Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Are They Thinking, Anyway?

One of my sons, who shall remain nameless, asked me today: "Mom," sigh, "can I put a leash on Sweetie Pie?" - mind you this is his nine month old sister - "It would be so nice to take her for a walk... since we don't have a dog and all."


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sweet Words...

Someone gave us boxes of books the other day, seems as if everyone knows our status as book lovers.

Anyway, I found a little books among the others called How Shall I Tell My Child? by Mrs. Woodallen Chapman It was published in 1912. And, can you believe it, it's tells you word for word what to say to your child to explain the birds and the bees.

I really enjoyed this little excerpt, I think you will too.

"There's another reason why there must be fathers as well as mothers. You see, while the mother is carrying the baby in the little nest, and eating and breathing for him, and taking all possible care of herself that he may be well and strong, she couldn't very well be earning the money needed to take care of her and her baby, could she? And that's what father does. He earns the money, he takes special care of mother, for he knows that she is carrying within her body his own precious baby..."

When did things change so radically?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Ice Cream

If you haven't tried this, you should!

At first I was completely grossed out, who knows what is our polluted air that comes down with the snow, but my husband convinced me... he grew up making this every year.

Snow Ice Cream

1 gallon of snow
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups of milk
When new snow is falling, put a big bowl outside to catch it. When you have enough, add your ingredients, stirring in enough milk to make it the right consistency. Pass out spoons and eat right away! Your kids will love you. :)

BTW, these aren't even my kids, I found them on the Internet (I have yet to upload any snow pics)... but you can imagine that mine look pretty much the same, bundled up like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow man on Ghost Busters, whining that they are too hot / too cold / want to come in after you spent a half hour getting their thumb in the thumb hole of their mitten. Ah, the snow days, wet snow suits dripping and sleigh bells ringing! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Apple Cranberry Muffins

How 'bout some muffins for breakfast this morning? Maybe afternoon snack? These are warming in my oven for my little pumpkins when they get up today.

Apple Cranberry Muffins
2 cups white flour
1 cup wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups apples, diced
1 1/2 cups whole cranberries
1 cup nuts, chopped

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, leaving the last three for the end. Mix just until everything is combined. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. This recipe made 24 muffins for me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chicken Salsa Soup

Need some meal ideas? Try this soup- it's from a unique blog called A Year of Crockpotting - remember to soak your beans tonight and you'll be half way to dinner tomorrow.
Chicken Salsa Soup

--1 pound chicken (I used frozen breast tenderloins)

--1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)

--4 cups chicken broth

--1 cup sliced mushrooms--1 cup frozen corn

--1 jar prepared salsa (16 oz)

--1 1/2 tsp cumin

--1/2 cup sour cream (to stir in at the end)

--shredded cheddar cheese, avocado slices, cilantro (all optional)


I used a 6.5 quart crockpot. You will need a 4 quart or larger.

Soak the black beans in enough water to cover and another 2 inches overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse the beans. Put in the chicken, and add the broth and salsa. Pour in the corn and mushrooms, and add the cumin. Stir, but don't disturb the beans---let them stay at the bottom of the pot, closest to the heating element.Cover and cook on high for 9 hours.

If you'd like to thicken the broth (I did this), you can use your immersible blender (I love that thing) to blend a bit of the beans and chicken. If you don't have one, scoop out 2 cups of the soup and carefully blend in your traditonal blender. Stir the mixture back into the crockpot.

Stir in the 1/2 cup of sour cream before serving, and garnish with shredded cheese and avocado slices.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rights of the Child

A Letter (in part) from Michael Farris,President of ParentalRights.org.

