Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bright Eyes

A dear friend who I see only once or twice a year stopped by the house a few weeks ago. She commented about Liam's curly hair and I told her I hate to trim it until I get some pictures of him. So she brought out her camera and took this snapshot for me.

Ella's haircut (notice a lack of bangs in one area) is slow to fill in but her short layered haircut seems to suit her very well. Oh how quick they are growing!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


So today is my first FIRST day of driving school bus. I didn't expect to actually be driving a run as I am just a permanent sub and there are about 8 of us on this list. So the chances of me actually having to drive would be pretty slim.. right? WRONG!

It would take way too long to write down all the details but this afternoon I had a busload of elementary students (quite a few 5 and 6yos).

I ask one little boy "where do you live?"

Little boy "the white house"

me: "you don't know the road or number"

answer: "nope but it is the white house.. can you take me there?"

my thoughts "wow... I'm taking this kid on a 5 hour trip to DC"

He made it home.
Here is another one. All the kids are off the bus except for the last day care facility drop off.

me: "is there anyone else on this bus that does not go to the YMCA for daycare?"

little boy raises his hand and tells me where he lives (which is NOT on my run).

me: "what bus were you supposed to get on"

little boy: 373

me "what number is this bus here?"

Little boy: "374"

me: "ummmm then why did get on this bus"

Little boy: 'it was close"

ok last one. This time it is a highschool student. this isn't the exact conversation but you get the gist.

girl: "I couldn't find my bus, so I got on this one...are you going near where I live"

me: "what bus were you told to get one"

Girl: 373

I'm wondering what are the chances that another student (this is my second run) has missed the same bus number! We have like 60 buses or more.

me: "so why did you get on this bus?"

Girl: "it was close"

should I be concerned this 9th grade girl had the same answer as the 5yo? In her defense, the bus wasn't there. For some reason she never got the number of the first bus to get on that would transfer her onto 373 later.

I was about 1/2 hour late getting back- hot, sweaty, and now happy to be home with the family again.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin

WOW! I woke up this morning to hear that Sarah Palin, Republican governor from Alaska, is the VP pick. I haven't been this excited about a VP pick... ever. She is socially and economically conservative. She is strongly pro-life/pro-family and has 5 CHILDREN of her own, the littlest is a down syndrome child.

She is a 'maverick' but only in that she is a Washington outsider, young, and somewhat inexperienced. I was afraid McCain's maverick pick was going to be a moderate/liberal republican.

My only hesitation so far- women in government leadership/authority. I think we will be having some good conversations at dinner about what the Bible has to say about that. I can't imagine how a woman would balance mother to 5 (including a down syndrome infant) and VP or possibly President down the road. But I don't think main stream America will have any problems with this. They will get the conservative vote and now will also pull the women and younger generation's vote as well.

This pick has sealed the election (in my very unimportant opinion). Hands Down.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Organizing from the Inside Out

I found this book, Organizing from the Inside Out, at a library used book sale, picked it up, and tucked it away. (I have an older edition than the one pictured at amazon here).

I like to collect organization ideas.

I like to plan and make schedules.

I like to think I am going to whip my house into shape.

Now to reality. I am just so bad at making it work. But I did find some helpful tidbits in this book. The author, Julie Morgenstern, talks about analyzing what does and doesn't work, figuring out why not, and then putting a system in place that you can follow through with. She even has an estimate of time it will take to get through each room.

Today I am attacking our paperwork. I tend to pile papers that I need to deal with. She has a great filing system. What a relief to know that there is a plan in place so we don't need to waste time searching for missing paperwork.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Incomplete projects

I took Amanda to sewing class today. She is working on a dress for one of her younger sisters. The teacher's mother wasn't much of a sewer. Her grandmother and aunts did a lot of sewing but her mother enjoyed cleaning and keeping a neat home which was hard to do when living amidst tables of incomplete sewing projects. She told her daughter (the teacher) that if she started a project then she better make the time to finish it. The same admonition was passed onto my daughter today by the teacher.

So it got me thinking... relating this to our responsibility theme...

Current projects that I have started and then pushed off to a later time:
  • Scrapbooking (get pictures and supplies in order so I can put albums together)
  • Quilt for my bed
  • Quilt for my two oldest sons for graduation gifts (one late and one due by next June)
What are the biggest obstacles keeping me from finishing a task?
  • lack of orderliness (I can't work on a project when I have other jobs that have to be done)
  • laziness
  • distractions
  • out of site out of mind
  • lack of perseverance and then losing interest

  • ORDERLINESS: I need to find a place for everything in the house so it is easier to keep things picked up which will allow me to feel the freedom to work on these extra activities
  • SCHEDULING: set aside a specific time in my schedule for these special projects. Purpose to spend my time more wisely.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I am not very good at following through. Here's some questions to help remind me to be responsible and "just do it!"

