Monday, June 30, 2008

how NOT to get your 18 month old to eat her veggies:)

Lydia is going through this horrible NOT eating veggies stage. The other two went through it too, but we could always distract them to eat at least a bite or two..... and now Christopher LOVES vegetables and Anna is starting to try "new" vegetables..... but Lydia is still protesting:)


Chocolate Breakup Recipe

OK... I found this recipe searching through one of the piles of magazines my mother-in-love left me during her last visit. I thought it looked yummy and pretty easy to make to fit our allergies..... and it had "normal" ingredients......

Chocolate Breakup
Makes: about 30 pieces
Prep: 10 minutes
Freeze: at least 3 hours
Bake: at 350 degree F for 15 minutes


  • 4 matzoh boards (I used generic Saltine Crackers, enough to line the bottom of pan)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (check for allergens)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (we used pecans...we have a grove behind our church)


1. Heat oven to 350 degree F. Cover a 15-1/2 x 10- inch jelly roll pan with nonstick foil.

2. Line the prepared jelly roll pan with the matzoh to form a single layer, breaking pieces as necessary to fit. Sprinkle with salt.

3. In a small saucepan, bring the butter or margarine and sugar to a boil. Pour mixture evenly over matzoh. Bake at 350 degree F for 10 to 15 minutes or until matzoh is lightly browned.

4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Working quickly, spread melting chips over matzoh. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts.

5. Freeze for 3 hours. Break up into 2-inch pieces to serve.

Even Brian, my picky chocolate dessert eater LOVED this:) YAY!!!!

Anna's new dresses

The last few days Anna has acquired some new dresses!! She is definitely my girlie girl:)

The outfit on the right was given to Anna yesterday... anyway, Anna was dying to try it on last night as we were getting ready for bed;) This morning she comes walking into my room at 6:30am fully dressed.....even with sandals!!! Too bad we don't have plans today.... she looks soo cute;)

This is what Christopher was up to while I was snapping Anna's picture.....

All Personality

Originally uploaded by seethefam
Yesterday I had the kids' Sunday School teacher tell me that she was noticing who much Lydia's personality is starting to come through. And I'm totally in agreement with her:)

Lately (beside the few toddler tantrums) Lydia has been the little clown of the bunch. She is just as happy and content. She plays soo well with Christopher and Anna, mostly because she's copying what they do, so she plays the same way they play:)

Getting to know the little person behind the baby is one of the best parts of parenting:)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Babywearing Contest

I saw this awesome bloggy giveaway one Simple for an Essential Babywearing STASH of carriers... like 5! Anyway, they have 5 different styles, so it would be cool to have different styles and see which you like the best!! Especially if you're new to "babywearing" like me;)

The Link is here: Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Celebrating Our Friends' Marriage

We had busy, but very exciting afternoon:) We had a wedding at our church.... two sweet, sweet people that we've enjoyed getting to know mostly through the groom's wonderful Mom!!!

Like all good want-to-be photographers (the wedding photographers' nightmare) I took my camera and did what a could with it..... here are some pieces of our afternoon...

Bride getting her gown on....
A glimpse of the ceremony,
daughter standing behind her mother:)
The happy, sweet couple,
getting a break after chatting with guests:)

And of course my little Lydia
wearing the flower girl's shoes around the reception.

Well it was a learning experience for me.... I am not a photographer... ah ahahaa.... and I have a lot to learn about taking good indoor pictures (which I'll need to do for VBS in a week). Here are some other attempts I made.

But the most wonderful part was seeing all the details of the wedding coming together and the couple having a beautiful ceremony and wedding! And we joyfully pray for the start of their lovely, God-honoring marriage:)

Pray for Baby Joe

I've been following and reading a blog called Preschoolers and Peace , which highlights the practical aspects of homeschooling and parenting 8 children (ages 15? to 6 weeks)..... Kendra writes from experience!!!!

Anyway, her youngest has come down with a virus and because he's soo little it has caused many problems. Please Pray for Little Baby Joe and for Kendra and Fletcher as they have their littlest in the hospital!!! Here is his latest update.

