Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas and New Year's Eve

So, one last quick post for this year... as promised, I just wanted to share some of our photos from Christmas. As it turns out, it seems I took hardly any pictures. I was terribly ill both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While I usually have a few hours each day where I can get around and take care of basic needs, about one or two days a week I am completely laid up. It just happened to fall on Christmas this year. 

It could have been worse - I remember our first Christmas just a few months after we were married. We had just found out a couple of days earlier that I was pregnant, when I started bleeding on Christmas Eve. When I started having horrible cramping on Christmas Day in the evening, we called my OB's answering service and they told us to go to the ER (duh - we had no clue there's nothing they could do for us). We sat in a cold ER waiting room for hours, where all the chairs were set up theater-style to face the television screens, which were blaring the "Jerry Springer Show", so we chose to sit in a windowsill off to the side instead. People who kept coming in after us were called back before us because it was more serious - one guy still had a knife stuck in him! I think it was from a family gathering of all things. We finally got called back, just to be told they could do nothing to stop a miscarriage. It was a very bizarre experience, especially for me who had only been in the US for a few months and did not even know such television shows existed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Recent pictures

Boy oh boy, has this last week been an interesting one! The "morning sickness"/NVP/hyperemesis roller coaster has had me clutching on for dear life as it seems. While it's been a general downturn for the worse (as in, MUCH worse), with me being mostly out of commission and incredibly miserable, there have been a few windows of feeling functional. I read on another blog where a mom recommended eating at least 11 g of complex protein every two hours. While I knew protein helped me, I now have an exact figure I can shoot for. Will someone please leave a comment telling me that ice-cream is a nutrient-dense, high protein snack? Thank you. I also like the "minimal activity" part... at the beginning of this pregnancy,  I was still running with my husband, but have since had to stop because of the nausea and was feeling bad about that. When all else fails, lying down on the sofa always makes me feel a little better (the same cannot be said of my chores and other obligations).


Sunday, December 18, 2011

John's 7th Birthday

Hard to imagine that my baby boy just turned SEVEN. Wow, time sure flies! 

 Solomon (3) holding John (a few days old)


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The big news of the day...

... is that we are expecting again! Predictable, huh?

We have actually known for several weeks (I am about 8 weeks along). For those of you who suspected something was up when I mentioned a triple stroller some time back - that was not a tip-off. I bought the stroller right before finding out the big news. In fact, I promptly turned around and sold it again (at a profit) because at over 50 lbs, it was too much of a behemoth to haul in and out of the van while pregnant. I will be looking into buying a trusted Graco double stroller as soon as I feel up to it.


Miriam gets baptized

It's hard to believe, but our little baby girl is growing up SO fast. Seems like just yesterday that I was a mom to all boys, until our sweet little girl came into our life. 



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thing 1 or Thing 2?

Little Anna still sleeps in our bed. I love dressing her in cozy little jammies because she spends much of the night snuggled up to me - so much better than a teddy bear! :)

 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dear Michael Smith...

(if you are not Michael Smith, this post will be of no interest to you)

Several weeks ago, you mailed my husband a package with a Bible, a sermon transcript, and a long letter. Thank you for mailing these. 


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anna turns 1

Our sweet little Christmas baby is turning one today. Wow, time flies too fast! Of course, the birthday started out great for me, who got to wake up with the little sweetie snuggled by my side cooing and smiling. 


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

All I eat is vitamins...

... all I drink is juice.

Well, not quite. That's a line from a Patch the Pirate song that came to mind when I sat down to write this post.

I often am asked what kind of prenatal vitamins and/or other supplements I take, or if I can recommend any certain brands.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

December 1st, the day the kids have been waiting for with eager anticipation! As we do every year, the kids each got a little chocolate advent calendar. It's a countdown of sorts, with one little treat per day, until the 24th. 


Monday, November 28, 2011

Monsters, Incorporated

In the news last week, I read a story about the "wrong twin fetus" having been "terminated" in Australia. The staff "treating" the woman accidentally killed the healthy baby, not the one who had a congenital heart defect. Notice the demented wording to make more palatable the fact that a mother KILLED her own CHILD in her WOMB, which should be the safest place on planet earth for any baby, but is the most dangerous.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Recipe for Hashbrown Casserole

This tastes a lot like the one at Cracker Barrel. You can prepare it the night before, leave it covered in the fridge overnight, and pop it in the oven to bake in the morning. This is my adaptation of this recipe.


Amber Necklace Review

Some time back when Anna first started teething, I purchased an amber necklace for her out of sheer desperation. She was the first of our children to have a hard time teething, except for maybe Solomon who ran a fever for one day when his first tooth poked through.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Riskyway is at it again

Remember when I blogged about Safeway Riskyway having a pregnant woman and her husband arrested over $5 worth of sandwiches that they forgot to pay for, resulting in their 2-year old daughter "briefly" (i.e. for 18 hours) being placed in the care of predators kidnappers CPS?

