Friday, July 31, 2009

A Quick Reminder!

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Just a quick reminder - the Curriculum Clean-Out starts Sunday, August 2nd!!

Click on the button below to find out more!


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Singing a New Song

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This picture has been sitting in my files for a few months and tonight this song from Psalms was going through my head:
"I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit, out of the miry clay. I will sing a new song!"
Psalm 40: 1-2



A friend of ours recently miscarried at 17 weeks and my heart has been breaking for her and her family. After talking to her today, I am so very thankful for our amazing God and the wonderful peace that He is surrounding them with, and the friends He is providing to lift them up and help them through.

The hope only He can give.

And knowing that no matter where we are, He is willing to drop everything to pick us up. Hold us. Listen to us cry and grieve along with us.

Thanks, Lord for your compassion. Your tenderness. Your peace.





Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yellow Squash Cookies

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You read that right. Yellow squash.

I have so much of it right now that I had to find something, anything to do with it. Sauteing, grilling, eating it raw...it was all getting a little tiresome, so why not try cookies?

Technically, this could almost count as a vegetable serving. Almost.

Ingredients

~ 1/3 cup honey **
~ 2 eggs, beaten
~ 1/3 cup oil
~ 2 tsp. vanilla
~ 2 cups flour {I used whole wheat pastry flour}
~ 1 tsp. baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp. baking soda
~ 1/2 tsp. salt
~ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
~ 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed {optional} **
~ 2 cups shredded yellow squash

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Combine first 4 ingredients and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients til moist and then add in shredded squash.

3. Using a small melon scoop or a tablespoon, drop the dough onto well greased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.

4. Bake until golden brown, 8-9 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

** I used the flax seed just to add a little extra health in. You can also substitute 1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar in place of the honey. I tried the recipe both ways and they turned out great with either sweetener.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Favorite iTouch & iPhone Apps

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Scribbit recently received an iTouch for her birthday and posted about some fun apps she found...which reminded me that I had a half-written post back when I first started accumulating apps for my iTouch.

I figured that it was about time I finished that post up and shared some of the fun and free apps that I've been using. Not that I'm opposed to paying for an app...but really, I'm opposed to paying for an app. Even 99 cents {cause I'm cheap like that}.

And if you're thinking "Well, an iTouch isn't cheap!"~ you're right. Except I managed to get it for roughly $16 brand-spankin-new via WeightWatchers Incredible Rewards.

But that is a story for another day. Meanwhile, here are some of my most frequently used apps:

App Miner

This is a lovely little app that helps you find other apps - specifically ones that have gone on sale or are now free. It updates constantly helping you find great deals. You can also create 'watch lists' for apps that you are interested in, but perhaps not willing to pay what they are asking for quite yet. I've found several fun apps through using App Miner ~ and the cute little guy as the mascot doesn't hurt either!

Catcha Mouse

Completely mindless. Very fun. You need to set traps so that the mouse can't escape through one of the holes. The game gets more challenging as you progress, but very cute! No mice will be harmed in the playing of this game...it just might get you motivated to set a few traps of your own.

Purex Laundry Help

I finally have something in one place that can answer my laundry stain questions. This app gives you advice on how to treat stain based on the type of fabric, type of stain, and also helps interpret all those laundry care symbols on clothing.

Gift Planner

Plan gifts for family, friends and business contacts and keep track of your budget too. You create groups and set budgets for each member in the group and can create gifts along with photos of the gifts. Fortunately you can also 'lock' this app with a passcode just so little sneaky children don't get into it.

Suduko

Really, Suduko doesn't need any introduction. It's something that makes me feel that I have a wee bit of brain power residing in my body and it's also free. That should be enough said.

Sprout Player

PBS Kids offers the Sprout player that has podcasts for your preschooler. You can flip through the show until you find an episode to watch. New podcasts are added frequently ~ very handy for waiting time at the doctor's office! {fyi - Sprout needs internet access - we are fortunate to pick up wifi at our doctor's office!}

Olive Tree Bible Reader

The free version has the KJV and ASV versions of the Bible as well as a search feature. Find passages quickly by choosing book, chapter and then verse. You scroll through the passages quickly and can bookmark verses. Handy if you happen to forget to bring your Bible to church {ahem}.

