"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

it's not the end yet. 2010

i'm not going to totally recap twenty-ten for you all, but i'm going to write an end of the year synopsis.  the year two thousand ten for the most part sucked, but christmas day and the christmas season wrapped up the year in a big, (gigantic) red, fancy, fluffy, perfect bow. 

i am a person of simpifity.  a person that easily simplifies.  a person that really dispises materialism and commercialism.  a person that loves logical happenings.  a person that likes happy surprises, but can be horribly disappointed with unhappy surprises.  a person that can shake things off quite easily.  a person that can go with the flow just as easily and happily as going against the current.  a person that deals with life with a smile and a big stick.  ...you get the point?

anyway, we have dealt with a lot of different trials this year.  as christmas was approaching, we were also facing a huge life-changing deal.  it wasn't for sure... so up until dec. 2, we just didn't really know where i life was going to go.  it could be this... or a complete opposite that... that made it hard to plan for christmas at all, until AFTER dec. 2. 
that made a short christmas season for me. 
also, we have the tightest budget that i think we've ever had this year. 
anyway.  enough detail. 

my sister and brother-in-law, we'll call them "auntelcia and uncle jon" came up (from twin falls -south central idaho) to spend some time with our family.  they came up on the 23rd and stayed until the 26th.  i LOVED it! 

i joined a new "fourth day" group that meets on thursday mornings and have made some new friends and been able to get out, starting the second week of dec.  it has been a god-send.  such a blessing.
one of my new friends from fourth day gave us a slew of new-to-us toys and clothes.  i haven't gotten close enough to this group to share any of my burdens with and none of them really know me or my circumstances yet.  there's no way (beside's god's awesomeness) that she could've known that every single one of the gifts she gave us were absolutely in every way perfect for the child intended!  even starboys!!!!

our landlord and lady always bless us with gifts at christmas.  they didn't fail this year.  they were absolutely flawless as well!  it was awesome.
and.
if that wasn't enough.  as we got home from our church's christmas eve service, we found a big black garbage bag full of gifts addressed to each one of us personally, from "a friend".  i don't know who this "friend" was... but the gifts were all so ideal.  each gift for each person was exactly who that person was and it was amazing and beautiful and almost made me cry. 
on top of that all, my mother-in-law and parents definately did their share of giving and surely blessed the socks off of all of us. 

i don't think that gifts can make or break the holiday.  usually i would argue with this next statement that i'm going to be making, but all of those blessings we were surprised with made not just my day, but my whole year!!!  God is so good and his Love endures forever.  His awesomeness never ceases to amaze me!

i hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. 

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

fingernails

i had a fun christmas weekend.  my sister "auntelcia" came up with her husband and stayed a few nights (and days) with us.  we had such a good time.  a little sugar/caffeine overload on saturday along with little real food created a few grumps along the road, but overall it was smooth sailing. 
this morning (maybe noonish) my sister gave me a pedicure.  it was so fun.  i have french tipped toenails!!! 
*insert picture here*
she gave the older girls nail-jobs for christmas and we'd been talking about it for months --really, since she moved back to idaho in JUNE!  so i was glad i wasn't left out.  :)  the girls loved theirs!




anyway... what i decided to blog about were the "rainbows" or "moons" that folks have at the base of their nails.  go ahead, take a look at yours... ... ... yep, those things.  supposedly everyone has 'em.  except for me.  i have a teeny tiny one on my right thumbnail base, but not even a sliver of one on any of my other nails!!! 
so, what's that mean?  what're they for?  why does everyone have them but me? 
---that's what blogs are for, right?  so, trusted readers, give me some answers! 
*and i DON'T want to hear "google it"!!!!!!*
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

another menu

i didn't make a very good menu this week and i have no ideas what we're doing (for food) over the holiday weekend.  i'm going to try and make sume yummy vegan dishes.
anyway, i just went grocery shopping, so now i kinda have a meal plan for the weekish. 
crock pot apricot chicken
chicken yum yum
meatloaf
spaghetti
that tortillia soup from last menu
something with egg noodles...
yeah, not a very good menu, but it'll do pig.  it'll do.
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Friday, December 17, 2010

a post of several titles

title 1.  J O Y
title 2.  the reason for the season
title 3.  character building for winter break
etc.

simply put, we'll be working on focusing on JOY this winter break.  what a perfect time to do it, seeming that it's our saviour's birth-season.  a time of joy.  and... the kids are all home for two full weeks! 
joy =
jesus
others
yourself
i've always reitterated, "others first, self last".  maybe this joy lesson will sink in better.
merry christmas season and i hope you fill your life with JOY!

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

being real

i was talking to a new friend today.  we were discussing some things but we kept kinda meandering back to the "being real" topic.  i'm going to let you in on a little of our convo.  ---because i'm a real kind of person.

you might have already read a post or two on my thoughts on shaving legs.  i haven't posted on plucking or piercings or make-up or clothes or lots of other physical aspects of being real, so you don't know the depth of my convictions but this post will be about being real from the INSIDE (because, if you haven't been taught this yet, "IT'S WHAT'S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS!").  being real from the inside... that is, letting people see and know who you REALLY are.  not who you WANT to be or who you HOPE you are... but WHO YOU ARE.
i think i might make it a two part series.  i will start with this above mentioned conversation about being real.  my new friend, i'll call her lynette (for the sake of the reader) was talking with her husband about the BSU football coach's advice to his players.  coach pete has an approach with his football team regarding publicity.  he wants the media to make it look like the team plays for the sake of playing --for fun, if you will. 

he tells his players that no matter what you're feeling or thinking, you make it LOOK like you're having a good time, or playing one day to the next, or something along those lines.  (i wasn't in this conversation with "lynette" and her husband.  she was just telling me about it.)

