Saturday, November 16, 2013

My Thousand Gifts Smash Book...

I'm such a slacking blogger.
I apologize!
So, along with the rest of the civilized world I've been keeping my one thousand gifts.
I also happened to have a handy-dandy smashbook I had bought with no clue as to what to do with it.
My only thought was how they used Smashbooks in Sweet Valley High books, and well, I was a little past those stages ;)
So I turned my list of one thousand gifts into a smashing list!
I had NO plan {it's how I roll}, no preconceived thoughts as to how it would flow.  I just started writing, randomly gluing when the notion struck and came up with this.
She's not pretty or perfect.  Kids have scribbled, it's been left on counters where coffee has spilled.
I didn't keep track of how it would work out, but wouldn't you know?
My thousandth gift ended up on the very last page!
Here she is:


some pages are quite plain, some are chalk full of random stuff.
I printed out some of the things Ann offers on her blog and pasted them here and there. 
And I got some use out of my poor, neglected scrapbooking supplies.




and now, I need to go buy another smashbook to continue my counting!
this one took slightly over a year of counting gifts.
so, there you have it. 
How did you keep track of your thousand gifts?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our Homeschool 2013-2014...

here is a peek inside what we're doing at Pathways Academy this school year...
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.-prov. 3:5&6
First of all, the students:

cute, huh?
I LOVE it so far.  I know, it's only been a day, but this is the first time I have felt I LOVE the curriculum I chose! 
It is so nice for the kids to be basically learning their work all together.  This includes English, science, American history, art and geography.
For math we have stuck with Rod & Staff, which I am content with but don't love.
But it is math, therefore love wouldn't be realistic.
Kindergartner is using Saxon Phonics, How to Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.
I will also add in here and there some Explode The Code work for the 2nd, 4th and kinder.
How is your homeschool year shaping up?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Raising A Strong-Willed Child- pt. 2...

The first post on this topic is here if you missed it.
Life is difficult with a kid who presses you at every turn. 
And usually I'm at a loss as to what to do. 
Just. Lost.
But as I've prayed for discernment and wisdom, God spoke to my heart this morning.
My son, as usual, started his day with, "I am so bored.  This family is stupid.
I wish this wasn't my family."
what to do with that?!
well, I'm hoping this morning's wisdom  from God  {not me!} will help.
I called my son to the computer and sat him down to look over and choose a child from Compassion International to sponsor.
He chose a boy his own age from Africa.
{I am trusting the Lord to provide that extra $ each month, as He is faithful!}
I'm wanting him to see the life of this sweet boy and learn giving, compassion, gratitude and the spirit of Christ through it.
I am wanting to bless another child who is not so blessed as my own son, to let him know he is loved, prayed for and give him hope.
Will this make every day from here on out with
my own son easier?
probably not.
But perhaps a seed has been planted to look outside of himself and into the heart others.
Have you found something in your own walk with a strong-willed child that has helped?  If so, please share!
p.s. after doing this, he asked me if he could make my coffee for me and serve it to me.  progress? yes,  I take ever ounce of hope the Lord wants to show me~
even in the form of lukewarm, weak coffee from a boy who is trying.
that my friends, makes this mama's heart overflow.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In Honor of 13...

Monday is our 13th wedding anniversary, so I am resharing my Aunt Sandie's very favorite post from the 10th anniversary...
He's the jelly to my peanut butter.
The band-aid to my cut.
The warmth within my quilt.
The cheese topping on the pizza.
The Gilbert to my Anne.

At times he's the crust on that sandwich.
He can be a pill taken without enough water.
Or a hot sun when you want the shade.
The salt you thought was sugar.
The stinger on the bee

I am the wind behind his kite.
I'm his rose amidst the thorny, fruitless yard.
The ammo in his gun.
The chocolate milk in his coffee.
I get to be the salve on his painful wounds.

At times I'm the drippy faucet he can't turn off.
The sand stuck in your shorts after a day on the beach.
The itchy wool blanket, that keeps you warm in an annoying, scratchy way.
The crusty gunk on the plate that's supposed to be clean.
The chatter when he needs silence.

10 Years of Marriage.
It's been quite a journey.
I was 19 when we got married, he was 23.
We KNEW God had ordained this bond from nearly those first dating days.
I waited ( sometimes impatiently).
He asked in his shy way
(after making me hike 6 miles!)
I said yes.

6 months later we said "I do."

4 kids,
job changes,
leaps of faith,
in times of health and way too much sickness,
in plenty and in want,
in bills and diapers and 'no time for us',
in a world that says 'it won't last',
but a God who says "it can and it will."
We have made it here.
As much in love as we've ever been.
We still LIKE hanging out together.
His arms are my favorite place in the whole world.
And I know he feels the same.
Where we have sinned, God has given grace.
Where waves have crashed us down at times,
faith has given us wings to rise above.
There have been moments of pain.
And a ton of laughter.
There has been words said in anger,
and apologies and forgiveness offered and accepted.

