Friday, December 12, 2008

Before and After

The day before baby was born:

Thanksgiving Day, with baby in my lovely Moby wrap:
(Excuse the goofy grin)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Simple Priorities

It can be a little overwhelming to find myself a mother of four. How can I meet each child's individual needs? It is frustrating when two or more of my children need something from me at the same time. Not a lot gets done during the day with a newborn and toddler in the house. So I've been pondering what's important to me right now. A perfect house? Gourmet meals? Lavish Christmas plans?
What is important to me right now are happy, healthy children and meaningful Christmas memories.

So, my to-do list for December:

*plan easy, healthy meals to enjoy as a family
*throw in one load of laundry a day
*keep gifts simple and shop online when possible
*bake cookies with big girls
*play chase with my little man
*dance with sweet baby
*read a Christmas book to the kids at bedtime each night
*tell my husband I love him

Oh, and I can't forget:

*Ask the Lord for help each day, and be thankful for all He has blessed me with

Simple, right? Well, better than trying to do everything.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

So Good

Everything went wonderfully well. Sophia was born on Monday at 8:47 am. She weighed 6 lbs, 5 oz--so tiny! We came home Wednesday afternoon and are doing lots of sleeping and eating.
Thanks for all the good wishes!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm off to the hospital. My scheduled c-section is this morning.
So excited to meet my new baby girl.
I may not be posting for a while, we'll see.
But I will be back with details and maybe a photo or two.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Mother

I had a hard mommy day yesterday. Home from school, my six-year-old daughter proved to be as challenging as ever. By bedtime I questioned God's wisdom in making me her mother. I obviously wasn't the right person for the job. Deep down, I know He knows what He is doing, but last night was one of those times that I just couldn't see it. I thought I was doing my best as a worn-out, 38 week pregnant, mother of three could do. But we both ended up in tears, she accusing me of "not even liking" her. All over some trivial little thing. Sigh.

So anyway, I found this post today over at High Desert Home that inspired me as a mother and a homemaker. Just what I needed.

Now, I need to read it a few more times, or maybe everyday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gratitude Journal

It's been way too long since I did this. I really need to focus on thankfulness more often. Right now, when I'm discouraged about certain things, this really helps me to focus on the goodness in my life.

I'm surrounded by blessings, big and small:

-hugs from my little man

-kicks from my little lady (eleven days until I hold her!)

-helpfulness and sweetness from my big girls

-hard work and sacrifice from my husband

-phone calls from far away mom, dad, and sis

-blue skies and golden leaves

-warm house

-food in the cupboards

-wonderful dishwasher and laundry machines!

and most of all:

-Faith in my Lord

Even though it seems there may be dark times ahead, I know my God is beside me, He is bigger than any man, and He will not forsake His children. I am thankful to be able to call on Him for courage and strength.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Beauty

Sierra Nevada's, quaking aspens, a creek, and the last photo is one of our cottonwoods.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Hmmm...guess I haven't been posting much lately. Maybe because I've been busy around the house and haven't taken time to sit down to write much. I'm probably nesting.


I'm kinda excited for that. And I'm kinda anxious to get some things done around the house. I went through my linen closet and washed loads upon loads of sheets. And comforters. I went through more hand me down baby clothes (love them!) and washed, sorted, and stored those. I even set up the bassinet.

Do you think I'm nesting. Maybe. Just a little.

So...not much posting going on. Sorry.

I'll try to write something soon. In the meantime, here are some great blogs that I have discovered recently. (Yes, I have been exploring blogland, just not participating much.)

The Inspired Room

The Nesting Place

Check them out for good decorating ideas and witty commentary.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Soup Swap

Mmmm...I love soup; especially in the fall and winter months. Jessica over at Turkey Cookies is hosting a Soup Swap. Head over there for lots of great soup recipes.

Here is my contribution: Curried Cream of Chicken Soup. I found this recipe at In the Heart of My Home. I've changed it just a little to make it fit my own family.

Curried Cream of Chicken Soup

1 TBSP. butter
2 cups chopped sweet onion
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 TBSP. curry powder

Cook the above ingredients over low heat until tender.

7 cups chicken stock
2 lbs peeled, diced butternut squash
3-4 chicken breasts, bone-in (you can use a whole cut up chicken if you want)
1/2 cup basmati rice (I haven't tried it with rice, yet)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is done (25 minutes or so).
Cool chicken in stock. (I let it sit out a few minutes, too.)
Remove meat from bones and dice.
Remove fat from broth. (I usually remove the skin from the breast, so I don't have a lot of fat.)
Stain soup, reserve solids.
Puree solids in food processor or blender with some stock, in batches. This makes it so creamy and yummy.
Return puree to rest of stock. Add diced chicken.

