Baby Signs!

For the past couple of months, we have been teaching Taitum some baby signs. Actually, it has been mostly Piper teaching her the signs. We have a DVD - Baby Einstein My First Signs - that Piper watched. She then started showing Tait and I what the signs were for different things. Its been so neat to see the older sibling teach the younger something new!  Taitum has caught right on and uses the signs she knows on a regular basis. Of course, if she can get away with whining for something instead of signing 'please', she will so we try and encourage her to use it.

When Piper was this age, I opted not to teach signs because I was concerned it would interfere with her learning to talk. I was proven wrong when she ended up being a late talker anyways! Taitum, on the other hand, is already saying many words regardless of the fact that she signs as well.

Overall, I am enjoying seeing my baby use signs and learn to communicate with us through them. We have only used ones so far that are very functional such as 'more', 'please' and 'milk'. She is in the process of learning 'baby' and 'thank you'. I really love the fact that I can teach her to use her manners even though she can't speak yet!

Here is a little sample of Taitum using her signs. Big sister Piper is helping to keep her on task! :)

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"The Mitten" Lapbook

Recently, Piper brought home a book from her Mookie and Papa's - "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. She loved it and had me read it to her several nights in a row before bed. It is an adorable little story about a little Ukranian boy named Nicki who loses one of his mittens. Several different forest animals find it and squeeze in to keep warm until the mouse cozies up on the bear's nose causing him to sneeze! As always with Brett's books, the illustrations are beautiful and the story is fun and engaging!


Anyhow, around the same time, I had just discovered  lapbooks while cruising around a few of my favorite, newly found homeschool blogs: Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1. So I decided to give it a whirl myself by creating a lapbook of our own for Piper's homeschool preschool!

This is what her and I have been working on for the past couple of weeks...

The title page for our lapbook. The mitten is attached with velcro so that Piper can take it off to use during the story.

Here she is following along as I read the story, putting each animal in to the mitten as the story progresses.


She colored the animals in, we talked about what letter each started with, which one was biggest/smallest and about the animals that were not so common to her (such as hedgehog, mole and badger).



Piper LOVED this aspect of the lapbook!

This is the inside of the lapbook.


I made pattern cards of the fox, owl and rabbit and pattern boxes for her. We started out with simple AB patterns. She found this activity a little frustrating because sometimes she wanted to throw fox into a 'rabbit/owl' pattern but eventually she did get the hang of it!


These are the number mittens where she had to match the number on one mitten to the number of dots on another. She was a whiz at this! Pipe is crazy about numbers!


Next, color mittens. For this activity, I would tell her what color word was printed on the mitten and she would find the corresponding marker and color it in. She did really well with this too and rather enjoyed the chance to use her markers!


Piper lined up the different sized Nicki's from biggest to smallest. This one was a no brainer for her. I think I'll have to make it a bit more difficult next time around! (Notice Taitum goofing for the camera in the background! hehe!)


This one was thrown in for good measure! She had to line the letters up correctly to spell her name. She still doesn't know 'E' or 'R' very well so that part was a bit trickier!


But in the end she got it with a little help from Mama and was very proud of herself!



This is the back of the lapbook.


This was the shadow matching game I made of the animals from the book. Piper did this one easily too but enjoyed doing it over and over.


Overall, I would say our first lapbook has been a success! It was a wonderful way to work on all the new things Piper is learning in a way that really got her interested! We're looking forward to our next lapbook - a Christmas one! We're using the printables found here, in case you'd like to try it too!

Also, all of the images I used to make the prints for 'The Mitten' lapbook were found at Jan Brett's site. Its really worth taking a peek at since she offers tons of great resources for many of her books!

*Edit: I came across this awesome resource from Totally Tots: Once Upon a Book ~The Mitten. Fanatastic ideas related to the book! I wish I would have discovered it sooner!

COMING SOON: What we've been doing with the letter 'A' and the color green!

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My Biggest Fan

I have a couple really delicious recipes to share with you again but this time they were not my doing - they were my sweet hubby's! You see, this past week I have been 'lucky' enough to have caught my daughters cold. Instead of getting progressively better, it has gotten worse so that by the end of each day, I am wiped! So home comes Matt, ready, willing and able to cook our supper!


Here he is cooking up a storm! And the final product?....


They were so good! We've made them once before and they are a million times better then the box taco kits you buy! The shells are so much tastier too and don't fall apart in your hands. Also, we use Alymers Accents Spicy Red Pepper Diced Tomatoes instead of the ones the recipe for the taco meat calls for. I couldn't find that brand around here and Alymers worked perfectly well! As well, I recommend that you pierce the flatbread that you use for making the tacos with a fork! The first time we made them they puffed up like little taco balloons!

The next night he made a wonderful spaghetti dinner, too!


