Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Showcase: Balloon Creations

Last week my sister-in-law and I had a girls night out.  We had a wonderful time together, visiting, and browsing a few local shops.  We went to Barnes & Noble and browsed the book selection, and on the way out spotted some neat little how-to kits.  I picked up one about balloon creations and immediately decided to buy it.  It may may seem like a crazy spur of the moment shopping purchase, but really, balloon creations are something I've been interested in learning for a while.  Anytime I see someone making them I think, "that doesn't look to hard, I really want to learn how. . ."  I'm just finally following through with it. 

So far I can make (fairly well) a flower, sword, doggy, bear, and giraffe.  I'm working on a poodle and a frog, and there are a few more difficult creations in the book that I am going to try to conquer once I get the hang of the easier ones.

I can think of so many ways this could be a blessing to others.  Making balloon creatures for children in the hospital, or making them and handing them out at the fair booth that our church does each year, or making them for a special activity at Megan's or Kyle's schools.   And well, my kids have already received tons of enjoyment out of my new little hobby.  That in itself is worth it!  Ok, so maybe I'm justifying a totally frivolous purchase, but honestly, I've had quite a bit of fun with it too!  I'm glad I bought it!

To participate in this meme or view other Friday Showcases visit

Mama Buzz

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday! I'm Thankful for the Transplant Clinic!


I'm sitting in the transplant clinic waiting to be seen by my wonderful transplant team members.   They are such a great group of people.  So very caring, helpful, and they take great care of me!  They are always kind and cheerful, even when they've been up all weekend with other transplant emergencies. I know them on a first name basis and can't wait to share pictures of my kids when I come back for visits.  It really almost feels like an extended family.  I'm 5 1/2 months post transplant and feeling so good these days!  I'm looking forward to a good update today!

I'm also thankful that they have wireless internet access so I can blog while I wait!  Such a wonderful thing to keep me occupied when the wait gets long, which it often does.  They don't just treat healthy post-transplant people, they also treat very sick people who are waiting for their transplant, and people whose own transplant just didn't go so well.  So they've got their hands full and there is no sense getting upset when they can't get me in on time.  If I were in the other patients' shoes I wouldn't want them to be rushed while seeing me.  So it keeps me happy to type and they can take as long as they need.

 I am thankful for other transplant patients.  I have found that other transplant recipients love to share their story with each other. . . people who will understand and have gone through it themselves. I know that I do.  Today in the waiting room I met another nice young lady (younger than myself) who received a liver transplant 2 years ago.  It is always encouraging to see people who are further out from their surgery and are very healthy and happy.  Anyway, we got to chatting and discovered that we both had experienced liver failure from the same genetic disease, Wilson's disease.  We were so excited! LOL!  A strange thing to be excited about, but it's a rare disease so it isn't every day that you meet someone from another family who has gone through the same thing.  She also has a younger sister with the disease (I have 2 older brothers with the disease).  I gave her my blog address.  I'd love for her family to get in contact with my family.  They could be a big support to each other I think.   After all, I'm sure her mom and my mom have a lot of the same worries and concerns.

I am again thankful for the gift of life!  I got the chance to celebrate Kyle's 4th birthday this week!  I love my children and am so grateful for these opportunities that were almost lost. 

And though I am thankful for all these earthly things, I am most thankful for my God, the maker of heaven and earth, who graciously spared my life and gives me hope no matter the circumstances I may face!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My View and Our Pumpkin

I have such a lovely view from my kitchen window each fall!  We have two beautiful big maple trees in our back yard.  They offer shade on hot days during the summer, and are so full of cheerful color in the fall.  Not to mention all the fun the kids have playing swords with their sticks, and then of course the leaf-pile jumping.  No matter how much work it is to rake the leaves, I am very thankful for our big trees!

Megan stayed home from school the last couple of days due to a fever.  Yesterday she was getting bored just laying on the couch so we came up with a very fun sick-day activity.  We decided to carve our pumpkin.  The kids enjoyed it and it kept us all entertained for a little while.  Kyle got to choose the shape of the eyes, and I chose the shape of the nose, and Megan chose the shape of his mouth.   It is now gracing front yard with a couple of mums. It looks very festive!  I saved the seeds and roasted them with some butter and salt for a nice little snack.


