Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Will/Can this Cycle Ever Be Broken?

I was so beyond excited this year after I filed our taxes. We usually get back a decent refund because we always opt to allow the government to have a loan at our expense & having 3 kids doesn't hurt either ;) So this year was no different.

When I found out the amount, I immediately made BIG plans! Well, big to us anyway. We were going to get to PAY OFF 4 small bills! Anytime anything is paid off is cause for celebration. This in turn was going to free up a decent chunk of money each money that in turn was going to be paid onto this stupid bill that we have had since we got married! And after almost 13 years, that bill would be paid off by the end of the year! WOW!

You can see my cause of excitement, right?!

Not so fast darling........... That's what I get for making plans!

It seems that these small little inconvenient noises that my beloved PAID FOR Suburban has been making lately are going to cost more that its really worth to fix. UGH! Its fine for now, but who knows what will happen down the road.

Really, REALLY?!

We just freed up some money & now we are looking at having to go back into debt. I guess (thinking positive) its a good thing we paid those bills off. But this just makes me SICK!

For one, I am not ready to trade cars. I have liked vehicles before, but have never cared one way or the other about holding onto them. I actually really like my Suburban!

For two, I really want to do God's will concerning not just a new car but debt in general. This is not something I take lightly anymore.

Praying that God drops the right car in my lap!

Anyone want to buy a nice Suburban in need of a little TLC?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing ~ I must have done something right

I know that I haven't posted "Tales of a Homeschool Nothing" in a while. I've combined everything lately. But this was specific.

Makenzie has been a little  s l o w  with picking up reading & phonics. Math seems to be her strength. She is doing 1st grade math already & has been for a while. YEAH.

So, she has slowly been getting a little better with sounding out words. The problem is that usually she just says some random word without giving it much thought.

She wanted me to read her a book tonight. She went and picked out Dog Diary. I honestly have NEVER seen this book before. Where in the world did she get it? I'm not sure, but I know it was a gift from God for just this moment!

In the Usborne First Readers, the parent reads one page & the child reads the other page. With the exception of "Jock", "quick", and a little help with sounds, she read  A L L  of her part!!!!! HALLELUJAH!

On another note, Austin is not struggling with math nearly as much as he was! You see, he is my reader (last year in 3rd grade, he was reading on a 7th grade level!) but doesn't care too much for math. He refuses to memorize his multiplication tables, which makes it take entirely too long. Ugh.

Funny thing though, he LIKES division! He even said it was fun. Strange boy.

I will take whatever small successes I can get & be thankful for them!

Treasure Box Moments

Makenzie woke up & said, "Momma it looks gray outside. It looks like a page from a coloring book. Can we color it?"

Austin while looking out the window said, "Little elves have been here. Look at the little footprints. (I think it was the melting snow)

Justin hollered for Austin to bring him his deodorant (he was out & somehow, there wasn't any under the cabinet). Austin promptly walked into the bathroom with an opened cup of yogurt! I think its time to clean out his ears!

We were running late (imagine late) to the 4H Food Show when Makenzie said, "Its ok if we are late, but we shouldn't speed. If I speed, I might get upset. If I get upset, I might struggle, & that could cause a heart attack." I giggled & said, "yeah, struggling could cause a heart attack." She said, "well, isn't a struggle & a heart attack the same thing?"........................ "oh, you mean a STROKE." bwahahaha

Austin CHOSE not to do the Food Show this year. Instead, he CHOSE to go to the Cherry Grove Men's Conference! I realize that more than likely, he only wanted to go because his daddy wanted to go, but I'm thankful that he made that choice. I'm thankful that my kids have a Godly father to follow.

Logan has been super fussy. He still doesn't feel the greatest. His ears still hurt & those cute little bottom gums are almost sporting teeth. Because of all this, my precious boy has not been sleeping good at night. And the silly thing thinks he no longer needs a late afternoon nap - which makes for a super cranky baby. ....... A friend shed new light on the situation ~ Of course, he's tired, I just love to keep him up all night nursing. hahaha 

On a personal note....I lost 5 pounds last week! AND was able to put on a pair of jeans that I haven't had on in 2 years!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spring Fever

The bug has bit me! I am SOOOO ready for warmer weather! The past few days have been beautiful. I have raised the windows to let all that glorious fresh air inside. And, believe it or not, I have been in a cleaning mood. *gasp*

The kids certainly took advantage of the nice day. They have been making a river in our garden. Its a big muddy mess, but they are having fun.
Austin has been digging this hole & constantly making it deeper & wider. He sure is persistent - why can't he be like that for school work? Unfortunately, he is not very observant. But neither is Makenzie. She walked behind him just at the exact same moment that he was throwing dirt over his shoulder & WHACK. Instead of meeting air, the shovel met Makenzie's head.

