Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hitting the Links

Visit these links. You will be touched.

The Kiss Challenge
This challenge is simply wonderful. What a practical way to bless my marraige! What a perfectly beautiful way to express my love. It will be fun layin' one on my man every day!

How Baby Jackson Saved A Life
This is a powerful story. You have to read all the way to the end. It is not just a propaganda story against abortion. It is a mom sharing her "mommy moment". It is a story with a lesson about how we affect the people around us.

Pachelbel Bedtime Story
I saw this video for the first time about 10 months ago. I laughed and smiled and then watched it over and over. I rediscovered the video last night. I hope it makes you smile.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Flashback/Past Post Parade

Elaine at Miss Elaine-ous Life is hosting a Past Post Parade. She is hosting a blog meme where bloggers link to a past post from the same month from a year (or more) in the past. It was so fun to look at my old posts from January 2008 and 2007!

Exactly 2 years ago today, On January 30, 2007, I posted pictures of Seth and I at the Military Ball. That was quite a flashback for me! Sometimes military life seems like ages ago. (Also the pictures make me question my current desire to grow my hair long. I liked my hair in those pictures. Hmmm.... something to think about.)

Anyway, for today's flashback, go to Military Ball 2007

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #72

It is about 9 p.m. Pacific Time. The kids are in bed but not asleep. We got home about 8:40. Thursday nights are late nights for us. We are attending a parenting class. Here's what happens: Every Thursday afternoon I think, "Oh, I don't have the energy for this tonight." And every Thursday night after the class, I think, "This is wonderful! I am learning and growing."

WOW - okay, now it is 11:00 and my husband I just talked for 2 hours about what we are learning. I bought the 5 love languages books about 8 years ago and I think my husband and I just figured out what our respective "love languages" are. I am thankful for the class and for the growth in my marriage - as a couple and as a parenting unit.

I am also thankful that Wednesday night I typed out some thankful thoughts because now I am too tired to think beyond that. I was going to edit them (leave some things out, add other things, edit my thoughts, etc) but now you just it 'as is'.

Here are some things that are filling up my thanks tank:

Praying with my kids: Last night I had a teachable moment with one of my children. He was overtired and being overdramatic. I talked to him and we prayed. I am thankful for praying with my children (especially prayers that are beyond mealtime blessings and bedtime prayers).

Clothes: I am over-run with laundry. It frustrates me to no end that I seem to be unable to stay on top of it. As I was folding and folding and folding the clothes, I decided to thank God for our clothes. I am being purposeful (and dedicated) to thankfulness even when I am doing something that does not thrill me.

Muddy Shoes: My oldest son when out to play one afternoon and came home with muddy shoes. They were so muddy that his socks were soaked and brown inside of his shoes. I had him peel those off and carry his shoes to the laundry room. I told him that he sure was a boy! And he said, “Wow, you didn’t get mad at me.” I am not even sure what the point of this story is except that his response made me smile. I am thankful that I responded the way I did.

Bananas: Last week I made a quick run to the grocery store. I was at a local grocery and I noticed that they had their bananas on sale for 38 cents a pound. I noticed that was a great deal. This- the price of the bananas- was a milestone for me. I am starting to recognize normal prices and real sale prices. That was so encouraging!

My hard working husband: His work is really stressful right now. He has been putting in a lot of crazy hours. He has to work most of the weekend. I am thankful for his job. I am thankful that he cares sincerely for the people that he works with. I appreciate all that he does when he is home after a long day at work.

Thomas’s songs: My 3 year-old likes to come downstairs in the morning singing. It is the cutest thing and I have no idea where he gets it because my hubby and I don’t sing. This morning he came down and then said the he was not awake yet because he forgot to sing. He went back upstairs and came down singing. I am thankful that he wakes up that way. (Oh, and I wish I did!)

My clean kitchen floor (and my little helpers): David and Thomas helped me clean the kitchen floor this week. It was amazing how much fun they had. I am thankful that I gave myself the extra time needed to let them help. I am also VERY thankful for my clean floor. Yep, I have swept it about 6 times sine we moped but the floor is still much, much, much cleaner.

