Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chelsea's Homemade Christmas Presents

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! We have been very busy and I have not found time to be able to get to the computer, but it seems as though things are slowing down a little bit. Chelsea made some wonderful gifts for Christmas this year that I wanted to share with you.

We went to a pillowcase workshop for 4-H several months ago and Chelsea learned how to sew a really cute pillowcase. She made two more of these at home and gave them to Nick and Alex for Christmas. She also read the book Sewing for Dummies and sewed a table runner and lapkins and gave them to my mom and dad (not pictured.)

For the last several months Chelsea has been working on improving her knitting. The best book we could find for beginning knitters was an Usborne Book called How to Knit. There were several different projects that were very doable for a young girl with no other instruction ( I have never learned how to knit myself.) From this book she made a scarf for daddy, a cell phone case for me, and two little monster toys for Anthony and Christian. Christian loves his and kisses it every time he picks it up. Chelsea worked very hard on all of these gifts and I am very proud of what a great job she did.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Being Stuck in a Lunch Rut

Are you ever stuck in a lunch rut? Every day I hear these words," What's for lunch?" Often my answer is sandwiches and all the children reply, "Again?"

It is hard to make a variety of lunches that are quick, easy, and nutritious without busting the lunch budget. But, I have been working on this because as much as they hate to eat the same thing day after day, so do I. Here are some of the different things we have been putting on our lunch menu to add a little bit of variety. All of these lunches can be served with fresh fruit and/ or veggies to complete the meal.

1. Leftovers make great lunches. Usually we make Art's lunch first and if there are still extra we eat them the next day. When I am making certain meals like pasta dishes I make extra when preparing dinner so we will have enough for everyone to eat for lunch the next day.

2. Homemade pizza is a wonderful lunch and inexpensive. We eat pizza every Friday for supper and once a week for lunch. You can easily change toppings to create variety (if your kids like different toppings) or change the type of pizza you make. We make personal pan pizzas, muffin pizzas, and tortilla pizzas to add variety.

3.Baked Potatoes are filling and inexpensive. Changing toppings can add some variety to this simple lunch.

4. Bagels and cream cheese. Something a little different if you don't already eat them for breakfast.

5. Sandwiches are a quick and easy fix for lunch. To add some variety you can change the type of sandwiches or what kind of bread you are using. We like to use flour tortillas for something different, or you could use pita breads, wraps, bagels, etc.. Another option my children like is when I put different kinds of lunch meat on the table with cheese and crackers. They love making cracker sandwiches, or spearing their meat and cheese with toothpicks. Another great sandwich option is to make home-made Hot-Pockets.

6. Mac and cheese is an old stand-by at our house and we usually eat it once a week.

7.Pancakes and waffles. Who says breakfast is just for breakfast? We usually eat breakfast for supper once a week and I also make pancakes or waffles for lunch too. The children love breakfast foods and they are quick and easy to make.

8. Salads. Chelsea and I love to eat salad for lunch. We don't very often because the boys do not agree and are not big lettuce fans.

9. Homemade soups are delicious, nutritious, and inexpensive. There is nothing better on a cold day than to have warm soup for lunch.

10. Eggs. Since we have chickens, we have plenty of eggs. French toast, scrambled eggs, omelette's, and egg salad all make wonderful choices for lunch.

These are some of my suggestions for adding variety to the lunch menu. i would love to hear some of your favorite lunch choices too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite Recipes: Italian Beef Sandwiches

 This recipe uses the crock pot and is great for those busy days.  It is yummy with a regular roast, but also fantastic with deer meat.

1/2 cup water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
1 TBSP vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt

The night before: place roast in crock pot with water and beef cubes. Cook on low all night. In the morning: take roast out and add all other ingredients. Put roast back in crock pot and cook on low all day. One hour before serving remove roast and shred with two forks. Put back in pot and cook until ready to serve. Serve on any kind of bread or rolls with your favorite cheese.

Monday Morning Project

Mom and dad if you are reading this stop here!! (it is supposed to be a surprise.)

For our project this week we made hand print and footprint angel ornaments. These were really cute and fun to make. I liked it too because you use the child's hands and feet to make the ornament (hands are the wings and a foot makes the body) so looking back in a few years you will have something to remember how small they used to be. You could even use a picture of your child for the face. I got the idea from www.dltk-kids.com (can you tell I love this site for crafts?) It was under Holiday crafts, Christmas, Christmas Crafts, paper angels. It also had a really cute poem to write on the back:

This little angel is special you see,
Because she is a part of me.
Her wings are my hands,
Her body my feet,
And on the tree she'll look very sweet.

