Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Vacation

I have intentionally been scarce around here the past couple weeks. This December is a whole story in itself for another time, but I wanted to share this Christmas Picture of our cutie pie :)

I took this picture of Susannah Sunday afternoon (the day after Christmas). I specifically dressed her in a white shirt and red jumper because I remember similar pictures of my older sisters and wanted to do the same with Susannah. I think my Mom made the jumpers for my sisters - something I thought about doing and wanted to do for Susannah but it was impossible this year.

It has been a while since I've had Susannah at the piano, and when I sat her on the bench Sunday, all she wanted to do was turn around and play it instead of holding still for a picture :) Since then I have pulled her highchair up to the piano and let her have fun for a while - she loves it!

Another good reason to be scarce is pictured below :)

Yep, we were at the beach. With snow. With more snow than we got here at home!

We still have a lot going on (when do we ever not?) until life will hopefully settle back down to some sort of normalcy, so have a wonderful rest of the year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Out and Up!!

Yesterday morning a bunch of guys showed up and the work began!! Things were supposed to start Thursday but it snowed all day. Yesterday (Friday) they got the 1st floor framed/laid and the sub floor down, and the outside corner posts in place.

This morning as soon as they got here they started framing walls.

Right before lunch (1:30pm) they had the second floor joists (TGI's) in place.

After lunch I ran an errand and then fried the donuts that I'd been waiting all day for. I'd made the dough very early this morning to have donuts ready for when the guys got here, but the dough did not do right and took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to rise ev-er-y time. They turned out great, though! Maybe not as light as they could've been, but tastes definitely over-rode any toughness.
Here's Daniel and his dad enjoying hot donuts :)

This evening most of the 2nd floor sub-floor is down, they may or may not finish that. Our choir Christmas party is this evening (started 11 minutes ago) and the 2nd in command guy here is also in the choir and wants to go. I think we'll go, too. They just put temporary stairs in place!

This is so very exciting. Shawn (2nd in command guy) and his 2 guys will be here next week, and Daniel has off Monday and another friend will be here Monday as well. They should get it all framed and under tar-paper, maybe as far as windows and siding, if everything goes well and quickly.

I have been crazy busy with making full spread lunches for the guys. The kitchen is always a heap of dirty dishes piled everywhere when they come in, but today I told Daniel that a good meal means dirty dishes :)

Well, I've gotta go feed Susannah supper. She's been doing pretty well. She napped great yesterday with them working right outside her bedroom! Today she hasn't napped as well, but she's still doing good.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Remember to Celebrate Christ's Birth

Through no one's fault but my own, I have had a pretty crummy December/Christmas season so far. Nothing Christmas-related is going the way I want it to. After whining (and yes, some crying) to Daniel Saturday about how I'm "not having a very nice December, which is my favorite time of the year," I began to slowly see how it all boils down to the attitude of my heart.

I can mope and feel bad that things are the way they are, or I can chin up and make the best of it! I admit, it is hard to keep a positive attitude about what feels like chaos when Daniel has been working so much the past several weeks and it feels like it's just me and Susannah all day, almost every day.

But over this past weekend, something Someone has reminded me that Christmas is not about a clean house, or Daniel being home, or Susannah not being sick, or ME not being sick, or having a Christmas tree, or baking yummy goodies, or getting all the shopping done early. Even though those things are very nice, and I certainly do like them (especially Daniel being home!!), they're not what makes December special.

CHRIST makes December special. If I remember to keep Him at the center, then I will also remember to find joy in the situations I'm in.

If I thought December has been crazy so far, heh-heh! I'd better tighten my seatbelt and get ready for some loop-de-loops. Between now and Christmas, there is a maximum of 6 days - including Sunday - that I have "nothing" going on. 6 days to get "everything" done that needs done before Christmas. Hmmm. It sounds like a recipe for the perfect storm. But. The Lord knows exactly what is going to happen, and I have decided to sit back and let Him direct. Doesn't mean I'm going to sit back and do nothing, no. I'm going to mentally sit back, relax, and ENJOY December from here on out while I - joyfully focused on celebrating His birth - work on all the tasks at hand.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nourishing Foods - The Beginning of The Journey Part 2

Part 1

My food radar was suddenly more alert than it had ever been. I wanted to know all the "whys." Why is brown rice better for you? Why shouldn't you eat HFCS? Why should or shouldn't you eat butter, or margarine, or whole milk or skim milk? And I wanted to know what the most nourishing and nutritious foods are, what are REAL healthy foods? Not just what is labeled "Low Fat," "No Trans Fats" or "Natural". I want to provide not only Susannah, but our whole family, the best, healthiest, nourishing foods I can. I didn't know where to start and I wanted tried and true information from someone I know and trust.

I fired off a message to a friend who immediately replied. She gave me the solution to my yogurt dilemma. Now Susannah gets Organic Whole Milk Plain Yogurt. The ingredients are plain and sensible: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Whole Milk, Pectin, Vitamin D3, Six Live Active Cultures. (I very well may make my own someday.)

She also suggested two book to me and was kind enough to loan them BOTH to me! One is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:

and the other is Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron.

They are both blow you away full of amazing information. Stuff that I never knew before. Stuff that the everyday John Q. Public probably has no idea about. These books have changed a lot of the way I think about food.

A lot of the food and ingredients I was buying and making were pretty empty of it's natural nutrition. Our bodies don't process or absorb manufactured nutrients very well, so why do I want to eat something that my body can't get any good from?

**I will say right here and now that I do believe moderation is key. There are some things I am going to change, and a few things I will leave the same.**

Some of the areas that I have changed already would be:

Flour. Instead of using your "usual" white flour that is quite a bit more than just flour (read the ingredients list), I am using All Natural White Wheat Flour. It is flour, plain and simple. Yes, the flavor is different, but it is not as harsh as red wheat flour, and we like it quite well. I hope to buy a grain mill early next year and start grinding my own flour for all or almost all our baking. With grains, as soon as the shell of the grain is cracked it starts losing it's nutrients. So flour that has been sitting on the store shelf for weeks (and who knows how long it sat somewhere else before it reached the store) has had lots of opportunity to lose all it's healthy, nourishing goodness.

Meat. For Daniel's lunch sandwiches he now gets sliced roast beef from a roast that I season and roast myself. It tastes much better and is much better for you that the salty, artificial flavorings added, processed lunch meat. Surprisingly, the price is comparable! Eventually, someday, when we have our dream home on many, many acres, we'd like to raise our own beef. In the meantime, we are checking into buying part of a grass fed steer from a local source.

Eggs. Since I am feeding Susannah egg yolks (hard boiled) for her protein source sometimes, the yolks need to be protein rich. Coincidentally, about the same time we started making these changes, some people just a few miles down the road from us started selling eggs! They are considerably better than store bought eggs for just a little more money. The yolks are a deeper yellow and the egg white is thicker :)

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Salads made with Romaine Lettuce and Spinach are a regular part of our diet now. I happily buy Kiwi (high in Vit. C), Avocados, and other fruits to enjoy.