Dear Friend of Parental Rights,

I was in the United States Senate this past week meeting with lawyers for a Senate office. They told me directly what I have been hearing indirectly on a regular basis ever since the election.Those who want to change family policy in America to comply with international law are preparing a full-scale effort to seek ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child during this next Congress. Barbara Boxer recently told a planning group that they intend to use children’s health care as leverage to seek ratification of this UN children’s rights treaty.Please link to our website to see a succinct summary of the problems with this UN treaty. The strength of their forces has been greatly increased with the addition of Hillary Clinton as the nominee for Secretary of State. She will have direct control over the submission of this treaty to the Senate and will acquire the authority under international law to sign any other treaty on any subject. Hillary Clinton was the person who made the announcement for the Convention on the Rights of the Child when her husband’s administration signed the treaty. Seeking its ratification is a lifelong dream for her.Our situation is grim if we were to look only at the position of the elected officials.However, recent post-election polling demonstrates that almost 70% of Americans do not believe that the use of international law in American courts on such matters is appropriate. Less than 20% favor the use of international law. (The rest are undecided). Virtually every sub-group in America opposes this kind of use of international law. America is on our side. However, we have to be able to get the word out to help people hear the truth about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.Our proposed Parental Rights Amendment will permanently stop this treaty. So we have a one-two punch planned for the internationalists....

...Here is what they are saying about us. At the hearing which featured Barbara Boxer, one of the speakers said that the people who will oppose this treaty are the “narcissistic sovereignty crowd.” In other words, those who love America first are so guilty of excessive self-love that he describes us as having the mental illness of narcissism. This is their real heart. Not only do they want international law to control our families. They think that we are mentally ill for loving America. It is time for those of us who believe in loving our families and loving America to rise up! We will not surrender this country or our children to such people.Get involved today! The battle is about to begin.

For God, family, and America,

Michael Farris

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowy Days

So what's with this cold snap anyway? The high for tomorrow is expected to be 7 degrees!
Make some hot cocoa, hunker down with your kids and read a good book.
A classic. Excellent for preschoolers.

My personal favorite. Both a mom and a dad present (and only one of each!) Very sweet story.
About an Amish family who help people in need.

Caught Red Handed!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hushed little voices whispering secrets everywhere!

Although we don't celebrate Christmas, we are helping the children to give each other gifts. This year Hanukkah falls during the same week as Christmas... we've been so busy! Trying to find time with the giving child when the receiving child isn't around has been quite difficult. Every nap time and spare moment we've rushed off to a secret room to plan and craft and sew and wrap.

Earlier this week I took Macho Man (who does not enjoy glue guns or ric rac) on a little trip to the dollar store. Carrying his jar of money up and down the isles he chose gifts for all of his siblings, his dad, the two grandparents that will be joining us for the holiday and Uncle Rusty who is staying with us at the moment. He kept putting things in the cart but then found something he thought would be better and had to trade for what he'd gotten earlier. He didn't really like any of my ideas but did make really good choices for each person. As soon as we got home he ran up with his purchases to madly wrap them and they are now being displayed on the mantle.

Creative Genius and Mr. Right have made the cutest little baby cradle for Girly Girl's dolls. They cut the wood and put it together. Each day they've been down to the basement to put another coat of paint on it. I went with my husband yesterday to the craft store where he spent quite a bit of time finding just the right stickers to complete the project. It was so sweet to watch him find just what he wanted in the flowers and hearts section. I never thought I'd be discussing the pros and cons of different shades of pink and the wonders of decoupage with him. He's putting as much of himself in to it as our six-year-old son is.

That same six-year-old and I sewed a pink baby blanket for Girly Girl's doll cradle. Creative Genius doesn't know it but it exactly matches the quilt I've made his sister. She'll be thrilled to find out that her babies have one too.

Creative Genius also helped to sew a "sleeping bag" for Speed Racer's new little boy doll that we found to give him at a thrift store. Speed Racer has been teased often for his "girl" dolls so we thought this would be perfect for him. To make the sleeping bag, we used bits and pieces of the left overs from S.R.'s quilt, so, his doll will also have a matching blanket.

My husband is also working with a child on a book shelf with a reading light for my oldest son to use on his top bunk bed. He's always reading and doesn't have anywhere to keep his books.

