Friday, December 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

This evening, December 23rd, after a yummy supper of scrambled eggs, bacon and fried taters, we put up our Christmas Tree.

We really don't have a good place for a regular sized tree, so for the past several years we have used our tiny fake tree from WalMart. Of course they don't make a light-string that tiny, so we have the tree wrapped in lights and then a big wad that hangs down and is tied up on the floor :)

The little table that we put the tree on is part of Susannah's Christmas present, but we didn't put out the 2 chairs yet. We'll put those out when we put out the wrapped presents.

Last year one of her grandma's gave her a Little People Nativity Set for Christmas. She has played with the people and animals all year, but we had the stable and trees packed away. Tonight we got them out, found as many people and critters as we could, and put that up with the tree. She figured out really fast how to push the knob on top so it would play "Away In A Manger"... over and over :)

Before taking her bath tonight, she wanted to push the knob one last time. And the same right before going to bed :) I'm sure she will get every bit of life out of those batteries!

I am excited to experience Christmas through her eyes again this year. Last year was very special and fun, our first Christmas as parents, but this year she is a year older and of course much more aware and into the pretties and presents! She watched and "helped" me wrap some gifts the other evening and was very fascinated with the tape. We helped her put some tape on some of the gifts - some of it made it to the right place, and some of the gifts have random, wrinkled up tape stuck to them :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday {I...Love...YOU!}

Susannah continues to learn new words, which most of the time don't really sound like the actual word, but it's how she says it and we know what she's saying (most of the time!)

One of her words is "Paul." One day she was looking at her picture Bible, and was pointing to different things in pictures (and I would then tell her what/who it was). She pointed to a picture of Paul (who started out as Saul), and I told her it was "Paul." She immediately picked up on who "Paul" is in that book, and when she looks at it she often finds the pages with Paul on them, and says "Paul!" "Paul!" "Paul!" Of course she says it in a high, sing-song voice, so that makes it extra cute to hear. She also has a cousin, Paul, and this past weekend we were together. She finally figured out that his name is Paul, too, and I heard her calling him by name a few times.

In one of her toy boxes with 2 bears,
looking at her Bible (with "Paul!" in it).

Susannah continues to be bothered if there is a mess that she discovers. Now, her toys scattered all over the floor in a mess doesn't bother her, but other things out of order sure do! And she likes to fix them NOW! The other night it was raining a little bit when the cat came in for the evening. Susannah went to pet the cat, and was very bothered that she was wet (damp). She made her "uh! uh!" noise (which sounds likes something is a major disaster!) and right away went over to the drawer were I keep my kitchen towels. She pulled out a towel and attempted to dry kitty off!! I was glad my camera was right there on the counter so I could grab it quickly to get a picture. Needless to say, the cat didn't really appreciate Susannah's concern :)

And saving the best for last (for this time), Susannah started finishing "I love you!" for us when we say it. Of course we tell her "I love you!" many times a day. For a while now I've been asking her if she could say "I love you" or "I love you, Mama!" Most of the time I say it very slowly, separating the words so it's not just one long string of sounds for her to try and repeat. Yesterday I was doing that, and she started saying "you!" after I say "I... love..." This is another word she says in her high, sing-song voice, so all together it comes out as (me) "I... love..." (Susannah) "EEEEUUUU!!!" Of course now that she will finish the sentence for us, we say it even more often just to hear her :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Day Menu

I don't have any pictures to go with this post because Christmas Day is not yet here, and I don't feel like taking pictures think you want to see pictures of stuff scattered around in my freezer, fridge and cupboards :P

One of my goals for this month (to get done before Christmas, obviously) was to figure out the menu for Christmas Day and get any groceries that we needed for it. Done and done! Last week I did a huge shopping trip and aside from milk, orange juice and a few last-minute food gifts, I won't need to grocery shop again until next year! What a nice sense of "ahhh!"

First I want to share a little about our non-traditional Christmas Day food. Growing up, most years Mom and/or my older sisters slaved away in the kitchen making THE Christmas Dinner with the turkey, mashed potatoes and all the things that go with. Then one year we decided that no one (a) had time or (b) want to. No "want to" to fix the huge meal, and no "want to" to clean up from it! So that year we had special finger type foods and some special jello salad. We did start the day off with a REALLY special breakfast of bacon (a rare treat in a house of 12 people!), fried 'taters, gravy, biscuits (I think?), orange juice (another rare treat!), and a couple other things. That was the big meal for the day. After that it was fend for yourself with stuff like cheese, crackers, party mix, and so on.

I am typically all about making big days simple, so when Daniel and I got married we adopted that Christmas Day tradition for our own. It is one of our family "rules" to stay home all of Christmas Day, or most of it, and just enjoy the time together. (Our families get together later anyway.)

This year our menu consists mostly of special splurge foods. Many of them are way more processed than I would typically buy, but this is a very special day so we enjoy the treat of very special food :)

Monkey Bread
(both of these I will make)

Munchie Foods:
Li'l Smokies wrapped in homemade biscuit dough like tiny pigs-in-a-blanket
Shrimp and Cocktail Sauce
Summer Sausage, Cheese and Butter Crackers
Peaches and Cottage Cheese (I had to put something healthy and not salt-laden on the menu!)

Peanut Butter Pie (Daniel's)
Coconut Cream Pie (mine)
Pumpkin Pie with CoolWhip (Susannah's)

For the dessert, I am borrowing a Thanksgiving tradition from a friend of ours, where you make each person's favorite pie (or whatever pie they request). Susannah isn't old enough to have a favorite (or at least to tell us what it is if she has one!) and since we all like pumpkin pie and I don't make it often enough, that is the 3rd pie. Of course we will all share our pies with each other and I'm sure we'll be taking leftovers to share with Daniel's family!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Welcome December and December Goals!

Isn't that a pretty picture? It's an old one, though. There hasn't been any snow here so far this winter. I'm hoping for some snow this December. Last year we had a white Christmas and I really liked that :)

I was pretty happy to get to the end of November with just one thing not crossed off my list. This past Saturday (Dec. 2nd) I put a good hurtin' on that last item, though, and only have a tiny bit left to do.

My November Goals:
~Get Christmas cards addressed and ready to mail Done!! They are not stamped yet, but they are all addressed, have return labels on them, and are ready to be finished up.
~Make a list of Christmas gifts to make or purchase and start shopping Daniel is responsible for shopping for "his guy" (the person whose name he has), but I've got a good start on the shopping for "my guy," and a good idea of what I need to make or purchase yet to be finished with all gifts.
~Pack up Susannah's too small clothes
~Pack up my clothes. The one I can't cross off :) So close I can smell it, though!
Mend Susannah's jumper that she will wear for her Christmas picture She and I did this Thanksgiving Day evening.

~Clean out kitchen ceiling light covers
~Dust ceiling fans
~Clean return vents Whew, they were so dusty! I think this needs to be a quarterly task. It only took a minute or two per vent to take the cover off, take it outside and wipe the dust off with a cloth.

Goals for December
~Write Christmas letter (to include in the cards for people whom I'm not in contact with regularly through internet communication)
~Take Susannah's annual Christmas picture and get it printed
~Mail Christmas cards by Dec. 15th (and get my overseas sister's card in the mail ASAP!)
~Finish all non-food gift purchasing by Dec. 15th, including purchasing any needed ingredients for homemade goodies that will be gifts
~Wrap all non-food gifts by Dec. 20th
~Don't wait till the very last second to make/assemble food-gifts :)
~Put 2+ meals in the freezer for when the baby comes (I have a few frozen already)
~Make donuts to take to the neighbors
~Thoroughly clean out refrigerator and refrigerator freezer
~Wipe down kitchen cabinet fronts, and wipe out spice/measuring spoon drawer
~Plan Christmas Day menu/grocery list
~Re-home the dog (This past month one of my weekly goals was to begin this process, and we did get started. We would really like to have him re-homed by the end of this month.)

