Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fresh Start

Happy New Year, everyone! With the new year almost upon us, it's easy to fall into the groove of making all those New Year's resolutions that sometimes stick, and well, sometimes fall away into the grind of everyday life. Don't get me wrong; it's great to make resolutions and goals for our lives, but we have to be realistic and yet at the same time, optimistic about them. It's important to make sure that they have a lasting, eternal effect, whatever they may be.

I always get a little excited about this time of year because it's a fresh start, a chance to officially wipe the slate clean of the last year and start anew with a renewed sense of purpose and fresh faith. I've been thinking a lot about goals I could set and things that I could write about here, but it can get overwhelming if I try to make a huge list of things I want to do in 2009. So, I'm just going to wipe my slate clean. I'm going to start out by forgiving myself for my shortcomings and all the things I could have handled differently in 2008. After all, it's a new year, a new day! Sometimes it's easy to ask God for forgiveness, but at the same time we have to learn to forgive ourselves and move on. He wants us to have a joyful life, and if we are still stuck in that rut of unforgiveness towards ourselves, it's not going to be so joyful; it's going to be filled with guilt. Once God forgives us, He forgets and wipes our hearts clean.

Another thing I am definitely going to do is to read through the Bible in one year. Whether I read it from my Bible or listen to it online or even read online, I'm going to do this. Think of the spiritual growth that can come through this. If you would like to take part, you can check out the One Year Bible Blog. In 15 minutes a day, I can read through both the Old and New Testaments. I am very excited about this because so often I try to follow a plan, and I get discouraged or sidetracked. This will help me to stay more accountable.

Another thing I'm working on is being there more for my children and husband. I know, this is not supposed to be a resolutions list, but this is definitely something that is important and has eternal effects. I want to give them more of my time, for it is the single, most important thing I could ever give them. To give Jacob and Jaden my undivided attention and talk to them and give them the sense that they can feel safe and secure in our home is of major importance to me. Also, to do the same for Dan, giving him more of my time and really listening to him with my eyes and ears is something I want to do more of because so often it's easy to just keep on working, listening in part, but not fully. I know you mothers all know what I'm talking about here. My sister said something a long time ago that I have constantly remembered but that is slowly coming to mean more to me....."You have to put your husband before your children." And it's so true; we are a team. Without that team effort, I may as well be a single parent. This is something I have to wrap my heart and mind around and work on because it's so easy to sometimes ignore the needs of my husband in lieu of the needs of my children.

Last of all, not only do I want to be there spiritually and emotionally for my family, but physically as well. I really want to shape up physically. I want to first of all, make sure my spiritual body is beautiful but also work on the physical. It starts by eating more healthy foods and actually exercising. I am definitely not motivated to exercise, but it's something I want to do because not only is this good for myself, but it's good for my family. It gives me the opportunity to be at my best not only for myself but for them. Also, I want to fill my brain with all kinds of good things by reading, writing (I hope to start a book), and just listening.

So, there's all the things that have been going in and out of my head concerning this post. I know it's kinda a novel, but I hope it helps you to see my heart and can encourage someone out there who may be struggling. What are your thoughts in this New Year? What do you want to accomplish this year? I'd love an accountability partner/s. I'll leave you with this video, which was on the One year Bible Blog and is just so cute.

Happy New Year, everyone! May you start this year with a clean slate and fresh new beginnings!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tickle Your Memory Tuesday

Last night I was supposed to get together with my best friend from high school; she was in town visiting her family for Christmas. We weren't able to, though, because Jaden was sick, and she was also sick. It still didn't stop me from thinking of some really funny memories that we, no doubt, would have rehashed if we had gotten together. She had come up at Thanksgiving too, and we had laughed and laughed over some of the things we did "way back when." Sarah and I both apprenticed with a vet our senior year, and we would go every Wednesday to the doc's office. Usually, we weren't at the office; we were out running around to different farms to work. This one particular time, we were again chasing the vet down this country gravel road, trying to keep up with her; we could never keep up with her and were always getting lost way out in the boonies. We were in my little Chevy Luv pickup, and all of a sudden, we heard this pop, and Sarah looked back, and the bed had fallen off of my pickup! Yep, you read that right; it fell plumb off. My brother ended up having to help us get it welded back on, but I had forgotten all about this, and I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time, just picturing that happening all over again. It was hilarious, almost like one of those old Disney comedies you would see.

