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Archive for November, 2009

"Wow - Christmas Ornaments! I wonder how many of these I can manage to break"

Okay, so not quite yet, but we’re getting there with our decorations this year.  So far the tree is up, the stocking holders are up (no stockings up just yet), and we got the outside topiaries, and lights around the railing up.

"Mommy is even letting me put an ornament on!"

We’re getting there.  This year our tree looks a bit different as there are no breakable ornaments past the halfway point.  This way if the boy wants to look at an ornament he can, and we don’t have to stress about him breaking something.  We took bets at our house all the same as to how many we thought he’d still break.  Brad took 5, I took 3.  Hopefully it will stay at 0 and neither one of us will be right.

I figure if we get a few decorations up each day by Christmas we should be there!  Gone are the days when I actually put up 3-4 trees throughout the house, but it is more festive than ever, and the boy loves the one tree in the living room, especially the kitty ornament at the bottom and the Purdue Pete ornament.

It was a pretty nice evening to put up decorations, we had Christmas music playing, and a warm home full of love and laughter.

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Happy Thanksgiving!  Can you believe it’s the holiday season already.  I think the Christmas season begins earlier and earlier each year, and this year it has been even harder to stay focused on Thanksgiving and all we have to be thankful for with all of Christmas trying to cover up this holiday that comes first.

There is so much to Thanksgiving which goes beyond the turkey and the dressing.  There is the original Thanksgiving story, and all that it meant, and the fact that we are all so blessed!

At our house we have so much to be thankful for this year.  We are so blessed and each and every day just greater magnifies that.  I thank God that I am able to stay home.  Never before did I ever imagine that I could be so incredibly joyful as a homemaker, but that’s where I am.

Our pastor read a familiar poem last Sunday.  I can’t remember most of it but you’re probably familiar with it.  It goes something like:  I’m thankful when the alarm goes off, because it means I’ve woken up and I’m alive.  I’m thankful when I have to pay my heating bills as it means I have a home to heat.  I’m thankful to put gas in my car, as it means I have a car to drive, etc.

Here are some of my variations:  I’m thankful to change a diaper, as it means I have a baby in my life.  I’m thankful to fix dinner, as it means I have food to put on the table.  I’m thankful I have to pull my child off of the tops of furniture multiple times a day, as it means he is healthy and active.  I’m thankful my husband bugs me sometimes, because it means he is here with me and loves me enough to joke with me.  I’m thankful for long drives to visit family because it means we have family to visit.

Again, you get the idea.  I hope you can find so much to be thankful for in each little thing you do each day.  Happy Thanksgiving today and each day of the year!

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Our son has had acid reflux issues since his birth, and when he was a newborn would have to be held upright for about 30 minutes after each feeding or he would proceed to throw up a whole bottle through his mouth and nose (sorry if its too graphic).

So after feedings we would read during those times.  From the day he came home from the hospital, we would read several several books while holding him upright after feedings.

This love of books has continued, and now he equally loves trips to our local library where he is surrounded by books, my husband’s cousin who works there, and fun different things to play with from farm magnets to felt orange kitty cats which he won’t let go of.

Following his tractor rides a few weeks ago, his love of these moving vehicles has escalated.  Thus our last several trips to the library have included tractor and truck books.  Last week even daddy got to come along.

 

Mom thinks I'm reading. I'm really planning out how to maneuver and climb onto my next piece of furniture.

Both last week and this week a fight over the check out of said tractor books has ensued.  Much to the librarians and other patrons dismay he has thrown an absolute screaming fit the moment I take the tractor book he has out of his hands to check it out.  I can’t say too much, as I’m glad he wants to hold on to a book so hard!

 

Despite his library fits, he is such a good boy, and has even taken to climbing up in his rocking chair and looking through books all by himself as you can see here.

When I was growing up our junior/senior high school was about 25 miles from home.  We’d spend about 45-60 minutes on the bus each way.  I took to reading entire books during the bus rides to make it pass quicker.  (That was when I could still read while riding in a moving vehicle.  Not so much anymore!)  Gone are the days when I pick out a book for myself in most cases, but here are the days when I get to pick out tractor and dino books that I think the boy will enjoy.

So while I have trouble getting his dad to sit down and read anything other than a sports trivia book, I hope the boy continues his love of books and reading, and I hope you’ll pay a visit to your local library if you haven’t been there lately.

