Thursday, December 31, 2009

Car Seat Safety

Yes you read that right, and yes I admit that it seems like an odd post to finish this year out, but it is something that has been on my mind lately.  I run into a lot of parents that don't seem to understand how car seats work, then I hear statistics about how many children die or are injured in car accidents because their seat was not installed or used properly.  

This awesome site I found states this:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of kids in age groups 1-14.  Safe Kids USA says motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of unintentional injury-related death for all children 14 and under.  While some crashes are unsurvivable, over 57% of deaths for children 0-15 were because the child was unrestrained.  Many more were improperly restrained.  Nationally, the misuse rate for child safety seats is over 80% and as high as 95% in some areas.   The good news is that correct use of car seats and boosters does save lives.  Infant seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury by 71%, and toddler seats by 54%.

So I wanted to point out a few basic "rules" and also point you to some other places to get good information. 

One point to remember before we begin, is that just like seat belt laws car seat laws can vary from state to state, but I am going to try to present the most safe (and law abiding) guidelines.  If you have any doubts that your car seat is installed properly you can usually contact your sheriffs department and they will do a safety check.  Our hospital actually had someone that could check ours and we did that before our first child was born.  We learned lots of invaluable information from her.

With all that said here are few mistakes I see parents make:

1.  Turn their children from rear facing to forward facing too soon.  The basic rule is that a child must be AT LEAST one year of age AND 20 pounds in weight.  Not one or the other but both a year and 20 lbs.  But something most parents don't realize is that the safest way for your child (actually even adults) to ride in a vehicle is rear facing. Check out this site for lots of good information on extended rear-facing something I plan to do when are blessed with another baby.

2.  Using backless boosters before the child is ready.  I am talking about the little booster seats that basically just position the car seat belt.  They are very appealing since they can be moved from one vehicle to the next easily.  When I looked at one at the store it was not allowed for anyone under 4.  There are also height and weight regulations.  The child should meet the age and size requirements.  Keeping your child in a 5 point harness as long as they can is the best option.  Read the information that came with your car seat.  We purchased a convertible car seat that has a 5 point harness that can be used up to 65 pounds!  

3.  Using car seats that are too old.  Car Seats expire - You can usually find the expiration date on the back of the seat.  This is especially important when looking at borrowing one from a friend.  As the plastic ages it becomes more prone to cracks so it would be less protective in a crash.  Usually the seats have a 6 year usage before they expire.  The same can be said of car seats that have been in a crash.  Depending on the accident the seat may have sustained damages that will make it less able to keep your child safe.

4.  Leaving the retainer clip too low on the child in a 5 high point harness.  Keep the retainer clip at armpit level on the child. Only one finger should fit between the clip and your child's chest.  The straps should not drape over the child's shoulders.  I often see straps so loose the child could probably be pulled out.  I realize that tighter straps may not be as comfortable, but to me safety is more important.  Also if you keep the straps tighter they will eventually get used to it.

5.  Leaving the seat too loosely strapped to the vehicle.  Make sure the seat moves less than one inch when pulled at the base. When installing the seat, place your knee in the seat to add weight.  You really should not be able to wiggle the seat around when it is installed properly. 

6.  Allowing your child to wear winter coats in the car seat.  Most coats should not be worn in car seats as they reduce the effectiveness and can cause the child to overheat.  Great information can be found here.

7.  Also it is often recommended that the carrier bar on infant car seat/carriers be pushed down into the horizontal position while driving.  This is stated in most user manuals.  Just reread yours to be sure you are using your seat the way it was designed.  Some newer seats are fine either way.  In older seats the bar can crack when left up and cause injury. 

8.  I guess the biggest thing is just not reading the manual that came with your seat.  Each car seat has specific instructions.  So please read the users manual and don't assume it is the same as another seat you have.  If you have lost the manual most of them can be found online now.

