Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Help for my dining room chairs!

This week's Works for me Wednesday is the Backwards edition where you present a dilemma to your readers and let them help you come up with a solution!

I share a lot on this blog about what it is like having 3 kids, now I'm thinking specifically
about what it does to your house.

My dining room table is where we eat all our meals because our kitchen table only se
ats 4 and we are now a family of 5. The problem is that with 3 little kids eating nearly every meal at that table, it is getting kind of, um, well, gross!

We clean it off after each meal, of course, but I'm beginning to t
hink I need to soak the entire table in a vat of cleaning solution.

I have recently realized that the underside of my wood table is coated with crusted on food at each of my kids' places at the table. It is years of build-up, my friends! Not something your typical 409 will handle!

And my dining room chairs?

They have/had cream cloth seats!

Oh how I wish someone would have warned me when I bought them shortly after we got married that if we planned on having kids the cream would really not be the way to go. In fact, there really should have been a disclaimer right there in the Pottery Barn that said in bold letters, “IF YOU PLAN ON HAVING SMALL CHILDREN IN YOUR HOME ANY TIME DURING THE LIFESPAN OF THESE CHAIRS, DO NOT BUY THEM! THESE ARE NOT THE CHAIRS FOR YOU!”

In hindsight I should have covered the chairs the children would use with plastic, but no, I opted for a white towel under their booster seats. But bad spills go through the towels and when your oldest graduates from the booster if you still use the towel he will wiggle so much that it will slide around and not completely protect the chair (but on the plus side he will use the towel as his very own extra-large napkin!)

I have had the chairs professionally cleaned and they come most of the way clean, but then I again fail to figure out a better way to protect them and they get dirty again in about 2.5 seconds!

I've thought about recovering them in a fabric that would clean easier and not show dirt as much. One day while in the fabric store there was this kind of navy burlap and I considered it! Then I began to imagine the chafing and I reconsidered.
But what fabric is right?


I could throw any hope for attractiveness out the window and recover them with vinyl!

Then there is the problem that recovering my chairs may fall into a craftiness level where I just cannot hang!

Help! Anybody know anything about recovering dining room chairs?


Until yesterday we had made it through 6 years and 3 kids without stitches or a broken bone.

Until yesterday.

It was a good streak.

Avoiding the ER was a good thing. I did not realize
how good until yesterday.

It was inevitable, I guess. We have 3 little ones, and that littlest one above it the craziest by far! I really had already predicted that he'd be the one to send us into the Survivors of the ER club.

He was being babysat for a few hours yesterday morning at a place very near our house while I had a meeting regarding the volunteer work I do advocating for abused children who are in CPS custody.

It was a very official sort of meeting with 5 lawyers, 2 CPS caseworkers, etc., so my cell phone was on silence mode. My husband got the call.

The call every parent dreads, "Your child has been hurt, here talk to the paramedic." Apparently he got his finger stuck in a folding chair and there was lots of blood!

Thankfully my husband and my mom, who is a nurse, were both able to get to my son within 10 minutes, pick up Sister at preschool, and head to the hospital where I was able to meet them just as they were checking in.

It was a long afternoon and evening.

We soon realized that would be the case and sent my mom home with the 3 year old to eat and then pick up the 6 year old from school.

We were seen initially by a triage nurse, my toddler was bandaged, we were told not to give him any food or drink, and then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

My bloody, injured toddler was so exhausted from the accident he slept on me for an hour or so, which was such a blessing.

Then he woke up surprisingly happy considering it was after 2PM and he hadn't had lunch, and had a large gash around a good part of his ring finger.

He toddled around the large waiting area/lobby of our very large, very well-known children's hospital, looking like he'd been through a war!

I was really hoping his blood soaked shirt and shorts would get us seen quicker, but it just brought us a lot of shocked looks from other people there and passing through.

Finally 8 hours from check-in, 5 x-rays, 0 broken bones, 3 sedation medications, 6 stitches, and 1 bright yellow bandage later we were done.

Exhausted, starving and thirsty. None of us had eaten since breakfast!

In hindsight my husband and I should have split up, taking turns going off and eating, but neither of us wanted to leave our baby and we kept thinking "Surely any minute it is going to be his turn for x-ray/doctor exam/IV/2nd doctor exam/sedation/stitches/discharge." In reality we waited about an hour between each step.

You know the whole day I couldn't help thinking about MckMama stuck in the hospital with her precious baby for a week and counting. A baby with much more serious issues than an injured finger. And as I hated being in the hospital, hated watching my baby in pain, hated not being able to give him a drink when he asked for it, I prayed for her.

