Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Grandpa Stacy and Grandma Carol like to stop by our house for a few hours before our annual fundraising auction for our bible camp. And with them usually comes a fun, kid-friendly project to make and donate...something cute and edible. Here's what happened on our kitchen island the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

DJ had also been working on these hotpads to donate to the auction, too (with some help from sisters now and then).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancake Mix

These are a wonderful variation from the typical pancake. And you can make them in a jiffy with this easy mix you make ahead.

4 cups old-fashioned oats

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 3 cups wheat and 1 cup white)

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup packed brown sugar (I usually do 2/3 - 3/4 cup)

1 cup instant nonfat dry milk

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons cinnamon

5 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


2 eggs

1/3 cup canola oil (I have substituted half of this with unsweetened applesauce)

2 cups pancake mix

1 cup water

1. Mix all ingredients together well. Store in a sealed gallon-size plastic storage bag or airtight container. Yield: 10 cups of pancake mix.

2. To make pancakes, beat eggs in a large bowl. Gradually beat in oil. Alternately add pancake mix and water to mixture. Blend well. Preheat and oil griddle. Pour 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Pour 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto griddle. Cook until bubbles form around edges, turn and continue to cook until done. Yield: about 10 pancakes.

This makes up to five batches of pancakes and is great to give as a gift along with a printed recipe.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Boys in action

Any idea who this might be?

Yep. It's Levi with a wig on. He got quite a kick out of seeing himself in the mirror like this!

Kade's favorite new item to carry around - popsicle sticks! And this is how I usually see DJ when I have my camera ready. He's running by.Or he's making volacanoes early in the busy he doesn't even have time to get dressed! Or he could be taking pictures with my camera....multiple pictures of random items such as his math papers. I picked only the choicest of the many!

Or I get something like this. He's getting tricky!

Food is for least some of the time

I don't know how it is at your house, but at my house, meals aren't always a culinary experience! And when I say "culinary experience," I'm speaking of it in a very positive light! In fact, sometimes, it's just about getting leftovers out of the fridge, cooking the fastest meal possible to ease hungry little tummies, or scrounging together whatever we have in our near-empty fridge to make a meal.

Now, I would like to make every meal not only a delight to the taste buds, but also one to the eyes. But, I've accepted the fact that it's not always to be. Sure, many days I manage to get it all right, and everyone around the table seems to savor every morsel, but there are moments when we just have to realize that food doesn't have to be all about our enjoyment and entertainment

I think our society actually makes it very hard for eaters to be thankful for something that is merely nourishment and isn't perhaps the most delicious thing ever eaten. (Note: I don't believe nourishment excludes delicious, rather it can be quite the opposite!) With "have it your way" fast food, to the myriads of grocery store choices, to the many times a month an average family eats out, we have grown a society that finds it difficult to give thanks if we have to eat the same meal two weeks in a row (or maybe twice in one week!!), or if we have leftovers frequently, or if the new food or recipe just isn't something that would make our mouths water if it were made again.

Just in case you wondered...this case of culinary disappointment never surfaces at our house! :) (note sarcasm) But I'm hoping to figure out ways to help my children give thanks...for those fantastic meals and those not so fantastic meals. I want us to learn balance...that we can totally be thrilled in God's amazing creativity to have made so many foods for us to enjoy, experiment with, combine, etc., but I also want us to realize that we live not for food merely to selfishly enjoy, but rather food enables us to live...and to live a life pleasing to our Father.

Yeah...maybe a weird post, but this topic has been on my mind. You know, I'm actually feeling kind of hungry. Some popcorn sounds good!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


It was late last night, while holding a Kade who wasn't able to sleep without me, that I discovered this wonderful website (recommended by an author of a mommy blog).