Then I emailed them to express my disgust at their zero tolerance policies, asking them to disclose the reports by the Department of Weights and Measures, since I am sure every single Safeway Riskyway store across the country overcharges patrons by much more than $5 every single day? Of course, they would not share  those records with me. I need to to contact the DWM about that - surely, customers should have access to this information to allow them to chose the most honest store.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

380 lbs of tomatoes

What would you do with 380 lbs of ripe tomatoes? 

Yesterday afternoon, I got a hankering for roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I called down to the produce house to see if they had any flats of organic on-the-vine tomatoes, and sure enough, they said they did - "but they are on the ripe side." Well, I figured that would work for me because I was planning on using them for dinner. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week - YAY!

I have waited for this week for quite a while now. It is our first week off from homeschooling since we started the school year the day after Labor Day. That means 11 weeks with no break. It may not sound like much, but believe me, it is. It is almost one third of the school year!

Keeping up with five different students on five different levels, making sure they all keep a steady pace and don't get behind on their work in any one subject, is stressful. It doesn't matter if I am tired at night or behind on everything else, I still have to check all their work from the day, and set up the next day's assignments. Even when we took a short vacation or went on field trips, we still made up for all the work allotted for that week in the remaining days. It will be nice not to have to be so disciplined this week. 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wedding at our church

Just a quick post to share some pictures from yesterday's wedding at our church for those of you who had asked for them. It all turned out really nicely! :)


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Busy day ahead

Well, it's been a busy week. How many times do I say that, right? The kids crammed their five days worth of school work all into Monday through Wednesday, because we needed Thursday through Saturday off. We usually fit five days of school, plus one field trip day, into those six days each week. 

Have you heard of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix? We went on a homeschool field trip there last week with other families from our church. Wow, was it ever impressive! If you haven't been, I definitely recommend it. If you bank with Bank of America, I think they give you free admission on the first Saturday of every month with your debit card. Not sure of the details, so check with the museum or your bank first.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Cabin Fever

My husband and I took the crazies to a cabin at Dead Horse Ranch for a night last week. We left early Thursday morning so we could spend the day hiking in the beautiful forests between Prescott and Jerome. At about 6000 ft elevation, the weather was still nice and fall-like, although we did have to wear sweaters for the first time since last winter.

 Anna didn't get the memo that this was supposed to be fun.

 There, that's better

Friday, November 11, 2011

Annual Chili Cook-Off

Our church held it's annual chili cook-off last Monday, October 31st. Of course it is no coincidence that this is always held on the same day as "Halloween" - we like to offer people something better to do than either participate in a satanic holiday, or hole up in their house ignoring the incessant door bell ringing. This is always a great evening of fun for everyone.

This year, we hired a great entertainer - Arizona Rick, the Balloon-Making Cowboy. We have seen him perform at the library before, and wow - this guy is GOOD! His show lasts about an hour, and the kids (and adults) were in stitches the whole time.

 Miriam, the big, bad wolf

Thursday, November 10, 2011

OH NO!!! She's pregnant AGAIN??!?

Not talking about myself here, in case the title gave you heart palpitations. No, no, I'm tackling another hot-button issue today, and that is that of Mrs. Duggar and her announcement this week that the family is expecting their 20th child.

Just in case my title is giving the wrong impression, no, I am neither surprised nor angered by the fact that she is yet again "with child", the more biblical term. For me, there really is nothing to this news beyond thinking how happy I am for the family, and praying that Mrs. Duggar will have a healthy pregnancy and birth. End of story.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Update on the Great Safeway Sandwich Coup

Being the concerned consumer that I am, I wrote a letter of complaint to Safeway (which I have renamed Riskyway) yesterday.
***

Me: I am writing to express my outrage at your store policy leading to the arrest of a pregnant mom and her husband over their accidentally forgetting to pay for a couple of $2.50 sandwiches.  I am particularly disgusted that you allowed it to come to this in spite of the fact that it meant the couple's young child had to spend 18 hours in state custody. Why you would endanger the health and well-being of a young child over a couple of bucks is beyond me.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You take our sandwich, we take your child

Or: Why I will never shop at Safeway - it's too dangerous.

Did you read in the news this week about the pregnant lady who ate a sandwich while shopping at Safeway, and when ringing up her purchase, forgot to pay for the sandwich? She had saved the wrapper intending to pay for it, but forgot. Safeway would not allow her to simply correct her mistake by paying the couple of bucks for the sandwich. Oh no. They called the cops and had her arrested for shop lifting. Her 2-year old daughter was taken into CPS custody for a full 18 hours, even though the mother was released from police custody the same night.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Snail Mail to the Rescue

It's been a rough day around here today, as well as last night, but I will spare you the details, 'cuz they ain't pretty. Life with lots of little kids is never boring (and nights are never quite long enough).