Whew, that's a lot of bullet points on my list and for a typically busy month to boot! Hopefully many of these will keep the stress and chaos at bay and let me get some other things done besides running around like a headless chicken.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday {What Do The Big Dogs Say?}

Susannah has been saying "woof-woof" for a long time now, in fact it was probably one of her first words.

Recently we have re-discovered one of our board books, Moo, Baa, La! La! La! by Sandra Boynton. In this book there are "little dogs" and "big dogs." We have had fun with the two, and Susannah is starting to be able to correctly answer us when we ask her "what do the little dogs say?" and "what do the big dogs say?"

It's much cuter in person, but here's a little video I took this morning. (And goodness, I need to talk slower!)

(Our camera must shoot in a different frame size than blogger uses, I really did have her centered in the screen :) )

Monday, November 21, 2011

Goldfish and Goals

This past week was full of various and sundry things. I stayed up late more nights than I should have and could tell a difference in my energy level and "get things done" level. I should know this by now, right?!

Susannah had some fun times this past week. One was eating goldfish crackers off the kitchen floor. Literally. She had accidentally spilled her little bowl of crackers, and when I heard her making sounds that didn't correspond with picking them up, I turned around to see this:

I had swept and washed the floor the night before so I wasn't worried that she was going to get vast amounts of dirt ingested (plus you eat a pound of dirt before you die anyway, right? :) ). She had fun doing it, and it was fun to watch her experience something "new" all on her own.

One thing that made this past week "short" for me was being gone all day Friday. In my brain I knew we were not going to be home at all on Friday, and yet I still planned the week as if I had every day to get something done. Heh-heh. It was a great day (Bible Study in the morning, then driving a couple hours to help celebrate my nephew's birthday), even if I didn't get anything "done" here at my own house, and I'm glad Susannah and I went. She had fun playing with her cousins and I enjoyed the chance to visit with my sister while we worked on the birthday supper.

Last week my goals were:

~2 hours bookwork I did this in a couple chunks of time.
~1 - 2 hours working on Susannah's Baby Book. I hoped to do this Saturday but Saturday was full of cooking for my husband and brothers who were working on the addition, so I didn't get very much done outside the kitchen! I did work on it for about 20 minutes last evening.
~Address rest of Christmas Cards Yes! I am waiting on 2 addresses, but I am considering this D.O.N.E! Now to wait a couple weeks to mail them :)
~Shop for 1 Christmas gift. I thought I had the wish list for this person, but I don't. And I never had time at a good time to call and get ideas from his mommy.
Dust ceiling fans
~Start sorting and packing my clothes I won't need until next summer.
~Clean off desk. I made good progress but it needs a little fine-tuning.
Check with SPCA about finding a new home for our dog. I went on their website last night - I was DETERMINED to get this crossed off! - and since we've tried all other routes for re-homing him ourselves, I was able to apply for an "admissions" appointment. I should hear from them today about when that appointment will be.
Get serious about my bedtime and wake-up time. Like I said earlier, I was up past my 10pm bedtime more nights than I wanted to be, but I think 3 nights and 3 mornings I was up close to 10pm and 6am... just not the same nights/mornings :)

I also didn't get any exercising done like I'd wanted to last week. I'll try again this week and see if I can squeeze it in somewhere.

This weeks goals:

~1 - 2 hours on Susannah's Baby Book
~45 min. bookwork - I am all caught up with our main account, so now it will just be maintenance and catching up the much-less used savings accounts that should be pretty easy and fast to do.
Shop for 1 Christmas gift - which means I need to call and get a list of ideas for this person :)
~Work at sorting and packing my clothes that I won't need until next summer
~Finish cleaning and organizing the desk
~Mend Susannah's jumper - This is part of my November goals list, and I want to get it finished soon so I she can wear it for her annual "red jumper and piano" Christmas picture.
Thoroughly clean the living room. - I was digging a toy out from under the couch last evening and seeing everything under there was a good reminder that it's been a while since I've given the room a good going over.
~Learn from last week that I really do feel better and get more done when I call it a day and go to bed at 10pm instead of staying up later to "get more done." I am not a morning person, but when I do get up at 6am and get started on the day, I do enjoy the quiet morning hours before Susannah wakes up.

One thing that is making this week less-stressful for me is that aside from a reunion on Saturday, we don't have big plans for Thanksgiving. We will be having lunch with Daniel's parents on Thursday, but we decided to keep it low-key this year and stay home to allow Daniel some more free time to work on the addition (which reminds me, I need to take some pictures and post a long over-due update!).

A few things I would love to get done this week if I run out of other things to do would be to get all of the Goodwill things loaded up, taken to Goodwill and out of my house, and the other would be to get the Christmas letter written that will go in some of the Christmas cards. But, like I said, those are at the bottom of the list for this week and I am not going to stress over them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November's 3rd Week Already!

Wow, if Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't creeping closer and closer! While I fully know and understand that they happen every year at the same, exact time, somehow the days fly past faster or something right now. Maybe it's the shorter days since it gets dark earlier that seems to make time go "faster?"

I am happy to have figured out a few things I wanted to do before the end of November this year... and I figured them out BEFORE the end of November! Haha! I am feeling like I will be more ready for this Thanksgiving and Christmas season than I have in a very long time, I think. The biggest things I want to do are: Be proactive in getting gifts, cards, etc. purchased, made or put together BEFORE it becomes a mad rush, and do some fall cleaning. This year I did my first intentional spring cleaning (mostly just the kitchen), and I think as a good steward of our home and as a good housewife, it would also be a good idea to do some fall cleaning. A few of those things are on my November Goal List that I am slowly whittling away at as the days go by.

Last week my goals were:
~2 hours bookwork
~Address 16 Christmas Cards This was depending on if I could get by a store to pick up some more cards. We stopped by WalMart on our way home from church Wed. night, and Thurs. I addressed 18, a whole pack, while in the waiting room at my Dr's office for the 1 hour sugar test. Multi-tasking at it's finest :)
1 - 2 hours working on Susannah's baby book. Didn't happen. I did pick up the pictures I ordered last week, though.
~Finish packing up Susannah's too-small clothes Now they are just waiting for Daniel to put the boxes away :)
~Clean off hot-spots in the kitchen Whew, it is SO nice to have a little more counter space and not eye-sores :)
Start shopping for a Christmas gift I have in mind. Shopped AND ordered!! Yay!
Continue aiming for 10pm/6am bedtime and get up time, at least 3 times this week. *Cough*cough* I did alot better than previous weeks. Most days I was in bed before 10:30, and only a couple mornings didn't get up until 6:45 or 7. Getting more sleep is really making my days go easier!

After last week, and having MOPS this morning, I made it a point to sit down last night (Sunday) and put together my goals for this week and the to-do list for today. After doing that, I felt one step ahead, and it wasn't even Monday yet!

This week, my goals are...

