Monday, June 30, 2008

28 weeks and counting!

This was taken today at 28 weeks!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I got the fabric for Rachael's room!!

I was sooo excited when I checked my mail on Friday and found this:

Isn't is just so lovely?

It's 5 yards of Michael Miller, Spa Far Out Floral fabric. The background is chocolate (in case you can't tell in the photo).

My to do list for the completion of Rachael's room is as follows:

* Put up curtain rod
* Sew crib skirt (will be the above fabric)
* Sew bumper pad (will be coordinating teal/aqua from print above)
* Sew curtains (will be chocolate, with coordinating purple valance and will use the print for the tabs and tie-backs)
* Cover the lamp shade (I have several scraps of coordinating colors and will use whichever one is big enough)
* Make some wall art (using this very cool idea)
* Get baby announcements as ready as possible - put together with name info, etc. - so that all I have to do after she's born is fill in the date, time, weight, length, etc.
* Make a wall hanging with her first and middle names and meanings, biblical references, etc.
* Get box of clothes from friend and wash and put away

I know this sounds like a lot of stuff to do and I hope you don't think that this is the only child I've done this much for. The boys both had hand sewn crib bedding, wall hangings, curtains and baby announcements made before arrival as well. I love doing this for my children. Plus, if I were to go out and buy ready made bedding and curtains, it would definitely cost me double what the fabric (and batting for the bumper) cost me. I also enjoy knowing that it was done so much out of love for each individual child.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another quilt

This one was quite a bit less time consuming.

It's just basic squares and rectangles and is a bit smaller than the last one. There's no batting in the middle, so it's also much lighter, but won't be as warm.

But, isn't is just sooooo cute and cuddly looking!?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

That's how I would describe my life right now.

Here's what we have going until the end of July:

~ Tumbling class for Eli at the YMCA (Tuesday mornings)
~ Swim lessons for Jacob start on Monday at the YMCA (M & W afternoons)
~ T-ball practice for Jacob, again at the Y (Tuesday evenings)
~ Michael goes to school (Tuesday evenings from 6-10)
~ Softball for Michael (Thursday evenings)
~ T-ball games for Jacob (Saturday mornings)
~ Jacob will be going to summer camp thru his preschool 1/2 days (July 7-18)
~ On July 16, Michael's new class starts (changes to Wednesdays)

That's just for the next 4 weeks (except for Michael's school classes), otherwise I might run myself into the ground and be too tired by the time Rachael gets here!

Oh wait, I forgot to mention:

~ I'm currently putting in 10-15 hours per week for my job (the one that pays $$$). I telecommute and work for the law firm I was with in Oklahoma before we moved here. The 10-15 hours per week is likely to continue for a while since they've recently lost 2 employees.
~ There's also the homemaking bit and actually spending time and playing with my kids!
~ And the homeschooling, we try to fit in a couple of hours a day.
~ We also try to squeeze in some play dates with friends.

Whew! Where am I pulling all this time from? I don't feel over extended yet, so maybe that's a good sign. We'll make it thru the next month and then things will calm down, at least for about 6 weeks.... then we'll have a baby.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yummy granola recipe

I actually made something I saw on tv.... I was watching Tyler's Ultimate (Tyler Florence) on Food Network while the kids napped yesterday and he was making parfaits with homemade granola. The granola looked yummy that I scavenged my kitchen and it turned out I had everything needed to make this granola (with a few minor changes)!

I changed up the recipe just a little from the original.

Here are the changes I made:

* I substituted sunflower seeds for flax seeds because I didn't have any flax
* I used 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 maple sugar instead of all brown sugar
* I also did not add any dried fruit to it because I had to leave the house as soon as I took it out of the oven and by the time I came home 4.5 hours later, it was obviously already cool and I couldn't be bothered!
* Because I live at high altitude and things tend to take FOREVER to bake, I baked for 20 min. on the recommended 300F and then raised the temp. to 325F for the remaining 20 minutes and it turned out perfectly!!

You should give it a try. It was super easy and turned out to be very yummy. I even had some in my yogurt this morning!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 6/23/08

I'm a bit late in posting my menu plan for this week. We had a rough day yesterday (a church picnic at 1:00 threw the rest of the day off for the kids) and I went to bed early - shortly after the kids. Then this morning we had to run an errand to Walmart and that place turns my kids into beings from other planets..... So, I've just now had a few minutes to put a menu together and get it typed out here!

