Friday, December 31, 2010

My Favorite Posts from 2010

Since it's the end of the year, I thought I would review my favorite posts with you. You may have already read them all, but maybe you've missed one or two. Here's your chance to catch up!
What were your favorite posts this year? Mine and yours?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer


Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer is a fictional book that takes place in the near future after a series of wars that have devastated America as we know it. The American society has been transformed into the "Influentials" with their mansions and power and the "Industrials" and "Illegals" who live in shanty towns outside the city walls with absolutely no power and few possessions. This story is about Caitlynn who was genetically engineered. Because of this engineering (she is the only embryo out of thousands to have survived), she has many people hunting her. Feeling betrayed by her father, she has to flee the only world she has ever known into one she does not understand, and she is not sure that she can trust the only person wanting to help her.

I really enjoyed this book. As a little bit of a science fiction nerd, the premise behind the book intrigued me. Of course, I don't like genetic engineering, or the disparity between the people groups, but I find glimpses into possible future-scenarios fascinating and, at times, terrifying. This book is well-written, and the characters are believable and likable. I recommend this book...if you like reading such things.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What Do You Say?


We were given this handout about the Shorter Catechism in Sunday school. We are supposed to use these handouts to help our children understand the questions. As you can see, Sarah Beth likes to color them.

While she was coloring the other day, she asked me about this picture. What was the man doing with the baby? What was the oven-looking thing? (She didn't put it that way.) I didn't know what to tell her. Should I tell her the truth, that the man is going to burn the baby in the fire in order to please his false god? That seems a bit much for a four year old. Or should I "fudge" it just a little bit? Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what I told her, but it wasn't the whole truth, although I did include the fact that some people don't worship God. (She's fascinated by that. "Why don't they?" she keeps asking.)

Oh, I want to protect my children. I want to keep their childish innocence intact and not let it be disrupted by the evil things of this world. There are stores that I stay away from at Halloween because of the evil displays they have; I don't want my children exposed to such things.

But this world is filled with evil. The intents of my heart are oftentimes evil. At what point are children old enough? For some things, I know that I am not old enough; I don't want to see those things or be exposed to them.

Yet, there is evil in our world. Like it or not, we are all exposed to it. Even the Bible stories that we teach our children have disturbing parts to them. We like to use the story of Noah's ark as a delightful children's story because of the animals. But it's not a delightful story. God destroyed the whole world and everyone in it except for the select few (the chosen) on the ark. The whole world...that's not a nice image, but it's true.

What about Jonah and the whale? My children love that story. But it's not a great "children's" story, either, as Jonah is eaten by a whale. Alive! And God planned to destroy the city of Nineveh, killing everyone there, if they didn't repent. Children's story?

I know that we cannot and should not protect our children from every bad thing in our world. But what would you say to your child if he asked you about that picture?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: On This Day in Christian History by Robert Morgan


In On This Day in Christian History, Robert Morgan compiles noteworthy events in the history of Christianity based on the dates they occurred. Each summary is about a page long and tells an interesting anecdote from one of Christianity's heroes.

This book makes a nice addition to a daily devotion. Each story is a great starting point; you can do further research and reading on the ones that interest you. If anything, the summaries are too short, leaving the reader yearning for more. I do, however, have a serious "bone to pick" with Morgan about this book; the Bible references on each page are taken from the Contemporary English Version which, in my opinion, is a poor translation. Other than that, the book is fun to read as you learn more about our Christian history.

While my opinions are my own, I want to thank BookSneeze for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Pictures

Waiting to open presents. Rachel was still in bed, and we didn't wait for her. Poor thing!

Daniel got snow for his birthday, and Sarah Beth got pink clouds for Christmas.

Oh, boy! Christmas!

We hosted my family for Christmas dinner this year. There are a bunch of us: nine adults and eleven children. A little chaotic, but a lot of fun!

"I can't believe I'm getting this!"

My sister-in-law being silly. (I guess I was, too.)

Playing with the cousins. Thankfully, the weather wasn't too bad for the children to play outside.

Do you think Sarah Beth was having a good time?

After everybody left, and we had a light supper, we put together some puzzles Sarah Beth and Daniel received. They love puzzles. Daniel is concentrating hard!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world! The Lord is Come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav'n and nature sing, And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns:
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and flood, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love, And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My New Floor Cleaner

I just love my new floor cleaner! Let me count the ways:
  • She's self-propelled; no more pushing a mop and broom for me!
  • She buffs the floor as she sweeps. That army crawl does amazing things on my floor!
  • Don't forget about the suction. Anything and everything that she finds on the floor goes into her mouth. I don't even need a dust pan anymore!
  • Last, but certainly not least, she's awfully cute.
How do you keep your floors clean? You really ought to get one of these!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Who I'm Not Buying Christmas Gifts For

(To be grammatically correct, the title of this post really should be: "For Whom I'm Not Buying Christmas Gifts. I know that, but it sounds kind of funny, don't you think?)