But, wouldn't you know it, we received not one, or two, or three, but FOUR packages in the mail today from various people around the country and around the world who all listen to my husband's sermons online, and each of them wrote such kind, encouraging words. It really helped make my day a lot better, even though two of the packages were actually for my husband, not me. 



Monday, October 31, 2011

Becky's 3rd Birthday

It's hard to believe Becky is already three. Seems just like yesterday she was born. We had a great time celebrating her birthday.

She got a tutu and matching shirt in her favorite color, purple, ...

 
 ... and a few other goodies.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Recipe courtesy of my local Trader Joe's.

We tried a sample of this while grocery shopping today, and were instantly hooked, as were all the other people around us sampling the food while oohing and aahing. 


Ingredients


Monday, October 24, 2011

Solomon's 10th Birthday

Wow, birthday season is upon us! Within 4 1/2 months, we celebrate the birthdays of all six kids, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Solomon is first during this crazy season of each year with his birthday in late September. 
 
 Good morning, birthday boy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I can't make this stuff up

On my previous post, two readers expressed their doubts about my truthfulness in saying that German textbooks contain what Americans would consider inappropriate content for elementary-age children. To quote myself:

The German books we use have been a funny throwback to the different mindset and culture in Germany. Notwithstanding the fact that all the kids' books are for elementary age or younger, they have so far taught how to ask someone whether they smoke, and how to say that someone is drinking wine or buying beer. Nice sample sentences, eh? 

Hi, my name is Isaac. I am eight years old. What is your name? Do you smoke? This is my Mom. She is buying beer and drinking wine. 
 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh, the good old Fatherland

This year, more than ever before, I have really made a serious effort to make sure our kids grow up speaking German fluently, i.e. being bilingual. German is actually not my first language - that would be Hungarian. But, sadly, my Hungarian is too rusty to teach the children, and it also happens to be one of the most difficult languages there are. We'll just stick with German for now.

For English speakers, German is not that hard to learn, plus there are tons or "German as a second language" materials available on the German Amazon website that I can order and have delivered here. Much like in the US we have a lot of kids in need of "ESL" classes, in Germany there are lots of kids entering school needing to learn "GSL". These materials are perfect for our kids.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Grocery shopping, my way

This week, as we do once every month, we got a delivery by semi truck from Azure Standard, an organic and natural foods co-op based in Oregon. Now that's large family living. I know my groceries are here when I hear the air brakes, and a 64-foot, 18-wheeler big rig pulls up in front of our house.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chocolate playdough

Last week, in a masochistic fit, I whipped up a batch of chocolate playdough for the kids. As can be expected, they made a complete mess of the kitchen counter and the floors, which is a sure sign that they had a great time. I just practiced deep breathing, looked the other way, and cleaned up when they were all done. I am NOT the type who just naturally lets kids explore and make messes as they play - it makes me cringe. But I have learned to grin and bear, at least to some extent. 



Monday, October 10, 2011

Just for the record...

My husband's grandma, who lives in Tucson, celebrated her 90th birthday this week. Grandma is a sweet old lady, and a dedicated Christian. She is still sharp as a tack, and really in great physical shape considering her age. I've been told that when she was younger, she would eat a chocolate cake for lunch every day, so that's my strategy now.



Hello, world

The summer heat finally broke last week. At the beginning of October, we still had days over 100 degrees, but one big thunderstorm last week finally ended the last 6 months of heat, and brought cooler weather. For us, that means being able to go outside again. Hence my lack of blogging - wow, there's a world out there! 

Solomon is the one caring for our chickens every day. Of our 8 chicks, five made it to adults in this summer heat. Two or three of them are laying now, and hopefully the rest will start soon. 


Monday, October 3, 2011

Watch "Food Matters" online free

Through Saturday only, watch the documentary "Food Matters" for free HERE.

This is the trailer:


Saturday, October 1, 2011

No Regrets


Yesterday, I was shopping with only Miriam and Anna. As I was waiting in the checkout aisle, an elderly lady from one lane over left her cart to step over to where we were and admire the girls. She especially loved the baby, and joked that she wanted to take her home. In passing, she mentioned "I was never able to have any children of my own" before heading back to where she had left her husband with the cart. 


Friday, September 30, 2011

I love Coke

Last week, I ran over to the produce house to buy a case of organic on the vine tomatoes to make roasted tomato soup.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Growing Up

Today, our oldest is turning 10 - the whopping double digit birthday! No longer am I the mother of only little kids. How exciting, and how sad. It really does go by in the blink of an eye!!