Then there were the Saturday nights where I was at her house, and we would make sure to have the dishes all done, showers done, etc, just in time to sit down to our can't miss episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger." I know, what in the world? But we loved that show and even had the song to it memorized, and I can still probably sing that song today. LOL
Anyway, it's fun rehashing old memories; since I've had kids, I feel like part of my brain cells have died away or something. I can't remember anything to save my life, but every once in a while, something will happen to bring back old familiar feelings and memories. What funny memories do you have from high school? I would love to hear them....once you remember one thing, it's likely a host of things will come back to you. Have a great day!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, Monday, December 29,2008...
Outside My Window... it is dark and cold.
I am thinking... that Mondays should really be outlawed.
I am thankful for... a warm house and a blanket.
From the learning rooms... we are taking the week off school, but I'm hoping to go to the library this week to get Jacob some audiobooks and other books to read.
From the kitchen... will be the aroma of butterscotch chocolate chip cookies this afternoon.
I am wearing... jammies right now.
I am creating... Dan made me a framed mirror for Christmas, but it has room all around it to scrapbook pictures or whatever my heart desires, so I'm wanting to work on that, plus curtains for our bedroom and new throw pillow covers.
I am going... to hopefully see my best friend from high school tonight while she's here visiting family (oh the memories we will rehash:)). Jacob also has Tae Kwon Do this week, and I hope to get to Walmart this week to get a little fabric before it's all gone.
I am reading... The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise; it is so interesting and informative; also, still reading The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks and The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman.
I am hoping... to be able to relax a little bit this week, since we don't have school.
I am hearing... quiet peace with everyone sleeping right now.
Around the house... today is home blessing day.
One of my favorite things... is when Dan has the day off and we get to spend it together.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Hopefully, I can get a lot done this week as well as relax a little bit. Dan will have Thursday off, so that will be nice.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... (this was my maternal grandparents after they first got married)
The Simple Woman

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Morning 2008!

It feels like forever since I've posted anything! We had a wonderful Christmas; we just had so much fun. We actually got to sleep in, and then the boys were raring to go when we finally all woke up. Jacob was ready to be Santa and hand out the presents; Jaden was done after opening up just one present, and then he would come check out his others as we started to open them up for him. We spent the rest of Christmas Day just relaxing and playing with the new toys. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too! (Keep in mind as you look at these pictures, we had just woke up:)LOL)

Jaden with his Elmo slippers he wasn't sure how to walk in.
Yep, my boy loves the Jonas Brothers....but from what I've seen and read and heard about these boys, they seem to be pretty well grounded, and I think he could have a lot worse role models.
My sweet hubby will be able to go skiing again now for the first time in a Veeerrrrryyyy long time....
Not too thrilled about posting this pic of me, but hey, gotta keep it real....:)

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas, and most of all, I hope you found true meaning in the One this day is all about....
Want to see more Christmas photos?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

As we celebrate today and tomorrow with our families, may we not forget the real meaning behind our celebration; may we share with our children and families the real Reason for this wonderful season; and may we never forget all that He did for us. Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas is filled with ever so much joy and peace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tasty Christmas Treats

It seems as though everyone has been busy baking, including me. I didn't want to keep these treats to myself though, so I thought I'd share a few. Enjoy!:)

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

These sugar cookies are so good; the only thing I do differently is add a little bit of almond flavoring to the icing, and it just gives it that extra sweet taste. The kids will have fun with this one too; Jacob loved helping ice them last night, especially when it came to pouring the sprinkles on. We had Christmas trees, snowmen, mittens, and stars. Mmmmmmmm......:)

Buckeye Bars
I actually liked these better than the traditional buckeye balls we usually make every year. You can find the recipe here.

And if you want a really decadent but easy to make treat, try these.

White Chocolate- Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
These bars have white chocolate mixed in with the cheesecake and drizzled on top; it actually kinda reminded me of my favorite Olive Garden dessert. Print the recipe here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, December 22, 2008...
Outside My is still dark and only 4 degrees!
I am thinking...I did not want to get out of bed this morning to start this Monday.
I am thankful for...a warm house for my family.
From the learning rooms...we only have 2 days of school this week....yea!!!!
From the kitchen...will be the aroma of warm sugar cookies this afternoon and pork fried rice with egg rolls for supper tonight.
I am bathrobe and jammies.:)
I am creating...more scrapbooked pictures of my grandma and grandpa when they were younger, and hopefully I can start work on new throw pillow covers this week.
I am take Jacob to Tae Kwon Do tonight and hopefully pick up just a couple things at the store.
I am still reading..."The Lucky One" by Nicholas Sparks and "The Other Side of Love" by Gary Chapman.
I am hoping...that it snows for Christmas, bunches and bunches.:)
I am hearing...the furnace and just the quiet this morning.
Around the is home blessing day.
One of my favorite seeing the lights flickering on the Christmas tree, especially when it's dark outside because they shine even more.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: We mainly have school, and then Wednesday we'll just enjoy Christmas Eve together, and Thursday evening, we'll hopefully go to my aunt's house. Then, it's a nice four day weekend, which it will be so nice to have Dan home for. We love these long weekends together.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...("Really Mom, we're not doing anything...":))
The Simple Woman

My Little Shepherd Boy

Yesterday was our Christmas play at church, and Jacob played a little shepherd boy in it.