"lynette" was struggling with that advice and asking what i thought about it in real life (not as football team advice). 
i thought. 
believe it or not, my initial response was... kinda.  and this is why i thought that.  as a christian, i have a responsibility to show others the love and joy i have in my heart.  when i'm around non-believers, the only way that they can know that i'm a christian is by my love and my "fruits"... they should show... i SHOULD have "fruits" emitting...  but i also should have a safe haven, a church, where i can go and expose my hardships, ask for prayer, seek assistance, etc.  a place to be myself. 
and that got me to thinking some more. 
you know, it's kinda how people live.  they only let others in when they're ready.  they live in depression, or anger, or chaos, or mood swings, or whatever... but when others are around, they put those emotions aside and be whoever they're around THINKS they are. 
i thought some more.
i can see the desire for that... because who wants to know what emotional basket cases we all are?  right?!  who wants to hear EVERYONE ELSE'S PROBLEMS... ALL THE TIME?  right?!  who wants to be friends with someone that ISN'T NORMAL?  right?! 
so then my thoughts turned around.
exactly.  who isn't normal?  or... who IS normal?!

i think that people should feel free to be them.  who else is going to be them if they aren't?  and don't you think there is a reason why you're you?  don't you have people that love you because you're you?  (the answer here is yes, even if you don't feel like it is.) 
so, think about these things for a bit.  and next time when someone asks, "how's it going?"  answer them.  look the in the eye.  maybe you'll find that they really don't care and they were asking because it's what people ask.  but maybe you'll find someone that cares about who you really are and how you're doing.  maybe people are better than you think.  maybe people DO realize that there is no "NORMAL" and that everyone goes through ups and downs.  maybe people CARE and would like to HELP others through their downs.  i know i do...

...just bein' real...
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

this week's menu

i made this up on monday, but better late than never.  i did start budgeting out these and i'm saving millions i'm sure.  each menu lasts us about 1.5-2wks.  it seems that each menu (as well as any other grocery items for the week -breakfast and lunch stuff) totals out to about $150-200.  that puts us out for grocery money around $500 tops... which isn't bad for a family of 7!  this month it'll be more because of the holidays extra-eating habits. 
so, here's my ideas:
spaghetti with meatballs.  i make my own sauce and it's nothing like you'll have anywhere else or buy at the store!  i can recipe it up, but i'm not sure on the interest level so i'm thinking of other ideas to journal about instead... 
hamburgers.  these are simple structures.  it's ground beef patties sandwhiched between seasame seed (or seedless) buns.  we'll serve this ingenius entree with baked beans and corn.
turkey noodle soup (because we had a late thanksgiving with a HUGE turkey)... -we actually had this yesternight.  it was fine.  my noodles got a bit soggy.
steak and twice baked potatoes.  we'll grill the steaks and i'll do my famous twice baked potatoes.  i always plan for these and end up making mashed potatoes even though EVERYONE LOVES these so much more...
patti's chicken picata.  found this recipe on "robin's menu ideas, planning what's for dinner" site.  it looks easy and yummy.
spinach fettucine with feta cheese (without spinach fettucine because i couldn't locate it at the stores).  this was also found at that same website... it's a good place to look for menu ideas no doubt!
chicken cacciatore.  from the food network.  when i was prego with starboy i made a mouthwatering chicken cacciatore freezer meal... it smelled SO DARN DELISH while i was prepping it for the freezer.  i actually debated eating it ahead of time.  it WAS good too!  i hope this one will be as good. 
aaron and lindsey's chicken tortilla soup extravaganza.  from the blog "this week for dinner".  nice pictures and everything...  ;)
beef stew.  maybe in the crockpot.  probably, it doesn't seem like any of the others were...
eat well... we will!
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

security in... t h i n g s

this time of year i always get discouraged with people and their love for things. 

as hard as i try, i'm convicted of it too... so it's not like i feel like i'm all better than ya'll... americans especially just have this freedom.  it's not freedom of religion, press, and expression.  i'm not talking about our rights... to bear arms, or the right to a speedy trial, or confrontation of witnesses.  i'm talking about this unspoken freedom that we all feel that we have the right to own a lot, and want a lot more. 

i was pointed in the direction of this blog by a wise mentor of mine (the mentor's blog isn't really anything i'd suggest reading... it could be, but she emails out her wisdom personally and leaves the blogging for extra stuff that isn't that great).  i didn't go to her suggested blog right away.  she, my mentor, is often long-winded and although she is FULL of WONDERFUL advice and words... it takes a while to get them all out of her.  i assumed this reading would take a while... 

today i finally read it and i'm just blown away at such a simple perspective.  i want you to go and read it and tell me what you think about it.  please.  (yes, i did give you three different links to choose from.  all of them lead to the same place!)
what do you think about the materialism of christmas?
what are some of your favorite traditions? 
do gifts really mean THAT MUCH to you, personally?!  be honest.  i know i'm not like most people...  i just want to know what you think...

