Saturday, December 31, 2011


It occurred to me as I was blow drying my hair after my shower that romance takes on a different meaning once you're married - for some of us that is.

My dear husband and I met in 1995 but didn't actually start dating  until 1996. We were young, naieve, and in love. Then I truly believed that the handpicked flowers he'd bring to our front door for me was truly the most romantic thing he could ever do for me.

When he proposed to me, it was with a pearl ring. The pearl in the ring had come from an oyster he had purchased for me on our first date - we had gone to Sea World. I believed this was the second most romantic thing he had ever done.

Both of these truly romantic things pale in comparison to the truly romantic things he does for me now.

Like washing the dishes while I'm bathing a kid or nursing the baby.

Building a fire in the wood stove, so that our family is warm.

Making sure I'm equally covered at night (seriously! I woke up to him tucking extra blankets around me on an especially cold night!)

Changing a diaper.

Cooking dinner together. 

Getting up with the kids so that I can sleep in, especially if I'd had a long day previous.

Bringing home a bag of chicken feed, so I don't have to make a special trip to get some.

When he surprised me with a new blow dryer, because mine had blown up! (hence my blog about romance!)

I used to believe the most romantic words were "I love you".  That was before childbirth, before gall bladder surgery, and before 2 c-sections. 

I heard the most romantic words ever while giving birth to our first born.  "I'd trade places with you if I could."

He'd trade places with me! To spare me of pain or discomfort! There is nothing more romantic than that!

I heard those words again, "I'd trade places with you if I could" when our second child was 7 weeks old and I was going for gall bladder surgery. I had been crying and told my nurse that I just wanted to go home and hold my babies.

I heard those words again, when our 3rd child was being born and again 2 yrs later when our 4th was born.

In 2007, when our 5th child was coming into this world via c-section due to complications, my husband squeezed my hand, and through his tears said he wished he could trade places with me. 

Most recently, when Squeakers came into this world via re-peat c-section, I heard those same words again, "I would trade places with you. I wish it was me instead of you." 

The words are not said lightly, I know he means them from the bottom of his heart. I know, because it is exactly how I felt when he was going in for his back surgery. I would have traded places with him.

I find it amazing that two people can find eachother and love each other this much.

This is romance. Not chocolates, jewelry, flowers - none of that is romantic when put into perspective of what I know now.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Drool - it's serious business!

Isn't she just the most precious baby girl?

I do not remember my other babies drooling as much as Squeakers does.  I also do not remember them teething at 3 months, but behold, Squeakers is doing just that!  

Bibs are a permanent part of her attire now, another something that wasn't used much with my other babies.....

and those fingers are never far from her mouth!

The drool smiles are the best!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The best laid plans...

Today was one of those days when I woke up and said, "This is what I am going to get done today" and it doesn't happen.

I saw on another individuals blog Ten Things Thursday that I'm thankful I'm going to try that right now, instead of complaining about how I've accomplished almost nothing that I set out to today.

1.  I am thankful for my husband. He is kind, caring, has a good work ethic, and even though he's limited in what he can do since his back surgery, he works hard to do as much as he can inspite of it.  That, and he found the perfect purple paint for the girls names today.  I love this man! 

2.  I am thankful for my kids.  Even though they make a million messes a day, are solely responsible for any and all gray hairs, and have selective hearing, I am thankful for each of them, and that they are mine born of my body.

3.  I am thankful for a Loving Savior, who makes everything worth our time here on this earth.

4.  I am thankful for family, both near and far.

5.  I am thankful for a warm home, for I know there are those who have lost theirs and are now without.

6.  I am thankful for coffee.  Especially on cold winter days.

7.  I am thankful for useful skills, and the ability to learn the useful skills. Like gardening, canning, and the use of power tools for building things.

8.  I am thankful for dryers, for without such I'd be hanging clothes out in the winter.

9.  I am thankful for kids that DO listen on occassion.

10.  And finally, I am thankful that I was born an American.  Even if the economy is teetering on the edge.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I've a new addiction...

My friend tuned me into Pinterest and sent me an invite so I could look up the refurbished furniture into play kitchens..

