Friday, September 30, 2011

Finished Object Friday


I made this baby blanket for my good, real-life friend Laura. She is pregnant with her seventh child, and I have already made her several blankets, but each baby deserves his own, don't you agree? I remembered that she really liked this blanket I made last year, so I offered to make one for her using the same pattern. These were the colors she picked: green with white peeking through. Here is a close-up so you can see the pattern a little better.


This pattern makes a nice, thick blanket which (hopefully) will be good for Laura since her winters should be a little colder than ours down here in Florida.

What have you been working on lately? Be sure to head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree and check out Finished Object Friday to see what others have been doing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rachel's Language


The other day, I was complaining about Rachel still not talking. She is twenty months old, and it is time for her to talk! (Does this post sound familiar? Like the one about her not walking?) Yes, we can get her to say, "Uh-oh," but that is the only word we can get her consistently to say. She does appear to be saying "daddy," and I think she said "done" yesterday morning when she finished breakfast. Maybe she is learning our language.

Anyway as I was complaining, I realized that Rachel may not be speaking my language, but she has taught me hers. I can tell her different fussings apart: there's the one when she has lost her bear; there's the one when she is hungry; and there's the one when she is frustrated with her brother and/or sister. Goodness! If I know her language so well, why should she learn mine?

Then my thinking progressed to God. Since we cannot understand His language, He had to learn ours. He has to talk to us in our language, or we cannot understand Him. (Of course, God did not have to learn our language because He knows everything, but you get my point.)

I am amazed at the things, spiritual lessons, that God uses my children to teach me? What about you? Does God use your children to teach you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Little Helpers

"Mommy, what can I do to help you?" Aren't those some of the most precious words you can hear from your child? Sarah Beth has recently started asking me how she can help me, and I admit that I love hearing those words.

But I think that in order to hear those words, you have to be willing for little ones to help you. And that isn't always easy. Last night, for example, as we emptied the dishwasher, I asked Sarah Beth and Daniel to help. Rachel didn't want to be left out, and she was so cute as she took one fork or spoon at a time to the silverware drawer for me to place inside it. (She's still too short to reach, and oh, how I wish I had a picture. She was so proud of herself!) It was lovely to have all of that help, but there was some confusion.

I don't know about you, but I don't like confusion. I like order and peace. Honestly, I would like to send all three of my children into the other room to play while I clean up the kitchen after meals. But that doesn't teach them to help, does it? So I let them help, and I endure the chaos because I know the time is coming when I won't have to supervise anymore. Won't that be nice?

More important than having my children help me so the household chores take less time, I want them to grow into adults who know how to do things for themselves. I don't want Sarah Beth to learn how to cook after she gets married, as I did. I don't want Daniel not to know how to clean a bathroom. I want Rachel to know how to keep her own home clean. And children learn these things by helping.

Yesterday afternoon, Sarah Beth asked if she could help me wash dishes. And I told her, "No." I wish now that I hadn't. I stifled her desire to help. I hope that she will continue to ask me to help because that is so much more pleasant than making her help.

Do you encourage your children to help you around the house? How is that going for you?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Responsibility and our Children

As you probably know, I am reading the Little House on the Prairie series to Sarah Beth right now. She loves it! And since I haven't read them before, I'm enjoying these books, also.

When we were reading On the Banks of Plum Creek, one of the scenes stuck out to me. When it was time for Mary and Laura to attend school, Ma and Pa sent them on their way. The trek was two and a half miles each way, and Mary and Laura were 7 and 5 years old, respectively. Their parents did not walk with them to show them the way. They just told them to follow the path until they got to town.

Mary and Laura had never been to town, so Pa had told them how to find the school building. On the second day, he sent money with them so they could buy their slate. They had to find the correct store and make the correct purchase. And they were such young children!

It made me wonder about how much responsibility we assign our children. I would never think of sending my children out for a two and a half mile walk. I would never send them into a store to buy something without me.

