Monday, December 17, 2007

Advent Days 15-20

Day 15- Ornaments- There were two old ornaments that we passed down to me from my Dad that were my grandmother's. We talked about family and traditions. We have a tradition that we select the kids an ornament each year and then date it. We also get an ornament that has the same number of figures that are in our family. The ones from when we first got married have two figures- then when Tera was born it went to three and now we get an ornament (or try sometimes I just do not have the funds to do it) with four figures in them. We have one with four snowmen in it with our names on the snowballs that a friend gave us. We also have a Veggie Tales one. It's a trip down memory lane every year we decorate our tree.

Day 16-Straw- I use raffia and then we place the straw around the creche we have set up next to the Advent Calendar


Day 17- Wise Men- I took a very pretty Wise Men Greeting Card and cut it into parts to make two bookmarks for the kids.

Day 18- Gold I usually put a gold bow or gold money in the doors

Day 19- Myrhh- Since myrhh was a spice, I put some allspice or Chinese Five Spice in a ziploc bag for the kids to smell.

Day 20- Frankincence- My husband has some anointing oil that is frankincence scented. So I put some on cotton balls and place in a ziploc bag.

Not as Strong as We Think We Are

Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking we have progressed past certain temptations or issues only to realize we are not as strong to resist as we thought we were. I have struggled with media for a long time-years. At several points in our marriage, we have gotten rid of our TV and at the present have not had "commercial" TV (i.e. regular television with antenna or cable) in our home for over 7 years. We do watch videos but are very careful about what we watch as well as what our kids watch. Here's the clincher- YOUTUBE. What I wouldn't watch on TV, I fell prey to watching on YOUTUBE. I spent three hours watching The Biggest Loser- Australia version. This indicates a problem. I am not saying it is a bad show but I recognized I was letting myself watch something that if it had been a video-I would not allow it in my house because of the language. The good part is that I recognized myself slipping back into bad habits within 2 days whereas in the past it would have went on a whole lot longer than that. I also have a tendency to check news-a lot. Is it really necessary that I know Britney Spears paints her toenails purple or where her latest tattoo is? Do I need to know about some convicted dude winning the lottery only to violate his parole? The answer is no but once I started checking legitimate news, this is where I ended up. So here was my solution. I used my computer for accountability. I used my parental filter and blocked myself from those sites that caused me trouble. I still can get past it if I needed to but that screen that pops up reminds me to think carefully about where I am going on the net. Here's the kicker a couple of days after my husband did the same thing without me even suggesting it for him. He felt he was spending too much time on the computer taking him away from things he enjoys more. I think that is awesome. I am looking at this whole thing as such a positive thing. We both are growing closer to the Lord and closer together. It is so cool how God can deal with you both about something separately and how we can encourage each other.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Advent Days 5-14

Day 5: Angel Hebrews 13:1-2 The kids hung angel ornaments on our tree.

Day 6: Gifts- Matthew 2:10-11. We talked about how Jesus is the Unspeakable Gift. We wrapped an empty box and in the advent calendar the kids found bows to place on the top of the present. The tag says To: Me From: God

Day 7: St. Nicholas Philippians 2:1-11 I put a little Santa ornament in the calendar to hang on the tree. We told the stories of the real St. Nicholas.

Day 8: Christmas Tree: Luke 2:52, 2 Peter 3:17-18 Again, there was a Christmas tree ornament. We talked about how trees grow, how we need to grow as Christians, and how do we do that.

Day 9: Red- There were red spice drops in the calendar. Red symbolizes the sacrifice Jesus made for us by humbling Himself and coming to earth to suffer for our sakes.

Day 10: Shepherd's Staff- Psalm 23:1-5 Two pipe cleaner candy cane ornaments and two peppermints. I also gave the kids two legend of the candy cane note pads.

Day 11: Candle Matthew 5;14-16 John 8:12. There were two yellow birthday candles in the box. We discussed how Jesus was the light of the world and how we also need to let our light shine before men.

Day 12: Poinsettia Matthew 6:28-30 I put in two silk poinsettia flowers. We read the Legend of the Poinsettia.

