Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Visit from Nana and Papa/Remodeling Progress

Wow, has it been busy around here! Between swim lessons, homeschooling, MOPS activities, having company, regular house/yard work and remodeling, I haven't had much computer time lately. I thought I'd do a catch up post. Last weekend we were so excited to have my parents (Nana and Papa) come to visit. We enjoyed every minute of our visit. They helped us with the kids and our remodel project. We also had a chance to go yard saling, but it turned out cold and rainy, so not much luck there. My dad got a few items he was looking for, so that made it worth venturing out. 


When my parents got here Friday night, Michael had promised the kids they could help with the painting. I seriously had to leave the room. Good thing we aren't keeping the carpet that is all I have to say, LOL! They had it strung everywhere, but boy where they having a good time.   

See what I mean? This is on our kitchen floor. Michael or my step-mom cleaned it up before I freaked, LOL. Somebody snapped this picture for me.

Diana was a big help with edging while Michael put on the first coat of paint over the newly textured drywall. You can see my dad supervising from the couch, LOL.

Hailey, Miss Snuggles, got to do lots of snuggling with Nana and Papa. She is fascinated with his long mustache and loves to twirl it between her fingers. Who wouldn't be? That thing is huge!

Nana read stories to Josiah and also listened to him read. She played Legos with him, which is totally his love language and something I'm not good about just sitting and doing. That is what grandparents are for, right? ;) Thanks, Nana!

After yard saling Saturday morning, my dad helped Michael pour the cement for our new front porch. This was a big job and I was so grateful that he was able to help Michael with this project. Thanks, Dad!

Oh, the temptation of wet concrete! Saturday night we put on the second coat of paint inside. Love the color "Golden Ecru"!

On Sunday, Michael built some temporary steps so we could use the front door again. Yeah! After church, Michael and I took turns going for motorcycle ride. It was wonderful just to get away from everything and ride by myself for a couple hours.

Sunday night, I helped hold boards while Michael measured, cut and attached them to the ceiling. We put these up to hold the bead board in place. My arms were getting tired, so I was using a step ladder and my head to hold the boards up. Whatever works, right! I guess I need to work on my upper arm strength. Next, we'll start painting bead board and attaching it to the ceiling. This is going to be much more difficult that I thought, but we're committed now. 

Well, that is about it. I'm hoping I'll have a chance to catch up on all your blogs during the next couple of days.  

Blessings On Each Of You,
Jackie 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MOPS Leadership Summit - 2010

All these beautiful ladies are in various leadership positions in the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group I belong to. I had the privilege of getting to know each of them better last weekend when I was able to go to the "big city" for a MOPS Leadership Training. Our first stop was PF Changs. It was seriously the best Chinese food I've ever had. We each ordered a different dish and shared family style. There were eight of us, so we got to try eight different dishes. Super yummy! 

The leadership training was wonderful. I walked away even more excited and motivated to be a good Discussion Group Leader. The focus of the training was identifying a fear and then figuring out what steps you are going to take to conquer that fear. The thing I fear the most is: after all this effort to raise up Godly children, they will not live out their faith when they are adults. It honestly terrifies me because I know I have no control over their decision to follow Christ. However, after praying and meditating on it, I realized that the key to overcoming this fear is "relationship". While homeschooling, church, AWANAS, etc, and even home discussions about God are all good things, it is the relationship with my children that will have the most impact on their decision to walk with Christ. I came away even more determined to be intentional in developing a good, positive relationship with my kids. The other thing that struck me was when a speaker who had gone through some extremely difficult circumstances said that he stopped praying that God would keep his children safe, because in his own life, it was the times when he felt the most unsafe, that he felt the closest to God and his relationship with our Savior was deepened. I thought that was profound when this concept was applied to our children. When we embrace the pain, even in regards to our children, it gives us a chance to direct them to the Savior. He is able!  On Friday night, we met at the church with all the other MOPS groups in our area and had a relaxing evening of pampering ourselves, crafting, eating from a dessert bar, etc, and just getting know other moms in MOPS leadership in a relaxed setting.  They even had massages. Here are my friends, Beth, Stephanie and Cora showing off their newly painted toenails. Trust me it is a treat for a mother of  preschoolers to paint her toenails without "help".Here are some more friends, Laurie, Sarah, Diane and Amanda, who were partaking of the craft center. I never liked crafts until I joined MOPS. Their crafts are always easy, fun and something you would be proud to take home to show your family or give as a gift.Cora and I are making the cutest decorated mini-first aid kits that will fit in your purse. A must for every MOPS. This is Cora's first year in leadership and I'm so excited to have her on the MOPS team. I just love this lady!Now for some humor. How many Mothers of Preschoolers does it take to pack, shut and latch the cargo carrier? I believe it took 4 of us. Sarah got to show off her rock climbing skills as she scaled Beth's Yukon to try to get all of our stuff arranged in it so that we could shut it. It took three MOPS to actually get it latched. We wanted to get all our luggage in the carrier so we could have more room for the shopping we did after the conference. We also hit the Olive Garden on the way home. Yum!

