Monday, December 15, 2008

Homemade Hooded Towels

My friend, Misty, made some of these hooded towels and wrote a nice tutorial on her blog on how to make them. Click here to read it. If I had followed her directions, mine would have turned out like hers! I forgot to shorten the towel for a smaller hood. Plus, (on purpose) I made my pleats right beside the printed fabric, on both sides instead of one pleat in the back.

I'm so glad she posted her tutorial because I needed to get something for my two youngest nephews, and when I saw her hooded towels, I knew that these were just the ticket!

James and Nate are modeling them for my blog. They turned out nice! My sister's boys are all into camo and hunting stuff, so I think they will like these. Of course, Nate and James now want their own! Maybe for their birthday. :-)

Camo and brown for Tuckor.

Bucks and green for Tannor.

Adela, don't let your boys see these! They'll be in the mail later today or tomorrow!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thrifty Christmas Napkin Rings

I was looking in the store today at various napkin rings to decorate my table on Christmas day and was appalled to find them priced at about $3 each. Multiply that out and it's just too much for my budget. So, my thrifty side kicked in and I went on a hunt for the fixings to make my own at an affordable price. Here are my results. I'm not going to give a step by step. It's so easy even a cave man can make these.

Start with a holiday themed garland, $5 at Walmart. Add a pouch of raffia for $1.50.

Tie together 3 pieces with raffia.

Add a ring.

Tuck napkin inside ring. Viola! Napkin ring! I could make about 2 dozen of these and the price was $6. Anybody else have any thrifty ideas for decorating?

Friday, December 5, 2008

How to win a book!

My friend and favorite family doctor in the whole world wrote a book. I haven't been able to actually read it from cover to cover yet. I did pick up a copy of it in her waiting room and read as much as I could, as fast as I could. It is wonderful! As the title suggests, it's all about allowing women to mother as nature (and God) intended. From pregnancy to birth to breastfeeding to weaning, this book covers a wide range of these topics in anecdotal style. Dr. Punger filled this book with HER stories, as well as stories from other women. I LOVE what I was able to read in her office! Anyway, she is giving away copies of this book next week, and one way to enter in her drawing is to re-post this information in a blog. So, without further ado, here is all the information you need! Click here to view her blog and enter if you want!

Holiday Give-Away

I'd like to give three Permission to Mother books away before the holidays. There are three drawings and three blog posts to respond to.

The first way is simply to answer the question below in order to have your name entered into a drawing to win.

I'll enter every one's name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog next Thursday, December 10th. Comments need to be received before Wednesday, December 11 at 11:00 pm. I'll mail it to you if you are outside my county, otherwise I'll hold it for you at the office. Everyone is eligible, even if you already own a copy, and entered before and even if you won before.

My book makes a good present for the holidays, birthday, or new baby. You need to be available on Thursday to give me delivery information if you are out of town. I am offering the book at $20.00 in the office and on my
store through December 15th to guarantee Holiday delivery.

A very easy Question (which may be redundant for some of you):

How did you first hear about my book?

The second way to enter this give-away is repost the give-away information on your blog, facebook, myspace, digg, etc.... The way you enter this contest is by letting me know that you've re-posted in the comment section of this post.

I'll enter every one's name who reposts and lets me know in the comment section of this post and announce the winner on my blog next Thursday, December 10th.

Comments need to be received before Wednesday, December 11 at 11:00 pm. I'll mail it to you if you are outside my county, otherwise I'll hold it for you at the office. Everyone is eligible, even if you already own a copy, and entered before and even if you won before. My book makes a good present for the holidays, birthday, or new baby. You need to be available on Thursday to give me delivery information if you are out of town.

The third give-away is in appreciation of my readers that have posted a review of Permision to Mother on

I really appreciate the reviews and feedback that get posted on-line. At amazon it keeps my book from falling to the bottom of cyberspace pile of books. I enjoy reading your reviews. Other readers, followers, and potential readers also benefit from your thoughts and like to know how the book helped you. (Right?)

