Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Beginning To Look Somewhat Like Christmas

Ah, the joys of selling a house. Saturday (and Friday night) we rushed and rushed to get the house spotless before we left for #1's parent's house. We had another open house on Sunday, and would be getting home after it started. Actually, we timed it so that we got home just as it ended so we could speak with the realtor. One person came. They were less than interested.

Well, in all the rush I didn't get a CD made so I would have a clean camera card. I had NO camera space left on my little point and shoot, and somewhere in the cleaning/packing/organizing I have misplaced the charger for my nice Olympus I had been without a camera since last Monday or so. No Thanksgiving pictures. Even the pictures I have been posting for the last week or so were ones I had taken previously.

Along with those inconveniences of selling a house comes a BIG bummer this year. No Christmas tree. We really feel that putting a tree in our living room will make it look smaller than it is. I am doing my best to decorate and make the house look festive, but man is that hard. I thought about putting the tree up in the basement, but my mom pointed out that it might make people think that you can't put up a tree in the living room because it is too small. Well, that isn't the case, of course, but other people don't know that.

We will probably put up the tree Christmas Eve and have it Christmas day, partially decorated, and then take it right back down. If someone wants o view our house Christmas Day, the answer is no.

Today I took down all of the fall decorations and began planning how to make our house look Christmassy. I need to find our nativities and a few other things that I am missing, but basically it will be two or three Christmas village pieces placed up on top of our TV stand where Little Monkey Man cannot get to them, a few strategically placed knickknacks, our stockings on the fireplace, and our nice nativity (we have one that I use that is kid friendly to tell the Christmas story, but it will be down in our preschool area).

The other reason we are not going to do a tree is because we really think Monkey Man might try to climb it/undecorated it/tip it over. As you can see, he likes to be UP on everything. Today he decided to perch on each of the decoration totes. He tried them all out. The orange Thanksgiving one was his favorite :o)

One thing that is cheering me up is Mama Bear's 25 Days of Ornaments! Each day I will be posting a picture of an ornament and why it is special to us. #1 made me a CD today, so I was able to take my pictures and have them ready for December. It was nice to at least see my ornaments!

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving Weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Before I officially begin this post, I had 30 comments from the day I announced that I'd be participating in the cans for comments drive until Thanksgiving night, so 30 non-perishable food items will be donated to a local food bank! Thanks!

I did something that I never do today. Ok, #1 and I did it once before we were even married, and vowed to never do it again. I did doorbusters. WOW.

I wasn't planning on doing doorbusters today, at least not how most people do it. I was going to head out shopping about 6:00 am so as to get some sales perhaps and some shopping time minus two small boys, but I had not planned on being in line at a store that will remain unnamed at 4:30 am! I woke up around 3:30am and could not sleep. The baby's movements have started to be noticeable and I think that is what initially woke me up.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, my brain turns on and I can't sleep. I really hate having to get up with the boys because of this. A quick trip to the bathroom with Snug is likely to turn into 2 hours of tossing and turning for me. However, after laying there for about 15 minutes I thought "Hey! Today I could actually get something DONE during this insomnia!" and off I went.

I can't mention where I went or what I bought because too many friends and family read this, namely my husband, but I got some really good deals, and saved quite a bit of money. Well, if I hadn't gotten the deals I did, I wouldn't have even bought what I maybe I didn't save??? I guess that isn't true, because I knew how much we had planned on spending on each person, and stayed within the I guess I just got more for my money! How DO they sell stuff with those discounts?

I only spent about 25 minutes standing in the bitter cold and sleet. I'm just waiting to get a cold. Luckily my cousin Melissa was also out and about at that hour so we kept each other company via texting and phone calls until around 6:00am! (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAYCE!!!!) It was her son's birthday, so she skedaddled home as fast as she could to spend most of the day with him.

I was home by 10 and found my husband had almost cleaned the whole house. The boys only had a few fiascoes in the basement by themselves. We have an open house this weekend and are trying to get ready for it. I am planning on taking the boys out tonight to get a few more things so that in the time between naps and dinner they do not undo what daddy accomplished. I'd try the basement thing too, but by the time I got home, they were both in tears. I don't think they'll fall for it twice in one day.

This is what I think others should know about doorbusters (I didn't do these things myself):

1. If you try to run from the parking lot and cut in line when they open the doors, the doors will close, police will be called, and then things will resume with you looking on from the other side of a cruiser.

2. You really should not have your infant out at 4:30 am in the cold and sleet. You should not bring your toddler to the first 2 hours of the busiest shopping day of the year. No one wants to step on them, and frankly, they are not that into it.

3. Ramming your cart into people's ankles does not make friends.

4. There is a line to check out, and you will have to get into it. Deal with it.

5. Do not complain about the masses of people. You chose to come out at this crazy hour and it is called doorbusters, what did you expect???