I make trail mix (or "bird feed") for Daniel with Sunflower Seeds, Sliced Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins and M&M's (yeah, the M&M's are the unhealthy part :P ). Nut and seed laden homemade granola is a staple on our shelf - for breakfasts and snacks. Peanut Butter that is just peanuts; Coconut Oil instead of vegetable/canola/etc. oil; Brown Rice instead of white rice; Hormone free milk; White Cheese instead of orange cheese (artificial coloring); and other little things here are there are among the ways the contents of our refrigerator and pantry are changing.

I don't plan to go off the deep end, but I do plan to keep instituting changes as I go to provide the best I can for our taste-buds, tummies and health. This week proves that eating healthy and nourishing will not keep all troubles away; Susannah has a double ear infection and I have been battling cold-like stuff for a while now. Hopefully as we put better quality stuff into our bellies for our bodies to live and thrive on, our immune systems will grow stronger and we won't get sick as often or as badly.

I know some of you are probably wondering about the budget side of this. But you'll have to wait until next time :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Today's Motivation

Is going to come from somewhere that I drum up in my imagination and determination. I'm not sure how the day is going to have gone when tonight rolls around and I crawl in bed, but for the moment I feel the strong urge to grab the bull by the horns.

Between being gone and just not feeling so grand alot of the time (more never-ending cold stuff), the house needs some serious work. So here, now, today I am going to shove all else aside and hopefully get caught up. To add to the motivation, here's what I would love to get done: (and it may all happen either in my bathrobe or some comfy, I-hope-nobody-comes-to-the-door clothes)

Clean up all the dishes - almost done. Dishes take for some reason!
6 loads of laundry washed, dried and put away - 3 loads washed, need to finish drying them.
Puree peaches
Puree roast beef
Cook and puree chicken
Start freezing said pureed baby food
Finish the sort and switch Susannah's clothes project
Make Banana Muffins/Bread
Make some type of headway in the Christmas shopping department

It doesn't look like a long list, but I think it will fill up my day. I hope to stop back by and update as I get stuff done. Thanks for joining me - leave me some comment luv to cheer me on!

Wait - first on my list is to find my Advil C&S. It's somewhere. Just not where it belongs.

Update #1: Ha! Who was I kidding?! I crawled in bed and took a nice half hour nap. I don't FEEL any better but at least I'm not as tired. Ok, NOW to find the Advil...

Update #2:
Well, it is slow going over here. I still haven't found the Advil but I am feeling better than I did this morning. Not close to normal yet but I don't feel like something the cat drug in. Lunch was very late. 2 loads of laundry are washed and need dried, and I'm still working on the dishes. Alot of time consuming hand-washables. I have spent some time online - found a good sale on Coconut Oil that I think I'm going to take advantage of. I need to get the food processor washed so I can get the roast beef ground up for Susannah's supper. And move the laundry around and start another load.

Update #3: I think I am coming down the home stretch. With the dishes. Good grief. There is a good reason to stay on top of them every day. Alot of this list is going to go "poof" into thin air, at least for today. But Daniel will have clean clothes, and the kitchen will be in much better shape. Sally cautioned me to not stay up late trying to get the list done. I'm not, I'm going to work on stuff for another hour and call it quits.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Nourishing Foods - The Beginning of The Journey

One of the things on my list of Goals for 2010 was to "Find or create the happy medium for eating healthier without going over budget." Yes, for a while I made sure we had salad ingredients on hand, and actually did pretty good about fixing a salad to go with or eat before the main part of the meal sometimes. And then our world was changed forever :) For several months, as long as there was some kind of something to eat when we were hungry, I didn't really pay much attention to - or care! - what it was.

Then came the time to start Susannah on solid food. Baby cereal. Then pureed fruits. Then pureed vegetables. (The fruits and vegetables I cooked and pureed myself with stuff that I had either canned or frozen.) And then she needed more than that - she needed protein. I thought yogurt would be a good protein to start with, plus it's healthy for you. And she was old enough to eat yogurt. I wasn't sure what I wanted for Susannah in yogurt, but I wanted it to be good for her; nutritious. In the yogurt section of my favorite grocery store, for as far as I could see everything was "Fat Free," "Reduced Fat," "1/2 the Calories," ... and I KNEW one thing for sure - Susannah did not need diet food. She needed full fat, full calorie yogurt. I looked through all the labels and found the one that had the most calories and fat in it even though it still touted some healthy/diet-type line on the front.

We came home and the next day I fed her some. She liked it. The next day I fed her the rest of the little container. Day #3 I went to open container #2 and on a whim glanced through the ingredients. This is what I saw:

Susannah did not get any yogurt that day. I wasn't sure what purpose those ingredients served, but I did know that it was not JUST yogurt with a little sweetener or vanilla flavoring. Aside from the fact that it was made with not-full-fat milk, THE SECOND INGREDIENT was SUGAR!!! Aside from pureed fruit, she gets very little in the line of sugary foods. She gets a bite of cake, cookie, or even sharing an ice cream cone on occasion, but my thinking is that her little body doesn't need loaded full of sugar or High Fructose Corn Syrup, whatever that is.

And it was then that my mama-bear instincts turned on full force and I started thinking "what am I putting in her mouth - and ours, too?"

I emailed a good friend of mine who I had noticed fed her little boy very good, nutritious foods, and asked her for some recommendations in the nutrition/healthy-food department.

Stay tuned for more, as I get to it :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Things are slowly taking a different shape around here. Susannah is growing and changing every day it seems. She can even read the Sunday comics!

The home addition project is getting underway. The footers are poured and the guy that is doing the foundation will be starting this week, weather permitting. Daniel is aiming for a house-raising weekend next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when several friends will come and help frame the addition (2 story).

Susannah is working on her top teeth furiously. Last week she cut an eye-tooth, this week one of her front teeth. I'm pretty sure the other front tooth and eye-tooth will be in by the end of the year. The eye-tooth caused a day and a half of misery for both of us, but once it was through everything was better :)

She is becoming more mobile. Still just rolling around, scooting backwards and in circles. She likes to scoot this box of chocolate chips around on the floor, pull up on it, and of course dig out the fun, crinkly bags of chocolate :) Today in her crib was the first time I saw her actually trying to get up on her hands and knees. She usually does stuff in her crib long before she does it on the floor.

And she is becoming more and more a Daddy's girl all the time :) If he walks into the room and she hasn't seen him for a while, she gets so excited she almost can't contain herself! I have a picture of him beside the rocking chair and she used to grin at it if I showed Daddy to her. Now if I show her the picture, most of the time she turns her head towards the bedroom door as if she's hoping he's going to walk through!

Another change that you've probably noticed already is that I'm not blogging nearly as much. Someday I might get back into blogging more, but for now I've decided that it is not a priority. I kept thinking I would post regularly again "next week" or "start tomorrow" ... but I just never get around to it.