It was kind of funny because before the conference, we were discussing how easily we all cry since having babies. Sure enough, we were probably known as the "crying table". We laughed, we cried, we had a wonderful time.

One of the highlights of my weekend was when we were registering for the conference, the gal kept looking at me. She asked me if I a blog. I said yes. She said she follows my sister's blog, but has been checking mine out too, and is using all the cleaning recipes I'd posted. How cool to actually get recognized by someone! Anyway, thanks, Sarah, for making my day. It was wonderful to talk with you!

If you're a mother of preschooler(s), I would highly encourage you to get involved with your local MOPS group. They are spreading like wildfire all over the country. If your kids are older than preschool age, MOPS International just launched a program called Moms Next to keep the support going. So excited about this! We all need Godly support and encouragement on this journey called Motherhood. 

Have a Blessed Day,
Jackie

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Meandering

Thought I'd blog a bit about my busy weekend. On Friday and Saturday, I had the privilege of going to my first MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Leadership Summit. It was super fun. This is a picture of the eight of us in leadership who were able to go this year. In fact, it is a blog post on its own. So, stay tuned... While I was away at MOPS, Michael recovered enough from the flu bug to go hunting on Saturday. The only thing he bagged was a three-wheeler and its drunk 21-year old rider. Michael was going around a blind corner and this guy (who wasn't wearing a helmet) came at him going fast and completely out of control. PTL, Michael was able to bring the truck to a complete stop before the three-wheeler and it's rider hit smack dab into the corner of the pick-up. If Michael had been moving, the guy would probably be dead or hurt very badly. As it was, he came away from the accident with only bruises, scrapes and a concussion. Michael and his friend, suspected that the kid had been drinking, along with the rest of his buddies who where following him. Sure enough, the kid, his father (who drove him to the hospital) and another friend who followed, all got DUIs. We can't drive our truck because we don't have lights on that side. We are waiting on the insurance company to let us know who is going to pay for the repairs. In the meantime, Michael is riding the Harley to work so I can have the Subaru to take Josiah to his swim lessons. Very annoying!!! So glad the kid is not seriously hurt, but at the same time, I'm very angry at his stupidity and how it is inconveniencing us. URRGGHHH! So glad that at least he and some of his buddies got busted with a DUI.Sunday, when I got home, I planted some strawberries that my mom gave me in our garden. Michael said he is going to make me a strawberry box around them. Our radishes and turnips are coming up! It is nice to experience a success. Hope they stay healthy and alive!Michael worked on raking and re-seeding the backyard.I helped our elderly neighbors dig up a rhubarb plant. They gave me four chunks of the root to start my own rhubarb in my garden, plus enough rhubarb stalks to last me the year. I think I got two dozen cups of rhubarb frozen. I slice them in my Cuisnart food processor and freeze them in two cup increments. Great in my Any-Fruit Crisp recipe.Josiah and Hailey were having a picnic today in their fort and were sitting with their arms around each other. They started begging me to take a picture of them, so how could I refuse? They truly are best friends. Hope it stays that way. Even though they bicker sometimes, they love each other fiercely. 