Buying gifts for people at Christmas can get expensive. It seems like you have to buy something for everyone, and it can be hard to find the perfect gift for each and every person on your list. We have a secret: we don't buy gifts for many people. It saves a lot (a lot) of time, money, and aggravation.

It is actually easier for me to list the people for whom I do buy gifts than those I don't. I buy gifts for John, and we buy gifts for our children and three of my in-town nieces and nephews. That's it. How do we get away with it? Why do we not buy gifts for my parents, siblings, and the rest of my nieces and nephews?
  • My parents do not need anything. They do not even want much, and what they do want, they buy for themselves. Since there is nothing they need or want, we make a donation to their choice of ministry in their names. This gift makes them happy, and it helps out a worthy ministry. (I do have a small gift for each of them to open, however. Shhh! Don't tell!) While it doesn't save us much money, it saves a lot of time and aggravation.
  • All of my siblings and our spouses used to buy gifts for everyone else, and that got expensive since I have two brothers and a sister. We decided to draw names, and that worked well...for a few years. One year when John and my brother-in-law exchanged gift cards to the same store, we decided it had gotten a little ridiculous. Then we started playing the "White Elephant" (aka "Dirty Santa") game. We just quit doing that a couple of years ago, and I'm not sure why...but it's kind of nice not to worry about it.
  • There are a bunch of nieces and nephews in our family (eleven to be exact), and again it's expensive to buy gifts for all of them. So we draw names. How does that work since John and I have three children but my younger brother has two? Well, you draw the number of names that you have children. We draw three, and my brother's family draws two. The children still get gifts, and we still have the fun of picking presents out, but it's limited. And let's be honest; they don't really need a toy from every aunt and uncle.
Do you do anything similar to cut costs for Christmas present-buying? What other methods do you use?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Links of Interest

Here are some links I think you might find interesting:
What interesting sites have you found this week?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baking Cookies

Well, we finally got around to baking those cookies I've been telling you about all week. Boy, are they good, too. And worth the extra effort to find the correct Hershey's Kisses which are, by the way, Mint Truffles, and they are very good all by themselves!

Here are my little helpers enjoying the fruit their labors.


You should have seen how much chocolate they had on their faces after licking the spoon and the paddle from the mixer. I wish I had taken a picture!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

National Bill of Rights Day

Did you know that today is National Bill of Rights Day? I didn't know that, either, until I read an editorial about it in today's newspaper. Isn't it a shame that this important date has been forgotten? The Bill of Rights protect us from the government, and as we forget about them, we lose more and more of our Constitutionally-protected freedoms. Just in case you have forgotten what they are, here is a brief summary of the first ten amendments to our Constitution.
  • The First Amendment guarantees our freedoms of religion, speech and the press, the ability to assemble, and the right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances."
  • The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to own guns.
  • The Third Amendment guarantees that we won't have to billet soldiers in our own homes.
  • The Fourth Amendments keeps us safe from "unreasonable searches."
  • The Fifth Amendment spells out our rights to justice and keeps the government from stealing our property.
  • The Sixth Amendment gives us the right to a "speedy and public trial."
  • The Seventh Amendment gives us the right to be tried by a jury in any civil case amounting to more than $20.
  • The Eighth Amendment protects us from "cruel and unusual punishment."
  • The Ninth Amendment says that we have more rights than just those listed in the Bill of Rights and protects us from infringement of them.
  • The Tenth Amendment limits the power of the federal government.
I'm not sure how best to celebrate this date, but I won't let it slip up on me again.

For more information, head over to Bill of Rights Day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advice Sought: Baking with Children

Isn't this a wonderful time of year to do some baking? It's nice and cold outside, so the hot oven actually feels good (as opposed to the middle of summer). If you make too many cookies or too much cake, well, it's Christmastime, and you're expected to share.

I'm struggling, however, with baking with children underfoot. My kitchen is fairly small (although I've had smaller), and there is not room for both of my older children to pull up chairs to the counter. I guess they could share a chair, but I have a feeling that one child would accidentally (of course!) push the other one off. I usually wait until nap time and let Sarah Beth help me before her playtime in her room. I feel like poor Daniel doesn't get to help (or lick spoons).

What do you do? Do you bake during nap time or after your children's bedtime? Do you send your children to a different part of the house while you bake? What about when you make things like fudge on the stove? Or do you hope that a DVD will be enough of a distraction? How do you get your Christmas baking done?