The play was called "Scenes From Heaven." Again, it just brought to my mind everything that Jesus gave up to come down to earth to save us from our sins. There was one point in the play where one of the angels said that they were glad to have had the time with Jesus in Heaven before He came down to earth. Jesus' birth was no ordinary birth; it was the birth of a Saviour Who loves us that much. He knew the condition that the earth was in, but He still came. It's just such amazing love. Have a great day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Bridge

If this doesn't make us want to get up and hug our kids and love on them, then I don't know what will. It had me bawling early this'll need the tissues. Sometimes I think in the busyness of life, we forget how much God truly loves us to have sacrificed His own Son; how that must have hurt to see His Son suffering....but He loves us that much....what a thought.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Greatest Story Ever Told

It's so amazing and wonderful that one story can bring people all over the world together every year at this time.

The story of how the well-loved hymn Silent Night brought even enemies together one Christmas long ago has always fascinated me.
It was 1914, and the world was in an uproar, in the midst of World War I. A truce had been made on Christmas Eve. German troops had gotten in the Christmas spirit and had started to sing Stille Nacht or Silent Night. The enemy troops on the other side heard them and started singing the song in English. Can you imagine being a soldier in those trenches that cold, starry night and hearing your enemy sing the very song you had just sung, only in his own language? Soon, both sides had come together to celebrate. They even had opportunity to mourn the dead and give some of them the burial that they deserved, instead of being left on the bloody battleground, seemingly forgotten amidst the roar of the battle. The Christmas Truce had brought together men who had been just a few hours before, fighting each other to the death. It was a night of peace, brought on by truly the greatest story ever told. We can deny that Christmas is about Christ, but never forget that without Christ in Christmas, we are left with nothing but meaningless letters. He is the reason we can celebrate today and the reason there was peace on that lone night in the history of World War I.

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Silent night, holy night
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shame On You, Walmart!

Last night, I decided to go get our grocery shopping done for the next two weeks. I headed out to go to Walmart first. When I went back to the fabric section to get material for Jacob's shepherd costume, I noticed they had signs up all over the place saying "Fabric liquidation 25% off." So, I went up to the associate, as were other women (we were all upset), and I confirmed that they are indeed getting rid of our fabric section here. I was so upset to say the least. I asked her where we were supposed to go now to get fabric. She shrugged and said she didn't know. First of all, we are in a very rural community about an hour or more away from any other stores besides the normal small-town stores. There is no other place around here to get fabric, unless you want to drive to Cabool, and their prices are out the wazoo. Even if we go to Springfield, there's Joann Fabrics, and they are just so expensive too. Second of all, this is a sewing community; many women quilt and sew for a hobby, not to mention making their clothes and household things; there are also many Mennonite women here who buy fabric. Walmart is basically "cutting off our right arm." This is just an example of what it is like: it is like taking the automotive section out of the store and saying, "Sorry, you can't fix your car anymore because we had to get rid of everything you needed." I mean, what are they thinking? This is what truly makes me livid too, and I hope it does enough to get people talking. The associate told me last night that the patterns probably aren't going to go on sale, but what they don't sell of them, they will shred. That is so shameful and so wasteful! I am truly appalled! This whole thing has me in a quandary, but my mom and I talked last night, and I've decided to try to take some sort of action. I'm going to look into starting some sort of petition in our community, just to let them know how much they are going to be hurting those of us who regularly use that section of the store. We will see what happens. Anyway, I instantly knew last night what I was going to blog about; and I wasn't the only woman back there upset; there were others too, and the poor store associate (who had nothing to do with the decision, and I felt very sorry for her), said she had been dealing with the aftermath ever since they put up the signs. Not a good decision, Walmart!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"To Infinity....And Beyond!"