One thing that I'm devoting my spare time to is learning about nourishing foods. And that is another change around here that I really do intend to write more about in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bullet Points

Just quickly, I want to share a few things this morning. Nothing deep or profound, I just feel like posting some of the random stuff flying around my head :)

  • We had a great visit with my sister, Rachel, and her husband, Ted, on Saturday. Times like that I wish we lived closer to my sisters!!!
  • Susannah turned 8 months old last Thursday!! (I need to do a post about that.)
  • Chocolate Chips are on sale this week. I am thinking about ignoring what is probably an un-healthy ingredients list and getting extra coupons (they don't expire until Marh 2011).
  • Daniel's uncle tuned our piano and worked on the action in the middle C section. It is much, MUCH better (even the other tuner wasn't able to or didn't fix that!) and now it reminds me so much of my parent's big upright. I loooove it!
  • I need to start vacuuming the floor more often. Or I could just let Susannah keep doing it with her clothes ;)
  • I bought our first Christmas gift last week. And only have about 1,763 to go... I need to get busy!
  • I *heart* Swagbucks!! I have been stockpiling $5 gift cards (I'll have $45 worth after my next "order" comes in) and have been tossing around ideas for what I want/need/should spend them on. Christmas gifts? Shoes (I need new Reeboks terribly bad)? Splurge?
  • I think I've decided what I want to use my Swagbucks Amazon GC's for... or at least towards. One of these. I have my eye on the NutriMill, which costs a pretty penny... which is why it's easy to think I'll contribute my Amazon $$ towards it to lessen the OOP :) I'll probably wait a bit to collect a few more GC's. Maybe after the New Year... or maybe Cyber-Monday??
  • I need to go feed Susannah her breakfast - time has flown! Goodness gracious!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In The Potter's Hands

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Ephesians 64:8
I realize I have been scarce here the past several weeks. It seems things have been insanely busy and any spare time has been spent trying to keep up with the regular activities on top of the extra ones.

In all honesty, I've started this post probably
100a half dozen times, not knowing where I was going to go with it. I still don't know! So with my kitchen sink and counters piled high with dirty dishes waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher or hand washed, every other thing house-work-ish imaginable needing done, I'm sitting down and writing this post. I don't know where it's going to go, but I'm going to write and leave the words to God.

This fall I have been overwhelmed repeatedly at the amazing, incredible, GOD stuff that has come through my life. I was thinking last week how much I feel like a piece of clay that God - the Potter - is shaping. I don't know what the finished product will be. How many times He'll have to squish me back into a lump and start over. How many times I'll fall and crack. Or break and need glued back together. But He is shaping me. There's no other explanation for it.

I am in a ladies Bible Study at church where we're studying the life of David (a man after God's own heart - Acts 13:22) in the book , "Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed - A Study of David" by Priscilla Shirer, Kay Arthur and Beth Moore. A couple weeks ago was the Relevant Conference and I was able to hear a little bit of one of the sessions through a live broadcast... and have read some of the conference recaps by different bloggers. This morning Cindy Shufflebarger spoke to our MOPS group.

Each of these things continues to challenge me in one area specifically:

How am I living my life as a child of God?

No, I don't think it's a mere coincidence. That each of these things, all separate from each other, would speak to me in the same way. No, God is putting these events in my path so He can work in my heart through them.

The Bible study is teaching me: I am a child of God, anointed with the Holy Spirit to do His will. He is transforming me each day into His likeness - bringing me through the thick and thin, refining me to clean out all the dross so that I can be a clear reflection of Him (Job 23:10). And because of this, I can live a redeemed life for Him!

The Relevant Conference has left me asking myself: What do I (or does He) want my life to be? What should my BLOG be? Both should be glorifying Christ... reflecting Him to those that I come in contact with IRL or through my blog.

Cindy Shufflebarger spoke this morning about finding JOY in the midst of trials - big or small trials. Maybe just the little things that I allow myself to get ticked off at so easily. Or maybe the big things that really put a kink in my day - or week - or months. But I can choose joy instead of frustration. I can choose joy instead of moaning and groaning about my day not going the way I want it to. I can choose joy when God puts a big mountain in my path and I wonder "how in the world am I going to climb over this?"

All that said... I've been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be. I want to be like Christ... in my head. I need to get that into my heart a little better. I want my blog to reflect Christ. I want it to be an encouragement to all who stop by. I want to reflect Christ as I live my life as Daniel's wife. I want to reflect Christ as I mother Susannah. I want to make our home to be one that when people walk in our door they know God is here. I want to show His love to those around me.

I hope this has prompted you, too, to consider, how are you living your life? Are you a child of God? Then how are you living your life for Him? If you're not a child of God, I pray that this post will be a seed planted in your heart that might draw your eyes to the One who loves you so very, very much.

Being transformed,

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Joy and Humility of Giving

I wish I could take a picture and show you. But a picture is only worth a thousand words, and it would take so many more to describe what I witnessed today.

This afternoon my heart ached with emotions as I watched a group of inner-city, high-school football players practically inhale food (their pre-game meal). These kids go to a school that is at the bottom of the totem pole of the county schools. You know how at most schools all the kids get new laptops, etc? These kids don't. You know how football fields shine so bright at night with the lights? These kids' don't. You know how football teams love to win a game? These kids haven't won a game in 20 years.

I don't know their home-lives, but I overheard today that some of them stay after school and work to help their families pay the rent. I've heard several times "all these kids get to eat is fast food."

Yesterday I baked 6 doz. rolls and 5 Angel Food Cakes, from scratch. This morning and afternoon 2 other ladies and I made the rest of what would be a "full-spread" meal: chicken topped with bacon, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, and strawberries (to go on the cake with Cool Whip). Then we hauled it all over to the high school and served it to the football team (an outreach ministry of our church). It was hard work, work that I enjoyed. And seeing what our efforts went towards was priceless.

These verses keep going around and around in my head this evening:

35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. ... 40bTruly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." ~ Matthew 25:35-36, 40b

When was the last time I did this? When was the last time I served the Master? He has gifted me with the talent of cooking and baking (and enjoying doing it), why don't I share it with others more often?

I am speechless. I have no more words.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God vs. Blogging

I have posts floating around in my head (that I really should write down at least the main gist of) that I really want to sit down and write.


I heard something from the Relevant'10 Conference the other day that is keeping me from it.

(I'm keepin' it real here, folks.)

No, I didn't attend Relevant. Now I wish I had taken time to learn more about what it was (going to be) and go. It was in PENNSYLVANIA of all places! Just a few hours drive and I could've met and fellowshipped with so many of the ladies that have inspired and encouraged me in my walk with the Lord, my role as Daniel's wife, my role as Susannah's mama, and of course saving money ;) I think I would like to go next year. How I did hear what I heard was from about the last 20 minutes of Crystal Paine's speech streaming live.

Those last 20 minutes were jam packed with bullet points that hit you "right there" and you know she has dug into your "real" life and is speaking I wish I could've heard the whole thing. Of every session. (Then again, I might have come away so full of bullet holes that there wouldn't be anything left...)

Ok, so enough beating around the bush. What did she say?

"If you don't have time for God you don't have time to blog."

