Friday, December 26, 2008

O Cupcake!

We had Christmas dinner with our neighbors, The Prescotts.  They invited us to come and join their extended family for some turkey gumbo.  My friend's dad is from New Orleans and made it from scratch.  YUMMO! I made a cupcake wreath for dessert.  It wasn't hard, but it did take a lot of time.  I got the recipe/idea from the book Hello, Cupcake!
It really did make a pretty wreath and it was also tasty.  It would make a great centerpiece too.

Leaves up close.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pageant Week

This week has been very busy with Jon in finals (a slew of papers and other assignments) and the boys final week of preschool.  I made 3 costumes, 2 angel costumes and one donkey costume.  I also baked 80 cookies.  Whew! I'm glad this week is over.  Nothing was very difficult, it just took time.  I also got on a kick from this website and have been devoting a little more time to "home organization".  I haven't been able to incorporate much into the cleaning way of Flylady--mostly because I haven't had more than 5 or 10 minutes to look in the site.  Just keeping my sink clean, putting away freshly washed dishes and doing one project at a time is all I can handle right now.  

The pageants went very well.  When we asked the boys what character they wanted to be in the pageants I was hoping they would say shepherds because we have all that garb already.  But no.  Isaac wanted to be a donkey and Ewan wanted to be Gabriel the Angel.  I had to figure out how to make some presentable costumes and quick!  I found a Christian homeschooling website that gave me some pretty good guidelines on how to make a donkey costume and got the angel costume from  

We were a little nervous about Ewan's choice to be an angel.  Usually girls choose to be angels and it isn't considered very "masculine".  He was very specific that he wanted to be Gabriel and I was trying t o figure out how to make his outfit more boyish than girlie.  I got the idea of a sword and making the costume with little frill.  For Ewan's costume I got a king sized pillow case and cut holes for the head and arms.  I sewed a trim along the bottom and added wings made from cardboard.  I added a belt that also worked as his sword holder and wola Gabriel was born.  He looked GREAT!  

Don't you love the sword?

Gabriel, the warrior.

I also made a second angel costume for our friend's daughter.  Hers was more frilly and fun to make.

Isaac's costume was pretty easy.  I just safety pinned some black fringe on a gray shirt and sweat pants.  Then I made a little hat out of fleece with some felt ears.  I added some fringe to that too.  It took about an hour and a half to make.  
Singing Away in a Manger

Isaac was THE donkey that brought Mary to Bethleham.
Mary, Joseph, and the donkey waiting to make their appearance.
Pre-show pics.
Don't you love how Isaac's donkey ears are all lopsided?  I am no seamstress but, hey, it worked!

The pageant was a participation pageant so there was no big performance. All the kids got to pick their characters and Ewan's teacher went through the Christmas story while the children answered questions and "played" their part. Then they sang a few songs or recited poetry. Isaac's pageant was yesterday. His class combined with the other 4 year old class and the 3 year old class. Ewan's was today and his pre-K class was combined with the kindergarteners. There were a few laughs--as always with children on the stage and it was fun to watch. I don't know what it is about kids singing about Jesus but I get teary every time. when Isaac's class was singing away in a manger I had tears streaming down my cheeks. Maybe it is their simple faith but whatever it is, it touches my heart.

Enjoy the pictures!
You can read about our cookie baking experience here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Knitting Projects

I learned how to knit back in March last year.  It has been slow going but I am learning.  At first I thought someone invented it to torture others but now I am enjoying it.  Finishing a project feels like a true accomplishment.  Being a stay at home mom, I don't really feel like I ever finish anything--there are always diapers to change, laundry to do, meals to plan, meals to cook, people to dress, stuff to clean, counters to wipe, pick up toys, you get the idea.  Knitting is something I can pick up and put down and when I finish a project it is done.  I love that feeling of finality.  So here is what I've been working on....

Ewan's scarf is red. I ran out of yarn so it is a little short for my taste but he doesn't seem to mind.  Ewan's favorite color is red and he has been asking me for a few months to make him a scarf.  I am proud to say that project took me about one week to do.  Slow for my other knitting friends who are super fast.  I was happy though!  As soon as I finished Ewan's scarf and gave it to him, Isaac chimed in and said, "But mo--om, I want a scarf too!"  As if I were depriving him of something terrible.  So we went and picked out some yarn that had GREEN in it because that is HIS favorite color.  Isaac's yarn is really cool and if he doesn't wear it I'm going to steal it.

These are baby leg warmers I'm working on.  The dark blue one on top is almost done.  I am going to make that pair a little longer than my first pair (which is the lighter blue ones on the bottom.  I still need to sew one together but it is finished.  I'm doing the dark blue pair on top in the round which is a new skill for me.  The bottom pair was done on straight needles and was easier but I really stink at sewing them together in a back stitch.
Here is one of the baby legs over a glass so you can see how it looks in progress.