Yes, times are different now, but things were still dangerous back them. Maybe Ma and Pa didn't have to worry about kidnappers or cars, but they had to worry about packs of wolves and other dangers on the wild prairies.

All of this thinking made me wonder about how much we expect from our children. Do we expect too little? Are the times really that different? What do you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recipe Fun Friday: Vanilla Wafers



I came across a recipe for vanilla wafers a few years ago, and I thought, "What a great idea! If I can make my own, they will be more healthful, and I won't have to buy any." Well, I never got around to making them...until Wednesday. (By that time, I had to find a new recipe because I had lost the old one.)

All three of my children crowded together on one chair to "help." It was Rachel's first time "helping."

Sarah Beth and Daniel had a great time helping me make these cookies, and Rachel enjoyed being on the chair just like her big brother and sister. We all enjoyed eating these cookies. And boy! are they good! If you decide to make them, however, be sure to double the recipe. I was only able to get thirty cookies from this recipe, and that won't last us very long, especially since these cookies are so delicious.

Have you tried a new recipe lately? How did it go?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I know that my post on Monday was a little bit of a downer since I complained so much about this pregnancy. I figured that I would try to change my point of view a little bit and see how much I have to be thankful for...even in the things that are bugging me right now.
  • I'm tired of being tired. Being tired gives me a great excuse to sit down and put my feet up. And read a chapter or two to Sarah Beth.
  • I'm tired of sleeping on my side. At least, I am able to sleep. Some pregnant women have terrible insomnia. Mine, I think, is moderate.
  • I'm tired of feeling bulky. There's a great reason for this bulkiness, and it should mostly be gone in a few months.
  • I'm tired of feeling hot. At least, I'm not cold. And I'm grateful, oh so grateful, for air conditioning.
  • I'm tired of wearing men's shirts. At least, I have shirts to wear and could afford to buy new ones...even though I don't like them.
  • I'm tired of little elbows digging into my big, ole belly. I'm thankful for my older children who have those elbows.
  • I'm tired of working so hard just to get off the couch. I'm thankful that we have a couch (and other furniture) to get out of.
  • I'm tired of the uncertainty. Without this baby, there would be no uncertainty, so I am grateful for this baby and the uncertainty revolving around her. And I am thankful for the opportunity to bring glory to God through our circumstances.
Have you been complaining about something lately? Can you turn it into something to be grateful for?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The American Christian Idea

This weekend while I was reading my copy of World magazine, I came across an article about Phil Vischer. If I had known that article was in there, I'm sure I would have read it first. Do you know who he is? He created Veggie Tales! And we love some Veggie Tales in our house. I enjoyed reading the article, but I was saddened to find out that his company Big Idea had to declare bankruptcy, and then he sold it. But that's not the purpose of this post.

In this article, Vischer talks a little about what he calls the American Christian idea, and I thought this quote hit the nail on the head, so to speak.
We're drinking a cocktail that's a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we've intertwined them so completely that we can't tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It's the Oprah god.
How true is this! I haven't heard anyone put this idea so succinctly before, that we believe that God will give us what we want if we just try to be good and put a little bit of trust in Him, that God just wants us to be happy. And isn't it a sad statement about us Christians here in the United States?

What do you think? Do you think Vischer knows what he is talking about? Or do you think he is completely clueless?

*By the way, Vischer started another company Jellyfish Labs and has a new series of videos about the Bible coming out. I've already ordered the first one, and I'll let you know what I think after we've watched it. I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Muffins

A few years ago, I was a woman on a mission. We loved eating blueberry muffins for breakfast, but I couldn't find a recipe that we liked. I tried recipe after recipe, but nothing seemed to compare to the store bought mixes. And I really didn't want to keep using those, for a myriad of reasons, none the least of which was the fact that I wanted to eat real blueberries in my muffins, not blueberry bits. I was about to give up when I discovered this recipe. Perfect!

