Friday, November 30, 2012

Decorating!

 We always decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving or as close as possible! So this week, we've been planning to have a little family Christmas party all week.

Little did we know that we'd be going down one by one! I went and got some meds today for a sinus infection that's had me with head pain/aches for over a week now and even vomiting on Wednesday. Samuel has a nasty sore throat that had him in tears all night. Zakkai came home from school with terrible pain in his lower left abdomen/groin area. After watching him not be able to walk normally and dissolving in tears several times over the pain, I called the dr. She wanted to see him right away, fearing a hernia. Thankfully, it doesn't appear to be a hernia but is mostly likely a strained groin muscle. Poor kiddo spent the evening on the couch with a heated rice sock and some motrin to help with the pain. He was also in tears many times this evening.

There were several times when I wanted to call it quits and postpone our little party but we perservered, hoping to lift our spirits! I played the kiddos a few Christmas tunes on my piano which brought some smiles, we had homemade pizza and some cookies.


Here are my favorite 4, watching the Grinch:)


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies! SO good and definitely will be made again!


We had to work hard to get this tree to stay upright and get the lights to turn on tonight but after a lot of hard work from Dear Daddy, and some great ornament help from my Little Peeps, I'd say this little Charlie Brown tree turned out pretty cute!

Happy Friday from our broken but spirited crew:)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New "Gwasses!"

 Finally pictures are up and running! I didn't blog yesterday because I was struck down with a nasty sickness. Ben had to take over with the kiddos and even made a delicious chicken noodle soup for dinner!

It's one of a few meals he can make well:)


I was experimenting with the camera today, trying to get shots of Little Miss, while she took pictures with "her" camera. i.e. our old camera that got water spilled on it. Here she is being a little ham:)


I can't remember if I blogged about E's new glasses much. We picked up her glasses on our way to Ohio last week. It was so amazing~ she willingly put them on and just blinked and looked around from left to right. Then a beaming smile spread across her sweet face and she exclaimed, "New gwasses! Like new gwasses!" She didn't stop smiling for so long and it brought tears to our eyes to see her joy.


This new prescription is working wonders! Her eyes are almost perfect all the time! There is a slight turn occasionally with her eye but the glasses correct it immediately. They are SO much better than her old prescription and the joy on her face as she looked around in them will stay in our thankful hearts forever. What a gift!


She's our darling girl!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas

My boys are a bit unusual, in that they don't ask for a whole lot for Christmas. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have a reprieve from, "Can I have that?! or "Can we buy that, plleeeeeaaaaassseee?"

But it's also strange. I remember sitting with the JCPenney catalog at my Grandma's house and spending the longest time picking out which special toys I wanted. Not that I remember getting any of the stuff I marked......hmmm.

Anyways, it makes it hard to come up with a small list for anyone who asks! I tend to buy things they need or toys that I hope will last a long time and not be "yesterday's smash hit" in 3 months and relegated to the shelves.

On Black Friday, I'd say my favorite place we went was to Once Upon A Child! They were offering 20% off of everything; a better deal than any of the other lame-o stores. I got a few clothes for my ever-growing Samuel and then I found the greatest deal!

A huge Lincoln Log set for only $10!!!




Eliana and I got it out today and counted the pieces. 263 pieces!! Do you have any idea how much lincoln log cost?? I figure if the boys don't end up playing with it, I can always turn around and sell it for a whole lot more than I bought it on ebay. Good deal!

Another reason I am glad that the boys aren't begging for lots of things is because I want them (and me!) to keep the real meanings of Christmas in mind. Not to be bamboozled and wowed by all the things that we just have to have. I mean, apparently every child and their brother is asking for an ipad this Christmas or new phones, or gaming systems or other crazy stuff. We don't have a money tree in the backyard and I don't want my kids thinking "getting stuff" is what it's all about. I want them to have good memories and get some things they want and I know the people who love them get pleasure out of giving them gifts. Goodness, I love giving gifts!!

