Friday, August 31, 2012

3 in 30: Finishing Up August

Our second week of school went really well.  My children ask me to do more when we finish, so I think that means they're enjoying it.  Other than that, it was another quiet week.  I had to take Rachel for more blood work, but that was about all of the excitement.  Here's how I finished this month with my goals:
  • Coupons.  I got these done again this week!  As John watched football Sunday night after the kids went to bed, I sat with him, cutting and sorting my coupons.  Out of five weeks, I got the coupons taken care of twice.  I'll take what I can get in this department.
  • Sort something.  I got a little bit done this week, but the biggest thing I did was to put the shelves back on a bookshelf down in our playroom.  I just hadn't gotten around to it yet, but I'm so glad that I did!  Now there's more room for stuff down there.  And I have plans for the playroom, but more on that next month.
  • New recipe.  This week, when making the menu, I remembered that I wanted to try something new.  So I found this recipe for pot roast, since chuck roasts were on sale.  It was pretty good, a keeper.
How was your week?  What were you able to get accomplished?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Recipe: Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy

Last week when I was making the menu, I remembered to plan for a new recipe.  This week I tried Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy.  I love cooking a roast in the crock pot just for the wonderful aroma that wafts through the house all day long.  Oh, it was mouthwatering!  And the roast was pretty good, as well, so I think this recipe is a keeper.  John thought it was pretty good, and all of our children ate it without complaining.

Have you tried a new recipe lately?  How did it turn out?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Random Question: What's Your Favorite Fairytale?

My favorite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast, and it always has been.  I'm not talking about the Disney version.  No, I'm talking about the classic tale where Beauty's family was rich but lost everything.  And when her father traveled back to their old hometown, all Beauty wanted was a rose.  When her father couldn't find one for her, and when he stumbled upon an empty (or so he thought) castle, he took a rose from a beautiful rose garden for her.  Then the Beast demanded some payment for the theft:  the first thing that Beauty's father saw when he returned home.

I had a book with lovely illustrations for this story when I was a child.  I wish I still had it.  I loved to look at it and read the story, and I would love to share it with my daughters.  I guess its appeal has to do with loving the unlovely, or being unlovely and still being loved.  Hmmm.  I think there's a great metaphor there for the Christian faith, isn't there?  God loved us the unlovely and made us lovely.  Hmmm.

What is your favorite fairy tale?  Why?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Praying for Our Families

On a recommendation from a friend, I've been reading Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.  I came across this quote, and it spoke to me.
Therefore, we should be committed to the "good work" of praying for our husband [sic] and children.  And what's more, we should inform them of our prayers.  For what could be more encouraging to the members of our families than having wives or mothers who faithfully intercede? As Charles Spurgeon once said:  "No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me."
Of course, we should be praying for our husbands and children; we all know that.  But do we tell them that we are doing so?  Do we ask them, especially our husbands, how we can best pray for them? The other day, I thought, "I don't know what I should pray for John and his work."  Then I realized how I could find out:  by asking him!  Sometimes, I can be so dense.

And do your friends know that you pray for them?  What an encouragement that could be for them, to know that you faithfully pray for them.

I'm sure that you pray for your families and friends, but have you told them that you do so?

Friday, August 24, 2012

3 in 30: Back to School

We had another relatively quiet week this week.  We only had one morning that we left the house which was really nice.  I guess it was actually two mornings since we went to the library one morning, also, but it was especially nice to have a week at home since we started back to school Monday.  Here's how I did with my monthly goals:
  • Coupons.  Hooray!  I did it!  We had a nice quiet Sunday, and Mary took a nice, long nap, so I had a little extra time.  I used it to clip coupons and file them.  And some of them are coupons that I know I will use.  (I only clip coupons that I think I have a good chance of using anyway.)
  • Sort something.  I did not get to this one this week...but I may get something done later today or tomorrow.  I have a vision for our playroom, and I need to get moving on it.  (It sounds like I may have come up with a goal for next month.....)
  • New recipe.  I completely forgot about this when I made our menu and grocery list.  Oh, well.  There's still next week.
How did you do this week?  What were you able to get accomplished?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life:  3in30.

