Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Chubby cheeks, hands, and feet

Six months as of November 3rd. 
Weight:18lbs 6oz (70%) 
Height: 26.5 inches (65-70%)
Head: 47cm (95%!!!!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

'Til My Sides Hurt: For his future girlfriend

Abiah came out donning this nice get up the other night while the girls were dressing up as fairies. He said he was the Fairy Godmother.

Hot Hubby, of course, started telling him to, "Take it off right now!" Abiah was looking for a wrestling match though and stood his ground. When I got out the camera he willingly posed for a picture. However, when I told him I was looking forward to sharing it with his future girlfriend, he instantly changed back into his regular clothes. He did get his wrestling match though. So he won. And so did I!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Sixth Love Language

You may have heard of The Five Love Languages; a book written by Gary Chapman. It's been out for many years now and a great help to many marriages. I know that personally, Hot Hubby and I have benefited from the nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout the book. I even got the Love Language Book for children.

In the last few years I have referred back to that book too many times to count. And it has proven to be helpful. I just felt a need to get it out there that I think there is one Love Language that Gary failed to cover. Maybe it stands out to me because it's just as vital to my everyday living as my native tongue.

The Love Language of Coffee.

There really isn't much of anything that speaks to my heart the way a god cup of strong coffee does. Hot Hubby has blessed me many a time by stopping just to get me coffee. When it's my idea and he complies I like it. When it's his idea I LOVE it!

So, when I woke to find this on the counter this morning I was elated:

Especially since I was up at 4:30 yesterday morning with his kids, and then again multiple times throughout the night with his kids again. Hot Hubby earned himself a few bonus points for that one, let me tell you. And it just tastes so much better when someone else makes it!

So, Mr. Chapman, I love the book. I really do. I just think you may want to revise it to include the data I've personally researched and so thoroughly documented here.


Shiree aka The Spoiled Wife of Hot Hubby

Thursday, November 10, 2011

'Til My Sides Hurt: Because some days I wonder if I'm really qualified

During school one day I was reading from Revelations and trying to keep three wiggly kids sitting in their seats. I started with this: "Then I looked and heard the voice of millions and millions of angels. They surrounded the throne. They surrounded the living creatures and elders."

It was at this point that Amelia got up from her chair. This is what I ended up saying:  "In a loud voice they sang, You sit your butt down right now!"

It was pretty much chaos for a few minutes as Abiah and I tried to control our laughter. We were calmed down for a few minutes when I grabbed our history book and said, "Now. I'm going to read to you and I want you to listen to me. So open your mouths and close your ears."

I was surprised we got anything accomplished that day. Really though, I'm surprised that I get anything accomplished any day. So I guess it was a pretty normal day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Confessions. Brought to you by the letter D.

Confession #1: Last night Hot Hubby had to convince me to have salad for Dinner. How backwards is that?! The reason? Juanita's. Juanita's are the best tortilla chips ever!

I had plans to make taco salad for dinner. The whole reason I made that decision was because of the Juanita's. And fresh guacamole. So, while I stood at the counter facing the two heads of lettuce and a can of olives that needed to be chopped on one side of me and the bag of chips and bowl of guacamole on the other, I decided that it would be easier to throw some cheese on the chips and call it Nacho Night.

I was pretty shocked when Hot Hubby protested. So I ate salad. Because I had to.

Confession #2: I just realized this last weekend that it is my job to make sure my family gets into the Dentist for their routine cleanings. I don't know the source of that brain fart, especially since I make sure to get my kids in for their routine Pediatric visits.

The revelation came after I heard about a mom taking all of her kids in for their teeth cleaning and I caught myself wishing that my kids could do that. Duh! They can! And now some of them have.

Hazel and Amelia went in yesterday morning. Since I had all four in tow I was skeptical about how the morning would turn out. Especially since the girls starting protesting the visit the moment I told them about it Monday afternoon.Hazel did get excited for a minute when she thought she would get glasses like Amelia. But she was back to protesting after I explained the difference between a dentist and an eye doctor.

When the nurse called Hazel's name in the waiting room there was a moment of clear hesitation where she hid behind my leg. And then in a split second she was marching toward the nurse, her teddy bear, Pinkie, in tow. Before we all got back to the exam chairs Hazel had given the nurse her full name and the history of Pinkie the teddy bear. Then she walked right up to the chair and climbed on.

She was so brave and confident. And I think she rather liked the experience. Amelia was just as brave, but not as talkative. The only disappointment for them was that they didn't get new toothbrushes. Thankfully I had a princess one and a lady bug one stashed away here at home.

Abiah is already looking forward to his appointment at the end of the month. Thankfully I remembered to take him in before so he's a pro already. Hot Hubby on the other hand may be more difficult to convince than the girls were. Maybe it will be easier if I promise him a new pretty princess toothbrush afterward...