And now, I'll spend my day being so thankful to be home with my toddler who is fine, and I will pray for her.

And I'll also spend the day reapplying that bandage we're suppose to leave on for 24 hours. He's already taken it completely off twice!!!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday Scripture Sharing - Easter Family Devotional

Today's Topic is:

Jesus is alive!

Ask your children, "Why do we celebrate Easter?" Help them talk about how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but rose on the 3rd day. Jesus rose from the dead that first Easter morning, we know this because the tomb where they put his body was empty! Jesus is alive! He is not dead! That makes us very happy and that is why we celebrate Easter!

Make Resurrection Buns and discuss what the ingredients represent. Click here for the recipe.


Luke 24:1-3, "On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus."

Just like the marshmallow disappeared and left your biscuit empty, Jesus disappeared and left the empty tomb! Our marshmallows melted when they were cooked in the oven. But, Jesus was risen from the dead by God, just like the Bible said would happen!

Dear God, thank you for the gift of Jesus! We praise you for raising Him from the dead! Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kid Fashion - A Hairstyle

Am I the only one who after having a boy child, had a girl and felt totally unprepared for the whole hair-fixing thing?

Now, don't get me wrong, dressing my little girl and fixing her hair is one of the great joys of my life, but let's face it, some mornings there is just not the time for much styling. Out of desperate need, I discovered the best hairstyle!

This hairstyle does not even require you to be able to brush through your daughter's hair, which is awesome when my daughter eats waffles for breakfast, gets syrup in her hair, and there is no time for another shower! It is also very cool for hot weather if your little girl has long hair like mine does.

This is all you have to do:
  • Roughly part the hair on the side or down the middle (does not have to be perfect).
  • Grab a hunk on one side, smooth front and sides a little, and wrap a hair band around until tight
  • Repeat on other side.
  • Find 2 matching hair bows and use them to secure any stray hairs on either side up near the hair bands.
I get tons of compliments when my daughter's hair is fixed like this and all I can think is, "if they only knew how crusted with maple syrup that hair was!"
Find more Fashion Friday at Big Mama

****Click on the button below for more info. on MckMama's baby Stellan and how you can pray for him. This bloggy world may be big, but we can still support each other like sisters!****
Prayers for Stellan

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lessons Learned from Camping with Young Kids

We went camping for 2 nights last week with our 3 kids ages 6, 3, and 1 year old. We survived and actually had fun, but there were some lessons learned along the way!
  1. We were so glad we brought the little blue car potty I wrote about here so the kids did not have to walk all the way to the community bathrooms at night. That's the potty in the above photo, sitting right outside our tent for all the world to see!
  2. It is not the best idea to arrive to set up your camp at dark! We may or may not know that from experience!
  3. Little kids are wiggly and thus are likely to come unzipped from their sleeping bags many times while trying to fall asleep, and they are not able to rezip themselves back into the bag. So bring along a hefty dose of patience and estimate for a good hour of sleeping bag maintenance the first night!
  4. Camp in a beautiful place. You can see our pics. here of the river we were able to walk down to. The kids had a blast playing in and beside it and it is very rewarding to see them enjoying undisturbed nature!
  5. Bring along some ant killer. There were not ants at our campsite at the beginning, but after my kids ate a few crackers and spread their crumbs they showed up!
  6. Put your food in a sturdy plastic tub with a strong seal. We were visited by raccoons in the night, but thankfully they were not able to break into our food. Really it is best to lock the food in the car if you are parked near-by!
  7. Take shower shoes. We did and really enjoyed being able to shower the 2nd day. It had hot water and was really pretty clean!
  8. Take a lot of baby wipes! This is pretty much my philosophy for all of life with little kids, but camping even without little kids, there are so many ways wipees come in handy!
  9. If your kids (and husband) are prone to wading in rivers like mine are, it will be nice to have some rope you can tie between trees to make a clothes line and some clothes pins to secure drying items.
  10. Always have back-up plans. There was a burn-ban due to drought so we couldn't do a campfire, but could use our camping stove. However our brand new stove that we tried out at home and worked fine, didn't work the first morning camping. I was so thankful we had cereal, milk, and pumpkin bread as an alternative to the pancakes we'd planned!
  11. If you attempt this camping trip, your kids will talk about it nonstop for at least a week after.
  12. It is awesome to be camping near other families with kids because they won't be upset when your baby fusses at night or your older kids shout things to their dad outside the tent at 6 AM!
  13. There are many opportunities to share God with your kids during a camping trip -- pointing out stars and beautiful nature God created and emphasizing what a luxury and gift from God things like running water are!
I just found this post today that shares helpful tips about camping with little kids and it also proves that we are not the only crazy ones!!!!