Please help because I have some scrumptious-looking cookies that I want to bake this week.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Meme

Here is a fun Christmas meme I found at It's Almost Naptime. Feel free to play along!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate, definitely. Honestly, I've never even had egg nog. (It just sounds gross.)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa does not come to our house, so all the presents get wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
This dilemma was huge when John and I got married. I grew up with small, white lights, and he grew up with BIG, colored lights. We compromised with small, colored lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope. Don't need to.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually, the week before Christmas, however, we bought and decorated our tree last Saturday.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
I don't really have a favorite, but I love that there is a great excuse this time of year to make cookies and pies. Yum!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
I don't really have a favorite; they were all good but not spectacular. (I hope that doesn't sound like I'm complaining because I'm not.) However, my Granny used to make all kinds of candy when we came to visit for Thanksgiving and Christmas: buckeyes (or peanut butter balls), turtles, Mississippi mud, etc.. It was wonderful to walk through the dining room and eat a piece or two without my parents saying I had had enough.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I never believed in Santa Claus. I have a brother and sister who are almost five years older than I am. They probably spoiled it for me, although I really don't know. I don't feel like I missed anything, though.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
What a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
We just put lights and ornaments on it. How do you do it?

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love, Love, Love it! Since we live in the Deep South, we never get it. It's always a holiday (literally!) when we get some.

Funny story: The only white Christmas I have ever had was in Jacksonville, Fl., visiting my grandparents. But it wasn't snow; it was ice.

12. Can you ice skate?
I doubt it since I've only tried once and that was in high school.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I'm not sure what my favorite was, but one of my favorites was a clock-radio (remember those?) that my parents gave me when I was about twelve. The neat thing about it was that it played tapes. Oh, I loved that present! As a matter of fact, I still have it. Thanks to my trusty (old!) clock-radio, I know what it is in the middle of the night and I'm never late to work or wherever else I'm heading for the day.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
The most important thing is that Jesus Christ gave up the splendors of heaven for us (for me!) and came down to earth as a lowly, poor baby. Isn't that amazing?!

Of course, I also enjoy spending time with family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
I think I have a new favorite: Grasshopper Pie. Yum!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Opening presents. Is that bad? Maybe we need to start some traditions.

17. What tops your tree?
Honestly, we have an angel for the top of our tree, but I really need to replace it. Angels aren't pretty tree-topping things; they are scary creatures. Whenever they appeared to men, the first words they uttered were, "Don't be afraid."

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
While I enjoy both, I have to admit that I prefer receiving. It's my love language.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
"Joy to the World!"

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
Yum.

21 Favorite Christmas Show?
No doubt about it, my favorite show is A Christmas Story. "Don't shoot your eye out!"


22. Saddest Christmas Song?
Christmas should be a happy, joyful time because Christ came to be with us. Immanuel! If pressed, however, I guess I would have to say "Mary Did You Know?," but I don't much care for that song...probably because it's sad.

Let me know if you play along with this meme so I can head over and read yours, too.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Links of Interest

I have read some articles and posts lately that I thought you might be interested in. Some are fun; some are not. Enjoy...or not, as the case may be.
I haven't done a "linky" post like this one before; let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feeling (Un)Welcome

Last night, our family went to a church Christmas party for dinner. My children and I got there a few minutes early, but I was still one of the last ones to arrive. John was coming, too, but he was later than I was. When I got there with my hands full (diaper bag, purse, Floppy Seat, Rachel), everyone was already seated, and there was just one place for me and the children - an empty table. That's where we sat, waiting for John. A few people smiled in welcome, but only one person came to greet us - our pastor. And no one thought to come help a mother with full hands.

Sarah Beth and Daniel climbed into their seats, and finally a waitress brought me a high chair for Rachel. As I sat there by myself, feeding Rachel her supper, I couldn't help but think, "I could be doing this at home." John finally arrived, and then another couple (who was later than we were) came and sat with us. They don't know it, but this couple redeemed the whole party for me.

I don't write this post looking for sympathy. I write it to remind you (and me!) that we need to be on the lookout this season (and always) for people who need some kindness. There are people in our churches and at our social functions who feel lonely and left out. As a family of believers, this should not be.

