Thursday, October 30, 2008

Homemade Baby Food

Toward the end of my pregnancy with Abigail, I became very interested in making my own baby food. This way I could know what was going into her little body and I hoped that it would be cheaper.

Hands down, it is ridiculously cheaper. Not only that, it is soooooo easy! I can't believe I didn't do it with the boys.

A month or two before she was born, I bought a cookbook called La Petit Appetit by Lisa Barnes from a local discount bookfair. Can I just tell you how much our family has enjoyed this cookbook! We have not made a recipe that we didn't like so far. I never thought I would see a two year old scarf down eggplant, but I have now and he is one of mine. :)

That being said, this book is not necessary for making baby food. I had a severe "duh" moment when I read the portions regarding baby food. Basically, take what you are serving for dinner and either puree it or you can even mash it with a fork if it's soft. (You may have to add a small amount of water to make it a thinner consistency.)

It doesn't get much easier than that. And Abigail will now be exposed to so many more types of food that is not readily available in the store bought brands. Not only that, it's fresh and not processed. Nutritious, cheap, and easy - that's what I'm talking about! ;)

Even though Abigail is solely nursing right now, I still took advantage of the summer's garden offerings to make homemade (which happens to also mean organic in our house) baby food to store. I pureed a small variety of fruits and froze them to use when she is ready.

I have also been keeping my eye out at the grocery store for super cheap veggies and fruits. I recently got organic pears and sweet potatoes for a great price.

As far as storing it, you can take whatever you have made that won't be eaten in a timely manner and put it into ice cube trays to freeze. Then take the cubes, put them in a bag together and back in the freezer. Now you have baby sized portions ready to be thawed and eaten. I did run across these special cubes yesterday specifically for baby food storage in the freezer and think they're pretty cool.

Another way to make and store baby food is through dehydration. Dehydrate your fruits or veggies and store in airtight containers. Then when it's time to feed baby, pulverize the dehydrated food into a powder. Rehydrate the food with water to your desired consistency and serve.

I plan to follow our doctor's recommendations regarding foods (such as introducing one new food at a time), but there are so many more foods she can enjoy now than if we were using the jars and I know what is in the food she is eating. As she gets older, she can enjoy our whole meals and not just sides. I am so excited to be doing this with her!

Want more frugal ideas? Check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.


A Picture Story

We believe in early education.

We believe in involving our older children in helping teach our younger children. Can you see how intently Abigail is listening to Caleb?

See how closely she is watching what he is doing...
You just never know what you'll find going on in our house. Like a little, friendly competition between brother and sister. In case you were wondering, Abigail was winning at this point...


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Raising Patriots

Deep within me lies a passionate patriot. Born in small-town America, raised to believe that our country stands for something. That our flag deserves respect and that those in our military should be honored.

I cannot begin to describe that which rises up within me when I hear our national anthem or other patriotic songs. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that hearing the fife and drums while visiting Colonial Williamsburg last month made me a little teary. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. *bashful grin*

Oh, I'm not clueless to the mistakes this country and its leaders have made. I'm not immune to the shame of the course of direction America has taken at various times, even now in regards to many issues. But I am aware of America's godly heritage. The amazing birth of this country and its call to glorify Him. To be one nation under God.

Caleb sketching various presidents at President's Park in Williamsburg.

And that's what I want for my kids. To know the real story. HIS story of our nation.

With Caleb's fascination and love of history, it makes it all the more important for me to present a biblical worldview for him, including American history. Including where we have failed God. Call it reason number 37 for homeschooling. :) Right now, we have been enjoying going through The Light and the Glory series for children.

God's hand in the forming of this nation is truly amazing! It makes me all the more tenacious about raising children who honor God and understand His involvement in this country in which we were born. We have recently begun praying more consistently together for our nation (usually around lunch). That the U.S. would honor God and that we would be a nation that brings Him glory. We pray for our leaders and their families, regardless of who they might be.

If you don't already, would you consider joining us in prayer for our country? Pick a time of day convenient to you and your children and intercede together for our nation. Please pray that America would continue to support Israel and also for peace there as well. I'd love to hear any ideas that you may have to encourage your kids' love of country and God.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mega-Major Giveaways

Check out all the giveaways they have going on right now! You can find them here.



I am so thankful that God blessed me with two wonderful, little sisters. They both inspire me so much! And I am priviliged to not only call them my sisters, but my friends.

I love you, Jessica and Jaclyn!