Busy at Home

I am very good at keeping myself occupied at home.  I bake, clean, do laundry, cook meals, pay bills, take care of my children, knit, make cards, garden, and I've recently decided to learn to make balloon animals.  The list could go on and on with all the things that I do to keep myself busy.  Staying busy is a good thing.  I am happier when I'm busy, serving a purpose as mom and housewife and accomplishing things around our home.  I have also noticed that my children  and husband are happier and keep themselves better occupied when I am contented in my busy-ness.  I think it is true that the mom's attitude sets the tone for the whole household.  I know it is true in our case anyway.

However, though I may be a good example to my kids of staying busy and not being lazy, sometimes I think I'm teaching them to stay busy with the wrong things.  Instead of being an example of sitting at the feet of Jesus, I'm an example of doing dishes, laundry or mopping the floor.  I can fill up my time with so much doing that I forgot to also fill up my time with what really matters--mine, and my family's relationship with our loving heavenly Father.

I think there needs to be a balance. I shouldn't just sit on the couch reading devotionals all day and neglect the duties of my home and family, but I also shouldn't be doing all  the duties of my home and family all day to the neglect of our relationship with God.  I could definitely be better at combining the two: praying, worshiping, and teaching my children about God while I'm going about my daily activities.   Having a God ward focus throughout the day is something that I want to strive more at accomplishing! 

Titus 2:4-5 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Proverbs 31:27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 

Luke 10:38-42  As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Haggai 1:5-9  Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 31:30   Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Showcase: Homemade Pies and Birthday Cake

I know I've mentioned before that I really enjoy baking. Well, this week I've had lots of bonding time with my oven! On Wednesday I made 4 pies. Two pumpkin, one shoefly, and one crunchy caramel apple pie. I was able to bake them and then give them away which is even better so I'm not tempted to eat them all myself. I have a sweet tooth that I have trouble ignoring when delicious confections are sitting around my house.

Here is the recipe for the Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie.  It is quite literally the BEST apple pie ever!

I used Libby's Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe here. Which is very easy, and my personal favorite as far as pumpkin pie recipes go.

And this is the recipe that I used for the Shoefly.  It's a recipe that my mom has made since I was just a little girl.  I think it is absolutely wonderful, but I do believe shoefly is one of those pies that you either like or you don't.  If you like molasses desserts you'll probably like this pie.

Shoefly Pie
Crumb mixture
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar

Liquid mixture
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup molasses
pinch of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

In unbaked piecrust layer liquid and crumb alternately starting with liquid layer and ending with crumb layer.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450 and 20 minutes at 350.  Makes one 9" pie.

Tomorrow we are have a little party with Tom's family, so today I baked and decorated Kyle's birthday cake.    I just used a boxed cake mix and icing.  I always like to decorate a special cake for my kids birthdays.  I'm not the greatest decorater.  They definitely don't look professional, but I really enjoy planning what I'm going to do and then trying to do it.  Kyle requested the monster truck birthday cake decal thing that he had seen in a birthday party catalog a while back, so I ordered it and just added some fun blue icing to make it a little more festive.  I think it turned out cute.  Kyle LOVES it, and Megan keeps saying "That's so cool!" So I think it was a success. :)

To participate in this meme or view other Friday Showcases visit

Mama Buzz

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Check out Tiffany's lovely  blog post on thankfulness, grumbling, and how our hearts deceive us into twisting blessings into curses.  After reading it last night it got me thinking about complaining.  Complaining is really living in a state of unthankfulness.  It's easy to make a list of blessings once a week, and I'm going to keep doing so, but the true test of my thankful heart is how I live from day to day.  

Philippians 2:14-16 Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life...

