Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
"Mama, it's so pretty!"
Then she literally did the happy dance. She was moving around too much, so the picture didn't come out that good.
Thank you Gigi and Dave! That was really sweet and Abigail is loving the tree.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Here are some things we plan on doing with the kids that we are looking forward to:
Cut snowflakes out of paper. (this may be a challenge due to scissors and age of children...)
Sip hot chocolate.
Eat candy canes (maybe while we drink hot chocolate).
Watch great Christmas movies.
Make popcorn chains for grampy's tree.
Decorate pinecones with glitter glue.
Read bible stories.
Write Christmas cards and enclose drawings the kids have been working on.
Make straw star ornaments.
Go to the local live nativity.
Bake a variety of cookies.
Go to the local Christmas exposition.
Enjoy the multi-colored glow of Christmas lights in the dark.
Go for drives, sipping hot chocolate, and looking at the decorated houses in various neighborhoods.
Make handmade Christmas gifts.
Bake something yummy for someone else.
Make a chain garland out of red and green craft paper.
Put up our manger scene.
Read Christmas books.
Start a Jesse tree.
Get a Christmas Tree and decorate it.
Pick a birthday present for Jesus from the Samaritan's Purse catalog.
Get some traditional German Christmas candies and enjoy them.
Hopefully visit old folks in a retirement home and give them coloring pages from the kids.
Bake and decorate sugar cookies with friends. (and of course eat them immediately)
Enjoy a piece of German candy every morning out of our Advent calendar. (I know what you are thinking! However, this is a Christmas season requirement for descendants of Germans. Christmas may not come if this custom is not dutifully adhered to. We are only doing this for you.)
You think we have enough days to do all this before Christmas is here? What are your favorite things to do during the upcoming season?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Breakfast. Finally! You wanted to read about food, right? For a while we actually stopped buying cereal (except for David who is, I'm afraid, uncurable). Then I got pregnant and getting up early to make breakfast lost its appeal. Anyways, here are some of our favorite breakfast recipes. They are all healthy and best of all, delicious! You'll notice that a lot of them are from Ellie Krieger. She's my favorite chef. She manages to make really healthy food that is very yummy. Some of her food is too far out there for me and I don't care for it. For the most part though, we (including kids and meat and potatoes husband) really like her recipes. Plus, her ingredients are usually pantry stables or easy to get.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
- "So-o. (pause for dramatic effect)....."
- "But I said..."
- "You are the sweetest mommy"
- "Nathan! No!"
- "But I don't wanna go night-night" (every night....)
- "Are you proud of me?"
- "I want something to eat." (that is the most often heard phrase in our house right after "I love you')
- "Can I listen to my music?" (that is the most often heard phrase during car rides)
- "I'm not feeling good" (when asked to help do chores - at 2!!!)
- "I hurt myself!"
- "I'm just gonna get....(enter 50 toys of your choice here)" when asked to do something or go somewhere
- "I love you" Abby is quite fond of that phrase. :-)
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
You can't eat candy because your face mask doesn't have a mouth piece.
You keep tripping over your own feet because you have no peripheral vision with that mask.
Your lightsaber becomes a handicap when there are tons of kids walking around you.
The lightsaber from the costume store is a far cry from what you are used to.
You have to be very courteous to people even though you have the lightsaber because they, after all, hold the candy. And isn't that the ultimate force????
You are the scariest guy in the universe but the little pink lovebug by your side gets all the attention.
People don't give you the respect you deserve after they see you snuggle with your sister's lamb.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Grampy doing what he loves best, having his grandkids in his lap. Abby is so little, it makes me laugh. This was when Cars shoes still outruled all super heroes.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Abigail does NOT like being sick. She is VERY unhappy when she is sick. So most of the time, Nathan is thankfully sick by himself. I'm fully convinced that she refuses to get sick because she dislikes it so much. But she thoroughly enjoys the TV time they get when Nathan is sick. Since he doesn't have energy for much, they get to watch TV while he rests on the couch. Abby grabbed all the stuffed animals she could find and is sitting next to me, covered in a blanket and a gazillion stuffies.