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Friday, December 3, 2010

how to overcome the evil aimed at you

it is so hard to face trials and hardships... hense the word: hardships!  but, maybe because of our pride, maybe because i think at our core, we're peace-driven, it is so much harder to face evil that seems to be aimed at you!  sometimes it seems that there are people out there that are just AGAINST us no matter what we do or say.  do you agree?  and i suppose maybe they are... maybe they are satan's workers.  but what about when those "workers" are christian?!  is that possible?!  my answer, no.  i don't think so.  i don't think satan is using God's people...
i think that we go through trials and hardships to build character.  i think that character is one of the most important qualities that people can have!  it is painful to build character sometimes, but it's necessary.  it is important for evils to be aimed at us sometimes... to build character and to teach us how to forgive.  forgiveness is one of the hardest things to learn, but once you learn it and reap the rewards of forgiveness... it's such a great tool! 
anyway, in my awesome bible study i completed a few months ago, we focused for one week on this topic (the title).  i'm going to briefly (hopefully) go through what we went through.
"Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth: and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away."  ~Matthew 13:5-6
"Yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles."  ~Matthew 13:21
in our life we will have "rocks" or "stony places" that represent past offenses, circustances, or persecution for doing what is right. 
when we face these rocks, usually we react many different ways, but usually it will all boil down to us focusing on "why me?"  <PRIDE>
these rocks prevent us from growing because they develop unresolved conflict.  and when conflict is not dealt with, it leads to UNFORGIVENESS and BITTERNESS.
"Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another.  Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.  Do not be wise in your own opinion."  ~Romans 12:14-16
bless means to wish someone well, to desire God's favor on their lives.  curse means to pray against, to call down God's judgment on their lives.  ...when someone "persecutes" you (or does you evil.  makes you mad.  etc.) you need to pray for them.  pray for blessings to be poured over them.  ask God to favor their life and earnestly focus on THEM being HAPPY!
bless those that are PERSECUTING you... identify with the pain and suffering of others.  set proper boundaries for your physical, emotional, spiritual safety.  (GUARD YOUR HEART)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neibor and hate your enemy.'  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.  That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." ~Matthew 5:43-45
sometimes we confuse the feeling of forgiving with the action of forgiving.
there are three stages of forgiving:  to forgive, forgiving, and forgiven.
  1. "to forgive" is a choice, an act of the will.  --there's things in life that we have to do (ALL THE TIME) that we don't want to do, or that we don't feel like doing...
  2. "forgiving" is a process where your decision to forgive begins to align your emotions.
  3. "forgiven" is when the Holy Spirit helps you experience joy when blessings occur to the other person.  (see Romans 12:14-21)
"Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.  Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:17-21
when we take retaliation into our own hands, we're taking God's place.  personal retaliation is an ineffective way to accomplish peace.  i will reiterate:  "DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD." 

that's all for tonight.  tomorrow i will throw some questions at you and give you some study material and a memory verse... ;)

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

inspiration for NEW TrAdItIoNs

we had a "fun" advent calendar when i was growing up.  i put fun in quotes, because really i think anything is fun when you're a kid as long as it involves some sort of action.  the action in our calendar was simply taking the velcro ornament off of the number (of days left to christmas) and placing it on the felt tree above.  we would sometimes put off decorating until the week of christmas, so i remember literal fights breaking out over who got to pull off what number and place it on the tree!!! 
the last few years i've tried different ideas of that same idea: 
the kids and i made a calendar with old egg cartons numbered 1-25 on them.  we cut out different colored circles and numbered them and then as the days would pass we would tape the circles on the egg carton bumps.  *yeah, that was kinda a lame idea, but the kids still LOVED to take their turns putting the numbers up!*
last year we just made a colorful paper chain and hung it high.  each link was numbered and each day one of the kids would get to rip it off.  it was fun to see that chain shorten...
this year i've been inspired by some fun and crafty friends.  first, i had a friend blog about her CUTE "advent calendar" that was made by her mother-in-law who's into those stamping things.  the m-i-l made these cute little baskets to fill each year with candy.  my healthy friend liked the idea, but didn't like the sugar over-load part.  so, she asked for more ideas here (where you can go and see pictures and everything!).  then, i had a facebook friend hook me up with this website for a totally easy and much more fun idea...
this year, i'm doing THE CHRISTMAS JAR!  today was our first activity (it being dec. 1) and that was: making the christmas jar!!!  then, i put 24 more activities on slips of papers and each night we'll draw the activity for tomorrow.  we'll do it the day prior so that i can make sure i have all the materials needed...  i'm so excited and i think it'll be hard to wait each day on the activities!!!  today, just as i was writing them down i wanted to do them.
in case you're interested in doing this, i'll include my 24 ideas (most of which i borrowed from the "this website" link above):
make hand/feet reindeer (which i spelled wrong, but oh well) and some reindeer food for them! (i might do this recipe though.)
sing christmas carols (which i also spelled wrong) at the piano, or GO caroling.
visit a nursing home.
drive around to see the christmas lights.
make paper snowflakes.
bake cookies to take to the fire station.
make some christmas cards.
make snow globes.
watch a christmas movie together, as a family.
act out the christmas story, or the nativity scene.
make jesus a birthday cake.
shop for stocking stuffers for each sibling.
make a snowman (either real -outside- or with art supplies).
make a christmas tree.
bake and decorate christmas cookies.
blare the christmas music LOUD.
make jello jigglers.
gather old toys and clothes to GIVE to those in need.
write a note/draw a picture for each family member.  put it in their stocking.
drink hot cocoa by the fire.
read the TRUE Story of Christmas (i hope we leave this one for last!)
go to the library and pick out some christmas books and movies.
make some ornaments.
make red and green popcorn balls.


Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Monday, November 29, 2010

the generic rehself christmas wish list

i am one of those gals that is quite practical and anti-materialistic.  i'm probably really hard to buy gifts for, but that's ok by me.  i made this list to help others in finding practical and great gifts that will be used for years and years.  you have permission to use this however you want.  you can message me for our address to send gifts... or copy and paste it for an email of your own to parents/grandparents/family... you can even comment on some other ideas that would be added nicely to this letter!

following is the letter that i've been sending out the last few years at christmas for gift ideas.  please read through it before spending money on us.  i'm sending this out prior-black friday sales so that if you're into that maybe you could get some bargains!  i've updated the letter with current sizes for the kids' clothes, but i can't think of ANYTHING that ANY of them (the kids) are in NEED of... (and i'm being very serious.  the kids' drawers and closets are PACKED TO THE BRIM!).  
we do NEED a twin-over-twin bunk bed for the boys' room and we've been diligently looking on craigslist.  i don't expect that big of purchase as a gift, but maybe you could keep your eyes and ears open for a deal or maybe know someone wanting to get rid of a set...  we'll need mattresses and everything.  jones has been having difficulty sleeping in his bed all night
(see below)
----- Forwarded Message ----
Subject: our christmas wish - letter
The women's study that I try to attend once a month is always giving us suggestions to help keep our stress levels down so we can focus on loving our kids more!  I really don't want to offend anyone and it's not like we're ever not-pleased with any of the gifts we've ever received, but I couldn't help but pass on the information that was shared.  I know that people like to give gifts and it's hard to buy presents for some people, I've talked with lots of moms and grandmas that seem to almost hate the Christmas season because of all the stress it brings with gift-giving.  Christmas is about God's gift of Love and I think that the devil has thrown tons of stress in today's society to aid in turning our eyes away from the true meaning.  So... my purpose is only to fight Satan and his little plan!  I hope it helps.  The purpose of it is to assist if assistance is needed.
Sizes
{here I will add each of the kids’ sizes in each of these categories}
(pants)
(shirts)
(shoes and socks)
(jammies and underwear)

We love gifts and toys that last and are enduring. We like toys that actually can foster imagination and learning and growing for our children. (Things that will last like magnadoodle boards, legos, link n logs, tyco blocks, wood blocks, hot wheel cars, babies and dishes, playmobile items etc.)
Another idea is to combine the money for a family gift....for example [THESE ITALICISED IDEAS ARE ACTUALLY IDEAS OF SOMEONE ELSES, NOT ALL OF THEM ARE EVEN APPROPRIATE FOR OUR FAMILY] a set of Focus on the Family Radio Theater cd's. Like the Chronicles of Narnia, (They are about $50.00 for each set.) a tent or a piece of camping equipment that we could use to go camping with as a family, a new piece of play equipment for the back yard like a trampoline, or swing set or teeter totter, or little tykes house, a volleyball net and ball or bad mitton set and net, a foose ball table, table tennis (ping pong) table, or a air hockey table for the whole family to enjoy, a set of dvd's for the family to watch.   You could take all the money that you might spend and send us on a one day experience at a place like Roaring Springs. The children would know that the money they got bought them a day at Roaring Springs and that would be something to look forward to as a family.  "One year the grandparents paid for all the materials to build a wood fort for the children in our back yard and then after Christmas their grandpa came and allowed them to help him build a really cool fort that they could all play in.  Or maybe the grandparents could build a lemonade stand out of wood and paint it for the children to use all spring, summer and fall.  They could give your children a huge amount of playdough, and lots of gadgets in a rubbermaid container. This is a wonderful group gift (or individual) gift. Your children would have hours of fun with this!  We allow our children to play with playdough outside at our little tykes table...all spring, summer and fall. We LOVE this as the play dough that drops, doesn't matter! The crumbs just go into our grass and not in our carpet!"
If you’d rather not combine the money. Then for individual gifts...maybe books, art supplies, a piece of jewelry, a subscription to a magazine for children, like Nature Friend, or Highlights, or Moody's World magazine for kids (this is a gift that gives all year long!)  Games are also expensive and something that we as a family just don't have money for all year long...so this would also be a great idea....games like Apples To Apples, or Blokus, games for the whole family or also just kid age-appropriate games.  Try to avoid games with tiny little pieces that can easily get lost, or worse yet: eaten!  :)  Lots of games are expensive but sooo fun and educational as well.  Another idea is to buy things like Kinex, Legos, Playmobile items or Magnetix (magnetic balls and sticks to build with) which all the children can use to build forever!  Some other items I’ve found include the Build-A-Saurus (http://www.amazon.com/Constructive-Playthings-Set-Build-A-Saurus-Dinos/dp/B0010AK3PG) and the Matchbox MEGA RIG by Mattel (http://shop.mattel.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4378921) and (http://shop.mattel.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4002327) it looks like there are a variety of BUILDING SYSTEMS they make (construction, fire squad, rescue crew, etc.) ...these things last forever!  You may want to get them used on ebay to get more for your money.... We DEFINITELY don't mind getting used items!!!!!!!!!!  A present is a present! 
As the kids get older (perhaps 10+) another individual idea is to purchase tools and or wood for boys that are wanting to build and make things. Or a wood burning set. Maybe, for girls, something like a cake decorating set and a book for them to use.  Or a beading and jewelry making book (WE HAVE THE BOOKS NOW 11/2010) and some beads and string or wire and the tools they’d need to do this. Gardening tools (HAVE TOOLS 11/2010) and a gardening book with a coupon for plants of their choice come spring.  How-to-draw books (cartoons, horses, dinosaurs, cars etc) with pencils, paper, paints etc. Special watercolor paper is really nice as the children get more proficient in their painting.  Another idea is that Klutz has wonderful books that help children do all kinds of things like juggling, origami, and craft items (like making fairy dolls out of flower petals, wood balls and pipe cleaners, these books and sets are wonderful….and last all year long.)  They help the kids learn a skill or a craft and to add to their knowledge and abilities. Klutz has sooo many to choose from, you might want to go online and take a look at them.  Dover coloring books are AMAZING! They are intricate and beautiful AND they also combine history or science with it. You should go online and check out these books. They have soooo many to choose from.  They even have free pages you can print off and sample!  Two other websites to look for gifts are:  Timberdoodle: their catalog is amazing!  Vision Forum: Their catalog is amazing as well.  On this website they have lots of wonderful old fashion toys like slingshots and drums and things for boys and things for girls.  Both these sites are owned by wonderful Christian families! 
I hope this helps everyone…  May God Bless you and your family this season…

