Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Need Extra Money?

I had some "me time" today. God and I had a date this morning, so I felt comfortable using my "me time" to do a bit of shopping this afternoon and sip a latte at Starbucks over a new ebook from The Old Schoolhouse. But I confess, I printed part of the ebook and killed a few trees.

I had put off reading the book, because it required more time from me, having 95 pages. The WeE-book I read a few weeks back was so short!

My first glance made me think, "Why am I reading a book about homework? My kids aren't old enough for homework."

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Homework: Juggling Home, Work and School Without Losing Your Balance wasn't about assigned homework! It had nothing to do with giving children homework! This book has the potential to create homework for me instead!

This e-book is the motivational equivalent of the Biggest Loser television show. I was encouraged to learn that there are other crazy busy moms like me! My slow venture into being a WAHM (work at home mom) is a daily and necessary reality that God has provided for many homeschooling families.

The pages of Homework: Juggling Home, Work and School Without Losing Your Balance are quickly devoured as each female author shares her journey into starting a business from home. These godly women offer tips, tricks, and resources while maintaining honesty in their struggle to balance their walk with the Lord, homeschooling, and family life.

If you are looking to begin a business from home, need extra income, and/or desire to be inspired, refreshed and encouraged, then this is the book for you. Bonus websites have been meticulously complied for the reader to further educate themselves on operating a home based business. Cut your legwork in half and order this book from The Old Schoolhouse.

What Crocs and Grace Have in Common

I learned that it is a good thing that I am not God. I want justice all of the time. I don't want to extend grace and forgiveness. I'm tired of delayed obedience. I'm tired of sin. I'm tired of the fall that plagues all of us, that follows us, and is passed down to our offspring. I want perfection. I want happiness. I want the white picket fence and rosy cheeked children 100% of the time. I want easy breezy beautiful, like Cover Girl claims in their make-up ads.

It seems that the worst in me emerges when we are going to do churchy things. In a more recent episode of Granola Mom sinning, Mr. Smackdown wanted to wear his Crocs. However, you can't wear Crocs to AWANA; you would think that he would have known this with only one more AWANA night left in the year. Rules are rules, and this one is for their safety. But that is not what this emerging opinionated 4 year old wanted. He didn't want to wear sturdy shoes. Because there aren't second chances to not get hit by a car, I expected the little guy to put his shoes on immediately. The saying at our house is that you have to obey in the little things to obey in the big things.

We were late. Let's go. He loves AWANA and being with his Aunt Cole! Nope. He sat on the cooler in the garage, playing footsie with the appropriate AWANA shoes.

"OK. You're not going" I hear myself say in a highly frustrated tone.

Along comes Grandma, the dear woman. She grabs the disobedient boy, whispers in his ear some diplomatic words encouraging him to hold it together and ask Mommy for a second chance.

What? You're crazy. No way.

Hope glimmered in my little one's eyes. With trembling lips and deep desire that sounds so precious, even when you are mad, from your child, "May I please go to AWANA, Mommy?"

I want to say, "No. You disobeyed. End of story." (Imagine if God did this to us every time we messed up!) I did not want to respond with kindness. But I hissed in a mature voice, "Yes you may go but you better not complain at dinner or the deal is off."

We went to our separate cars, as we were to caravan to church. Grandma rolled down the window and I hear this angelic voice say, "Thank you, Mommy." Prompted or not, it still softened my heart a little bit. So I say, in an attempt to lighten the moment and move on, "You're welcome, but I am going to beat you to church!" (He always wants to be the lead car.) Fear spread across his flushed face.

This car ride became a real game to me. I wanted to be first. I wanted to win. I wanted to pull into the parking lot first. I am the mom. I am the adult. I want things my way. I want control. But I found myself swallowing some fat pride and I allowed Grandma to go first, even though I pulled out of the driveway FIRST. When she took a short cut, the adrenaline still surged through me even though I knew that no matter what I would allow them to "win" and park their car first.

About 1/2 way there, I was figuratively struck by lightening. Actually, it was God being pretty gentle with me, His little girl. I want to follow the letter of the law. Don't step out of line. I will catch you. Forget grace, I want justice. I want fairness. But if life were fair, none of us would have grace. If life were fair, everyone would have my husband. None of us would have been introduced to Jesus. It doesn't seem fair that on the cross, Jesus forgave the man dying next to Him and would later be in paradise. It doesn't seem fair that someone in prison can be forgiven of multiple horrible crimes in the same way that Billy Graham or Sister Theresa or even me is forgiven. But that is what is so amazing about God. God is always ready to give us a chance. He is ready to allow us to take a turn in the right direction.