John and I agreed that this recipe was delicious and solved our problem. However, the topping was a bit decadent for routine use. We thought the muffin without the topping tasted pretty good, so we tried it without the topping. Very good! This recipe has become my go-to muffin recipe.

3 cups flour*
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
about 2/3 cup milk
2 cups blueberries**

Mix all the dry ingredients. Then measure 2/3 cup of oil. Add both eggs to the oil, and use enough milk to bring the volume to 2 cups. Mix wet ingredients with dry, and gently fold in blueberries. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so. (Since I use dark, non-stick pans, I bake mine at 375 for 18 minutes.)

Do you see another reason why I love this recipe? Besides the taste, of course, there are only eight ingredients. Easy peasy!

Another reason I love this recipe is that it is versatile. John loves eating chocolate chips muffins for breakfast on the weekends. Oh, who am I kidding? So do I! And we use this recipe, substituting 2 cups of chocolate chips for the blueberries. I've also used it for strawberry muffins, but only once because it was tedious cutting up the strawberries into tiny pieces.

But I feel like we're in a little bit of a rut with muffins. I would like to try something new, and I hope that you will be able to help me out. Do you have a muffin recipe that you love, that you would be willing to share? Since fall is almost here, something with apples would be great. Or really, anything would be nice to try. Please help me in my search for another yummy muffin recipe to try!

*I usually use half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat flour when making blueberry muffins. However, John prefers me to use just all-purpose flour when making chocolate chip muffins.
**The blueberries can be substituted out for chocolate chips or strawberries. Maybe something else, too, but I can't think what.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pregnancy Picture and Update

I'm now 28 weeks along in this pregnancy and starting my third trimester. It's hard to believe that I'm two-thirds done! Everything seems to be going well with me during this pregnancy, just as it has with my previous three. Isn't that a blessing?! We're still not sure about "Baby Sister," but I have another appointment in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, we'll find out more then.

Meanwhile, I feel pretty good, but I tire more easily than I wish. Could it be that I'm trying to do too much? Could it be that I have three little children? Does it matter? But while I love knowing there is a new, little life growing inside of me, there are aspects of pregnancy that I'm getting tired of.
  • I'm tired of being so tired!
  • I'm tired of sleeping on my side. (I'm usually a stomach-sleeper.)
  • I'm tired of feeling bulky.
  • I'm tired of being hot.
  • I'm tired of wearing men's shirts because I can't find any modest, not-too-tight maternity shirts.
  • I'm tired of Daniel's little elbows digging into my big, ole belly as he gets down from sitting next to me on the couch.
  • I'm tired of working so hard just to get off the couch.
  • Mostly, I'm tired of the uncertainty.
Don't get me wrong, however. I do not want this pregnancy to end any earlier than it should. I do enjoy feeling "Baby Sister" move...for the most part. (Sometimes, it is uncomfortable.) And I hate to sound like I'm complaining because I know that so many women have much harder pregnancies than I do. I'm thankful that God blesses me with such easy pregnancies, but it's easy to dwell on the negative instead of the positive. I need to work on that.

Thanks for bearing with me today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Giveaway!


Laura at the Muncks Quiver has a giveaway going on. You can win this beautiful bag filled with school supplies, or there are a pair of lovely earrings, if you would prefer. Head over, and check it out!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Finished Object Friday: Another Baby Blanket

I made this blanket for "Baby Sister" even though she will be born in December (or maybe the end of November). We do live in Florida where it doesn't get that cold, so maybe she will be able to use it some. The pattern is called "Snowflake;" do you see why? It's nice to have something put away for her, and now I can try to find a more practical blanket for her to use this winter. More practical, yes, but just as pretty! I wish I had a closer picture so you could see the variegation in the yarn, although you can see it a little bit in this picture.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time to Read?