Homeschooling Jacob this year has been a big adjustment for our house, but it has been such a blessing too. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be able to homeschool him. He is in first grade this year, which you might think is not hard at all to teach, but there are many days when I find myself praying for patience, and if that isn't bad enough, he has even prayed that Mommy would have lots of patience and love.:) There is one thing I constantly find myself doing, though. I find myself underestimating his abilities. I guess since he is in first grade, my mind automatically thinks that certain things might be too hard for him. Lately, though, I've really had to make sure he is focusing on me when I tell him something, or he just won't hear me or "get it," which probably is normal. We will be going through a lesson, and I will start to teach something, and I will automatically think, "This is going to be too hard for him; he is not going to be able to grasp this concept." Yet he surprises me again and again. In Language, we are going through the Level 1 book of Shurley English, and he is just flying through it. There are things in there that I thought would just be way over his head, but he is just taking it all in and "getting it." It's amazing to watch him, my first grader, label a sentence now with 4 different parts of speech. I attribute quite a bit of it to the way the Shurley English presents the material, but that's another post. He also surprises me constantly in other things that we are studying. So, if you homeschool or even if you don't, never underestimate what they can do or think or learn. I've been fortunate in that, for the most part, I haven't let it stop me from teaching him the things I thought would be too hard, and it has been a blessing to see him excel in those things. If we underestimate our children's abilities, we may miss out on something extraordinary, and so will they. I remember a movie we watched called, "For One More Day," where in a scene the mother stood up to the librarian for telling her son that a book was too hard for him to read. That has stuck with me, and we should stand up for our kids' right to learn anything and everything they can. Homeschooling gives us that ability, so I hope this can be an encouragement to any homeschooling families out there to keep teaching and never underestimate the vast capabilities of your child's brain. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"O Christmas Tree"

Christmas is just such a memorable and wonderful time. Every morning I love to turn the lights on the Christmas tree on, and it just sparkles; I'm "like a kid in a candy shop" when it comes to Christmas. I've been reading other blogs, and over at Tip Junkie, they are having a Christmas tree contest. So, I thought it might be fun in the spirit of things. You can submit yours too; just head on over to the link above and join in the fun. Our Christmas tree usually has 3-4 sets of lights, both multicolored and white (we like lights). Most of our ornaments are ornaments we acquired from my grandmother or homemade ornaments, which all make it very special. The memories just come flooding back every year when we decorate the tree, and it's so fun to remember. I remember, as a child, pulling out old ornaments that we had made and putting them on the tree and the wonderful memories my mom and I made while decorating. I hope that our ornaments can bring that same joy to our chidren and make many wonderful memories for them as well. On top of the tree, we have a star; I love the angel that people sometimes put on top, but the star just reminds me of that long ago night when our Saviour was born in a manger. It's all lit up and sort of a beacon, a reminder of the light of Jesus. As you decorate your tree this year, even though it may not be as easy as Charlie Brown and his friends make it look, make it special, and make memories. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, December 15, 2008
Outside My is cold and icy out there and still dark.
I am thinking...I feel so bad for the Amish family who are out searching for their little girl right now in this bitter cold; she fell out of a buggy yesterday and somehow got lost.
I am thankful warm home and the safety of my own children.
From the learning rooms...we are working on more cursive writing this week and also about Abraham Lincoln.
From the kitchen...will be the aromas of Minestrone Casserole later on and hopefully some Christmas baking.
I am wearing...pajamas and bathrobe right now. (It's 5:54 right now, so it's enough that I'm up and functioning)
I am creating...a fabric cover for the top of my sewing machine cabinet, which is very old; the veneer on top is peeling away.
I am going...nowhere today, except maybe to take Jacob to Tae Kwon Do later on.
I am reading...The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman and The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.
I am hoping...the ice doesn't get so bad as to knock out power and that our neighbor, Sylvia, stays warm enough.
I am hearing...the news and weather in the midst of a quiet house.
Around the house...will be home blessing hour today and just cleanup from the weekend.
One of my favorite reading other people's blogs and really feeling a connection to that person through the things they write.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Hopefully, we can be home quite a bit this week; I have a new writing assignment to start, and we'll get out to the library and grocery store, plus homeschool meeting this week, and we have Christmas with my family on Saturday; my sister is coming, so we're getting ready for that. Jacob is going to be a shepherd in the Christmas play next weekend too.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Monday Motivation

Well, it's Monday again, that blessed first day of the week after a busy weekend. This morning, there are so many things going on here in the Midwest. Up north, there are blizzards, and here we have ice coming down and very bitter cold. It's kind of a hard morning to get motivated, but we can do it. In the spirit of Monday, I found some of my favorite comic strips and just had to share with you; hopefully, you can get a good laugh out of these and know that you are not alone in the journey we call motherhood. I have a feeling whoever writes this comic strip really does sort of "get us.":) So, before you go off to start your Monday chores, take five and get this day started off right with a cheerful heart. Have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Peace For Christmas

