Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cute Sign

This sign was in a scrapbook store in Grangeville, Idaho. I had to take a picture of it!

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Parade

Dad relaxes in his chair.

Diana (stepmom) and her dad (Grandma John) trying to keep warm.

Sonya (SIL) with their puppy dressed up in his holiday sweater complete with jingle bells.

One of the festive floats we all enjoyed!

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Jessica's Homecoming

Jessica came home after being gone with Jackie and Mom for 6 days. We all missed her, especially her brothers. She was really excited to see Jacob!
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Thanksgiving 2008

There's the fam!

Jackie and I

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Our Babies

Jacob and I in our blue outfits!

Jackie tries to read her Bible with Jacob hovering.

Jackie and Hailey in her party dress.

Jacob and Hailey check each other out.

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Thai Rolls

Catherine taught us how to make Thai rolls during our visit to Idaho. I got Steve excited about them today, so we went to the store and bought all the fixin's. They turned out really good. Steve liked them, but I think preferred more meat. He's not a real veggie lover. As long as I have dipping sauce, I'm happy!

Thanksgiving went really well. We went out to the Grange and feasted there. Jackie and I were able to play more Nertz (a fast card game). On Friday, I took Andrew (all the rest of the children got in trouble) to the Christmas Light Parade downtown. It was really fun! We even treated ourselves to a French pastry. Andrew loved all the lighted up tractors. Afterwards he said, "That was a fun date, just you and me!". I think he'll remember that one for awhile.

Today was a lazy day. Did some regular chores then Steve and I took the kids with us to go grocery shopping. I dozed on the couch and then finished my "Fall of the Eagles" series. It was very interesting, but not very fast moving. I know a lot more about why WWI was started. Steve went to Kmart and got the kid's Christmas present. Shhhh, don't tell, but we got them a trampoline! I thought it might be easier to get them one big present then a bunch of individual ones. They will love it, especially Jessica.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Face Lift

Jackie came over last night and we watched a Catherine Cookson movie and then played with our blogs. We discovered how to switch the background. We were both so excited to try different ones and see how they worked for us. So this "Messy Snowflakes" theme is totally me. I love these colors and it gets me in the mood for Christmas! We then talked till 11:15 at night. It was wonderful.

But first, "Happy Thanksgiving" to all of you! I have much to be thankful for. God has blessed me beyond measure with a faithful husband, 5 beautiful children, one more child on the way, a 4 bedroom house, room outside for the kids to play, the ability to homeschool, a handful of trustworthy friends that build me up in Christ and keep me accountable, and His Holy Word that encourages me and sustains me everyday of me life. So THANK YOU GOD!!!!

I got a surprise in the mail yesterday. There was a thank you note from Mary for singing at her brother's funeral. There was a check included for $100!!!!! I couldn't believe it! Tears just started to come to my eyes. It was the first time I've ever been paid to sing. I asked God what He wanted me to do with it, and I just felt like I should hold onto it. Truth me told, I would love to tithe on it and then maybe give part of the money to the kids to buy me "Prince Caspian" for Christmas. We'll see. I just thanked God over and over for such a "rich" blessing. I just love those unexpected surprises that just make you look up and say, "WOW, thank You!"

All praise, honor and glory go back to Him!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rachel's House

Rachel is Hildi's oldest daughter. She is a dear friend of Catherine's and is very crafty. Her husband built this home for her and it was just lovely. It is settled in the mountains. They just got electricity a while back and are enjoying some new comforts.

Rachel and her baby. She was a smiley little thing! The bottom pictures is a very nice playroom in the attic that was built for the girls by their daddy. I can't imagine having such a hide-away! You could tell the oldest daughter loved her little room.
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Tour of Hildi's Garden Boxes

Here is a pictures of Catherine and her "Best Girls" and she affectionately referred to us to her friends.
Hildi and her children put an enormous amount of work into these garden boxes. Catherine was very encouraging and had lots of advice on that matter. She is an amazing gardener, so we all had lots of questions for her. Margaret was totally inspired and took lots of pictures and asked Catherine to draw her up a plan for her garden.
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A Visit With Hildi