I just hope we can find a good way to give this Christmas. To honor the One whom this season is really all about. To keep the focus on Jesus, on loving the people around us and spending time with our family.

Monday, November 26, 2012



We're right back to the grind of things here. Ben was up and out by 6:30 this morning to catch the train and the kiddos and I scrambled to jump back into the school routine. It always takes a few days to get everything put away from traveling and into their rightful places.

Somehow, though, our things always multiply when traveling and it takes me awhile to figure out where everything should go! We are going to haul out our Christmas decorations on Friday and have a little Christmas party. Music, homemade pizza and cookies, The Grinch and tree decorating! The boys are pretty excited:)



Here's last year's tree decorating. Nothing like decorating in your pj's and underwear! ha!


Oh, and look how little Miss E was! Wow. She has enjoyed seeing some Christmas lights on the houses in our neighborhood. It will be fun to have her take part in the festivities this year! Even if that means taking on and off ornaments and making more mess than help:) It's fun having children around to bring new life to traditions and such joy to the simplest of tasks.

I hope to have new pictures up soon~just waiting on a camera part. I miss taking pictures!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In a nutshell.

Traveling to be with family.

Hearing the laughter and giggles from the kiddos.

Allowing myself to finally listen to Christmas music!

Noise.

Kisses and hugs from loved ones.

Shopping on Black Friday.

Giving thanks for God's goodness.

Invitations to stay with family next month.

Victory over Michigan.

Images tucked away of love, family, laughter, memories.

New beginnings and miracles.

Good eating and Game playing!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Busy Days!

I am so thankful that we came "Home" this year for Thanksgiving. It's been a really special week and busy, too. We have a whole bunch of tired peeps over here!

Tonight we had a dinner to say goodbye to those heading out of town and filled with leftovers and the party ended quickly when the babies said, "Enough!" It's been so tiring for the adults, let alone the little kiddos.

This morning, at 4 am, my mom, 2 of my sisters, my aunt, cousin, grandma and I got up and did a little Black Friday shopping. It was so weird because there were NO lines whatsoever! All the kooks (sorry if that was you!!) went out last night apparently and everyone else must've thought the deals were gone and didn't go out.

We didn't think the deals at any of the stores were particularly good this year but we still enjoyed a few stores and our annual breakfast meet at Panera:)

Tomorrow we watch the final Buckeye game with family and then we head home! Back to cold weather, school and regular busy life. I do love this time of year though. Extra time with those we love. Priceless to me and even more valued after all these years of living away.

However, after 4 thanksgiving dinners/lunches 2 days in a row.....I think I'm all turkeyed out.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OH! IO!

We made it safe and sound to Ohio tonight! It was a fairly uneventful trip, with not too much traffic. We stopped on the way out of Chicago to pick up Eliana's new glasses! It would've just melted your heart to see her. She willingly let me put them right on and looked all around like, "Whoa!" She got the biggest smile on her face and kept saying, "Like it, new glasses. Like it!"

She is so sweet. Love that she can see! And the best part is that so far, we are noticing NO eye turn at all!! Hopefully this full-strength prescription will do the trick. Yea.

The boys are having a tough time settling in tonight, getting used to a new place and new noises, etc. We are staying with my Grandparents this time, which is new.

So excited to spend time with our families this week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Whirlwind!

Today was a whirlwind of a day! The boys were up bright and early, helping me clean for some friends who came to play this morning. They were hard at work, scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning up their room.....Samuel had a rough attitude on Saturday when I made them clean and was much better today, although later he complained that it was such a boring weekend, full of cleaning. I said, "I'm not the only one who makes a mess around here and it's only fair that we all pitch in and help. Plus, did you not enjoy having your friends over today?"

I got a reluctant yes. I must be the wicked stepmother, forcing these poor, unappreciated children to clean! :)

I had to keep Eliana up from her nap because we had parent-teacher conferences today. She was SO tired by the time they rolled around. I originally scheduled them during naptime, thinking Ben would be home with her, but forgot he would be attending the last day of conferences today. Sigh.

