Monday, January 26, 2009

Birthdays and such

Thanks so much to those of you who have commented or left feedback recently. It's fun to see what people think of the new layout. I'm also trying to include blogs I'm following or sites I like to visit on this new layout too. (BTW. Thanks, Mel, for the vote of confidence. I need it. =)It's a work in progress so it may take awhile to get everyone on there. Some days I just don't even get to the computer at all, like this past weekend.....
  Starting with Friday, we had my Mom's birthday party, then Sat. we traveled to Houma, LA for Ed's Mom's birthday and then back that evening. He teaches 3-7 grd. boys on Sunday mornings so we needed to be back for that, otherwise we would have stayed the night as it's a 3 1/2 hr drive one way. Sunday was busy all day, too. We had the ordination of our 3 new deacons and a fellowship after that. Anyway, just so I won't get too boring with the tiny details, I'll just say I was pretty worn out last night and I think we were in bed by 10:30 pm. Trust me, that is early for us! 
 Today was just playing catch-up on house cleaning with some school thrown in ( yep, I know, I need to work on those priorities) for good measure. =)
 Oh yeah, we did enjoy our visits...the birthdays were both fun. I always think of plenty of birthday ideas throughout the year but for some reason when the time comes to actually find a present I always run into a mental block. I should probably keep some kind of idea journal for gifts or something like that, but then I would have to remember to write in that too. ;) Anyway, for my mom I found one of those pretty fabric covered storage boxes and just put some little "happys" in there, like note cards, and a CD, and a decorative hook for her laundry room and then a calendar with recent pics of the kids. She loved it. Then for Ed's Mom, I did several little things too. I also did her a calendar, and then I made a memory ribbon board that I thought came out really cute. ( I LOVE those things, I think I could make one for every room in the house if I had room for it.) Oh, and I found this cute little set of  drawstring travel bags at Kirkland's, you use them for packing shoes and laundry and they had little applique's on them. She liked her stuff too, (which made me happy).
 I guess that sort of catches us up.....
   We were discussing goals for the week in discipleship yesterday and when I was asked what mine was, I told them I just hoped to have some real evidence of having accomplished something this week. You know, "fruits of your labor" kind of thing.  We'll see.
  More on that topic later.

Alyssa's baptism

A little over a year ago Alyssa came and told us she had been saved (Aaron is actually the one who led her to the Lord), but she never made a public profession of faith. We didn't want to pressure her as she was so young and we wanted it to be her own decision. Well, just recently she came to us again saying she wanted to be baptized, so last Sunday she went forward with Ed to make her profession public and then we had her baptism service the following Wednesday night. It was so sweet and so special. Mom and the girls got to be there also to see her. It really is amazing to see the Lord at work in little tiny hearts, and it's also a huge reminder that we can't do it alone. It has to be Him or we are wasting our time. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

So far, my week has been different. I started walking again this morning. I met Janell and Julia at the track and I believe we walked a mile. It was freezing and I had to get up before 7:30 am. Since no one else was up when I got back home, I just went back to bed. Going to bed at 2:00 am is a hard habit to break and it makes getting up early way too hard. I'm not a morning person, I work better at night just in general, but late night hours do have a way of tying you to the bed in the morning. At least for me they do.
  So anyway, we went over to Pete and Holly's for supper, and she fixed this really yummy glazed chicken over fresh spinach and sweet potatoes on the side. It tasted delicious. She is always coming up with the most creative meals,... I tend to get stuck in a rut. 
 On that note, I've been trying to incorporate some new recipes into my menu and the newest one I tried was a huge success. It was chicken tortilla soup. Even the kids kept saying how yummy it was. I have to say I was very pleased and it is going to be a permanent part of our menu from now on. It's economical too,... that's always another factor for me in trying new recipes. I'll include it at the bottom of the post if anyone wants to try it out.
  Ed was working Dominoes tonight so Mom brought us home, and the kids went straight to bed. I did some cleaning and straightening and then grabbed my laptop and went to bed myself. See... Ok, so I'm sitting up still working on stuff but, hey, at least I'm in bed,right?
 Wow, it has really turned off cold. Supposed to get down to 32 tonight. I gotta go for now and go make sure the kids all have enough covers. Ed can't sleep with the heater very high even in winter so we just pile on the covers. Me, the heat doesn't bother me at all;).
   So here is the recipe:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper,chopped 
1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
4 boneless chicken breast
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup water
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2(8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  OK ,This is what I did and it worked really well. Saute' the onion, garlic, and green pepper in oil,(btw, with peppers being so expensive right now I just picked up a bag of frozen chopped ones); then add all of the other ingredients including the whole chicken breasts. I actually substituted one can of Rotel for the jalapeno pepper and 1 one of the diced tomatoes. Chicken broth is also pricey, but I found 2 boxes (with no MSG) at our salvage store for a fraction of the cost. Then I used 1 lb of frozen corn and one can of black beans. Bring it all to a boil and simmer until the chicken is done 20 min or so. Pull out the chicken and shred it with 2 forks and return to pot. Simmer for another 20-30 min (until the flavors start to blend well) then add 1 small can of nacho cheese sauce and some chopped fresh cilantro. Stir and taste and adjust seasonings as desired. (The cilantro really tops it off.) Simmer another few minutes and then serve with tortilla chips or strips. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New year, new beginnings