Monday, November 7, 2011

'Til My Sides Hurt: A Daddy Funny

Hot Hubby is a fairly conservative guy. He doesn't like attention being drawn to him. Or the people he's with. So, it's perfect that he's married to me. The one who likes to blog the details of our life. And it's also perfect that he has four kids who draw attention wherever they go. Usually it's because of their inexplicable cuteness, but occasionally because of their naughtiness.

But sometimes when they draw attention from others it's Hot Hubby's fault. And it makes me laugh. And it makes me wonder if karma is real.

Case in point, a week ago Sunday. We were heading in to town to run errands before a family birthday gathering. Knowing that lunch time was soon approaching, Abiah asked, "What are we going to eat for lunch?"

The answer he got from Hot Hubby? "Poop! We're gonna eat poop! Just like we do everyday!"

The kids giggled at the "potty talk". Then they spent about 20 minutes trying to find a way to incorporate the word "poop" into their conversation so as to get away with the "potty talk".

"Jackson, look at this poop-poo-gaga!"

"We're going to eat a poop sandwich."

"No you're going to eat poop!"

"Mom, we're going to eat poop!"

After a few "mom looks" and firm reminders of the fate of those who use potty talk from the parent who has been on a mission to curb the potty talk in the house, the poop left the conversation. Though I ended up forgetting about the conversation, the kids didn't.


Me either.

A few hours later we were sitting in Wendy's eating lunch. Though the dining area wasn't full, the majority of the patrons were older couples and groups. And it was fairly quiet. So the people around us could hear EVERYTHING our kids said. Which really isn't so difficult since they tend to talk IN ALL CAPS anyways.

A few minutes into our meal Amelia stood up on the bench she was sitting on and asked, "AW WE EATING POOP?!?"

"Shhhhhh, no we aren't. Sit down, please." I answered.


And Hot Hubby turned a few shades of red. And I wondered about karma.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Being Big

Hazel is on a mission. A mission to be BIG. As in age. Not weight. She just turned four last month and in the months leading up to her birthday she spent a majority of the time following me around the house asking me if she could do something BIG.

Of course when I would actually give her a task she would whine the whole time and complain that it wasn't a BIG job. My kids have helped with chores or responsibilities since they could begin to put the toys back on the shelf. Gradually I have added more responsibilities for each child as fits their age and capabilities.

Outside of cleaning up after herself, Hazel currently helps with: vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, folding towels, and taking the recycling out. But this is not enough for her. Which is great. I'm just lost trying to find more for her to do that I know she can actually do.

One struggle I have is incorporating my kids into my cooking. Partially because it's more work. Partially because I am horrible at delegating. But Honestly, it's mostly control. I like my kitchen to be a certain way and I like to prepare food to look and taste a certain way. But I also want my kids to have a love for and knowledge of cooking.

So we started. With cutting olives. It's the cutest thing. The olives are pretty much just smooshed in half. But her pudgy fingers trying to hold the butter knife make my heart sing. And it's pretty dang cute when she tries to sneak an olive.

This week we are going to attempt cookies. I don't know if much of the batter will make it to the oven. But I can guarantee she'll be giggling with excitement the whole time.

What are some BIG activities you do to include your children? Let us know in the comment section below!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Til My Sides Hurt: The Threat

This morning Hot Hubby pulled out a puzzle and started putting it together with the help of the kids. Which means he and Abiah put the puzzle together while Hazel worked hard at making what-ever piece she could find fit into what-ever place she could squeeze it and Amelia ran around in a pink tutu torturing Jackson with kisses and hugs as he rolled around on the floor trying to escape from her.

At one point the girls lost interest and started watching The Princess Diaries 2 which left the guys to themselves for a few minutes. After taking a break from the movie for breakfast Hazel momentarily lost interest in the movie and continued her attempt at puzzle making. Abiah, having taken the mindset that the puzzle was his and Hot Hubby's project, kept attempting to remind Hazel of her movie.

"Hazel, weren't you watching Princess Diaries?"

"Hazel, didn't you want to watch your movie?"

She kept replying with comments about finishing the puzzle and needing to put on a pretty dress first, but the reminders kept coming and eventually Hazel got fed up and said, "Abiah, if you don't stop saying that to me I'm not going to play in your room tomorrow!"

Laughing, Abiah replied, "That's actually what I want!"

Monday, October 10, 2011

When Failing is Passing

Usually I get a little disappointed when the schedule I've worked at perfecting gets messed up. There's nothing like thinking you have total control only to be slammed in the face with the reality that you really aren't. But sometimes it's nice to be out of control.

Like when you have been told you need surgery to remove a cyst and possibly an ovary so you plan and prepare both heart and home only to then find out you don't need surgery.

Or when they say, "But we want to do a blood test to see if there is any other cause for malformation" and you ask for specifics and they cautiously use the "C" word so you, being equally cautious, tell your loved ones. But then you receive a phone call letting you know you've failed. You've failed the test which means you really passed.

And you breathe a sigh of relief. Thankful also that this time you also passed the test of fear because you didn't let your mind go there. There being the land of "What will my family do without me?"