It is just past midnight as I am typing this, and I only just now finished decorating the main area of the house. As I was doing that, I started wondering how many times before I had decorated late at night, after also doing my regular chores, wrapping presents, and working on last minute preparations. That would be 30 between all the kids - thirty birthdays complete with parties, decorations, special meals, gifts, cake, and the whole nine yards. And to think our oldest is only ten. Wow, funny how a birthday here and a birthday there adds up so quickly.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Q & A answers, part IV

My apologies for still not having answered all the questions from the Q&A back in May. To see my previous posts on this, please click the Q&A label.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The fixer-uppers

Yesterday, as I was yet again dealing with a mess caused by one of the children, I was trying to figure out why taking care of children can be so wearisome even though I love them so much and would never rather do anything else. Then it hit me - as mothers, we are always the ones fixing everything, getting it back in the "right" condition.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's a zoo arond here...

We have been having such a great homeschooling schedule this year. The boys are now old enough to work without constantly distracting each other. Plus, now that I have more "students" than kids who mostly just play, the older ones aren't just constantly trying to sneak off and get out of working because their younger siblings are playing. Make no mistake, they really are not overworked and deprived of time with their younger siblings - they have all of their "seat work" (i.e. boring Math and English worksheets and books) done before lunch every day, leaving our afternoon time for the funner, more hands-on interactive subjects such as history, science, geography, German, art, etc. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Horse chestnuts, anyone?

Dear readers near and far, do you happen to have horse chestnut trees where you live? 



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where there's a will, there's a way

Some of you may have heard me talk about Bountiful Baskets before. We have been participating in their produce co-op for at least three years now. In the last year or so, it sadly has become very disappointing in terms of quality and quantity.

Last week, I explored the option of instead starting my own "mini co-op" with local friends that I know are into healthy/organic eating. Many of these I know from being a drop site for Azure Standard, another great co-op we get most of our groceries from.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Maximizing your time and increasing your energy

Sometimes people ask me where I get all the energy I seem to have, or how I have time to do this or that. Personally, I don't think I have unusual amounts of energy, nor do I get everything done that I need or want to. But, working slow and steady, I often find myself surprised at all the stuff I got done once night comes around. Of course, there is always more that DIDN'T get done than what did. So I am not writing this because I am some sort of authority or source of special wisdom on this question. These are just some tips that someone else might benefit from.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How we memorize Bible verses

Did you know it was my 4-year blog anniversary yesterday? No? Well, that's okay, because I forgot about it, too. 

Today, something new and never seen before: a VIDEO tutorial! My apologies about the sound, because it came out much too quiet, but if you turn your speakers all the way up it should work. Maybe later I have time to fiddle with it and figure out how to amplify the sound.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Blurbs

Whew, can you tell I have been busy? You know I have too much on my plate when I no longer even have time to blog. This being my last and only hobby, when I don't have time for that, it means I am working all day, every day, without so much as a break.

Just a few random blurbs on recent going-ons:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day One

Our first day of homeschooling went very well today. For those of you who are interested, I will give a brief re-cap of the day, which was actually a very typical day for us. While I don't have a set minute-by-minute schedule, I do follow a certain pattern every day.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New year of home education

NOT Back to School for us is tomorrow. I refuse to start a new school year before September. It's just not right. Starting any sooner would be like celebrating Christmas in November.The kids are excited. Miriam kept telling me today, "I'm so nervous! I don't know if I can do it! Maybe it's too hard!" She is going into K-5, for crying out loud, and she has a very gentle and slow-paced curriculum. She has a tendency to agonize over little things. Thankfully, she is learning in the safety of our family. 

Today, the last day of summer break, I finally finished writing the lesson plans for this year. That usually takes all my spare time for a couple of weeks. Yesterday, I spent a solid two hours agonizing over just what new German books to order the kids from Amazon in Germany - does that count as planning? Oh, what would I do without access to books and materials from the Old Country???


Click on image to enlarge, click again to enlarge even more. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe for Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3/4 cup ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup black pepper
  • if you like it spicy: up to 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (I use none)
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 4 cups - 1/4 cup equals a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. 

Tastes great for making tacos, taco soup, fajitas, burritos, etc.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Swimsuits, take II

On a recent post, there were a few comments regarding the swim suit I sewed for Miriam, so I wanted to elaborate a bit more on it.



White trash Muay Thai training

Just kidding on the title, of course. :) My husband made this funny video with the kids.