When he saw my Booking It post on Sunday, John commented that I had read a bunch of books last month. Did you think so, too? If so, I thought that you may be wondering how I fit so much reading into my schedule.
  • First of all, you make time for what's important to you. I love to read, so it's something that I make time for.
  • I divide my books into two categories: good books -- ones that are fun to read, like novels and biographies, and good-for-me books -- ones that will edify me as I read them. And I read these books at different times of the day.
  • After I pray and read my Bible in the morning, I spend ten to fifteen minutes reading a good-for-me book. This plan, of course, assumes that my children are still in bed; I cannot read these types of books with them around because, well, honestly, they're distractions -- good, wonderful distractions, but distractions all the same.
  • During nap time (for Rachel) and play time (for Sarah Beth and Daniel), I again pick up my good-for-me book and spend another ten to fifteen minutes reading it.
  • When I go to bed at night, that's when I spend ten to fifteen minutes reading my fun book.
  • There are times, especially on the weekends, when I am able to find a few more minutes to read, and I try to take advantage of these times. Usually, I read my fun book because there are interruptions, good interruptions called my husband and my children.
  • As for all of the books I read with Sarah Beth, almost every time that I sit down, she asks me to read another chapter. And since I enjoy reading these books, too, I usually comply. Sometimes, we'll read four or five chapters in a day. (Honestly, I don't like it when she asks John to read these books to her because then I feel left behind. Selfish, I know.)
Now I'm asking you for tips: how do you make time to read during your busy days? There are so many books on my to-read list that I would love to have even more time for reading!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Breakfast Preparation

We ate Cheerios for so long that we were no longer stuck in a rut...it was more like a ditch. And my poor children didn't really know any different. Cheerios for breakfast, Cheerios for midmorning snack, was there anything else? Are you stuck in a similar rut? Do you want out?

Breakfast time is a tough time for homemade meals, isn't it? Either you have to get up super-early to get something made before your children get up, or you have to listen to hungry children clamoring for breakfast. And isn't it delightful to have a nice, warm, homecooked meal for breakfast? As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Here are the things that I have tried that have worked for me:
  • I like to make big batches of muffins all at once... or twice. I bought a half gallon of buttermilk and made eight dozen Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins, most of which are now in the freezer. It took me a couple of days to make all of those muffins, but I won't have to worry about it again for a while. (And these muffins are very filling.)
  • I prepare pancake mixes ahead of time. I put the flour, baking powder, and other dry ingredients into little baggies so that all I have to do in the morning is add the milk, oil, and an egg. I can mix it up while the griddle heats, and we have pancakes in no time.
  • Sometimes, I will do the prep work the night before. Friday night, I put together cinnamon rolls that I only had to bake and frost the next morning. We didn't eat them all so I now have some in the freezer. Yum!
  • Crystal at Money Saving Mom makes her version of Egg McMuffins, but I doubt my children would eat them. They might work for you, though.
With my new routine after our move, I decided that we wouldn't have Cheerios anymore for breakfast...except in emergencies. And we have all benefited from that decision.

What do you do to make breakfast preparation easier? Do you need help getting out of a rut? Do you have any suggestions that you can share with me, other ideas that I could try?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sitting Still

"The problem with sitting still too long is that you discover a million little things you wish you hadn't. That's why it's so overrated."

--Rachel Balducci in How do You Tuck in a Superhero?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Booking It: September Edition