Find more Thankful Thursday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Dealing with Loveys

If you have kids, chances are at least one of them is/was a lovey-toting toddler. Loveys are security objects like blankies or stuffed animals that a child is very attached to and wants to take everywhere. I've even seen a child with a burp cloth as his lovey and he put it in his mouth whenever he needed to feel a little more secure!

Loveys are great soothers for kids but can cause trouble for parents.

Here I've listed common lovey issues I've personally encountered with my kids and solutions that made things easier:

Problem #1: The Lovey needs to be washed or gets lost

Normal result:
Child will freak out until lovey is returned.

Solution: Have multiples of the lovey. Multiples must be introduced very early and rotated in frequently with the original lovey or your child will sniff out the duplicate! My kids like those waffle-weave blankets from Target, so they have 3 or 4 each. Pink for my daughter and blue for the boys. My daughter did try the trick of getting attached to carrying all 3 blankets at once, but I was somehow able to always keep a blankie washed and present when needed.

Problem #2: The Lovey has to be carried everywhere.

Normal result: It is cumbersome because the parent is always keeping up with the treasured item, as in "Here Mommy, hold this while I go play on the playground!" Also, the lovey gets super dirty and quickly worn out being literally drug around everywhere.

Solution: Enter the kid backpack. I got one of these for my daughter and it works great. She can put whatever she wants in that backpack and bring it wherever she wants, as long as the bag can close and she can carry it by herself at all times! Below is my daughter's backpack (with monogrammed name cloned out) and as usual it is stuffed full of her entourage (which in recent weeks has grown to include exactly 9 small stuffed creatures -- there's the mama & baby kitties, the penguin, the bear, the bunny, the doggie, 2 monkeys, and a little doll). All fine with me as long as they fit in the bag and she carries it!

Alternative Solution to Problem #2: Don't allow the lovey outside the home or child's bed. From the beginning make it only something they can have at home or even more specifically in their bed. This worked great with my oldest child. He loved his blankies for sleeping but when he got up I'd insist that it stay in the bed and that is just the way it was. Now my parenting resolve on this issue got harder with his little sister, because she was a 2nd child and thus forced to nap on the go sometimes due to carting big brother around. So, I had a hard time establishing the line between car seat, bed, playground, friend's house, church, etc.!!!

Problem #3: Preschool frowns on children bringing in toys and blankies from home.

Normal Result: You worry for the entire summer about how you are going to peel your wailing child away from his or her lovey to send them into the classroom. You begin devising a plan about why your child's situation is really special and they deserve an exception to the "leave the stuff from home outside the classroom" rule.

Solution: Again, enter the backpack. This worked wonders for my security item(s) attached little girl. She was allowed to bring blankie into her 2 year old Mother's Day out, but once she was to begin 3 year old preschool she was supposed to leave items from home outside the classroom on a spot marked with her name. I got her the backpack shortly before school started and made a huge deal about it being the special place where her blankie and animals could wait for her. She took to the whole deal with excitement and without a tear!!! I think the fact that the loveys are hidden from view inside the backpack makes them easier to leave behind outside the classroom.

Problem #4: Child is getting attached to a lovey that is not a good one (like one that you cannot find a duplicate of or one that is just too cumbersome to deal with). For example, a few months ago I noticed my toddler began getting attached to a stuffed snake he found in his brother's room that his big brother had long forgotten about.
Normal Result: You allow attachment to form and are stuck with the inconvient lovey for the next 2 years!

Solution: Okay, this will put me down into the worst mother hall of fame, but I hid the snake! Come on, I couldn't be forced to travel everywhere with that and anyway, even the 2 year-old crowd was sure to make fun of my son's snake scarf! I caught the bond so early that my son only asked a couple times about the snake, "Shake?" (that's toddler for snake), and was not at all upset that he couldn't find it!

Final Note: Loveys can be great comfort for kids and a wonderful alternative to pacifiers or thumb-sucking which in older toddlers can be more harmful soothers. My youngest actually didn't have a lovey when he was 13 months old and I wanted to take away his pacifier, so I introduced a small, soft, blankie lovey by giving it to him to hold everytime we cuddled right before I tucked him into bed. It worked and he still wants to clutch one now, 9 months later whenever he's going to sleep.

Find More Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family

P.S. The answer to my little quiz on yesterday's post is absolutely B!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Essential Baby Gear - A Dog!