A foundation was laid 10 years ago.
Walls have been built.
Sometimes overnight,
sometimes a brick here and there.
At times it gets chipped at.
Ever so often a storm comes and what we thought was firm gets shaken .
But it never falls.
It stands .
Our marriage is ordained.

We aren't ignorant.
We know that our kind of marriage is particularly just the kind the enemy wants to dissolve.

It won't work.
We are a cord of three not easily broken.
I know without a doubt that I am the center of Jerad's life
(apart from Christ).
And he is my world.
We are in love more today than ever before.
Alongside friends who have seen heartache, divorce and pain that won't cease this side of Heaven.
It pains me to watch.
And then I rejoice in what I have.
A good man. An honorable man.
A God-fearing man.
We walk by eachother's side, not because we have to but because we WANT to.

Thank You Jesus,
should you tarry could we have another 70 or so just like the last 10?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I'm not great at sharing recipes around here because so much of my cooking is  'a little of this a sprinkle of that.'
hard to share, ya know?
but, I'm going to share this one, which is probably my 5th favorite meal I make. I'm not an awesome cook, but I am capable at blending flavors and coming up with yummy.

Creamy Chicken Pasta
{I just made that up since I've never had a name for it ;)}:

3 generous cups of cooked and chopped chicken {I use the left overs from baking whole chickens}
a box of spaghetti pasta {we like barilla plus, not as healthy as whole wheat, but picky palates here}
2 1/2 cups of shredded colby jack cheese. keep the 1/2 cup reserved.
a cup or so of homemade 'cream of' soup {just say no to cream of crap in a can! If you don't know how to do this it's easy-peasy.  Just melt 2 Tbsp of butta in a saucepan-if you want to add fresh pressed garlic-yum!, add about 2 Tbsp of flour until combined.  add about a cup of milk, stir, stir, stir over med. heat until thick and bubbly!}
2 cups of chicken broth {once again, this should be homemade-found in this post}

1/2 cup sour cream

1 small white onion finely chopped

EITHER a tiny can of green chilies or a 1/2 bell pepper chopped fine.

a sprinkle of cumin

salt & pepper

mix all up in a 9x13.
sprinkle with reserved cheese.
bake @ 350 til melty good{or, about 1/2 hr.}
 this makes enough for my small army plus.

the only way to make this dinner taste better is to serve with roasted brussel sprouts.
they have to be one of my favorite foods ever.
they can run a little bitter at times, but if you do a quick steam before roasting it lessens it a bit.
I must tell you a secret.
On two occasions I have made an entire dish of brussel sprouts for dinner and eaten the.whole.entire.thing. before anyone knew.
then I had to rush to add another veggie, and couldn't take a bite of the rest of dinner I was so stuffed.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts:

2lb of brussel sprouts, end removed and sliced in half
a few cloves of garlic roughly chopped
a slice or 2 of bacon, chopped with your kitchen shears into tiny pieces
coarse kosher or sea salt

mix all up on a cookie sheet with enough evoo to cover it all and cook at 350 for about 20 min.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Mom Of The Year Trophy Needs Dusting...

We just got back from a beautifully relaxing trip to our family cabin for 3 nights.
It was glorious as always.
because somehow, even when the kids are whining in the back of the van because mom and dad want to drive for 2 hours up into God's country on the mountain tops, you can just kind of ignore your children and escape in such beauty.
It's what good moms do.
It was a last minute trip we weren't expecting to be blessed by, so a few things were forgotten.
like my 7 year old's SHOES.
as in, he wore no shoes and took no shoes.
anyone who knows us in real life is not shocked by the fact that my brilliant 7 year old often leaves the house forgetting certain necessities.  he is truly brilliant...he's just absent-minded.
So, it also probably wouldn't surprise many to know that my oldest 'planner' child took three pairs of shoes for a 3 day trip.
therefore, child 3 wore child one's way too big flip flops the entire trip.
because I'm super mom.
I also forgot my camera.
you can see pictures of last month's cabin trip here.
pretty much the same.
just picture monkey 3 without shoes. ;)
since I'm on a roll with my 3rd child, let me share what he said at breakfast Sunday morning.
me: " C, are you going to eat your yoke?"
C: " I only eat yolks on Wednesdays and Fridays.  This is Sunday, so, no."
my word the kid comes up with some good ones.
enjoy your week, I'm off to polish my trophy now.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


flashback post!
this post was from December of 2011:

