I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Counting Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We will be counting our blessings today as a family and there are many. We do not want to take for granted all that God has given us. I hope you have a wonderful day spending time with family and feasting in celebration of all that God has done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So sneaky

This last week I was typing away on my laptop at the kitchen table when I noticed some movement coming my way ever so slowly.
Here was the sneaky culprit. He is pretty cute though so he can sneak up on me anytime. (Can you believe he still can fit inside a pillowcase?)

Pressed but not crushed

I have been putting off posting. I'm just not feeling very posty the last couple of days. But I have found, that for me, if I can write about something it does help me to process better. So here I am.

I found out on Monday that I am now a diabetic. Right on the edge of being one, but the word is out there. It's in mine and Steve's family so it is something I watch for. I already had a meter and have for quite awhile, checking the kids and I from time to time as it can show up at anytime.

I was told the news and have been in disbelief since. I started taking my post meal sugars since the call and they have been perfect, no sign of it. I thought maybe there was a mistake. But then this morning, there it was. My morning fasting sugar that has been beautiful every other time I had checked it until I stopped checking six months ago. Well, it was high this morning. Not scary high but a clear reality check.

Cold hard reality.

At this point, we are hoping it is magageable with diet and exercise. There have so many people in my life that I know or have known that have Diabetes. I feel like I already have so much information and know what changes I need to make. But I will start diabetes education classes in December so that I can have as much information as possible.

Information is my security blanket. There is power in knowledge and it helps me to feel somewhat in control when I am feeling out of control. But the truth is I am not in control. Now there is a cold, hard reality for me. The good news, however, is that God is. He knows better than I do and He knew this was coming. There I will try to rest. I say try because I know me. But I will try.

I am not wallowing, just grieving a little. I'll be back to my old chipper self soon.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Public Service Announcement

To all friends and family who may come into contact with me in the next 2 months,

In an effort to retain all relationships important to me, please consider yourself put on notice. The time has come for me to transition to a new thyroid medication. This kind of a decision is not always without consequences. My moods, possibly without notice, will be prone to going up and down and sideways.

We are confident that this change will be in the best interest of all involved. We will do all that we can to make sure that this transition is as smooth and painless as possible but as with all things, when change happens, there can be growing pains. We appreciate your patience as we navigate the choppy waters that are the endocrine system.

To my Women of Faith friends. For Anita Renfroe, where it's probably just her thyroid, in my case, IT really IS my thyroid.

Much love,
Your wife, mom, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, granddaughter, friend, neighbor or stranger who may happen to pass you on the street.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Wooden Head

Thank goodness he has one. This is not the first time he has had a goose egg like this. Last time he got one like this it was much worse. See that bump on the top left part of his forehead. Yep, it's not supposed to stick out like that.

It was quite traumatic. There was much ice and book reading to be had while he recovered. Poor guy. His left arm wasn't left out of the action either.

He could sit up and manage the ice after awhile and all was well. The swelling went down and there is just a nice abrasion left in it's place today. That's what tripping on the pavement while running out to see your siblings gets ya. Just another day at the office when you're a boy folks.
My boys could be the death of me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wanted: One Hand Massage

Check over at Making the Grade for another review and a book giveaway!
Doing Lil's hair over the years has been no small task. And I will admit that we have had paid to have it done from time to time as all things repetitive and small have been known to drive me batty. But, as time goes on and she gets older, her hair has become even more important so I have been making more of an effort. We have had it done about every 3 or 4 months and the style usually lasts about 5-6 weeks. Then in the off time we play around with it or she uses her favorite throw it up in 2 ponytail style. I prefer her to have it in a style that is better for her hair so I have stepped up my efforts.

Black hair has to be taken care of differently or it will break off. Hairstyles like this help to preserve the hair so that it can grow longer. We also started using coconut oil on her hair about a year ago and and the gal that has helped us with her hair noticed the difference right away. It works better than any other hair product we have tried and it's less expensive also.
I found a You Tube video recently that showed me how to put in yarn extensions and I was excited. She doesn't like the yarn quite as much as when we have had synthetic hair put in but she does like it. The upside of yarn extensions is that yarn is inexpensive and easier to work with than synthetic hair so I was able to do it. Plus it is a versatile style. She can pull the sides back, wear a headband and just let it down free. The shorter length this time is very cute on her also.

It took between 5 and 6 hours but it was completely worth it. She is a more confident girl when her hair is done. Not in a vain sort of way but more of a taken care of sort of way. And I want my girl to feel taken care of. In the picture above we were heading out to watch our favorite college team and she was sporting their colors. So cute!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Buckwheat Hull freezer bag tutorial

Are you looking for a simple creative project for a gift?
Here is a really easy one that takes me less than 15 minutes per bag. These bags are meant to be kept in the freezer for those times when someone in your family has a headache or for an injury that would normally require ice or a bag of frozen veggies. They are soft and mold to the joint or neck very nicely. I made them for about $.75 each. They are filled with buckwheat hulls which cost me $4 for a 1lb bag and I have only used about the half of a pound so far for 8 bags.
First you cut out 3 identical pieces of fabric 3 1/4" X 6 1/4". I like to choose 2 that match for the outside strips. You can choose whatever you like. I used scraps from another project.