  • Do I return borrowed items back at an appropriate time? (books/videos/jacket)
  • Am I borrowing items because I wasn't responsible with my own items or didn't plan well?
  • How often do I have to purchase a second item because I didn't take care of the first one?
  • Do I work diligently to complete an assigned task in a reasonable amount of time or am I always scrambling last minute to put everything together?
  • Are others hesitant to ask me to do something because I am known to 'drop the ball'?
  • How often do I try to excuse my lack of responsibility by saying " I forgot"?
  • Do I prepare early enough so that I do not need to rush around (clothing/ shoes)
  • Am I always running behind?
  • Am I easily distracted with selfish pursuits (TV/computer) instead of finishing tasks.
  • If I promise to bring an item or do something for someone do I follow through?
  • Do I put items away when I am done with them?
  • How much time do I spend searching for lost items or throwing them away because I can't find the parts to it?
  • If I am asked to do something do I have to reminded to do it?
OK... now it is time to make a list of some goals to work on

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm going to college!

Not really truly. At least not in the way my title implies. 17S and almost 16s have not purchased their English composition book for their college class. The class is Monday night and they have reading to do. The problem is that their schedules (and my own) have been a little busy and the book store local to us hasn't been open when they were available to go. They stopped by at 1:00pm and it was closed again.

So are some questions: When is it appropriate to jump in and help out (I am going to drive the 1/2 hour to the main campus and purchase the book because they went to a farewell party for their cousin that is heading off to college). When is it more beneficial to let your children work it out for themselves?

Would it teach more RESPONSIBILITY if I just stayed out of it? Or do I go ahead and make the trip knowing that a good part of the reason they were unable to get it was 16s' job, 17s' volunteer work, and my own schedule?

Answer this time...the younger kids and I are all heading to college! If I had previously been telling them "you better figure out when they are open and get those books" instead of saying all this week "there is still plenty of time to get them before the weekend" I would probably be choosing a different option.

addition to post: never mind- the bookstore is closed early on Fridays but our local campus will be open Sat from 8am-9am only. One more chance!


There are so many areas that I want to work on but I don't want to overwhelm the children or myself. So we will begin with focusing on RESPONSIBILITY.
RESPONSIBILITY: knowing and doing what is expected of me *
Are you known as a responsible person? If you agree to do something, do you fulfill your duty in a timely manner? oh... this is a HUGE area for me to work on. I get so easily sidetracked with the role of wife and mother that I don't follow through on those intentions.

For the next few weeks I'll be posting projects and ideas that I
intend to use to encourage myself and my family in our quest to show that Character Counts! Hmmm will I be responsible enough to follow through!?!?!

*quote from "Acheiving True Success: How to Build Character as a Family" Copyright 2000 IACC

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Character Counts

I was reading an article in our local paper yesterday. It seems that they will be offering free job preparation classes. I initially assumed these would be covering basic computer operations and things of that nature, but nothing doing. These were classes designed to teach basic working ethic such as the need to show up on time and actually go to work on the days you are scheduled.

Now more than ever I realize that common courtesy and character are becoming harder to find in the next generation. At the core of this is the fact that our nation is turning further from God. I thought it would be a good reminder to myself though to post different ideas and ways that we work on this within our own home.

MORE to come.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh my aching BACK!

Actually it doesn't hurt too badly. I had surgery Monday morning to remove 2 harmless but irritating tumors. They either itched or ached most every day so I was happy to get them removed. At this point I have 14 scary looking staples in my back which is causing everyone to grimace when they take a peek at them. EWWW! I feel much better as each day passes. It is much easier to pick up Liam etc.

Amanda waterproofed my bandages with plastic wrap and medical tape, so I was able to shower. ahhhh I just love hot water! We have it so easy with modern conveniences like hot water tanks! So I am feeling much better now that I am clean again.

I go on Friday to have the incisions looked at and am expecting they will probably take the staples out then. Amanda is helping me build confidence and courage about having them taken out. She says, "Yes it hurts!!! I told you they hurt when they were taking them out of my stomach after my appendectomy and you just told me I was fine and make sure I try to save a staple for my scrapbook". Could that possibly be true?!? I think she is having fun at my poor memories expense. (although I did probably tell her to save the staple for her scrapbook) :)

She also said the two spots look remarkably different. The one on my back looks symmetrical: the skin meeting perfectly together with staples evenly spaced. The one on my neck is bothering everyone as it looks more like one side was pulled over the other and more haphazardly stapled together. Must be because of where they are located. Anyways, I certainly don't sport my back around for others to see so I don't think it matters too much.

Again.. no pictures.. not that my staples would be appropriate anyways but I am realizing I just need to be content about the camera. If I can sell some items sitting around then maybe I will revisit the idea of purchasing a Nikon D40, or maybe I will find a screaming deal on ebay! It could happen!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Owlhaven is giving away a very nice backpack from Lands End..offer ends today!

