Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Update on Family Sickness

Sarah Beth seems completely recovered. She was back to her normal, playful self yesterday which was nice to see. Sometimes, however, it was hard to deal with since I still felt so poorly. Poor Daniel was fussy all day with a runny nose and a cough. It wouldn't surprise me if his throat hurts or something like that. John was able to go back to work yesterday, and that was a good thing.

I started my antibiotics Monday evening, and I felt better yesterday, but I was still only running between 50 and 75%. At least, I was able to get some things done, things that I could sit while I did them, like folding clothes. Today I feel a little bit better, but the big news is that I can breathe through my nose and I spent all of last night in our bed. Breathing through my nose has been so hard since I got this awful cold last week that I haven't been able to sleep. Not only have I been wide awake at 2:30 a.m., but I have also been afraid that my breathing was bothering John. So I have gotten out of bed every day since last Wednesday between 2:30 and 5:00 in the morning. Last night was nice because I could breathe all night long; I still didn't sleep well, but I didn't have to get up either. My whole face still hurts because my sinuses are all full; it hurts just to touch my forehead. And when I bend over, it feels like someone is sticking a knife in my face. I'm learning to pick things up correctly, by bending my knees!

I'm sorry that I don't have anything more uplifting to write about, but I cannot remember when I have felt this badly for such a long period of time. Have you ever felt this badly? How are you feeling now?

Monday, December 28, 2009


Last week, our children came down with a cold which they proceeded to give to me. We had to miss all of my family's Christmas celebrations because we were so sick. Both Daniel's and Sarah Beth's conditions improved while mine deteriorated. Now, I have a sinus infection. I started antibiotics today, and I really, really, really hope that I feel better tomorrow. I haven't felt this badly since I had mastitis last year, but I only really felt bad for one day. This sickness just drags on.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know where I am and why I'm not posting anything new. I feel miserable and cannot breathe which is really bad when you are breathing for two.

I hope you had a better Christmas than we did.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mondays (cont.)

I'm not nearly as tired as I have been the past few Mondays. Is it because we were "heathens" and didn't go to church last night? John got home from a weekend hunting trip right before church was to start. He had missed the children terribly while he was gone, and of course, they had missed him. So we all skipped church so we could all spend time together. This trip was John's first time hunting in ten years, since before we got married. One of his college friends keeps inviting him to come and hunt, but it just hasn't worked out lately. I'm so glad he got to go this weekend, even though it was the weekend before Christmas. And he even got a deer! Yea!! Free meat!!

How is your Monday going?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Handmade Christmas

I finally finished my Christmas stars project last week. It has only taken me two and a half months, but I am very proud of what I have accomplished. Maybe it will even become a family heirloom; it's a bit early to tell. Right now they are sitting just like that on our dining room table which is the only place big enough to hold them (and enough out of the way that they won't get spoiled by little fingers!).

If we do any entertaining this week coming up, I plan to do this with it. I just need to get a pillar candle. I don't want to leave the crystal candle holder there, again, because of little fingers. (I can just see little shards of glass all over the floor.)

To see what others have been making for Christmas, or to add your own link, head over to Proverbs 31 Living.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I know that I should be working on my Basket Weave blanket for "Baby Sister," but I just could not resist my new yarn. There are all kinds of reasons for working on the other blanket, but this yarn is lovely to work with. And I really like the pattern. It is so simple and easy to work on; it's almost mindless. (I say "almost" because I didn't think about what I was doing and had to take out three rows last week. *Sigh*) I think this will make a nice springtime blanket for "Baby Sister."

What kinds of works in progress do you have?

Monday, December 14, 2009


Do Mondays wear you out like they do me? I thought I was so tired last Monday because I had worked the prior weekend, but I am exhausted again today. I guess it doesn't help that we were out late Saturday night at a party or that it is a gray, cloudy day today. Let me make a list of what I have done today (my usual Monday chores) to see if there is anything that I could do differently or at a different time to help.
  • laundry. It piles up over the weekend. I did a couple of loads on Saturday, but I still have five more to do today. Thankfully, the last load is in the dryer right now. And hey! I get to sit down while I fold the clothes!
  • clean the kitchen sink. That's not a big deal since it takes about five minutes, and I usually get it done while waiting for Daniel and Sarah Beth to finish breakfast.
  • bake bread. This chore shouldn't be difficult or time consuming since I let the bread machine do most of the work. I just bake it in the oven.
  • supper preparation. I try to schedule easy meals for Monday since I know I will be busy and tired. Supper is in the crock pot as I type, and it wasn't too difficult to prepare.
  • menu planning. This chore does take too long, but I don't know how to do it more quickly. I like to wait until Monday so I can base our menu on what's on sale for the week. At least, I get to sit down while I do this.
  • grocery list. Not a big deal, once the menu is done. I need to get this done since I usually go to the grocery store Monday evenings.
  • sweep. The junk that piles up on the floor over the weekend! Since Sunday is a day of rest, I try not to do chores that can wait until Monday, like sweeping and laundry.
  • dishes. The dishwasher does most of the work there.
  • make the bed. That needs to be done everyday, although I guess if we didn't sleep in the bed, I wouldn't need to make it.
  • dress the children. They could run around in pajamas all day, but I think their diapers would overflow and make a mess. And if I'm going to take off their diapers, I may as well put fresh clothes on them, too.
  • my shower. I think I would feel worse if I didn't get this.
What do you think? Do you see anywhere I could cut back, or better yet, do you see anything I could eliminate?

Do you think my weariness could just possibly be because I'm seven months pregnant with two little ones? But that happens everyday. Why is it that Mondays are more tiring to me than other days?

