Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Find Out or Not to Find Out, that is the question

So, by now, you've figured out I'm pretty random with my posts. Well, Monday, a friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful baby GIRL!!! Guess what, they didn't know it was a girl until she was born....BY CHOICE no less. Very exciting. I talked to her today and her question to me, "Are you going to find out what you're having?" Well, very quickly I responded YES!!! Are you kidding me? This is baby number 6, I NEED to know. RIGHT????

So, now I've been thinking. Wouldn't it be cool for it to be a surprise? The problem, I DON'T like surprises. As a matter of fact, I'll pick out my own gifts from hubby cause I NEED to know what it is. Maybe, one would call that being a control freak. I don't consider myself that, but who knows? I just could not imagine going until May not knowing what this little being inside me is, a boy or a girl. Now, if we can't find out, that's a different story and would still drive me crazy!! But, if I can know what I'm having I assure you I WILL!!! With baby #3, I threatened to not leave the ultrasound room until I knew (she was not being so cooperative). The nice little tech let me get up and walk for a few minutes then tried again. SEE, I just CAN'T do it. I can't walk away from an ultrasound and not find out what this little baby is. So, stay tuned, ultrasound scheduled for January 4, 2011. Here's hoping this little baby is cooperative and let's us see whether we're having a boy or a girl....???????

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Concentrated vs Diluted

So, as we know, I homeschool my 4 school aged children (and love it). Today, my 5th grader was struggling to understand the difference between something being concentrated and diluted. I tried just talking him through it, but the light bulb just wasn't coming on. So, usually I'm not terribly creative on my own. I usually have to research on the web. However, it dawned on me.......Kool-Aid. I could show him better than explain it.

I took him to the kitchen and we got out a packet of kool-aid. We started by putting the called for 1 cup of sugar, then the packet of kool-aid, and finally started adding water. We only put in 1/4 gallon of water instead of the called for 1/2 gallon. Then, he got to taste it.......It was very concentrated, more solute(the powder) than solvent(the water)!!!! So, we then finished putting the called for amount of water in and he tasted again.......Just right this time. Then, to let him experience diluted, I poured half a glass of the "just right" kool-aid and filled the cup the rest of the way with more water..............Now he was able to taste diluted!!!

The best part..... after the whole experience was done, my son looks at me and says, "Why didn't the computer teacher just say that?" He continues on by telling me I should be a teacher. LOL!! There are days I definitely feel like a complete failure as a homeschooling mom. This thankfully was NOT one of them. Once again, I'm so glad I have made this choice to teach my children at home...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recruiting Help to Keep Up With the House

As you can imagine, with 5 kids, one dog, two cats, and a husband :) there's lots to keep up with in this house. Between homeschooling, working, cooking, cleaning and running errands; it's hard to get it all done. So, I've been thinking (dangerous, I know)!! I came up with a way to get kiddos involved and get them "earning" their privileges here at the house ie: computer and game time.

It was getting so frustrating to be the ONLY person doing any housework. I would look around and see two boys on the game systems, two girls on their little portable game systems and one daddy on a computer. Now, don't get me wrong, I realize, I'm the MOMMY - that's what I do. However, when what I'm picking up are barbie dolls, baby doll clothes, legos, and dirty clothes from the bathroom (that aren't mine) enough is enough!

Here's the game-plan!! The following chart is "What can get you minutes?". I came up with a few chores all the kiddos can do or help with and assigned minutes to them. (Sorry you have to turn your head to read it, forgot to turn it right-side up.)

Once they have completed the chore, they come tell me, I inspect the work, and said minutes are rewarded. If they do things on their own, they get rewarded with extra minutes. We started this morning and so far, they are working very hard to earn some play minutes for the evening and weekends:) This is what they did in their first hour of being awake this morning.
Kinda hard to see I know, but each of them have earned over 40 minutes of electronic playtime. The best part, I didn't have to ask, beg, or yell to get any of it done.

