Monday, December 31, 2007

12/31 Menu Plan Monday

Chicken Casserole (didn't get to it last week)
mandarin oranges
crescent rolls
Orange Marmalade Chops
Steamed Broccoli
Rice A Roni
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Potluck at Church
Sweet Potato Casserole
Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Gravy (Jeff makes the best!)
Potato Sausage Soup (converted to Dairy Free)
Homemade White Bread
Beef Stew (a meal in itself)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

So, How Did I Do? and a Thank You!

In my first "real" post I wrote about the mom I am and the mom I want to be. Without knowing it at the time, writing it became a resolution of sorts. It amazes me how putting something down on paper (or in this case typing it into a blog) makes it more real. Somehow by putting it out there for all the world to read held me more accountable to my thoughts and desires for my family. That post focused the remainder of the year without me even knowing it. So, how did I do? Here's a brief rundown of how our lives have changed since I wrote my first post back in August:

  • Jeff and I trying to be more intentional about teaching our kids about God and letting them "catch" us praying or studying our bible.
  • I have come to enjoy reading stories to Will before he goes to sleep. No more rushing.
  • Rarely do we watch tv at night.
  • We've done more crafts this year than ever before (granted Will is now at a prime age for crafts, but it's still an improvement).
  • Meals are healthier (somewhat thanks to Witt's allergy) and I've started a recipe blog.
  • We are striving for a more organized and simplified home. It's a daily effort and some days we forget that.
There is more, but I said I'd be brief. I think we've accomplished a lot in the past 5 months. There have been some outside influences and I am happy to accept that. I don't think we are supposed to live this life all by ourselves without help. So many people have come into our lives this year and helped in different ways; today I want to say thanks to some of them specifically (in no particular order):

  • Happy at Home has led me to simplifying and slowing down my pace (and has helped with about a million other things over the last 5 years - I heart you, Laurel!).
  • Mom Unplugged encouraged me in unplugging the no-brain-box, doing more crafts, and helped with dairy free recipes. (You've been a big part of my year.)
  • Take90West inspired me organize/decorate my laundry room and added in some extra laughter (you are a nut and I'm so thankful you are!)
  • Notbefore7 reminds me to record the humor in my children with Tiny Talk and has become a sounding board for "kids on antibiotics" (it's a tough job and I'm glad we're here for each other!)
  • Through My Window has answered numerous questions about milk allergies. Thank you, thank you! Dairy free can be accomplished, people!
  • Crunchy Chicken helps me be more environmentally friendly. (Yes, I deleted my Diva Cup post... I got paranoid about who was reading my blog and thought it to was too much info!)
  • Organizing Junkie has helped me stay on track with preparing weekly menus.
  • A few bloggers have even agreed to help me in the Walk to D'feet ALS next year (see side bar). Let me know if you'd like to walk/raise funds, too!
There are more, but I said I'd only thank "some". I try to keep my blog rolls up to date, please let me know if you think you should be listed! :) I do have 3 boys you know, and sometimes my brain doesn't work (or farts... whichever you prefer).

Here's to a great 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Slow Down Fridays... Anyone?

I've been thinking (scary , I know)...

With all this talk I've been doing about slowing down as well as having just given away two Mitten Strings for God books about slowing down and just "being", I thought that maybe y'all would like to do a carnival of sorts: on Fridays we could all post on slowing down/simplifying. I chose Fridays because at our house it is usually the day we are all gearing up for the weekend and I'll need the gentle reminder to keep the weekends slow and simple (whenever possible) as well.

So here's what I propose: Each Friday, post about how you have slowed down that week or day, changes and baby steps you are taking for a slower paced life, what you thought about a chapter in Mitten Strings for God (or any related book), or just anything involving slowing down and simplifying in general.