I hope my post next Monday (assuming there is one) will not be about exhaustion.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Big Sister

The other day, I caught Sarah Beth. She had made a nice, little changing pad for her "Pink Bear" and was changing his diaper. Do you think she is excited about "Baby Sister" coming to live with us? Do you think she will make a good big sister? Do you think she likes pink?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Instead of showing you my current crochet project (which I have been showing you for months), I thought I would show you my project for today. When I saw these cookies in a magazine, I knew I had to make them for Christmas. Don't they look absolutely scrumptious? And they taste as good as they look. I'm a sucker for a chocolate-mint combination.

Sarah Beth loves to help me in the kitchen; her favorite part, I think, is helping to clean up!

My mother came over yesterday and brought me a few things of mine she found while she was cleaning out her sewing room: my wedding pictures and this project. You may not be able to see that it is counted cross-stitch in this picture. I worked on this and almost finished it while I was in high school. I have no idea why I did not complete it; I don't remember what distracted me. However, when my mother found it, it was in the same plastic bag with all of its thread that I left it in fifteen years or so ago. Wow! What do you think? Do you think I ought to finish it now? I do. After Christmas, maybe I will be able to find some time. Ha! Is that before or after "Baby Sister" comes? I don't know what I will do with this picture, but it might look nice in Sarah Beth's room at some point, or maybe the guest room.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rainy Day

It's a cold and rainy day here. I'm glad that it's raining, though, because I hate cloudy days when it doesn't rain. What's the point in a cloudy day with no rain? Days like that depress me, but I enjoy a nice rainy day. I think when I get off the computer, I will make myself a cup of tea (I always want to pronounce it cup o' tea) to drink while I crochet. Both children are upstairs: Daniel is sleeping, and Sarah Beth is playing in her room.

I do hope it stops raining, however, before I go to the grocery store tonight.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I am too tired to come up with anything fun and original. I'm just glad that:
  • both children are upstairs. Daniel is asleep, and Sarah Beth is playing in her room.
  • the last load of laundry is in the dryer and almost done.
  • the dishwasher is empty.
  • we're having leftovers for supper.
  • I did get something accomplished today -- the menu is done as is the grocery list.
  • you understand days like today.
  • this past weekend was my last one to work until after "Baby Sister" comes. That one should get me pumped up and doing a Happy Dance, but I'm too tired from working all weekend.
I hope you're having a more energetic day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cooking for the Freezer

Yesterday and today, I spent some time in the kitchen cooking and baking some things to put in the freezer for future use. I plan to have my freezer good and stocked before "Baby Sister" arrives. I did not mean for my cooking to coincide with Crystal's Freezer Cooking Day; it just happened that way. But I am glad to add my link to her list. There is no way I could spend as much time in the kitchen as she does. It would wear me out, and I just don't want to.

Yesterday, I cooked some chicken to use in a casserole. When I was done, I realized that I had enough for two casseroles. Thankfully, I had the necessary ingredients for the second casserole. (When I make one casserole, I am able to divide it into two parts because my family is still small enough to need only half a standard casserole.) Last night, the urge hit me to do some baking, so I made that my goal for this morning. What did I accomplish?
Yesterday, I cooked the chicken for both casseroles, and I put together the Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole. Today, I baked the muffins and the bread, and I put together the Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole. In the picture above, the Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is missing; I just forgot it. But doesn't the bread look delicious? I hope it tastes as good as it looks. (It should, since it has chocolate chunks in it!)

In my defense about all of the chocolate, I am pregnant! And I healthified both recipes by using half whole wheat flour and adding some flax seed. It makes me feel better anyway.

Oh, and I learned something important: don't bake four dozen muffins at the same time. The ones on the top shelf didn't cook quite right, and some of the ones on the bottom shelf burned. Oh, well. I still have a bunch in the freezer!

I bet the casseroles are frozen enough now to take out of the 8x8 pans, stick in a plastic bag, and label. I'll have to check. I always write directions on the casserole so I don't have to look it up later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Well, I finished the red star last week, and I was able to start on the green one over the weekend. I cannot wait to finish this project so I can show you the finished product. (And so I can see it for myself!)

On Friday, John needed some things from the Bass Pro Shop. Since we don't have one in our town, we took a day trip to a small city where there is one. I decided that if we were going to ride all of that way to shop for him, we could do a little shopping for me, too. We don't have a nice yarn shop in our town, either, so I looked for one there. They had one, so we visited it. I found some lovely yarn that I cannot wait to make into a blanket for "Baby Sister." I tried to find a picture of it online, but the only one I could find did not do it justice. Unfortunately, before I can start using this yarn, I need to finish my Basketweave blanket. And I haven't crocheted a single stitch on it since I took that picture. If only there were more hours in the day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WIP Wednesday

After boasting last week about how much I've been able to accomplish on my stars, I have not been able to get much done lately. Things just keep coming up which derail my best efforts. Oh, well. I'm still on track to get this project done by Christmas which is what really counts, isn't it? I do need to get it done early enough to crochet Sarah Beth some socks as a gift, too.

To see more works in progress, or to add your own, head over to the Place of H.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Plans

What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? When my mother and I talked at the beginning of the month, we decided that we would have Thanksgiving at my house instead of hers. You see, when we celebrate at her house, she does too much and runs around like crazy taking care of everything. At my house, she can relax. Of course, it puts a lot of work on me, but that's okay. It's just family, right?

Well, I heard wrong. When we talked again last week, we decided that we need to have Thanksgiving at her house. That decision lifted a load off my back, and I just hope my mom doesn't try to do too much.

