought was one of our 3 carseats! Parents and relatives and friends have given us strollers, toys, 2 bouncy chairs, 2 swings, high chairs, an exersaucer, a crib, a Pack N' Play, outdoor toys, a sandbox, rocking chairs for little ones, rocking horses, ride-on toys, new carseats, boppy pillows, maternity clothing, baby backpacks, a Burly kid bike cart, kids table and chairs, a kid bike, etc. Everyone who even remotely knew us gave us a baby gift with our first baby, including my husband's second-grade teacher he hadn't seen in years, my cousins I see once a year, an uncle's girlfriend, people I babysat for 10 years ago, my Grandma's pastor's wife, a friend's mother and a neighbor's daughter! We had just one small family shower for Ali with a few relatives. Yet so many packages came in the mail and from friends around us that we got over 70 baby gifts for her! One aunt alone picked up 59 baby outfits and onesies for us at yard sales in the Twin Cities as well as giving me about 20 maternity outfits as her gift! My family likes to give and so does my husband's! God sure did provide back when we were living on half of what we have now and He continues to provide as our needs change.
Of course I often find steals at the thrift store or yard sales for 25 cents and these have added to our collection. But compared to the thousands of dollars that the popular baby magazines predict one will have to spend on a child, we have spent hardly spent anything!

Making My Home a Haven Monday

Crystal's challenge today is laundry but since mine is caught up, I'm going to write about my new home management binder. I've really enjoyed the index card system, but wanted something that I could glance through the entire week at once on instead of just the daily stuff. I gave the dry-erase markers a try with the binder thing and found it didn't work for me so I just print off sheets on my computer of actual paper and check it off with a pen. There are daily things, a list for weekly stuff, bi-monthly stuff, Monthly, and then my goals for the year. I've already discovered a few regular chores and things I've forgotten so I'm going to have to keep adapting my schedule sheets as life is constantly changing. At the front of my binder is a calendar page (from one I got free at the grocery store) and a verse I'm working on memorizing. Any extra papers, like Ali's take-home Sunday School worksheets can be stored in the binder pockets. I've also noted some things I need to remember to buy on my grocery shopping day on a yellow sticky note stuck to the Friday list.

Yes, a lot on my list is rather redundant and silly. Do I really need to have breakfast and shower on the list? I guess I just enjoy checking off more things! I didn't include EVERYTHING on my list. Of course throughout the day I will cuddle the kids, change diapers, make the bed, and pick up toys and do a myriad of other things not listed. Having this general list and daily routine is good for me though as I find it fun and helpful in motivating me, especially on days where I'm extra tired or not ambitious. It also helps me to prioritize my life too and remember things I typically tend to forget in a busy week. Time training my kids about God is of utmost importance as well as jotting something down that I can do to bless my husband each day (after asking him). If there are extras I need to do that aren't usually on the weekly schedule like call a certain person, send an e-mail or run an errand, I write them in at the bottom of the list with pen.

I'd love to hear what you other moms do for time management and whether or not you use lists! I don't have to have lists. I will still clean and get stuff done if I don't but I have enjoyed getting into the habit of using them because I think that having life more organized, rather than less, will definitely help with the homeschooling we plan to do in the future.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Update on Toddler Exasperation

Ali loves to dress up in little leotards, which she calls "ballerinas" and dance to classical piano music! All day, every day!

Since I'm in a very bloggy mood today, I'll write yet another post. I so appreciated the comments and e-mail advice I received from those of you going through the toddler frustrations too. Here are some things I'm trying to implement:

Mrs. Taft's ribbon trick. She suggests a piece of ribbon hanging next to the toliet paper tube that gives the child a hands on look at how long the piece of toliet paper should be.

Laura's suggestion that I have Ali use wet wipes for the less messy washings. She loves to wash in the bathroom but it would be so much easier to at least cut out some of the washings by teaching her to grab a wet wipe after a snack, use a wet rag from the kitchen or use hand sanitizer (as Mrs. Taft suggested).

Laura suggested a sippy cup to be toted around all day. We already do this but both my kids drain 6-8 sippy's a day and need constant refills. Maybe I could start the day with 2 full water cups for each kid within their reach and have 2 for her and 2 for her brother filled and in the fridge that she can help herself to throughout the morning.

My mom suggested that she's likely needing more activities and stimulation and so I'm thinking of different crafts we could do or places we could go during these cold winter days where she can get some of her energy out! Please share any ideas you have!