If you enjoyed this, you may also like (in chronological order) "Lego Firefighters", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "The Life of Moses."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I love Sunday afternoons

All week long I look forward to Sunday afternoons. The way it works out with the morning service and lunch, all three girls nap at the same time right after we are done eating. My husband is almost always out for church between the morning and evening services, and the boys are already used to having their "silent times" every day so it's no different for them on Sundays. We try to get the chores caught up on Saturday, and being gone for church on Sunday morning helps with the house staying reasonably clean. 


Procrastination

Did you know that I am a procrastinator? I am. The bigger the task, the less I even want to think about it.

Put it off for a day and ten will go by. - Chinese Proverb

Two projects I have been dreading were organizing our bedroom, and the school room. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Recipe for granola bars

Our family likes granola bars, particularly Chococonut and Peanut Choco. Since we go through one box just for everyone to get one bar, but most of us usually want a second one, I have been looking for a good recipe to make my own.


Friday, August 26, 2011

I homeschool 'cuz I'm lazy

Back in 3rd and 4th grade, I had a teacher that I remember distinctly. He taught our class for all grades except arts/crafts - even P.E. This was at a little country school in Germany. 

My teacher was rather strict. If students acted up, or talked out of turn, he would pull their ears. Like, waaaaay up. Almost-lifting-you-off-your-feet/bottom-up. Not that I ever got my ears pulled for popping off or anything...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Christmas in August

For your viewing pleasure and a little (okay, a lot) of comic relief, please enjoy this absolutely hilarious, albeit entirely extrabiblical, banter by none other than Dr. Jack Schaap.




Oh, I love this clip! It makes me laugh tears every time I watch it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

And the winner is...

For lack of time, I used random.org to determine the winner of the board game giveaway. In case the number fell on a commenter who was not interested in the prize (as expressed in the comment), or not eligible because they lived outside the US, the next commenter below was going to win.



Which means the winner is....  

Read at your own risk

Caution, reading this blog may be injurious to your health. The author assumes no liability.

I realized I didn't make it clear what I meant by "canning cantaloupe" - unlike most fruit, cantaloupe cannot simply be canned in syrup and then processed in a hot water bath. I won't go into the specifics, but basically it is not acidic enough and would need to be processed in a pressure canner. Since cantaloupe is so soft, that would turn it into mush, so there is no effective way to can cantaloupes.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kitchen day

Today, I have a bunch of stuff that needs to be done in the kitchen. Mostly, because there is so much produce available this time of year - more than we can eat fresh.

At 6:45 this morning, me and five kids left to go pick up our produce share basket with Bountiful Baskets. My husband and Solomon were gone on a business trip. From Bountiful Baskets, we went straight to the Phoenix Downtown Farmer's Market, because I needed some more pickling cucumbers. The stand where we bought them also had organic watermelons and cantaloupes for cheap, so I bought 2 of the first and 9 of the latter, plus some apples because the kids eat those like crazy.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Martha vs. Mary

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
(Luke 10:38-42)

This is the famous story of Martha and Mary. Martha is worried about getting the chores, housework, and cooking done, while Mary is more concerned about the spiritual matters.

To be quite honest, I do not like reading this story. It seems like some sort of cruel joke, even though of course I know it isn't. I think about it often. Especially at 5 am when I'm getting up to tend to a needy child, after what seems like 5 minutes of sleep that night. What do you chose when you stayed up until midnight the night before pairing socks so everyone would be able to find a pair the next day? The extra hour of sleep you know you need to make it through the day without losing your sanity before breakfast, or a quiet half hour to read your Bible? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Amber Grail of teething relief

As I have mentioned before, Anna has been having the worst time teething. It's been hard on all of us. Our usually happy, smiling, content baby that had fallen into a wonderful sleep pattern has been cranky, irritable, fussy, restless, and generally MAD. She has not gone to sleep before about 11 PM but twice this whole month, and on those two nights she woke up again and kept us up until well past midnight. Both her and I are a bleary-eyed mess.

A nectarine popsickle - yummy, but didn't help.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Crazy busy

Life is never dull around here. Last week, I canned 32 lbs of peaches and processed 24 lbs of nectarines (used fresh in smoothies and froze for "winter"). I used honey for canning instead of sugar as explained in this book. Sadly, it is no longer in print, but the information contained in it is entirely up to date and in line with today's canning standards. Truly a wonderful book!


 Just before being processed. We got a total of 15 quarts.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

From bored to board (game), and a giveaway

Have you ever wondered what people who do not have a television do for entertainment?



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Get ready to melt


You know the Chinese proverb that says:
There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.