You can check out more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Litter of Food

This past week was the Boy Scouts' Scouting For Food drive. The first Saturday the boys drop off bags at houses in a neighborhood and the next Saturday they pick up any bags filled with food that have been left on the same front porches.

It's a great way to collect food for our local food bank and I love how Caleb gets to learn the importance of helping our community. Another opportunity to learn how to be a servant.

Overall, they collected over 500 bags of food and 10 hams. Not too shabby for our small group.

Caleb came home with an interesting story though. As he walked up to one front porch, he heard some strange noises. He said that he was thinking he should get the two bags this house left on their front porch and get out of there quick. He grabbed the bags and started heading back to load them in the truck.

That's when a man ran out of the house yelling, "Oh no, don't take those! That's cat poop." He then traded Caleb some canned food for the bags of poop.

Do I need to tell you how glad I am that this near cat-astrophe was averted? And really, my idea of his learning to be a servant didn't quite include cat feces. I'm just saying...


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Child-Rearing and An Un-fork-tunate Accident

*Please note, the pictures at the end of this post are not for the faint of heart. The nurse at Richie's school sent them by e-mail. We do not know the family, but I had to share it. I also do not know the story behind it. I do know that I can't look at it for too long. Now you're real interested, aren't you?...

We are currently working on our parenting skills...and will probably continue doing so for the at least the next 18 years. :) Obedience is such a vital lesson in the training of our children. Learning to obey their parents is the foundation for children to learn how to obey God. It's also a commandment. (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:2)

Our goal in what obedience should look like is:

1. all the way
2. right away
3. with a happy heart

Unfortunately, up to this point we have typically been addressing the behavior and not the sin behind the behavior. The heart issues. It's difficult to know we've made many mistakes, but thankful to know things can change. Of course, change is never easy. But, oh. so. necessary.

Immediate obedience is a challenge in our house. What with our resident archaeologist-in-training who likes to practice his debate skills - which will come handy when he is arguing the points of a young earth and refuting carbon dating. And our resident toddler who is currently channeling Jabez, testing his boundaries, looking for an increase in his territory. *wry grin* Oh, and I guess there is that part about being sinners...

But learning to obey right away could save their lives. If I yell stop, it could save them from being hit by a car, getting bit by a snake, or countless other things that make this mama's stomach turn to think about. Not to mention the importance of immediate obedience to God...

I'll share some books that have really helped me understand biblical parenting another day, it's time to address the whole fork thing now. When I saw this picture, it reminded me of the importance of my children understanding that the things I tell them or the rules I enforce are for their own good.

Perhaps this little guy was disobeying his mommy when this happened...


Thankfully, he looks okay. A lesson I wouldn't want to learn the hard way!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Word Problem For You

I'm a woman who likes to live on the edge.

Of insanity.

Okay, not really - God has given me a sound mind, but I'm having a hard time coming up with any other explanation for why my living room carpet is being replaced tomorrow in the midst of my kitchen throwing up all over the rest of my house.

Call it sympathy pain. My living room has now thrown up into three rooms. It's a good thing I've got a strong stomach. Otherwise, I might be throwing up.

So now, I challenge you to do the math. Which technically, there isn't any math. It just sounds good.

Okay, here it goes:
There is a short woman who lives in a 7 room house.
She has a kitchen that vomited into 5 rooms.
She has 3 children ages 8, 2, and 4 months- none vomiting, thankfully.
Her living room got jealous of the attention the kitchen was getting and hurled into 3 rooms.
What do you get?

Give up?

Okay, I'll give you some help...

A. A house in serious need of Pepto Bismol

B. The ability to curb any pang of hunger in mere seconds, no matter what room you're in, without using the bell to ring the maid

C. Children who would be well adjusted and ready to live in the stockroom of any large scale warehouse

D. The short woman curled in the fetal position sucking her thumb much like her precious infant

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feeling Nostalgic

For a time when things like this were allowed.

Boys who go to the park without permission and subtract a year off their mother's life while simultaneously inducing premature graying of her head. You are grounded.

No one would be safe.

Forget to take out the trash? Sentenced.

I'm just saying... :)

I know, I know, it's a good thing I'm not God.

But in my defense, I wouldn't throw rocks or rotten veggies while passing...well, not rocks anyway. ;)


Under Construction

Do you remember that blog makeover I won from Sassy Chic Designs...what do you think?!
I love it! Thanks so much, Melanie! And if you happen to be looking for someone to spice up your blog, I would highly recommend checking her out. It was a fantastic experience working with her.

At the same time, after five looooooooong months of waiting, my kitchen is getting its makeover. All the stuff from my cabinets has been out since June (thanks again, Joy, you're the best!), and it has not been fun.