Oh, one more... I am thankful for little girl ponytails:

I need beauty school lessons

I have never been a "girly-girl". I have never been one spend much effort on my hair. I pretty much wash my hair, brush it and let it air dry. (That explains so much, I know.)

Now that I have a little girl, I want her to be as cute as possible. Yesterday I dediced to put her hair up. (Ok, wait, let me back track- in December I was laughed at because I didn't know where my friend got the clear rubber bands. Apparently even my husband new that they were clear ponytail holders!)

I bought some of the clear ponytail holders, which seemed perfect because they said "Ouchless" and because they seemed small enough to hold the tiny bit of hair that Elsie has.

LET ME JUST TELL YOU - they are not ouchless, if your mom pulls your hair when she puts them in.

These were really, really hard for me to get in. (Go head, let me some tips if you have any. Elsie would appreciate it!)

Here she is recovering.

Thankfully, chocolate milk helps make everything better.

Here are some of her brother's comments:

David: "She REALLY looks like a Toddler now!"
Thomas didn't have much to say about it. I did catch him trying to "touch them" (pull on them) a few times.
Jonathan (as he got in the car when I picked him up from school):
"Why did you put her hair like that?"
"No, seriously, why did you put her hair like that??"
"It is going to be really easy for me to pull her hair now."

Here is one of my favorite pictures.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random Allergy Happenings

I thought I would share with you some "Allergy Happenings" at our house. These are all very random but it has been a while since I have documented anything about my son's allergy.

My 2nd son has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts.

Lately, my 3rd son plays a lot of games where his guys have peanuts so my 2nd son's guys can't do something. The humorous part is that my peanut allergic (PA) son plays right along. They handle it well so I don't interrupt.

Not too long ago, we were out and someone came and asked my husband this question, "Your son is eating a cookie. Is it okay?" My husband (I wasn't present when this happened) said, "Well, we will know pretty quickly if it isn't."
[This stuff is just simply scary.] Turns out, my PA son didn't know if it was safe so he just saved it. [What a wow moment!]

My PA son was invited to a birthday party this past weekend and my friend went out of her way to make sure that the party was safe for him. She had ham and cheese with crackers for lunch and made cupcakes for the kids. This is the same friend that tied the pantry doors shut on New Year's Eve when all the kids were at her house being watched by a babysitter. I have to say, friends like that melt my heart.

My niece was recently diagnosed with a peanut allergy. This was surprising to me. I am excited about the way that we will be able to support each other as our kids grow. I continue to think about how researchers say that food allergies often run in families. Before this, I was only aware of my grandfather having a shell fish (or is it shrimp?) allergy.

Recent Discovery - I have been cutting grocery costs left and right, trying out generic brands and using coupons. I am sticking with Lipton onion soup mix. The Wal-mart onion soup mix has a peanut warning.

We are gearing up to start talking to my son's future school. He will be headed to Kindergarten next year. Saying that I am nervous does not even begin to touch how I feel. The school has never dealt with a peanut allergy. If you will, pray for me and my ability to keep my fears (and worrying) at bay.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to my version of "Not Me! Monday." This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I considered not doing a Not Me! Monday because I was so excited about my first blog giveaway. I can’t stay away from this exercise. It is just too freeing and fun to be honest about the craziness in my life. So, here I am again. If you ask me, I will deny every bit of the following.

It was not me that thought it was really funny when my 5 year-old told me that the lady in front of us in the supermarket had mean eyebrows. I did not check to make sure that she wasn’t listening, check out her arched eyebrows and chuckle with my son. I didn’t skip the kindness lesson and laugh with my son -not me!

It was not me who dropped a measuring cup of Ketchup all over my kitchen stove and the floor. I was not the one who made the mess – no way, not me!!

And, since I did not drop the ketchup, I certainly did not take these pictures to alleviate my frustration.

It was not me who spent five minutes looking for my keys this morning when they were in my pocket. Oh my goodness – who is that absent-minded? I would only do that if I hadn’t had my coffee yet. Thank goodness, I can say, not me!

I did not start to put the milk in the microwave because I was holding my coffee cup. My hand does not automatically go to the microwave if I am standing near it with my cup because I am so used to having to reheat my coffee. That would be sort of ridiculous. When that didn’t happen, I didn’t laugh out loud – not me!