P.S.  If you have trouble seeing my comments, you may want to check this post out.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Random Question: What is Your Least Favorite Cleaning Chore?

I hate, absolutely hate, cleaning the shower.  I feel like it is so much work with very little to show for it. I wipe and wipe and wipe, but it seems like nothing wipes off which makes the whole process seem pointless.  However, I do realize that if I don't clean the shower regularly, it will be nasty.

What is your least favorite cleaning chore?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Make 'Em Wait

Are you familiar with the movie A Christmas Story?  Do you recall the part when Ralphie remarks that he doesn't think his mother ever ate a hot meal because she was so busy getting up to get things for everyone else in the family?  Do you ever feel that way?  I do!

There are times when, as soon as I sit down to eat my meal, one of my children asks me to get back up to get something.  If it were something that they could get, I would have them do it themselves.  But usually, they want a refill on their drinks, something they can't do yet.  And I used to get up as soon as they asked because we are supposed to serve our families, right?

One day, as I got upset with Daniel for asking me for a refill of his juice as soon as I sat down from getting one for Sarah Beth, I realized the problem wasn't with my children.  The problem was with me and my lack of training them.  They continued to do this because they didn't know better, and they didn't realize how inconsiderate it was.

So I told them.  And guess what.  They think about it now.  I see both Sarah Beth and Daniel finish their drinks, look at me, and wait patiently.  Then they ask, but they know that it may be another few minutes before I get to a point that I want to get up, and they're okay with that.  And I feel better:  I'm not getting upset because they're being (ignorantly) inconsiderate.  We're all happier now.

I know that we're supposed to serve our families, but sometimes it's better to make them wait.  If I  continue to get my children what they want as soon as they want it, I'm sure I'll help them grow into spoiled brats.  By teaching them to wait, I'm helping them to be more considerate of the people serving them.

Do you make your children wait?  What for?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday's Quote: Scriptures for Starting Back to School

We're starting back to school today.  It's not such a big deal for us since we've been doing school off and on all summer anyway.  And my children love doing school, so they're excited about that.  I hadn't planned on starting Daniel until he turned five, but he begged to do school when we started back after Mary was born.  How do you tell a child no when he wants to start school?  I don't think you can!  Here are a couple of verses that fit with what we're doing today.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall  bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Proverbs 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go:  and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

When do (or did) you start school?  Were you children excited or apprehensive?  Were you excited or apprehensive?

*I got these neat grade signs from Life as Mom here.

Problems with Comments -- Resolution?

Last week, I posted about my comments not showing up on your blogs.  I contacted blogger about it, and the reply to my question was, "Did they [the comments] maybe end up in the spam queue?"  Of course, I don't know where my comments end up on your blogs, but you might want to check.  Here is one explanation of what might be going on and how to fix it.  And here is another one that you may want to look at.

Apparently, it's not my problem, it's much as I hate to say it like that.  Although I still don't understand why this is happening to me and my comments and not anyone else....  And whether or not you fix it, of course, is up to you.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review: Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

When Libby inherits a rundown inn in a small island community off the coast of Virginia, she discovers that her father did not die when she was a child and that she actually has a brother and sister.  As she comes to terms with these discoveries, her friend Nicole is kidnapped, and the police think that Libby did it.  As she races to find her friend, she has to deal with a family she didn't know existed.  And she has to figure out what to do with the inn which she would like to keep but cannot afford to renovate.  Of course, there is the ubiquitous romance thrown in, as well.

This book was pretty good; I did enjoy it as a nice, light read.  Salvation is presented clearly but without preaching, and I appreciated that.