I don't feel like I got much read this month, but I guess maybe I did. And none of these books are on my reading list for the year. Oh, well. Here's what I did read:
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. This book reminded me of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, but it wasn't nearly as good. Molly, a quiet and shy young lady who never asserts herself, reminded me of Fanny while Roger seemed like Edward, the second son of an important man who falls for the wrong woman. Despite the similarities, this book was very different from Austen's work, and it wasn't nearly as good. It was looong, and the parts in between the action were, well, rather boring. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped, but I did finish it. However, if you love Jane Austen, you may want to try this book since it is written similarly.
  • Jim the Boy: A Novel by Tony Earley. This book really isn't a "coming of age" story although it does tell the story of one's boy's life during one year. This book chronicles how several changes during the year affect Jim's life: going from a one room schoolhouse to a multiple-room school, learning that the "mountain" boys aren't that different from the "town" boys, meeting his grandfather for the first time, seeing the ocean for the first time, and finally getting electricity in his hometown after having had his house wired for it for years. (This book takes place during the Depression.) I rank this book up there with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the Mitford books. If you like those, I really think you'll like this one, too. Meanwhile, I'm going to see what other books Earley has written so I can add those to my reading list as well.
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My daughter and I really enjoy the "Mary and Laura" books, and this one didn't disappoint. It tells how the Ingalls family moved to a "civilized" place (re: small town) and spent the first few years there, fighting locusts, prairie fires, blizzards, etc.. I enjoy reading this series with my children because it exposes them to a different time period. If you haven't read this series with your children, you should!
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We continued our reading with this book, and we enjoyed it just as much. Things weren't going well on Plum Creek, so Pa moves the family further West to Silver Lake where he works in the railroad's store for the summer. After the railroad shuts down for the winter, the family stays there pretty much by themselves. Pa does find their new homestead, and the family moves there in the spring. This book enchanted and delighted us just as much as the first ones in the series did.
  • I reviewed Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman here.
  • I reviewed The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Linamen here.
  • I reviewed 100 Read and Sing Devotions by Stephen Elkins here.
To see what others have been reading, head over to Life as Mom: Booking it September Edition.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recipe Fun Friday: Slow-Cooked Corn Chowder

I sure hope that John does not get tired of slow cooked meals. Have I mentioned before that I love my new cookbook Taste of Home Slow Cooker? This week we tried Slow-Cooked Corn Chowder, and we all liked it. I paired it with some honey muffins that we had in the freezer, and it was an easy, delicious meal. John had a couple of suggestions that might make this recipe taste even better, although less healthful. Instead of using milk as the base, John thought it would be even better using cream. I bet it would! And instead of adding ham, we thought we should try adding shrimp, all ready cooked since shrimp doesn't do well in the crock pot. (That's what I've heard anyway.) And he recommended having French bread as a compliment. Sounds good to me.

I also baked some Spiced Carrot-Zucchini bread, and I had forgotten how good it is. Yum! We ate half a loaf last night with supper, but I have two more in the freezer. Yea!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? How did they turn out?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Follow-Up on "Baby Sister"

When I told you about my first OB appointment here in Florida, I wasn't completely honest. When I got home from my appointment, there was a message that I needed to call the office back. When I did, the receptionist told me that the doctor wanted to see me Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. to discuss the results of the ultrasound. My mother was in town, and she had kept my children for me for this first appointment, but she was leaving on Saturday. And getting to the doctor's office, thirty minutes away, by 8:00 with three little children was going to be tough. And if the doctor was just going to tell me that everything was fine, I didn't want to make the effort. So I asked if I could come back that afternoon. Then the doctor got on the line.

She told me that they had found a "bright spot" (or echogenic intracardiac focus) on "Baby Sister's" heart which is an indicator for trisomy 21 or Down's Syndrome. She thought the possibility was rare, but she wanted another, more detailed ultrasound done to be sure. When I discussed it later with John, we agreed to have this ultrasound done. If the baby were "normal," we would want to know. If she has Down's Syndrome, we want time to prepare. It doesn't really matter, either way, because we will love her the same no matter what, but it would be nice to know.

After we made that decision, I felt a peace about the whole situation. I'm not sure exactly what it was: God's peace about the future comforting me, denial that this could happen to my baby, or knowing the odds were in "Baby Sister's" favor. And honestly, it's probably a combination of all three.

