Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mothering Certain Children

These last few months have been complicated for us in regards to H3. She is such a unique kid that doesn't fit into any mold or ideal that you try to compare her with. I have struggled through many parenting books, frustrated because they did not address the issues that we have and the advice they gave was completely useless. Her teachers at school have repeatedly told me that they don't know what to do with her. She simply doesn't respond to anything they try, so I know it's not just me. I read a post this morning that was so helpful to this mother's heart. Maybe you are in a similar boat, trying to work through raising a kid who the titles of "strong willed" and "stubborn" don't even begin to describe her because there is so much more involved. Maybe you need this encouragment too. i hope you will find it.



Friday, November 15, 2013

Visitors and Applesauce

During the third week of October, we had a delightful visit from my father-in-law and one of his former exchange students, Mathias.  Mathias is from Denmark and he was in the States three years ago as a student. This year, he came back to tour all the things he wanted to see and didn't have time to while he was here before. He and Dad H are off on a driving tour of the U.S. Can I just admit right now that I am slightly jealous?  How much fun that sounds!  We were so glad that they stopped here for a few days to say hello. I always love seeing Dad H and it was good to catch up some with Mathias. The girls loved him. Poor guy.  I think he hardly had a moment of peace while he was here. H4 wanted him to hold her constantly and H3 wanted him to explore the backyard with her. Fortunately, Mathias is a very gracious guy with younger siblings, and to my girls' joy, he indulged them quite a bit.

The following weekend, it was time to work on all those apples we'd picked on our camping trip. Do you like to make applesauce?  Or maybe tomato sauce? Or jams and jellies?  If so, I hope you have a Squeezo or something like it! We usually can a minimum of 40 quarts and 15 pints at a time. I would hate to not have this handy gadget through the process. I purchased ours a while back through ebay and I love it!

H3 helped out a lot this time

How does a  Squeezo work for applesauce?  Well, let me share our process.

1. Cut apples into quarters and add them to a pot of boiling water, peel, seeds, core, and all
2. When the apples are soft and tender, dump them into a colander to get the water out.
3. Add all apples and pieces into the top silver bowl of the Squeezo.
4. Crank the handle. Your fresh, ready-to-eat applesauce will pour down the chute and the peel, core, and seeds will go through a different end for you to either toss or process again, if you choose to squeeze a bit more sauce from them.
5. Flavor your applesauce if desired (we put brown sugar and cinnamon in some and others we leave plain).
6. Sometimes, you will need to reheat the applesauce before pouring in the cans, especially if you desire a thicker sauce. In the past few years, we have been able to skip this step.
7. Bathe in a hot water bath for 18-20 minutes.

That's really all there is to it!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Snapshot of Our Camping Trip, October 2013

Once again, I'm a lot further behind than I meant to be on posting here.  We've had a packed few months, and it's continuing to chug along quickly.  Here's a few pictures from our family camping trip that we took at the beginning of October.  We go apple picking and camping every year near Crabtree Falls. This year, H3 hiked to the top for the first time.  The distance isn't far, but it is a steep hike!  We were very proud of her.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

H3 Turns Five!

On September 10th, my little H3 turned five years old. Oh my, how she has grown up over the past couple years!  She is a smart little cookie who seems to delight in getting into trouble this first year at school. Her energy and enthusiasm for everything that life holds continue undiminished.  She is all things girlie, loving dress-up, pink and purple, dolls, and Lego Friends.  And at the same time, her favorite activities still include building things with her dad, taking rides on the tractor, banging on the drums (I say banging, because I can't really call it playing yet), and anything that involves tools --hammer, drill, etc. She loves music and dancing, AWANA and movies with popcorn. At all times she gives me a run for my money, so to speak. It takes every bit of energy I can find to try and keep up with her. With H3 in the family, life is never boring. We love our sweet girl!

Working on decorating

She approved of the balloons

Grandma and H3 eating homemade pizza for dinner with Doritos, H3's favorite

The requested cake from Sam's Club. Normally, I make her cakes, but this child has been eye-balling this particular cake for months, and since it was $12, I figured we could swing it. She even made friends (way ahead of time) with the young lady who decorated it for her, and was announcing to all who would listed that Kimmy was making her birthday cake.

Loving the hat from Grandma!

She wore it while she opened every present!
My dear H3, I am so thankful that God has given us the privilege and responsibility of raising you. Please don't forget that God made you to be you. Even now, I see you doing things that make you stand apart from other kids. You choose to not go with the flow, and in many cases, I'm proud of you for that. My biggest prayer is that you will make the most important decision of your life and submit that strong will of yours to Jesus and let Him mold you to be a dynamic powerhouse for His kingdom. Your Daddy and I love you, and He loves you even more. No matter what.

