Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

A simple message to all my readers: Merry Christmas to you and yours.

I saw this on a church sign in town and I've spent a lot of time reflecting on it: "The high and holy one became the meek and lowly one."

The LORD make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. - Numbers 6:25

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What If You Witnessed This?

We don't go to mall, but if we could see stuff like this, maybe we would. Wouldn't it be a treat to be surprised with something like this?

But then, I'm a fan of Handel and of Messiah ... and of opera and opera-style music. :-)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Stuff

My brother asked me to post photos of my Christmas tree. So here goes. :-D

I left the resolution sort of big so that you can click and maybe see it a bit better. We definitely have the traditional style tree. There is no theme, no particular color. It would be ostracized by interior decorators and you won't see it in a department store. It has mismatched ornaments, multicolor lights, the kids' ornaments they've made over the years, and anything on it that the kids dub worthy and beautiful. Our tree is decorated with love and memories. Nearly all of our ornaments are given to us. My mother also buys each child a new ornament each year to hang on the tree.

Some of my favorite ornaments:

My mother-in-law took a trip to tour New York City in 2000. She purchased this ornament in the World Trade Center gift shop.

Before I was married I worked in a bank. I had probably 25 co-workers. We went out to dinner one night for Christmas and exchanged gifts of Christmas ornaments. This is one that I loved I received one Christmas. The giver was a resident of Gulf Breeze, FL, which was the home of "UFO sightings" in the late 80's and early 90's. It's neat to have an ornament with a story!

This one is sort of self explanatory. It was given to us by my husband's aunt. I think she bought it at a craft show for us. It's very personalized as I have blond hair and my husband has brown.

We bought this ornament on our honeymoon when we visited Rock City Gardens. We did NOT buy it last November (just to clarify :P).

These are gifted from some of the teenagers. My husband bleeds crimson and white!

Another bit of memories...this is Lydia's third Christmas and it is the third Christmas that I have caught her under the tree plucking off candy canes and eating them. She hasn't learned yet, I guess.

I love the glittery glistening effect from icicles. I put them on very delicately, placing them one or two at the time and letting equal amounts fall on either side of the branch I'm placing it on. Well, the bottom 18 inches of tree have no icicles because Josiah loves them and has plucked them all off. :-) haha!

Here's another hub of fun times. It's complete with music for the children to play. The hymnals are under the piano on a shelf. It also includes our nativity. The wise men are purposely NOT included here since they didn't come to the stable!!! *smacking forehead* I also don't display the "angel" since it is not a Scriptural angel.


Just another reason why homeschool is so cool: little brother (still in his pajamas) can climb in your chair and try to shake things up! We are enjoying our 3 week furlough from school. We'll be back in action Tuesday, January 4, 2011. It's providing me with time to finish up these Christmas details and with time to make more memories and family traditions. Having the time off will also allow me to be able to put together some goodies for my brother and sister-in-law who will be able to come home (his home, at least) for Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

That's My Boy!

Jeremy's dad took John out hunting Friday. They spent all day in the woods. Right at dusk, guess what comes out from the woods.

This buck is a 6 point and he weighed about 150 lbs. John shot him from a distance of about 75 yards. John dropped him where he stood! He was sooo proud. But then, I don't know who was more proud: me or his Paw-paw! LOL

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook - December 9, 2010

FOR TODAY - December 9, 2010

Outside my window ...
It's so cold outside!! We had a low of 25 last night. I hope the cold didn't get our satsuma tree.

I am thinking ...
of how I am going to organize all the many things that I have to get done this week.

I am thankful for...
God being patient with me. Why can't I be more like that?

From the learning rooms ...
We are going to put a wrap on this week of school, then we are going to take three weeks off for Christmas. We can do that...hooray for homeschool!!

From the kitchen ...
some goodies to take to our Sunday School Christmas party. I know a pumpkin roll for sure, but I'm not sure what else.

I am wearing ...
my favorite long denim skirt with a maroon long sleeved shirt. Too bad it's not a sweatshirt!

I am creating ...
for now, I hope to be getting on the sewing machine once the kids are out of school. It makes it sort of hard to sew with Josiah right now. He like to plunder through the sewing box and he doesn't nap for more than 2 hours a day, making time a little scarce.

I am going ...
to take the kids to piano today, then to the herb store to get Ethan some more licorice root.

I am reading ...
Colossians, Proverbs, Zechariah

I am hoping (praying) ...
for Ethan. The kids all caught cold this week. John and Lydia are well over it. Ethan is still limping along, poor thing. The only time he has asthma trouble anymore is when he gets a cold.

