Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kellen's Christmas Teeth

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving (21st), Kellen got his teeth "decorated." In addition to the new "tinsel" he also had green and red bands put on them. Someone at Thanksgiving (was it Grandma?) joked that we didn't need a Christmas tree just put Kellen in the middle of the room with a few Christmas lights.

The first night they were hurting quite a bit, but since then he has done well with them. There are only brackets on the top, front teeth. He still has to wear the spreader for a few months yet and will get braces on the rest of his teeth later.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hunting According to Lydia

Last night, while savoring our dinner of fresh bacon wrapped Fillet Mignon (deer), Lydia pipes up to say, "I know why hunters wear orange." Mamaw asks, "Why?" Lydia responds, "Because it is the deers' favorite color!"

Friday, November 24, 2006

I'm still here. . . and computer less

UGH!!! Our computer is STILL in the shop! How frustrating. It has been a very busy week. I can't believe it has been a week since I posted. There is so many stories to tell, but we have family here and I am shirking all my hostess duties right now to check my email and make a quick post! I just had to let you know that Tim

It was his first ever, although he has helped butcher two others this season. (a story for another time!) He was so excited, as was I! (free meat in the freezer!)
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, more later!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Quick Update

Still no computer. I posted a very quick update here. And this has to be the record for my shortest post ever!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Family Gatherings

This week is Works for Me Christmas Edition. Well, it seems I jumped the gun and posted my favorite Christmas tip, Four for Christmas, a few weeks ago. If you didn't see it, it is about what we buy our kids for Christmas.

This tip, though, is about how we handle family gatherings. When my husband and I first got married we tried to attend all the family Christmas gatherings. This included, one with my parents and siblings, one with my husbands parents and siblings and one his dad's family and one with his mom's family. A typical holiday went like this. Christmas Eve afternoon with my family including Christmas Eve service. After the service we went to his parents to have Christmas. Christmas morning, brunch at Grandma's with Tim's dad's family, Christmas afternoon dinner with Tim's mom's family.

I know some people thrive on the busyness and the people. I am not one of those people. By Christmas night, I was tired, grumpy and very annoyed. We said we would do it until we had kids.

Then Kellen was born. Somewhere along the line we started doing Christmas with his parents between brunch and dinner on Christmas day. My parents moved out of state so that also changed when we got together with them. We didn't cut anything out. We were still trying to do it all and trying to squeeze in Christmas morning with the kids before brunch. I don't think it changed until Nolan (our third) was born.

It is hard when you are newly married or new parents to figure out how you become your own family. When should you make new traditions and when should you stick with the old ones? We enjoy spending time with all the family, but felt like Christmas was getting out of control. It was becoming a blur. We would rush from house to house ripping off paper, giving hugs and loading the car. Something had to change.

It has been a gradual change. And we still don't have it all figured out yet. First, we decided that Christmas morning was all ours. We wanted to spend time with the kids. We want them to enjoy their gifts, to actually be able to play with them before we are jumping in the car. Sometime around Christmas or New Years we get together with our parents and siblings.

It is more complicated too because now we are four hours from Tim's family. We don't get to see everyone for Christmas anymore, but we do try to make sure we see them at other times. For example, we don't make it to brunch, we do stop into see Tim's grandma when we are in Ohio and we go to the family July 4th picnic too. We also get to spend more time with people when we do see them.

Planning Christmas is a little more complicated now. Every year about this time we break out calendars to start planning when we can all get together. This year my side will get together the first weekend in January. We will talk with Tim's family over Thanksgiving (they are coming down.) I am looking at the weekend before Christmas, since Christmas is on a Monday this year.
But we always know Christmas morning is for us and our kids.

I like spreading out the celebrations for a number of reasons. We get to spend more time with each part of the family. We get to enjoy and not feel rushed around. Celebrating some after the first of the year gives me more time to get it together, especially the homemade gifts! Also, we have gotten some great deals on Christmas presents by shopping after Christmas.

Family is important, but sanity is too! This is what works for us !

Tackling the socks

I am tackling today for the first time in awhile. I apologize for the lack of photos. My camera is not cooperating. Picture this - a basket of socks. No, not a little basket, like an Easter basket, I am talking about a full clothes basket. It is full of socks. None of them are matched. That is what I tackled today.