While I thought we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner, John offered to fry the turkey. He has wanted to fry a turkey for a few years now and just hasn't had the chance. He was also being very sweet and considerate since frying the turkey frees up the oven for all of the other cooking. Since he had already bought the stuff to fry the turkey, that part of the plan won't change. What I'm preparing doesn't change, either. In case you're interested, I plan to prepare a sweet potato casserole, a cornbread pudding, a key lime pie, and a chocolate pecan pie. I made a couple of those recipes last year, but the other two are new, so we will see how they turn out.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving dinner? Are you hosting, or are you visiting? If you are hosting, are you only having family over, or have you invited friends, too?

What a fun time of year this is!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is Your Husband Happy with his Wife?

Yesterday morning, we sang the hymn "Blest the Man That Fears Jehovah," and the second verse spoke to me. Here it is:
In thy wife thou shalt have gladness,
She shall fill thy home with good,
Happy in her loving service
And the joys of motherhood.
It reminds me of Proverbs 18:22, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord." I started wondering how I am doing: do I fill John's house with good? Do I make him happy? Am I happy with my daily chores? Do I find motherhood joyful? I will have to ask him.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you. You can read the rest of words to the hymn here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Love and My Children

Sarah Beth and I had this conversation yesterday, and it's pretty typical.

SB: I love animal crackers.
Me: Do you love Daniel?
SB: Yes.
Me: Do you love Daddy?
SB: Yes.
Me: Do you love pink?
SB: Yes.
Me: Do you love Grammy?
SB: Yes.
Me: Do you love Mommy?
SB: No.

Sarah Beth always says, "No," when she is asked if she loves me. I know that she does love me, so it doesn't hurt my feelings. I do think it's funny, although I don't let her see that. It bothers John, though, so he is working with her.

Last night, I decided to give Daniel the same "test." He doesn't say "yes" or "no" in response to questions; he nods or shakes his head and says "uh huh" (yes) or "uh uh" (no). We don't think he really understands yet, but he answers appropriately most of the time. Anyway, here is the conversation.

Me: Do you love Mommy?
D: uh huh
Me: Do you love Daddy?
D: loooooong pause
Me: Do you love Daddy?
D: uh huh (very quietly, almost like he didn't want to admit it)

Have you had a similar "problem" with any of your children? Sarah Beth obviously favors her Daddy, and Daniel obviously favors his Mommy. We have decided that, as soon as Baby Sister is born, we are going to family counseling to try to correct her "problem" before it starts.

I'm just kidding. I think it's fairly common for there to be a special bond between a daddy and his daughter and between a mommy and her son. That's why the two phrases "daddy's girl" and "momma's boy" exist.

Do any of your children prefer you or your spouse? What do you do about it? Or did it just go away by itself? I figure that one day Sarah Beth will discover that she does in fact love me, and one day (in the distant future) she will even come to appreciate me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Motivation of Discipline

I've been thinking about discipline lately, the discipline of getting things done in a timely manner, not the discipline of my children. Mrs. Darling had a good post last week about it at the same time I was thinking of writing one. However, I have just now gotten around to the actual writing of the post. I guess that's a lack of discipline, or maybe I can blame it on the fact that I'm too disciplined in getting other things done. I think I'll let you choose.

When I've read books about becoming more organized, the authors always point out that you have to have a reason behind getting organized. You don't want to get more organized just to be more organized; you will probably fail because your motivation is not good enough to encourage you. Anyway, I've realized that discipline is similar: there needs to be a good, underlying reason behind increasing discipline. Do you want to arrive places five minutes before the activities start instead of being late? Do you want to have your husband's work clothes clean for him before he needs them? Do you want to make only one trip to the grocery store a week, saving time and money? These are just a few of my motivators. But I've come up with a new one lately: my Christmas stars.

The pattern for my Christmas stars is fairly simple, but it is complicated enough that I cannot work on it when my children are around. It takes about ten minutes to make each motif, and the red one I'm working on now has 151 motifs plus a border, so you can see there is a lot of work involved. And I have a deadline; it's no good getting these things done on December 26.

About a month ago, I started making some changes to free up more time for me to crochet. I started setting my alarm clock a little earlier, so I can get my shower and have my quiet time before the children get up instead of during nap time. I was unable to do this earlier, I confess, because I felt so poorly during my first trimester that I just couldn't get out of bed without the extra motivation of a child awake. I used to wait to fold clothes during nap time, but now I try to get them done when my children are otherwise occupied, or as soon as they come out of the dryer. I also limit my time on the computer. I was doing this already when my children were around, but now I keep an eye on the time during nap time, too, so I don't "waste" too much time surfing. Little changes like these give me so much more time in the afternoon and at night after Daniel and Sarah Beth are in bed that I am able to get a lot of crocheting done.

Because it is taking so long to get these stars done, I think I will have formed a couple of new, good habits. (Don't they say it takes 30 days or six weeks to form a new habit?) I'm excited about this because I am not nearly as disciplined (or organized) as I would like to be. I've decided, though, that it is a work in progress; it is not something to be accomplished all at once.

I'm curious: what motivates you to increase your level of organization and/or discipline?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I finally finished the white star last week. I'm sorry I don't have a picture, but you'll have to wait until the whole project is finished. Here is what I have accomplished so far on the red star. When it is finished, it will have 151 motifs; right now, it has 51, so I'm about a third of the way done. Of course, when I do complete it, I still have the green star that needs to be done. It's a good thing that I enjoy working on this project, isn't it?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: Family Driven Faith

Did you know that 70 - 88% of Christian teenagers leave the church by their second year in college? Does that number astound you like it does me? If you are concerned with this statistic, I recommend that you read Family Drive Faith - Doing What it Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters who Walk with God by Voddie Baucham.

When John and I heard Voddie Baucham talk at the conference we went to this summer, we were impressed and immediately bought one of his books. Finally, I have gotten around to reading it; there are so many good books that I want to read. (You should see the stacks of books I have that are waiting to be read.)

