Thursday, December 30, 2010


Where the rubber meets the road, where faith is put into practice. The idea is sparked on a mountain top, but it never goes as first planned. And here I am.

About six months ago, I determined to just trust God. All the time. Just trust. And I have, for the most part but there are times I want to grab a hold of that wheel and push Him back in the passenger seat.

Nothing significant to show for yet, but internally things are moving and changing. I didn't know how much growing I have to do. In the big picture God is keeping quiet but behind the scenes there is something always going on.

I am emotional, but I am happier. My angry times are shorter. I have peace. I laugh more...even though it can be rough. I am MUCH more forgiving. I am so excited to see the changes God has made in me. I like myself now. I am content yet awaiting the next move to make. I don't fear failure as much. I don't compare me to you, and all the other wonderful people out there. It's me and God. I like that.

It's blah now because I'm not on the mountain top, but I am in the middle of everyday. But I kinda like everyday now.

There are great books to read on success and how-to, but I think the most important thing for me to learn right now is to live everyday living. Paying bills, laundry, cooking dishes, diapers, errands, band-aids, fights, people, honey-do's, prayer requests, awaking and laying down at night. That is what I need to learn. Praise God.

Do what I need to do, when it needs to be done, praise God.
Pray about everything when I feel like worrying, praise God.
Stop complaining, praise God.
Don't put unnecessary restrictions or expectations on myself or others , praise God.
Ask for help, praise God.
Have fun, praise God.
And when I know what God has told me, know that I know, that I know, that I know that is. He is, praise God.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not My Finest Hour

This is for all you Moms that think you've messed up today. Can you beat this?

After taking the girls shopping for a jewelry box, and spending 25 minutes mulling over decorative boxes because my middle girl never can make up her mind immediately, getting home way too late and throwing some freshly purchased frozen pizzas in my filthy oven, and trying to pacify my hungry toddler for just a few more minutes, I asked my oldest two to pick up a game of dominoes (one of their Christmas presents).

Mind you, my living room is still piled high with presents and suitcases full of stuff to be put away. I have made progress, bit by bit, but not too much while my children are stirring. A few minutes later I ask my little angel if the dominoes are put away and she cheerfully responds that they were.

A bit more of time had passed when I was trying to organize some clothes, the kids were jumping on the bed (loudly) and I almost tripped over the tin box of dominoes that had been picked up, but without a lid and still in the middle of the floor. I snapped.

I kicked the box against the wall, dominoes flying, and started screaming. I picked them up and thew them in the trash, ordering them to either start picking up or go to bed without supper. Brookie, being her stubborn self, marched off to bed. Summer was petrified and stunned. She was too busy trying to figure out what went wrong to obey my threat. I sent her off to bed. Savannah said she left her watch in the car, which was parked in the garage, and did not find it the first two times I sent her to search for it. Meanwhile, I was screaming, throwing things, out of my mind mad. Max, my little partner in crime, mimicked my emotions and yelled right along with me.

Summer peeked out of her room. She had finally found a few words to say. In her seemingly fake sobs, she said, "Mom.......sniff, sniff,...I....I don't really feel loved right now....." oh no, child. I was furious. "YOU don't feel loved right now? What about ME? You completely ignored me when I told you to clean! I just bought you a jewelery box that took 25 figgin minutes to pick out and you don't feel loved? GET BACK IN THERE AND DON'T SAY ANYTHING TO ME UNLESS YOU ARE APOLOGIZING!"

I return to the trash can to retrieve the dominoes. They were a gift and I really couldn't throw them away. Savannah announced to me that she could not find the watch and I yelled, "well, you better ask God to help you because you are going to find it TONIGHT!" As I angrily dig through the coffee grinds, I hear her sweet prayer. Not more that two minutes later she's back with the watch. She then proceeds to give me a hug and says she's sorry for not listening.

About five minutes later, Summer did the same, followed by Brooke. They joined Max with pizza and giggles and more hugs than I deserved. At one point, I had to redirect Summer to eat at the table. She smiled, sat down, and "Mom, you aren't going to be pest again, are you?" Pest?....hmmmm. Oh, my. Yes, I said the "p" word and she caught it, sort of.

I love my family. We are all so very imperfect, but these children just don't seem to know what a grudge is. I never cease to learn from their innocent giggles and hugs, even immediately after a throw down. They frustrate me to no end...until their child like love takes over and fills me with more joy that one would think was possible. I love it that we all can talk about our failures and frustrations to learn from and in turn love...even more.

Monday, December 27, 2010

18 months...

Turning the lights on and off.
Pulling everything in reach out of the kitchen.
Pretending to read.
Wanting to help.
Food. ananas, onse, appe, suice, ilk, aaaa! aaaa! aaaa! (translation: anything sweet)
Hugs and kisses.
Mimiking about anything his sisters do.

