Monday, December 27, 2010


It's really a shed,
pretty much.
Tyler calls it the cabin.
I think I'll be callin' it the castle.

Whatever you want to call it,
(we - being they. with me watching little ones, as usual)
started building it today!!

We talked about it off and on,
but couldn't really quite figure out how to make it work.
Tyler hates to put a single cent into this house;
I don't see it as putting $$ into the house
so much as
spending some money on my sanity.

he finally figured out that we could build this additional space
as a shed
on skids, so it'd be totally movable
if ever we do build a for real house...
and just attach the shed / cabin / castle
to the house with a hallway.

It's not huge
just a 12 x16 ft room, with 2 lofts
but it'll increase the size of our house drastically
so I'm pretty darned excited.

Tyler has been looking forward to the building of it.
I'm just looking forward to having it.

They made excellent progress today
and hope to get the floor in & insulated by tomorrow evening.

Tyler said he looked like he ought to be in Mother Earth News :-)

My youngest brother and his sweet gal
are coming to help for a few days
so that'll be fun.
That boy is a whiz at carpentry
so things'll go pretty quick with him here.

Level floor
straight walls - uncracked
nice windows - that open
Ooh - this is just too good!
And best of all ~ a pantry!
I can hardly wait.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jesus

You have to admit,
giving gifts to folks other than the 'birthday boy'
 is an odd way of celebrating the birthday boy's birth.

I struggle with being in the world and not of it
in lots of areas, Christmas included.
It's not that I'm a Scrooge.
Really, I'm not.
In fact 
I love giving just the right gift!
And wrapping it up all pretty, too!!
It's just really hard for me to keep 
'the Reason for the season'
as the most important thing
when so much other doing and shopping
is part of 'the season' also.
For several years,
we've been 'cutting back'
but still,
when you have an above average-sized family,
not much
is still
a lot.

Taking a cue from beautiful Ann 
we included gifts for the Birthday Boy
in our Christmas festivities.
After the family gifts had been opened
and played with
and worn; 
and the meal eaten,
had a party!
It was a little backwards, though;
instead of bringing our gifts to the party,
we shopped for them
during our party.

We divided up the money we received for Christmas
from my dad and my grandpa,
(thank-you so much!!)
and after reading Matthew 25:34-40
and explaining what we were doing,
everyone (generously!) added in some money of their own.
Some were more adamant than others
about what their purchases would be.
Lily wanted to give chocolate
- no surprise there ;-)
but once I explained that Jesus had no use for chocolate (gasp!)
she was insistent on using her money for milk
and water
and no amount of trying to talk her into going in on other purchases
could talk her out of her milk and water
milk and water it was!

going back and forth between sites
to choose the very best price on each particular item we wanted.
Lily, Tony, and Brandon all spent their money alone.
Jeremiah, Josiah and Lexi put theirs together,
and so did Tyler and I.
Well, actually, Tyler spent $25 of his
 and just gave the rest to me to spend,
since I'm such a savvy shopper :-)

We ended up
spreading our purchases out between five different organizations.
Tony thought it seemed a little weird to 'comparison shop' such giving
but agreed we wanted to give as much as possible.
All together
(this is so exciting!)
we spent $452 
and bought Jesus

a week's worth of milk
clean water for a family
SIX goats (yay!!!)
Chickens for TWO families or orphans
1 beehive with bees and supplies
6 mosquito nets (with natural insecticide :-)
seeds, tools, and training for an orphan
and some emergency food 
(Tyler thought it was all good and well to feed them in the future
but thought we really needed to feed the hungry now, too!)

Our Birthday Party for Jesus
was the best part of the day for me
and I think it will become a new tradition.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Monday, December 20, 2010

the apple don't fall far from the tree

Lexi got herself ready to go outside today.
I chuckled at her choice of shoes.

Then as I was buttoning her sweater, 
I caught sight of my own feet.

gift for Gramma

We got together yesterday
to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family
(with my mom - not to be confused with celebrating Christmas
with my side of the family - with my Dad, which we did on Friday)

I had a really hard time coming up with a gift for my Grandma.
She needs nothing.
And about all she wants is sweets
but she really shouldn't have sweets. 