Now, before anyone says, "they're kids, come on, they need their playtime!" I ask you REALLY? They NEED endless, unending, unsupervised computer or game time? I just don't think so. You're right, they are kids and need their playtime which is why time actually spent playing with toys is not part of this deal. I just don't feel that spending all evening/day on a computer or game system is helping them in anyway. I realize they enjoy it, so I'll not put a complete stop to it. However, it will be controlled and monitored. That's my job as MOM!!! I realize I messed up before by not having controlled limits from the beginning, but this is my fix it and I hope I can stick to it. I'm notorious for starting these kinds of projects and letting them slip into extinction:( Again, my fault and I'm working on it!!!

Sorry this turned into one LONG blog. I guess it probably needs a better title to include everything. Something more like, Mom messed up and here's the fix-it plan!! Oh well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

BIG Announcement

So, it's been quite some time since I've made a post. Blogging takes up more time and creativity than I thought. I guess my life is just not that exciting - well usually isn't. Right now, the family is pretty excited to announce Baby #6!! That's right, number 6!!! And here's the first peek.

That's my little peanut right there. Of course in the ultrasound, I was 8 weeks. I am now 13 weeks :) After 3 previous miscarriages, I was a bit leery of making the big announcement, but I think/hope/pray it's safe now.

We told the other 5 last week and as usual, I didn't have my camera ready, but should have. You would think after 5 children I would have learned that lesson already!!! But NO!! Anyway, the older 4 are very excited, and Mini-ME just isn't sure what all the excitement is about. She loves babies. We have 3 little ones in our church right now, and she's all over them. I'm just not sure how she'll feel about one in her very own space. Time will tell huh?

Well, I've made all the appropriate family calls and felt it now safe to declare it over the web. What better way than my all too often forgotten web page? Maybe then it'll at least get a few family hits that want to follow the pregnancy :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Favorite Time of Year: FALL

This is absolutely one of my favorite times of year(the other being spring). The weather is almost perfect, and you can see the thought and beauty in God's creation everywhere you look. I love to watch the leaves change color and give a new look to the trees and mountains. When you see such colors in nature, how can you not believe that the one true God put thought and effort into our creation?

I enjoy decorating for fall. I love all the colors you get to use and put together. The reds, yellows, oranges, and browns all blend and look so good together. This is the first year I've had an actual display outside. Usually, I just put out a couple pumpkins and other little decorations, but this year I went all out. There was a little place around the corner that had beautiful mums in decorative pots 3 for 20$. I couldn't pass that up. So, I used them as the backdrop to my display. I think it turned out pretty well for my first true display attempt!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fizzed Out On the Countdown

Well, as you can see, I fizzled out on the countdown. Things just got so busy around here, I didn't even have time to get on the computer. DISLIKE!!! But, like everyone else now, we are in full swing with the schooling. No, my classroom isn't done!!! I didn't really expect it to be, just wishful thinking. The money seems to run our before the ideas do. OH WELL.

We are trying something new this year, online schooling for the two older boys. So far, so good. It's been an absolute time saver for me. It's so hard to get 4 different grade levels all taught in a day. The boys log on in the morning and have about an hour of work left after lunch. The girls and I are usually done before lunch unless baby sister is a big interruption, which sometimes happens.

The two Princesses with their first completed project. Our Creation Book.

Mr. Gamer doing his online schooling. Looks thrilled huh?

This is our second week and I think it will be a good year. It's going to take some getting use to for the boys, but I think they'll like it in the end. And, of course, I've already had one person say to me,"I just don't like sitting my kids in front of the tv or computer for hours at a time." Well, the instructions are online and they do have a couple hours of listening to the instructions. The rest is hands on work just like regular school. The only difference is I'm not the one standing there reading the teacher's manual to them like in the past. It just saves me some time. When you work part-time and homeschool, you are always looking for ways to save school time and get in more family time. Nothing wrong with that right?

