Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Odd Mom Out

Yep. I'm the odd mom out. We don't celebrate Halloween. {Maybe there are other "odd" moms out there, I just don't come across them that often.} I don't decorate with ghosts or witches or skeletons. We do celebrate Harvest Time and I enjoy decorating with pumpkins, picking pumpkins, and eating pumpkin-y foods. We love the smells of burning leaves and apple picking and other fun fall stuff. I'm not opposed to dressing up or taking the kids to a costume party, it is the "celebrating of the day" part that I am against. What are you really celebrating anyway? A recent conversation with another dance class mom went something like this:

Mom: {to her kids} "Ask the girls what they're going to be for Halloween. Go on! Ask 'em!!"

Me: {silently cringing to self}

Mom: "Hey girls, so what are you going to be for Halloween?"

Me: "Um, we don't celebrate Halloween."

Mom: "Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?" {I guess in her mind you would have to be....}

Me: "Nope."

Mom: "Do you celebrate anything else?"

Me: {chuckling to self} "Yep. I just don't think Halloween is worth celebrating." {I really didn't want to get into any answer deeper than this.}

Mom: "You don't even let them celebrate at school??!" {As if schools were in charge of everything.}

Me: {Oh. Brother.} "We homeschool."

Mom: oooooooohhhhh

The mom in question is particularly straightforward. She has already told me that she doesn't think we should name our baby Sebastian & suggested several other names that she thinks are appropriate. Despite her opinionated nature, I think this conversation threw her for a loop!

If you are a Halloween-er, I'm not judging you, so please don't flame me for my opinion. If you are an odd mom too, then I'd love to hear it! I guess tonight I will leave the house lights off, draw the blinds closed & enjoy some private family time huddled indoors. From a frugal standpoint, I'm saving money on costumes, Halloween candy, and dentist bills from all the sweets!

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Need Booster Seat Advice

To all my readers who are moms, I need your advice! At what age did you move your child from a harnessed carseat to a booster seat? For some reason you don't often hear hard & fast rules regarding this issue, the way you do about keeping them rear-facing until they are 1 year old and 20 pounds. The AAP says the child is ready for a booster when:
  • She reaches the top weight or height allowed for her seat with a harness. (These limits are listed on the seat and are also included in the instruction booklet.)
  • Her shoulders are above the harness slots.
  • Her ears have reached the top of the seat.
I think we moved my oldest to a booster around 3 1/2-ish, but I really don't remember. Any input is appreciated!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bags and Bags and Pumpkins, OH MY!

The Bags....
I have been busily plugging away at making some bags to sell at my mother-in-law's school. She has mentioned that a lot of the ladies would be really interested & has encouraged me to do something about it! I ran out of a crucial supply which stalled my progress, but now I am back on track. I want to get these completed so I can move on to other things. I just recently sold two custom bags to moms from Tatiana's dance class, so I would like to be able to start on those without other major bag projects hanging over my head. I really only have one more bag on my "list" to complete for my mil & just yesterday received the fabric from one of the dance class moms. I will post some photos of the lot when they are completed. Hopefully this will net me a little bit of money for the holiday season, but at this point I'd be happy just to make back what I've spent.

The Pumpkins....
About two weeks ago, while *innocently* surfing the net, I ran across this tutorial. I just couldn't help myself. I made this right away:

Isn't it just the cutest little knitted pumpkin?? I *love* it! So much so that I just......



I need some serious help. mrgreen

I am using materials from my stash, so it doesn't cost me anything other than 1 hour of my time. It's so quick and a great little project for while I'm unwinding in front of the TV at night or waiting {for the bazillionth time} at the doctor's office or in some other waiting room. I'm not feelin' the love for the larger one with the star as much as the little rounder ones. I have already given one away as a hostess gift. Here he is getting ready for his new home:

...and now he's all boxed up {homemade box of course!} and ready to roll!

Dear Mother-in-law {yet again} suggested that I make some to sell to her lady friends at work. {Um, either she really thinks I need the money or that my handiwork is very cute & desirable. I'm beginning to wonder.....} She also mentioned making a bunch to use as placeholders for the Thanksgiving table. Wouldn't that be uber cute? I thought I could just twist the copper wire in such a way that you could stick the namecard in it! If I have the time and ambition, I may just do that!

