Saturday, January 31, 2009

Were fertility treatments necessary?

I was reading the St. Petersburg Times this morning, and do agree that it is a wonderful paper. There was an article on the lady who just gave birth to octuplets. After having had triplets, it is hard to imagine being humanely able to carry that many babies. I just can't imagine. Now that they are here, it's difficult to imagine caring for them, as feeding and caring for triplets took 22 hours out of every day for me until the triplets were 18 months old. It was beyond a full-time job, not to mention the cost of their diapers, formula, clothes, et cetera. I was happy for the new parents until I read the paper today. The mother is UNMARRIED. Raising 8 babies will require more than 1 person. Why would a doctor put a 33 year old woman through aggressive fertility treatments when she has no husband? As an aside, I do understand single women who want a baby. I do not blame them, and I am not sure that they should be denied the chance of having one, but fertility is a science, and doctors do control how many embryos are placed in the uterus when they do IVF. I know because this is how we have our triplets.

But this story has more... the mother of the EIGHT new babies, is an unmarried, divorced mother of SIX who lives with her parents in their 1550 square foot house. Her mother filed for bankruptcy a year ago. This is not a single woman who always desired children but never married. This is a mother of SIX, ages 2 to 7, who now has EIGHT more babies to take care of without a husband. That is where I question the doctor's judgement? In all things, our answers lie in the Bible. Period.
But my questions are:
-Should a divorced mother of 6 be allowed to pursue fertility treatments?
-Should a woman with six children and without a job (I am not sure she was working) be allowed to go through IVF?
-Should the doctors have been so aggressive?
-At what point are we birthing babies simply to break a record, yet without the ability to care for them?
The article said the mother just loves children. I understand; I do, too. I just wonder at what point responsibility was forgotten. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Beefmastor... an Eastern North Carolina Tradition

If you live in North Carolina, and have not experienced the Beefmastor in Wilson, NC, then you need to put it on your short list! It is quite an EXPERIENCE, to say the least! By the way, I am not misspelling the name... it is the BEEFMASTOR, with an 'o'!

The Beefmastor is unlike most steak restaurants. It is small, unassuming, and does not take reservations. It is in one of those buildings that you pass on the side of a highway and think, "Who in the world would EVER eat there?" Suddenly, you find yourself as one of thosepeople who eats at the Beefmastor. When you arrive, you walk in and put your name on the waiting list. However, it is a small restaurant, and there is no room to wait inside! Therefore, you must wait outside in the parking lot. Hence the tradition of customers literally tailgating in the parking lot while they wait for their table!

Finally it is your turn to eat. When you walk in the restaurant, you are greeted by vinyl tablecloths and linoleum floors. There are no menus at the beefmastor. The only choice is steak, salad bar, and baked potato. For Heaven's sake, sweetie, what else is there??

After sitting down, the waiter comes around and asks everyone how thick they would like their steak to be. The twist is that he brings that big ole hunk of beef and puts it right there on the table. This is no Bern's Steakhouse or Angus Barn, this is the Beefmastor. There is only ONE cut of beef at the Beefmastor. You tell him how thick you want it, and he cuts that baby right there in front of you!! Don't try to say, "Six inches, please" because the cuts start at 8 inches. After writing down how thick everyone wants their steak, the waiter will ask you to help yourself to the old-fashioned, just like Grandmama's salad bar. Honey, I am talking deviled eggs, pickled beets, chopped ham, homemade dressing, chunky blue cheese, real bacon bits (no baco' bits here!), and iceburg lesson. Nothin' but the best for you, darlin'! The toppings are even served in the same old school tupperware my Grandmama had!! I love it. It tickles me every time I go there.