Since an alarming amount of our young people are leaving the church, Baucham addresses this issue with ways that we as parents can help keep our children in the church. He says that a multi-generational approach is needed. Instead of tasking the church with teaching our children about religious matters, we need to do it ourselves. It is our responsibility to teach our children while the church plays a supporting role. Many people and many churches have these roles reversed.

I really enjoyed this book, and I was convicted at several points by it. Thankfully, our children are still young, so we have time to implement some things. If you have children, I recommend that you read this book.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WIP Wednesday

As you can see, I have been working very hard to get this Christmas star completed. As soon as I do, I have two more stars (thankfully, smaller ones) to finish this project. Will I get it done before Christmas? I think so. Will I get it done by the end of this month? I doubt it. In case you are wondering, this star has 217 individual motifs, or, at least, it will when I finish it. I usually get about seven or eight done a day, so you can see how slow a process it is. However, when I finally do finish it, it will be a lovely centerpiece for my dining room table for years and years and years and years.... I have to admit that I am pretty proud of how this thing is turning out.

To see more works in progress, or to add your own, head over to the Place of H.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Chicken and Casseroles

I tried something new last week, and I thought I would share it with you because you might find it helpful, too. I love chicken casseroles, but I hate dealing with a raw, whole chicken. I complain about it every time, and John always asks me why I do it. Why do I do it? I put up with the mess and disgusting-ness of a raw, whole chicken because it is the most economical way to buy chicken. I thought my only other option was boneless, skinless chicken breasts which are not such a good investment for a casserole.

Then I read something (I forgot where) about using split chicken breasts. What a great idea! And I tried it out last week. They typically go on sale here for $0.99 per pounds as compared with $0.79 per pound for a whole chicken. For twenty extra cents per pound, I feel like I get more meat. I know I get more time because it takes less time to cook and to debone the chicken. And those of you who have deboned a chicken know how much easier it is to get the breast meat off the bone than all of the other meat. For me, it's worth a little extra money for all of these advantages.

I hate to admit it, but we don't have casseroles very often because I'm too lazy to deal with a whole chicken. I think that will change now. I have been stocking up on split chicken breasts lately because I plan to stock my freezer with lots of casseroles before this baby is born. With three little ones on my hands, I think I will be very happy I did that.

By the way, I don't have any pictures because you know what raw chicken looks like. You also know what cooked chicken looks like.

For more kitchen tips, head over to Tammy's Recipes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Aliens Among Us?

I have kind of a weird topic for my post today, but since it is my blog, I get to do with it whatever I want. Right?

On the radio this morning, I heard them talking about aliens and the likelihood that there are some living among us already. Yes, I am talking about outer-space-type aliens. As you may or may not know, I like the science fiction kind of thing. And I'm curious: what do you think? Do you think there is life on other planets? Do you think they have discovered us? Do you think they have actually come to live among us? Do you think the discovery of aliens would affect your religious beliefs at all?

Do you want my thoughts? I don't know. I don't know if there is life on other planets, but I think it would be neat if there were. However, since I believe that God created everything at once (in six days, of course), I think these aliens would be at a similar technological stage as we are, meaning that they wouldn't be able to come find us. If they are somehow more advanced and have found us, I still don't know. Is the scenario like the one out of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy series where only Earth fell and the other planets still live in "Eden?" Or is it more like a book my dad received to edit when I was in high school (and I don't know if it was ever published) and let me read which had the premise that all peoples fell throughout the universe and that God sent Jesus to all the planets at the same time. (He is God, so it is possible.) Either way, I don't see any problems between my Bible and the existence of aliens.

However, I have to admit that if an alien just showed up one day, claiming to want to help us, I would be skeptical. I've seen too many movies and read too many books about these type of aliens who end up serving their own purposes not ours. But of course, that was all fiction, wasn't it?

What about you? I really am curious as to what you think. Am I alone in my conclusions?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I have been working very hard on my Christmas stars, and this is what I have accomplished so far. I have the main body of the white star done, along with one complete point of the star and most of the second point. I have been crocheting almost exclusively on this project because I hope to get it done by the end of the month for decorating purposes. In case you have forgotten, there are two more, smaller stars part of this project, too: a red one and a green one. The diameter of the center circle is about 15 inches.

I have not crocheted a single stitch on my pink, basket weave blanket, but I have plenty of time to finish it before Baby Sister comes.

For more works in progress, or to add your own, head over to the Place of H.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Pictures

I know that some of my readers don't "do" Halloween, and at the risk of offending you, I thought I would show you some pictures of our first Halloween. Yes, this is the first Halloween that we dressed up the children and took them trick or treating. John decided Friday night that we should do this, so we went shopping early Saturday morning for costumes. The selection wasn't very good, as you might imagine, but at least the costumes were on sale.

Poor Daniel got to be a piece of candy corn. We hope this doesn't scar him for life.

Sarah Beth loved this dress. She is not exactly sure what a princess is, but it was enough that the dress was pink and came with a headband.

John didn't keep them out long, but they sure did enjoy the couple of pieces of candy we let them have when they got home. Our poor children don't get candy very often.

How was your Halloween?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pictures from Our Trip to St. Louis

As I promised earlier, here are some pictures from our trip to St. Louis this past weekend.

Here is Sarah Beth playing with Uncle Bob while Aunt Charlene watches. We're not exactly sure what the relationship is between our children and John's father's cousins, so we just simplified things by calling them "aunt" and "uncle."

Daniel got Uncle Ray to read to him while Sarah Beth played with Aunt Charlene.

Here is another picture of Daniel and Uncle Ray. In the background you can see the mess we brought to St. Louis with us. Do your children do that, too?