I have read more than a few of those "Getting Ready for Baby" checklists. You know the ones with the lists of all the stuff you need like onesies, a baby monitor, a crib, a car seat, blankets, changing pad, etc., etc. Well, never once have I read the item I consider essential to having toddlers and young children -- a dog!

While we were away last week our dog was boarded at the vet. We returned late Saturday and the vet was closed on Sunday, and then she was signed up for a bath before she left so I couldn't pick her up until Monday late in the day. So we were dogless for almost 2 days after returning home.

I love my dog and she was our first baby, but since having 3 real babies, she has been demoted to "dog" status from "baby" status. This means she doesn't get quite the love and attention she used to, but make no mistake this 11 year old dog is well cared for as evidenced by the 3 different types of medication she gets twice daily. We are just hoping none of the kids will want to go to college because the vet bills are eating away at the college savings!

Anyway, after 2 days without her, I am definitely feeling like she has been under-appreciated and undervalued around here.

This is what it looks like under my dining room table after my 3 kids ate 4 meals here while our doggie vacuum was away!
I had NO IDEA my kids were this messy! The dog must just take care of this stuff without being asked or told! A thousand times per day she does her vacuuming quietly without my even noticing. I mean a cheese cube on the floor, seriously I never see that and my kids eat them every day!

I am thankful for my elderly dog and will never again claim that she does no work around here!

If you have young kids or are pregnant with your first child and do not have a dog, take my advise and run out and get one (maybe even look into adopting one from an animal shelter). Trust me, that dog will pay you back in years of labor saved sweeping under your table and that is way more than the Bumbo seat, Boppy, or stack of onesies have done for me lately!!!
So now a little quiz for you: After taking the photo of all the food crumbs under my table did I A) sweep up the mess or B) just leave it until the dog got home?

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

*****Also, please, please pray for MckMama's baby Stellan who is in the hospital facing some serious health issues. See her blog for details and updates.*****

We Survived!!!

We survived Spring Break '09 Sea World/Camping Trip with our kids ages 6,3, and 1!! I can honestly say it was fun! I would not quite go to the level of calling myself a camping enthusiast but I would consider another trip!

Thank you for all your supportive comments after my post here announcing our trip. I loved reading them all! Whenever you leave a comment, please know that it really encourages me to keep writing!

So here is a random download from our trip. I'm going to write it fast because I am in the midst of a laundry and unpacking marathon combined with the reality of real life facing me tomorrow after a week off from kid activities and school. And these next 2 weeks are going to be BUSY. I can barely stand to look at my calendar! That was a long-winded way of saying that if this post is rambling, grammatically incorrect, or fails to entertain, please forgive me!

Highlights of the trip:
  • helping my 1 year old pet a dolphin for the first time and hearing him call Shamu, "Moo whale!"

  • riding with my 3 year old daughter on her first real roller-coaster ride! She was too short when we went last summer and was so excited to be able to ride this year. She is a daredevil when it comes to physical feats like climbing high and going fast. As the ride ended, I asked "what did you think?" She said, "that was fast!" with the biggest smile on her face. She totally loved it and proceeded to point out all the bigger roller coasters in the park that she can't wait to be tall enough to ride!
  • The Guadalupe River State Park where we camped was beautiful!
  • The river was low due to not much rain and we could actually walk across it at this point - very cool!

  • The weather was great - upper 70s during the day and 50s at night.
  • The bath house with hot showers and flushing toliets!
  • Eating real smores with the kids!
  • Shopping at the outlet mall and the awesome bargains!
  • Finding a new camp stove at the Coleman Outlet to replace ours that stopped working.
  • A hot breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs & coffee cooked on our new, working campstove the second morning!
  • My husband and I worked great together as a team setting up and taking down the tent!
  • Somehow we managed to fit all the gear in our SUV!

  • Setting up our camp in the dark because we arrived late after the day at Sea World.
  • After we finally got everything set up it was way past the kids bedtime and I thought they'd go right to sleep after such a busy day but, they were wild for a while and took what felt like forever to settle down. In all fairness, this was also the first time our 1 year-old had been put to bed outside of his crib, so expecting him to just go right to sleep in a sleeping bag was probably a little unrealistic, but that is the opptumistic, fantasy world I live in!
  • The racoons attacking our campsite at night. My husband claims that the racoons were not that close, they just sounded close, but make no mistake, my Internet Friends, they were RIGHT OUTSIDE our tent rummaging through the stuff we'd left out there like the plastic storage tub of food! I just knew they'd be able to get inside the tub and take off with our food and layed awake for hours worring about them!
  • Midway through the night the first night our toddler woke up and couldn't go back to sleep for a while. He ended up sharing my sleeping bag and although he's cuddly it did not make for the best sleeping conditions! The second night he went to sleep great, but was woken up at 4AM when Big Brother had to go potty. Toddler didn't go back to sleep until Daddy finally took him to the car to watch a movie on the car DVD player!
  • The first morning our camp stove didn't work. This morning following a very sleepless night included no coffee and no hot breakfast. There was a brief period of time that my attitude was not great, and the camping was almost aborted!
The highs definitely outdo the lows, and I am thankful for a fun, safe trip that we will always remember! Stay tuned throughout the week, as I'll have a few more camping-related posts, including lessons learned about what to pack, etc.!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Scripture Sharing - Family Devotional #11