To be perfectly honest, this time around, the sickness is kind of nice since my nausea puts me on the couch anyway. So Nathan, Abby and I get to spend the day together, reading books and watching TV and the kids are actually content being in the same spot for a while.
It's wonderful to get the little blessings in the midst of not feeling well. Warming blankets, hot tea to sip, a caring husband and most of all snuggeling with your kids on the couch for the day is just such a treat.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Nathan is very excited. He wants a brother so he can wrestle with him. He'd be more than willing to share his room and would be excited about sleeping on the top of a bunk bed. He kisses my tummy often and tries to faithfully remember to say goodnight to the baby. He covers me with a blanket when I'm not feeling well and tries hard to take good care of me. He will ask me "Are you not feeling well?", "Are you tired?". His concern is so sweet. And to be honest, it was very unexpected. Never underestimate your children.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Mama: "I'm so sorry your tummy is upset."
Abigail: "No mommy, it's not mad."
Nathan to mommy after I gave him a heart: "That heart is for me because you love me really good."
David: "Winner, winner, chicken dinner."
Nathan: "Is that a nice tone to say that?"
Grampy and Nathan discussing where Nathan will live when he's grown-up.
Grampy: "I'll turn into Grampyman and pick-up your house and put it in my backyard."
Nathan: "We'll be Backyardigans!" (If you dont' understand this one, you don't have kids under 6.)
David retelling the above story.
Nathan: "Daddy is boasting!"
Nathan explaining to Daddy that he's decided to live close to us when he is older.
Nathan: "And I'll bring my kids over so you can see them. And you'll love them so much because they'll be so much prettier than you 'd ever thought."
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Since it is now officially fall, it obviously is a good time to post a recipe for a nice, comforting soup.
This serves about 4 people. You will need:
5 Idaho potatoes (very starchy potatoes that turn soft when you cook them), peeled and cubed
2 Leeks, rinsed thoroughly and cut into rings (use only white parts and some of the green)
1 Onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
pepper, salt and nutmeg to taste (preferably freshly grated nutmeg and pepper)
Let butter melt in medium high heat stock pot. Add onions and leek and let cook until they are translucent. Add potatoes and let cook another 5 minutes. Add milk and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Use immersion blender to puree soup. If the soup is too thick for you, you can add more stock and milk until you reach the right consistency. Add spices to taste. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Motherhood has stripped me bare, showed me all those ugly selfish tendencies and pride inside of me I never knew existed. But the beautfiul thing that happens when we see those ugly sides of ourselves, is that God lovingly gives us a new heart, and puts a new spirit in us (Ezekiel 36:26). What better way to do this than through motherhood. When we are pushed to our limits, we cannot hide behind anything and our true self is exposed. Maybe even to us for the first time. But we are so motivated by love and the helplessness of our children. We can't walk away. We love them. It's so hard but we'll do it for them. Motherhood is a wonderful gift. Maybe much of it so because we see another part of our God, loving and patient, incredibly patient. I want to become more like Him and learn more about His kind of love: Patient and kind, not envy, not parade myself, not be puffed up, not behave rudely, not seek my own, not be provoked, think no evil, not rejoicing in iniquity, but to rejoice in the truth, to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, to endure all things. To never fail in love. (1 Cor 13:4-8)
Friday, September 17, 2010
This morning I showed them a caraway seed (we didn't have a sesame seed which is the size of our baby now at 5 weeks). Nathan gasped. He didn't expect that little of a thing. Quite cute.
Except for the usual tiredness and nausea, I'm very happy. Surely I will doubt my own sanity once in labor but as of right now, we are blissfully happy. My evenings are wonderfully spent by sitting with my amazing husband and knitting all things small and baby.