Then add:

1 cup half & half
10 oz. frozen peas, defrosted

Simmer 15 minutes or until peas are done.

This is really good with pumpkin muffins!

Even my kids like this soup. It is definately a family favorite.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Homemaking Inspiration

Check out Ruthann's lovely post "Housewarming: Blessing Your Nest for Fall...Part 1", and her follow-up post for lots of Autumn inspiration. I just found her blog-Warm Pie, Happy Home, and I love it. Her home is so beautiful, and wonderfully decorated for fall. And she sees being a homemaker as a way to bless her family. Both posts are chock-full of great decorating and homemaking ideas.

I've been pondering my own role as a homemaker, what that entails, how I can go about it with a joyful heart. Ruthann has certainly figured that out!

So, this past week I've been working on a Housekeeping Notebook to stay organized, and I've also been searching out pretty things stashed around the house that I can use for some fall decorating.

I'll try to share ideas and photos from both projects soon. In the meantime, make sure you head over to Warm Pie, Happy Home for encouragement and inspiration.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Please Pass the...

Hash Brown Quiche
I acquired this yummy recipe from my old church. Every year they have a women's breakfast, and this was one of the choices for the hostesses to make for their table. Everyone loves it, and I've been making for my family for a few years now. What's really great is that you can do most of the prep and assembly the night before.
24 oz. shredded hash browns
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 1/4 cup diced ham or bacon
6 eggs
1 1/2 cup cream or half & half
1/4 t. salt
Thaw hash browns and press out water with paper towels. butter 9x13 in glass baking dish. Press hash browns into dish and brush on melted butter. Bake 25 minutes at 425 degrees. Let cool a bit.
Layer cheddar, then ham or bacon, then Swiss onto the hash browns. (These steps can be done the day before and refrigerated until the next day.)
Beat eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Pour over other ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. I like to let this sit for a bit before serving.
For more breakfast and brunch recipes head on over to Please Pass the... going on at Today's Housewife.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Mother

"...admonish the young women to love their...children..."
Titus 2:4

I was one of those girls who loved playing with dolls. In fact, I think I played with my dolls until 8th grade! My sister and I would have all kinds of adventures with our babies. All through growing up, I couldn't wait to be a mommy. I waited all through my twenties, and then finally at 31, I was a teacher, I was still single and I had just bought my own house. I decided I needed to fill it, and my time, with children. I became a foster parent. I was tired of waiting for a husband. I could help these children, and I could "play" mommy.

I happily fixed up an extra bedroom, went to my foster parent classes, bought diapers and clothes and toys. Finally I got my first child; a 23 month-old little girl. Wow, was I in for a big surprise. Being a mom was HARD!

In all the preparation that I did, I failed to take time to think about what it meant to be a mom, or what kind of mom I wanted to be. So for the next few years I flew by the seat of my pants as I tried to mother this little girl and her sister, too. (Of course, the fact that I didn't know that I would get to keep them during the first two years made it difficult as well.) But, gradually, as I've been able to finally get through the fog of exhaustion and emotions, I've put some thought into mothering.

Here is what I want to do as a mother:

*see each child as an individual person

*meet each child's individual needs-

-physical: nourishment, sleep, cleanliness, clothing, health

-emotional: nurturing, love

-spiritual: self-discipline, Godly character

-intellectual: encourage personal talents and interests, learning, critical thinking

My Goals for Mothering:

1. Meet their needs with a joyful heart

2. Cherish and enjoy each child

3. Instill Godly character and values by living them myself

4. Create good memories with them

5. Instill healthy habits-eating healthfully, chores, self-care

6. Establish one-on-one time with each child

Sometimes (well, much of the time) in the day-to-day busyness of caring for my children, I forget how extremely blessed I am to have each and every one of them. I want to remember that they are gifts that I need to cherish each day. God has entrusted them into my care, and I have this huge responsibility to do my best for them. Thankfully, the Lord is always there to help me! I definitely couldn't do it without Him.

Now that I've made my list I need to think about ways to put each idea into practice. I have been doing a lot of this already of course, but I want to make sure I'm meeting those needs the best that I can. If I don't make a plan, I tend to float around only accomplishing the absolutely necessary-such as feeding them :). I want to do more than just survive!