I love this age. He can understand me and obey me. When I say, "shut the door", he shuts the door and has a smile that beams how proud he is. If only that would last.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Got the Christmas tree up 2 days before we left. I wonder how long it'll take to get it down?

The Christmas play! And those songs we've been listening to since OCTOBER!!!

Nose piercing.

Plaza lights, Sheridan's, and Pajamas.

Max dancing in the kitchen to Christmas songs.

Gingerbread houses at Exploration Place.

Children's gift exchange shopping at Wal-Mart....Baby Alive, guitar, Baby Alive, and Barbie Mermaids....

Two weeks at Grandma's Two. Weeks. I'll bet Grandma and Grandpa are partying it up tonight...or cleaning.

Lots of tears. Ellie moved :(

Baking peppernuts, cookie cake, chocolate covered pretzels, puppy chow, chex mix. And eating a lot.

Spring Rolls for Christmas dinner!

Saying Goodby? or Hello? to the Driggers.

Catching up with Dana Banana!

Good Night, GorillaGoodnight Gorilla.

More tears.

Shower! Wedding! Gift opening at the Warkentine House!

Christmas Eve at Ebenfeld and Suderman family Christmas.


Extended Suderman shower!

Remembering that the best place to be is where Sook is. But so very thankful for a wonderful family when we can't be together. Praying for more favorable circumstances.

Even more thankful that God is always near and very dependable. Even to the point of Jesus leaving his throne and entering earth as a baby. The blessings of this sacrifice touch me several times daily. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Happy Holidays and blessings to my friends and family!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Few More Thoughts on Loving God

As I was taking a shower, I was thinking about yesterday's post and hoped no one took it like I think love is the answer to everything- that we don't have responsibilities of conduct or should never have war or confront an enemy. I also cannot emphasize enough how essential the Bible's wisdom is. But still, loving God is reading His word and loving people is confronting evil.

Even though I in saying this I am admitting that I do watch Glee on occasion (because I like the music numbers), here is a quote that is stuck in my head:
"With the exception of parents, nothing messes up a person like High School". Yikes! Glee thinks parents are worse than High School?

Even though I was raised as a Christian, I am burdened with things that don't add up. One of them is that there seems to be a contradiction with the verse, "train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." and the stats of how many young adults leave the church. Some may be quick to judge the individual that left, but that is not what the verse says. It was instructing the parent, not the child.

If I were to teach my children that they should wake up every morning and draw purple polka dots on their legs, eventually they would see how ridiculous that was and stop... for good!

I'm wondering if many young people are told the laws of the Bible without having the love for God. That really isn't "the way he should go", and he may see how ridiculous following a bunch of laws are and leave for good. Not because he is ignorant, but he sees through pointless religion. However, I don't think that the answer is turning your back on God, but the answer is turning your back on the laws and running toward God.

If this is true, parents can make a difference in how their children understand God by making Him real to them. For instance, praying for courage when she is scared, asking for the fruit of the spirit on a bad day, and praising God when something exciting happens. The power of the faith of a child is a beautiful thing to witness! And when they make their faith, that grows through their love for God, as a part of their everyday lives, it will be very hard to part from that. At least it is for me.

Having said that, I will be the last to throw stones at any parent. It is a hard job and even when you do things by the book, some will still leave. My children are still young and I would not want to write their future now and have egg on my face later! However, it is this very thing that drives me to find out what I can do to show them the joy a person can have just loving God.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


In being a parent and being a child of a parent, a wife, and employee, a church member, and a friend, I have come to the conclusion that much of your happiness depends on what your expectations are.

If they are too high then you are unhappy when they are not met. If they are too low, you can't enjoy the fruit of the work put into it!

If you expect your children to make you look good, you will be miserable. In doing this, we are putting someone else's expectations on your children. How unfair! Like when we expect our children to stay still at the DMV because a stranger may give you a dirty look.
After Savannah was born, I couldn't believe how hard motherhood was! Yet we kept adding children and somehow we made it through. The fourth has been the easiest! Could it be that it is because I wasn't expecting to get adequate sleep, I was more content? I knew how messy they are? I didn't care if he walked at 10 months or talked by 14?

Being a recovering discouraged perfectionist, I can recognize how many times I have put unrealistic expectations on my family and friends. Every time...disappointment. I also thought God's expectations of me were more than I could do, and then I was disappointing God and was a failure. God's expectations would be too high for us if it weren't for Jesus. But thankfully we have Jesus!

Abraham and his family received a promise. God promised that Abraham would receive the world. It would not come to him because he obeyed the law. It would come because of his faith, which made him right with God.

Do those that obey the law receive the promise? If they do, faith would have no value. God’s promises would be worthless. The law brings God’s anger. Where there is no law, the law cannot be broken.