Invite your friends and let me know if you would be interested by commenting on this post and I'll set up Mr. Linky next Friday if there are enough participants. I hope you'll join me in this. Slowing down and simplifying are processes that cannot be completed overnight. I know I'll need all the support I can get! :)

Here's to a simpler a more joyful 2008!

Also, anyone willing to point me in a direction for creating badges/buttons/banners/whatever they're called for the sidebar? Thanks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gingerbread House

I still had a gingerbread house kit that was unopened frpm the Christmas holidays. I had mentioned it to Will yesterday and he asked about it again today, so it seemed like a good time. So here is our last Christmas holiday post!

Assembling the house was not a "kid friendly" project. Will and Nathan sat and watched (and taste-tested) while I put it together. Then of course, there was the waiting. Waiting for the icing to dry was not "kid friendly" either. The instructions said to use full soda cans to hold the walls up, so that's what we did while we waited...

As soon as I started putting the icing on for decorations, the boys got to work decorating! No waiting necessary! And of course there was some taste-testing, too... see Nathan's little finger going for a dig into the icing?!

More decorating by Will. Nathan just kept taking the decorations off and eating them! He better watch out, the witch in the gingerbread house might come out and throw him in the oven!

Ok, Will, you better watch out, too! :)

I told the boys we couldn't (officially) eat the gingerbread house until Daddy came home for lunch and saw it. So, after lunch, I cut a piece of the roof off for the boys and the house pretty much collapsed. Oh well... that's what was supposed to happen anyway, wasn't it?!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


*NOTE (12/2009): I have no idea what happened to all the pictures I had originally posted here... Maybe one day I'll get them back up. Maybe.*

We have an electric Christmas train that comes out for only 24 hours... otherwise it would be derailed and broken by some mysterious little source(s). Jeff assembled it around the tree on Christmas Eve and the boys just watched and watched. There were plenty of one sided conversations: "Will/Nathan, that is not a push train. It's for decoration and watching only." The train did survive another Christmas day and was inevitably put back in it's box until next year.

We left out a hexagon cupcake (as Will calls it), a handful of carrots, 3 red pears, and a mug of soy milk for Santa and his reindeer. (Ok, so the pears were going bad and they needed to go... the reindeer will never notice!)

Santa was very good to the boys this year! Nana and Grampa (my parents) sent lots of gifts, too!

The stockings were so heavy that they couldn't hang anymore!

After the stockings, the first gift the boys opened were remote control cars. The wheels light up blue when traveling. They had a blast! Here's a video:

Will had a special train that he was really hoping for. He was tearing through presents barely looking at what he had received with a look of disappointment each time. I asked him what was wrong and he said, "This doesn't look like a toy train." Jeff dug around a bit and finally found a small package shaped like a train. We didn't see Will for a while after that... he went to his room to put Arthur on his tracks of the Island of Sodor. We had to call him back in to finish the gifts. Note to Santa for next year - lots of Christmas presents are apparently unnecessary! :)

Witt slept through until 9:30 Christmas morning (it was a rough night of teething). So he had his own little Christmas after everyone else.

Nathan played doctor for a bit, checking everyone's ears and eyes.

Jeff put together my new computer chair! Woo Hoo! What a thoughtful gift. He said he knew that my blog was important because it would eventually become a book and a wonderful keepsake of the boys. Have I ever told you how thoughtful his is? I'm married to a wonderful man!

And at the end of the day, what was the gift of choice? The box my chair came in!

To take the entire tour of our holiday fun, click here. Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Good, clean fun! Three for One...

"Good, clean fun! Three for One...
how to effectively clean dishes, floors and bottoms"

Congratulations Diana at I've Got 3 Chickadees for the winning title! It made both Jeff and I laugh and it depicts the picture so well! :)

I've also decided to do a random drawing for one more book! Congratulations to Mary@Notbefore7! You are also going to get a copy of the Mitten Strings for God book!

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I do! Merry Christmas!

Menu Plan Monday 12/24

I asked Jeff this morning if he wanted anything special for Christmas meals and he said no, so that makes things really easy on me!!