So I think for the first time, I really experienced giving grace when offended and knowing the grace that He gives me. In some respects, Grandma acted like Jesus when she interceded on Mr. Smackdown's behalf before angry mommy playing impersonal god. And she was able to save him from the punishment I wanted him to have. Grr . . .

But it isn't fair, as I pounded my hands on the steering wheel! Do you know how many times he doesn't do what I ask?

But I had to have this somewhat everyday riff to understand something larger than me.


I don't deserve salvation in light of my amazing holy God who madly loves me, yet Jesus stepped in and gave it to me.

Praise God I am not God. Every day God extends grace to me and He knows I need it. Yea, I don't always understand His ways. But I do know that if there was any different way, I think He would have done it.

So the next time you put your kid's Crocs on, remember grace.

Ephesians 2: 7-9
so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His
grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not
as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

2 Corinthians 12:9
And He [Jesus] has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for
power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast
about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me

Monday, April 27, 2009

Curious Poll Results: What Will Hotty Husband Write About?

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. I have a slight tendency to write about everyone and everything else. It would be curious to have someone write about me. The poll closed yesterday and the winner of Hotty Husband's guest blog was She Wasn't Granola When I Married Her: Life with Granola Mom 4 God. I probably am a bit unusual. I am sure that this will be an entertaining writing from the Husband. I may even learn a few new things! The pressure is on--what will you write about Hotty Husband?

By the way, I have been so annoyed with not knowing how to spell Hotty. I will have you know that Hottie and Hotty are both correct. It is a slang word. And this is my blog. Well, not really. Kind of.
P.S. I am sure he is just going to shoot me for posting that picture! But it just shows you what a great dad he is! I am excited for you all to meet him!

The Egg Casserole for Every Occassion

Hands down, this is the easiest egg casserole that I have ever made. It is all thanks to my equally granola friend, Sarah. I was introduced to this egg delicacy at a book club in which we discussed Persuasion by Jane Austen. Perhaps, this is why I have such fond feelings about this protein packed square egg dish.

You see, when I attend my book club, it makes me feel sophisticated, smart and interesting. I imagine that I no longer have poop under my fingernails, avocado in my hair, or a stained shirt on. However, it is hard to evoke philosophical thoughts while eating something called a casserole. It just lacks a suave sound. I am even more bummed to discover that the synonyms to casserole are even more droll: covered dish, goulash, and hash, to name a few.

One interesting synonym popped up: pottage. After researching this word, I remain disappointed. Pottage is a thick soup of vegetables and often meat.

How about egg guiso (Spanish word for casserole--but I don't know Spanish. Egg should probably be behind the guiso)?

Sophisticated Egg Wonder

or Guiso de Egg

or Egg Casserole, if you insist

12 eggs scrambled
2 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste (I typically use RealSalt Seasoning instead)

Mix the above ingredients together.

Cut 8 pieces of bread into cubes
Shred a lot of cheese and 1/2 package of turkey bacon

Create two layers of bread, cheese, and turkey bacon. Pour
the egg/milk mix over your rainbow of ingredients. Let the raw Egg Wonder sit overnight.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour, uncovered.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Square Foot Gardening Update

A few weeks ago Hotty Hubby built a new garden box for Mr. Smackdown.

This day marked the end of nap times in this four year old's life. And the end of "me time" for this mom. The future farmer was very excited about the demise of his baby-days and his entry into afternoon life.
I am not sure if he was more proud of his garden or his lack of sleep.

Today, I went out to see what the Future Farmer's garden looked like. We haven't been watering it, due to the copious rain we have received. However, I think Mr. Smackdown might have a green thumb, with the help of God, of course.
Can you see all the green sprouts?

Now, my garden remains a bit neglected. The Winter Wheat is loving its freedom and the garlic appears to enjoy the soil, judging from how large and full the stalks are.