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Easy Chicken Pot Pie

A few weeks back my dad and his wife had us over for dinner after a Purdue football game.  They had made this great and really easy to make chicken pot pie.  I made it for dinner at our house last night and it was just as good.  (I will note that my husband doesn’t especially like this recipe because it has vegetables in it.)  I’m not really sure of the recipe origination beyond them, but here it is.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie
2 rolled refrigerated pie crusts
2 cans mixed vegetables (drained)
1 can cream of potato soup
1 pound chicken breast – baked and cut into small cubes

Bake your chicken breast first and cut into bite sized cubes. Mix together the drained mixed vegetables, the can of cream of potato soup, and the chicken in a bowl. Take your pie pan, unroll the first pie crust and press it into the bottom of the pie pan. Pour the vegetable, soup, and chicken mixture into the bottom, cover with the second pie crust (unrolled of course).

Bake for an hour or until you feel it’s done at 350 degrees. Enjoy. The nice thing about this is it is pretty good for leftovers too.

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The boy is a good breakfast eater and these mini ham puffs are always a favorite. This morning I got up to make him a batch (he can usually eat them for a couple of morning breakfasts which saves me trying to figure out what to feed him each morning). I figure he’s getting grains from the crescent rolls, protein and iron from the meat, egg and cheese, and I’ll throw a couple of banana slices into his bowl for some fruit:)

I have modified the pampered chef recipe for mini ham puffs quite a bit to be quick and easy as well as to have more of the meat, cheese, and egg mixture in each one. I’ve essentially doubled that part of the recipe.

Modified Mini Ham Puff Recipe
1 package of refrigerated crescent rolls
1/4 to 1/3 a pound of sliced or shaved ham – finely chopped in the chopper
2 eggs
1 cup or more to your liking – cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon onion juice (you can get this in the spice section. We don’t like the consistency of onions so we use this a ton)
A couple nice long squirts of spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray mini muffin tray with cooking spray. Finely chop ham in the chopper.

In a bowl beat the two eggs. Then add the onion juice mustard and pepper. Mix well. Add the chopped ham and then the cheese so it’s a pretty gooey, thick consistency.

Unroll the crescent roll dough on a piece of wax paper so you don’t get your counters messy. press into one long triangle. Using a pizza cutter cut into 24 square.

Place each crescent roll square into the spots on the mini muffin pan and push down into the bottom lightly.

Then using a cookie scooper put as much of the mixture onto the top of each square of crescent roll as you want. I usually fill each to the top of the muffin pan.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until puffs are light to golden brown. Enjoy:)

I have to credit my friend and neighbor for introducing me to the original Pampered Chef Mini Ham Puff Recipe prior to the boy’s first birthday.  I’ve made it tons and come down to this modified version over several months.

 

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A few summer’s back (I think 3 years ago to be exact) our neighbors gave us some iris bulbs to plant. We planted them soon after and they never bloomed…Until today. That’s right – today, November 18, 2009.

This flower never bloomed until today!

I was shocked to find buds on it a few days ago, and even more shocked when it actually bloomed today so I had to share a picture.

I guess it’s an example that God continues to grow in our hearts all of the time, not just when he’s in our immediate thoughts, and that he continues to make life beautiful, even when we least expect it.

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This past weekend was full of great family time for us and for our son.

We got to mom’s house around 5p on Friday evening and saw the combines and tractors out in the field. About that time one of the big grain trucks pulled into the drive to unload into the bin and the boy was so excited to see the truck! He wasn’t quite as excited about wanting to sit in it.

About that time, my cousin Sam and his daughter pulled up and asked if the boy would like to go for a ride in the combine.

So we headed to the field and got to see the really neat operation my uncle and cousin had going on. Talk about neat! I honestly don’t think I had ever ridden in a combine either to my recollection.

My husband climbed up into the cab of the combine with my Uncle Joe along with the boy. The boy was pretty scared at first (we have a pretty good screaming photograph, but out of respect for him I won’t share that one). It took me going along too to make it an enjoyable ride. My uncle shared lots of great information and showed us how automated it all was.

I hope to get the other pictures of the boy in the tractor and combine up soon.

Is this thing alive?

On Saturday, while mommy and daddy went to the not so good Purdue vs. Michigan State game, the boy got to stay with his Papaw and Jujy. Sometime that morning, my brothers had gone hunting and one of them had succeeded in getting a nice buck. My dad took the boy to see it as you can see from the pics.

Watch out, I've stolen cousin's 3 wheel cycle and I'm headed your way!

He had steak for dinner with Papaw and Jujy, and went to bed exhausted.

Then Sunday it was time for early Thanksgiving at Grandma Mimi’s house. His cousin came over along with both his uncles, his Aunt, and my youngest brother’s girlfriend for a fabulous lunch.

So lot’s of family time. The stuff life is made of.

Fall. Family Time. Lots of being Thankful!

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I like Christmas music tons. In fact from Thanksgiving on you won’t find me listening to much else.

But when we were driving back from Northern Indiana this weekend I officially put a ban on Christmas Music until Thanksgiving.

We were driving through Indianapolis when what did we hear on the Christian radio station – Christmas Shoes. Then we changed the channel to hear two more Christmas songs.