My two little ones will be making a couple of *Top Secret* projects for their big Sissy this week too.

I won't give away what that big Sissy is planning for the little ones in case she wants to blog about it but I have to say it is just adorable! I did take her to buy a gift for her dad last week that I know he'll love. It's so nice to see her empty her entire wallet to buy something that she knows someone else will enjoy. I am amazed that she works week after week (babysitting) to earn money and then, week after week, will spend it on other people.

This is one of the MANY benefits of having a big family. My children are so excited for the holiday. Not for what they will receive but they just can't wait to g-i-v-e. I am so blessed!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Linking Scripture to Discipline

We all want to discipline our children correctly. Discipline does not necessarily mean punishment - it is disciplining our children to walk as Jesus did.

Today I received Teri Maxwell's Mom's Corner. (Go here to sign up for these free emails) She'd answered a letter from a mother asking about using scripture to discipline her child. She included these:

Child is bickering with a sibling or being unkind:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. (Colossians 3:12)

Child is angry:
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)

Child is unhappy:
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

Child is worried:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Child isn't content:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)
Child says, "It is too hard," when asked to do something:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

Child isn't being kind to his siblings:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Colossians 3:12-13)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Child is lying:
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. (Colossians 3:9-10)

Child isn't obeying:
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

Child is proud:
. . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)

May the Lord bless you in your parenting endeavors!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oldie but Goodie

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter made Chex Party Mix for everyone during afternoon snack. It went over very well. I added dried apples to the leftovers and they ate a handful for several more snacks. I made a new batch this morning with bagel chips. I was just thinking of the possibilities. What a great way to extend Cheese-Its or Fish Crackers (not that we have these around much, but with holiday sales sometimes I pick up a box of crackers - it's a real treat for my kids), add it to the snack mix. I think I'll try it.

I hope your children love it as much as mine do.

The Original Chex Party Mix

Start to Finish: 15 minutes (it says this on the box but - that's laughable - it took me like 45... I had to stop and make a new batch of seasoning salt, get the baby from her nap, give instructions for school, get someone else back to their forgotten chores, you know what I mean)

3 cups each Corn, Rice and Wheat Chex cereal (I didn't have wheat so I used Cheerios)

1 cup mixed nuts (I just used almonds, that's what I have)

1 cup bite sized pretzels

1 cup garlic-flavored or regular bagel chips (left out the first time but I had something similar this time)

6 T butter

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1. In large microwaveable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

2. Microwave uncovered on high 5-6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

24 - 1/2 cup servings

Diet Report

Yesterday, while exercising, my shorts were falling off. And these are bike shorts. What an amazing thing.

I am at a 100 pound loss now. I just can't believe it. Since I've always struggled with my weight, I've always wanted to loose some. On a piece of paper I found a while back, my husband and I wrote down things we wanted to do before we die, it was dated 6/06. Of course, one of mine was "get skinny"!

When I was younger, I always wanted to be thinner to look better. Things have sure changed. Now I want to be at a weight where I can do the things I want to do: ride a bike with my 10-year-old, bend down to say prayers at the lower bunk with my 3-year-old, take walks with my husband, be around for my children's children's children.

Upon reflection, I think this is why I am having more success than I have in the past. These things really are more important to me. I can say no to myself and mean it because I truly want to be able to climb the stairs while caring my two-year-old. They need me to take them to bed at night and I want to be the one. Know what I mean?

Although I am feeling much more like my old self, I still have a ways to go. Sixty-nine pounds to go, if you want exact numbers. And it's coming off much more slowly these days. I want to keep going, though. I've come this far, it sure would be a waste to stop here.

Every day, I ask myself, "What have a done today to achieve my goal"? Am I writing down everything I eat? I am looking up the accurate amount of calories for each of them? Have I exercised today? Really, these are the only three things that I need to do. If I am consistent with them, the weight will come off.