And yes, we changed the fence around the garden. Now that we have a subdivision behind our house, the deer have disappeared and found a more quiet place to munch. It is so much nicer just to hop over the garden, instead of undoing the fences.
The strawberries have blooms! It is going to be an exciting summer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Throwing Glass at Trees

Thanks for the trees. But I promise not go to Goodwill to purchase some ugly, mustard colored, beveled water glasses to throw at it. If you feel like throwing some glass at a tree today, I wouldn't recommend doing it on the city street. You would have to go into the countryside. But when you throw glass in the city, there might be someone walking barefoot. They would get hurt and you would feel bad. So perhaps the safest thing to do, is to just remember us having a Diet Coke together, driving to Goodwill, and throwing some glass one particular sunny day at a tree near our apartment and my car. I'm sure people think we are crazy but sometimes, God gives us creative ideas. And I am sure this post makes no sense to anyone buy you. But God told me to make you smile today.

So, thanks for the trees. I really like them. They are so pretty. I enjoy them each morning as I greet the morning with Mr. Smiley. So, I'll put a glass on the table you gave me instead. It holds water glasses, even mustard colored ones, quite nicely. Well, I am assuming it does. I have never actually tried it. Maybe you could bring me one back. No, just some tea, please.

Though you are far may you feel near. Please use Grover's voice to say that!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tot School

I am a teacher.

Everyone is, really.

I never thought I would be a teacher, but I became a teacher. In middle school, I thought for sure that I would be a pilot in the Air Force because not many girls aspired to this dream. In high school, I decided that I would become a doctor. But, they have to go to school a long time. (I also fainted watching someone get a spinal tap.) So, I decided to become a physical therapist. It was predicted that there would be a shortage of therapist due to the rapidly aging Baby Boomers (sorry Mom and Dad). However, volunteering at the local physical therapy hospital wasn't exactly fun.

I went to college anyway. Thanks Mom and Dad! My education prepared me for the most important work of my life.

Well, Jesus happened and Chemistry didn't that freshman year of college. I left school jaded by a large school setting and looked forward to a bright future in accounting at a small college deeper in the Bible Belt.
But God had plans other than accounting for me. I read a book called, In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, which is the reason people wear those popular WWJD bracelets. I thought that it wouldn't hurt to ask God what I should do. The answer I got was, "Be a teacher." OK.

I am a teacher. I love to teach. Even though I thought I would be a High School teacher, God still had other plans. I taught Middle School. The crazy thing about this is that one of my students is now a close friend!
Then I took an even bigger leap. I taught kindergarten for 3 years. I think it may be the best age to teach.

At two years of age, Mr. Smackdown had a mommy that was already preparing for school. Now that he is 4, I am in heaven. We are almost to kindergarten! I am loving teaching him to read, think creatively, learn to write, and count.
However, there is another individual in our house who doesn't have quite the attention span, but wants to be like big brother. What makes it worse is that this Little Man (AKA Mr. Easy) is quite passionate about his desire to participate. Like his birthday, he gets fired up and hot like a firecracker to do school and then his attention fizzles out into thin air. The solution?

Tot School or Tot Time! It is great fun and I am so thankful for the idea from a fellow blogger of 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. Here is what Carisa has to say about the purpose of Tot School:

Tot School is nothing more than intentionally providing your tot with
age appropriate activities that are fun and engaging. By choosing specific
toys and activities, we expose our tots to a variety of early learning
skills. Mastery is not the goal, FUN is!

I think that Mr. Smackdown enjoys Tot Time even more than the Tot in our house! Most mornings, after quiet times, we come downstairs and have Tot School. Because Tot Time is short, we can usually do it while Mr. Smiley takes his morning nap or crawls around.
What does Tot Time look like? Well, here is what we did yesterday.

We read a story about a little boy who didn't obey his parents and subsequently fell into a manure pile (the boys enjoyed saying "poop," as did their Grandma). As a result the boy learns that children should obey their parents because God tells us to and it offers protection. Then they colored and glued on some textured items to the picture of the little boy. I don't know if they learned a lesson, but it was fun to talk about who poops.

Mr. Easy is very intent on using his pencil correctly.

Big Brother, Mr. Smackdown, enjoys getting to use markers for Tot Time.

Mr. Easy separated "squishy" and "hard" items.

Tot School

Vote In Progress

Every day my sweet Smackdown Husband has been asking me how many people have voted in the Smackdown Daddy Guest Blog Post. I must admit that I am surprised that only 14 people have voted so far! It is easy to do--you don't even have to leave your house. Or if you did leave your house, you don't have to leave wherever you are to vote. Even if you don't know us, vote!

