Sunday, January 31, 2010

Will Resume Tomorrow

Technical difficulties and plain out laziness have thwarted all my blogging plans. I do have some fun pictures to share, an embarassing confession to make about my Eat from the Pantry challenge, some new goals for February, another birthday to recap.

Yet today I continue to sit in front of my fireplace in my pj's looking up recipes online and frittering away my time. A nap is definitely in my short-term future!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday EJ

Elijah had a wonderful birthday. He got a "get out of school ticket" for the day. I think he still went to and cause he thinks they are fun...shhh, don't tell him that is actually school work!!

His brother made him homemade doughnuts (Made from cheap canned yummy). He played with every electronic device we own. He played outside with his brother and his friend Lucas.

He didn't however want to eat his cupcakes that I make because he wanted CAKE!! And, he didn't want his picture taken with his cupcake. (So his sister Clara was his stand in). He did enjoy his Rice Krispy Treat (thanks Cheryl!!)

Enjoy pics of Elijah on his special day!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Happy Birthday Elijah!!

Our son is celebrating his fifth birthday in style. His siblings still have to do school work, but he gets the day off from "school". He is pictured here with his Skittles treat watching Lord of the Rings. He told me today that when he is twenty years old, he wants to be a Jedi Knight!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


One picture just would not cut it today. Clara invited her brother to spend the night in her room because his birthday is tomorrow. She made up his bed very nicely and even created him a "gift basket" to welcome him to her room. What I LOVE is that she pulled together what we had in the house. You can see the pure excitement on Elijah's face!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Monday nights I am attending a ladies Bible Study at our church. Here are the sweet ladies who sit at my table.

Week 4

We completed one more week of our Eat from the Pantry challenge. It is getting tougher!! Last night my husband was craving a hamburger, pizza, fries, anything that was not in our house, but instead he got Turkey soup :-)

This morning my oldest daughter was dreaming about french fries. Instead she got tiny cinnamon rolls, macaroni and cheese and turkey soup for lunch, and ramen noodle soup for dinner. Pretty uninspiring and uncreative!!

I didn't have the heart to tell my family that I went to Women's Bible Study at church and had an amazing mexican dinner.

Lunch tomorrow should prove to be interesting!! More soup. But, I have surprise for my family for dinner...their favorite tater tot casserole!!

The truth is we still have plenty of food in our freezer and while I fully plan to buy groceries in February I will try to evaluate what I have and plan meals from the freezer. I will try to purchase only what we need.

This experience has been worthwhile and sometime when my brain is not fried and I am not weary from a full day's worth of "mommy, mommy, mom, MOM, mother!!" Then, I will sit and reflect on the what I have learned. Until then, I will rest!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


This afternoon I woke up from my nap and walked outside to take this shot. The clouds were so pretty and the sky so blue!!! It almost, if you close your eyes just right, looks like I have a mountain behind my house. My friend Jill who challenged me to take a picture a day for 2010 has been posting beautiful pictures on her blog, pictures of majestic mountains that she sees out her window. Alas, my "mountain" is made of clouds, but it is beautiful nevertheless!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Hannah wanted a picture of her "blisters". Where might you ask did she get blisters? She and Clara are cleaning out horse stalls for a friend. They are sooo excited!! They get to be around horses, hang out in the "country" and get riding lessons. Yes, they are becoming country girls!!!

I am sooo excited because they are learning the value of hard work!!


This morning we reflected on the saying

Sow a thought reap an action
Sow an action reap a habit
Sow a habit reap character
Sow a character reap a destiny

Clara has been reading the Secret Garden for literature. During her review I happened to sit with her during her lesson and found that one of the themes ties in so nicely. Could it be an accident? I don't think so!! Here are some quotes from the book...(Warning..this is long, but really quite good when you read an reflect on it...applicable to all of us today!!)

One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.

So as long as Mistress Mary's mind was full of disagreeable thoughts about her dislikes and sour opinions of people and her determination not to be pleased by or interested in anything, she was a yellow-faced, sickly, bored and wretched child. Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, though she was not aware of it. They began to push her about for her own good. When her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children...there was no room left for disagreeable thoughts which affected her liver and her digestion and made her yellow and tired.