So last Friday, John left work early and drove the hour down with me for this specialized ultrasound. My sweet aunt also drove an hour from her house to keep Sarah Beth, Daniel, and Rachel during my appointment. Concerning the possibility of Trisomy 21 or Down's Syndrome, everything looked normal. There were no other defects that would lead us to think that she has Down's. As a matter of fact, even the "bright spot" that the sonographer found a couple of weeks ago wasn't there anymore. She wasn't sure if it just went away or if there was a glitch in the other ultrasound machine. It doesn't matter, does it? Our baby does not have Down's Syndrome.

However, since this ultrasound was more specialized than normal ones, the sonographer found an anomaly in our baby's third (I think) ventricle -- one of the ventricles in the brain. It was a little enlarged so she got the neonatologist or perinatologist, I forgot which, who also looked at it. Basically, this ventricle is moderately enlarged, probably from producing too much CSF or spinal fluid. It doesn't look like there is a blockage because the third and fourth ventricles are not both enlarged. But there is cause for concern -- hydrocephalus. The doctor thinks our baby will be fine, but he wants to do more tests. The next thing to do is to draw blood (from me) to see if I have had CMV because it can cause this. I haven't been sick with this pregnancy (except for morning sickness), so I don't think I've had this. If I have, though, I may need IVIG before this baby is born to get rid of the virus. If not, they will just monitor the baby via ultrasounds; I have my next one scheduled the beginning of October. They also want to transfer my care to the doctors in this practice; I will deliver there (instead of in the small hospital here) in case "Baby Sister" needs specialized care when she is born.

We have a few prayer requests:
1. That God would be glorified through all of this. We know that He has a plan, that nothing happens by accident, and we know His glory should be our main focus. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
2. That said, we would like to have a completely normal, healthy baby. While the doctor does think that the prognosis is good, he doesn't think the enlargement will go down in this next month. I won't be surprised if it does, however, since it is the only abnormality and is only moderately enlarged. But he's the doctor, and he knows better, so I also won't be surprised if he's right.
3. Peace and comfort about this situation. In many ways, it's harder than the other "scare" because there is so much uncertainty. With the other one, it was either yes or no. With this one, there is a wide range, and I don't do well without concretes.
4. Wisdom. We want to make the best decisions for this baby that we can with the information that we have. I don't want the doctors to do things just because.... On the other hand, I want to do what's best for "Baby Sister." There's a good chance that I will have to have a C-section to keep from putting more pressure on her brain during delivery. However, if everything looks fine, I don't want a C-section just because they want to do one. Things like that. I want to fight for the right things and give in on the right ones.

We are so thankful that we are under contract for a house in the next town over because it is only half an hour to my new doctors from there instead of the hour from our current rental house. We should close at the end of October, but we hope to be able to move the date up.

In the meantime before my next appointment, I have decided not to worry about "Baby Sister's" outcome. We will love her the same as any of our other children regardless of anything. My worry will accomplish exactly nothing. No matter how much I chew my fingernails, or if I pull every single last hair out of my head, I will change nothing. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34. So I choose to delight in the fact that we are going to have another daughter. I plan to crochet her some beautiful blankets, like I did for my other babies. And I plan to enjoy my time with my other three children before "Baby Sister" gets here and disrupts all of our new routines. (But aren't newborns supposed to disrupt routines? And isn't that part of why they're fun?) I may even buy "Baby Sister" a new outfit or two, even though I have plenty of hand-me-downs from her big sisters. Every baby should have something new, shouldn't she?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Good News!

While we originally planned to live in our rental house until January after "Baby Sister" came, we couldn't help looking at houses just in case.... And we found one! I don't have any pictures because the house still has all of the current owner's things in it, and I'm not comfortable taking pictures like that, and I'm especially not going to post pictures of his stuff on the internet. But we are really thrilled about what we found. (I waited a little while to tell you about our good news because of how it turned out last time.)

