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.

Monday, November 30, 2009


With a flash, Thanksgiving is over. The tradition carried on, however. Each year all five kids have a hand in making the desserts with daddy for the big day. The night before Thanksgiving is looked forward to almost as much as Christmas Eve, if not more so.

There is the mixing of the pumpkin pie filling as well as the crusts.

Can you see that little brain taking in all of the info? Someday the responsibility of this task will be passed on to him.

This girl really loves helping with the pies. Can you tell?

It really is a family affair. The kitchen is a mess when they are all done and it's totally worth it.

It was then time to make the cheesecake while the pies baked.

As well as time to make the raspberry glaze to go on top. Do you see the cornbread cooling back there in the cast iron skillet? That was for the stuffing the next day and let me tell you, it was so good.

Here, our oldest girl is shaking fresh cream for butter to go on the rolls.

Steve really spoils me. One of those pies was a sugar free pumpkin and there is nothing like it. He topped it with sugar free whipped cream. Oh my, absolute heaven. Thanks, hon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Of chairs and turkeys.

This last weekend kicked off one of our favorite weeks of the whole year. Thanksgiving around here is pretty exciting. There are house projects that we tend to tackle this time of year as well as Thanksgiving Day itself that causes us all of to be all a-twitter making plans and bringing out yearly traditions. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season for us making it our favorite. Christmas is fun but it's the end and I much prefer the beginning. Below is a sad chair. A really sad chair. See, our two youngest tend to be messy eaters. Add to that a puggle who loves to clean up leftovers and you have four chairs that over the last two years have been cleaned by the puppy who isn't as much a puppy anymore as she is a mutant mutt. Fortunately for her, we love her anyway.

On Saturday, Steve looked over at me and said, "Hey! Let's recover the chairs today!" I was thrilled and to clarify, by let's, we both knew that what he really meant was that he would do it while I sat close by on my laptop giving him college football scores while cheering him on from our sideline. What a wonderful world.

So here is the new prototype for a dining chair and I couldn't be happier. Our chairs no longer look like something the dog chewed up. Literally.

I now will not have to suffer the embarrasment once more at our lovely Thanksgiving feast. Also, notice the extra dining chair fabric that I just threw onto the middle of the table pretending it's a runner and that I'm coordinated. Yep, I'm fancy like that. Sunday we moved on to bedazzling the walls in our dining room with a family activity that Steve found using thoughts of what we are thankful for.

It was assembly line style as we cut out the pieces for our gobblers.

Everyone filled out their own feathers, even our five year old little monkey wrote his own. I fought some emotion over the fact that he could write it all by himself.

It was a really fun activity that I hope to repeat. We had the kids write their names on them so that we can store them in their memory bins. I think it's fun to go back and see what things they have been thankful for throughout the years.

Cute, yes?

For those of you who appreciate symmetry (dad), my sister-in-law is staying with us and made one later to balance the right side. I was just too lazy this morning to take another picture.

Happy Monday of the best week of the year!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm a little more than tired of the windy weather. I love the sound of it but not so much the tall oak trees that bend and move and threaten to break and share parts of their lanky bodies all over the house and cars.

When we moved here it was gorgeous. It was spring and the leaves were green and the grass was in the cool shadows of the tall old oak trees. The trees are what drew us to this place but they are also the reason that I lie awake many fall and winter nights cursing those tall trees and threatening to pull up stakes and move already.

I've had two such nights this week. It's been a tiring process of convincing myself that laying awake thinking and listening and is not going to keep anything from happening. Resigning to the fact that I can only pray for protection and beyond that I have to rest and trust. Easier said than done my friends.

Added to my own issues is that our oldest son is now having some night time issues. He has always struggled here and there with making sure the doors are locked and not sleeping until I get home if I am out for some reason. Lately, however, it seems to have escalated for him. Every noise strikes fear in him and he has been so tired. Watching him and his worry has been like looking in the mirror. He says the same things I say and the feelings are so very real.

I have been learning this week that I need to model what I do with the fear. Praying with him and letting him know that I can be confident in our protector. My words won't mean much to him if my actions don't match them. Last night he read his bible before bed and went to sleep listening to worship music as he does most nights but he still didn't rest very well.

Fear. It can be gripping but it does not have to have a hold over me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A few of my favorite things

I'm not Oprah or Julie Andrews but here are a few things that make my heart go pitter patter. Christmas is coming so maybe you will find some ideas here for someone in your life.
I have a new found love for Anthropologie. I am not a big bird person but these sweet puffer measuring cups are so cute!This apron I am sure would make all of my dishes taste sweeter, don't you think?

I have also been trying not to salivate over a few books over at Amazon lately. If you haven't spent anytime reading anything from Pioneer Woman, you've been missing out. Her recipes, photography and general penchant for all things ranch are a lot of fun to read.

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving had me at hello. I checked it out from the library and found so many things in there that we use consistently that would be so easy to do at home ourselves.

And last, but most definitely not least is this scarf in soft teal fom J.Jill. Isn't it scrumptious? I know, I know. You can't taste color. But for me color has always been right up there with food. I have been known to call colors yummy, delicious, scrumptious and like butta (butter).

Now, onto thoughts of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Randomness

First things first. We received our first Alice order and it made me oh so happy. As the box says on the side "Everyone needs an Alice" and this girl does. I have a new best friend and she brings household goods to my front door. I still get a little giddy what with all of the convenience.