For those of you who are new to my blog, I post nearly every Sunday on a simple devotional you can do with your family. To see all the devotions, click on "Family devotionals" in my right sidebar under the heading "Labels".

We are trying to be more purposeful in teaching the Bible and our faith to our children, so these devotionals are something we do in our house every week. Sometimes the day of the week has to change due to conflicts, but we try to be sure to do it another day when that happens. Because my children are young (ages 6, 3, and 1) these devotions are very simple and fairly short. If you have older kids you could get a little more in depth in your discussion time.

To do one of these: 1st- Gather your family 2nd - Read the introduction and let kids answer the questions, guiding them a little with the answers. 3rd - Do the activity together as a family. 4th - Read the Bible verse. 5th - Talk through the discussion together. 6th - Pray together.

For extra credit - memorize the verse together as a family throughout the week.

Today's Topic is:

Your work is service to God.

Ask your children, "What is work? What kinds of work do you do?" Help them come up with answers like, "school work, cleaning their rooms, setting the table, etc." "Can work be fun?" "Is your work important?" "Does God see you working?" "Does it make him happy?"

Do a job as a family. This could be cleaning out the refrigerator, weeding the garden, washing the car, or even simply folding a basket of laundry and putting it away together.


Eph 6:7, "With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men."

All of our work is important to God. We should work like we are doing it for God. This means doing a good job, our best! Even little kids can do jobs and be helpful to their families and teachers. And this makes God happy. It can make us happy, too! Don't you feel good that we accomplished something today? It will be so nice to have this clean refrigerator/car/weeded garden/clean clothes to wear in our drawers!

Dear God, thank you for you for giving us work to do! Help us to remember that we are serving you when we do it. Amen.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Ultimate Blog Party 2009

In honor of the 5 Minutes for Mom annual Blog Party my children are throwing you a party. Grab your party hat and join the chaos, I mean festivities!!

We worked really hard on the decorations!

We'll play you some music

Do a little face painting

Here are the flowers we picked just for you
There are yummy things to eat!

Oh, and cake! Lots of cake and feel free to dig in with both hands. That's the way we do it around here!

If you get tired just take a nap anywhere you'd like, someone will come around and cover you up!

Of course, there's always room for one more in this bed!

And don't worry about cleaning up a thing.

We'll take care of it!

While you're here, maybe you can figure out why Mommy named her blog "It Feels Like Chaos".

Do you feel any chaos?

No, the real inspiration for the blog name is the Sanctus Real song "Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly). Listen to a clip of the song in the sidebar and Check out the lyrics here.

The lyrics beautifully describes our home that even though "it feels like chaos, somehow there's peace." and we pray that "whatever He's doing" that it is "bigger than me".

Thanks for stopping by our party! It was so great to have you!

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Kid Fashion - Best Summer Shoes

This is going to be a super short Fashion Friday post because we are . . . um . . . traveling for Spring Break.

I cannot tell a lie and anyway if you were here yesterday you know the truth. We are camping. Who camps with their 6 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old children? Crazy people, that's who!

I'm setting this to auto-post so I'm still in the comfy, climate controlled loveliness of home, but as you read this I'll be braving the elements and the nature! Check back next week to hear if we made it out of the wilderness, how long we lasted in the tent before we headed to the car to sleep, and just how many other campers in the state park tried to vote us off the campgrounds!

Back to kid fashion.

Crocs are the best summer shoes for my kids. They lived in them last summer. Easy on and off, comfy, cool, and best of all, they can be hosed and scrubbed off when needed!!! We just got our Crocs for this summer.
These styles are the Crocling in color Camo and the Mary Jane in Cotton Candy. Find them at

the crocs online store

Find more Fashion Friday at Big Mama.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Camping Bag

We are camping for the end of this Spring Break week. Actually combining a trip to Sea World with a camping trip that my husband and oldest son have been dreaming of for months and months. This afternoon I told my 3 year old daughter we needed to pack for our camping trip. I set a bag in her room and before I could pack it, I got distracted in another part of the house.