Colossians 3:1 5-16 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

~I'm thankful for my husband's new job.  God, please don't let my heart be deceived into thinking it's a curse when he's working late.
~I'm thankful for my husband's mechanical ability.  God, please don't let my heart be deceived into thinking it's a curse when he has to spend his evening outside fixing our vehicle instead of helping me with the kids.
~I'm thankful for my 3 beautiful children.  God, please don't let my heart be deceived into thinking they are a curse when I have to pick up the same mess for the 15th time today.
~I'm thankful for my cozy little home.  God, please don't let my heart be deceived into thinking it is a curse when I've got company coming and no matter if I've just mopped the old kitchen floor or not, it doesn't look clean.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today's Mayhem

Oh my goodness, it has been a day full of mayhem!  Let's see. . . It started out at 4 a.m. when Kyle wet his bed.  I'll admit, I changed him and then had him crawl into bed with us.  I just wasn't in the mood to change sheets at 4 a.m., and I certainly didn't want to run the risk of waking up the other two.

I managed to bake 4 delicious pies for my mom. This sounds like hard work, but I used store bought pie crusts so it really wasn't anymore than just throwing the ingredients together and pouring them into the pie crust.   While doing so I managed to spill half a box of baking soda on the floor, and one of my pies overflowed in the oven and made my house smell like burnt food. The clean-up took more time than the time it took me to mix the ingredients and put them in the oven.  But, by golly, mom is going to have some yummy pie to share!  (my husband is pretty jealous that I didn't make one for him.)

The boys and I enjoyed a yummy lunch of turkey and cheese on bagel sandwiches with homemade applesauce.  You other mom's can relate to the whole toddler learning to feed themselves stage.  Caleb is right in the thick of it and he decided to use the applesauce as hair gel. I did try to wash it out with a washcloth.  That didn't really work, but it actually looks pretty all gelled and curly, even if it's a bit sticky! :)

Then, for the cherry on top, Megan's bus driver didn't have a good report to give me when he dropped Megan off after school today.  We've had issues with her riding the bus from the very beginning of the school year.   She wants to jump up and down and run from seat to seat.  I can tell her bus driver has had it up to his eyeballs with her.  And well, frankly, so have I.  I'm tired of having to discipline her right when she comes home so often.  I so want her coming home from school to be a happy time.  I think I may have to make a phone call to the school.  According to her IEP (individual education program) she was supposed to be on a bus with a monitor and seat belted in, but for some reason that didn't happen. I thought we'd see if the regular bus would work out, but it really hasn't worked out.

Thank goodness it's Wednesday!  Megan and Kyle are at Awana for a couple of hours, and Tom is keeping Caleb occupied so I have a few minutes to recuperate from my crazy day.  Now I'm going to go soothe my frazzled self by working on the hat I'm knitting for Kyle. 

Cereal for Dinner Moments

Sometimes I think I can be rather unapproachable as a woman and mom, and other mom's see  me (or maybe read my blog) and are intimidated and think "wow, she's always got it all together." (I know I've thought this about other women)  Well, let me be honest here.  I am good at putting on the super-mom face out in public, and on my blog I tend to write positive and godly things (which isn't a bad thing).  I don't tend to share a lot of my personal struggles with others because that makes me vulnerable, which is a very insecure thing for me.  But believe me, I have plenty of "cereal for dinner moments."  Those moments when things are just a bit out of my control and all I can manage to get on the table for dinner are boxes of cereal and a gallon of milk.  I'll admit, there are times when Tom and I have been arguing in the car on the way to church, but as soon as we get there we have smiles on our faces and when asked how we are, our response with a smile is "We're doing great". . .  yes, just peachy.

The Bible says to pray for one another, and bear each others burdens.   Which, I believe, also includes my own honesty and transparency before others so they can do the same for me.

James 5:13-16  Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Galatians 6:1-3  Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each others' burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

I pray that God will help me be humble and transparent before others so I can have those kind of edifying relationships with other believers that allow me to share from my heart who I really am; including my struggles, fears, joys and triumphs, and allows others to feel comfortable to do the same.  This Casting Crowns song reflects my own feelings on this subject so well.

Stained Glass Masquerade
Artist: Casting Crowns

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is CONVINCING
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Chorus x2

Well if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Comfort Others Also

1 Corinthians 1:3-4  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

I have experienced the amazing compassion and comfort of God over and over in my life through experiences big and small.  However, there are 2  in my life that I have experienced God goodness and faithfulness like no other time.

