"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world , and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Angry Mom

So often in my parenting I find myself impatient, unsympathetic and even downright ornery.  I so often forget that my children are amazing gifts from my Father and have a tendency to see them instead as interruptions.  How can I lose sight of the fact that, other than God and my husband, they are my number 1 earthly priority.  I want them to do more than know that they are loved...I want them to FEEL loved by me.  I want them to feel cherished and appreciated and the Mom they often get falls short of that mark.

Right now I am being challenged by this book:

The Five Love Languages of Children

I should admit here that I have never read Dr. Chapman's classic "The Five Love Languages", but I am aware of the concepts running through it.  This book is shifting my paradigm for parenting.  It's showing me that many, many of my parenting "techniques" are causing damage...to the hearts of my children and to my overall parenting goals.  My impatience and anger are worse than just counter-productive.  They are downright hurtful.  I want to stop.  I want to follow the Lord's lead in loving my children well, with grace and compassion and in an unconditional way.  My prayer is that He will transform my heart, increase my love for my children and deepen my dependence on Him.  I want my parenting to be a model, albeit an imperfect one, of the love that God has for His children.

While I have a long way to go, I have already begun implementing some of the ideas in this book and am seeing almost immediate results.  I highly recommend this book, no matter where you are in your journey as a parent. 

I am glad that life is a journey filled with second chances and that our God is the God of new beginnings...aren't you?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Time Off

My sweet hubby took all 4 kids off on Sunday morning to give me some time to myself.  I seriously considered scrapbooking, but one look around my house convinced me to spend it cleaning, so that I wouldn't be seriously stressed out the rest of the day.  I took before and after photos.  I figure that if we're going to get to know each other, you should see a glimpse of the "real" me.  Here goes...


After (I love a clean desktop!)

Before (only a little messy)




The Hallway, where items that didn't belong in the girls' room were chucked until I could deal with them!

Ah, the boys' room. A disaster.  Not surprising! This is obviously the before shot.
These are a little dark...but you get the idea!
Before (obviously!)
After:  Wow!  These pictures are really dark.  Sorry.
Before (and yes, I am still in my pajamas).
After:  Much Better!
Master Bedroom.  Pack-n-play still up from babysitting my nephew on Friday night, and just general chaos.
Truthfully, of all the rooms of the house, this one is the only one that usually looks very tidy.
Ah, the kitchen and the living room.  No excuses here. Just life with 4 small children!
It feels so good to have a neat and tidy house.  I was really glad I spent my time doing it.  The rest of the day felt so peaceful.  It was much easier to relax that way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I started to write a whole post about me and my interests, a little get-to-know-me post with bullet points.  But I found myself writing way too much to explain each of the bullet points, so I am planning to explore each on in its own post.  The most important part to know is that I am something of a dilettante  (a person who takes up an art, activity, or subject merely for amusement, esp. in a desultory or superficial way; dabbler. )
This is a term I learned from a dear friend and I think it explains my personality nicely (and sounds much better than scatterbrained or indecisive).  I have a lot of interests, but not a ton of time. So I dabble.

Here in a non-exhaustive list of my interests.  Details will come later.
  • I am somewhat green.  We are part of a CSA, we reduce, reuse and recycle whenever we can and I am always interested in learning more about natural living.


    • I love to buy second hand. Garage sales, thrifting, you name it.  
    • I hate to pay full price for anything. It really bugs me and I rarely do it.
    • I love to scrapbook.  I am not terribly original. I scraplift alot, but I so enjoy it anyway.
    • I also make cards.  This is a nautral progression out of my scrapbooking. 
    • I LOVE coffee but find it hard to finish an entire cup.  I reheat alot.
    • I love all manner of ethnic foods and cook much of it at home.  Favorite are Thai and Indian.

    • I love to cook.  My husband loves to eat. It's a good match.
    • I do not like to bake.  It's too precise.  With cooking I can wing it...with baking, not so much.
    • I am teaching myself how to sew.  So far I've made a handful of super-cute bags and some coasters.  I'm by no means prolific, but I am learning and I love it!
    • The most important thing about me:  I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  Redeemed by His grace and grateful for it!
                                                       Go to fullsize image

    There's more to me, of course, but this is a good start!

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Late Night Giggles

    Sorry for the darkness of this video.  I shot it on the way home from a charity pig roast we went to today.  Kate is not a good traveller and she was very cranky...until I started a game of peek-a-boo.  Then, hilarity (mostly hers) ensued.  I want to remember moments like these forever.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Me & My Precious Ones

    I am lucky to be married to a wonderful man.  I met my husband, Andy, in 7th grade and fell for him hard, permed blond locks and all.  Alas, he was totally uninterested (though he admits he liked the attention).  He was a year older, so my intense crush continued when I entered High School 2 year later.  I joined the Debate Team and had my first debate with him as my partner (sigh).  I was on the Science Olympiad with him as well (we were a little...ahem..geeky).  I thought he was amazing.  He was my unattainable, pie-in-the-sky crush.  I actually read a letter (years later) where I was advising my best friend about the futility of her crush and actually said, "Let face it, _____ is not your type, just like Andy is not and never will be my type". Giggle.  My unrequited longing continued for him throughout my High School career and ended only when I was anticipating all the fun of dating in college.  That, of course, is when he decided he liked me, too.  I never did get to date around in college (thank the Lord) and that, as they say, was that.  I was engaged at 20, married at 21 and headed off to Minnesota for his Law School career.  We moved back to Michigan in 1998 and had our first child, Rachael in 2001. We have had three more children since then and I have been happily at home ever since.
    Here we are!  Cute couple, no?

