Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Manifesto

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Manifesto: Noun. A declaration of one's intentions.

Starting December first, I will keep a Christmas journal. In it, I will write something every day to reflect on the holidays of my past, enjoy the holidays of the present and dream
about the holidays of my future. To some, this will be a stack of papers and trivial scribbles, but not to me. I am taking back my Christmas, I am letting it be something I relish and, most importantly, I am giving at least fifteen minutes every day to myself no matter how crazy this season becomes. I hope you will share, encourage and understand
as I make something with my own hands, my own words and my own memories.

I may post some or all of my entries here. Other artists are doing this with me, and you can see there work here. Or you may join us.

Above all: enjoy the season. I will.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Ventures

Some new things coming our way, both personally and as a family right now. Some easy and some challenging, but since they are all from the hand of God ... who am I to complain, right? (Or at least, I'm trying not to). :) We are undergoing serious budget crunching right now. Things are tight and looking to stay that way for some time ... bills are getting paid and that's good, but the cupboards are pretty bare right now. We did get to go to the store today for a few things for which I am very thankful. :) I recently read a FABULOUS ebook called Thriving on One Income, well worth the few dollars it cost me to download it. She starts with heart issues towards living on a tighter budget and then gets into some strategies on how to do it and do it well. Two thumbs up. :) She talks over and over again about how wonderful it was to see God provide for their family when things got tight ... I love stories like that.

Another new thing coming up is that I am going to participate in Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class this year. I know, I know ... why am I taking this class when the budget is tight? Well, mainly because I signed up some time ago before things shifted on the home front; and I was paid for making some invitations for someone and I really try hard to use the money I make from creative projects to either go back into supplies or some thing to help me have a creative outlet. I still need to figure out what album that I'm going to be using and praying that I have one here on my shelves that will be perfect.

Of course, the most obvious of the new things is our new family member joining us next year. We had our 16 week appointment last Tuesday (before Thanksgiving) and heard the little heartbeat again. I haven't felt any significant movement at all from this little one ... not like I did with the girls. They were both so busy early on, that's it's unusual to have one so quiet into the 17th week. Sometimes I get a little anxious about it, but I haven't had any indications that things aren't going okay, and there's nothing I can do about it anyway so working on patience and trust here in a big way. Our ultrasound is set now for December 19th in the afternoon to find out if this will be a little he or she. We really aren't anywhere on names, although Travis threw out Reginald (or was it Rupert) last night in jest. Um, I don't think so. It's been kinda funny ... the question that we've been asked the most concerning this new baby is WHERE are we going to put it?? Our house is only 2 bedrooms, and the girls already share ... there are some that seem very concerned about us having room for one tiny new little baby. :) I'm not too worried. We have a Moses basket that he/she will stay in for the first 2-3 months, or until they get strong enough that I'm worried they will flip out of it. Then, we either have the bassinet insert for the pack-n-play when he/she needs more room or could get my nephew's crib. Lots o' options.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back in the Swing

We're back from a few days away for Thanksgiving and are working on our re-entry into home life ... mostly for the girls who have had 5 other adults to cater to them for 4-5 days and they are now stuck with just me. :) Life is rough! I'm under piles o' laundry, catch-up on work, and other various and sundry tasks. A few pics from our time away to share ...

Me and Travis on Clingman's Dome - the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains. (And, yes, I was nuts to climb it at 17 weeks pregnant!)

Us

At the Gatlinburg Aquarium ... N1 & Daddy waiting for the sting ray's to swing by so they could touch them.

Gatlinburg Aquarium

The little one hugging on Daddy. :)

Daddy and Natalie

Tennessee Thanksgiving

East TN in November

Monday, November 20, 2006

To clarify...

For the lovely Debs:

Biscuits and gravy is a breakfast staple if you live in the southern United States. You can make the gravy several different ways, but this is how I make it. Take a pound of ground pork sausage (breakfast sausage, not links or patties) and fry it up in a skillet. Then, I sprinkle the whole pan with flour (for a pound of sausage, I probably use 1/2 cup of flour), and then fill my frying pan with milk. Taking my spatula, I continually stir the flour/milk/sausage mixture until the flour is completely dissolved. Then you keep stirring as the milk starts to thicken and then it turns into gravy with yummy lovey chunks of sausage in it. Ladle that over a warm biscuit, and presto! Biscuits and gravy. I don't use a recipe to make it so it's a little sketchy as I'm typing from memory. My paternal Grandma was THE gravy maker in the family, and she passed that skill on to my Dad, who then passed the gravy-gene on to me. One of the family genes that I was thrilled to get. LOL This is just ONE way of, I'm sure, many to make biscuits and gravy. I believe if you use ham as your base (instead of sausage) it's called red-eye gravy, but I've never attempted that one.

A One-Weigh-or-Another disclaimer: this is definitely not something that I eat regularly because it is fairly fattening. But I splurged ... it was a Saturday morning, my husband was going out to breakfast with my Dad and brother-in-law and I was envious. :) So I tried to recreate that Cracker Barrel feeling at home.