Your steak will soon arrive with a big ole pipin' hot baked potato that is oozing with sour cream and butter. Just enjoy it and work on your triathalon training tomorrow... after all, tomorrow is another day, and there is just no place like the Beefmastor!!

p.s. I was introduced to this eastern North Carolina institution by my wonderful friend, K. We went for her birthday a year and a half ago, and boy, was it fun. A limo (really just a pimped up bus) drove us there, so we had fun eating Bugles and Hatcher crackers the whole way there. I gladly serenaded everyone on the drive back. They loved it, especially our friend, S, who was pregnant, and happens to be my OB/Gyn. It is dangerous to let me near a microphone in any mode of transportation. I love a microphone with a captive audience!

This spring, K & I and our Beefmastor-paying hubbies took our Supper Club to the Beefmastor for the culinary delights. Everyone had a fabulous time! Get on the bus, Gus!

Use for leftover cocktail napkins

I have an array of cocktail napkins from various occasions. While unpacking and putting things in our new kitchen, I was tempted to throw them away! Then, I realized that they are PERFECT for putting in our children's lunch boxes. It has been fun to make their lunch boxes just a little bit happier with the different napkins!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AARRGHH! Ahoy there, maties!!! Gasparilla 2009

Our first Gasparilla Children's Parade was a LOT of fun! We were able to meet the Red Baron parachuters who literally jumped out of fighter planes and parachuted to Bayshore Blvd! Then, the children had fun catching lots of beads during the parade. It was a beautiful 70*F day in Tampa. A gracious lady from our church allowed everyone to picnic at her beautiful home, so we enjoyed lots of fun and fellowship with new friends following the parade. Our night ended with a fabulous display of fireworks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is it too early to say, "I love you"?

We all know that in relationships, it is better to be the receiver of the first, "I love you" rather than the giver. How many of us wanted our spouse to say those words first... "I love you". The words are often first spoken timidly, in case the receiver, well, doesn't receive them graciously. So, I find myself being the one to say, "I love you" first. You see, we moved to this town, not really knowing anyone. However, we have been so WELCOMED by all of our friends of friends. It is unlike any place we have ever lived. These people have welcomed us with open arms.

First, A & L are true angels with the most amazing servant's hearts. A cooked us the most amazing dinner last night, and they have shared all of the numbers of their "people". Not only that, but DH STAYED with them several times, and enjoyed A's cooking so much I thought he may never again settle for mine:)!! I really like A's combination of godly wisdom and good humor, and know our friendship will continue to grow!

Our first week here, G, who owns the BEST store here, Tampa Toiles, came by to see us and gave us 8 of her ADORABLE toile tumblers AND a monogrammed Tampa Toile towel for our kitchen. WOW! She also baked a great pound cake sandcastle of our new home! That same week, Mrs. M, who is a good friend of family friends from home, came by to meet us and brought a FANTASTIC pineapple cake from a great local restaurant and bakery, Wright's Deli. It turns out her grandson is in class with our triplets!! Do you see how the Lord has been weaving together our new life here?

Sweet L, whose husband went to Woodberry with our friend, M, came by and brought DELICIOUS cookies! It was fun to finally meet the person behind the voice I have talked to and emailed with prior to our move. I can't wait to get to know her better.

Then, we have J & D. We knew them when we lived in Dallas 11-13 years ago, though we didn't know each other well. We are delighted to be under D as one of the pastors at our new church. J & D are lots of fun and have welcomed us so wonderfully. Their children are around the same ages as ours, and they had our FOUR oldest for a playdate! K has been back for a second playdate! Plus, J made us the most delicious dinner on our first night in our new home! I can't wait to get to know J better too!