Well, I hope everyone has a great year!! Again, sorry for the fizzled out countdown. I should have known I wouldn't be able to get on the computer every day. I get computer time in spurts. The good news is, at least now we have another computer to fight over. That'll be a different post. HAPPY FALL TO ALL!!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Streusel Coffee Cake

As you all know, I look for simple and quick recipes. I found this delicious and EASY coffee cake recipe at the Betty Crocker website. It takes only minutes to mix together and bakes in 18-22 minutes (with my hot oven-it only takes 15 minutes).

So, let's get to it!!!

Cinnamon Streusel

1/3 cup Original Bisquick mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons firm butter or margarine

Coffee Cake

2 cups Oringinal Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 9-inch round pan. In small bowl, stir streusel ingredients until crumbly; set aside.

2. In medium bowl, mix coffee cake ingredients until blended. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with streusel.

3. Bake 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Delicious golden brown!!! YUMMY!!!!!

Now, I don't drink coffee!! But, this was just as good with a tall glass of milk. All the kids ate it and there wasn't any left for daddy when he got home. I had to make another one. Since it was so easy, making another one wasn't a problem.

Hope you enjoy!!!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget

I remember exactly where I was. Do you? I had just finished a twelve hour shift at the local hospital. I was stopping at the grocery store when I heard on the radio the first plane had hit. I called my husband and he turned our tv to the news. At first, it was thought a horrible accident. Every one was talking about, "the horrible accident". The talk quickly changed to attack when the second plane hit. I immediately headed home. I sat on the couch, glued to the television. I held and hugged my two boys as tight as I could. I called my mom to make sure they had heard the awful news (which I was sure they had since their tv was usually tuned to FOX news).

I stayed awake for hours watching the news. The next couple of days were lived in disbelief. Though the majority of Americans don't live in constant fear today, we still remember. We pause to remember the lives lost on that day, the firefighters and rescue workers that bravely ran into those burning buildings to do their job, and all the families who never heard from their loved ones again.

September 11, 2001 will forever be burned in every Americans mind, as well it should be. Most Americans, including myself, had been living a life of complacency. We were under the impression that we couldn't be touched here at home. That day forever changed that attitude. Even today, we live knowing the possibility of another attack on home soil is not only possible, but probable. The hatred for the American people was evident that day and as far as I can tell, the sentiment has not changed.

Life goes on today, football games will be played, baseball games will be played and work will continue on. However, we will ALWAYS REMEMBER and NEVER FORGET 9/11 nor the pain and awakening that it caused.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back To School Countdown - Curriculum

Well, it has all started here. The schools are back in swing, and my kids are patiently waiting for us to get started (actually, they're hoping I just forget all about it hahaha!). I plan on starting the day after Labor Day. Since this is the odd year (2011), we won't be going to Florida for two weeks, so I don't need the extra time on the calendar.

Since we have a start date, it's time to get all the books together. We're going to try something new this year with the older ones, online curriculum. It's so hard sometimes to get all the subjects done with all the kids everyday!! So, I thought we'd give the online thing a try.

I picked up the last of the school books this morning. I love that we live so near to BJU and their press distribution center. I ordered Mr. Helper's books online and picked them up this morning (saved some money on shipping YAY). I still need to get the books from two years ago out for the younger ones coming into those grades, and get last years put away for the future. It seems like there's a never ending cycle of putting things away and getting things out(happens with our clothes too).

This year, we're using a mixture of curriculum for the two that aren't online. I decided to try a science curriculum that the two (1st grade and 3rd grade) could do together. I borrowed Christian Kids Explore Biology, from my sister-in-law. She used it last year for her 2nd and 3rd graders. I'm hoping it works well for both the Princesses. I'm also using LifePac for their history and geography instead of BJU. I looked for things that I thought we would be able to do together as much as possible.