So long as Colin shut himself up in his room and thought only of his fears and weakness and his detestation of people who looked at him and reflected hourly on humps and early death, he was a hysterical half-crazed little hypochondriac who knew nothing of sunshine and the spring and also did not know he could get well and stand upon his feet if he tried to do it. When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran heathily through his veins and strength poured into him like a flood. His scientific experiment was quite practical and simple and there was nothing weird about it at all.

Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.

"Where you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow."


Sisters...hanging out about to watch a movie!!


I love this picture of Elijah dancing to MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This"!! The picture doesn't do it justice, but he is so cute trying to follow the moves.


I pulled an archived shot from last week...This morning, my mom twisted and her fibula bone broke causing her to fall. This was a pretty bad break resulting in surgery to put a pin in the bone. We are praying for a quick recovery for my mom.


While we were in Georgia, spending time with David's mom and brother, my kids were OVERWHELMED by Mike (David's brother's) 43" computer monitor. They LOVED watching a movie and doing school on Uncle Mike's computer.

Turns out that Mike had a extra 23" monitor sitting in a box, never opened and simply gave it to us. WOW!! It is great because now we can use our old 15" monitor on another computer whose monitor doesn't work.

Yes, this seems like pure indulgence to me...but it was FREE!! And, now that all four kids have computer work for school three computers are quite helpful!!!

Also, we watch TV on our this picture is mine and David's date night...The premier of 24!!!! And, we were so giddy that rather than having to wait a week, we only had to wait a day.


Here's a picture of the inside of our car on the trip back from Georgia where we celebrated Christmas with my aunt and my parents. It was one of the more quiet car trips we have had EVER!! Noah played his new DSi...he was so engrossed that he didn't even notice when the bag above him fell on his head!!
Clara and Hannah watched Pride and Prejudice on Hannah's new laptop (combination Christmas and Birthday present).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sowing and Reaping

Sow a thought, reap an action
Sow an action, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap character
Sow character, reap a destiny

Lately I've run across this in a couple of different places. Usually when that happens it means I need to pay attention. (I'll talk about my takeaway in a different post)

This morning as I was starting my day I decided to use this verse as a teaching opportunity for my kids. It seems lately...since the holidays, traveling, the winter claustrophia and lack of exercise have caused my children to completely lose control.

Better stated they are DRIVING ME NUTS...the whining, the arguing, the complaining, the hitting and on and on.

This morning we read this saying together and had a great discussion about what it means to sow and reap. And, our actions, habits, character and destiny can be good (positive) or bad (negative or destructive). While our thoughts are not known by everyone...only God knows our thoughts. Our actions, habits, character and destiny are seen by all.

I thought it was a great discussion anyway. The children probably heard BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. I think I'm starting to sound like the grown-ups in Charlie Brown to my children.

My desire is that my children would really get this!! Rather than just moving on, I decided to incorporate a game. It doesn't really have a name.

Here's the game....Each of my children have a glass jar. They started the day with 20 rocks in their jar.

We made a list of positive actions that would add a rock to their jar. Some examples are cleaning room, taking initiative, encouraging, completing school work, peacemaking, memorize a Bible.

We also made a list of negative actions that would take away a rock from their jar. Some examples are talking back, whining, complaining, hitting, yelling, cutting someone down, arguing, making faces.

The competition will last through Sunday night. The person with the most rocks will get a treat at Starbucks. Starbucks has been completely cut from our budget, so this is a real treat.

It is amazing how smoothly our morning has gone!! I love competition!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Last night a friend of mine cleaned out her pantry and decided to share some of her extras with me. What a TREAT!! She totally surprised me and brought over some goodies. She had some Glucerna cereal that is expiring soon....four boxes.

So, I tried it and well let's face isn't the most tasty cereal on the planet, but I had an idea. I remember back twenty years ago as a new bride making some fabulous muffins with Fruit and Fiber cereal. Off to internet for some research. I found a recipe for muffins and found an excellent way to retool this cereal.

I used buttermilk instead of milk and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the top. This recipe is a repeat. So if you have any cereal whip up some muffins!!!