At 32 weeks in my pregnancy with Megan I had a routine ultrasound, when the tech was finished she asked me to wait in the waiting room until she was able to talk to a doctor about the results.  I knew then that something wasn't right, after a long fretful wait the tech came out and told us that I was being admitted into the labor and delivery unit.  On the L&D floor there was a whirlwind of activity.  I was hooked up to monitors which showed I was having regular contractions, so I was then given IV medications to stop the contractions.  I was kept awake all night with being poked, prodded and tested, and all this time the doctors had yet to explain what was going on.  Finally in the early morning a doctor came into my room with a very grim expression.  He proceeded to tell me that the ultrasound had shown some abnormalities in my baby and they were concerned about her heart, her brain, and a herniated diaphragm.  If the results were accurate they said that she would only have a 50/50 chance of survival once she was born.  In those few statements my hopes and dreams and love which was so wrapped up in my little bundle growing inside me came crashing down.  Yet, despite my breaking heart, I had incredible peace knowing that God was in control of this situation.

Psalm 139:13-17

  For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.

  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

  My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them! 

I was transferred to a more specialized hospital where I spent 10 days in limbo, receiving test after test on my baby, finally to be told some amazing news.  They were wrong about the heart and herniated diaphragm, and her brain abnormality was not as severe as they had thought.  No surgery would be needed, and she would most-likely grow up perfectly 'normal'.   My little Megan was born with Dysgenesis of the Corpus Callosum.  We deal with delays in learning and some extreme distractability and hyper-activity, but for the most part she IS a normal little girl who is my miracle baby and the answer to many prayers!  God was so gracious to allow me to be her mommy!

The second time in my life that I have been the recipient of God's amazing comfort occurred less than 6 months ago.  I suffered from acute liver failure due to Wilson's disease and subsequently, received a liver transplant.   (Read my liver transplant story here.)  I was faced with the possibility of never again celebrating my babies birthdays, and not seeing my little Caleb's first steps, or sending my little ones to their first day of school.  I'm their mommy, they NEED me!  But again, God gave me peace.

Isaiah 43:1-3
  But now, this is what the LORD says—
       he who created you, O Jacob,
       he who formed you, O Israel:
       "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
       I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

 When you pass through the waters,
       I will be with you;
       and when you pass through the rivers,
       they will not sweep over you.
       When you walk through the fire,
       you will not be burned;
       the flames will not set you ablaze.

 For I am the LORD, your God,
       the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; 

Jeremiah 29:11
 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, 
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Common verses, yes, but through this experience they took on new meaning and were a balm to my soul.  It was a huge comfort to be reminded that God was in control of my situation, and that he was there, walking me through it.  And once again, I saw the prayers of many answered with the incredible timing in receiving my transplant, and my amazing recovery.  To look at me, or my blood test results, no one-not even a doctor would know without being told that less than 6 months ago I received a live-saving liver transplant. 

These experiences are not something I would have chosen, but I have been amazingly blessed through them. I have seen and felt God's love and protection first hand. I definitely feel that God allowed these experiences in my life for a reason and I desire to use what I have learned and experienced to somehow help others and tell them about God and how much he loves us and how good he is ALL the time no matter what our circumstances!  Yes, I still deal with after-affects of the transplant, and there are unique challenges of raising an amazing little girl with a brain defect, however God gives me strength and grace to deal with things as they come each day.  And I still believe that God is GOOD!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Revisiting Yesterday's Bible Study.

It has been a very busy Monday! After I got Megan on the bus, and dropped Kyle off at preschool, Caleb and I headed to the hospital to get my weekly blood draw. I stayed up late last night making my grocery list and getting my coupons in order so after my lab work we headed right to the grocery store. I'm trying out a new local store to see if I can save a little more money since they double coupons and offer a gas savings program. My shopping took a little longer than normal because I am unfamiliar with the store. However, I saved just over $67.00 on my grocery bill; received $6.00 in oyno (On Your Next Order) coupons, several other good product-specific coupons and now have .20 cents credit on my gas savings program. Which means next time I fill up at select stations, I scan my grocery card and will receive .20 off per gallon on a full tank of gas!!!!

I've also checked off several other chores off my list, including washing dishes, sweeping and mopping floors, and I've started the laundry. Now that I've got the boys in bed and Megan is entertained I am going to take a few minutes to review our Bible Study lesson from yesterday.