The way to enter this give-away is to let me know in the comments section that you have posted a review. Of course, I probably know that, but it lets me know you want to enter to enter. It's not to late to enter your review now. If for some reason you don't want to enter the give-away, but want to post a review by all means post.

You do need to have an active amazon account to post at amazon. You also must have read the book to post a review.

The details are the other details are the same:

Comments (and the amazon review) need to be received before Wednesday, December 11 at 11:00 pm. I'll mail it to you if you are outside my county, otherwise I'll hold it for you at the office. Everyone is eligible, even if you already own a copy, and entered before and even if you won before.

My book makes a good present for the holidays, birthday, or new baby. You need to be available on Thursday to give me delivery information if you are out of town.I am offering the book at $20.00 in the office and on my store through December 15th to guarantee Holiday delivery.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Bread Recipe

I have enjoyed making my own whole wheat bread for some time now. All the while, sticking my head into the sand over the fact that I was, little by little, running out of honey. The recipe (which can be found HERE) that I have been using from is awesome! BUT, at 1/3 cup of honey per two loaves, I have been thinking that I had better come up with a solution, and soon! Well, the inevitable happened. I am out of honey. At $40 per gallon, I don't plan on stocking up any time soon. I used to be able to get it for $20 a gallon. SO! What to do, what to do? I decided to experiment by mixing the recipe I had been using with another that I have used in the past, but didn't like nearly as much. Much to my surprise, it worked! I now have a honey-free recipe that turned out as good, or better than my old standby!

I made two batches. The first I kneaded by hand and I found it to be very soft and easy to knead. It never did "toughen" up. I formed this dough into two loaves. The next batch I made, I let my bread machine do the mixing and first rising. Then I took it out and formed it into 15 large rolls. This batch did super, as well!

You can see some of the bread here in this photo. The rolls on the left were the honey-less recipe. The rolls that look a little more golden on the right was the breadbeckers recipe. But, the loaves turned out golden, too, so I think the pale rolls had more to do with cooking them for a little less time. They were totally done in the center, and very soft!

A close-up of the basket.

The perfect roll! Doesn't it just BEG to be dipped in a hot bowl of soup?

After some very "scientific" blind taste testing, the results were in: although the bread was still slightly sweet, it had just a hint of a sour dough flavor. There were no complaints over the change in flavor, and it is now the new, even cheaper bread of choice for our family!

Here is the recipe:

2 cups very hot water
1/4 cup melted butter
2 Tbs molasses
1 egg
1 1/2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs Lecithin (optional)
1 tsp gluten

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl or dump into bread machine. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 Tbs yeast. Mix thoroughly. Add 3 more cups flour, one cup at a time until dough can be turned out on counter and kneaded. Knead for 6 minutes, adding more flour as needed. (if you use the bread machine, add flour until a ball forms in the machine and pulls totally away from the walls. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled. Pinch and shape dough into 2 loaves, place in greased bread pans, cover, and let rise again. OR, break off about 1/4 cup dough, roll playdough style into a 6 inch long, 3/4 inch diameter "snake". Tie into a knot, place on greased cookie sheet, cover and let rise again. Bake loaves in 350 oven for 20 min. (or more if needed), bake rolls for about 12 minutes.

Random Thoughts From Someone Who Hasn't Blogged In Awhile

There has been this nagging thought in the back of my mind that I have been neglecting my blog. Then I think who really wants to see another blog with pictures of my kids doing something cute/amazing, or photos of yet another person's Thanksgiving turkey and all their family and friends (conveniently enough, I forgot to take my camera with on Thanksgiving Day) or marvelous Christmas decorations hung and artfully arranged without any mishaps. So, in lieu of another boring predictable blog, I am stepping out of the mainstream and giving you a peek into our normal, imperfect life. Don't worry, it's as boring as the predictable blogs!

I never did understand the love affair some people have with raw cookie dough. The kids and I whipped up 3 batches of cookies to take with us to our friend's house on Thanksgiving day. Keeping (clean) fingers out of the dough proved to be a challenge.