I can go on, friends! There is MORE! Can you believe it?! R has walked over to see us with her young boys, and even brought us flowers and clementines! She also took AH from me one morning last week, and has been so giving to our family. I am really excited about all of these women that can be my friends! B invited all of our children to her son's birthday party, and I loved an afternoon of getting to know everyone a little bit better. S was friendly at K's preschool, and K went to her son's birthday party (can you believe it... 2 birthday parties already!). Mrs. W came by to meet us and brought us a CHOCOLATE cake from Wright's Deli. I think my pants are fitting a little tighter these days! M and A have called to try to get together, and I owe them phone calls back! Yesterday, J, a childhood friend of H back home, called. I owe him a call too! W, who is friends with the owner of a company for whom I did home shows, came by last night and brought a whole cute heart bucket of goodies... plus homemade brownies! We just can't get over it. I can tell another W & her husband are going to be good friends. They make me laugh. Our son, A, went to their house after school yesterday! Even the ladies at the local children's store said to feel free to ask them anything. E called today to offer tomatoes! My phone is not working well, so I have several calls to return.

Do you see where I'm going with this? I am overwhelmed. Is it too early to say, "I love you"? 'Cause I am here to tell you, that I (heart) these new friends. I really do. (in a whisper) "Tampa friends, I LOVE you". There, I said it. I do. I LOVE YOU. I really do!

Tuesday's Tip

My friend, N, is super organized! I just love her because everything she touches folds neatly back into its place. Sheets, receipts, stacks of papers are all perfect under N's hands. I want to be just like her!!! One great thing that N does is organize her things for decorating each room in her home. When she decorates a new room, or re-decorates an old one, N paints a piece of white cardstock with the colors of the walls and trim. Then, she staples all fabric and trim samples for furniture, pillows, and window treatments onto that card. If she used granite, carpet, or rugs in that room, she will put those samples with her room sheet. I believe she keeps all of these cards in a notebook, but if you were decorating an entire home, you would probably need a file box to hold the granite, tile, and hardwood samples. You could even put a sample of your knobs and hardware in the box. N is always so organized, and her homes are always decorated better than the magazines!! I need her to hurry and visit!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shannon's Cheese Biscuits

This cheese biscuit recipe will knock your socks right off! It is fantastic! Better yet, it is EASY. I made these for Christmas gifts and used Christmas tree and snowman shaped muffin pans and they were ADORABLE, if I do say so myself! I am sorry I didn't take a picture of them. These biscuits are sure to be a hit with your friends and family too!

2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
2 cups self-rising flour

Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix cheese and butter. Then add the sour cream and then the flour. Put muffins in muffin cups and cook for 18-22 minutes. These are best served hot! They won't last long.
**Don't even try to figure out your Weight Watchers points with this recipe! It's not worth knowing:).**

Sunday, January 25, 2009


If you've never tried Craigslist in your area, and you have some items you'd like to sell, you should try it! It is easier than email because your buyers are local. This saves you the cost and time of shipping. I have sold so many things on Craigslist, and they usually sell quickly!

Each time I have listed something on Craigslist, it has been a neat story. We sold a Little Tykes playset and the little toddler played on it when he arrived home later that night. Another man bought adirondack chairs from us and faithfully left the money in our mailbox. Anyway, I have been amazed at how easy it is to sell or give away things using Craigslist, and how nice the buyers are.

If you're doing any spring cleaning, try Craigslist!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

You know you're in Florida when...

you go to your local Target and they are all out of Iams dog food for toy and small breeds!!!! When we found out we were moving to Florida, I told DH we'd fit right in with our dog, Bitsy, a mini maltese. She is all of four pounds of bark and bite! I just loved it when Target did not have her dog food yesterday... all of the medium and large breeds were well-stocked!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thank you, Kappa Prep, for the Lemonade Award!
This award is for those who show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE! If you are given the award, then put the logo on your blog or post. Next, nominate at least 5-10 blogs which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE!
Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

I give the award to:
Pink, Green, and Southern
Preppy Petitt
Sycamore Stirrings
Raising Five
We are THAT Family

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Uses for plastic baby food containers

Gerber and other baby food companies are now making many of their baby foods in plastic containers. I have always loved the glass ones, but the new plastic ones can also be reused for many things. I will list the ways I have used them, but be creative and find your own ways to reuse these containers! If you use them to store food, be sure not to put them in the microwave, and to dispose of them after a few uses in case the plastic breaks down and leaks BPAs!