Jeff's Favorite Meatloaf
Mashed potatoes
green beans
sliced pears

Marlboro Man's Sandwich (venison style)
apple slices

Cheeseless Chicken Casserole
snap peas
crescent rolls

Seasoned Chicken Quarters
sweet potatoes
black eyed peas
corn on the cob

Oven Fried Tilapia
broiled garlic cauliflower
french fries
green beans

garlic bread
side salad

Leftovers Night

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Before I was a Mom

I received this as a forward in an email and thought I would share it because it is SO true...

Before I was a Mom

I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.

I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.

I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom -

I had never been puked on.

Pooped on.

Chewed on.

Peed on.

I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.

I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom

I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.

Or give shots.

I never looked into teary eyes and cried.

I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.

I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom

I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.

I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.

I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.

I never knew that I could love someone so much.

I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom -

I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.

I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.

I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.

I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom -

I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.

I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,

the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saving Money with Frozen Buns

Just an update and yet another plug for Crunchy Chicken... We used half as much electricity as compared to last year at this time! Half, people... HALF!! WoW! And there were two more days in this cycle than last year's. Amazing how lowering the thermostat just a little can save some major money! Good thing because I spent too much on what was supposed to be a small Christmas. Shh... don't tell! :)

Name That Photo

Ok, I don't know why, but it seems like there are a lot of contests and giveaways going on. And ya know what? I LIKE jumping on a fun bandwagon! :)

One just ended at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
One still open at Crunchy Chicken
Something's brewing over at Take90West
And I know there's another one somewhere, I just can't remember.


I've just been itching to give away a copy of my favorite book, Mitten Strings for God. I've really been struggling with slowing my life down and just enjoying the beautiful moments that my children create for me. This book is a great way to redirect my thoughts towards slowing down. I've recently picked up this book and started reading it again. In fact, I gave this book to a friend last year as well and she told me that she just picked it up again, too. So, with all that introduction, I'm giving away a copy of this book. I'm not promising it will be brand new, but a good copy of it either way. If you already have a copy and you win, I expect you to give this book to a friend. (Maybe this will turn into a book club discussion if anyone is interested???)

So, here's a picture of a time that I had no choice but to slow down. I'm looking for a creative title. This will not be a random drawing. It's my favorite title choice. Leave your title in the comments section of this post. You may enter more than once, just do it in separate comments please. This contest is open to anyone in the US, just be sure to leave me some way of getting in touch with you if you win!

Ok, now for the picture and a good chuckle:

You have until Dec 24th NOON to submit your suggestions! Thanks for playing! I just love giving things away! :)

I Won! I Won! I Really, Really Won!!!

My Tiny Talk was the best this week! No, just kidding. It was a random drawing and I was the "randomist". LOL! Thanks Mary@Notbefore7!! I'm excited to receive the "Give a Little" kids' CD! Thank you! Thank you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Will has been toying with the phrase, "I'll fire you". He's still not sure what it means and I'm not sure where he picked it up! :)

This past week I've heard lot's of phrases like:

Mom, you're fired.
What if I fired you mom?
I'm going to fire you.

My responses are something along the lines of:

Well then who is going to do your laundry?
Who will cook you supper when I'm fired?
Does that mean I don't have to do anything for you?

After a few days of thinking about it he comes up to me with this:
"Mom, when I grow up and marry Shay, I'm going to fire you!"

(For more on Shay, scroll down to the bottom of this post.)

I don't think I like this too much! :(

For more Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bloggy Christmas Tour of Homes

Whew! Finally finished decorating the outside of the house... just in time for BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes!!! I couldn't fit the whole yard into one picture, so here's two... one of the front of the house and then the side yard.