Thanks to each of you who prayed I wouldn't get the flu. I seemed to be the only one to escape in our household. Even my mom and step-dad got it when they watched the kids for me this weekend. Luckily it was fast moving.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I look forward to catching up with your blogs this week.

God Bless,
Jackie

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dance, Hailey, Dance!/Homeschool Exhibition Night

Our Hailey Baby loves to dance,  just like her mama. She loves to put on this ballerina dress and twirl around to any kind of music. The song she was dancing to when I took these pictures is called "Maker of Life" and it is the same song my sister sang to her at her baby dedication two years ago. It is so precious seeing her dance to it. Let me tell you, she's got the moves! Josiah did us proud at the first annual homeschool exhibit night. Our local Christian homeschool group decided to put on a once a year event where all the homeschoolers can have a chance to show off what they've been learning that year. It was a resounding success! Josiah was the first one to speak and did a presentation on the "Life Cycle of a Mouse". He did very well, especially considering he had been extremely ill the night before. He also had a table set up with some of his favorite books about insects, composting critters and even his old fashioned pen and ink set with parchment paper. Some kids had incredible art, models and Legos displayed. I really appreciated this event because it gave the kids a chance to speak in front of their peers as well as adults. My mom drove over the mountain to see it and was thoroughly impressed by all the homeschoolers' presentations. I was surprised at the turn out of all the extended family members and friends who came to watch. It really was fantastic and I can't wait for next year. 

There seems to be 24 hour flu going through our house. Hailey had it, Josiah had it and now Michael's got it. I'm praying I don't get it as I really want to go to the regional MOPS Summit this weekend. Please pray for Michael and I, thank Michael gets better quick and I don't get it at all! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. 

God Bless,
Jackie 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And The Winner Is.../Remodeling Progress/Laundry Soap Update

First thing we did this morning was get up and put all our Nourishing Traditions Cookbook giveaway entries onto slips of paper and stuck them in Hailey's little pink cowgirl hat. Between my blog and Facebook, we had 34 entries! I loved reading each of your goals for eat healthier this year. It was so exciting and encouraging to know I'm not alone on this journey to healthier living.My lovely assistant drew the winning name. And the winner is my sweet friend MOPS/Facebook friend, Cora!!!! congratulations!!! I wish I could afford to give each person who entered a copy of this book. Even if you didn't win, I'd encourage you to try to find this book. It really has changed my life and the way I look at food. It is an awesome resource. I love it because if someone asks me a question about healthy eating, I've got the evidence in this book to back it up. Thanks again to everyone who participated, both on this blog and through Facebook!  Thought I'd slip in a few remodeling pictures on this post. Here is a picture of our new dining room/office. In order to fix the dry rot, we had to take out built-in china hutch. It is where you see the strange pink paper. This wall was once the exterior wall many years ago. Michael is getting the drywall up and it sure is making it look more like the addition is part of our home.This is our new door. I really like it because it is fiberglass and has built-in blinds that I won't have to dust. It was horrible to stain though. One side looks good, but the other looks pretty uneven. We're hoping we'll be the only ones to notice. It took Michael 3 hours to put this door in because the contractor framed in the door a half inch too short. I had no idea how much patience it takes to put in a door. My husband is a saint! I would have thrown a crowbar through the window after an hour of working on this baby. Despite the stress and being frustrated we managed to work as a team and didn't get angry at each other. Huge victory there! The big dot you see on the front of the door is a dust particle in the air. It is pretty dusty in here and it is only going to get worse once we start sanding the drywall. We've taped up plastic to seal off the rest of the house, but it still manages to creep in. We can't use our new door until we get the concrete poured and steps built for our new porch. Hopefully soon! 