-These containers are great for single servings of fruit or veggies or dip to send to school with your children
-They can be used to hold nails and screws in your tool kit
-We put hair bands in them to keep them neat and orderly in drawers or your overnight kit.
-Paper clips or safety pins fit easily into these cute containers!
-You can use them to hold syrup for children who like to dip their pancakes!
-Make your own baby food & use these containers!
-Freeze applesauce or juice in them for a fun treat.
-Freeze small cubes of chicken, turkey, or beef broth to use in a later recipe.
-Use them for spices. They stack easily!
-Use them for beads and other craft items

Please post your ideas as well!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Baby Magic

We love Baby Magic Baby Wash in our house. It just smells good. Even our older children like to wash with it because it is so gentle on your skin. My mother-in-law has always wondered why our children's wash cloths have yucky dark spots on them. Each one is discolored in a large circle shape. It is strange because I always use color-safe bleach on our whites. DH & I could never figure it out. Well, M decided we needed new wash cloths for the children's new bathroom. She bought beautiful white ones, and I put them in the bathroom. Next thing I know, I am folding a clean wash cloth, and it has that same spot on it that the old ones had!!!! What's a mama to do?

DH & I think it must be the Baby Magic! I have put it up in the cabinet and the children are all using Suave for Kids. Please let me know if you have had this same problem! I am going to write the company. There must be some kind of oil in the baby wash that causes the stains!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

M's Delicious Vinaigrette Dressing

My friend, M, is a fabulous cook! Her food is always delicious, and she makes things seem effortless. M has 3 little girls who keep her very busy, so everything she does takes effort! One day M invited us for a playdate & lunch. She made me the BEST salad! It has mixed greens, goat cheese, grilled chicken, blackberries, and her delicious homemade dressing! I made some of the dressing tonight & think it's such a special treat. It's easy & you should treat your family!

2 parts Balsamic Vinegar
1 part olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 TBS. brown sugar
lots of herbes du provence

Mix it together & serve over mixed greens! I added FL strawberries & goat cheese tonight, but wish we had had some good nuts to add to it too! Enjoy. THANKS, M! I miss you!!!!

Thank you, President Bush

Thank you, President Bush, for serving our country. You took time away from your own family to love, serve, and protect our families. Many have criticized you, but we all make mistakes. If it were not for your response after 9/11, our country would have faced more terrorist attacks. Thank you for keeping us safe so that our children can run freely in our yards, and we are not fearful on airplanes, buses, or in big cities. May you be blessed with good health as you enjoy your time out of office!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Free Boxes Follow-Up

I received LOTS of responses to the free cardboard boxes. My favorite was:

"Hey im really interested but d0nt have a car. can u help me 8134031436" (his punctuation, not mine)

Yes, you know, I'm really into a courier service or picking you up, you crazy serial killer, and driving you to my home to GIVE you FREE BOXES. Sorry, sir, these are FREE BOXES which translates, "Get in your car or a cab or walk and YOU pick them up." It's amazing what people will ask you to do! And, it's actually kind of scary to think what kind of person this might be & how they might be able to trick someone into picking them up! Thankfully, I ignored the email & hope to live another 24 hours in this town! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter in Florida!

It was 'cold' this weekend, with a high of almost 70* yesterday. It was in the 50s when we woke up, so we bundled up and took my parents and headed to the beach!!

Post Moving Tip

DH & I were blessed to have been moved by professional movers thanks to DH's company. They pack, load, unload, and unpack your things. The unpack means they will open boxes, dump the items out, and take away the boxes. You run out of space in your new home rather quickly, so we had them unpack some things, and then we are slowly tackling the rest. In the past 2 days, I have unpacked 10-15 boxes and put them on the street. We realized tomorrow is a holiday so we won't have garbage pick up. SO... here's the tip:

Cardboard boxes have gone way up in price. I am being serious. People will pay for used boxes, and they will happily pick up FREE boxes. I put a listing on Craigslists, and had some takers within 30 minutes!! Someone is on their way now to pick up our boxes! I will continue to give away boxes as we unpack. If we have some really nice ones, I may make $10 or $15!


