Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Ruby and Libby morning snuggles
 Sean's Grandma Dora was one of my most favorite people in the whole world. She was strong, yet gentle and so very kind. I loved going to her house. She really loved our children.
Liberty's Quilt
 Once I asked her what was her favorite Christmas present she ever received. She told me about a time when Sean's Grandpa bought the children a little red wagon and how much easier it made things for her. She was able to bring all the laundry down to the river to wash it, in one load and then she didn't have to carry the wet clothes back to the house to hang them to dry!
Sisters are a good thing
 Grandma Dora made all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren blankets or quilts. She was amazingly gifted making quilts and did them all by hand! My little girls did not get a quilt because she passed away before they were born.
Liberty's middle name is after her, Liberty Florence Slocum and she was Dora Florence Slocum.
Sean's Aunt and Uncle came up for a visit a few weeks ago. I was extremely disappointed to miss them, but I was occupied with the children at the Youth Fair.
Ruby's Bow Tie Quilt
They came bearing the most precious gift! Two of Grandma's quilts. I got the story second hand from Sean so I am going to have to clarify my facts, but the quilts were ones given to other family members who then worked to put in new batting, re-tie, and repair any worn spots. Now all of my children have a piece of Grandma and can feel the warmth of her love.

We are headed out today for The Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference. I am looking forward to amazing teaching and fellowship along with a renewed commitment to teach and train our children for His Glory.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Snowshoeing At Artist Point

Dana invited me to go snowshoeing with her and several other women. I wasn't sure if it would be the best option for my family. Sean and I discussed it and he was excited for me to be able to go!

Don't you just LOVE Heather's pants tucked in her socks? 
 I know Heather and was excited to have another woman that I love going with us! Saturday was a beautiful day, one that sings of God's glory and love for us.
We had several other women who had never been snowshoeing before, it was a challenge for them at first.
Dana, Heather, Sandra, Dana, Kim, Bobby Ruth
 I have been hiking with the other Dana and her boys before and really enjoyed getting to talk to her and see her again.
 There were a few challenging portions of the trail, some I really wished that I had Gators to keep the snow out of my boots. You know the boots the shoe fairy left? The shoe fairy was Syndi, she gave us Ben's boots that were too small for him! I like having feet smaller than my children, and my friend's children~ It comes in really handy for hand me downs.
This one is for you Kelly! Take 5 with my Take 5 Candy Bar. 
 I really enjoy being active and having something fun to do. I loved dreaming with Heather. We are both looking at houses, she asked some very specific questions and helped me articulate why we want what we do. Thanks Friend!
 I wish this gave better perspective of the elevation change we covered in such a short distance.
Me and Dana
 At Artist Point. This is just a taste of the view. The magnitude of beauty that surrounds everywhere you turn!
Bobby Ruth, Dana, Me, Heather
 We took a different route down, that was a bit longer but avoided a huge drop off. Then headed down the mountain for some amazingly delicious pizza at Chair 9.
Sean and the boys went to Fight Night at a friends house so Taylor fed the girls, bathed them, did their nails and hair and got them ready for bed. She served them joyfully and was happy to give me the opportunity to get some sun, fresh air, and exercise with other women. I especially enjoyed learning about their lives, and hearing their stories.
I am blessed.
The view from the bottom, looking up to where we were.
The big mound to the right of the picture is Table Top Mountain, we snowshoed just to the left of that. 
Psalm 19:1 
The heavens declare the glory of God, 
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's What's For Dinner

Homemade Pizza Crust:
Mix 1/3 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Milk
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
Heat until shortening melts
Add: 1 beaten egg
In a separate bowl, mix:
2 1/4 tsp Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 Cup Warm Water
Add to shortening mixture add:
5 to 6 Cups flour (I use a combination of whole wheat flour and white flour)
Roll out on a greased pizza stone and let rise. Bake at 350 for 7 minutes, then remove from oven add toppings and bake for an additional 12 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. 
This recipe makes 2 crusts, I always triple it, sometimes quadruple it. 
Pizza Crusts on the counter, ready to rise for dinner. 
Recently, we have started paying more attention to our grocery budget. This recipe is NOT budget friendly but so worth it for a special treat! My goal is to spend between $400- $500 a month on groceries. This includes Costco, and Target. In reality, this is less on food because I also purchase TP, Shampoo, etc., at these stores.
With the cost of gas going through the roof, and only looking to get worse. Inflation has taken a real hit on our family's budget. There are expenses that are unavoidable, such as the water bill (our children are limited to 3 minute showers) and the electric bill (I have found my children sitting in a room with their headlamp on reading a book!). However, everything must eat. I think how much we would save if they didn't have to eat so much and so often!
I really struggle with planning and keeping a schedule but to greatly assist our budget I must plan ahead for our meals. Coupled with the fact that a couple meals a week must be portable. We often take our meals with us on nights when the boys have scouts and Sean doesn't have time to come home and eat before he has to leave again.
I am planning on sharing some of my money saving tips and helpful hints for reducing the food bill. Beginning with our menu for the week.

