Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category


Was playing around with depth of field and this is the best of the bunch.  Still getting snow, lots of snow.  Our crusty old van is back at home, but what it boils down to is we just can’t drive it in snow.  Only a slight inconvenience in the mid-west during winter. 

Anyone else printing/making valentines with their kids this year?  We have never made them before and the girls are so excited to be invited to a party…all four of them.  Let’s see 33 kids-1 you do not give yourself x 4 little girls = mommy helping to make 128 valentines.  I am all about handmade, but the boxes of pre-prints at stuff-mart are looking mighty pretty right about now.  It’s all about happy memories, right?   It would be like opening up a box mix to make chili when I have spices, beans, tomatoes, and onions in the cupboard.  I just do not think I can do it. 

Weigh-in update: 1lb (with blue jeans on instead of workout clothes.)  I was disappointed.  I put in 20 hours of exercise in last week.  I can not begin to explain how hard that was to balance with homeschooling, food, and even working a shift.  Why did I not lose more?  Our trainer has informed us that with all that work muscle retains water for repair.  She insists this next Monday will be when it really shows.  Guess I should stop sulking and pull it together start counting calories again, and get my butt moving.  I really want to have at least one 4lb week.  I was so close last week, hopefully this next one will be it!


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Today we had our last Christmas party of the “season.”  I know, it’s January, but we like it this way.  It’s my mom’s extended family so there are quite a few of us.  Being able to hold off some of the busyness of Christmas until a later date is just nice.  We all get to visit and relax without rushing off to another get-together or to get home simply because we haven’t been there much with all the craziness that can be December.  

Speaking of holidays.  For some reason, the last few weeks I have been very un-inspired to cook for my family.  That is an odd feeling for me and I do not like it.  I start a new exercise class at the Y on Monday, and also am planning on getting us all back on track for healthier eating at that time as well.  We really were doing so good last year making sure we had leafy greens, non-starchy veggies, fresh fruits, quality meats, and so on.  We still are doing our raw milk and farm eggs when we can (I don’t think the chickens like the cold as eggs are harder to come by.)  However, our refined carb intake has skyrocketed.  Cookies, Chex mix, candy, and pastry consumption has been high for us (I’m sure less than the average American eats) and it shows.  I feel blah and Jane is having some issues.  Tomorrow I plan on ridding the house of the crud and starting Monday it’s back to healthier eating!

It was hard picking a favorite photo today, but in the end my own husband won out.  I have to post the other two that I was trying to choose between.  If you disagree, please let me know why!  I have a feeling I am a bit biased.

Papaw Pie (did I ever mention my dad is a pro at making pies?)

Great Grandpa

I love the crispness in the photo of my Grandpa with my cousin’s newest little guy.  The one of my father with one of the twins is so sweet, but I feel the focus is off a bit.  I can’t help it, the tenderness of a daddy helping his little girl out with her doll just captures my heart…photography rules aside!  So, what is your favorite?

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So here it is January first and I am late posting my first 365 post.  No apologies.  In my little blog world, the 2nd doesn’t start until I wake up the morning of.  Cheating, perhaps, but it’s how I roll.  I haven’t a topic, no pull one direction or another.  I want to take great pictures with my camera  as well as post more frequently.  It will be a huge challenge for me as this is aside from the whole feeding my family nourishing foods, loving my husband, homeschooling my children, caring for parents, and the full spectrum of what makes my days mine.  So I guess my tentative theme will be just that.  If you are interested in just how a homeschooling family that eats a traditional foods diet while caring for each other and grandparents with a side of swimming and soccer operates….I guess this would be a good place to stop daily. 

How’s that for direction?  It’s what I do though, and I have a hard time imaging a better life.  Hopefully in the next 365 days I can show you a picture (or two) at a time how my days go and what life is like around here.  Worse case scenario: no one cares but my grandma and I learn how to use my camera better through so much practice!