There was a park near Charlene and Bob's house that we played at one morning.

Do you see those leaves on the ground behind Daniel? We saw some beautiful fall foliage on our trip. That may not be a big deal to some of you, but we are so far south that we mostly have pine trees which don't change color. There are very few trees in our area that actually change color so our fall doesn't look very fall-ish.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Early, Easy Christmas Presents

If you are looking for some easy, thoughtful Christmas presents, I have a couple of suggestions for you.

My good, blogging friend Marva sells a variety of mixes at this time of year. I ordered a few last year, and they were absolutely delicious. I just placed my order for this year, but I ordered more because we enjoyed them so much last year. You can check them out at Marva's Marvelous Mixes. Meals and desserts just don't get much easier than when they come from mixes.

Another of my blogging friends Sasha sews handbags, purses, and aprons. I have ordered a couple of things from her as well, and I have been delighted with them. She has her own etsy shop which you can find at Sasha Sews. You need to check her things out because there are some really cute ones there.

On a totally different note, did you notice that I now only have 99 days left until my due date? I'm in the double digits now! And I bet the time will fly by with the holidays coming up.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WIP Wednesday

While we were on our trip to St. Louis this past weekend, I took this blanket to work on. I was able to get a lot done while we were driving and while Daniel was napping back at the hotel. I don't really need to have it done until "Baby Sister" is born, but I would like to finish it early because I have found another pattern (or two) that I would like to start. Isn't that the way it always is?

I did not take this project with me, as it is just too complicated. The pattern itself is fairly simple (not easy, just simple) especially since the motifs "join as you go." But each motif starts with wrapping the thread around a pencil ten times, and then you have to figure out where to join each one. I thought it would be just a little too much for working on in the car. I am ready now to start adding the points onto the star which should be fun.

What projects are you working on now?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home...

Did you hear me tapping my ruby red shoes together while you read that? No? That's because I needed my special shoes yesterday when we left St. Louis, but of course, I forgot them at home. So we spent eleven hours in the car yesterday to get home. If only....

I'm sorry that I didn't tell you that we were going out of town, but I took some advice from Kim Komando. She says that you shouldn't publish information like that on the internet because would-be thieves might be reading your blog, too, and that would let them know you were out of town.

We left Thursday morning early to travel to St. Louis where John has some family. (Are you paying attention because how he's related is a little complicated?) John's father's cousin Charlene lives just outside of St. Louis, and her brother Ray (also John's father's cousin) flew in from Phoenix, so it was a sort of family reunion. Charlene is the Smith* family historian, and Daniel is the last Smith*, so we wanted to gather what information we could so it could be passed down with the family name. John brought home a lot of copies of old photographs, and he now has information going back as far as his great-great grandfather.

We had a great time visiting with family that I had never met and that John hadn't seen in years. John hadn't seen Charlene and her husband since 15 years ago, and he hadn't seen Ray since he was seven years old. There was a lot of catching up to do. We also met some of Charlene's children which was nice. Since the purpose of our visit was spending time with relatives, that's what we did. We didn't sightsee at all, and I did not take that picture I posted yesterday. (I shamelessly borrowed it from some other site on the internet.) John did take some family pictures, and hopefully I can upload some of those later this week after he downloads them from the camera.

We drove back yesterday and arrived home about 7:30. We ate supper and tossed Sarah Beth and Daniel in bed. They travelled great; they really couldn't have been better. Even with the interruptions of their schedules, they were just as sweet as they could be. I am so glad that we're not traveling back today because it is raining cats and dogs now.

How was your weekend? Did I miss anything?

*Smith is not our real family name.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kackleberry Farm

Today some friends and I took our children to a local farm called Kackleberry Farm. I don't know if it is actually a true working farm or not, but they open it up in the fall with all kinds of fun activities for children. We had a great time until they kicked us out because they were closing. I took some pictures for you so you can join the fun...kind of.

Sarah Beth had a great time on their go-carts. I don't know if you can see it or not, but she had to pedal this four-wheeler around the track. Look at that smile paired with determination!

Daniel enjoyed being an obstacle on the go-cart track. Thankfully, he never got run over.

There were lots of animals the children could pet and hold. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of Sarah Beth holding the chick, but I was very proud of her for it. I was also proud of Daniel practicing being gentle for when his baby sister comes.

Daniel was very adventurous with petting the animals. Whenever the kids (the baby goats, not the children) would "baa," Daniel would respond with his own "baa." It was very cute.

Sarah Beth tends to be a little timid, so I was surprised when I saw her feeding the kids. I'm sure it helped that they are smaller than she is.

Do you have something like this close to you? I hope so because it sure was fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Book Review -- Hooked for Life

I don't think any of my readers crochet, but I enjoyed Hooked for Life, Adventures of a Crochet Zealot by Mary Beth Temple so much that I felt that I should review it, you know, just in case. This is not a book of patterns, and actually it only has two or three in it. This book contains a collection of trials and tribulations, anecdotes, foibles, etc. that are unique to those of us who crochet. I'm not exactly sure how else to describe it, but if you like to crochet, I really think you will enjoy this book. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed it so much that I just had to tell you about it even though you don't crochet (as far as I know). However, if you do read my blog and you do crochet, please, please leave a comment so that I know that I am not alone. As far as I know, I only know one other person who crochets, and it's a little lonely. Do you have a hobby like that, one where you don't know anyone else who participates?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I finally finished this blanket for "Baby Sister," as we are calling our new baby right now. I have to admit that I really enjoy working with pink. John was opposed to having anything pink for Sarah Beth, although some did sneak into the house. He has since relaxed a little bit since it's obvious that Sarah Beth's favorite color is pink, like it or not. Because of that, the only pink blanket I have for her is one that I knitted, and it didn't turn out well (because I don't knit well!).