I then sew the 3 strips together placing right sides together using a 5/8" seam allowance. Once you have the 3 strips sewn together, press the seams on the under side open.

I then take the pieced together section and lay it on the fabric that is them same as my middle strip on the front side. I turned the stripes the other way for a crazy quilt feel. Cut one large piece of fabric the exact size of the pieced side.

Place right sides together and sew closed on three sides.

Turn right side out and sew a decorative seam using a 3/8" seam allowance. I also clip the 2 corners so they corners come out a little more pointed.

I next turn in the open seam about 5/8 " and press it. Once pressed, fill the bag with approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups of buckwheat hulls.

Sew the open seam closed again using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Your finished bag will now look like a little pillow and is ready to put into the freezer. I am planning to put 2 of these together with a box of tea and some pretty ribbon for a small gift. This would work nice for a bridal shower gift, a new Mom, or a Christmas gift.
Cute and inexpensive. Just my style.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toothless Wonder

That's what her big sister is calling her now that she lost her first tooth. This momma kind of freaks about loose teeth. Lil knows this and while I was teaching the other day, she took Emma to the bathroom to help her finish the pulling out. She helped stop the bleeding and labeled a bag for her to place under her pillow. She is such a good big sister and I made sure to tell her so.

Now Emma has dubbed herself "Toothless Wonder" as well and can't wait for the loose one next to the empty space to come out. She is also now sporting the cutest little lisp.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday

I don't want anyone to be under the illusion that I do it all around here. I do get that question every once in awhile and my response to the "How do you do it all?" is that I don't do it all. I have a great family with kids that are incredible workers. There are still things that I am soley responsible for such as meal planning, scrubbing toilets, making school plans and teaching, running errands, grocery shopping, etc. But there are many jobs that can be delegated and when delegated well, can be kind of fun too.
I loathe snapping beans. I mean really loathe it, but my kids like it. This past August we had 2, 7 gallon buckets to snap and process. The kids just got out the bowls without any prompting from me. They asked if they could watch a movie while they snapped. I was happy to oblige.

There is the fruit of our labor. While they snapped, I canned and canned and canned. It's a beautiful partnership and I take every opportunity to remind them how much it is worth to us. Whenever we open a jar for dinner I like to tell them how great it is that they helped to make dinner that night. I let them know the value of what is on the table and that we know exactly what is in it.

Don't they look like they are having fun in the picture up there? See, I'm really doing them a favor providing all that fun and that works for me. Hop on over to Rocks in my Dryer for more links to other Works-For-Me Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Treasures

I chose my guys this week for my Tuesday Treasures. They just enjoy being together. Well most of the time. They are boys afterall. They can get to me being loud and boisterous many days but it's better than the alternative, yes?
Those are my guys, hanging out on a weekend evening watching a movie together.
Go over and visit Storing up Treasures in Heaven. She is hosting Tuesday Treasures and you can click on the list and see others treasures today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making the Grade Review Blog

I have created a new blog for my reviews. It's called Making the Grade and there you will find reviews that I will be doing for homeschooling and family products.

I just put the first one up today for a very cute nativity set that kids can play with. Go ahead and click on over there. If you are interested in the reviews you can bookmark the site.

I was chosen to be in a group of 100 people that will be reviewing items for the next 9 months for The Old Schoolhouse. I have already begun to receive curriculum and products that we are test driving as we speak. There will be some giveaways from time time as well so keep checking back.

I will be adding a button on my sidebar that will link to my review blog as well very soon.

Treasures in Heaven

We've been doing something in our house for about six months now. We have created a small treasure box. In an effort to have our kids focus on good behavior, we talk from time to time about the blessings that God gives us. How he loves to reward his children. In the same way, every so often my husband goes to the dollar store and picks up various items to replenish the box. He loves doing this and would be disappointed if I showed interest in doing it for him.

When he comes home from the store, he shows them all of the things that will be added to the box. It builds some excitement when he does this. When we notice them working extra hard in school, showing integrity or kindness, or just in general having good attitudes, they get to choose something from the box. It is filled with fun pencils, little notbooks, some small candy, mints and bubbles and new head phones for their MP3 players. (As a sidenote, I love those MP3's. The older ones can listen to stories on them or worship music as they go to sleep and it doesn't bother the younger ones who aren't old enough to have them yet or go to bed sooner.)