FYI -A fellow blogger brought something important to my attention. Just did some research and found that the Felsnaptha bar soap I use in my homemade laundry detergent is made from petro-chemicals. I found a safer alternative that is the same price, called "Zote". It isn't perfect, has some dye, but is sounds a lot safer than Felsnaptha which has toxicity issues when used over a long period of time. Zote is safe enough that you can use it to wash dishes. Ingredients: Zote Soap is made with coconut oil and tallow. It contains sodium chloride, glycerin, perfume, an optical brightener and dye. Zote Soap is scented with citronella oil, making the soap fragrance long lasting. So it'll be great for keeping the mosquitoes away, too! I feel so bad that I just now found this out. It sounds like you can develop health issues when using Felsnaptha over a long period of time. However, I'm sure that you'll be fine if you use up what you have. Here are some of the links about Felsnaptha and Zote I was reading:



http://dld123.com/q&a/index.php?cid=61

and

http://reviews.ebay.com/Zote-Soap-is-Great-for-Cleaning-and-Fishing-too_W0QQugidZ10000000003252259

Congrats to again to Cora! Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Blessings,
Jackie

Monday, April 12, 2010

Planting Begins For The Organic, Heirloom Gardening Wannabes

I told you when I started this gardening venture that I would share with you the successes as well as the mistakes we make a long the way. We'll I've already made plenty of mistakes with this garden. The first one being that I started seedlings in my house (some of which I could have sown directly into the ground). I lost the broccoli, cauliflower, and basil when I tried to slow down their rapid growth (they were getting leggy) by putting them outside one day (hey, the sun was shining, it seemed safe, NOT!). Then I planted my pea starts (picture above) the day before we had a blizzard and temps in the 20s. The other mistake was letting my toddler "help". Josiah snapped the picture above of a very irritated mama who turned around after planting some pea seedlings (yes the seedlings that died in the blizzard) and discovered that my daughter had pinched off the stems of all my watermelon, cantaloupe and some of my bean seedlings that I wasn't planning on planting yet but had brought out with me to the garden because they were all in the same flat. Urgghh!   The thing I AM happy about is that I finally got my garden completely "pinned down". Our remodel has taken precedence over our garden. Michael didn't want to spend the money to buy the metal pins, so he kept using make-shift wooden stakes. Every time I turned around our garden would be flapping. Can I say another, "Urgggh!" here? Just keepin' it real. Well Michael was at drill this weekend so I snuck down to our local farm store and bought over 100 metal pins to stake down the plastic. Yeah, no more flapping! So worth the $11 bucks I spent on pins. Shush, don't tell my hubby ; ) Here is a picture of the garden after Josiah and I finished pinning everything down and placing the last of the newspaper (unprinted roll) and straw down the rows where we walk.  
Yesterday was finally nice, so I decided to get brave and plant some of my cold weather seeds directly into the ground since I haven't had much luck with transplanting seedlings. Josiah thought it was great fun to put the seeds into the ground because he got to use Dad's special knife to cut the plastic where the seeds were going to be sown. Yes, I was watching him closely.
For the smaller seeds like carrots, radishes, lettuce, onions and turnips, I decided to cut a slit down the row and then pin the slit just slightly open. I know I'll probably have to do some weeding (the thing that has always stopped me from attempting to grow a garden in the past), but I'm hoping the weeding won't be too bad.Here are what is left of all the beautiful seedlings I  showed you in a post a couple of weeks ago. Basically, all I have left are 3 bean plants, one very sad-looking pea seedling (lonely, I'm sure, since all his friends died in the blizzard), celery and three varieties of peppers. Some friends gave me the tomato plant for my birthday. Hopefully I can keep it alive until it is time to plant the warm weather stuff (not for at least another month). I'm certainly learning a lot. Thanks for all your advice! Somehow I still managed to mess up, probably because I got impatient. Who me? I can hear my husband laughing in the distance.

It was nice to take a break this weekend and garden instead of exclusively working on the house. The only thing I did for the house was attempt to clean it and stain our new fiberglass front door which was a huge "nail in the tail". It is super hard to stain fiberglass as it doesn't absorb the stain and takes forever to dry when it is cold. I finally got the thing ready for Michael to hang tomorrow. So darn excited to have a front door again. Now we just need steps and a concrete floor to actually be able to use the door. At least we won't be keeping the weather out with blankets, plastic and a board. We're slowly gettin' there. Thanks for all your sweet and encouraging comments. Keep 'em comin'! They're getting me through these extremely busy, sometimes stressful days.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

God Bless,
Jackie

Friday, April 9, 2010

Always Wear Your Helmet When in a Snowball Fight

The other day, it snowed just enough for a snowball fight. Josiah had played the snowball fight on his grandma's Wii and apparently some of the "players" have helmets, so he decided to get his motorcycle helmet out with the visor. It just cracked me up! Love this picture of Hailey bent over and him throwin' a snowball smack at her tail. Trust me, even though she's two, she can give as well as she gets.See, Josiah's runnin' from her. Hello? You've got the helmet, dude!Hailey's winding up for her strike on Josiah. She's a pretty good shot, too.