She started wailing before he even realized what had happened. When he checked her head for bumps, he found blood instead.  (here's the funny part - if their can be a funny part) He tells her to RUN. So while she's running & crying, she kept saying  "WHY ARE WE RUNNING?"

Thank goodness I am not a "panicky" mom. (never have been) After seeing that this was not a life threatening ordeal, I actually made them go hose all the mud off & take a bath before the trip to the emergency room.
4 hours & 3 staples later, Makenzie was good as new & rewarded with stickers & a popsicle. 

......... Did I mention that she also stepped on a thumbtack?

Yeah, that was before 8am. Austin knocked over our calendar board & forgot to look for any missing tacks. (They knock it over all the time & the thumbtacks fall out all the time. ~ Needless to say, the calendar has now been stapled to the board!) Well, lucky Makenzie found the tack WITH HER FOOT!

After all the trauma/drama Austin wanted to "camp out" with Makenzie (AWWWWWW - isn't he sweet).

I really hope today is BOR-RING!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And That Has Made all the Difference

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I have always liked this poem by Robert Frost. It screams adventure & individuality. It proves that it is ok not to be like everyone else.

While growing up, it is a very big deal to "fit in", be popular, & part of the cool crowd. Even as adults, we still don't want to rock the boat too much. We are afraid to be considered strange or a social outcast.

I am glad though, that I am different. Jesus made us as Christians to be a "peculiar people". 1 Peter 2:9 says:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

The definition of peculiar means different, special, or set apart. If we are truly acting as Christians, then we are distinctive & we do stand out.

I started dwelling on this early today.

I'm not crazy about getting up early in the morning. Its not hard for me to wake up, I just choose to stay up entirely too late. But, I know that I need to get up early. I know that this is something that God desires of me. I need to start my day in prayer & studying His word. I WANT to do this, but its so easy to go back to sleep.

I didn't set the alarm last night. I thought, "if God wants me up, He will wake me up." YEP, He was paying attention & answered this prayer even though I didn't actually "pray" it. Logan woke up at 6:15 to nurse. I chuckled to myself when I looked at the clock because he had been asleep since around 12:30! That's almost unheard of in his little world! So I smiled & thanked God for waking me up.

I had a WHOLE HOUR to study God's word, pray, & do some recreational reading before Austin's alarm went off. I hadn't even told him to set it. 

Thanks to this special time this morning, our day has went off without a hitch. We have gotten a lot accomplished & everyone has been well behaved (for the most part). My heart has been filled with thanksgiving & joy all day! PLEASE remind me why I don't just give in & do this every morning! 

I look forward to that road less traveled!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras ~ Laissez les bons temps rouler

When I was in college, I foolishly wanted to experience New Orleans in the height of all her "glory" - Mardi Gras. It just seemed like one big party to me, & hey, that's what I went to college for, right? ......

yeah, anyway

I never made it to Mardi Gras, but I did make it to New Orleans about 11 years ago. It wasn't quite what I had in mind, but at the same time, it was everything I had imagined.

Bourbon Street itself is not only a little strange, it is a whole different world! People are cra - zy! Mimes perform on street corners & CHASE you if you take their picture. Young kids tap dance with bottle caps on their shoes as a distraction so their partners can pick your pockets. Naked women hang out of windows. And old men in suits & fuzzy bedroom shoes interview invisible people in McDonalds at 3am.

There is so much history & legend in New Orleans. It would be interesting to go back today & actually appreciate that history. BUT I REALLY do not want my kids anywhere near that insanity! So we will just read about it.

Mardi Gras is the celebratory season before Lent that culminates with Fat Tuesday. It has pagan roots that evolved into Christian beliefs. The idea of Mardi Gras is to prepare oneself for the fasting & self denial that occurs during Lent. In recent years, the carnival celebrations exploded into debauchery.