Would you like to know a little bit about our new house? It is situated in a golf course community and actually overlooks the golf course with a beautiful view of some live oaks and a lake. We feel a little swanky, buying a house in a golf course neighborhood, but we got a good deal on it. The main part of the house is one story (and I will not miss having stairs), and there is a "game room" that was added on. This room is huge, and we plan to use it as a play room/school room/office. There are only three bedrooms, but one of them is really big, big enough for our three girls...in a few years when "Baby Sister" is older. When we move in, Daniel with share this room with Sarah Beth and Rachel. There are three bathrooms which we consider almost a must with our soon-to-be four children, although we don't actually need three full bathrooms quite yet. The house is older; it was built in the early 70's and has not been updated. That's okay. It's good enough for now as it doesn't need anything before we move in, and we can renovate and update as we please and as we have the money. There is also a basement which is unusual in Florida. You have to go outside to get to it, so we'll probably just use it for storage. Is there anything else you would like to know?

We started the process to buy this house last week, after making an offer the week before (and negotiating a price). This house is in a larger town about a half hour from where we live now, and the placement and timing of buying this house is providential as you will learn tomorrow.

But we're excited about this house, and we can't wait to make it ours!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day

Since John had yesterday off for Labor Day, he planned to take Sarah Beth and Daniel to Weeki Wachee Springs, a Florida state park. Meanwhile, Rachel and I would be left at home to get a few things done. But it rained during the night, and the drive was farther than we thought at first. So John stayed home with our older two children...and Rachel and me.

But we were both still able to get a few things done. I finished my grocery list and took Rachel (just Rachel!) to the grocery store. John got the oil changed in his truck. And somehow we made it through the day with no hot water. (The propane ran out Sunday morning early. Boy, am I glad that I washed all of our clothes on Friday. But it's strange to wash dishes in cold water.)

In the afternoon while Rachel took her nap, John did take the older two to a state park, one that is less than half an hour away. They had a great time exploring until thunder and the threat of rain drove them back to the car and home.

I spent the afternoon catching up on some things on the internet, then settling down to read a book. I felt a little guilty about reading, but I don't usually get the chance to read during the day, so I decided to enjoy it. Labor Day is a holiday, isn't it?!

Dinner was in the slow cooker, and all in all, it was a restful yet productive day.

How was your Labor Day? Did it go as planned? Do you do anything fun? Do you have hot water?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe Fun Friday

I tried out a couple of new recipes this week. I'm really enjoying getting back into cooking and baking after taking such a long time off with me being so sick from morning sickness and John being out of town at his new job. (Hooray for us all being together again!)

As I told you before, we've been eating a bunch of Cheerios for breakfast, and I started last week remedying that situation. Homemade muffins, etc. are soooo much better tasting and sooo much more healthful. This week we tried Baked Oatmeal. I've heard a lot about it on different blogs, and I keep wanting to try it, but I keep putting it off. No more. But...it wasn't the best thing. I'm sure part (or maybe most) of the problem was my oven. It's old, and it doesn't cook at the temperature you set it at. I need an oven thermometer. Anyway, I think I overcooked it because it was kind of dry and very crusty. Daniel and Sarah Beth didn't much care for it. I will probably try baked oatmeal again but maybe not this recipe.

I have also wanted to bake some cookies for a couple of weeks, and I finally got around to it Wednesday afternoon. I used this recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cookies that I found at It's Our Good Life. Again, they were okay, but I think the problems were probably mine. Problem #1: I didn't realize that I didn't have any light brown sugar, so I used dark brown sugar. Problem #2: After we mixed the dough, I realized that I was supposed to freeze the dough balls for an hour before baking. I had two children (and one mommy!) who didn't want to wait an hour, so I just stuck them in the oven. Oh, well. They still tasted pretty good, and I'm sure we'll eat every single one. Afterwards, Sarah Beth suggested that we take some to our neighbors. What a sweet girl!

Have you tried any new recipes this week? How did they turn out? Do you have a good recipe for Baked Oatmeal I should try? What about one for chocolate chip cookies? They're my favorite! A recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies would be wonderful!!