Everyone is desperately trying to get ready for Christmas, as evidenced by the massive numbers of people in Springfield today, and especially in the most dreaded place at this time of year....the mall! Whew! I am so glad to be done! As I was carefully making my way through the mall this evening, I thought I must be literally out of my mind to even think of going to the mall tonight; yet I still went in to face the crowds of pushy people just to get a couple more things on my list. Keep in mind I've been praying for patience, but sometimes I know my face didn't register patience, like the time I thought this car might just run over me in her hurry to get out of the parking lot.:) No, I don't believe my face registered true patience.:) Maybe that's why I'm writing this. It all kinda brings me back to reality. Isn't this time of year supposed to be a peaceful time? Aren't we supposed to be at peace with each other, not just as family, but as human beings? (Not that we shouldn't be at peace any other time of the year, but this time of year especially!) I felt very much convicted of this as right after the said incident, I walked through a door that a Salvation Army bell ringer held open for me and wished me, "Merry Christmas!" as I walked through and wished, "Merry Christmas!" back to her. Peace is not about the me factor; it's about how my reactions affect other people. So, here's a challenge; take a step back this week, and just celebrate in your heart this season and the blessed reason for Christmas. Think of how you can help plant a seed of peace in someone else's life. Have a great night!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Exercise.....Who Needs It? Well.....

Apparently, we all do. We all need exercise. As busy wives and moms, though, it's sometimes (for me most of the time) hard to find the time to actually do it. I will tell myself that I'm going to start an actual routine for exercise, but when it comes down to it, something else either comes up, or I make some lame excuse not to do it. Like right now, my lame excuse is that I'm waiting on my husband to finish switching my tae bo tapes to dvd, since our vcr quit. Anyway, exercise is sooooo important. Why? Well....
As a nurse, I used to see all kinds of heart patients come in with so many health problems, and a lot of it stemmed from not eating right and not exercising, and it just "added up" over the years. We used to dread the holidays because after a huge holiday like Thanksgiving, patients would call in with so many problems, due to their eating habits, and there were so many more heart attacks. The doctors could anticipate being very busy. What you think may not hurt you now can actually build up until you have a serious problem on your hands. (Believe me, I'm telling myself all of this right now because I need to hear it) We may think that a heart attack or even cancer or a stroke couldn't affect us, but did you know this.... Incidence — 1,200,000 new and recurrent coronary attacks per year. (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Atherosclerotic Risk in Communities [ARIC] Study and Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). About 38 percent of people who experience a coronary attack in a given year die from it. (

That's pretty scary. And not just that, but studies are showing that our children are going to suffer the effects of our bad health habits; heart disease is making a debut in many children's lives as we speak and is going to get worse if we don't do something about it. So, what can we do?
Eat right? Many people think that we can just eat right and forget the exercise part, but exercise is so vital to even our everyday health. Exercise can actually give us more energy, it can make a huge difference in our mental and emotional health and moods, it can help to prevent cancer, it can help to build up our immune system, and it can help us get better sleep, as well as reduce our stress levels.
But how do we find the time, and what do we do to exercise? Well, we have to make the time. We have to realize that this is not just for us, but for our families as well, so that we can be around for a long time to still do their dirty laundry and pick up after them, etc. No, I'm just kidding. You're doing this for them so that you can be around for your little girl's wedding, so that you can be there when your son graduates from high school and college and when he has his first child. By exercising, we're not only helping ourselves by all of the aforementioned positive effects, but we are helping our families, and we're setting an example to our children.

To exercise, you can do any number of things. You don't have to run out and join a gym, which can be quite expensive. You can get a video; you can get out for a power walk or even a run, you can ride a bike, you can get involved in either a sport or some kind of activity that you love that involves fitness (for example, my husband and I were doing ballet for a while, and yes, I know, that's hilarious to picture, but it was truly a workout). You can even get outside with your kids and just move! I myself love Tae Bo; it works about every part of my body, but for now, I'm kinda stuck on what to do. I am still going to commit to do something at least 4-5 days per week, though. Whether it's situps, walking, whatever, I will commit to it. If you read this, share a comment and tell us what ideas you have for exercise. Keeping each other accountable is always good too. For now, have a great day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This video kinda hit home for me, and I hope it will for you too. Sometimes we guard our hearts so closely that we become so afraid to even reach out to someone, whether it's from past hurts, bad memories from long ago, or whatever the case may be. Hopefully, this can help inspire us to step out and not guard so closely what God has purposed for us to do in this journey we call life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jacob's Prayer

You know, kids are just little people, and by that I mean that they have the same capacity for learning and knowledge and love and respect that we do. The only difference is that they just haven’t fully developed yet and still need our guidance, our love, and a whole lot more. Jacob never ceases to amaze me with things that he says and does. Yesterday, in school, he had a small writing assignment which involved writing a letter to Jesus thanking Him for His help. I thought I would share a picture of what he wrote, and then I’ll translate for you; I think it just speaks for itself today.:)