I want to thank BookSneeze for my (kindle) copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Finished Object Friday: Peppermint Puff Baby Blanket

When I saw the pattern for this Peppermint Puff Baby Blanket, I knew I had to make it.  I thought it would be fun and a little different from what I usually make.  And it was.  The puff and shell stitches livened it up a little bit, and I think it turned out nicely.

I used my favorite yarn Caron Simply Soft in Watermelon and White.  What do you think of the color? Honestly.  Do you like bright colors like this one for babies, or do you prefer the typical pastels?  I would love your honest opinion; I promise you won't hurt my feelings.

This post is linked to Fresh from the Chari Tree:  Finished Object Friday

3 in 30: Finally, A Quiet Week at Home!

This week has been nice and quiet.  No doctor's appointments, no visitors, not even any trips to the library.  We did have an orientation for our school co-op, but that was it.  How nice!  We've needed a week like this, especially after all of our excitement with Rachel last week.

  • Coupons.  I did nothing this week, either, but take the coupons out of the Sunday paper.  Right now, I think I've got more important things to do than clip coupons in order to save a dollar or two.  In other words, the monetary return on my time investment is too little for me to waste my time.
  • Sort something.  I seem to be able to sort things better over the weekend than during the week.  Last weekend, I went through Rachel's dresser and rearranged things.  Since we know now that she is photosensitive, I put away her shorts and t-shirts, and I replaced them with long pants and long-sleeved shirts.  My plan for this weekend is to go through the school stuff and pack away what we used last year and make room for the new stuff.
  • New recipe.  I did not try a new recipe this week, but I did post yesterday about the previous two recipes I tried earlier this month:  Cranberry Pork Tenderloin and Country Pork Chop Supper.  They were both "keepers."
How was your week?  What were you able to get accomplished?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two New Pork Recipes

Cranberry Pork Tenderloin

One of my goals for the month is to try some new recipes and hopefully find a couple to add to my menu rotation.  Of course, I want to share these new recipes with you, just in case they sound good to you, too.  Some of my favorite recipes I have found online.  I haven't had a chance to share what I've tried with you yet, but here's my post to catch us all up.

I tried Cranberry Pork Tenderloin a couple of weeks ago.  The picture above looks, well, gross, but it sure did taste good.  John thought it was a little sweet, so next time I'll add less sugar, probably a lot less sugar since the whole cranberry sauce is pretty sweet by itself.  I think the gravy would be great on mashed potatoes.  Our whole house smelled wonderful all afternoon while it cooked in the crockpot, and the nutmeg gave it almost a Christmas-y smell.  Yum!  I can't wait to have this again...when tenderloin goes on sale.

Last week, I tried Country Pork Chop Supper.  It was handy to throw everything into the crockpot, turn it on, and let it cook while I took Rachel for one of her infusions.  When we got home, supper was ready!  John said it was okay, and I thought it was a little bland.  But John said that it was worth having again, so I'll probably toss a little Tony's in next time.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Problems with Commenting

Lately, when I've left comments on some of your blogs, they don't show up.  I have been leaving comments on your blogs, but for some reason, they're not there when I check back later.  Have you noticed this?  Do you receive email notification when you get a new comment?  I hope so, or you may not be getting the comments I leave you.  Have you had any problems like this?  I wonder what could be causing it.

Random Question: How Often do You do Laundry?

Usually, I try to do most of my laundry all on one day. I feel like that way I can devote my chores for the day to sorting, washing, drying, and folding the laundry. However, a couple of weeks ago, something messed up my plan, and I did whites on one day, darks on another, and John's work clothes on a third. It was nice having to fold and put away only one load of laundry on each day instead of having two or three baskets full of clothes waiting for me.

I'm curious. How do you do laundry? All on one day? Or one load a day?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Cheap Notebooks

I don't know about you, but I can't seem to remember anything unless I write it down.  A few years ago during the back-to-school sales, I discovered these notebooks.  I didn't really have any use for them, but I couldn't resist buying a few because they were so cheap.  If nothing else, I thought my children could color in them.  However, I have discovered myriad uses for them.