*Monday - fresh garden salad with grilled chicken breast. I'm also going to be trying Tammy's recipe for shortcake to go with some fresh strawberries I got this weekend. It looks so yummy!
*Tuesday - We will be at a friend's house in the late afternoon, Michael will be at school and then Jacob has t-ball practice at 6:00, so, the kids and I will probably go to Taco Bell and eat very inexpensively off the 'cheap' menu!
*Wednesday - Grilled cheese with fruit or yogurt (rice/soy cheese and soy yogurt for Eli)
*Thursday - I have a dentist appt. at 4 and Michael has a softball game after that, so I have no idea what we'll be eating, I guess I'll just wing it.
*Friday - Spaghetti with yeast rolls and fruit smoothies
*Saturday - Cheeseburgers with lettuce and tomato, homemade fries (rice/soy cheese for Eli)
*Sunday - pancakes with real maple syrup for the kids and breakfast burritos for Michael and I (scrambled eggs with cheese, tomato and jalapeno in flour tortillas).
Remember to visit Laura's site to check out all the other great menus for this week.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Super Sample Sunday #5

I didn't take a photo of my items from this week before I put them all away, so I'll just tell you what I got. (Remember these are freebies and samples I got in the mail just for taking a few minutes each day to sign up for them).

~ American Baby Magazine
~ Juicy Juice sippy cup
~ 14 day supply of Nature Made Multi-Complete vitamins - came with a $1 coupon
~ Seattle's Best coffee (the sample makes a WHOLE pot) - came with a $3 coupon

Go over to visit The Thrifty Soaper to see what everyone else got this week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My first quilt

I have to say that I am proud of myself on this one! I have been sewing for several years. I am about 95% self taught and the other 5% comes from watching my grandma and one of my aunts sew while growing up. I think my grandma was even a seamstress at one point, I could be mistaken, though. If you check out my Etsy shop, you'll find several other items that I have sewn. I've done a number of things over the last few years (crib bedding for the boys, blankets for the kids, diaper doublers recently, aprons and random other things) and I enjoy it very much, though I'm definitely not a professional.

The quilt I chose to do for my darling little girl on the way was a Dutch Girl/Sunbonnet Sue quilt. I have one from when I was a baby and thought I'd try to replicate it in a modern sort of way.

I found a pattern online of the pieces for the girl and then spent the better part of an afternoon calculating the dimensions, square sizes, batting size, border piece sizes and backing size. Then I spent oodles of time in the fabric store one night a couple of weeks ago trying to pick out just the right fabrics. I went with solids because I just couldn't find coordinating prints that I was thrilled about in each of the colors I wanted to use (purple, blue, green and pink).

This first photo is after I have cut all the pattern pieces out. This is the first square that I have ironed and pinned in place!

This is a finished square after the stitching has been done.

This is one complete row, including bottom borders.

Apparently I didn't take any photos of the rest of the assembly part.... Sometimes when my sewing machine and I are together, the world seems to just disappear and the only thing I focus on is the task at hand (that's why I typically sew after the kids have gone to bed at night)!!
This is the completed quilt (the back is lavender flannel) prior to being washed. Yes, you might still see some fabric pen in places - but it's in the wash right now to rid it of those ugly blue markings and to get it all nice and cuddly!
My next project is Rachael's bed skirt, bumper pad and curtains. I just have to wait until my fabric order comes in to get started!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mish mash...

~1~ The new garden is going fairly well. I'm not sure what's going on with the strawberries (they're almost goners), but everything else seems to be thriving!

I have several tomatoes that should be ready in a couple of weeks! They looks so yummy already, now if they'd just hurry up and start ripening.....

No sign of any peppers yet, just one little bloom on a jalapeno plant.

And since all I did with the lettuce was take the 2 packets and shake them out over the side of the garden where I wanted them (no rows...) I have lettuce sprouts coming up all over that area. Thankfully, none of the seeds strayed to other parts of the garden before I got a thin layer of soil over the seeds when I was planting!

~2~ Eli has had a fever of 103+ since yesterday morning and I have no idea why, he has NO other symptoms.... Ibuprofen doesn't really seem to be helping much. He's such a trooper though, other than being nearly lethargic because of the high temp. and not eating more than about 5 bites today, he's trying really hard to be normal.

We had a play date scheduled for this morning at a playground and he would go play for a little while and then come back and lay down in the stroller for a few minutes and have a drink and then go off and play some more and repeat it again. However, his 'play' was very muted and more of just meandering around on the equipment, never really sliding down the slides or anything, just kind of walking around. Then he took a 3 hour nap!