Day 13: The Three Trees- I had cards and coins with this legend on them from Oriental Trading. We read those and then read the story book The Legend of the Three Trees. We discussed how even though the trees did not see their dreams realized in the way they envisioned- God knows best.

Day 14: Green I put in green spice drops. We were suppose to discuss how green symbolizes everlasting life but now that I think about it I am not sure that we ever did that today. Oh well.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Star Ornaments- Recycle those old Christmas Cards

The ornaments pictured below are a beautiful and great way to reuse Christmas cards. These would be good for Sunday School or Children's Church crafts. My kids made these with a little help.
Here are the easy directions:
1. Find a star template and cut out two poster board stars.
2. Cut irregular pieces from Christmas cards.
3. Glue the pieces to the poster board stars. It's okay if they overlap each other and you also want them to overlap the edges of the star. Pick a prominent picture to go in the middle of the star that will be on top.
4. Trim the edges of the star.
5. Glue the two stars together so that the points are not lined up. You want to see all the points.
6. Edge with glitter.
7. Punch hole in top and string them up. Use as an ornament or decoration.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Advent Calendar Days 1-4











Our star ornaments



I am recording this so I'll remember next year what we did.





Day 1- Advent Wreath. I am using a tealight candle for the Christ candle in our miniature Advent wreath. So Daniel opened the door and placed it in the middle of the wreath. Tera put the 3 purple and 1 pink Candle in the Advent Wreath.


Day 2- Bells. We made bell necklaces for the kids to wear. We talked about how the priests in the old testament would wear bells on the hem of their robes so the people would hear them as they made sacrifices for their sins. We talked about how Jesus came once and for all as the sacrifice for our sins. (there was a picture but I just accidently deleted it, sorry-will post next time)


Day 3-Lambs. I use cotton balls instead of wool. Tera and Daniel held the cotton pieces as we read Max Lucado's The Crippled Lamb. Since we are studying the Names of Jesus, we started with Immanuel-God with Us. The kids were supposed to draw a picture of what that meant to them. Tera drew a heart with a stick figure Jesus in it.


Day 4- Stars. The Advent Calendar had two star ornaments for them to hang on the tree. We talked about how Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star (Revelations 22:16). We made star cookies and star ornaments.

Remember me, I'm the woman who forgot she had a blog



It's been a while. Just a quick update. We are getting ready for my husband to officially start his job. He goes to orientation next week and it feels very anti-climatic. He has had to work since April with a temp agency. Then 3 months ago he got in the temp to hire 90 day program. Then he works another 90 days starting Monday before getting most of his benefits. So everytime we feel like we should celebrate there is another hoop to jump through first. But anyway, we are excited and relieved we do not have to pinch pennies so tightly soon.


We started Advent on Saturday night. Our family has its own advent wreath this year, I picked up at Hallmark last year after Christmas- 75% off. We also have one of those Advent Calendars with the doors you open. I found this one at a Goodwill a couple of Christmases ago for less than $10. I'll be looking for one after Christmas this year so when we are dead and gone, our children won't fight over the one but both will get one. I put things in each door that go with the Christmas story and we pull them out every day. We are also doing a unit study on the Names of Jesus. It has been fun so far. I will post somethings we are doing right now to remember the real reason of Christmas.

Monday, October 22, 2007

5 Ingredients or Less- Mac N' Cheese Lasagna

Recipe Roundup @ Multi-Tasking Moms

This is my kids favorite recipe of all times. It's easy to make up ahead of time, too. I got it from Kraftfoods and adjusted it a little for our family taste. If you want to see it go to: www.kraftfoods.com. Type in Mac N' Cheese Lasagna in the search engine. (I would provide a link to that page, but I couldn't get it to work right)

Mac N' Cheese Lasagna

1 pkg. Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, prepared as directed on package using Light Preparation directions
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 lb. lean ground beef, cooked, drained
1 cup Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
Pepperoni- to suit your taste



PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Spoon half of the prepared Dinner into lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.
TOP with half each of the spaghetti sauce, meat and shredded cheese. Repeat layers.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Makes Me Smile