  • I keep one by my computer to write down things that I want to look up and things I don't want to forget to do the next time I'm online.
  • I used to use one to make my grocery lists.
  • I've even made my own day planner with one.
  • And, of course, I buy a couple for my children to color in, although Sarah Beth has started to write in hers.
I like these notebooks better than scratch paper because the pages stay together in case I need to look something up that I wrote a while ago.  And it's substantial enough that I'm not going to throw it away by accident.

What about you?  How do you remember things?  Do you have to write them down, or is it just me?  If you write them down, what do you use?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mary is Eight Months Old!

Mary turns eight months old today.  She's a sweet baby and is usually happy...although she loves for me to hold her.  If she doesn't feel like I'm holding her enough (which is anytime she is awake), she fusses for me to pick her up.  She's better now than she was because she has discovered how much fun it is to explore the house.

Mary isn't crawling yet; it's more like "swimming."  She swims all over our living room and kitchen.  She has even made it into the laundry room.

With Rachel's treatment last week, I decided it was a good time to start weaning her.  She definitely needed to eat more food since I wasn't going to be around to nurse her.  My mother was here to take care of our other children while I took Rachel in for her infusions.  Mary ate a lot of food last week!  Maybe too much, so I backed off on weaning her.  And she has stopped biting me (ouch!), so I may hold off on weaning her for at least another month.  At this point, there's no real hurry.

I bet Mary starts crawling soon, don't you?

Monday's Quote: Romans 8:28

Rachel waiting for her third and final infusion.

When Rachel was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis, this verse was a real comfort to me.  And God used it to encourage me when it was sung in church last week.
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
I'm also using this verse as part of my heading for my new blog Stirring the Pot.  I'm using this new blog...well, you can head over there to see for yourself!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Booking It: August Update

Walking/jogging on my treadmill has given me a bunch more time to read.  I really enjoy that aspect of my exercising, even though I don't much care for the actual jogging part.  Here's what I read this month:
  • If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim. I want to say that I enjoyed this book, but I just can't. It's not the kind of book that you "enjoy." Ahn Ei Sook (aka Esther Ahn Kim) stood firm for Jesus Christ during the end of the Japanese rule of Korea. For her belief, she was imprisoned in horrible conditions and tortured. While there, her faith increased, and God used her to lead many other prisoners and even some of the guards to Christ. She reminded me of Joseph; both of them were imprisoned falsely, and both were held in high esteem by fellow prisoners and jailers. The way that Esther continued to praise God in the midst of her sufferings amazed me. It also shamed me as I tend complain so easily about my circumstances.
  • Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick. You can read my full review here.
  • The Orphan King by Edmund Brouwer. You can read my full review here.
  • The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. I was intrigued by this story when I watched the Disney version of it with my children recently, you know, the one with Mickey Mouse.  I hadn't read anything by Mark Twain since junior high school, and I have to admit that I was put off by the vernacular that Twain uses in Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I enjoyed this story about a prince and a pauper trading places; neither understand before the switch how much he has to be grateful for. After the switch, each boy realizes how good he really had it and desires to return to his former place. This book is a good one to help you realize how much you have, even when you feel like you have nothing.  Since I enjoyed this book so much, I plan to read more by Twain.
What did you read this month?  

This post is linked to Life as Mom:  Booking It.

Friday, August 10, 2012

3 in 30: Other Priorities

I got almost nothing done with regards to my goals for the month, but I'm okay with that.  More than that, I'm glad that I didn't do anything because it would have only distracted me from what was really important.  For those of you who don't know, Rachel, our two year old was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis, and we spent most of this week dealing with that.  If you're interested, you can read more about that here with an update here.  Basically, I spent most of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with Rachel at the hospital while she received IV infusions.  Thankfully, she wasn't admitted, but we still had to drive over an hour to get there each way everyday.