So my first photo up there was taken at my good friends house.  I chose it for my first 365 photo for a couple reasons.  The panda bear used to mean little to me, but Brie loves panda bears and calls me “Mommy Panda Bear” and herself “Baby Panda Bear” and it melts my heart every single time.  Also, his little stocking cap is fitting for tonight.  It is chilly and I badly want to curl up, covers to my hears, and get a long nights sleep. 

I’ve talked before about my friend on this blog.  Her and her family are so dear to us.  If there are any kids that I feel remotely about like I do my own it would be hers.  She has been a blessing in my life for about ten years now and I am a better person for it!  I love her home, wait…I LOVE her home.  It is so welcoming and warm feeling.  Her place was one of the first places I wanted to go.  So many different kinds of light, things to look at, things to explore.  I could stay at her house for hours just talking with her about her junking excursions.  We are going later this month for a day long, just us, time away from it all trip through our state to see what treasure we can find.  Her eye for decor amazes me and I was so happy when she came and helped me decorate a bit for Christmas.

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old and new

After months of scrimping on groceries and working a couple parties in December combined with Christmas cash….I bought myself a new camera.  It’s a Nikon D3000 and I am loving it!  While there were higher-end models I would have loved to get, this one stretched me to my dollar limit (and past it just a bit, thanks sweetie!)  It has a guide mode that has been a wonderful help while I learn all the terms and settings. 

In the three days I’ve had it, I have been reading up, trying to get up the nerve to venture out of the auto settings.   The photos above are of Christmas decor in my home.   My good friend came over  one night and helped put a bit of Christmas spirit in the place…it needed it and I was in a rut.  I love these photos, but I see things in them that tell me I have a long ways to grow with my camera. 

One of the best parts, I can take pictures of the girls swimming with no flash and no odd lighting problems.  I took it to practice the other night with the kit lense (18-55mm) and was shocked at how many photos I got.   Our pool has odd lighting, most pools do.  My old point and shoot just would not capture the girls at all.  The best photos I have of them in the water were from my phone and not quality at all.  I can not wait to put my zoom lense on and see what it will do. 

I am thinking long and hard about a 365 project.  I want to learn how to use this camera and know that practice will help greatly toward that end.  However, the last couple months I was lucky to get a post of two finished.  I hate to say I am going to do it only to drop the ball first month in.  Perhaps a once a week deal?  Still thinking on that one.

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First off, I just got back from an amazing 6 day vacation with just my husband.  No kids!!!!  We went to Disney World and had so much fun going at a bit slower pace.  We managed to time our visit during the PGA tour.  I’ve never golfed, but walking part of a PGA event makes you want to try it out.  I never realized how beautiful and peaceful a golf course can be.  Of course, compared to my daily to-do, most places seem peaceful!  A big thanks goes out to my parents and his mom for making it at all possible.  An even bigger thanks to my sweet husband for going along with my grand scheme and taking the time to do it.  Here’s looking forward to the next time!

So, anyhow, I am on the plane yesterday thinking how Thanksgiving is less than a week away, YIKES!   I love Thanksgiving, all the family and food, but no pressures for gifts and where to put what gets brought home.  With our little trip, however, I have not planned one single thing to make.  Not one.  This is very unlike me.  I usually know in October what I want to make for Thanksgiving.  I look forward to cooking something new as well as old favorites.  The phone is usually buzzing back and forth to family members wondering who is cooking what.  This year, I have no clue if we are even having turkey (not uncommon for my side of the family to have a roast instead.)   Time to get planning! 

Off the top of my head, I am thinking a dish of cranberry relish would be good if someone is having turkey.  It’s wonderful with the meat the day of and even better on a leftover potato roll with a bit of leftover turkey and cream cheese.  I wonder if dad is even making potato rolls?  Then I am thinking veggies.  Roasted root veggies or maybe even a cabbage dish.   We have two dinners to go to this year.  One for my  mom’s side and one for my dad’s side.  Forest’s side isn’t doing anything this year, though we did invite his mom along with us.  No sense in anyone sitting alone during the holidays and she knows all of my side fairly well anyways.