6. There are limited quantities of sale items. You are not going to get everything you wanted (incidentally I did, but I wasn't after a $1,000 TV for $400). It is ok. You win some, you lose some.

Actually, I would say 90% of people in parking lots, roadways, stores, and check out lines were very congenial today. When #1 and I did it about 6 years ago looking for a new TV for his college dorm room, 90% of the people were horrible! I normally spend this day in a very low key manner watching old Christmas movies and decorating our tree, but it looks as though we will be tree-less until Christmas Eve. Although my face is windburned and I will be SUPER tired tomorrow, it was a good day I think!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I think what I am most thankful for this thanksgiving is that we do not have to do any more of this...

...and that we do not worry anymore about this...

...and that we are enjoying LOTS of this!

FYI Baby J our little Monkey Man weighed in at 23 lbs, 8 oz this week. That puts him close to the 20th% for his age. His face and hands are so chubby he looks like he'd be way higher than that! For Thanksgiving dinner he enjoyed mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a roll, turkey, beans, carrots, olives, cheese, and pumpkin pie. I think he ate as much as I did. And then he signed "more". And then I said "no way!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

E-mail Forward

This is an e-mail I got from my aunt today...I don't normally forward stuff I get, in fact I usually don't like forwards much. But...

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country.. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Kat rina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves..
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it... No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
**I thought this was a good way to pass on this e-mail forward**

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Let the Holidays Begin OR The Big Game 2009

The holiday season officially starts at our house not with Thanksgiving, but with the Ohio State vs. Michigan game. It is always right before Thanksgiving and has as many traditions for us as Thanksgiving and Christmas do currently. When your playroom/rec room is painted like ours, you know you have a house divided.
We tried and tried to get a family picture this year, but my little Monkey Man was more interested in anything but getting his picture taken.

I had planned on changing the kids clothes halfway through the game and having Snug wear his Michigan shirt and Monkey Man his OSU sweatsuit, but instead we just each had a kid wearing our team colors. It was easier :o)

Here is a picture with them both looking. It took quite awhile to get :o) Meanwhile, OSU was beating up all over Michigan. I was ok to be outside and miss some of the slaughter.

This is Monkey Man's diaper this afternoon. The inside fleece is Michigan. Not nice.

As with all holidays, we have a menu for the Big Game. Ours always includes hot wings and homemade fries (not pictured...being made) veggies and dip, various snack foods, and Buckeye candies. This year Grandmommy found maize and blue M&Ms, which was a yummy addition!
Final score? OSU 21 MICHIGAN 10
This is the 6th year IN A ROW they have won. I'm not pouting, but MAN does that hurt.

Friday, November 20, 2009


There is now a 2 comments per person per post rule. My dear dear cousin decided to be funny and post five. I shop ALDI, but I'm not the town millionare here people :o)

Oh, and tomorrow is the BIG OSU VS MICHIGAN game. I will be sure and post pictures of my little Wolverines (who have to, out of fairness, change outfits at halftime and become Buckeyes) during tomorrow's game. GO BLUE
Last year's family picture on the big day!

Snug on All Things Spiritual

Ok, ok, not all things spiritual, but you know, it made a good title.
Snug has been really picking up things out of Bible stories and Sunday school songs, and his Children's Read and Share Bible. I so wish I had extra money to buy stuff and give away stuff on my blog. I would totally give one of these Bibles away.

The Bible isn't that much money actually, but that plus S&H...well, we are trying to get a new house you know! This Bible also currently has 4 or 5 DVDs that go along with it. We ♥ the entire line. *Stay tuned for what I will be giving away at the end of this post.

So Wednesday night I was early getting to church. Because I didn't really feel it was necessary to stand outside the kids' classrooms for 10 minutes before the teachers even arrived, I parked and Snug and I chatted. As he started to talk, I grabbed a pencil and the back of a bulletin from Sunday (which of course was not still sitting on the passenger's side of the van) and wrote down what he was was quite interesting.

On the way to church we had seen multiple houses decorated for Christmas. Snug really likes the lights. My little Monkey Man may also like the lights but seeing as he doesn't talk so much and he sits directly behind me I have no idea what his reaction to them is. Anyway.

Snug says "Maybe we get a tree mom. We put a star on it and beautiful stuff. Then we can GET stuff!"

I said something very spiritual and motherly along the lines of "Christmas isn't about getting stuff, it is about Jesus' birthday and besides you don't NEED anything more mister". To which he replied:

"Jesus not here mom. I not see him walking or driving or at my house. He not having a birthday here."

So we need to work on the meaning of Christmas. Don't tell him, but due to the showing of the house, we probably will not have a tree up until Christmas Eve.

SO...lets fast forward to after church. Apparently either there was a huge coincidence between Snug not seeing Jesus and whatever their story was about, or Snug also told him that Jesus was not walking or driving or showing up at our front door.