Swonderings

Taking the Swonderings challenge from Women @ Home for this week.

The author points out that no matter how much or how little you put on your blog, there are things that your readers still don't know about you. "They wouldn't recognize your handwriting on a note, be able to discern your laughter in a group, or even know how tall you are. Take a photo of your handwriting, show readers your wardrobe, or record a short clip of yourself humming a tune. You've covered the big topics [in your blog], now get to the details."

I thought this might be fun! So if you can, post a sample of your handwriting or a sound recording of your voice, or even a never-before-seen photo of yourself. Be creative! Challenge yourself.


So, I've uploaded a clip from this past Sunday at church ... I'm singing the Doxology with two friends for our Sunday morning offertory. You'll have to log into Xanga to hear it - I could't figure out how to upload it to blogger, but I could to Xanga. :) Or you can click here to download the mp3 file. I'm the high part - you have to hang in there through the 1st and 2nd verse and then I come in on the 3rd through the end. :)

Thanks, Pattie. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

One Thousand Gifts #3

41. Saturday mornings.
42. Oldest girl sleeping in. (Past 8 a.m. is sleeping in!) :)
43. Biscuits and gravy for breakfast.
44. A fairly quiet day.
45. Getting out the Christmas tree last night.
46. Letting the 3 year old help Daddy put it up.
47. Pictures.
48. Dogs that haven't run off yet this morning.
49. An inspiring book.
50. A good verse.
51. Potluck dinner tonight at church.
52. An old family friend is in town for the weekend.
53. Travis deciding what seminary class he is going to take in the spring.
54. Having the option of doing it along side of him... (am I crazy!?)
55. A baby that ADORES her Daddy.
56. Planning for a few days out of town.
57. No computer, no email, no cell phone.
58. Lots of Skip-Bo & Uno.
59. One who stands at the door and knocks.
60.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Thousand Gifts, #2

21. Naptime.
22. The miracle of a new baby not yet born.
23. Being pregnant alongside a good friend.
24. Warm covers on our bed.
25. Clean sheets.
26. Diapers that don't leak.
27. God's amazing colors that he brings out in the fall.
28. The smell of baking muffins.
29. And chili in the crockpot.
30. Hearing that a young woman is making wise choices in regard to her education. (That's you, Lexie). :)
31. Women's Bible study at church.
32. Making Christmas lists for others.
33. Apple cider.
34. Hot coffee.
35. Mail.
36. Catching up with an old friend & meeting her son.
37. Cough drops.
38. Mini-vans.
39. The book of Philippians.
40. Bare baby feet.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Things that make me happy

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned how much I love grocery shopping at Aldi's. Cheap, cheap food because it's all the Aldi's brand and packaging instead of Kraft or Kellogg's. :) My only complaint with Aldi's in the past is that they don't have lots of fat-free options ... something that this die-hard Weight Watchers girl (when not pregnant) is always on the hunt for. Over the last year they have been adding to their Fit and Active line of food ... healthier salad dressings, dried fruit, granola. But on my last visit, I spotted something that made me so excited - WHOLE WHEAT PASTA! Now, granted, you don't have many options on what shapes of pasta you want. It's spaghetti or rotini and that's it, but still! Yeah! And this week, one of my all time favorites has appeared - fat free refried beans. Just little things that help me keep our family on our grocery budget, eat healthy, and make me happy. :)

Oh, and thanks to Crystal at Biblical Womanhood ... go here for a free breakfast entree at Chick-fil-a ... free to the first 1 million signups. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Menu Plan Monday - 11/13

A few weeks off the bandwagon and I'm back with Menu Plan Monday, hosted by Org Junkie. :) Our budget is tight this week so I'm trying to buy just a few basics and work with what we have in the freezer and pantry.

Monday: Sandwiches, chips, fruit (we're taking our 3 year old to a birthday party tonight and dinner will be on the run for Mama and Daddy)

Tuesday: Spaghetti, caesar salad, garlic bread

Wednesday: Mexican Soup/Chili (in the crockpot)

Thursday: Hay and Straw (stolen from Diary of a S@HM's food blog ... there is good stuff there!)

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Homemade pizza, again (but this time for a Mission dinner at church ... I won't be eating pizza, but the kids will like it). :)

Sunday: Family Lunch Day

Friday, November 10, 2006

1000 Gifts



1. Friday night family nights.
2. A God who is soveriegn.
3. Baby kisses.
4. Cinderella dresses.
5. Cool fall days.
6. Psalm 52.8-9
7. Playdates at McDonalds.
8. A husbands that come home from work every night.
9. Clean laundry.
10. A purple pen.
11. Women at Home
12. Scrapbook ideas.
13. Music.
14. A good book.
15. Inspiration.
16. Creativity.
17. Calendars.
18. Church.
19. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
20. Fall leaves.