~2 hours bookwork - I think this will be the last week for 2 hour stints :)
~1 - 2 hours working on Susannah's baby book
~Address remaining Christmas cards
~Shop for and purchase 1 Christmas gift
~Dust ceiling fans
~Start sorting & packing my clothes I won't be wearing until next summer. AKA, everything not maternity/nursing friendly that I won't be wearing until after we're moved into the addition.
~Clean off desk
~Check with SPCA about finding a new home for our dog - For real and for serious. I've tried other avenues in the past with no success. Time to try a little harder. He's a nice dog, but just not "us."
Get serious with 10pm/6am bedtime and up-time! At least 3x this week.

I don't have it written down, but I would like to try to exercise in some way, shape or form twice this week. Either a workout DVD or taking a walk. Hopefully the weather will be pleasant enough, and Daniel's work schedule will work out that I can walk when he's home. Our road isn't the most stroller-friendly, especially when I'm pregnant, walking to keep the kinks out and don't really want to be shoving the stroller out of the side-ditch after every car goes past.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Salvaging the Week

Well, I think if nothing else, the start to this week should be a lesson to me that I need to get my to-do list in order by Sunday night. Especially if Monday starts off with anything other than a normal morning at home (i.e., MOPS).

I didn't have a list yesterday, and I felt silly feeling "lost" without it. But on the other hand I needed to focus myself towards talking to God (I'm tellin' ya, it was a rough day!) instead of sweeping my feelings under the rug and getting lost in the easy-to-become-an-idol List of Things To Do. So I turned on a worship CD and spent the afternoon having a pour-my-guts-out conversation with the Lord over a sink-full of dirty dishes. At the end of the day I was feeling better (emotionally and spiritually) even though I really hadn't gotten much done. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't have a list already made...

This morning - which has already gone much smoother :) - I am ready to get the train back on the track and start chuggin' away again.

Last week, my goals were
~ 2 hours of bookwork
~ Address 16 Christmas Cards
~ 1 - 2 hours on Susannah's Baby Book I spent a little over an hour (the remainder of Susannah's afternoon naptime) and found and ordered quite a few pictures for 6 or 7 "months" in the book.
Purchase tubs for Susannah's clothes and start sorting/packing I decided that frugality trumped OCD right now, and used the abundant supply of large diaper boxes. I got 2 boxes packed and had Daniel put them away, and have about 2 boxes worth left.
Clean off return vents This was SO easy and simple to do! It may have taken me 10 minutes??
Continue aiming for 10pm bedtime - 6am wakeup time for myself. I think I was close to successful some nights, I know it wasn't every night, though.

For this week...
~ I want to continue with 2 hours of bookwork.

~Address 16 Christmas Cards This will somewhat depend on if I can get to the store to get more. I thought I had more on hand than I did. I prefer to buy them on sale after Christmas for the following year :)
1 - 2 hours on Susannah's Baby Book
~ Finish packing Susannah's too-small clothes
~ Clean off hot-spots in the kitchen
~ Clean out the kitchen light covers
~ Start shopping for a Christmas gift I have in mind (it will be online shopping)
~ Continue aiming for 10pm/6am bedtime & get-out-of-bed time, at least 3x this week

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giving Thanks

But my God shall supply all your needs
according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

While I think that we should always be thankful, during November it is easier to remember since this is the month we celebrate thankfulness with Thanksgiving Day. One of my goals for this month is to write down every day some things I am thankful for. I hope to post those here weekly through the month.

November 1
~This morning when I got Susannah up, I especially noticed how she smells, like a sweet little baby. It's just the way she smells, but I was soaking it up today, sniffing her often and tucking her baby scent away in my memory. I am thankful for the opportunity and blessing it is to be her mama!
~I am also thankful that Susannah is affectionate. She wasn't a cuddly baby, but now she freely gives "squeezes" and sometimes will actually cuddle. One way she shows affection is to rub you, generally on the back or arm. Today we were working in the kitchen quite a bit, and she was on the stool watching me work. Many times through the day she would look at me with her beautiful brown eyes, seriously jabber something in her all-vowel jabber, and then smiling, rest her head on my arm and give my back a little rub. I like to think she was telling me "I love you, Mama!"

November 2
~I am thankful for the beautiful weather we've been having most days, and the gorgeous colors God is splashing our world with through the leaves changing from greens to yellows and golds and oranges and reds.
~Another reason I'm thankful for this beautiful weather is that it is a wonderful time to go outside most days after lunch and walk around with Susannah. We meander in a large circle, going from the house to the mailbox, then to the garden, usually the hammock to swing for a few minutes, down to the shed to "drive" the lawn mower, and then back up to the house. It is fun to see things through my daughter's eyes.

November 3
~Today I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who cares about "the least of these" and allowed me to feel Baby Gus wiggling a LOT today. He (or she) had been moving around quite a bit the previous week, and then for a couple days I was barely feeling any movement. I was starting to get worried that maybe something wasn't right, and went to sleep last night praying that God would let me feel my baby moving. This morning I still hadn't felt anything and put in a call to my Dr's office. While waiting for them to call me back, I ate breakfast and drank some orange juice (which is normal). While I was finishing my orange juice, Baby Gus just started wiggling and wiggling. What an answer to prayer! (And he has been moving quite regularly since then :) )
~Back to the doctor, though, I am also very thankful for my OB who talked to me personally on the phone this morning. I'm thankful for her knowledge and confidence, her "bedside manners" and the way she treats me as a real person she cares about, and not "just another patient." (And her suggestion, which was reassuring and I had wondered about, was that most likely the baby had shifted into a position where I just couldn't feel the movements as well.)

November 4
~Today I am thankful for the promise in Exodus 20:6. I have probably read or heard it before, but never like I have seen it this past week. Usually you hear Exodus 20:5 quoted and it can be very oppressing if you don't know verse 6 that follows!
~I am thankful for godly women in my life who I can look up to and learn from.
~I am also thankful for the Bible Study group I am with this fall - an amazing study alongside amazing women.

November 5
~I am thankful for my husband who is the very best husband to me and who is a wonderful daddy to our Susannah. I love watching him play with her and love on her.
~I am thankful that mouths heal quickly! Poor Susannah bit the side of her tongue quite badly this evening.
~I am thankful for an abundant harvest of bell peppers this year. This afternoon I picked the very last ones (the leaves on the plants froze with the first frost a couple nights ago) and got a grocery bag full! It was a pleasant surprise :)
~I am thankful for fresh-from-the-oven, hot, buttered bagels :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Taste Through Time {Try New Adventures Thursday}

**I wrote this post on a Wednesday. The most mixed-up day I've ever had, I think! I woke up Wed. morning thinking it was Tuesday. Then somehow I realized it was not Tuesday, it was Wednesday. Then I sat down to write a post and my brain started thinking it was Thursday. All day yesterday I kept checking Alicia's Homemaking, waiting for her Try New Adventures Thursday post to go up so I could link, and I was thinking that she must be really busy since she didn't have it up already. Last night I was checking one more time when it dawned on me that it was not Thursday yet!! So, now that it IS Thursday, and Alicia DOES have her TNAT post up, I'm going over to link my Try New Adventures Thursday on a Wednesday post :) **

If you know me very well at all, you know I love to cook and bake. My kitchen is "my place" in our house. It is my favorite room to be in (unless I'm sleeping in bed, or curled up on the couch with a book or movie :) ). When I'm asked what my hobbies are, "cooking and baking" are always at the top of the list. If I had nothing else to do in this world, I think it would be great fun to open a little restaurant and bakery.

With that, it is no surprise that I have my "own" cookbook. Side note: I'm also a little OCD about my kitchen :) I don't like having recipes scattered between 20 different cookbooks. If I use them regularly, I want them all in the same place so they are right at my fingertips. I don't want to flip through a cookbook of 1,000 recipes to get the only one I use out of that book.