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

more on unshaven legs...

hairy man legs
i ran across this essay that was emailed to me YEARS ago by a sweet friend.  i remembered it and looked it back up.  it is a bit foul-mouthed, so beware.  but i LOVED this essay!  it's about a girl, like me, who's hairy.  she lives her whole life being embarrassed by her hair (everywhere).  as she gets older, she realizes she's making a big deal out of... hair! and decides to stop.  she gets a lot of grief, but after a trip to asia, goes along with her instinct to just give up on the social norm of shaving.  you'll have to read the essay to find out the ending to this, but i just wanted to rant on how i related to the story in a lot of ways. 
back when i lived in twin falls and worked at the harley shop --when i just started to let my legs grow wild-- i felt like i didn't care what people thought... however, i was always so self conscience of wearing anything that showed them.  (of course i got so much crap from EVERYONE even though none of them ever saw them).  one of my favorite attractions to otter pop was when he found out that i didn't shave my legs.  instead of ridiculing me he asked if he could feel them!!!!!  i thought that was amazing. 
in twin falls, it was hard for me to be myself because everyone wants to be "normal".  i learned a lot about me, and i'm glad that i learned all that i did before getting hitched and becoming one with someone else. 
i think that everyone is so unique and special, but we're all wrapped up in being like everyone else that we don't even really know who we are. 
i love that in this essay it took ---what else, but competition to completely put carissa's insecurities at ease.  that's a whole 'nother blog in itself isn't it?!!! 


Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

a great gift idea

here's my two cents on giving gifts. 
why do we give?  hopefully we give to show our love.  we like to show our love especially on christmas, because on christmas God gave us his most perfect gift, His Son -our Lord and Saviour (if we choose to accept it). 
should we give gifts because everyone else does?  absolutely not.  just like in life all of the time... don't do things because everyone else is doing it!  if you don't want to give gifts, it sure as heck doesn't mean that you don't love others.  there are so many other ways to show love, that if people are only accepting love via gifts on christmas... then ---well, like shaving your legs... it's not worth your trouble. 
i came across this really cool website that was giving suggestions for "green gifts" and i found THIS!  *did you click on the link?  'cause it's worth it!*  so, if you have a hard time thinking of unique gift ideas and you don't have the time or energy to make your own gifts this year (or any year), than stockpile your gift-giving room with THESE and never worry about it again.  what a perfect idea for ANYONE!!!!!  and in case you're wondering, because i did, they DO have a lifetime breakage gaurantee.

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Friday, November 26, 2010

giving thanks

there are so many things to be thankful for EVERY DAY.  here are some things that i'm specifically thankful for this year and today especially:
1.)  my family all together around the table whenever they are
2.)  good friends to confide in
3.)  food on the table every single meal
4.)  our NEEDS provided for
5.)  employment
these simple five things may be really basic, but this year my thanks goes to God for letting them happen.  just 5 but THANKS GOD!

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

you shave your legs for this???

so a few days ago... well, on sunday i wore a skirt to church.  yeah, that's normal, yeah, so what? 
well, i don't shave my legs. 
i don't because i don't like to.  i hate shaving!  armpits i can handle: a few swipes under each arm... no big deal.  plus, hairy armpits make me itch... and it might be in my head, but i think they make me sweat more too.  and when you're already a sweat-machine... you do what it takes to make LESS SWEAT!  but legs?  big deal! 
i've even got about the shortest legs out there and it takes too long!  plus, you've got the balancing act.  hair all over the bathtub.  missed spots.  ....  does anyone really LIKE to shave their legs?!?! 
so... why can't women have hairy legs?  why is it such a social taboo?  why can't i feel comfortable wearing a skirt that show my hairy legs?  anytime i let the secret out that i don't shave i get all sorts of grief.  "that's so gross" "cover those up"
well, i don't.  and i don't want to.  and i don't think women HAVE TO SHAVE!  i don't think the hair really has a purpose, but i sure as heck don't think it HAS TO BE removed either.  there are a lot of parts to our anatomy that we may not realize their purpose or think "golly, this is definately not the most asthetic thing about the human", but do we slice all of those items off our body in retaliation?  or, i should rephrase that, do we HAVE to slice all of those items off to be socially acceptable?!  why leghairs? 
as bold as i am with my convictions on shaving, i STILL (after about 9 years) feel like i have to protect the public from looking at my feminine hairly legs. 
after marrying my bow, i started shaving my legs during the summer.  he likes them smooth, and i decided i had gone on long enough making my statement.  well, it did something to me and now i just can't let people see my hairy legs.  thankfully on sunday when i wore my skirt to church it was cold and so i passed off the "protecting the public covering" as protection from the cold (leggings).  but tuesday i had to wear a skirt and i had to look professional (which, the leggings did NOT look!)...  so, i HAD to SHAVE MY LEGS to look PROFESSIONAL! 
what?! 
yes, you heard me right...  i guess it is unprofessional to have hairy legs... 

more on this to come if i can get some copyright permission from a hairy-legged author. 
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

being at peace

i think God's will is an amazing place to be.  the peace that one can feel in the most stressful of situations is amazing.  our family is going through some changes and i am in awe of God's goodness, His protection, He is the best provider for all of our needs. 
i'm sure there will be more to this post in other posts in the future, but right now i'm content in just leaving you in the dark.