I have to admit that I do not smile as much as I should. Sometimes I let the weight of the world squeeze out the smile on my face. But I smile everytime I hear my children laughing uncontrollably at a video they have seen 100 times or more. Their laughter is contagious. I guess I need to lay my burden down knowing my Heavenly Father watches and cares for me. Maybe just like when our kids make us smile with their laughter, our Heavenly Father smiles over us when we let it all go into His hands.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ripleys Aquarium



Family Visit











This last weekend my mom, and my brother's family came for a visit. Our kids got to play with their only cousin and had a blast. Well, Tera had a blast. Daniel had "the sharing my toys with this little kid" blues. But it was an awesome time. My brother took all of us to the Aquarium on Saturday, which is the kids favorite place to go. It's nice but this was our fourth time to visit in the last 4 years so I'm a little overloaded on the place. We mostly hung out together and let the kids play. We are all very tired but it was well worth it. I miss them and I know the feeling is mutual, since I have talked to all of them since they went home.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tera











Saturday, we celebrated Tera's birthday. Tomorrow she will be 7 years old. We are taking her out to lunch. She is such a sweet beautiful girl. We love her so much. She received a KNEX set as one of her presents - she loves to build things as you can see. Tera and Daniel got hiking kits complete with sticks, backpacks and water bottles. Tera's grandma made her the poncho you see in the picture. The cake is the same Oreo and Fudge Ice Cream Cake Daniel had except with different sprinkles. It is an awesome cake.

Let me thing you thong....

















Tera Before Tera After


Tera lost her top two front teeth. She is the cutest thing. She has went around saying "Simple Simon sells seashells by the seashore, if you think that is funny you ought to hear me thing a thong." This is a quote from Opie on Andy Griffith when he loses his front teeth. We watched the episode in honor of Tera's tooth loss.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some Personal Thoughts

I usually keep this blog pretty light reading, but tonight I need somewhere to express some personal feelings. Most people who read this blog are my friends and family. On October 2, 1998, I received a call around 10 pm at my home in Nashville from my hysterical mom. They were at the hospital with my brother who had just been murdered by an acquaintance. My life changed forever that night. JP and I loaded the car up and headed home. Those were the longest 4 hours of my life. The Lord gave me two scriptures Psalm 34 and Psalm 41 that helped me through those dark hours.
We moved home the next year just in time for the trial of the man who had committed that crime. He was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. My mom and brother received letters today that this man is up for parole. The hearing will be right after Thanksgiving. We have known this day was coming for the last 8 years and yet we are still not prepared for it. JP is in a probationary period for work, so he cannot take any days off of work during that whole time. This means that I cannot go to the hearing. I have always wanted to go especially to support my mom and brother but it looks like I'll have to do that from home. I am allowed to send a letter of protest in lieu of attending and since I express myself better in words I guess it will be better in that regard. My brother already has several friends going with him, so I am so glad the Lord has went before me to give them extra support.
All the feelings come rushing back. It feels like we going through it all over again. I miss my brother and the fact that he will never see his nieces and nephews. We will never see him again in this life but John reminded me tonight "We will see him again someday". I thank the Lord for that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hamburger Quickie

Recipe Roundup @ Multi-Tasking Moms




This is the first recipe I ever made after I was married. It also comes from Mrs. Eby's Man Holdin' Recipes. I made it for my kids this week for the first time ever. My son was asking for another piece before he even finished the first.

Hamburger Quickie

Fry:

1 lb. hamburger(ground beef or turkey)
green onions (a.k.a. scallions for those kids who dislike the word 'onion')

Season.(we have used taco seasoning in the past) Drain.

Blend until smooth:
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup mayonnaise


Add: 1 cup shredded cheese, meat and onions. Pour into 9 inch unbaked deep dish pie shell. Use prepared shell if easier instead of making from scratch. Garnish with cheese slices if you want.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 or 40 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Oatmeal Crispies

I have sent these to work with my husband several times to rave reviews and an empty plate at the end of the day. Hope you enjoy!