Amazon Mobile

This app lets me check and compare prices on products. I have access to my 'cart' and the app also helps me remember items for later that I want to look into more. Very handy if I want to do price checks on items while out and about. {also requires wifi}

Waterslide Extreme

Another mindless game to play, but rather fun. You race down a waterslide trying to collect point and avoid crabs without falling off the slide to a certain death. There are nine levels and you can keep track of your time when playing against other.

TweetDeck

I use TweetDeck on my laptop for Twitter and they now have an app to go along with it that is set up very similar to the computer version. It will even import your groups you've created on your computer and sort tweets for you that way. {wifi access needed}


Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Relishing Diapers

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I can't believe I'm saying - or even THINKING - that I'm enjoying diapers! But at the moment it pretty accurately pinpoints where I am in life.

I am not quite ready for Kaleb to be out of diapers. There. I said it.

Think I'm crazy? Well, it is quite possible. I had every intention of jumping right in with the potty training the moment we returned from vacation.

Then we returned from vacation, I put a pair of underwear on Kaleb the next morning and he screamed. And screamed. And SCREAMED.

I caved. Put the diaper back on and frankly, I'm fine with that. Maybe it's because he's the only one that I have in diapers at this moment so there is no 'rush' to avoid having two in diapers together. Maybe it's because I am too L.A.Z.Y to push the issue {ahem}. Maybe it's because I know he will not be 18 years old and still in diapers. It will happen soon enough.

I've never pushed it with any of the others and they transitioned quite fine. So for now, I'll just sit here and wait until a certain someone decides not to be lazy about it.

Or wait until someone else suddenly finds a huge fascination with the toilet that involves something other than flushing plastic cup-like objects down it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mom is Bragging

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What good is having a blog if I can't use it to shamlessly brag on my children?

Laurianna and McKenna have been swimming hard all summer and are a part of a local swim team. They have worked so hard this season to better their times and strokes, overcome some fears, and the hard work paid off!

At the final meet of the summer, Laurianna took 5 SECONDS off her time in the 25 freestyle! She was so excited when she pulled up out of the pool to see she was also first in her heat.

For the first time this season, McKenna swam the 25 freestyle without stopping to grab the line!! She also shaved 10 seconds off her time too! Something finally clicked with this last meet and she is already excited for next year.

Way to go my girls! And you know your Daddy is SO proud of you too!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Giveaway: Assaulted by Joy

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This week I'm reviewing a book from Zondervan called Assaulted by Joy: The Redemption of a Cynic by Stephen W. Simpson. The giveaway is posted below!

Publisher's Details:

Assaulted by Joy follows the growth and spiritual renewal of a self-proclaimed “jerk” who discovers the inescapable tension between joy and suffering. Each chapter recounts events—from the suspenseful to the heartbreaking to the hysterical—that teach lessons about God, life, love, marriage, and the assaulting joy of being a new father.

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Typically this is not a book I would pick up and read for fun, but after reading the back cover and the subtitle {The Redemption of a Cynic}, I was hooked. The book read very quickly and I was laughing out loud and reading bits of it to my husband while we were driving.

Stephen's life, from youth group days to finding out he would be the father of quadruplets, is portrayed with honesty and humor. He shares openly about his feelings and what he has learned along the way in his relationship with God. There are many points in his walk with God that I can relate to and understand the cynicism that easily sets into life.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"It never occurred to me that ignoring God was the thing creating my despair. Instead, I blamed it on him. But once I started talking to God again and nurturing our relationship, my feelings of despair evaporated. I discovered that griping about God does nothing. Griping to God invites him into the conversation.

And once he starts talking, it's hard to stay hopeless.' {p. 121}
Those who have read the book can fully appreciate the Assaulted by Joy website since he has a picture scrapbook of sorts posted for his readers - making the book even more relate-able. You can even take the Christian Cynic Quiz {which is hilarious} and see where you are on the cynicism scale.