BUT, my new cabinets got put in this weekend and we're hoping to have it completed in the next two weeks. A neighbor friend called it a turning point and I'm grabbing hold of that! 'Cause honestly, I have not been doing too well lately. And then kicking myself about not doing too well. Not pretty.

Kind of like a dog chasing its tail.

I do believe a bit of it - it being the discombobulated mess that is me and my tail kicking - is due to the disaster that is my house. Seriously. My kitchen has been spread out through five different rooms in my house the past two weeks. Not too bad you're thinking...well, I have a seven room home.

That's bad.

And yes, I have pictures to share. Oh, do I have pictures. But you'll have to wait until I can get them developed.

Hey, I can see you on the edge of your seat waiting. Stop that, you should not be salivating over the anticipation of viewing another woman's mess.

Although, I may hold back due to my concern of social suicide. Being kicked out of homeschool co-op. The whispers. Being shunned at church. The knowing stares. My children having no friends.

Yes, I've already admitted to having an active imagination, but you haven't seen what I have...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Timely Discovery

I tend to always be pushing it when it comes to arriving on time. I am not always the best at calculating how much time I need, delays that come with having children, etc.

But now, I'm thinking it may not all be me. As I was getting ready for our homeschool co-op this morning, I made a discovery. The clock that I primarily go by was wrong.

By fifteen minutes. And let's just say, time was not on my side.

I made the discovery driving in the car on our way to know, when I thought I was running on time.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Good Frugal Finds

These two deals I'm about to share were too much for me to keep to myself.

First, I was blog surfing the other day and read about some crazy Rite-Aid deals here. Basically, they have a bunch of stuff for free after rebates. Although money is tight, I decided it would be a good idea to pick up a few things.

We typically don't have colds that lost a long time in our house, but something to get through the symptoms while we're being healed is nice. I also hesitated because I am hoping to make my own all natural cold syrup this year.

Anyway, I went and scored! Big time. They had almost everything in stock that I had on my list (throat lozenges, chapstick, etc.). I got $82 worth of stuff for $52 and after I complete the online rebates, it will all be for free. Actually, I had 2 coupons, so I'll come out ahead about $3 or $4.

The current sales/rebates end on Saturday, Oct. 18th. I did talk to a girl who worked there and she said she thinks they're going to start doing it more often. Ah, I finally had success with "couponing".

Second, I was blog surfing again (because apparently I have no other commitments or demands in my life) and found My Penny Pile here talking about a new company called Inkubook. They are offering anyone who signs up by October 24th free printing of a photo book. All you pay is $6.99 for shipping for up to a 120 page photo book. I'm just trying to decide what to put in mine. What a great Christmas gift idea! Get the details here.

3 Words, 1 Meaning

What's that smell?

I hate to hear those words in my house.

I hate it even more when I don't have an immediate answer...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reality Check

It made me laugh.

It made me wonder what I'm taking too seriously in my life.

It made me wonder if I am Kermit.

I should have stopped with "It made me laugh." I don't have the mental energy to be introspective today. I just wanted to laugh...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Neither Left Nor Forsaken

In the midst of our changing economic and moral landscape, I find comfort in knowing that none of this takes God by surprise. He knows the purpose of its occurrence and has ultimate control over it.

He is sovereign. He is faithful. He is my provider. He is my strength. He is my shield and my refuge. Though I know not what is to come, in my limited knowledge I know who He is. So, seeking His wisdom and digging my heels into His Word, I find myself neither left nor forsaken.

In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider – God has made the one as well as the other. Ecclesiastes 7:14

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Homemade Baby Wipes

I finally did it. After putting it off for a month or two, I finally did it. I made homemade baby wipes. It was an unplanned thing really. Necessity was my motivation. It's amazing how stink can drive you like that.

Stink aside, it was super easy. I plan on adding an ingredient or two (like tea tree oil) in the future, but I just used water and baby wash since I had those on hand and really needed some wipes.

Here's how I made them:

1. Cut a roll of paper towels in half. This will almost make them look like toilet paper rolls.

2. Mix 2 cups of water and 1 Tbsp. baby wash (I used 2 Tbsp. and thought it was too sudsy)

3. Place the cut paper towel roll into the liquid mixture. Let it sit until the roll is completely soaked (approx. 2 minutes).

4. Carefully pull the inner cardboard core from the roll.

5. Start the roll by pulling a towel from the inside of the roll.

6. Store in tight container. I personally did not have a round container that would work for storing these and just used my old plastic baby wipe container. It seems to be working just fine.