And with that, I'd best get my behind off-a here. Because I haven't specifically spent time with my God yet today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Susannah and her Kitty

Susannah loves our cats :) They are mostly outdoor cats, but a few of them are allowed inside sometimes. If she hears a cat meowing, she is all ears and eyes, looking for where the kitty is. Most of them will come check her out if she's on the floor, but only Splotch will hang around her, letting her play with him. He likes attention, so they both benefit :) So far he hasn't shown any aggressiveness towards her, but I do stay close by and have an eye on them when they're playing together. I hope they keep having fun together :) It sure is fun to watch!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catchup Day

I seriously do not know where time goes. Well, I do. If I look at my watch the second hand goes around and around and around... that's where the time goes. It goes behind the second hand and is gone.

Point being, I am dreadfully behind on all things paper-work-ey. I'm quite behind on my Bible Study homework. It's the time of month to pay all the bills again which means I have to find the bills amid the piles. Our church is doing a cookbook and the deadline to submit recipes is fast approaching and you know I want to submit recipes! The budget hasn't been updated in too long. And my coupon file has morphed into piles of coupon inserts here, there and everywhere.

My excuse is that I "haven't had time!" Since last Thursday I literally have not had time to work on any of that stuff. Well, I did work on the Bible Study homework. We were on vacation Saturday evening - Tuesday and I did work on it then. Yesterday was recover from jet-lag day for Susannah, and early this morning when the alarm clock started going off I decided that I'm going to put my main focus on paper-work today. If I get all that done and move on to other stuff, that'll be bonus points.

And since I should get on top of all the paperwork today (well, I won't get all the homework done, but at least some), then I can spend tomorrow and Saturday getting the house back in order :)

So if I send up a flare, just figure that I got buried underneath a paperwork avalanche.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Susannah - 7 months

Susannah just gets sweeter and sweeter every day! People often ask if we sing "Oh, Susannah (don't you cry for me)" to her, but I don't know that I've ever sung that to her. Instead I'll often sing "You Are My Sunshine" to her.

She pushes up on her arms now, and can scoot herself in a clockwise direction. But she hasn't figured out counterclockwise! Sometimes she gets frustrated when she wants to get to something to her left and can't get there :)

She's starting to figure out how to go forward in her walker. She doesn't do it very much yet, but she's done it a couple times. She still doesn't express interest in rolling around a whole lot (but she does roll back and forth in the same spot).

She nurses 4 times a day now, breakfast around 8am, lunch around noon, supper between 5 & 6, and then her night-time feeding usually between 9 & 9:30, sometimes as late as 10pm. She takes about a 2 hour nap in the mornings, a 3+ hour nap in the afternoons, and then a short nap in the evenings. At some point I probably just need to nurse her before putting her down for her evening "nap" and just move her bedtime to that time.

She gets a solids meal with breakfast, lunch and supper. She eats baby oatmeal cereal (which I'm starting to supplement with some quick oats), rice (cooked to smithereens and then run through the blender with extra water), mashed potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peaches, pears, applesauce and bananas. She likes bread, too, if we tear off tiny pieces and put them in her mouth for her. She is VERY interested in all things FOOD right now, and if we're eating and she's not, she wants to be eating, too!!

She is also becoming more verbal in expressing her displeasure. Sometimes I can't get her solid food ready fast enough and she fusses in her chair while she waits!! She is still a pretty happy baby overall, though.

She still can't sit on her own yet. She doesn't need much support to sit up, but with none she either ends up folded in half or toppled over to one side or to the back. She loves cats. We have a few that we let into the house sometimes and if she is on the floor, her eyes are on.the.cats. She loves to pet them but they aren't too keen on her petting style :) I think if anything will motivate her to scooting/crawling it will be the cats.

She surprised us with 2 teeth a couple weeks ago! They came through about 1 1/2 weeks apart and she is so cute with her two little nubbins :) She has also figured out that she can put some things in her mouth and not hold it in with her hands. She gets the biggest grin on her face when she's got a sock or toy in her mouth and not holding it - kinda like "Look, ma, no hands!"

This week Daniel's grandma moved from Pa. to an assisted living home here in Va. She stayed with Daniel's parents during the move, and Susannah and I got to "Grandma-sit" Monday and Tuesday (Grandma has dementia so she can't be left alone). Grandma is now only about 20 minutes away from us, so I hope we can go visit her often. I don't think she'll ever realize exactly who Susannah is (as far as being her great-granddaughter), but I hope that with frequent visits we'll become familiar to her and that she'll enjoy watching Susannah grow up. And Susannah will get to know her :)

Oh, and she has finally started LAUGHING!! We knew she could laugh, because we'd gotten her to laugh just a few times, but now we can predictably tickle her and she'll actually laugh :) It is so fun to hear her giggles :)

It is hard to believe that she is already 7 months old. More than 1/2 way to the 1 year mark. I knew I was going to love being a mama, and I knew my life was going to change, but I didn't realize how much (for either one)!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Web Walk

I know I've been absent from posting for a week or so now, and my apologies to anyone who is on the edge of their seat waiting for new content :)

I want to share with you a couple of the blog posts I've been especially blessed and encouraged by this week.

Alicia's beautiful spirit and heart always shine right through the computer screen with each post on her blog, Alicia's Homemaking. Today she has shared her heart with the blogging world, talking about her passion for her home. I've been tossing around the "Why do I do this?" - "this" being homemaking - thought the past (long) while, and it is encouraging to read her words. You can find her post here.

Yesterday I stumbled across Courtney's blog, Women Living Well, and was blown away. In the month of October she is encouraging women to make their home a haven. Isn't that what we ALL want our homes to be? I know that's what I want! I'm looking forwards to reading more of Courtney's blog. You can find week 1 of her "Make Your Home A Haven" series here.

I hope that you find yourself encouraged after reading from these ladies!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taking a Break

In case you haven't already noticed, I've been really sporadic about getting my grocery trips blogged about since Susannah was born. I've given it some thought, and today just up and made up my mind.

I'm not gonna do it anymore. At least for now. There's a whole ton of other stuff I want to blog about that is way more important than groceries (notice I didn't say food!!!) and how much I paid for them. And what fun is a grocery post if it doesn't have a picture, and lately I've been doing good to get one week's grocery all put away before it's time to go shopping again! Ok, not quite, but it seems like it.

The latest and greatest in my grocery shopping world is that I love having a $40 grocery budget. It feels like $40 is about the perfect amount. I don't have to stand there and pick and choose "what is the most important stuff on this list?" It doesn't give me tons of room to splurge, but there is room to get the little "accessories" like parmesan cheese, soy sauce, and those kind of things. I also love (maybe even more) our discovery of once a month, taking a week's budget and buying beef with it. Oh. my. goodness! I had no idea how much I was missing have beef at my beck and call! We've been eating HAMBURGERS more than once every blue moon and I LOVE IT! I could never, ever be vegetarian. I don't feel like I have to always make the hamburger into a casserole to make it stretch. So far I'm still getting chicken with the regular groceries.