Overall, all things domestic have great appeal right now: Cooking, baking, knitting, finishing house projects (got my car cleaned and the swing repainted!), etc. Lots of thinking about the future and to be prepared. We are still trying to figure out what direction we want to take for Nathan for school next September. Private school or home schooling? We've started to teach the kids more independence and given them more responsibility. It's amazing how much little ones will pick up and do if you ask them! For example, Abigail will now make her own bed. What great little helpers!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The vinegar was used instead of a rinse aid in the dishwasher. After the first try there was no difference in my washed dishes. The glasses still had to be polished. Since the vinegar was already in the dishwasher rinse aid compartment, the next load got the same treatment. This time however I could totally see the difference. My glasses were not covered with the usual white film of the detergent. To be honest, there doesn't seem to be a difference to the rinse aid from the store. So we'll definitely be using vinegar instead of the spendy and chemically ladden rinse aid.
The other "dirt" in our house that has been bothering me for a while were black-ish scratchmarks in our white sink. Other cleaners didn't quite get it out. The baking soda and lemon juice (real lemon) paste did a fabulous job of bleaching and cleaning it with very little effort. I let the paste sit for at least 15 minutes and then scrubbed it just a little with the scrubby side of the sponge. Works great!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Yesterday we went to Grampy's house. This is TV, candy, chocolate milk heaven for my kids. They ask and they will receive. Since they don't get a lot of TV at our house, they will be clued to Grampy's TV watching WordWorld or mostly the Backyardigans. Grampy records those shows faithfully for them. So when he offered to turn a show on (this is the first clue: he had to offer it), my children politely declined and went on to play outside. What??? There are aliens somewhere that have my children. I'm sure of it. Nevertheless, both moments where very proud mommy moments for me. Little victories.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
My next step in this journey is to make homemade cleaners. They are both a frugal and safe. With two little ones in the house, that just makes sense. It seems to be a growing trend, so the internet is full with help on the subject. Hopefully the homemade cleaners will be just as good. I'm especially excited about laundry detergent since Abigail breaks out from the fragrance added to most commercial detergents. With making our own and adding natural fragrance, we can again have beautfiul smelling laundry! Below are a few links I've found that we might try in case you are interested in making your own as well. Also, check out the last link which is to karenpie's blog and in particular her fabulous receipe for healthy bread. This is the receipe I will try next.
Keeper of the Home - Basics for Frugal and Green Cleaning
Live Renewed - Clorox Wipes replacement
Live Renewed - Homemade Multipurpose Cleaner
Eco Diva - Hidden Talents of Olive Oil
Live Renewed - Homemade Laundry Detergent
Live Renewed - Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
Fabulussly Frugal - 40 Frugal Ways to Repurpose Household Items
Karenpie - Oatmeal Honey Wheat Bread
Also, you can replace bleach with oxygenated bleach. Can't find the link anymore for that. Get the one without fillers and only Sodium Percarbonate and Sodium Carbonate. Supposedly both are natural ingredients. My store brand which is at least $4 cheaper than the leading one, had just those two ingredients. The brand item had additional fillers and was more expensive. My store brand comes out to be $0.08 per load.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Nothing is done overnight
When Nathan was a baby, it seemed everything needed to be resolved overnight. As he started to grow and walk and then run, somehow that expectation was still there. When behavior problems set in as they do with toddlers, it finally came home for me. Everything with children takes time. It is a daily task.
Persistence is key
Little ones watch you for consistency. They will bounce off you and you need to give them that strong hold that keeps them in their boundaries. It is comforting to children to know what they are dealing with. Be insconsistent and you throw them for a loop and with that make parenting more frustrating for yourself. The sooner you start this, the easier it will be for yourself and your children. Be kind to them and be consistent.
Patience is a virtue
This is my hardest lesson. I still am very impatient although I've come a long way in this area. It gets hard to have the same conversations over and over. Or to make your toddler understand that you are in a hurry when they want to examine that rock on the ground. This area is where I wish I could really seize the moment more and realize that time is relative. Remember that patience is a fruit of the spirit. Fruits don't grow ripe overnight. You are a process.