Well I hope this leaves you ready to enter the new year with your children safely strapped in. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Stockings are Hung...Finally

Notice I said "hung" and not "done".  There is still some finishing work (like the lining in the contrast material), but they are hung by the fire with care.  I think even Landon was beginning to worry we would have no stockings this year.  Remember way back here when I mentioned sewing stockings.  It actually began before that post, when I opened up my husband's grandmother's old singer sewing machine.  Then after giving myself a quick lesson from the manual, and drawing from my 4-H years, I began sewing stockings.  I actually have 6 almost finished.  I want to be prepared for either a girl or boy addition to the family.  The girls in the family have the fun red print and the boys have the festive green.  Even though I will not be posting any close up pictures, I a little proud to have stockings I crafted hanging by the fire.

It has been over a week since my last post as our house was hit hard by the flu bug.  The children are very stir crazy, but I want to be sure not to share any germs so close to Christmas (or anytime).  So we decided to get artsy.  They made some masterpieces to add to the gifts under the tree for our loved ones.  Here are some pictures of them at work.  It is amazing what toddler paints and glitter glue can do for the soul.

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friends that Become Family

During our recent trip to El Paso, TX to visit my husband's family, we were able to visit with close family friends of theirs.  This is a family that Kyle knew when he was a kid.  They met through church and became very close during the time Kyle's family lived there.  His family moved away from El Paso when Kyle was in Jr. High, but they have now moved back.  After all these years the families are still close.  They will travel great distance to attend weddings, meet new grandchildren, or bring comfort during illness.  Even amongst the business of our trip the families made time for each other.  These are friends that are now family.  It doesn't matter where God takes them, they will remain close.  As I watched the two families interact I was thinking I hope we keep friends like that...making the effort to be there for those we call friends. 

Sunday night our church small group held our annual Christmas Party.  We gathered around a beautifully set table to enjoy the meal we had brought together.  The conversation was plenty as well as the laughter.  Later we played a Christmas gift exchange that involves stealing and bribing, and again more laughter.  In fact I was laughing so hard I cried.  As I went to sleep that night, I was thinking back over the party.  Part of the prayer before supper came to mind, "really we are a family".  This statement is so true.  We rejoice when a new life enters into the group and we gather to celebrate birthdays.  We try to support and comfort those in need.  Just like a good family should.  I could not help but imagine us years later coming together at Christmas...this time laughing at grandchildren stories.  I know there are many years between now and then, and they hold lots of changes.  Yet I feel these friends have become family.

Christmas Cookies

Last year I found a picture of really cute snowman cookies.  I knew Landon would love to make (and eat) them.  So we made them and he has talked about them all year.  I decided they would become part of our Christmas traditions.  So I bring to you the snowman cookies for 2009!

Here are my helpers hard at work:

Here is their finished product...

After they were finished working I made some that were company safe...

I used white icing, chocolate chip eyes, Mike and Ike nose and earmuffs, Twizzler Pull n Peel cherry licorice mouth and band on the earmuffs.

For the cookie tray I like to make some with just icing and sprinkles for cookie purist that don't like the candy on their cookies.

The kids and I had a good time making these again this year so I think they are definitely staying in our traditions list. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemaker Moments: Christmas Traditions

I was  a little worried when I saw the upcoming topic for Homemaker Moments was cameras.  Even though I would love to be a talented photographer with a cool camera...most of my pics are taken with my phone with the occasional shot with my Sony Cybershot.  Needless to say I was relieved when I woke this morning to see that Angie over at Homemaker Chronicles had switched things up and the topic was Christmas Traditions.  Now that is something I can share about.  My mom was very good and creating traditions.  She is still so thoughtful when it comes to that sort of thing.  My husband brought some traditions to our family as well, and we have also created a few of our own.