Now, all that is left is to get everything in the room and organized, still waiting on those rooms downstairs to get all done. I'm hoping (and praying) that we get everything done in the next 2 weeks and can start in our new classroom instead of at the kitchen table. Regardless, school start date for my 4 homeschool students is September 7, 2010.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back To School Countdown

For those of you who don't know me personally, this is my 4th year homeschooling. A little background, after struggling to keep the bills paid and the three older kids in Christian School, my husband and I decided to try homeschooling. The first year was an absolute learning experience. The second year went a little smoother, but also involved the birth of my fifth child right at the beginning of the school year. Last year I finally felt like things were coming together, and I already had in my mind what I wanted to change for this year......So, I'm going to do this countdown in a serious of posts. The first being, getting my classroom back!!

When I first started homeschooling, I had a room in the basement that I cleaned out and used as our classroom. At the end of our 2008-2009 school-year, my husband decided to remodel our entire basement in an effort to give us more usable space. He decided to put the master bedroom and bathroom and another bedroom in the basement as well as a laundry room. Then, I would have one of the rooms upstairs as a classroom. Well, the master bedroom and bath is FINALLY finished. It only lacks a coat of paint and the carpet (minor details).

Long story short, in the next two weeks, my husband has to work full-time, paint two rooms, move bedroom furniture and whatever else I think of. I just don't have high hopes for all of that to get done. None-the-less, I will be starting school the Tuesday after Labor Day, even if it's at the kitchen table like last year. The bright side is, that by the end of this year, I will have a designated class room for our little homeschool.

Part two will be my curriculum plan. I'd better get things started. Lots to do in the next couple of weeks; 4 different grade levels make for a lot of materials.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hard to Say Goodbye

My children are in a state of sadness. Their best friends in this world are moving to California!! Try answering, "Are we ever going to see them again?" with tears running down their little eyes. I just don't even know where to begin with that. Do I answer honestly and say, "Well, most likely not"? Their little hearts are already breaking.

It was hard for my boys when we made the decision to homeschool, they had spent their first three school years in traditional Christian school and had made friends (none of which they have kept in touch with). Then, we met a family so similar to ours it was amazing; 5 children and a homeschool family. The kids were all very close in age. We all were very excited, and the kids got along very well.

The kids have spent the past two days together, playing and making memories. Hubby and I have done our best to help out with both the moving and keeping the kids entertained. I still don't know how to answer their question. I do believe with the internet and all the technology of today, they can stay in touch. I know I'm going to do my best to let them try.

I know losing your best friend is not easy, and we will surely miss them. But, I have no doubt that God will bring someone into our lives here to help fill this void we are feeling. I also know that God will make their adjustments as smooth as possible since they are following God's will for their lives. I cannot be sad about that.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grandma's Waffles

I'm about an 8 hour drive from both my husband's and my family. So, we try to make our time with family special. We don't get together for everyone's birthdays, or get to enjoy Sunday afternoon dinners, or have grandma's at our soccer games. Not because we don't want to, we just aren't able with this >400 mile distance between us. However, there are some very precious memories made during those trips, and I'd like to share one of them.

My mom battled cancer for 16 years before she lost the battle in 2008( a little sad, but it gets better I promise). However, when we came in with the grandchildren, there were times you wouldn't even have guessed she had cancer. One of the things she always did for us while we were there was fix a BIG breakfast. It was more like a brunch actually because it was always around 10:30 or 11:00 before we all sat down to eat. One of our favorites was her homemade waffles. I always had the privilege of eating them, but until my husband and children always praised her for them, I had taken them for granted. I can honestly say, there were very few times in my childhood days that I had to eat one of those frozen, stick it in the toaster waffles, YUCK!!! As a matter of fact, after my mom fixed hers for the kids, they wouldn't eat the frozen ones anymore either.

The most amazing part, they're not that hard!!! Here goes:
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups milk
4 eggs (beaten)
6-8 tbsp melted butter (I usually use the whole 8, it seems to help keep them from sticking)

Mix all together and you're ready to go. I use my mom's cast iron waffle iron, aren't I lucky? After my mom died, that's one of the first things I asked for, because it's one of the first things my kids said they'd miss; "Grandma's waffles". If you have the cast iron, I do them about 4 minutes on each side, the time varies greatly depending on your stove and what you use to make them in. Of course, the electric waffle irons beep when they're ready ( that's what I used before the cast iron).
They always turn out a beautiful golden brown!!

