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.