Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!

Well, it's almost midnight and a new year is upon us. We watched NY Time Square ring in 2009. I remember as a child thinking, one day, I'll be there. It looked like so much fun. And now. . . I'm so content to simply be home. As you can see from the above pictures, we had our own family toasting going on -- with sparkling cider, of course -- after taco salad for dinner and a Dutch treat called Banket for dessert. My hope for tomorrow is to finish Our Year in Pictures. It's time consuming but fun to look through all the photos taken these last 12 months.
2009 Blessings to All,

Slendid Soup!

This is the time of year for a nice hot bowl of soup. I recently tried a new recipe which was a "hit" with the whole family. (Despite major skepticism!) I had a leftover rotisserie chicken from the store. I used that to make the broth and then add the leftover chicken. This recipe comes from Southern Living, Christmas At Home 2008.

Chicken-and-Wild Rice Soup
2 Tbsp. butter
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package (8 oz) sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tsp. minced garlic
4 cans seasoned chicken broth
3 C chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 C frozen whole kernel corn, thawed & drained
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 C whipping cream (or milk for a low-fat alternative)
Garnish: toasted slivered almonds
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add celery and onion; cook 4 minutes or until almost tender. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook 2 minutes.
  • Stir together mushroom mixture, broth, and next 6 ingredients in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH 3 hours or LOW 5-6 hours or until rice is tender. Stir in whipping cream. Garnish, if desired. Enjoy!

Happy New Years Eve 2008!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Won!

Four of our boys recently entered a coloring contest hosted by a local grocery store each December. When we arrived home on Sunday and played the messages on the answering machine, it was fun to hear that two of the boys were first place winners! Both Mr. Z and Mr. H won three free video rentals, a frozen pizza and a liter of soda. Today Mr. H chose a Wii game rental and they all had a grand time playing it this afternoon.

No, this is not our usual day to day home attire. . . For some unknown reason Mr. H was very proud to don his suit and tie today which he received as a hand-me-down from his cousin a few months ago. He specifically asked that I take a picture of him. So I quickly grabbed the camera. Awww, what a handsome 7 year old, if I do say so myself. :)

Happy Tuesday before the New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008


We are happy to have arrived home safely last night after a day of traveling and a week of sickness. We are all healthy and Mr. H seems to be the lone survivor as he was the only one to not get the dreaded stomach flu! Today we were back in the car again doing a few errands and when I glanced in the back seat I couldn't help but take a picture of little Miss A. After 5 boys, it still makes us smile to see all that PINK! We tried our hardest to get her to smile. . . but all we got was a very suspicious glance, as she wondered what all the commotion was about!

We look forward to celebrating our own family Christmas on New Years Eve and until then we'll be unpacking, doing laundry, organizing, etc.. . . I'm sure you all know the drill after being gone a week.

Happy Monday before the New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

And the Saga Continues . . .

The report from the infirmary for today, Friday, December 26th:

After 3 trips to the drugstore, 1 trip to Urgent Care and countless loads of laundry, we report that 9 out of 10 have had or have the dreaded stomach flu. You'll be glad that I spare you the details but my dear husband and I spent Christmas Day "down for the count". My sister and family left early yesterday and unopened presents still remain under the tree. The end has got to be near. Thanks for your prayers. Amidst it all, God continually reminds me of many things to be thankful for. . . and that alone keeps me keepin' on.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Surprise!

Last night we heard the doorbell ring. . . Who could it be out in this blustery cold weather? We were all surprised to see my sister and family at the door as they had driven the 4 hours to come to us since we had the sick ones and could not go to their house as planned. They are risking "the plague" so we all can be together, just like we all wanted. Once again, God worked out the details. The love of our God and our family. . . now that is something I am grateful for on this Christmas Day.

Happy Birthday Jesus!

A Joyous Christmas to All,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve!

It's Christmas Eve 2008
the time of year when the kids just can't wait!
Fun time with family, presents and lots of good food. . .
Oh no, the flu bug has landed on the brood!
Planned travels come to a halt,
between sickness and winter storms it's simply no body's fault.
The prime rib sits in the frig till all are well,
and tonight's plan B? Mr. Z's wish. . . Taco Bell!
I continue with laundry and midnight calls from the hall,
and the hope that tomorrow all will be standing tall.
In all things give thanks is our motto this year,
even with these disappointments we have lots of reason to cheer.
So we'll focus on that and remember what the Bible does say. . .
Rejoice! God sent us His Son on that very first Christmas day!
Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our God of Details

We are traveling this week to be with extended family in a neighboring state. A few of the kids wondered about our Christmas traditions (those specifically food related - I do have 5 boys! LOL!) and if they would still take place since we will be out of town. Good Question, I thought to myself. Well let's see. . . we have Chinese take out food as a treat on Christmas eve, then there is the special egg bake for Christmas Day, along with homemade cinnamon rolls and lastly, the birthday cake for Jesus.

