Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This year I have so much to be thankful for! Sure I have sleepless nights, but my arms are filled with a baby that I have prayed for for many years. Sure I lost my grandma this year and I am saddened to think that I will not see her for the holidays, but I know she will with Jesse for the holidays this year and she's in heaven where she so looked forward to going. Of course the economy sucks, but at least we're able to buy the things we need and a WHOLE lot of things we want. Of course I don't have the perfect family, the perfect husband or the perfect children, but our household is filled with Love. No life's not perfect, but I am blessed beyond my worth and I have so much to be thankful for.
I didn't want to post the typical Thanksgiving post where I listed everything I am thankful for, instead I wanted to tell you a story that will hopefully touch you like it did me.
My DH Brian volunteers at least one Saturday a month with our church in a very poor city in Illinois called Hopkins Park. This past Saturday he was there to deliver firewood and help some of the people there winterize their home. He came home from there on Saturday and told me a story that just broke my heart. He went to deliver firewood to a lady living in a trailer with her 5 children. The trailer was in such bad condition and in fact had been marked for demolition prior to her obtaining it. Upon arrival Brian couldn't help but notice water running under her trailer and asked the lady if he could come in and find out where the water was coming from. He entered the 3 bedroom trailer and noticed that there was a blanket duct taped up in the hallway that blocked off the back 2 bedrooms because the bedrooms didn't have any windows (only holes where windows used to be) and the blanket cut down on the draft. Brian could tell that the water was coming from one of the back bedrooms so he asked her if he could take down the blanket to see what was going on. Come to find out she had her hot water heater in the back bedroom and it had been spraying water from it for several months, but she couldn't afford to get it fixed. Brian was able to fix the water heater and stop the leaking along with supplying her with firewood to keep herself and 5 children warm this winter.
So tonight when you're tucking yourself into your nice comfy bed, say a prayer for this lady who is sleeping in her living room tonight while her 5 children share one queen size mattress in the only bedroom that has windows in it. Pray for God to keep them warm and safe.
This is the type of stuff that you think only happens in other countries, but this is happening in our own backyard. I am so glad that my DH and so many other people devote their time to helping out this community and others like it.
So what am I thankful for? I can't even list all the things. Mostly I'd say I'm thankful for family and friends, health, love and an abundance of blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you and your family this holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dinner's done!

Do you get into the same rut with dinner as we do? I have my summer dinners and my winter dinners and I seem to make the same stuff over and over again. I started a list on the side of my fridge a year or so ago that has a list of dinners on it, but even with that, I tend to find myself in the same rut!

I went recipe hunting last week for recipes and we have tried out a couple new recipes that will be keepers.

Taco Soup (basically chili with a Mexican twist)
1# ground turkey or beef
4 cans of beans, rinsed and drained (pinto, kidney, black or mix)
1 can broth (I used beef)
28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
6 oz can tomato paste
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can mild green chilis
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet hidden valley ranch dressing mix
brown meat, drain and rinse. Add everything else and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, covered. I simmered mine for about an hour and a half because that's how I like my chili. I served with tortilla chips, sour cream and cheese, but this would also be great over baked potatoes. I was even brave enough to serve this when we had some friends over and they all seemed to like it as well. It would also freeze well so make a big pot and freeze half for later.

Creamy Sausage Pasta
1# pasta
2 T olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups baby spinach rough chopped - I used about 1/2 C frozen spinach, thawed, drained
3/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream (half & half)
cook pasta according to package directions
Heat OO in large skillet over medium/high heat. Add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, red pepper, sat and pepper. Saute for about 15 minutes, until sausage is well browned and the vegetables tender. Add the spinach and garlic, then saute for another minute. Add the wine/chicken broth and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits from the bottom. Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the cream and heat through.
Mix in the cooked pasta and serve hot.
(I only use dreamfields pasta (www.dreamfieldsfoods.com) because it only has 5 grams of digestable carbs and tastes great! It's not like the whole wheat pasta you are thinking of, you honestly will not be able to tell the difference and neither will your kids. It's a bit pricier and not found in all stores - I buy mine at Meijer, but it's worth it. I love my pasta, but hate all the carbs. When I was pregnant with Jesse and had gestational diabetes my nutritionist started me on this and I have never gone back to regular pasta.)

Please leave your family favorite recipe in the comments. I would love to get a new list going of favorite recipes to make.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jack's baptism

I know it's a little late, but I didn't have one good picture of Jack in his baptism outfit so I had to dress him up again just for pictures. I got together with my friend Dawn and her daughter Laci to get pictures of both Jack and Laci in their baptism outfits.

For those of you who do not know our story here is a VERY brief look into our lives. Brian and I have a very special bond with Dawn and her husband Jeff. In July of 2006 we both suffered the loss of a son, only 6 days apart! During the summer of 2007 we found ourselves pregnant again at the same time, but we both suffered a miscarriage within a week of each other. Later that year, on Christmas day we learned we were pregnant again and a week later on New Year's Day Jeff and Dawn discovered the same great news for themselves. We went on to have many ups and downs throughout our pregnancy this year, but we both delivered healthy babies in August - only 4 days apart! It was only appropriate that the two little miracles in our life be baptized into the family of God together!