I sat and read article after article, feeling encouraged, challenged, convicted, and ready. Ready to train my children better than I have been, especially my young children. It's not as if I haven't been training at all, but I needed the practical scenarios she gave so that I could actually "picture" doing it with my children. We've worked on coming when called, obeying happily, obeying when told "no", sitting quietly, and so on, but I feel like I haven't been quite as focused on this as needed. I know these early years are crucial years. I know we'll avoid many troubles if we can work on happy obedience right now!!

So today, I am keeping more of a keen eye for any situations that arise...half-hearted obedience, pouting, and whining. I worked with Kade on coming when called and realized I've really waited too long! (nothing irreparable) but he is certainly capable of understanding, following through each and every time, AND being willfully stubborn!

The title of this website is a little quirky, but she explains this concept quite well, and it's a great word picture! Several key points for me:

1. Listen to the mommy radar (if my child is irritating me it's probably not because he's just being childish but rather there's some training that needs to be done.)

2. Don't give up. They'll eventually get it, even if we must practice over and over and over, until they get a happy attitude or obey, or whatever. Just make sure that I LAST LONGER!

3. Keep my children close at all times until I feel like I can trust them. Keep a close eye on any situations of the slightest disobedience or wrong attitude. (I generally keep Levi and Kade on the same floor with me. DJ gets more freedom but I still have him close by for much of the time).

4. This kind of training will ensure no yelling, major frustration, emotional spankings, but rather a household of children who are happy to obey and children and parents who can really enjoy one another. (This is my goal).

Anyway, I'm thankful for the words of wisdom from this website (she has a book, too) and I'm praying for diligence to train my children and not lower my expectations to meet the world's ideas of children and their behavior.

Sometimes it's so easy to ignore disobedience or only deal with an action, or give up because they're not getting it right away because of all the daily things calling. But I remind myself that school work, laundry put away, scrap booking time, meals on time....all are nice but they are nothing in comparison to training my children to be obedient, for obedience to their parents teaches them obedience to their Heavenly Father.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sick or Teething or Maybe Both

I remember hearing a mother of four say she would have probably had more children if it weren't for the fact that kids get sick. Well, I don't think that sickness necessarily halts my desire for more, but on days like today I can certainly relate.

I love being a mom and most of the time I'm even happy to do what that entails. But I would never make a good nurse. I've known that for some time. Today was one of those days I held my 13 month old most of the day, took his temperature several times, tried to get as much liquid in him as possible, held him throughout most of his nap, read a book about childhood sicknesses, worried about his jerking (which I think might have to do with achy muscles), carried him in the sling to make dinner, listened to my 2 year old cry himself to sleep because I couldn't move a muscle while holding Kade, changed his wet drool covered shirt 3 times, and then wondered what was wrong with Levi (2 year old) when he woke up from his nap. He wouldn't even eat Cheerios...which is a true sign of something being wrong. Cheerios aren't an every day event!

So in my list of things I'm thankful for I will add:

7. Children who are generally healthy and have no serious illnesses

8. My sling which allows me to get something done and still have baby close

9. Frozen fish fillets, baked potatoes, frozen homemade rolls, and asparagus - a fairly easy dinner when kids are sick.

10. A husband who did one of my errands

11. Appliances (eg. washer, dryer, oven, microwave) that work for me while I take care of sick baby

12. A sister who helps me with shopping for gifts for family members

13. Time to pray while sitting in the rocking chair today

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Minnesota History Center

I love the museum passes we get from the library. The day after Thanksgiving, the boys, Malia, and I headed for the MN History Center. I feel like we found a hidden treasure nearby. (Unfortunately, my pictures are really not in any sort of order that makes sense and I'm having trouble figuring out how to use Kent's new laptop!)
The transportation area was a little boy's dream come true. Steering wheels and the dashboard of a car!
The bike exhibit had this interesting design of bike frames up on the walls.

There was an actual railroad car in which we read many interesting quotes.

Here, Kade sits in a chair in the "waiting area" of an "airport."

The tornado exhibit retold the story of the devastating tornado that hit Fridley, MN, in 1965. This was the tornado outside and then we entered a "basement room" that felt very realistic! The sounds, vibrations, light changing, and tree falling all added to the experience!