Now listen to how the God who created the universe. . . the God who sent His son to die for us. . . the God who defeated death, rose again and sits on the throne of heaven, took care of our simple little traditions which seem to matter so much:

On Saturday night. . . as we were getting packed to leave on our road trip we received a call from our neighbor who had some goodies to bring our way. (We have great neighbors, huh?) Come on over! We're always ready for a treat! And you know what she had made? A big platter of homemade cinnamon rolls!

On Sunday. . . we stopped to see family who live along the path of our road trip. Guess where they asked us to meet them for lunch? The Chinese Buffet! Perfect.

On Monday. . . guess what my mom served for breakfast? Our favorite egg bake casserole!

Plans for Christmas day with my sister and family?. . Include the kids decorating their own birthday cakes for Jesus and singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, just like we wanted.

Got Godbumps?

Matthew 6:25 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you be worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

May you see God's love for you in the details of this Christmas week.
Happy Monday before Christmas!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, Monday, December 22, 2008

Outside my window... the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the temp. is a frigid -2.

I am thinking...the midnight vomiting of Mr. A has me tired and praying that it was an isolated case!

I am thankful for... our safe travels yesterday.

From the kitchen... my mom made a delicious breakfast and she's preparing our favorite BBQ beef sandwiches for later this week.
I am wearing . . . my pajamas.
I am going.... to Target today. A fun treat since we don't have one in our town.

I am reading.... the December issue of Real Simple.

I am hoping.... the predicted snow for tomorrow holds off til' after we arrive at our destination.

I am hearing... the sound of the Dustbuster as Mr. C is enamored with the contraption while cleaning up the floors.

Around the house... the kids are soooo excited to be at Oma & Papa's, playing with the "new" toys and anticipating Christmas Day.

One of my favorite looking at all the pretty Christmas lights this time of year.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . traveling to my sister's home to spend the Christmas holiday. That's 9 kids under age 11 camping out in sleeping bags!

A picture thought I am leaving with you:

To create a daybook of your own or read others, you can go HERE.

Back Door Blessings

Our neighbors stopped by last night with gifts in hand. We have a very talented quilter who lives next door and we love to see her creations. This time the kids were the recipients of her labors of love. . . Beautiful pillowcases, with monogramming and each with fabric depicting a sport which each child enjoys!

She does such nice work. They are seamless and wash up beautifully.

Best part is. . . They work like a charm!! (Yes, Mr. A really is sleeping!)

Happy Saturday!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Come On Ring Those Bells. . .

Our family event of the day was ringing the bells for The Salvation Army at our local Wal-Mart. While Ava and I did the shopping the boys rang the bell. I encouraged them to sing, but all I got was, "Yeah, right, Mom!" (Even daddy raised his eyebrows at that one! lol!)

Truth be known, we did have a few grinches among us who were not so cheery to stand in the cold. (But they will go "play" in the cold, right?) Oh well, it still feels good to have made the time to do some good for others and try to instill that in our children too.

Happy Friday before Christmas!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welcome Isaiah!

A dear friend gave birth to her fourth child yesterday. I was able to stop by and see this precious little one just a few hours after he made his entrance. With her permission, I share photos of this new little miracle:


A Newborn Son

Let our little son become a man of God, and give us

the wisdom to show him the way.

May he have a hunger for You Lord, and Your Work.

Help him to experience the fulfillment

of knowledge and the rewards of hard work.

Let his days be filled with laughter and play, and give him

the protection of good Christian companions.

Instill in him the ingredients for healthy self-esteem

so that he has the confidence to reach for

his dreams and to reach out to others in need.

We dedicate this little one to You and ask You to give him

all the richness of a life in Christ.

Rolfina Birger

from "Prayers From A Mother's Heart" by Ruth Bell Graham

Bless this mouth.

May it learn to speak words

that are helpful, encouraging, and right.

May these butterfly lips kiss away injury,

savor the wholesome,

and declare their Maker's praise.

excerpt from "Bless This Child" by Gloria Gaither

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, Monday, December 15, 2008

I am thinking... it sure is nice having my dh around the house, especially this time of year.

I am thankful dh officially being offered and accepting a job today! Thank you Lord!

From the learning rooms...It's almost lunchtime and when mom gets on the computer, the chillins scatter. One is coloring, one is heating up soup, one is downstairs, probably doing his math? And the others are with daddy running an errand.

From the kitchen... Mr. J is hungry and heating up his favorite "chunky" soup

I am wearing... black sport pants and a white knit top

I am creating...a spelling list based on the kids writing the past 2 weeks. I decided to change the routine a bit in December.

I am going...nowhere for now. Maybe a walk if it gets above zero.

I am reading...a new Pampered Chef cookbook.