I haven't been blogging for months. I think it has to do with a lack of a camera. I love looking at blogs with not only stories but pictures as well. We are seriously contemplating purchasing a nice camera again. I bought a small digital camera under $100 as a standby till we could afford something nicer down the road but it didn't stand the test of time. So we are without a camera again.

I found an Nikon D40 SLR camera that looks very nice and is the least expensive one I can find. I am thinking about using some income from scrapbooking as well as my last pay check from bus driving but we haven't decided for sure. We are really trying to pay down debt and so the most responsible thing to do would be to put that towards a bill. On the other hand, it makes me almost ill to think that I haven't taken any real pictures in about a year.

Decisions, decisions....

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bridal Shower gift ideas/ using CVS & Walgreens freebies

I have been waiting to post about this until I got a nice picture of some of the products I have gathered but I don't want to wait any more because I think it is such a great idea and am hoping others might benefit from it.

A few months ago I was invited to a bridal shower and was trying to think of a gift that was practical, unique, thoughtful, yet still within my budget. Here is what I came up with:

A Wedding Day Emergency kit!
This would be a kit that holds all those last minute needed items that brides/bridesmaids are often scrambling to find. This was fairly inexpensive for me because I am able get them in a CVS or Walgreens deal that costs me no out of pocket money (for more info on how this works please check out for a thorough look at how this is done). Others I buy on sale or at the dollar store.

Here is a basic list I use:

Hairpins (I just found some clearanced for 17 cents at CVS)
Safety pins
Rain bonnets (I found a pack of 5 at the dollar store)
Tylenol (I used Excedrin because it has some caffeine and I got if for free from CVS)
Tums (preferably those quick pack individual doses- again free from a CVS deal. I split a 24 pack and use them for more than one kit. I do this with quite a few of the items if appropriate)
Airborne (individual quick packs of this as well) great to help build up their immunity. SO many newlyweds spend their first few days of the honeymoon sick just from all the stress leading up to the big day
Lip Balm
Hand Sanitizer
Baby Wipes
(great for polishing shoes last minute as well as lots of other things)
Lint Remover (dollar store or CVS deal)
Nail Polish Remover
Clear Nail Polish
Toothpaste and toothbrushes
(I got a sample of teeth cleaning wipes and used these instead)
Hand mirror (found a nice set at the dollar store that had a hand mirror and a compact for a dollar)
Tissues (small travel pack)
Stain Stick pen (generic brand at the dollar store or work in a CVS deal)
Knee Highs 3 for $1 at Walmart
Straws (use the kind that are sealed in paper wrapper-like from fast food restaurant)- helps to keep lipstick from smearing
Sticky Notes (got mine free from CVS)
Earing Back
s (a package of these are around $3 from Walmart too bad I haven't seen any of these at CVS. )
Sewing Kit ($1 from most stores)
Eye Drops (I never bothered with these but might if I find a good deal)
Emery Board
($ store again)
Hair brush/ spray (although I can't imagine all bridesmaid and the bride forgetting these so I don't bother putting them in the kit)
Lotion (great to help with static clean too by just putting some on legs)
Double Sided Tape (kind of expensive but I throw it in if I have it)
Corsage Pins (I haven't put this in yet but someone told me to look for them at Michaels. So I might do that)
I am even including a back massager that I got for free from CVS this time.

I have also seen it suggested to add mock wedding bands JUST IN CASE! I haven't looked but suspect they might be at a craft store like Michaels.

I also like to add a snack- like a bag of gourmet pretzel mix and bottled water.

I didn't include every one of these items but I was able to get most of them. What's great about this is that I can continually add to my stock when I find good sales (or free items). If I were to walk into Walmart and buy all these at full price I am sure I would easily put $50-75 into one emergency kit. Instead I am able to pool most of these items from my CVS shopping trips which cost me almost nothing out of pocket.

I was able to purchase a very nice valet bag that unrolled to reveal 4-5 fairly large compartments. It also had some
small travel shampoo/conditioner containers which I filled with lotion, nail polish remover, hand sanitizer etc. Its more cost effective than buying everything in little travel size.

Hope this idea blesses someone. The bride seemed VERY appreciative of having all these items put together for her.

Any other items you think should be added to the list?

Do you have any additional ways you use your CVS/Walgreens deals for gifts? please feel free to add your ideas in the comments section.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trip to the ER

Quin swallowed a button battery today. You know one of those round ones about the size of a nickel. The internet said that if it was lodged in the esophagus it could start burning within two hours. So we headed to the ER. Sure enough there was a cute round white battery sitting in his tummy.

60% chance it will just pass through in 2 weeks they told me. If not then they will have to do something different. I didn't even bother asking for more details.

BUT Quin really had some interesting things to say on the way to the ER. He really thought he might die from this. I realized this as he started talking and I have to say that I just let him talk for a few minutes just to see if God was dealing with some issues in his heart.