So for the fun of it, I cooked Jambalaya & a King Cake. As usual, I tweaked my recipe, but you can find the original here. I combined & rolled out 2 cans of cinnamon sweet rolls & shaped into a ring. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Mix the included icing with 1/2 jar of Vanilla frosting & 1/4 c. of milk. Separate into 3 bowls so you can add food coloring (purple represents justice, green is for faith, & gold is for power). Then drizzle icing over the warm cake. Decorate accordingly. (I didn't feel the need to hide the baby.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Parmesan Pork Chops with Lemon Butter Potatoes & Pears

Parmesan Pork Chops

1/4 c. flour           1 egg
2 Tbsp milk          1 c. crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 tsp. salt           3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese   
1/8 tsp. pepper     1/4 c. melted butter
6 pork chops

Place flour in a bowl. Whisk egg & milk in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, combine crackers, cheese, salt, & pepper. Dip pork chops in flour, then in egg mixture, & then in crackers. Put melted butter in a baking dish. Add pork chops. Bake uncovered at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Lemon Butter Potatoes

1/3 c. butter                3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt                     1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg          12 new potatoes

Boil new potatoes covered with water in a small sauce pan (I used my Mirco-Cooker from Pampered Chef) for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain, set aside. Heat butter, salt, pepper, & nutmeg. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Does the Bible Really Say THAT?

Yes, ladies, I'm afraid to say it, but YES, the Bible does address s e x. And, oh trust me, like most women I talk to, I really fall short in this area.

There are several times in the Bible where God commands that the wife submit herself to her husband. Being the "Miss Independent" that I am, I'm not too fond of this part, but I try, I really try to submit myself lovingly to my husband.

Ephesians 5
22.Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23.For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24.Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25.Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Part of this submission also includes the marital bed. In 1 Corinthians, it clearly states that once we are married, we are no longer in complete control of our bodies.

1 Corinthians 7
1.Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2.Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3.Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4.The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5.Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

The reason I am even addressing this is because I believe that as a society, it has become the norm for women to withhold sex as a form of punishment when their husband makes them mad or doesn't live up to some expectation. I also believe that men see sex as a joke, something they are "entitled" to from any woman that they meet.


Women, your husbands do not have to jump through hoops in order to receive physical pleasure! Men, your women (wives - preferably!) do not "owe" you anything!
God gave us sex as a way for husbands & wives to connect to one another in a way that not just anyone can.

Hebrews 13
4.Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled

I believe that if husbands & wives would start looking at sex through God's eyes instead of the way society has cheapened it, there would be a lot more happy homes, a lot less divorce & affairs, & a few more babies!

I, by no means, am everything that I need/desire to be. After all, between housework, homeschool, 3 kids - including a nursing baby, running here & there, a small farm, my wonderful blog (haha), & Blessed Boutique, I am one tired mama! This is a reminder to me as well! I NEED to invest in my marriage just like I would invest in my kids or my business!

So wives, I encourage you - be a little sweeter to your soul mate. Help him remember that feisty woman that he feel in love with.

I pray that God will reward your efforts & strengthen your love for each other!

Cupid is NOT my Favorite Man in a Diaper

I admit it, I'm not your typical mushy gushy female. I don't have to have the romance, sappy cards, & red roses. I KNOW that my husband & my family love me. They don't have to buy me presents or pick a special day to tell me this.

I guess I'm a little bit cynical. I believe that Valentine's Day is a "holiday" that was invented by Hallmark & Hershey just to earn a few extra bucks.

That being said.... my Valentine's day started out ok, then took a nose dive, but was saved in the end. I took the kids out to eat at the Coffee House. My western omelet was yummy!

Then it was time for my monthly grocery trip. I HATE having to take the kids with me, they get bored, I get confused, & everyone ends up frustrated. Today was no different. I ended up leaving halfway through my list in a VERY bad mood.

As punishment for their crazy erratic behavior in the grocery store, we did not go to our Valentine's party. This punished me too! I was looking forward to it, but I have to stand my ground. Sometimes it stinks to be an adult...
When we came home, I slaved them out. They did all of their farm chores before lunch. While they were working, I was trying my best to think of an appropriate punishment. Aha - writing the Ten Commandments! Its tedious enough to be a "punishment", but its not pointless sentences.

So after chores & while I was fixing lunch, those little stinkers set up a scavenger hunt for me to find my homemade presents! Its hard to stay aggravated when they are so cute & loving! They still had to write the Ten Commandments. They weren't getting off the hook that easily.