Daniel and I have been married for a little over 7 1/2 years. When we were first married my recipe collection was pitiful. Not because I didn't know how to cook or bake, I had just never taken the time to gather recipes for myself. That first summer I spent a lot of time copying recipes into 2 small binders, and I used them alot. Over time I was discovering that I also had a lot of recipes that while I knew what they were, I just didn't use them because they weren't favorites.

Three or four years ago those two original binders were starting to not be as efficient as I wanted them to be. So I spent another hunk of time copying down (by hand) only my favorites and the ones I knew I wanted. And by that time I'd added quite a few new favorites to the group. My current recipe book is a 2" full sized binder full of recipes, with plenty of bits and pieces of paper scribbled with even newer favorites stuffed in the side pockets.

When my youngest sister announced her engagement this summer, I knew immediately what I wanted to give her for a wedding gift. A copy of my cookbook. Many of the recipes she will be familiar with, because they are ones that we made and ate growing up. For the rest of them, hopefully we have similar tastes and she'll like them just as much as I do :)

I knew I didn't have time to hand-write each recipe, plus I wanted to make something that was cleaner and neater than handwriting on note-book paper. I love the way a clean, neat, freshly printed page looks, so I decided that typing and printing everything was the way I wanted to go.

Over the past few months, I spent spare time here and there going through my cookbook, typing up many of the recipes. I found some more to cull out, and plenty to add. I also learned the hard way to proof read before printing anything! I think I had printed 2 or 3 sections of the cookbook before I started proof-reading, discovering a lot more mistakes than I wanted to!

My sister was married this past Sunday, and last week I spent much of my spare time and a few late nights finishing it up. I had been thinking that I wanted a name for this cookbook, but nothing had ever jumped out at me or suddenly popped into my head. The word "taste" kept coming to mind and I was pretty sure I wanted to use it in the title somehow. The last day that I was working on it, I kept thinking over and over different titles including the word "taste." I came up with one I liked that didn't include the word "taste", but it reminded me too much of a very, very popular early 90's wedding song (Through The Years, anyone?). I just couldn't bring myself to name the cookbook Through The Years when all I could think of was that song. But I loved how it fit what the cookbook represents: recipes all the way from my grandparents generation to now.

With a little more grinding of brain gears, I finally had a name that represented the recipes collected and used over the years, A Taste Through Time. After a little more playing around with fonts and layouts, some whirring of the printer had the cookbook finished. I am very happy with the way it turned out. It was hard to wrap it up and give it away, not only because it was so neat and clean and pretty that I wanted to keep it for myself, but having it printed (even though just from my home printer) is something I've wanted to do for a long time.

I am very happy that my sister gets the first printed edition, and I hope she will get as much joy and as many miles out of her copy as I do mine!

~ A letter I wrote to my sister. ~

~ Alphabetical Index for the 231 recipes ~
One recipe per page, and the recipes in each
category are in alphabetical order.
I did it this
way so that if recipes get added in the future,
it could still be kept in alphabetical order.

~ Tabbed dividers for the categories ~
They are in alphabetical order, too. :)

Even though I tried to remember all the recipes I use less frequently (that haven't made it into my own copy yet), this week I have been making a list of recipes that I missed! I will get them typed up and printed off, along with an updated index, and give them to her the next time we see each other.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hello, November! {and New Goals}

Wow! November already :) That means I only have approximately 4 more months until we meet our little baby!

Last week this was my only post. Thankfully that cold, as miserable as it was for about 24 hours, was short-lived and I am far down the road to being fully recovered. I think alot of my scratchy throat and tickle-y nose now is probably from leaf allergies and drier air.

I did not have any written goals last week, at least like the usual goals. I did have two goals. Two things with deadlines. Two things that while I had not procrastinated until the last minute, I did need to spend most of my spare time working on them to finish them up in time.

The most crucial item on the list was making a 9" cheesecake for my sister's wedding (for them to cut). I had already made and frozen just under 300 miniature cheesecake cupcakes in past weeks, but I wanted this one to be completely fresh... plus I didn't have room for it in my freezer! {I was quite occupied with Susannah on the day of their wedding and didn't get a picture of the cheesecakes.}

The second most crucial item on the list was my gift to my sister and new brother-in-law. This:

I plan to do a separate post about this in the future, but it is a cookbook of recipes from our years growing up, and then recipes I've added to my own collection so far during my married years.

With both of those out of the way, yesterday (Monday) was recover-from-the-weekend day. Susannah and I were both tuckered out so I took a nice nap during her nap-time instead of doing anything extra.

Now that today is November 1st, it seems very appropriate to start the month with a fresh list of goals. I have some goals that I want to get done this month, and others that I just want to continue working on each week.

Goals for November:

~Get Christmas cards addressed and ready to mail.
~Make a list of all Christmas gifts to make/purchase, and start.
~Each day make a list of things I'm thankful for.
~Pack up all of Susannah's too-small clothes.
~Pack up all of my clothes (again) that I won't be wearing again until next summer/winter.
~Mend Susannah's red jumper (it is brand new, and when I washed it before I was going to have her wear it, one of the seams came apart!) so she can wear it for a Christmas picture.
~Clean out light covers over kitchen ceiling lights.
~Dust ceiling fans.
~Clean off return vents.

Goals for This Week:

~2 hours of bookwork
~Address 16 Christmas Cards
~1 - 2 hours on Susannah's baby book
~Purchase tubs/bins for Susannah's too small clothes and start sorting
~Clean off return vents
~Continue aiming for 10pm bedtime and getting up at 6am. Last week that went out the window several nights as I was up later than that working on Katie's cookbook after Susannah went to bed. And if I don't sleep well I don't bust myself to get out of bed at 6am, and instead sleep/rest until I need to get up and make Daniel's breakfast and lunch (usually about 6:45 or 7am).

I am eager to see how this week goes. I'm hoping that it goes smoothly and I'm able to get many or even all of these goals met!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can I Have A Do-Over?

Oh boy. This week started off with a clang, bang, clatter... and not much sleep (thank you, pregnancy!). Yesterday, Monday, was a non-day in every way.

Long story short, we had to get some septic up-grades for the addition we are building.
Disaster A: The guy digging accidentally snagged the main sewer line from the house, ripping it off right underneath the toilet. What a racket that was! Thankfully Susannah and I were at MOPS all morning, so bathroom-ing wasn't an issue.
Disaster B: Said sewer pipe being ripped off the toilet meant no functioning toilet all day yesterday.
Disaster C: Miss Utility failed to mark the underground phone line (for internet) and that was dug up. I know it is so very wimpy that "no internet" equals "disaster" but I needed to do some online stuff that had a deadline of today.
Disaster D: To fix the toilet/sewer line situation, the guy was working in and under the bathroom, which is right next to Susannah's room, making lots of noise. So she woke up 45 min. into her nap. Then I knew I was going to have to "go" before the toilet was fixed, so we went to my in-laws for the rest of the afternoon, where Susannah took a little bit more of a nap and I wanted to but couldn't get comfortable on the bed enough to fall asleep.

On top of all that, I have been sleeping terribly the past several nights and just wanted to be by myself, alone, no housework, no cooking, nobody to entertain or feed or keep out of trouble, and SLEEP. I was so exhausted - mentally more than physically, I think - that by suppertime last night I just wanted to sit down and bawl.