I didn’t decide to go clean myself up one evening, telling my husband, “I am going to go try to cover up the frazzled stay-at-home mom look” only to discover that my shirt had been on inside out all day long. I did not wear my shirt inside out all day long, nooooo, I couldn't have done that -not me!

I am not planning on spending lots of my evening free-time checking out the giveaways at the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. That might be a waste of time. I wouldn’t do that on the slim chance that I might win – not me! (Be sure to check out my giveaway.)

Gravity Giveaway

It's Bloggy Giveaway time and I'm hosting my 1st giveaway!

My gifts include a $15 Gift Card to Starbucks, a set of note cards, and an embroidered kitchen towel. The towel will be one of the towels pictured embroidered with the Cup of Kindness and words of your choosing (some examples -if Gravity was your last name you might just want "Gravity" or "Gravity's Kitchen" OR you might want to choose the name of a friend).

To be entered, leave a comment telling me your favorite store (you can only pick one). I want to know where you love to shop. If you follow my blog or become a follower, you get an extra entry. But, please, leave me a separate comment indicating that you are a follower. Non-bloggers can participate but you must be sure I have a way to contact you. I'll close comments on Saturday night January 31st at 11:59 p.m (Pacific Time) and do a random drawing on Sunday February 1st.

Now, zoom through blogland to the quarterly carnival going on at Bloggy Giveaways. You know I am going to be over there checking out the contests! Last time around I won 2 Starbucks gift cards. Have fun!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Something New

I want to do something new.

I am setting goals. I have been setting goals and prioritizing all month. After all, what better month to do that than January? I am looking around at my house and taking inventory of what I have. I want to declutter. I want to organize. I want to rearrange. I want to decorate. I want to do some things different. I want other things to stay the same. This is true in my emotional, mental and spiritual life as well. I want to constantly improve. Sometimes improving means trying things a new way.

In the spirit of change, I decided on a new look for my blog. I hope you like it.

The Beauty of Flannel

Last night, before I got my sleeping husband off the couch, I decided that I should wear something other than flannel PJs to bed. It had been awhile since I had slipped into bed feeling beautiful. I grabbed a comfortable, sweet nightie and went to bed. It felt nice. I felt younger.

Fast forward to Saturday morning.
I heard the stomping of feet. My 3 year-old comes into our room. We chat for a few minutes. Then, the 7 year-old and 5 year-old arrive. They want to snuggle. Before I knew it, I had some very wiggly boys all vying for my attention. They were very snuggly and my hands kept moving back and forth between pulling my nightie up to cover my chest to checking to make sure it was down far enough. I mean, my hands were: up down, up down, up down, up down.

I was clinging to my clothes as tightly as I was clinging to the idea that I want to savor the Saturday morning snuggling.

In that battle between my heart and my modesty, I realized:
Flannel PJs are beautiful... especially on Saturday morning.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Flashback: One Sweet Ride

Sometimes on chaotic days when my house is extremely loud and my four children are making a lot of noise, I dream of driving long winding roads in the hills of Tennessee in a convertible with the top down.

Back in 1995 I bought a Mazda Miata. It was so much fun to drive that car! When I first got it, we lived in Tennessee. We moved to Colorado in 1997. It was beautiful driving with the scenic Colorado mountains in the background. I gave the car up in 2001, shortly after my 1st son was born.

When I occassionally see a Miata somewhere, I just smile and remember those wonderful drives.

My older sister, Jennifer, and I were all smiles after a nice drive in Nashville:

My college roommate, Kristi, and I were so cool cruising the streets of Powell, Tennessee:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #71

Thursday's are one of my favorite days. Some time ago - I guess 70 plus weeks ago - I started an exercise of thankfulness. Each Thursday I make a "written" list of my blessings. Sometimes I post my thankful list early and sometimes I post it late but I always spend the day being thankful. My Thursday Thanks Tank has made me more aware of my blessings. It encourages me all week long.

My day is about to run away from me (in other words: I am getting ready to make dinner and then be out of the house tonight) so I want to share my happy thoughts before I miss my chance. I am thankful for all of this and much more:

1. Books that stretch me: I am reading this book right now. It is great.

2. Bubble Baths: I took a nice long bubble bath last night. It was heavenly. I think my daughter is going to be a bath lover, too.