Anyway, here's how I did with my goals:
  • Coupons.  I pulled the inserts out of the paper on Sunday.  That's something, isn't it?  Maybe I'll get around to cutting some point.  But I'm not going to worry about it, if I don't.
  • Sort something.  I got the box of school supplies done last weekend, the box I wanted to get done last week.  Nothing this week, and that's okay.
  • New recipe.  As a matter of fact, I did try a new recipe this week, and it was okay.  It was a crockpot recipe, so I just had to throw everything in before I left for the day.  I did not get the post written about it, however, or the new recipe I tried last week.  Hopefully, I'll have the time next week.
Today we're sitting around the house spending time with each other.  I missed my other three children while I was with Rachel.  I guess they missed me, but they had Grammy here to play with.  She's gone now, and although we miss her already, we're looking forward to a quiet day at home.  Hopefully, next week will be more of a normal week for us, a quiet week.

How was your week?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life:  3in30.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Update on Rachel

 Rachel waking up from the MRI.

John took Rachel for her MRI on Monday, and she did great.  He was able to be with her while they put her to sleep and when she woke up.  It did show muscle involvement, but we weren't surprised about that.

The doctor did not want to wait until today to start treatment, so we headed back yesterday for Rachel's first infusion.  She did great again although getting the IV was pretty awful.  Thankfully, they left it in so we don't have to go through that again today and tomorrow.

Rachel asleep on the way home yesterday.  It's been a long couple of days.

She still looks great, like nothing is wrong except these odd rashes.  When John asked about further infusions or whatever, the doctor basically said that we're not going to worry about that yet.  We're going to assume that this treatment "fixes" her and that there won't be any relapses.

We want to thank each of you who are praying for our little girl.  She is being a trooper about all of this, and it is amazing to see how resilient she is.  We praise the Lord that we caught this disease when we did.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer is a coming of age story. Thomas has grown up in an abbey, hidden from people who are looking for him. His mother died when he was a child, leaving him with more questions than answers. When Thomas ventures from the abbey to start the series of tasks his mother left him with, he embarks on an seemingly impossible adventure with mismatched friends: a knight, a young pickpocket, and a deaf/mute girl. Thomas' task? To wrest control of the Castle Magnus from its current lord, and he only has his three friends to help. Can he do it?

I enjoyed this book. It's a fun, adventurous read that keeps you reading when you might want or need to stop. However, the climax of the book is overcome too quickly and easily; Thomas really didn't have too much trouble when...I won't spoil it for you, in case you read it. But I really liked how the Christian theme was woven throughout the book. Thomas is not a believer in the beginning, but through some of his friends' belief, he realizes that there can be (and is!) a God even though bad things happen.

If you like swashbuckling adventure-type books, you'll probably like this one, as well.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for my (kindle) copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Rachel is our sweet, little girl. Well, sweet may not be the best way to describe Rachel. She's a precocious, mischievous two and a half year old, and my mother refers to her as our "pot-stirrer." Rachel loves to pick at her siblings: she inserts herself between Daniel and the television so he can't see it; she steals Sarah Beth's doll as soon as she puts it down; and we catch her sitting on Mary frequently. All of this said, there's not a mean bone in Rachel's body. She can't seem to help it. (Yes, we do discipline her when necessary.) And Rachel walks through our house and her life with a smile on her face, a song on her lips, and a dance in her step.

When we returned from our beach trip, we noticed that Rachel had pink cheeks. We figured she had just gotten too much sun and didn't worry about it. Two weeks later, however, when her cheeks were still pink, we reconsidered. And we found a few more "spots:" some of her fingernail beds were red, inflamed, and extremely painful; she had a rash on her knees and elbows; and a bug bite on her toe wasn't healing like it should. None of these things were worrisome in and of themselves, but all together, we were concerned. So I took her to the doctor who ordered some lab work.