  • We purchase a real Christmas Tree from a local boyscout troup.  We love that it supports fathers and sons working together, and we love the way a real tree looks and smells.  We also like the fact that it is an evironmentally smart choice.
  • We read a poem each day from an advent book I have had since I was a child, and we have an advent wreath.
  • We eat Mexican food on Christmas Eve.  My husband spent a lot of his childhood in El Paso, TX which is where this tradition got started.
  • On Christmas Eve the kids open three gifts each in reference to the gold, frankincense, and myrrh the wise men brought Jesus.
  • On Christmas Morning the children find their stockings filled and one gift from Santa.
  • We do at least one gift giving project for a child or family in need such as the Operation Christmas Child.  This year, along with our small group from church, we are helping two children in a local school have a Merry Christmas.
  • We also take a drive and look at Christmas lights.
  • Making Christmas Cookies is one of my son's favorite parts.  Last year we made snowman faces and he has been talking about making them again all year.  Last night he made our first batch of the season.  I am sure there will be more.
  • We read the true account of Christmas from the Bible before opening any gifts.
 Now you can hop over to Homemaker Chronicles and read about even more great Christmas Traditions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sky High Blessings

As we were on our last flight of our trip home from El Paso (still having a 3 hour car ride ahead of us) I became overwhelmed with gratitude.  I was holding my daughter as she slept peacefully.  My son and husband seated behind us were enjoying each others' company, and I was fighting back tears.  I had spent at least a month wrestling with discontentment.  Do you ever do that?  It seems to be something that visits me every so often.  It's not that I hadn't been thankful for things, or that I had spent the whole month sad.  It's just I hadn't rested in God's provision, His timing, and all that goes with it.  But as I sat thousands of miles in the air I felt His peace surround me.  Now don't get me wrong I still have a few things I will continue to bring before the throne, but I am at peace whatever the outcome.  Wow...that is still a little hard to say or type.  Still I know that there is more freedom in handing over control to the One who knows me the best...better then I even know myself.  So as I enter into the Christmas Season I have a renewed since of peace.  What a great way to celebrate the birthday of my Savior.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 4, 2009

Homemaker Moments: Saving Money at Christmas

We are back in Indiana...just in time for Homemaker Moments.  We spent the past week in El Paso, TX visiting my husbands family.  We actually saw our first snow fall of the season in the desert! 

I have several posts floating around in my head that I will be sharing over the coming week, but I wanted to share a few ways we are saving money this Christmas.
  • Shopping Amazon - Most all items are eligible for free shipping and are usually cheaper then a retail store.  Plus you can shop in your pj's after the kids are in bed.
  • Sewing Stockings and maybe a Tree Skirt- Homemaker Chronicles inspired me last year so I am hoping to follow through with my own.  I ordered my fabric from at 50% off.
  • Adding homemade touches to store bought gifts - I am adding ribbon to an inexpensive apron I purchased for my Mom to give it a special touch.
I would also like to point you to a giveaway that could help you save on a gift.  Bake at 350 is hosting an awesome giveaway for a free apron from The Hip Hostess

Well, I need to get to work if we are going to have stockings on the mantle soon...they are still in pieces on my sewing table right now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Cookbook Giveaway

I am always looking for new recipes and I love getting a new cookbook.  So I am excited to share a giveaway with you.  Angie over at Homemaker Chronicles is giving away a cookbook that is a tribute to her grandmother.  What a neat giveaway.  You can check out the cookbook here and then head over to Homemaker Chronicles to enter.  She is announcing the winner tomorrow so hurry and enter today!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Homemaker Moments: Fall Recipe

I was hoping to have a yummy cranberry orange muffin recipe to share and also replace the one I love from an expensive bread shop in town.  Unfortunately it came no where close to replacing the bread and was not even worthy of sour!  So instead I will point you to these Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins that I can't wait to try.  Bake at 350 has tons of great recipes and she includes pictures which I always find helpful.  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for

  1. My husband who works hard so I can be home with the children.
  2. Good friends that help keep me sane through out the week while I am home with the children.
  3. The kids in the Toddler Class I teach at the YMCA.  They always make me smile.
  4. Early Christmas shopping...I only have a few more things to get then I am all done.  
  5. Being crafty...something has come over me and I just want to make everything.
  6. Fun Playdates
  7. My mom and grandma...they still call or text to make sure I am feeling better when I sick.
  8. Dry underpants (this is refering to my son, not me...I usually don't have a problem with this)
  9. Time in God's Word
  10. A new prayer journal...I used to faithfully keep one, but had gotten out of the habit.  I was  reminded how helpful they can be while reading "Feathers From My Nest" by Beth Moore.  I highly recommend that book to moms of any age.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tender Heart

My lion has a tender heart.  