A few years ago
she had a mini stroke
and her memory has really suffered because of it.
She used to be able to fix anything
and she was a whiz with machines and computers.
she doesn't even turn her computer on.

I feel bad admitting it,
but when I still hadn't come up with a gift
by Saturday evening,
I just decided
 no gift.

I told myself she wouldn't remember if I'd given her anything or not,
so it was no biggie.
I felt kinda bad about it,
but I'm not one to spend money
on junk somebody doesn't need
or even want
all in the name of 'gift-giving'.

I woke up Sunday
still feeling like a heel
but reminded myself, "She won't remember tomorrow..."
And it hit me.
She won't remember.
But I do.
And so I thought I'd just  type up a few memories and print them off.
maybe I could buy a frame on the way.....

Then I saw a jar in my kitchen
a tall skinny jar
perfect for strips of paper
and I knew what I was supposed to do.

A month of memories.

I'm not sure what the gift will mean to Gramma
but I am so glad I gave her this.
It was a gift to me, too! 
I realized what a wonderful Grandma she has been
and that many of my memories
are tied to her.
If I can be half the grandma to my sweet grandkids
as she has been to hers,
I'll be doin' just fine.

Gramma Joyce called as I was finishing up this post.
She sounded 10 years younger 
and didn't have that whine in her voice
"I just read my first memory and I wanted to share it with you...."
And she read the first of 31 strips of paper.
and then she said,
"I remember."

I love you, Gramma!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

fingerprints and following

As I type
Tyler is at the police department
being fingerprinted.
My good hubby ~ who'd a thunk?!

My sweet friend, Renee, posted a quote on facebook the other day
that perfectly captured where we are at right now.
Or at least, where I am.
 “The true follower of Christ will not ask,
 ‘If I embrace this truth what will it cost me?’ 
Rather, he will say, ‘This is truth. God help me to walk in it.
 Let come what may.’”

On Monday, we turned in paperwork
requesting to become the legal guardians of
and U.S. sponsors for Marcos.
Marcos is currently in a detention center
in south Texas, where he was caught after illegally entering the US.
When I think about what this may cost me
I get overwhelmed;
but when I think about what it would cost
to not walk in the path God has laid out for us
that's just not acceptable.
And so we walk.
Let come what may.

(for those unfamiliar with these types of proceedings - the fingerprints
are just one of many hoops to jump through for our government)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

how's that??

I mis-spoke,
which is quite common.
Once upon a time
I'd realize something didn't come out quite right
and ask the kids, "What did I just say?"
I don't usually even catch myself anymore
and it's only when the kids look at me weird
or question me
that I realize 
I've done it again.

After calling French Toast 
- and being corrected - 
Lily asked, "Why do you do that?"
I said,
"Well, I'm trying to recover from a seven year sleep deprivation."
Jeremiah thought a second,
"So, that means,
you've only had this problem since I was born."
Then the light dawned
and he looked at me with a sheepish grin.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

...speaking of reading

Not counting Stepping Heavenward
which I generally read every January,
I don't read fiction.
Haven't since book 5 or 6 of the Left Behind series.
Not because I dislike it
mind you
but because I have so very much to learn
that my reading time is generally spent educationally.
and I have very little self control
and could easily get completely engrossed in a good book
and neglect 
pretty much everything
'til I finished it.

I recently checked out the book Garden Spells
from our library.
It was one of the books I found that looked interesting
through one of Ginny's yarn alongs
I have no clue exactly who was reading it....
I thought it was a book about using herbs
-and it is-
but it also

I'd forgotten that I checked it out
and when I went through the library basket
looking for books to return, I found it
and decided I'd take it with me to my hair appointment this morning.
(I hate to sit there
doing nothing
when I get my hair cut!)
I intended to look at it last night
you know - to make sure I wouldn't get bored with it
and end up 
with nothing to do
while my hair was bein' done.
I never got the chance to even crack the cover
but I grabbed it anyways as I walked out the door.