It's really not even that hard, to be honest with you. There have been times in my life where I have struggled and struggled to just stop eating cake or whatever and it was so hard. The thing that I didn't understand that you have to go beyond that. The struggle does come to an end. Once you've done it, you've done it. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7 Once the devil flees (or your flesh gives up!), which is sooner than you think, there is no more fighting, you just go about doing what you know you need to do. Day after day, you keep it up and the finish line slowly becomes visible.

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love." 2 Peter1:5-7 Here's where the spiritual growth comes in to the diet arena. Dieting is all about self control and perseverance.

These are some of the thoughts I've had along the way. I hope they bless you today. If you have a lot of weight to loose like me, don't despair. You can do it. It won't kill you. You can enjoy life along the way. Truly, life is much more enjoyable today than it was a year ago for me.

Be thinking along these lines: What have you ALWAYS wanted to do? What New Year's resolution do you make every single year but give up on my January 3rd? Think about these things, because 2009 is your year! Watch for my Get-It-Done challenge at the end of this month. I'd really like you to join me. Even more, I'd really like to see you have success.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Courtship update

A few months ago I did a post on Courtship.... I think it's fun to check up on the happy couple today. Here's the link to do just that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Projects

I've been hard at work on a few projects for my children. My younger ones will all receive a quilt from me this year. Here's a peek:

For Speed Racer, I found about a yard of each of these construction type fabrics in my storage room. I bought them to make a quilt for Macho Man years ago and it never even saw a pair of scissors. Back then I had more good ideas than follow through. :) I was thankful not to have to buy anything and be able to just start. This is just the quilt top. I bought a twin sized blue top sheet to use as the backing.

This one has been the hardest so far. It's for Creative Genius, he loves to have stuff with him at all times so I think he'll love the pockets I put on it. You should have seen the look on my husband's face when he saw the jeans I cut them out of. They were just missing the backside. I could tell he was thinking, "What are you up to now?!" Anyway, the cowboy fabric here was all left over from other projects so there is really no rhyme or reason to this quilt. I'm anti-mathematical so I hope it works out in the end! I was able to find a few yards of blue flannel cowboy material at Joann's for the backing.This one is for Macho Man. I tried to make it as plain as possible, one side with the camo and the other will just be plain, I bought a tan top sheet to finish it. I wanted it to be more grown-up, if you know what I mean.
This last one is for girly girl. I just love how it turned out. I saw this fabric and knew that it was for her. Sissy helped me find a coordinating material for the back, I think it was perfect.
I'm behind on getting these done - along with the other projects I'm trying to complete but have a hard time finding alone time for. I'm committing to spending every nap time working on them until they are finished.... starting next week. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quick Tip

Remember that holiday I blogged about a while back, Rosh Ha Shana? If you are interested in teaching your children about it next year, now is your chance to snag a free lap book kit at CurrClick. You will probably have to set up a (free) account but it'll be useful to you in the future anyway, they have freebies all the time.

More on Submission

A dear friend of mine lent me a wonderful message by S.M. Davis. I am a firm believer in wives submitting to their husbands, but some of the things I heard on this CD, I've never heard or thought of. If you are a married woman, please consider listening to this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sales Anyone?

Plan to shop the day after Thanksgiving? Check out the Black Friday sales here.
I just love to stand in line at 4:45 am to get a good deal. I'm not kidding. It's the best people watching that you can imagine. I once saw an out and out brawl in front of Target. I couldn't believe that people would fight over who was going to get in there first to pay $$$ for stuff! Unbelievable.
See you in line!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Field Trip

We took a fun field trip today to a local TV station. It was pretty interesting, especially the control room. I've always wondered how they did that. Someone was kind enough to take a family picture for us, although not everyone was participating in the photo session. :)

Baby Names

I just love thinking up baby names, don't you? I've spent many an hour writing a new name out with all its possibilities.

Well, Serenity, over at Femininity in a Feminist World is sponsoring My Top 10 Favorite Baby Names. Thought I'd participate. You should too!