We got glowing reports on the boys!! Both are scoring really high on the testing (Illinois test they take fall/spring each year) and are really well-liked by their classmates and teachers. That's really, really nice to hear!

We went straight from conferences to the library to get some books for our trip to OH tomorrow and on to fill up our gas tank before heading off to basketball practice. Eliana fell sound asleep on the way to basketball, so another mom walked the boys in so I could sit in the car with her for awhile.


She was out cold! She woke up grumpy and had an early bedtime tonight!

The boys just love basketball. The coach always compliments their athleticism, which I tell him they did NOT get from their mama! I am not known for my gracefulness...

All people under the age of 30 are snoozin' in bed and my dear husband is finally home from this grueling weekend. Off to pack and get ready for Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Littl (er)s.

 I will be glad to see this weekend end!! It has been a whirlwind of preparing with Ben for his big weekend, extra solo-kiddo care and cleaning.

So far, Ben's paper presentation went really well and I am still awaiting word on the interview from my long-lost scholarly husband....

It was a really nice day out today and, in between cleaning, we spent a lot of time outdoors. Well, most the boys but Eliana and I popped out a few times, too. Once she saw her brothers going out, she begged for her sweatshirt and cried and cried to go outside! You should have seen her heartbreak when I made her come in for lunch and nap!

She was very emotional today. I've heard girls can be that way.....:) We ended our day with breakfast for dinner (yea!) and after tucking E in, a good reading of "The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks." What a life we lead:)

I am waiting on a charger for my camera so I can't take any new pictures this week~boo!! For now, enjoy pics of my little (er) people from last Thanksgiving....


Look at Z's rounder cheeks! He has really thinned out this past year and isn't such a little munchkin anymore...sniff!


Samuel has really matured and is such a different child than he used to be! All into sports and friends and reading. Crazy!


What can I say? She was edible.

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yummy in My Tummy.

 Feast your eyes....


Homemade Snicker's Bars. Oh yes. Amazing. Fresh. Rich. Bad for you but oh-so good for you:) I will be freezing these and bringing them home for Thanksgiving, if I can, to get them out of the house.

Otherwise, we will all come home a hundred pounds heavier!

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We would be so thankful for your prayers for Ben this weekend! It's a big weekend for him. He is presenting a paper tomorrow morning at a big annual Bible conference AND he has an interview Sunday afternoon!!! We could use all the prayers we can get!

Now I'm off to iron his shirts and do my own praying.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Flashback!


A little flashback to last November.....



Ah! Who is this little short-haired, glasses-less munchkin! It's so amazing how much they can change in 1 year. Talking, walking, getting into trouble:) Such a darling girl!

I made a very simple but delicious soup tonight that I thought I'd share! It was SO easy and after watching everyone gobble up 2 bowls, I'll definitely be making it again!

Hearty Cannellini and Ham Soup

*I sauteed about half of a small onion in some olive oil (I'm a fairly new onion user and use less onion than most people so keep that in mind!) and added some diced ham; maybe 1 to 1 1/2 cups. When that had sauteed a few minutes, I added a 32oz box of chicken broth (I always use reduced sodium, fat-free, etc) and 2 cups of water with 2 chicken bouillion cubes. Then I stirred in 2 cans (rinsed and drained) of Cannellini beans and 4 cups of shredded cabbage. I stirred it all together, put on a lid and let it cook on med heat for 10-15 minutes until the cabbage was tender.

Served with fresh homemade bread and it was delicious!! I never knew I liked cabbage but I've had it twice recently in meals and it's so good!

Cooking in the winter can be so much fun:)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Zakkai and Mugga!

A clip of Z reading! He was being a little silly while he read and it's really dark but at least you can hear him!

video


Also, I want to wish my very special Mama a Happy Birthday today! It's been such a tough year in so many ways and I just pray with all of my heart that this is the start of a new year; a fresh beginning. A year filled with peace and God's blessings, big and small. I love you, Mom!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another week..