This is one time that I am thankful to pull out the eraser and rub the plans away from the pages. This is the first week in a month that there are no doctor appointments for our family. So, I plan to stay home as much as possible and get into the fall routine I was looking forward to starting in September.

What are your plans for the week?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding the START

I could make a laundry list of the things that are going wrong around here. It's one of those seasons of life where it feels like there is more wrong than there is right. Sometimes it seems that if I just get it all down on paper I can sort it out, prioritize, and conquer. Because I can do that right? I can fix it all? Kiss the boo-boo. Make it better?

If I could get it all on paper I'm sure I could figure out where to start. It's like a maze with a hidden entrance. Oh, and your status as Super Mom is on the line. So hurry up and find that entrance so you can race through the maze straightening and mending as you go. The storybook picture is messy and it's your job to make it presentable.

Last night Hot Hubby came home and I fell into his arms exclaiming, "I'm feel so derailed! Where do I even start? What do I do?"

Wrapping me securely in his muscular embrace (hubba, hubba) He whispered, "Just hold on to me."

There really is nothing like the partnership of marriage. Having a hot stud for a partner helps, too. Let me tell ya. Or not...

I'm pondering while he's fixing. Why do I always try to fix things on my own when it's so enjoyable to watch him work? Why do I always try to fix it all on my own when the thing I want most is to be partnered with him in everything? This is what I want. Life with him. All to often I try to take on our life's "crazy" all on my own. But the reality is that we signed up to do this thing together. Clogged washing machine drain pipes and all. It's the dream we had. All of life. Always together.

But sometimes I just feel so useless. What's my role in all of this? How do I help? While a stay-at-home-mom should make $115,432 annually, they don't. Not this one, anyways.

I go to the kitchen to start cleaning up from dinner. Behind the noise of running water and running children I hear the song change on the ipod. When I first heard this song months ago I declared a family rule: anytime this song comes on the music gets turned up and everyone has to dance. I hesitate because the dishes need to be done.

Thankfully I ignored the dishes. I come into the living room in time to see Hazel reaching to turn the music up. She knows the rule. And maybe she knows how much we need this. I turn the music up. Loud. And I start to dance.

Hot Hubby looks at me like I'm crazy. But I remind him that it's what he loves about me. The girls are instantly giggling. Even Jackson laughs. Soon we are all dancing. Smiles spread across faces that were just wearing the stress of the day.

I needed that moment. So did they. Because, as the saying goes, if momma aint happy...

So maybe that's my role. To encourage the happy. To find the joy in the everyday and to help them see it too.

"But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation." Psalm 13:5

So that's where I'll start.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Interviews with Amelia: Heaven and The Zoo

At some point every day Amelia and I will end up having a conversation that I wish I could have recorded. She is so expressive and hilarious that I just want everyone else to get in on the adorable-ness that is Amelia. She's pretty addicting. In the first video we had already been talking about heaven. She brought it up for some reason that I can't remember. The conversation then changed to our plans for the day. In our second conversation Amelia gives her opinion on the zoo. We are also privileged to have the opinion of Hazel, a few shots of Great Grandma, and Jackson serenading in the background.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A Lesson: Getting Daddy to Wrestle

P.S. That is not a bruise on Abiah's forehead. It's his mushroom tattoo. Another attempt at getting Daddy to wrestle.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How else will she know?

I stand at the counter making lunch. She's right here by my side. Every time I move to get something out of cupboard or fridge I practically stumble over her. Eyes wide, she watches my every move. Every twist on a lid. Every stroke of the spreading knife. Then the question comes. "Mom, can you teach me how to spread the jelly with the butter knife?"

 These days it's pretty much a guarantee. If I'm working in the kitchen she's there at my elbow. Watching closely. Asking questions. Requesting a taste of every ingredient. Eager to help. Hungry to learn.

It's not just in the kitchen either. Folding laundry. Changing diapers. Doing my make-up. Writing grocery lists. Whatever I'm doing she's close behind watching and learning.

But I'm not the only one she follows around. There's this boy who wears a purple shirt. He's a relative. That means nothing to her almost-four-year-old self. What she knows is that she likes him. I don't know if she has a real reason for her little girl crush. When I ask she says,'He's a boy!" But there are many other boys that she doesn't give two seconds of attention to.

Purple Shirt Boy gets a lot of her attention. When he's around she follows him quietly playing in his shadow. Trying to be a apart of whatever he may be doing at the time. When he's not around she talks about him. Dreams about him. Plans her wardrobe around him.

"Mom, he and I have purple shirts. I have a purple shirt and he has a purple shirt. We both have purple shirts, Mom. We match."

"Mom, he and I both pick our boogers. I pick my boogers and he picks his boogers. We both do, Mom."

"Mom, I got stung by a bee and he got stung by a bee. He did and I did, Mom. We're the same."

"Mom, when I see him I'm going to wear my purple shirt so that we can match."