Some favorite restaurants:

ALL-TIME FAVORITE!!! Mi Cocina Dallas, Texas

Craig & Sally's St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Panne Rustica S. Tampa, Florida

Angus Barn Raleigh, NC

DePalma's Italian Athens, Georgia

The Raleigh Times Raleigh, NC

Houston's Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, TX, Memphis, TN

Fearrington House Restaurant Pittsboro, NC

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've made it!

We've officially survived our first 6 days in Tampa and things have gone well. We spent the night at our new home last night, which was wonderful! DH & I have a new mattress, and I suggest making that investment if you have an old one! Ours was about 15 years old, and a new one made a big difference on our backs!

The children seem to love school. If you have never heard of a Classical Christian school, you should look into it & see if there is one in your area. They have an amazing philosophy for educating children, and you will be AMAZED at what they learn! In third grade, the students begin Latin. Children at the grammar stage (elementary) learn facts easily. The school teaches them this way & it is amazing how they can spout off the timeline beginning with 4000 B.C.! I know I can't tell you what happened chronologically, but these students can!! We are thankful that the Lord has provided a way for our precious children to attend this sweet school.

I am off to unpack some more boxes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A welcoming city!

DH & I are amazed at how kind and friendly everyone is in our new town. The men at the hardware store shared names of plumbers, etc., the man at the local deli shared tips for fishing and how to buy a boat, and our neighbors are friendly too (though they can't compare to our old neighbors!). A local shop owner befriended our family & brought us the cutest cake that looks like a sandcastle, complete with brown sugar sand! Another friend brought us chocolate chip cookies, and friends of friends have sweetly emailed and reached out to us. Our entire family, including all 3 parents, has been invited to dinner at a friend of a friend's house (are you tracking with me). My mama's friend, Mrs. C, wanted us to meet her friend, and that friend has invited ALL of us to dinner! WOW! We are thankful.

Our home is coming together, though our garage is filled floor to ceiling with boxes. Tonight we move out of our deluxe hotel condo & will sleep here at home for the first time! We are all excited.

More soon! I am sure I will have some more blunders:).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


At church on Sunday, we met so many new people. I thought someone had told me I needed to meet Laurie Hoar because she had 5 children too. I had seen the name in the church directory, and thought nothing of the pronunciation. So, I met a lady named Laurie.

The conversation went like this:

Me: "How many children do you have?"

L: "We have 5 boys."

Me: "Oh, you must be the Hoars (think of how this sounds)

L: Her head jerked kind of funny, she looked at me with a puzzled expression, and said, "No, we're the C....."

Ahhhh.... the joy of a first impression. I think I may have ruined this friendship from the start!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Our Sunday of Blessings

Doug and I decided on our drive that if the children woke up on time, we would go ahead & visit our new church. No time like the present, eh? Well, despite their exhaustion, the first 2 were up a little before 7, so we all dressed, ate breakfast, and went to visit our new church. When we arrived, people were so friendly, and some had even heard we were coming!! A nice lady took us to find baby H's class and we saw our one friend, A, when we were seated. During the service, my favorite hymn, "From the Depths of Woe" was sung!! What a sweet comfort.

Then, I read:
From Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 28
Q: How does the knowledge of God's creation and providence help us?

A: We can be patient when things go against us,
thankful when things go well,
and for the future we can have
good confidence in our faithful God and Father
that nothing will separate us from His love.
All creatures are so completely in his hand
that without his will
they can neither move nor be moved.