The rest of the day consisted of a short trip to the mall (him in the stroller most of the time), a trip to Target (Eli lying in the basket part of the cart with his blanket) and lots of lying on the couch.

~3~ Why the Target outing with a sick kid, you ask? Jacob had earned a new 'toy' for learning all 50 states. He has learned where all 50 states are on a map and can name them on request (we ask "where's _________" and he points to it)!!! He's not even 4.5 yet and I'm very proud of him! We chose to let him get a digital camera. Not a fancy-shmancy one, just a generic $19.99 one with no screen, zoom, etc. It has 3 settings for image quality and a couple other settings and only 2 buttons! It's small, has changeable face plates and an arm strap. Michael got it set up for him and taught him how to use it tonight!! He had fun with it and about half of the photos he took the first go-round had his finger in them! So, he's learning how to concentrate and not get his finger in the photos.
~4~ Since Eli hasn't been well, I didn't get to go to the Farmer's Market yesterday evening :-( And Jacob didn't get to go to t-ball practice because Michael was at school, so Jacob was bummed about not going, but he has a game on Saturday that he's looking forward to.
~5~ I finally chose the fabric I'm going to use in Rachael's room for parts of her bedding and accessories. The rest of the bedding will be sewn from coordinating colors of the pattern fabric I chose. You'll just have to wait to see some of the finished products though......

Monday, June 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 6/15/08

Last week didn't work exactly as planned. I actually only cooked 3 meals.... We had a super busy week last week!

Michael is going to school on Tuesdays from 6-10pm and Jacob has t-ball practice at 6, so Tuesdays are difficult for me. I have to get dinner ready for the kids and I, get us fed, the kitchen cleaned, Eli's diaper changed and diaper bag ready (he goes to child watch while I stay with Jacob at practice) and be out the door by 5:40, so I've skipped cooking anything fancy (even though I'm sure Michael would like to have leftovers for Wednesday....) and just turned to something quick and simple.

This week isn't as busy, so Tuesday should be my only crazy day!

Here's my menu plan for the week: (I've decided to just list the meals, rather than assigning them a day because I'm finding that I change my menu around nearly every week anyway. This way I can just choose the meal I want to prepare for that day). Oh, and Eli is officially off dairy for the long haul. We finished up the elimination diet this weekend. He did a week off everything (and was itch-free w/in just a few days), then we added soy, eggs and wheat back individually and waited a week in between each with no reaction whatsoever. On Thursday we added dairy back and by Sunday he was itchy, scratchy and complaining that it hurt again. Ahhhh, so we finally have an answer!!! My meals will all be either completely dairy free or at the very least Eli's portion will be dairy free...

* Pizza (I have a couple of frozen ones to use up and will make a homemade one with rice cheese for Eli)
* Spaghetti
* Chicken nachos (with chicken, beans, Colby cheese, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa over corn chips) oh and fresh cilantro from my garden!!
* Stir Fry veggies over brown rice (carried over from last week)
* Beef tacos (seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa over flour tortillas)
* Pasta with stewed tomatoes

It's not a very diverse or veggie heavy meal plan, but I'm using up some things on hand and on Tuesday I'll go to the Farmer's market and see what veggies I can score. I'm anxiously awaiting the tomatoes and lettuce that are almost ready in my garden. Peppers are behind a little and strawberries are struggling.....

Remember to visit I'm An Organizing Junkie for more meal plans.

Fun weekend!

Wow! It's Monday again!
We had an absolutely wonderful weekend that I must tell you about!
Michael took the day off on Friday and we had a family day spent in Denver. We went to the Aquarium (tickets purchased at a discount on base!), had a picnic lunch in the park and went to the Denver Museum of Science in Nature (free for military families!!!!). Then we had dinner at CiCi's pizza, I know, not the healthiest place to eat but it's rare because we don't have a CiCi's in Colorado Springs.
Saturday was very busy with Jacob's t-ball pics at 7:30, his first t-ball game at 8:00 and then a birthday party for one of our friends (who is only 2 weeks younger than Eli) complete with water slide and kiddie pool!! The boys had a blast!

Sunday was spent relaxing after church. I made a quick trip to Walgreens and Dollar Tree in search of new water guns (all of ours were broken). Other than that, we didn't go anywhere. Michael's request for Father's Day was to watch the PGA golf in the afternoon and he was wonderful to record it on the DVR and watch it delayed so he could spend some time outside with the kids spraying them with the water hose!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's a GIRL!!