Smackdown Husband is an eloquent and often funny author. I, myself, can't wait to see what he is going to write. So, please ask your family to vote, ask your friends to vote, talk with you neighbors, ask your dog even! Just vote! We have no idea who votes what . . . . have fun!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Giveaway! FREE, FREE, FREE

Wendy and I had been trying to get together for about 6 months. It finally happened last week and she came bearing gifts from Nature's Providence. Smackdown Hubby was a bit worried when he come home from work; he thought I had purchased the entire basket of products!

But I didn't get to keep them. In fact, I dropped the basket off at her house yesterday. She is giving them to you. I guess she likes you better. At least I still have my Vanilla Lavender Shea Souffle and a bottle of Mink Oil.

I am hereby announcing my 3rd giveaway, even though Wendy took my favorite Honey Almond Shea Souffle (perfect for baby bottoms, dry skin, chapped lips, cuts, and eczema) and Love Spoken Creamy Shea Lotion away from me. Not to mention that the Nature's Providence massage oil is relaxing and not overpowering. Anyway, I though that it was kind of rude for her to need her basket back--as if she has a business!

You would probably like me to shut up and talk about the Giveaway. Nope. One more story.

I once gave Wendy a gift that she probably wished I had never given. You see, our friendship began with cloth diapers. I gave her the worst gift to start her child's cloth diapering career. I made Wendy some RED cloth wipes. Did I mention they were red? Guess what color her new white diapers became? Pink. They had a boy.

Here is what Wendy has to say about herself and Nature's Providence:

Let's see.. about me.. well the easy part is why I love NP. I love how natural and good for my skin it is- -that no matter how often I wash my hands they don't get dried out, how incredibly clean my face feels after washing it, and how healthy and soft my hair feels. I love the scents and essential oils. And of course the soy candles- I've always loved strongly scented candles! I especially love that Nature's Providence is local, handcrafted, and made and sold by women who truly love Jesus. Which brings us to the part about me, a woman who truly loves Jesus, and my husband and two precious kiddos. My prayer is that I love and serve my husband and children in a way that is worship to God.

Please check out Wendy's Nature's Providence Facebook site.

OK . . . so do you want to know what you are playing for? (Can you tell that I am a Survivor fan?)

You will get these three great products FREE, yes FREE . . . even if it needs to be shipped to you somewhere within the United States! And you get to choose your scent! Let me tell you that you are in for a good smelling, good feeling treat! Let me recap:

Enter to win a Handcrafted Bar Soap, a Shea Souffle, and a Sugar Scrub from Nature's Providence.

How do you enter to win this GIVEAWAY?

1. You must be a follower of my blog. If you aren't, become one. I won't stalk you.

2. Go to Wendy's Facebook site or Nature's Providence and let me know what scents you would like in the soap, shea souffle, and scrub. Leave me a comment. (1 point)

Extra Points (entries). You may do them all or the ones that are easy for you.

3. Become a fan on Wendy's Facebook page. Leave a comment and let me know that you did this.(1 point)

4. Send Wendy a Wish List message via Facebook or with the following information: (3 points)

1) which products you'd like to receive as gifts
2) names and emails of husband, kids, and any potential gift givers
3) your birthday

5. Tell me something new (via a comment) that you learned from The Nature's Providence website. There is some GREAT educational information about Shea Butter, handcrafted soap, and soy candles. (1 point for each new factoid that you learned. Post each one as a new comment.)

6. Send an email to your friends and me ( with a link to my blog ( telling them about this giveaway. (1 point per email address)

7. Guess what products are in the basket that Wendy loaned to me! (1 point)

8. Give a testimony of your experience with Nature's Providence products. (1 point)

Giveaway ends May 5, 2009!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

He's Going to Do It!

Remember what I giggled about a few days ago?

Hotty Husband blogging?

Yep. You guessed it.

He is going to take over the computer and post a blog!

I feel loved and supported. Hotty is going to enter my blogging world. What a guy!

So . . . . we need your help. What do you want to know about from Hotty Husband? Cast your vote on the poll on the top left of my blog!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Thoughts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Thought #1: I just have to thank myself.

Thank you for your post yesterday, Self. You knew I would need it today. Thanks, Self.

Yes, it has been one of those days.

Because of yesterday's post, I woke up this morning feeling prepared to embrace the day with joy. I was going to greet Mr. Smackdown and Mr. Easy in their room instead of them pulling me out of a deep slumber with the words, "I'm hungry, Mommy." I envisioned a dreamy day of everyone saying "please" and "thank you." Sharing would abound and hugs would be too numerous to count. We wouldn't need music on because laughter would fill our home as a pleasant choir.