I also wrote the children's names, date, and age and we will be giving them to my mom and dad as a Christmas present. Sorry no pictures but my camera is acting up again.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jingle Bell Door Knocker

Our Homeschool Co-op has adopted elderly pen pals that live in assisted living apartments in a nearby town. Many of these ladies do not have a lot of family around, several do not even leave their apartments, and some are unable to write. We thought it would make a great ministry project for our children while practicing a practical skill. Instead of our normal monthly co-op, the plan for this month was to go and meet our pen pals. We planned to bring them brunch, home-made Christmas ornaments, and sing some Christmas Carols. One of the songs the children were going to sing was Jingle Bells so we made Jingle Bell door knockers for the children to ring while they sang and then leave behind for the ladies to hang on their doors. They were very quick and easy to make and even Anthony could do it without any help.

Supplies-pipe cleaner, beads of different colors (we used red, green, and white) and bells (1 large or several small per knocker. You can find the bells in the craft department at Walmart.)

Slide the beads onto the pipe cleaner folding up one end to prevent the beads from sliding off. About halfway add your bell and finish off with beads. Twist into a circle and wind the ends around each other to close.

Unfortunately, sick children and a case of pinkeye (The pink-eye was mine. Can you believe it? Never had it as a kid but get it at 30 years old.) prevented us from going on this outing. Chelsea was one of the healthy ones and got to go. The ladies were so happy that our group did this for them and that they got to meet their pen pals. Chelsea's pen pal is a 92 year old lady and had made up a gift basket to give to her. The children sang their songs, Chelsea played her Clarinet, they ate, and gave their ornaments. They had a wonderful time and we will be going again in February for a Valentine's party.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa's Christmas Prayer

I read this today and thought it was pretty good. The author was not listed so I do not know where it originated.

Lord, you know that your the reason I take pleasure in this season. I don't want to take your place, but just reflect your wondrous grace. And so when they begin to open gifts for which they have been hoping, may they give You all the glory, for You're the One True Christmas story.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday Morning Project: Count Down to Christmas

Everyone is back where they are supposed to be, so things are back to normal. But, 4 of the children have nasty colds and are a little on the cranky side, so we had a pretty laid back school day. For our Monday morning project we made Christmas Tree Advent Calenders. i printed the template off of http://www.dltk-kids.com/, we traced the tree onto green paper and cut out the ornaments to put on the tree. I thought it would be helpful for the kids to see how many days we have left until Christmas. All of the children wanted to make their own so now we have a houseful of advent Christmas trees.

Week-end Getaway

On Friday, Art and I headed to Hot Springs for the week-end. We got a great deal on a hotel room where his office Christmas party would be on Saturday evening. Even though he has worked for the same company for five years we have never gone to the Christmas party (usually because I am nursing or we have a newborn.) We thought we would take advantage of the time without the children to finish up some shopping. Well, after buying some things for the children we decided to drive through a few car dealerships to see what kind of deals and incentives they have right now. Art had been doing a lot of research on 10-15 passenger vans because even though we have a 9 passenger Suburban, it is hard to get the children in and out of it. Nick, Alex, and Chelsea have to climb over the back seat to get in and with the new baby coming we could use some more space. Needless to say the dealership offered us a deal we couldn't refuse and we bought a 2007 Ford 15 passenger van. There is very little cargo room with all of the seats in it so we will be taking out the back seat and still have capacity to fit 11 people comfortably and no one will have to climb over any of the seats. We spent 3 hours at the dealership, but still made it back in time to get ready for the Christmas party. It was fun to get dressed up and go out, but I was really glad to get back home to the children on Sunday morning.

Friday, December 5, 2008

12 Years Ago Today......

Started out like any other day. I woke up and went to get myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. But I didn't feel right. I was very nauseous which was a big surprise because even though I was pregnant, I was 28 weeks and had not even had a hint of morning sickness the entire time. I tried to ignore the feeling and go about my day, but as the day went on I felt worse. My whole body ached especially my back and the nausea turned into vomiting. After a call to my doctor's office they assumed I had a stomach bug and said if I wasn't feeling better by the next day to call back. By late that evening the pain had become much more intense and had settled on my right side. Every time the baby kicked it was complete agony. After another call to the doctor he wanted me to go to the ER because he thought I might have a kidney infection. After checking my white blood cell count which was though the roof, my doctor decided to have a surgeon check me out to rule out Appendicitis even though he was still thinking it was a kidney infection. No such luck. The surgeon stated that I had a classic case of appendicitis and had two choices. Either I had the surgery and the baby was probably going to die, or I didn't have the surgery and we both would die. Not exactly the words I wanted to hear. I wanted to be told the baby would be just fine. They went on to say that the trauma from the surgery would probably cause me to go into labor but they were prepared to transport the baby to Children's Hospital. My OB who had been delivering babies for over 25 years had never had a patient with appendicitis and the surgeon had never removed an appendix from a pregnant woman before. What choice did I have? We went to surgery.