I returned a few minutes later to find this.

Behold my daughter's bag all packed for camping:

13 things I'd like to say about this picture:
  1. Yes, that is a fairy princess wand, along with her blankie, a couple books, a little doll and a stuffed rabbit.
  2. Clearly she has no idea what she is in for with this camping thing.
  3. Or maybe she does. The wand could actually come in handy to transform our freezing, sleeping on the ground, bug tortured selves into palace dwellers!
  4. I think she's crazy for packing this bag for camping, but how crazy are her parents for going camping with our 3 kids ages 6, 3, and 1?!!!
  5. I'm not really sure how I got roped into this camping adventure.
  6. It began as a day trip to Sea World, 3 hrs there, 3 hrs back, and we'd all sleep soundly in our own cozy beds after an exciting, fun-filled day.
  7. Then it became "let's combine this trip with the camping dream that our oldest child has had" (and also his dad). My husband even persuaded me with shopping -- "Then we could stop by that great outlet mall the next day before heading home!" he said.
  8. I thought, "Okay, I can stand anything for one night, especially if there is shopping at the end of it."
  9. Then somehow it became 2 nights and my husband practically bought out the REI store, even a 2 room tent!
  10. Now, to justify his purchases (which include both cold weather and warm weather sleeping bags for every member of our family!) he is talking about camping a few times a year!
  11. Did I mention that I'm not a big fan of camping? Mostly because I am a fan of personal hygiene and climate control and sleeping more than a couple inches from my 3 children!
  12. And now I'm signed up for a lifetime (yes the tent is guaranteed to last a lifetime) of camping.
  13. But, I am thankful, in advance, for the family memories that this camping is sure to create! One thing I am sure of. The camping adventure -- it will be memorable!!!
Find more Thankful Thursday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Quiet Time

Once I became a mom having a daily quiet time became more of a challenge.

First thing in the morning is ideal, but I am not a morning person and 2 of my 3 children are up by 6:30 or 7 AM every day. I am a night owl. I actually get a second wind around 10PM. I always have a ton to do so I usually take advantage of this productive time and don't get to bed before 11:30PM or even midnight. Considering my toddler alarm clock goes off at 6:30AM, I would not get any sleep if I got up earlier than that to have my Bible study and prayer time.

But, what works for me is to have that quiet time right after I put my kids down for nap/rest time. They have naptime every day, so this is time I can count on, and having mid-day time with God is actually a great way to refuel myself for the remainder of the day. Dealing with little kids it is possible to be completely spent by 1PM (at least for me), but I always feel refreshed after my quiet time.

It can be a challenge to keep the commitment of having regular quiet times because once my kids are down for naps there are so many things I need to do. But, considering this time is so precious I feel it is honoring to God to give Him the "first fruits" of that time.

Also, some days there is one interruption after another. The dog wants to go outside. The dryer buzzes that the clothes are done, and need to be hung up. A child calls down from upstairs, continually. The dog wants inside, but has muddy feet. I get a phone call I've been waiting on. . .

Instead of getting discouraged or giving up on my quiet time with God, I think of the distractions as schemes of the devil to get me off course. I actually get extra determined to pray and read my Bible because God must be about to say something important, so important that the devil is trying really hard to stop me from hearing it! One of my all time favorite books,
The Screw Tape Letters (Bantam Classics) by C.S. Lewis will open your eyes to the ways Satan is trying to influence your life. It is a life-changing book!!!

I also fit in little devotionals that come over email and short prayers throughout the day.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:6

Oh how I need that wisdom, knowledge and understanding for so many aspects of my daily life!

So how do you manage Bible study and prayer time?

Find more Works For Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cooking a Whole Chicken

Even though I have a degree in biomedical science and spent an entire semester dissecting a dog, I have always been a little afraid of cooking a whole chicken. But they were on sale at the Sams, and I decided it was time to tackle cooking a whole chicken, so I could add it to my homemaker credentials.

I really am not qualified to be a homemaker, but I am thankful that God called me to this position and equips me every day.

Today's equipping, came in the form of the Juicy Roasted Chicken recipe from www.allrecipes.com.

I started with this raw chicken, added a little salt, pepper and onion powder.

About this time my 6 year old walked in and asked, "What is that?!" I explained to him that it was a whole chicken, well, minus the head and feathers and feet. He then looked at me funny and said, "Where did you get it?" I really think he thought I killed it myself, perhaps smuggled one home from the livestock show we visited on Saturday. He was relieved when I replied, "the grocery store".