3. Sleep: I went to bed early last night (well, by 10 p.m., anyway) and it was just what I needed. I am sure I looked like my son in this picture.

4. Cooking with my kids: I had a ton of fun making cookies with the boys this week. Elisabeth also loved her first homemade chocolate chip cookie.

5. Cardboard and Imagination: My boys have been playing with some boxes left over from Christmas. They have enjoyed them for the last 3 days. It is entertaining to watch and listen to them play.

6. This gift from my son:

Oh, come on, don't you know what it is?? It sort of looks like a taped up twisty thing, doesn't it? Well, it is a daisy made by my son David. I love it! I love his imagination and his desire to give me my favorite flower. It will be forever attached to the sweet smile I saw on his face when I put it in a little vase.

That's all the time I have for now. I have to work on dinner. By the way, the crock-pot Cranberry Chicken meal I planned for today didn't work out. I didn't buy all of the ingredients (I'm laughing to myself here about how organized I seemed yesterday). The best laid plans don't always work out. So, I am improvising and making Cola Chicken. I am thankful I am able to improvise when I need to!

Take time to be thankful today. You will be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Works-for-Me-Wednesday: Meal Calendar

I used to get so frustrated on grocery shopping day. It would play out like this. I needed to go to the store. I made a list of meals. I made a list of ingredients for those meals. I looked in the pantry and refrigerator to determine the extra needed items. I checked for coupons. I printed my list and I drug myself to the store. I shopped and then came home and put away the groceries. This took up a lot of time. Often, I would make the list on Sunday afternoon and then shop on Sunday night. I felt like I only had a one day weekend.

I have a new method for grocery shopping that has made a difference in my attitude and in what we are eating from week to week. For starters, I work on my list on a separate day. I plan the meals and work on the ingredient list on a day that is not shopping day. The second thing I do is I make a Meal Calendar for the month. I printed a calendar from a free printable calendar website. Each week I write down the meals that we are going to have. I write the meals in pencil to allow me the flexibility to move a meal from night to night. Then, I can look back over the earlier weeks and know that we are not eating the same thing from week to week (with the excpetion of pizza, of course!). The calendar keeps me aware of what we are eating and we do not get tired of eating the same meals over and over. I also am committed to trying one new recipe every week.

* One additional note based on the first comments I received: I do not plan for the entire month at once. I wish I was that organized (maybe one day!). I just plan one week at a time and look back at the calendar as a record of what we have had recently.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Time

I did not buy a calendar this year. In December, I printed a calendar and posted it on the fridge. This worked so well that I did the same thing this month. I love being able to reprint it, if necessary. I haven't had to reprint it but I know I can. I love the freedom in that. I can mark up the page however I want and I am not messing up a beautiful calendar page. The printed calendar is mine from start to finish. It's my schedule.

Yesterday I shared with some friends that I am focusing on using my resources wisely. (I blogged a bit about this in a previous Wednesday Words post.) I came home and began to struggle with my day. What do I need to do? What can wait until later? The To Do list is never done. I was cleaning up the lunch dishes when I began to think about getting my kids in the kitchen. I want to cook with my kids. I want to let them work with me in the kitchen. And yet, the time never seems to be right when they ask to help. I am in a hurry or I am stressed. I don't have the brain power to figure out how to get their little hands involved. I thought to myself, "I need to make time to do that."

And then I realized, I give my time to what is important to me.

Time is my greatest resource. It's time for me to take inventory of myself. What am I doing with my time? Am I cooking with my kids? Am I playing with them? Am I sharing my values with them in the down time - and not just when I am correcting them? Am I giving what I value my time?

If I am to honor God with what I have, I need to honor him with my time. I need to plan ahead. I need to manage my time. I will set aside time for what matters. I do that. Everyone does whether they admit it or not.

My kids will get my undivided attention. I will make sure of it. I will devote time to my husband. I will set aside time for my necessary chores. I will give myself time to relax. I will dedicate time to God. And, I will acknowledge him in all that I do. I have time for everything. It's time for me to take a purpose driven approach to the days on my calendar.

We made cookies yesterday afternoon. It was one of the best parts of my day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to my version of "Not Me! Monday." This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

If you ask, I will deny every bit of the following.