If anyone is interested, I'll try to share my ideas for meeting my children's needs joyfully and creatively. And I'd love to hear other's ideas. Leave a comment with your ideas, or let me know if you would like to hear more about what I want to do with my kids. Thanks!
Coming soon in this little Home Making series: The Household Manager

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Wife

"Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."
Proverbs 31:11-12
Words to aspire to. Will I ever be there? With three children and one more on the way, it is hard to put our relationship first. Except for our first month of dating, there has always been a kiddo in the equation (because of my foster-then-adopted daughters). We've only been married two years--our anniversary was on Monday!--and those years have been very busy in the kid/baby department. So this part of my "job" feels a little neglected.
As a wife I want to:
-support and encourage my husband in his job and in his roles as husband and father
-listen to him, respect him
-communicate my needs to him in a rational manner (um...this is a hard one for me! I forget I have needs until one day fall apart-not exactly healthy communication!)
-be frugal with our household budget
-take care of my appearance-make an effort to look nice
-create a calm, comfortable, beautiful home for him to come home to
-be a partner with him in raising our children
That's my list so far, I'm sure I'll think of more things to add as time goes on, but here is where I'm at right now.
Coming soon: my lists for Mothering and Housekeeping. And I'd better throw in Taking Care of Myself or I won't be able to do all those other things! That's tough one, a hard list to write, but important, I'm starting to realize!
Have a great October day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Home

I guess I'm a homemaker. Ever since I had my son and stopped teaching, I've been trying this stay-at-home-mom thing. I had done the working mom routine for three years with my two adopted daughters, and it was HARD. I felt torn in so many directions. It didn't help that for the first two years I was single and the girls were foster children, not my own. I know that many women have children and careers and love it and handle it just fine. I, however, am not one of those women.

So, last fall when I didn't have to go back to work, I was in heaven on earth. It was so wonderful! I could enjoy my baby and my girls, I could get the house work done and have dinner on the table. I had fun; I was happy and filled with gratitude.

Now, this year, I have even more time since I'm not homeschooling the girls. But I'm kinda just floating, kinda in a funk or something. Probably because we recently moved, because my husband has been out of town finishing our move, because we haven't really had a chance to settle in yet. But still.

I need focus. I need direction. I want to enjoy homemaking and mothering, not just do it cause I have to. I mean, really, this is a huge blessing, to be able to be home with my children, to be able to make home a special place for my family. To be able to nurture and nourish them. This was my desire for years, and God has given it to me. Now when the reality of caring for a family with all of the hard work and self-sacrifice it entails comes true, too, am I going to give up and be crabby and whiny? No way!

So, list maker that I am, I've been writing out my "Job Description" as a homemaker. I've also been listing goals I have for each aspect of my job as a wife, mother, and housekeeper. Focus and direction.

And most importantly, I need to choose to find JOY in all the little things I do. Have fun doing laundry. Let my creativity flourish in the kitchen. Cherish my children. Love my husband. Remember that they are blessings, not work. How will I do this? Prayer. Only God can help me change my attitude and really see how blessed I am.

Over the next few days I'll post the lists I've come up with, as well as how I'm doing in the joy department.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Please Pass the...

Pork chops, rice, and gravy!

This is one of my favorite recipes that my mom would make us. I make it for my family quite a bit. It's easy and yummy.

What you need:

4 pork chops (bone-in is best)

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper

1 package brown gravy mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup + 1 can of water

Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper. Brown chops for a few minutes on each side. Meanwhile whisk soup, water, and brown gravy mix in a bowl. Add a little salt and pepper if you want to.
When the pork chops are nice and brown, turn down the heat
and pour the soup mixture over the meat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or so--less if your using boneless.

We serve this over white or brown rice and sprinkle green peas on top. Yummy.

Find more family recipes for Please Pass the...over at Today's Housewife.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

First Days of Fall

Well, our weather isn't exactly fall-ish, but I have embraced this new season in the kitchen, at least. I've made curry pumpkin soup (which we thought was ok), vegetable beef soup (which we all liked), applesauce from our apples (very tart), and a batch of my Great Grandma Kelley's ginger cookies (which everyone loved). Tomorrow might have me whipping up our favorite potato corn chowder, we'll see if the mood strikes me.

We, well, really just the kids, have been enjoying the apples from our trees. Especially my little man. Here he is sampling from the apple bowl (I took these without a flash, cause the evening light was so nice, but they turned out blurry for some reason. However, I like how they look.)

Especially that last one. I like the light and the shadows. Kinda like impressionist paintings.

Here's to fall!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall!

Well, today was a whirlwind and I didn't get to post anything I wanted to for the first day of Fall. I wanted to do the Soup Swap over at Turkey Cookies, and I wanted to finish up my Autumn Delights lists. But that just isn't going to happen. I'm only just now eating something for dinner(Kraft mac and cheese), and I really want to go veg in front of a movie instead of blogging. So, I hope everyone had a great day! I did, just busy.
Now, that Hallmark movie on my DVR is calling my name; oh, and I think I can hear the chocolate-chip-mint ice cream, too...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Autumn Delights Days Seven and Eight

*above image from Better Homes and Gardens

Autumn Delights: Decorating

There is so much of nature's bounty to use inside and outside your home!