I am hearing ...
John is aggravating Josiah and Josiah is making ugly noises at him. (just keeping it real) Lydia is singing to herself. Ethan is tapping his tea cup (he's drinking a cup of Gypsy Cold Care by Traditional Medicinals)

Around the house ...
We are very much struggling with getting this last week of school. I only just decided yesterday that we would be taking off three weeks instead of two. They (we) need it. The laundry is caught up, but the rest of the house has been more neglected. Hopefully we can band together and get the place shipshape.

One of my favorite things ...
being a MOMMY!!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

From our vacation. This is the children sitting outside the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two Years in a Row?

Okay, not as much snow as last year, but for there to be any frozen precipitation at all is a big deal to us Floridians.

This is a quick video my husband took with his iPhone at work. I know it's just an everyday thing to most people, but this is such a treat for us!

Friday, December 3, 2010

More from Vacation Week

Well, we got home on a Thursday and I had made a picture appointment for Friday at 3pm. It took absolutely all day long to find stuff for us all to wear. You have to get the picture here: we had gotten home just in time for bed Thursday and everything was scattered everywhere. Amid this chaos, I am trying to plan family portraits. Oh, it was so difficult, but we walked in the door at the portrait place exactly at 3 pm. I have no idea how it happened, but I'm so glad. Our family does not cope well with tardiness.

They are getting so big!!

Dunno why it's sideways. When I'm uploading it, it isn't. Oh well, just turn your head!

I had so much to do Saturday day. Sunday was Thanksgiving dinner at church. I had stuff to cook from the garden, but I had to do a ham and some desserts too. The house was still a wreck from Thursday. By this time it had grown into a major stress causer. We're literally stepping over and around clutter. Getting the house in order was priority one. We pulled together and had the house spick-and-span by lunch (one of the tremendous blessings of a small house is that it cleans up quick). That left the afternoon to do the grocery shopping.


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I got off sorta easy on cooking. Easy isn't the right word because I love to cook. I had to cook a giant pot of greens. I did a pumpkin roll and a pecan pie. Jeremy deep fried a turkey. That was it. The pumpkin roll was a story all in itself. I always have trouble getting the cake out of the jelly roll pan in one piece. For me at least, shortening and flour doesn't work, wax paper doesn't work, silicon baking mat doesn't work, spraying with Pam doesn't work. I know because I've tried them all!!! This year I broke down and used (gasp) parchment paper. I keep it in the house, but I am so stingy with it because it is so expensive. Anyway, I made the cake, baked it and it was lovely and perfect. To make the roll (if you're not familiar with it) you turn it out onto a kitchen towel and roll the cake and the towel up together to shape the cake. Well, I turn the pan up a bit and, slip, the cake falls into a broken heap. So, I actually made two pumpkin rolls. haha. It wasn't that hard to redo, but it took a bit of time. I use freshly ground spices and had to grate another 2 tsps of cinnamon on my Microplane.

This week is so full of stuff to do. We have something every night. The biggest hurdle is my poor Josiah. All of my kids have had some sort of trouble cutting teeth, typically fever and diarrhea. Josiah has had the worst time thus far. Right now he is cutting his 2 upper molars and an incisor, the second tooth left of center on the bottom. His symptoms with it are fever (typically between 101 and 104), diarrhea and severe diaper rash, vomiting and earache. I have never had a child have so much trouble with it! He'll get all these symptoms at once and have lasted 3-4 days. He is on the mend, but is still battling some it. He's one pitiful sight.


On a side note, I really love our homeschool fellowship group. It's a small group made up of mostly large families. The fellowship is just so sweet and I am very thankful to be a part.

Speaking of large families, I have a question for anyone who has an answer. When people say the typical large family comments, what do you say?

Examples of snide comments:
  • Don't you know what's causing that?
  • How many is enough? (or, How many do y'all want, need, etc.)
  • Are you going to have more?!
  • Just wait till they are teenagers.
  • How can you afford them?
or the less rude comments:
  • Are you going to have more?
  • How many do you want to have?
I guess I sort of feel between a rock and a hard place. If you have read Josiah's birth story you know that I will not be having a natural birth, no matter how much it breaks my heart. I'm a lover of home birth, natural health, less intervention and large families. It is very probable that we will not be having more than 5 or 6. It may come to pass that we have to do something more permanent to prevent pregnancy in time. It will exclude ALL abortifacient measures. I feel to respond with "We'll have however many the Lord gives us" is only a half truth. I mean, it is the truth, just from a different perspective. It depends on how I recover from birth to birth. I hope that all makes sense...I'm not even sure if it all makes sense to me.

