Monday, December 31, 2012

Broken Toes, Cadbury Eggs, and Christmas

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

We managed to have a pretty good one despite me falling down the stairs and damaging my big toe (I think braking it).

Evidently Santa got his holidays mixed up because I got Cadbury Eggs in my stocking.  Or the stores are just crazy enough to run Christmas/New Years/Valentine's Day/Easter all together.  Say it ain't so!

Oh well, I got Cadbury Eggs.

The girls' favorite gift has been the doll house Justin and I made them.  Due to illness, it lacks a bit being finished, but they've been playing with it regularly, so we haven't taken it to finish it up yet.  The stairs and edging are waiting to go in though.

Justin built, painted, and stained the house, and I bought the furniture from a woman who used it as a child herself.  I papered, floored, and made mattresses and bed linens.  The girls were with me the day I picked the paper (and each actually chose the paper for 'her' own bedroom, not knowing what it was for).

Nate's favorite gift has been Duplo blocks.  My sister got him a set for his birthday and he enjoyed them so much he got more for Christmas.  My parents got him a large set of blocks and we got him a fire station set.  They have been used every day.

Here his men are putting out a fire in a house I built.

The kids favorite gift they all got were little foam dart guns.  Nate got a bigger one and the girls and Justin each got a smaller one for defense.

They like shooting at the walls to see them stick.

My favorite gift of the year was The Jesus Storybook Bible.  We've been reading from it every night.  I love the wording and the illustrations.  It is beautiful.  I'm not affiliated with the company and don't get any money from it, but I highly recommend this book--I caught it half off at LifeWay, which was a great price and I've been told they run that special quarterly or so.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


My Daddy was the third of six children. There were two older girls and my father is the oldest of the four boys.  Many years ago, when I was in high school, the oldest, my Aunt Carolyn died.  Yesterday, his younger brother David left us too.

My Uncle David loved the littles.  He would cuddle a baby, toss a toddler, or press a squealing child up against the ceiling in my Grannie's living room.

Napping with a baby Gabby

Hanging out with Nate

He was a kind man, who enjoyed a lively debate with his brothers.

He was married to his wife, Cyndi, since before I have memory.

He was a husband.  The father of a teenage boy.  A son.  A brother.  An uncle, great uncle, and great-great uncle many times over.  A Boy Scout leader. A coach.  A friend.

In loving memory.

Monday, December 17, 2012


(Alternately Titled A Loose Screw)

What goes up must come down and in this case what went in must come out.  Kate's broken arm was repaired by the placement of a screw to hold the dislodged bone with the growth plate to the rest of her bone.  Hardware obviously doesn't belong in our body and in this case, with the rapid growth of childhood, the screw was best removed before the bone grew over it and it could not be retrieved.

Kate had surgery a week and a half ago to remove the screw.  This time we just went to an outpatient surgery center (there was no room in the inn last time, so we were at the hospital).  She took Beary, the teddy bear that I fixed up with a sling and gave her after her first surgery, with her.  When she woke up, the nurses had wrapped Beary's arm to match hers.  It was very sweet.

This recovery (as promised) has been much easier.  Well, except for one thing, since she's not in pain, afraid of movement, and immobilized by splints much of the time, it is harder to get the incision to heal.  At her one week follow up, the surgical glue was peeling horribly and the incision was weepy.  The nurse fixed her up with steri-strips, we were given a script for an antibiotic due to some redness and a bump at the place the screw was extracted), and we were sent on our way.  Discharged from care unless she has a problem!

The next evening, as I was making dinner (one of 10 or so evenings Justin isn't home for dinner a year), she announces one of the steri-strips was loose, so she pulled it off.  I fed the littles dinner and headed out to the pharmacy to buy more steri-strips.  I wasn't even sure I could buy them, but thankfully they were there.  She's patched up with 'tape' yet again.

We'll have to watch her arms as she grows, but the doctor is confident that the growth plate was not damaged and it is obvious that her movement is not bothered at all thanks to all the physical therapy.

And that (loose) screw, it now lives in my curio cabinet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not Fair

Back at Kate's birthday I got her a journal to pass back and forth.  A place to write me questions so I could take some time and think out true, meaningful answers.  I wouldn't ever share what she writes to me, but here is a note I wrote to her.  One that is true for anyone who might wonder why life isn't fair...

Dear Katie,

You are right. Life is not fair. You remember at the very beginning of the Bible, Adam and Eve sinned, right? Ever since then, the world has not been fair.

I’m sure you’re thinking of things like someone getting more cookies or extra time playing. And those things, daddy and I try to keep fair. They aren’t equal—you and your brother and sister are different ages and sizes, you all will have different things you like to do, and sometimes different things will just happen to be available.  