I am thankful that this happened to me last night because I hope that the next time I am in a similar situation, but on the other side, I remember what it's like to be alone. I want to remember so that I pick myself up out of my comfortable chair, my familiar setting, and my encouraging conversation, and go make someone else feel welcome. How hard is that? And yet how meaningful?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Booking It: December 2010 Edition


Jessica at Life as Mom wants us to list all the books we read this year; unfortunately, I can't remember all the books I read. Oh, well. Here are the ones I read this past month.
  • By Hook or By Crook by Betty Hechtman is a light, easy read - maybe a little too light. But I enjoy reading mysteries about women who crochet even if they're not all that well-written. (You can read my review of the second in the series here, if you want to know a little more.)
  • These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon is the third in the Mitford series, and it was another great read. (For more information, you can read my reviews of the first two in the Mitford series here and here.)
  • I read You Can't Make Me (But I Can be Persuaded) by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias because I have a strong-willed child, and I was looking for some help. This book was a good choice. Tobias explains why strong-willed children don't always obey authority as they should. Sometimes they're being creative, sometimes stubborn. John and I certainly know that the threat of discipline (and the discipline itself) do not always encourage correct behavior. That's when the creativity comes into play. Sometimes you have to be a little creative in order to get your strong-willed child to do the right thing. Of course, you cannot let disobedience go without being unpunished, but Tobias shows you how to encourage your child's obedience without letting him run all over you.
I hope that Jessica continues "Booking It" next year. I plan to hop on board in the beginning instead of waiting until the year is half over.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Words Children Use

The other morning when I got him out of bed, Daniel said, "It's not dark outside anymore." I was surprised and smiled to myself at his use of the word "anymore." It's a fairly big word for a little boy, and he used it correctly.

Later, Sarah Beth wanted me to come play with her in her room because she was "lonely." Again, I chuckled to myself at her use of the word "lonely" because what does my four year old child know of loneliness?

As I thought more about it, I wondered if God smiles indulgently at us, too, as we use words like "love." "I love my husband." "I love my children." Do we really know what love is? Consider what love means to God: sacrifice. God the Father sacrificed His Son. God the Son sacrificed His life. For us. For me.

Do we really know what love is? Do we really practice it? What do you think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

I have been working on this vest for a while now, and I am so excited to be finished with it finally (except for the buttons), I just had to share my joy with you! This project is the first one I have done for myself since my Christmas stars last year.

The pattern for this vest was fairly difficult which made it fun to work on...except when it was aggravating! I don't know how many gauge swatches I made, and I can't tell you how many rows I pulled out because of a mistake I made. I wanted this sweater to be as close to perfect as possible since I spent so much time (and money!) on it. Of course, there are still some mistakes, but I'm not pointing them out!

I am amazed at how warm this vest is, considering the loose weave of the pattern. I shouldn't be surprised, though, since I used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn to make it. As the name implies, it has cashmere and merino wool in it. Yum!

I want to warn those of you who know actually know me: you're likely to see this sweater a lot. Since I spent so much time on it, and since I like it so much, I plan to wear it every, single time that you see me. Okay, maybe not every, single time, but often. I hope you don't mind, but if you do, tough!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmastime Generosity: A Good Thing?

What is it about this time of year that makes us feel more generous? Fishmama at Life as Mom has a list of ways we can demonstrate God's love to to others during the Christmas season. Doesn't it make us feel good to do things for others?

While these random acts of kindness are great, why should we do them during this season? I mean, what is so special about Christmastime? If these acts of kindness and generosity are good at this time of year, aren't they good all year long? I've read through the Bible a few times, and I haven't come across any command to give more freely or to love one's neighbor more during a certain time of the year.

Of course, I do not want to discourage you from doing good this month. In fact, I want to encourage you to act upon these suggestions. However, I do want to challenge you to continue these good deeds into January and February and March and...you get the idea. What's good in December is still good in July.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amazing, Pollution-Eating Trees

Scientists studying deciduous trees have discovered that some actually absorb ozone-causing pollutants. Isn't that amazing? God designed these trees to combat the very pollution we create. And He did this long, long before there was any pollution.

While I don't buy into the whole "global warming" myth, I think this article shows how amazing our Creator is -- and His forethought. Environmentalists would like us to believe that we are destroying our world, but it seems that God has everything in His capable hands. (Of course, I think we need to be good stewards and take care of this planet He has given us, but that doesn't mean that we need destroy all industry because of pollution.)

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Silly Children!






Do your children do silly things like this?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hunting with Daddy

John took Sarah Beth hunting this weekend. It was the first time he was able to convince her that it would be a fun thing for them to do. (She's afraid of loud noises.) The hunting camp to which John belongs has frequent dog hunts. John thought that would be good for him and Sarah Beth because she wouldn't have to be quiet and sit still. People with dogs chase deer toward people who then shoot the deer.

Trying on her hunting outfit the night before.

Since the hunt started at 6:00 a.m., John and Sarah Beth got up at 4:00 so they could get there a little early. It was cold Saturday morning, too, but John said that Sarah Beth did great. They didn't see any deer, but they had a good time. They hope to be able to do it again soon.