Since it seems like I always have to be working on some baby blanket or other, I started this one last week. I've also been waiting (not so patiently) to work with this new yarn. It's very nice and will make a lovely, soft blanket for Baby Sister. It's not very big yet because I'm not working on it very much. I figure I have until the first of February to complete it. Meanwhile, I'm working on this centerpiece.

Please don't look too closely because I made a huge mistake. Honestly, I'm not sure where this thing went wrong, but there is an obvious "fix." There will be a couple of other rounds, plus two more similar but smaller patterns on top of this one, so the mistake won't show. Whew! Oh, this centerpiece will be a green star on top of a red star on top of this white one. Obviously, it is for Christmas, so I'm working hard to get it done in time. I tried to find a picture on line, but I was not successful.

What are you working on? Head over to the Place of H to join the fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Do Your Children Know Mother Goose?

I remember reading somewhere lately that children these days do not know traditional songs and poetry. I also remember thinking that was a shame. The other day, while I watched Sarah Beth look through a Mother Goose book, I realized that I am not teaching these poems to my children. If I don't do it, who will? Of course, I realize that Scripture and Catechism are much, much more important than Mother Goose, but Mother Goose is such a great way to teach rhymes. And then there are the songs that I learned as a child. My father used to sing a song about donuts; do you know it? "I ran around the corner, I ran around the block. I ran right into the bakery shop." I don't know the rest except, "He said, 'There's a hole in the nickel, and it's all the way through.' 'Aye, there's a hole in the donut, too.' Thanks for the donut, so much!"

To begin to rectify the situation, I taught Sarah Beth a song about rain this morning. I'm sure you know this one: "It's raining, it's pouring. The old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head, and he couldn't get up in the morning." Nonsensical, I know. But it's fun to sing when it's raining outside like it is today. And I plan to get Dad to write down the rest of the words to the Donut Song next time I see him. That one really has fond memories for me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Do You Have Something Like This?

I think this is the first picture I have ever taken of my alarm clock. I think about it often, especially since I'm not sleeping well these days. What is so special about this old thing? That right there is the reason that it is special: it's over twenty years old. My parents gave it to me for Christmas when I was a child, and I have used it ever since. It went with me when I went to college, had my own apartment, changed jobs and towns, moved back in with my parents, moved in with John (after we got married, of course!), and then it moved with us every time we moved. This thing even took a couple of trips with me. Can you tell that I have a special place in my heart for my alarm clock? (Granted, these days I don't have to set it because my children don't let me oversleep.) Do you see what else is so special about it? It can play tapes! I don't think I've seen another one do that.

As I thought about my very special alarm clock, I was wondering if you have anything like it in your house. Do you have something that is fairly old, not worth much, but too special to get rid of or to replace? Is it something that you continue to use even though it doesn't look as nice as it used to? If so, leave a comment. I'd love to know that I'm not the only one!

Friday, October 2, 2009

September Review of New Year's Goals

It's time for me to review my goals for the year again. Whew! I didn't think this would get so tedious.
  1. Crochet one baby blanket a month. I've done well with this goal so far this year, even with crocheting making me feel sick. I have not finished my September blanket yet because I needed to wait and see the gender of this baby. I may or may not get blankets done the rest of the months of this year; there is too much I want to get done for Christmas.
  2. Teach Sarah Beth her letters. This goal has taken a backseat for too long. I need to buckle down and get to work on accomplishing this one.
  3. Exercise. I have a walking DVD I need to pull out. I think that's the only way I will get any exercise other than my normal seventy thousand trips up and down the stairs each day.
  4. Getting up early. Since I'm feeling better now, I'm trying to get up just a few minutes earlier each day. It's nice to have those few minutes before the children wake up.
  5. Hospitality. Working on it.
  6. Writing letters. I forget about this goal until I do my review. Ugh!
How are you doing with your New Year's goals? Do you even remember what they are? I think I only remember because I review them every month!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pink or Blue?

Well, I guess you can tell from the picture above what we're having. Thankfully, the baby cooperated, and we were able to tell that she is a girl. I say "we," but I really mean the ultrasound technician because I couldn't see a thing (which maybe was the point). Sarah Beth is excited that there will be another little girl in the house wearing pink, but not her pink, and I think John just resigned himself to that fact. Daniel, well, he's pretty clueless to the fact that there's another baby coming. Poor thing.

I guess in a couple of weeks I will have John go into the attic to pull down all of Sarah Beth's old clothes so I can get them ready for this baby. Well, maybe not. We don't have a dresser for her yet, so there's nowhere to put them. In the meantime, I can start a blanket with that lovely yarn (pictured above) I bought a few weeks ago. It's been calling my name!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Yes, this picture is the same one from last week. And yes, I am still working on this baby blanket. However, I finished all of the white part today, so now we just have to wait to see what this baby is. Do I get to border this blanket in pink or blue? Hopefully, we will find out tomorrow.

I am so glad to be almost done with this blanket because I sure am tired of it. I already know what I'm going to work on next: a Christmas centerpiece doily thing that is very pretty (at least in the picture!). I cannot wait to get started! Of course, I have that lovely new yarn to play with, too, but it's pink. If this baby isn't a girl, that yarn will have to wait.

For more works in progress, or to add your own, head over to the Place of H.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another Book Review - This Time it's a Novel

I don't usually review novels on my blog. Why not? Just because. My mother recommended this one to me, and I loved it. As a matter of fact, I started it Friday evening and finished it Saturday. (You'll have to ask John if I neglected him or the children during the time I was reading.) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows tells the story through letters of a small island in the English Channel during its occupation by the Nazis in World War II. This novel takes place in 1946, immediately after the war is over. Juliet discovers this society on Guernsey and is fascinated by it, so she goes to visit. Oh, I'm not doing well describing this at all.