Look at the fruit, not the tree

My husband and I have been so blessed to have our wonderful children, and the Bible to guide us in raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

~~~~~~~~~~

Last week, I was having a particularly rough day where everything seemed to be going wrong. Plus, I was tired from battling allergies. While the boys were playing in the pool in the afternoon, I noticed them whispering with each other. Suddenly, they all got out and announced they were tired of swimming, something they NEVER say so I knew they must be up to something. They urged me to take the girls swimming and relax in the water with them for a while, "at least an hour", while they would just entertain themselves in the house.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recipe for Partybrot

These traditional German rolls are quick and easy to make, inexpensive, perfect for entertaining, and absolutely delicious!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The letdown post, plus a kitchen tip

For those of you who were excited about a special giveaway to celebrate this here 700th blog post of mine, I am sorry. My 1-year menu plan is not quite finished, and short of not blogging again until it is done, I decided to do the giveaway next month for my 4-year blogging anniversary, which should give me enough time to finish up.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Random blurbs

  • My husband found a scorpion in the middle of a room last week when we got home at night. He said it was HUGE, and he is not one to exaggerate. I find myself afraid to walk barefoot in the house any more. I mean, I know that technically there are scorpions, snakes, and other mean critters in Arizona, but we have never before seen one on our property.

It definitely beats writing on the walls


John, who is 6, is our little artist. If he is off somewhere quietly, I know he is drawing pictures. His hands are permanently stained from markers. There are pictures he drew in every room of the house, taking over all horizontal surfaces, as well as my fridge doors.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nectarine Smoothie

This recipe was born out of a need to quickly use up a 15-lb case of organic nectarines before they would spoil. It has become an absolute favorite in our house! Nectarines, like peaches, are on the "dirty dozen" of conventionally grown produce, so look for organic ones. In the summer, our local Sam's Club carries 4 lb boxes of organic nectarines for about $6.50 - maybe yours does, too. Peaches make a great substitute for some or all of the nectarines.



Monday, August 1, 2011

Unnatural parenting

There is a somewhat modern movement out there called "Natural Parenting", or "Attachment Parenting". Really, all that is modern about it is the name, as the concept of being a failure of a parent and not raising decent kids is as old as humankind itself. Anyway, I am here to pick apart "Natural Parenting". Buckle your seat belts.


Microwave no more

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, my health goals for July were to never use the microwave, or any processed sugar.


Monday, July 25, 2011

I am married to an old geezer

The last four days have been a blur. If this is incoherent, I apologize.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Green Smoothie Girls

These two girls are just such a joy. We were out of straws for their "green smoothies", which led to these funny pictures.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Kitchen challenge

At the end of June, I resolved to not use two things in my kitchen during the month of July: sugar, and the microwave. While we try to eat as healthy as we can, these are two areas that had been hard for us/me to give up. I had predominantly been using "raw cane juice sugar" (basically, a less refined version of regular sugar) for baking. The only time I used the microwave was to reheat leftovers quickly, which was not every day, but it was almost daily. 


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why have all these children??!?

Some people accuse "large" families of the stupidest reasons for having "so many" babies. I'm here to disprove them all.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One-year menu plan

Wow, this has been some project! 

Here is the menu for the month of July. Click on the picture to see it large enough to read. (This is a screen shot of the document I made in MS Word)



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh Suzanna...

Becky's rendition: 

Oh Suzanna
don't you cry for me,
I come with a
band-aid on my knee. 



Monday, July 11, 2011

The Wild Wild West

You may have heard about the unlawful acts of the police and councilmembers in a small town here in Arizona.
From WND:

A small town in Arizona is suddenly a YouTube sensation after a town-hall meeting devolved into a physical clash as a woman was forcibly removed from speaking during the public portion of the event. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our 4th of July weekend

So not only is this one of those dorky posts typical of mommy blogs after a major holiday detailing all the things we did, but it is also one week late by now. It's been a busy week... I hope you'll still get a chuckle out of this.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Missing in Action

Just catching my breath for a moment to write down on the projects I am trying to wrap up:


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Your tax dollars at work

This is just so unbelievably disgusting. Please watch the entire clip. In all my wildest imaginations about how sick and evil the people and Planned Barrenhood are, I never could come up with this.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

I talk babytalk, and I wear no bike helmet

Seriously? Can I no longer blog about ANYTHING without someone taking exception to what I am sharing on here? One of these days, I will have a blog post about nothing but wishing everyone a good day, just to see what will be deemed wrong with that. 