 This shall be short and sweet tonight, as 2 of my dearest little people have shared their colds with me and I'm not feeling very well!


Samuel, who loves Art at school so much, surprised me with this picture this morning! I absolutely love it and all the colors he used! Definitely one turkey I would not want to eat....:)

A blurry picture is about all you can get of this little munchkin these days! She is one busy bee. A little mess here, a big mess there, a Fissy Missy everywhere! She's wearing a dress I made for her this past year and it's a little too short now so she wore it over jeans today. So cute!

We piled in the house after basketball practice this afternoon, in a flurry of school stories, homework and papers. Thankfully, a dinner in the crockpot was ready and now they're all tucked in bed and soon, this mama will be, too!

Another week begun...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Church.

We have visited several churches in the past 2 years, since we left our church home of 5 years when moving out of the city. It seems like an easy thing to find a new church. You find one that's nice; welcoming people, decent music and inspiring preaching,  and boom, you've found a church home. Right?

Wrong.



 
Finding a new church has been far harder than either Ben or I imagined, for many reasons.



Here are a few things I've learned from visiting churches (at least 8 in the past 2 years that I can think of). Things that I feel all Christians ought to know if they are part of a church, whether in leadership or just a member of the congregation.
 
1.) Make people feel welcome!! This is probably my biggest thing about churches. I can't tell you how many of the 8 churches we've visited in these past couple of years have been put on my "NO" list because the people were so unwelcoming!
 
Coming into a new church is a really courageous thing to do. Whether you're new to the area, a new believer (or not even one!) or just looking for a new church home, it can be incredibly intimidating to walk into a church where you don't know anyone.
 
Please, if you're part of a church and you notice someone new (if that's possible!) muster up the courage and take a few minutes to introduce yourself. It could make or break that person/couple/family's decision to come back. I'll never forget moving to Chicago and walking into church (where we belonged for 5 years) and having this couple introduce themselves, ask our names and info and then remember our names the next time we came. Sealed the deal.
 
2.) Make a good church website! Technology is a big part of today's society (whether you like it or not!) and for us, finding one on the internet is the biggest way we search. Some churches we've never even visited because they either (a) don't have a website or b) their website is lacking so much information or is hard to navigate.
 
I wish more churches would take the time to put together a new-visitor friendly site that gives helpful information about what the service is like, what the components of the service are (worship, preaching, children's ministry, etc.), and more.
 
3.) Invest serious time into your children's ministries! This is one thing that is important to both B and I, because we're entrusting our 3 precious kiddos into the church's hands for an hour or more. If you are a children's ministry volunteer, BE KIND to the children and the parents!! We left a church because of a children's ministry teacher and coordinator. The teacher was rude and never ever welcomed my boys into the classroom or tried to learn their names, even knowing we were a new family. And when I approached the coordinator, in tears, after a particularly bad incident with the teacher, I was forced to go have a confrontation with the teacher right then and there and treated so rudely the next week that we walked out and never went back.
 
Again, it takes courage to enter a new church, for parents and children, alike! Seeing a welcoming face and smile makes a huge difference.
 
Also, I think churches should take lots of time to make their children's church feel professional and well-organized. I want to know my children are safe and well-cared for and learning about Jesus in the best environment possible. Invest the time and I promise, your church will reap the benefits. Children are the future after all....
 
4.) Preaching. Not that any pastors will read this anyways. However! Wouldn't it be nice to enter a church and hear some well-thought out, thought-provoking, truthful sermons? Can I get an amen? Too many churches have watered down, boring or downright unresearched, unthoughout sermons. It's so incredibly refreshing when you hear a good one. Rare, as it is.
 
5.) Worship. I won't say too much on this subject, as... I might say too much! All I can say is, it's my favorite part of a church service. It can put me in a worshipful mood or a bad one. Take the time to make sure your music is good and varied and your singers can sing on-key!! And please, don't get stuck in the 80s....
 