I usually err on the minimal side of vaccinations so we don't as a rule get flu shots, but this year we are traveling to the in-laws who live in El Paso, TX.  Not only will we basically be in Mexico; we will also be in airports and in airplanes breathing in everyone's air.  So we decided to err on the side of caution and get our shots.  Since Elaine had never had a flu shot and was on the younger side of things she got hers in two doses.  Yesterday it was time for her second dose, so I loaded up the kids and headed to the Dr.  Before we even arrived Landon was telling me that Elaine didn't want a shot.  I was trying to explain why Momma and Daddy had decided she should get one, and I told him he needed to be brave for her.  He said, "I don't want her to be sad."  Once at the Dr. he asked if he could stay in the hall, and I told him that would be fine.  So as Elaine received her shot he called from the hallway, "It will be will be real brave!"  As soon as it was over he rushed in, gave her a hug, and told her he was proud of her.  

I need moments like that to help me through mornings like I had today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I often like to post a list of things I am thankful for on Thursdays, but this Thursday I have decided to show you a project I did with the kids to introduce the upcoming holiday.  It is a Thankful tree.  I first used the die cut machine at the library to cut out leaf shapes in fall colors.  I then asked Landon what he was thankful for and we wrote those on the leaves.  Then I helped both Elaine and Landon make hand prints in fall colors on green paper.  Then I cut out each hand.  I used a piece of brown paper for the trunk and then placed the "leaves" to create the tree with a few falling to the ground.  I was pleased with how it turned out.  Now we have a little reminder to be thankful.

We are also learning:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

Friday, November 6, 2009

Homemaker Moments: What Do You Need?

It is that time again to join in with Homemaker Chronicles, and she is asking the question, "What is my greatest need?"  Well in the immediate as I sit here typing...sleep.  The past two nights have been spent trying to console a very congested 18 month old.  Which means no sleep for mommy and only a little sleep for Laine Bug.  So right at this minute sleep is what I need.  I have been quite reflective and serious for my last several posts, so I think I will switch things up and take the light hearted approach to this topic, especially in light of my sleepless nights. 

So here is a list (in no particular order) of things I "need"...

  1. Sleep and a shower
  2. Scrapbooking - It is my favorite crafty outlet.
  3. More time to be crafty.  I have lots of projects I want to try, but I just can't find the time to get started.
  4. A Vacation
  5. Shopping - I like to shop, even without money.  I don't mean buying things with money I don't have.  I mean window shopping.  I just like the process of looking and deciding...even if I am not really going to make the purchase.
  6. Exercise - I enjoy getting to workout at the Y.  If gives me time to clear my head and usually energizes me for the day.  That is if I have the energy to get there in the first place.
  7. Baked Goods - preferably homemade. 
  8. My Family
  9. My Friends 
  10. My Faith 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fishy Game

I am always on the look out for fun games for my kids to play. Especially ones that might keep them engaged long enough for me to make lunch, dust off some furniture, vacuum a room, or make a phone call. I came across one last week that was great, so I thought I would share it.

  1. Cut out fish of different colors (we used red, blue, yellow, green, and orange).
  2. Then make a "boat". You can cut the top off an envelope or just make one by folding paper and cutting the top in an arc. If you use folded paper make sure to tape up the sides so the fish don't fall out.
  3. Then lay out the fish and talk about the color of each one. We also counted them. Then have the child put the fish in the boat as you talk about the color.
This game works on colors as well as hand eye coordination as they have to pick up the fish, open the boat, and drop the fish in. To engage Landon I took it a step further. He would close his eyes and I would put a fish in the boat. Then he would have to decide which fish was in the boat. He loved this! He felt like a detective. This was great for his problem solving skills. I hope you have fun playing too.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Lion

Have you ever had God speak directly to almost an audible voice? I have to say I have had it happen, only a few times. I mean He speaks to me all the time, but these times I am referring to it has been very different. One time I was at Church and we were singing...I can't even remember what song. Kyle and I were going through a rough time of waiting for children. I was feeling very overlooked...unchosen. Then it was like God said just to me, "I am not, not choosing you". I guess that may not make a lot of sense, but it made perfect sense to me. It wasn't a direct answer to why we hadn't been blessed with children yet, but it did heal the whole I had in my heart thinking I had been overlooked. It made me realize I was missing out on my life, because I was so focused on what the future may or may not have been holding. I needed to focus on the One who was holding my future instead.