Yes, I talk to my babies in a happy, chirpy, high voice. Not that I even care what any expert thinks about this practice, but since it is so universal the world over, and has been for thousands of years, I'll take my chances and continue to make my babies grin from ear to ear as they understand that I am talking to THEM and THEM only. I will also continue to smile really big and coo at them every time I see them, since maybe that is why our babies are so exceptionally smiley. 

Since we are onto my baby-care shortfalls, did you know I also open my mouth when I spoon food into THEIR mouth? It's true. I also don't baby-proof the house, buckle them on the changing table (in fact, we don't even have one), take them for portraits at regular intervals, wash behind their ears, and sterilize any toy before giving it to them. And, let's not forget about the most reckless of my parenting choices, namely the fact that I don't use any birth control and actually think that children are a blessing! Basically, I am just one big Neanderthal of a mother, and it's a wonder five of the kids have made it through infancy in spite of me caring for them. 



And bike helmets - seriously? What percentage of my adult readers wore a bike helmet as a child? Come on, anonymous know-it-alls, say it [cue whiny voice]: "Yeah, but back then, they also didn't use seatbelts in the back of cars, or car seats for kids, or airbags, or ..." Except that kids on bikes have only ever gone a certain speed, and it is just not all that dangerous. Sure, kids can get hurt if they fall off a bike. They can also get hurt if they roll out of the top bunk of their bed, decide to jump off a low roof or balcony, play chase outside, or do anything besides sitting on the sofa and watching TV. Boys especially seem to be wired for this kind of stuff.

Still, just to ease your mind, yes, ALL of our kids ON BIKES wear their own helmets. Not because I think it will make them any safer, but because of obnoxious know-it-alls who like to stick their nose where it doesn't belong. But bike helmets on kids who are riding in the back of a bike trailer (which is also labeled as a stroller) - are you serious? Do you make your kids wear bike helmets in the car, or at the playground, or at home, or in the stroller? Because it would be comparable to that. In the extremely unlikely event that a car were to mow us over on a bike path that is only open to non-motorized users (bikes being the fastest of those), a helmet would do little good. There are no cars ANYWHERE, because the trail winds along golf courses and open fields, not roads. The chances of kids in the trailer overheating from wearing a helmet for no apparent reason seems a bit more real. 
 
And me? I refuse to wear a helmet. There. Can you believe it? It's not exactly like I am riding down the freeway on a motorcycle. Some people RUN faster than I can RIDE - should they put on protective body gear??!? In almost three decades of riding a bike, I have yet to encounter a situation where a helmet would have been of any benefit, including when I was broadsided by a car once when I was leaving school. Again, the path we use has ZERO cars on it, or even anywhere near it. 

And no, I am not just trying to save money and cut corners at the expense of anyone's health and well-being. Otherwise, I would hardly be spending three and four times as much as we "need" to on groceries to spare us all from the poison that conventional "food" is. The chances of getting cancer in America are 1 in 2 for men, and 1 in 3 for women. The chances of riding in a bike trailer and being involved in an accident that a bike helmet could have prevented: 1 in a million, at best. 

Can everyone with their underwear in a twist just find some other outlet for their grumpiness for a while?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Anna, eating

I am so excited about little Anna. No matter what she does, I think she is just wonderful and cute (and she is). You may find this video boring because she is not your baby, but I am putting it on here just for myself to be able to pull it up again when she is older and feeding herself. 

 






As you can tell from the background on the video, I should be cleaning the dinner mess in the kitchen. My husband cooked today! - A first in almost 11 years of marriage. Maybe not a first, but I cannot remember him making dinner any other time before. He does take us out to eat, though, which counts just as much in my book. The five little monkeys all said that they liked HIS spaghetti sauce (made from scratch with fresh tomatoes) better than mine. I say it was because of the tomatoes he used, and because he was following MY recipe. The sixth and littlest monkey is non-verbal, but judging by the above photos and video, she, too, loved every bite. 

Oh, I love my children, and my baby! I was at the library with the kids today, and a lady kept smiling at Anna. Her husband leaned over, and facetiously asked "You want another one of those?!?" to which she (with a gasp) responded "Oh, no!" Their daughter, who looked about 10, was sitting right there. If she is anything like I was at her age, she probably would love to have a baby brother or sister. I said "Well, I would like another one!" to which the lady said "You do? Well, I already have THREE!" She could hardly believe when I told her I had SIX, at which point the husband, incredulously, asked again "And you want to have another one??" I told him that actually, I would really love to have at least another six. He smiled, and said that what I really wanted was my own reality show. Haha! Real soon. I would get canceled the first week because I am not friendly and patient and smiling and unflappable. 

Anyway, I just felt so lucky and blessed to be sitting there with the cutest baby and sweetest children in the whole library. And I am only slightly biased! :) Anna was so funny, she was sitting on my lap and enjoying every minute of the puppet theater show. I love having older kids for whom I will go to programs like that, because I never would have thought of going there with just a baby, even though she clearly enjoyed it.