Anyway, that was a rabbit trail! So yeah, I enjoy seeing other people's grocery trip posts. Hopefully one day I'll feel like I have time to get back into it again, but for now I'd rather spend my blogging time blogging about other stuff :)

If there's a really exciting week I'll probably blog about it. I'm hoping there will be some in the next couple months... things like cheap cream soups, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, nuts, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, free evaporated milk, CHOCOLATE CHIPS.... haha. Oh, and cereal! I bought a box of MultiGrain Cheerios today and dug into them as soon as I got home. Oh, they are SO good! I'm hoping there's opportunities in the future to stock up on them for -$1 a box. They're my favorite.

Ok, I gotsta run. The house is less than clean and I should spend some time getting it headed in the direction of clean.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook, Sept. 20, 2010

For today, Monday, September 19, 2010

I am thinking...
How thankful I am that even though pictures may have been lost, I still have Daniel and Susannah in person. I dreamed this morning that our house (which wasn't this one, it was another one??) was burning down. I had gotten Susannah outside (Daniel was at work I guess), and was back inside trying to grab photo albums (the house was burning slowly; dreams are always weird like that).

I am thankful for... I know I always say this, but "my husband." All the work he does for us. His willingness to tackle our home addition project so that we build it ourselves and stay debt free.

From my kitchen... Yeah... that's where I'm headed RIGHT after this!

I'm going to... Go to the first MOPS meeting for this year! Woohoo!

I'm reading... "Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. A Study of David" (Bible Study I'm in at church) and also the Prep for Toddlers book by Gary and Ann Marie Ezzo.

I'm hoping... That we will not have to spend any more money on dirt related stuff until it's time to pour concrete! It is sickening to think how much of our budget has poofed away like the wind, all because it wasn't made known to us when we bought this house that our drainfield is on our neighbor's property.

I am creating... Slowly, little by little and bit by bit, working at collecting stuff very inexpensively for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. It started when Crayola Crayons were $.25/24ct. for the back to school sales. I need to keep shopping around for other stuff now. I have crayons, toothbrushes, toothpaste and bar soap so far.

I am hearing... quiet. A few crickets or frogs outside, but quiet. Daniel's not up yet and Susannah won't be up for another 30-40 minutes. It's nice :)

Around the house... is a lot of stuff that I have every intention of taking care of this week! But I say that every week... Hopefully a different strategy I created Saturday will help with the actual getting done.

A few plans for the week... Make more baby food; MOPS on Monday, Choir on Wednesday, Tapestry Bible Study on Friday, visiting friends on Saturday. Busy week ahead!!

A picture thought... Daniel and I almost 2 years ago exactly. It's one of my favorite pictures. And I hope to get back to that size and weight again someday (sooner than later, maybe??).

Saturday, September 18, 2010


...goes by with every single tick-tock of the clock, never, ever, ever to be relived again. Sometimes it's a good thing. Sometimes it doesn't matter. But lately I'm realizing how precious time is.

One week old

Susannah is changing by leaps and bounds these days. She is quickly becoming a little toddler instead of a little baby. She's sitting up (supported) very well these days, sometimes even without support if she's positioned just right.

Five weeks old.

I guess it was about a month ago now that we went to some friends' house so Daniel could work on something for them. We were there way past Susannah's bedtime and I ended up holding her while she fell asleep. It was with great aching pangs to my heart that I realized it was the first time I'd held her while she fell asleep (aside from the first week when she slept through just about anything). I just automatically always put her in her bed awake and she always goes to sleep just fine on her own. That is a wonderful thing, and we purposely trained her to be able to go to sleep on her own. Not that I have ignored her going to sleep, I haven't. She gets lots of kisses from her Daddy and Mama at bedtime, but it had just never crossed my mind before to just sit and rock her sleep. I love rocking. I hope that when our house is big enough that we can have several rockers around to rock Susannah in. But if I don't do it now, it won't happen.

12 weeks old.

So tonight I did just that. She didn't fall completely asleep but she was pretty relaxed. I sat there rocking and humming, thinking that before I know it she's going to be 5... or 10... or 15 years old and rocking her to sleep will not happen anymore. Smelling her freshly washed skin, kissing her chubby baby cheeks, getting her slobbery "kisses," is not going to always be. And I want to take the time to soak them up and enjoy her preciousness. Our gift from God.

6 months old.

I want her to remember, way back in the cobwebs of her mind, being held by me and rocking. My house might not be clean. I used up the last pureed fruit today and didn't get any more made today. The floors need swept terribly bad. There are clothes hanging on the line.

" quiet down, cobwebs. And dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."

Goodwill Success!

No, I'm not talking about "peace and goodwill" success, but shopping at the Goodwill store success!! I am so tickled about today's shopping excursion!

I have such a hard time enjoying shopping for clothes because nothing ever fits. And shopping at the used store only makes it harder because the sizes are all in a disarray and you can't say "I like this skirt, do you have it in the next size?"

But I am so desperate for some variety in my church-clothes wardrobe (1 jeans skirt, 1 shirt, and a more-on-the-formal-side dress) that I had to just go try anyway. There were a couple other things on my "look for" list, and I was somewhat successful in those areas, too.

I wish I could take a picture of the loot, but in light of our hard drive issues, I'm not taking any more pictures with our current camera card in the event we have to try and resurrect deleted ones from it. (And I haven't been by a store to get another card yet.) Feel free to use your imagination, though.

I tried on probably 15 or more skirts, a dress and a pair of capris.

I walked out with:
1 black skirt
1 white skirt
1 pair of capris (that NEVER happens that the first pair fits!)
1 Pilates DVD
2 (3lb) handweights
a small basket to hold Susannah's toys
an old board book about farm animals

All for $26 and change. I did use my donation card (similar to a punch card; once it's full you get x% of your purchase), so I saved there, too! Our Goodwill prices are higher than I typically want to pay for used clothes, but it still beats paying full price, and when I have success like I did today, I don't mind one bit!!

Now my next goal is to get tops that go with the skirts AND fit. Since I'm nursing Susannah, alot of my shirts fit me everywhere but THERE. It's frustrating. One of the sacrifices of breastfeeding, I guess.

I will say that the depressing part of the trip was trying on clothes in the dressing room, in front of a full length mirror. We don't have any full length mirrors here at home, so I almost never see "everything." *sigh* Perhaps that's why I impulsively dug through the DVD's looking to see if they had any good workout ones. I have no idea what Pilates is, I've never done Pilates, but it's 10 minute workouts and supposed to "strengthen and tone" and I'm in some SERIOUS need of some tonin'!! Everything's all saggy and baggy and flippy and floppy. Eww. Clothes are a good thing. They cover a multitude of stuff. Haha!

In my shopping I did have to refrain from buying a couple things for our addition. There were 2 lampshades that I really liked, and a bathroom light (that would go over a medicine cabinet area) that I thought would go nicely in our 1/2 bath. I didn't get them because first off, I have no idea where I would store them, and second off, I'd best wait until I know exactly where I'll USE them before I buy them :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Laptop Update

So... yeah. The verdict is that the hard drive in our laptop bit the dust. Died. The end. Ceased to exist. At least in a working fashion. The best (worst?) diagnoses so far is that it's pretty much just a piece of decoration now.