He started by saying "mom, if I die would you please finish my scrapbook and put it in the thing with me" After I realized how serious he thought it was I also realized just how much their scrapbooks mean to them.

Then he started to almost cry and said..."mom I know that I asked Jesus to be my Savior ... BUT I have never done anything for HIM!" It was just so precious. So I took the opportunity to tell him that of course God doesn't base our salvation on what we do for Him so we can be at peace about that. But sometimes God has us go through emergencies or difficult circumstances because it helps us focus on the important things and helps us learn how to love God more.

Quin had been struggling with some things (kindness, humility, gentleness, compassion, submission, respect... hmm same things I deal with daily too) and I thought it might be good for him to think about what is really important in this life.

I didn't let his fear drag on too much and I explained that we were taking him to the hospital so that they would be able to help him. Even after I assured him they were going to help him he said "well I really would like to die in my sleep mom. I don't want to be in pain" Poor kid.

He got to the ER and was sharing interesting things there as well.

The dr asks me "is he homeschooled?"

Now I would like to think it was because my son sounded so intelligent as he answered questions but the reality was it was the middle of the day and he knowing he should have been in school when it happened he deducted that no real teacher would have a battery sitting around for a kid to swallow or certainly wouldn't let him play with it in his mouth! :P

They were all quite kind, polite, and friendly. And because of the nature of the accident we got to go through quickly. Here is a picture of little Liam in his carseat on the way home. He is all snuggled in a little "Cuddle me" that someone recently gave to me. AWWW.. too cute! And yes he has just discovered his thumb!

update to the battery story. It took 3weeks but the little round battery passed through Quin's system just fine. A little rusted but in tact. I suggested to Amanda she stick it back in the remote control that it came out of "EWWW GROSS mom... no way!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Finally Well Again, my ramblin thoughts

We were able to attend church all together as a family for the first time in MONTHS! We now have a smörgåsbord of cold remedies, vitamins, natural remedies, and pain relievers in our medicine chest. The vitamins, herbs, and extracts have been there but the over the counter quick fix things were something we almost never used as I have always been an advocate of just helping the body to help heal itself.

Now in theory, shouldn't a family that eats fairly healthy be able to staid off sickness?

Is staid a real word and if so can it possibly be used in that sentence? Hmm I am afraid I am just too distracted by a TOOTHACHE to even care to look it up. Sooo I will have to live with the consequences of my illiteracy.

Speaking of illiteracy, my son and I were playing a word game (can't remember the name of it). But it gives the word and 3 "definitions" of which only one is correct. One of the words was literate. Choices were as follows: 1) well read 2) instructed 3) well I can't remember the third choice. Suffice it to say that I chose well read and I was wrong. It actually was "instructed". I didn't believe it so got a dictionary out and had to admit I was indeed wrong.

Which brings me back to my wrongness. Yes I know that isn't a word but I am going with it. This sickness brought a reoccurring headache and cough that had us searching the drug store for something to help. We have had more Tylenol and Motrin in our systems in the past two months than in the last two decades. "We" is only in the family sense as "I" was able to avoid all of it for the most part.

Thank goodness for CVS and it's Extra Care Bucks. :) We have been able to stock up on toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, toilet paper, makeup (which I didn't use too often before) and other items like cough syrup and pain reliever which I thought we would never use but was thankful for last month. I have to say I am starting to feel a little guilty leaving the store because I am able to get so much with almost no out of pocket cost to me. For those of you who want more info... check out moneysavingmom. I stop by her site a few times a week to find out which stores have the best deals.

So that is my rambling thoughts for the day. I have hesitated to post because I figure it is more interesting to have a picture and a sentence or two about it. But I hadn't been really taking too many pictures this year and now my camera SD card is missing! I am hoping it was set aside safely and I have only to remember where it has been safely placed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coupons- are they worth it?

The subject of coupons was brought up on an email group that I belong to. I never bothered with coupons as I almost never purchase name brand products, except for Helmann's mayonnaise. BUT a few weeks ago I decided to start a coupon notebook because I found that there were stores(CVS especially) that offered certain items on sale and when combined with my coupons I could get them next to nothing.

I picked up a nice notebook with a few extra zippered compartments for .29 at a thrift store. I then purchased a few baseball card vinyl sheets. I can fit 12 coupons on each page (along with their duplicates).

Each page has it's own theme such as Medicine, paper goods, Hygiene, Canned goods etc. I put Medicine, hygiene, paper goods first as I use these weekly at CVS.

On Sunday afternoon or Monday morning Ella helps me clip the newest coupons and Emma begins to sort and put them into the notebook. It does take a while to do this but the girls have a lot of fun and I find it much easier to see what coupons I have and easily find them. I bring the whole thing with me when I shop.

For daily posts on frugal living and finding great deals at CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, etc take a look at MoneysavingMom's site.