Translated, just in case you couldn’t make it out:
“Jesus, can you help me always? Jesus, I love you so much. Jesus, I hope I go to heaven. Jesus, you are the greatest Jesus in the whole world. (Only from a child’s mouth) Jesus, I try to do my best. Jesus, I hope you always help me. Jesus, I hope you will help me every day. Jesus, you deserve to do anything you want.(that 'ineefing' with the backwards 'f' tugged at my heartstrings.:)) Jesus, I love you. From Jacob."
When I read this and went over it, I teared up a little. It is a sweet, precious keepsake that will be cherished forever.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stretching That Roasted Chicken

As busy moms, we are always trying to find ways to stretch our dollars, especially when it comes to the grocery bill. A few weeks ago, I had seen Cristina Ferrare on Oprah, fixing several meals with roasted chicken, and I have since tried three of the recipes. They were all very good and made plenty for our family to have, enough that I thought of sharing them on here. So, enjoy! Oh, and I usually only cook one roasted chicken and then use it for a couple extra meals; it just depends on the size of your family. Also, to stretch your dollars more, wait until these whole chickens go on sale, and buy more than one or two so you have for a later time; last week, Country Mart here had them on for $.69/lb, so I bought about three of them. Enjoy!:)

Roasted Chicken
Recipe created by Cristina Ferrare

This classic roasted chicken is great on its own and in countless other recipes. This recipe calls for two chickens so that you have leftovers!

Roasted Chicken:
2 chickens , 4 1/2 to 5 pounds each
6 lemons
A poultry mix of fresh herbs: Rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and oregano work well.

Marinade for one chicken:
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup juice from fresh lemon (don't discard lemon rinds)

To make marinade: Place all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Whisk with a wire whisk until ingredients are incorporated well—the marinade should have a smooth and creamy consistency.

To make roasted chicken: Preheat oven to 425°.Clean chickens well and pat dry. Place each chicken in its own baking dish.Stuff cavities with lemon rinds and fresh herbs. A poultry mix is fine, usually consisting of rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and oregano.Pour marinade over chicken. Add cracked pepper and remaining herbs to the top of each chicken.Place an oven thermometer in each chicken and cover with aluminum foil. Place on the lower rack of the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then remove the aluminum foil. Baste with a basting bulb. Keep basting often, ever 15 minutes until the thermometer reads 180°.

Chicken Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust
Recipe created by Cristina Ferrare

This is a feel-good meal! It's traditional without a catch but very satisfying—not to mention easy and fast.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium Onion , chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped
Roasted Chicken
1/2 cup frozen sweet petite peas
1 potato , diced and boiled
1 1/2 cup chopped, cooked carrots
1/2 tsp. salt
Cracked pepper
Dash of Tabasco® sauce

3/4 cup white or yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. canola oil

To make filling: Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and unsalted butter together. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add in flour until blended. Slowly stir in 2 cups of heated chicken stock, whisking well. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas, potato, carrots, salt, pepper and Tabasco®. Pour into a 2-quart ovenproof casserole dish coated with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly.

To make crust: In a bowl, stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir milk, egg and canola oil until well combined. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spoon the batter evenly on the filling. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 22 to 25 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas
Recipe created by Cristina Ferrare

These chicken enchiladas make a great family meal—and they're simple to make!
16 ounce bottle or can enchilada sauce
6 low-fat or fat-free tortillas
1 jar salsa
2 cans refried beans
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded sharp Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup kalamata olives , pitted
1 jalapeño , chopped and seeded
Roasted Chicken
Heat oven to 400°. Pour the can of enchilada sauce into a pie dish. Dip tortillas in the sauce to soften them.On a cutting board, gently spread refried beans on one side of each tortilla. Add enough diced
Roasted Chicken
to cover the beans. Sprinkle with cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. Add olives, chopped jalapeño and salsa (optional).Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side down in a 9" x 13" baking dish.Blend the sour cream into the remaining enchilada sauce in the pie dish. Pour over enchiladas and sprinkle remaining cheese.Cover and bake for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Motivation For Your Monday

It’s Monday again! It’s another new week with a fresh start. I thought I’d do something different today; I found The Simple Woman’s Daybook online at and thought this might be fun to do. I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to link the button to my blog, but hopefully, I can figure it out before I do this again. Anyway, have a great day, and think of today as a new day, a day with no mistakes in it, yet anyway. It’s another chance for you to reach out to someone, so keep your eyes open and your ears open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and have a wonderful Monday!
FOR TODAY December 8, 2008
Outside My Window... it is still dark.
I am thinking... I have a lot to do today.
I am thankful for... Dan and Jacob and Jaden and good friends.
From the learning rooms... Jacob will be starting cursive writing this week; he is very excited.
From the kitchen... will be aromas of chicken pot pie with a cornbread crust tonight.
I am wearing... right now, my pajamas and bathrobe.
I am creating... scrapbooked pictures for Christmas presents.
I am going... to Dan’s shop today to decorate and paint his window for Christmas.
I am reading... The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman and The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.
I am hoping... that it snows very soon.
I am hearing... quiet throughout the house with only the train in the distance.
Around the house... today is house blessing day, and of course, the never ending cycle of laundry.
One of my favorite things... is making hot cocoa with Jacob and then enjoying it in front of a Christmas movie.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: School all week, catching up on writing assignments, skating with the homeschool group on Friday, and hopefully, Jacob can test for his yellow belt this week.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Friday, December 5, 2008