Guernsey Island was occupied by the Nazis in 1940. They cut the telephone and telegraph cables to the island the day before they invaded, so there was no outside news for five years. Britain was worried about itself and was not able even to try to help defend the island. A few people founded this society (you'll have to read why for yourself) which helped them with the horrors and depression during the years of the war.

I don't think I have ever said this about a book, but I guarantee that you will enjoy this one if you read it. The love and friendship among the member of this group is astounding. There are tender, sweet vignettes, and there are some horrible ones (because of the war and concentration camps).

I also want to issue an apology to the ladies who are waiting to read my mother's copy of this book. Apparently, she moved me to the top of the list and bumped you all down a spot. I'm sorry! But I am her daughter!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pregnancy Picture -- 22 Weeks

I finally look pregnant; John said so last night, and I believe him. What do you think? I also feel like I've started the "pregnancy walk." I don't think I'm waddling yet, but I do feel like my expanding belly is influencing the way I walk. Thankfully, the nausea is just about gone, I can drink milk again, and (most importantly) eat ice cream again! What is a pregnant woman to do without ice cream?

Don't forget that we will find out Thursday what we're having, that is, of course, if the baby cooperates!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book Review of Jonathan Edwards' Biography

I have been reading some biographies lately, hoping to learn more about godly men and women who did great things for the Lord. I finished A Divine Light: The Spiritual Leadership of Jonathan Edwards by David Vaughan yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Before I get into it, I would like to reiterate that I really like this series of books, Leaders in Action. The biographies are concise but written by Christians who understand their subjects much better than people who are not Christians. Honestly, I have to admit that I do not like to read books about Christians by authors who are not Christians because they just don't get it.

I found this biography of Jonathan Edwards to be inspiring. He spent twelve to thirteen hours a day studying his Bible and praying. Of course, he was a pastor and was paid to study God's Word, but he did all of this without neglecting his family or his flock. The works he produced and the theology they contain are awe-inspiring. Of course, I haven't read all of his works (or even very many), but I would like to start perusing some. There is a tremendous amount of information that could be gleaned from his works.

One of the things that struck me the most was his devotion to duty. Here is his Resolution 57: "Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." Duty has become almost a bad word in our culture: you have to do your duty whether or not you want to. It was not that way with Edwards. Duty was what you were supposed to do, yes, but you should do it willingly and cheerfully because it is God who requires it of you.

Another point that Edwards made that I appreciated was our sin. Sin is not something that we talk much about these days, and I think that is a bad thing. Without a recognition of our sin and how bad it is, we do not realize how holy God is. Without knowing how holy God is, we do not realize how much we need His mercy and His grace. This ignorance can lead to our taking for granted how much Jesus did for us on the cross.

If you are looking for something to inspire you to study Scripture more, you ought to read something about Jonathan Edwards. I recommend this book, specifically.

By the way, I am looking for another good biography to read; do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I'm still working on this baby blanket, but it now measures about 25 x 19 inches. I'm really getting tired of it, and I really want to move on to something else, so I may make this a square blanket. Of course, I have to wait until next Thursday to start edging it because that's when we find out whether we are having a boy or a girl. (After all this hype, the baby probably won't cooperate!)

I thought I would take a close up of the blanket so you can see the detail a little better. I also thought I should mention that it's a white blanket. One of my real life friends, who also reads my blog, said that she thought it was off-white. I guess you just cannot tell from the pictures. I will start mentioning the colors of my things from now on because I remember that was a problem with an earlier blanket.

For more works in progress, or to add your own, head over to the Place of H.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dallas is Here!

Congratulations to my cousin Angela!! (And her husband Dustin, too.) They had their first baby Dallas Julia last night. Head over there to see a picture and wish them all well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Disturbing News

I read something disturbing this evening in World magazine. (By the way if you don't read that magazine, you should...and you can free at its website.) A ten-year old girl in New Hampshire is being forced to attend public school because she "needs" exposure to world views other than her mother's Christianity. Cal Thomas has a commentary about this story here. And you can find more information on google but not, of course, from mainstream media.

Does this worry you as much as it does me?

WIP Wednesday -- But on Thursday

Oops! I'm a day late with this post. Oh, well. That's what happens in life, isn't it?

I am still working on this blanket, and yes, it's the same picture from last week. It now measures about 25 x 14 inches which is an improvement. This blanket seems to be working up v-e-r-y slowly, and I'm getting tired of it. Of course, to compound the problem is that I bought some new yarn last week which I'm dying to try. It is called Naturally Caron Spa, and it is made from bamboo and acrylic, and it feels lovely. It will make a wonderfully soft baby blanket. I'm sure it could be used for something else, but I don't have any other plans for it. Back to the above blanket: at the rate I'm going, I won't have it done by October 1 when we (hopefully) will find out whether we are having a boy or a girl. At that time, I will know whether to border it in pink or blue. The good thing about this blanket is that it will be nice and warm for a February baby.

For other works in progress or to add your own (a day late like me!), head over to the Place of H.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mommy-to-be Advice

As most of my readers know, my cousin Angela is pregnant with her first child. She is due on Saturday and is feeling the typical anxiety of "will this baby ever come?" Currently, she is home on bed rest, waiting, waiting, waiting....

I thought it might be fun (and I hope she thinks so) to tell her some of the things that we have learned from being mothers that she cannot read in books. There is plenty, isn't there, that the books just don't tell you about having a baby.