I now have 8 tubes of toothpaste, a few bottles of nice hair care products, deodorant, and razors that I only paid pennies for. This is so much better than constantly running out like we always used to.

Eggtastic Basket

I found this cute basket a few weeks ago at a Thrift store. For us it was better to have eggs easily accessible and I can fit more in less space. Always a good thing :)

Did you know that eggs that are gathered fresh from the farm can be left out on the counter in a basket like this for a few weeks and still be good? As long as they aren't cooled and then allowed to warm back up again. Ours are from the store (already been cooled down and who knows how long they have been sitting at the store) so our basket goes into the frig.

SPOC (no not the one in Startrek)

I saw a really nice baby carrier (Ergo) in a children's shop the other day. I have never found a sling to be very comfortable and neither have my babies. But this one felt pretty good and offered the ability to wear the baby on the front, on the back, or on the hip which I thought was great. The bad part was that it was almost $100. YIKES. I don't think so. (Actually I did try to reason that it could be a good choice if I wore it every day. But logic rang through).

I even had a woman from freecycle offer her Bjorn to me but we are all sick and she lives about 20 minutes away. In the midst of this I also began to research different options that would be less expensive than an Ergo and found someone talking about a SPOC [Simple Piece Of Cloth].

BINGO! 5-6yards of material in 20"width wrapped in a variety of ways depending on how you want to 'wear' you baby. So a few days ago when I was at Walmart, Amanda and I picked out a slightly stretchy comfy piece of fabric for $1 a yard! wohoo... now that I can work with! 60" in width could be cut into three 20" strips. The cost was now only a few dollars for three wraps. We also found some really cute Winnie the Pooh Bear material and I plan to sew a square of that on that will be the part that wraps behind the Liam's back. Just to make it look a little bit cuter and babyish but I haven't bothered with that yet. It is SO COMFORTABLE and was perfect timing since Liam came down with the sickness and has wanted to be held way more than usual.

I looked at a video from to see how to wrap it and I found another site that had a dozen different ways to wrap a baby but can't seem to find that now...I'll have to keep searching.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

sick again sick again

Hard to believe but sickness has struck again. I have Ella on lap sleeping so am not bothering with pics etc as there are none taken and none on the computer. I would say this is Liam's first true sickness (more than a stuffy nose). He has a fever and is whimpering as he breathes.

On the good side.. I received an email today about the puppy that was donated to the Search and Rescue unit. Here is what she wrote:

She [I think they named her Amita] turned nine weeks old on this day and it was her first "training" at the DEC land. She went over, under or through everything we took her to. She did some runaways.....................where she watches the person run and hide while she is being held back and then she is released with the "find" command and goes to find them. She was doing so well at the short distance (usually start at only 10-20 feet for several day/weeks depending on the dog) that we did one about 100 feet and she was so excited she whined and pulled while being held back. When she was released with the command, she came right through all the brush, stumps and downed trees directly to the "missing" person. She is the neatest little pup I've had in a looooooooooong, loooooooooooong time. She is sitting on command, climbing on command, goes under or over on command, recalls, will "place" on command (stays on a point identified by us.......could be blanket, stump, rock, etc.) and when she is anywhere in the yard and I say "go home", she RUNS for the porch and sits at the door to go in. She is toooooooooooooooooooooooooooo smart. I will have a time keeping up with this one.

I tried to get a picture from email to load here but couldn't figure it out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Garlic breath

Can I make a confession? Alright I know some of you might gasp but the truth of the matter is that I don't remember EVER cooking with real garlic before. I know... completely ruins the whole SAHM, home cookin, mother of many, stereo type doesn't it? But those are the facts.

I would occasionally purchase some pretty white garlic and bring it home with the best intentions but really didn't know what to do with it and in the end it would spoil before I used it.

Well I found this recipe for an Italian soup at The Full Table. With all the confidence of Alton Brown on Good Eats I thumped that garlic, carefully peeled the paper off, diced, and sauted
(spell check is telling me this isn't a word but I give up) a few of those cloves.

All I can say is WOW! OK.. well maybe I can say a little bit more...What have I been waiting all these years for?!? Why have I lazily just thrown some garlic powder into a recipe because I didn't dare figure out how to use the real thing. It smelled like Olive Garden at my house. Now I am emboldened to search out some chicken scampi or other garlic ladened recipes! YUM!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Original intent

I picked up some organic pumpkin seeds at the local health food store a little while ago but some of the kids weren't too excited about snacking on them. SO... I decided to add them on top of Mac-n-cheese to give it some crunch. Much healthier than the average bread crumbs.

I don't expect to see it on the next episode of "Iron Chef" but I'll probably throw some on top of the next batch of M&C again. BTW they work really well in homemade granola.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Book Nook

I LOVE old out of print books. The kind that the library sees no value in keeping and discards because they need to make room for the latest "Goosebumps" books or some other mindless twitter.