I was really glad the 6 year old hung around for the stuffing butter and celery inside the chicken cavity, because he made for a good giggle companion and photographer while I held open the bird!! The momentous occasion of me cooking an entire chicken had to be documented for posterity!

Finally, I had fun arranging the dollops of margarine, notice the margarine tucked under the wings like hidden Easter eggs!

Next, I stuck it in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 min., went outside and played with my kids, and then pulled it out to check it. I dug way to the back of my drawer with odds and ends cooking items and managed to find the meat thermometer -- definitely a lesser used item around my home! I stuck it in, remembered something I'd once heard about not allowing the probe to touch bone, and found myself cheering on the little needle as the temperature reading climbed higher and higher. It was not at all like taking the temperature of one of my children when I watch the readout and cringe with each notch higher it moves!

The thermometer kept stalling out around 170 degrees and I was going for 180, so I had to stick it back in a few times. I think my chicken was a little larger than what the recipe called for. Anyway, I punctured my poor chicken dozens of times taking its temperature, but finally hit the 180 degree mark and was able to move on to the "letting it sit" step.

It turned out very tasty and my husband was incredulous that I "made it from scratch?" As in, did not pick up a rotisserie chicken from somewhere!

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a homemaker, thankful that God has brought me to this place in life where it is a joy to cook a whole chicken, and so incredulous that I just created an entire blog post dedicated to my cooking of the whole chicken!

Find more Tasty Tuesday at Forever...Wherever, Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes For Mom.

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival created by MckMama everyone has fun telling all the things they DID NOT do (but really did). You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Here's what has NOT been going on around here:

I DID NOT leave a basket of clothes in a laundry basket so long that I couldn't remember if it was waiting to be washed or waiting to be folded. I absolutely DID NOT smell the clothes and then error on the side of "already clean" and put them away!

My toddler DOES NOT sleep on a stuffed dog!

I DID NOT find our real, alive dog trying to eat out of the no-spill snack cup!

I DID NOT reattach this dolly's hat and thus become a mom who can fix anything in my daughter's eyes. There is NOT a little bit of superhero in every mom's day! By the way, this $5 doll from Target is NOT my daughter's favorite doll, beating out the $50 American Girl doll Grandma bought her!

I DID NOT finally have a day where my 2 little kid
s and I could stay home all morning. I DID NOT encourage them to entertain themselves with a cardboard box so I could clean out some closets. I DID NOT have stuff scattered everywhere and we were NOT in still in our jammies when my neighbor came over unexpectedly around 12:30 PM!

Can't wait to hear what you have NOT been up to!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Scripture Sharing - Family Devotional #10

Today's Topic is:

God's word should guide us.

How would you feel if you were walking a path at night and you could not see because it was too dark? Do you think it would be easy to walk without light? What could you do to make it better? (answer: get a flashlight)

In a dark room or outside at night first have children try to walk a path without a flashlight or lantern. Then give them a light and have them walk the same path.


Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path."

What is God's word? (answer = the Bible) The Bible can show us the way just like the flashlight helped us walk in the dark. The Bible tells us things we should and should not do. Our flashlight can show us sticks on the ground that we might trip on and fall down and the Bible shows us bad things we could do that will make our lives unhappy. It helps us know things even though we cannot see them with our eyes, things like God will always love us and never leave us. When we can't see the way in life, we can pray and read our Bibles and ask God to show us what He wants us to do. Did you feel better walking in the dark without the light or with it? I feel better walking through life with the help of God's word!

Dear God, thank you for you word! Help us to remember to use it to guide us. Amen.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kid Fashion - There are Brand names and then there's Target

I've posted before about wanting clothes that will last for my kids and how I'm willing to pay more if they will still look nice after 5 washings (which I've found begins to fade many-o-brands I've tried even using cold water and low heat dry)!

Well, I had gotten the Mini-Boden catalog for a while and always thought the clothes were cute, but too pricey, especially since I would have to pay for shipping because we do not have a physical store here. But, one day a little over a year ago, they were offering free shipping and a sale on top of that, so I bought some things for my son and daughter.

I was curious if the higher price tag would mean higher quality, especially for things like t-shirts and jeans.

Do you know what I found? For the most part, no, the quality was not worth the extra price, with the exception of two items.