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Monday, November 22, 2010

this week's menu

this week is easy.  we had steaks with baked potatoes and green beans.
tomorrow we're going to try the french dip sandwiches again.  they were just o.k. last time... i think i can do better.  i'll try them in the oven instead of the crockpot.  my crockpot doesn't get hot enough i think.
wednesday we'll have beef enchiladas.
thursday i'll make a turkey dinner just for the fun of it.  i guess we'll have mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, and dressing to go along with it.
i won't plan on anything for friday because i'm SURE we'll have leftovers.
saturday we could make a meatloaf with taters and green beans.
and that leaves sunday for crockpot chicken with rice and broccoli.  this recipe is SO good, i'll try to remember to post it for your future pleasure. 
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Friday, November 19, 2010

familiarity

i wonder if the word family actually came from, or was derived from, the word familiarity...

wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines family as "In human context, a family (from Latin: familiare) {really, i didn't know this when i wrote the above sentence!} is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children. Extended from the human "family unit" by affinity, economy, culture, tradition, honor, and friendship are concepts of family that are metaphorical, or that grow increasingly inclusive extending to nationhood and humanism."
i grew up in a large family.  well, there were four of us kids. 

(we're all married now and have multiplied our family of six to 19!  this was jan. '09.) 
my dad had six kids in his family, all but one procreated, and my mom had four kids in her family, all of which had at least two offspring.  i have 36 living relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins,) and that's NOT counting any of my cousin's spouses or their children, or step-cousins that aren't related biologically.  compared to a lot of people (especially those whose families stayed together -meaning a low or no divorce rate-) we even have a large extended family.

(this is approximately half of my maternal side of the family's extended family.  this was this summer.)
my mr. is an only child.  he was raised by his mom.  she was single part of the time, but even when she was married, the husband didn't do much raising of little otter pop.  he has one ex-step-dad that he feels influenced him and that influence inadvertently lead him to the marine corps.  his mom had four kids in her family, but she was at the tail end of them with a span of at least one decade (i think it might actually be two) between her and the eldest.  one of her siblings died at a fairly young age and his family has rather separated from the others.  the remaining sisters each had at least two kids.  he has 6 living relatives that i know of.  now granted, i do know his biological father has some siblings and he surely has some cousins from them -and i didn't count ANY of them (including his dad)... but i'm just counting close biological family here.  he may argue that they should count because i know he doesn't know all of my cousin's names or faces... but it's my blog, 'k?! 

(he and his mother.  this summer)
all this to explain that his family is almost the exact opposite as mine as far as size goes.  HE is almost the exact opposite as ME as far as almost everything goes. 
we were diolouging the other day/week/whatever about this.  it is kinda funny really.  please let me elaborate my humor: 
i grew up with my large family in a farmhouse out in the country of a little town in idaho called jerome.  jerome, when i grew up there, was very small, white, and quiet.  not much happened there and there wasn't much crime or trouble.  as i got older, that changed a bit and it's one of the reasons i asked my parents if i could change schools in high school.  they then placed me in a tiny, very conservative christian school.  needless to say, i didn't have much (if any) negative influence (drugs, alchohol, sex, gangs, etc.) as i grew up!  we lived in the same home almost my entire life.  we moved there when i was almost 3, or just 3, i don't know for sure.  i don't remember that, nor do i remember ANYTHING about the house we lived in before that.  my parents changed jobs no more times than the number of digits i have on any of my limbs.  my parents married before i was born (before any of my siblings were born) and are still married today.  most of my extended family didn't live close.  only one uncle stayed in our same town (although on the complete opposite side of town.  out in the country also.), but i will claim that we still held a close knit family.  my paternal grandparents lived about 5 miles from us and they would host many family gatherings at their farm and we would have annual family reunions for that side as well.  my maternal grandparents lived in another small idaho town, buhl, a little less than an hour (most of my growing up years.  there's a shortcut now.) away.  they also would host many family gatherings at their home and we saw that side of the family fairly often -some cousins more than others, but i didn't feel all too distant from any of them.  and lastly, i'm a girl!
mr. hubbalubs grew up all over the united states.  he changed schools at least twice every year.  he called las vegas his home because that's where his ENITRE [extended] family has stayed.  he was born in las vegas (one of the biggest cities in the US) and it's always where he and his mom would retreat to when things weren't going as planned, or hoped.  when growing up in las vegas, he lived IN the city and in the "bad side of town".  he was surrounded by drugs, alchohol, gambling, strippers, prostitutes, bums, all sorts of sin, and culture.  (he was the only white kid in his neighborhood!)  his mom changed jobs as frequently, if not more, than they moved.  when he was living in vegas, he would see his family at least once a week... he hung out with his cousins mostly because they were his only constant.  he was never at a school long enough to make any friends.  i'm not exadurating here, in fact, i could elaborate more but i think the point has been made:  my man and i are as different as night and day.  oh, and lastly, he's a boy!
but, like night and day, we go together.  seven of us together, makes one week!!!  :)  hehehe 
no, but really... we go together!  we complete eachother.  where he lacks, i strengthen and where i lack, he strengthens.  he lifts me up and i lift him up.  God made me for him and him for me!  God is SO awesome... He never ceases to amaze me with His LOVE!

recently we took the quiz on our love languages.  it might be irony, but i'd rather give the glory to God, that our results were almost exactly number for number the same!  i am certain that God made otter pop for anwat and anwat for otter pop.  we know how to love eachother in a way that we accept love in the right amounts.  we know what to do to make the other feel loved and we do...  when all is going wrong, i can find my lover and feel right.  when i'm stressed, i can usually call my lover and be calmed.  and the same goes for him.  when he's hot, i'm cold.  when he's cold, i'm hot. 
...  ... ... ... ... what's the point here?  ... ... ... ... ...
i can't imagine my life without him, nor do i want to.  he IS MY familiarity.  HE is my FAMILY! 
and, while i've got your attention, i'll just mention that we make some darn cute kids!!!!!