She was pretty cold until Daddy gave her his jacket to wear. Do you see the pink ear muffs? She refused to go unless she had something to protect her from the loud noises.

Meanwhile, I had a quiet morning with Daniel and Rachel. I am amazed at how much different it is when just one child is missing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ten Month Update

Rachel turns ten months old today. While I wasn't planning an update again so soon, there are some new developments that I would like to tell you about. Besides, I know that you love seeing her adorable, little self as much as I enjoy showing it to you!
  • Rachel is learning to drink from a sippy cup. She doesn't quite "get" it yet, but I know that it's just a matter of time.
  • She still rolls everywhere! The other day she rolled from our living room, down the hall, into our dining room. She is starting to army crawl a little bit, but mostly she still rolls.
  • She has six teeth: four on the top and two on the bottom, which is why...
I'm not sure how she ended up under the bed.
  • We are in the process of weaning. I just got tired of being bitten (it hurts!), and it certainly won't hurt her any to get formula for a couple of months. When I realized that I didn't have to pump anymore (for John to give her while I'm at work), it was such a huge relief.
  • She eats almost anything I feed her. Actually, I can't think of anything that Rachel won't eat.
  • Rachel loves to laugh, more so than either Daniel or Sarah Beth did at her age. And we love making her laugh! She has a deep, belly-laugh that makes us laugh with her.
What a sweet, happy baby! It's hard to believe that she will be a year old in just two short months. Where did the time go?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

While I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, I want to leave you with this hymn.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown, unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest , grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take his harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away;
Give his angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store in his garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come to thy final harvest home;
Gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin;
There for ever purified, in the presence to abide;
Come, with all thine angels, come, raise the glorious harvest home.

words by Henry Alford

Now I'm off to do some baking!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things I'm Thankful For

Since today is the day before Thanksgiving, I thought I would give you a list of the things I am thankful for. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but I think you'll get the idea.
  • My salvation. It's hard to believe that God chose me (why me?) before time began without my having done anything to deserve it.
  • My wonderful husband. No, John isn't perfect, but God designed him for me, and I cannot imagine life without him.
  • My sweet children. Sarah Beth, Daniel, and Rachel are amazing gifts from God, and I cannot thank Him enough for them.
  • This great country that we live in. Even though there are many things wrong with our country, and I truly believe that we're headed in the wrong direction, it is still the best place on earth to live.
  • My extended family who love and support my immediate family and me.
Then there are the myriad of the little things for which I am extremely grateful, but also which I take for granted: hot water, a dishwasher, a washer and dryer, plenty of clothes, etc.; you get the gist!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Inflation Tracking

I started watching the Glenn Beck show recently. Both my father and my mother-in-law suggested, at different times, that we start watching this show, and when that happens, well, I figure I should listen.

While watching his show last week, Beck briefly talked about a website As a Mom which calls itself a "Sisterhood of Mommy Patriots." That name got my attention. Anyway, as (I hope) you know, food prices are increasing, and this website is tracking that. They are looking for volunteers to help track prices at their local grocery stores. They haven't started yet, but I thought I would let you know in case you were interested in participating.

While the government may tell us that inflation is not occurring, I disagree. With this tool, I can help monitor the increases in price as they happen. I think it will be informative to see how prices rise all over the country.

If you would like to participate, head over to As a Mom.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Plans Updated

Last week, I realized that this week was Thanksgiving, and that I had no idea what was going to happen. It's amazing what one week can do, isn't it?

John is going to fry a turkey again this year. Yum! I can't wait!! And it's nice that I don't have to worry about the turkey, and it's not filling up my oven while I'm trying to prepare side dishes.

While I was looking for a recipe that I found in Taste of Home a while ago (and lost), I found this one for Grasshopper Pie. I love the combination of chocolate and mint, so I think I'll make this pie...even if I'm the only one to eat it. (Wouldn't that be nice?!!) I did find the recipe for honey muffins that I was looking for. If it's not the exact same recipe I was looking for, well, it's close enough...I hope. I plan also to make a sweet potato casserole and a green bean casserole (because you have to have something green). Typing out the menu makes me think that I am not making enough food. Maybe I'll add something or another.

I'm still not sure who will be here for Thanksgiving dinner, and I've decided not to worry about it. I know that my parents will be, and my mom will probably bring another couple of dishes.

The more I think about it, the more I think we need another pie. How about a chocolate pecan pie?

What all are you making for your Thanksgiving feast?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Silly Pictures

Yesterday, I decided to try to take some pictures of our children. We don't have any current ones of all three, and I wanted to stick some in our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes (which need to be turned in this week). I really figured it would be a disaster because, well, it usually is. However, I seemed to have picked the perfect time (and I'm not sure how that happened!).