    This is our beautiful daughter, Rachael.  She is 9 years old, going into 5th grade and is big sister to 3.  She is sweet, funny, smart, caring and just a little bit sassy.  She loves to read, draw and write.  She is an adventurous eater, a big help around the house and (her favorite role) a dedicated big sister to Katherine.  She adores her baby sister:  "Mom, I waited my whole life to have a baby sister!".
    My handsome, first-born son Alexander.  He is impish, funny, bright and our "vegetable" boy.  He will eat vegetables and fruit before anything else on his plate.  He is affectionate and loves to have his back "tickled" (it's more like scratching).  He can be a bit sneaky...he LOVES to push his little brother's buttons and sit back as he explodes.  He is a Star Wars fanatic and is currently obsessed with his Lego Star Wars computer game.
    Ah, my boisterous 4 year old Drew.  He is full of energy from morning until night.  He can usually be found following his big brother around or giving his baby sister over-zealous hugs.  He is smart as a whip (at 4 1/2 he can read quite well already).  He is funny and is actually known in our family for side-splitting quips we call "Drewisms".  He is also our miracle boy:

    My sweet Katherine (Kate).  She's almost 14 months and the joy of our lives.  She is remarkably easy and sweet.  She loves to greet friends and newcomers alike with a cheery "Hi!".  It's nearly impossible to not coo "Hi" right back to her.  She adores her big sister and likes her brothers, too...when they're not mauling her.  She continues to give us trouble at night.  She likes the company, I guess.  We're really working on it!  Hopefully she'll be on track soon, as she shares a room with her sister and school starts soon!

    That's our little family!  Thanks for getting to know us!

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    A change of plans.

    I had a list of things I wanted to get done today.  I was working my way through it when I opened the door of my refrigerator and saw this mess sitting in the bottom:
    This is mostly vegetables left from last week's CSA share.  And I needed to pick up more today.  Sigh.  My plans for the day changed as I realized I would need to deal with all of these veggies before I could hope to fit in more.  So here's what I did.

     I had this leftover chicken breast and some leftover white rice, so I decided to make my Chicken Rice Casserole and use what I had on hand.

    I diced up a head of bok choy, some celery and a half an onion and sauteed it in olive oil until it was all tender.  Then I added the vegetable mixture to the rice, the diced chicken breast, a can of cream of mushroom soup, about a cup of sour cream, a couple of large handfuls of cheese and some assorted spices and herbs I thought would go well:
    When it was all mixed together I put it in a 9 x 13 pan for dinner that night. I later cooked it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes and it was delicious.  Meanwhile, I turned my attention to the rest of the veggies.

    I chopped up 2 heads of romaine and a half of a head of leftover raddicio and placed it in some water to "revive" a bit.  When it was nice a crisp I spun it and placed it back in the bowl to put in the fridge for quick salads (with the lid on, of course).  Then I moved on to the 3 green peppers and the bag of hot peppers I had on hand:

    The green peppers I chopped small and put in the fridge.  I plan to use them to can salsa this weekend.  The hot peppers I minced as small as I could get them (wearing gloves...I highly recommend that!  No sense in suffering painful burns as evidence of your industriousness).  I placed them in a pint comtainer and will use them for salsa and possibly a batch of my hubby's famous jalapeno jelly.

    I buy organic carrots from Costco in huge bags and was at the end of this one.  They were getting a bit funky, so I peeled, cut and placed them in water with the rest of the celery.  They will crisp up nicely and will serve me well when my kids are begging for a snack at 5:00.  A little ranch and they're happy campers.

    Because I am crazy and get a ridiculous amount of joy out of using every last bit of my food, I took the non-funky carrot, onion and celery peels and pieces and put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.  When I cook a whole chicken I will grab a couple of these bags and throw them in a crockpot over night with the carcass and have instant chicken stock.  Sigh.  It's a beautiful thing.

    This is what I had left to put back in the fridge.  Much more manageable!  And I even took those two zucchinis and made marvelous zucchini bread tonight.  I used my Mother-In-Law's recipe and just substituted melted coconut oil for the 1 cup oil.  It is delicious (oh, and I added some chopped milk chocolate...I think that helped a bit! )

    Barbara's Yummy Zucchini Bread
    3 eggs
    2 C. Sugar
    2 C. shredded Zucchini
    3 C. Flour
    1 t. Baking Soda
    1 t. Salt
    3 t. Cinnamon
    3 T. Vanilla
    1 C. Oil
    1/2 t. Baking Powder
    1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional)

    Blend all ingredients.  Fill 2 buttered loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.