This is the front of their big home. Bob and Hildi have 11 children. Most are grown now.
Margaret and Catherine with their two beautiful dogs.
Hildi's daughter in law was very crafty and made this sign out of paper. Margaret and I just loved it and would like to find out where the stencils came from.
Greta (Hildi's youngest daughter) and Hildi.
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Idaho Sunset

While we sipped our peppermint hot chocolate that Lovella lovingly made for us, we glanced outside and saw a gorgeous sunset! It was magnificent and I only hoped that my camera could catch the beautiful hues of light. God truly blessed us with that wonderful sight!
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A Winter Walk

Rose Hips from wild rose bushes.
Jay, Catherine, Lovella, Margaret and Lena and Evan (Grandkids)
This pictures looks a lot like my dad's ranch. The view was just beautiful! What a place to get on horseback and ride and explore!
This is Hildi's view from her front porch. Isn't it lovely?
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Smith's Ranch

This photo looks down at Grangeville. It is on the flat land.
These are some of the outbuildings on the ranch by Lovella's house. Lovella is Jay's daughter.
This pictures looks out onto Hildi's house. It was a big, beautiful home. Hildi and her children own half the ranch. Lovella has the trailer that is at the left. She has done an amazing job decorating and adding a homeschool room to it.
I took this picture on our walk leading up towards the tree line. It reminded me so much of the area around Dufur.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

What's Up in Idaho

I am having a relaxing, wonderful time in Idaho with my two dear friends, Catherine and Margaret. We arrived safely on Saturday after a six hour drive of pure chat! Catherine was so thrilled to see us and completely spoiled us. We even had chocolate on our pillows!

We talked until almost 11:00 p.m. that night and went to bed exhausted. The next day we got up and had coffee in her studio and did our Bible studies. It has been so refreshing. We then went to her church (which was awesome!) and worshipped together. It is such a blessing to worship with friends. We came home to a wonderful meal of fajitas (we learned how to make Thai rolls for dinner the night before). We took a little nap and then went out to Jay and Catherine's ranch. We met Jay's daughter Lovella who lives out there in a small trailer and then took a walk with her and her two children. It was very chilly, but very clear and we could see the valley floor for miles. I will post pictures later when I get home. Idaho, truly is beautiful. It reminds me so much of the country past Dufur. My hips were aching, so headed back to Lovella's trailer where she made us peppermint hot chocolate and we visited for awhile. We came back home and Jay went to his meetings at the church. We were impressed upon the Lord to have a VERY INTENSE prayer time for ourselves, our marriages and also a time of pure thankfulness of the gifts that God has given to us. We truly cried out to God and felt His presence in a fresh and new way. I believe healing has taken place our hearts and I believe that God is doing a new thing with us. We took back some territory that night and it felt good. We were emotionally exhausted afterwards. I truly felt like I couldn't receive one more thing from God or I would truly be undone.

We went to bed earlier and today we got up and did our devotions. We went to out to the ranch and met with Catherine's friend Hildi and her daughter Greta. We had a cup of tea and then toured her garden beds. Wow! She is getting serious about it. Then we went East of Grangeville and visited Hildi's oldest daughter, Rachel. We toured her beautiful home that her and her husband built. Her two children were sick, so we unfortunately couldn't stay very long. I just fell in love with Rachel. She seemed so sweet. Afterwards we were looking forward to going to a special place to eat called the Chatterbox, but it was closed on Monday. Catherine was so disappointed. She was looking forward to taking us there. We continued on to a different town called Kamiah and went to a wonderful bakery. We had a delicious lunch and then went back to Grangeville to shop a bit downtown. We picked up a pizza and now we are celebrating Lovella's birthday tonight. Catherine whipped up a cake and bought ice cream so it should be a fun evening. Her children are adorable and it is fun watching Jay interact with them. He is a very strong, silent type.

Alas, tomorrow we go home. I will miss Catherine so much, but I know my family misses me and need me. It will be fun seeing the children and relieving Steve.

I will post pictures soon...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Are You Available?

Mother’s Minute Devotion

“Are You Available?”