Then we got home, and my husband decided to play the piano. From the kitchen, I could hear Good King Wenceslas and O’ Come All Ye Faithful. Crazy.

So at our house we have a ban on Christmas music until Thanksgiving.

Yes, Christmas should live in our hearts all year long. That said, I believe God calls us to enjoy all seasons – including fall, and taking time for Thanksgiving and all that we have been blessed with.

Then we can jump full fledge into the commercialized Christmas season.

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What is under your kitchen sink? Not something too many of us want to have to worry about, except when we go to grab some dish soap or a trash bag.

What Lurks Beneath The Sink

No I'm Not A Hoarder, I Just Play One on TV

The picture says it all. No I’m not a hoarder, I just cleaned out underneath my kitchen sink.

Yesterday when my kitchen sink decided to explode with water and 15 bean soup mixture underneath my sink in a fine mist spray, it was obviously time to clean up the mess underneath the kitchen sink – and to call a plumber. (Thank you Stemler Plumbing for sending someone out on so short of notice!)

I quickly turned the water source off underneath, and had to take each item out individually, wipe it off and let it dry before the plumber got here. The good Lord blesses us in a myriad of ways and this day it was by letting all of this happen while the boy was still asleep – PRAISE THE LORD!

I suppose the other blessing was God telling me it was time to clean out underneath my sink. So after leaving the cabinet drawers open last night to let the wood dry out, I have a clean under sink cabinet area. Hooray!

Clean Cabinet

What now lurks under the sink...(the rest is still on the counter)

So now, while the boy is sleeping again it is time to now replace everything back under the sink. I kind of hate to even do it it looks so nice, but at least now I know it’s clean. Again – God’s way of kicking me into gear and MAKING me get some areas of my home in order!

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Mommy & Boy

Writing my mom story

As most of my readers know, staying at home is a new experience for me. I’ve always worked many long and hard hours outside the home, and am quickly learning that my hours inside the home exhaust me even more.

I have met and become friends over the years with so many amazing moms. Some work full or part time outside the home in addition to their home time, and some work full time within the home. This post is to glorify what each of my mom friends do no matter what their title is.

There are many moms I know who I look at, and think – how do they work full time outside the home, and still do all they do with the kids. They work a 40 hour work week or more, and still make it to the sporting events, carting to practices, finding those great store sales, looking amazing, doing crafts and fun activities with the kids and I have often thought to myself there would be no way I could do all that if I were working full time at another job.

There are amazing home maker moms that I know who I look at and think – I’ll never be able to do what they do and succeed, especially without losing my patience or my mental capacity. Their kids are in the honor classes, they make crafts, keep impeccable homes, volunteer, hold parties and events for their entire neighborhoods, their kids are in sporting events all over, not to mention they still find time to exercise, look amazing, and make dinner or a thousand baked goods. Even if you only find time to do one or a couple of these things you are AMAZING to me.

I’ve gotten such great advice from so many great moms since I became pregnant with the boy back in December 2008. Since quitting work I’ve relied on this advice even more. I have been so blessed with great neighbors and friends, who have let me tag along at the bus stop, headed on walks, whose kids play with the boy and help him with kid interaction and provide me with much needed adult interaction.

Just a week after my last day at The Vimarc Group, I headed to take the boy to the dr. and they needed me to fill out an update form. Next to mother and occupation – I actually struggled with what to write. Did I write “household engineer”, or “stay at home mom”? (To be honest I’m not completely sure what I put on the form.)

Around that same time I heard a radio show on a local Christian radio station. The woman on the radio said, “We write our own mom stories.” And since hearing it, I’ve played it over and over again in my head. WE WRITE OUR OWN MOM STORIES.

We don’t have to compare ourselves to our friends, or our family members or what they do as mothers. We do what is best for our families. There is no reason to feel inadequate with what we do each moment or by trying to live up to what we think everyone else is doing.

That said after reading a glowing e-mail from a great mom friend, I felt inadequate as I thought to myself – how does she do it all? I headed upstairs to change a diaper as the boy bit my shoulder. Then I went to change him and he bit my side. I think I was almost in tears wondering if I am doing what I should be.

Then I remembered. We write our own mom stories. That’s right. We write our own mom stories.

There is no reason to feel inadequate when there are toys on the floor when someone drops in, or dishes in the sink because you’ve been playing with your child instead of cleaning up. Or if you make something for dinner that no one likes – even you. Or if there is a pile of laundry waiting around the corner.

If you work full time outside the home or inside the home – your mom story is yours. You’re an amazing mom regardless of how your mom story is written just by being you.

And like I’m telling myself…stop trying to live up to what everyone else does or doesn’t do, and get out there and WRITE YOUR OWN MOM STORY!!

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