About 10 years ago my mother jumped in and began collecting with me. She never does anything halfheartedly and now we are the proud (and slightly insane) owners of a few thousand books. What.. did I hear you shriek? I know.. it was an addiction but the idea of those beautiful books going to the dump was more than I could bare.

Today I pulled out a box of duplicates that I have for sale in hopes of listing them through ebay or some email groups. Not only do I hope to bring in some much needed income but also to bless others with these treasures. I'll have to wait till tomorrow to list them since I can't upload photos. It is amazing that these 10cent treasures can fetch $10, $20 or even into the hundreds of dollars. It is a great way to bring in some cash.

In the future I'll share pics and posts of our favorite titles, authors, and series and give you a peek at the bookshelves that line our rooms.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bed Head

My girls always seem to have hair that is wild and unmanageable until they get older. Do all kids wake up this way or is it just mine? It is impossible to have it look nice at this point (even if I use detangler spray). My only option is for her to hop in the shower and use shampoo and conditioner. And then on top of this I have to blow dry it too. I can't just brush or comb it out after her bath. In addition to that, if I want it look good for more than an hour or so I will give her a few spritz of spray.

She has been called "Wild Child" on occasion. Wish I could say it was just because of her hair... but I am afraid that if she doesn't have constant supervision she can get into trouble VERY quickly. Here she is looking much better now that she has been blow dried and curled. Fortunately I got a great deal at Salvation Army on a blow dryer with 3 temp and speed settings and also a curling iron that has heat settings on a dial from 1 to 25 so I can curl her hair on a very low temperature. Seems extreme but I am tired of having a little girl that looks like a street urchin.

As I was blow drying her hair for this picture I realized that the wild child struck again and it looks like she cut a little bit of her bangs on top. UGH! Fortunately it isn't too noticeable.


Well, we still aren't sure what Quin came down with. We thought at first it was a bad tooth since the swelling in his cheek didn't go down with medication. That has led us to believe that it is probably mumps. If so then the younger group will probably get it in the next week or two. I guess time will tell.

For the most part Quin has been moving around as normal but by Friday night he was NOT feeling well. Spent Friday and Saturday just lying around. His cheek and eye were swollen. Poor guy.

Sorry about the quality of the pic. I really should have cropped it down first to get rid of the sunlight coming through. This camera phone is great to take quick pics but the quality is just not there. I am going to have to be more diligent to keep good batteries in the digital camera or I am going to be frustrated with how this blog looks.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Give Aways at

I am new to the blogging world and am just realizing that some of these blogs and websites have give aways. One of the interesting ones I have found is at 5 minutes for Mom. They are offering a Blue tooth insignia MP3 player thanks to Best Buy .

Or how about a 65 mustang replica Pedal car also given away by 5 Minutes for Mom. Too cute! I don't know who would like that more... my toddlers or their dad who adores Mustangs. This place has a whole line of retro items for kids. Now to be honest I can't see any of these items fitting in our budget but they were neat to look at.

Take a peek and enter... maybe you might win.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Fabulous Frugal Finds

I must confess that I LOVE to find a bargain and am sure that lures me in to purchasing items that I should probably pass on sometimes.

Read what Meredith has to say at Like Merchant Ships (my favorite blog). Just "because there is great stuff out there, cheap, doesn't mean I have to have it."

Well I was thinking about what Meridith said when I came across this basket.

It was only a buck at the Salvation Army. I almost left it when I came to my senses.

One of my goals this year is to try to 'beautify' my home at very little cost. I decided this basket was a sensible purchase. It is unique and also fits my fruit themed kitchen (the fabric backdrop behind the basket is the curtains on my bottom kitchen cabinets). The basket is now displayed above my kitchen sink but I didn't take a picture there as the window behind it needs a good cleaning. :)

Goals for today: wash windows of course and organize the downstairs bathroom (which serves as a clothes closet/changing area for all the kids). And it would be really great if I could get through my ironing pile as well.

[will post sneak peek before and after pics again of those projects later today Lord willing]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wonderful Wintertime Waterfall

We have been blessed with a beautiful waterfall in our "backyard", well about 100 yards from the back of our house. I'm guessing as I am really bad at judging distances.

My nephew snapped this picture with his phone and forwarded it to me.

Thought it would be helpful to see a comparison picture of the waterfall in the summer to give you a better perspective. It can be from 4-7ft deep where the water is splashing down. But it reaches wading depth pretty quickly.

Isn't it beautiful!?! We really are blessed.

Dozen People- ONE Bathroom!

The most asked question we get when we are out as a family is "Are they ALL yours!?!" Then it is usually followed by "you must have a HUGE house. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you have?".

Answer: No, not a huge house and we have 4 bedrooms, one bathroom.