Yipee! I'm so happy to know what we're having, now I can actually get to work setting up furniture and bedding and buying things because all we have is BOY stuff!!

Her name will be Rachael Jane!

Oh, and it looks like I will be scheduled for a c-section on September 15.

Facial view!

Feet crossed at the ankles in front of her face!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cast iron skillets

Let me see a show of hands of you out there who use cast iron regularly?........ Uh huh, that's what I thought, there aren't very many of you, are there? I have to confess, I haven't used mine in several years and you know what my silly reason was? They started sticking and I thought seasoning them was too much of a hassle. HA! I've done some reasearch and found it to be super simple.

Cast iron skillets are wonderful assets to any cook's cupboard. Mine are actually hand-me-downs from my grandma and a garage sale. I have 3, a 12", 8" and one that's about 5". We'll get to the easy how-to of seasoning them in a minute, but first a few reasons why everyone should have AND USE them.

~ Flavor! Cast iron does not impart any artificial "metallicy" taste to your food.
~ Safety - there's a reason people have been cooking with cast iron since WAY back - it's a natural substance that can be turned into pans that withstand very high heat and don't give off toxic chemicals or break down (if cared for properly)
~ There may even be a potential health benefit from using unglazed cast iron - it actually gives off iron when you heat it and imparts iron into your food -a valuable nutrient
~ Heats evenly and retains heat better than traditional cookware and can go straight from stovetop to oven with no concern
~ Very easy to care for once seasoned properly

When choosing cast iron, the best is to find some at a thrift store, estate sale or garage sale that have already been used and seasoned because these are a little easier to keep in good shape. Buying new takes a little more work.

If you can't find any previously used/seasoned cast iron, try to find cookware with the smoothest interior surface possible, this will make the seasoning process easier.

If you have old cast iron, here's the easiest way to care season it:

1. Scrub the inside with a stainless steel pad (you can also use a cloth with coarse salt) to scrape away any excess food, spills, possible rust, etc. (You don't have to do this every time you use it - I would suggest doing it the first time and then if you happen to notice it starting to stick or at least a few times a year)
2. Rinse clean with hot water ONLY - you can use a mild soap occasionally, but it's not necessary every time. NEVER SOAK IN WATER OR PUT IN THE DISHWASHER.
3. Sit the skillet on the stove top and turn on the eye/burner until the pan gets warm and all the water dries out. This will ensure it gets completely dry before oiling it.
4. Once it is completely dry, coat with a neutral oil (I use coconut oil - but not extra virgin because I don't want my pan to taste like coconut - or you can use canola or some other oil that doesn't have a strong taste). I just pour about 2 Tbsp in and wipe around with a paper towel coating the entire inside with it.
5. Place in a preheated 250F oven for 2 hours.
6. Let cool a bit and wipe clean with a paper towel.
7. Once completely cool, store with a paper towel inside (especially if stacking several skillets) to prevent any moisture from seeping into the skillet.

Seasoning a brand new skillet is a little more time intensive, but well worth the end product (you'll need some sandpaper - 80-120 grit (medium) for very rough surfaces or those with imperfections such as pits, grooves, or sharp points; 120-150 grit (fine) should work well for smoothing surfaces that don't have too many imperfections):

1. New skillets come with a coating on them that must be removed before seasoning (or the oil won't soak in properly).
2. Scrub the entire skillet (inside and out) with a stainless steel pad.
3. Rinse
4. Sand the inside surfaces until you get a decently smooth surface and there are no sharp points or other type of imperfections left.
5. Rinse
6. Follow seasoning steps 3-7 above
7. You many have to do those seasoning steps several times to get the non-stick quality of a heavily seasoned/well used cast iron skillet. The only way to find out if it's seasoned enough is to cook with it and see if what you're cooking sticks......

Regular (in-between-seasonings) maintenance is very simple:
1. Rinse with hot water (can use mild soap and a green scrubby pad if you NEED to, but don't do it often or you'll find yourself needing to re-season)
2. Dry on the heated eye/burner on the stove top
3. Let cool completely
4. Store with a paper towel inside to absorb any potential moisture.
For more kitchen tips, be sure to visit Tammy's site!

Disturbing new law in Colorado

Let me just start off by saying I am not a very eloquent or articulate writer and I do not like to "sugar coat" things to make them less offensive to others..... This is my (and my husband's) take on a new bill that was enacted on June 1 in Colorado.