...to be continued.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We've been holed up at home for the last several days. N2 has come down with her first nasty cold (fever, green nose, the works) and amazingly, the rest of us have been spared from it thus far. I'm crediting large quantities of Purell as the reason. :) That said, I've been doing some decluterring and purging and rearranging. In some areas you can see a difference and in others, mmmm, not so much. :) Those areas just seem to have been stirred. We got out for the first time since Monday this afternoon ... N1 had her little gymnastics class and I thought she could use the time to run around and burn up some energy. Well, I needed her to burn up some energy! But we wore the little one out. She was so pooped when we got home and went right down for what I'm sure will be a long nap followed by an early bedtime.

The last few days I've been so thankful to be a S@HM. I haven't had to worry about calling in sick, getting someone to cover for me, or taking my sick girlie with me to get stuff done. I did have to get someone to cover snack for me at Bible study this morning, but thankfully, I was signed up with a dear friend who would much rather bring a little extra food that catch N2's cold. :) I owe her a Starbucks card. :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Real Update

A real honest-to-goodness catch-all update from us. :)

  • There is bread baking in the oven right now. Yum.
  • And diapers in the laundry. :)
  • We had N2's 9 month check up on Monday ... 19 lbs., 13 oz. and 26 7/8".
  • She has moved up to the big girl car seat ... the baby carrier was killing me! :)
  • She cut her first two teeth on Monday (on the bottom).
  • And stood for a few seconds alone on Sunday.
  • The last two weeks I have been devoted to working on getting her to sleep through the night. We've now had at least 2 nights where she hasn't made a peep - yeah! (And several nights where she just cried out a little bit and then settled herself right back down.)
  • N1 is wearing big girl p@nties today. :) She's doing pretty good so far!
  • The girls have both been c.r.a.b.s. this week because of the flu shots they got on Monday.
  • It seemed like I had a lot more to write about when I'm not at the computer.
  • The girls and I went and voted yesterday. It was the last day of early voting here. It took us 50 minutes to get through the line ... I did NOT have enough dry cereal and juice. :) But, it was still probably less time than it will take next week on Election Day.
  • I'm out of the 1st trimester officially on Saturday. Yeah! Did I mention that I heard the baby's heartbeat last week? I can't remember.
  • We go back 11/21 for the next check-up and will probably find out what we are having right before Christmas.
  • At some point, we will have to come up with names for this munchkin. We probably won't divulge until we are for sure, but the boy will have the name "John" in there somewhere, I hope ... it's Travis' middle name.

    N2 is up from her nap so this is it for now! :)
  • Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    Nine Weird Things

    Thanks to a tag from Katharine @ Raising Five, I now feel suddenly compelled to tell 9 weird and remarkable things about myself. Katharine limited herself to 9 food related oddities and while that has inspired the start of my list, we'll see if I can come up with nine total. :)

    1. I love the combination of peanut butter and cheese. Love. Love. Love it. Especially for breakfast. Even more especially when I'm pregnant. The peanut butter MUST be crunchy and the cheese MUST be Kraft.

    2. When I eat said pb&cheese (or any sandwich for that matter), I eat all the way around and eat the crust off first, then the yummy insides of the sandwich. Who knows where that quirk came from.

    3. When I lived alone for a couple years before getting married, I usually fell asleep to a movie in a little tv/vcr combo that sat in my bedroom. 9 times out of 10, it was Star Wars. I can quote enough of the dialogue that it really is pretty scary.

    4. I had a friend in 8th & 9th grade named Christi. She moved to California at the end of our 9th grade year, and a year later, I moved to Arkansas. (We were both living in Calgary, Alberta at the time). We STILL correspond to this day - 20 (gasp!) years later. :) Snail mail, too, thankyouverymuch. :) And, this is the weird part, I have all the letters that she ever sent me and get them out and read over them usually at least once a year. I so treasure our friendship. :)

    5. I've changed school way too many times. Kindergarten, 3rd grade, 6th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, 10th grade, and 11th grade. The bold ones were because of moves, and the others were for various and sundry reasons ...

    6. I asked my husband what he would say is weird about me, and he said my love of pens. It really does border on the obsessive a little bit, however, I think it's perfectly normal to constantly be on the quest for the perfect writing utensil ... he apparently does not. :)

    7. I do not like Doritos. Is there anyone out there on this one with me? Especially the Cool Ranch ones. Travis and Noelle went on a Cool Ranch binge during my pregnancy with Natalie and if I EVER smell Cool Ranch Doritos again, it will be too soon.

    8. I've only kissed my husband ... that's probably weird. :)

    Finally! :)

    9. I'm extremely left-handed and now I love being left-handed and different that way. However, when I was in 6th grade I decided I was tired of being left-handed because you always got the end desk so you didn't bump elbows with someone right-handed and there was special attention made to your seating. The introvert in me was tired of that and so I decided to be right-handed. That did work out so well for me as you couldn't read my handwriting at ALL. Big bummer at the time, but I'm cool with it now. :)

    Um ... I'm not sure who to tag on this since I've seen it around quite a bit. If you do it, leave me a comment and I want to come read about YOUR quirks. :)