Laura suggested consequences for the taking off of clothes. When it was really, really bad, we used to enforce this firmly but we had grown out of the habit since she had stopped taking off everything in the car, for a while. I think I need to explain before each car trip that there will be a punishment if she removes her shoes, socks, hairbows, coat, etc. Thanks for the good reminder!

I agree with those of you who said I need to get her attention before giving the command. Maybe if I say, "Look at my eyes," or "Hands to your ears and open them so you can hear Mommy!"

I agree with Mrs. Taft that I can expect too much of a toddler at times. I can get very upset over non-eternal things. I think it's just the constancy of it all. I probably do expect way too much out of her and need to learn some patience and realize that toddlers dawdle and explore and take their time, as frustrating as this can be for those of us scheduled mommies!

I've considered making Ali wear only t-shirts to solve the wet sleeves ordeal. Or teaching her to roll sleeves before going potty.

Is it just me or does it seem like your toddler goes through spurts of testing their Mommy and needing some hardcore training and strong discipline for a while, almost to ensure them that the rules are still the rules? Then they can be fine for a while and we ease up a little, and the whole cycle repeats itself over and over.

One thing I've already done is made her clothing tub in her closet accessible so if she wants to change clothes, which is about 5 times a day, she can sort through them herself and put most of the outfits on all by herself!

All of the advice, prayers, and tips were appreciated! Thanks!

Food for Labor

Since I'm a long way from going through labor again, it's interesting that today I was struck with the inspiration to do this post. But, if it will help any of you out there who are very close to having a baby, then great! I do have LOTS of pregnant friends this year!

If you're anything like me, you don't exactly feel like eating in labor, even if they are long and tiring labors. There are some things that are VERY good for keeping your stamina up during labor though.

*Frozen grapes--keep a few little ziploc bags in the freezer close to the end of your pregnancy so you can grab them during labor at home or take them to the hospital with you. My midwife highly recommended these and said something about how the frozen consistency caused them to be broken down and used more quickly by your body so they were a great energy booster in labor. They're just a great snack for a hot summer day too, whether or not you're pregnant!

*Gatorade slushies--Drink a few swigs of Gatorade and then stick it in the freezer. Take out during labor or on your way to the hospital. Make your husband shake it up for you and it will taste just like a refreshing slush. Have a few bottles on hand in the freezer! My favorite is Grape or Riptide Rush! Small sips through a straw between contractions are good for keeping you hydrated.

For the hospital bag (or for the cupboard if you are doing a home birth):
Some of your favorite snacks and comfort foods. I can't stress enough how bad the food is in the local hospital here. My friend recently had a baby and spent 3 days in the hospital and after she tried to cut into a pancake with a knife and couldn't, she asked the nurses to take her off the meal list and requested that her husband bring her all her meals from fast food places. King Jo and I couldn't even determine exactly what one of the things on my tray was (it was rubbery and orange and didn't look like cheese but didn't look like eggs either!) My "toast" was cold, soggy, and soft. This is why when you call your folks or friends to tell them the news and they ask to visit, tell them they are welcome to come if they come laden with sugar donuts or bagels from your favorite bakery. I brought blueberry muffins and caramel rolls to my friend the night she delivered, straight from the oven and still warm and she was SO THANKFUL!
We had extra Gatorades in my bag and these proved invaluable for drinking during post-childbirth recovery. Nurses keep you well supplied with crushed ice and a water pitcher, but it's nice to have something like Gatorade on hand that's not as sickly sweet as juice but is more flavorful than water. Other good ideas for snacks: peanuts, saltine crackers, pudding cups, jerky, favorite candy bars, fruit leathers, string cheese (if you have a mini cooler). Why so many snacks for what is likely only a 1-2 day stay? Because I was STARVING after the exertion of an all-night labor both times and was in dire need of nourishment, especially after Jer's birth with the great loss of blood. Nursing causes one to be exceptionally hungry too.
Don't forget to pack a bunch of snacks for hubby as well! I'm pretty sure that when they brought me meals he either had to share or watch me eat because they would only bring ME the meal as I was the admitted patient. Depending on how long your labor is he may get pretty hungry since he's not dealing with the fierce pain and possible nausea you are! My husband likes to stay with me through EVERYTHING, even curling up on the lumpy and squeaky cot next to my hospital bed all night long, so it's crucial that he has something to eat too!
I have to say I'm biased about homebirth! After our homebirth with our daughter, our wonderful midwife whipped me up some peanut butter toast and a drink and tucked me in bed. Then she left a big bowl of homemade chicken wild rice soup in the fridge for us so that we when all woke from our family nap we would have a nutritious and delicious supper. She cleaned everything up including the birthing pool and bathroom and kitchen, and even did a load of towels for us and got a photo CD made for us of our new baby that very day (back then we didn't have a digital cam). Then she drove 1.5 hours back to her house to get a little sleep and came back the next day to do the baby check-up. We couldn't have asked for better care! Those of you who live in MN and still have the option of using her are blessed indeed!