Weekend Getaway

This weekend Hubs & I enjoyed a mini-getaway in honor of our anniversary. We have been staying at the same little inn in Indiana for quite a few years, although every once and awhile we do shake things up a bit. This year we went back to our spot there, the Spring House Inn. I paid for a standard room, but due to a mix-up was given a jacuzzi suite! We loved the jacuzzi, but the downside was that this room was smoking. YUK. I almost couldn't take it, but eventually adjusted nicely.

So there you have it! And now you have seen my 32 week belly. I am so glad there are only a few more weeks left to go. Hubs & I enjoyed dinner at Red Lobster on Saturday night {can you believe I saved a gift card since last Christmas??} and a movie, Rendition, following. On Sunday we did some shopping at the huge outlet mall in Michigan City, getting some much needed clothes for myself & a few things for the children. {I also managed to hit the local Jo-Ann's for some fabric & supplies!}

We each bought a magazine to enjoy since we both love to read & I also brought along my very first copy of Ottobre that I received in the mail earlier in the week. I ordered the Autumn 2006 issue as it had the most designs I would be interested in. I disciplined myself not to open the envelope until we arrived at our getaway destination. I can't wait to make something from this. The patterns are so modern & European chic!

The fall colors weren't as fall-ish as they usually are. Everything was still pretty green, which was kind of a bummer. I was wishing everything would've looked like this. Maybe it has something to do with the weather? I know God is a busy guy so maybe He's forgotten to turn the thermostat down {said tongue-in-cheek}! Eighty degrees in late October??? By last night I was missing the girls and ready to come home. Although we both *so* enjoyed getting away & reconnecting, I love being back together as a family & in the comforts of my little home.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pregnancy: a Review

I don't really talk much about my pregnancy, so I thought I'd share a few of the highlights with ya'll. Here goes:

33 Days since LMP: I start to suspect I am pregnant. I've charted my cycles in the past & they have never been longer than 31 days.

5-6 Weeks since LMP: I'm sure I'm pregnant now. Too much time has gone by since the last cycle. I am hoping I can make it until Mother's Day without telling anyone! I think all the laying on the couch every evening because of early nausea symptoms might give it away.....

7 Weeks Preggo: Hubster gets suspicious. I just answer all his questions with "Don't worry about it." He can NOT wait to find out & buys me a pregnancy test. I take the test while he is mowing the grass. Positive! When he comes in the house, I have the girls sitting in my lap & a big posterboard sign with "#3" on it and and arrow pointing towards my belly. Hubster is excited!! He has off of work the next day so we make the rounds announcing the news. I bring the sign along & that is how we make our official announcement. Other people that we could not visit I call & tell them that Sienna is going to be a big sister. Everyone is so happy for us.

7 Weeks - 20ish Weeks Preggo: Sickness. Nausea. Every. Night. At least it doesn't start until 4ish, which means Hubster can take over the fort when he arrives home. Can't really go anywhere at night. No small group. No dinner plans. Nothing helps. Keep telling self that it will all be over soon & that the end result will be so worth it!

13 Weeks Preggo: Doctor can not find the baby's heartbeat. She schedules an ultrasound for the next day. It is a really, really long night...............Ultrasound shows that the baby is just fine! Although it is quite early to tell, ultrasound tech is 95% sure that it is a BOY!!

20 Weeks Preggo: It's confirmed. WE'RE HAVING A BOY!! Families are sooo happy. He will join my two nephews on Hubby's side of the family & is the first grandson on my side. We are also informed that I have partial placenta previa which will need to be monitored. If the placenta doesn't move then I will have to have a c-section.

20ish Weeks Preggo: Hubster wakes up in the morning telling me that a name just "came to him" in the middle of the night last night. He wasn't even thinking about names, he just was awoken to have the name come to his mind. OK. Must be a God thing. He tells me the name: Sebastian. It wasn't on my list of names, but I am sure that is what God wants us to name our son. We start telling everyone his name & the most popular response is, "But what are you going to call him for short?"

28 Weeks Preggo: Praise God, another ultrasound reveals that the placenta has moved out of the way! No need to worry about c-section {for now}. I take the 1-hour glucose test. I shouldn't be concerned as I have never failed a glucose test before.....