A friend of ours is an IT guy for his company and he took our laptop to work with him where he has access to all kinds of gadgets and gizmo's to perform hard drive CPR, but there just isn't any life left in it.

Wednesday night at church he bore the bad news :( He said a last ditch effort would be to freeze it and see if that would break the discs loose so he could retrieve the info off of it, but nothing he'd tried so far had worked. I haven't heard if the freezing did the trick or not... My computer geek brother-in-law has requested to be able to try his CPR tricks on it if Ed can't get the info off of it.

So, we're still plugging along over here with our stone-age desktop that Daniel built with graduation money after college... so it's... going on 8 years old I guess? It works. The innards grunt and groan and grind away if we make it work too hard, but it gets the job done. Hopefully THIS computer doesn't develop Alzheimer's or dementia before we get the laptop back! Actually, Ed installed a new hard drive and Windows 7 (woot!) on the laptop and we're picking it up tonight, so we'll at least be operating in style! The hard thing is just not knowing if we'll be able to revive the old hard drive enough to get the info off of it.

Another possible last ditch effort for getting our pictures is some software that Andrew (my brother in law computer geek) has that can retrieve deleted pictures from camera cards. He's not sure how many it would retrieve, but hopefully if we have to resort to that it can be a lot of them at least.

So yeah, that's the latest and greatest in our computer world. I'm not giving up on the pictures yet. Too bad Abby Schuto from NCIS doesn't live next door. I'm sure she could get the stuff off of it :P

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Susannah ~ 6 months

It is hard to believe that half a year has passed since Susannah was born!! She continues to be such a delight to our hearts and home! Her smile brightens not only our day, but also the day of anybody around her that she shares her smiles with - fellow grocery store shoppers, store clerks, people at church... people love her smile! Sometimes it makes me nervous... wondering what the Lord has in store for her with her smiley personality.

On her 6 month birthday, our small group from Sunday School got together and Susannah got to fully experience swimming in a pool! We were in the pool probably about 45 minutes and she enjoyed it the whole time :)

A couple days later it was cool enough for her to wear her jacket from Aunt Rachel & Uncle Ted when we went for our walk in the morning. She looked so cute in it!
Shortly after she was born, a special couple in our church gave Susannah this frog blanket ("Froggy"). He's the perfect size for an "attachment" toy/blanket, so he's kept her company while she sleeps ever since she got him. She's started to reach out and grab onto him or move him around sometimes, and yesterday was the first time I saw her holding Froggy like this. I'm not sure that it was intentional, but it sure was sweet!! (She had smiled in her sleep right before I took this picture!)

Yesterday we also cleaned her room. I decided the time has come to get a toy box, or basket, or something to corral her meager toy collection. It's on the "look for" list for future shopping trips. I was putting some things away and came across some sandals from Auntie Juls, so we tried them on. Super cute, but a little too big yet. She liked kicking the floor and hearing the different sound, though :)

She's getting bigger and developing more skills. She wiggles herself all over her crib, though I have never seen how she does it. She's recently discovered tags and is fascinated with them. Tags on her Froggy, tags on stuffed toys... she works really hard to grasp them and then loves to put them in her mouth :) She nurses 4xday, and gets solids for breakfast, lunch and supper. She's not real great with textures, so I have to blend up her veggies pretty smooth, otherwise she gags on any small pieces.

Today was her 6mo. checkup, and she's healthy as a horse at 16lbs. 4oz and 26 1/2" tall. She's wearing mostly 9mo. clothes when it comes to sleepers or onesies, but dresses and 2 piece outfits she can still wear some 3-6 mo. stuff.

I love her bunches and bunches!! I'm excited to watch her grow and change. It's a little sad to realize that she's not a tiny baby anymore, but this is a mighty cute stage of her life and I wouldn't trade her for the WORLD!

Happy 6 month Birthday, Susannah!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Shopping Trip 9/10/10

This week was another "no great sales so stock up on general stuff" shopping trip. I had Tapestry Bible Study this morning, so after that I fed Susannah her lunch at church then we stopped at Kroger on our way home.

Sorry, no picture :)

(2) Bread & (2) All Purpose Flour, 5lb. ea - $1.34 ea.
(2) Canola Oil - $2.35 ea.
Baking Soda - $.69
Gerber Rice and Oatmeal Cereals - $3.23 ea.
Peanut Butter - $1.00
(3) 3pc. B/S Chicken Breasts - $1.99/lb.
lb. Lunchmeat - $3.79
lb. butter - $2.19 (can't wait for sales on this stuff!)
1/2 gal. milk - $1.79
18 ct. Eggs - $2.79

Total OOP - $40.56

Nothing super exciting this trip. I did get a $1 Catalina from buying the 2 baby cereals, so that was nice :) I can't wait for the Thanksgiving/Christmas baking ingredients sales to start up. I'm not rushing those holidays, but it will be nice to lay in a supply again this year, and now that I'm more familiar with couponing and know better how much will last a year of some stuff (butter in the freezer, chocolate chips, etc.), I'll hopefully be able to stock up enough this year :) Last week I used the last Cream of Mushroom soup from my stockpile, so I'm ready for cream soups to go on sale, too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Sorry I've been MIA for the last week-ish. Last Wednesday Susannah started a runny nose. Even though I didn't see a single tooth in sight, I figured one must be on it's way. Thursday her runny nose was worse and I was using the bulb syringe in the morning... poor girl hated it :( Thursday night she didn't sleep well and neither did I - waking up every time she whimpered or coughed, and getting up a couple times to use the bulb syringe when she couldn't breathe well enough to suck on her paci to go back to sleep. My nose started getting drippy Thursday, too...

Friday we both felt yucky. Poor Susannah looked like a sick cow (if you know what a sick cow looks like, you know what I'm talking about) and I felt like one. Probably looked like one, too :P After lunch Susannah was looking and acting so un-like herself that I gave her some Tylenol... and about 15 minutes later she started perking up, talking and playing again instead of just sitting there in her walker all blah. She never ran a fever as far as I could tell. I did take her temperature Friday morning under her arm just to be sure, but it read normal.

Friday night I gave her more Tylenol and I took some medicine, too, before we both went to bed. Saturday morning she woke up much more chipper, and we both felt better as the day went on. I was relieved to know it was just headcolds that we had, even though they were no fun.

The other reason I haven't been around as much is that our laptop decided to bite the dust Friday! Thursday evening I shut it all the way down (most times I just put it to sleep), and Friday morning it just would.not.boot. I tried safe mode, rebooting in the last successful boot mode, airplane mode, spaceship mode, and all the options available and it just wouldn't do it. Daniel tried to get it to boot Saturday, and he was unsuccessful. Sunday he got some suggestions from a friend at church, but those don't work either.

Our budget spreadsheet, all our pictures of Susannah (not to mention ones from the last year and a half) are on there, and other we'd-like-to-have-it stuff, is on there. One option is to wipe the hard drive clean and start over, but that would mean losing everything. We're hoping to find someone that can salvage the important stuff before we start over.