I'm sure there is so much I could say on the subject of church, however, these are the most important things that jump out at me. It's too easy to make church into a business, or a private social circle and forget that it's the Lord's House. A place to worship Him. A place to worship with fellow Believers, old and new. A place to set aside your to-do list at the door and focus on what is the most important thing in life: Loving Jesus and becoming more like Him.
 
Take a few minutes the next time you're in church and look around, greet some one new and really try to remember their name. Thank someone who does the children's ministry week in and week out (whether you have a child there or not), smile at someone and try to make your church a little more of a home.
 
It could make a big difference to someone and I think it honors the One whom church is about in the first place.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Family

I don't think I ever posted this picture from our trip to Colorado this summer!


 
Thinking about family tonight; looking forward to those I will see in a couple of weeks and missing those I won't.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He can Read!

Tonight, I read a story with Zakkai in his room and since it was still early, asked him if he wanted to chat for awhile. He thought for a moment and then said, "I know what I want to do! I want to try to read!"

And so, he and I cuddled on his bed and he read half of this book:

 
And I'll tell you why that is so special to me. This was the very first book (and is the original book!) that I read all by myself when I was 5! I got teary listening to him read. He went from not reading at all 2 months ago, to sounding out words like a pro and feeling so proud about what he accomplished.
 
I'm so proud of him and thankful for those special moments.
 
I also want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my wonderful mother-in-law! She is such a sweet, caring person who gives and loves with her whole heart. We are so blessed to have her, to know her and to love her. Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Funny Moments!

 It was my solo day today so the munchkins (big and little) and I had a quiet dinner by ourselves. We were laughing over silly things and I was watching their beautiful faces shining with happiness and I thought, "I need to capture these smiles!"

So, I pulled out the trusty old camera and this is what happened:


This was the best I got of my feisty 5 year old (or, as he would insist, 5 and 1/2!). I think he's got a lot of my side of the family in his cute little face... He looks a lot like my grandma in this pic!


Samuel, in mid-laugh! He's such a hoot these days...


 Here's the Fiss, learning the hand-blocking technique from her big-bros:)


She is such a happy little creature! It's so easy to get her to smile and laugh and be silly:)


Samuel jumped at the chance to get a mommy-son picture. I just love how it turned out!!


So then Zakkai saw how much fun it was and decided he would cooperate for me. Love this!!

And then, we got a little.....silly. Be prepared for some frightening pictures! We may look silly (and you may never look at me the same way again) but the laughs we got out of this were priceless! And worth sharing:)


Take one! Samuel thinks Zakkai looks like one of the pigs from Angry Birds. ha.


Take two. My face in this one had Zakkai in STITCHES for so many minutes! He had to keep looking back at this one and giggled so much.

 
Take three. Monster faces! Totally worth making a fool of myself to make fun memories with these boys!
 
Now you have my permission to make fun of me. Gently:)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Some Moments.

Eliana:

Eliana had her 2 year check-up on Friday and she is once again deemed petite! She is 32 3/4 inches tall (10-15%) and 24 lbs. (25th%)  Short and chubby~ha! She gets a lot of comments when she's walking around about how little she is. I am pretty sure I shrunk her:)

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New things this 2 year old is doing:
*Singing allllll the time! She loves to sing as she plays, about what she's playing or doing, copying me singing. I've noticed lately that if she's grumpy in the car and I start singing songs to her, she will stop and listen and say, "More, Mama? More?" Just figured out today that she knows a lot of the ABC's song!

*She can count almost fluently up to 15! She skips seven and thirteen or fourteen but it's cute to hear her count, even with the mistakes. Okay, esp with the mistakes:)

*She is really into having us come watch her or be with her. She will say, "C'mere, Daddy! C'mere, Mommy!" while beckoning with her little hand:) She also will come and grab my hand and say, "C'mon, Mama. Come pway." She, as always, definitely knows how to get what she wants!

*Loves to pick out her shoes for the day. Sometimes she is very insistent on a pair and will refuse all other pairs. She loves boots and her special black dress-up shoes the best. A fashionista?