Romans 4:13-15 NIrV

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

1 Corinthians 10:23 NKJV

From what I can see, God's plan is very simple! We are the ones that complicate it!! But he knew that we would so, through his servants, He wrote a very detailed Bible. One with stories to relate to, one with beautiful poetry and extraordinary wisdom. It was complete with drama, history, genealogy and prophecy. Interesting yet useful. But to put it simply, this is what it comes down to is this:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, love your neighbor as yourself.

Mark 12:30-31 NKJV

With what I have experienced so far, I conclude that if these two commandments are made a sincere priority in all of life, everything else will fall into place.

As far as the expectations I have for other people, I think that it would be best if I only set expectations that are necessary. I expect the girls to be quiet at night because there are so many in such a small area, we need to be respectful of other's sleep. That makes sense. But they are children and they will need to be loud and crazy sometimes!

I expect and effort involving the time and quality when doing schoolwork, but I cannot expect that they will always be good at everything.

I expect that they treat each other with respect by talking out their arguments, knowing they will have arguments.

I expect that they care about their hygiene and appearance, fully aware that we might not share preferences in style.

God wants a relationship with us to show us what he made us to do. Only he can tell us that. Listening to unrealistic expectations of others may limit our potential. But when someone does, we have the freedom in Christ to look to Him for our plum line and give grace to those that judge unreasonably. For we are all human.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What I Want

A few months ago, I had a positive pregnancy test. That's not a good thing since I had a tubal ligation after Max was born. It was either a tubal pregnancy or a miscarriage.

I was overwhelmed by the feeling of guilt. Did I do the wrong thing? It made a whole lot of sense at the time to prevent another pregnancy but..... I cried a lot. I asked God to somehow save this baby. Even if I didn't want it at the time, I would be thankful for him or her someday. However, I am not pregnant, so whatever that was did not result in a new child, at least not here on earth.

During this confusing time, God asked me, "what do you want?"

Good question. I didn't know how to answer that. I'm used to just going where life takes me. I needed some time to think about that. The last two months have been full of soul searching.

Many circumstances have changed. This is not the way I thought it would go. Ever.

Do you have moments where you just know something is going to happen- not because you will it to happen but when everything just seems to fall into place in an uncanny way? That's what's happening. Now I want what seems to be happening to happen, but there is not evidence of it...just a hunch...or a leading...

Ellie is moving. I just came to a point where I was so busy that she is probably better off with my parents. I'm sure that I will be relieved, but yet miss her terribly. Sook's business took a hit and he's not sure he wants to replace the work. He's thinking about changing careers. So it dawned on me one day, why not move? We can then still see Ellie and help out my parents (and they can maybe help us out too! nights??) I started to get excited.

Then I thought, where would I love to live? Maybe near my Grandma's place? I'd have to build a house? I had just told Sook that I didn't ever want to build. Not like we can afford it anyway, but just for the heck of it I started looking at housing plans and saw ONE out of hundreds that I loved within 20 minutes. But after analyzing it for a few days I thought that some of the rooms looked a little small...and then found the exact same house plan only bigger!!!   I can see myself in it..the dining room would be an art room instead and the living room would be a music room. I'd also want a plant room on the side of the nook. But that won't happen right away. Maybe never, but it's just so uncanny. Oh, and I've looked at the land I'm interested in building it- love it. (I'm also picking out paint and flooring just so I'll be ready if and when..)

I have written a children's book series on cooking over the last few years, not for the intention of publishing, but it was fun for the kids. It has just been hanging over my head, always coming back to my mind..I should just go ahead and send it in.. I finally got one book sent to a publisher! It may be that this will be my first rejection, but still, I sent it! And while I was searching for publishers that take unsolicited submissions, I ran across a book contest for adult readers so I entered it, too. If nothing else, I'm having a great time. I'm hoping it's more, though.

I want my husband to love his job.
Financial freedom.
Time with extended family.
Resources to help others.
Wide open spaces!
To be content.
To travel.
To have the freedom to love life, doing what I love with those I love.

It is much clearer to me now. So, now we wait. And pray. And get my house ready to sell just in case Sook would find a great job in that neck of the woods. And brace myself to leave my home and friends here.

Oh, and as for more babies? I am completely content with my four. Although if a miracle happened, we would love it. Just not more tubal pregnancies, please.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Reason...

Okay, I don't want to spill my guts completely for my children's sake, but I'd like to say this...

I LOVE homeschooling. For many reasons. I don't think you should...unless you want to. But I want to. And I don't think it's any one's business as long as I am actually schooling. And I am.

It doesn't matter what school district I live in. Mine is in the top 16% in the country. I might change my mind, but there is a good chance my kids will learn at home until graduation.

I'm pretty sure I was a weird kid. I probably still am weird.:) There were other factors about my situation that made people wonder about me, but I can't talk about it. So, I didn't really fit in. But I didn't know it until I started the first grade! And since my students share my DNA, they have a good chance of being like me. I am not bitter, but I do remember many sleepless, tearful nights.