So, needless to say, even though I spent some time on Sunday jotting down some menu ideas, I didn't really get a menu plan pulled together like I wanted. And my to-do list for this week looks like this:

I actually wrote the header for it just this morning. Before we trooped off to the in-laws again so I could get my online stuff done before the deadline. Right now I am in catch-up/salvage the week mode. I know that a bad Monday does not equal a bad week, but it sure doesn't help it get off to a good start, that's for sure. Especially when I got NOTHING housework-wise accomplished.

I did ok with my goals last week. I didn't get them all completed, but I did what I could and I'm not worrying about the rest. Last week's goals were:

*Bedtime - I really need to have more self-discipline and simply get my rear in bed at a decent hour, esp. if I'm going to take forever and ten days to fall asleep, or wake up for 3 hours in the middle of the night!

*Write a note to Daniel's Aunt & Uncle - This is really so easy, simple and fun to do. And only takes a couple of minutes!

*4 - 6 batches of cheesecake cupcakes
- I got all 6 batches made!! Woot!

*Susannah's Clothes
- Some progress?? I got through everything that was in her room, and have enough outfits to get through a week with a few pieces to spare (I do her laundry once a week). I have a tub of clothes from a friend I need to go through, and of course get all the too-small stuff sorted and packed up (from several sizes ago as well!)

*2 hours on wedding gift project - 1 hour. And not nearly as much progress in that 1 hour as I wanted. This may end up being a Christmas gift.

*1 hour bookwork
- I think I spent more than 1 hour, maybe 1 1/2, but I was able to make some good progress and rediscover the balance-the-checkbook groove I work in.

*1 hour working on Susannah's Baby Book - Didn't happen.


Thinking about it a bit, I do have some things I want to get done this week. I know this will be another short week as we have something on Saturday, so I am going to keep it short and sweet.

For this week, I would like to:

~Go to bed at 10pm, wake up at 6am. - I'm not stealing this from Alicia, I promise ;) I thought about it over the weekend, and I think if I crawl in bed earlier rather than later, I might be able to fall asleep better. And I really do want to get up early so I can get a good start to the day with having my quiet time in the mornings (leaving more time in the afternoon to work on other stuff). In an effort to help myself stay accountable, I have set an alarm on my phone for 9:45pm for each day this week. That will be my reminder to close up shop and go to bed.

~Get caught up with my Bible Study homework AND spend some "independent" time in the Word a little each day. - I fell behind on the homework since our last session and I need/want to get caught up before we meet again on Friday. And it's a really good study that I am benefiting from, so it would just be a good thing all around! (It is Beth Moore's Breaking Free study.)

~Iron tablecloths for Friday's Bible Study and choir robes. - We are both in the choir at church and over the summer break I brought our robes home to wash them. This Sunday is the first Sunday wearing them again and I need to get them ironed!

~Finish baking the Cheesecake Cupcakes for my sister's wedding. - I don't know off the top of my head how many batches I have left to do, but I know last week I hit the half-way point plus a batch.

~Do 1 hour of bookwork. - Hopefully since I got back into the groove last week it won't take me a whole hour to do one bank statement! (I said it had been a while, didn't I?)

~Work on Susannah's baby book for 1 hour. - This one is really aiming high because I don't think I'll get that far, but if I do, it will be nice :)

And with that, I am off to go throw some laundry in the dryer and camp out on the cough with my Bible Study for a bit. Supper stuff is thawing on the counter (Beef & Bean Burritos, though I have no idea how to make them...) and should be simple enough to put together.

By the way, about 10 minutes after we got home from using the in-laws computer this morning, the phone guy showed up and 45 minutes later had everything working again! That was a big sigh and "Praise the Lord!" because we were thinking they were going to have to come in and do some major under-ground work.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pregnancy Update - 20 Weeks

Yikes. I haven't posted anything about this pregnancy with "Baby Gus" since the announcement post! That was at 13 weeks, now I am almost 21 weeks. I had to take this picture fast and get it posted before Davene sends me those dreadful goggly-eyed glasses that I dared her to wear (and she said she would if I would!), haha!

Two weeks ago we had "the" ultrasound where we could have found out our baby's gender, but like we did with Susannah, we have chosen to wait and be surprised at the birth :) So, we do not know if we're having a boy or girl. The 19 week appointment went very well. So far it's another "perfect" pregnancy. On the ultrasound we could see our baby moving around some, looking cute, holding one of it's hands up to his or her face. I wonder if he or she was sucking a thumb? A few days ago I was feeling very excited to meet this little person growing inside me. Oh, I do hope he or she stays put for another 19 or 20 weeks, but that doesn't put a damper on my eagerness to see and hold our baby in my arms!

I am feeling fantastic most of the time! Aside from feeling the baby move and my baby-bump starting to get in the way sometimes (like when I'm standing at the counter), I usually forget I'm pregnant! I am more tired with this pregnancy, but I attribute that to not having the "freedom" to sleep as long as I want whenever I want since I do have to continue being a mama to our Susannah :) I have even taken up drinking the dreaded "coffee" some most mornings to give me the pep to get through the day. If I stay up too late at night, I usually end up dragging through the day or taking a nap, regardless. So sleep is a priority right now. (And I know sleep will go out the window for a while once the baby comes!)

The one pregnancy side-effect that is still cropping up occasionally is throwing up. It has certainly gotten better, but sometimes if I don't have enough food in my stomach and I drink water, within a couple minutes I start to feel sick and then it all comes back up. For a while I couldn't drink water between meals unless I ate a substantial snack a bit before. Now I can usually drink freely throughout the day, but if it's been a while since I've eaten, I drink slowly and munch on something. That has been the ONLY "sickness" I've experienced with this pregnancy since going off vitamins. I occasionally take a gummy-vitamin or drink some Emergen-C. I haven't tried more powerful vitamin pills yet because I don't want to feel awful. Gummy-vits finally don't make me feel bad anymore, and since they have all the important stuff in them (Folic Acid and DHA) I'm happy to eat a gummy bear once in a while and include lots of veggies, fruits and occasionally fish in our meals.

It is hard to believe that I am already 1/2 way through this pregnancy. Time has flown past! I am already thinking in my mind things like "ok, by this time I want to make sure and have my bag packed and ready to go." And I need to start thinking about freezer meals. At the same time... I'm starting to think about my garden next year :) I guess I am feeling rather well and ambitious at the moment! Haha!

Hopefully I will remember to post another update before another quarter of the pregnancy goes past :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Week, New Goals

Oh boy. My goal list from last week looks like a total flop. I should've taken much more into consideration than I did when planning them. The week started out well, but in all reality I only had Mon - Wed to really work on anything I was going to really get done above and beyond normal housework.

Thursday I had my 19 week appointment and ultrasound (another blog post later this week, hopefully :) ), which meant the visit took twice as long. Then after that I had an impromptu dentist appointment so he could remove a piece of something that had gotten jammed up beside one of my molars earlier that week and was not budging.

Friday I had Bible Study in the morning, and then the afternoon was spent getting the house straightened up and everyone packed for Daniel and I to leave Friday evening for our Sunday School's annual beach retreat (and for Susannah to spend the weekend with her Grandma and Papa).

All in all, I have ONE goal crossed off on my list:

Bedtime! I don't think I did too bad... except on the retreat, of course, where we were up past 1am both nights :0

Sort Through Susannah's Clothes I had made lots of progress in this department, seriously! I don't know that I would've gotten it ALL finished with everything else that was going on, but I had too small stuff pulled out of her drawers (and piles, a-hem), new boxes of clothes gone through and sorted into piles of sizes, outfits, etc. And I had a HUGE load of fits and doesn't fit laundry that needed washed. I washed it all Wednesday and Thursday, and piled it on the couch for my MIL to fold while Susannah napped on Thursday. What I forgot to tell Grandma was DON'T PUT IT AWAY!! When I got home from all my appointments Thursday, Grandma had folded all the laundry and put it back in Susannah's drawers. I know she was being helpful and it was my fault for leaving out that one tiny tidbit of crucial information. Now at least all the clothes are clean!