We (the church) are going to participate in a local Christmas parade again tomorrow. The kids are excited. I hope to have pictures from that.

Oh, and since Josiah has been so fussy lately I decided to learn how to do the hip hold with my homemade Moby Wrap. I did another wrap around to add a little more back support, but it's sooooo useful! Hip Hold How-to video.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Post ... Finally

Seems like ten thousand years since I've last blogged!

What has kept me away was such a blessing. Jeremy sort of announced that he was going to get to have a very unexpected vacation. You who are self-employed will certainly relate; it's so hard to get away when everything is on your shoulders. Well, if just getting the majority of a week off wasn't enough, he managed to save up some money for a real vacation. We have never even taken a real vacation. A few years ago we were able to visit a close friend of ours who lives in Cincinnati. This time it was a real vacation! I spent the whole week before trying to get the house spic and span while doing all my regular keeper at home and homeschool stuff.

The first step was to decide on the when and where. We needed to stay within a budget and wanted to make it as stress-free as possible. We settled on a Tuesday-Thursday trip (sort of a midweek "weekend" trip) to Chattanooga, TN, then to Atlanta, GA, and then back home. This would help eliminate the stress of being gone on Sunday (trying to find good church for both morning and evening services and making it to church on time) and then it would leave Monday open for packing. It also proved to be a great time for a larger-than-average family to be there. The Christmas displays were not up yet, but their goal was to have them by Thanksgiving. The workers we talked to said that Thanksgiving week through Christmas would be exceedingly busy. With government schools still in session, most of the people visiting were older couples, who are typically much more pleasant to keep company with. At nearly every attraction we went to, it seemed like we were the only people there.

We left at 4:45am Tuesday headed for Chattanooga. The boys were very easy to get up. In them we have very early risers, a trait they inherited from their dad. As I woke Lydia up, she told me that she didn't want to go on vacation, although it was all she could talk about for the entire week before. She even said that it would be okay to leave her there because she was too tired to go. LOL!

Google maps said it should take us 5 hours 40 minutes to get there. That would put us in Tennessee at 11:30-ish, including a time zone change. Trust me, we knew we had no hope of making it in 5 1/2 hours, not with 4 little kids. We ended up arriving a little after 3pm, almost twice as long as what Google predicted. We were reminded how blessed we were as we traveled because we saw a whopping total of 8 wrecks. The Lord's protection for our family never ceases to amaze me.

First I have to sort of brag on the city of Chattanooga. See, we don't get out a lot. For us, the largest city anywhere around is Pensacola, FL. It's not exactly what you'd call a very green city. In Chattanooga there were recycling bins next to every trash can. There was also an electric zero-emission shuttle that came by very often (every 5 minutes) to take you anywhere downtown for FREE! Admittedly, I don't travel often, but I appreciated the effort by the city to keep the place clean.

As I was saying, our first stop was the Creative Discovery Museum. We had a lot of trouble finding it. After checking in, it didn't leave long to explore the museum, but it turned out to be the perfect amount of time. The children enjoyed it very much. With so few people there, you didn't have to worry when one of the kids wandered off a little too far. Every exhibit we got all to ourselves and we were very unrushed.

They all loved this exhibit demonstrating water currents.

There was lots and lots of learning going on at a dinosaur exhibit.

Digging up dinosaur "bones" with brushes and small shovels.


Simple machines...

And music! (caught you honey!)

That night we stayed in the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, another super treat. It's a historic sort of hotel/depot built in 1905 and is decorated according to that era. It was so pretty inside and out. There was so much that could be learned there, but there just wasn't the time. I really regret not bringing my camera and getting pictures of the lobby and restaurant.

Wednesday morning we took the kids to Ruby Falls and to Rock City. John loved Ruby Falls. Ethan liked the caverns, but not the actual falls. Lydia didn't like it much and held tight to my hand the whole time. Josiah slept through half of it. LOL There were many places that Lydia could have fallen through the railing into a chasm and I think that's what she didn't like about it. Jeremy and I stopped in Chattanooga on our honeymoon which was in August 2000. It was very crowded and we couldn't even hear the Ruby Falls tour guide. This time there was our group of 6 and 2 other couples. The kids asked all sorts of questions to the tour guide and learned a lot about cave formations.


Lydia didn't mind going near the falls as long as John was with her. (pardon photo quality...t'was difficult in the cave)

Jeremy grabbed a photo of my while he had the kids up on the observation deck.