I want my kids to realize how wonderful and special they were made. Oh, please. Not for self-confidence, but to honor God and to enjoy their uniqueness. They have talents that they may never recognize if someone tells them they did a bad job, or can't see past the backwards numbers, or continually reward others that didn't try as hard just because they are more likable.

I wonder how things would have been different for me if no one would have told me that I wasn't smart? What if I could have learned at home at my own pace, focusing on the things I was good at?

So, it kinda peeves me when people are concerned about my children's social life. Social life? You mean the social life that tells you what kind of clothes to wear and what kind of music to listen to and what activities you should be in? Or the one that teaches them to ignore someone who isn't so cool or to assume the new kid is mean? Or is it the one that our main goal should be to impress others so that we can get ahead in life? Ironically, my kids that don't have near the social teaching are the ones pursuing friends at the playground...yes, my kids. The ones whose mother would rather not open up to a stranger or mingle with a crowd. And yes, I know, they are not perfect. They can be mean too. Just sayin.

Okay, I probably just ticked someone off. I am going to go back to the fact that this is a personal experience and a personal decision for me.

And this is only one reason. I. Love. Homeschooling.

I don't do it because I'm mad at someone from the past, but my past does influence my decisions today.

Oh- and by the way, I do have great memories, too. And great friends. And I am just fine. But so are my kids.

This morning I looked around past my mess and at my five. Three were sitting in the living room working independently. Two were wearing leotards. One was in a dress and patterned tights doing a cartwheel every two minutes.
One was subtracting. Out loud, she was imagining word problems that went along with her math.
One was problem solving aloud. In a professional secretary-like manner.
One made meatballs. And peeled potatoes.
One was dumping my spices out on the floor. (can you guess which one?)
And my pre-schooler was still in pj's giving me her charging hugs every once and a while.

I. Love. Homeschooling. I'm hooked.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Go Nuts!

I can't find the connector thingy that puts pictures on the computer so no pictures until I find it.

My kids are making me listen to the Christmas Station on the radio, so I am forced to listen to John Tesh. He made me feel guilty about using the real names and faces of my kids. I'm not going to change any names, but I might tone down the pictures, at least until this guilt wears off. Or until I find my USB.

While I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw a huge display of nuts in the shell. Impulsively, I bought them along with the nut cracker kit. I got so excited with the idea of teaching the kids about what the nuts looked like before they were shelled. I also knew how much fun they would have trying to open the nuts.

Just I had planned, Savannah spent nearly 45 minutes cracking open nuts, digging them out, and trying them.

In my plans, however, I forgot to take into account that I have a 17 month old that turns everything into a ball. He climbed on top of the table and started pitching the nuts in every direction- against the window, under the couch, and OUCH! at Mama.

It was educational and fun. And, as always, comical. Go nuts.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exshausted From Thinking

I crashed today.

I've been consumed for the last week with eclectic emotions. Grief. Pain for those pained. Anger. Peace.
Excitement for what may lie ahead. Driven. A desire to right the wrongs. Soaking up all the wonderful moments from the holiday.


When and how much should I put myself into someone, and when is it best to let it go.

I thought I was done crying, but I need one more really good cry.

My High School friend died the most tragic death I could dare to imagine. As the memories ran through my head, I'm haunted by the words "I'll be there for you.." that we heard over and over to Chicago and back on tape? or radio? I'm not sure. After that road trip, I went to college and left her behind. And she must have needed people, not that she didn't have friends, but sometimes an old friend that knew you way back when is an asset. As I looked at her lifeless body, she was nothing like the young innocent child who took her first drink after our prompting. The one who encouraged me through my toughest year in High School. The one who discouraged our cliquish gossip. Yet, when you know someone, you always know someone. At least something about them. Maybe even something her more recent friends didn't know.

Does this change the way I want to treat my friends? You betcha. Wow, the thinking I've done.

Tomorrow my Great Aunt Verna will be buried. I can't go to the funeral. She was a wonderful woman. I didn't go to her sister's either. She was my Grandma Friday. I didn't say good-by to my Grandma Friday. I had the flu, and so did Savannah, then 7 months old. She wasn't the same either. She wasn't the Grandma that I loved to go stay the night with, no matter how tiny her house was. The one that gave us Tony's pizza and canned peaches. The one that always stocked her refrigerator with cases of pop in hopes that we would come by to drink them. The one who would talk to me on the phone. She was so old, just a shell of the woman I remembered. Aunt Verna reminded me of her, though. Now they dance together.

I would like to move to land that my Grandparent' s owned. That may or may not happen. Either way, the thought is exciting! Seven years ago, when she was still alive, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Now a legacy seems important.

People are gifts. Grace makes them beautiful.

I love what Ecclesiastes says.