You can read the full bill here. But I'll tell you what it says in a nutshell.... that any person, regarless of gender, age or sexual orientation may be in ANY place anyone else may be, specifically, public restrooms and locker rooms. It basically states that a man may go into a girls restroom or locker room w/o any reprecussions simply because he 'claims' he's gay/transgender* and feels more comfortable there or visa versa with women. The ONLY public exemption is churches/synagogues/mosques, etc. that are primarily used for religious purposes. From some commentary we've read and discussed, I think private schools, etc. are exempt because you have to 'pay' to be there but public schools are definitely part of the new law.

Here's an excerpt
(1) As used in this part 6, "place of public accommodation" means
any place of business engaged in any sales to the public and any place
offering services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to
the public, including but not limited to any business offering wholesale or
retail sales to the public; any place to eat, drink, sleep, or rest, or any
combination thereof; any sporting or recreational area and facility; any
public transportation facility; a barber shop, bathhouse, swimming pool,
bath, steam or massage parlor, gymnasium, or other establishment conducted
to serve the health, appearance, or physical condition of a person; a
campsite or trailer camp; a dispensary, clinic, hospital, convalescent home,
or other institution for the sick, ailing, aged, or infirm; a mortuary,
undertaking parlor, or cemetery; an educational institution; or any public
building, park, arena, theater, hall, auditorium, museum, library, exhibit,
or public facility of any kind whether indoor or outdoor. "PLACE OF

(2) It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for a person,
directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from, or deny to an individual or
a group, because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, SEXUAL ORIENTATION,
marital status, national origin, or ancestry, the full and equal enjoyment of
the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of
a place of public accommodation or, directly or indirectly, to
publish, circulate, issue, display, post, or mail any written, ELECTRONIC, or
printed communication, notice, or advertisement which THAT indicates that the
full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities,
privileges, advantages, or accommodations of a place of public accommodation
will be refused, withheld from, or denied an individual or that an
individual's patronage or presence at a place of public accommodation is
unwelcome, objectionable, unacceptable, or undesirable because of disability,
race, creed, color, sex, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, marital status, national origin,
or ancestry.

Tell me if you don't think this will make a pedophile happy? This is an absolutely disgusting new law and I cannot imagine (even trying to view it from a liberal standpoint) what was going thru these people's heads.

Here are a list of problems I see just waiting for us now.

I'm just going to be real and vulnerable here, speaking the honest truth.

~ What female do you know who wants to be sitting in a stall in a restroom changing her feminine hygiene product while a man listens in the stall next door - you know paper crinkling and all... I have been married for 8 years and I even draw the line with my husband there, it's too personal and sometimes a little bit of a yucky procedure.
~ On the same line, I don't want a man in the restroom even just hearing me 'go'.
~ What about urinals, would you take your daughter (of any age) into a restroom where men are standing using urinals? I know I sure WOULDN'T.
~ A man in a girl's/women's restroom or locker room is disgusting. They have no need to be there. This is just one more easy way for men to become pedophiles or 'test the waters'.
~ Also, a woman in a boy's/men's locker room gives me the same feeling - there's no need for her to be there and it's just asking for pedophilia to happen.
~ I will never be able to allow my children to go into a public restroom unassisted (even with me standing right outside the door) especially if we ever have a girl, because then there could be a man in her restroom, but I would also be cautious of sending my boys in because there could be a woman (yes, women can be pedophiles, too) in there just waiting for a little boy to come in.
~ This law also makes it illegal for any employer (except churches....) -regardless of religious belief - to discriminate (ex. not hire someone) based solely on their sexual orientation. So, if you owned a business and took pride in only having employees that displayed a true Godly example, you would have to find another reason not to hire this seemingly equally qualified person and then, most likely, you'd be faced with a lawsuit because this person might claim that they had all the qualifications, etc. and you didn't hire him/her because s/he was gay - regardless of what the real reason for not hiring the person was. GAH.

I'm going to the gym (YMCA) later this morning and will ask the manager/whoever is the highest on the totem pole where they fall into this law. Maybe they don't fall under the public business section because I have to pay to be there and I can't even get into the locker rooms (past the check in counter) unless I have a valid, paid membership.

The State of Colorado has a law that all bills (except safety bills - having to do with protecting people's safety, rights, etc.) have a trial period (90 days, I think) and during that period if there are enough petitions and signatures gathered in opposition of the bill (it's a certain percentage, not sure about the actual number needed) then it has to be appealed, etc. and can't be signed into law until all appeals, etc. are complete. Guess what kind of bill this one was? Yep, you got it, a safety law that is exempt from appeals and actually CANNOT be appealed. We're stuck with it.