the good, the bad, and the ugly...
i am the mom that says she'll blog 3x a week and then a month goes by.
i am the mom that doesn't flinch when her kids decide they need marker tattoos and end up scribbled head to toe in neon green.
i am the mom that freaks out when shoes get left hither and yon when there are no less than 3 shoe buckets on the premises.
i am the mom that screams at her children to be quiet because i am trying to read a book about being being a more present mom.
i am the mom that spends extra money we don't have to buy organic milk and eggs at the grocery store, only to hit up Mc D's on the way home because there is NO way i'm cooking lunch after shopping.
i am the mom who will sweep and do dishes 5x a day.
but not fold the 5 piles of laundry sitting in my living room.
i am the mom who sees nothing wrong whatsoever with still needing to sleep with a 3year old monkey to get him to sleep.
i am the mom that would love to get a breast lift and lypo,
but would not get my stretch marks removed, believing they are part of a very special story.
i am also the mom against plastic surgery.
i am the mom that will remind my kids how essential modesty is,
then walk by and grab my husband.
i am the mom that fasts for her children in prayer, then realizes there are mint kisses in the pantry, and thinks God will overlook fasting for the sake of mint kisses.
i am the mom who has amazing ideas and intentions,
but lacks the follow through on 90%.
i am the mom whose children would never talk that way,
whose children now constantly use such language as idiot and shut up.
i am the mom who doesn't balk at crayon on the walls or new white furniture, but cried like a baby at the first "i hate you!"
i am the mom who has now grown accustomed to those i hate yous and simply says "well i love you"
i am the mom who has nursed four babies,
co-slept with those babies,
and never let them cry it out.
i am the mom who doesn't believe in having huge birthday parties every year.
i am the mom who too often says one thing and does another.
i am the mom that once stood on my front porch, baby on a boob, phone to the ear, while shooting at a deer with a bebe gun in our veggie garden.
and i'm the mom who didn't think that was weird til i retold the story.
i am the mom that went through thinking two of her babies had cancer/tumors,
and rejoiced when they did not.
i am the mom who thinks it's perfectly acceptable to bribe your kids
(God bribed Moses to the promised land with milk and honey right?)
i am also the mom that second guesses everything she does and feels guilt about nearly all of it.
i'm the mom who never left her kids, even to run to the grocery store by myself.
so now i'm the mom that feels weird having bunco or a girl's day out every month.
i'm the mom who never once considered working outside the home, regardless of financial situations.
i'm the mom who likes to get all dolled up.
and wear a pony tail and yoga pants the other 5 days.
i'm a mom who plays her music so loud in the car, i fear for my children's ear drums when i get back in the car and realize how loud it was.
i am the mom who sings off key, ridiculous songs to annoy my kids.
i'm the mom who sometimes 'fights' the fit by throwing myself on the floor and screaming too.
i'm the mom with cracker crumbs in the van, the couch cushions and in my cleavage.
i'm the mom that knows how very blessed i am to have 4 little loveys.
i am the mom blessed to have such an easy time getting pregnant and easy pregnancies.
i'm the mom who was quiet and graceful through all my labors.
(if you can be graceful spread full eagle with sweat dripping down your face).
i am the mom who gives way too many lectures and gets drawn into the arguments.
i am the mom who is usually patient and kind during potty accidents, broken things and owies.
but i'm the mom who yells for everyone to just stop yelling.
i'm the mom who has forgotten to shut public restroom doors because i just forgot they shut.
i'm the mom who loves my monkeys unconditionally.
i'm the mom trusting God to help me enjoy this beautiful and crazy ride i'm on.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Life is Good...

we're on summer break and enjoying the pace of life.
while 100* is way too stinkin' hot for this girl, there is not much else I could complain about right now!
we spent a few days in one of my favorite places ever, my husband's family cabin.

if it weren't for insects this place would be what I consider heaven.
it's glorious, peaceful, lovely.
I've also been so blessed that 
 last couple weeks have been very good with my oldest son, who can sometimes be...trying.  I am hoping this is a turn around point, but even if it isn't, I love that the Lord allows me glimpses of more and gives me hope.

we celebrated this little one's 7th birthday up there too!
I am amazed that the time really does flash by in a wink. If only I could bottle it up and hold them tight to this place right now.
After the 4th of July, the 1st Monkey's 12th birthday {SCREAM}, we will be getting back to some school work and in more of a groove.
I hope to be blogging more, but blogger and I break up a lot and we don't always play nicely:)

Hope your summer is going wonderfully, and that you are in much cooler weather than I am!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Just Stuff in May...

the 5 yr. old spent all his birthday money on this...
{and he loves it to pieces}
my house in bloom...
fish hatchery...
{an old homestead}
monkey # 3's school paper...
redneck pool...

and more pictures to share of our visit to a lovely farm soon :)


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