I have not eaten half a bag of chocolate chips, hand-full by hand-full. I did not buy an extra bag of chocolate chips just so I could have one bag for baked goodies and one to sneak chocolate treats. I did not do that- not me! My chocolate habit is not out of control.

I did not stay up until 2 a.m. on Friday night just because I was determined to have an hour of "me time". I did not savor every minute of that hour in the wee hours of the morning because that would be a bit ridiculous. I did not do that- not me!

I did not oversleep on Sunday morning. I was not running behind and I did not have trouble getting everyone out the door for church. I did not ask my husband to drive separately so that I could quickly finish getting ready without everyone sitting in the car waiting on me- not me!

An hour before church, as we were frantically trying to feed the kids and find socks for them (anyone else have weekly sock hunts?), we did not remember that my 7 year-old and my husband had a part in the service. I did not totally forget about that email I got early in the week with the lengthy reading part. I did not spend excessive time reassuring myself that my confident 7 year old would be just fine reading worlds like Philistines, circumcision, and Israelites. I still cannot believe I forgot about that. I mean, I DID NOT do that - not me!

We were late to church but this did not happen: I was not setting up stuff for the "Children's Church" and my husband was not going over his lines with my son when the Pastor came looking for us wondering if we were going to be in the Sunday School class that we are helping facilitate every other week. Wow - we were not a bit frazzled when we finally made it to the class.

I almost forgot... I am not even sure how to explain this one but it made me feel as if I lost my mind so I have to include it.

Last Tuesday, I did not post a recipe on my blog, have someone question the ingredients, change the ingredients on the post and then email everyone that had commented about the change. I did not do that only to find out that someone had already bought the original ingredients to make the recipe that day. I did not look up the recipe and realize that I had unknowingly altered it when I made it and it was correctly posted the first time. I did not email everyone again and explain that I have no business posting recipes, especially ones with so many ingredients. Yep, this simple recipe that I did not post did not have only 3 ingredients! I have not had 5 people tell me that they made the recipe this past week. I am not curious which way they made the recipe - not all, not me! [Here's the recipe: Chicken Stroganoff ]

Lastly, I did not put lipstick on my daughter for fun. No, this mom of 3 boys and a girl did not enjoy doing that. I didn't do it. See...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hitting the Links

*I know nothing about golf but my husband thought that was a witty post title.

I am about to hit the floor running, mostly back and forth from the laundry pile to the laundry room. This morning I had some time to drink some coffee and read. Here are a few places I rested.

Pay Yourself First
I am trying to be more and more frugal. This article made me think about the little ways I waste my money. It also makes me want to be more intentional with even the smallest amount of money.

Keen Footwear Giveaway
Simple Reviews is hosting a Keen Footwear Giveaway. Boy, I really would love to win!

The Advent of Humility, Tim Keller, Christianity Today
I want to be humble but I find that focusing on humility causes me to feel self-centered. This article was thought-provoking.

He Can Do This, Ann Kroeker
I am a new reader of Ann’s blog. I highly recommend reading her post from Wednesday. It was just the reminder I needed. There are many things that I cannot do. I don’t have to try so hard. I love her reminder to calm down, focus, and rest in Him.

I am off to the laundry pile. Have a great Saturday!

Friday Night Refreshment

Friday was refreshing to my soul.

I will warn you: I am writing this post to solidify my thoughts in my mind. My words may or may not resonate with you.

My husband worked last weekend so he took Friday off. My husband manned the home front and I got to go to MOPS (Mothers-of-Preschoolers) without the kids. After MOPS, I stopped by home for a bit and then picked up my son from school and ran a few necessary errands. Everything always takes longer than expected and I did not have time for my planned stop at Starbucks. I had to get home because my husband and my oldest son were headed to a Cub Scout lock-in. I convinced myself that missing out on the latte was not a big deal because I was going to pamper myself that night. All I had to do was get the 3 little ones in bed and then I had the house to myself! I spent the day debating in my mind what I would do with my alone time. Maybe I would scrapbook. Maybe I would organize my craft projects. Maybe I would surf blogland. Maybe I would take a nice long bubble bath.