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If you'd like to win a copy of Assaulted by Joy by Stephen Simpson, just leave a comment on this post and I'll put your name in the 'hat'. Comments for the giveaway will be open until next Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 8pm. I'll randomly pick a winner and announce next Saturday. This giveaway is open only to US residents.

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Over the last few weeks I have had far too much fun reading and enjoying some great literature! I've managed to cross several books off my list:
  • Ransome's Honor ~ Kaye Dacus
  • Love's Pursuit ~ Siri Mitchell
  • A Bride in the Bargain ~ Deeanne Gist
  • A Dream to Call My Own ~ Tracie Peterson
  • Stand-In Groom ~ Kaye Dacus
There are still a few books on my nightstand and I'm hoping I'll have some time with traveling to finish off a few more.
  • Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness ~ Jackie Kendall {re-reading}
  • How Do I Love Thee? ~ Nancy Moser
  • Finding Favor with the King: Daily Inspirations ~ Tenney
  • Grace Based Parenting - Dr. Tim Kimmel
Be sure to stop by and visit 5 Minutes for Books and their monthly meme called "What's on Your Nightstand?" and also the Saturday Review.

Blue Like Playdough PARTY!!

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In a few weeks I'll be posting a full review of Blue Like Playdough by Tricia Goyer, but I wanted to let you all know about the Playdough Party that Tricia is holding via Facebook on Monday, July 27th from 5-7pm.

I can't wait to read the book {you can read an excerpt of Blue Like Playdough on her site} and hope I can make the party too!

Tricia has some prize packs ready for a few lucky attendees and here's the plan for the evening:

5:00 pm - A Story behind the story – Tricia will share why she wanted to write this book!

5:00-5:30 - Q&A time (ask Tricia questions!)

5:30 - first trivia contest - (hint - brush up on Tricia's WWII novels)

5:45 - Tricia will share how she has been molded by motherhood

5:45-6:30 - Q&A time (more questions, please!)

6:30 - second trivia contest (hint - brush up on your GenX facts!)

6:45 - Share your mothering triumphs and foibles

6:45-7:00 - Last Q&A time

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's Not Thursday, It's Friday

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News Flash: a calendar/planner is only good if you actually USE it.

Here I thought my week was dragging by until I was laying in bed last night and realized {with some amount of panic} that the next day was going to be Friday...and there were things I thought I had an extra day to do that needed to be done - oh, yesterday.

That planner of mine hasn't been cracked open much at all this week {okay, once to be honest} and I've somehow gotten sucked into a vortex of doing...well, I'm not sure what I've been doing other than...

~ Keeping the kids occupied - check
~ Keeping up with laundry - check, check, check, check, check...
~ Running errands - check

It seems that we came back from vacation, had a flurry of activity with company, and my brain decided to stay on vacation and forgot to inform me about it

Of course, it might have been written in my planner, but I neglected to check on it.




Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Ever BBQ Chicken

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Saying 'best ever' can have its pitfalls, but I'm telling you - this is some amazing barbecue chicken! Rick's uncle is well-known for his chicken and it is something we all look forward to at family reunions every year {that would be Uncle Carl working hard on chicken last year}.

The marinade is wonderful on the grill and more recently we've enjoyed it year round in the crock pot. After slow cooking all day ~ YUM!

What You'll Need:

~ 5 lbs. of chicken wings or up to 10 chicken halves
~ 2 cups apple cider vinegar
~ 1 cup oil
~ 1 egg, beaten
~ 1/2 tsp. pepper
~ 3 Tbsp. salt
~ 1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning

What to Do:

1. Mix all ingredients together well and pour over chicken in a container that won't leak.

2. Let marinade for at least 24 hours.

3. Remove chicken from marinade and grill til cooked, brushing with marinade while grilling.

Note: To make in the crock pot, mix ingredients and pour over chicken in crock pot (10 chicken breasts) and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Curriculum Giveaways Coming Soon!

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From August 2nd - August 15th I'm hosting a curriculum 'giveaway' of sorts at Homeschool Creations. Everyone loves to win things and giveaways are fun ~ so lets do it all together!