For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,
And they have no more reward,
For the memory of them is forgotten.

Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished;
Nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun.

Go, eat your bread with joy,
And drink your wine with a merry heart;
For God has already accepted your works.

Let your garments always be white,
And let your head lack no oil.

Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
I returned and saw under the sun that

The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understand,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.

For man also does not know his time;
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-12

From my thoughts, this is what I have the confidence to share:

Fall in love with God. Know Him, listen to Him, worship Him, and follow Him. Follow His plan, knowing that people are always part of that plan. Tune out anything that contradicts that plan. Put all of your eggs in one basket. Get excited about it, and don't be ashamed.

Don't try to win anything, just give your best in everything. Winning may or may not accompany your efforts, but blessings will. Do the things you love, for those are the things God as "put in your heart to do". Make your self vulnerable. God loves you, and nothing you do can strengthen or weaken that love, so don't ever try to. Just try to let others know that they are loved, too.

Laughing is okay. Doing fun things is okay. Girlfriends are okay. Buying nice things within your budget is okay. Being passionate is okay. Eating ice cream is okay. Dreaming is okay.

And finally, if you want to leave this world with a positive legacy, the best way is just to leave that up to God. For if you want to be used for the good, He will take you up on that!

I wish you the peace that God intends for every person under the sun.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This is one of my all time favorite pictures. Funny how I just happened to run across it yesterday.

The Cheerleadi.
Riding the bus to games.
Painting signs.
Late to gymnastics. Again.
Cheer camp.
Post-game cruising.
Tattoos for prom.
You are my friend, you are my friend. You're a very special person, you are my friend.
Makeover in Mac.
Driving to Chicago to the tune of "Friends", digging for coins.
Cherry Limeades
Pizza Hut.
HHS tights.
Twinkle fingers.
And more.
Your friendship was genuine...which can be hard to find.

Even though our lives took us in different directions, you all are not far from my thoughts.
I hope the pain goes away, but that I will never forget the reminder to value the good times, love those close to me, love those not so close to me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

If You Let Wendi Clean Your Bathroom

If you let Wendi clean your bathroom,

she'll start by collecting cleaning stuff. She may or may not be able to find a clean rag to scrub with.

After she finally finds a rag, she will attempt various cleaning agents. Eventually she will conclude she might as well just scrub the entire shower with Comet.

When the entire shower has been scrubbed, she will attempt to turn on the shower and rinse the Comet away. The shower cannot reach every spot where the comet is, so she will alternate rinsing and wiping with her lone rag until every last speck of Comet has been washed down the drain.

When she is sure that all of the Comet has been rinsed, she will then follow up with Windex. When she is Windexing the glass doors, she sees gunk stuck in the little crevices of corners. She leaves the bathroom to get a bamboo skewer, when Max follows her back to the bathroom.

When Max joins her in the bathroom, he will attempt to unroll the entire roll of toilet paper so Wendi will remove the toilet paper roll and put it up high on the windowsill.

As she puts the toilet paper on the window sill, she notices spots of paint on her wood work. Then she will go to get a Magic Eraser. She will scrub with the Magic Eraser, but will not be able to get all of the paint off, so she will get a razor blade.

Max will entertain himself by opening and shutting the shower door, so she will dry the floor of the shower in order to keep Max from falling.

After the window sill is paint free, Wendi will clean the toilet. When she cleans the toilet, she notices how dirty the floor is. She looks for her rag. When she cannot find her rag, she will leave and go find another. When a fresh rag is found, she will spray the floor with ammonia, and scrubs every last millimeter of floor. Then she will hope that the ammonia didn't mix with the Clorox spray.

While she is scrubbing the floors, she notices more paint on the base boards, so she gets her Magic Eraser and razor blade to scrape off the paint on the base boards. She will probably be on all 4's squeezed between the shower and the toilet when Max climbs on her back and walks back and forth from her back to the toilet lid, her back to the toilet lid.

While Max is climbing on the toilet, he may notice the toilet paper on the window sill above the toilet and climb up the toilet tank.

When he climbs up the toilet tank, Wendi is forced to stop her paint scraping. She will pick him up, toss him on the bed.

As she walks back into the bathroom, she will see all the dirt on the white door to the bathroom. She will take about 5 minutes to find where she left her Magic Eraser, and then wipe down the door. By this time, Max will have probably made it back to the shower.

When Max climbs back in the shower, Wendi will need to shut the door and lock him in there until her cleaning is done.

Once Wendi finds her rag once again, she will need to rinse it out one more time and wipe everything down. She will want to put away all of her cleaning things, and get Max out of the shower.

2.5 hours later, the smallest room in the house is clean.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The worst thought to wake up to:

I have nothing to feed the kids for breakfast!!!

So though a little out of the box, not too much but coffee cake is not a typical breakfast for us. I get out the recipe....notice we have all of the ingredients....start making.