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gearing Up and Off We Go!

We spent the last couple weeks of August on the run, trying to get ready for the school year to begin. During the last week before school, I tried to make sure that the kiddos enjoyed plenty of time outside for free play and fresh air.

H3 and I also needed haircuts.  I took H3 to a cute little salon for kids called "Divas N Dudes." Each salon chair has its own tv and kids can either play games or watch a movie. Some chairs are designed like cars. The waiting area had a train table and a little kitchen for munchkins. Best of all, the haircut was still only $16 for such a fancy arrangement!

All pretty!

We started off the first school morning with chocolate chip pancakes.

All ready for school! (That's a black bow on the left bun in her hair.)

I consoled myself with a good cup of tea.
H4 celebrated H3's first day of school with a peanut butter/blueberry jam sandwich.....

along with broccoli and teething on a carrot. I should specify that she had a cute yellow dress on, but I had to take it off her to protect it from the blueberry mess she made.

H1 decorated a yummy cake for my birthday. That would be a whipped peanut butter buttercream frosting.

H3 thought it looked rather tasty. She was right!
Week 1 of school was pretty rough. H3 had some issues adjusting to the rules and structure, as well as the general interaction with other kids her age. Despite that, she said she was enjoying her class and making new friends.  By Friday of last week, things were starting to improve. Today went pretty well too, so I have hope for things to go more smoothly in the future. We shall see!

My parents arrived this past Saturday and are staying through Thursday. We celebrated H3's birthday today and I will post pictures of that soon, hopefully!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I hate humidity. I look like I stuck my finger in an electrical outlet.  Or that I am trying out for a movie, to play a roll as a lion. And that is all I have to say about that.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quinoa & Veggie Dish - Gluten Free and Yummy!

Recently I was browsing online, hunting for gluten free recipes, and I came across one that looked like something our family would enjoy. It has certainly become a favorite for H4 and me, and H1 and H3 like it as well (except for H3 picking out the carrots). I have added in chicken, just because our family enjoys it, but you can leave it out for a vegetarian option.

1 cup quinoa (I use the pre-washed stuff)
2 cups of chicken stock or water
16oz bag frozen mixed veggies
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 and 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced onion ( or you could cut up a small onion, but I'm a bit lazy)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken, pre-cooked and cubed (I use about 1lb, and cook it in a bit of olive oil on the stovetop over low heat with salt, onion powder, and ground thyme)

In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to boil and add quinoa. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until almost all the liquid is gone. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium and add garlic, onion, black beans, and the frozen mixed veggies. Cook about 15 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring as needed.  Add quinoa and chicken to the skillet and add salt or pepper if needed. I have found with using the chicken stock, we don't need much salt.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Changes For H3

When I started blogging again after a break this summer, I mentioned that there would be some changes coming up, and this is that post I promised.

This past winter, my husband approached me about H3's schooling. She's learned so much over the last year and is well above most 4-year-olds, academically. Her photographic memory makes it easy for her to learn and she absolutely loves school.  To say that she is a challenge is an understatement. With her love for learning comes an interesting social dynamic that we have had great difficulty learning how to work with.  Her personality as an extrovert is very different than my own, and she is high energy to boot (most in the health profession have commented on her above-average activity level and questioned a possible diagnosis of hyperactive, though I maintain that she is just a happy and bouncy child).  There is no question that homeschooling has been good for her and is something we plan to pursue in the future. 

That being said, H1 asked me to consider sending H3 into school for one year to see if some of her social difficulties would work themselves out. He felt that it would be best for her to experience a year in the school system. Most places we wouldn't consider it, but she would be in the school across the street from where he teaches, be taken to and from school by her parents, and this is a school system that still prays. Not kidding. They pray before sports games and faculty meetings, and often don't give homework on Wednesday nights because they know that the kids go to church. It's an unusual system, and I'm thankful for it! The first year my husband taught there, he was getting ready to start his first middle school basketball practice, and one of the kids spoke up, "Hey coach, aren't we going to pray?"

Anyways, after a lot of prayer and consideration, and asking counsel from close friends and family, we have decided to apply for H3 to attend school for one year. At this point, we intend to pull her out and resume homeschooling after this year. This year will also give me the opportunity to work with H4 a bit. She hasn't developed very far in making sounds, most likely because her older sister does all the talking for her! H4 is highly inquisitive and I plan on doing a form of Tot School with her this year.