Pour on some maple syrup and ENJOY!!!!

And for those of you whole like to add fruit, I always make hubby's with blueberries. I do his last and add about a 1/2 cup of blueberries. If you're going to do all of them with blueberries, 1 1/2 -2 cups would do it.

This one was mine and it was a little sparse on the blueberries. Hubby and oldest son put more in theirs. It was delicious none the less.

The best part, if you have extra (which I never do), you can freeze them and pop those in the toaster. If I had a waffle from the toaster when I was young, that was the reason. When mom made them on Saturdays, whatever was left, she froze for use to eat during the week before school. So, it wasn't leggo my eggo for me, these were/are much, much better.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

An absolute favorite in this house is muffins!! We love them, all kinds. On my journey to make more foods from scratch, this was one of my first efforts. I will say, it is a bit more complicated than the box mix, but well worth it. The recipe is called "To Die For Blueberry Muffins" and they are delicious!!! The recipe can be found at

Don't those look yummy?
The recipe makes 12 muffins, but my children had already tore into them before I got the picture, so that's why there are only 7 pictured. I told you they were good!!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups of line with muffin liners.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour half all-purpose, half white whole wheat)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb topping ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar To make crumb topping: melt butter, then mix in
1/3 cup flour sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Benefits of a Large Family

It's happened to me more than once. I'm walking through Wal-Mart with my 5 children and inevitably, someone is caught counting, or will even ask me "are all of those yours?" . I find it annoying and amusing all at the same time.

This week, I've discovered yet another benefit of a large family. We have spent the past week with family in WV. Some have called it a vacation, but I've worked harder here than at my own house. My in-laws have a wood buring stove and use it quite a lot in the winter to help with the heating costs. It gets cold in WV! Well, my father-in-law has not been feeling well, and had a whole pile of wood in the back to stack for this winter (wish I had taken a picture of that). My hubby, being the good man he is, wanted to help. For three mornings, we stacked firewood. The very first day, the kiddos wore out quickly so, hubby started THE LINE. We lined the kids up and passed the logs down to daddy to be stacked, that worked out very well and the kiddos didn't complain near as much. Again, I wish I had gotten a picture but, I was in the line.

My hubby had heard and adopted the saying "Many hands make light work". He had heard it in a Sunday School Lesson at church and it absolutely fits our family. With everyone helping, what might have taken many, many hours only took about 6. They also got the added benefit of feeling good about helping someone out. What a blessing!!!!

Here is the crew line having some fun after the work was done (well, all except me of course, I was taking the picture as usual). Yes, they are all mine, except the oldest girl is our niece, she was a big helper too. Even the baby, peaking out around dad, carried her fair share of wood.
John Heywood

Monday, July 19, 2010

Living In The Dark Ages

This title is courtesy of my sister-in-law.

I recently went to visit my dad in WV. I grew up out in the country, way out according to today's standards. I can hardly believe I grew up without internet, cell phones, or cable tv, and I think I turned out ok. My children had a hard time believing it too. Today however, my dad has gotten dish tv, so at least they had some tv channels to watch.

Today is the world of technology, even children who can't drive yet have cell phones. Now, my question is, if they can't drive, why on earth do they need a cell phone. I mean where are they going to be that they do not have access to a phone? That statement gets me in a lot of trouble, seeing as how most everyone I know gets their children cell phones. My poor children will have to wait until they need one, and by that I mean driving on their own. They aren't anywhere that they can't ask an adult to call their parents. Tough I know.

My brother however made the comment while we were at Dad's that he was going anti-technology. I got to thinking about that. I just don't see how I could, isn't that sad? I mean, we use our cell phones as our home phones, and who can do without facebook and blogging??? I do think however, that for the rest of the summer, the computer, video systems, and cable tv will be extremely limited in my house. I mean, they made it a week at camp without any of those things and actually had FUN. Can you believe it, fun without a video game or cell phone? Well, we're going to try it again at home. I'll let you know how it goes. I believe I will wait until it's not so hot in SC, maybe around September or October. I want them to be able to go outside and enjoy themselves.