Now, none of these are my current children... I am thinking about the future!!! :)

Here goes:

1. Abigail (means father's joy - there was someone at my husband's job named Reuben who has a brand new baby named Ruby Abigail. Named after her dad and then father's joy, so sweet!)

2. Ryanne (my middle name - I've always loved it but can't get my husband to!)

3. Aryel (This is a boy's name meaning Lion of God. Too Disneyfied for me now though.)

4. Joel (Can't use it because I know my son would turn in to Joe some how)

5. Naomi (means pleasant - and who doesn't want a pleasant child?)

6. Tacie (I've always thought this was cute but my husband says it sounds like Tracy with a lisp :)

7. Glory (I really love virtue names for girls! My dear friend has a Hosanna and a Jubilee - so cute!)

8. Brock (loved it, almost named one of my children this but then found out it meant badger, ug. In fact, he was going to be Brock William and my dad kept calling him Broccoli Bill, double ug.)

9. Sadie (cute, old fashioned)

10. Alisandra (sort of unique)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Corn dog... um... muffins?

Ok, so it sounds a little weird but my family loves corn dog muffins! They go great with soup, chilies and stews - the perfect thing to round out your meal tonight. And, as you can guess, they taste just like corn dogs!

To your favorite corn muffin recipe (that makes 24 muffins) or 2 (8 1/2 ounces each) cornbread mixes add the following:

2 T brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 pkg. hot dogs, chopped
(1 - 11 oz. can of corn is also listed but I've never used it)

In a bowl, combine corn bread mix and brown sugar. Combine eggs and milk; stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Stir in corn and hot dogs (batter will be thin). Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Yield: 1-1/2 dzn.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kosher Eating

A friend has recently asked some questions about Kosher eating, about meats in particular. In fact, a lot of people over the years have had questions, "What is Kosher anyway, and what in the world does it have to do with salt?" (Really, you wouldn't believe how many people want to know about the salt!)

Kosher meats are outlined in Deuteronomy 14:3-21 and Leviticus 11:9-12. Basically it seems to come down to the fact that there are clean and unclean meats. If it has a cloven hoof and chews it's cud, it is good for eating (i.e. cow, sheep). Fish with fins and scales are good to eat (which rules out bottom feeders like shrimp, lobster, catfish). Certain birds are also clean (chicken, turkey but scavengers such as vultures are not). Not too complicated, right?

This is where it gets a little sticky. A lot of people will think that they are eating Kosher meats because they are eating the above meats only. They will say, "We eat Biblically. We avoid pork products. We don't need a Rabbi to bless it" But it's much more than that, and really has nothing to do with Rabbinical blessings. When you buy a package of hamburger at the grocery store, you aren't getting a Kosher product. The way that beef was killed, processed and even dealt with afterward isn't Kosher. Although I find this incredibly disgusting, here is a little piece I found for your reading enjoyment...

One of the requirements set to the gentiles in Acts 15 was that they were not allowed to eat meat that was strangled. We also read this in 21:25. An animal that is strangled retains its blood. The blood coagulates within its veins and flesh. Such meat is not suitable for eating. Eating the meat with the blood is a sin. 1Sam. 14:33. The process of killing animals at the abattoirs of today is nothing other than strangling the animals. The animals are either shot in the head or they are shocked to death. In both cases the animal dies. After several minutes or even hours the animals are skinned and the throats being slit. By that time the blood coagulated in the meat and whoever then eats of that meat, eats it with the blood, transgressing YHWH's Torah. The same applies to the killing of chickens and turkeys. They are either shot in the pallet with a sharp needle to paralyze them, or they are shocked to death. By the time the heads are chopped, the blood of those birds coagulated within the meat, making it unfit to eat. It is unkosher. (This paragraph is from Menorah.org).

Ok, so not only that. I recently found out that when grocery stores and butchers packaging meat, they used blood - even from several different cows - to keep it nice and red, making it look fresher than it really is. Gross, I know, sorry.

