Category Archives: Prattle

A New Purse, A New Year

I bought a new purse today. Since high school, I have toted variations of the same tiny purse—a few pockets here and there; room for keys, a cell phone, a wallet, and not much more. But lately, I have wanted to carry more than my little purse would allow. I’ve overloaded it, struggled with it, and been frustrated with its inadequacy. So today I upgraded to a larger, more appropriate handbag, one that I hope will make my life a little easier and a little better. It is sitting empty, awaiting the transfer of the contents of my old purse, ready to hold those things and more.

In a few minutes, I’ll be ringing in a new year. The old year is filled to capacity. It was a time of growth and stretching. At times I felt overloaded, I struggled, and I was frustrated with my own inadequacy. But I gained a little more wisdom, a little more understanding, a little more compassion, a little more peace, a little more faith. Those are things I will carry with me into this new year, which is wide open and waiting to be filled.

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It’s Summer!

The kids have been enjoying the warm weather and splashing around in their kiddie pool in the back yard.

I fell off the grain-free-sugar-free-for-60-days wagon partway through. I started out with good intentions, but I never got back on track after that bout with stomach flu. I definitely felt great when I was eating that way, and I am trying to keep my grains to a minimum now, but I just don’t have time to make two different meals for myself and the rest of the family, so the thing I am focusing on now is portion control.

I only have six more months of college left. I will graduate in December. Going back to school has been demanding and stretching in every possible way. I feel like I’ve been run through the wringer emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and I definitely am not getting enough sleep or caring for my body the way I wish I could, if I had more time. But this is where I’m at, and God is growing me. I’m starting to finally pull through a spiritual slump/crisis of faith that I’ve been going through for the past, oh…well, probably since I went back to school, so a little over half a year.

My plans for after I finish school include focusing more on homeschooling my kids (especially character training and responsibility/chores), becoming more proficient at guitar and/or harp, regularly inviting people over (a.k.a., actually cleaning the house), exercising more, and reading books for fun (my to-read is getting really long).

 

Grain Free Sugar Free Day 10

I’m still having some cravings (mostly for chocolate…it’s hard having my kids’ Easter candy around without being able to have any!), but I’ve been eating a ton of vegetables. I even tried an artichoke for the first time the other day, and it was very good, although it seemed like a lot of work!

Even though I’m eating fewer carbs, I think I’ve upped my fat intake to compensate. I have lost a few pounds, though, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and see what happens.

Family Update

This is our first year of homeschooling. D.L.F. learned to read when he was three and has had his head in a book ever since, but this year, we have added math and handwriting. He is getting the hang of both, and Cupcake is picking up a lot as well. D.L.F. is participating in a community youth choir, and he and Cupcake both love going to AWANA every week. At 16 months now, Smiley is such a sweetheart, always giving kisses and following us around. She has learned to walk within the past few weeks, and her ratio of walking to crawling is heavy on the walking side now. She also has quite a few words, or at least sounds she consistently uses to represent particular words. She is very good at communicating. She loves to be read to, and is constantly shoving books at us, exclaiming, “Boo! Boooooo!”

T is employed at a job he loves, which is such a blessing. He is a wonderful Papa and a romantic and caring husband, and I am so blessed to be married to him. I thank God for him every single day.

I am back in college, working toward a Bible and Theology degree (no, I don’t know what I’m going to “do” with it; it’s more for personal enrichment at this point, and I am open to God’s leading for the future). I’m in a degree completion program, so I only have class one night a week, but there is a lot of outside work, more than I anticipated. I’m loving it, though. I always hoped I would get to finish college one way or another, and I’m grateful that the opportunity opened up for me to go back.

We just put up most of our Christmas decorations, and I’m starting to think about holiday baking. I think my favorite type of holiday cookie is Snowballs, a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cakes, a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes.

That’s it in a nutshell. 🙂

Review: Pacific Natural Foods All-Natural Pizza

When I looked at the online ad of a local health food store and saw that these all-natural thin-crust pizzas frozen pizzas were on sale for $3.99 each, I checked around online to see if anyone had written a review of them. I couldn’t find any reviews, so I decided to try the pizzas and write a review myself.

Today I cooked up a Supreme pizza and a Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizza for the kids and myself for lunch. The first thing I noticed about the pizzas is that they are small–about 14 ounces each, and 9 inches in diameter.

The second thing I noticed is that the toppings are pretty sparse. 2 whole pieces and 3 half-pieces of Canadian bacon and 14 pineapple tidbits on one pizza, and 8 pepperoni slices and a sprinkling of toppings on the other.

The instructions said to place the pizzas directly on the oven rack, or onto a cookie sheet for a softer crust. I opted for cookie sheets, since taking hot pizzas directly off an oven rack sounded like a burn waiting to happen.