Let's just say, it didn't happen that way.

So I am experiencing "avoiditus." I suppose that the appropriate word to use would be procrastination. However, I figured if Dr. Seuss can make up words, then I can make up a word once in my life. Avoiditus typically translates to me blogging. Avoiditus is another way of having "me time," which as you will recall from yesterday is a myth. The reality is that after I am done blogging, nothing will be done. All the toys will still be strewn across the floor. Two boys are sleeping, but one will be awake in an hour. Another little boy will be done with his rest time and ready for all of my attention. I will come out of my blog zone, feeling frustrated at my lack of physical accomplishment, though my Internet accomplishment I am sure will astound many. Blah, blah, blah.

I will say that yesterday's post has helped me to be less lazy today and to truly enjoy serving my little charges; even attempting to disciple them as God's precious creations instead of discipline them in anger as little intrusions.

Though I have longed for some quiet and alone time today, I haven't entered into my present time with a locked, windowless door. If there are interruptions, so be it. My time is not my own.

Scripture that has really encouraged me today comes from Ruth. What a neat little book! There is sooooooooooooooo much detail.
Ruth 2: 12, "May the Lord reward your work, and your wages be full from the
Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."

Thought #2: What if Hotty Husband blogged?
I'm rather curious at the thought and it makes me giggle. Perhaps it would be a blog describing the idiosyncrasies of his silly, beloved wife. Or maybe he would write mini-sermons. Perhaps he would include elaborate engineering drawings. Or better yet, I think he would make it a blog about backpacking adventures and how to become an experienced backpacker. Yes, that is what it would be.

Thought #3: Here is a sneak peak of my next giveaway!

Thought #4: My hands smell like I have been camping. But I haven't. It must be the hot dogs we had for lunch. Gross. So does that mean we always have hotdogs when we go camping?

Thought #5: I forget.

Thought #6: Do you notice one small, tiny change in my blog? Send me a comment if you know!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The "Me Time" Myth

I have come to realize that the more time I have to myself the more time I want. My friend, Tona, pointed this truth out gently, as she, Laurel and I attempted adult conversation amidst 9 children several months ago. There are many times throughout my day and week that I have a thought pass through my head such as,

"I deserve some alone time."

"I wish I could just have a day to do whatever I want. Sleep in, read a book, sit and have coffee, stare at the clouds."

"When the Hot Hubby gets home, I am sneaking upstairs to take a bath (or sew)."

"The dishes can wait, I'm sitting on the couch."

"Why didn't God let men make Father's Milk?"

"I need a break. I'm not getting up again to get him some water."

It's 2 am and I hear pitter-patter, "Please let him walk to the Hot Hubby's side of the bed. Please!"

And the list of selfish thoughts go on and on.

When I have my "me time," I am so excited to be out. But often my "me time" consists of running errands. New underwear for Mr. Easy. I need to pick up toilet paper. Stickers for school. Packages to be mailed. The list can be endless.
By the time I sit down at Starbucks, there isn't enough time to rest and perhaps really drink something that would refresh and quench my thirst for meaning and purpose to my day.

On a day I was engaging in some extreme lamenting to my dog about my trials as a mother, which really aren't serious burdens, I received an email from in which I, along with other subscribers, were offered free WeE-Books in exchange for a written review of these books via a blog post or an email. In fact, if I review the downloaded books, I can enter to win free curriculum (as long as I use and write a review of my free items).
Always enticed by the word "free" I decided to check it out.

Enter Amy Roberts' WeE-Book, The "Me-time" Myth. I got to the second paragraph and knew that Amy must have been reading my journal. How did she know my very thoughts? How did she know my bizarre feelings of loving and hating my "me-time?" So many times I come home from "me-time" and I find my feelings of refreshment robbed from me in each unwashed dish in the sink, toy lying on the ground, pillow aimlessly tossed on the dog bed, blinking light on the answering machine, and emails screaming to be answered. I always question myself, "Was it really worth being gone?" (Disclaimer: this in NO WAY is a critique of the amazing family members that love on my precious children when I am away. Without you lovely people I would be surrounded by five foot high laundry piles! Bills would not be paid. Children would fail to be snuggled. And even if the house were spotless when I returned home (which it often is), my "me time" wouldn't be successful unless one thing happened--but I can't reveal that! You have to read the book, too.)