There are tons of recipes online, so you can find one that works for you. Thanks to Cheryl for giving me the inspiration to give it a try. And of course, you can always use washcloths or soft cloth scraps for a more frugal and green approach. I'm considering it, but would probably be more motivated if I was using cloth diapers right now.

So, in honor of all things stinky and because you know I enjoy a good laugh...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can't Get Enough...

Of your love, Babe! Can't get enough of your love. Okay, so I'm no Barry White, but I'm thinkin' that's a good thing. :)

I simply cannot get enough of this baby girl!

She'll be 4 months old in a couple of days. Sometimes it feels like she's always been a part of this family. Like our love for her has always existed, even before we knew she'd be a part of our family.

She is a doll, such a joy. She is very quick to smile and so content. Such a sweet spirit! I love to watch people look at her, bringing such happiness to the world.

Some days I think I could stare at her all day. I love to hug and kiss on her. Having a daughter has been so special and I am so glad God blessed our family with her. She truly adds something to our family.

Abigail, you are so special and we love you so much. But God loves you even more than we possibly ever could. He loves you with an everlasting love! You are His precious creation.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crying Foul

Some things just gross me out. It usually has to do with the way something looks and it really kicks in when I'm eating. Like, I can't stand to see veins in the meat I cook. That sounds pretty reasonable, right?

Well, sometimes there really is no logic to it. Like today when I was peeling a red potato for dinner. Suddenly, it resembled some kind of skin disease and I wanted to throw up. Not only that, but I wanted to throw them all away. It was disgusting.

There was nothing wrong with them. I tried to will the thought away, but I still wanted to gag. I stood my ground and finished cutting them all, but I did not leave any peel on them. I have a standard rule. If it grosses me out and I wouldn't eat it, I cannot give it to my children. Except dark meat, I make them eat that.

So, in honor of my overcoming the gross factor, I thought I'd share a picture of something that totally made me sick while we were on vacation.
This bird is nasty. I have no idea what type of fowl (quail?) it is, other than foul. The foul fowl. Need a closer look.

Nauseating isn't it? Okay maybe it's just because it's blurry, but it was so gross I had to walk away. What do I find so repulsive? I'm not sure. The horrible horn-like thing on its head (it's blending into the ground). The awful, bumpy wrinkles. The fact that the colors on its skin were all splotchy.

It looks like a member from the band KISS who got caught in the rain. Or maybe even a bit like Heath Ledger as The Joker in the new Batman.

Whatever it is, I've got a couple of questions to ask God about this one. Maybe it's kind of like a defense mechanism. So gross you wouldn't want to eat it. It's got my vote.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Big Bedroom Move

Caleb and Samuel are now officially sharing a bedroom! And Samuel is in a "big boy" bed. I wish my camera was hooked up because I would have taken a picture of him - too sweet!

Samuel's in a toddler bed I found at a yard sale, but he was so excited to sleep in it tonight. He went straight to sleep. He was really tired, so we may have some training to do in the next few days, but what a wonderful beginning. He's growing so quickly. *sigh*

The fact that they are moved in together is huge news because that means the carpet in that room finally got put in. Can I get an "Hallelujah, Amen!"?

One more step in getting the house put back together and hopefully organized. We have stuff everywhere. I'm not kidding. I thought about taking some pictures to share, but thought some people might pass out or go into traumatic shock. You can thank me later. And you know who you are...

Anyway, Caleb has been worried about Samuel getting into all his stuff. Which I will say is a valid concern, because he has some pretty cool things for an 8 year old wanna-be archaeologist. But...this is the way of life and being in a family with more kids than bedrooms. And no, I don't think that's a bad thing.

I believe that this will help them develop an even closer relationship and learn many things about coexisting with people. See all the hands-on learning we have going on here at our homeschool, even when they're sleeping. ;) So, now I'm off to bed feeling a little bit better knowing that a few more things have been put in their place and my boys are together...and quiet.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hip Hip Hooray!

I actually won something! I can hardly believe it. So, what is my most fabulous prize?

A blog makeover from Sassy Chic Designs! I am so excited I could bust. Thanks to Melanie from Sassy Chic for putting on the contest. And by the way, no it wasn't awarded by the blog most desperately needing a makeover, it was picked randomly by a computer. Of course, I do need it. And well, who knows, maybe I'll show up on What Not To Wear next. Nah, I don't think I could ever survive that 360 degree mirror. Pure horror!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The First Day

It was finally here. My first official day as a stay-at-home mom! I was giddy from the thought. The first weekday that I permanently did not have to go back to work outside the home. The joy. The awe. It was thrilling.