1 hour bookwork I did get 45 minutes done :)

De-clutter dining room table and china hutch Didn't happen

2 hours on wedding gift project Didn't happen

Make 3 batches of cheesecake cupcakes (sister's wedding) I did make FOUR batches! But only 2 of them turned out because I made the mistake of freezing most of the cream cheese (which I do all the time when I stockpile cream cheese)... and frozen cream cheese has a different consistency that I learned makes terrible cheesecakes. Oops.

1 handwritten note Woot! THIS is my "one straight line" for last week :) I wrote it while in the waiting room on Thursday.

1 hour on Susannah's babybook Didn't happen. I'd hoped to squeeze it in one evening, but that just never worked out.


So new week, new goals, right? Yup :) And hopefully this week will be more tame, normal and successful.

*Bedtime - still just a visual reminder to get my rear in the bed at a decent hour.

*Write a note to Daniel's Aunt & Uncle

*4 - 6 batches of cheesecake cupcakes
- I'm meeting my sister Tuesday morning to pick up more cream cheese - that I will NOT freeze - and reimburse her for the stuff I froze. I won't need to stock up on cream cheese this winter like I usually do :)

*Susannah's Clothes

*2 hours on wedding gift project

*1 hour bookwork
- last week in my working on this, I discovered the last time I balanced the checkbook was... way, way, way too long ago.

*1 hour working on Susannah's Baby Book

There is much, much more I want to put on my list, but the reality is that I don't want to make a lengthy list that is unreasonable. I hope you all have a wonderful, successful, productive week! I know I'm looking forward to one :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

{Mostly} Wordless Wednesday

I'm not sure how this linking to youtube will work... I couldn't load the video from the computer to my blog, so I had to load it to youtube then put the link in my blog. I hope it works for everyone!

One of Susannah's favorite things to do lately is to unload the utensils from the dishwasher. She figured this out on her own (children are so observant!) and did it twice on Saturday. No, not all of the utensils go in THAT drawer, but I didn't mind :)

*Please excuse my allergy-caused sniffing and stuffy-nosed voice :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Allergies and Goals

Two things I'm working on lately. One because it happens and one because I have decided to, want to or need to.

Springtime finds Daniel sneezing and blowing his nose. And every spring I'm thankful that my allergies are very mild. Then THIS time of year rolls around when ragweed is in full bloom and the leaves are starting to drop from trees. I groan and think "ugh, I DO have allergies. Now it's MY turn" to sneeze my head off and blow my brains out. Seriously, some days I come this close to stuffing a cotton-ball up each tickling, drizzling nose-hole and calling it a day. My fall allergies weren't this bad until I started living in this area of the state. I think I should buy stock in Puffs Plus tissues.

My goals for last week, well, I need to improve on some of them. This past weekend was my sister's bridal shower and I had some extra busy-ness preparing some food for that. My goals were:

*BE in bed by 10:30 - 10:45 each night. *ahem* Yeah... that didn't happen very many nights. Waiting for biscotti to finish baking is partially to blame ;) I'm taking it off the "blogged list" but it is still at the top of my list hanging on the frige for visual reminder.

*Declutter the dining room table and china hutch. I did work on the table for 1 chunk of time. One day. And made a small dent.

*Write 1 hand-written note. So easy and fun to do!

Spend 1 hour on bookwork.

Spend 1 hour on Susannah's baby book.
I spent alot of my 1 hour this past week looking for bits of information I'd recorded and writing it in the book.

Order my birthday present from Daniel. And it came :) I hope to do a blog post soon :) I can now cross one more thing off my "Goals for 2011" list!

Now for my goals this week:

*Sort through Susannah's clothes. My biggest and highest priority goal for this week. Wow. Friday we were wearing shorts and short-sleeves. Saturday morning it was chilly outside and I had to dig out warm clothes for her. I need to go through the clothes, get them organized and see how we're fit for the winter season.

*1 hour of bookwork. I know this has been on my list each week now, but seeing it on the list helps me stay accountable (hmm, pun anyone? ;) ).

*De-clutter dining room table and china hutch. And hopefully be able to cross this off this week!!

*2 hours on a special project. Wedding gift for my sister, so I can't post what it is in case she reads this ;)

*Make 3 batches of cheesecake cupcakes. I'm making these for my sister's wedding and need to have 300 made by the end of the month. I'd better get started so I don't have to put life on hold for a big chunk of time to get them all made in the nick of time!

*Write 1 hand-written note.

*Spend 1 hour working on Susannah's baby book. It is coming along nicely and I think I will be able to have it filled out up-to-date by the end of the year. Hopefully much sooner than that, really. This week I'll probably pick out and order pictures to paste on the different pages I've written on.

And those are my goals for this week! Do you enjoy or benefit from reading these? I enjoy reading Alicia's posts each week about her goals and get inspiration from them. I almost didn't post this week... but after reading her post, I came back to finish and and press "publish".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What A Difference Some Milk Makes

I want to blog about this time in Susannah's life mostly for memory's sake, but also to share some cute pictures :)

Susannah and her Uncle Luke

From the very beginning of Susannah's life, people have told us over and over, "she'll eat when she's hungry". But we have eventually figured out with each "stage" that for Susannah, that's not exactly true.

When she was just a few days old, she would cry and scream from hunger, but be too impatient to nurse. People told us "she'll eat when she's hungry"... but she WAS hungry, and wouldn't eat. With lots of patience, some help from a friend, and lots of practice on both mine and Susannah's part, she learned to nurse.

Fast forward to several months ago, and she started occasionally basically refusing to eat anything that wasn't pureed to smithereens. She had been eating chunkier foods, but wouldn't. Again, people told us "she'll eat when she's hungry". That time we figured out that she was teething... and pureed all of her foods which she would then eat heartily. Eventually once her teeth stopped bothering her (and you would never know she was teething), she started eating her usual non-pureed foods again.

To rewind a bit, from the time she was weaned on, about 95% of her liquid intake was whole cows milk. I grew up drinking milk all the time - I actually preferred milk over water - and I just think that milk is the best drink for growing kids. (I know some of you may have different ideas, thoughts or perspectives. I'm not on a "drink milk" campaign in this post.) I didn't think twice about our kids NOT drinking milk most of the time - at least for every meal - while growing up.

Back this summer Susannah started occasionally going through phases where she just would. not. eat. She would take two or three bites of each food and then say she was all done. Sometimes we could get more in her, but sometimes she would just fuss and refuse to eat. It just didn't seem right to me, but trusted people told us "she'll eat when she's hungry". She was drinking milk, so I wasn't extremely worried that she was going to dry up and blow away, but my mama-gut just felt that it wasn't right for her to only eat a couple tablespoons for a meal... or two, or three in a row. It was never consistent enough for me to think I should take her to the Dr., or that something was REALLY wrong... I was just puzzled.