Dear Mothers,

For many years I was a harried, frazzled, distracted mother who tried with all of her might to retain her “B.C. Life” (Before Children). Sadly, I missed out on so much. I was not available to my children even though I was a full-time stay-at-home mom. I am ashamed to say that I focused on everything it seems, BUT my children.

I remember my mother mentioning that I didn’t play with my children very much. At the time I felt defensive and angry. Now I see that she was right. I would put everything before the kids and they unfortunately got the leftovers. It was a rare occasion when I would sit down and read to them, play a game with them or just have a tickle-fest and enjoy their laughter.

I came to realize all of this when we decided to pull our oldest child from Kindergarten. When we began the journey of homeschooling it forced me to spend time with my kids. I started looking for those teachable moments and did my best to create a “fun” atmosphere.

In order to be more relaxed, I’ve had to let things go. What good would it be if I “gained a clean house but lost my child’s soul”? Now when one of my children ask if we can play a game, talk, read, or just plain be silly, I try to set those things that are always there aside and truly focus on that child. The housework will never go away. The beds will always need to be made, the dishes always needing to be done, but will my child remain? No, he or she will be grown up and gone before I know it. I want to look back and remember that this home was filled with laughter, respect, kindness, good conversation, and lots of teaching of God’s Ways. I want to remember the times that we took in prayer (and yes, some children are more long-winded then others, but now we tend to call them prayer warriors!) and lifted each other up to God.

Have you been available to your children? Have you pushed them away lately because you were too busy? Pray and ask God how you are doing in this area. Ask Him to show you those times, confess them and ask Him to begin a new work in you. Your children will be so much happier for it!

From One Mom to Another,


Off to Idaho

Today is the day! Margaret and I go to Idaho to visit our dear friend, Catherine. It is a six hour drive, so please pray for safety. Also, sitting for long periods of time is becoming quite an issue with my pelvis. When I made the trip, I thought I would not be far along with my pregnancy to have this issue, but it turns out I was wrong. I'm 21 weeks along now.

The plans are to visit, make Thai rolls, visit, make fajitas, visit, go to church, go see her and her husband's ranch, and meet some of her friends and family and visit some more. Not necessarily in that order! Doesn't that sound like fun?

I haven't been to her house for about 3 years. My sister and I went to visit, we were there for about five hours when she accidentally fell down the stairs and broke her collarbone. We stayed for one more day, because she was in so much pain, and then we left right away on Sunday morning. It was full of trauma, drama and making phone calls to try to get a hold of her husband who was still in Iraq to come home early and take care of Josiah. It was a whirlwind! So, I will be carefully walking down those stairs.

Pray for Steve, he will have all of the boys (Jess is going to be with Mom and Jackie until after Thanksgiving). Pray for patience and a fun time for all of them. I'm so thankful I have a husband who is willing to let me go by myself for four days. I know there are not many husbands out there that would do that cheerfully.

I'm going to go finish packing. Again, please pray for a safe trip and I will be back online telling you of my adventure on Wednesday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Good Morning

Yesterday in the OB Doc's office, I brought my "An Encouraging Word" magazine with me to read. It had a wonderful article about the importance of filling up on God's Word. Young mothers like me need meat and potatoes, not spiritual "fluff". I have always believed this, but sometimes a week may go or even a few days and I begin to feel not so connected with my Lord. This morning I woke up around three a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. Insomnia is a mainstay in my pregnancies, so it's not unusual. I laid there and prayed for my husband and children and for my mothering. At five-thirty, I got up and decided to do my Beth Moore Bible study. I made myself a cup of Cafe Vienna and sat down with my Bible study. It was so wonderful to be able to study His Word in a peaceful setting and without interruptions. Yes, it would have been nice to get that extra bit of sleep, but this was so much better for me. As I learned, meditated and remembered God's grace towards me, I felt more and more full of Him. He was literally "feeding" and satisfying my soul. Oh, thank you God!

I am to sing at a funeral today. I am praying that God will use me even though this man was not a Christian. I know many of the people attending are not Christians. I pray that "Amazing Grace" will truly touch their souls and that they would hear God speak to their hearts through the lyrics.