Frugal Valentine Ideas

Here are some ideas for making V-Day special:

Go to for some printable coupons you can make for your loved one. My husband LOVES coupons and will be getting one for PB cookies, 2 back massage ones, and some for being able to sleep in which he usually doesn't get to do.

Making a lovely meal and eating it after the kids are in bed is a GREAT way to celebrate. Make his favorite dessert and it will be better than eating out.

Trade sitting with a neighbor. A neighbor in our building asked me if I'd swap sitting with her so we could each have a date with our husband next week. Sounds good to me! I'm not sure if it's in the budget to go out, but if not, the kids can hang at her house while we eat a quiet, candlelit dinner of homemade fettuccini alfredo, breadsticks, and cheesecake!

Make a Love/Encouragement box. Set it on the table and ask your children to write notes on red construction paper hearts saying what they love and appreciate about each family member. On Valentine's night, rip open the box and read them all. If you want, you can stick some goodies in with the notes (such as stuff you got from the dollar store).

Rent a romantic comedy and enjoy a date night in. Have popcorn and his favorite soda and candy on hand and dim the lights to make it feel more like going to a real theater.

Make coconut truffles instead of buying a box of cheap chocolates. They're not just for Christmas folks! The recipe is under my cooking thread on this blog.

Frugal Friday--Frugal Eyeglass Tip

For those of you who wear eyeglasses, I discovered something recently that will save me some money in the future. I hadn't been in for new glasses in 2.5 years and mine were getting very scratched up due to the fact that I often dried them on whatever was handy and cleaned them with cotton fabric. I had always just assumed that one's eyes changed every couple of years and it was a NECESSITY to get new glasses. I'm a contact person, but ever since becoming pregnant the first time and also during nursing, I can't wear them due to eye dryness. So, I'm now a glasses person for a while.
When I recently went in for new glasses the doctor said that not only were my eyes the same prescription, but one eye had improved a power! He said this is common as your eyes change a lot until about 25 and then they usually stay the same for quite a long time. I didn't realize this. Apparently if I had kept my glasses up better I could have still used them for many, many years provided I liked the style and the frame was sturdy. After I had new lenses put in, I bought a bunch of special cleaning cloths to have on hand around the house. I have been very careful with not letting the kids touch or bop my glasses, careful not to let them fall or drop off my nightstand, and have only cleaned them with appropriate cloths and spray. If I can keep my glasses looking great, they will last me another 10 years! Even if I get contacts in the next few years again, it will be nice to have some glasses on hand for some days when I'm sick or extra tired. It costs a minimum of $300 to get an exam and new pair of glasses (and this is at Wal-Mart) where I got mine. If you make an effort to care for your glasses, you could stretch the life of them to 2 or 3 times what you might have normally had to pay, saving up to $600 in the long run! Of course this tip won't work for kids whose eyes may change every year or two, but if both you and your spouse wear glasses, this tip could save you a lot!

Other Tips:
*Choose a classic style frame that complements your face and will look good for several years.
*Choose a sturdy, well-made frame.
*Invest a little extra for the anti-glare and protective coating on the lenses. It costs about $40 more, but will help them last longer and not scratch.
*Keep your glasses in a safe place where kids can't get at them.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Toddler Exasperation

These last few days have been wearing on me regarding toddler rearing. No, she hasn't had any tantrum spells and she isn't being unusually naughty or strong-willed. She's just being a toddler and frankly it nearly kills me to keep up with her for 12 hours a day. She's gotten to a stage of not napping during the day, resulting in a 2-hour power struggle, and then eventually napping and then staying up chattering for 2 hours past her bed time at night. So, if I let her skip the nap in favor of just reading books, she'll go to bed on time with her brother and not keep him up late, but then I have to deal with her for 12 hours straight every day with no breaks.

Maybe I'm just a control freak but I find it unbearably frustrating to deal with a toddler all day long. Every day I repeat myself a hundred thousand times.
"Get your shoes on! Get your shoes on! NOW!!!"