Secondly, this slightly Mallory-at-heart had to catch my breath when youngest daughter came down one morning. Nightgown, athletic socks and dress shoes? Oh where did I go wrong?

Last week was hair week. Each time we do her hair I get better at cornrowing. I'm still not great at it but when she went to the mirror this time I was gifted with a really big smile so I know I'm getting there.

Last weekend I also tackled something new. I have been working on a creative outlet time for the kids in the afternoons ( a homeschooling post I'm working on). I decided that I should jump on board. My sister-in-law came over and spent some time with me last weekend showing me how to make my own dishcloths. These dishclothes are my absolute favorite and she has made them for me throughout the years. It was high time I learned how to do it myself.

Not too bad, eh? Halfway through, Steve sat down and whipped one out while I worked on the last half of mine. He's been doing it much longer than I have and is more comfortable making them so far. The outside color is navy but it came out looking even darker in the picture.
We are the thick of holiday and gift planning and I think I am about 1/3 of the way done. How about you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My desire for children never seems to wane and I have been following the Compassion blogger trips for awhile. They are in El Savador right now and if your hormones can take it you should go read what Kelly, Heather, Molly, Keely, Patricia, or Shaun have to say about it. I know that times are tough but if you decide to sponsor a child it will be some of the best invested dollars you will ever spend. With all of the deception in the world it is important to note that Compassion is the only US company to receive Charity Watch Dog's highest ratings for the last seven years.

We have been praying about doing this for awhile and looking for a way to make it work in our budget. I remember doing this as a kid and it made an impact on me. Making a difference in the life of a child can happen in so many ways. Sponsoring a child is one tangible way to do that. You can write letters to your child and they can write to you. There are stacks and stacks of letters at the Compassion offices. You are not just blindly sending money. You are caring for a child from afar. It will mean so much.

So go ahead and click on the links. I dare ya.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Turkey and dumplings

Last Sunday I had the stomach flu. We had put in a turkey that morning and then it hit so Steve just removed all of the meat and put it away for another day. He also put the bones in the crockpot to cook down. The next morning I was feeling a little better but pretty tired overall.
Steve told me that he wanted me to rest so not to worry about dinner. He came home, blew off all the leaves out front and then made dinner. Bless that man. Turkey and dumplings is one of our favorite meals but there are never enough dumplings. Steve decided to fix that so the pot above was served as well as the pot below.

We just cook the bones off until we get a nice broth, add in some of the meat and whatever seasonings suit us. The key to great dumplings is plenty of room for them to "swim" and to let them rest for about 10 minutes before dropping them into the "pool". This meal tastes so good and it was great on my healing stomach.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A great find

I am not being paid for this shout-out but wanted to share. I found this great website recently called Alice where you can buy household goods and pantry items that offers always free shipping. I like that. They even apply any coupon out there whether you have one or not so you don't have to clip them. The price listed is not the final price but the coupon available is listed next to it so you know what the final price will be in your cart.

They also have a bargain area and I found some great deals there. Of course, you need to check sizes that you normally buy to make sure you are still getting a good deal. You and anyone that signs up using your referral link will get $10 in your comission account once you spend $50. Also, you will get 3% of your friends purchases for one year when they sign up.

I love the convenience of having things come directly to our house for free so this is great for me. It's especially good for those people that live away from competitive shopping areas. Here's my link if you want to check it out. http://www.alice.com/referral/3171C31C

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

T minus 7 weeks and 3 days

Can you believe that we are talking Christmas now? Crazy. It seems like just yesterday that we were getting our garden in. I'm not too worried yet. I already have Christmas gifts in the closet and the lists have begun.

We started a tradition when our kids were very young to keep things from getting out of hand. We give them each three gifts: a fun impractical item or toy, a fun educational item and a clothing item. We stretch the meaning of each category at times if a gift is just perfect for someone but doesn't fit. Overall it helps us keep from going crazy as well as keeping the gifts somewhat useful. The kids learn that gifts come in all shapes and sizes and so far they still get just as excited to get the clothing item as they do the toys.

We also started another tradition two years ago. One day in December we split up into girls and boys. I take the girls to one town and the boys go to another with dad. We treat them to a special dinner or lunch and afterwards the kids shop for each other and one parent. Last year was a blast taking them out. It was fun to see what they pick out and eating at a restaurant is a real treat. My girls were talking about this years event the other day. The older kids set up a small budget and have been earning money ahead of time so they can buy for each other. It is a bit of extra work for Steve and I but I think the benefits are worth it. I love listening to them make plans and learn how to be thoughtful when choosing a gift for someone else. The last few years they have gone from picking something for others that they would want for themselves to really thinking about what they receiver would want instead.

What about you. What are your traditions?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Coming out my ears

At the end of October it looked like a frost was on it's way so I covered our tomatoes with plastic so I could get just a few more that were turning. Well life got busy and I hadn't had time to check on them. So last weekend when we were making grape juice at my mother-in-law's house I went out to our extra patch at her house and this is what I came home with.

I wasn't prepared for so many to have ripened. I am grateful though. I was able to make more tomato sauce. 8 more pints, 7 half pints, plus 58 ounces of tomato puree that I used for our Chicken Tortilla soup and I still have one bucket left.
Stay tuned if you are interested in a canning recap. Keeping track on my blog is a great way for me to see how much gardening yielded how much produce so I can plan for next year.