Living life in the dark ages wasn't so bad. Life was so much simpler then, if you stop and think about it. I'm having one of the nostalgic moments where I wish things hadn't changed so much. Then again, my life is so blessed right now, I wouldn't change that either.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On The Road Again! Travel Tip #1

In the past two months, we have logged over a thousand miles on the interstate. Though our residence is in South Carolina, our "hearts" are in WV. Most of our family still reside there, and during the summer months, we spend a lot of time going back and forth. Yesterday, hubby and I traveled back up to pick up the kiddos. Our two boys are at camp and the little girls stayed with Grandma. Our traveler this time though was our German Sheperd, Bella.

Now usually, I travel with a bag (for car sickness), a roll of paper towels and some type of cleaner. I have a little girl that gets car sick and has since she was just a newborn, poor thing. But, I didn't grab all of that stuff since the kiddos weren't with us. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! Bella has traveled with us every time we've come to WV since we got her last August. However, this time, she evidently got into the garbage the night before and ate the leftover squash and carrots. Needless to say, going 70+mph on the interstate did not agree with her. So, because of my lack of preparedness, we had to stop at a gas station (in a not so nice area) and buy paper towels and some cleaner. LESSON LEARNED, even though we did not have kiddos, I have decided to make a little caddy with garbage bags, paper towels, and carpet/fabric cleaner, and just keep it in the van at ALL times. I'm also thinking that I need to be sure and put the garbage out of puppy reach the night before :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Maple Orange-Glazed Pork Chops

Being tired of the same ole' things, I've been trying some new recipes. Some I've liked, some, not so much!! However, this one was great. I've always had trouble with pork chops, unless they were fried. That method though is not so good for my waist line. So, this summer, I've been grilling almost everything. These had a great flavor and I managed to not over cook them.

Printed from Pork Chop Recipes at
Maple and orange are spiced up with a dash of chili powder to create a saucy glaze worthy of any grilled
meat. Cooked until just done, these juicy chops are perfect served alongside a crispy salad and fruity dessert.

2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 1-inch thick

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, orange juice, and chili powder.
3. Season both sides of chops with salt and pepper and brush generously with glaze.
4. Place on grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until no longer pink.
Author: Kim Stakal

Don't those look delicious? They sure were. I served them with the caramelized butternut squash, green beans and corn on the cob. Delicious and nutritious dinner!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Magical Birthday Party

As hard as it is to believe, Princess 1 and Princess 2 both had a birthday last week. It's a fascinating story, but I'll give you the short version. Three beautiful princesses were born on July 8, two of them in the same year, and one 2 years later. Two of my girls share a birthday with their cousin, how cool is that? Well, for now, they think it's great. Every year, we have a combined birthday party for them and this year was a magic party. It was a very busy week last week. Our house has been under construction and we RUSHED to get things put together presentably. However, the party was a huge hit. I tried my hand at making the birthday cake for the very first time. I found this idea on the web, and I must say, it turned out rather nicely.

Not too bad for the first time, huh?

We were also fortunate enough to get a very good magician. I was a little skeptical when my husband came home one day and said what we were doing for the girls birthday this year, but it all turned out very well. Magic by Marty was very good. He had the kids mesmerized from the very beginning (well, all except the little ones). Even the adults were paying close attention!!! He did a great job getting the kids involved in the show.

It was a great party, and I think the three little girls would agree with that. They had a blast.

They're already planning next years party.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Caramelized Butternut Squash

I recently have been making a conscious effort to feed my family more fruits, vegetables, and homemade foods. Mostly because our oldest daughter, Princess 1, has developed multiple food allergies. It all started about 2 years ago, she broke out in these awful hives. They looked awful and drove her crazy!!! At the time, we thought it was the dyes in foods and drinks, since then, we have discovered it is the high fructose corn syrup that seems to be causing the problem. We closely monitor what she eats and anytime she has something with high fructose corn syrup, we will see the hives shortly. So, I have been surfing the web and trying multiple new recipes. I found this one on I was tired of the same ole thing: green beans, corn, peas and potatoes. I grew up on those staples and that seemed to be what I turned to in my cooking. So, I'm branching out, and these were delicious!!!!