I will spare you all more of my gushing. :) Gotta clean that mess, bathe the baby, get everyone in bed, mop floors, and do some grocery and errand planning for tomorrow.

Summer in Phoenix

Yesterday

 For my readers from overseas, that's 48 degrees Celsius


Today

The sky was overcast, so we all went on a bike ride together - me in the front with the three girls, then Solomon, Isaac, and John on their own bikes, and my husband at the far back making sure we weren't losing anyone. 
 Anna doesn't look like this in the picture, but she actually loves going in the trailer, or any stroller for that matter, as long as it keeps moving.

 Having Miriam in the back with Anna works well because she feeds her snacks and gives her water as needed. 

 This particular picture is from last week, I included it to show the whole getup "in action". 

The trailer and bike seat both work extremely well, and hardly weigh me down at all.  I was shocked at how well the trailer turns and runs. Still, I am also going to buy another trailer coupler at the bike store to put on my husband's bike, so that on trips where he is with us he can quickly hitch the trailer to his bike.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A different sort of water birth

Miriam came to me yesterday announcing that she thought she was having another baby, her fifth. She informed that she had already called the midwife.

A few minutes later, she came again, this time with the bumps under her shirt giving away the fact that she had stuffed a baby doll under it. She said the midwife was on her way, and that the baby was definitely coming that day. 

The next time Miriam came to me, she was beaming and holding a little doll in her arms - her new baby. I congratulated her, kissed the little baby, and asked her how the birth went. 

Miriam: "It was good. I had to use the Slip and Slide."

Me: "The Slip and Slide?"

Miriam: "Well, my birth tub is from 1928, when I had Elizabeth [her oldest "child"], and it had holes this big in it. So we had to use the Slip and Slide for the birth."

Miriam, Becky, and baby Elizabeth in the shopping cart, ready to go shopping in my pantry

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Camping trip


Our church had its annual camping trip this week from Thursday until yesterday (Saturday). We went to a group campsite near Prescott, AZ, which is a good 2-hour drive from here. The elevation is over 6,000 ft, so the weather is about 20 degrees cooler. Most of the area consists of pine forests. 



 Anna snoozing in the tent

 There is a larger mattress under the one she is sleeping on, and I left the window down to check on her and make sure she wasn't rolling off. She usually just lies still and looks around for a few minutes after waking up.

Personally, I am not a big fan of camping, but my husband and the kids love it. This year, we had NO rain, so it really was very nice. I think my favorite part about going camping is when we first arrive at the campsite, and I get out of the van and smell that wonderful mountain/forest air. It's also nice to be without any watch or clock, without cell phone reception, and without doing laundry and errands for days on end. In all, I would have to say this was my favorite camping trip ever.

 
 The sun setting from our tent window


Our tent has two "rooms". Everyone except me was on one side to stay warmer and to keep from rolling off the mattresses. 

 The other "room", where me and Annie shared a mattress and sleeping bag.

One of the days we were up there, most of our church group was able to spend the day at a nearby lake kayaking. Our family brought hot dogs for our lunch that we grilled at a picnic area right near the water, and my husband and I took turns watching the kids by the shore and going out on the water. I did one long trip to the opposite side of the lake with Solomon, Isaac, and John. Way back on the other side, we saw a man who was trapping crawdads. The boys were fascinated, and Isaac found the head and one claw of a HUGE dead crawdad. Ew! I have no clue where his trophy is now, and I probably don't want to know, either (just as long as I don't reach into his pockets when I check the laundry before washing it, and find THAT in there).

One thing I did new this year was to dress all of our kids in matching color shirts each day. Seems pretty obvious, but I just caught on to that this year. We had a total of 21 kids (all age 9 and under) between all of the families at our camp, so having all mine in a certain color made it a lot easier to count heads and keep tabs on them all.

right before leaving on "Day Orange"

Other than all the outdoor fun, one of the main attractions of our church camping trip is all the great preaching we get to hear. This year was no different. 


Johnny


Solomon holding Annie

Then of course there is the special camp food, and I must say that doing dishes in the outdoors is a nice change. There are some foods that taste best cooked over an open fire that we only ever make when we are camping.

  My husband didn't actually cook. He just stirred the food a couple of times.

 
 
 
 Isaac waiting for the bacon to finish cooking

The campsite we use has no electricity or running water, so all the kids were pretty dusty and dirty the whole time, but they were all enjoying that a lot, it seemed. Last night, after we got home, all the boys took showers, and Miriam and Becky took a bath together. When I drained the tub, there was sand all over the bottom of it, and also after little Anna when I gave her a bath separately.
 Becky at the lake. She was the grubbiest of all of our kids by far.
 
 
 
We often have friends of our church visit from other states just to join our camping trip. Some of them have gone camping with us every year. A pastor friend of my husband and his family have been there every year, and he is my favorite preacher beside my husband. Another family from New Mexico has a little daughter Miriam's age, and all year long Miriam looks forward to whenever we go camping or they come to Phoenix for a visit.

 Becky and Miriam with their friend.