There is nothing that my husband likes to do more than to lavish on his kids. I think the same is true for our Father in heaven. I think it's a great example of that relationship.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Well, I did it. I ventured out and made 2 pairs of pajama bottoms for Lij. I had purchased this one sided fleece for another project and then decided that it was out of my realm of expertise. I didn't want the fabric to go to waste so I looked for something that I could make a little boy with my limited skills.

Aren't they cute? This really was a big deal for me. I can sew curtains and make quilts but clothing is a whole 'nother thang.

But seriously, these took me less than an hour from cutting out to finished for both pairs and the pattern was relatively easy. As a bonus, because I was making them, I was able to customize the size for this guy with his little waist. It was worth it and I may make some for my girls and bigger boy for Christmas.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Food, Family and Fun

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Christmas used to be but it always had the letdown that was so hard to get over. As I got older and then started my own household a new favorite emerged. Thanksgiving took center stage since it is the beginning of the holiday season. There are no gifts to buy and oh how I love setting a Thanksgiving table.

Decorating a table has become a tradition for me. They have been simple to elaborate but I love doing it. There is something about being thankful that inspires me. I am sure that this year will be no different. Plans are forming in my head and a list is begging to be made. I love the planning almost more than the actual day.

Now that I am married, there is the challenge of balancing time with both sides of the family. We are usually home on the actual day and then spend the next day or Saturday with my side of the family. The balancing is worth it. Making time with family a priority is always worth it.

I love that my husband enjoys it as much, if not more, than I do. It is a whole family affair. We spend the day before making pies with the kids. They each have something that ends up on the table that they had their hand in. We clean together, cook together and eat together. They are involved in all of it. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

So what are your plans? Time with family? Invite the neighbors? Find a restuarant?

“This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Butterball.”

As part of the Parent Blogger Blog Blast, they are asking us to share how we spend our Thanksgiving. It is sponsored by Butterball, the company that provides many a fantastic turkey during this holiday season. Click on the links. Blog about it and you could win your own mouth watering turkey as well as one random winner will receive a $150 Visa Card.

Entitlement in the garden?

We have been having some issues around here. I know, I know, you all thought we had it together. I'm sorry to pop that fragile bubble, but it's true. We have been trying to put our finger on what the problem is specifically and I think we may be on it's tail.

This morning a child asked to use something. When asked about a certain part of the item I told said child that they may not use that part because it is not finished. It was clear. To the point. Don't use that part.

Am I speaking English? Was that in my head?

Pretty sure it was clear.

Not 5 minutes later, I heard a loud crash. I went to check and was greeted with a child who used the restricted part not attached and it crashed to the floor. Oh, how our sins will find us out. I remember that verse vividly from growing up. We had read a bible story and my parents shared that verse with us and what it meant. I am so glad (not that it always kept me from transgressions, mind you).

It occurred to me that we might be dealing with a sense of entitlement here. An age old problem. Food is being complained about, activities aren't their favorite, boundaries are being tested.

What happened this morning reminded me of Adam and Eve and it got me thinking. Entitlement goes all the way back to the garden. They could have all they wanted of any tree in the garden, except for one. God gave them so many choices but they weren't enough. The serpent convinced them that they were entitled to all God had. Why was He holding back this one tree from them? They chose their own selfish wants in exchange for a relationship with their Creator.

Truly, it is at the core of who we are. What we want is what we want. I deserve a night out because I work so hard. He deserves a break because he works so hard. I deserve that chocolate because I have been eating so well this week. Do we really deserve anything?

We don't. We are not worthy. I receive the gift of my salvation. It is not due me. It is a gift. I have done nothing to earn it.

I am searching myself today to find where I have let entitlement creep in. It all flows downhill, don't ya know? When dealing with issues in my kids, I generally can look in the mirror and see a reflection of the chink in the armor.

When I feel entitled to something, the gift loses it's value. I do not want to take what I have been given for granted. How fun is it to give a gift to a child who thinks they deserve it? How much do I do that to the Father when I take something for granted or complain about what I have?

My prayer for today is this -

God, show me where I have and portray a sense of entitlement in my life that I may choose to drive it out and be content in the lavishness you show me daily.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God is in control.

I take comfort in that. He is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

What a relief!

Though the election did not go the way I had hoped and I am heartbroken knowing some of the things that may happen as a result, I rest in the hope that Jesus will come again and nothing surprises my Father in heaven.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fresh air does wonders.

This morning things started off well at 6:30am, but by 9am my motivation was waning. It was time to start school and I didn't have it in me. I decided to pack everyone up for a nature walk and get our blood pumping.

We trekked out for a mile looking for leaves, identifying plants and talking about the differences between evergreen and deciduous trees.

On the last leg of our walk, Lil had the idea to press the leaves that we were finding when we got home. I thought it was a great idea. The kids dried the leaves between papertowels, rolled them with rolling pins between some wax paper and put them in Steve's and my old yearbooks. We will check on them in a few days and see how they look. I think I am ready for Creation History and Math now.