Amy Roberts nails my thoughts when she writes, "'Me time,' is a myth. It is an unattainable, always interruptible, never satisfying piece of junk psychology. 'Me time,' by its very name, suggests that who we are during the daily grind is not who we truly are. It begs us to search for fulfillment outside of the titles of 'wife' and 'mother'."

Ladies and Gentlemen, "me time" is a "monster that will swallow us if we neglect to feed it 'me time'." It really is somewhat selfish of us to expect or demand such time. Ouch.

It hurts, doesn't it. Yet, is there a solution? I know for a fact that I love alone time. I am recharged by being alone. Does this mean that I am being selfish? At times, I must admit that I feel if I don't have my alone time, my "me time," that I will snap. And of course, it won't be my fault for a lack of self control. It's because the kids didn't allow me to have "me time."

There is a solution. And Amy Roberts gently instructs how to slay the monster of "me." But if I told you how, you probably wouldn't read the book! Check out Amy Robert's book, The "Me Time" Myth. Better yet, become a subscriber of and be blessed by free WeE-Books!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Never Thought . . .

I never thought that I would clean up puke . . . from a minivan . . . my minivan. Neither did my mother-in-law.

I never thought that I would allow my kids to watch TV, just to bring a few moments of peace.

I never thought that I would own a cow.

I never knew that I would have the privilege of teaching my children to trust me, so that they learn to trust God.

I never thought that I would enjoy skiing.

I never thought that I would sip on a bit of silver.

I never thought that I would wear my babies.

I never thought that I would like spicy food.

I never thought that I would remotely enjoy sauerkraut.

I never thought that I would have biological children.

I never thought that I would have three of those biological children . . . without drugs.

I never thought that knowing where my food comes from or knowing my local farmer would be important to me.

I never ever thought that I would have a water birth.

I never thought that I would have brown walls in my house.
I never thought that I would treasure leftover egg shells and fruit peels.

I never imagined that I would love my husband more today than 16+ years ago.

I never thought that I would buy used toys.

I never thought that I wouldn't wear earrings.

I never thought that I would enjoy acupuncture.

I never thought my husband would look more amazing today than 16+ years ago.

I never thought I would enjoy playing games.

I never thought I would enjoy entertaining.

But I am glad that all of these things have happened and are a part of my life.

What about you?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Laurel Hasner Photography Giveaway has a Winner!

And we have a winner . . . . Sarah! But there were two Sarah's that entered. So, girls are you getting excited? Which one is it? Send me an email at and I'll let you know!

For those of you who didn't win, I am giving you a really yummy soup recipe to warm you up on this cool and rainy spring day! Thanks for entering! Stay tuned for more giveaways!

Minestrone Soup
(my favorite recipe yet for this soup)
3 Tbls butter
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 yellows squash, halved and sliced
1 Zucchini, halved and sliced
1 lb Italian sausage (I would switch it for homemade beef sausage)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
6 c stock (chicken, beef, or a combination)
1/2 lb favorite pasta shape
3 or 4 tomatoes, diced
In a soup pot, brown the sausage and drain the excess grease from cooked sausage. Add the butter and saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Add the squash and zucchini, seasoning with oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and the stock. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and simmer until pasta is cooked through. Serve with crusty bread and grated cheese.

Monday, April 6, 2009 = Free Books! (Kind of)

I hobbled into the store, carrying my heavy load of once prized books. At eight months pregnant, I was large and on a mission. I was anxious to unload these books, as they loomed taller than Pikes Peak on my final pregnancy nesting plans. My hormonal body believed that a child could not be born and brought into our home if these books remained untouched on our bookshelves. They must go. There wasn't enough room for a second baby and a stack of books. To treat ourselves for de-cluttering, this book sale was to be the creative revenue to fund our evening's date. I was sure that they would delight the lucky sleuth who found them at Half Price Books.

We walked out of Half Price Books with about $8.00.

It was hard to not take this as a slap in the face. We would have to share a meal that night. Certainly, no movie or popcorn for us. I felt defeated and rejected. Those books represented several hundred dollars and hours of reading. There had to be a better way to get a return on my collection of words.

Two years later, I found the answer. I was having lunch with Laurel, the classy lady who is hosting my most recent giveaway. We were discussing good parenting books and Bible studies. She mentioned that she would put my recently read books on her wish list through PaperBackSwap.

Tell me more!