I ask Brookie to help since she is the chef for this month. She measured the sugar and flour and unwrapped the butter while I did a few dishes leftover from the night before. The others were dancing to Veggie Tales Dance Dance Dance.I thought I was a genius.

Until I realize I was confusing two different recipes and had only added 1/2 cup sugar but the correct recipe called for 2 cups. Big difference. So I did a few things a little out of order.

Brookie is 4. She is not the neatest of my chefs, but she gets an A for effort. She measured, I mixed. She cracked the eggs, I fished out the eggshells. We both snitched. Somehow amidst the chaos of getting drinks, doing dishes, and managing my preschooler, I missed the fact that Max had dropped 3 eggs on the floor, was sitting in a pool of raw eggs, and munching on the eggshells.

I started to clean them up and threw the eggshells in the trash. As I went to get a rag to clean out the rest, he was retrieving the shells from the trashcan! I took him to the tub and asked one of the older girls to sit with him, which kept him occupied until the cake was mixed up.

After the cake was in the oven, I got him dressed. The older girls are very proud of the fact they are able to put a diaper on him themselves. I am very happy to have the help.

Back in the kitchen, my clean Max climbed up on the folding chair Brooke had used to cook. As I walked in I saw him dumping out an entire box of baking soda.

I threw up my hands. Pop tarts from now on. (kidding)

The finished cake had a peak as tall as a mountain on it, but it was good. Savannah said it tasted like coffee. ?

On the bright side, Brooke learned how to measure flour. I know this will benefit me some day.

P.S. I thought about snapping a few pics, but was afraid what would happen if I went to go find my camera...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Taking A Deep Breath!

Thank you to all of you who, despite yesterday's post, are still returning to read this. I wrote it purely for my own venting and I fully understand that if I am going to blog something others might read it and not very many people enjoy reading about complaining. But I think there still is some value to this- at least to me so maybe I can bless someone else as well.

Are you like me? I am on a roller coaster ride of emotions most of the time-either super excited about something and extremely positive or I crash. During my crashing times I need order and a clutter free environment, physically and mentally. And that just does not happen here! Then I resort to something creative which usually makes a bigger mess!

During those really down times, I am so thankful to know that my reality is not God's reality! I'm sure God is shaking his head saying, "there she goes again!" But He still loves me and knows I'll come around and He will be waiting there.

Pastor said something that is very thought provoking the other day. I hope I say this right. He said it is almost better to be immature spiritually than mature. If you are too mature, then you don't rely on the power given to us through the Holy Spirit. (e.g. Peter before Pentecost vs. Peter after Pentecost) That is very relieving to me because I remind myself of a two year old during my down times.

I have thought of a few more ways I could de-clutter. I took Savannah out to lunch. Just her and I. She said, "this is one of the best times with us together." We didn't have school, I took a teacher's mental health day and we cleaned instead. The girls are so much better at helping now.

I still want a bigger house with more bedrooms, a pantry, and more closet space. Until that happens, however, I will (try to) be content.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

States Update

My children are noticing state symbols and states on license plates, but you know we've got states on the brain when one announces, "Hey Mom! This chicken strip looks like Mississippi!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The States Part 1

I have a vision of making a book about each state. We will research them and write down some facts and make a nice little book. Someday.

Until then, we have started learning about these United States through more everyday avenues. Brookie got this puzzle for her birthday last year and everyone loves it. It talks when you put the puzzle piece on, stating the name of the state and it's capitol. Each piece also has a symbol of the state. If your children do not know what a symbol is, you can play a game. Let's call it the symbol game.

You describe a symbol and they guess what the symbol is for. For example: Golden arches, a red target, or stars and stripes. Then they can try.

What are the symbols for your state? Kansas' are the sunflower, buffalo, wheat, cottonwood trees, meadowlarks, etc.

We also look at license plates. Sometimes they have symbols on them, too.

We have a jar of state quarters. I made a list of all the states and as we collect the quarters, we write what symbol is on each quarter.

It's a start! (and it's kinda fun)


This is just what's on my mind right now.

Perfect peace, in my mind, is just doing what is right and going about life knowing it will be okay.
But is okay good enough? And when okay is not good enough and we start thinking about how can we make okay better and then start to worry and the peace is gone.

We are told to make plans and work hard to achieve goals but living in that mindset just gives me unrest.

So I just become "okay" to whatever life hands me and live with less than I could have. Not that having a lot will make me happier, but having a little more may just make my life a little easier. I can handle not-so-easy things in life on certain days of the month, but the others....look out. Sometimes it is better just to go with the easier route, as long as your conscience lets you. (No, I will not send my children to school just to make my life easier. NOT that I think anyone is a bad parent if they do, it is just my personal decision that I will not forsake.)

Oh, but wait. I believe in God and He will take care of me. Absolutely. But there still is a balance somewhere between having faith and doing.