The first thing Snug announced to me as I put on his seat belt was "Jesus up in the sky and he needs us to share". I'm pretty sure I looked at him like "huh?" I'm not sure that I would concur that Jesus is in the sky...I tried to explain that he is everywhere but we can't see him but...

He continued "The selfish girls (pronounced gay-urls) don't want people to tell them what to do because they don't want to share. They better get a spank or something. And Jesus up in the sky mom. I not see him though." (Glad I still had that paper and pencil handy, because I had to write that down too, and not forget how he...words...things)

Yep, we could look at these conversations and decide that he has a limited view on Jesus and Christmas. But don't we all? I'm sure I will never understand all of it. However, we will be striving to fill in a few more details this holiday season :o)

*A few other blogs have decided (can't remember and too lazy to go look at who exactly started it) to donate one can/non perishable item to a local food bank for each comment left on their blogs from now until Thanksgiving Day. I'm in! Hey, I don't have to mail it :o)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Police Post

I don't usually write about what #1 does at work because he could get in trouble. Things he takes reports on and arrests he makes are technically public record, but we are not at liberty to post them all over the internet.

However, after e-mailing back and forth with Cop Mama this week, I decided to ask #1 what some of his general pet peeves are. Things he wouldn't get in trouble for sharing, but are pretty funny. By the way, Cop Mama is new to the blogging world and you should pop on over and welcome her!

Here is #1's Top Ten things you should NOT call the cops about/or things that bug the dickens out of him

10. In the state of Ohio, "harassment" is not a crime. In fact, if you start the conversation with your friendly officer by saying "He's harrasin' me" it is almost guaranteed you've lost your case.

9. Do not walk to the police station and then demand that an officer come help you dispose of a mouse in a trap at your house.

8. The side of the cruiser says "Police", not "Taxi". No, you may not have a ride.

7. Do not call and ask that your elementary school age child be arrested because he/she will not obey you. In the great state of Ohio you have the right to discipline, yes, even spank your disobedient child. Please exercise your right.

6. If your neighbor mows part of your lawn, consider it a blessing. Do not call the police, they are not interested.

5. If the police have repeatedly gotten your children out of the street, do not
a) be surprised when they get hit by a car
b) expect the driver to be cited when your child ran into the side/back of their car

4. Please do not say "I PAY YOUR SALARY" when it is pretty clear you do not pay taxes of any sort.

3. When you see an officer in public, do not tell your toddler that the officer is going to arrest them if they don't "shut up". C'mon people, what message are we sending?????

2. Please do not report a crime that you are not sure actually happened if you have no more than a first name, absolutely no physical description, and that person may or may not be in the city. This also goes for calling the police when someone at least 300 miles away says they are going to beat you up. When you stop and think about it...probably not. Besides, at that point you have time to run away.

1. Do not ask an officer in uniform where things are in Wal-Mart or any other store she/he may be doing a "walk-through" in. They don't know. They don't work there.
Yes, these have all happened to #1...most of them multiple times.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Esther over at The Mommy Diaries (I almost posted diapers, not diaries...can you tell I have laundry brain today???) Had a really neat post about Thanksgiving likes/dislikes/traditions. I thought I'd share! (With my answers, not hers. Click on her site to see hers!)

1. Which do you like better: hosting Thanksgiving at your home, or going elsewhere?
I really like to have Thanksgiving at our house. I haven't been able to do it the last couple of years, but having #1 and my families all here is really nice. Plus, I always have little ones who need to nap/toys/diapers so it is just a lot easier to have it at our house. One thing I've been eye balling when looking at houses online (or through windows if the house is empty) is how much table space there is. Can I seat at least 16?

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen turkey? Organic? Free-range?
Frozen. As cheap as I can get it. And then I call my mom because I never remember how to cook it!

3. Do you make stuffing or dressing? What kind?

Isn't stuffing and dressing the same thing? What kind? Um, you cup up celery and bread and stuff and cook it. I don't cook it in the turkey...again, I think I go to my mom for help on this one. I don't personally like it so I bet I'd mess it up somehow.

4. Sweet potato pie or Pumpkin pie?
Ew, neither. I think sweet potatoes are gross and the only part of a pumpkin you will catch me eating is the seeds. How about APPLE pie???? My husband and Snug both love pumpkin pie though, and my MIL makes the best pies in the world.

5. Are leftovers a blessing or a curse?
A blessing! I always try to send some home with everyone because really our fridge is not huge and I hate it to go to waste. Leftover turkey makes such great cream turkey over biscuits or mashed potatoes. Besides, leftovers are for snacking on all afternoon as you watch football!

6. What side dishes are a must-have in your family?
Mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls, noodles, cranberry sauce/relish, pickles/olives, and cheese. Everything but the noodles were a tradition in my family growing up. I fell in love with Thanksgiving noodles when my husband and I met. YUMMY.

7. What do you wish you had that might make Thanksgiving easier?
More space for people to sit/be comfortable after dinner. That and a closer drive with our two boys for when we are not here on Thanksgiving.