Oatmeal Crispies- Taken from Man Holdin' Recipes

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
3 cups quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup nuts, raisins or chocolate chips or all 3 if you like (I just use 1/2 cup raisins)

Cream shortening with the white and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and continue beating. Sift together flour, salt and soda. Add to creamed mixture, 1/3 at a time. Beat in (by hand) the 3 cups of oatmeal and the nuts, raisins, or the chocolate chips.

Divide dough and put on 2 pieces of wax paper or foil and roll in long, 2 inch diameter rolls. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Slice 1/4 inch thick and bake at 350 degrees until brown.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Good to take on trips. If kept in tin containers will keep for a long long time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Ultimate Cookbook


Recipe Roundup @ Multi-Tasking Moms
My Ultimate Cookbook is:


Man-Holdin' Recipes by Carol Anne Eby


This cookbook was given to my husband and I by Mrs. Eby for a wedding present. The first thing I ever cooked from a recipe after we were married came from this book. The best Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe I've ever eaten comes from this book. It is awesome and every recipe is tried and true.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Oreo and Fudge Ice Cream Cake




This is Daniel's Birthday Cake. I showed Daniel the picture from the Kraft Food and Family magazine and he said that was the cake he wanted. It looks and tastes awesome. It is easy and inexpensive. The cake costs around $6 versus the $15-$20 store bought cake. The kids and JP loved it. Tera said she wanted the same cake for her birthday. The white layer is ice cream sandwiches. The fudge layer is a combination of chocolate fudge, cool whip, oreo cookies and chocolate pudding mix. You ice the outside with cool whip. This was our dessert for the last 3 days so it will serve 12-16 people at one time.





The recipe can be found at http://www.kraftfoods.com/. Put in Oreo and Fudge Ice Cream "Cake" in the search.

Happy 5th Birthday Daniel!















Where does the time go? Daniel turned 5 last Wednesday. We had his party on Saturday. As you can see we all had a great time! Our tradition is that the kids always receive one similar gift on their siblings birthdays. This year they got Giggle Gear. And trust me Mommy and Daddy were the ones giggling the hardest!






Happy Birthday Daniel!

Cool Food for Hot Days



This was a dinner I came up with for the kids during the latest heat wave. Tortilla rollups with grapes, veggies and pretzels. Tera prefers ham and cheese and Daniel PB and Jelly.

Back to the Grind

Fridays- we have an indoor picnic for lunch with a cool video.
Tera discovers talking into a fan is awesome sounding.

We have been in school one month and I guess that is why I haven't blogged in a month but since we had the day off, I am feeling inspired. The kids are doing great in school. Tera is doing awesome in math and reading. Daniel is reading sentences after one month. His latest sentences are: the ram is sad, see me read, and others along that line. They are learning about Russian composers and Leonardo Da Vinci. Daniel went crazy in Walmart because he saw a poster of Mona Lisa and wanted it to hang up in his room. He saw a puzzle of the Last Supper and could correctly identify it. We have studied Japan this month and they learned to sing the numbers in Japanese. They are so bright and learn so well, it's awesome.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

First Hike in the Smokies

Trekking momma and her two ducklings
One of the cascades
JP making silly faces for the camera

We haven't been able to hike one time since we've moved to the Smokies. Sunday morning we took off early and went for a hike on the Middle Prong Trail. It is a converted railbed and uphill all the way. We saw tons of butterflies and spiders. There was a group of four on the ground together and Tera said "They're having church." What do you know right there on the trail. It was awesome, we were singing as we were coming back. Truly an awesome Sabbath.

School Time is here again!


First Day of School


We started school on Monday and have fallen into routine. After the first day, Tera was beaming at how she loved school and wished she could go on Saturday too. The feeling passed very quickly and Tuesday saw a minor revolt involving complaining and pouting over her reading work. Oh well, this too will pass.


Seriously, they are both adjusting very well. I was worried about Daniel because he has never been interested in sitting down for school before, so I never really pushed it. But our state requires 4 hours /180 days for the year to get credit. He has been doing great. I divide the time into smaller increments and we move around a lot. Daniel read his first word yesterday- am. Looks kinda small to us, but he sounded it out on his own and after 3 reading lessons, I think that's pretty good.