This past Sunday it happened again. I have really been struggling with my son lately. He is rowdy, curious, asks 5 million questions, and must debate every point. I have been thinking he will never surrender His life to God, he won't even go to the potty when I ask him to. Then once again I was in Worship singing...and God said, "He is like a lion." God was reminding me that Landon is wired just how He wants a lion. During our wait for our first child, I purchased a stuffed lion. We weren't sure when our first child would come, but we wanted him or her to know God's character. We also love how CS Lewis relates that character with Aslan in the Narnia series. So Landon does life like a lion, ready to roar. I do not need to be worried about all that passion, after all Kyle and I prayed he would follow passionately after Christ almost every night after we knew I was expecting. Again I need to focus on the one who holds Landon's future, not so much on what the future may or may not hold. I can't tame a lion, but I know God can.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Parenting Part 2

After my last post, I wanted to share some key verses in God's Word about parenting.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--Which is the first commandment with a promise--"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and and instruction of the Lord. Ephesian 6:1-4

Just in case someone might have thought I have a lax view of a parents role to teach children to obey...I don't. I think this verse is quite clear our children are to obey. As parents we can't let that part of our job slide. We don't have to say no all the time and have a rigid home, but when we do ask our children to obey we need to make sure they do. If we tell them to sit down on the couch and then we let them jump on it for several minutes, we are telling them we do not mean what we say. I don't know about you, but I want my children to trust me. So I have to constantly remind myself to be consistent. This is never easy, but in the long run it creates a trusting relationship between children and parents. Just like when God tells us something in His Word, He always follows through. So when we follow through we reflect Christ's love to our children. He has a high standard and when we disobey there is always a consequence.

At the same time I also have to remind myself to stop before I correct or answer my children. When we constantly correct behavior that really is not a big deal then I think we get into the danger of exasperating our children. So I have been working to be slow to speak. So that when I do speak my children know I am going to follow through.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Edwards Orchard and New Parents

I feel like I have spent the last few days trying to regain some order after our quick and enjoyable to trip to Northern Illinois last week. During our trip we spent an afternoon at Edwards Orchard. It was a beautiful place and God gave us a beautiful day to be there. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the day:

They had so much for the kids to do and most of it was free. I love fall and this was a perfect way to enjoy it. The weather was amazing, the apples were delicious, and the trees were beautiful.

We were actually in Illinois to visit friends of ours who have a new baby. It really got me thinking about all the advice new parents get...some they ask for and some they do not. When I was expecting Landon, I remember a well meaning mom suggesting a book to me she knew I would love since I was a teacher and enjoy have a schedule. She insisted it was the answer to all new baby woes. So I of course checked it out from the library, and found videos my husband and I could watch together. I set out ready to learn so much. As we got into the material both of us began to realize how flawed some of the information seemed to us. It talked about making your child fit your schedule as you were the authority in your home. A parent shouldn't change their lifestyle to fit the baby's, but rather the baby should be trained to fit the parents. The Bible does establish parents as authorities for their children, but does that really mean we don't take into consideration the little personality God has entrusted to us? I know Landon changed our routine for the better. He slowed us down, made us appreciate the simple things about each day. Now we set up guidelines and structure for him, but he taught us each day too. We learned to be more selfless, and depend on each other more. Then Elaine came along, and we adjusted again. All for the better.

I guess my point in all this is that I think that so many new parents get caught up in doing what they think they should. We worry about our child following the books, or behaving the way other parents think they should.
We forget that God has chosen us to be the parents of our particular child. Our family doctor reminded us of that at one of our first appointments with Landon, and I was so thankful for the reminder.