I like this picture of Rachel.

I think it's so cute how Daniel puts his hands on his face like this when he gets tickled...but it's not conducive to a good picture. It's not a bad picture of Sarah Beth, though, and look how Rachel is looking at her silly, big brother.

This picture isn't too bad, maybe a bit too silly.

Sarah Beth wanted to try a different pose. Unfortunately, she's just not tall enough...yet.

This picture is the one I decided on. The only thing missing is Rachel's hand.

Are you wondering what phrase I used that my children thought was so hilarious? Those of you in the South will appreciate this, I think. "Piggly Wiggly."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flying Anywhere?

With all the hoopla over full-body scans versus pat-downs, I'm curious: are you flying anywhere anytime soon? I cannot decide which is worse, a naked picture or groping. I have to admit, though, that I'm glad I'm not getting on a plane in the near future. One of my nieces is getting married in a few months, and I must say that driving from Georgia to Texas sounds better than flying.

Meanwhile, "thousands of foreign nationals [are] obtaining pilot's licenses without the proper paperwork." (Read full story here.) Men like the ones who attacked our country on September 11. Do you think our government is targeting the wrong people? Maybe, just maybe?

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Theology vs. Relationship

John and I were talking last night about how we Christians sometimes get hung up on theology while forgetting its real purpose: a relationship with our Lord. We dissect words like predestination, sanctification, and justification, forgetting that we need to understand those words so that we can understand God better.

If I don't understand John (as much as I am able), I cannot have a good relationship with him. I try to learn about him and figure out why he does things the way he does so that I can get to know him better. When I know him better, I can do things to help him and please him, while avoiding things he doesn't like.

The same holds true with God. I study the Bible (and the technical terms it contains) so that I can get to know Him better. When I know Him better, I can do things that please Him and don't sadden Him. I need to understand predestination because it shows how a loving God chose me before He even created the world. I need to understand justification and total depravity because they show me Jesus Christ did all the work for my salvation which means that, thankfully, I can do nothing (NOTHING!) to lose it. Sanctification again points to a loving God who does not want, will not let, me remain as I am; I must be transformed into something better.

If I don't understand God (as much as I am able), how can I serve Him correctly? How can I keep from displeasing Him? How can I show Him that I love Him?

Do you have conversations like these with your husbands around the dinner table? Or is it just me?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Plans

Ha! Ha! Did you read that title and think that I already have our Thanksgiving plans figured out? Well, you couldn't be farther than the truth. (I guess you could be, but that topic is best left for another post.)

Yesterday, it hit me: Thanksgiving is next week! It's time to start planning! John is planning to fry another turkey (YUM!!), but I don't know what else is going on. Are we having Thanksgiving here at my house, or will my parents host it again? Which of my siblings will be there? Most importantly, what shall I make? What side dishes? What desserts? (Ooh, desserts!) Decisions, decisions!

Have you made your Thanksgiving plans yet? What are you doing? More importantly, what food are you preparing?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Message to My Sixteen Year Old Self

I picked up this meme from Everyday Mommy because it was thought provoking.

If you could send a message to your sixteen year old self, what would it be?

I would tell myself to take advantage of my mother's wisdom and experience. I wish I had learned from her then what I need to know now as a wife and mother: house cleaning, cooking, baking, meal planning, etc..

What would you like to tell your sixteen year old self?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Booking It: November Edition

This month I was able to read and finish three books. Since two of them are non-fiction, I'm a little proud of myself!


George Washington Carver: Inventor and Educator by Sam Wellman is the first I have read in this series, Heroes of the Faith, and I will look for more as I found this one to be very good. I became interested in George Washington Carver after I read a snippet about him in The Boy who Changed the World. This man led an impressive life as he made his way in the world. He was born into slavery and died as one of the most important agricultural scientists of his time. Of course, everyone knows about his work with the peanut, but I hadn't realized how necessary it was because the boll weevil was decimating the South's cash crop: cotton. This book is a great read about someone who was able to pull himself up by his own bootstraps.

A Light in the Window by Jan Karon is the second in the Mitford series about a small town Episcopalian priest. I really enjoyed the first book At Home in Mitford, and this one was just as good. I hope it doesn't take me two months to find time to read the third!



I also read Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado which has a good message of how we Christians should be helping others. You can read my full review here.





For more "Booking It" reviews, head over to Life as Mom.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are "C" "A" "N" Working?


I worked this past weekend. I wish I had a funny story or witty anecdote to share, but I don't. The oddest thing that happened was that the letters "A," "C," and "N" on my keyboard would occasionally quit working. A few minutes later, they would start working again. For the most part, it was just inconvenient, but it became more of a problem when looking for information on people with names like "Candy Anderson" (which is NOT a real name from my weekend). It only happened on my computer, and it was even a new keyboard. It had happened last month when I worked, too, with a different keyboard.