Here’s the truth of it all though—that’s not what is really unfair. Do you know what is really not fair? We messed up. Do you know what should happen to us because we sinned? We should be separated from God forever. But in the biggest not fair thing ever, Jesus, who lived the perfect life, without any sin, died like we should have—all because God wants you to be with Him. It was not fair. It was the most unfair thing ever. 

Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you will not get what you want. Sometimes you won’t get what you deserved. And sometimes, sweetheart, that is a very good thing. I’m sorry you don’t live in a perfect world, but because you have Jesus, who loves you more than Daddy and I ever can, some day you will get to go to heaven and everything will be right again.

Here’s a Bible passage to look up too. (Matthew 20:1-16) I’ll help you if you can’t find it. We’ve read it with Daddy before, and maybe you’ll remember that the workers all got the wages they agreed to. They all got the same pay, even though some of them worked many more hours. It isn’t equal to the hours they worked, but Jesus said it is fair. It helps us understand we all get to go to heaven, even though some people have been Christians since before they remember and others didn’t love Jesus until later—we all loved him and all get to go because He loves us and died for our sins. Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you glad that everything doesn’t have to be fair?

Love always,

It is scandalous.  Truly.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Funnies

When Kate was two and Gabby was new, my parents got them a Little People Nativity set.  They have been a favorite of every December since.  The animals have been taught not to eat from the manger, the holy family has ridden in a pirate ship, and the baby Jesus has been stolen.

This year I pulled it out to a chorus of glee.  That was short lived as both Gabby and Nate wanted to have exclusive rights to all of the people and animals we had representing the stable of Bethlehem.  After a day or so of turn taking, over seen by Mama, they finally got to the point they could play together.

Gabby, talking for Mama Mary, as she is called at our house, says, "Kiss me, you are my husband."

Nate, taking up a growling voice to represent Daddy Joseph, answers, "I wanna knock 'em all over."

Ah, the differences in how little girls and little boys play!

*     *     *     *     *

As I was putting lotion on Nate, "My legs are so boo-tiful and bright!"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In Hot Water

On Friday afternoon I piled all the kids into the van, which is parked in the driveway instead of the garage because of Christmas surprises.  I slide into the driver's seat...and I see water gushing from under the garage door.

Oh dear.

I opened the door and found that hot water was rapidly escaping our water heater.  I eventually got the water turned off and stopped the hemorrhaging   Justin spent his Saturday replacing the water heater and Sunday trying to catch up on all the work he had to put off.

So, I'm thankful for a husband who is willing and able to fix things like this, and I'm very thankful for a nice hot shower!

Monday, November 19, 2012

In on the Secret...

Kate was asking hard questions.  Questions about why Santa didn't give gifts to those who get Shoe Boxes and goats.  Why some children get so little and others so much.  So I took my curly headed oldest out on a date.

We bought our advent candles and then settled into a coffee shop, rather than the McDonald's she had her eye on, in hopes not to ruin any small children's Christmas dreams.  We talked about St. Nicholas.  She excitedly told me that she knew all about him and his coins down the chimney.

Then I asked her what happened when people got old.  First she answered, "They look different?" (ala Santa).  Then I asked what eventually happened.  A question formed on her face, "They die?"

Ah, yes.  St. Nicholas died a long, long time ago.  I explained that we use Santa to teach children about St. Nicholas and the giving of gifts.  She asked lots of questions and found out that all kinds of adults are in on the whole thing.

I was so glad I got to tell her, not some mean kid teasing her.  I'm trying to get her on board with keeping the littles in the dark until I can take them out for a hot cocoa and a cheese danish some day, when they are asking those hard questions.

I told her that I told my own little sister.  She asked if I knew better.  When I told her I did know, she was shocked.  Her Mama wasn't perfect as a little girl.  I told her I also upset Aunt Holly greatly, and I hoped she would do better than I did.  We'll see!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nate is Three!

Three?!  I can't believe that our littlest is three years old today.  I have such clear memories of that day--such beautiful weather, such bad traffic...  I don't think I'll ever remember that day without being thankful for a friend who insisted she stay with us that morning so that my little gals weren't caught in that traffic jam as we scrambled to the hospital!

Raising a boy has been so fun.  He loves dirt

and trains.  He was so sad when this ride ended.

He's the one that runs his head into things and bleeds in my lap.

He also loves taking care of 'Baby' (the teddy bear).

He often hangs out with the girls while they do school.

He's so cool,

And he adores girls.  That is a good thing, since he is constantly surrounded with his sisters and all their friends.  This young lady, he absolutely adores.  They are great sparing partners too.

He turns brooms into 'chine [machine] guns (you know, because I kept toy guns out of the house) and could turn jumping off of chairs into an Olympic sport.  He cuddles in my lap and calls me, 'my little Mama.'  He holds my heart in his little hand and causes it to skip beats.  He's my boy.