In the meantime, our computer stuff has to happen on the dinosaur desktop that is here in Susannah's room. So, it's not as handy as the laptop (that usually stays on the dining room table), and we have to be careful when we use it so it doesn't disturb her naps. And I don't have access to the pictures on the laptop and loading ones from the camera to this computer isn't as handy.

So... I might be a little scarce, but I'm still reading posts and keeping up with stuff as best I can. Hopefully we'll be back to normal mode soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grocery Shopping 9/2/10

First I need to stand on a soapbox. I was not happy today when I witnessed 2 things in the grocery store parking lot. This has nothing to do with the store.

The first would be about the nice parking spaces that Kroger has designated for "Customers with Children." I love being able to pull into a convenient spot where I can load Susannah right into a shopping cart, and if for some reason I bring my own groceries back to the car after shopping, I don't have to walk a mile to return the cart and carry her back to the car. Soon after we pulled into our space, the owner of the vehicle across from us (in a "Customers with Children" parking space), waltzed back to her car. Childless. Chatting on her cell phone (ok, nothing against cell phones...). And hopped in her car and sat there for a couple minutes fiddling around. And it irked me. I mean, couldn't she READ? And if she can't, couldn't she SEE the stick-figure drawing on the sign indicating that those spaces are for people with kids? I wondered what mother ended up lugging her child(ren) from further away in the parking lot because this woman had hogged the space instead.

Getting off that soapbox... climbing on the next one.

So I get my stuff together and get out of the car, then open Susannah's door so she doesn't cook in the 2 seconds it takes me to go grab a buggy from the cart return (that we were parked IMMEDIATELY beside - don't worry, I didn't wander off from my baby!). While I'm getting her out of the car and into the cart, Mr. Ima Cool Dude creeps past in his ugly-fied car at about .01 mph, windows down and some type of thumpy music blaring from his sub-woofed stereo system. That wasn't so much what irked me. What ruffled my feathers was the profanity being blared in this "music!!" I wanted to stick my fingers in Susannah's ears and pour bleach in mine! There are "bad words" and then "REALLY bad words" in my book... and these were the REALLY bad words. That's the kinda thing I'd expect in the ghetto, downtown, government housing projects where I don't want to be especially after dark kinda place, NOT in a grocery store parking lot where women and CHILDREN are present! *sigh* The responsibility I have as a mama to protect my kids from this ugliness... I always knew I had that niggling to be a hermit for SOME reason!

Ok, I'm done with the soapboxing. Here's what I got, and thankfully it was a very pleasant shopping experience, with superb customer service!

(5) 12 can pks Pepsi/Dr. Pepper - $2.40/ea.
Gal. Milk - $2.67
Coconut Milk - $1.99
(2) Hotdogs - $1.13/ea.
Oatmeal - $2.69
2lb. Carrots - $1.74 (babyfood)
(2) Lettuce - $1.19/ea. (I have never!! seen lettuce this cheap!!!)
(2) VanCamp's Baked Beans - FREE
lb. Butter - $2.19
pint Sour Cream - $1.00
3.3lbs. Bananas - $.49/lb.
2lb. Brown Sugar - $1.69
2lb. Rice - $1.49
18ct. Eggs - $1.89
Yam - $.85 (babyfood)
(2) Mangos - $.99/ea.
Avocado - $1.29 (babyfood)

Total OOP - about $39
~I forgot to give the cashier my coupons and was able to take them to CS and get my money there.

Last week a commenter asked what do I do with all the butter and flour that I buy. Last week was actually the first time I bought butter since December :) But what do I do with it... I use it in baking (mostly cookies, I'd guess), sometimes in cooking (I like butter on my peas and corn), and just random things here and there in cooking, baking or eating (pancakes, waffles, toast, etc.). When I come across butter substitutes for free or almost free (mostly Country Crock), I do get that and use it for "eating" (the breakfast stuff, toast, etc.). That way the real butter - which is more expensive and precious and works better in cooking/baking - lasts longer. The flour I use for making our breads and baked goods from scratch. And we really do use that much :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feelin' Good

Finally, about 6 months after having Susannah, I feel like we're "back to normal" - or at least a new normal - fairly consistently in the household. And since I've said this, something will probably change next week and we'll have to discover a whole new "normal" :P

Last week was the first time that I actually cleaned (or did some cleaning in) each room in the house. EVEN THE BATHROOM! I did have a burn-out day on Friday, but Saturday I knew I didn't want the week to end without finishing, and being so close to my goal, I just tackled the bathroom with full force and scrubbed it top to bottom.

It felt good to know that I had worked hard all week and had a cleaner house, too (meaning that it's not that I wasn't working hard before, it's that working wasn't isn't always working at cleaning!). And this week, I'm still doing all the regular cleaning every day and it's nice to start out with things a little cleaner :) That's kinda the whole point to daily maintenance... to keep stuff from becoming an enormous mess.

Insert: I started this post yesterday, and guess what!? Something has been thrown into the mix, just like I figured it would! Susannah developed a runny nose last evening (teething?) and woke up four times last night frustrated about not being able to get her paci back in + not being able to breathe well + probably just not feeling so great. Today didn't get off to quite the same "normal" start :)

One thing that has helped tremendously has been my bedtime and wakeup time. I'm going to bed earlier, trying to be in bed no later than 10:30, and getting up somewhere between 6 and 6:15. This allows me to get some things done in the kitchen before Susannah wakes up (supposed to be 8am, but with our getting up earlier, it seems she's wanting to wake up earlier too! I'm trying to work with her and plan to get her back to her regular wakeup time.). Getting that head start on the day helps me feel like I can take the time to go for a walk most days. Susannah enjoys the stroller ride, and hopefully the exercise will help whittle some more baby pounds off of me :) It feels good to be walking again.

Since things are winding down for the summer - at least calendar wise - and winding up for the winter, I'm glad to have things mostly under control.

And for the fun of it, here's a picture of my little laundry helper, helping me hang out the wash one day last week. Sorry, it's not a picture of us at the beach - that really is what our "lawn" (hahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!) is like out there at the washline.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What To Do With 4 Bushels of Peaches

Wonder if I had lost my mind, that's what!! Susannah and I made the trip on a Friday, driving 2 hours each way, to pick up peaches for myself and a friend. Thankfully my sister lives probably all of 5 minutes from the orchard so we had lunch with her, and then when everything took much longer than I anticipated, we were able to stop by her house again so I could feed Susannah before we headed back home. The bed of Daniel's truck was full of boxes of peaches!

I wish I had taken a picture of my kitchen floor crammed full with the boxes of peaches. Instead I have a picture of this beauty:
The peaches were enormous this year. I guess the weather must've been just perfect, because quite a few of them were as large as the one I'm holding in my hand. No puny, shipped across the nation, grocery store peaches here!

So what did I do with all those peaches besides wondering if I'd lost my mind? I canned peaches and canned peaches and canned peaches. That's what. Here is the finished product, all 72 quarts (maybe it's 73?).
I only had 1 jar crack (I'm pretty sure it had a hairline crack to start with), and every single jar sealed! I was so happy about that!