Tom and I are a part of the young couples Bible Study class at our church. It includes anyone who has been married for 10 years or less. Yesterday's study was focused on parenting, and specifically discipline. I'm sure I'm not the only mother who struggles with disciplining her children. After all, the world's idea of discipline and God's idea of discipline aren't exactly similar. I do believe that spanking is Biblical. In fact, the Bible has some pretty strong things to say about those who 'spare the rod'. Modern day parenting experts say spanking isn't loving, or spanking just teaches violence, but what does the Bible say? I know many Christians who say they believe that the Bible is the Word of God and His authority for our lives, yet don't 'believe' in spanking their children. Well, in that instance they are contradicting themselves. Here are a collection of verses that deal specifically with parenting and discipline.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. and these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Proverbs 22:8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you spank him with a rod, he will not die. You shall spank him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his crying.

Proverbs 29:17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Being a mother is the hardest job that I've ever committed to. There are black and white and gray areas to wade through, and not just for the sake of raising children that act right, but for the sake of raising children who know and love God. There is heartache and joy; challenges and triumphs. And I can think of no other job that has shown me my own shortcomings so clearly and pushed me in my own relationship with Christ. I know without Him I am nothing, but through Christ all things are possible, including this amazingly difficult job of raising my children!

Psalm 127:1-5 (The Message Bible)
1-2 If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?

3-5 Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday Showcase, a day late. . .

Mama Buzz

With this sudden onslaught of cold weather that we got this week I was forced to sit down and work on some knitting for my family. I've been meaning to do so for a while, knowing that neither Megan nor Kyle have hats or mittens that fit them this winter. I felt like a bad mom on Friday when I had to send them to school in the cold without them.

So yesterday I started Kyle's pair of mittens. I finished them just before dinnertime this evening. I takes me about 3 hours per mitten. I'm not a pro-knitter, or very experienced, so I'm a little slow. Someone more experienced could probably whip out a pair in a couple hours, but I'm still proud of how they turned out (even with the couple mistakes, but as long as you don't look too closely you'll never notice). I'm just using extra yarn I have leftover from other projects I've done so they won't really match their coats, but that's ok. It doesn't take a lot of yarn to do children's mittens. Plus, it saves me a few bucks to not have to go buy anything so it's worth it. I plan to start Megan's mittens tomorrow afternoon. I hope to have those done by Tuesday and then I'll knit all 3 of them a winter hat. I'm not doing mittens for Caleb because I know from experience that he won't keep them on. Instead, I use a pair of Kyle's socks for Caleb's hands. They are a little snugger and he can't pull them off so easily. Anyway, these knitting projects will keep me happily occupied (I really do enjoy it) for a couple weeks or so.

To view other Friday Showcases, visit

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Putting my Thankfulness into Action.

Today I am thankful for people. . . many people.

~I am thankful for the billing specialists in the hospitals and doctors offices who work to get the insurances to pay the medical bills. I happen to know that it takes a lot more than just sending a bill to the insurance company to get them to pay. These people spend time doing tedious work, and sometimes HOURS calling the insurance companies fighting, yes FIGHTING, to get them to pay what they should. I have personal experience with this because my MIL is a medical billing specialist, and I also had some wonderful billing people at Rochester fighting to get my medical bills covered from my transplant and after-care. They did a great job, and I really really appreciate all their hard work!

~I'm thankful for the people who teach my children. I'm thankful for their patience and hard work. I know that working with children is an exhausting job, and not always so fun. But their teachers do it well AND with a smile on their faces! I so appreciate that!

~I'm not just thankful for their teachers, but I'm also thankful for all the support staff at the school who do so much of the behind the scenes work to keep the schools running smoothly and allow the teachers to do what they need to do with the children. I know they don't get thanked very often. They are behind the scenes and we all tend to forget about them (at least I do). Well, today I'm not forgetting. I'm putting my thankfulness into action. I've baked a batch of super yummy homemade brownies that I'm going to drop off with a nice thank you note to the office girls at Kyle's preschool when I pick him up today. I do believe that everyone has a need to be, not just told, but shown that they are appreciated. So that is what I'm going to do!