30 Weeks Preggo: GLUCOSE TEST FAILED. Normal value is 140 or under. Mine was 159. This means I will have to take the 3 hour test. I am also told that according to the last ultrasound, this is a BIG baby. He is weighing in at 3 pounds 8 ounces {as of 28 weeks}. Doctor tells me that this will need to be monitored & could mean a possible early induction to make sure he doesn't get really huge. I am measuring 32 weeks.

31 Weeks Preggo: I take the 3-hour test. Either the phlebotomist is a rookie or the fasting/not drinking enough is causing my veins to be difficult to draw. She does the insides of both of my arms. On the third draw she's going for the top of my hand & when the blood starts drawing, my body freaks out. In about 5 seconds time I tell her that I am really "not feeling good", then it gets bad. I feel like I am going to throw up & pass out. I start sweating & seeing stars. Literally. She calls the doctor over & they lay me upside down in the chair. I end up laying in a hospital bed with oxygen up my nose until the final blood draw. I shed a couple tears because I feel so ridiculous & embarassed. This was just routine, I figured. I have to call my mom to come pick me up from the doctor's office. I'm glad it's over.

32 Weeks Preggo: I do NOT have gestational diabetes. Two abnormal values are needed for this diagnosis; I do, however, have one abnormal value. Doctor informs me that most women with one abnormal value have larger than average babies. I will probably have to have yet another {my 4th} ultrasound to monitor baby's growth. This {different} doctor tells me that she does not do inductions before 39 weeks. {What would be the point of inducing then anyways?} I am now measuring 35 weeks.

And that's my pregnancy story, thusfar. Seems like ever time I have a doctor's visit they should be asking me, "Do you want the good news or the bad news?" Surely this will all be over soon. Just have to hang in there a few more weeks.

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Our First Date

October 14, 1996

A mutual friend had introduced us about one month before this date. Rick was presented as captain of the college soccer team that our friend was on. I remember my first impression was that he was very genuine, but kind He seemed to make really great conversation and really was interested in what I had to say. I remembered that on our first meeting he grabbed my hand to take me to the foosball table so we could play with some other friends of ours. After talking several times, Rick casually mentioned a movie he wanted to see.

Me: "Oh, yeah. I know that one." {I had no clue what movie he was talking about.}

So we made plans to see it, shortly after I returned from a trip to Florida. I thought about him during the trip, which I found somewhat strange since we had never even had an official date. I even remember writing his name in the sand....

The evening of our date we went to his parents house for dinner. I remember it was leftover KFC. {Romantic, eh?} Then we went to see the aforementioned movie, The Ghost in the Darkness. I remember him holding my hand & me thinking, "What are you doing?? Do you even want to be more than friends with this guy?" Then I would let go of his hand. Then I would hold it again. {Insert typical can't-make-up-her-mind female here.} I remember "pretending" to be scared throughout the movie.

That's about all I remember about our first date. Nothing earth-moving happened. Just two people beginning to chart a course together for some unknown final destination. God's plan was revealed when we were engaged 9 months later. I guess you could say it all started on this same date, 11 years ago. Seems like forever has passed and yet it seems like it wasn't that long ago, all at the same time.

Here's to happy memories ;>)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Our Family: Defined

Tatiana, my six year old, loves to count and recount the people in our family, especially since we are expecting a baby boy. She will tell me how many girls we have, how many boys we have & how many people total. {I think all these addition math lessons may have something to do with it too!} Last night in the car, she went a step further & "defined" each family member giving him/her a special name:

"We are going to call you {meaning me} rester." At least she didn't name me ol' yeller.

"I will be homeschooler." I was fascinated that this is what she used to define herself. I wonder if she feels like she is "different" because of being a homeschooler.

"Sienna will be sucker {since she loves to suck on her blankie corners for comfort}."

"Sebastian, {our unborn son} we'll call kicker." I thought this definition was particularly cute!

"And Dad will be worker." She has "defined" us all before, but Dad is always worker.