This is the kind of law that would actually make me not want to live in a state. I told Michael to see if he can find out what kind of policy the Air Force has on letting us transfer because we would not normally move to a state that had this kind of law, so can they make us live here (because in thruth, the military actually owns Michael - but not the kids and I)?

One of the reasons Michael and I strongly believe in State laws and the right of each state's government (and voters) to make its own laws -as long as they do not violate the Federal Constitution - is because rather than being forced (due to citizenship) to live in a country where the laws are contradictory to your beliefs, you can choose to move to another state that has more suitable laws for your beliefs/religious convictions, etc.

This law is so disturbing to me. I'm sure there will be at least one more post on this since it's only been in effect for 9 days and there will be many changes that take place in public buildings, etc. and there will be much debate in the news on it.

Here are some great places to read commentary on this (I'll be adding to this list as I research more commentary and 'interpretations'):
* Human Events

Conservative Coloradoans (and my family) need your prayers right now. Please also pray for us as we prayerfully consider how this will effect us. As we are asking God what our next step should be (should we request to move, etc.) please pray that this causes people to think and petition for a change.

* Transgender (from Wikipedia):
Transgender is the state of one's "gender identity" (self-identification as male, female, both or neither) not matching one's "assigned gender" (identification by others as male or female based on physical/genetic sex). "Transgender" does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual or asexual. The precise definition for transgender remains in flux, but includes:
"Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender, but combines or moves between these."
"People who were assigned a gender, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves."
"Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the gender one was assigned at birth."

Menu Plan Monday - 6/9/08

Our weekend menus for this dinner past weekend didn't go as planned. We decided to forego not eating out at all and went to Taco Bell one evening and ordered items off the 'cheap' menu and the four of us ate for just over $9.00!! We actually could have done it for less if we hadn't gotten one drink to share between all of us. We could have just gotten water instead, but when we go out we like to treat ourselves and we had sugary-sweet fruit punch! I think this week we'll probably do that again once and I'll order water and see just how little I can spend to feed us all!
For the upcoming weeks, I am trying something new - meat as an additive, not the main attraction. With the rising price of groceries (and just about everything else), meat is no exception and we're going to be having tons more veggies/beans and rice and using meat more as a filler than a whole dish.
Here are our plans for this week:
*Monday - Chicken enchiladas using left over chicken I shredded from a whole chicken I cooked a couple weeks ago- making a large batch to have for leftovers
* Tuesday - Michael has class and won't come home until after 10, so the kids and I will either eat something easy or I'll make some quick sloppy joes
* Wednesday - Left over enchiladas or we might do the Taco Bell thing, it's up to Michael - we have an ultrasound at 4:10 and I won't be able to cook and we like to eat fairly early - between 5 and 5:30.
* Thursday - Baked lemon pepper tilapia with steamed veggies and rice
* Friday - We're going to Denver for the day so I'll pack lunches for everyone (probably sandwiches, yogurt, fruit and carrot sticks) and then we'll do dinner out - probably Taco Bell again.
* Saturday - Red beans and rice over a salad - frozen from 2 weeks ago because the recipe I used made a HUGE batch.
* Sunday - Stir fry veggies over brown rice with a soy sauce gravy.
Be sure to check out Laura's site for more wonderful weekly menu plans.
Also, totally unrelated, but check back tomorrow for a post about a distrubing new bill recently passed and enacted in Colorado that has us seriously considering moving to another state - provided the military will allow it. The basic jist is that anyone (regardless of gender, sexual orientation, etc.) now has the right to use ANY restroom they chose or ANY locker room they choose - even those of the opposite gender. There's a bit more to it, but that's the basic idea and I now fear from my childrens' (and my own) safety in public restrooms and the locker room at the gym....