-Gorgeous gourds-check out this slideshow at Better Homes and Gardens

-Pretty pumpkins-stacked, scattered, carved and center-pieced

-Lovely leaves-layer in baskets, hang from string for a window mobile, clip into a garland, work into wreaths

-Natural nuts-pile deep brown chestnuts and sweet little acorns into pretty bowls, jars or baskets

-Fabulous Fruit-fill pretty mixing bowl or baskets with colorful apples or pears

Our first Autumn Harvest-soon to be applesauce and pie!

But first, we'll enjoy their beauty for a day or two.

For more great fall decorating ideas check out the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Autumn Delights Day Six

Autumn Delights: Yummy Drinks

-hot apple cider

-warm, milky, spicy tea, like Constant Comment or a chai

-cocoa with whipped cream and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg

*all are especially good on a cold, perhaps rainy, day; while curled up with a book

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Autumn Delights Day Five

Autumn Delights: Fall Fun

-Jumping in the leaves

-Leaf rubbings

-Trips to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch

-Candy corn


-Corn mazes

-Carving pumpkins

*photos from last year

Monday, September 15, 2008

Autumn Delights Day Four

Autumn Delights: New Things to Try



-Making Bread

-Homemade applesauce

-New soup and stew recipes

(Does anyone have a suggestion for a good beginner knitting book, a how-to type of thing?)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Autumn Delights Day Three

Autumn Delights: Creating a Cozy Fall Kitchen

-First of all, wipe down all surfaces with warm soapy water scented with lavender oil.

-Start a "Pot O' Goodness" simmering on the stove. (see below)

-Decorate with mini pumpkins, apples from our trees, and Fall scented candles.

-Hang white twinkle lights above windows to cheer things up on darkening Fall afternoons.

-Stock pantry with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cans of pumpkin puree, applesauce and other baking supplies.

Pot O' Goodness

To a small pan add:
a few lemon and orange slices
(any citrus will work)
a cinnamon stick
a sprinkling of whole cloves
a bay leaf

Cover with water, simmer on stove, adding more water as needed
to fill your kitchen with warm, homey goodness.

My sister and I made up this name. We got the idea/recipe from her mother-in-law a few years ago, and we've been enjoying it every Fall and Winter since.

Does anyone have any more cozy kitchen ideas? I'd love to hear them. And please cast your vote in the Favorite Fall Things poll in my sidebar!

Come back tomorrow for more Autumn Delights.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

2 cups unbleached white flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
¼ t. ground cloves
¼ t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
½ cup applesauce
4 eggs
2/3 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans, 24 muffins cups, or,
as I usually like to do, 12 muffins and one loaf pan :)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. I like to use a wire whisk for this. In a separate bowl, blend pumpkin, applesauce, eggs, and water. Add wet stuff to dry stuff. Stir until all is moistened. It doesn't look like it will all mix together, but it will! Pour into pans.
Bake: 20-25 minutes for muffins, 40-45 minutes for loaves, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Autumn Delights Day Two

Autumn Delights: From the Kitchen-

-the joy of cooking comes back with cooler weather

-soups and stews simmering along all day, filling the house with warmth and comfort

-baking, baking, baking

-pumpkin bread and muffins

-pumpkin pie

-pumpkin bread pudding

-apple pies

For tomorrow: creating a cozy fall kitchen

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, Yeah

I should point out that the photos of the trees in the previous post are from last October. I took them at a park near our old house. Here in Nevada, our trees haven't begun to change color yet. I am excited to see how the elms, cottonwoods and apple trees look this fall.

Autumn Delights

Only ten more days until the First Day Of Autumn. (In all caps, because, like in Winnie the Pooh stories, I want to emphasize Something Important.) Over the past few years, Fall has become my favorite season. It wasn't as a child. Back to school time probably ruined it for me. And those grey, wet days that are inevitable. But now, I can appreciate so many great things about this season.
Mmmm, the colors, for one thing.

So, I think a list is in order here. A list of Autumn Delights. The things that make this season so, well, delightful. I think what I should do, though, is break my list up into sections, and each day leading up to The First Day of Autumn, I'll post a section of the list.

So for today, I'll start my list with-

Autumn Delights: Sights and Smells

-bright, colorful leaves against deep blue skies

-blushing apples

-ripe pumpkins

-drying, crunching leaves

-smoky air on a cool, crisp morning

-warm, comforting smells drifting from the kitchen (which leads to tomorrows list...)