"Mom, I want to wear a dress. He likes it when I wear a dress so I want to wear a dress because I look pretty when I wear a dress."

She's four. I know it's an innocent little crush. But it still scares me. Because the apple?... And the tree?... and the falling?...I remember when my cousin came to live with us. We were both five. And he was CUTE! I chased him around the yard and tried to kiss him. I know that particular crush didn't last long. But there were others. Many others.

And the things she says at almost four, I was still saying in my twenties.

"If I do my hair this way..."

"If I wear these clothes..."

And with Hot Hubby all of that was blown out of the water. I didn't need to be anything other than me. That's how I knew he was the one.

But how do I teach her that now? At four? That she doesn't need to be whatever-she-thinks whoever-he-is would like her to be? All she has to be is her amazing little self.

I worry I don't have the words. I think long. Pray hard. And then I remember.

"Mom, will you teach me how to spread the jelly with the butter knife?"

My job? It's to show her.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Walking Together

"It seems that it is by the means of seemingly perfunctory daily rituals and routines that we enhance the personal relationships that nourish and sustain us." ~ Kathleen Norris

I believe the statement above to be true. So I am sharing some of our "daily living" with you all and inviting you to walk along side us.

My calendar for the past month looks like a crazy mess. Pencil scrawling in every square allotted to the specific dates. Bar-b-ques. Birthday parties. Doctor appointments. Car repair appointments. Tea and coffee with friends. Support group meetings. Emergencies. Babies. Family. Friends. Life.

As I turn the page to the glorious fall month that is quickly approaching us I see the pencil lead has already found it's way over there. Filling up white space. Leaving plans of family, friends, and life in it's wake.

My heart. It feels weak. My body too. I feel unqualified. To inexperienced to manage this family of six. School started two weeks ago. We've successfully accomplished maybe a weeks worth. The laundry is piling up. I don't have time for the meals I planned and shopped for. With a calendar filling up with life's necessities how do I make it all work?

"Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song." I read from Jesus Calling this morning. "You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today's tasks-or even tomorrow's. So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you. Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you joy as you work alongside Me."

I take those words tucking them into the deep pockets of my heart. Within a few hours my hands are reaching down deep pulling them back out. My eyes are reading. My heart is eating. My whole body is relaxing. Just today. That's what I need to do.

Amelia goes in to the eye doctor next Friday. Her right eye has started to pull to the left. I'm grateful we are catching it early. My mind imagines doctor appointment after doctor appointment. Not today's task. Leave it to the future.

The day before her appointment our car goes back to the mechanic for more work. It's the brakes this time. Last week it was the water pump. Not today's task. Leave it to the future.

Friday morning before Amelia's appointment i go in for an ultra sound. They found a cyst on my right ovary when I went to the ER last week with pain in my lower right abdomen. There are plans for surgery to remove the cyst. Possibly the ovary too. Not today's task. Leave it to the future.

The devotion continues, "Keep bringing your mind back to the present moment. Among all My creatures, only humans can anticipate future events. This ability is a blessing, but it becomes a curse whenever it is misused. If you use your magnificent mind to worry about tomorrow, you cloak yourself in dark unbelief. However, when the hope of heaven fills your thoughts, the Light of My Presence envelopes you. Though heaven is future, it is also present tense. As you walk in the Light with Me, you have one foot on earth and one foot in heaven."

Jesus, thank you for the gift of anticipation. May I reciprocate grace for grace and use that blessing in the way it was intended. Being here. Today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

'Til My Sides Hurt: Same Same

When I was a kid my sisters and I had this saying. Whenever we realized were had something similar as each other, whatever it may be, we would say, "Same same!" Example?

Sister #1: "I have a cookie!"

Sister #2: "Me too!"

Sisters #1&2: "Same same!"

Silly? Sure. Weird? Of course. But it was our thing. Actually I think we still do it sometimes.

Anyways, my girls are at a stage where they are recognizing similarities between themselves and the people in their lives. Of course, this also means that they realize there are some differences too. Which has taken a lot of careful explaining on my part. Or not.

The other day Hazel kindly pointed out that I have a big rump. Being as graceful as one can be in such a situation I barked back, "Yes. I do. And when you and Amelia get older you will have big butts too!" And then I went and transferred money to their therapy funds. But we'll be same same!

Then today I took Amelia to the Dr. for some vision issues. As the nurse was checking her eyes, Amelia said, "I have boo eyes like Maga!"

The nurse replied, "Yes, you do! And you have pretty blonde hair too!"

Then, while stroking my bosom, Amelia said, "And I gonna have big boobies like my mamma when I get ohder!"

Same same!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Til My Sides Hurt: Freakin' Spiders

This morning as I was loading some towels into the washing machine a huge spider landed on my bosom. It took me a second to realize what it was (eyes are getting old?) but when I did I screamed and did the crazy dance as I frantically brushed it to the floor.