I Corinthians 1:18-31

After church, everyone was very friendly. DH and I enjoyed meeting so many sweet people!! We felt very welcomed and loved and even excited! We went to lunch and then took the children back to our new home. Our painter did a fabulous job and was there finishing his work. He said his wife babysits!!! The children jubilantly jumped into the pool and made a big splash! It was precious to hear them so excited to have a pool. DH & I, however, did not get in!! It was warm outside, but the water was COLD. We are all excited to move in our new home and make it ours. I am excited to visit IKEA in Orlando for some exciting and creative storage ideas!

At church, the little girls wore smocked dresses and had double names, just a little comfort that made us feel like home!

We need school lunches and snacks for tomorrow, especially since our school does not have a cafeteria. While in Publix, I ran into a cute girl who was a nurse at Camp Greystone while I taught Cooking at Jr. Camp! It was wild to actually run into someone I know in Tampa!! We are constantly amazed at how the Lord has ordained this move... His little reminders are everywhere! M said her babysitter lives on our street, which is especially incredible since we only have about 8 houses on our street!!! We will try not to steal her sitter, but it's nice to know a sitter lives near us!

Our new church felt like home. Our house is beautiful, and our children are adjusting. That's not to say we haven't had some challenges... when we sat down, Doug and I both wondered who around us needed to use the bathroom. We then discovered that either we stepped in dog poo poo or someone around us had. We were reminded that we are all dirty and sinful, yet saved by grace. It was funny to be stinky visitors!! After the service, our son, A, vomited in the church parking lot and then fell asleep in the car while waiting for us. We were excited to make new friends, and lingered while he rested. The same thing happened again in the car, but thanks to my smart Mama, we had a garbage bag handy!

The Lord has truly blessed us with an amazing place to stay this week. We have flat screen tvs in every bedroom, a brand new front loader washer/dryer, a dishwasher, a living room, 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a beautiful kitchen, etc. I have already made lunches for tomorrow and will have everyone in bed by 7 since their day starts an hour earlier than it did in Raleigh!

Mimi has arrived to help with H & K, and my parents arrive tomorrow afternoon! Tomorrow will be exhausting as boxes and furniture are unloaded once the movers arrive at 8am, but it is so exciting to see our home begin to take shape as OURS!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Gift of Goodbye

What an overwhelming week. Yesterday I told D that I felt like someone had died. I was completely spent emotionally and physically. I literally WAILED and SOBBED like a baby out loud in our empty home. It was all I could do to tell friends goodbye and then to hug my family for the last time as a resident of Raleigh. Friends stopped by to give goodbye hugs, we enjoyed last meals together, and our friends even joined us in the driveway to say goodbye the afternoon before we left. We are so blessed!! We felt very loved as we left so many we love.

It is amazing to see how the Lord has planned this new season in our lives. Our children will attend a small school, and a family friend wanted to introduce us to her friend in our new hometown. We were amazed to find out the family friend has a grandchild in our triplets' class!! God ordained our move to Florida before we were ever born! It is amazing to see how He has knit our lives to be in this city at this time to meet these people. It was so hard to leave. I cannot even tell you how difficult it was, but it is exciting to see who we are supposed to meet!

Friends gave us new coloring books, stickers, markers, and food for the drive. I never buy the individual bags of goldfish, so the children were excited to have them!

We left as the moon was going down and the sun was coming up. It was beautiful. Sweet A said, "Goodbye Raleigh" and I cried once again. We had a beautiful day of driving. The temperature rose 35*F as we drove!! We shed layers and welcomed palm trees and nice breezes. What a gift to show our children their new home! They were very excited. Little H had said, "Mommy, pool" during the entire drive. It was fun to show everyone their rooms. We had hired someone to oversee all repairs and another person to paint. I was truly amazed at how clean the house was and how much they had completed!! It is a wonderful home.

Our friend, C, sent a great package filled with necessities. We had just said we needed lots of new lightbulbs when I opened the package and found light bulbs, notepads for lists, paper towels, napkins, cups, plates, silverware, mac n' cheese, canned fruit, double stuff oreos, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and many other things we need right away!! It could not have been a more perfect gift! I want to be that thoughtful to others. It was the absolute perfect gift! She's smart like that!