We really don't think too much of it but it was a little bit ridiculous last Sunday as we were trying to get ready for church. Let me first say there are reasons I only take showers (NO BATHS).
  1. The pipe drips into the laundry room on the clean clothes only when the water is sitting in the tub for a bath. (Consequently everyone takes showers for the most part... unless special permission is given)
  2. With 10 kids who has time to take a bath!
  3. Contrary to what others might think, I do NOT like labor. I pretty much only take baths during labor, and so if I try to take a bath the whole labor and delivery process becomes first and foremost in my mind. Not exactly a "calgon take me away kind of moment.
  4. While laying in the bathtub another thing becomes glaringly apparent... there is some staining that can only be noticed at eye level while laying in the tub.
  5. What is really nice about taking a shower is that the running water drowns out the sounds that are going on in the rest of the house. The rule used to be "if there isn't a fire and you aren't bleeding (like need to go to the ER kind of bleeding) then don't bother me.. But as the family has grown the reality is there is just isn't enough time in the morning to get teeth brushed, showers done, hair combed etc. SO... THIS was my shower last Sunday:
(Note: there is a non see through fabric shower curtain for apparent reasons)

I here the door quietly open and peek out to see Ella. Well I better let her stay in because she can be disastrous if no one is watching her.

Knock knock

Me: "Who is it"

Child?: "me"

Me: "Me who?"

Child?: "Mitch, I need to brush my teeth"

Me: (sighing) "Come in but make it fast"

knock knock

Mitch: "who is it"

Josh: "I need to brush my teeth"

Mitch: "I'm already in here"

Josh: "I don't care" pushes open door and comes in.

knock knock

Amanda: "Liam needs to get a shower. I'll
undress him and hand him in to you"

Me: SIGH again as Amanda enters the bathroom, and uses the toilet as a chair to sit and get the baby ready to come into the shower.

Anyone counting how many children are in this bathroom at this point? FIVE!

I hear the door open and shut and am assu
ming the bathroom now has one less child only to find one more walked in. Josiah doesn't want to miss any interesting conversation so he has joined us too.

ME: "there are SIX kids in the bathroom" Now yelling sarcastically, "Any other children out there that aren't in the bathroom?!?"

CALEB: (my dear obedient thoughtful yet very literal child) "Here I am mom" as he enters the bathroom.

I start half yelling and half laughing: "This is ridiculous....there are SEVEN kids in here! EVERYONE OUT!"

Mitch: "not fair, I was here first! well sort of"

Now I know some of you are wondering how big our bathroom is... thinking it must be one of those spacious luxurious master baths. Ready for this... it is 6'x8'. Thats it! I don't know how anyone managed to brush their teeth without it feeling like a football game.

I don't know how they all fit in there but they did it somehow.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. We have a new bathroom planned for the addition. In fact it is almost plumbed but we can't go forward until the inspector comes. Right now the new bathroom is holding all the kids clothing in baskets on a shelving system in hopes of having a bathroom, laundry room, changing room all together.

Oh joy of joys... a second bathroom... a quiet shower....could it be possible? Time will tell. I am silently wondering though if the second bathroom won't be finished until 1/2 the children have moved out of the house. LOL (ok.. David just kidding in case you happen to read this). And I know that in another 20 years I will probably miss episodes like this one.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sneak peek

Thought I would share before and after shots periodically of decorating or cleaning projects. Reality is that our house is close to 1700sq ft. Hypothetically if 12 people left out 5 things each hour you could easily have over 600 things out of place by the end of the day. SIGH Here is a typical cycle of cleaning in our house:

This is the before picture of our living room full of sick kids and items that have accumulated on the floor etc

And here it is after an hour or so of sorting.

I'm not crazy about the toys sitting behind the couch in full view as people enter the house. Any ideas on storing toys in a way that is accessible to the toddlers and still orderly looking? Funny question, as this is a new blog that no one reads :)

And most shocking of all...this is less than 24 hours later. UGH! Now in fairness, Mitchell has been working on laundry and that activity always seems to breed more chaos in the room.

A portion of Mt Neverest (aka laundry) has been conquered for the day.... this is our laundry folding couch.

Now if I get really brave I will give you a sneak peek into our laundry area/clothes room. But I don't think any of us are quite ready for that yet.

Silent Night

Since i just shared about our "not so silent night", it reminded about a special night a few weeks ago. Our church often has a Candlelight Christmas Eve service.

This year they did it on Jan 30th instead. Abigail(9) and Josiah (11)were also baptized the same night.

Abby was evidently freezing in the baptismal tank, but her sincere love of God was even more evident.

Josiah was next and was standing in the tank while they were finishing Abby's favorite song from the hymnal, "All the Trees of the Field". It is such a joyful song and appropriate for her to pick. Josiah could barely contain himself and Pastor commented later that his Bible was getting wet from Josiah's exuberance.

After the baptisms, we sang carols. It is always a special time and my favorite part of this service is
when they play Mannheim Steamrollers' Silent Night. All lights are turned off. The pastor stands at the front with a single candle and then lights the candles of the two people on either side who then light the next candles.