After this we went around the corner to Rock City. It was nearly empty as the staff was feverishly working on decorating the place for Christmas. We could take our time without worrying about holding people up. The kids loved it, but I was very uneasy with them on Lookout Mountain. The kids thought it was neat that you (supposedly) can see Alabama. They said, "It's sort like we can see home."

I love Rock City. It is so beautiful and it really shows you how infinite the mind of God is!

Beautiful view!

Our next stop was to head to church for midweek services. One of my church member friends grew up in Bro. Sammy Allen's church, and since it was on our route, we stopped in at Concord Baptist Church. It so happened that she was also going to be at Bro. Sammy's that week. Lydia was looking forward to the vacation just to see her daughters at a different church. We made much better time than we did Tuesday. We checked in and were still an hour early for church. We got to spend a lot of time chatting with Mrs. Allen and meeting brothers and sisters in Christ. We also enjoyed a very good message and were encouraged in God's Word.

Now, I need to pause for a rant. The hotel we stayed at in Calhoun is very nice and is very new. But it is a pet friendly hotel. It made me think of Zsusanna's post at Are They All Yours?!?? entitled She's Having a Baby. I guess it really gets me since we have allergies to dogs and (majorly) to cats in our family. Yes, we could have booked elsewhere, but it was an oversight on our part. Our boys had been sleeping in sleeping bags, but all 3 of them slept in the queen bed, which was interesting. I don't have a problem with pets. I don't (and won't) have one in the house, but have no problem with you doing it if that's what you want. But as in Zsusanna's post mentioned, it seems like pets are replacing children in many ways. The empty-nest 40 something mom who chose to limit the size of her family to 1 or 2 still has the need to mother in her: get a dog. The couple who has been married for 5 years and is trying to wait til they can "afford" to have kids (when can you "afford" it?) feels that need to parent: get a dog. It makes no sense to me and truly irks me. Okay, end rant. :)

The kids crammed lengthwise in the from pet dander and the emergency room!

We drove a bit farther into Atlanta and visited the World of Coca-Cola museum. We thought about going to the Georgia Aquarium, but admission would have cost our family a whopping $150. The Coke museum was sort of like a huge Coke advertising venue, but it was still sort of neat to see how it started and such. We very much appreciated a tip from a member at Concord who said to skip the Coca-Cola commercial presentation. This may have been something we would have avoided anyway, since we don't watch TV. But on the other hand, it had some very old commercials featured, which could have lured us in. The lady at Concord said that there were international commercials featured and that not every nation has the standards that we do. Not that America has much "standards" for anything anymore. We did watch a 4D movie there though. It was really neat to me since the last time I saw a 3D movie it was with the red and blue glasses! Jeremy, John and I thought it was really neat. 3D has really improved a whole lot! Ethan buried his face in Jeremy's arm and Lydia cried the whole time. LOL

Help! I'm surrounded by advertising!

Smile honey! The kids at a soda shop replica.

My favorite cherry Coke, just the way it was when I was little

A real Olympic torch from the 2006 games in Turin. Lydia is upset because I wouldn't let her hold it, since it weighed so much.

And an Olympic torch from the 2010 Vancouver games.

That pretty much sums up our trip. But then there is yet more. We took off last week and are also taking off this week, so I'll be able to write up more about our lovely vacation!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Till Then

Today has been two weeks since I last posted. That is just pitiful! We have most certainly been busy. I hope to write up a proper blog post. I wanted to drop a line so that my blog didn't look so stagnant!

So, give me a few days and I'll have an extremely lengthy post ready. Till then...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Youth Group Singing

When/if the teenagers find out that I put this on the internet, they're probably going to kill me. It is the teenagers singing Nail It to the Cross. Jeremy ripped it from one of the CD's of a church service and saved it. The sound quality is mediocre. My husband is playing the guitar and I'd guess 10 or so teens singing. I'll leave first names out. If I posted that, they really would kill me!

I love this song. I think the teens have begun to loathe it because we've sort of run it into the ground. Just wanted to share. Hope it's a blessing to you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook - November 2, 2010

I don't know why I don't do these day book entries more often. I really love them, I just forget!


Outside my window ...
A nice autumn day: cool, cloudy, slightly breezy. Wonderful weather.

I am thinking ...
or rather reflecting on our church's ladies' meeting last night and the wonderful time of fellowship around God's word we shared.

I am thankful for ...
the fact that the Lord Jesus didn't discard me through all the times that I would have.

From the learning rooms ...
need to catch up the children's reading. We're using the opportunity of election day to teach our kids about the election process.

From the kitchen ...
for dinner tonight, some grilled chicken and some other wonderful things that we put up back in the summer. I may surprise the husband with some fresh picked collards and kale.