Our hotel is actually a spec condo that hasn't sold. We may never leave! We have a huge granite counter top kitchen, washer dryer, elevator!, garage, luxurious bedrooms, a courtyard, etc. It is perfect. I ran into Publix and bought some snacks for the children. God has taken such great care of us!

Thank you, dear Lord, for your provision. If this post makes no sense it is because I am so tired. I am off to bed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You know you frequent Chick Fil A when...

I opened yesterday's mail to find a great surprise!!! Our dear friend, A.L., who owns the NORTH HILLS ChickFilA, sent us a going away gift! We can enjoy a tray of nuggets when we arrive in FL! All of her employees signed the card AND she included a picture of our family from July when we all dressed like a cow to receive a free meal! What a sweet goodbye. It just shows you the rewards of being a good ChickFilA customer! Now go buy some ChickFilA today! It's the BEST!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Traveling with children

We will embark on another long road trip in just 2 days! DH & I have become quite the pros at long trips & saving money. Here are some tips!

-Pack a cooler with your favorite drinks. If you have a baby, you definitely want to pack milk or formula & keep it cold. Pack at least 1 extra bottle or cup.
-Fill water bottles with WATER (I know, so creative) & put one by each child's seat in the car
-Bring snacks. You can buy them prepackaged, but you'll save money by making your own baggies of goldfish, pretzels, raisins, etc.
-Bring FRUIT!! Children never have enough fruit on trips. Carrot sticks are also great... but make your own. I just read an awful article on where the cute carrot sticks originate.
-Bring a hospital throw-up pan. I know. GROSS. But trust me, our vomit comet has been thankful to have one on SEVERAL occasions. I now keep it in the car at all times!!!!
-Bring grocery store bags for trash & above needs.
-Pack chlorox wipes for wiping down shoes after going in nasty gas stations, rest stops, etc. NO GERMS in your car!
-Bring entertainment (coloring books, crayons, electronic games, books, baby toys, whatever you allow)
-On 2 day trips, we pack a huge cooler with sandwiches or lunchables, turkey, fruit, drinks, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc. It saves us a stop and money!
-Do not buy every child a whole meal unless they can truly eat it ALL. Every bite. Every fry. Otherwise, buy each child a burger & one large fry (more if you need it). Our whole family can eat 1-2 large fries because most everyone just wants a little. Do not buy a drink... use the ones in the car!
-Encourage the children to RUN at stops. We like Cracker Barrell & rest stops in some states, especially those with family rest rooms.
-Encourage SLEEP. Leave early in the morning or travel at night if you have a cranky traveler!
-Give older children things to look for like signs, landmarks, etc.

He's the man!

Sweet hubby flew home last night to be here today. I can't tell you how grateful I am. It was too much to do alone with 5 children!! As Pink, Green, & Southern reminded me, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!" I am STRONG today, ladies!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How NOT to move

-8am dentist appt for 4 morning before movers arrive
-agree to double tooth extraction for 2 children
-come back at 11:30am.... after driving 30 minutes to take children back to school
-Allow teeth to be extracted only to realize this was not a smart decision!
-Drive wailing children back to your hometown (you were in a neighboring town b/c of where the dentist was today)
-Realize wailing and bleeding children cannot go back to school
-Yikes! Realize you will be at home packing, etc. with children in tow
-Nearly run out of gas, which is unusual since you ALWAYS keep your tank half full
-Dissolve into hysteria several times
-Talk to friend who is a master mover & realize it is not smart for hubby to not be here for the packing
-Fall apart on phone with hubby
-Fall apart several times throughout the day
-Secretly shove things under seats in car so hubby won't know that you have taken things he said were best left behind
-Do it all without asking for God's help... if you had, things wouldn't have been so bad:)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Get Organized

It's a new year, and everyone is throwing things out, giving things away, and getting organized... or at least thinking about doing so!! When we move to our new home, I am going to reorganize our cabinets. I have been buying the plastic containers for flour and sugar, and they are great. I realized I could use one of those containers to hold 2 boxes of powdered sugar, cornstarch, or brown sugar, so I bought extras for those things. This keeps creatures out and keeps your goodies fresh!! Also, get out that Sharpie marker, and write the date you opened the box of sugar, etc. on the outside of the box. I found some flour that was several YEARS old, and had to throw it out!!