It turns out
it isn't really an educational book at all
- as in - 
the reader isn't left knowing how to make potions and such.
It's fiction.
And you know what?
I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far;
Sarah Addison Allen is a delightful storyteller!
Now, if you'll excuse me,
have a book to finish.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Yesterday evening a gal told me, 
“I’ve heard your baby is like this one.” 
She pointed to her youngest, “Spoiled and mean.”  
I bristled.
 Lexi may be a handful. 
She’s determined and willful. She doesn’t sleep much. 
She’s adventurous and mischievous. 
She’s argumentative.
 And opinionated. 
She hasn’t yet learned to share very well. 
She’s loud. She’s stubborn.
 Lexi is lots of things. 
But Lexi is not spoiled and mean.

We sometimes affectionately call her The Beastie. 
I may have even called her a beast
 (without the endearing ‘ie’) 
once or twice when my own patience had worn thin. 
But not spoiled and mean.

She is already rapidly outgrowing her nickname
Which, incidentally, came from a much loved children’s book
If, by calling her ‘The Beastie’, 
I have left anyone with the impression that our Lex’ is a horrid creature
 well, I apologize.
She’s pretty much like all the rest of our babies.
 A sinner in need of a Savior.  
A huge handful. 
And very very loved.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Tyler wanted to hire out some work on the property
and T was in need of being hired
so it was a perfect fit.
Since meals  and a bed came with the job,
TJ had been staying here since Saturday.

The kids got used to him being here pretty quickly
and thoroughly enjoyed the extra attention they got.

This morning
when Lexi woke up, she asked about him.
I told her he was gone for a bit.
She replied, "Home soon?"
I told her yes, for a little while.
She smiled
 and put her head on my shoulder,

I don't think she'll be quite so happy
when I tell her 
last night 
was his last one here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I had my first ever Starbucks coffee today.
It was from the little shop inside of Target
staffed solely by a slow-moving gal in a red smock
so I'm not sure that it even exactly qualifies as 
I ordered the Pumpkin Spice Latte
which is a silly name, cause tall - is small.
I could taste neither pumpkin 
or spice
and I'm really not sure what all the fuss is about.
For this I paid four dollars??
Four dollars!!
My French Vanilla beans from Walmart
make a much better cup of joe in my opinion.
And people go to Starbucks regularly??

Monday, December 6, 2010

all Lexi all the time

I took about fifty million pictures of Lexi yesterday
(give or take a few million)
'cause she was just so busy
and she's so darn ca-ute

who, me?
 We discovered a perfect job for Lex'!
I know - it looks like slave labor
but really, she's lovin' it.
She's just serious about her work.

just how does this thing work??
  Lexi helped make dinner
and we stupidly just left her on the chair.
I went back in the kitchen a few minutes later to find

 her busy cleaning

so stinking CUTE!

see, I clean

oh, look what I found. A bink. Aiden. AIDEN

oh well. Aiden's not here. I'll try it out.
 She seemed to be doing just fine
so I left her again.
on the counter.
Only for a second, though.

 It seems
the girl was thirsty.
I did go ahead and remover her from the counter at this point.
After donning dry clothes
(that had been discarded earlier in the day
in favor of the pink dress)
Lex' wanted to help fold laundry.
I tried giving her a washcloth
but no
she wanted one of Papa's shirts.

OH! the cheekers! I still love 'em!

If I can just get it spread out....

almost got it

 Not only can the girl
do dishes and laundry
and get her own drink
she can sort!

this one, right here? where does it go?

with the green triangles, of course!
 Lexi Girl ~ Momma loves you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

rollin' rollin' rollin'

And the big news....

New Wheels for Tony!

Ton' has been saving his money for a car 
for pretty much his whole life.
When he started working at MarketPlace
Tyler helped him set up a budget
and he's put at least $500 a month in his auto fund since then.
(he's also got saving's accounts specifically for
his house
and his future family.
Irrelevant to this post, but interesting anyways, don't you think?)

Tony really wanted a small SUV
- his top pick being a Toyota Forerunner -
but thought he might have to settle on a car
to get good gas mileage.
He and Tyler have been checking the ads for several weeks now
and last week
they found it!
A gal who works at ABF was selling a 2001 Toyota Rav4
which happens to be a small SUV
that also gets good gas mileage!!