Laci had the most beautiful dress! It was made from Dawn's wedding dress - the picture doesn't even do it justice!

Also, a very special thank you to our friend Megan who sang the most beautiful song for their baptism. You can listen to the song on you tube sung by the artist Mark Harris - the title is "Find your Wings"

And thank you to all our friends, family, and even strangers who prayed for Jack and Laci from the time we found out we were pregnant.

If you would like to hear the sermon from this day you can go to http://www.aboutccc.com/ click on sermon audio and choose the sermon titled Pain. During the sermon there is a recorded testimony with the four of us describing the pain we went through and how we dealt with it and trusted God through our pain. Sorry, it's only an audio recording - I have a copy of the testimony on DVD, but can't figure out how to get it on my blog

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Biggest Loser Family Challenge

So my brother came up with an awesome idea for the holidays! We just got a flyer in the mail from him - he also sent it out to all our other family members (aunts, uncles, cousins...). Anyone who is interested in our family is going to pay $50 on Thanksgiving. Right before the meal all who are participating will weigh in wearing their t-shirt and shorts. Then we will all weigh in again when we are back together on Christmas Eve. The person who lost the highest percentage of weight will win 70% of the money, 2nd place 20% and 1st place 10%. So lets say that 10 people in our family are up for the challenge - each person will pay $50 for a total of $500. 1st place will walk away with $350, 2nd place $100 and 3rd place $50!
I kind of questioned why we would do this during the holidays and his reply was because that's the hardest time of the year for most people.
I just thought it was an awesome idea and wanted to share with everyone in case you might be interested in getting your very own family challenge together for the holidays. I myself will not be with my family on Christmas Eve this year, but I am planning on participating anyway and I will be calling my weight in on Christmas Eve - which means I have to bring my scale with me on Thanksgiving so that I am weighing myself on the same scale both times.
Also, it's important to remember that the winner is not the person who lost the most weight - it's percentage! Just like on the real Biggest loser! The reason behind this is that a 250# person will lose more weight than a 175# person on the same diet and exercise routine - so it has to be based off of the percentage of weight that the person lost - if a 200# person loses 10 pounds, that's 5.0% but if a 175# person loses 10 pounds, that's 5.7% - you get the point!
So, let me know if you are going to do the same challenge with your family and I want to know how it all turns out!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

more laughs

This is hilarious! If you have a bladder like me make sure you empty it before you watch!!

I tried to embed the video, but it wasn't working properly - here's the link


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just for laughs

Olivia can be quite funny! She makes me laugh at least once a day. I thought I'd pass along a couple of things that got me laughing yesterday.

We were looking online at Toys R Us creating a Christmas Wish List.
Olivia says, "oh, oh, mommy, mommy, go back up! I want that, please please, can I get that, I want that, mommy mommy, I want that (pointing at a "salon") I really want it mommy, all accessories are sold separately!" (like that's a good thing?!?)
I know she's heard this on a commercial and she has absolutely no idea what it means!

Later in the day it was approaching nap time. We always give her a 5 minute warning for nap time and bedtime. So I called her name and when she looked at me I held up my hand showing 5 fingers. She looks at me and says in her sassy voice with attitude "What? Five dollar foot long?" Then she proceeds to sing the Subway, $5 foot long song doing the hand motions too!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I hope it's just a growth spurt

It's been a bad week at our house! It started on Tuesday when Jack had a bright green poop! Doesn't sound too crazy, but for any of you who have exclusively breastfed babies you know that this isn't normal at all! I talked to my sister-in-law who used to be involved with La Leche League and found out that it was more than likely a hind milk/fore milk imbalance - too much fore milk, not enough hind milk, so I spent the next 24 hours making sure Jack nursed long enough on one side to ensure he was getting the hind milk and not just fore milk.
To complicate this more, Jack is just a very finicky eater! He will not eat if something is touching his head - so this means it's very difficult to nurse him discretely. Secondly, he likes it quiet in the room - if any of you have a 4 year old you know this is impossible! He also hates when I talk when he's eating. In addition to all of this, he hates to nurse when he's tired.
So within a day his poop was back to looking like mustard which is a good thing :-) But now it appears as though he is going through a growth spurt. He's eating more frequently and waking more at night. He has always been a great sleeper! Since he was born he has only gotten up once through the night - I can probably count on one hand how many times he has woke up more than that in a night! Well, not the same for the past two nights - he has been up 2 and 3 times a night and has a hard time going back to sleep - so he has ended up in bed with us which means mom doesn't sleep good!
So I'm exhausted and ready to pull my hair out - why can't all babies be the same? Olivia was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, nursed great and was on a schedule by the time she was 3 months! Jack isn't following in her footsteps! Goes to show that their all different.
Well, he's screaming again - he's ready to go to the titty bar!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jack and Laci's baptism cake

This is what 8 boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix, 2 dozen eggs, 3 cups of vegetable oil, water, 3 pounds of crisco, 10 sticks of butter, 10 pounds of powdered sugar, a little vanilla and some milk look like!