Keep your children close by
Children need to be watched closely when they are young. Mothering is truly a full-time job. At the ages where mine are right now, some things have gotten easier. How can your day not be better if you actually sleep through the night???? However, other areas need more of your attention now. For my little ones, it is to continually watch their behavior, especially toward each other and to teach them tirelessly to be nice and loving toward each other. At times this seems overwhelming, especially when combined with the missing patience above. :-) I guess children learn by repetition. We are great at that! :-)
Talk to them about what you are doing
Children also learn by what you model them. Seeing what they are supposed to do helps tremendously. Recently I learned that it is an even more powerful tool if you actually explain what you are doing to your children. It took me 4 years to figure this one out! When you bring a gift to someone, don't just show them that. Involve them in picking out the gift and why you chose what you got, help them wrap it in a thoughtful way and then discuss why you are doing this for the receiver.
They love to help
Little ones are great helpers! And although you may think that things will go faster if you do it yourself, this is actually not true. I've found that many things go faster when I delegate. Such as having your four-year-old put away his socks. Yes, it may take HIM longer than it would take you, but it's a task off your list. Plus, the few tasks that take some oversight and teaching, they learn very fast. Go for it!
They love to learn
Teach them something new every day. This is really not as hard as you think. Have them help you cook, read them a book, do a craft. Nathan especially loves to learn from books. Get a DK series book for him and read it. Abigail loves to learn about stuff in the garden. Go out there with her. Teach them to read. Practice penmanship. It's easy and you can do it!
Nutrition is so very important
Their little bodies are just that - little. They are growing at such a rapid rate, it is important to fill them with the best you can give them. And what is a little junk for us, is a lot of junk to them. They are smaller than we are. Good nutrition doesn't have to be expensive. It just takes a little extra time and planning.
Enjoy them while they are little
Take time out of every busy day and love your children. Spend focused, quality time with them. They soak that up. Even just a few minutes of complete mommy focus energizes them tremendously. Color with them, cook with them, play in the castle, play with baby dolls, use your play kitchen. Love on your children. Little over four years have flown by. In just another year, Nathan will be off to school. Craziness.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Abby, addressing an older man we've never met before, in line at Fred Meyer: "I went poopy in my pants and not in the potty." ....Yes, the old man was very uncomfortable...
Mommy to Abigail: "Stop yelling."
Abigail: "But that was Tinkerbell mommy!"
David and Nathan had a long talk over miscellaneous topics. When they were done, Nathan goes: "This has been great," and walks away.
After watching the movie "Pete's Dragon," Nathan was pretending to be Elliot the dragon. Explaining to his uncle Chris: "Ellios has stripes on his BIIIIGGG belly, it's even bigger than yours!"
Nathan: "I wanna say goodbye to daddy when my tears are gone."
Abigail (all happy): "I almost burped!" (Hopefully she'll loose that excitement...)
Daddy: "Hi Abigail."
Abigail, very serious: "Don't talk to me. I'm in time-out."
Abigail to Nathan: "Don't talk to me!"
Daddy to Abigail: "Be nice."
Abigail in her sweetest voice to Nathan: "What would you like, brother?"
Nathan to Abigail: "I love you."
Abigail to Nathan: "I love you too, buddy."
Daddy: "Over there is the Jungle Gym."
Nathan: "Who is Jumbo Jim?"
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Here's the recipe:
1/4 cup spinach leaves (fresh)
1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1/2 TBS honey
1/2 TBS real maple syrup (Nathan is really into having maple syrup and honey in the same dish)
1/2 cup milk (or more depending on how runny you want your smoothie to be)
1/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 banana (previously frozen)
Put all ingredients in your Magic Bullet or mixer and run the thing until everything is smooth. You should have a wonderfully tasty smoothie that is also very nutritious. And honestly, you can't even taste the spinach.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest of 2 limes
Heat water and sugar on stove. Put zest of two limes into water mixture. Continue to heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Refridgerate for at least one hour. Mix with your favorite drinks instead of sweetener.