After another second of hesitation I realized that I would have to kill it myself. Nathan is gone hunting and Abiah was still in bed. I figured it probably wouldn't be nice of me to ask my young little girls to take care of it. I quickly smashed it with the dirty wash rag in my hand and threw it in the garbage.

Hazel came over asking what was going on. When I told her she said, "Well, I'm not freakin' about it."

Apparently my almost four year old is more mature than me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


1. There are three reasons I don't usually keep Ritz crackers in the house. Buttery, Salty & Flaky. I'm powerless against their devious deliciousness. And coupled with avocado they are just deadly.

2. Why do I always manage to load the dryer and then forget to turn it on?

3. Hot Hubby left Sunday for his annual hunting trip. I'm praying that he gets a huge elk with a tiny rack. Selfish? Completly! And unashamedly.

4. The kids and I just took a whirl-wind trip to the Oregon Coast with my mom. We were gone for about 30 hours. It felt like a few days. In a good way. Except that I kept thinking Hot Hubby would be home soon. And he won't...

5. Tonight Abiah and I are going on a date with my parents. I'm hoping my lunch encounter with the Ritz crackers  was a great preparation for the Ethiopian Feast-ival we will have tonight. I'm delusional like that.

6. Ten points to the first person who can tell me in which cartoon movie a cat accidentally says feastival instead of festival when talking to a group of mice!

7. There's not a whole lot that I like better than a nice pedicure at a fancy schmancy salon. A free pedicure is even better! But stubbing your toe the day after you receive said free pedicure and chipping the beautiful taupe-y polish really puts a damper on things.

8. Jackson started rolling over from his back to his tummy at three months. But only when he would get mad.

9. It's possible that I would flip him back to his back just to watch him roll over again.

10. When he's older he won't get away with having a nasty attitude like that. I figure I'll let him take advantage of it while he can...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Curriculum Round-up 2011: Preschool and 3rd Grade Curriculum

I wish I could be as excited all year long about school as I am in the month before it starts. I love the planning and choosing curriculum. I also enjoy the teaching part, but find the mothering while teaching to be difficult. I'm sure you who homeschool can relate.

This year one of my main goals is to encourage our lifestyle to become a homeschooling environment. I'm really good at boxing our schooling into a 8-12 package with a pretty pink bow on top. The problem I found this last year is that homeschooling an elementary age student while mothering three under four messes with my pretty packing skills.

Last year I tried to do school with Abiah for an hour and a half and then let him finish the other parts that he didn't "need" me for on his own. Ideally it should have taken him about another hour and a half to two hours to complete his daily tasks. The girls seemed to be good at occupying themselves for that time but Abiah felt rushed and pushed out of the way. And it showed in his work.

I also just finished reading Five Love Languages of Children (not an affiliated link) and found out that Abiah is loved best through acts of service.Which means I've been doing things wrong. For awhile. Hopefully he'll be gracious when he's older and forgive me.

So, here's the book learnin' curriculum we'll be using this year:

2011-12 Curriculum for Preschool

My girls are still young for much schooling but they are interested in school so I try to work with them for about an hour a day. At this level they don't need much scheduled schooling. And they don't have the patience for it anyways! They also tend to enjoy their play time more when I keep them busy with a little schooling and a few "chores".

About Three Set

These lessons in these books are simple practice for motor skills and gradually introduce numbers, shapes, and colors. The activities are simple and, I've found, provide great opportunity for learning to follow simple instructions. I used these a little last year with my girls, photocopying pages as needed.

Circle Time

I use Circle Time as our Bible time together. We read from the kids' Bible, sing a few songs, recite our memory verse and pray together. The kids LOVE Circle Time. I also try to take a few minutes and have the kids practice being silent. Behind the "school work" aspects of what we do, the girls are learning to follow instructions and to sit still.

2011-12 Curriculum for 3rd Grade

Math-Horizons Math
I really like Horizons Math for the repetition and colorful pages. I use their books from k-3rd grade. After 3rd grade we will switch to Saxon Math.

Grammar- Daily Grams, Easy Grammar & Primary Language Lessons

Spelling- Spell to Write and Read
Hazel and Amelia will join Abiah during a portion of this class as an introduction to the phonograms.

Handwriting- StartWrite5.0
This program has been priceless in our schooling. We use it so much. I love that I can print out my own worksheets for all of my kids. We use these in conjunction with our Scripture memorization.

History, Reading, Science and Bible- My Father's World
We will be finishing the second half of the 2nd/3rd grade Adventures curriculum. Because our last school year involved pregnancy and a baby I decided to draw this portion of our schooling out into two years. We LOVE MFW curriculum and HIGHLY recommend it. The prepared lesson plans are simple and yet very informative. I look forward to learning alongside Abiah. I am going to try to include Hazel and Amelia in some of this but am not sure what that will look like right now.

Reading Comprehension- McCall-Crabbs Standard Test Lessons in Reading
I plan to  use these about once a week to supplement with reading comprehension. Abiah really enjoys reading but I want him to learn to pay attention to what he's reading.