As you put things in your attic, be sure to buy boxes at Target or Walmart and carefully label the outside of the boxes. It makes it much easier to keep things organized. I have a large Rubbermaid box for each of our children and store their ornaments in them. They have fun opening their own box each Christmas and putting the ornaments on the tree. I use the Sharpie once again to mark the date they received the ornament and who gave it to them on the outside of the individual ornament boxes. Sometimes your memory needs to be jogged! :)

As many of you do, I label large see-through boxes for the children's clothes too (ex.: Girls size 12-18 months) and you will be able to find what you need! Little AH needed a winter coat and I had been shopping for one on sale, only to find the best bargain was in a box in my own attic!!

In our new kitchen, I am going to buy glass jars for things like pretzels, school snacks, etc to make our cabinet more attractive. This is really cute if you have a pantry! We have some drawers that pull out, but not a true walk-in pantry.

My friend, B, bought a fancy glass jar for detergent and has it out in her laundry room. She has the best laundry room of anyone I know!

While organizing, PURGE!! I am one to talk as I horde papers, but PURGE!! We just gave a sweet family here many things that we no longer use or wear, and they were thrilled. The husband put on D's sweater immediately because he did not have one. So give to others & remember that is more blessed to give than to receive!

Happy Organizing!! I will be drowning in trying to be organized next week!

Friday, January 2, 2009

God does not fail

I am constantly reminded that relationships will fail me, but God never does. His love for me is unfailing, it never ceases, and it is not conditional. He does not love me because of where I live or how I dress or who my friends are. He just loves me because I am His and I am created in His image. Did you know that you, too, are created in God's image?? Have you ever thought of the implications and how much He must love each of us?

I need to be reminded daily that the ONLY relationship that will never let me down is the one I have with our Lord. Marriages fail, friends let you down, children disappoint, but GOD NEVER FAILS US!!! He is always there for me. He is not just willing to put things aside to see me, He is there WAITING for me. He wants me to turn to Him throughout the day and to have total and complete dependence on Him alone.

I love people. I love being with people, giving to people, and yes, even pleasing people. Those things bring me great joy. Those things can also lead to a lot of disappointment as others let me down or don't care for me in the same way. What a gift that the things of this earth are nothing compared to the unfailing relationship I have with Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father!!!

Art classes for children

Art has many benefits for children, including the fact that it enhances fine motor skills and creativity, and introduces children to Art History. In our hometown, we have an excellent art teacher, Mrs. Phillips. She offers her art classes in the winter and summer. Her next classes begin in January, so if you haven't signed up, you need to call me for her number!! You will be amazed at the wonderful creations your sweet child will make. Call or email me for her number as the classes fill quickly and probably begin next week!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

May 2009 bring you and your family many blessings...

May you enjoy more smiles than frowns

May you have more happy tears than sad tears

May you bless others more than they bless you

May you give more than you receive

May you eat better and exercise more than you did the year before

May you spend more time with those you love

May your relationships be more meaningful than they were last year

May you love your spouse more than he/she loves you

May you spend more time in the Word than you did last year

May you love your children more and more each day

May you manage your time better than last year

May you laugh more than you cry

May you help others more than they help you

May you know Christ in a new way each and every day and spread His love to others.

Happy New Year!!!!

For our family, 2008 was the year of goodbye... we are welcoming 2009 as the year of "Hello!" and new relationships, while continuing to deepen the old ones.:)