We are so thankful that God provided Tony with a good vehicle
in his price range
(actually cheaper than Blue Book value!)
in the style he was hoping for.
It'll also hold a car seat or two.
He checked.
'cause you just never know... 

We're so proud of you, Bud!
Congratulations on your first car!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Master doesn't like it

when The Woman doesn't post for days on end.

Let's see. 
We went to my mom's
 and it was really a pretty relaxing holiday.

Not for my mom, though. Sorry 'bout that, Mom!

This was the first Thanksgiving in 27 years
that I didn't make a single pie.
(or a double pie, for that matter..)
I can't help but think the two are related.
My pies taste good
- or rather they used to
 back in the old days
when we ate Crisco and white store-bought flour - 
but man
everyone  has to leave me alone
while I roll out the dough!

I've been going through our bedroom
and getting rid of as much as I can.
I'm just so sick of this house always being a mess.
But you know how that kind of cleaning goes;
things get worse before they get better.
I've been sharing the bed with a bunch of piles for almost a week.

Yesterday was Jeremiah's 7th (!) birthday.
He wanted hot dogs for lunch.
I asked what he wanted with them.
He said, "Ketchup, mustard, and juicy pickles."
I meant as a side dish.
He wanted chicken salad.
I told him that didn't really go together.
He didn't mind....

We took our chicken salad and hot dogs to our river
and built a little fire.
For a while
we thought we were going to have to just eat our wieners at home
but we finally got a small blaze going.
 we'd finished eating 
and had already soaked the logs in the river
when the Sheriff drove by.
We discovered that 
we need to bring towels when we go to the river.
And a change of clothes would be smart, too.

There was  some big news this week, too
will have to wait till tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

wonderful waffles

in my life 
have I enjoyed waffles
quite so much.
And I've always enjoyed waffles.
these waffles.
These waffles are amazing.
They are almost as good leftover - warmed in the toaster.

I got the recipe from a book
that was more of a memoir than a cookbook
but it did have a recipe included with each chapter.
I'm not linking to it, 'cause I don't really recommend the book.
Just the waffle recipe.
Have I mentioned that the waffles are incredible?

You want me to share??
Oh, okay.

Needless to say, I tweaked it just a tad.

I should also mention
there is one tiny flaw to these waffles
which I have chosen to overlook
since I haven't manged to correct it.
We normally eat leftover waffles
as in 
straight out of the fridge
or even freezer,
but these waffles taste absolutely nasty plain.
But with maple syrup?
They are divine.
Add whipped cream;
you'll think you've died and gone to heaven.

Amazingly Wonderful Waffles
½ c. warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast (2  1/3 tsp)
2 c milk, warmed
½ c. butter, melted (I use ½ coconut oil, ½ butter)
1 TBS honey
1 tsp salt
2 c. whole wheat flour (I use soft white)
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp baking soda

Use a large mixing bowl; the batter will rise to double. 
Put the water in mixing bowl and sprinkle in yeast.
Let stand 5 minutes or so.
Add milk, butter, honey, salt, and flour to the yeast and beat until smooth.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or towel and let stand overnight at room temp.
Just before cooking waffles, add the eggs and baking soda and stir till well mixed. 
Batter will be quite thin.
Cook on hot waffle iron using a scant 1/3 c. per grid.
(Do not use Belgian waffle maker - use the type that makes 4 waffles)
Bake until crisp and golden (for my waffle iron it takes 4:44)    

I usually make a double batch and have plenty of leftovers;
last time I made them, I just did 1 1/2 batches
and we ate every single one.
I think I know what we're having for breakfast tomorrow...

Monday, November 22, 2010

picnic lunch - great weather for it!

Inspired by a text I received from Lana
with a picture of my favorite grandbaby
and the above words
just as I was pulling bread out of the oven,
I decided to take our lunch outside.

spoons make great spreaders for kids!

The cats were hoping for an invitation, too.

A baby (toddler? - adolescent?) walking stick joined us,
without bothering to wait for an invitation.

what the hey - I will let the cat join us