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You can join in! If you have some homeschool books or materials that you would like to give away, you can be a part of the Curriculum Clean-Out! You can give away something on your blog and/or you can visit others giveaways and enter to win some great stuff!

Sound like fun? For the full scoop on the Curriculum Clean-Out visit Homeschool Creations ~ hope you can join us!

Running Like the Wind

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This picture just makes me laugh every time I see it, especially because I can hear the shrieks of laughter from both of them echoing in my mind!




Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Blister is Coming

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While we were driving to visit Rick's family, Laurianna made a list of all 50 states so she could check off license plates as we passed them. Some of the spellings made us laugh a little later:

Misagon
Road Island
Meriland
Tenissie
Pensillvania
Louiseanna
Missury
Arkansaw
Cansas
Cuntuky (it's that whole K comes before...)
Minisoda
Whyoewme
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We visited Rick's grandmother, who is almost 101, this last week. She recently had a heart attack and has been having a difficult recovery. We knew she would look the same when we visited, so before going into her apartment, we read the kids the riot act about questions to avoid {ahem...Zachary}. I.e. 'Are you going to die? When are you going to die?', etc...

Zachary agreed and said he understood.

We all sat down to talk to Great-Grandma and first thing out of Zachary's mouth?

"You don't look like you're going to die."

Technically, he didn't ask a question...

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Zachary walked up to me the other day and asked, "So. Do all girls have milkers? And when you drink milk, is that what comes out?"

Since I haven't nursed in almost 2 years now...this was completely out of the blue. And hysterical to boot!

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We had some rainy weather while on vacation. When we were driving, Zachary saw the very overcast skies and said, "I think there is a tornado coming."

We laughed and said it wasn't going to be a tornado.

He quickly responded, "Oh. It's probably just a blister then."

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday: Vacations

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Hi Everyone! I'm filling in today as host for "Friend Makin Monday". I'm so glad that Kasey @ All That is Good is letting us all pitch in to host while she is on vacation with her family! If you need a quick update on the rules and such, you can go here. You can link up at the end of this post with the direct link to your post for Friend Makin' Monday.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about vacation. Could be that it's summer. Could be that I'm just needing an escape from responsibilities...really, it's a toss up. That said...

Today task ~ VACATIONS!!

This task has two parts {numbered ever-so-nicely for you}. You can do either one or both ~ it's up to you!

1. Tell us about the best {or worst} vacation that you've ever taken.

2. Tell us FIVE places/vacations that you would like to take at some point your life. It doesn't have to be next year...maybe it's the vacation of a lifetime or somewhere you just dream of going years from now.

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I'll start you all off with a not-so-fun vacation story.

My dad loves camping. L.O.V.E.S. it. Growing up in Maine, camping generally involved enough mosquitoes that you could form a small army to pitch your tent for you.

This particular trip we were late getting to our site after tromping through the woods for a very long time and started setting up our tents when the light was getting really low. After being endlessly bitten by mosquitoes and appearing to be one giant welt, we were settled in and mercifully able to go to sleep.

Except I had to pee.

I didn't grab a light, but knew roughly where to walk to go to the bathroom and did what I needed to do, grabbing some nearby leaves to wipe the more private places of my body.

Which turned out to be poison ivy.

And really, I'll just leave the story at that, because that part of the story likely explains my current aversion to camping.

Onto my vacation dreams:

1. Prince Edward Island ~ If you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables, you might be able to relate. I know it seems like a crazy place to want to visit...but it's always been a dream of mine.

2. Italy {ok, Europe in general} ~ Italy, Scotland, Ireland, France....I'd just love to be able to really spend time visiting, exploring and soaking it all in. Italy is at the top of the list mainly due to watching an Audrey Hepburn movie one too many times....but I could be swayed to visit France. Tour some castles in England. Stay at a B&B in Scotland or Ireland. Visit ruins somewhere. Anything, really.

3. Australia & the Great Barrier Reef. I have never gone scuba diving in my life, but this would just be the ultimate place to do it, right?