Since I don't have anything else to share, I thought I would share this link with you. One of my (pharmacist) friends shared it on facebook a while back, and I thought you might like a little picture of my world at work. I'm sorry that it's a little crude, but I didn't write it. While I don't think that you are the person the other blogger is writing about, you probably are unlucky enough to drop your prescription off right after this person does. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado


In Outlive You Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference Max Lucado tells us that God wants us to help others. As Christians, of course, we already know this. Lucado uses many stories and illustrations to make his point that one person can make a difference...in at least one other person's life. He challenges his readers at the end of the book: "None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help some one. And when we help them, we serve Jesus."

The message in this book is a good one and one I needed to hear. However, Lucado's writing style irks me. Incomplete sentences drive me nuts. And statements like "Jesus's facebook page" send chills down my back like someone is running their fingernails across a chalkboard (148). Aargh! If these kinds of things don't bother you, if you can look past them, you should read this book. I do recommend it...with these caveats because there is much we can (and should) be doing for others.

While I did receive a copy of this book from BookSneeze, my opinions are my own.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Finished Object Friday


It's nice to have something a little less weighty to post today after all of my political ones from earlier this week.

I finished this blanket last week. I made it for Daniel for Christmas. (Please don't tell him...although he has already seen it!) Since he will turn three soon and will get a "big boy" bed, I figured he needed his very own blanket. Sarah Beth totes the one I made for her last year around all the time and has even asked me for another one.

Now I have one gift to mark "completed" off my handmade Christmas list. I can't decide whether to *sigh* or yell, "hooray!"

For more Finished Objects Friday, head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Stocking Up

I'm sure you have noticed prices increasing at the grocery store recently. And they are about to increase even more. General Mills and Kraft have announced they will be raising prices on some of their products beginning November 15. (Read more here.) If you are able, you may want to start stocking up on supplies as I'm sure other manufacturers will follow suit.

Isn't this a lovely addition to our already strained economy?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Sleeping Giant Has Awakened

I have heard Glenn Beck say a couple of times that Americans tend to be late. We were late to World War I and to World War II, and we were late to other things. However, as Beck says, once we wake up and get involved, we Americans win. We don't go back to sleep, and we don't quit until we have won the victory.

Well, I just want to thank President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress for waking up the American people.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." Isoroku Yamamoto

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't Forget to Vote Today


That is, of course, if you know for whom to vote. (If you don't give me a call, and I'll let you know! J/k) Honestly though, if you don't know who to vote for, please don't vote. It doesn't help anyone for you to pick someone using "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe."

We have advance voting here in Georgia, and it's nice knowing that my little part is done.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reformation Day!

Happy Reformation Day! What a special, meaningful day this one is to those of us who are Protestants. One of my favorite hymns is "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther, and this day is perfect for sharing it.

A might fortress is our God, a Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow'r are great; and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his Name, from age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hospitality

For 't is always fair weather
When good fellows get together
With a stein* on the table and a good
song ringing clear.
(Richard Hovey - Spring)

*or maybe just a glass of iced tea

Recently, John and I have started making an effort to have people over more often; in other words, we are trying to practice hospitality. We really enjoy having others in our home, although it is added work -- which is worth it! While I know that we have a long way to go, I have come up with a few tips that I use to make having people over a little easier. (By the way, these tips are not for "fancy" entertaining; rather, I find these tips to be helpful for an informal supper together with another family.) Since we want our children to be naive about having guests over, we want to have people over often. If we are going to do something often, it needs to be as simple and easy as possible.
  • Clean house earlier in the week. If you plan to have someone over for supper on Friday night, don't wait until Friday to clean your house. Of course, you will have to do some last minute touch-ups on Friday before your guests arrive, but the deep cleaning can be done earlier in the week.
  • Don't worry about the toys. If you have children, there will be toys. Don't worry about it! If the family you invite over has children also, the toys will just come out as soon as they arrive. If your guests don't have children, they will still overlook a few toys. (If not, you probably should rethink having them over!)
  • Prepare the meal early. Again, don't wait until the last minute to prepare supper. A casserole can be made the day ahead or even earlier in the day and just cooked in the oven when it's time to eat. Crock pots are wonderful, too; I have made spaghetti at noon and stuck it in the crock pot until supper time. (Spaghetti gets better with a little age, don't you agree?!)
  • Set the table. No, not really, if your children are anything like mine. If I were to set the table before our guests arrive, my children would think it was time for supper. When they didn't get any, the fussing would start. Or they would play with the silverware. Yuck! You may not be able to set the table, but you can get the silverware, plates, and glasses out. That way, when your guests arrive and she asks if she can help, you can have her set the table, that is, of course, if you are busy with something else!
  • Have an empty dishwasher. You don't have to have it completely empty, but you go through a bunch of dishes when you have company over. You want to be able to throw everything in after your guests leave so you don't have to worry about it in the morning.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't go through your house with a fine tooth comb, trying to find every single thing that needs to be put away. Your guests likely will not notice a few things, and you will only cause yourself unnecessary anxiety. (On the other hand, it is nice to use the "excuse" of company to find homes for things that may not have them yet. Just do it before the last minute!)
What things do you do to make practicing hospitality easier? Please share! Since we are still kind of new at this thing, we can use all the help we can get.