We have our door, but it is taking forever for the stain to dry because it has been so cold around here. It isn't looking like we'll have it in until next week :( Michael has been working hard on the house. The discouraging thing is that when we try to fix something right, we end up opening a can of worms and creating more work and expense. We had decided to remove the rest of the drywall in the dining room and discovered that the wall was not built very well, no insulation and some dry rot. We had to destroy my built in china hutch in order to get to the dry rot. We did get it all fixed right though, but now we have two more walls to drywall and a china cabinet to rebuilt, urgghh! Michael was able to finish insulating the walls this week, so I can turn on the furnace guilt-free now ;)

Our garden is flapping in the wind again after our intermittent blizzards yesterday. I've got the plastic staked down better. Hoping for some decent weather this weekend so I can plant my pea, lettuce, radish and turnip seeds directly into the ground. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. If you haven't signed up for my give-away, check out my last post. You guys are awesome! I've loved reading all you comments. Keep 'em coming!

Love and Blessings,
Jackie

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nourishing Traditions Cookbook Giveaway

In the spirit of all you generous bloggers out there, I've decided to host my first ever giveaway! For those reading my blog on Facebook, you can participate, too. The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook has changed my life. It's sub-title reads, "The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats" . Not only is it a cookbook, but it is an excellent resource for healthy eating. It explains everything in terms easily understood. For example it talks about the differences in flours, sugars, fats, etc. 

This was taken from the back cover, "Recalling the culinary customs of our ancestors and looking ahead to a future of robust good health for young and old, Nourishing Traditions offers modern families a fascinating guide to wise food choices and proper preparation techniques. Nutritions researcher Sally Fallon unites the wisdom of the ancients with the latest independent and accurate scientific research. The revised and updated Second Edition contains over 700 delicious recipes that will please both exacting gourmets and busy parents."

So why am I doing this challenge? I believe feeding our families healthy meals is an important part of striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman. That said, now here's the challenge. If you want to enter this giveaway, please leave a comment telling me at least one thing that you are going to change this year to help your family eat healthier. That is all you have to do! Just please leave me a way to contact you in case you're the lucky winner. We'll draw a name out of hat, next Wednesday, April 14th and announce the winner. Can't wait to see your responses!

Good luck! 

God Bless, 
Jackie

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter/Birthday Blessings

It was wonderful to get away from our remodeling woes this weekend to be with family for Easter and my birthday. Here is the kids' Easter picture. Josiah was hard to get a picture of this weekend since he was running 90 miles an hour with his older cousins. This was the best I could do. On Saturday, my Mom and step-dad watched the children so Stacie and I could go for our annual birthday tea at the ANZAC Tea Parlor. We even had enough time to do some clothes shopping. Here is a picture of my beautiful twin sis, Stacie. You can check out her encouraging blog at www.afirefighterswife.blogspot.com. It is always a special treat to be able to spend our birthday together. Technically, our birthday was on Easter this year, but due to us celebrating Jesus rising from the dead and my niece, Lily's, first birthday, it seemed like Saturday was when we celebrated our birthday. We don't do the Easter Bunny, but I do give the kids gifts in their Easter baskets. We try not to do candy, but instead a few fun toys. This year, Hailey got a pig that pooped candy in a trough and Josiah got a milk cow that pooped candy in the milk bucket. I know, so reverent. I gave them bubble necklaces, a jump rope and a wind-up baby chick. We also gave them a bunch of plastic Easter eggs filled with extra change. Nana gave us all lots of cool stuff from her recent trip to Hawaii. She also made Hailey this adorable bathrobe that has embroidered frogs on it and on the pockets says, "Nana Loves Me" so she can learn about modesty from a young age.Here is my sister and my niece, Lily, looking Lilylicious in her Easter dress that makes her look like a little cupcake. Couldn't you just eat her up? Her cheeks were not safe that day! Our family took up two rows at church. Listened to a wonderful message by my family's pastor who is struggling with stage 4 cancer. He is amazing and an inspiration to all who know him. God is shining through him despite the most difficult circumstances. After church, we all went back to Stacie's for a big Easter dinner with family. We had an egg hunt and Lily's 1st birthday party. Me, Stacie and my SIL, Sonya, all had our birthday on Easter this year, so we opened a few gifts from family at that time as well.  I managed to snap some cute pictures of Hailey and Lily in their Easter dresses after the egg hunt at Stacie's house. It was chilly out, so we had to make it a quick photo shoot.One last picture of the lil' confection. 