*Little Miss has lots of emotions these days. Definitely more outbursts and meltdowns now that she's so old and independent. (note sarcasm!) She can cry the most heartbreaking cry over the silliest things. Like not being allowed to have crackers for breakfast. Or having a marker taken away. Definitely emotional moments:)

Fissy Moment:

Ben watched Eliana as she pressed herself nose to nose with me, a silly game we like to play. He remarked, "Eliana's really been your buddy lately."

Eliana pulled back, looked at me and said, "Mama Buddy! Mama Buddy!"
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Samuel:

*Has turned into quite the bookworm! Makes his bookworm mother and father proud. Sniff. Last year, the Magic Treehouse books opened up a new world for him and got him into reading chapter books. He's since outgrown those and is into Boxcar Children (yea!), Diary of a Wimpy Kid and most recently, has really enjoyed reading "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" with Daddy every night! It's really fun to have him into all these books that we enjoy, too.

*Is quite the teaser. He surprises us with his quick come-backs and silly jokes sometimes. I remember when he was little and he would get so offended if Ben teased him and we had to teach him to lighten up a little. And now he's a jokester himself! Like Father, like son, apparently....

*His favorite subject in school is Art! He says he doesn't like math and science (takes after his Mama!)

*Is loving the Basketball class he and Z are taking. He's doing great, too! His favorite part is taking shots. 6 baskets today!

Samuel Moment:

Last week, the day before Halloween, I took the boys to get flu shots, hoping to minimize the amount of germs coming into our home. Can you blame me??

Samuel was not happy with me and complained of a sore arm the rest of the night. He exclaimed, "You're mean!" I just looked at him and he paused and then added, "Well, except you make really good dinners, cool Halloween costumes and you're the best mommy in the world."

Nice save, son. Nice save....

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Zakkai:

*Is reading! I am absolutely amazed at how much he has learned since entering kindergarten just over 2 months ago. He has learned to sound out words so well and takes a lot of pride in reading! He loves to spell, too. He spells everything.

Ex. Tonight at dinner. "M-O-M-M-Y? C-A-N  I  H-A-V-E- A Falafel?"

He spells and spells and spells some more. Always trying to figure out how to spell words. He loves to write words, too. He copies books down on paper.

His latest goal? To copy the Bible. It might take him awhile....:)


Zakkai Moment:

Samuel, at the dinner table yesterday: "This morning when I cut my finger, it bleeded so bad when I was squeezing it."

Me: "First of all, you shouldn't squeeze your cut! Of course it will bleed a lot. And you say bled, not bleeded."

Samuel: "Bled? That sounds weird." Ben proceeds to give a brief explanation on bleed, bled, blood.

And then Zakkai, who clearly was not paying attention (as usual) jumps in, "Samuel, your finger blooded everywhere!"

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

3 Wild Things!

 Yesterday we went on a long-overdue trip to the zoo! It wasn't a long trip but that's the beauty about living close by. It doesn't need to be:)

Being the usual scatterbrain, I forgot my camera but I was able to convince Samuel to take this picture to show his zoo face paint:


Samuel the Lion! He was embarassed by it first (even though he asked for it!) but then he didn't want to take it off:) Love that cute face.


Zakkai and Eliana have a funny relationship. He likes to play with her but doesn't often understand the mind of a 2 year old and the fact that she doesn't "get" the same things he gets. So he gets frustrated with her easily and we have to work really hard to teach him to distract, replace wanted toys and speak gently.

Yesterday, however, they had a fun brother-sister moment, which was nice to see. Zakkai covered her in pillows (except her face, upon strict orders!) and then she'd throw them off, giggling, and they'd start all over again.


These 3 certainly keep me busy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Recipes!