Chari at Fresh from the Chari Tree had a good post about unexpected hospitality that you ought to read, too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Napping? Praying?

The other day as I was nursing Rachel, I closed my eyes. (As my Granny would say, I was "resting my eyes.") I knew I only had about five minutes, but I would take whatever kind of nap I could get.

When Sarah Beth saw me, she asked, "What are you doing, Mommy?"

I replied, "I'm taking a nap."

She said, "No, you're not. You're praying to God."

I said, "No, I'm napping."

She said, "No, you're praying to God."

This exchange went on a couple more times before I gave up. Let her think what she wants! I was taking a nap...which at this point was over because Rachel was done. *Sigh*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rachel's Nine Month Update


Can you believe that Rachel is already nine months old? I can't! Rachel has made a few changes since my last update.
  • Rachel has four teeth now.
  • She had her first haircut.
  • She is a little roly-poly. She rolls over and over and over. Since she isn't crawling yet, this is how she gets around.
  • She has started eating "real" food. After our first few trials where she wouldn't even open her mouth, now she can't seem to get enough.
  • I'm still nursing her five times a day, and I plan to continue this until she turns one when I will start weaning her.
  • Rachel sleeps through the night; I usually feed her between 7:00 and 7:30 pm, and she sleeps until about 7:30 a.m..
  • Rachel is finally down to two naps a day.
  • I don't know how big she is, but I take her to the doctor on Thursday. I'll let you know then.
What a joy and blessing Rachel is!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Voting Philosophies

With midterm elections next week, I thought I would take an informal poll to see what your personal philosophy of voting is. Here are the four philosophies that I have come across; if you know of another one (or two), please leave a comment! I would love to add to my list.
  1. Voting is irrational. My economics professor in college loved to throw this comment out as a discussion starter. If you think about it, he has a point. My one vote will not elect anyone. My one vote will not change any results. Since my one vote will not actually produce any results, what is the point of voting?
  2. Vote for the winner. Some people vote for whomever they think will win an election. I guess that way they can say that they voted for the guy who won.
  3. Vote your conscience. Some people vote for the person they think will do the best job in office, regardless of whether that person has any chance of winning.
  4. Hybrid voting of 2 and 3. Some people vote for the person they think will do the best job in office out of the small group of people who they think will actually win.
Where do I fit in? While I do agree somewhat with my economics professor, I still vote. It is my civic duty and a privilege. (The only opportunity to vote that I have missed since I became eligible to vote was a referendum on our state flag. Since my one vote wouldn't have changed anything, and the flag I would have voted for won anyway, my not voting was moot.)

Voting for the winner? What a lousy (and loser) way to vote.

Voting your conscience? I have the highest respect for people who chose to vote this way.

Hybrid voting? Unfortunately, I tend to fall into this group. I try to vote my conscience, but sometimes I cop out and vote for the guy I most identify with out of the group of possible winners. Sometime, as my father recently told me, you have to "hold your nose while you vote." That's what we're having to do in this election for our new Georgia governor.

What about you? How do you vote?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Compromise

Isn't compromise great? Sometimes, you have to compromise -- with your husband, your children, your parents, etc., you get the picture. Sometimes, you should compromise. And sometimes, you should stand your ground and not compromise.

Have you heard that the some of the Republicans in charge in Washington have already stated that, if they should gain majorities in the House and Senate, they still may have to compromise with Democrats? Can you believe it? Democrats never compromise with Republicans. Whenever anyone talks about "reaching across the aisle," it is always the Republicans who have to give something up. I know that the Republican party has lots of faults, but now is not the time for compromise.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baking Cookies

Last week, Sarah Beth and I made cookies. While I didn't get any pictures of our actually baking the cookies, I did get some of our decorating them.

Here are our supplies, ready to go.

Thanks to John, there is actually a picture of me on my blog!

Concentrating.

The fruits (or cookies) of our labor. The icing was runny and disappointing.

But the cookies still taste good!