Importance of Good "Soil"

First let me say that I know very little about gardening..... I am a "put in the ground and see what happens" kind-of girl:) So here is my "experiment" with my cucumber plants...

Planted in Sandy Soil
Planted in Good Soil

Both sets of cucumbers came from the same batch and looked the same when I planted them. I took the advice of others to plant my cucumbers against a fence so they would grow up it, but I noticed one was growing more and just looked more healthy.

Anyway, a neighbor in the agriculture business said that the reason the cucumbers grew differently was probably the soil. The garden where I have been planting vegetable had good dark, wormy soil but against the fence where the cucumber had the place to climb had really sandy, light soil.....

Lately, I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about how parents can and do raise children to have a godly character. I desire nothing more than for my children to desire God and have a character that glorifies Him. But HOW is it done?

From my cucumbers I got a awesome visual of how important providing good "soil" for our children is. So was is this "soil", I think it's our strong, loving relationship with them. It's how we show we love them in play, structured times and times of correction. It's why we need to invest time in them!

A couple of resources for me have been other moms. One of these is a blogger and I've just really appreciated some of her insights into raised sweet, godly children. Here is a link to her insights on developing character: Leading Little Hearts Home. Another has been a book I picked up at our local library called "The Joyful Homeschooler", I've enjoyed the book although I know I differ from the author on a lot of matters (so I'm not sure if I recommend it). Another one is Parent's Guide to Spiritual Growth of Children by Focus on the Family which I've also just started to get into (and will let you know what I think, if you're interested).

And since one of our desires for our kids is for them to be strong followers of Christ, it's only fitting that in Matthew when the seeds of salvation are scattered, only the ones planted in good soil are the ones with the strongest roots and produces an abundant crop (Matt. 13:1-8)!!!

... quickly back to the cucumbers... this week I decided to "rescue" them and plant them in my little side vegetable garden. They won't have the fence to climb and by the end of the growing season they're might not be a lot of room for them to stretch out..... but at least they will have the good soil:) Hmmm... I wonder if hat has anything to teach a "young" parent ;)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cute Water pictures:)

My Little Water Bugs:

Day with Grammie, Pey and Uncle Eric

We spent much of Wednesday with Grammie, Pey and Uncle Eric. Pey called Grammie last week and told her that he would be "in the country" this week and part of next for some business. Anyway, Uncle Eric was told and "secret" plans were made for him to surprise Pey on Tuesday night (my brother hadn't seen his Dad since Christmas)!!!

Anyway, the kids were soo excited to spend the day at Grammie's with Grammie, Pey and Uncle Eric and the pool:) My little fishes were a little slow to warm up to the water and even Pey and Eric... but they did and we had a great day:)

Uncle Eric wasn't feeling well.... kind of stinks that you only see your Dad for a few hours and your feeling sick and exhausted most of the time.... all those slave hours at camp:)So, we're hoping Uncle Eric is feeling better, especially since he is probably already back in the kitchen at camp!!!! Hang in there.... just one more month, or so:)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

4 Yrd Old Fun

Well this evening Andrea and Travis had an appointment for Andrea. They had called me about lunch time to see if I was able to come over to help with the kids. They've lived nearby since August of last year and we still haven't traded "nights out" with them.... maybe it's time:)

I brought Anna with me and she had Caleb had a great time together! It was fun to see them playing together, making up new games and listening in on their conversations. 4 yr olds are soo much fun;)

First we did some swimming and playing in the yard. And then the kids were cold so they wrapped up like "hot dogs"... here is Anna trying to figure out what "kind" of "hot dog" Caleb is:)

Then the kids playing with Caleb's kitchen set while I got Taite ready and in bed. He did sneak out a couple of times, but by the time the older kids were cleaned up, quiet and snacking Taite was down for the night;)

Caleb and Anna watched Charlotte's Web.... but before the end of the movie I could tell they were fading..... Caleb was asking for "quiet time" and Anna asked if it was time to go home;)

I got some cute pictures of the kids.... I'm sure you either see them on my blog or Andrea's or maybe in my flickr album soon:) Tomorrow we have a busy but fun day as we head to Grammie's to see her, Pey and Uncle Eric :)

Toddler Tantrums

Anyone who has called recently has heard IT..... the pitiful cries of a little 16-month-old girl desperate to have control of the phone.Or mid-morning the cries of a toddler wanting her paci. Or this afternoon during lunch the wailing of a hungry/tired child who isn't happy with her food selection and is NOT getting her way. We've hit IT.... the whinny stage before the terrible twos. This is when Toddlers know what they want, expect to get it immediately and then pitch a fit when they don't get it!!!