Finding that balance between achieving my dreams and staying at peace. That is what I wish for tonight.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Brain

I have more photos from Ellie's crazy fun birthday, but it took so darn long to put them on here. AND I lost a little excitement when we had a hard time re-acclimating to a normal not-so-fun life.

After the super duper day at the Arch, we went to the Butterfly House, came home from St. Louis, Ellie went and spent a few days with Grandma, and then we came to get her. Our visit included a trip to the pumpkin patch. Then I had to tell her "YOUR BIRTHDAY IS OFFICIALLY OVER!" and crashed.

I have about 10,000 things to do in this house but what I really want to do is shine my pennies we soaked in vinegar.

And the craziest thing of all (drum roll)
Never in a million years would I have ever decided it would be better to move back "home", but it suddenly sounds completely appealing. It hit me two or three days ago that my life would be so much easier...and why wouldn't I like easier? At this point, the only thing I would miss are really, really good friends. We shall see how the cards fall. Maybe in a week I'll go back to "not in a million years".

You know, I get so excited about home school and over plan. Then I get frustrated and worried and turn into a monster. Then I can't understand why everyone is fighting. Even Max is getting out spoons from the kitchen and spanking everyone....not that I ever would do that! ;)Now I'm back to simplifying. They really do learn more that way. I wish I could remember that somehow.

I was so filled with joy yesterday and today....blah. Go figure.

To summarize: Simplify. Don't always think the hard way is the best way. Fun times are hard work. Do what you want with that bit of info. Night.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And Her Children Call Her Blessed

I know your children are the best in your world. Mine are the best in mine.

Yeah, they make me crazy but the blessings make all the bad times fade.

I had an impromptu meeting today, just because they were blessing my socks off.

Savannah had been striving...working so hard with school and then turned into a mad scientist afterwards. I told her she could do anything she wanted because she had worked so hard. She decided that science experiments are the best thing you could ever spend your time on. We made plastic and cleaned pennies with vinegar, but she didn't think any of the experiments from the book was not good enough. So she made up her own. I didn't understand it so I just let her go at it. Apparently she accomplished whatever it was she set out to do.

Ellie has been drawing pictures. I don't understand what they are for, but she shows them to me with such enthusiasm! Then she does a perfect handstand and I want to cry.

Summer was a princess/musketeer/chef/singer/dancer/gymnast. She was doing flips around the monkey bars outside, singing about as loudly as possible, her Christmas songs about Jesus. Sorry neighbors, I just won't tell her to pipe it down.

Brookie spend the day with Daddy and was walking on air.. even though she said they went to a boring place. They brought home ice cream. What a treat. Brookie...the things that come out of her mouth.

Max, let's just face it. He's a boy and the youngest. Everything he does is cute.

So I sat them down and blessed them. To each one, "YOU are blessed and WE are blessed to have you in this family!" And a few words about their specialness as well. They each wanted to bless Max.

After it was all done, Brooke says, "I want to say something about you."
"Okay," I say.
"I like what you did today. And I wish you were a kangaroo."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Checked Out.

Summer dear,

You are talking but I can't hear you. The answer is "yes" to whatever you want, as long as I don't have to get up. The answer is "I don't know" if you want any knowledge from me. If I don't answer...I forgot my clever response. I can't think and talk at the same time. I'm not lazy, I am just done. Oh, and I love you.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Birthday Fun Part 2

The Gateway Arch

St. Louis Science Center

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crazy Birthday Fun Part 1

Birthdays are a big deal here...not really with presents but just celebration.

We started off with a trip to St. Louis to visit family. We finally found a time to visit and it happened to be near Ellie's birthday!

Part 1: The Magic House

Summer trying to be a serious judge

Climbing the beanstalk

mmmmmm. I was so hungry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dairy Tour

One of the best ways to educate children on food and nutrition is to introduce farm to table foods.
Food is very interesting, whether it's growing it, preparing it, eating it, or even metabolizing that gets you excited there probably is at least one aspect of food that you or your children can get interested in.

We recently visited a local dairy farm, Shatto Dairy.

The tour was exactly the farm to table concept. If you decide to go, check and double check the route. Getting there was a bit of a challenge for us.

Thank you to Karlye for organizing this! It was a great day that the kids still are talking about!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Deep Thought For Today

Most emotions have a good side and an ugly side. Pride has a very ugly side.

It's good to be proud to be an American or proud of your children (within reason).

Ugly pride builds senseless walls, it is hurtful, and it stops us from becoming better people.

It just makes us look stupid.

It is a time waster.

It is a dream killer.

It's embarrassing when I think how ugly it looks on me, for I have worn it too often.

It also robs us of a beautiful relationship with God.

Pride is ugly, humility is lovely.

We are all people. People are both beautiful and flawed.