This is my encouragement to everyone today. . . Don't just tell someone you are thankful for them, SHOW them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Few Things Worth Sharing

1. Kid Logic: This was a conversation I had with Kyle, my 3 (soon to be 4) year old, while waiting in line behind another mom with a little girl about his age.

Kyle to me: "Mom, what's her name?"
Me: "I don't know Kyle, why don't you ask her."
Kyle to little girl: "Hi, I'm Kyle. What's your name?"
Being shy (at least shyer than my not-even-a-tiny-bit-shy child), she shrugged her shoulders and didn't answer.
Kyle to me: "She doesn't know her name either, mom."

2. Johnson & Johnson bath toy offer: Purchase one Johnson’s Baby Bath or Lotion product by between 9/28 and 12/1 and get a FREE Baby Bath Toy Frog Gift Set (a $10 value) by mail. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

Just mail your name, complete mailing address, and dated receipt to:

Johnson & Johnson / Parents GWP
375 Lexington Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10017

3. SC Johnson Rebate offer: Purchase any 3 of the following products and get a $5.00 rebate, up to 3 rebates per family!

Drano, Fantastik, Glade, Nature’s Source, Off, Pledge, Raid, Saran, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Windex, Ziploc

$5.00 Rebate Form HERE

4. Kellogg's Bonus Bucks: Buy three specially marked Kellogg’s® cereals and get $10 bonus bucks to spend on electronics, toys, sporting goods, books, concessions and movies! From what I understand there is no limit to the amount of times you can complete this offer.

1. Buy three (3) specially marked boxes of Kellogg’s® cereal and collect the codes inside each box.
2. Enter codes at
3. Receive your $10 Bonus Bucks certificate by mail.
4. Redeem your certificate at a variety of participating retailers.
Codes must be entered all at one time in order to qualify to receive the certificate. Codes must be entered by 09/30/2010. Certificates expire 11/30/2010.

5. Free Journal from Energizer: FREE Keep Going� Journal - Susan G Komen For the Cure Promo Get a FREE Keep Going® Journal (By mail, while supplies last. Offer expires 3/31/10) with the purchase of 3 select Energizer® battery packages. For each journal shipped, Energizer will donate $1.00 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® through 3/31/10.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Score at the Grocery Store

Wow, my title rhymes. I'm a poet and don't know it. LOL! :) Ok, so it wasn't technically the grocery store. It was actually Walgreens and CVS, but I liked the ring of the title I chose so decided to leave it that way.

Here is a picture of my purchases made today. I made several transactions in order to maximize my use of Register Rewards, Extras Care Bucks and coupons. All together I paid a total of $27.32 out of pocket. However, I also ended up with $9.00 in RR and ECB to use on later purchases. My total savings which was a combination of store sales, store coupons, manufacturers coupons, RR, and ECB was $91.72.

If I've totally confused you with my talk of RR and ECB go check out CVS 101 and Walgreens 101 over at It has only been a month or so that I've been collecting coupons and maximizing store sales and reward programs so I am by no means an expert, but I have seen some incredible savings in just the few weeks I've done it. It is definitely something worth researching if you're looking for ways to save your family a little extra money.

I'd love to hear about any great deals you found this week, so share or leave your link in a comment so I can check it out!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making Money at the Grocery Store.

This evening I went grocery shopping. Coupons in hand, I headed to Walmart. I actually had money to do some heavy duty grocery buying today. Something I haven't done in a very long time. Maybe not the best idea to do so on a Saturday evening at Walmart. If you have never been to my local Walmart on a weekend, you probably won't understand. From what I've been told it is one of the busiest Walmarts in the country. I don't doubt it. The shelves were pretty much cleaned out tonight, so it was slim pickings. However I did find most of the things for which I had coupons.

Anyway, back to my topic. I heard about this SC Johnson Rebate a couple weeks ago. Buy any 3 SC Johnson products listed on the form and get a 5 dollar rebate. Well, Glade products are on the list, and lately there have been some pretty decent Glade coupons floating around cyberspace and the Sunday paper inserts. I had two 3 dollar coupons for Glade "The Fragrance sensation" multi wick candles which cost 4.50, so I paid 1.50 each out of pocket for those. I also had one coupon for 4 dollars off Glade Sense & Spray starter kit which cost 5.00, so I only paid 1 dollar. My total for those 3 items was 4 dollars, however I will be getting the 5 dollar rebate, which means I actually made a profit of 1 dollar! Woohoo!