Well, that about sums it up. I would love to hear about any supplemental schooling tools you guys use or have heard of. Leave a comment below!

I'm linking up with the Curriculum Round-up over at!

~All links to Exodus Books are now affiliated links. I have used Exodus for many years (as a homeschooling mom and for previous tutoring) and have recommended them even before becoming an affiliate. Though I may receive some compensation, my opinions are always my own.~

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sweet Words: With Piggy Tails

The other day, while snacking on the front porch, Amelia asked me, "Mom. Why God make us?" She was so serious and straight faced. The question seemed so big for her two-year-old self.

Through my smile I answered with a question of my own, choosing this moment as one of affirmation rather than one of teaching. "Why did God make us, Mills? Is it because He delights in us and wants us to glorify Him?"

Her answer held more untaught wisdom than my 31 years of learning would have known to reply.

"Yes. He make us pretty good. Wis piggy cails and jumping!" And as a dear friend said, "THIS is why He calls us to be like little children!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday: Of Krooked Kastles and Chubby Feet

We live in an old-ish house. I've always loved old houses. They have so much character. Our house has so much character it earned a nickname: The Krooked Kastle. Most people don't really notice how crooked it really is.

The most obvious place downstairs is the kitchen. But it's mostly obvious when something gets spilled. Or when a toddler tries to walk across the floor. They tend to walk into the wall. It's rather humorous.

Upstairs is a different story. The doors don't close properly. And all furniture with wheels tends to gravitate towards one end of the house. Which came in real handy for Hazel when she was still in a crib. She quickly learned how to through her body weight against her crib and skootch it across the floor to her sister's crib on the opposite wall. After a few mornings of finding them crib-to-crib I decided something needed to be done.

After assessing the situation I looked around the house to see what I could use to keep their beds in place. What I settled on was a discarded pair of ruby red shoes that my girls never got to wear because their feet were too chubby. I loved those shoes and always wanted to use them. I took this as my opportunity.

I've had people asked me, "Is her bed wearing shoes?!?" To which I relpy, "Why, yes it is! And they're on the right feet, too!"

The other benefit is that the bed is more level.

There's no place like a Krooked Kastle! And it works for me!

I'm linking up to We Are That Family and other WFMW posts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'Til My Sides Hurt: The Public Notice

About a year ago this appeared on Abiah's door:

(Ples Go!)

Closely followed by this one:

(Go away!)

This last weekend it was obvious something had changed. Maybe it's the fact that his sisters can now open his door. Maybe it's because they have been given permission to play in there more and more. Or maybe it's because he was an only child for the first four-and-a-half years of his life:

One thing I know for sure: we still need to work on spelling...

But since this sign was intended for his three and two year old sisters, who can't read yet, I think we have time...

Monday, August 15, 2011

You know you're a mom when... takes three days of planning just to take a shower. Then your three year old won't sleep during nap time (aka scheduled shower time) causing you to "reschedule" your shower for a more convenient time. spend your birthday money on clothes for your kids.

...quality alone time is a trip to the bathroom where no one knocks on the door wondering what you are doing and if they can please join you.

...a "quick trip to the store" takes a half hour longer than it should because shoes have to be replaced on feet before getting out of the car and the two potty breaks that are needed during the 15 minutes of being in the store. shopping is an acceptable outing for date night.

Humor is what gets me through most of my week. Need to laugh today? Add your "You know your a mom when..." in the comment section below.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You know you married a hunter when...

Your two and three year old daughters, dressed in princess attire, are planning a hunting trip "to kill the deers and elks. Because they're gonna attack you and eat you! So you have to shoot them."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Because I Like to Share...

Today's reading from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:

"Let My Love seep into the inner recesses of your being. Do not close off any part of yourself from Me. I know you inside and out, so do not try to present a "cleaned-up" self to Me. Wounds that you shut away from the Light of My Love will fester and become wormy. Secret sins that you "hide" from Me can split off and develop lives of their own, controlling you without your realizing it.

Open yourself full to My transforming Presence. Let My brilliant Love-Light search out and destroy hidden fears. This process requires time alone with Me, as My Love soaks into your innermost being. Enjoy My perfect Love, which expels every trace of fear."

Psalm 139: 23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fish Stories

Hot Hubby, Abiah and my FIL went out sturgeon fishing this last Saturday. Although Abiah has tagged along many times before, this was the first time he got to fish, too.

Much to the dismay of his competitive father and grandfather, Abiah caught the most fish!

(Abiah's first fish!)

Hot Hubby was sure that once Abiah caught his first fish he would be "hooked." He was right. Abiah came home so excited and eager to tell his fish tale.

Hot Hubby had a fish tale of his own.

For forty-five minutes Hot hubby wrestled this 7 foot beast:

Although they didn't catch any keepers, the battle against the 7 foot beast and the excitement of Abiah's first fish made the trip a great memory.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Do as I say. Not as I done did.