And here is the sewn finished one on Grahammy.  He has tree trunks for thighs so it doesn't seem to stay up very well.  I think my next pair will have to be a little wider for him.
I like the way they look though!

You're Under Arrest

Give a kid an electrical clamp and watch him pretend it is handcuffs......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Trees and The South

I went to a friend's house last week for my weekly small group Bible study and couldn't help but admire her Christmas tree.  It was at least 7 feet tall, so green, and perfect with its tree limb fluffiness.  It was so pretty I thought at first it was a fake tree.  Then I smelled that lovely odor a fresh tree has.  Absolutely beautiful.  

Somehow tree shopping and prices came up.  Okay folks from the you know how much her beautiful, tall, perfect tree was?

$40.  That's right.  4-0 Bucks.  That's it.  

And not only that, but there are some places where you can get big, beautiful trees like that for CHEAPER--like $25 or $30 bucks.  

I had NO idea.  Down in TX a tree like that would easily cost $150!  

I'm not saying it is worth moving up here for but if you love Real Christmas Trees, this is the place to be!

Our Little Language-Master

Isaac has always been a very verbal child. He's not always the most talkative one in our house (he has stiff competition for that title), but thinks and processes words a lot! (Don't tell Ewan, but Isaac reads better than he does, even though Ewan is over 1-yr older.) When he was just 18-months old (or less?), he used to speak to us in 3 or 4 word phrases. Anyway, in the last 12 hours or so, he's had two verbal high-marks that I wanted to share:

1. Last night, we were reading an old, "X-men" comic book I have (one of 4 comic books that survived my childhood). He looked at the cover and new that it was about the X-Men, but practiced reading the title anyway. "X...Men," he said very slowly. I praised him for his reading, but I was also pretty sure that he was just pretending to read (which is fine) since he knew that's what the title was supposed to say. So, I challenged him, "Isaac, what does that word say?"
He started sounding it out (with me pointing to each letter to help him focus, and learnt o look from left to right): "kuh, lll, aaa, sss, iiii, k... Classic!" "RIGHT!" I exclaimed. I was SO proud. That's a big word for a 4-yr-old to figure out on his own.

2. Just now, Amelia was taking a shower and let Isaac watch some Sesame Street. I came down from studying to check on him. "Watchya watching, son?" I querried. Isaac excitedly replied: "Dad a predi-ga-ment is a when you have a problem." "A predicament?" I clarified, shocked that he might actually be saying this big word. "Yah, a predicament [this time correcting his pronunciation], a predicament is when you have a problem but when you get out of it you don't have a problem anymore..." "Yah, that's right. I got it. Thanks for telling me!" I replied with a grin...

I just had to scribble this out for you all. My son is SO smart!! (All my sons are smart, of course, but I wanted to especially delight in Isaac right now.)

I wonder how he will exhibit this trait in the future? It'll be fun to see!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting Used To It

I think I am getting used to the cold.  After several days of cold, crispy windchills and temps into the single digits and teens the we got a "warm front" and it was 50 outside. 50 felt WARM.  I didn't need a coat at all.  I got a little sweaty in my jacket.  

50 felt WARM?  Wow!  I never thought I would say that!  

Even 45 feels pleasant after so many weeks of the temps not getting out of the 30s very often.

I really never thought I would say that!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Funny Quotes at Church Today

Isaac: We decided to move closer to the front during the service today because they were having the Christmas Pageant and the boys wanted to see a little better.  As we were walking, Isaac loudly pronounced, "I have BOOGERS in my ears!"

During Kids Chapel:  Jon was working with the kids and was giving them a training session.  He asked them if stomping on the floors was the correct way to walk through the church.  As Jon demostrated the stomping on the wood floors another child (not one of ours) pronounced loudly, "STOP that stomping!  It makes my privates hurt!"  

Ewan: Jon was telling Ewan that maybe he could be in a pageant at church next year because he'll be in Kindergarten.  Ewan looked at Jon and Jon continued, "You'll be six."  Ewan glared at Jon and exclaimed, "I'll be six-one hundred.  I won't be in a pageant."  We have no idea what that means.  It was funny, but maybe you had to be there. 

Hillbilly Baby

I love a baby in overalls.  Especially a baby in overalls without a shirt on.  

The big news is that Graham started walking right before his 15th month.  That means that ALL three boys started walking in their 14th month.  Weird.

Could those eyes BE any bluer?

I've had these overalls since Ewan was a baby!  I'll post one of him in these down below.