8. If/when you go to someone else’s house for the holiday, do you usually bring a dish? If so, what is it?
Last year and this year we went/are going to #1's grandma's house. I took olives/pickles/and cheese last year, and I'll need to call here soon and ask what she'd like me to bring this time. I think those are not traditional Thanksgiving foods for everyone, but I can't imagine Thanksgiving without them.

9. What do you wish one of your guests would bring to your house?
Kids! I always have the only kids when Thanksgiving is at our house. Going to #1's grandma's house though there will be some cousins for my two to play with.

10. What do you wish one of your guests would NOT bring to your house?
Don't think I can answer this...

11. Do you stick with a particular menu from year to year, or do you mix it up?
Always the same menu. It is a traditional holiday! Even when I travel I make sure those dumb pickles/olives/cheeses make it on other people's menu! Really, couldn't I just eat them at home? Yep. But nope.

12. Is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday in your home?
Um. Well, Snug, Little M, and Little Miss E made turkeys today in our preschool session...and we read about some squirrels having a Thanksgiving celebration. Does that make it secular?
However, we stress to the kids the importance of being thankful for all the blessings God has given our family throughout the year, and even have a small 7x7 scrapbook that we take a family picture and write something we are especially thankful for that year. So religious?

*As a side note, aside from buying gifts on sale to be frugal, or hanging Christmas lights outside so we don't freeze if we get a warm Nov. day, we rarely do anything Christmassy until the day after Thanksgiving. I really think we need to be Thankful for what we have before blasting into the busy Christmas season. We always celebrate Christmas as Christ's birth, but along with it does come a tree, Christmas music, and gifts, and those seem to detract from the importance of Thanksgiving.

13. Share one Thanksgiving tradition.
When I was in high school, my brother and I used to run a 10K on Thanksgiving morning with our Cross Country team friends and then watch the parade downtown Detroit. We also growing up used to have a church family Thanksgiving dinner. Now, we really don't any tradition other than the meal. I guess making our "Thanksgiving" album page would be, but that is usually just me :o) Our new church is having a pie social a couple of days before Thanksgiving. If that is something they always do, that can become a new tradition for us!

14. Share one Thanksgiving memory.
Oh my. Just one? I remember many many Thanksgivings at my Aunt Beth's house. I don't ever remember doing Thanksgiving with my dad's side...I think most of them came to the church Thanksgiving dinner. We would almost always have a "kids table" and I'm sure I usually gave my cousin Jenny a hard time. My aunt always decorated the table so pretty. When I have Thanksgiving at my house, I always hope people will get the same memories being here that I did being there.

15. Name five things you’re thankful for.
1. Jesus Christ
2. My family and the new baby coming soon!
3. That Baby J/little Monkey Man does NOT have Celiac Disease and is doing so well right now.
4. Our country and the freedoms we enjoy
5. My Friends-both IRL and online. Hey blogging buddies, it is so nice to "visit" you each afternoon and some evenings. It gets very lonely being a SAHM and with having the daycare I don't often get to have playdates or any other "mom to mom" time (yeah for Mindy!).

Now it's your turn! Leave me a comment with your link, or just answer a few of the questions in the comment section so I can enjoy your answers too!


Don't forget to take my poll "Boy or Girl" Girl seems to be winning, hands down. Truthfully I am hoping for a girl more badly than I care to admit...but I just want a healthy baby. Besides, another boy 22 mos behind my little Monkey Man (who is 22 mos. behind Snug) would make cute stair-steps, don't you think?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hey! I AM Having a Baby!

I woke up this morning after a very sleepless uncomfortable night and felt a bit sick. I took a shower and then discovered just why I had not such a good night. I have a belly. I sure didn't yesterday.

I don't think I'll be forgetting I am pregnant any longer! My husband even said to me "Wow, how much weight did you gain???" (According to our scale a little over a pound during the entire pregnancy thank-you-very-much!)

I guess at 17.5 weeks it was bound to happen sometime or another, just didn't expect it to be that...drastic.

I also discovered what I think might be the newborn diapers I will be buying for on-the-go and church use. For at home I will be using some tiny flats and covers I discovered until the baby is big enough to use the pockets we have that can convert to accommodate 12 or so pounders on up. These though look like the best option...check them out! I will probably only be able to get two or so, but that is ok...just have to know what color to pick...give me 2 weeks and I should know!

What colors do YOU think I will be needing?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Want To Cry?

I've posted several times about Stellan and asked Christians to pray for this little guy. He has had a great end(?) to his story. Not really an end, seems how he is barely one year old...more of an incredible beginning. Anyway, if you would like to see this little guy and his family reunited after his successful (miracle) surgery, click the following link. Sure made me cry!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last night (and again before lunch today) we taught Snug how to play one of my favorite childhood games. This is the original game board I learned how to play on at my Grandma Gingell's house when I was a little girl. We have a new one in the basement, but I thought it appropiate that he learned on the same board I did.
Here we are all set up to play. Snug was feeling rather well (wish I could say the same for today, sadly he is running a fever...again) and very excited to play a "big boy" game. We kept Monkey Man happy by putting him in his high chair and giving him another game made for toddlers that he rarely sees. It worked for almost the entire game.