All while listening to the most beautiful instrumental version of Silent Night I have ever heard. Here is a picture of Emma and Quin who were so delighted to be able to hold their own candle this year.

What was once covered in darkness is now beautifully aglow with candlelight. A wonderful symbol of how we can affect the world for God, one light at a time.

Pigs in a Blanket... NOPE how bout the front porch

What a night we had last night. I've already posted about the stomach bug, tooth problems, and ear aches. This seems to result in restless kids roaming the house looking for the perfect place to lay down that will take away all sickness. Amanda was up helping me and opened the door about 1am to find our 2 pigs, Wilbur and Charlotte, at the front door. UGH!!! Josiah was quickly rounding them up but couldn't get them into the pen until his big brother Mitchell came to the rescue. They need to go to the butcher soon. Remind me if I ever feel tempted to bring home cute little piggies to remember how much money it costs to feed them as well as the extra challenges they bring. SIGH. It has been good though to see Si faithfully taking care of them, so I guess that was worth it.

So the pigs made it back in the pen but I couldn't take the puppy noise and so sent them out to the mudroom to sleep through what was left of the night. Ahhh... much better, but we were soon awake again at 4am with our wood boiler hissing and spitting. The pressure was too high. David made it out of bed to help Caleb (15yos) get it settled but David can't even move without being sick so he was heaving all the way to the basement and back again. Poor guy.

Puppies, Puppies, EVERYWHERE!

Our oldest son, Mitch, bought a redbone 2 yrs ago. When I was in labor for our littlest guy, Liam, Mitchell was taking a drive w/ his grandma to get his dog bred. 2 days b4 Christmas she went into labor. Now we have 7 puppies running around. They are 3 wks now. Very cute but getting bigger (BIGGER NOISE AND MESSES).

This picture cracks me up as one of the middle puppies are flipped over on its back trying to get the perfect position to get some milk.

I attempted to add video captured on my cell phone but to no avail. I obviously have to do some tweaking but am NOT computer savvy. Maybe one of the boys will know how to do that.

We're being attacked! HELP!

Ok... sickness has invaded our home on all sides. After New Year's Quin woke up with a swollen eye. We let it go thinking it would resolve itself (maybe not enough sleep). A week later it was still bothering him and now he had a swollen gland in front of his ear. Dr's prognosis... either a bad tooth (which needs a filling) or MUMPS! We are leaning towards the tooth and he is on antibiotics. We are hoping the swelling in his right cheek goes down soon. For now I am calling him "monk" short for chipmunk and also after a show we recently started watching on USA network called Monk.

On top of Quin's tooth we also are dealing with a variety of other illnesses. The worst is the stomach bug.

Poor Si is sporting a beautiful bowl close by. My husband right now has it the worst, but a few of the kids are struggling with it also. It started with Abby and they wondered if it might be her appendix. We were told to keep a close eye on her, but I called the doctor yesterday and said, "they're dropping like flies around here.. I think it is safe to assume it is a stomach bug and not appendicitis". He agreed.

Here is Abby actually feeling much better but still camped out in the living room chair with Amanda's sought after blanket/robe and one of our puppies.

So some have the stomach bug, Quin has the infection from a tooth and little Ella was complaining about her ear. That leaves me, Amanda (13yod), and Caleb (15yos who rarely gets sick) running at full speed.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

My first post! and no time to do it

Thought I would do a blog on the realities of living life in a large family. We have 10 children and life can be a little bit crazy at times.. but a good kind of crazy. Wish I had time to do a proper posting... but reality is that today our second son Josh has a basketball game and we need to leave in a half hour. Ever try to get out the door in a half hour after mom has been mulling around too long on the computer. It isn't pretty, let me tell you. I expect to go downstairs and find that no one has done their chores, clothes are here and there and everywhere in an attempt to find an outfit in the pile of Mt Neverest (AKA the laundry pile), and of course the ultimate challenge will be to find 2 matching shoes for our 3 year old. Why is it I can only find 5 LEFT footed shoes and no matches??!!?? Quick, check by the trampoline!

Not a great way to start the blog... I envisioned talking about the joys of a large family and the many blessing that ensue. I could post about what 5 course meal we are having for dinner, my latest decorating idea, a picture of my latest scrapbooking page, etc. BANG! back to real life in our home. The atmosphere is a little bit frenetic right now. (I learned that big word in the kids writing curriculum and it fits our family so well sometimes. Look it up).

I can tell you the upcoming posts will be filled with grammatic errors and odd sentences as I try to type and run the household at the same time. But I will do my best to just be 'real'. I will have to learn how to add pictures and I wonder if I can do short video clips from my cell phone. Now that would truly be eye opening.

This is more for me to keep a running account of how we spend our days.... a kind of digital scrapbook of sorts. So even if I have no one that stops by for a view our family will enjoy looking at it in years to come.