So, after a haircut for me & Kenzie, & after Justin got home, I finally went back to the grocery store - BY MYSELF. Off course, I spent more money than what I should have because of getting so wound up & not being able to focus on my list.

When I got home, my WONDERFUL husband had cooked a dinner that would rival any fancy restaurant & my WONDERFUL (most of the time - LOL) children dressed up & waited on me. It was incredibly sweet!

This was actually the kids Valentine's
present, but I pretended it was mine!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baked French Toast with Blueberry Sauce

We have a WINNER!

1/4 c. melted butter
4 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
8 slices Texas Toast

Blueberry Sauce
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. blueberries
2 Tbsp. orange juice

Pour melted butter into shallow baking dish (I used my large stone bar pan by Pampered Chef -which I LOVE!), evenly coat. In a large shallow bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, & nutmeg. Dip both sides of toast into egg mixture & place in baking dish. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, blueberries, & orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook & stir until thickened. Serve over French Toast.

Sprinkle a little extra cinnamon & confectioner's sugar on top.


Treasure Box Moments

I guess these moments focus on Makenzie because Austin was nowhere to be found this week.

We decided not to have "structured" lessons this week. This gave Austin the opportunity to work/play with Daddy & Papa. It worked out great because they worked on Austin's very own chicken coop that he is buying with his very own money (thanks to a loan from Papa).

Makenzie - "Mom, do you know how to calm a really fussy baby?"
Me - "No, how?"
Makenzie - "You just play with him a few minutes & when he quits, you yell BOO!"

Makenzie - "We should have named Logan "Burby McBurbyson" because he burps a lot."
Me - "So is your name "Pooty McPootyson?"

Makenzie picked up the snot sucker & (very dramatically) squealed "EEEWWW snot!"
Me - "Oh like you never touch snot"
Makenzie - "No, I don't."
Me - "but you have picked your nose..."
Makenzie - "But that's my own snot."

Makenzie talking about Logan- "I just love my baby!"

Logan learned to clap this week!
One night, after I finished nursing him, he had a big grin on his face & clapped his hands! Just like he was saying, "Good job, Momma! I'm so proud of you!"
He also laughed & clapped when the kids sang Jesus Loves Me at church!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Board with arc

I usually don't openly endorse products, but I AM IN LOVE with the arc from Staples!!! Nope, its not a boat! The arc is a notebook that you can completely customize. AND it can keep everything in ONE place! YEAH! Simplicity is a good thing!

 If you know me, you know that I am very dependent on my planner. It is my second brain. It has papers shoved everywhere & is a crazy mess.

The arc not only holds a monthly & daily calendar, but you can add all sorts of premade pages & even your own (WHO HOO!). So now I have my planner, menus, shopping list, & homeschool planner all in the same place!

Monthly/Weekly Calendar

Shopping List

Weekly Menu

Homeschool Planner

Can you tell I am excited?! Yes, I'm a dork!

Desktop Punch to add your own paper

This is certainly a work in progress, but eventually I plan on adding my prayer lists, the schedule that I am going to make for getting my family/home/etc in order (this will be blogged later when DeAnna gets me her books!) & who knows what else.

I already need the expansion rings!
Expansion Rings

Best of all, its 25% off this week!

Justin wants one now!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Treasure Box Moments

I had to dig REALLY deep this week to find those hidden gems. I know that I am blessed but sometimes its hard to find those moments, so....

Several nights this week, I heard sweet little snores on one side of me & not so sweet or so little snores on the other - you figure it out!

Justin asked if he could take a Tylenol even though he had already taken a dose of Nyquil. I said "sure, its two different types of drugs." So he said, "so I guess if I took Cocaine, then Meth it would be ok because they are different drugs." ....... it was funny at the time!

The conversation that followed was even funnier .... Justin was talking about eating lunch somewhere (I forgot) & was amazed at the fancy fountain drink machine (why, because they served real fountains?). It looked futuristic & you could add a shot of vanilla, cherry, etc to your drink. ........ I promise it was funnier at the time - it must have been late!

Seeing Logan smile even though he has felt so bad is such a testament to his personality!