Seeing as the game is for ages 6-adult, we had to help him out. He worked very hard (and did a good job) identifying the numbers and counting as his piece moved. Sometimes he moved it as we helped him count, sometimes he counted and we moved it. No matter, he was very happy to play. We also helped him understand a "good move" and a "not so good move" but let him decide for himself. He is already good at waiting his turn as we have played games with him since he turned two.

Towards the end he got really tired and we pretty much finished the game doing his last few turns for him. You may be able to tell by looking at him in these pictures that he has not felt well in many days. He is pale and has lost weight. His eyes just are not "right". Today is day 7...and we have an open house tomorrow so we will have to be out of the house for an extended amount of time. Hopefully he is better by then. His nap today is going on its third hour, which is good.
In case you are just dying to know, mommy won the game, with Snug coming in a close second. I know you were interested :o)

Attention Cell Phone Users!

Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.
All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.


To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222.It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.


I got this e-mail from my cousin this week and called the number, it isn't a hoax. If you like talking to telemarketers, by all means go ahead! It can be fun to mess with them. However, if you prefer to keep your sanity through the holidays, I'd suggest you call :o)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two Sides

There are two sides to every story, often times, more. However, #1 and I laughed when we saw the professional pictures taken of our house on Tuesday. The realtor's side is big and open and spacious. His lens was magic. A very clean house. Now, I LOVE my house, but I KNOW it is not anywhere as big as the photos let on, and I KNOW it is not usually anywhere as neat and tidy (clean, yes). I thought I'd share some of the photos and added a few of my own-my side of the story!
This is what you see online.

This is what it looked like this morning about 9 am. You know, first thing in the morning :o) Oh, and there are no Draycare kids here. This is just the four of us. And really, this isn't bad. Not at all!

Online you see this kitchen. I think keeping the cupboards cleaned off might drive me to a slow death.

About thirty minutes before we show the house we have to quick clean up the whole kitchen, easily the most messy room in the house. This is post breakfast today...and really I still think it looks pretty good.

And here are a few more pictures just for fun. Again, the guy had a wild lens that made everything look lighter, brighter, and bigger than it really is. Hope it brings in lots of potential buyers!

I really hope when people see this they don't think that we have bought out Toys R Us. This is where my daycare spends 80% of their time when they are here and we can't be outside. On the other side of that yellow wall is where we do preschool at a table. When you have between 3 and 7 children at your house for the day, you need LOTS to do. And yes, I had 7 here just last Friday for about four hours. WOW was that busy.
In other news, Snug is possibly quite possibly doing better today. I've said that before, but he looks better. He has some color to him and his eyes are not...scary. He even wanted to paint. For the past few days he is either sacked out on the couch or wildly running around the house. No productivity in sight. Just wild or too mild.
Baby J has yuck yuck yuck diapers which are keeping me on my feet (in one picture you can see the stack of diapers I just washed...had to wash ALL of them after yesterday afternoon and this morning. He is also sleeping quite a bit. Now, that is lovely and all, but from the baby who we are blessed on a good day to get 9 hours of sleep from in a 24 hour period...sleeping 10-12 is really abnormal. Hopefully this is as bad as he gets. I can't say I am hating morning and afternoon naps from him though :o)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WORDY Wednesday

I realize this picture is a bit fuzzy...I don't care! It was taken MOMENTS after my Monkey Man said "Mama" and reached up for me. I am SO excited!!!!
See, Monkey Man only says "ought-oh" and only occasionally. WAY back in June(?) he started making the sound "mama" and we got all excited. However, he only did it a couple of times and it was never directed at me. We wanted so badly to count it as a first word...but we knew it really wasn't.

He stopped making that sound all together for a few months, but it has come back in his occasional babbling lately. Today, however, he said it while looking right at me and reaching for me. I'm counting it! Not sure if that is his first or second word. Is "ought-oh" a word or a sound? I DON'T CARE I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!

*And yes, I posted while making supper and my kids are up and around the house...but this was a MOMENT to get in writing!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apple Pie Filling

Tonight, because I am a few fries short of a Happy Meal, I canned apple pie filling. Why is that so crazy? Well, because the photographer will be here at 9am sharp to photograph our house and we have our first showing tomorrow as well. One should always take on a large project right before company comes, shouldn't they?