When I do laundry, I have a bad habit of throwing all the unmatched socks into a basket to match later. Later doesn't come often, especially in the summer months when we don't use as many socks. Or, maybe, we just have too many socks!

Last week I found myself constantly looking for socks in the basket so I figured it was about (way over due!) time to tackle the basket. I matched and matched and I don't know how many pairs I actually found, but a lot. There was a pile for everyone and I doubt that any had less than ten. There are six of us, ten pairs per pile equals sixty pairs of socks. There were probably a lot more. I threw out a bunch of socks and saved a few that I think might actually be found under a bed or behind a dresser. Now, we have an almost empty sock basket and nice full socks drawers. I am so glad I tackled that!

Want to share your tackle or see what other have tackled? Check 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'll be back. . .

Our computer is going in tomorrow for a little clean up and memory boost. We have been having computer issues. We are trying to get our old hand-me-down computer to last us for awhile yet. One of Tim's co-workers also owns a computer shop. He thought his guys could do a little tweaking to upgrade our system and install a second hard drive, that Tim got for free, for about $35. It is worth a try.

Anyhow, what that means is I will be computer-less for a few days. I have a few posts drafted that I am hoping to post from my mom's. Other than that I will probably not be around in the bloggy world much this week.

So, if you are really dying to read something, try checking out some of my favorite places as listed in the sidebar or read through the posts under your favorite label or you could browse through the archives. Plenty to do. I think I will use my new free time to clean since we are having Thanksgiving here. I will catch up with you later this week or early next week.

Oh, Vivian please slow down!

I remember when Kellen was a baby anticipating every milestone, even encouraging them. I actually got down on the floor with him to try to "show" him how to crawl. I don't think it made him crawl any sooner. I never felt that way with the rest of the kids. In fact, if anything I wanted them to stay babies as long as possible. I never tried to teach them the milestone events, and they happened in a natural progression. In fact #3 was the earliest to walk (so far) at 10 1/2 months. Believe me I would have been perfectly happy if he would have waited to walk for many months beyond that, but it was something I didn't get to decide.

Now with Vivian (8 months), it seems I don't even have time to think about what milestone she should be on. I turn around and she is doing something new. Viv, please slow down let me catch up, you are growing too quickly. On Friday, I went to get her from a nap and she was kneeling and holding onto the railing. "What? That must be a fluke. Certainly, she isn't ready to pull herself up yet," I thought. After her next nap, she was up on her feet!

How did this happen? She isn't even really crawling yet! Well, she gets around very well, but she does an army type crawl instead of being up on her hands and knees. Maybe, that is all she will do before she walks.

She isn't the only one growing up too quickly though. None of them are waiting for my ok to move on. They are growing up and it is ok . . . , really . . . . , I think . . . . , well, I don't have a choice I guess! It is a good reminder that they really are in the Lord's hands. I can't control them or change them. I can suggest. I can guide and prepare them for life the best I know how, but ultimately it is out of my hands. It is humbling and reassuring all at the same time.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Time goes so fast. Tim and I have been married almost 12 years. Remember giving your friends addresses for bridal shower invitations? That was easy compared to compiling the wedding invitation list. Then addressing all those invitations. It was a good thing we knew someone who did calligraphy. She did all our invitations for us. Picking out food, dresses, tuxes, finding a church a reception hall, choosing music, and oh the list goes on and on. So much time invested, not to mention money.

This far past that big day, I wonder is it all worth it? Should all that time and money be invested for one day. It seems like materialism has snuck in and weddings are more a big business and show and less about beginning a new life with someone. Maybe we should focus more on the bride and groom's relationship for the year before the wedding instead of what flavor filling we want for the cake. Maybe the money should be used to wipe out any existing debt, or used toward a house, instead of flowers for a building. Life, newly married, is hard enough without financial burdens hanging over your head.

Don't get me wrong. I do love weddings, and this is not directed at anyone I know who is currently planning a wedding. You probably couldn't tell me any of this twelve years ago when I was planning my wedding. I am not suggesting we do away with weddings, I am just wondering if it all has gotten too big. Or maybe I have just become way to practical!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fresh attitudes

This morning was very frustrating. Nothing big, just lots of little annoying things. You know how they can add up and you find yourself irritated and constantly yelling at the kids. After lunch we decided to put up the books and head to the woods. It was a needed change of pace.