Here they are cooked:

The pizzas smelled yummy, and I was hungry! The cheeses browned nicely. The sauce was sweet and very mildly spicy. I thought the flavor of the sauce was very good. I liked the crust. It was crisp on the bottom and a little bready under the sauce.

Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizza: Delicious, but needed three times the toppings.

Supreme pizza: Nice bell pepper flavor. Pepperoni and sausage tasted great. The ONE olive slice on the entire pizza unfortunately had a squishy cardboard texture.

Verdict: I try to avoid feeding my kids preservatives and other yucky chemicals, so I like that these pizzas are all-natural. I even gave a cut-up slice to my 11-month-old, and she ate it all. The other kids (ages 3 and 4) liked it well enough. The four of us polished off the two pizzas. The flavor of the pizzas was good, but I was disappointed by the meager toppings. I might buy these pizzas again at $3.99 each, but I definitely wouldn’t pay more than that for them. I believe the regular price is around $7 each. In my opinion, they are not worth that much.

A Little Update

It’s almost the middle of June. I can hardly believe that my oldest child is almost five and my baby is almost one. Oh yeah, and this one already had her birthday (in early May). Now she’s three!

She asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (yes, she is her mother’s daughter), and I believe she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Smiley didn’t get any cake but she enjoyed playing with balloons.

Just in the past month, Smiley has started figuring out that food is for swallowing, instead of just holding in your throat until it makes you choke, which has definitely expanded her culinary horizons. I started trying to give her mashed up fruits and vegetables when she was about eight months old, but I think she didn’t like the texture. No “baby” food for her. She adores crackers and has been known to crawl to the snack cupboard, get out a box of her favorite crackers, and say, “Yum YUM!” until somebody gets one out of the box for her. I suppose I shouldn’t let her get into the snack cupboard, but what can I say, she’s cute, and she’s my pwecious widdle baby. She says “Mama” quite frequently and we think we’ve heard her say “Papa” a few times. She also says “Yeah,” gives kisses with a “Muh!,” and is a good mimic of random noises.

T, because he is amazing and can fix or build anything, built this fence (complete with gate) across the end of our deck, so hopefully, that will be the end of kid-falling-off-the deck accidents (we’ve had a few).

After nearing giving up on ever being able to make pies, I finally tried this crust recipe and have had good success with it. Since finding it a few weeks ago, I have made four apple pies and one strawberry-rhubarb pie.

T found a nice, large, but not-functional barbecue for free on Craigslist and fixed it up good as new, so we have enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on it several times so far. Food tastes so much better grilled, and I like that T does most of the work and there’s less clean-up in the kitchen!

I just saw that Betty Beguiles will be hosting a blog carnival this Tuesday linking to people’s engagement stories. I think this is the kick in the pants I’ve been waiting for to finish T’s and my love story (you can read Parts 1-7 starting here), so come back Tuesday to read about how we got engaged–it’s pretty romantical! 🙂

And to close, here’s a recent picture of all three kiddos:

See? I do post something other than book reviews…

While playing with the kids about a week ago, T fell and cracked a rib. He has been in a lot of pain 😦 and unable to do much physical work, so logistics in our family have been more challenging and time-consuming lately. For example, packing our bags and loading the van to go to my parents’ for Christmas took a lot longer than anticipated. We were planning to make the 3 1/2+ hour drive, drop all our things off at their house, eat dinner, change the kids into their Christmas outfits, and then get to the Christmas Eve service at my parents’ church about half an hour early to say hi to them and get good seats.

Well, as it turned out, we ended up grabbing a quick dinner at a grocery store deli, changing the kids outfits in the van, which was so completely crammed with stuff (three kids require a LOT of stuff!) that I had to stand outside in the pouring rain, oh, and did I mention that the baby leaked lovely yellow baby poo on my off-white sweater while I was nursing her? So I had to change my clothes, too.

We arrived at my parents’ church for their Christmas Eve service literally as the choir was starting to walk into the sanctuary to begin the program. My parents spotted us and got a few quick hugs in. The service was very nice. My parents are doing a great job with leading music at their church. I’m happy that they are using their talents and serving in ministry together.

Spending Christmas with my parents and my brother and my grandma was fun and memorable, and I’m glad we made the trip, but I am so exhausted! Having three kids ages four and under is incredibly fun and joyous and satisfying, but it’s also chaotic and tiring. And so, to bed.

Twin Beds On the Way

Part 6 of our love story will be coming soon. I’m in the middle of scrounging up matching outfits for all of us for family pictures. It’s hard enough getting two people to match, and now there are five of us! I don’t think we have one single picture yet with all of us in it, so I’m looking forward to getting some taken. Well, actually, I’m looking forward to having the finished pictures in my hand. Not so much the assembling of matching outfits, getting everybody dressed and groomed, attempting to make it to the studio without anybody deliberately jumping accidentally falling into a mud puddle, etc.