It is helpful to read parenting books, and talk with other parents, but just remember that God is the one we are accountable too. If the advice doesn't help you accomplish what God calls us to in His Word as parents, then don't loose sleep over it. If you are like me I loose enough sleep as it is.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homemaker Moments: Fall Recipe

I have not posted this week as we were out of town visiting friends who just welcomed their first little one home. They took us to a local Apple Orchard that was amazing. I will post pictures and give you more info soon. For today I am once again joining in over at Homemaker Chronicles for the Homemaker Moment.

We are sharing Fall Recipes. The following is one I absolutely love. We don't always get a chance to make it fireside for the original so this is something we can make at home.

S'more Bars

1/2 c. butter, softned
1/2 c. sugar 1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 c. graham crackers, crushed
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 1/2 oz chocolate candy bars
7 oz. jar marshmallow creme

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add crushed graham crackers, flour, salt and baking powder; beat until well mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl. Spoon half of the dough into a greased 8" X 8" baking pan and spread evenly. Break chocolate bars into pieces and arrange over the dough. Spread a layer of marshmallow creme over the chocolate. Flatten the remaining dough into pancake shapes and lay over marshmallow creme. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and cut into squares.

I hope you enjoy and check back soon for the details of our great trip to the orchard.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Homemaker Moments: Define Your Role

This week's Homemaker Moment is about defining my role in my home. As Angie over at Homemaker Chronicles points out. It looks different for each of us. I have to admit that it took me a little while to figure out exactly how my role in our home would work. For the years I was in college (we were married for my Junior and Senior years) and then teaching, it was hard for me to balance work with homemaking. By the end of each summer I would kind of figure out a groove and then it would all get wrecked as I returned to school. Then when I changed careers to be home with our first born, it still took a little time to see how it would all work. As I am well into the 4th year of being home, I think I have really started to feel comfortable in my role. Meaning I have found a balance between maintaining the home, caring for the children, being a loving wife, and also taking care of myself. I enjoy planning meals, scheduling our days, tucking in my children, reading endless amounts of stories, and playing kitchen. I also look forward to Daddy walking through the door to give me a breather. I think it is important that we take time for ourselves too, whether it is relaxing or doing a hobby we enjoy. We should take care of ourselves, so we can be the moms and wives our families need. Sometime last year I came across a passage that I was very familiar with but it really spoke to me about my role as a Homemaker. I"ll leave you with it:

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:10-14

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Here are just a few of the things I am so thankful for:

1. My husband having time off of work. It means a lot that he spends most of his time off with his family.

2. Other Christian Moms

3. Pumpkin Bread

4. Fall weather...the cooler temps not so much all the rain.

5. Story time at the library

6. The opportunity to study God's Word

7. Survivor

8. The flooring in our project room. Sorry I just can't tell you how much I love this floor. Elaine and I painted the other night and washed right off.


10. My Grandma

Now it is your turn. What are you thankful for?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Yes I am talking about the book of Jude in the Bible. It is the one right before Revelation. I first must admit that I had not taken much time to read the book of Jude, let alone study it. Some of you may be thinking, well it is only one chapter, a mere 25 verses, how much could you have been missing? Well I am wrapping up my first Precept class which happens to be on Jude. And I had been missing a lot. Those 25 verses are packed. I am not surprised by this since anytime I take a good look at scripture so much unfolds. Jude is a warning, a battle cry, for the believers. He warns about false teaching that has crept in amongst them. Believers have to be watchful for this, and the only way to know if something is false is to know the Truth. So we have to study God's Word. Take some time and read Jude. I think you will be surprised by how much you learn. Then you will be even more equipped to "contend for the faith".

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 1:3

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kid Speak

I love the topic for Homemaker Moments this week. I love the way kids say things. As Elaine is just starting to say things I don't really have much to report from her, but Landon has given me lots of material. I will give you a short list of my favorite mixed up phrases and words.

hopgrasser = grasshopper

back hind = behind (ex. I found this back hind the couch.)