Git 'er done!
Playing chase.

Ewan in the same overalls drinking a smoothie.

Transformers Fort

So what do you do on a Sunday afternoon when the other children are sleeping?  You make a good guy and a bad guy fort for your Transformers with the oldest child!

Good Guy Fort--Ewan said the guy on the inside is the computer guy.  Everyone else is protectin the fort.
Bad Guy Fort

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving=Yummy=Lots of Work

We had a lovely Thanksgiving meal together with my mom and stepdad, and our neighbors and friends, The Prescotts. The kids enjoyed the smoked turkey as did the rest of us. I'd definitely go through all the trouble to do that again. Delish! The Prescotts brought sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole

This year was the first time I was "head chef". I have been a helper in the kitchen to the head chef, and have brought several sides to a meal before but I gotta tell ya, you just don't appreciate the Thanksgiving meal until you have experienced being the Head Chef. There were several times I felt like Monica Geller from Friends wanting to yell at anyone who messed up my system-- "Get OUT of MY kitchen!"

One example: I was making homemade rolls--the dough was rising in the bread machine and someone (okay, Jon) unplugged the bread machine while the dough was in the middle of the process. WHAT!?? Are you kidding me? Now I have MORE work to do--ARGH!

Had I been a more sanctified wife, I would have just said, " eh, no problem we have plenty of ingredients to make another batch." I felt bad for him later that he was on the receiving end of the wrath of the head chef. It was like an out of body experience. He was making chocolate chip cookies with the boys and needed the plug. Part of the problem was that I should have said that making cc cookies was not a good idea in the first place. But they had fun--Jon's fun ended when I found out about the rolls.

There were many times during the day when I was wondering if going through all the work of cooking all this food was worth a 30 minute meal. Is it? It seems to me that in my experience of Thanksgiving meals that whoever the head chef is gets stressed and overburdened. In order to avoid that you need a qualified sous chef who knows your system and how you like things done. The only person I have seen who doesn't get grumpy while being Thanksgiving Meal Head Chef is my mother-in-law.

Jon was very quick to say that we don't have to do Thanksgiving meals and go through all the trouble which I appreciated. It does seem like there isn't much of a choice to be counter-cultural and NOT do Thanksgiving with all the turkey etc. My kids would grow up saying something like, "My mom doesn't cook Thanksgiving dinner because she doesn't think we are worth the effort or because she is lazy." I did think that we could have a time to be thankful over a normal meal--or why wait until ONE day of the year to concentrate on being thankful. Shouldn't we do that ALL year long?

When it came time to sit down and eat, all my crabby, cynical attitudes melted away and I was glad to share a special meal with my family and friends. I am thankful for my family, friends and all the ways that God has provided for our family over the past year and a half in particular.

I do think that when you go through all the effort to make a meal that large it is better to have as many people as possible.

The funniest part of our time of Thanksgiving was when we went around the table sharing one thing we are thankful for. When it came to Isaac's turn he very innocently stated, "I'm thankful for the bums on our bodies." He has never shared that before in any setting and he truly wasn't trying to be funny--which made it even funnier. I know for me that all the stress I felt before of the food getting cold or being done on time melted away as I had a nice hearty, although slightly hidden, belly laugh.

I took some pictures of our feast for you to enjoy along with me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Smoked Bird?

Here is what I'm cooking for tomorrow.  

Anyone want to join us?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Birth is Amazing

I have been to 2 homebirths in the past 2 weeks and I am once again amazed at how strong women are, how support from others is VITAL during birth, and how babies enter the world. Both times I got choked up as the mammas were near the end of pushing out their babies.

The most recent birth was a mamma to 4 kiddos, pregnant with her 5th. She worked long and hard to have her sweet baby. I was at her house for almost 48 hours. Too bad I'm not paid by the hour :). It was a lesson for me about patience during a long labor. I can understand why hospitals are more likely to meddle in a slow going birth. This mamma would have had quite a bit of intervention to have her baby sooner had she been in the hospital. Even though it was slow, both her and the baby were strong and healthy. One of the sweetest things about the birth was that the family are strong in their faith and when the baby was born, everyone was crying and praising the Lord after such a long and tedious labor. The oldest child was in the room when the baby was born and she was blown away by the birth of her new baby brother. She cried quite a bit and thought it was beautiful. All the other siblings were outside the door waiting to pop in after the birth to meet their newest sibling.

I am feeling more comfortable with my responsibilities as an assistant now and am better able to anticipate the needs of the midwife. It is a lot of on the job training.