The last thing I want to share is my “recipe” for the spaghetti squash casserole.  I usually just wing it like so:

  • cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, and roast in over until done (375 for an hour +/- according to size)
  • use a fork to pull the stringy squash out of its skin
  • ladle a bit of sauce in a baking dish
  • put in spaghetti squash
  • pour more sauce over top
  • bake for about an hour
  • top with cheese and brown a bit for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking

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Easter in photos

I’ve been working on this post for a couple days and the photos are as far as I’ve gotten.  I would write along with it, but it is so lovely outside that I just don’t have time to write. Pots need planted, wash needs hung, gardens need cleared out, and I need to get a couple more photos for two

new dresses in the shop by morning!

Our Easter in Photos, 2009

Jane in her Nancy Drew dress, without the jacket it makes her look 12...someone help me!

Jane in her Nancy Drew dress, without the jacket it makes her look 12...someone help me!

Liz sports a dress I messed up and turned into a skirt.  She wears everything low, it isnt really that long on her.  Still loving that little jacket and planning on making a sundress for under it.

Liz sports a dress I messed up and turned into a skirt. She wears everything low, it isn't really that long on her. Still loving that little jacket and planning on making a sundress for under it.

The twins ended up in their Minnie Mouse dresses.  I am dying to make another one and add a cute apron on it with black ric-rac around the edges...in my free time, you know!

The twins ended up in their Minnie Mouse dresses. I am dying to make another one and add a cute apron on it with black ric-rac around the edges...in my free time, you know!

My parents did an egg hunt for them in a small park around from their restaurant.  They are seated with the girls while Forests mom and my dads mom are in the background.

My parents did an egg hunt for them in a small park around from their restaurant. They are seated with the girls while Forest's mom and my dad's mom are in the background.

The girls in front of my parents restaurant Easter Sunday.

The girls in front of my parent's restaurant Easter Sunday.

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I hope everyone gets to enjoy some time with family today, eat a bit of chocolate or a big home-cooked meal.  Most of all, I wish that you all find the peace, joy, and grace that God offered through the sacrifice and resurrection of His perfect son.  Christ is risen, and is as much for you as He is for me!

We went to our local egg hunt yesterday.  It is on the courthouse lawn and due to it being a tad chilly we didn’t dress up.  I’m glad, I forget sometimes how sheltered our home is from the wind compared to the middle of town (it is up on a hill.)   The girls would have froze in dresses.

twins at the hunt, the older two went with daddy to the other side (according to age group)

sitting down at my parents restaurant to inspect her findings

sitting down at my parents restaurant to inspect her findings

Speaking of dresses, the twins really wanted to wear their Minnie Mouse dresses instead of their cherry and lemon dresses.  I figure why not, this is one whim I am more than happy to indulge. Liz is wearing a  skirt I made out of a huge floral print I love (Alexander Henry, again) with a jacket it about killed me to buy at Gymboree:

Corsage Flower Crop Jacket

It’s worth the price, don’t get  me wrong.  I guess once you really start sewing, spending as much as I would on supplies to make a dress and a top is hard.  It’s a great little jacket that will get much use through the years as I know the twins will eventually wear it.  Gymboree is good that way, their clothes wash and wear through a couple kids before wearing out.  I could have tried making it, but was out of time.

Jane has on her “Nancy Drew” dress (chocolate brown plaid taffeta with a matching short velvet jacket.)  It sounds odd, but is very lovely and according to her “okay that it isn’t bright fun colors because it’s brown like chocolate!”   Oh, and it’s a Nancy Drew dress because it has a feel of an era gone by that she picks up reading Nancy Drew…love my oldest gal that way.  Sounds good to me!  Her dress that I was making, well, it didn’t survive and is being completely torn apart.  It was all my doing, I put the pattern together wrong.  Sometime soon, though I hope to have a great Paris Springtime  dress to share.  The fabric is black line art Eiffel towers and these great flowers on a cream background with just the slightest hints of an orangish-pink.  The picture doesn’t do it justice:

Stretch Sateen Print-Paris Springtime

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