We've been at this stage before. And unfortunately I always feel like I've got my hands tied behind my back. If I give in they're spoiled and if I let them cry then I'm a mean parent. So for these tantrums we've decided to ignore the fussing..... and honestly they do stop crying and usually are quite pleasant (and even eat their dinner, at least part of it).

SO if you call and there is pitiful crying in the background, remember that it will end soon:)And from not getting what they want, when the want it, especially from whinny....soon the crying will be over and we'll have pleasant conversations again:)

We've also have had a funny phenomenon happening lately. When Anna is out with Brian or napping and the two youngest ones are the only ones to keep the dynamic of their relationship changes.... or maybe I just see it more. Yesterday while Brian and Anna did some visiting, I had Christopher and Lydia. Christopher really rose to the occasion and "took care of" Lydia. He was sweet and tried to help her outside and tried to play with her. Instead of grabbing balls out of her hands he would try to play catch with her. It was really funny to see:)

Don't get me wrong, he usually is sweet and tries to help, but it was almost like he tried to be her "big brother". And Lydia who usually winces when she sees Christopher running to her, waiting for him to tackle her, enjoyed the "extra" help from her big brother.

The picture is of him "helping" me bake cookies today. His job was to crush the pecans.... which he enjoyed doing:)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Photos of the Day

Grocery Shopping Antics

Ok, let me start of by saying I adore my children and most days LOVE the stage we're in:) I cherish the sweet moments and still giggle about the funny moments.... but grocery shopping is just a hassle.....

Grocery shopping was OK when I had Christoper in the baby seat, Anna walking and Lydia in the Snuggly.... ha hahaa, I never thought I'd say that!!!!!

But now I have Christopher and Anna both loose (at one time throwing packaged ham into the cart) and Lydia in the seat digging through the groceries, mashing the bread.... it was just a little chaotic... especially when I caught Christopher with a pack of butter in his hands (ALLERGY food) and Anna about to open a case containing bulk peanuts (AHH.. more ALLERGY foods). Let's say the cashier was very gracious as well.... thank goodness, with Christopher hanging off the card reader and spinning the bagging carousel. I'm walking out the door....grateful we haven't broken ANYTHING.... and the door checker stops me and says,

"You have very beautiful children."

AT that time I realize Lydia is quiet because she is calling China on my pay-per-minute cell phone and so I get it back from her. And we leave the store with a wailing baby. She wailed all the way through the parking lot and while I buckled her in the van (as an acquaintance from town who I had just invited to VBS walks pass)! Finally everyone and everything is loaded into the van, I turn on the car and hear :
In this world you will have trouble,
in this world you will have trouble,
take heart, take heart, I have overcome the world,
take heart, take heart, I have overcome the world...... (from John 16:33)
Another translation for trouble is "trials".... and like I started the post. I LOVE my life, where we are and my "trials" are minor and even blessings compared to what others around me are going through!!! But I still have challenges daily and what a blessing to know that our Lord has overcome all and desires for us to have peace.

For those interested... I wasn't listening to the radio but my favorite set of CDs.... they're called Seeds. And I've memorized soo many verses since last Thanksgiving when I started collecting them. Soon, hopefully, I'll be highlighting them on Simple and hopefully have a giveaway and coupons:) They've such a blessing for me, Brian and the children:)

And this is one of the reasons our trip to the grocery store was a little nuts:) This is what happened on our 20 minute trek back home:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

One Received and a New Do?

Well on Friday we checked the mail and found one of our passports:) It was mine actually, I had sent in a renewal by regular snail mail and no special rush notes. But the surprising thing was how quickly we received it back.... exactly 7 days!! SO here's hoping for the kids' passport cards to be finished soon, too!!!