Lots of people have heard that Jews won't eat a cheese burger - no mixing of meat and milk. Many people will go through the painstaking rituals of keeping a "Kosher kitchen" where by having separate dishes and utensils and keeping all dairy and meats separate. We do not practice this rabbinical law. Read here for more on why.

Where do you buy Kosher meats? I know that many of you are not in Washington state as we are. But my friend who asked the original question is. Trader Joes carries some, also certain QFC stores do too. Check out the U Village QFC in North Seattle for a wide range of Kosher products. If you are not in this area there are a multitude of other Jewish communities around the country and many other grocery stores cater to these people, you can find Kosher foods virtually everywhere, even online. The picture at the top of this post shows various symbols that are used to indicate that you are purchasing a Kosher product. Take a look around your pantry, you'll be surprise that they are on many of the packages you already have. Oh, you might be interested to know that if you don't see a Kosher symbol, there is probably a good reason for that.

So, you ask, what's the deal with the kosher salt? It's used in drawing the blood out of the meat during the koshering process, it's not the only salt that a Jew will eat. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's For Dinner?

In the crock pot: Carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, chicken, lemon pepper seasoning.
What's for dinner at your house tonight?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Apple Pie Filling!

Here's a great recipe if you are up to your eye balls in apples. Think ahead for the holidays and make up a few quarts of filling for your friends and family. This recipe is especially for Grace, my dear friend who has requested it.

Apple Pie Filling for canning:

18 cups baking apples, peeled and sliced
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn starch
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 cups water
5 quart size jars and lids

In large pot combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes. Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Have your jars and lids hot and ready. Pack each to about 1/2 inch from the top. Screw down lids. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Makes about 5 quarts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Due or Do Without

So, I finally break down. Yes, I need new pot holders.

But, wait! I could use things that I already had to improve my old pot holders and avoid spending any $$$ at all.

First, using a piece of old, warn towel, fill in the holes.

Add a couple more layers of padding with some more of that old towel.

Using left over fabric scraps, stitch around the edges. (Look, I am no seamstress, the seem ripper and I are old friends. If I can hand stitch these in a few minutes so can you!!!)

"New" pot holders. No more burned hands and they are so much prettier!

Monday, November 3, 2008

In Honor of Election Day...

Did you know.... ?

How the 2008 President Will be Chosen

The next president will be chosen by the Electoral College, not by the popular vote. In 2004 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote to George Bush. That is why the US is a “Democratic Republic” and not a Democracy. In a Democracy, the candidate that gets the most votes wins. In 1787 the Electoral College was established so that the smaller states would have as much representation as the larger states. This group of individuals cast votes to decide who will be President and Vice President.

Each state gets as many Electors as they have Senators (2 per state) and Representatives (varies according to population, the more people, the more Representatives). Washington State has 2 Senators and 9 Representatives, so we have 11 Electors who will vote with the Electoral College. The total number of state Electors is 538 and a Presidential candidate must win 270 Electoral votes to win.

The Electors are people who are avid Democrats or Republicans including State Representatives or State Senators, political party leaders, or others who have a personal or political affiliation with the candidates. Federal Senators or Representatives are not eligible to be in the Electoral College.

Political parties nominate the Electors at their state conventions or by their political party’s central committee in each state.

On Election Day, the popular votes do not actually pick a candidate, but a group of Electors to represent their state in the Electoral College vote. Most states use a winner-take-all rule; all the state's Electoral votes will go to the winner of the popular vote in the state.

Some months before the election each political party puts together a slate of Electors, chosen by congressional district with the exception of the two at-large Senate slots. If the party's presidential candidate wins the popular vote in the state on Election Day, its Electors meet in the state capitol on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. If not they stay home. (So if Obama/Biden gets the most votes in Washington State, the Democratic Party’s Electors will go to Olympia; if McCain/Palin get the most votes, the Republican party’s Electors will go to Olympia.)