We are doing a lot of reading together this year, classics. Right now we are reading Mary Poppins and the Boxcar Children. Tera loves mysteries so I am glad we found an oldie but goodie collection.


When JP gets home and we eat supper, the kids have been relating what we have learned that day. I am surprised at how much they remember about things. That is really cool. They seem overall to enjoy the day and truly so do I.

Book Recommendations

I haven't up to this point done any book recommendations, but just like my mom I love to read. I never list reading as a hobby because it seems more of a way of life to me than a hobby. I love historical reading. Real things that happened to real people. Here are two books you need to read:

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot.
I know this book was published in 1957 but I am just now reading it. It is the story of Jim Elliot and four other missionaries killed on Palm Beach in 1956 by the Auca Indians. It is a remarkable story of love and forgiveness.

End of the Spear by Steve Saint.
I read this one before the previous book mentioned. Steve Saint is the son of Nate Saint, the bush pilot included in the group of missionaries killed on Palm Beach. Steve's aunt, Rachel went and lived among the people who killed her brother and the others. Steve lived with them for time growing up and this book gives a true account from the Waodoni (Auca) themselves as to what happened that day on Palm Beach. I could not put this book down. It challenges me to be ready to do whatever God wants no matter the cost.

The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zecharias.
I am only a few chapters into this book but it is really good. The author explores how God is weaving everything in our lives together for His purpose- even the mundane commonplace things.

Well, there is the view from my bookshelf.

Good Friends seem just like family after a while



Tera, Mrs. Dean, Bro. Jerry and Daniel at their camper


I've noticed that good friends over the years become almost like family. My pastor and his wife, Jerry and Dean Reach, the whole 17 years as I was growing up fit into this category. We moved just minutes from their favorite vacation spot. They have been coming here for 30 years. I was surprised to see them at church the Sunday before last and then we got together twice during the week they were here. They made such an impact on me growing up. Daniel really hit it off with Brother Jerry and can't wait to go visit all his animals. Bro. Jerry asked him to come visit and Daniel said "But I don't know the way". He said "Your momma does, she'll show you." Daniel was in awe that I would know the way. (I could probably drive to their house from my mom's with my eyes closed and picture the road)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Superman

Daniel has a fascination with Super heroes: Bibleman, Superman, and Spiderman. We are particular about what our kids watch so he has yet to see any Superman or Spiderman cartoons. JP found a DVD at Wal-mart on the $1 rack with the old (I'm talking very old) Superman cartoons from the 40s. He bought it and we watched it first. He was off on Saturday so he suprised Daniel with it. JP remembers when he and his brother Curtis would watch these on Saturday morning. So I am not sure who enjoyed it more.

Tera and Daniel on the Scenic Bike Trail




This is our frequent walk and I just happened to take my camera. The flowers were in bloom and the kids were too cute.

VBS




The church we are attending had a weekend VBS July 20-22. The kids had a blast and we got a break.

Sesame Street Quiz

I'm not so sure that 5 questions can really assess who you are as a person but it's fun anyway!

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable - even if you don't love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical - you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rookie Cookie Bakers and Mulch Spreaders





Tera mixing the batter
Daniel sad because his apron feels like a dress!
The finished product made in mini tube pans.
Tera and Daniel helping Daddy spread mulch.





My children are so versatile. They can bake, spread mulch, pitch fits, you name it and they are game (well maybe not for cleaning their rooms but oh well, they have to be normal in some areas).




We made Rookie Cookies' Blueberry-Lemon Breakfast Cake (you know that little mouse on the comic page that gives you recipes). I try not to think about the fact that a rat is giving me tips on what to cook.



Here's the recipe:



1 (18 oz) lemon cake mix

1 (6-8 oz) plain yogurt

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Round tube cake pan

Cooking spray



1. Combine cake mix, yogurt and eggs (do not add oil and water)

2. Blend until moist, then beat 2 minutes at medium speed.

3. Gently stir in blueberries.

4. Spray tube pan. Pour batter into tube pan

5. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.




Let me say do not try any other pan but a tube pan. I will not say how I know this but you will have a big mess and a cake with the middle raw.



Makes a light cake that tastes like a lemon blueberry muffin.


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