We all benefited from the fresh air and sunshine. It was a beautiful day and we walked in place I hadn't before. There actually are many places on the property I have yet to walk. Access is difficult to some areas and the entire time we have lived here I have been pregnant or had a young baby.

Where we walked is near the house, but it is hard to get to in the summer because the path is very overgrown. (Our paths are old logging roads or deer trails) In the fall, much of the over growth dies away. We did encounter some brambles at the beginning. The leaves die off, but the prickers are still there. Have you ever tried negotiating a walking 2 year old and a baby in backpack through brambles? Lydia was a big help. (Kellen ditched us to go holler climbing again!) Once past that initial obstacle, there was a very nice trail (that appears to be well used by the deer) that I never knew was there.

When you are back here in the summer, it seems as if there are no people for miles and miles. In fact, if you are travelling by roads, you are miles and miles from other people. It is totally different in the fall. Leaves come down and suddenly there is a world there you couldn't see before. It is just across the hollow. The roads don't go that way.

You see the next ridge, and there are so many houses there. I found myself thinking today, "Were all those houses really there before?" You see the hay field the runs along the creek. We walk there in the summer, but you can't see it until you are there. In the fall you realize how close it really is.

I love to watch the seasons change here. There is always a new surprise. Just when you are tired of the heat and green of summer, autumn comes with a burst of color and a crisp breeze. It is kind of magical to be walking through a new part of the woods on a sunny fall day. Soon winter will come with it's own surprises, and just when I can no longer stand winter, we will start to notice the dogwoods and the red buds blooming. There is always something new to see here.

After our walk we picked up where we left off, and it wasn't quite so frustrating. Somehow fresh air and sunshine work miracles on attitudes. It is refreshing to the body and the soul.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A big brother sacrifice

Lately, Kellen and Lydia have been getting along well. It is refreshing. Now Lydia and Nolan, that is another story, but today for Pass the Torch, we are focusing on the good. This story is about a big brother taking care of his little sister.

Yesterday, Kellen and Lydia went for a big walk. Holler climbing for you that have been following our adventures. It is the first time they have gone in a long while. They walked a big circle down to the creek and back. Our creek is not exactly just in the back yard, it is about 1/2 a mile away. I happened to be outside when they returned. I saw them standing at the edge of the stone driveway and Kellen was trying to pick up Lydia. Lydia was barefoot. I went over to ask what was going on and this is the story.

While they were at the creek Lydia stepped in water too deep and got one boot full of water. Her boots are lined, so it was soaked. Kellen picked her up and carried her out of the water. He then helped her take off the boots and wet sock. He took off his own boots and let Lydia wear them. He went barefoot. . . all the way home, through the woods. When I saw them he had put his boots back on and was trying to carry Lydia across the stone driveway.

There are times he can be so mean to her. Times when he will have her hysterical in tears. Maybe those days are behind us, but probably not entirely. Yesterday, though he was kind to and protective of his little sister. I am so proud of him!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Would money change you?

Have you ever wondered if and how your life would change if suddenly you inherited a large sum of money, won the lottery or your family's income doubled? Experience tells me that when we have more money, we spend more money.

Yet, I'd like to think we have learned our lesson in that area. I'd like to think that if we had a sudden increase of cash, that we would spend it wisely; we would pay off debt, we would save, we not live paycheck to paycheck. Would we continue to be frugal?

If I were rolling in money, there is one thing that I would consider spending money on that might surprise you: a cleaning service. Yes, I hate cleaning that much. I could excuse the lack of cleanliness in my house by saying I don't have enough time or I have four kids, and while that may be partially true, the real reason is I really don't want to.

It would be a dream, if I could just keep up with the daily stuff, like I do now, and someone else would come in and do the things that I never (or rarely) get done, like walls, dusting, ceiling fans, and . . . ok I'll stop there now before I reveal how much I truly do not clean! *grin*

Oh and while I am dreaming, how about someone to do my laundry? That is a household chore that I dread. Not that doing laundry itself is all that bad, if I only had to do a few loads a week, but around here it is a two or three day project.