When we got home that night, the house was 45 degrees. The three remaining ants in Josiah's ant farm had croaked, as did some more of our seedlings. The peas I planted in the garden died. So far I'm not doing very well with this gardening business. I would fail miserably as a meteorologist. I can't predict Eastern Oregon weather to save my life! I think the main thing I need to learn is more patience! Last night Michael was able to insulate the inside walls and the windows. It is insulated enough that we could turn the furnace on! Yeah, love central heating! I'm in a much better mood now :) We are still waiting on our doors, hoping they will come in tomorrow. 

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter. I'll be checking all your blogs soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me :)

God Bless,
Jackie

Friday, April 2, 2010

Instant Puberty/Remodeling Adventure Continues

Josiah saw a picture of his cousin doing this, so of course when I gave him his haircut yesterday, he had to do it, too. Look at that, he's even got red armpit hair, LOL! I cut his hair so that someone wouldn't mistake him for an Easter Egg. I always say that his hair is "Easter egg orange".Here is the new dining room/homeschool room, after the 24 ft. support beam was moved in and the temporary supports were removed.  You can really see how much bigger this room is now. It is twice the size it was.The blankets you see on the right are currently our interior door. We still don't have windows or storm door for the porch, so it is still very chilly in here.The kids and I helped Michael put the tar paper up until we got too cold. There was snow on the ground yesterday morning. Josiah was so proud of himself for being strong enough to use the staple gun.This is a common sight in our house these days. Sooo grateful we put this gas fireplace in while we did. It heats up the living room nicely, so we have one warm room in the house, except when the wind is blowing, like it is now. We temporarily moved my desk in the living room to protect our electronics from the remodel as much as possible. However, due to the wind, My fingers are freezing right now as I type this. We have to wait until next Wednesday to get doors. We thought we might have the outside storm door yesterday, but no such luck. It came in the wrong color. Urgggh!!! Although it truly wouldn't help all that much because our porch windows don't come in until Monday.  The hazards of living in a small town. You have to order everything and wait.

Yesterday, I hit a wall of pure exhaustion. No doors until next Wed, which means no central heat until that happens. Tired of being cold. The kids destroyed so many things, mostly on accident. Hailey broke off half my seedlings as I tried to plant some peas (future post), a pillow fight took out the ant farm that Josiah was supposed to use for his homeschool exhibit. It looks like 3 ants have survived, but I doubt they are going to make it to the three weeks before the exhibit and it is too cold to go find more. Just before I went to cut Josiah's hair, he knocked the clippers off the counter that had the 3/4 guard. The guard shattered when it hit the floor. Josiah has a very short hair cut now. I was not a nice mom yesterday. I lost it several times. I had to repent to both my kids and God. Looking back, I know these things aren't life and death, they are just inconveniences. I need to work on letting stuff like this go and not taking it so personally. I felt really guilty, but thanks to a good nights sleep and prayer from my sister, Stacie, and some of my blogging friends, I feel like today is a new day. I praise God that His mercies are new every morning!


Hope you all have a wonderful Easter Weekend. He has risen, He has risen indeed!

God Bless,
Jackie

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