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Super Sample Sunday #4

I only thought I hit the jackpot last week.... I think I beat that one with this week's freebies.
Here's what came this week:
* Kotex ultra thin sample and a $2.00 coupon
* Dunkin Donuts coffee sample (makes 4 cups)
* Huggies potty training DVD with great coupons inside
* Yogi Tea (3 flavors) and a coupon for $.50 off
* Koolaid, Country Time lemonade and Crystal Light sample with a $.50 off coupon
* Coupon for a free pack of Yoplait Kids yogurt cups (used that one today!)
* True Lemon (2 lemon, 1 orange and 1 lime) samples with a coupon for $.50 off
* American Baby coupon package (FREE A&D ointment, 3 coupons for Earth's Best baby food products, $1.00 off Yo Mommy yogurt - already used this one!!, $1.00 off Gentle Naturals product, $.75 off Orajel, card to subscribe to Marriage and Family magazine for FREE, $3.00 off Babybanz sunglasses)
Remember to visit The Thrifty Soaper for more great freebies from this week and for links to lots of great freebies and samples currently available.
You can also visit Freebies 4 Mom to see where I get more links to get more freebies and samples.

Friday, June 6, 2008


For a while now I've been going back and forth in my heart as to whether I can homeschool. There are so many factors that have been swirling around and I've finally realized that it's not up to me. Isn't God in control (so long as we allow Him to be and not try to do things our way or try to figure them out ourselves....) in all situations?

My main dilemma has been whether I can personally handle (ahem, be patient enough) to homeschool my children. There has never been a question as to whether I think it's the right way to go or not, the question has always been my patience level (which, to be completely honest, is seriously limited - I know, I know, God is dealing with me on that one).

We've always known that for us, plublic school was NOT an option. No question there. And until recently I thought we'd just send them to private school (preferrably one associated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church), that is until I really started researching it. We don't live in a huge city, approx. 500,000 people, and we are in a seemingly more liberal city than we were in Oklahoma, so our options are limited as it is. There are a grand total of THREE christian schools here and one of them is totally out of the question solely based on tuition and other fees.... Of the other two, we definitely prefer one (Evangelical Christian Academy) based on theology, academics and the fact that it's a non-evangelizing school - meaning they don't let just anyone in, there is a very stringent application process, including the parents profession of faith, proof of baptism, personal interview with the elementary head-master - and a few other things. This school would be barely affordable (even with Michael's raise that he'll be getting in July) and I'm not so sure we'd ever be able to afford sending a second child there. So basically, Jacob would get a good education for a couple of years and then we'd be teetering on having to pull him out because we wouldn't be able to afford to have Eli there also (of course, Michael is in the USAF and we would probably move before we'd have to cross that bridge, but you never know what God's plans are). Whew, a lot to chew on, right? I know for a lot of people it sounds really simple (and logistically and monetarily it's pretty clear to me, too) but I know myself, I know my tendency to be a lot less patient with my children - especially when teaching them - than I should be and well, it has been a difficult decision for me.

I've been spending a lot of time in prayer about this (and my patience issue) and am pretty sure I've come to the conclusion that I AM suppose to homeschool our children. To be completely honest, it scares me to know that I have this responsibility. But at the same time I know that as long as I continue to trust in Him, God will provide thru my personal challenges and give me the ability to be the teacher he wants me to be!

A lot of people worry about how to manage their time to include school AND all of the necessary homemaker things, others worry about 'socialization' of their children, while still others worry whether they'll still be able to teach their children when they get into the highschool years and need more indepth and precise teaching, I think it's kind of comical that I haven't worried about those things personally. I think God has taken care of all that in my heart/mind so that I can focus on the major issue at hand - not yelling or getting frustrated so easily and shaping my childrens' hearts to be loving, patient and kind, while at the same time teaching me to be all those things.

There will be more to this post (materials, curriculum, what we already do, etc.), but I'll just leave you with what I've said for now.

I also covet your prayers in this area of my life. I know God is doing something great and I want to be ready for it and the changes He's making in me!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - 6/2/08

I neglected to post my menu plan again last week. The holiday (and the garden) threw me out of whack. I made my menu plan for last week 2 weeks ago, and boy was I glad I did!

This week's menu will be a little different than normal. Michael starts classes (he only has about a year to finish his BA) on Tuesday nights from 6-10pm so I won't be making a big dinner on Tuesday's for the next 6 weeks (I think his next session is on a different night so it will change in 7 weeks).

* Monday - Spaghetti (using spelt or brown rice pasta) and salad
* Tuesday - something simple for the kids and I
* Wednesday - Chicken parmesean (using brown rice pasta and spelt bread crumbs for breading the chicken)
* Thursday - Chicken nachos
* Friday - big salad with grilled chicken breasts
* Saturday - Sloppy joes
* Sunday - Red beans and rice (frozen from a HUGE batch a couple of weeks ago)
Remember to go visit Laura's site for more wonderful weekly meal plas.