This is NOT my house, I wish. This is a picture I took at the farm this past summer. I was very inspired to say the least. Not sure why there is paper and string over all of the jars (anyone?), but they canned everything they had grown in their garden. I, of course, only canned salsa from our garden this summer, but our garden is very small and we ate everything but the cucumbers and carrots right away. #1 was going to pickle the cucumbers, but never got around to it. I gave most away to the neighbors. I didn't can the carrots, I froze them instead to make baby food out of for baby #3.
So I've done salsa, applesauce, and now apple pie filling. Slowly, slowly my cupboard is filling up. I'd really like to know how on earth pioneer women (not the Pioneer Woman, I mean the originals) got everything done with little ones underfoot. My mom assures me there were enough relatives around to help out, but my word Monkey Man (aka Baby J) and Snug (who got really sick again tonight) are not an asset to canning. I am so afraid they are going to get burned. Snug absolutely loves "helping" in the kitchen and I give him as much as I can to do. I cannot imagine doing it with a fire and a wood burning stove. No thanks!
If you find apples for $0.50 a pound, you also might want to can some apple pie filling for this winter. Here is the recipe I used. I pieced a couple different ones I found online together:
4 1/2 c. white sugar (cause apple pie filling is really healthy)
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (I used a tad more)
2 tsp. salt
10 c. water
3 Tbs lemon juice
8 lbs sour apples (I like granny smith)
1 c. cornstarch (told you, HEALTHY)
7 quart sized jars/lids/rings
Canning tongs
Large stockpot
Canning Funnel
Medium stockpot
1. Make sure your rings, jars and lids are sterilized. Put them in your large stockpot you will use to can with the water just before boiling point. I'd recommend putting them in when the water is just warm and letting them warm with the water
2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch in the medium stockpot.
3. Turn on the stove and start to add water and salt, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to thicken (it will need to be boiling, and watch out, it happens fast!) remove it from the heat and add lemon juice.
4. Peel, core, and cut your apples into desired thickness. I would have used my apple peeler-corer-slicer, but it broke. Too bad. If you don't have one and you do much with apples, I'd highly recommend it hit your Christmas list.
As you cut them, drop them into a quart jar (take out of the hot water first), fill each jar until you get to the neck part, or a bit below.
5. Ladle the hot syrup into each jar as it if filled with apples. My ladle is a pretty standard size and it put about 6 ladles into each jar. As soon as you have the syrup in a jar, place the (hot) lid on and screw on a ring. I then place it back in the (not boiling but really hot) stockpot until they are all done. If you put a jar that is too cool into the hot water bath, your jar will break.
6. When your jars are done bring your water (at least 2 in. above the lids) to a rolling boil and boil 20 min. Not all of my jars fit in at once, so I had to do the process in two shifts.
7. When the 20 minutes is up, remove the jars and leave them to set for 24 hours or until a photographer comes to photograph your house for the internet. Store them in a cupboard out of direct sunlight.
*you will hear each lid "pop" as it sets. If you want to know for sure your filling has all "canned" after about an hour push gently on the top of your lids. If they do not "pop back" then the seal is good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Praying For Stellan and the MckFamily **UPDATE UPDATED**

Stellan is going in early for in the middle of DONE with his heart abalation. Please pray that his daddy is able to join his mommy very soon. Please pray for thank God for the wisdom on the part of the doctors and nurses. Please pray thank God that his little heart can handle handled the surgery! This surgery had never been done in the way it was, and never on someone so young, and it went better than they ever ever dreamed. If you want to know more of what is going on, you can check out his mommy's blog
or his mommy's tweets

In Dray news, Snug came down with a bug yesterday and doesn't feel well. He will be going went to the Dr. today at 2:15. According to the office he is exibiting almost 100% of the signs of H1N1, which is nice and yucky for him. He will be getting a mask before he goes into the office, and put in an isolation room away from other patients got a mask before we were allowed in the office and was put in an isolation room. We are hoping and praying that he does NOT have the flu He does NOT have H1N1 or any other flu!!!! We are praying that whatever he has Baby J, #1, and I do not get it. They think that he has a intestinal bug and a possible respitory infection. Praise God not the flu!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Extreme Makeover, Beavercreek Edition

This summer we saw this singer (Kellie Pickler).
We saw part of her concert with these friends.
We saw her sing right out front of this house.
This house is where we had earlier in the week met this TV star, DeeDee (who loved Snug).
So tonight we are very excited, because "our" edition of Extreme Makeover airs on ABC!
And please please, just as we were doing the day we first went to see the house, pray for Stellan. Here is a picture I sent to his mommy for his photo gallery. We wrote his name on a notecard and had the picture taken against a volunteer's back. He has a very serious surgery scheduled for Tuesday.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

If you have ever been to Olive Garden and had their Chicken Gnocchi soup (and liked it), you may want to try this recipe! It isn't the exact same of course, but we love it nonetheless. In the spirit of all things Italian carb-y I will share this recipe with you. I shared yesterday that our menu was a little tilted towards the pasta/carb part of the food pyramid...I will work on that next week. For now, please try this recipe!