So that is my family, as defined by my daughter!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Apples & More Apples

We have been frequent visitors of our local apple orchard lately, so what to do with all that appley goodness? Bake of course! I tried this recipe over the weekend & loved it. It is simple. No greasing of the pan required or making of a fussy pie dough. Plus, the bottom crust & the top crumble are the same mixture, now how easy is that?!
Apple Oat Squares

Makes 9 servings

1 ½ c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
¼ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 c. packed brown sugar
¾ c. butter {1 ½ sticks}, melted
3 c. peeled, cored, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
½ t. ground cinnamon
¼ c. sugar
2 T. butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and melted butter in large bowl until thoroughly combined. Press half the mixture evenly into bottom of 9” square baking pan. Toss apples, cinnamon, and sugar in bowl, then spread evenly in pan; dot with butter. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Cool and cut into squares.

Special Notes:

This tasted sweet. I might add a squirt of lemon juice to the apples to brighten the apple flavor, and/or reduce the sugar a bit. I also only used about 1 T. of butter to dot over the apples. EASY!!

I think one of the keys to great apple desserts is to pick the right apple for the job. This recipe for instance, calls for Granny Smith, but you could easily substitute another firm, tart apple. I also like to adjust the sweetness in each recipe depending upon the sweetness of the apples.

P.S. If you're looking for some childrens' books about apples, a few we have enjoyed in the past are:
The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman

Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Curriculum Brag

I really just wanted to take a chance and {shamelessly} brag on our homeschool curriculum, Little Hearts for His Glory. It is so wonderful! The description on the cover explains exactly all the reasons why I love it: Christ-centered, Flexible, Quick Activities, Easy to Use, Fun Ideas, and Complete Plans. I really, really enjoy all the neat, easy activities that are included.

For our History segment {which is really Biblical & God's hand throughout history}, I read from actual Scriptures that they have pieced together to make-up a complete story. Let's face it, even for an adult sometimes reading Biblical accounts can be lengthy, so it is so wise how they put together which Scriptures to read to give your child an understanding of what happened. This week, after reading about David, one of the activities included taping a drawing of Goliath's face on the wall {about 9 feet up, since that's how tall he was} and having your child pretend to be David. Tatiana took 5 rolled up socks {a.k.a. "smooth stones"} and attempted to hit Goliath in the forehead. It was so fun. We also discussed man looking at the outside and God looking at the heart. She had to look in a mirror and answer questions about her appearance, then draw a self-portrait. On a separate piece of paper, she described some of the qualities on herself on the inside. Then we taped the two together. There have been so many more neat activities that serve to reinforce the daily lesson.

Tatiana & Sienna both enjoy the weekly Rhyme/Song as well. All the songs fit with whatever is being learned & include gross motor skills to help improve body coordination. All the choices of activities and additional books are so...integrated. There's no better word to describe it. Instead of all the subjects being disjointed, they try and have everything pointing toward a central theme. Even our reading time is designed for character building. We aren't just reading some random chapter book. Everything has such distinct purpose, which I suppose is why we can learn so much in only 1-1 1/2 hours!

*I* so appreciate the weekly Scripture memorization as it helps me to "hide it in my heart" as well. I admit that in the past I have been guilty of just letting church do the Scriptural instruction and now with the help of this curriculum, I finally feel like I am fulfilling my God-given responsibility of training my child in His ways & His Word. Periodically we read from Devotions for the Children's Hour, which I highly recommend for anyone wanting to start doing devotions with their child/family. The chapters are short, only about 2 pages long and cover topics like Who is God?, Who is Satan?, The Most Important Thing a Child Can Do, Why It Helps Us to Be Punished, and many more. At the end of each chapter, there are a few questions for review as well as a simple prayer to use with your child/family. If you know me IRL and would like to look this {or any other book I mention} over, please just ask!

During this season of my life, I am really thankful too that everything is all planned out for me. I really don't have to do any pre-planning. I just open the curriculum guide & off we go! It really would be a great choice for someone who is a new homeschooler or wants to give it try, but thinks there is too much work involved. The same company also produces a Pre-K curriculum, designed for 2-5 year olds, which can be found here, that might be considered even if you don't plan on homeschooling in the future. It would give you & your child extra quality time together, learning & building a Christian foundation. I can't wait to start using this with Sienna!

I really am having so much fun & I know Tatiana is too. I am grateful to the Lord for guiding me in this decision and don't think I could've made a better one! If you have any questions about this curriculum or are considering using it, please let me know or feel free to send me a private email. Thanks for listening to my excitement & appreciation of our curriculum ;>)