These zip off cargos which are pricey, but they are super durable and convert from pants to shorts. My oldest son has worn them every week for a year as both pants and shorts and they still look brand new! Not to mention he LOVES the concept of being able to zip off the bottoms should he get hot mid way through the day, its all about options, my friends. The second and only other notable item I purchased is this skirt in this style, ours from last year is pink and white polka-dots which I don't see this year, but the style and fabric are excellent, so you can't go wrong with any color choice. The skirt is very soft, easy to pull on and off and went great with pretty much every shirt in her closet!

Another big name brand is Hanna Andersson which I usually only frequent right before winter for their awesome long-sleeve soft cotton dresses, but they are having a sale on their summer dresses right now. Check out this cute one or this one. While you're over there these cropped pants are adorable and would be so comfy for spring, summer and early fall, paired with either a short-sleeve or long-sleeve shirt.

I'll leave you with these cheap, fun little girl shoes that I may or may not have bought for my daughter while picking up Diaper Genie refills this week! If you have not yet discovered the Target shoe department for your kids, go! The shoes are super prices, cute, and usually just as comfy as Stride Rite! But if you are not actually shopping for shoes, avoid it like the plague, because you will cave to the temptation!

And speaking of the temptation, while you're at Target if you happen to notice this dress you will totally be forced to buy it because where else can you find a $5 dress?

Find more Fashion Friday at Big Mama.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Making TV work for you

I limit my kids' TV/video time to 30-40 minutes per day, except for when they are sick and on the occasions that we have a family movie night. That 30 minutes is not even a guarantee, they must have had good enough behavior to get that privilege. See my Privilege Chart post here.

I also use that 30 minutes as incentive for them to help me tackle a chore, by saying, "once the playroom is clean we can watch something!" It is amazing how quickly they can clean once I say that!

I don't give my kids a lot of choices about what they can watch. They get a few educational options that work for all 3 of their ages -- 6, 3, and 1 year. Several months ago I found the best video to fit this criteria!

Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD.

This video is very entertaining for the kids and really teaches them their letters and the sounds each letter makes. After watching this several times, even my 1 year old can tell you what sound the different letters make! Knowing the sounds for the letters is a critical pre-reading skill.

Then there is the Talking Words Factory, that create words with the letters. We have this one, too and it is also super!

Find more Works For Me Wednesday Tips at We are THAT Family.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Thankful for Baby Teeth!

This may sound like a joke, but, Invisible Readers, I am 100 % not kidding when I say I am thankful for baby teeth!

Seriously, how smart is God to give those little ones baby teeth, practice teeth, if you will, that they will only have for the first few years of their lives? You know the years where they are fearless and fall a lot!

My 2 youngest kids both have ever so slightly chipped front teeth. Both of them are climbers. My daughter could climb before she could walk. She would crawl over to something and climb up! A mother with multiple children cannot be everywhere at once, so although she will intercede and save that climber child from may a plunge; there will inevitably be some falls.

These teeth incidents of my kids were not traumas, to be honest I don't even know exactly when they happened with either kid. I just know one day (very recently with my 1 year old) I noticed the slightly chipped front tooth which the dentist confirmed. But, thanks to God's perfect plan these teeth will fall out in few years! So no worries, unless of course they get a giant bubble-like blister on the gum above the tooth -- then according to my dentist you need to worry and he'll pull the tooth.

I know I join countless other moms in saying a huge "Thank you, God, for giving them baby teeth!"

Psalm 139:13-14, "For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well."

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

Super Easy, Yummy Brownies

I have not done Tasty Tuesday the last few weeks, but I have really wanted to get back and participate because I love a good recipe swap!

Now speaking of things I love, I love a recipe that is not only tasty, but EASY! Remember I have 3 little kids! This brownie recipe will dirty only one bowl and one 9 x 13 inch pan. I even have a greasing the pan trick to combine it with melting the butter for the recipe! The brownies are super yummy, in addition to the easiness!

Now that I have this recipe I always sign-up to bring brownies when attending a church or school function -- quick with minimal mess!
Yummy, Minimal Mess Brownies

2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Melt the butter or margarine by putting it in the 9 x 13 inch pan you plan to bake brownies in and setting the pan in the oven for a few minutes as it pre-heats.
2. Mix ingredients in a mixing bowl in the order given. When you add the butter, pour it from the 9 x 13 inch pan into the mixing bowl while slightly tilting the pan side to side, making sure that you have coated your pan with butter residue = a greased pan with no fuss!
3. Pour batter into 9 x 13 inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes.
4. While waiting on brownies to bake, stand back and marvel that you only have one bowl to clean!

The basic recipe is from Allrecipes.com here is the link but above I included my small changes.

Find more Tasty Tuesday at Forever...Wherever
and Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes For Mom.