I am wearing ...
nothing too special today: blue shirt, denim skirt, Crocs and hair up in a blue flowery kerchief.

I am creating ...
every bit of me longs to be sewing, but alas, I am sewing nothing. I haven't the time right now.

I am going ...
church Wednesday night, birthday party and baby shower Saturday.

I am reading ...
reading is something else that has been lacking as of late. I keep picking up books and then not finishing them. I'm typically such a bookworm.

I am hoping (praying) ...
a friend of mine has a very serious finger infection. It is the matter of prayer that I am most focused on right now.

I am hearing ...
Ethan trying to wrap up his worksheets. John and Lydia are taking a break from schoolwork outside.

Around the house ...
the house is in need of some TLC as we recover from the weekend (Sunday-Monday for us). Laundry is everywhere! lol

One of my favorite things ...
my Scentsy Autumn Sunset candle that I am burning right now. Wonderful! Scentsy: wickless, sootless

A few plans for the rest of the week ...
not a lot of plans away from the house this week. We may attend a revival meeting at a sister church during the latter part of the week, but we shall see.

Here is picture thought I am sharing ...

A picture of the boys and the girls for old fashioned Sunday a few weeks ago. It's kinda funny because these are normal clothes for us (except me), but not normal to wear to church. I sort of joke that what we normally wear to our church regularly is old fashioned since people at our church dress up for church instead of going casual, as is so common today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Ethan!!

A special little man, my second-born, turned 6 today. My, my how time flies. It seems like we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday.

Six things I love about Ethan:

  1. an imagination that is boundless.
  2. energy that is equally boundless.
  3. he loves animals, especially things small, furry and vulnerable.
  4. in treating his allergies naturally, he's had to take some pretty nasty tasting stuff. He doesn't give us a hard time about it nor does he even complain.
  5. he's soft hearted: quick to forgive and apologize
  6. he is enthusiastic to learn the Bible.
Happy birthday little man. May the Lord bless us with many more years with you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Early Birthday Present

We are not pet people. Some people say I don't need children; I have pets. The opposite is true for us. Who has time for a pet with so many little ones running around? We didn't have many pets when I was little. Jeremy had many. Ethan is a lover of all things soft and cuddly. Unfortunately he is badly allergic to cats and mildly allergic to dogs, ruling out the most common choices for pets. Our neighbor offered a large cage and we accepted it. It really is big. It entirely fills up the bed of Jeremy's Silverado. It also has 2 compartments. The larger side is used for sleeping, filled with lots of hay for them to burrow under. The smaller side is where their water and food is kept.

Anyway, we decided giving rabbits a try. We knew Ethan would love to have one since rabbits are both soft and cuddly. Finding rabbits was the first hurdle. Spending Pet Land price was out of the question. We wanted lop ear rabbits, which made them even harder to find. We finally found a guy selling them for $7 a piece and he was only a 30 minute drive away. We (hopefully) got 2 females.

Trying to pet the rabbits through the cage.

Jeremy's dad made this really impressive stand thing to put the rabbit cage on.

Getting to know the bunnies while dad and Paw-paw set the cage up. Ethan picked out this bunny for himself and named him Fluffy.

We didn't pet the rabbits too much the first day. They were very shaken up from the truck ride home. Before dawn the next day the kids were ready to go and get them. The rabbits were still pretty shaky, but the kids did well with them.

We asked Lydia and John to work together to name the other rabbit. Lydia suggested the name Rabbit. (What did I expect from a 3 year old who's never had a pet?) John insisted on a Bible name and settled on Mary.

Ethan holding his Fluffy.

Lydia finally got brave enough to try to hold a rabbit. Then he jumped away and barely scratched her, sending her into a flood of tears.

It was a bit cool (for Florida...about 60 LOL) so I left Josiah's warm pajamas on him. He wasn't feeling to sociable.

Lydia's also gotten quite good at swinging. She is still 3...but such a big girl for 3. She's not fat or anything. She's just super tall. She has some dresses that are a girl's size 8 that actually fit like a glove.

We now have the former chicken coop cleaned out. The kids get to pet them in the chicken coop. It serves 2 purposes: the kids can pet them without worrying about dropping them and the rabbits running away forever and two, it gives the bunnies adequate room to run around. They are so cute when they run that the kids would almost rather they play than pet them! They get a good running start and run into a series of binkies!

So what's a bunny binky? I found this video on YouTube. Not our house, not our rabbit, but a great example of how completely CUTE binkies are! These binkies are sort of small, too. Our bunnies go NUTS!!