Notice that I have photos of all the dough, but I neglected to take any pictures of the huge pile of actual cookies we had a couple hours later. And I challenge YOU to take a better photo of 5 kids who are on a cookie dough sugar high. And yes, Rebecca is now pleading with me "Can I please go, now, Mom?"

Remember the Thankful Tree a couple of blogs back? Well, in spite of all my good intentions, the holiday week kicked my butt and we didn't get as many hands on the tree as we thought we would. Hey, I got a picture of it before I removed it from the fridge, so that should count for something, right?

Did you ever wake up in the morning and say "Who cares what I look like, I just want to sit at the table and eat a donut?" Yeah. Me neither. But James has! This was Black Friday morning, after Rebecca and I got up at 3:30 am and hit the stores with our list in hand. We got everything we had on the list!!! All two items. Can you spell success? Then we went by Dunkin Donuts, bought a box of 14, went home, threw them on the table and went back to bed. When everyone woke up, we had eggs and donuts and coffee. (Sounds gross now that I think about it!)

After the donuts and coffee, we put up our tree! Hold your applause. By the next day, 95% of the lights were (and still are) out. Something got unplugged and for the LIFE of me, I can't find the end it should be connected to. So, sometime before Christmas Eve, I have to UNdecorate the tree and get the stupid thing lit! You know, Christmas is for kids! And we have 5. (just in case you didn't know) So, I can't be all hum-bug about it.

So, there you have it. All my dirty laundry: I forget to take pictures of important things. Projects that are started don't always get completely finished. I feed my kids donuts for breakfast (very rarely, though) Plus, I have a dark Christmas tree sitting in my living room that looks nothing like the photo above. Hey, I just realized that I DID take a picture of the tree before the lights went out, so that should count for something! So, as you read other blogs today and maybe feel overwhelmed by their apparent jockeying for the next Martha Stewart award, remember that there are some of us out here in the blog world that are just (gasp!) normal people!

Live, Love, Laugh and hug the people you love!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Doctor's Wisdom

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: 'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 yr. old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together.' So the doctor said: 'Ok, and what do you want me to do?'
She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.'
The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.'
She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.
Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care of two babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms. The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child!
'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution. The doctor smiled,realizing that he had made his point.
He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same!

If you agree, please forward. Together we can help save precious lives!

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me"
Philippians 4:13

PS: Obama supports partial-birth abortion

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our Thankful Tree

I had an idea for this "Thankful Tree" for the kids to demonstrate their thankfulness in a visual way. Elijah painted the lovely tree on heavy painting paper and we taped it up on the fridge. I then had them trace their hands on construction paper and cut out several of them. Each day, they take one and write on it something for which they are thankful, and add it to the tree. With five leaves being added each day, I'm sure we'll run out of room very soon. We are letting some of the "leaves" fall on the "ground".

I wasn't sure if Nathanael and James would grasp the concept of listing things they are thankful for, but as I was talking to them about it, they picked right up on it! They had all sorts of things they were thankful for and I wrote down their first ideas which were apples for Nate and James said he was thankful for Puppy, his stuffed animal. Today, James said he was thankful for pumpkin lolly-pops, and Nate was thankful for his bicycle!

The three older kids have come up with even more great things they want to express gratitude for like sunshine, love, God, aquariums and Mom and Dad!

This was a quick, fun project for them to do and they are chomping at the bit to get the tree all filled in with thankful leaves. I'll post another picture of the tree in a couple weeks when it is full and overflowing. I have a feeling they will ask to do this again next year!

What are YOU thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Green is a Great Color!