Most of Rachel's lab work was normal except that her ANA was elevated. (ANA is basically a nonspecific marker for an autoimmune disease.) Our doctor got her an appointment at a nearby teaching hospital, but the soonest they could see her was the end of August. (At this point, we were in the middle of June, so that was a good bit of time away.)

We waited patiently until Rachel developed another rash last week, this time on her arm. Thankfully, our doctor had recently seen this same thing in another of her patients, so she was able to diagnose it quickly: lichen striatus. This skin rash looks much worse than it really is; topical steroids can help, but there's really no other treatment. It doesn't usually itch or hurt, and Rachel wasn't bothered by it at all. However, whatever Rachel had was getting worse and affecting her more. Our doctor called around and got Rachel another appointment at a different hospital, a children's hospital, that's a little further away.

We took Rachel for this appointment on Wednesday last week, and the doctor there immediately knew what she had: juvenile dermatomyositis. Basically, this rare, autoimmune disease attacks blood vessels and causes them to become inflamed. This inflammation makes the skin and muscles become inflamed. It can start with a skin rash, like Rachel did; but some children are not diagnosed until their muscles are so affected that they cannot even stand up. Treatment involves high dose steroids for quite a while. Children are usually photosensitive, and poor Rachel loves to play outside. Usually, there is a "trigger," and we think the trip to the beach was that trigger.

Thankfully, we seem to have caught Rachel's early enough that her muscles aren't too involved yet. John is taking her for an MRI this morning to see how much her muscles are affected. Then we have an appointment on Wednesday to discuss treatment.

We covet your prayers for Rachel and for us as we navigate this disease and its treatment. Please pray:
  • first and foremost, that God would be glorified throughout this process. Nothing, nothing happens without His approval, and we know without a doubt that His hand is on Rachel.
  • for wisdom for our doctor as he treats Rachel. We want to be as aggressive as we need to be to nip this thing in the bud.
  • that Rachel would continue to be our happy girl, that she would deal as well as possible with all of this confusion.
  • for wisdom for John and me as we care for Rachel and our other three children. The hospital is over an hour away, and it's going to be hard juggling all of our children, especially since Mary is still breastfeeding.
  • that the treatment, once it's started, would work quickly.
This whole thing is surreal to me. We have our happy, smiley little girl, and nothing seems to be wrong with her except for a rash in a few places. However, there is an insidious disease process going on inside her body that we must stop before it becomes debilitating.

Have you gone through anything like this before? Do you have any advice for us newbies?

Friday, August 3, 2012

3in30: Getting Back to Basics and Starting Something New

It's been quietly busy week this week, if that makes sense. We had a couple of impromptu doctor's appointments, but the other three days we stayed home which was nice. We've needed some time at home for the kids to recharge and for me to get some things done. And two days in a row, yesterday and today? Wonderful! Here are my new goals for this month:
  • Coupons. I stopped clipping coupons when Mary was born. I didn't have time, and John was doing the grocery shopping so I let it slide. I picked it back up briefly, but I just didn't have time for it. However, when I actually sat down last night to clip coupons and sort them, it really didn't take that long. I need to start doing this regularly every week because I'm just throwing money away by not doing it.
  • Sort something. I really enjoy what this goal does for my home. I'm getting rid of packed boxes (by unpacking them) and reorganizing other areas. I didn't get anything done so far this week, but I want to get a specific box done today or tomorrow. It has all of our office/school supplies in it. I need to know what we have so that I know what I need to buy (or not buy!) while shopping for school supplies.
  • New recipe. Last week while I was menu planning, I realized that we have gotten into a rut. It's time to try some new recipes. I did try one this week, and it was yummy. I'll tell you more about it next week since I also plan to post about my new recipes, good or bad.
What would you like to accomplish this month?

This post is linked to 3in30 at Welcome to Our Good Life.