While waiting tables at our spaghetti supper fundraiser, Austin asked the people at his tables "Who ordered the spaghetti? Who ordered the sp - aghetti? Who ordered the spaghe - tti?" He's so funny! It was such a blessing to see my kids giving back instead of just receiving!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What Will You Leave Behind

Everyone knows Elvis. He was probably the most influential musician ever, but don't the events surrounding his death overshadow his accomplishments?

When you hear the name Janet Jackson, do you automatically think of that infamous wardrobe malfunction?

Do you know who Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold were? Their parents believed all their short lives that they were precious children.

Wasn't Benedict Arnold a brave soldier?

Any idea who Norma McCorvey is? She is better known as Jane Roe. Even though she is pro-life & professes Christianity now, she will never live down the aftermath of Row v. Wade.

I am positive that all of these people & many more had good qualities & positive moments in their lives. BUT, do we remember any of that?

We can live most of our lives doing good deeds & changing the world for the better, but if we fall to one or two weak moments, most people will only remember the negativity. Many times, we will beat ourselves up for years, not being able to forgive ourselves.

I was reading my devotional the other morning & my heart broke. When I am dead & gone, how will people, especially my children, remember me? More importantly, how will God look at me when I meet Him face to face?!

One of my favorite gospel songs of all time is "Look What I've Traded for a Mansion". I used to sing it to the kids when they were babies. I just hope & pray that they can look back on the life that I lived & say that I loved Jesus!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is It REALLY That Important

Yes, I know I've been complaining A LOT these past few days. More than my fair share. We all go through troublesome times. BUT you wanna know something, I am still BLESSED!

I still have a warm bed, a full belly, & the ability to get up every day. I have eyes able to see the clutter, a nose able to smell dirty laundry, ears able to hear the squabbles, a mouth able to kiss sleeping babies, & arms able to feel just how much I am loved!

I still serve a savior who can & has fought off Hell for me. A savior who forgives me when I mess up ... again! A savior who gives me far more than I deserve & more than I can ever repay. A savior who loves me even when I don't love myself.

So what if the floor is dirty?
So what if there aren't any clean socks?
So what if we didn't follow the lesson plans that I spent so much time working on?
So what if we order pizza yet again because I don't feel like cooking?

Are any of those things what really matter?

Or is this what I should be cherishing?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sunshine & Roses

Yep, its been one of those days weeks.

I warn you now there will be lots of complaining in the next few minutes so if you don't want to hear it, feel free to leave.

First, it seems that somehow I have offended or misled people. Dear friend, you know who you are & I HONESTLY didn't mean to! I am opinionated. I tend to whine, complain, & grumble at times, but I try to find the insanity & humor in the day to day stuff. Please don't read more into it than that.

We all had a much better night last night, but, sorry that's the bulk of my gratitude right at this moment. (NO, NOT REALLY, but please let me whine!!)

Since Logan has been sick, I have had ZERO control over schooling. The least little thing derails us. Its VERY hard to read while trying to calm a screaming baby. And for the past two days as I am still TRYING to teach after 4pm (no, that's NOT a mistake!), Justin walks in & does something off the wall which completely destroys what little bit of control I do have. Yesterday, I was trying to explain rotation & revolution with the globe & one of Logan's play cups. Justin decided to be a meteor & throw cups at the globe! Yes, it was HILARIOUS but I tried, I REALLY TRIED not to laugh!!

You do the math ..... zero minus little equals........I quit!

So, no control, kids not listening, baby screaming, distraction after distraction, blah blah blah.

My diet is shot all to kablooey because I am a stress eater. I think I ate EVERYTHING in the house last night!

Then a lovely bill collector called & was NOT nice. So, my temper got a little heated & I nicely told him off. Yeah, yeah, I admit it, I am behind on a few bills. HELLO - one income family!!

Next, while chopping onions for supper, the chopper slipped & knocked Makenzie's slushie in the floor. The sticky red liquid laughed at me!

Logan reuses to go to sleep, so he sits there & fusses. He's still awful cute though!

And then, Pillsbury has the NERVE to tell me NOT to eat raw cookie dough! Yeah right! SHHHHH! Don't tell the kids. I don't think there will be any left by the time they get home!

And to top it off, I don't get to go to church. I don't want to spread germs or bring home any new ones.

 American Idol had better be good!

Where is my Mt Dew?

OK, I'm better now......

I’m Waiting on the Bigger & Better

Sometimes certain people have been in your life so long it’s hard to remember where they came from, how they got there, & even how you l...