One thing I was a little hesitant about was the passport pictures. On the instructions they recommend getting them professionally taken at a place that specializes in passport photos. But it's like $10 a person and we needed pictures for four of us.... like $40 (versus $1.60 doing it ourselves)!!! Anyway, I took them at the house, then took more at Walmart because the first batch didn't fit the requirements:) Yes, I was printing out pictures and then measuring them with rulers at Wally World... I'm sure the photo-people hadn't see this before:) But now that I received mine back without problems the kids' pictures should be fine, too!!!

Ok, here's the other thing on my mind:) I've been growing my hair forever wanting to participate in Locks of Love. This summer, I'm just soo ready for a change:) I just don't give myself any time in the morning to actually "do" my hair.... and with it being the texture it is and this long, it does take some effort to "do" it and not just throw it in a ponytail.... which I do too often:) Anyway, I've been on the hunt for a cute, short, easy haircut. I found this one and have checked with a hair-dresser friend who thinks I actually have enough hair to go ahead and CUT IT..... whoa...

I asked Brian again about it this morning.... and his response was, "I think you should just go ahead and do it." SO the plain Jane girl who usually just gets a trim, might just get more than a trim soon.....

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More Pics From Last Night

Maybe it was because we hadn't seen Caleb in over three weeks(?) and he looked taller to me, or maybe it's because Lydia was wearing ponytails..... but last night I was hit with how quickly my little ones are growing up. Sure, they're still little... but Anna learned how to buckle her seatbelt last night and Lydia put on her own shoes to go outside yesterday, they're just growing up so fast. And it's sweet and fun to watch, but a little "sad" at the same time:)

**Andrea took that middle picture of Christopher :) I just love the angle and you might actually think he is shivering in the picture.... which he totally was all evening while he was wet. Thanks girl:)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dirty Face and Sweet Little Friends

We were finally able to meet up with Andrea and her crew..... We haven't seen them since Anna's birthday!!! Anyway, the kids were soo excited to see Caleb..... so we ate out and then tried to stay outside.... tried, so that Andrea wouldn't have a messy house to clean up:) Especially since she's still not 100%!!

We did feed them some of our brownies ...... yummmy!

It's fun for Lydia to have a friend that is soo close in age:)

Egg-Free Brownie Recipe & Possible Reason I'm a Math Major:)

Some may know that pre-marriage and kids, I did college and some seminary studies.... I knew I wanted kids, and had some desire to homeschool them, if possible, so having a degree in Math and Secondary Education made sense. Then I went to seminary, had babies and thought WHY in the WORLD do I have a MATH degree????

H ahaha... well baking with Anna today and changing recipes made me start to think.... maybe I got a Math degree to help me with baking for food allergy kids:) Not that it requires a math degree but I have to admit that I'm sure I would be having a lot of trouble if I wasn't good at math, especially fractions:)

Well for months now we've been enjoying some yummy egg-free, milk-free brownies.....which can not be accomplished with store bought brownie mix (I've tried many times). Friends have asked about the recipe so I'll just post it, with my changes (of course) and I'll link you to the normal recipe: HERE so you can make your own changes :)

So here is the recipe, with a few changes* :

Egg- Free Brownies

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
a little less than 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
optional 1/2 cup walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 9 by 13 pan
2. In sauce pan combine the 1/3 cup flour and water. Cook over medium heat until tick then transfer to another bowl and let cool.
3. Put a stick of butter in microwave safe dish, melt it and then add the cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
4. When flour mixture cools, add sugar and vanilla. Then mix in the cocoa mixture until well blended.
5. Combine the rest of the flour and the whole wheat flour, the baking powder and the salt. Then add these dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until just blended. Finally fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
6. Bake for 20-25minutes. The clean toothpick trick works, as long as you don't stick it into a chocolate chip:) But nothing is raw, so under cooking isn't the end of the world. But over cooking, is!! Egg-free stuff dries out VERY quickly when over cooked- I've got plenty of experience:)
*Most of my changes were from following the advice of the other ladies who tried the recipe and offered suggestions:)

Anna helped with the butter and cocoa powder mixture... anyway, she melted the butter in the microwave and then started adding the cocoa powder. I think the color started to disturb her and she asked, "Mommy, why is this so brown?" And I answered back, "Sweetie, we're making Brownies." She just looked at me and smiled like, "oh, that's right"!