(If you have an ALDI near you, that is a great place to get gnocchi right now. They have them only a few times a year, for a great price. If not, you can get them in the pasta/Italian isle at the grocery)

Now, if I was Ethan, Zach, and Emma's mommy, I'd have a picture of all the steps I took to make the soup. I'm not that good, but check out her blog each Monday because she always has nice recipes! I don't even know where I got this recipe, I think I searched "Olive Garden Gnocchi Soup" online awhile back and got it. I doubt a waiter from The Garden just gave it to me :o)

Please excuse the fact that the pot is half gone...I was eating and decided it was so delicious I had to share!

"Olive Garden" Chicken Gnocchi Soup

4 diced chicken breasts
4c. Chicken stock/broth
2c. Half & Half
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 or 2 garlic cloves (depends on how much you like garlic?)
1/2 c. finely chopped carrot
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 c. fresh spinach, finely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
16 oz. gnocchi

1. Saute chicken and garlic in olive oil, and when just cooked add onion, celery, carrot. Saute until tender

2. Transfer to a pot and add chicken stock, half & half, and seasonings. Heat to a boil.

3. Add gnocchi and boil 4 minutes. Turn down and simmer 10 more minutes

4. Add spinach and simmer until well wilted (if at this point it seems very thing, you can heat to boiling and add 1 Tbs of cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs of water...probably not necessary)

5. Serve hot with a nice salad and bread sticks, maybe some candle light :o)

Serves 6

Let me know if you tried it and if you liked it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Sign

We have a sign! Baby J Monkey Man* will sign "more" when he wants something...not just more of it, but in general if he wants it. This is HUGE seems how we've been showing him the sign for "more" and "please", "eat" and "no" since he turned one. He also sees signs for many other things. He knows what they mean too. If I sign "eat" he runs straight for the high chair and jumps around trying to climb up into it (one of the only things he can't get into yet.) If I sign "sleep" he runs away from his bedroom.

We finally got him to sign after 45 minutes of an ice cream temper tantrum. He wanted it, and he wanted it bad. We would give him a bite if he even touched his hands together a little bit. After finding out that kicking your feet and yelling wasn't going anywhere, he began to clap when he wanted another bite. Hey, we'll take clapping :o) So that is his improvised sign for "more*" is clapping. Now he walks around the kitchen clapping and opening his mouth. Very cute :o)

I am so very proud of him!!! He now says "ought oh", shakes his head "no", and signs "more". he was saying his own version of "look" but that has stopped for the time being. So many many things for one little guy to learn.

In the picture above he was eating lasagna...a mommy sized helping of it in fact. I must be craving carbs with this pregnancy because when #1 looked at the menu for the week it was almost all pasta dishes. He cracked up. I think it is partly due to the fact that Aldi has all of its Italian things on big sale in Oct/Nov and has special things (ravioli) that it doesn't normally stock. Or I'm craving carbs. :o) Still feeling just fine, not showing, and not gaining any weight. I'm 16 weeks today. I'm very tired quite a bit, but that is about it. I kinda wish the boys' pregnancies had been this easy. I can deal with tired :o)

Well, I've used enough smiley faces for 3 posts today...we're just having a good day here I think.

*We've decided to call him Monkey Man online. We call him "the monkey" quite a bit IRL. He CLIMBS on everything and is quite daring. He also makes a remarkably monkey like sound when he is excited or agitated. On top of all that, he has some adorable sock monkey toys that he very much Monkey Man it is :o) Have I ever mentioned his INTENSE love of bananas? This is in NO way related to evolution, I promise!

*The sign for "more" is touching the fingertips together with the hands shaped kinda like "o"s.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I ♥ New Diapers

These are the three WAHM* diapers I bought off of E-Bay a few months(?) ago. I think this must be the actual picture on their site as that is not my carpet. As you can see, they have snaps in the front to snap down to fit a much smaller baby. But notice (especially those of you who CD and use pockets/AIOs*) that the snaps on the tabs are super close together, right on the ends, and have no "female" snap on the tabs if you need to overlap. These diapers are cut generously, and even on now 22 lb 4 oz Baby J Monkey Man, he has them snapped to meet in the middle.
SO, yesterday (or was it the day before???) I sewed snaps off of an old Haute diaper that was leaking like a sieve into these. You can see it isn't beautiful, but MAN do they work great! This is what the inside tabs look like now.

And here is an outer view. With the new snap on the outside, the diapers can overlap and fit a much smaller baby...tried it on a Cabbage Patch Preemie doll :o) One old diaper fixed all three of these.

As for the Thirsties cover that I converted into a pocket...well, here is a picture of I think a Thirsites AIO* in orange. Mine looks very much like this now, but it has a thin blue thread line along the top. I'd love to take a nice picture for you, but that diaper was used today, and I mean used. No one wants to see that.