I have learned something new at all 3 births I have been to and I am thankful for this experience. The midwife I work for is probably not going to take very many, if any, new clients. That makes me sad--but this whole thing came to be out of God's timing so I think that He must have some other things in store for me. The midwife asked me what I see my future is in birth work. I'm not sure--I would LOVE to keep being an assistant should any other doors open up for me. And I will keep teaching birth classes. I am planning on being a doula/back up coach to one of the couples in my latest series, so maybe doula is in my future too.

Maybe I'll have another blog someday about my tales as a birth junkie.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Got any $$ Saving Tips?

Lauren, over at Gigglepotamus is having a product giveaway. If you leave a comment on tips about how to save $$ during these difficult economic times then you get one entry.  If you link to her blog and/or her etsy shop you get 5 more entries!  

As you can see, I am linking to her blog to get some more entries! She is a very gifted sewer and craftmaker and her hats at the shop are SUPER cute!  She makes dresses, onesies with burp clothes, bibs, shirts, hats and the list goes on. I am an admirer of her work--and owner of one of her bibs.  She is a great mom with some funny stories.  

I have been a reader of her husband's blog, Poop and Boogies, for a while now and was thrilled when she started her own.  

So, check out her Etsy shop--you may find the Christmas gift for someone you have been looking for!

Motrin-I'm Disappointed.

I got a forward to the Motrin website that had a negative ad about mothers who wear their babies on it.  I think they already took it down due to the huge response from mothers who felt like their ad was offensive.  Here is a link to another mom-blog that has the script from it (and a humorous response to the ad).  It doesn't do justice seeing the actual video ad--but I am thankful they listened to their consumers!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It is a Gassy Day!

I fillled up our van today.  It was on E and needed some nourishment.  

It cost $41!  That is it-- $41!  We got an extra .30 off a gallon because we used our grocery store rewards card.  When you shop at the Giant Eagle you get .10 off per so many dollars of spending. So we got gas for 1.89/gallon.  

We spent over $100 to fill up our van this summer!  What a difference, no?  

I feel like I just saved a bundle.    

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Free Tip

I finally figured out how to keep all the baby socks organized.  I think I read somewhere that you can make your own non-slip socks by getting some puffy or slick fabric paint and putting some on the bottom of the socks.  I even found a site where you can make your own puffy paint but I thought it might peel off quicker.

I had an "AHA!" moment when I figured out that I could use the slick paint to not only make socks non-skid, but I could also put what age range they are
 for. Some stores label their sock size by age range on the bottom with non-slip paint which comes in handy--but I have a lot of socks that aren't labeled and I have been somewhat organized by putting them in labeled ziplock bags so I can keep track of the sizes.  If I label my socks with fabric paint, then I will be killing two birds with one stone.  

My inspiration came from my desire for Graham to have warm feet in our chilly house AND for him to gain confidence in his walking abilities.  I thought if he felt like he was slipping all the time it might discourage him to walk.  No-slip socks=walking more.  He still prefers to crawl everywhere but he does take little steps throughout the day.

I added a picture to show you my little sock creation.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Most of the leaves have fallen off of the trees which means that the sidewalks and streets are full of rainbow colored leaves.  We are supposed to rake them up and put them on the side of the road so a leave sucker crew will come by and suck up all the leaves.  We have had our leaves raked and piled for a few weeks now but no leaf suckers have made it our side of the street.  The pile was lovely and neat but after windy days the pile looks scattered and random.  I had recently raked the pile again and the boys got to do one of their favorite things: jump in the leaves.  More scattering of course, but it made for some cute pictures.

Ewan and my good friend's son.  My friend and her son stopped by on their way home from the farmers market. Little did they know the were going to have some leaf fun!

It wasn't too cold outside--Ewan and Isaac had on new mittens (they outgrew the ones we had last year) and were having fun wearing their hats with their new mittens.

This is Isaac as Joshua.  His preschool celebrated All Saints Day by having a parade.  The kids could pick any Bible character they wanted to dress up as. Isaac picked Joshua because he loves the story about Jericho.  In the background you see our neighbors and friends that we carpool with 2 days a week.  

And some fun news....We are getting new neighbors next month.  A new family is coming to the seminary and are renting the house behind ours. They also have 3 kids--5 (boy), 4, (girl) and 15 months (girl).  Ewan and Isaac are thrilled to have a new playmate moving in behind us.  We met the couple this weekend and they will move in mid-December.  It will be so fun to have another seminary family so close by! 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween and Pumpkins

Wolverine and Batman

Little Cowboy

Ewan's pumpkin.  It worked like a Lite and Brite.  And it looked really cool at night.  Pappy and Gigi sent that for the boys.

Isaac's pumpkin

My pumpkin

Ewan working on his pumpkin