"The Big P"

Wow! All I can say is wow!:) Yesterday was such a looooooong can only get better. Really , it wasn't that bad, but I'm still tired thinking about it. Just to give you a little background, I've been really praying for patience lately.......yes, I know, I can hear you all now, "Why are you praying for patience? Do you know what can happen if you pray for patience?" Trust me, do I ever know what can happen! Believe you me, it was a huge step for me to pray for patience. One of my nursing instructors had always said, "Don't pray for patience, or else." So, I lived in fear of praying for "the Big P." I know, right? LOL Actually, now that I look back on yesterday, it's making me laugh, so I guess I'm learning something from it, if only to laugh at myself. I can't say that I handled myself in the most patient of ways while all of this was happening, but I figured out later on that the reason it was all happening was to try to teach me something about patience. Anyway, here's a good laugh for you, my story of yesterday.

We started out with school, and the day seemed to be progressing well; we were done with school by lunch, and we were headed out the door for an afternoon at the grocery store, library, health department, etc. First, as I was going out the door, I knocked over this little decorative item my mom had given me, and of course, it broke. No time, though, had to run. So, we headed to Cabool to take library books back, then to Walmart. Shopping with a one year old sitting in the shopping cart is not easy; those carts just are not kid friendly. He was constantly trying to stand up; that strap did basically nothing to hold him. I finally had everything we needed, much to my relief, and was in the checkout line, the only one that wasn't full of people with totally overloaded grocery carts.:)LOL Then I noticed that the guy in front of me was having trouble getting the debit machine to work, and the cashier was saying how she'd been having trouble with her machine; he finally got it to work somehow, but when I got up there, it decided to quit. Oh, but the best part is that we had already checked and put all my items in bags. So, there I was with no way to pay because the debit machine wouldn't work. Well, I looked down at my cell phone, and I was late for our appointment at the health department. By this time, I was just ready to scream.:)LOL So, I took my cart to customer service so they could hold all my stuff there, and we ran to the car to make it to our appointment; meanwhile, I was just steaming. This isn't the first time that has happened at Walmart, but that's a whole other post. So, we get to our appointment, and because I'm just a smidgin late, I end up waiting behind other people and was there, trying to keep Jaden happy, for about an hour and a half. Then back to Walmart to get our cart and pay at customer service where the debit machine actually worked.:)LOL It didn't end there, but that was the worst of it. It was just a patience working day.

But you know what? I'm going to keep praying for patience, because sooner or later, my prayers are going to be answered. God is working on me, and that right there gives me encouragement to know that my prayers are being heard because He is definitely trying to teach me something about patience. Anyway, my encouragement to you is not to be afraid to pray for "the big P" word; if we all had a bit more of that word in our lives, life would not be half as hard as we make it out to be.:)LOL

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Who Else, But a Mother?

Who Else, But A Mother?
Who first loves and nurtures us and takes care of every need, as she accepts into her life someone new to bathe and feed?
Who brags about accomplishments; first teeth...first sounds...first smile and makes every little thing that's done seem important and worthwhile?
Who's been known to, after dark enter a room and slowly creep to bend and kiss the forehead of a child fast asleep?
Who holds a hand while crossing as she thoughtfully conveys a reminder to her child that he should always "look both ways?"
Who wipes peanut butter off a cheek and crayon off the wall and knots an untied shoelace to avoid a likely fall?
Who watches the swift passing of childhood years that she will mourn, and remembers every small detail about the day that child was born?
Who works the longest hours without a vacation...or a check, but accepts her payment in the form of a hug around her neck?
Who never stops believing even when others are in doubt and defends the fact her child was "safe"when the umpire calls him out!?
Who senses things just aren't right and with the palm of her hand decrees by placing it on her child's brow...the fever's 101 degrees?
Who shares life's disappointments and feels the pain of all the bruises and delights in her child's winnings, but offers solace when he loses?
Who realizes as the years pass by...the further her child will roam and who stays up late with worry when that child isn't home?
Who tries to shield and protect by showing courage...staying strong; trying to set a good example while her heart is breaking all along?
Who acts as a private tutor as the years fall in succession by taking each opportunity to teach life's every lesson?
Who listens with her heart even when her child is grown and understands the feelings that she once herself, had known?
Who saved old cards and letters and kept pictures on the shelves and offered unconditional love so we could learn to love, ourselves?
This poem describes one person; a woman unlike any other, for who could possess that level of love...Who Else, But A Mother?