Never mind that I had already been a mother for almost six years now. Now it felt more real somehow.

As Caleb and I lazily started our day, I declared that it was a day to stay in our pajamas. Oh, I had big plans. To relish in all the glory of being at home and do absolutely nothing except be with my two sons. Pure bliss!

Caleb (5) and Samuel (1 week)

It was around ten in the morning when my grandmother, a.k.a Nana, called to check on me. It had been raining heavily the last 24 hrs. The rain had stopped, but there was major flooding in her town and she wanted to make sure that we were okay and to remind me to keep a close eye on the river near our house.

As I reassured her of our safety, I became curious to see how high the water had gotten. I safely nestled two month old Samuel, who was sleeping, on the couch so I could step onto the front porch. The euphoria of finally being home was oozing out of every pore of my body.

Caleb had thrown on a rain coat and rubber boots to join me outside. As I talked with Nana, I peeked at my sleeping baby through the window. I'm sure I was thinking, "What an angel and I get to be with him all the time now!" It was too much for me and I just had to go hold him again.

Wrapping up the phone conversation, I turned the door knob. Push. Nothing. I push again. Nothing. Again. In my enthusiasm, I had closed our old front door all the way. The old front door that you couldn't get open from the outside if it was closed all the way.

Panic and horror began to chase away those wonderful euphoric feelings. "Um, Nana? I need to go. I just locked myself and Caleb out of the house and Samuel is inside alone." We got off the phone and I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.

Caleb (8) and Samuel (2)

There I stood in mismatched pajamas on my front porch in all my unbrushed hair glory, wondering how I was ever going to get back in to my precious baby. I didn't know how to break into my house (a skill I would soon master and use frequently until we replaced our old windows with actual secure ones).

I had my phone and an 85 year old neighbor who I knew would be home, but no one had another key except my mom who was two hours away and Richie. My dear Richie, who I also knew would be in a car teaching behind-the- wheel right about then. It was the only logical option even though it could be another hour or two until he could come.

I would have to call him and have him bring the key. The damage would be great. There was no way this story would not spread through his entire high school when his two driving students saw me and my unkempt self standing outside in my pajamas.

Not too mention the fact that I would have to face him. The man who entrusted me to mother his children. As in, actually be able to have access to care for them. I was filled with dread at the thought of having to listen to Samuel if he woke up and not be able to get to him.

Richie and Abigail

And I could only imagine what my husband would think. Of course, how surprised could he be at the prospect of something like this happening when we have been together as long as we have? Let's just say it probably wasn't too shocking and move on, shall we?

Well, heaven smiled on me that day, my knight in shining armor was available to bring the keys. Right away. Without any students. And he was laughing. Shaking his head, but laughing. *insert angels singing*

And that is how I began my first day "on the job". Feeling incompetent and helpless. Little did I know how frequently those emotions would continue to rear their ugly heads in the past two years.

The road to becoming the happy housewife, *smile*, has been quite the journey. Captivating scenery, bumps galore, some smooth sailing, and a detour here and there. There is no cruise control. No automatic transmission.

To say I still have much to learn is understatement of the year. One thing I have learned about this career path, no two days are ever alike! And sometimes, that's a really good thing...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Farewell To Summer

Thought it might be fun to share a few somethings from my summer...

  • Something life changing - having my third child, first daughter
  • Something that I learned - if Caleb is kept busy, he gets in less trouble
  • Something I lost - Abigail's baby weight, now I'm working on Samuel's :)
  • Something I wish I had gotten - a pomegranate bush I saw for $10
  • Something fun I did - played hide and go seek at night
  • Something that made me almost pee my pants - getting scared while playing hide and go seek at night
  • Something frustrating - moving out everything from my kitchen cabinets and still not having the new ones installed
  • Something I worried about - Samuel's speech
  • Something that drove me to my knees - being a wife
  • Something sweet - watching the boys love on their sister; all the notes Richie hid around the house on my birthday (31 to be exact)
  • Something ugly - the mouse we caught in the kitchen
  • Something I coveted- land in the country
  • Something we got at a yard sale - carpet for $25!, which fit perfectly in an upstairs bedroom
  • Something scary - not being able to find Samuel when he got quiet
  • Something that made me happy - visiting with family
  • Something I regret - not using the fire pit at night more often
  • Something unexpected - the spaghetti squash growing in my garden
  • Something I started - making serious changes to the way we eat
  • Something I made - good friends