School will begin for H3 on September 3rd. Since she has already passed all the information for kindergarten and is well into first grade at home, she will most likely be a bit bored in the kindergarten classroom into which she is being placed. I have purchase material to teach her outside of the regular school day. Since she will be spending her days in the classroom, my methods will be a bit more unorthodox, and I will try to document those as best as possible in case there are those who are looking for ideas on educating active children.

As we begin to navigate new waters, we would covet prayers for wisdom. I am still feeling anxious about sending my child out, but I know God is even more interested in her development than I am.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tea Party

While Auntie Amber was here, we decided to have a tea party.

H4 was helping to get things ready.

Our table set-up: cupcakes, blueberry cookies with raisins on top, crackers with cheese, biscuits with blueberry jam, peanut butter & nutella sandwiches, grapefruit, muddy buddies, and maple tea

Excited about her tea party

Hope you are having a fabulous first day of August!


Blueberry Picking and Jam

I confess that I've been spoiled. For the last few years that we have been picking blueberries at this particular farm, it's been $1 - $1.50 per pint. They have been some of the sweetest blueberries I've ever eaten. It's a family owned farm and we love the place!  This year, I felt a bit of a whine begin when I saw they had raised the price to $2 a pint. Still, I decided it was worth it to go and pick a few. Auntie Amber came with us.

Mommy, I'll pick it but I sure won't eat it!

Auntie Amber and Amberlyn at our orchard

When we got home, I decided to spend a couple hours making blueberry jam. I've never made it before, and I have to say that it turned out a lot better than I was anticipating! Yummm!

I use a recipe from, and I've always found that website to be one of the best for tips on canning and freezing, not to mention finding local farms!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Backyard Addition

This past weekend, we got a new addition to our backyard! A good friend of ours gave us this play area, which her grandson was no longer using. It's a couple years old, and H1 transported it in pieces on a trailer.  We worked on Saturday and Sunday afternoon to get it back together, and then H1 built the mulch area to raise it up a bit. This whole area floods frequently. Now, hopefully, this will allow our kids to have a place to play outside more often, instead of just the mud.  I am so thankful to Andy and her family for blessing us with this!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anniversary Post From A Friend

A friend of mine wrote the following yesterday on facebook, sharing her thoughts on 14 years of marriage. So much of this rings a bell in my life, and I wanted it share it. We have walked side-by-side with this couple and their fabulous children for the last almost-8 years, and rarely have I met a more real family who is so open about their daily lives seeking after God. Not religion. Never religion. Genuine faith, genuine love for people, and tackling the difficult issues in life head-on and running to the Lord. Congratulations on your anniversary guys!   ~H2

Today, Dean and I celebrate our 14th Anniversary. Yes, we were like 8 when we got married. ha. It's long, but just keep reading. Just because. 
Things I have learned during 14 years of marriage:
-14 years is NOT a very long time 
-The more birthdays, (and the more kids) you have, the faster it goes...
-Life may be quite an adventure, but it is definitely no Disney fairy tale
-90% of what I heard/thought about marriage/family/roles throughout the first 20 years of my life I would have been better off without
-Living passionately is ok - you may have passionate "discussions" (haha), but chances are you'll love more passionately, and feel more fully too. The upside is more than worth the downside 
-Take chances!!! - you might move 9 times in just over a decade (ahem), but it sure beats a dry existence!
-What your family thinks about your spouse matters a great deal - maybe more than it should
-The very couples/families that you think have it all together, generally are the very ones who don't. Envy no one.
-Some people have a lot of luck in every possible way - their cars always work, their kids are perfect, their relationships are like a Grace Livingston Hill novel, their jobs are never in jeopardy, their health is amazing, they've completed Dave Ramsey's plan for financial freedom and are living off of the interest in their savings account, also they are beautiful and photogenic in every picture. We will never be those people. Chances are, neither will you. Embrace the mess. Or try too.  Keeps life exciting
-Husbands will never stop throwing their socks on their side of the bed instead of into the laundry basket
-Wives will never stop saying "watch it" in the car
-God defines and ordains the covenant of marriage - not the state, congress, countries, committees, or even churches and licenses. Chew on that for a while...
-Speaking of covenants, the only useful piece of advice I remember from pre-marriage counseling was 'at some point in your marriage, chances are that one, or both, of you will want out - you have to decide beforehand that it's not an option, even when it is...'
-If you marry young, and "grow up together", it won't be easy - you will both change - sometimes drastically, but it's never, ever (ever) boring! 
-It's true that the things you find endearing about your spouse prior to marriage have the potential to annoy the crap out of you after a decade. But it's also true that things you never noticed about your spouse before, you suddenly find endearing!
-Love deepens and changes with time in an inexplicable way.
***I think that Calvin Miller summed it up perfectly in his book "Life Is Mostly Edges" - "I feel sorry for all those who announce at twenty or thirty, 'Yippee! I'm in love!' I have the awfullest urge to slap them out of their hysteria and say, 'Hey puppy, you don't know anything about love. Love exists only in the lives of those who have learned to kiss in the laboratory of pain. Love is the kiss that has laid aside by the fire of the honeymoon night, and found itself in the chaste hello of the cancer ward. Love is the trembling feel of faithful lips on a wrinkled hand. Love is a willingness to walk slow when our lover finds each plodding step a triumph over sluggish tendons. Come back to me you over-ecstatic, untried twenty-year-olds, when you are broken by age, then tell me of your love once you have gained the right to define it."
Dean Boring I love you.  But not as well or as much as I hope to 25, 35, or even 45 years from now! Thank you for our journey! xo