I am hoping...I can calmly accomplish all that needs to be done this week before traveling this weekend.

I am of my favorite Christmas praise CD's playing in the kitchen

Around the's fairly quiet. A nice sound. :)

One of my favorite hearing the crackle of a fire in the fireplace.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Complete sending e-Christmas cards; pack for road trip.
Here is picture thought I am sharing... I enjoy "playing" on the computer with photos I take.
Little Miss A. - one of my favorite photo subjects.

Go HERE to check out the Simple Woman's Daybook and read other posts as well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One of those mornings. . .

It all started with a phone call. . . "Honey, I forgot the camera." It was my dh at church after bringing the kids at 8:10am to prepare for their Christmas program. It was now 8:15, and the program started in 15 minutes. "I can do this", I thought to myself. Ok, get Miss A. out of bed and that red Christmas dress on her, grab a sippy cup and banana (I"ll feed her during the program, right?) , and oh ya. . . find that camera! OK, got the camera (I'll simply hope it has enough battery life left), got Miss A., slip on the winter coats and we're out the door.

Arrive at church 8:32, not bad. Program just started, but why is Mr. C on stage with his coat and hat on? He forgot to take them off??? OK, silly thought, it's part of the skit. Phew! Cause sometimes you never know with Mr. C! Anyway. . . my eyes then glance to Mr. H up on stage and, what?, oh dear, his "fly" is down. And that is not part of the skit! Dh and I look at each other and smile . . . what can you do? The program was classic and all the kids did great. We smiled and waved, took video for posterity and headed to the fellowship hall for cookies and punch.

It would be nice if the kids gravitated toward the not-so-messy cookies, wouldn't it? But noooooo, it's the oooey, gooey, chocolate ones that catch their eye! Now remember it's back up on stage for another song during the service so let's try and keep it together for one last song. he!he! I guess I was dreamin' cause I took one look at Mr. A as he decided to use his pants as a napkin to wipe his ooooey, goooey chocolate hands! Just then, Mr. J walked by and I realized his shirt was on backwards! "Oh well", he said. And as I ran into Mr. H I quietly mentioned that his "fly" was down and he may want to zip it back up. "Oh", he said, "Maybe you could do it mom, cause my hands are all sticky." At this point I'm thinkin' ,"Where is that dh of mine? I think I need a hand." Of course I notice that he's over in the corner enjoying a hot cup of coffee and some adult conversation. How does he do that?!!

At last. . . I sit down in the sanctuary ready to enjoy the worship service during this glorious Christmas season. It was a nice thought anyway. . . but Miss A had other plans. It was nap time and mama's lap wasn't doin' it for her. Idea!. . . Get that bunny out of the car, she loves her bunny, she may even fall asleep in my arms if she has her bunny. But where are the car keys? While searching in my church bag, a beautifully knitted, felted bag made by my mom, I feel that the sippy cup has leaked and now my hands and my beautiful bag are all sticky!! Still can't find the keys, so Mr. Z heads to the car in search of the bunny. Yes! The car door was open and the bunny was found. But noooooo, the bunny does not make Miss A happy this time. I think I should just take her home and let her have a nap. No, we can do this. We really can all be at church at the same time and enjoy the service. I'm dreamin' again! My dh and I both (not sure how that happened) ended up in the library with frequent visits from other members of the family wondering where we were! My apologies to all who were sitting behind us!

At last the final hymn was sung and we're out the door. I chuckle to myself on the way home thinking we should all head to bed and start this day over, or at least I should. And that's exactly what I did. Everyone made themselves a sandwhich, I put Miss A down for her long awaited nap and I crawled into bed (seems to be a theme here, huh?), and enjoyed some peace and quiet while all the boys watched football. Hooray!!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


You'd think being the 13th of December I'd be busy getting ready for Christmas. Not! I'm just too sleepy today. Although I have had the energy to nip on the Christmas fudge I made last night. It's a super yummy recipe from my mom who got it from her best friend, Rachel Ray. Meanwhile, I'll yawn my way through dinnertime (frozen pizzas tonight), kitchen clean-up, kids bathtime, kids bedtime, crawl into bed. . . and hopefully, sleep like a baby with no interruptions. . . just like little miss baby A did, a mere 15 months ago. (One of my favorite pics!)

Now, for that fudge recipe . . .

Rachel Ray's Fudge

1 package of semi-sweet choc. chips

1 cup of peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips or milk-choc. chips

1 can sweetended condensed milk

(melt all of the above on low heat on stove top)

Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. of vanilla

and 1 cup of walnuts. Pour into 8X8 pan lined with parchment paper

Refrigerate at least 2 hours


Happy Saturday and Good Night!