I came home to chaos. I came home to dinner (It was appreciated and delicious). The kids were loud. They were demanding. It was not unlike it is sometimes at that time of the day. My husband was so stressed out that he said he didn't think he was going to eat. He did eat right before he left (an answer to my prayer, I think, because my man gets grumpy on an empty stomach).

I let my 2 youngest boys stay up an hour after their bedtime. I treated them because they were insanely jealous about their brother getting to stay up half the night at the lock-in. The boys got to take a nice long bubble bath in my tub (they love my over sized tub). I spent the time enjoying my daughter. I dressed her up in a few adorable outfits, trying to see how cute she will be in her overdue 1 year picture.

The kids were in bed at 9(ish). I came downstairs and surveyed the damage. Oh my good gravy, the house was a disaster zone. In my struggle to placate my younger boys as I cleared the table (boy, I do not miss the single parenting of my Army wife days), I had pulled out a few tubs of toys out of the toy closet. I had also loaned them a couple of my blankets to play with. Those misplaced items were icing on the cake. The family room was a mess of misplaced toys.

The kitchen was just as crazy. It took time to finish the breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes from the day.

I walked into my room sometime after midnight and tried to focus on the large pile of clothes on my bed. It looked like so much... and then it dawned on me...oh, I seeeee, that pile of dirty clothes is now combined with the pile of clean clothes on top of my bed (yes, laundry challenges me). With a sigh, I pushed the pile onto floor and smiled.

I smiled because I realized that I make a difference. I often -most every day and every week- lament to myself that I cannot get anything accomplished. I look at my day and feel dissatisfied. I struggle with feeling insignificant. I don't finish much of what I start in one day so I struggle with feelings of failure.

Maybe this is a classic house-wife story. I don't care if it is. I think in the classic story, the wife gets angry. I am not frustrated. Friday night gave me an appreciation for myself. That doesn't happen very often.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Flashback: Camping in Telluride

We went camping

with our mutts, George and Bailey,

in Telluride, Colorado.

We took our dogs on a few hikes

and saw some amazing sights.

This was probably in 1999 (give or take a year).

If you want to see our sweet mutts all cleaned up (and you know you do), I posted a picture on Owen Home .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #70

I am not really sure where to start. Wednesday was not a good day for me. I'd like to tell you all of the details. I like to talk to you one-on-one about how sad I feel about the day but I just can't. It is impossible for me to blog that conversation. Instead I will just tell you that I was caught off-guard by the events of my day. My dog, Bailey, had to be put to sleep. I didn't see that coming. I had no idea my day would unfold like it did. We got our dogs, George and Bailey (yes, yes- named after "George Bailey"), 6 months after we got married. My husband picked out George and I picked out Bailey. George died in April. Bailey was 13 years old in December. I was unbelievably sad all day Wednesday. I still am really sad. I lost a great dog.

On top of my grief is the knowledge that I don't know if I will ever have another dog. Last January we found out that my son is allergic to dogs. It shouldn't have come as a big surprise because there had been several times where his asthma would flare up around dogs. Our dogs never bothered him. The doctor said due to that and the age of our dogs, we could manage David's asthma and keep our dogs. Getting another dog would be risky to David's health. I know that. Knowing it does not help me grieve. It makes me angry.

I was just reading another friend's blog about her son's allergies, some of which are newly discovered allergies. She said that allergies stink. Oh, I agree with my whole heart. Today I was angry that David has allergies. I was angry that he has asthma. His asthma has been acting up lately. I was sad and then I was just plain mad.

In the middle of it all, I remembered something... My God cares.
He cares about me. I believe that he cares about how I feel. When my heart hurts and I am sad, it matters. When I feel angry about my situation, God cares. He will listen to me. I can pray and pour out my heart to God and God is compassionate.


Psalm 55:22 "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you..."

Nahum 1:7 "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him."

1 Peter 5:7
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you"

It doesn't matter how big or small the anxiety, frustration or anger, God will listen and he desires for me to turn to him. I am not over my grief. I am still very sad. But, I know that I can tell God exactly how I feel. That comforts me.