Lesson Learned

Yesterday we went to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials. We had a list!!! We had a budget of $29.92. Here's a list of what we bought...

macaroni & cheese
saltine crackers
chicken bouillion
Penne Pasta
Tortilla Chips
Peanut Butter
sour cream
Half & Half
Bag of Salad

It was an interesting experience walking through with so little money. Having a list certainly helped. We did have to put a few items back on the shelf to stick to our budget. The good news is that the buttermilk, Half & Half and Salad were all marked down.

It is amazing how many choices and options are out there for food. Overwhelming really!! However, it is quite easy to say no when you have a specific amount of money and when you have a goal.

Here's my lesson for the day!!! Check your receipt!!!! We got to the car and I just happened to look at the receipt. We had added up how much we thought the total should be and it was a little more than we thought. They had charged us twice for one gallon of milk....$2.29.

Normally that seems like pennies, but that bought me a bag of salad and a bunch cilantro.

Our total expenditures were $29.64.

That means we 28 cents left to spend for the month. Okay...I can tell you right now that it will be next to impossible for us to go twelve days without spending any more money on groceries. I did find a $10 bill that was leftover from my allowance that I am going to transfer over to groceries.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reese Wagner

On January 7th, a little boy in Bartlett, named Reese Wagner, was playing on a pond and fell through the ice. He was stuck under the ice and had to be rescued. He goes to the elementary school my children went to last year. My neighbor's son is good friends with Reese.

Reese was taken to the hospital in critical condition. When I first heard of it, my heart just cried out for this family. My heart cried out for the little boys who were his friends. My heart cried out for all the people who know him and love him.

On January 9th as I was sat down to read the Bible, my mind kept thinking about this little boy.

I'm going to digress a bit...lately I have not really read my Bible much and for 2010 I have committed to read the Bible before I get on the computer, before I chat with my husband, before I do anything else. Why, because I believe God speaks through His word.

Back to January 9th...This was my prayer "Lord I cry out to you Reese's creator and sustainer. I cry out to you the Resurrected Jesus. I cry out to you with power over the universe to bring this little boy back from the brink of death. Rescue him. Heal his body. Do that which only you can do. Confound the doctors. Use the entire situation for your glory."

Then, I opened the Bible and began to read where I left off the day before. I am reading through the book of Psalms and turned to Psalm 18..

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."

Reading these verses brought tears to my eyes and prompted me to pray more fervently. "You drew Reese from the deep waters by the hands of the firemen. Lord, all seems lost and hopeless for that dear little boy. Rescue him from death. Rescue him from brain damage. Oh, that he may live to proclaim You, Your words, your redemption, your salvation. My heart cries out to You on behalf of this family and this little boy".

Normally, I do not get this personal on a blog, but goodness gracious, I can not help it. God deserves all the credit. He is at work. There are over 14,000 people on the facebook page Pray for Reese Wagner.

Here's the latest update..."Reese is in his own room now. Only on a little bit of oxygen and an IV. Thankfully, he does not remember what happened to him. They said there might not be many more updates since he is doing so well! Truly miraculous..."

So, for me, whose faith seems to be floundering a bit, this reminds me of the Greatness of God, the Power of Prayer, and the Wonder of God's word. It also reminds me that with God nothing is impossible.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


My aunt is a little concerned that we are starving our poor children while eating from the pantry and freezer this month. So, she put together a box of goodies that we were to open when we arrived home. Here's a sampling of what was in the box. I will say that I'm happy for some convenience food while unpacking the car and getting back into real life mode!! It was REALLY wonderful taking a week off from cooking!!!


The boys hanging out with their grandparents in the kitchen!!


Sunset from the front porch of my parent's home..the Country Manor!!

My girls!!!

What beautiful girls we have!!


David nostalgically walking through the pasture behind his childhood home!!


Sunset from the front porch at the home where David grew up!!


Monday morning we headed to Atlanta to celebrate Christmas with our families. From driveway to parking lot at the Varsity was 6 hours and 15 minutes. The Varsity is one of our favorite treats while on vacation!!


One of Elijah's many faces...I just love these eyelashes!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Week 3

Our eat from the pantry challenge has been fabulous this week!!! Why, you may wonder? We are actually traveling and eating from other people's pantry. Whoo Hoo!! Now before you think we are cheating...we did start a few days before January 1st on the challenge because we knew we would be out of town this week.