I changed my rules = I changed my mind (after deciding he would rather have the other choice for lunch...he proceeded to complain that he had changed the rules)

anymore again = never again (I'm sorry mom, I'm not going to do it anymore again)

This next example is a story in which he got the meaning of a word mixed up. I still laugh every time I think about it. I was giving him the "plan" for the day, which including going to the Y so I could exercise. He asked me why I had to exercise and I told him it was good for my heart. Then he said, "why?" I responded because it makes me healthy. Still not satisfied he asked, "why?" again. This time I told him I was exercising to get skinny. He started to cry. I asked him why he was crying, and he said he did not want me to get skinny, like a 'mato. I could hardly contain my laughter. See he does not like tomatoes due to the skin. So in his mind I was going to workout and then be covered in skin like a tomato.

Kid speak makes me laugh, and who doesn't need a good laugh.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Smart Cooking

I can hardly believe that my fingers are typing a post about cooking. I can honestly say I have never felt cooking was my forte or anything I would ever be writing about, but I have truly worked hard at perfecting my culinary skills. After choosing to stay home with my children, I have taken my role as homemaker very seriously. I have really gotten into meal planning and being resourceful about having good meals on the table. This has taken some work and creativity considering I have two small "helpers" and right before dinner is when they often need the most attention. So I started making meals ahead and freezing them. I also shop on a pretty tight budget and so like being able to buy in bulk when there is a sale and use ingredients in several meals. Yesterday was a shopping and cooking day for me. So I thought I would share the recipes I made and how they work together. They both come from the book There's a Chef in My Soup by Emeril. I highly recommend this cook book, and it was put together with kids in mind.

Here are the recipes:
Lean Mean Turkey Loaf
1 1/2 lb pounds ground turkey (I used 97% lean)
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
1/2 c plain bread crumbs
1/4 c chopped celery (I'm not a cooked celery fan, so I omit this and double the red pepper)
1/4 c red or green bell pepper
1 lrg egg
1/4 c ketchup
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp Baby Bam (recipe coming at the end)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Make sure the oven rack is in the center position and preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Place the turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, bread crumbs, celery, bell pepper, egg, 1 T of the ketchup, the garlic, Baby Bam, salt, and ground pepper, and mix with your hands until the ingredients are well incorporated.
3. Transfer the turkey mixture to a 1 lb loaf pan and form it into a loaf shape.
4. Pour the remaining Ketchup on the turkey and smear evenly over the top with the back of a spoon.
5. Bake until brown on top, cooked through, and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reaches 165 F, about 45 - 50 min.
6. Remove the loaf from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

My-Oh-My Spaghetti Pie
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 cups broccoli flowerets
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp Baby Bam (recipe coming at the end)
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 lb ground beef (I used the lean ground turkey)
8 lrg eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
3 cups cooked spaghetti (I use Barrila P
lus penne because it is easy to pick up for the kiddos, and has added protein.)
1 heaping cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

1. Make sure oven rack is in center position and preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Blanche the broccoli. (slightly cooked but still crisp and green)
3. Drain the broccoli and then rinse with cold water.
4. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, 1 tsp of the Baby Bam, the parsley, the basil, 1/4 tsp of the remaining salt, the pepper, and ground meat, and cook stirring until the meat is no longer pink and the onions start to brown.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, the remaining 1 1/2 tsp Baby Bam, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Add the Parmesan Cheese and whisk well to combine.
6. Spread the cooked spaghetti evenly in a 2 qt. casserole dish.
7. Pour the meat over the spaghetti and toss with a fork to combine.
8. Place the broccoli on top of the speghetti and meat.
9. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
10. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella cheese and bake it in the oven until golden brown, about 20 - 25 minutes.
11. After removing from the oven, let firm for 5 minutes before serving.

Baby Bam
3 T paprika
2 T salt
2 T dried parsley
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregeno
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp celery salt

I made both recipes yesterday. We ate the meatloaf and I froze the speghetti pie for later. These recipes work well together. You can usually get 3 lbs of ground turkey at a discount, one nice sized onion yields enough for both recipes, etc. Also while you are making the pasta for the pie you can boil enough to make some mac and cheese to go with the meatloaf or for lunch the next day.