Happy Autumn dreaming everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Nursery

So I found my 14 month old son playing in his room this morning-all by himself. It was great. He must have been occupied for a good 15 minutes or so. I snuck in to snap some pics:

Then I decided to get a few photos depicting the paint color I picked out. This will be the baby girl's room, too, so I decided on this blue/green called 'vintage map' by Martha Stewart. This blanket gave me the idea--see the polka dots?

I think it is perfect for a boy and girl's room. Not too boyish or too girly. Here is the top of baby girl's dresser:

And here are some of little man's things. The paint looks a lot darker in this photo:

I am really happy with the paint. We almost didn't take the time to paint the kid's rooms right away, but my prego hormones took over and my mom and husband had to comply. They did a great job!

I'll post pics of the big girls' room soon. It's, uh, a little bit of a disaster at the moment.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lack of Posts

Our night visitor (raccoon?) seems to have moved on after a couple of nights. So nothing too exciting going on around here. That, and the fact that all three of my kids have taken turns getting the stomach flu this last week, and my husband's out of town. So, although thoughts of fall are floating around my head: ideas, menus, projects-I haven't had the chance to really get all posty about them. Hopefully, prayerfully, the flu bug will bypass this tired mommy, all the kiddos will be good as new, and I'll have a chance to get back to blogging soon. But I will leave you with a fall photo from last year.
See ya all later!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Wild Night

SOMETHING was up in one of our trees last night.

I heard all three dogs barking at about 3am. What was really strange, was that Shilo's bark turned very high-pitched and incessant. She just wouldn't stop. I got up and peered outside, calling to the dogs to be quiet. I couldn't see anything. Sammy and Tripod ran up to me all excited, but Shilo continued to bark non-stop in the vicinity of the cottonwood trees. I couldn't figure it out. I tried to find a flashlight, but none was to be found. I debated calling 911. I knew there was no way I was leaving three kids in the house and going out there to investigate while being 7 months pregnant. (My husband was out of town). I stayed up for a while, trying to get Shilo to quiet down. By this time I figured it wasn't a human intruder, must be some kind of animal and there was nothing I could do, so I went back to bed. At least Shilo was taking a break from barking now and then and I could fall asleep.

At about 5:30 the barking got crazy again. All three dogs were freaking out. I got up and it was just barely starting to get light. I could see that the sprinklers were on, Sammy was whining at the door, Tripod was barking and running from the trees to the house and back again, and Shilo was barking her crazy high-pitched bark from somewhere near the trees. I couldn't see her, and I was worried that she was hurt and getting wet from the sprinklers. She wouldn't come when I called, she wouldn't stop barking. I wondered if I should go out and see if she was ok. Finally, I saw her standing by the trees, getting wet, and barking. I couldn't turn off the sprinklers from the house, and Shilo wouldn't come when I called her. I finally just went back to bed, thinking maybe there was a bear or something up in the tree. I guess, last summer, a bear did come into the yard. I was worried about Shilo, but I wasn't about to put myself and the baby at risk. So, when we all got up at about 7:15, I could see Shilo sitting by the trees, staring up, but not barking.
She stayed there during another set of sprinklers, getting all wet, and she sits there even now. Sometimes she'll get up and walk around the trees, sniffing, looking up. But she won't leave them. I finally went out to check things out when my son went down for a nap. I couldn't see anything. I guess whatever it was must have gone from tree to tree, over to the neighbors and away. Poor, good Shilo. I hope the kids can coax her away when they get home.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Garden Tour

I took these photos earlier this summer. I just love our yard. We have great trees and so much space.
Behind the trees, above, we have a large, undeveloped field. It get lots of sun, so I'm envisioning a vegetable garden, a cutting flower garden...oh, the possibilities! And somewhere, of course, we have to fit in a sunflower house for the kids, and their own little garden plots.
Below is our back yard/patio. I guess it isn't really a "yard". There are lots of brick planters, walkways and trees. Even a peach tree, with nary a peach this year...I hope we can convince it to produce next year.
This little "courtyard" will be really fun to fix up. Things need trimming, and lots of planning and planting needs to be done. Any suggestions for the planters? There are also brick rimmed beds around the house and fence.
If you look closely, you can see white, fluffy stuff from the cottonwoods. This piled up in drifts like snow in July. I'm guessing a leaf blower will come in handy next year.

I am hoping that I can get some planting done this fall. Poppies, peonies, and drifts of daffodils under the cottonwoods.
MMmmmm....I was all excited for fall, and now I'm already thinking spring!
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