(this was also this summer.)

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

harvest decor

i posted an earlier blog called "my creativity is oozing" and also promised in "apology" to get on my idea-wagon and decorate our home with some fall festivities.  well, believe it or not, i did.  i yanked and pulled at all of my creativeness and came up with something REMARKABLE!  i started with these to work with:
(pumpkins)

this is on our mantle, i love the Nativity.  i like to be reminded of Christ's birth year-round... so it's always up.

i should point out right now that most of the time i WILL NOT clean or straighten the house (or myself) for the photos i place in this blog.  i'm a real person.  we LiVE in our home.  it doesn't look perfect and neither do i.  if it offends any readers that my home isn't perfect, go read someone else's blog.  i've read so many blogs out there... there are PLENTY of perfect-homemaking blogs out there!  i enjoy my family and i do what i can to keep our home tidy.  god made me the way he did and i don't feel the desire to make myself up as someone else (most of the time). 
but, anyway... with all of my creative juices, i came up with this:


i moved the Nativity scene over to the dresser.

and now this is over the mantle with some fall artwork the girls brought home from school.  it was annoying to have this on the table all the time anyway.

i think i did an amazing job (especially pulling in the potatoes.  tying in a bit of idaho.  briliant, aren't i?!)  what do you think?!  it was fun...

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Monday, November 15, 2010

celebrating adejay

i keep holding off on this post so that i can do it up with pix.  but they keep not appearing.  she's 12, so she was born pre-digital.  that means i have to SCAN a baby picture of her to get one in here (in the computer, i mean).  blah.  so... i'll just wait for that and post in the mean time. 
dear adejay,
you are a-MAZE-ing.  you honestly make my jaw drop all the time.  you're beautiful.  on the inside, you have the sweetest, most caring, selfless, magnetic, loving, joyous, kind, good, and faithful heart.  on the outside (not that it matters), you have the most georgeous dark orange hair, the cutest sweet and innocent face --full of freckles and smiles, and a nice and healthy-fit body that you take care of and excercise regularly.  adejay, you ARE a TRUE BEAUTY!  i loved to hear your teachers say that you "have something in her that just... draws out the good in others.  all the time!"  you are an inspiration for others including myself.  i hope to be like you when i grow up...
it's ironic that your birthday is in november, the thankful month.  there is no one in my life that i could be more thankful for.  i'm thankful that you were born 12 years ago, while i was still in high school, not even thinking about kids!  i'm thankful that your father cared enough for your future that he moved himself and you out of las vegas.  i'm thankful that i took the time to listen to God's will for my life when i met you and your dad and resisted the urge to travel the world.  i'm thankful that your dad married me.  i'm so very thankful that you allowed me to step into your life and play the role as your mom.  i'm even more thankful that you accepted me in that role and let me become your mom.  i'm thankful that we were able to give you the siblings that you longed for.  i'm so thankful that you are such a wonderful sister, such a good role model, and such a sweet friend to those siblings.  i'm thankful that you are you, girl.  i LOVE YOU! 
i hope you had a wonderful birthday, twelve-year-old-daughter.  you deserve nothing less than the best!  go get it!!!
~your mom

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Monday, November 8, 2010

dinner menu

i had a hard time coming up with another menu that last one is still kinda rolling along.  i haven't made the easy peasy tacos, or the chicken enchiladas yet.  i asked for recipes from my friends on facebook to help me draw out of my blank.  here's what i've come up with and i'm planning a grocery run today
baked potato bar (comment with topping suggestions please!  all i can think of is: butter, sour cream, bacon, onion, chili)
chicken ceasar salad with apple-cheese casserole (yes, i know it sounds daring... that's why i'm trying it as a side to something that i know will sufice even without the side!) 
white chili with tortilla chips or cornbread (depending on my energy level)
pork chops with mashed potatoes granny-green beans
stuffed green peppers because i've never made them and i really really like 'em!  (so does otter pop!  he's armenian and he grew up with dolma a DELICIOUS dish that i will make some day.  traditionally dolma is wrapped in grape leaves, but sometimes his aunt stuffs it in green peppers or zuchini.)
french dip sandwhiches -this recipe isn't online but was given to me by my sweet dear good-cook-of-a-sister.  maybe i'll post the recipe and pictures! 
peanut butter french toast ---for fun---
and this awesome chicken yum yum dish that i'm making tonight.  i hope it's as good as i'm hoping.  (i'm funny aren't i?!)  i probably won't post pictures as we'll be eating it at my mother-in-laws.  i'll follow this post with the recipe... it's super easy!
and that's it!  eight recipes plus the two carried over from the last menu.  my last menu lasted more than a week (more like 2+) and groceries ran about $160 if i remember right.  i think this menu will be about the same.  the only other grocery stop i have to make in between these big trips are stops for milk.  thankfully pauls has weekly deals where they sell gallons for $1.69.  each week it's a different milk (whole, 1%, 2%, skim) and i usually only buy meat at pauls so lately i haven't had enough "points" to get all the milks at the bargain price but it tastes better than winco's and i'd rather support paul's than walmart!
anyway, here's the chicken yum yum recipe.  thanks liz!  oh, and best yet... it's a crock pot recipe!
add to crockpot:
3-4 frozen chicken breasts
2 c. frozen corn
2 c. salsa
1 can black beans
cook on low for 3-4 hours.
take out chicken and shred and place back in crockpot.  add 8 oz. cream cheese.
let cook for another hour.
use this goodness as a filling for taco/burritos and top with whatever you like (sour cream, cheese, olives, lettuce, etc.)
ENJOY!
Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

a tip for parents. you're welcome!

following is a parenting tip that was emailed to me today.  i love to learn and even though it hurts to be corrected some times... i sure need it!  i hope the following tip can help you in training your children.