This past Saturday was promotion day for Rebecca and Elijah at Kids Kickin' for Christ. They both promoted to GREEN belt! Woo-hoo! They have been doing TKD for a few months now, after taking a break from it for a couple years. They had to re-learn everything, brush up on their forms, one-steps, and Bible verses. They have practiced a LOT over that last couple months. I think they average about 3 hours a week practicing, outside of actual class. I had told Rebecca and Elijah that I had to work and wouldn't be able to be at the promotion. Rob was to go, and so was their aunt. So, I knew there would be someone there to cheer them on and take pictures. Yeah. That was the plan. Don't you love how things can go SO bad when least expected? Rob dropped Nate and James off with a sitter and took Becca and Eli to promotion. After he got there, he realized he hadn't sent any diapers and wipes with the little guys. So, he turned right around and took diapers and wipes to the sitter and went straight back to promotion. Now, usually, Steve and Bri have a big class promoting and it usually takes and hour and a half from start to finish. This class, though, as you can see in the picture was on the small side and by the time Rob got back, promotion was over! And the aunt never showed up. I never knew my heart could break into a thousand pieces over an emotional hurt in my child. But that's exactly what happened. Rebecca was so disappointed that neither Rob nor I were there for them. I held Becca later and we both sobbed over it. I vowed to her that at the next promotion, there was NO WAY I would work and Rob and I would both be there for her.

Thankfully, someone (not sure who!) took pictures with the camera I sent with them. This one is a little blurry, but you can see Becca on the back row, with the orange belt around her neck. Elijah is on the far right.

Here they are with their teacher, Steve. Way to go, kids! I am SOOOO proud of both of you! You both worked your butts off in order to promote this week. Green is great, but PURPLE, here we come!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall Fun!

I'm always open each year for whatever activity I can find that replaces the traditional "trick-or-treat". With having to work on the 31st, though, I didn't have too many options. I was pleased to find out that a local church, Tropical Farms, was having their Harvest Festival on Wednesday evening instead of on the 31st. Since I never work on Wednesdays, this was perfect for us! The church had really gone all out! We had a hamburger/hot dog dinner with soda and chips, plus there was free cotton candy, apples and caramel, and popcorn. The rides were the big hit, though! Swings, super slide, carousel, plus little rides for the youngest in the crowd. They also had games for the little ones to play to win trinkets. At the end, as you were leaving, you received a goody bad that had a nice assortment of candy and healthier options like popcorn balls and pretzels. The bag also included a christian bookmark, booklet about Jesus and a gospel tract. The kids had a lot of fun!

Becca rode the swings several times. She didn't care that she was wearing her Civil War era outfit! The night was quite cool, too! Her friend, Cherise is in the swing next to her, wearing the brown outfit.

Near the end of the night, James had finally had enough excitement and had to be pacified with a cone of cotton candy. I know, I know! Spare me the lecture! Bad parenting, 1o1!

The absolute hit for the evening was this car ride for Nate and James. This is Nate riding with his friend, Jakob. Although it doesn't look like it, Nate DID have fun!

James on the left with Noah. Don't let their faces fool you! They had a ball! I'm not sure why I wasn't able to capture the smiles! Digital cameras......

This carousal ride was a little too fast and there weren't any safety straps, so I hung on tight to my boys. Rob tried to get a good shot of the 3 of us, but we were spinning pretty fast!

On Friday night, before heading off to work, I got the kids all dressed up and they hung out at their Aunt Diana's house and circled the block with their cousins for candy. I didn't really go out and buy costumes this year with the exception of Rebecca's outfit. A friend of ours and her daughter sew Civil War era clothing and participate in reenactments and were selling off a bunch of their stuff. Becca has had a ball with her outfit! We went to the Goodwill and found the vest for her and James' train outfit, and then the FEA thriftstore had curtains that I sewed into a shawl. That was the extent of my planning!

James, as Thomas the Train. (his absolute favorite!)

Nate as a soldier. Make that an apparently wounded, crying soldier!

Elijah as a soldier with his favorite sister, Rebecca. :-)

Zack, the "bad" pirate! (costume left over from last year)

The motley crew!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trying to Win a Handbag for my Sister for Christmas!