In my last recipe post I made the obvious statement that I wouldn't post a flopped recipe on here. My thought was that such a posting wouldn't be helpful anyways. Why would someone read a recipe for something that won't turn out?

Well, I've always believed that it's easier to learn from others mistakes so I thought I'd give you such an opportunity.

I'm real giving in that way. You're welcome.

So, without further rambling, I give you today's "don't try this at home" recipe:

Egg Free Crepes

To begin, I want to state that I'm not so much of an idiot that I didn't realize that the base of a crepe is egg. However, being as I'm allergic to eggs I wanted to see if I could make something that I've missed in my current egg-less state.

Do NOT take:

4 tablespoons of ground flax, mixing it with 12 tablespoons of water to substitute for 4 eggs and mix with:

dash of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup of melted butter

Mixing in order and then baking in a round skillet 1/4 cup at a time.

If you do you will inevitably:

  • feel awful about wasting 1/3 a cup of butter that is sinfully expensive right now.
  • have to throw out a bowl full of messy goop.
  • have three children who are still hungry and are letting you know but coming into the kitchen every minute to check on the status of breakfast.
  • settle on cold cereal.
  • be sad that you can't have crepes.
You may, however, make the recipe above by starting with 4 eggs well beaten and make the crepes for all the egg eaters of your house. They are easy and delicious. And I still want one.

P.S. I have had great success in using flax meal mixed with water as an egg substitute in baked goods. Crepes do not count as baked goods. Amen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Greatest Fear


Fourteen years back, before the term "in-law" was used to define our relationship, we were driving down the familiar road in the little blue "Smurf." As we followed the curves that we'd traveled so many times before I asked him the question, "What is your greatest fear?"

Being a young man of wisdom, he gently answered, "Well, I don't think God wants us to focus on our fears."

Being a young woman who likes to be contrary, I agreed and then argued my point, "While I do believe that focusing on our fears isn't how God wants us to live, I do think it is actually healthy to know what our fears are. How are we supposed to work through our fears if we don't know what they are?"

After understanding where I was coming from he shared his greatest fear. Which I'm not going to tell you about. I will, however, tell you that he has conquered that fear and continues to do so everyday. I am so proud to call him my brother-in-law.

And I will also tell you what I told him my greatest fear was. "I'm afraid I'll never be a wife and a mom, " my single heart confessed. I was afraid of ending up alone.

During the next eight years I watched as he became my brother-in-law and he and my sister had four beautiful children. I watched other friends and relatives get married and start their families.

Finally in 2005 it was my turn. When Hot Hubby and I got married I was relieved. And, although there were times when we were starting a family that I wondered if I would be a mother, that fear was put to rest as well.

So, naturally I expected that I would no longer wonder, "Will I ever be a wife? Will I ever be a mom?" But I've found that I still do. Those questions still haunt me. That familiar fear will keep me awake at night. But it's different. And, in my opinion, it seems healthy. And maybe normal?

You know, I may have gotten married which has given me the title of "wife." And I may have children which gives me the title of "mom." But I wonder, am I really living as a wife and mom or am I just fulfilling my "duties"?

There are days, weeks and even years that I have spent more concerned with the appearance of my dreams than the day to day fulfillment of my dreams. I've spent countless hours striving to have an organized house and perfectly budgeted menu. I've worked hard at being consistent in training my children and being a supportive wife. But I find myself at place where I wonder whether or not I am truly being a wife and mom as opposed to just filling a role.

Instead of waking up and making a list of the tasks I need to accomplish during the day, I want to wake up and think of ways to enjoy and bless my family. Am I ministering to their hearts or am I just meeting their daily needs? Feed, clothe, clean, repeat?

You know, this is what I've always wanted. This is what I love to do. So why do I so often feel like throwing the towel in?

I think, I think I may have a glimpse of the answer. I think...

To be continued...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Becoming Bare

"It is one of the perversities of my interior makeup that I so often become depressed just as
winter makes its turn into spring, and the longed-for moment arrives; the weather turns
pleasant, and one can walk out of doors without bundling up. But unbundling means exposure, a kind of vulnerability, and I seldom feel ready for it when that first balmy day arrives. Instead, I resist the good news of spring, lurking inside my house as if its still winter. My spirit suffers , my garden languishes, and my perennial flowers and herbs must struggle on their own with encroaching weeds."

Kathleen Norris in The Quotidian Mysteries

"Look at this." I point to the screen.

"What is it?" he asks as he sits down beside me on the worn couch.

"It was built this year. No one has ever lived in it. And look at the pretty kitchen!"

"It's small."

"But it's new." I plead.

"Wow. It is nice. Not a very big lot."

"I know. I just feel stuck. I know that anything we look at is going to mean a smaller lot...and most likely a smaller house. But I just want something new. Something without all the work. I just feel stuck."

The discontentment stuck with me throughout the night. When I woke the next morning it was still there. Hanging from my shoulders weighing my heart down.