Parenting Tip
November 8, 2010

Missed Opportunities

Every day parents have opportunities to touch the hearts of their children. Sometimes it's through a story or a hug, or an apology, but often it's through the daily correction that children need.

Addressing the heart is important. Unfortunately some parents respond to their children in ways that miss the heart. One of the mistakes parents make is that they make excuses for their children. We've all heard them.

He'll grow out of it.
She's so cute.
At least she's doing what I asked.
He's tired.
He's just going through a stage.
At least she's better than other kids her age.
That's the way kids are.
She's a teenager.
He's a two-year-old.
He's a boy.
She could be a lot worse.

Each of these is an excuse for not disciplining and often represents a missed opportunity to teach or direct a child on a deeper level. Remember, we aren't just trying to help children change on the outside to develop appropriate behavior. We're trying to help them change their hearts.

Since these statements might have truths behind them, we may choose to discipline a little differently, postpone a consequence, or redirect children. There's nothing wrong with that, but we must be careful not to ignore heart issues in the process.

Look for ways to challenge your children on a heart level this week. You'll be surprised at how many opportunities are out there.


This parenting tip was taken from the book, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

If this tip was sent to you by a friend and you'd like to continue to receive tips yourself, you can sign up at www.biblicalparenting.org.

i can say that i sure have used some of those excuses!  training is hard work and it is a constant job.  i sometimes (ok, a lot) wish that i could just teach the kids how to behave and then just have well-behaved little chitlins for the rest of their lives... but alas.  it doesn't work that way.  however, in the job of parenting and child-training, the rewards are so joyful.  having kids FULL of godly character is a reward that is limitless.  move onward!  keep it up!  <3

Sunday, November 7, 2010

my creativity is OOZING!

this is how i do creative (see below):
oh goodness gracious.  doesn't this look good?  cranberry cake with warm vanilla butter sauce... (i'm salivating)
here are some great ideas.  none i'd really ever try, but that's 'cause ... uh ... i won't.
this is another great site for awesome ideas... none that i'd buy, but copy.  and probably won't do that either.  -however that thanksgiving blessing mix is a great thought!!!

phew that was a lot of creative juices.  and now i'm all out of ideas and don't even know where to start.  it think i'm still working on the fall festivity.  i'll take some pictures and show you what i currently have. 

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

apology

sorry we've been a little under the weather these past few days. 

a few nights of no sleep. 

a few hundred loads of laundry

 due to an overdose of puke.

(just kidding no picture needed here)


 and then a full 24 hours of bedrest to strengthen the weak.  but now we're all on the mend (hoping that the one that didn't get sick, won't) and working on some frugal fall decor thanks to a beautiful inspiration from a godly and beautiful friend.  stay tuned for a post on my creative side... because durnit, i HAVE one!!!  i think.

ps.  these all would be real pictures if the apology was fake.

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

StarBoy has his first birthday!

October 31, 2010
my dear sweet starboy,
i have loved you for far longer than 1 year.  you are so precious to me.  you are such a blessing!  you add so much to our family, it's hard to imagine we lived a normal life without you. 

a year ago, i pushed hard enough for you to plop out into your fathers hands.  you were SO BIG and SO BEAUTIFUL!  i loved your dark head of hair and your soft perfect skin.  i couldn't believe how well you latched on as soon as i gave you the opportunity.  you've continued to be a good eater, only being picky with green beans, but after a few tries you decided to like them.  you really like them in the normal form!  you are not so crazy about peas in their normal form...  you had some bowel problems early on, but you're all figured out now and i think it won't be another year before you decide the potty's a better place to go. 
everyone oogles and ahgles over your cuteness.  you've spent the majority of your life so shy and scared of strangers.  you're getting over that finally, every day is a little better.  i still feel like you'd rather be home with all of us, than surrounded by a plethera of people... but now you cope much better.  not nearly as many tears.  you've always been sweetly attached to me and daddy.  it didn't take long at all for you to recognize our voices, smells, shapes, etc.  you've always loved to watch me and i love that.  you captivated me so early by that sweet love.  you love your daddy's ears and hair.  they're so fun to play with and poke and pet. 
one thing that i adore about you is how you nurse.  you remind me of a baby kitten.  your whole body gets into the feeding, not just your sucker.  you still kick like crazy when you nurse.  no one likes to sit by me when you're nursing because you kick them away. 
your siblings love to make you smile and that's not hard for them to do.  you are crazy about them!  as soon as you wake up, you're so eager to go out and say hi to anyone who's here.  you love it when they'll wave and greet you.  now that you're walking, it's fun to see you interact with each of your siblings.  it's obvious how much you love them because of how much you tolerate from them. 
you came out screaming in this high pitched cry and you still use it today.  it gets attention and i hope you realize that you can get better attention in other ways.  you're sweet, cute, and i'm so delighted that God blessed us with you.  i am eager to watch you grow up and my hope is that you'll learn to love and fear your heavenly father and live a life in obedience to His will.

i love you, son.
mama

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Recipe for Gramma's Fried Chicken (by Great-Aunt Nita)

so, i said i'd post this recipe with pictures when i made it.  so i tried to be all artsy at dinner tonight.  it turned out scrumptious.  please enjoy.



we enjoyed this chicken with green peas,

and creamy mashed potatoes.


Creamy Mashed Potatoes:
boil the amount of potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, your choice) you want.  drain.
add 1 ranch packet mix, 1 8oz. container of sour cream, 1 8oz package of cream cheese, 2 Tbsp butter, some milk, and a good sprinkling of cheddar bacon seasoning (from Winco's bulk section).  smash,/mix/stir/etc.
WA-LAH.
DINNER'S SERVED:

Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."