Do you have a lot of books lying around the house? The reality is that if you take them to Half Price Books you will probably get $8 for them and if you go to Goodwill . . . . well, nothing but a tiny tax deduction, if you are lucky.

The solution? PaperBackSwap! (No, I am not getting money for this post. But I will receive a credit toward a book when you sign up using the ad at the bottom of this post and you list 10 or more books!) I think that this site is a creative tool to get rid of books you no longer use and gain books that you would like to read. Look at some of the great books I have already swapped!

How do you do it? Easy! You will have over 3,000,000 books waiting at your fingertips!

1. Click on the below, colorful PaperBackSwap blue ad.

2. Post all of the books you are willing to swap. Typically, you just enter in the ISBN located on the back of each book.

3. After you post 10 books, you will receive 2 free book credits as a "welcome to the club" gift.

4. Browse for books that you would like to read or give as a gift using the search page.

5. Order the book or put it on your wish list if it isn't currently available.

6. When another member requests a book from your electronic bookshelf, you will receive an email alerting you. (And don't worry--by signing up, you will not be bombarded by emails, unless you post a lot of books!)

7. Accept the request and mail the book using media mail, which is approximately $2.23 for less than one pound. You can print the wrapper and pay for postage directly from your PaperBackSwap account.

8. Mail the book!

One Credit=One Book

You can even do this for DVD's and CD's!

PaperBackSwap has blessed our homeschooling bookshelf for significantly less than if I had bought everything new or even at Half Price Books.

Happy Reading! - Our online book club offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

History Repeating Itself

I saw history repeat itself.

I used to watch my husband play football. On Saturday, I watched my husband's son play football. Thanks to my College Roomie, I was able to catch some great photos of this monumental moment in our lives.

I can't be this old!

Moms cringe at the thought of their precious child entering this world of aggression and bodily contact. However, football taught my husband some fundamental concepts that shaped his goals and tenacity for life.

Football offers an education in teamwork, the value of practice and hard work, perseverance in all situations, boldness instead of timidity, an appropriate place to release aggression, and conditioning.

As Vince Lombardi once said, "The Good Lord gave you a body that can withstand most anything, it is your mind you must convince."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Keeping my life in Perspective

For a brief time we lived in India. I learned a lot. It radically shifted my thinking and has forever changed my life. I am thankful for running, clean water. I am thankful to eat the skin of an apple. I appreciate electricity a lot more. I enjoy quiet when I step outside of my home.

However, it didn't change the fact that I am a bit of a pessimist. Show me a glass filled half-way, and I will tell you it is half-empty, rather than half-full.
And so, at times I have to reign in my thoughts and take them captive. One such attempt is this little letter that God and I wrote. It hangs in my kitchen, to remind me of what is reality. It causes me to step back and look at how blessed I am.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16) Dear, remember to respond to the boys with the Word of God and teach them to do likewise. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4) Play worship music! It stands to reason that you would probably sin less or raise your voice less if you are reminded of the way My angels sing in heaven. Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! (1 Chronicles 16:8) Praise those cute boys for the things they do well. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34) And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. (Leviticus 22:29) Don’t wait to feel like praising Me, you know God, your Creator. Praise Me that Mr. Smackdown, Mr. Easy, and Mr. Smiley poop, pee, eat well, and have noses that work. Praise me because they have strong immune systems. That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works. (Psalm 26:7) Poopy diapers mean out with the bad! Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8) Child, respond with love, even when the children don’t deserve it. I even responded in love when Peter denied me three times. Remember how I also healed that guy's ear when the group came to arrest me? And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10) Stop and give thanks and ask the boys to do so with you. And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”(Luke22:19) Praise Jesus that you have received salvation. Likewise, offer yourself as a sacrifice to the Hubby and the boys. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) Love well, give hugs and kisses, tickle, wrestle and play more. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14) Stop and play—chores aren’t eternal. Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20) Daughter, you have three children and according to the doctors you weren't supposed to have any! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6) I love the boys and Brian more than you, and will take care of them. Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:12) Life is short, pray, laugh, live, love HARD. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17) Laundry, dishes, cleaning—give thanks that I make it possible through your husband for you stay home. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15) saying: “ We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. (Revelation 11:17)
You may be wondering how the India picture and the letter above are related. They aren't even remotely related. I was looking for a picture to accompany my ramblings, and came across this woman carrying wood. It struck me as something radically different from my life and I wanted to share.