Happy birthday little man.  I pray that you will be a young man of integrity, a beacon of truth, and a man courageous enough to treat women as they ought to be treated, even when they do not do the same for you.  Luckily for you, you are getting plenty of training on that last one with two older sisters!  I can't wait to see what you become.  You tell me you want to be a daddy, a 'digger man,' and a firefighter.  We'll see where you path goes, but I love you always!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Banner of Verses

The kids and I have been working on a memory verse almost every week this year in school.  I didn't want us to forget the ones we had previously learned, do I copied each one on to a paper and made a wall hanging so that we can look back over them.

First, I cut my paper (card stock) to squares (6" x 6") and wrote the verses.

Then I placed scotch tape on each card at the top to protect it from ripping.

Then I stitched the paper onto a ribbon in the back with a button on the front.

I hung it on a pillar next to our front door, near where we school, so we can look back over them.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (ESV)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Water Cycle Model

When we studied water, I couldn't exactly build streams and rivers, though I did contemplate using the hose to simulate water flow, but instead I opted to used yarn.

The 'water' came down out of the mountain in streams, joined to make a river, fell as a water fall, and made a delta as it flowed into our lake.

This isn't ground breaking, but it was impressive to the littles and it gave a great 3D representation of water--oh, and I held the skein of yarn up to represent a cloud, so we got the rainfall/evaporation part covered too!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas Card Shopping

My family has been using Shutterfly/Tiny Prints for many years for photo ordering.  They have good prices and it is always nice to have a package on the doorstep instead of waiting at the photo counter with little ones.  Two years ago, we chose photo cards from them for the first time--and they were wonderful.  We have never had so much positive feedback on a Christmas card before.  Of course our kids are adorable, but the quality on these cards heavy paper was great too.

The customer service was great on those cards too, as we moved not too long before I ordered them and I forgot to change the shipping address.  We were able to remedy it with the excellent service they provided and get our cards out for Christmas.

Since it is November, I thought I'd share their Christmas Cards collection with you too, so you can make an order!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Christmas Cards Twinkling Hallelujah - Front : Cream

Flat Holiday Photo Cards Batik Damask - Front : Aqua

Flat Holiday Photo Cards Moments in Time - Front : Light Gray

Flat Holiday Photo Cards Tasteful Holidays - Front : Firecracker
Fun colors!

Don't forget to check for special promotions they offer here.

*I am receiving a coupon code, in exchange for my promotion of Tiny Prints, but all the opinions are my own.*

Friday, November 2, 2012

Back to Granola

Have you been reading about GMO corn?  It is getting a lot of bad press, and the studies are pretty condemning.  Corn is everywhere.  It is in so much of the prepared foods we purchase.  While I do a great deal of cooking, I do still buy things with corn in the mix--BBQ sauce, ketchup, and the one that has really been bugging me is cereal.  Condiments, those are occasional use, but cereal, the kids eat that on a regular basis.

I've never been one that would buy chocolate flavored cereal or the kind with the mini-marshmallows, as much as I remember enjoying them as a kid.  My kiddos had plenty enough energy without the extra sugar, plus add Justin's diabetes to the mix, we just don't do it.  After much cajoling and me checking the sugar content of a cereal, the kids convinced me to buy a cereal with pink icing.  It made me ill to pour it.  That was the last straw.  Ick.  They were going to eat that!

I went back hunting and found a granola recipe.  Most of the time I'm looking for ways to save our family money and this does cost more, corn crops are subsidized after all, but it isn't a ridiculous expense--I'm estimating it will cost $6.75 (plus any dried fruit or nuts we choose to add) as opposed to the $5.38 I paid for that icky stuff, for the same number of servings.

Here's the recipe I used as our basis--though I'm guessing it will take about 2 times that amount to feed the kiddos granola for 5 days.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Holly!

Happy birthday to my sister!!  You have made me a better mother because I grew up with you, and you are a wonderful aunt to the littles.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Someone at the girls gymnastics was giving out goody bags last night, so they all got these Vampire teeth.

Kate requested meatloaf tombstones (they say RIP) and ghostly mashed potatoes.

Here they are ready to Trick-or-Treat.
The Queen of Hearts, Spider-Man's Daughter, and the Fire Chief enjoyed their trip out and gathered plenty of goodies in the chilly night air.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October Quilt Update

I had taken a bit of a break from my quilt during the summer months, but my fingers have been busy again.

Well, I've got all the basic arcs made,

A whole slew of them!

Up next, I have to put end pieces on half of them, so they can form these 'melon' shapes.

Maybe Kate won't need to finish it, after all.