Oh well, I probably don't need to worry about rolling in money anytime soon. I will just dream about being able to pay someone to clean my house and do my laundry. . . .

Wait the dream is within my reach, and it gets even better, it is free. I have kids! They do help some now, but within a few years I will have four people to do some serious cleaning and laundry. YIPEE! I can get someone else to clean and still continue in my frugal ways.

P.S. If you need Carpet Cleaning in Camarillo check out the link!

Another blog in the family

Take a look at Kellen's blog, Eleven in the Woods. He actually has been blogging for a couple months, but we just made his blog public. We decided to let his blog be public so that he could interact with other homeschool students. He does some school work there and tells stories about the 100 acre wood from a 8 year old perspective. Go over and tell him, "hi."

Chocolate Cinnamon Snaps

Today I am participating in the GREAT COOKIE EXCHANGE 2006. Everything Under the Moon is hosting a blogging cookie exchange. It isn't quite as tasty as a real world cookie exchange, but I think it will still be fun!~ Check out the site for details. Here is my recipe.

Chocolate Cinnamon Snaps
2 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash salt
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
1/2 C softened butter
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C molasses
1 egg

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cloves.
  2. In another bowl, cream the butter until soft. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the molasses and egg. Add flour mixture. Blend until a stiff dough forms.
  4. Roll dough (half or a quarter of the dough is easier to work with) on a lightly floured board to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
  5. Cut into favorite shapes. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes depending on thickness. Cool a minute on the sheet before removing to a rack to complete cool.
  7. Repeat with remaining batches. Store in a tin when completely cooled.
These are a great holiday cookie. I hope you enjoy them and I look forward to trying your recipes!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Did you know?

A friend of mine sent me this tag via email a couple of weeks ago. I blog more than I email, so I thought I'd use it here. Hope you don't mind, Amy! So, here are a few things about me.


1. Eighth Grade History Teacher
2. House Parent
3. Insurance Agent
4. Waitress


1. Jay Jay the Jet Plane
2. Magic School Bus
3. Chronicles of Narnia
4. whatever the kids have gotten at the library

Hey, it asked what I do watch over and over, not what I want too!


1. 100 Acre Wood, West Virginia
2. Akron, Ohio
3. Fredericksburg, Ohio
4. Tiffin, Ohio


1. Law and Order
2. The Amazing Race
3. CSI
4. Deal or no Deal (in moderation!)


1. Outer Banks, North Carolina
2. Alaska (sort of a vacation/mission trip)
3. Caribbean Cruise
4. Russia (again, mission trip)


See my side bar


1. Cheesecake
2. Lasagna
3. Ice Cream
4. Homemade Bread


1. In our new underground house
2. On a cruise ship
3. Somewhere warm
4. in bed sleeping!

I won't officially tag anyone, but if you'd like to play just copy and paste this post then delete my answers and add your own. If you play, please let us all know in the comments and we can learn a few things about you!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A new bloggin' family member. . .

Another family member joins us in the blogosphere. Welcome Heather! She is Tim (my husbands) cousin. Her blog is called It's all for the best. Stop by and say "Hi!"

Getting a Good Parking Space

First off let me say to me a good parking space is not always the closest space. When you have little kids in tow, there are other things to consider, like not letting the kids run in front of traffic. For a long time I would always look for a parking spot beside or very near the cart corral. I would take my cart from the corral. This way I could transport the two youngest through the parking lot in the cart. Then when we were finished I could take them back to the car and then put the cart away. Now I've found a new trick. (No old dog jokes please!)

Now I skip the out front parking lot and look for parking along the side of the building. Most mega-retailers (Wal-Mart, Target ect) and grocery stores have a row of parking along the side of the building. I can almost always find an empty spot there.The spot I find is not necessarily closer than the ones out front. Sometimes it is closer, but remember closer is not always better when you have kids with you.

The biggest advantage to parking here is that there is only a sidewalk between you and the building, not a traffic lane. As I am getting kids unloaded, they can wait next to the building, away from any traffic. I do not have to worry about Nolan wandering off into the next row of cars. (I am embarrassed to say it has happened, and if you know Nolan I am sure you can understand how.) I can load them into the cart in front of my van and not have to worry about cars backing out, or someone zooming through. It is so much easier. Simple, yes, but it works for me!