We packed our breakfast on Monday morning and enjoyed sausage balls and chocolate croissants in the car (thanks for the recipe Shelly). And, we planned to eat a meal out (our first for the month)....and boy was it a GREAT meal out.

The Varsity just so happened to be on our way!! Oh, the Varsity...greasy bliss and a frosted orange. I'll post pics later. Forgot to pack my download cord for the camera.

Anyway, this week I will be taking a break from posting the food we eat...I'm sure all of my readers will be devastated!!

I admit that we are enjoying the break!! It is nice to NOT plan meals. It is nice to NOT create meals from the food in my pantry and freezer. It is nice to NOT cook.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eat from Pantry - Week 2 Completed!!

Week Two is OVER!! This past week the challenge truly began. The choices are certainly more limited. But we made it!!!


Breakfast - Homemade Biscuits and Link sausage (buried in freezer)
Lunch - Turkey a la King over left over Biscuits
Dinner - Ground Beef Pie (This is by far the best thing I have made so far!!!)

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion diced
handful of mushrooms sliced
3 medium diced
3 medium carrots
Parsley Flakes
Garlic Salt
2TBL of flour
Beef Broth (I made mine with 3 cups water 3 bouillion cubes)
Pie Crust (Luckily I had one in the freezer)

Brown the ground beef and diced onion. Add sliced mushrooms toward the end. Put in a medium mixing bowl. Add about 2 TBL oil to the skilled and saute the diced carrots and potatoes until lightly browned. Put in the mixing bowl. Mix in Spices (Sorry no measurements, about that much..I think thyme would also be good.) Use whatever spices you like or have on hand.

Heat another 2 TBL of oil in the skilled. A 2 TBL of Flour and mix until a paste forms. Add beef broth and cook until thick. Pour into mixing bowl with beef and vegetable mixture. Mix together and pour into a 9x13 baking dish.

Top with pie crust. You could also top with canned biscuits or even just top with cheese. Bake at 375 until bubbly and top is browned.

Breakfast - Oatmeal Cookies
Lunch - Leftovers
Dinner - Fish Sticks (YUCK!!) and French Fries

Breakfast - Cereal
Lunch - McCallister's - (Leftover from a meeting David had a church) YUMMY!!
Dinner - Clean out fridge Leftovers

Saturday, January 09, 2010


This is Noah's first season to play basketball. There are times I feel a sorry for my little fella. He is without a clue!! He runs to his spot and stands in his spot. He doesn't really understand the game conceptually.

The neat thing is that he always has a smile on his face and is having a good time. He has much room for improvement, but what he lacks in skill he makes up for in a happy attitude.

In his league, at halftime every player gets to line up and take a free throw shot. If the player makes the shot, it counts (pretty cool huh!!). I was able to capture Noah's free throw shot.

While his form might leave a little to be desired...HE MADE THE SHOT and scored a point for his team!!!


We had a fun educational evening with a few other families. My friend Cheryl came up with a great history project. Each child was given a list of characters from the Night at the Museum 2. They were to research each character and find out a little about them. It worked out so well. The Taylor boys did a timeline. The Hagen girls wrote interesting facts. Ashlan found out where each person was from. Clara created a power point presentation complete with visuals and sound effects (I don't even know how to do that).

We talked about each character (I learned a few things myself).
And then, we watched the movie.

It was really a pick-me-up for Ellie (in the light blue shirt with crutches) who was released from the hospital the day before.

Homeschoolers are serious snow days, no sick days (you can read while lying in bed)...not even surgery will get you out of learning.

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Friday, January 08, 2010


Today I sent my husband in the bitter cold to the store for a few essentials. We were out of copy paper for our printer which is a must for school (That doesn't count from our food budget). While at the store, David picked up eggs, milk, oil and crackers. He spent $10.43.

Total spent so far on food during the eat from your pantry challenge is $20.08. That leaves me $29.92 for the rest of the month. YIKES!!

A Walk in the Woods!!

Hannah and Clara spent the afternoon in the woods yesterday with a couple of friends. I sent Hannah into the woods with my new camera (it was difficult to do that).

Here are the shots that I love and yes there are more than I would normally post!! There are only about 500 more shots that I didn't include.

The girls had fun in the woods. We should all spend more time in the woods.