Then she started what we thought was a "sensitive gagger" stage. Sometimes she would just throw up on the most random foods. And throw up EVERYTHING. And then not want to eat anymore (who would?). We started being very careful how much and what she/we put in her mouth. Cleaning up throw-up is not fun. Cleaning a high-chair with it's cracks and crannies full of throw-up is even less fun. I learned really quickly how to get the high-chair clean with little effort:

Run it through the "high-chair car wash"

Susannah's phases of not wanting to eat very much were becoming more frequent, as was her throwing up. Some days she would eat fine, but others - and for a couple days in a row - she would eat like a bird. She was still drinking milk, and drinking plenty of it (she would go through about 1 1/2 gal. a week). And she was still having plenty of wet diapers and a normal amount of dirty ones.

A couple weeks ago we went on a weekend vacation, and she threw up TWICE during that time. She would act hungry, but then only eat a little bit. Cheerios were about the only thing she would eat. A few days after we got home, she was not wanting to eat. It was day 3, I think, of her barely eating at each meal and I was really pushing her to eat more food (she was down to eating 1, maybe 2 Tbsp. of food at a meal) because I just knew that she needed the food. No one can convince me that she was eating enough. Getting enough milk, yes. Getting enough FOOD, no. She still wasn't looking sick or like she wasn't healthy, she just wouldn't eat. Anyway, back to the meal... I pushed her to eat one more bite, and as soon as it went in her mouth ALL of her supper and then some came back up.

Because my stomach wanted to flip-flop, too (pregnancy!), because I was frustrated with myself for having pushed her one-bite-too-far, and because I was frustrated that she wasn't eating (though not frustrated AT Susannah), I called for Daniel to come take over right away. I went outside and sat on the steps for some fresh air and eventually cried for a bit.

My mama-gut just knew something wasn't right. I just could not for the life of me figure out what. Was she going through a picky stage? But on good days she would eat just about anything. Does she have a sensitive gagger? But why so sensitive? WHAT was making it so she didn't want to eat?? WHAT was making her throw up?? I was frustrated and did not know what to do. Should I take her to the Dr? Do I call a friend and see if she has any suggestions? Do I just assume that "she'll eat when she's hungry" and not worry about her only eating maybe 1/4 cup of food a day?? (And she wasn't snacking, either... she would ask for a cracker but then not eat it, which was also strange to me.)

I finally realized I had not done the one thing I should've already done: I had not prayed about the situation. In desperation (why do I seem to always wait for the situation to get desperate?!) I silently cried out to God asking Him WHAT is the matter? WHAT am I doing wrong? WHY isn't she eating? WHY is she throwing up? I don't know what to do!! HELP!!! Show me!!!

Within 5 minutes, Daniel came out to gently ask if I was ok. I told him I didn't know... I was frustrated and didn't know what the problem was or what to do. Out of no-where he said "I wonder if it's the milk."

It was as if God answered my prayer right then and there. Is it the milk? But she drinks milk... and likes to drink milk. But she drinks a LOT of milk. And Daniel's family (and Daniel himself) have some sensitivities to milk (and yogurt and ice cream). I had never thought of milk before.

That evening Susannah did not have any more milk to drink. Of course she had emptied her stomach contents (which obviously included the milk she'd had after her nap and for supper), so she was starting with a "clean" stomach. We gave her water for the rest of the day.

The next morning when she woke up, the first thing she did was sign "eat". I cannot tell you what my heart and emotions did to see her asking to eat. I gave her some juice - instead of milk - while I fixed her breakfast and she chugged down the entire sippy cup full. And then ate more food at that breakfast than she had eaten in all 3 meals the day before. I continued to give her water instead of milk over the course of the morning, and by lunch-time she was persistently asking to "eat" again. I fixed lunch for her, a finger-food lunch, but it was the same amount as I usually fixed. But usually she would only eat 2 or 3 pieces of each food, and maybe 1 cracker before declaring "all done". This is what she ate for her first no-milk lunch:

When I saw her putting the food into her mouth... and she kept eating... and it stayed down... and she kept eating... I wanted to cry from happiness and in praise to the Lord.

Since then we have not given her milk to drink. That has been about 2 weeks ago, now, and she continues to amaze me with how MUCH and how WELL she will eat!! Her sensitive gagger issues seem to have gone away, too. It used to be that if her mouth was very full at all, she would gag and throw up. Now she stuffs her mouth TOO full sometimes (before we notice and intervene) and she'll just chew it up and swallow it down! It makes sense to me that if her stomach was feeling "off" she would gag & throw up much, much easier. She has not thrown up once since we took her off milk, either. There have been a few times that she's started to swallow something too soon, and has to "work it back up"... and I nervously wait for her to throw up but she doesn't.

My only regret is that I didn't weigh her when we first took her off milk. Again, there was no noticeable weight-loss (She's always been in the 50th - 90th percentile range for her size/age.), she was not thin or sick looking, and there hasn't been any noticeable weight-gain, but I'm sure she's put on a few pounds in that short time just because she is eating so much more than she ever did before!

I am starting to research other options for milk for Susannah. Goats milk and almond milk will probably be my first experiments. If milk, period, is an issue I am content with letting her get her calcium from non-dairy sources, but milk is my no. 1 choice. Milk products (yogurt and ice cream, two things that bother Daniel if he has too much) will only be trial and error, or taking it easy on those foods until she is able to communicate if they bother her stomach or not. Currently yogurt is one and only thing she refuses to eat. She will ask for a taste but then won't touch the first taste. I think that probably is a mind thing ;)

Again, her issue with milk is totally a home-diagnosis. It's not a "proven" fact, but her 180° turn-around is evidence enough for me. I will probably mention it to her Dr. at the next visit, just so he is "in the know", but I don't plan to have any testing done.

Now I just praise the Lord for answering my prayer so quickly, for giving Daniel the thought that "maybe it's milk", and that Susannah is EATING again!!

Susannah and her dolly early one morning.
She used to hate wearing a hat, but after we gave her a dolly
(who has a hat), she likes to wear her own hat :)

My two lessons from this are:
~Pray! Before the situation gets "desperate".
~Trust my mama-gut feelings.

*I want to add that Daniel and I did talk through his own sensitivities to milk to hopefully get a grasp of how milk might be affecting Susannah. Daniel said that he grew up eating cereal & milk every morning for breakfast... but it wasn't until he went away to college and then came back home (and started eating cereal and milk for breakfast again) that he realized his stomach hurt every time he had milk. And he said "I didn't want to eat, either, when my stomach hurt." Now Daniel can have a bowl of cereal or ice cream occasionally, but if he has them two days in a row it starts to bother his stomach. Milk or milk products in things don't seem to bother him, unless it's something like white sauce, a breakfast casserole with lots of milk in it, or something similar that is mostly milk. He gets cheese every day on both his breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and it doesn't bother him, so cheese is becoming more a part of Susannah's diet.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Goals For 9/26 - 9/30

Last week, inspired by Alicia, I wrote out a short list of goals that I wanted to accomplish or at least aim for over the course of the week. I even wrote them out on a pretty, new, magnetic note-pad that I'd gotten inexpensively and hung it on the frige so I could see my goals right under my nose.

Not only were they visual reminders of what I wanted to get done (above and beyond the normal housework), but it was motivation to DO them so I could cross them off and know that task was behind me. I liked it! I got some extra things accomplished that otherwise I may have just shoved off "till another day" or might have only done one or two of them.

This week I have some new goals, but I am also continuing some from last week, too, for longer projects.

*BE in bed by 10:30 - 10:45 each night. I discovered last week that "go to bed" was really "start getting ready for bed" (which if you read Davene's post about going to bed, you know that it can take a while to actually GET there!). So this week my goal is to BE IN THE BED by that time.