I have almost packed everything for my trip to Idaho. Margaret and I are heading to Grangeville, Idaho to go visit our dear friend, Catherine. I am so excited and I pray that we will have a wonderful time of Sisterly fellowship.

I will miss my children, but know that it is good for them to be with their dad alone. They will get to do different things and Steve is not afraid to take them anywhere.

So, today my heart is set on rejoicing the in the Lord's goodness, even in the everyday things. I want to be able to praise Him even when the days run together and the tasks never seem to end. I want to be able to touch my child's head as they are struggling over a math problem. I want to bend down and kiss a child as they walk by me as they finish sweeping. I want to have JOY in the everyday and ordinary things of this life. That's what I want to do today...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

People are Watching

I knew people watched our family, but I was reaffirmed today that people are REALLY watching our family.

Today, Steve treated us to a wonderful lunch at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. Even though we try to be quiet, a family of seven is going to have it's moments. When I went to pay, the owner's wife complimented me and said "I really admire your patience with your children. It's so nice to see a family your size able to eat out. Most parents wouldn't bother. I was watching you and you really seem to have patience." It was so sweet and so encouraging. It just made my day. I usually do not think of myself as a patient person, but I must have had a shining moment. I just sent that compliment to God who gave me the strength to be patient for that moment.

I thought about it and counted at least 4 people who turned their heads to look at us and gawk. I always wonder what they are thinking. Are we too noisy? Are we annoying them? Are they enjoying seeing a family enjoying themselves? Do they feel sorry for us? Do they feel envious? It's a strange place to be and it will only get more common as God blesses us with another child.

I am blessed and thankful for each of our children. They are good kids. Not perfect kids, but they are sweet and good quite a bit of the time.

My 200th Post!

I just realized that this is my 200th Post! Wow! I can't believe I've had that much to share!

I have a busy day planned today. Steve is off and I've kind of crowded everything into this one day. I need to mail some Christmas gifts to Kenya, homeschool, shop for groceries, My OB appointment, a hair appointment and a prenatal massage.

I'm still in my jammies, I just made breakfast and now I'm off to get me and everyone else ready for the day.

Steve called last night and said that he was going to take Friday off. Woohoo! I was asked to sing at a funeral and needed someone to watch the kids. Rachel said she would, but I knew she had a very busy day planned. So now that Steve is off, I will be able to stick around a bit. I just figured out that the man that died is the father of a girl I worked with at Big Jims. My sister and I used to hang out with her. It's too bad. He was only 59. I would love to be able to talk to Heather again and see what she is up to, if she is there.

I'm going to sing "Amazing Grace" accapella. He was not a Christian, but he loved Patsy Cline. I can sing it like she would and country it up. I think it's a safe hymn to play for the funeral of an unbeliever. It's very accepted and it is a good way to bring God into a ceremony that otherwise would be devoid of it. It is especially comforting to Believers who attend. That's my take on it.

Need to scoot!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cornmeal Bar Cookies

Jackie asked me to post this on my blog.

This is the "healthy version" that I made up.

Cornmeal Bar Cookies

1 1/2 cups of WW pastry flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cups raw sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl use electric mixer to mix butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined.

3. Pour into the a medium baking pan.

4. You will have to guess on the baking time. Bake until fork comes out clean.

Family Fun

The whole family wanted "fat bellies", so Steve got a picture of them. Jacob looks so cute. Mom, has her own "fat belly", so she didn't need any stuffing.

The kids are really into playing UNO now. So when I have a spare moment to sit down, we play a quick game. It's been good for Andrew as he learns his colors. He loves being included.
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Traveling Capers

Jacob loves to rock out to the music. This time we caught him with his little hands behind his head in a very relaxed state.
Marcus had to pee really bad. We had just stopped at a rest area ten minutes before, so he gave him a bottle and Marcus filled 'er up! He kept saying, "ooh, it's warm!" Nasty! He also missed and peed on the back of Steve's seat. I wonder if Steve remembered to clean it up? I hope so, cause it's the fire department's rig. LOL!
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