Potty Training Boys?????

*** Here he is GQ-ing in his swimmies :)****
Well we've already had a busy morning with potty training.... Christopher asked for "big boy" pants this I know he's wanting to be successful.

When I put on his BB pants he said he had to make a stinky so we sat in the bathroom and read books and then he hopped off saying he didn't have to go. We did our Morning Bible Time and then he went off to play.... he was too quiet and so I checked on him. There he was in his bedroom reading standing up making a stinky in his BB pants. What do I do???

I had him stay with me while I washed them out....saying that stinkies go in the potty. I was disappointed but not angry.... I just wish he could have had this success....

And being wet or stinky doesn't really bother him, in diapers or BB pants. I have been bring ing him to the potty every 30 minutes or so and having him "try"..... he will fuss some but when I ask it becomes an "obedience issue".

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Taking it Easy....

H aha haaa.... (like that's really possible)

I look around my house, and I can tell that I've been under-the-weather..... the laundry needing to be folded is stacked high, the floors need to be vacuumed, the kitchen counters are cluttered (which drives me nuts), and my to-do list requires more energy than I have :)So what do I do......

I take the kids outside to play with finger paints,

to run through the sprinkler,

and to eat Popsicles.....

and then blog about it while they nap :) I took some fun pictures of Chris, if you need more entertainment today, I thought they were cute so I posted them in my flickr album.

Off to do some housework and more preparations for our very busy July:)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Duplos Keeps Siblings at Play

While cooking dinner the kids asked if they could take out the Duplo blocks. I keep these blocks away for "rainy days"!!! Anyway, since I was busy in the kitchen I let them kids play...... and I really didn't see them or hear anything but laughter and make-believe play for almost half and hour. It's then that I found this:)

Ahhhh, after a hard day it's nice to see them playing together and having fun:)And the Duplos have been soo nice (a borrowed toy from Grammie). In fact Grammie has collected more Duplos and the kids had a BLAST with them while we were at her house last weekend!!!

And we had a few successes, Christopher did pretty well with some potty training! So that's pretty exciting:)

Disciplining Challenges

Man, we've had a challenging morning. I'm not sure why.... but this week (starting on Sunday) has been soo challenging. Sunday evening Christopher wouldn't even walk into the front doors of the church..... Brian had to take him back out before we even got IN!!

It's hard to really desire a loving, gracious, and peaceful home and then listen to the whining and arguing that occurs on a regular basis. And what I find even more draining is that some days I find myself constantly having to discipline, correct and referee.

My comfort has been these few verses:

"If you refuse to discipline your son, it proves you don't love him; for if you love him you will be prompt to punish him." Prov 13:24 (Living Bible)

"Discipline your son while there is hope" Prov 19:18

"My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right." Prov 23:15

My theme with the kids this week has been "Being Peacemakers"! I've already heard Anna telling Christopher, "That's not nice, you're not being a peacemaker!" So, they're listening and hopefully starting to understand how and why as we talk about it throughout the week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Conserve Gas, Travel Together!!!

Yes, it is possible to fit 7 people, including 5 "car seats", into a mini-van :)

Let me just say that the three kiddies in the back.... had their boosters in tight. But they had their own car seat space and they were fine. They also all got along VERY well which makes a BIG difference:) And it was nice for Momma to have some adult conversation:)

And on the way home we had the five kids (of course) and a van load of groceries!!! So hopefully my family won't have to make any grocery trips out......

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekend at Grammies

We took a mini-vacation last week....we headed up to see Grammie:) We'd been battling colds and fevers for the last two weeks so we all needed to get out:)

At Grammies we had a FULL vacation...we had swimming, movie date for Brian and I, steak dinner, biking at the beach, hamburgers and milkshakes late at night (like 11:30... Grammie's a night owl), time at the playground and more swimming..... we came home last night exhausted!!!

Enjoy some of our favorite pictures....and watch our little fish. Even Anna (once she knew she could touch the bottom) ventured into the middle of the pool (at least the middle of the shallow end)and Christopher is fearless!!