My sister, Adela, ADORES giraffes. Me? I have to do spell check just to be able to spell giraffe correctly! She is trying to win the handbag you see above. Now, for my solemn oath: Adela, I do solemnly swear that if I win the handbag in the photo above, you will find it wrapped and sitting beneath your Christmas tree!

If you click HERE you can find the link to win a handbag of your own! They have some adorable options! By posting this in your blog, you get an extra 25 entries.

Halloween Humor

Halloween is going to STINK this year!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Morning Light

My favorite thing to do as soon as I get out of bed in the morning is to go around the house and open all the blinds to let in the morning light. I love how the light floods the rooms and I feel instantly awake. I love how the sleepy faces of my children glow as they come out of their rooms, rubbing their eyes and blinking in the brightness. (Well, at least the two littlest faces glow. The three older faces sort of glare at me.) I grabbed my camera and made good use of the light this morning and these are the results.

At one point, James' glow turned to glisten. He started dumping the cereal out of his bowl and then cried when I fussed at him to stop.

Glistening didn't last long. Not sure what to call this except maybe "snips and snails and puppy dog's tails..."

Back to glowing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No more blogging late at night!

I realized that in my sleepy state of mind (due to blogging when I should be in bed) I mentioned communicable diseases when I should have said sexually transmitted diseases in the previous blog. Forgive me! I was thinking one thing and typing another!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Abstinence VS Sex Education

This poster was created by a kid (don't know their age) in a school (don't know where) for a poster contest and they won first place. I thought it was pretty funny. And it brings me to the point of my blog. I'm getting tired of all the Palin-bashing! The media is frenetic and I want to scream "stop already!" What doesn't make sense to me is their pecking away at Sarah for promoting abstinence over sex education. I'm not going to criticize the Palin family for the choices each of them has made. They are human, like ALL of us. It is sad that a baby was conceived in that manner and it was wrong. What I want to point out though, is this. Why is it that everyone wants to claim the moral high ground when they are speaking of themselves but then insist on shoving everyone else's face in the mud when their mistakes are so out in the open. I wonder if their hidden flaws are any more wrong than ones that cannot be swept under a rug? Let's talk about sex education. The kind where you hear all about the birds and the bees and then are given "protection" to use, just in case you choose to have sex outside of marriage. First of all, this protection protects only against pregnancy. Why aren't parents AT LEAST concerned about all the diseases that their child WILL be exposed to. Forget for a moment the baby issue. Aren't the diseases reason enough for abstinence? And what then, about abortion? Wouldn't a mother want their daughter to know that having an abortion raises their risks of cancer? And that most women who are fully aware that the life they took was their own flesh and blood (and who haven't completely shut down their consciences) suffer the rest of their life knowing that they destroyed human life? So far, on one side of the scale we have dozens of communicable diseases, increase risk of cancer and psychological damage and on the other side of the scale we have physical, mental and spiritual health. But sex ed wins and to teach abstinence is weak. I don't understand it.

Let's look at it this way. Suppose your son or daughter is 15 and you send them off to take a driver's ed class. They learn all about the mechanics of driving, the rules of the road, and the consequences of breaking those rules. They come home and tell you all about it. You agree with them that they had a fabulous teacher and they must be well equipped to be on the road after such a wonderful class. "But there is one thing missing", you tell your child. You dig around in your closet and pull out a radar detector. You hand it to them and say, "You know what will happen if you speed and how expensive your ticket will be and that we can't afford to pay that ticket for you. So, plug this little box into the cigarette lighter and lay the box on your dash." And you go on to explain how it works. Then you say, "I know you are young and will be tempted to speed, so this will help you to avoid the consequences if you do decide to speed." There are parents out there that do that. There are also parents out there that wouldn't dream of doing that, but in the same breath they will give permission to their children for sexual "protection" to allow them to avoid natural consequences of sex before marriage. It's a double standard and it makes me ill! It's the same nation that wants to take One Nation Under God off our minds but will cry out to that same God when we face a terror like 9-11.