Super Sample Sunday #3

I got some really great goodies in the mail this week! Here's what I received:

~ Rick Warren book "God's Power to Change Your Life" from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association - they give away a free book each month, all you have to do is fill out the form with your info.
~ Parent & Child magazine - I'm not sure if this was just a free issue I signed up for or if it's a subscription, guess I'll wait a few more weeks to find out!
~ Ban deoderant sample
~ Dove deoderant sample
~ John Freida shampoo and conditioner sample
~ 1.00 off Barilla pasta coupon
~ Coupon for free southern style chicken biscuit AND free southern style chicken sandwich from McDonald's with NO PURCHASE NECESSARY!!

Hop on over to The Thrifty Soaper to check out more great freebies from this week!

Eli turns 2

Happy 2nd Birthday to my little guy! Wow, how they grow.

Eli's birthday was actually this past Monday, May 26, but since that was Memorial Day and many of our friends had plans, we decided to wait to celebrate until yesterday! We had a blast at the park with lots of Jacob and Eli's friends and the kids had tons of fun playing on the playground and just running around in the huge expanse of grassy play area!

Here's a little recap for you of Eli's development at 2 years old:

* Knows the shapes square, triangle, circle, star and oval.

* Can count 1-13 (although a lot of times he misses 6 for some reason!!)

* Knows most of the alphabet

* Is currently taking a tumbling class once a week at the YMCA and he loves it!(Jacob did this at the same age)

* Can sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Wheels on the Bus and the theme songs to Veggie Tales and The Little Einsteins. He also sings parts of several other songs that we have on CD - and he LOVES the band Hawk Nelson and Lifehouse makes him fall asleep - strange!!

* Loves to watch "Mity Mouse" (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), "Hanny Manny" (Handy Manny) and "Einines" (The Little Einsteins) on Disney Channel.

* Can name pretty much every animal by sight (including ones like rhino, zebra, giraffe, elephant, deer, moose, and randomly tapir (because we have some at our zoo) etc.) and if Michael and I know the sound the animal makes, Eli knows it too.

* Knows the following restaurants by sight: "NaDonalds" (McDonalds), "Ennys" (Wendy's), "Popeye's" (he says that one right), "Noli's" (Fazoli's), "Red Robin", "Burder King" (Burger King) and I think there are a couple more - Note - this is NOT because we are regulars at these places, he really learns them after only going to them once or even just passing by them and asking "what's dat food?"....

* Knows Walmart, Target, Walgreens and the mall on sight and gets really angry when we drive by the mall (which is about 1 mile from our house) and don't stop because there's an indoor playground there that we frequent in the colder months!!

* He also talks much more inteligbly than Jacob did at 2. He says anything he wants to say and will repeat everything you say! He is up to 5-6 word sentences and it's quite amusing sometimes. Yesterday he said to me "what was dat sound, mommy?" because a noisy motorcycle passed us in the van and he wanted to know what it was because he didn't see it at the time!!

* Read here to see my previous update on him. As far as his physical development goes, he saw the orthopedic surgeon again in March and he told me he doesn't want to see Eli again for a whole YEAR. He really doesn't think there's much wrong with him, other than a bone growth issue, which is totally liveable. He goes back to see the geneticist at Children's in Denver in August and I suspect we'll get another good report. He will continue to have the ultrasounds of his organs every 3 months until he is appx. 8 years old. This is just a precaution because sometimes kids with "hemi-hypertrophy" (the asymmetry) sometimes develop kidney tumors that are cancerous and they develop and progress VERY quickly (that's why they do the ultrasounds every 3 months).

* He is still receiving physical therapy for his neck. We are down to once every 3 weeks (rather than weekly). He is also still wearing the neck brace that I showed you in the other post. He is doing really well and continues to progress in his ability to hold his head straight. He can do it, it's just a matter of teaching him to do it all the time until it becomes habit - that's kinda what the brace is for. He has also progressed to being able to tilt his head the other way of his natural tilt. He now does it when we ask him to and if we catch him sitting leaned over, we can say "lean the other way" and most of the time he'll correct himself. It's just a matter of time now!

* As far as he (and we) are concerned he is a very normal 2 year old. He even runs faster than Jacob does..... He can also jump incredibly well for his age according to the physical therapist. He has absolutely no physical limitations and if he has to deal with different size shoes and a lift on the right one for the rest of his life, then we're perfectly fine with that. No biggie!

To see more photos from the birthday party and professional photos click here.