4. More of America ~ I would love to take a looooong family vacation to see more of our country. Yosemite. Grand Canyon. Not just a week long trip but several weeks together to just enjoy it all and have FUN together.

5. Discovery Cove ~ maybe this seems a little hokey after wanting to visit Europe and explore America...but I would LOVE to have a whole day with our family to swim with the dolphins. This is one 'vacation' that Rick and I have talked about doing when Kaleb is a little older and will remember it all.

It's your turn to share! Let us know about your most memorable vacation and what your dreams are for the future! I can't wait to stop by and visit you all! Once you write your post be sure to come back here and sign up with the linky to the direct post on your blog!

Happy Friend Makin' Monday!!



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Winner: A Dream to Call My Own

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Congratulations to kenziekylanmom on winning Tracie Peterson's A Dream to Call My Own!



And thanks so much to all of you for entering too!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Bride in the Bargain {Book Review}

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Anna Ivey travels to Seattle soon after the Civil War ends hoping to find a new life as a cook and start fresh. She unknowingly signs on to travel with a man collecting 'brides' for the men in the Seattle area.

Joe Denton has worked hard over the last ten years building his logging company from the ground up. He stands to lose most of his land claim without a bride. His wife died before she was able to come to Seattle and Joe agrees to buy a bride and save his land.

Anna is shocked to discover that she is to be wed after her long journey ~ and adamantly refuses to marry Joe. He has only a short time to convince her there might be more to their relationship before he loses everything.

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I absolutely love Deeanne Gist and her books. Love them. Needless to say, I was happy to have her newest book A Bride in the Bargain {Bethany House} along with me on vacation this last week.

It did not disappoint either!

Deeanne Gist has an amazing talent of taking a reader into a historical period and creating a story that is completely believable and extremely well written. She has a background in education and journalism and also has a line of products called I Did It!®. And a fun little tidbit about this book ~ her daughter is the model on the front cover!

If you haven't picked up any of her prior books, I would highly recommend them also: A Bride Most Begrudging, Courting Trouble, Deep in the Heart of Trouble, and The Measure of a Lady. These are all ones that I have on my shelves to re-read in years to come!


Be sure to stop by and visit 5 Minutes for Books and their monthly meme called "What's on Your Nightstand?" and also the Saturday Review.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just a Little Excited

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This past week we spent some time with Rick's family and took a tour of the 1,000 Islands on the St. Lawrence River.

One of the islands we visited had some great places to take pictures and I managed to squeak in a few cute pictures of Zachary.



Then there was some crazy shouting and I turned around to see this.



Do you think he was excited?



Monday, July 13, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday: Favorite Things

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Ummm...yeah. It's not Monday anymore.

I do have an excuse. I was on vacation and even though we could check email occasionally, our internet was rather sketchy and dependent on various wireless networks. And in a small town upstate New York, that isn't the most reliable internet connection.

But Friend Makin' Monday still went on and is being hosted over at Dandelion Wishes ~ the topic is our favorite things.

This list will be completely random, scattered, and thrown together. But I do love these things!



My new camera strap from My Funky Camera. I ordered this about a month ago and LOVE the cute design on one side and the super-soft padded backing on the strap. After our vacation this week, I'm very seriously considering one of her wristlets too.



Amy Knapp's family organizer. I have been using this planner for the last four years and just love it!!



Tommy Tenney's Finding Favor with the King book {and the devotional}. I loved the book and this devotional has been one of my favorites by far.



Mr. Clean Magic erasers. I haven't found a reason NOT to like these things. I am one thankful mommy to the person who thought up these genius little erasers!



The best stinkin' dough enhancer ever! ~ my bread just isn't the same without it. I promise you, this stuff rocks!

Then, there is one little product that I l.o.v.e. to death and I wrote about it a little while back...but it's on a topic of a more personal nature...specifically for women during a certain time of the month. If you are curious about it, you can read a little more about the diva cup {boys, you have been warned!!}.

That's all! Of course I do have more favorite things...but I only have a few minutes and that's all for now! Stop by Dandelion Wishes to join up with the linky and be sure to visit Kasey at All That is Good to hang out and make some new friends!


 

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