Monday: Baked Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, and Caesar Salad.

Tuesday: Split Pea Soup, whole wheat rolls,

Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken & Bacon with rice and roasted brussel sprouts.

Thursday:BBQ Meatloaf, baked potatoes, creamed corn, and pea salad.

Friday: Pad Thai, rice, peanut salad,

Saturday: Ham Balls, Rice, Green Beans,

Sunday:  Tortellini Soup,

Having a plan allows me to buy ahead, purchase in bulk, and shop sales.  I will not go to 14 different stores, or shop stores I don't like, like Walmart.  I waste too much time shopping a store I am not familiar with, I get irritated with going to a store and them not having the item that is on sale. I learned that it is better to have a joyful spirit.

Planning ahead also saves me from the last minute scramble and grumbling. It looks like that's all I have time to share right now. Blessings ~

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Don't Want To Forget

Little things that warm my heart. I don't want to forget in the busyness of life. 

I love how my children play together. Ruby had Libby in the Ergo carrying her around. They often play house or school together.

Yesterday, Taylor and Ian laid on her bed and read the entire book of The Three Musketeers! Then they told Aaron how great it was and he read the whole thing 2 times!

Earlier this week, Aaron was practicing his violin but he didn't want to do it alone. He offered to play for Ian, Ruby and Liberty to have a Ball. They all got dressed in finery, did the proper curtsey, bow, and  waltz while Aaron played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star over and over again.

Sometimes the weeks seem to drag by. Sometimes parenting is really really difficult. Sometimes I don't think I can make it. Then, God gives me these glimpses of His love through my children and their relationships with each other. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to teach them and disciple them. Mostly I am grateful for God's grace and forgiveness.

Remember the little things, sometimes they make all the difference.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cedar and Pine Lakes Hike

Last week my kids were feeling crummy and we were slowly plowing our way through school. We noticed a sunny day in the forecast. I decided that we simply must take advantage of the weather and get some exercise. 
I love to hike! I like exploring new areas, being together, and getting exercise. I feel like we are finally at a place that it isn't overwhelming to take these excursions. 
Like I said, a few of my children were feeling crummy and the beginning of the hike starts out pretty steep. One of them came to me in tears asking if they could wait in the BRV. Another was whining and dragging their feet. I gave that one a swat and told them to shape up and the other one I encouraged that the fresh air would help them to feel better. 

 The elevation change on this 5 mile hike was 1,750 feet! Liberty spent most of the time in the Ergo either on my back or on Taylor's back. When she was with Taylor she was a bit more demanding. Saying things like,"Giddy Up horsey!" and, "yaw, yaw, Why you going so slow TayTay?"
 There was still snow on the ground but fortunately we were dressed for the weather. I even found a pair of new hiking boots in the closet, in my size! I was thrilled! I wonder where they came from? The shoe fairy, perhaps? Maybe the shoe fair could also leave me a pair of Ariat Fat Baby Boots!
 Dana, is my running partner,  chiropractor and friend. She is also about a foot taller than me. I usually work really hard to make sure that I am not holding her back but when she put her 4 year old on her back I was in awe! Ruby wanted to be carried for a bit as well, I only offered to hold her hand while Dana actually carried her for awhile.
 You really must appreciate Ruby's sense of style her fur hat, skirt, Bog boots and baby (complete with diaper bag), Every time I turned around Ian was asking me to take his picture. He did make me a bit anxious with his complete and utter lack of awareness of the cliffs, waterfalls and moss covered logs hanging over a precipice. This is the son who routinely falls off of his chair at breakfast!
 Lukas, Bree and Dana at Cedar Lake, our lunch stop! I enjoy her children's sense of adventure, their positive attitude, and mischievous antics.
 Doesn't he look like his father? This is Aaron's sophisticated look. I took all of these photos on my iPhone. I must say that I have gotten quite lazy when it comes to packing the nice camera,  I really don't want one more thing to carry.
We enjoyed our lunch then headed back down the trails. Erik's classic quote was, "Isn't there another, faster easier way back to the van?"
We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is a priority for us to enjoy and explore. I am  excited we have so many new trails to experience this season.
We all felt better and everyone was in bed early and slept wonderfully.