Oh, and one more thing- if you ever have a bad Wednesday, hop on over to 5 Minutes for Moms and check out the Wordless Wednesday posts. I let the kids watch a long movie and loved every minute of browsing the pictures and making comments! There were so many great pictures that made me smile. I am thankful that I had some time to do that. I am also thankful for all of the people that hopped back over and commented on my blog. Each comment was a "happy thought" for me on an otherwise very bad day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Stroganoff

I like to cook. I enjoy trying out recipes. Sometimes, it can be deflating when I find a delicious recipe and my kids don't appreciate it. Sometimes, I put effort into cooking. Sometimes, I don't... I love to try out crock pot recipes. Last week I tried out a new one. It was so simple that I second guessed the success of the recipe and was trying to come up with a backup meal plan in case no one liked it ("grilled cheese sandwiches, maybe?").

The family started eating it. My husband got up and got paper to write down everything my kids said.

"You ROCK at recipes!"
"Can we have this every night?"
"You should give a Thank You to yourself!"
"I like it too much."
"This is outstanding."
"Can I have more?"
"I love it."
"Thank you, Momma, it's really good."
"Momma, how did you make this?"

Here's the recipe. It is not impressive looking... but with a response like that, we will be having it here again!

Chicken Stroganoff

Frozen chicken breasts
16 oz of sour Cream
1 Lipton onion soup mix**

Place chicken on bottom of crock pot. Next, place sour cream and soup mix on top of frozen chicken. Cook on high for 1 hour, turn to low and cook about 4-5 hours. Serve over egg noodles. (I cut up the chicken before I served it on top of the noodles.)

**Note: The recipe called for Lipton Noodle Soup Mix. I used Lipton Onion Soup Mix. I didn't realize my mistake... and the family still loved it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Not Me!" Monday

I had kitchen, laundry and latte mishaps this week. It was quite a week and it is fun lauging at it all. Join in the “Not Me!” fun. Just leave me a comment about what you haven’t been doing or participate by posting a Not Me! post on your blog.

Here is my list of what did not happen and what I definitely I did not do:

The other night while I was trying to make dinner, I did not get so tired of trying to get the boys (my 3 and a neighborhood kid) to stop running in the house that I suggested they go outside in the backyard and play tag- in the dark. I would not send them out there knowing that the ground was saturated from all of the rain. I did not get silent satisfaction hearing my 7 year old saying that game of tag was wicked fun. And, I am NOT still trying to get the mud and grass stains out of their pants - not me!

I did not drive 20 minutes to Fred Meyer for 2 items just to go to the next door Starbucks only to find out that the Starbucks closed an hour earlier. That does not go along with my frugal goals so I would not do that – not me.

My husband did not say to me, “Did you, um, eat ice cream in the bathroom?” I did not leave an empty carton of ice cream in there. And, noooo, I did not finish the half scoop of peppermint ice cream in the bathroom one afternoon while the kids were playing. That would be hilarious, wouldn’t it? I didn’t do that- not me.

I am not behind on laundry. I did not have to let my 7 year-old son wear my athletic socks to school because I could not find him any clean socks. AND, a day or so later, I did not pull out my 7 year-old son’s dress socks and put them on my feet because the color of them went with my outfit better than my clean (white) socks. That did not happen in my house, not to me!

I did not put all of the Tupperware my daughter was playing with back in the cabinet without even looking at it. I did not discover the next day that one of those plastic cups was a sippy cup that she had been using- not me!

I did not have another latte mishap at Wal-mart this week. I let one of my grocery items slip out of my hand right above my iced latte. My latte did not spill all over my groceries and onto the floor. I did not wish I had my digital camera with me so I could take a picture or get a complete stranger to take a picture just so I could post on my blog. That would be weird or sad or something and that isn't me - not at all, not me!

Lastly, and definitely grossest of all, I did not take the lid of the crock pot out of the dishwasher, plop it on the crock pot and put it all up without looking at it. I did not assume that since my hubby washed the lid, he washed the crock pot. I was not absolutely disgusted when I discovered the messy crock pot tucked away nicely in the cabinet. And, as you can imagine, I am not still disgusted at all – not me!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Holiday Funny

I tried to be creative in this year's Christmas letter. Did you read it? I posted it here. I got a good laugh out of it. I chuckled for at least a week imagining my mom's face when she read the blurb in April. Turns out she read it first thing in the morning - say 6 a.m. and almost called me RIGHT THEN, which would have been 3 a.m. my time. Luckily for her and for me, she read the whole letter. My dad started reading the letter and got interrupted. He ended up calling to find out the details. That was a fun conversation! We both laughed a lot.