(There is no federal law binding an Elector to vote according to the popular vote in his state. Some states do bind their Electors to do so, Washington does not. It does require by state law that Electors make a pledge as to who they are going to vote for. Unfortunately, these pledges, if violated, are not enforceable.)

The Washington State Democratic party chose 9 Electors at party caucuses throughout the state and 2 Electors at their State Convention in June. They also chose 11 alternate Electors. This list was sent to the Washington’s Secretary of State, Sam Reed. Interestingly enough, this list includes the first Muslim Elector ever chosen to the Electoral College, Jafar Sidduiqui of Lynnwood, Wa.

The Washington State Republican Party elected an Elector from each of Washington State’s Congressional Districts at their State Convention on May 30th and 31st, 2008. This list was also sent to Sam Reed’s office.

Electors will meet in a room in Olympia at noon on December 15th this year, and sit down at long tables. Governor Gregoire will greet them and the Secretary of State Sam Reed will make sure all of the proper procedures are followed. Roll will be taken. A Chairperson will be nominated and voted for. The electoral ballots will then be handed out and filled out. Electors will then sign the Certificate of Vote--actually they sign several copies of the document so there are back-ups. There are separate votes for President and for Vice-President. After being turned back in to the Secretary of State, his office will mail one copy of the Certificate of Vote to the Office of the President of the United States Senate. On January 5th, 2009, the President of the Senate will then open and tally these envelopes before a special joint-session of Congress

Only then we will know who the next president will be.
This post was written by my husband, Randy.

Friday, October 31, 2008


In our house the preschoolers are Speed Racer and Girly Girl, officially. But Creative Genius also goes to preschool times because he still enjoys them. Sweetie Pie even gets in on a few story times when she isn't down for her morning nap yet.

This is how it works. There are two half hour blocks dedicated to the preschoolers, specifically. My daughter, Sissy, does one that we call Way Fun Preschool Time and I have one about an hour after that.
Sissy has planning sheets that I made up for her. Using a theme-based plan, she orders books from the library, plans crafts, songs and other experiences based on the subject of the week. This preparation as well as the classroom time is part of her learning too, she's taking Early Childhood Education here at home. Some of the things that they have studied so far this year are fall leaves, farm animals and flowers. This month she's working on community helpers, so right now they are learning about police and next week will be fire fighters.

It is often a challenge for Sissy to come up with things that the children will enjoy and understand at this age. I am having her keep her planning sheets with all of the things she's done for the week (and what worked and what didn't) in a notebook for future reference. Not only is the trial and error way of learning something that she'll remember, but she'll have ready-made plans for her own children some day.

During my preschool time, I focus on teaching a training my children in the way that they should go. I am working my way through the Bible, reading children's Bible stories, memorizing verses with the children and teaching them other basic things that they need to know. Their address, phone number, how to tie their shoes, that kind of thing. I don't generally do crafts but during the fall feasts I did do special games and decorations with them.

Preschool times have really been a hit with our little ones. They feel special and look forward to doing the activities that they don't get to do at other times of the day. It is a memorable time for everyone involved.

I cherish my time with just my little ones. I hope this post encourages you to spend that extra-special time with yours today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Make Your Own: Hot Cocoa Mix

Here is yet another use for those free buckets.... make your family a bucket 'o hot chocolate mix.


*12 cups non fat dry milk powder
*1 lb. (or 4 cups) powdered sugar
*1 - 16 oz container chocolate milk mix (like Quik - but it's now like 14.5 oz. or something!)
*1 - 16 oz jar non-dairy coffee creamer (powdered that is!)

Mix it all up in your bucket. Add 1/3 cup of mix to 1 cup of hot water. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Sweetheart

This morning my youngest son and I had a conversation over breakfast.

Speed Racer: Know what you are, mommy?

Me: Hmmmm.....?

Speed Racer: A GOOD JOB.