This one is a little gross, but it's life. When you hear your baby poop, don't jump up to change her diaper. Wait a few minutes. I cannot tell you how long it took me to learn that; so many times, as I was changing Sarah Beth, more poop came out. I would really rather not see that.

One of my friends gave me this advice: hold and rock your baby as much as you want to. When she is older, you won't be able to. Even with the second one, you won't have as much time because of the demands of the first. Enjoy your baby while she is little.

What piece of advice or words of wisdom do you have for Angela? For that matter, do you have any for me? I'm expecting, too, you know!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Halfway Point!

Today I am officially twenty weeks pregnant. I would post a picture, but I don't have one. You can see one from last week from when we were at the beach. Besides, I still don't look pregnant, at least, when I'm dressed. Boy, I can feel it, though. I don't remember being this out of breath with my other pregnancies, but we didn't have stairs at our old house, either.

Most of my symptoms have improved. The all-day sickness rears its ugly head occasionally but not all the time like it used to. I am able to drink milk again. I haven't tried orange juice yet, but I think I will buy some next week when I go to the store. I don't feel the need to drink Dr. Pepper anymore, but it sure is yummy!

I feel the baby move a lot which is fun. We can't wait to find out whether this baby is a boy or girl, but we will have to, at least until October 1. And yes, I will let you know as soon as possible.

Sarah Beth is starting to understand that there is a different baby in my belly; we're not talking about Daniel anymore. I think she is going to be a big help when this baby comes. She loves to help, and I try to encourage that spirit as much as possible.

As for Daniel, he has no idea what is coming. And he loves his mommy so much that it may be difficult for him. We'll get through it, though. I'm sure it will help having his daddy home for a week or two after the baby comes. I am at the halfway point. Twenty weeks down, twenty to go.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Year's Goals Reviewed

I have not reviewed my New Year's goals the past couple of months because I haven't felt like it. My all day sickness (as opposed to morning sickness) has kept me from attempting some of my goals such as hospitality, and it has limited some of my others like crocheting. On top of that, I haven't felt like posting anyway. Now that I am feeling better with almost no nausea (hooray!), it's time for a review, and it's time to continue working on my goals.
  1. Crochet one baby blanket a month. Somehow I have managed to keep up with that, although it is the only crocheting I have done all summer.
  2. Teach Sarah Beth her letters. We're still working on that, but she knows 16, I think, which is more than half.
  3. Exercise. I had to stop walking in my neighborhood this summer because I thought the hills were going to kill me between being pregnant and the double stroller. There is a little park nearby with a fairly flat walking circle that I may try next week.
  4. Getting up early. Nope. I've been doing good to be up before my children in just enough time to eat breakfast before having to get them up. Why don't I just eat with them? I feel like I'm going to pass out most mornings until I get something in my belly. This, too, has been getting better.
  5. Hospitality. We actually had a couple over for supper in August. Hooray! And I'm trying to figure out when to have another family over this month. My work schedule complicates things somewhat.
  6. Writing letters. I think I have written just one letter this summer. Oh, well. I don't think anyone has missed receiving a letter.
How are you doing with your New Year's goals? Do you even remember what they are? I think the only reason I do is because I review them every month!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I started this baby blanket right before we went to the beach, hoping I would be able to finish it while at the beach. Obviously, I didn't. First of all, the pattern does not work up as quickly as I thought it might, but the fabric it creates is fairly dense which will make a very warm blanket when it is completed. Secondly, I forgot to bring the second skein of yarn. I think it will take more than two, though, which is unusual for the blankets I make. Currently, this blanket measures about 25 x 9 inches. I'm not sure who I am making it for, although the baby I'm carrying is a good candidate. I think a blue or pink border will complement it nicely.

For more works in progress, or to add your own, head over to the Place of H.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

At the Beach

I know that I told you Saturday that I would post pictures of our vacation yesterday, but I just didn't get to it. I had forgotten that yesterday was Labor Day and that John would be home. We all enjoy it when John is home, but he disrupts our normal schedules. I'm sure your husbands don't do that to you, do they?

We had a great time at Fripp Island. Sarah Beth and Daniel were old enough to enjoy the sand and the tide pools at the beach, but they didn't much care for the actual ocean. I cannot say that I blame them since the waves move to get you, then they recede, taking the sand out from under your feet. Thankfully, Daniel did not eat as much sand this year as last year, although he still seemed to find it rather tasty. The weather was not as good as it could have been; three days were absolutely beautiful, but three days were cloudy and a little chilly for the beach. My parents came down for a couple of days which was a lot of fun, too. Oh, and we ate some delicious seafood while we were there. We always take advantage of fresh seafood when we can.

Daniel is trying to figure out what these things are for.

Then he realized that he didn't need them to destroy the sand compound (it wasn't much of a castle) his mommy built. We had to watch him like a hawk because, if he saw something we had built, he wanted to tear it down.

Here are a couple of pictures of Sarah Beth at the beach.

Here we all are at the beach. We were able to get a picture of all of us because my mother took it.

The house we rented looked out over one of the golf courses. There was a pond between us and the fairway, and guess what lived in the pond. Needless to say, we were not tempted to swim in the pond or even to play in what little backyard there was.

The island is teeming with deer. They really should allow some hunting or something since the deer look rather poorly.

John bought both children hats which Sarah Beth loved. She couldn't wear that hat enough, and she still can't. What's not to love about it? It's pink, and her daddy bought it for her.

Do I look pregnant in this picture? I met a woman on the beach and told her that we are expecting our third child. She said that she wondered. I figure I am at that awkward stage when people can't tell if I am pregnant or just a little chubby.

As for the rest of the 600 pictures, a lot of them are of the sunsets. John played with the different lenses of the cameras to see which did better at what.