I've already got the rebate filled out and ready to pop in the mail on Monday. I have found I have to fill out and send in the rebate form right after I make the purchase. If I don't I'll either forget to do it altogether, or I'll end up losing something that I need to complete the form.

Now I just have to wait the 6-8 weeks to actually have my profit in hand. There have been quite a few good rebates which I've taken advantage of lately. I have yet to get any of them back though. I think I may start a special savings to put my rebate money into and save up for something special, like a weekend getaway with my husband or something fun like that.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

~I am thankful for the mums that my mom planted in my pots out front. So pretty!
~I am thankful for more good blood test results. My new liver continues to be healthy, and I feel GREAT!
~I am thankful for a fun, though quick, trip to the pumpkin farm this evening.
~I am thankful that Caleb is finally learning to put himself to sleep at night, and has been sleeping better through the night the last several nights.
~I am thankful for the new job that my husband is enjoying.
~I am thankful for the kidless evening my husband and I have planned for tomorrow night. I adore my kids, but every couple needs some time without the kids once in a while, and we've had precious little of that lately. I'm really looking forward to it!
~I am thankful to hear the news that my brother just got a job after being laid off for several months now. He's an awesome digital video effects artist and the place that hired him is lucky to have him!
~I am thankful that my daughter has the day off tomorrow. I'm planning to do something special with her, just haven't decided what yet.
~I am thankful for my very first blog follower! Yea! LOL :)

Psalm 40:16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

Psalm 104:33-34 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 126:3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Go here to read more Thankful Thursdays.

Abbreviated Trip to the Pumpkin Farm

Tonight I invited my mother-in-law and Sister-in-law over for dinner. I made venison stew with my leftover venison roast from last night's dinner. I just threw the leftover meat and broth, some carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes into a crock pot and let that cook for the afternoon. My mom made some fabulous homemade whole wheat bread that we went perfectly with the stew. They came down about 4 o'clock. We quickly scarfed up our yummy dinner then loaded into the vehicles and headed to the pumpkin farm.

We arrived at the pumpkin farm at about 5:20, not realizing that they close at 6 p.m. on weeknights. Normally we would take a little longer to walk through their pumpkin people, and spend more time looking at the animals, however, we had to abbreviate our visit due to the time crunch. We stopped at the concession stand to get some yummy fall treats, and then spent the rest of our time there in a mini photo-shoot. Even though it was a quick trip, the kids enjoyed themselves, and because we weren't there long we didn't have any complaining and the kids were happy and entertained the whole time.

So without further ado: Our trip to the pumpkin farm!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Busy Morning in the Kitchen

Today Kyle had the day off from preschool since it was parent-teacher conferences for the special-ed kids. Last night we rented "Monsters vs. Aliens" and invited his neighbor-friend, David to come over this morning to watch the movie, have lunch with us, and some playtime with Kyle. I promised Kyle that I would make them some homemade caramel popcorn to have while they watched their movie. Well, that fell through since I didn't have the ingredients, but my mom made a run to the grocery store and we were still able to make the popcorn, just not in time to have it while watching the movie.

Homemade Caramel popcorn is such an easy thing to make. It is a big hit at parties and a great gift to give to a neighbor or friend at Christmas or just because. I actually made 2 batches today. I made enough for our family enjoy, plus some to send to my brother in a college-care-package, and plenty to share with my neighbor.

Caramel Corn
6 Quarts Popcorn
1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Brown Sugar

1 Tsp Vanilla

1/2 Tsp Baking Soda

1. Pop popcorn and set aside.

2. Over medium heat, bring last 4 ingredients to a boil and boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly.

3. Pour over popcorn and mix well.

4. Spread onto baking sheet and bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

While I was in the kitchen, I also took the time to do a little meal preparation for our dinner. Our menu for tonight is Venison roast, boiled potatoes, green beans, and homemade applesauce. I may make some biscuits as well, but that will depend on how much time I have. Wednesday's are Awana nights which means I have to have dinner on the table earlier than normal. I prepared the roast and have that ready to pop in the oven, and I also cooked the homemade applesauce.