2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.

Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

On the back of our church bulletin this morning was a poem, I would like to share it with you.

Jesus on the 4th of July

We gather 'round to celebrate on Independence Day
Pay homage to our country as the children run and play.

With barbecues and picnics and fireworks in the air
The flag we own is proudly flown to show how much we care.

The stars and stripes spell freedom she waves upon the breeze
While bursts of colors can be seen above the towering trees.

This is all quite wonderful we revel in delight
But God above in divine love has brought this day to light.

With just a stroke of liberty a touch of His great hand
He gave democracy to us and helped this country stand.

The stripes upon our stately flag were touched by His sweet grace
Each star of white that shines so bright reflects His loving face.

So as you turn to face the flag for battles that were fought
Filled with pride for those who died and freedoms that were bought.

But don't forget to thank the One who gives the bright display
The reason why we paint the sky on Independence Day

By: Marilyn Ferguson

I hope all take the time today to appreciate the freedoms we have in this country and especially the men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much for those freedoms. Most importantly, thank God for giving us this land and all the freedoms we've been privileged to have. I have frequently heard the statement;

Please remember only two defining
forces have ever offered to die for you...JESUS CHRIST and the AMERICAN
SOLIDER. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

I can say it no better.

Wishing you and yours and very Happy 4th of July. Never take for granted this beautiful country we live in!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bicycle Safety

I'm not going to share the usual kids need to wear helmets here. I have an entirely different issue to talk about. I most recently about ran over a bicyclist, not intentionally of course, but it happened none the less. I live in a very bicycle populated area. More and more people are choosing to ride bikes for economical, environmental and health reasons. I'm okay with all of that. The problem I have is, some of them do not believe they should have to obey the rules of the road. I have encountered this on multiple occasions. Once, I was sitting at a stop light and had a bicyclist ride around me and go through the light. The issue I spoke about earlier where I almost hit one was very similar. I was at a 4 way stop and it was my turn to go when a bicyclist came around me on the driver's side and sped through the 4 way turning left. Not only was this man not obeying the rules of the road, but had no safety gear on whatsoever. If you're going to ride like that, you better at least wear a helmet because eventually someone is going to hit you!!! I did some research because I honestly just wasn't sure what the rules were for a bicyclist riding on the road. Here's just one statement that I found for SC: Rights and duties of bicyclists generally.

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter,

It continues on with specifics, but this was enough for me. I realize, I should give bicyclist their privilege to ride on the road, but they in return should obey the rules of the road.

I continue on with the fact that these rules need to be taught to children. Today's children seem to think everyone else should be looking out for them. When I was a child and occasionally got to ride my bike on the road, my mom said, "Get off the road when a car comes!!" My mom might have been a little excessive, but the theory is the same, get out of the way of the car!!! Too many times, I've heard of children being hit because a driver didn't see them. We need to teach our children to be aware. If they aren't responsible enough to pay attention to things around them and ride the bike, maybe they need to stay in their own yard. We can't control what other people do, but we can control ourselves. It is our responsibility to make sure whatever we are doing is done safely and by the rules!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Take On Nap Time

All of my little blessings have been different, but one thing is the same - they all REQUIRED naps. Today though, I found out a new reason for the little ones naps that I had never thought about before; OLDER SIBLING RELIEF. Though all my children love each other (most of the time), they have spoiled Mini-Me excessively!!! They are very good about including her in most everything they do. But, like mommy, they need a break! So, yet another IMPORTANT reason for baby and toddler nap time .