(c) 1998 Linda Ellis All Rights Reserved
Retrieved from

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yum Appetizer!

Last night was a really long night, with Jaden waking up so many times, too many times to count. I wonder if he's getting what Jacob has had; it seems like winter is just filled with so many illnesses. Ugh. Anyway, thought I'd just add a recipe that was a huge hit at Thanksgiving and is really easy and inexpensive to make, especially if you use a lot of generic like we do.:) Enjoy!

Creamy Crab and Red Pepper Spread

Prep Time:15 min Total Time:1 hr 15 min
Makes:2-1/4 cups or 18 servings, 2 Tbsp. cheese spread and 5 crackers each

What You Need
2 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese
1 can (6 oz.) lump crabmeat, drained
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped red peppers
1 Tbsp. GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
RITZ Reduced Fat Crackers

Make It
REMOVE 2 Tbsp. of the onions; set aside. Mix remaining onions with all remaining ingredients except crackers; cover.
REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour.
SPRINKLE with reserved onions. Serve with crackers.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ready for Christmas?

Christmas is almost here, and it's that time of year again with all the hustle and bustle of the shopping world. There are so many people spending money on all kinds of different things out there, but the key to this season is frugality. Why spend so much money, when you can come up with more meaningful and thoughtful ideas on your own? So, I thought I'd share some of my own gift ideas here, and if you'd like to add to the list, go ahead; the more, the merrier, truly.:)

One thing that I had read about and have kind of tweaked to fit my own style is scrapbooking pictures and framing them. I'm taking old pictures of family (wedding pics of my mom and dad and an old picture of my grandma and grandpa when they were very young) and scrappin them into frames. I'm also taking pics of our boys and making them black and white or antiqueing them and scrappin them also. Now, before you go on about how expensive scrapbooking supplies are or how you just don't know how to scrapbook, I want you to think outside the box. It just takes a little creativity and thought. I don't really know how to scrapbook either; I'm just winging it. As for supplies, there is a dollar shop here where everything is $1, and they are starting to stock all kinds of supplies, all unique and really beautiful actually. I was even able to buy a big scrapbook for $1. Your local craft store will also sometimes put the paper on sale at a really good deal, like 4/$1 or a similar price. Also, get out old greeting cards, buttons, ribbon, etc. You can also get pretty cool frames at the dollar shop or even in the cheapie frame section at Walmart (in the outside aisles).:) Use what you have; you can come up with some pretty unique creations. Here are a couple pictures of what I have so far.

Another thing you might try is homemade candy or cookies, etc. I'm actually making truffles this year, and I got the recipe from the free Kraft Food & Family magazine that comes in my mailbox. Then you can take that candy and put it in a cute little box you get at the dollar shop. You can find the recipe for the truffles at this website:
Another idea is to get onto Craigslist or Ebay and just look; keep searching for things you're interested in purchasing, and don't let yourself be "taken" with high shipping costs. On Craigslist, you can find things in your local area, so you don't even have to pay shipping. It's pretty cool. Also, and have all kinds of books, cds, movies, games, etc. for really decent prices. Check out your local thrift store too; what may seem like junk can actually be turned into a treasure for someone. Think outside the box!:)
So, this Christmas, don't get caught spending all that money you've saved up; think outside the box, and save!:)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Some Motivation For Your Monday!

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and our long weekend has given way to a brand new week. Are you ready? Not me!:) I would most certainly love to have just one more day of rest and just being together with Dan and the boys. But time has spoken, and it is Monday! So, I figure I might as well embrace it. See, we can either sit back and complain about all we have to do (which I myself do way too much of, and that is why I'm writing this) and get overwhelmed, or we can just get up and start taking those babysteps to get things accomplished. We can choose to embrace this day and just go with it. So, for today, I'm choosing the latter, to just embrace this day because when you think about it, we are not promised tomorrow, so we have to make this day count.
One last thought to leave you with: yesterday at church, we had a retired missionary couple from Africa there to speak. He was talking about witnessing, and he gave an illustration. Basically, if you were out walking, and you saw a house on fire, and there were people inside, what would you do? Would you stand outside and think of all the things that could go wrong, or would you go up to that house and try to alert them to the danger and try to help them get out? It's the same way with witnessing. We know the danger that people are facing if they are not saved. Are we going to stand back and let our fears keep us from telling them about Jesus, or will we step up and alert them to the danger and help them "get out?" Just something to think about.
Have a great day!

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