Ok, stop gasping... that isn't my house! It is the tackiest decorated house I could find in the area! LOL! Seems like I'm really into jokes these days.... haha! I can't imagine their electricity bill! wow! Who would do that to a house? And the really scary part is... this house is decorated for Halloween and Thanksgiving much the same way! The kids love it, but I am a bit scared... LOL!

So anyway, this is what my house looks like at night:

Nothing. Nothing on the outside of my house whatsoever that looks like Christmas. I-am-ashamed. I DO have lights. Brand new lights. They are still in their boxes nicely packaged. Maybe next year.

We do have decorations in the house though. A few. It's been kinda hectic around here, so I'm glad to have up what I do. Here's what's going on in the inside of the house:

Our tree! We did get the tree up. It's a bit top-heavy with the ornaments because every time one would come off the tree (thank you, Nathan) I'd put it up higher so he couldn't take it off again. Let me also point out the cranberry strand at the bottom. Nathan fell into the tree from off the hearth! (My wild child and the least cooperative it seems.)

It isn't the prettiest of trees, but it's ours and instead of a woman's touch, it's got a boy's touch, and another's boy's touch, and almost another's. (Can't wait to see what next year's tree will turn out like! Instead of the five finger discount, I'll be dealing with the six fingers snatch - my ornaments don't have a chance! Oh my!)

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care...

And here are a few decorated pieces from around the house. Nothing spectacular, but pretty... I think. I keep my pretty glass ball ornaments up and away from little fingers. :)

Candlesticks in the foyer; simple and nice.

I love snowmen. This guy is by the front door to greet visitors. His hat should be filled with m.n.m.s or something, but since we're dairy free around here, it's empty.

Every time Will walks by him though, he puts the hat on his head. It's a bit of a decorating struggle between Will and I; he likes it one way I like it another! Who knew that at age 5 he'd be so interested in how things are done! :)

And that's about it for decorations in my house; however, if you'd like to see more about what we've done cooking and craft wise this holiday season, click here for the full tour.

Hope you'll stick around and come back soon! Merry Christmas!

Christmas Scent

This week's unplugged project is "yarn". I didn't have yarn in the house and don't see myself every needed yarn (until the day I learn to knit... which I would like to learn) so I took a little creative leeway and brought in holiday tinsel strands (for lack of a better description). We used the strands to tie up the Christmas presents for the boys' bible class teachers, but first the boys had to play with it! They danced around the living room leaving shiny gold stars everywhere!

Will assembled the bags of "Christmas Scent" per my instructions (which I got from the ultimate Southern Living Christmas Book page 220):

1 orange
1 lemon
3 short cinnamon sticks
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup whole cloves

I created a card on stock paper with the instructions:

Cut lemon and orange into quarters; combine fruit, spices, and 2 quarts water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer as long as desired. (Add more water, if needed.) Any leftover mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several days to be reused.

The boys decorated the cards with Christmas stickers.
Here's one of Nathan's completed cards. (No it's not upside down... the stocking is! LOL!)

And one of Will's completed cards.

You can't go wrong with creative memories stickers! They are great!

Here are the completed bags, wrapped with love using our "unplugged yarn".

Oh! What Fun...

I have a friend with 3 boys (not Laurel this time) that gave me fair warning about taking pictures and trying to get all 3 kids to look at the camera, smile, and just plain act nice. I should have told Jeff this before we attempted to do our own Christmas pictures of the boys as he was loosing his cool with the one that didn't want to play nice.

Can you tell which child did not want to cooperate?

Slide into home...

Are we done yet?

I'll smile, but I won't look at the camera.

I don't want to look at the camera; I want to play shy.

Roll over...


Whoo! Whoo!

I'm dazed and confused...

I thought I'd be all computer-savvy and crop two pictures together. Didn't work. Nathan looks to be the size of Witt and the tree is all discombobulated. If I move the picture so that the tree looks right, Nathan starts to look like a wiener dog with an extremely long torso! LOL!

Oh well... we'll have to get the camera out again. I'll share our final picture when I get a good one (if I get one).