T is off work tomorrow (yay!). We were hoping that the twin beds we ordered for the kids would have come by now, so T could pick them up and assemble them tomorrow, but they’re not in yet, which is fine, because there are plenty of other odd jobs to do around here (including taking the air conditioner unit out of our bedroom window–now that it’s mid-October, I don’t think we’ll be needing it any more this year).

It’s actually really neat how God provided money for us to get twin beds for the kids (D.L.F. and Cupcake). They each currently sleep in a little kid tent with plenty of blankets for padding, but they are outgrowing those, so we’ve been wanting to buy beds for them. The roundabout way that we were able to buy them is that I recently won a 52″ LCD television in a sweepstakes. The sweepstakes company had the t.v. shipped to us from Wal-Mart. We decided we didn’t really need a t.v., especially one that big, so we were going to try to sell it on Craigslist, but T had the idea to take it to Wal-Mart and see if they would accept it as a return. They did–not for cash, but they gave us a gift card for the full value of the t.v.! So we were able to buy beds for the kids, mattresses, comforter and sheet sets, some curtains, some fall clothes, and other needed odds and ends.

Once again I am overwhelmed by the kindness of God as He takes care of our family.

I Thought I Was Losing My Mind

I was in the middle of making pumpkin scones, already anticipating their warm, flaky, cinnamon-y deliciousness. I had already mixed up all the dry ingredients and cut in the butter. I opened the fridge to grab the bowl of leftover pumpkin puree that was sitting right…there. I know it was there. I didn’t use it up already, did I? No. Well, maybe it’s on this shelf…or this one…or in the cheese drawer…no…well, where is it?

After walking away, then returning and taking one last glance to make sure the bowl hadn’t been sitting right in front of my eyes the whole time, I finally picked up my phone to call T.

“Hi, Beautiful,” he answered, as he always does.

“Hi…um, I’m missing something.”

T said, “Uh…yeah…what is it?”

“My pumpkin puree. I know I had some sitting in the fridge, and I can’t find it!”

T’s next words explained it all: “Yeah, it turns out that the bowl of chili I took to work for lunch today wasn’t really chili.”

A Long-Overdue Update

My littlest one (who still doesn’t have a blog pseudonym yet) is 9 weeks old now, and she is such a delight. She’s very smiley and loves to people watch. She’s starting to reach for interesting things, such as a toy or Papa’s beard.

This is probably the last year before I start officially homeschooling D.L.F. Right now he and Cupcake spend their days reading, playing educational computer games, listening to music, playing with Duplos and other toys, playing outside, and going places with T or me. D.L.F. reads very well, and he sometimes likes to just sit and read a book by himself. I can’t really take the credit–he pretty much taught himself to read by playing Starfall and watching Leapfrog videos.

Our garden is still producing tomatoes. Everything else has gone to seed. After the tomatoes are done, I’m going to pull everything out and plant some lettuce and spinach for a fall crop. It drives me nuts to have to pay a dollar (or more) a head for lettuce at the store, now that I know how nice it can be just to walk outside and pick whatever I need for a salad or sandwich. And home-grown lettuce tastes better, too.

My back is almost back to normal now. During my most recent pregnancy, I had constant, debilitating pain in my lower back that got worse with any kind of exercise. I put up with it, figuring it would go away after the baby was born, but it didn’t, so I found a chiropractor, and he has really helped a lot. I’ve been doing Leslie Sansone walking videos to try to get back in shape. Three kids in four years does a number on one’s body.

I’m excited about a year-long women’s inductive Bible study I’ve joined. We’ll be studying the life of Jesus. It meets once a week at a large church, and there are classes for children during the study. D.L.F. and Cupcake love to go to their classes and do art projects and play with new toys. Once a month at the same church, I go to a mom’s group. A lot of my friends from my (small) church attend the Bible study and mom’s group, too, so it’s great to have time to fellowship with them.

T and I just started teaching Junior High Sunday School at our church. Neither of us have ever worked with Junior Highers before, so it’s a whole new experience and we definitely need the Lord’s help to know what to do!

I was a bridesmaid in my good friend’s wedding this past weekend. I took Baby with me, since she’s nursing. It was challenging trying to do the necessary bridesmaidly preparations while feeding and otherwise caring for an infant, not to mention the late-night rainy driving (T and the kids stayed home this time…normally he spoils me by doing all the driving on long trips so I can read or snooze), but it was totally worth it. My friend was truly a radiant, happy bride, and I’m very excited for her as she starts life together with her new husband.

T has been home sick for a few days with a bad cold. Hopefully, he’ll keep it to himself. 🙂

I haven’t been doing much else. Obviously, taking care of three little kids takes up most of my time. Everyone tells me this stage of life will go by so fast, and I believe it. “The days are long, but the years are short.”