Princess 1 and Princess 2 playing on the computer, without little sister pushing buttons :)

Mr Gamer, playing video games, without little sister pushing buttons :)
Mr. Helper playing a video game with Mr. Gamer without little sister pushing buttons, sitting on their laps, or standing in front of the tv :)

As a mother of 5, I have had my share of nap-time nightmares. Finally, after number 5, I think I have it figured out:
1. Have a consistent time for naps. Try not to schedule things during little ones nap time.
2. Have a nap time routine. For instance, we get a drink; find the binky, blankie, and spot(her little stuffed Dalmation); then I let her turn on her music; get and give kisses; then I put her in the crib.
3. Use nap time to your advantage also. Mini-Me's nap time is when we get most of our school work done, because she's not trying to "help" everyone.

Mini-Me taking a much needed afternoon nap :D

Monday, June 28, 2010

Turning Into Our Parents

We've all said it at one time in our life right, "I won't ever do that to my kids"? Well, I did! Recently, I've been finding that I too have turned into my mother. Don't misunderstand, I'm not speaking ill of my mother. I love her very much and miss her very much since she went to be with the Lord two years ago. But, since her passing, I have found myself really watching how I parent, and turns out, I find a lot of the things I do are just like her. Today, my thoughts are on pets.

I distinctly remember growing up wanting a indoor kitten so badly, I cried and had a neighbor bring one over so my mom couldn't refuse in front of the neighbor boy (sneaky huh?). Well, it worked, I got my first indoor kitten. I heard the typical statements from Mom, "She can stay in the house as long as you clean up after her?" Well, I was in 7th grade at the time, and a busy little girl, cheerleading, band, basketball, etc...... Soon enough, my mom had enough and out went the kitten. I was heartbroken. Now, keep in mind, she didn't make me get rid of her, just put her outside.

Now, I've been through my share of pets, cats, dogs, fish, guinea pigs, and even a rabbit. Currently, we only have 2 cats and a dog, as I too had to thin out the pets. I did no harm to any of them. I gave the ones that outlasted me away!! This morning though, after vacuuming up enough animal fur out of my house to create another pet in my vacuum, I'm starting to understand my mom's reasoning for NO PETS IN THE HOUSE!!!!

It has all come full circle. I'm the one now saying NO MORE PETS IN THE HOUSE. I can't bring myself to throw out my 16 year old cat (the guilt would break me if something happened to her outside). But, I'm here to tell you, NO MORE. When these cats are gone, the only cats you'll find at my house will be outside. And as for the dog, my husband is working on an outside kennel to keep her in when we're not home. There have been some pets missing in our neighborhood and we don't want her stolen. She is full-blooded German Sheperd and cost us too much money to disappear. Not too mention, we all do love her. I am just tired of all the fur and dirt in my house!!!

So, it is true!! I have turned into my mom. However, I have also come to realize, that's not a bad thing! My parents loved me and did their absolute best. I can give my children no less, and am very thankful for the example I grew up with. I'm glad some of it rubbed off on me, and I can only hope that some of it rubs off on them!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting on the Blogger Band-wagon

Well, I've done it. I got on the blogger band-wagon. I have a couple of friends who blog regularly, and thought that it was a great way to share and keep in touch. The title Blessed Beyond All Measure sums up my life. I am a Child of the King and God has blessed my life unbelievably and most undeserved. Psalms 103:2 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:" I can not even begin to tell you anything about myself without first saying, "All I have is what God has given me and I'm thankful for it." Good and bad, all things happen for a reason and I try to take that little lesson and apply it to my everyday life.

As I said in the About Me section, I'm a very simple person. I try to make things as easy as possible for myself. I've learned a lot from other sites and hope to maybe share a few things I've learned on my own (usually the hard way) with others.

A simple introduction : I am wife to Thad, mother of Mr. Helper, Mr. Gamer, Princess 1 and Princess 2 and then there's Mini-Me. You counted right, 5 in all. I homeschool the 4 oldest while trying to keep Mini-Me entertained and out of their way (I'll get into that later). I am also a Registered Nurse.

So, hopefully, I can get a lot of helpful tips and share some of my hard-learned lessons with others.