I also canned 2 canners (14 jars) of peach pie (or cobbler or crisp :) ) filling.
And made pies to put in the freezer to pull out later and bake - they taste like a fresh peach pie that way! Here is the big batch of pie dough (w/out the water) for 7 pies. (I like my big bowl!)And here's the peaches for said pies.And here's the pies freezing! (I ended up rolling the dough thick, so I had 6 pies + leftover dough, and I baked one of the pies to enjoy right away.)Once they were frozen solid, we took them out of the pie plates, wrapped each one in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then into a plastic bag marked with which pie plate it came out of (so I can put it back in that same one to bake for the right fit), and then stacked them up in the freezer. It is very important to remember to line the pie plates before you make the pie! Last time I forgot, and all my pie plates were in the freezer until I started baking the pies :P

And made "Peach Caskets" - basically peach tarts. I used my Pampered Chef Press'n'Seal, leftover pie dough, and pie filling with small-diced peaches and I made it a little thicker so it wouldn't run as much.
After the Peach Caskets were frozen (unbaked), I put each one in a sandwich baggie, then all of them into a larger plastic bag. This winter when we want a little dessert, I can pull a few out and bake them without having to eat a whole pie :)

And last but not least, I couldn't have accomplished all this in a timely fashion without my lifesaver, Katie.
She had a few days off work, and wondered if she could come visit. I told her to come on and we could work on peaches!! It was great. I could tend to Susannah's needs and not have to worry about making sure the canner was boiling or not boiling too hard, or did I need to set the timer, or was the timer getting ready to go off and the jars needed pulled out of the canner... And Katie could keep working on peaches while I fed Susannah, so there weren't big chunks of time where peaches weren't getting done.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grocery Shopping 8/25/10

I haven't fully discussed with with Daniel yet, but it is so much easier to shop with a $40 budget, and I'm thinking that with Daniel's raise and all the overtime he's getting lately, we might leave it there for now. We can always lower it if we need to.

I do want to add that last week I didn't go shopping at all. I didn't want to go, there weren't any amazing deals I couldn't do without, and we didn't absolutely need anything. However, I had been waiting for such an opportunity so we could restock our beef supply. Daniel has a (free to us) membership at BJ's through his work, and they have the best price on ground beef... so... one evening when Daniel was finished working, and was close to BJ's, I asked him to stop and get some meat. So last week's groceries were:

13.5lbs of lean ground beef
3 lbs of lean ground turkey

Total OOP: $40.47

This week's groceries:
(2) 1lb. pasta - $1.00 ea.
(2) 5lb. flour - $1.34 ea.
1/2 gal. milk - $1.79
10 lb. potatoes - $3.99
3lb. onions - $2.98
Soy Sauce - $1.09
Margarine - $.99
Butter - $2.08
(2) Shamrock Chocolate Milk - FREE!
(2) Chicken Breasts - $1.79/lb.
(2) Sausage - $1.49 ea (Manager's Special)
2 lbs Carrots - $2.19
Celery - $1.00
1 lb. Lunchmeat - $3.99
18 ct. Eggs - $1.67
12 ct. Eggs - FREE!
4.95 lbs. Bananas - $.44/lb.
Avocado - $1.00
General Tso's Chicken Seasoning packet - $.99
Total OOP: $40.47

I did use a coupon for $1.50 off $7 meat purchase coupon, and a FREE doz. eggs coupon that I got in the mail from Kroger (yippee, I finally got coupons from them!).

I'm so excited to have beef on hand (from last week). I feel like a king, walking down to the freezer and having several lbs. of hamburger, and not feeling like I need to ration it out and make it last. I think if I can get it to work out, about once a month we'll skip the regular groceries and stockpile meat.
This post has been brought to you by 2 sleepy heads who just ate ice cream... and then everything was funny because Daniel kept saying stuff that was just... funny. At least to 2 sleepy people who'd just had ice cream. I'm rambling.... Goodnight!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Susannah ~ 5 months

It's been a while since I've written specifically about our beautiful Susannah Faith, and I think it's high time I write :) For memory's sake and to share her sunshiny-ness with you.

She is 5 months (and 2 weeks as of yesterday) now, and is really growing up! She's not a little baby anymore, but an active, food-eating little girly. I weighed her last week, I think, and she was right around 15 lbs. Tonight I opened another pack of diapers - size 3's. I still have plenty of 2's left, but she wizzed right through that size!

She still doesn't laugh very much, but I think she's just holding it in :) Her eyes and face laugh a LOT!

Daniel was getting her ready for bed one Sunday night and called to me, asking me to bring the camera into her room. This is what I found:

He had put the bloomers from her Sunday dress on her head :)

Daniel is such a good Daddy, and she loves him SOOO much! Since there are plenty of days that she doesn't get to see him at all (when he leaves before she wakes up and gets home after she's asleep for the night), I have a picture of him in her room, and she always lights up with a smile when I show it to her.

I put her in the Johnny-Jump Up sometimes and she likes it for a while. I'm sure once she gets the bouncing thing figured out better she'll like it for longer lengths of time :)

She's also gotten VERY good at rolling over in her bed in just the last week or two. There have been some nights recently where we put her to bed, then a little while later we hear her talking, and we go in to find her partying away in her pitch dark room. This is what we find:

I started her on baby cereal, applesauce and pureed peaches when she was 4 months & 1 week. Some may think that was a little early, but she was waking up early from her naps hungry, and woke up in the middle of the night twice, hungry. Yes, it was time to start the solids. It solved all of those problems :)

I decided I had to get a move on and start introducing vegetables, so last week I cooked and mashed up peas. Oh my, she did not like them very well at all. But with lots of coaxing, she ate a baby food jar's worth over the course of several days.

Tuesday night we had corn on the cob for supper. She was watching us like a hawk, so after I finished one of my ears I handed it to her. She examined it for a bit then like I knew she would, put it to her mouth. She wasn't too sure at first.

Then she got the end and started really tasting...Then she decided she liked it :) I let her chew on it for a little bit.Yesterday I cooked some green beans, and she isn't too excited about them, but she eats them MUCH better than the peas. She still prefers them with a little cereal on the spoon, but she doesn't gag if it's just beans like she would with the peas.

Tuesday and Wednesday my youngest sister, Katie was here. She was a HUGE help with finishing canning the peaches (another post for another day). She and Susannah also spent some time bonding :)

Susannah is still pretty tall. I haven't measured her recently, but she's easily wearing 9 month sleepers, and 6-9 months sleepers are almost too short for her. She LOVES her baths and swimming. Today we went to our MOPS pool party, and though I didn't get in the pool, I had her in a swim diaper and held her in the water. I think if she would know to hold her breath, she could kick and paddle enough to go somewhere! I hope we have another opportunity to go swimming yet this summer when Daniel or I can be in the water with her so she can really get the full experience.

She's my little sunshine. It's such a joy to walk into her room in the mornings, she just gets so excited, and wiggles and grins like she just couldn't wait to see me! I love being her Mama.