I hope we are all busy teaching our children a Christian worldview. And in these times, it means being very open and honest with them about what is going on in the real world and pointing out the flaws in thinking that God's spiritual laws can be avoided. His spiritual laws are just as real and valid as the physical laws. I always ask my kids, "If you jump off the roof of the house, will you go down? Every time?" I then explain that the spiritual laws (consequences) that God has set up can't be avoided any more than you can escape gravity here on Earth. Even though we can't see the spiritual laws, we can see the effects of them just as sure as we can see the effects of gravity. Not believing in gravity doesn't make it go away.

Take the time to talk to your kids! Teach them (at age appropriate times) about God designed sex and how abstinence is His idea! If you don't, someone else will and I can guarantee you, you won't like their version of the story.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Craigslist Mama

With the exception of one or two pieces, Rob and I have never furnished our home with new things. They have mostly been second hand. I used to find most of my deals through garage sales and Goodwill, but over the last year, I have found most of my deals on Craigslist. I don't have a picture to post yet, but I did find a dining table with 6 chairs for $50 at a garage sale that match the pine furniture in the living room. Since then, I have been keeping an eye out for a china hutch that would match the table. Craigslist to the rescue! I found the matching hutch for $100. I sold my old unmatching hutch for $50, so the new one only cost $50! Can you beat that?

I also kept searching Craigslist for a new couch. I don't have a lot of room, but with 7 of us, we needed more than just a couch and a bench. I really wanted to hold out for leather, but wasn't seeing anything that I liked that was in my price range. My persistant searching paid off when I found this couch, chair and ottoman for only $300. It is sooooo comfortable and of course, everyone wants to sit in the chair with the ottoman!

I really thank God for helping me find these deals! Sometimes the way I find things and how well they match what I'm looking for and the price being in line with what I have saved up leaves no doubt in my mind that I have my very own personal shopper working things out just for me! In other's eyes, we have so little, but in my opinion, we are blessed with so much! Compared to the majority of the world, we are rich, and I'm always thanking God for his blessings to us. We have a (little) roof over our heads, but it's a roof. We have plenty of clothes and food, too. God has provided for us and we are thankful! It's a little early yet to do a post on Thanksgiving, but I'm thankful, nonetheless!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

While the cats away (at work)...

...the mice will play.

Rebecca desperately needs a little sister to play dress up with. Poor Nate! Actually, I don't think he minded a bit! Poor child looks like he needs Jesus! Click on the photo to see it close up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Three Sisters Hit the Town

My sister, Adela, and I try to get together a few times a year to eat out and window shop without any of our 9 children in tow. Our wonderful, loving, sister-in-law, Jennifer, who lives in West Virginia got wind of Adela's visit and wanted to be in on the fun. Not wanting to leave her out, we decided to go ahead and invite her to come along! We haven't seen her in awhile, so we greeted her when she arrived with many kisses. She was very tired from traveling, but ready to hit the town with us.

We hopped in the van and headed off for Ruby Tuesday for a yummy lunch. The A/C in Adela's van wasn't working too well. Jen felt a little warm.

Due to all Adela's suitcases, the only spot available to sit was in the car seat. I don't think she was very happy being squished in there.

Adela had water with lemon. Jen had never tried that before, so they shared the drink. Jen found it a little sour.

I shared my artichoke and spinach dip with Jen. The artichoke gave her gas.

We left the tip on the table and headed out to window shop. In our hurry, we left Jen behind! I had to go find her.

At the store we tried on hats...

...and shoes...

...and Jen tried on this beautiful wedding dress just for fun. Poor Jen couldn't get the dress zipped up in the back!

We headed over to Home Goods next, where we promptly lost Jen. Couldn't find her anywhere. Adela paged her. We were worried!

She must have been very tired because we found her sleeping on this comfy bed.

Within 10 minutes, we lost her again! We were pretty frantic this time!

After looking everywhere, we found her cornered by this cute little old man. He was fairly smitten with her.

We had a great time and are looking forward to our next sister's afternoon on the town!