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Oh Dear!

My Hubby is so sweet. And funny. And totally missed the fact I drank 4 cups of coffee at church this morning before he brought this home for me. Wheeeee!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bean Burrito or Nothing

Sometimes you have a day. You know what I'm walking about. It's that day that starts off bad and continues all the way through, and you just duck and roll with punches, because prayer is all you can do. Nothing in the physical realm will change the reality of things going wrong during these days. I just had one of those. I'm not going to go on about it and share all the crummy details (suffice it to say that the day started off with almost 3 hours at the health department).  I'm sure you may have very well had one of those days today too. I empathize with you. What I will do is relate my most recent conversation with H3. If you have met my daughter, you can imagine the vocal tones that go with this conversation. If you haven't met her, then imagine something sassy.

For dinner tonight, we had chicken and steamed green beans. I know they are not H3's favorite, so I told her that if she ate what I portioned for her and was still hungry afterwards, I'd heat up a bean burrito for her. Surprisingly, she did eat everything on her plate and a little while later came up to me.

"Momma, I want a burrito. No! Orange chips!" (A.k.a., Doritos that she knows are in the pantry at this house)

"I told you earlier that you could have a burrito. Orange chips are not on the menu tonight. You've had enough snack-type foods today."

"I want orange chips."

"If you are hungry, I'll make you the burrito."

"Orange chips."

"You may have the burrito, or you may have nothing if you aren't hungry."

"Orange chips."

"Burrito. Or nothing."

"I want orange chips."

"Last chance, burrito or nothing."

"Burrito." (Spoken in a bit of a sullen tone.)

I made the burrito, and I'd like to note that it was consumed on seconds. No more mention of orange chips. And we had a delightful time reading stories before bedtime.

Here's to surviving the day by the grace of my Savior! Now on to dealing with an aromatic diaper that just walked by....


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dog Sitting and Banana Bread

First off, this is Moira, the dog that I'm watching. She is a chocolate lab. Isn't she sweet?  She's got a bone in her mouth at the moment, in case you're wondering.

Second, I made banana bread this morning. This particular loaf turned out a bit browner than usual on the outside, but it's still soft and the inside is perfectly decadent.  Can you smell it? Can you taste it? H4 just chowed her piece, along with some almond milk (yes, she has a milk allergy, though can tolerate small amounts in baked goods). Want the recipe?

Robyn's 'Nanner Bread (or that's what I'm calling it, since the recipe belongs to my friend)

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp milk
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Grease a large loaf pan. Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Once you pull it out, spead a little butter over the top of the loaf. Enjoy!


Friday, July 12, 2013

H4 Turns One

Before I get to updating you on the rest of the summer, I wanted to post some pictures of H4's birthday before the date slips too far behind. She turned a year old on July 8th. We were blessed to spend the day in Ohio with my parents and H1's dad. The cake didn't turn out as pretty as I'd hoped it would, but apparently it tasted pretty good, so we'll take it, right?

The cake, homemade vanilla cake with whipped buttercream frosting

Checking out her piece

She dumped it on the table as soon as she got the plate

and proceeded to make a nice mess.

As you can see, a bath was in order between cake and present time.

Loving the bunny. This was mine when I was a little girl.

Apparently we are mostly thrilled with cards.

and bows. She pretty much ignored the presents themselves and
concentrated on wrapping paper and bows.

My parents and father-in-law with the girls

I had to throw this one in of H3

Dancing on the lawn

We had a very lovely birthday for my sweet H4. It's hard to believe that it's already been a year since she was born and we got to witness God's miracle. I'm so thankful to be the mother of these two girls. H3 is beyond amazing as a big sister and H4 adores her.  H4 is such a precious child who continues to delight us with her laughter and joyful personality. She smiles at everyone and greets them with the most hilarious close-eyed-open-mouth grin.