He melts my heart.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leftover Oatmeal?

Then try this recipe. I even cheat and make it right in the oatmeal pot after breakfast.

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups leftover oatmeal

Mix it all up and drop from teaspoon on to greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. Yield: 4 dozen

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Laundry Room Storage

One of the most freeing things I have done in my adult life is to implement the family closet in our house. No more dressers in the bedrooms taking up space and no more hauling clothes from one end of the house to the other. It is wonderful.

Mr. Right was kind enough to turn one of our top floor bedrooms in to the laundry room for me. Most of the children's dressers are in my laundry room so it makes short work of the three loads of laundry that I do a day.

We picked a sunny room that shares a wall with the bathroom for water drainage. My husband just added a vent and we were in business. I was very proud of myself, I put up this rod. My ironing board sits under it and I hang all of my husband's work shirts on it. We have casement windows throughout the house, so it makes it easy to access my clothesline, I just open the window and hang them out.

I have all of the children's drawers labled so that anyone can put them away, that's really helpful when I am not available - like right after I have a baby.

I have one dresser on top of another so it's like one continous wall of drawers. Very handy.

Here is the back of the door that exits to the hallway. This is one of those cheap plastic pocket organizers. I have all of the girl's hair accessories sorted by color. It has saved me so much time!

The changing table ends the tour, I love having it in here. I can just change a child and throw their clothes right in to the washing machine.

Thanks for coming to visit!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who needs to learn that?

In trying to interest Creative Genius to learn to tie his shoes I say to him, "You know, I won't always be around to tie your shoes for you."

He quickly counters with, "Well, guess I'll wear boots in the winter and then there are always sandals in the summer!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Preschool Fun

How's preschool going at your house? Are you scheduling time in with your preschoolers every day? Running out of fun things for them to do?

Try this classic preschool activity, noodle necklaces. Not only is it fun and a bit challenging for some but they will be developing their fine motor skills, the ones that they will need later for writing. Hand-eye coordination is also playing a part here, something else that they need every day.


A package of noodles, find one that has a larger hole
Side note: *If you want colored noodles like the ones shown above, you need to think ahead and using just enough rubbing alcohol to cover the noodles in a bowl or ziplock bag, add a generous amount of food coloring. Let them sit that way for a little while and then lay them out on paper towels to dry. Remember to use more than one bowl for more than one color. Once they are dry they are ready for any number of preschool or early schooling uses, sorting, use as counters, crafts, sensory experiences. This also works great for rice and looks so nice in a sensory table.*
yarn, floss, string or lanyard
a plastic needle or use tape wound around the end of the yarn to make it stiff for threading

Give each child a choice of colors to string on his or her yarn. If you want to add a little math in do some patterning. One red, one yellow, one red, what comes next?

Add some fun foam shapes or paper cut outs between each noodle for an even more glamorous necklace.

All this just too complicated for you? The easy way is to cut up some plastic drinking straws in to sections and just thread those. You can get some great colors these days and it's easier than coloring noodles.

Have fun with your little ones today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GREAT chili

As an addendum to my last post on soup, here is a wonderful recipe for white chicken chili. I first had it at my brother and sis-in-law's house, she'd gotten it from her friend's mother. I think that this recipe really makes the rounds.

Erin's White Chicken Chili

4 cans small white beans, drained

1 can chicken broth

1 tsp. chicken bullion

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 medium onions chopped and sauteed

3 4oz. cans of green chilies

4 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

5 cups cooked, chopped chicken

3 cups grated jack cheese

2 cups sour cream

Mix beans, chicken broth, bullion, garlic powder in a large pot. Add chilies and stir. Add cumin oregano and cheese. Remove from heat and add sour cream.

*This was the way I got the recipe. Since then I've played with it a little. I usually cook two pounds of dry white beans in the crock pot and then add 1 and a half pounds of cooked chopped chicken, the spices x 4 and let everyone add cheese and sour cream to each individual bowl.*