These were little twirly things that we could cause to turn by using a rotating fan.

An old-time soda counter. It reminded me of Norman Rockwell paintings.
Back to the bicycle exhibit. This sign made me chuckle and I had to show Kent, "So what's all the need for these bicycle tools and tuneups you're always talking about!"

And this one...the Best!! I wish I could remember the date of this quote, but it was quite a while ago!

Off on their trip...even with luggage.

The "house" outside the "basement room" destroyed by the tornado of 1965.

He loved this little green suitcase for some reason and shed a few tears when we had to leave it behind.

Our foiled attempt at a group photo. There were several others like this! :)

This was at the bottom of a grain elevator. With only dead ends, this tunnel was a perfect place for Kade to play...and he loved it. Can you tell by that smile?

Friday, November 27, 2009


Our day was fun! We had 24 people, including our family, around our table(s), with lots of yummy food and good conversation! My girls helped out a lot. Here Megan and Tana work on clean-up. Our table decorations...

Crescent rolls made by Tana

I saw this idea for place settings in a Country Living magazine. It was a fun project with the boys.

And here we are!

Lately, I've noticed lots of blogs working on a list of 1000 things for which they're thankful. I'm considering this might be a good time to start.
1. Little ones who fill life with amusement, laughter, hugs, and...surprises!
2. My digital camera
3. My husband who is helping me organize my hundreds of pictures on his computer
4. Daughters who are amazingly helpful when we're having guests
5. Blogs and FB to help me keep up with good friends
6. A heavenly Father who is helping me learn His ways and is very patient!

Friday, November 20, 2009

These make me smile!

He couldn't stop smiling while he was Mickey Mouse!
Kade's favorite new hobby...pushing this thing around...and toddling!

A brush for each hand...not uncommon at all! He loves them. :)

Couldn't resist taking a picture of this when they were getting ready for bed.

This is where we found Levi sleeping (in the middle of our upstairs hallway) one night when we came up from downstairs. Does anyone have a guess as to why he's wearing socks on his hands?

Fall Craft

When the leaves had fallen and were still beautiful colors, we brought a bunch inside, laid them out to dry and then arranged and glued them on to a circle of white poster board. They're still looking pretty, and I so enjoy seeing the leaves for a bit longer since it seems like they're gone so quickly. It was a perfect craft for Levi all the way up to ME! I'd really like to find some longer lasting ideas of things to do with leaves. Any ideas? girls

They are happy...

goofy and giggly...
and they tell each other when "enough is enough." :)

We had actually gone outdoors one Sunday afternoon in hopes of getting a few pictures that would be nice enough to put on the wall and give away. The girls were certainly in favor of that over going to a studio... and it's a lot cheaper!! I'm learning a lot about photo shop and hoping to do the boys' pictures now.
These pictures I snapped in between our "real" poses!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lingering fall memories

It almost seems like fall (at least fall weather) is over...and so quickly too. We spent a good portion of it getting through sickness, but thankfully, we still enjoyed so much!!
A visit from my momDeliberate pumpkin carving sketches of DJ's
Daddy putting that plan into action

Warm winter boots that Levi thought he should try! (Thanks, Bethany)

Beautiful afternoons outside!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Father-Son Retreat 2009

Each year a different area congregation hosts a father/son retreat up at our camp. Two years ago Kent and DJ went and came back with lots of great memories. Last year we had a new baby, so they didn't go. But this year...they went again. And it was a special weekend for both! The theme had something do with spending time together, so I told Kent he should take all three boys so they really could spend time together. He didn't think it was as funny as I did. (Kent is a very capable father, but I could just see him trying to go target shooting with Kade in one arm and Levi hanging on a leg!) I told him they'd have to rename the retreat "Mom's Quiet Weekend." As it was, the girls were home, and we went to pick up my mom at the airport for a nice long visit.

He was quite proud of this as he is quite the amateur marksman.