I'm totally addicted!

So it started with an idea to build a play kitchen for our kids out of a reused piece of old furniture, and it grew into plans to build an entire backyard playhouse for the kids!  I'm envisioning something with the same color exterior as our home and a reading loft and a white picket fence for their "yard".  Plus flower boxes under the windows! 

Something similiar to this.....

And I imagine it being a bit bigger, with an inside space for storing their outside ride on toys and/or bikes.  

I'm super stoked to get working on this new project!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

and it's a wrap!

Christmas has come and gone, and it was a huge success at our house.  I'll admit to having gone a teensy bit overboard with the gifts for our children this year.

We braved the craziness today and took the kids to Chuck E Cheese. They'd recieved a gift card from their Aunt and Uncle as a Christmas gift, and we figured the sooner we used it, the better.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera along, so no photos from todays' fun. Boo.

But, I have this adorable shot from Christmas day of L chatting with his baby sister while she tried out her new playmat (which she loves!)

We have one more Christmas gathering with dear friends of the family tomorrow, and then I think that will conclude our festivities for this holiday season!  New Year's is fairly dull around here!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homemade Beef Stew

I totally made this recipe up as I went, just wanted to try something new, using some of my favorite spices, just to see what I'd end up with..

I browned the stew meat in a tablespoon of butter....real butter. No margarine.  Margarine is a sin against your body. I'm just sayin'.

After browning the meat, I tossed it in my slow cooker with 1/4 cup of water. Then I seasoned with some parsley,  basil,  oregano,  salt,  pepper,  curry powder,  minced garlic,  tossed in some chopped onions,  baby carrots,  chopped celery,  and diced potatoes.....

While that was cooking down, I then browned some flour in the drippings from browning the meat in butter.  I think I used about a tablespoon of flour. I also used 1 cup of beef broth, made from a beef bouillon cube.  Added it all to the slow cooker....

cooked it in that slow cooker from 10 am until around 6 pm and the end result was .......

It was  delicious!!  I served the kids theirs without much of the juices, and it turned out more like a soup than a thick stew. Still, it was delicious and I think the meat and veggies would be great over a rice pilaf!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's my Season! Baking Season!

I am one of those few crazies who WILL bake all year long, but this is the time of the year when baking is considered a MUST! Everyone loves a good homemade pie, or a fresh batch of cookies....
What about a Pie Cookie??
A what? Yes, you read that right! Pie Cookies! Apple Pie Cookies to be exact, but I assure you I will be playing with this recipe over the next few weeks to see what other type of "pie cookies" I can concoct!
It started with my friend, Becca, linking me to here - I assure you I didn't alter her recipe in ANY way shape or form - I just didn't necessarily follow all of her step by step instructions or her assembly line form of doing things. Kind of hard to be that OCD in your baking with 6 children underfoot, especially when the baby wakes up to nurse right in the middle of kneading pie dough!
With special friends coming to visit today, and bringing us "practice pork" aka pot belly piggies, and yesterday having been my birthday, I decided to create these fantabulous delights!
A few things I want to share from my pie cookie bake experience - small cutters. This is key. I did not have (will soon remedy!) small round cookie cutters. I had A biscuit cutter and 3 perogie cutters. Oops. I used the smallest perogie cutter, which was bigger than my biscuit cutter, to cut my rolled out pie crust. I yielded 8 pie cookies. Eight. My cutters are way too big! Smaller round cookie cutters will definitely yield MORE cookies - as of right now, I have to make a second batch or my kids are going to LYNCH me!
But they are totally worth it! I bit into the first one - and oh my!! The crust is this perfect, sweet buttery flavored crust that just explodes in your mouth. It's ALL about the crust! Until today, I have never made a lardless pie crust. This crust is an all butter crust, and it's heavenly! There's just enough apple-ly goodness inside to satisfy that apple pie craving, but not enough to be over powering or to take away from the crust!
Also, when going by the directions in the above blog, DO listen when she says to chill the dough! If it gets too soft it makes it difficult to roll and pinch together.
This new treat gets a definite A+ from me, and it is a cookie I'm definitely baking for our cookie walk!