Along with those new developments, I also got my gRefills and gCloth inserts in the mail today! YEAH! This month we put some diaper money in the budget and did two things. First I went to our kids second hand shop that sells used cloth diapers. Once Upon A Child won't, but this place does. A little farther to drive, but not much. Anyway, I had picked up some newborn inserts and two newborn covers (5-10 lbs) along with this little gPant. They cost $29.99 for two, and unless I know I L O V E something, I'm not shelling out that kind of money on them, especially when they don't come with any inserts. I picked this orange one up for $3.50 and ordered the inserts and biodegradable flushable inserts from Kelly's Closet. I highly recommend this company for buying cloth. They are reliable, quick, and have competitive pricing.
I needed more cloth inserts anyway, and these are Hemp, the very best in my opinion. When the new baby is born, Baby J will still presumably be in diapers and they will both need inserts for their diapers. The disposable flushable/biodegradable inserts are a trial run. Wasn't thrilled with the price, but if they work ok, they will replace us buying disposables for church etc. They can be thrown away like a disposable and stick a new one in the little gPant. We'll see!

*WAHM Work At Home Mom made things
*AIO All In One diapers (no stuffing inserts in, just all one thing...kinda hard to get dry in my opinion)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

...But I Didn't...(and lots about cloth diapering)

I was going to take a picture and show you all the applesauce I canned (the night before our Realtor was coming, cause that was smart and sticky), but I didn't.

I was going to take a picture and show you the FOR SALE sign in our front yard that went up today. But I didn't.

I was going to take a picture of the old diaper that died on me and how I had it resurrect four others. But I didn't.


I did get apples at 50 cents/lb this week at Aldi and I managed to can several quarts of applesauce. My original goal (since I don't put sugar in it, some do have cinnamon) was to get it canned for the new baby. Then I realized half way through that he/she won't even be eating solids till next year at this time, and we never ever start with fruits. Oops. I'm pretty sure I'll be canning again next fall. At that point I started adding cinnamon. Good Christmas presents for the neighbors (if we still live here).

If we don't live here at Christmas I can give it to new neighbors. Then they too can know that I am quirky and still can stuff. People think I am crazy to can. I love it! I'll ease them into the whole using environmentally safe cleaners, cloth diapers, and recycling. Too much crazy at once and I'll have no new friends.

Our realtor also came today, and she really like what we have done with the place. Well, us and everyone who has helped us (thanks!). It is officially on the market, and a photographer will be here later this week to take pictures. I probably won't be sharing those online though because of privacy issues. Perhaps (don't hold your breath) I will take some of my own! It was such a relief to have her walk in and be happy with it. I am very convinced as a sales person that you do a better job selling something if you like the product, no matter what your commission.

Ok, about the cloth diaper episode, I REALLY should have taken pictures because I am thrilled with the results. I was not thrilled with the process as Baby J (who REALLY needs a new online name here soon) was less than helpful, but more than curious.

One of my Haute diapers (not endorsing that particular website, just had lots of info.) that I had gotten second hand was leaking like crazy. When I turned it inside out, I realized that the PUL was missing in many places, and sparse in others. None of the other diapers I bought used at the same time has that problem, so I'm not sure what happened. No matter, it had a nice long life. I mean it was worn 3-4 times a week for probably 6 months at my house alone (not sure how long with the previous owner). What disposable can say that?

I really didn't want to throw it away, and I wasn't sure how to recycle it. I bought 3 WAHM diapers off of E-Bay a few weeks ago, and was less than thrilled with them. They work "ok" for Baby J, and I was just glad to throw 3 more pockets* into our rotation. They were also really cheap. With those three in rotation, we only use flats/covers about two times a week. The only problem with these diapers is that the snaps were not in the right place. Although they could be snapped down to fit a 2-4 month old on up, around Baby J is the smallest they'd go. Not gonna work for Baby #3.

I carefully used a thread puller and took out the fleece "pocket" part of the diaper and then even more carefully cut off all the snaps with as much material around each as I could. I then sewed the snaps from the old diaper into the other 3 where I wanted them. Presto! My diapers are MUCH more functional.

I still had the fleece insides, and hated to get rid of that either. Because we are not using flats/covers very often I have about 3 Thirsties covers that are not getting used. I sewed the fleece pocket into my orange cover and PRESTO! I have another pocket diaper! YEAH! So in the process of losing one, I gained one and fixed three. Yeah!

*pocket diapers are so very very like disposables, they are so easy. It is very hard to go back to folding and using a Snappi/cover once you have a few in your stash. Pocket diapers get "stuffed" with inserts (fleece, hemp, whatever) and then just snap on. EASY :o) However, when we first started cloth diapering, all we could afford was simple flats, covers, and snappis. That is the cheapest way to start off unless you have money saved up or are registering for them. As we budget them in, we pick up a few here and there. We maybe spend $15-$20 a month on diapers (many months we spend nothing), and they will be used again on our next baby. Nice, huh?