They gave me spinal anesthesia because it posed the least amount of risk to the baby. I was numb from the neck all the way down to my toes. I was wide awake but could not even feel myself breathing. I could hear the doctors and nurses and the clicking of the minutes on the clock. When they started the surgery I had a long moment when I felt completely panicked and out of control,alone, and terrified beyond anything I could explain. I laid there, watched the clock and began to pray. In a few moments a feeling of complete peace came over me and a reassurance that everything was going to be OK. I knew with complete certainty that God was answering my prayers and that the baby would be alright.

We came out of surgery just fine. I never even had one contraction and her heart rate stayed strong. I was given a shot of Nubane for the pain as the spinal wore off, but all it did was make the baby go to sleep and stop moving but I could still feel the pain, so I refused any more pain shots and they switched me to Extra Strength Tylenol which barely touched the pain but it didn't affect the baby. I went home after 1 1/2 days in the hospital and spent two weeks on bed rest. The hardest part of my recovery was the baby constantly kicking my incision, but even though it was painful those kicks were also a comfort to me. I carried the baby full term and delivered Chelsea naturally at the end of February. She was my little miracle.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Traditions

One of the things we talked about at Faithful Moms yesterday was different Christmas Traditions that we could remember from our childhood and new traditions that we have started with our families. The picture above is a Nativity Scene that my mom made out of ceramics in 1981. Every year I can remember putting up our tree the day after Thanksgiving and setting it up under the tree. It was always one of my favorite Christmas decorations and now I am so happy to be putting it under my own tree every year. I hope it survives through many more generations and we will tell the children that it has been under the Christmas tree every year for ____ years. Another tradition I can remember is every Christmas morning when we woke up my dad always had to go downstairs to make sure Santa had already gone before we could go down and open our presents. Our traditional Christmas dinner always was ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, corn, and always Christmas Cutout Cookies that we decorated and left out for Santa every year. Every year for Christmas we got a new ornament and our name and the year was written on the bottom of it. When we got married, we got to take those ornaments with us and hang them on our own tree. I still enjoy taking out these ornaments from my childhood and hanging them on the tree. Since Steven died, mom and dad gave us some of his ornaments to hang on the tree, a good way to keep his memory alive and with us at Christmas. I still get a new ornament every year, and so do all of the children.
Our gift tradition is that each child gets three gifts from Santa Claus (they do get things in their stockings too) The three gifts are symbolic of the gifts that Christ received and it helps keep the holidays simple. A new tradition we have enjoyed the last 2 years is picking out and cutting down our own Christmas tree which is something I hope we can continue to do. We always go to the Candle light service on Christmas Eve at our church. We still make the same Christmas Cookie cut-outs and eat the same Christmas dinner.
One of the suggestions yesterday was reading together on Christmas Eve. I thought this was a great idea. Some of the suggestions were The Gift of the Magi, The Little Match Girl, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, followed by the reading of the Christmas Story. Another suggestion I thought was great was having your children (and other family if possible ) put on a Christmas play. Both of these ideas would make great Christmas traditions.

Quilted Christmas Purse

I finished it! Altogether I spent about 2 hours working on this purse including cutting out the pattern pieces. I used Simplicity Pattern 2779 bought from Walmart. I think it turned out pretty well even though I did make a few mistakes and it was fun. I think I may try to make a larger one after Christmas to use for a diaper bag. If someone with my limited sewing skills can accomplish this project, anyone can.

Monday Morning Project

The children and I did not have a Monday Morning Project this week. On Sunday, Chelsea, Nick, and Alex went to stay at my mom and dad's until Friday (boy is my house quiet.) I did have a project for myself which was working on another one of those quilted Christmas purses (I am hoping practice makes perfect.) I worked on it for about 45 minutes on Monday with the intention of finishing it and posting a picture of the completed project yesterday. Well, after taking the boys to our Faithful Moms group, and feeding them lunch, it was already nap time. Nap time is the perfect time to work on mom projects. But, Anthony had a hard time settling down so I laid down with him for just a minute. With the house so quiet that minute turned into an 1 1/2 hour nap for me. As you can imagine I lost my project window. It was wonderful to take a nap though and I hope to have it all finished this afternoon.