So this is the first year, in the 9 years we have been married, that I am neither pregnant or nursing.
 I guess I better back up and fill you all in.
 When I last posted I mentioned that I was having problems with the pregnancy, well, we found out later on (when all the kids got sick too) that I had contracted a virus called Fifth Disease. Normally, it's a pretty mild virus with maybe fever and tiredness, but the most prominent symptom is really red cheeks on children followed by a non itchy rash. It can be so mild that you will have caught it and not even know it most of the time. We actually had a little down time with ours and stayed home all through the holidays as it's contagious, but for the kids it really wasn't a big deal. The danger is if you are elderly or pregnant. Apparently it can cause severe anemia and heart failure in unborn babies. That's what it did in our case. We lost our little boy 2 days before Christmas. 
   Through it all I have had several things to be thankful for,... one is that I actually know the cause of my miscarriage ( not knowing why would have been really difficult to deal with for me), the other thing is God's grace. Not that we weren't sad or that it didn't hurt, but that He let us know that He is still in control and that He does care what happens to us even if we don't understand why.  Family and friends helped us so much and prayed for us through all that time and I'm so grateful for that. More than I could ever say. I had to be off my feet for probably about a month or more. During that time I had so many people bring meals and come and cook and clean, mostly family, but some friends too. 
  I still can't say that I know what the Lord wanted to teach me. I know that He allows everything for a reason and wants us to learn through every experience, but I'm not sure what mine was. Maybe I won't know until years down the road .... regardless, I know I can trust Him.
And it's not that I haven't asked "why" either.... I think anyone who goes through a similar situation does.... but, it's more that I trust His love. If He loved us enough to give us His Son, how could I ever think that He would allow something that was not for the best .
   So, that  being's a new year. I want to learn more this year....I want to teach my children more this year.  I also want to enjoy more this year .... I hope to take more time to just rejoice in the Lord and all He has given me and gives me daily.  So far this year I have been busy, busy...setting new goals, figuring school schedules and curriculum orders. Cleaning and organizing the house and just trying to feel more in control of my life again. Maybe that's a problem, though. Maybe I should be focusing more on giving control to the Lord. I don't mean quitting on my responsibilities, but more of striving for a different attitude. Not getting so frustrated when my "schedule" doesn't go according to plan. Or feeling so defeated if something beyond my control messes with some of my goals. 
 I hope I'm not rambling here. It's been awhile since I blogged and I think this blog is as much for my own good as it is to let all of you know what is going on in our lives.
  As far as the kids go... they are all doing great!
  We had a really fun Christmas with them. In spite of everything else, that part of Christmas went really smoothly and we had a great day.
   Aaron is still challenging my mental capacities with his constant barrage of comments, questions and observations on all aspects of life... and contributes to the clutter and chaos with endless inventions.
  Lela is enjoying some new success with designing paper doll clothes.We got her a Klutz book for Christmas that teaches fashion design/sewing preparation. She loves it and does a really good job.
 Lyssa is learning and growing in many areas, she's making progress in being responsible, and keeps up with the older 2 in school almost effortlessly. They are all in the same "grade" in school, though with us doing a classical style they each grasp it at a different level and it doesn't hold anyone back. She is also enjoying a book of spiral draw. 
 Both girls look forward to starting a quilting class with Grandma really soon.
 Isaac is still loving school and is showing progress in number and letter recognition. His memorization ability is amazing and he is memorizing grammar rules right along with the older ones. =) We are having to work on attitudes and being considerate more these days.
 Levi is still a little lover boy (when he's not fighting with Isaac) and is always ready to hand out hugs and kisses. He is talking really well and we've started him with memorization projects too. (I'm sure he could have done it before now but we couldn't understand him =) 
 He and Isaac are partners in crime these days, and only the screams when one feels betrayed gives them away. They sometimes even include Kyla in their endeavors.  
  Just the other night, Ed and I were in here enjoying a break and a cup of coffee while the little ones were playing in the other room. We heard it get continually louder and more excited but decided to "play dumb" unless it appeared that someone's life was in danger. Well, in just little bit Isaac comes in crying that he's hurt, so while Ed checks for broken bones, I asked him if had been jumping on the bed. He said," No ma'am, we weren't jumping on the bed." "Well, were you jumping off the bed?" "No ma'am." " Well, what happened that you got hurt?" "I was jumping off the dwessah (dresser) and Levi moved the pillow." It was so unexpected we both started laughing. Thankfully the dresser isn't much taller than the bed. Just goes to show that you can never predict what your kids will do.
 Kyla is changing the most, of all the kids. She is walking now, and staggers with remarkably good balance from room to room jabbering and getting into whatever she can, just happy to be able to walk like the big kids. All our kids have been really smart since they were tiny, but she has a way of communicating that is beyond what any of the others have done. She talks alot and some of it you can understand, but by inflection and tone of voice you just know that if  you could understand all of it she would be speaking in complete sentences. And she is only 16 mths. old. Most of the time she is happy and content, but she definitely has a mind of her own and she picks her battles. She will obey perfectly and without hesitation 9 times out of 10, but the 10th time she will suddenly decide that she wants to do something else. Then we have to have a training session.
   Anyway, I guess that sort of catches us up for now. Hope to be on here a little more faithfully, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
 Happy New Year everyone!