I have a binder I am working on that keeps recipes that work well together...together. So I don't have to have several cook books out at a time. I hope to share more recipes that work well together in the near future.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I love this floor

Two posts in one day...what has come over me? I have to share with you about our new flooring for our office, school, craft, etc room. My husband discovered it, ordered it, had it installed, and I am loving it! It is a type of vinyl, but much cooler! It is called Fiber Floor and it is made by Tarkett. It feels good to walk on, quiets noises, and is so easy to clean. Crayon marks wipe right off and play dough picks right up. If you have a need for this type of flooring I highly recommend it. We got ours during a great sale at Menards. I wish we had put it in our laundry room too, which still has bare concrete. It comes in other fun patterns as well as some more traditional looks. It is just so fun so I had to share!

It still hurts

For those of you that haven't been following from the beginning you may want to start here, of course I am still at the beginning of this blog thing.

I was having a great day today. We had a relatively smooth morning getting to the Y. I had finished a great workout, that even included some ab work, and was taking a quick shower before teaching an All Star Clinic for 3 - 5 year olds. I was running through all the things I wanted to get done before my husband's family got here for their visit. Then my mind drifted to seeing my nieces and how much they had probably change since our last visit. Then I thought about how much they would change before I saw them again at Thanksgiving. Then before I could really even finish the thought I was in tears. Not just a few tears, lots of them. Why was I crying? It flashed through my thoughts that our 3rd baby would have been due in February. I am not sure where the thought even came from, but I tried to stop myself from crying. I was hoping no one would hear me, because how could I explain. If someone would have asked me why I was crying, I would probably have answered, "because it still hurts". I know some people wouldn't understand why I grieved so much back in July, but I am guessing even fewer would understand now.

So I take comfort in Jesus. He created me and He knows my thoughts, and He wipes away my tears.

I'll leave you with these verses:

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:1-6

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beautiful Feet

Have you ever stopped to wonder about all the places your children's feet will go? I can't say I have done it all that often myself, but for some reason I am today. I mean where will they go? What places will they visit? Will they run on soccer fields or dance on a stage? Will they stand in India someday...maybe they will walk where Jesus walked in Jerusalem. Who knows?

God does. He tells us right in His Word

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13 -16

We can only imagine where are little ones feet will take each of them. I pray though my children will have beautiful feet. I also pray I can live out before them what beautiful feet look like.

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Romans 10:15

Friday, September 25, 2009

What has God been to me...

Homemakers Moments over at Homemaker Chronicles is What has God been to you? Everything...that is what comes to mind...everything. At different times in my life he has been different things. I so relate to the song I Am by
Nichole Nordeman. If you haven't every listened to it I would highly recommend it. But for the sake of time I will share what God has been to me this week. He has been my Comfort and Strength. My husband worked nights this past week, which always is a trying time for me as I parent solo for the week. It gives me great compassion for single parents. On top of the normal strains that comes from Kyle working nights this week also had a few more bumps. For example dropping my son off at Little Mozart class, driving across town to pick up flooring, realizing that I was going to be late while I waited for them to load the van, also realizing my husband had estimated wrong and the flooring wouldn't fit, calling my friend to tell her I would be late to pick up my son, and once arriving to pick him up learning he hadn't not been the best listener during class. That was just a 45 min period of my week! So I have called on my God for comfort and strength multiple times this week. One morning I arrived at the YMCA for my morning workout totally exhausted emotionally and it was only 8:45 am. I began the elliptical machine and looked up to see this flash across a tv

His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:3

It was like God was telling me I am in this storm. I am using it. When I got home I looked up the scripture wanting to read it in context. So here is what I found:

The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and dries it up; he makes all the rivers run dry. Bashan and Carmel wither and the blossoms of Lebanon fade. The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it. Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger? His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him. The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:2-7

Now if you are like me, you may be thinking YIKES! I was hoping for God is love and rest in Him. Not verses about God's wrath, but you know what when you look closely this is about God's love. See He is holy and therefore must avenge those who sin against Him. Yet "He cares for those who trust in him". So he provided Christ as a substitute for us. So if we trust in Christ alone for our eternity, we don't have to fear His wrath, but can rejoice that He is "a refuge in times of trouble".