I know some of you are thinking that I must be ineffective at discipline because I have to repeat myself so much. If you are thinking this, you obviously don't have a toddler! Yes, I expect obedience the FIRST time but half the time the toddler is in a fog of their own and doesn't even hear you the first few times. And enforcing what you say is endless! Having to follow through on a threat or on a command isn't that big of deal when it's a few times a day. But try having to follow through on about 1,000 items a day pulling punishments out of your hat like confetti and you are ready to pull every hair on your head out by the roots. Following through on every command could result in disciplinary action every 5 minutes the entire day long.

Here's an example of the tiring routine: My toddler goes to the bathroom approximately 8 times a day, give or take a few. Each time she is on the potty I have to remind her not to get too much toliet paper, have to wipe her a few times a day when she goes poo, have to oversee her washing, scold her for spraying the water everywhere, tell her not to get her sleeves wet, help her change outfits when she gets her sleeves wet, remind her to turn the light off, etc. In order to stall nap and bedtimes she always has to go potty about 2-3 times during nap time and 1-2 times after she's been put to bed. Which means taking the clothing/pajamas off all over again and repeating all these steps. Yes, we force her to go potty before bed, but miraculously she always has to go again and when we stand over her and tell her that if she doesn't go she's in trouble and she's just making up excuses, BUT she always manages to fill the potty! It's like she has a button she can turn on to make herself go potty at the most inconvenient times. Here is a small sampling of my day:
*Ali begs me for a glass of water, juice, or milk a minimum of 6 times a day but even more if she sees me drinking something and wants the same.
*Ali loves to go barefoot and so takes her shoes and socks off at least 5 times a day. Including in the car and on trips home from the stores and at friend's homes, church, etc. Getting her to put all of it back on is at least a 10 minute process each time.
*Ali washes her hands about 15 times a day. 15 opportunities to wreck the bathroom, spray water all over the counter, complain that the water is hot and need me to turn the knob toward cold, and spray her clothes so they need to be changed.
*Ali steals toys from her brother on an almost CONSTANT basis whenever he is awake and in the same house as her. You'd think she'd learn after daily and multiple punishments but she still hasn't gotten the concept of leaving a little brother alone!
*Ali needs about 6 small meals/snacks a day resulting in 6 messes where the table needs wiped and the floor needs swept, etc.
*Ali asks "Why?" at least 30 times a day and is at the stage of trying to negotiate, beg, and plead for various priviledges. She's also recently been lying a lot which creates a need for more lectures, discipline, and talks about right and wrong.
*Ali has the energy of 5 cheetahs and it's a major challenge to get it all out in the winter. Having her run down the hall a few times a day with me when I go to the laundry room helps and going on playdates helps, but she is a child who desperately needs to have a home gym or be swimming every day to burn her eternal energy. She rarely moves if it's not bouncing, dancing, skipping, hopping, and running.
*Ali dinks around with the skill of a professional dinker! She will take as much time as humanly possible getting into and out of vehicles, going to and from the laundry room (and will try to pick up nasty things on the floor that she finds), getting dressed, getting ready for a playdate, cleaning her room, etc.

Jer has demands of his own, but even though he's considered a toddler and has finally started taking his first steps, he is SO EASY! He is easier by far than Ali ever was at his age. I know someday this list may apply to him but for now my biggest challenge is keeping up with Ali. I wonder if life will ever be sane with her or if our pastor is right in saying it just keeps on getting harder (he has 4 kids, 3 in their teens). I thought 2 was rough, but now that Ali is a week away from 3, I realize that it's still every bit as hard and getting harder, but in different areas. Parenting is a wonderful and rewarding endeavor but it is the hardest thing I have ever done!

This Mama is starting to think pre-school, or even boarding school sounds pretty nice right now! Of course that's just the winter blahs talking and I would neveractually send my kid to boarding school! But a break from my toddler sure would be nice!

Cheers for my friends who are doing it with twins!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Some of My Recent Diapers

The little pink diaper is for our new baby. Can you guess what I THINK I'm going to have? I love the terrycloth fleecy inside. It's about the softest thing I've ever felt and will be nice for a tiny baby's tender bottom. The other diapers are for Jer, who has decided to get a potbelly recently and gain a few pounds and no longer fits in his medium sized diapers. I made the new ones big enough that they should fit at least until he's two, if not longer. They fit fine now and don't leak at all! I've noticed that as I continually make diapers, I can whip them out even faster than before and they are looking snazzier and snazzier as I experiment with different colors! I also tried making thicker layers to see if they end up being even more absorbant. The light green diaper might be a good night-time diaper since it's made with 3 layers of fleece for maximum absorbancy. The kelly green diaper is made with a dual layer of fleece and one layer of flannel. The red diaper has one layer of fleece and 2 of flannel.
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