Thought I would share some new and delicious recipes we have tried lately! Just passing on the love:)

First we have some delicious, delicately yet perfectly flavored Cranberry Orange Muffins. Fresh cranberries on sale at a store near you now! I got a bag for .99 cents yesterday and we had oranges on hand for the orange juice. Just a note: it took 2 oranges to get enough juice and the recipe made 11 muffins, not 16 like they so ambitiously stated. Will definitely be making these again!

Next up, we have a very strange sounded yet astoundingly delicious recipe. Prepare yourself. I have never in my life had something like this and thought it sounded disgusting, however, (yes, however!) we got some with our produce share this week and had to cook it up.

Collard Greens! Oh, yes. It was absolutely delicious! As in, everyone (except Little Miss Picky) gobbled it up and it was declared in the top favorite vegetable list of both boys!! It was tender and so flavorful, healthy and green! Definitely will make again.

Note: I made it without the bacon fat (I used a TB of butter) and without the cider vinegar or hot sauce.

And here is one of our favorite soups! Winter Squash Soup. Oh-yummy and oh-so healthy!

Winter Squash Soup

2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 TB butter
3 TB all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, chopped or sliced
4-5 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups mashed cooked Butternut squash (or acorn or Hubbard, if you prefer)
2 TB minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup fat-free half and half cream (although I forgot this last time and it was just as good!)

Preparation:

1. First, if you haven't already, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and slice butternut squash in half length-wise. Place cut side down on baking sheet and roast 45 min or until tender.

2. In a large saucepan, saute celery, onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 min or until thickened. (I add more broth to make a bigger batch) Add potatoes and carrots and cook with lid on until veggies are tender.

3. Puree 2 cups butternut squash (add small tsps of water to make smooth as processing). Add squash to soup with parsley, salt and nutmeg. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until heated through.

4. Gradually stir in cream, if using, and heat soup through. 5 min. Full of goodness!


I always serve this soup with homemade buttery soft pretzels, a must-have recipe I will share with you later this weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Anyone know where to find a money tree?

                                           (first full ponytail!)

Took this cute little Thang to the eye dr this morning for her quarterly check-up. We came away with good news and bad/good news. The bad/good news is she's getting new glasses with her maxed prescription in them (+5.50) and will be getting bifocals to help with her close-up focusing. This should help her eye to stop turning in as much as it does now. The bad news? Because they are such specific glasses for such a tiny person, they will be $200! That's somewhere between Ouch (!) and Boing! (name that movie.)

The other good news is that she can get contacts at a very early age (even 5 years old) and we are hoping the full-strength prescription will help her eye enough that she won't have to have surgery in a few years. Also, her prescription and eye-turn will lessen a bit once she gets into her 20s. She's happily the opposite of her dear old mom and dad, who will continue to get blinder with age:)

She may be cute and worth every penny but she's expensive!


The boys are in candy heaven today. They got to take a piece in their lunches today which made them very happy. We usually let them have 1-2 pieces a day for a few days or so (a serious treat, believe me!) and then we make them weed down the buckets and choose their top 10-15 pieces to last the rest of the year.

The rest? Either gets tossed or goes into our gingerbread house stash! It's a nice way to save money and have some fun decorations for our gingerbread houses next month. We have plenty to share with anyone who wants any.....:)

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The boys are in this terrible habit of leaving things at school right now. Yesterday Samuel left his hat, gloves and his lunchbox at school! Today, Zakkai left his brand-new hat at school. Any ideas on getting them to remember to bring this stuff home??

I took Zakkai to the school lost and found table to look for his lost mitten (yet another article of clothing that disappeared into a black hole..), only to find a HUGE assortment of lost gear from the school kids! I'm talking several winter coats, piles of sweatshirts, hats, gloves, headbands, books, etc. Who wouldn't try to find their kid's winter coat if it went missing???

Apparently the school makes a big donation twice a year of all the unclaimed clothing. There was too much stuff to look through so we left mitten-less. Sigh.

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This has been a week full of appointments and busyness. The boys had appts Tues afternoon, yesterday was just crazy, E's eye appt today and her 2 year check-up tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to a nice quiet weekend!

I hope:)

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