Friday, December 12, 2008


One of the traditions we started last year was reading "The Advent Book" each night at the dinner table. The kids have really enjoyed it. **(That is between the bickering over who's turn it is to read, who's turn it is to light the candle, whose turn it is to snuff out the candle. . . do I need to make a schedule for EVERYTHING?!)**

It is a hard cover, lift-the-flap book with beautiful pictured pages.

There is one page for each day in December. We always start at the beginning so everyone has a page to read after day 7. And then the kids take turns lighting the advent candle. The advent pictured was painted by my dh's grandma. She was a very talented artist.

This book was a gift to us. (Thanks Aunt Bev & Uncle Jim!) It would make a wonderful gift to any family this holiday. You can go HERE to check it out if you're interested.

Advent Blessings,


Thursday, December 11, 2008

A New Routine?!

This week I had my hair cut by my thin & fit stylist and we started talking about exercise. In days gone by. . . I would regularly walk each morning before my dh left for work and it felt sooo good. Well, that was almost 3 years ago and I've been thinkin' about getting back into that routine. Of course thinkin' about it and actually doing it are two different things! Back to the haircut. . . My stylist began telling me that her routine is getting up each morning at 5:50, heading out the door at 6:00 and walking for 1 hour. And after 365 days she has only missed 5!! Whoooa! After picking my jaw up off the floor, I replied "That is committment!" So I've been inspired. This morning I headed out the door (about 10:00, I have to work up to the 6:00am thing and since my dh is unemployed- I'll take advantage of the blessings amidst trials) after reading the temp. guide stating a balmy 11 degrees!! Yes, I'd much rather be walking in this type climate:

But. . . it is the winter season where I live so the scenery was more like this. . .

The sun was actually shining today and after I warmed up a bit, the fresh air felt invigorating. It was MY time to think, pray, notice God's creation and do something good for me. I was more ready to take on my day when I returned home. Here's to once again making exercise a habit, a part of my daily routine.

Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My sister, Cathy, called and told me about a website called In these challenging economic times we've become aware of various ways to save money. I often purchase items for Christmas on-line. Coupon cabin has savings both for your grocery purchases and on-line purchases. It's worth checking this one out!
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Coleslaw Recipe

This past weekend I had a bag of shredded cabbage in the frig and I didn't know what to do with it. I'm not a big fan of coleslaw but I am a big fan of the Food Network Channel. I was watching Paula Dean and she said, "Y'all have to try this delicious and easy salad!" Sooo. . . I did and was verrrry pleased. It was super yummy. Here is the recipe, or you can go to this website and see it and check out others.HERE

Rene's Coleslaw

5 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 C almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup chopped green onions, chopped
1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 T sweet pickle relish
1 T honey mustard
1 T honey
Salt & Pepper

Combine cabbage, almonds, cranberries, celery, green onions, and green pepper in a large plastic bowl with a snap-on lid. Combine all dressing ingredients, adding salt and pepper to to taste, and refreigerate until ready to serve. Pour dressing over slaw just before serving. Stir well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Peek-a-boo. . . . Where's Miss A?
There she is!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

The tree has been up for a week but no time for all to gather and put ornaments on. . . Until this morning! Daddy announced we had exactly 20 minutes to trim the tree before the kids had to go to the Christmas program practice at church. Ready, set, . . . go! It was quick but fun and our mission was accomplished. (Only 3 broken- just the red balls, nothing sentimental - phew!) And while we were putting ornaments on, guess who was trying to take them off?!!

Mister buck was looking on. . . if dead animals could talk. . . what stories he would tell!

Ta Daaaa! Now we're off and running to our Saturday happenings!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Out!

Mr. H. lost his first tooth tonight! After tears at the dinner table trying to eat without that wobbly tooth gettin' in the way. . .Mr. H. was tucked in tight for the night and we heared him running up the stairs, "It's Out!" He couldn't take it any longer and pulled it out himself. Then the hunt began for the infamous tooth fairy pillow! Thank goodness it was easily found in the brothers' room and all was well as the extracted tooth could now lay under the pillow. . . waiting of course for the tooth fairy to leave $1. Mr. and Mrs. Tooth Fairy almost forgot. . . and then at midnight remembered. . . The Tooth!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And While I was Blogging . . .

Miss A. was "playing"! This time it was with the butter. Straight off the counter, into the living room and all over the floor. She loooved squishing it between her fingers. Oh my, the messes a one year old can make! And mom and dad were taking pictures. . . are we encouraging this behavior?!

Let the Games Begin

Our new family game is "The Marble Game". Introduced to us over Thanksgiving, this is the new rage at our house. My dear husband's sister and Dad even made the travel board as a gift for Christmas. Anyone ever heard of this game. . .similiar to SORRY.

Mile High . . .

Apple Pie! Growing up, my Grandma made the most delicious strawberry pie called Mile High Strawberry Pie. Well, this Thanksgiving cousin Alex (age 13) made a scrumptious mmm mmm good Mile High Apple Pie! Great job Alex!