Humble people admit their shortcomings and are thankful for their strengths. They look to God to see their incredible value, not from other people.

That reminds me of this book
.You Are Special [With CD] [YOU ARE SPECIAL ANNIV/E -OS]

Proverbs 13:10
By pride comes nothing but strife,
But with the well-advised comes wisdom.

Don't be driven by pride. You are too beautiful to waste your life on something so ugly.

Friday, October 15, 2010

39 Reasons Why I Love Him

1. His name is Sook. He says it's like "John" in Laos, but in America it is "what?"
2. I've always like dark skin.
3. He looks good with no hair.
4. He looks kinda mean....unless he smiles, then I just want to go pinch his cheeks and kiss 'em.
5. He likes me.
6. He loves Jesus.
7. He can play the guitar.
8. He can box.
9. His smile. He has a big mouth.
10. He makes me laugh.
11. He is content.
12. He can relate to an introvert.
13. He makes beautiful kids.
14. He is a great dad.
15. He can play drums.
16. He can admit when he is wrong.
17. When he is not wrong, he stands his ground.
18. He is loyal.
19. He is my friend.
20. He is not perfect.
21. He knows I'm not perfect, and he is okay with that.
22. He buys me Pepsi.
23. He works hard so I can stay at home.
24. He values family.
25. He is healthy.
26. He is thankful.
27. He loves the USA.
28. He trusts me.
29. He is okay with no TV, no video games.
30. He gets me.
31. He makes me feel safe.
32. He makes me feel smart and valuable.
33. The kids love him.
34. He is a great cook.
35. He does laundry and dishes.
36. He understands when I need help and does not complain.
37. He understands that I have a very had job and values it.
38. He will work through any difficult situation.
39. He is my husband, and he does the best that he knows how at it. I love him more than ever!

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Call Me Crazy

 Our theme this month is the cirlcle of life. At the park the other day, I told them they could play but they had to find one thing relating to the circle of life. We came home with a bag full of walnuts, hedge apples, acorns, and leaves.
We saw walnuts on the tree, green walnuts, brown walnuts, rotting walnuts, and walnuts that just had the hard middle shell remaining. The same was found with the acorns and hedge apples. One had been partially eaten. Ellie suggested that we sit in a circle and look at them. I have not had a chance to do that yet, so I put them in a pretty bowl as decoration until the time is right.

Look at all the beautiful textures and patterns! I love it. It attracted some gnats since we have left the door open quite a bit lately, so I sprayed it with Eight. It seems to have worked.

And the leaves....

We have a leaf bowl, reserved for only the most beautiful leaves.

My day is a little happier when I stumble across something so beautiful and available yet unseen by so many such as a beautiful orange leaf. I was excited to use my beautiful bowl, too!

We were able to work in conversations about the circle of life as well. I enjoyed this one a little more than the dead turtle we found with maggots crawling out of the cracked shell. From dust we came, and to dust we shall return.....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lunch Idea

I was trying to find out if the original of this recipe was in the old Ebenfeld cookbook- but I can't find it! *GASP* Mennonites are pretty good cooks! I need to have it in my collection!

Oh wait! I think it was in my Mom's "Meals at the Field" cookbook. Excellent for harvest time. It is also excellent for a busy day just at home.

1. Tear a piece of foil for every serving.
2. Form hamburger patties. I stick to the rule that a serving of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand...or the palm of whomever is going to eat it. Place each patty in the middle of the foil squares.
3. Slice veggies. Onions, carrots, and potatoes. I added broccoli for color and to add a little more nutrition.

4. Place veggies over patties. (This is where the kiddos can help)
5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring sides of foil up to wrap in food, leaving a small gap for steam to escape.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. I would check it around 45 minutes, though. I thought mine got a little done.

Be careful when you open these for steam. Let cool a bit before serving.

Easy cleanup!

Rainy Day Clay

Improvising....we do that a lot around here!

The girls found a recipe for "Sunny Day Clay" that they wanted to try, and when we finally get a chance, it's raining.

Therefore, we made "Rainy Day Clay" instead:

2 cups baking soda
1 cup corn starch
1-1/4 cups water

Heat on medium heat and stir until it looks like mashed potatoes. Cool.
Divide and add food coloring. Here is a chance to teach kneading the color into the clay, similar to kneading bread.
Form in a ball, push down with the heel of your hand, then fold and repeat until color is even.

For Sunny Day Clay, you let the sun dry it out. For Rainy Day Clay, place on a greased baking sheet and put the oven at about 200 degrees for about an hour or however long it takes. The colors faded a little but it did dry out.

I like to have a "superstar" necklace around to have someone wear if they do something incredible- like give up their toy so someone else could play or care about how someone is feeling.

Our last one broke so I made one today. I just made the letters backwards and then rolled the bead over it. Then I used a bamboo skewer to poke holes in them.
It worked!!! Yay!!!!