This is the cake I made for Jack and Laci Grace's (daughter of some good friends of ours) baptism.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

kool craft

okay, enough of the politics!
My sister-in-law gave me a VERY simple recipe for play dough. She is a physical and occupational therapist for children and she loves this recipe because it not only gets the child using it with his/her hands, but it also uses the sense of smell!

Kool-Aid play dough
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup flour
3 Tbls oil
1 pkg kool-aid

Mix together ingredients and add 1 cup of boiling water. Knead until soft and put into sealed container.

She did mention that it stains your fingers just a little at first - especially the kneading part, but it was the most awesome smelling play dough! I wanted to eat it! Best thing is....if you have a little kiddo that DOES like to eat things that he/she shouldn't - this won't harm him/her in any way because it's made out of edible ingredients!

Have fun!!

What an incredible morning!

I honestly find it hard to believe that America has voted our next president to be Obama! I don't care what your vote was, I don't care what you political views are, I just find it amazing that we are where we are today when it comes to race AND gender in America. It brings me great pleasure to have lived in a time when we had our first vice presidential candidate that was a female and our first president that is African American - it honestly give me goosebumps!

I never thought I'd live to see that gas would go below $3.00/gallon, let alone $1.98/gallon like I got in Indy over this past weekend, but I REALLY never thought I'd see the day that either one of the above mentioned things would happen.

Regardless of your party affiliation it's time to stand behind Obama as our next president. It's time to lift him, his cabinet and his family up in our prayers. America has had some very trying months and years lately and we have all suffered one way or another. I pray that Obama can lead our country back to something to be proud of. Back to a place where Americans feel secure. I pray for Obama's safety and the safety of his family - I can't imagine the stuff they are going to go through over the next several years with some of the extremist that live amongst us. I pray that God will soften their hearts and remove all hate towards that family because of the color of their skin.

I also lift up all the pro-life and pro-choice issues that we face which seems to be the main thing people are complaining about when it comes to Obama. As a former fetus, I am pro-life, but I also believe that it isn't a one-size-fits-all issue. I personally am against it, I personally would never be able to support abortion, but I honestly can't say what I would do if I was faced with a life-threatening pregnancy. Right now I would lay down and die for any of my children, and I would like to say the same about any unborn children. I would also like to say the same about any unborn grandchildren, but I have no idea what would happen if my daughter was carrying a child that was a result of a rape or incest. Could I make her go through the pain of remembering day in and day out for 9 months what happened to her? I honestly don't know! Are these the same issues that Obama thinks about? I pray that somehow Americans can find some common ground on this issue. I pray that sex education programs can reach all children at an appropriate age. I pray that any mother carrying a child that is contemplating abortion will see that there are other options. I pray that these moms will be embraced and told that they don't have to kill their child. I pray that these moms will be surrounded by love and support. I pray that the fathers of these unborn babies will step up and take some responsibility and be supportive. No matter what the president says on this issue, no matter if he is pro-choice or pro-life, if you feel strongly about this issue DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Don't just sit there on your couch and complain about Obama being pro-choice, don't just forward emails talking about how Obama is pro-choice, don't refer to our next president as a baby killer! Get off your ass and do something! Be a volunteer at a pro-life organization if you have the time to invest in it. The least you can do is pray!

(sorry about the tangent)

So, let's back our president and lift him up in our prayers. Remember that Obama is our next president because that is part of God's plan - it may not be your plan, but embrace it and you will grow from it. It wasn't my plan to bury my son 2 1/2 year ago, it wasn't my plan to lose two other children through miscarriage, it wasn't my plan to go through infertility....but my plans aren't the same as God's and even though I have gone through all of this, I have grown from it. Sometimes I have no idea why God chose me, but I know that He never makes a mistake! Obama being president isn't a mistake, but he will need a lot of prayers for the next 4 years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween weekend

I had a GREAT weekend! My mom has never been able to be with us for Halloween, but this year she made it up from Indy to spend Friday with us. We started out at the Tea Room in Merrillville. It was so nice. Olivia got her own tea pot (Noah's ark) with lemonade and she just thought she was so special!

The rest of the day was filled with shopping, trick-or-treating and then we went out to dinner with some friends after trick-or-treating was over. It was just a really nice day spent with my mom.
Here's some pics of the kids trick-or-treating - Olivia and Abbey were so cute together!

On Saturday I took the kids and went to Indy for my niece, Sonya's first birthday party. Here's Sonya enjoying the decoration after all the kids ripped it down!

Saturday night we just had a relaxing evening at my parents house and got to stay up late thanks to the time change :-)

On Sunday we went to my ex-sister-in-law's house after church so that Olivia could ride my niece's new mini horses - she had SO much fun!

and while she enjoyed the horses I got to enjoy a nice Sunday drive on my dad's new toy! His 3-wheel Spider! We went for a nice drive out in the country - it was a lot of fun!