*De-clutter the dining room table and china hutch. 2 flat surfaces. Need I say more?

*Write 1 hand-written note.
I don't know if I will do this every week, but I do have another thank-you note I need to write :)

*Spend 1 hour on bookwork.
Updating the budget weekly is one of my goals for this year, and as I still need to balance the checkbook... I need to spend some time getting on top of everything.

*Spend 1 hour working on Susannah's baby book.
Another project that I want to have finished by the end of this year, so I need to just work on it regularly.

*Order my birthday present from Daniel :)
Back before my birthday, he asked what I wanted. I gave him a list of ideas, but he hasn't had a chance to go shopping yet. One of the things on my list is on a pretty significant sale right now, and it's also something I was going to get anyway... so when I was talking to him about getting it, he said "well, I was going to get it for you for your birthday, do you mind ordering your own birthday present?"

This week's list is not as long or time consuming as last weeks, because I do have some extra things that I have to do that will take some time. But I think this list is manageable and hopefully achievable!

A quick review of last week's goals and my progress:

*Go to bed between 10:30 and 10:45 each night.
- This did not happen each night. It DID happen a couple nights, and most nights I was in bed by 11 or 11:30. It was still progress, just not all the way where I want to be right now. Surprisingly, though, I did not feel any more rested ... some nights I just didn't sleep well, and others I don't know. So, more rest is certainly something I should strive for.

*Make an appointment to get the cat fixed. - This DID happen! Yay! The cat goes next week for her fix.

*Organize freezers. - This was my BIG, BIG project for the week, and I managed to get it done! I discovered that we only have 4 beef roasts left :( But we have several packages of steaks, enough strawberry jam to feed an army, and I have decided that I will be taking cherry or blueberry baked goods to any Bible Studies or food occasions. We have a LOT of cherries and blueberries in the freezer! I am so happy that we have them, but I often forget that they are there.

*Write 1 handwritten note. - Done!

*Spend 1 hour on bookwork. - Over the course of 3 days and collectively about 1 1/2 hours I managed to get the budget on the computer up to date. Yay!

*Spend 1 hour working on Susannah's baby book. - For some reason I dreaded sitting down Saturday afternoon to do this, but once I got into it, I enjoyed it. And didn't want to stop when 1 hour was up :) I still need to go back and upload and order the prints I picked out for the pages I worked on (they were loading too slow on Saturday), but that will hopefully be quick and easy.

*Put away canned pears. - This took me a couple days, but I managed to do it. Most of them squeezed into the last empty space in the pantry, and 7 quarts ended up on top of the frige. But THEY ARE OFF MY COUNTER!! Woot!!

*Blog. - Done :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Making Some Goals

I can be a list maker. I enjoy being able to draw a line through a task and see the progress I am making with what I need to do. This summer and fall lists fell by the wayside as I was busy with the garden, freezing produce and canning fruit.

Now that I think that is all behind me (finally, shew!) I need to start using lists again. They help me keep on track and overall, my days go better and I get more done when I use a list. (Staying focused and not getting distracted makes a big difference, too, huh? :P) I have my daily to-do lists pretty much memorized: laundry, kitchen, etc. I know what day of the week I do what laundry and basically what cleaning. I make those lists mostly for the enjoyment of crossing things off, and to help me stay focused and keep things prioritized if the day gets out of sorts.

Alicia recently posted about making lists of goals. I have a list of goals for this year, and I look over it from time to time and think "yikes, I need to get busy on ____!"... and then forget about it until I look at that list again (which hangs on the side of the frige). Anyway, Alicia's post made me think that I would probably benefit from making some weekly goals and writing them out... and actually try to accomplish them. I don't know that I would do this EVERY week, but since there are some things I really do need to do, and have just been putting off, it can't do any harm.

This evening marks the end of a vacation period for us. So, tomorrow starts a "new" week (on a Tuesday - that'll throw me off for several days!), one that I have some goals for. As soon as we were home and settled in a bit, I grabbed a sheet of paper and made a list. I wanted to make a long list of everything I need/want to do, but I made myself keep it reasonable. I hope. I should at least get SOMEthing done!

For fun and for accountability, here are my goals for this week:

*Go to bed between 10:30 and 10:45 each night. With the idea that I'll rest better, get more sleep and feel all energetic and bubbly and want to jump out of bed in the mornings :)
*Make an appointment to get the cat fixed. Yeah, major procrastination here. If it doesn't happen soon we'll end up with a winter litter of kittens!
*Organize freezers. Oh boy, are they ever out of sorts and full! To the point that I dread digging through the chest freezer for food that I know is in there but don't want to get out. This is my BIG goal for this week.
*Write 1 hand-written note. Because hand-written is nice, and I have some grandparents and great-aunts/uncles that would enjoy a note.
*Spend 1 hour on bookwork. Looooong overdue. Like, barely touched for... months.
*Spend 1 hour working on Susannah's baby book. I started it this spring, I fully plan to finish it (at least as much as possible since I think it goes on for a couple years) by the end of this year.
*Put away canned pears. Which really means, figure out where in the world I'm going to put them and put them there. They have been taking up a large section of counter-space ever since I canned them, and I just need to figure out where they are going to be stored.
*Blog. :) Something that I think about way more than I really do. So, once I hit "publish" I'll be able to cross this off my list! I do hope to get another post up this week, but if I don't I will still have blogged!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Sleeping in the frog position one night :)

Wanting to post more about our sweet Susannah, I thought a Tiny Talk Tuesday post would be fun. Susannah is now 18 months old (wow, how time flies!!) and is changing every day.

One thing she has learned recently (all on her own) has been to imitate a rooster's cockadoodle-doo. Her version is quite cute, of course, since she says it "gogn-gogn-gogn!" ("o" having the same sound as the "o" in "ostrich") Sometimes if we ask her "what does the rooster say?" she'll respond with her rooster sound, but usually she makes that sound when we are listening to a specific song on one of her Cedarmont Kids CDs that has a rooster sound in it.

One of her secret fun things to do is to dig through the bathroom drawers. That is not allowed, but she does get in them from time to time before I realize she is being too quiet. I had to move the Q-tips out of the drawer after finding her "cleaning her ears" with them one day. She has never seen Daniel or I use Q-tips to clean our ears, so she is only picking up on that from the occasional time that I use one to clean her ears during baths!

She is obviously very observant. Last week she was "helping" me load the dishwasher and saw that something had dripped onto the dishwasher door. She started making "eww, yuck!" exclaiming-type noises and reaching for the sink. I figured out that she wanted the dish-rag, and after handing it to her (and I pushed the bottom basket in) she wiped up the drips! That was a new thing for her, too, to ask for the dish-rag and want to wipe drips!

Singing. Oh, does she love to listen to singing!! And she can be picky about what she listens to as well! She loves the Cedarmont Kids CDs (Bible songs) the most. Often when we are riding in the car she will start asking for something, and motioning to the front of the car. It took us a while to figure out that she was asking for her music! Sometimes she sings along, which is fun to listen to. If we sneak in a different CD, after a while she will ask for HER music back!

She loved the rocking chairs at our cabin.

Along the lines of music and singing, this past weekend we had a mini-vacation with some of Daniel's family. The first night we sat around singing with Daniel and his dad playing guitars. Susannah walked into the middle of it all and holding onto a chair, started dancing and singing - and singing fairly loudly, too! For her dancing, she mostly bounced up and down and shook her head, but would throw in an occasional rear-end wiggle. It was sweet to hear and fun to watch!! And no, she did not learn to dance from me :)