Homemade applesauce is another one of those things that is just so easy to make and tastes 100 times better than anything you'll buy in a grocery store. I usually like to make several batches of applesauce at once and freeze some of it, however I haven't been to the orchard to pick apples yet so I only had enough apples on hand to make one batch. Just enough to have with our dinner tonight. I know there won't be any leftovers because we all love homemade applesauce!

2 lbs apples
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 cup sugar

1. Peel, slice, and core apples and place in saucepan.
2. Add cinnamon and cloves. Bring to boil and then allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Simmer until apples are soft and easily mashed with a masher. The time varies depending on the variety of apples used.
3. Add sugar and cook for another minute.
4. Serve warm, refrigerate for later, or put it in freezer containers and freeze for future use.

If you've got a favorite recipe please post it in a comment, or post a link to it in a comment. I love to try new recipes, especially when I know they are tried and true.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Article Worth Reading.

Thanks to my sweet mom, I have a subscription to Good Housekeeping. I enjoy flipping through the magazines each month, getting new recipe ideas, sometimes neat craft and creative snack ideas, and quite often some very interesting articles. The latest issue has an article that I think every mom should read. It is about why being a mean mom is good for your kids. (Here is the online link.)

The writer quotes Richard Weissbourd, a child and family psychologist on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and School of Education and the author of "The Parents We Mean To Be."

"Many parents are so focused on their children's happiness and self-esteem and believe that if a child feels good about herself, she'll have more to give others. That's the modern idea, but it's often not true. Our kids' happiness is clearly important, but if we place that above their respecting us, caring about others, and appreciating what they have, children are less likely to internalize our moral standards, learn empathy, or be grateful. They may grow up thinking their happiness is the priority."

"...teaching self-reliance is, in my book, the ultimate goal of parenting."

I couldn't agree more with both of those statements. I believe that the goal of parenting is to teach my children to love God, and others, and in doing so teach them to be self-sufficient, responsible, moral members of society. I haven't read Richard Weissbourd's book, but these two along with other statements the writer has quoted in her article make me think it just might be worth reading.

Definitely check out that article if you get a chance and I'd love to have you leave a comment with what you think.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday

~I am thankful that I am now able to eat chocolate again! YUM!
~I am thankful that God has blessed me with wonderful children. I've got a little snuggler sleeping on me right now. The kiddos normally nap in their own beds, but I can't help but enjoy these moments while they last! My babies are growing up and won't be sleeping on my lap like this forever.
~I am thankful for God's provision over the last few months, though things are still on the rocky side, I have faith that he will continue to provide as he has always done in the past.
~I am thankful for Autumn scented candles, tasty goodies, and cozy decorations. I find Autumn to be such a warm and comforting time of year. I love baggy sweatshirts, and fuzzy warm socks, snuggling under blankets, and cool evening walks.
~I'm thankful for my mom who has been the biggest help over the last several months. She has given of her time and energy more than is necessary. Word's cannot express how much that has meant to me! I love my mom!
~I'm thankful for life, and more precious moments spent with my family. It is a gift that I cherish! I'm thankful for the person who chose to donate their organs so that I could have this second chance, and I'm thankful to my God for graciously working out the details of my transplant so perfectly!

God is GOOD! AMEN!

Go here to read others' Thankful Thursday posts.

Comforting Autumn Recipe

In my effort to save every little penny anywhere possible, we have yet to turn our heat on. The kids and I are bundling up, and yesterday I decided to do a little baking in order to have our oven on to warm up our house a bit. I found this delicious peanut butter muffin recipe and gave it a try. They turned out very good! Definitely a recipe I'll make again.


Cream the Following

Dry Ingredients

  1. Mix Together Topping Ingredients.
  2. Cream together shortening, peanut butter, and brown sugar.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add alternately to creamed mixture 1 cup of milk and the mixed dry ingredients.
  5. Fill baking cups about 1/2 to 3/4's full.
  6. Sprinkle topping on each cupcake.
  7. Bake at 375 for 18 - 20 minutes.