I kept finding myself at the computer. Searching the screen for the perfect house. A new dwelling where everything would be easy. Shiny and new. More bedrooms. More bathrooms. A place where stairs don't creak and doors close properly. Something that won't fit the title of "Krooked Kastle".

But it's not about the house. It's not really. Is it ever?

The next day I apologize to him, "I don't mean to put that kind of pressure on you. It's not about the house. I know I'm just frustrated with myself."

I blame my other physical dwelling for my irritation. This body I've been graced with.

But that's not it either.

People say, "It's not about the destination. It's about the journey." But the journey can be so hard. The act of unbundling one's heart from the layers meant to keep it safe and protected. Becoming vulnerable. Getting messy. Allowing...imperfection.

To be continued...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One in Diapers

I realize this kind of information doesn't appeal to all my readers but there is a funny at the end. Happy reading!

It is finished! Kinda.

We kind of had a potty training miracle at our house in the last month. Amelia was really ready to start potty training this last winter. But being 20 month pregnant I didn't have it in me to spend my days sitting on the edge of the tub waiting for her to decide to pee.

About a month ago I finally decided to bite the bullet and put her in her training panties with plastic pants. Of course there were many accidents at first but surprisingly she caught on really fast. There hasn't been a huge struggle or anything. How refreshing.

Wait. Can potty training be refreshing? Weird.

When summer has decided to peek out a few times in the last few weeks I noticed that her panties were always damp feeling but never truly wet. I decided we could ditch the plastic pants since they were suffocating her buns and we've not looked back since.

She has had a few accidents. Mostly when we are busy playing outside.

The blessing was that she was waking up dry at nap time and night time also! Hazel has been potty trained for awhile except at night so I was expecting it would be the same with Amelia.

Anyways, we decided that both girls were ready to potty train at night and so we left them in their undies and for the last three night Amelia has been dry! Hazel had accidents the first two nights but woke up each time. This morning, however, she woke up dry!

I'm so proud of my girls! And equally excited that we only have to buy diapers for Jackson now. Of course the only bummer is that I just bought a new package of diapers for the girls and only used about four of them.

So, this morning as Amelia and I sat enjoying the quiet, we had this conversation.

Amelia was sticking her hand down the back of her underwear. I told her to get her hand out because there are germs down there. She tried looking for them but I told her, "You can't see them!"

She said, "I see dis."


"My cack!"

Have a blessed day, friends!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Rare Moment Indeed

The Krooked Kastle drama club usually involves a lot of, well...drama! So when we are privy to a moment such as this it is cause for celebration, feasting and a little happy wine!

Which is totally different from the usual feasting and frustration wine. But we aren't here to talk about me. Today.

This is a video I "caught" back in January and some how managed to forget to post. When I found it today there were tears of joy. It's good to be reminded of the sweet times my girls have together.

And aside from the gigantic booger on Amelia's face and the fact that the video abruptly ends as she's about to take a peek at her sisters "bunsy butt," I'd say this is moment is a favorite so far.

In case you can't understand what Amelia is saying she is singing, "Hazo, Hazo. Hazo, Hazo." Which is her then almost two year old version of this song.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Another "ish" Recipe: Butternut Squash Alfredo Sauce

I mentioned before that I tend to cook using the "ish" method. Though most of my attempts turn out well, I have my fair share of failures.

Thankfully this isn't one of those. Of course, if it was a flop I wouldn't be sharing it here anyways.

Forgive me for stating the obvious. Your patience is much appreciated.

So. The recipe. You'll need:

1 butternut squash, baked or steamed
heavy whipping cream or half-n-half or milk (depends on your fat content preference)
Parmesan cheese, the powder works just fine
salt and pepper

So, after you've baked or steamed your butternut squash, puree it until smooth. I added about a quarter cup of water to help the pureeing process.

Pour the butternut squash into a pan and begin to heat it up.

Add about a cup of Parmesan, stirring it well so as to break up any clumps. As the sauce heats up the Parmesan melts and the sauce gets smoother.

Slowly add your choice of heavy whipping cream, half-n-half or milk until it reaches the consistency that you prefer.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over your favorite pasta (mushroom stuffed ravioli is exceptionally delicious with this sauce!).

Give it a try sometime this week and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tears on the Fourth

Yesterday our fourth of July celebrations began at a local parade.

We had spent the morning rushing to arrive before the streets were closed so I didn't have a moment to take the day in until right as the parade was starting.

As the first few vehicles inched by and the patriotic music reached our ears my eyes welled up with tears and I had to still my quivering lip.

I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.

Thankfulness for the ones who have given their lives for my freedom.

Thankful for rest.

Thankful for work.

Thankful for the freedom of speech.

Thankful for play.

Thankful for good food.

Thankful for times of refreshing.

Thankful for him.

And them.

Thankful for unconditional, loyal, always and forever love.

Thankful that He who began a good work in me is faithful to finish the task He undertook.

What are you thankful for today?