I have been asked about my tattoo twice in the last 2 days.

The lesson I learned from this year's Christmas letter? Not everyone reads the whole Christmas letter. It is a busy time of year.

Here's what I keep wondering: Did my blog readers read the whole letter? Not one comment mentioned my little joke. Did you think it was funny? More than that, I keep wondering if my grandparents and my great aunt and other wonderful relatives (that might be stunned by tattoos) read the entire letter.

I also keep wondering what I am going to do with next year's letter.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Happy Dance

Elsie and I are doing the Happy Dance.

I just won a $10 Starbucks Gift Card from Elaine at Matters of the Heart. Now, that matters to my heart (cheesy, yes, but oh-so-true!).

Friday Flashback: Clowning Around

This is one of my favorite sister moments (but, of course, there are many, many of them). My mom was having one of those days. She left for work at the UT Aquatic Center in one of those moods. (There's no question about it, we have all been there.) My sister and I decided my mom needed cheering up. We decided it couldn't wait until she got home. We dressed up like clowns and went to visit her at work. We laughed so much the whole time. Boy, my mom was surprised! This silly expression of love made her smile that day. I will never forget it. I think this was back around 1995 or 1996.

If you are not sure- and my kids didn't guess right- I am the clown in polka-dots.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank #69

I am thankful. Here is what is on my Thanks Tank list:

1. Starbucks gift cards: Really, yes, really that is on the top of my list today. I think I might have to escape soon to the town's only Starbucks that is tucked inside a grocery store. I love having a couple of gift cards so I can treat myself without feeling indulgent.

2. Play dough: Two of my boys played with play dough for 3 hours the other day. Seriously, think about it, they played with it for 3 hours! I am thankful for that time that was mostly peaceful. (No, I didn't say the 3 hours was fight free.) I am thankful for toys that persevere through time.

3. Being Known: I am known. It is simply amazing. I was reading Psalm 139 this morning. I was reminded that I cannot comprehend God but he knows me. He knows my thoughts before I think them. He knew me before I was born.

4. Verses that compel me to action: Here are a couple from today: v17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! v23 Search me and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.

5. My children's dad: He's my husband but I am being thankful for his role as Daddy. The guy got a gift certificate to Amazon and spent it on a guitar because his 7 year old got a guitar for Christmas. He wants to help him learn. I am thankful for his dedication to our kids.

6. The sound of my kids playing nicely: They are playing nicely at this moment. I am thankful for each and every moment like this.

7. GOM: This little Gravity of Motion (GOM) blog has become such a fun hobby. (I have to have an acronym for it- right? I mean, if I am EVER going to TXT about it!) I am thankful for this online space.

8. Football: I am thankful for football and how much fun my hubby and I have watching it. I am a bit sad the season is coming to an end now. And now... I am going to go watch the BCS Championship game.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wednesday Words

Here are some words that are inspiring me:

"The way frugal living is explained in the mainstream media often leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. It’s as if being frugal is something people have to do, because of the economy. It couldn’t possibly be something people want to do. Or could it? I think you know my answer.

So What is Being Frugal?

According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the definition of “frugal” is: characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources

And while we’re at it, the second definition of “economy” is: thrifty and efficient use of material resources : frugality in expenditures.

So, basically frugality is the thrifty and efficient use of resources, and a frugal person is a person characterized by thrifty and efficient use of resources."

Lynnae McCoy, Back to Basics: What is Frugality

McCoy goes on to say she wants to honor God by using her resources wisely. That's exactly what I want! The Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-28 has been on my mind lately. I want to be more responsible. I want to take care of all I own and all of my commitments. I want to honor God with everything--my money, all that I own, and even my debt. I am either going to honor or dishonor God with the way that I handle my money. I may not have handled my money in the right way in the past but what I do now matters. I am motivated to take my burdens, desires and challenges to God in prayer. I can honor God by doing that. I can honor him by making frugal choices with my money and what I already own. I can honor him by being efficient with my resources.