Finally, here's a tasty treat he made me last week when I wasn't feeling too great after a visit to the dentist:
Apple crumble! This is my most favorite comfort food! Its my Mom's recipe and it is so warm and satisfying - it definitely made me feel better!

Mom's Apple Crumble
Slice apples into a 9" square dish. Pour 1/2 cup water over apples and sprinkle with 3Tbsp. sugar.
Mix together 1c. flour, 1/4c. brown sugar, dash of nutmeg, 1tsp. cinnamon and 1/3c. margarine.
Pour over apples and bake at 350 for 1/2 an hour.

Anyhow, the past week really got me thinking about how important it is to have strong support when you're a stay-at-home mom. Matt is my biggest fan, always encouraging me in all the adventures and challenges I take on and fully supporting me in my roles as housewife and mama. I am just so thankful for a husband that enables me to do all that I want to do, has nothing but praise and adoration for me and my efforts and realizes that even mamas need sick days too!

~One of the best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother~

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"God, I Sad."

"The process of shaping the child shapes also the mother herself." ~Elizabeth Elliot

I was reminded today about how true this is. But first, some background....

Matt and I have been attending a parenting series at our church recently. They have been showing DVDs based on the book Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. Although we have read the book before, we are still learning SO much! The emphasis is put on the need to deal with what's going on in your child's heart rather then just trying to correct their outward behaviour. Too often we try to manipulate our kids to get them to do what we want and to act how we want without caring about whether their actions are truly coming from their heart. In essence, we are creating little hypocrites by attempting to 'clean' the outside without first considering what is happening inside!



Although we haven't gotten through the whole series yet, we are trying already to implement some of what we are learning. The last video we saw emphasized the need for communication and talking with them about what is going on, why they are acting the way they are, guiding them through it and pointing them to the God who transforms hearts. We have been teaching Piper lately about having the right attitudes about things. Often she gets angry or sad about different situations and we have discussed with her about how such attitudes and actions are not loving towards God or those around her. We are teaching her to pray about how she is feeling and ask God to help her and to change her heart, since only He can. I must say it is pretty adorable to see her do this and then go on with what she was doing before with a better attitude. But it is encouraging too to see this habit being formed in her life already. Truthfully, I'm learning to apply this in my own life as well!

So this brings me back to the quote about how shaping the child shapes the parent as well. Today Piper needed my help in the bathroom. While I was in there with her, she noticed her bath toys sitting in the closet and asked for the rubber ducky. I said no, that he was only for bath time and that (I thought) was the end of it. I went back to the kitchen to continue making some cookie dough. From the kitchen, I could see Pipe sitting on her bed looking forlorn. I wasn't really sure why (I'd completely forgot about the ducky incident) but I continued to keep an eye on her to see what was happening. Soon I heard her talking, "God, I sad. Please help me. Amen." I stopped what I was doing and went in. I asked her what she was talking to God about. She explained that she was sad because she couldn't have the rubber duck so she told God! Needless to say my heart was filled with joy to see that my little girl was truly learning that God is the one to go to when there is something going on in your heart. But it was also so humbling for me. How often to I go through my day annoyed, anxious, angry or just plain sad and not take it to God? What my girl is learning is something I need to remember and cultivate in my own life - "Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you."

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A Little Discovery That Makes Me Happy! (And Supports My OCD...)

Ok, so only some of you will appreciate this. You see, I make notes about everything and I bookmark stuff like there is no tomorrow! I need visual cues to remember things and I have so much on the go, I need reminders otherwise it all goes down the drain.



Exhibit A:
Yes, this is the side of my fridge and there are 6 lists and a calendar...

Exhibit B:


There is generally always a list like this sitting in front of my computer of things I need to do next time I get a chance to be online for any length of time. This way as I think of things throughout the day, I just jot them down so I won't forget in between times.

Exhibit C:

I just cleaned these up this afternoon so they're not so exciting right now but usually they are a mess of 'this and that' ideas and thoughts that hit me on the average day. I write them down, then try to pursue them further when time permits.

...I won't even show you all the folders under my 'Favorites'...

In case, you're wondering, I have been made fun of. At least I'm organized, right? But without boring you further with my obsessive, compulsive ways, I think I've proven my point. Which is why my new discovery is so exciting...EVERNOTE! I'd never heard of it until I was reading 1+1+1=1 the other day and it was discussed as being a very helpful tool! Rather then me trying to explain it, just watch this adorable little video:






Pretty cool, huh? Obviously, I installed it right away and have been going a little Evernote crazy since!

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Teething Trials

My little Taiter Tot has been teething lately. This equates to wakeful nights, a whiney voice, occasional all-out wailing, leg clinging and a need to be held at the worst possible moments (ie. In the middle of chopping vegetables for supper so they can be thrown in the pan before the onions burn...). Fun times, huh?

Overall, I just feel bad for my little babe. I can sort of imagine what its like after a painful trip to the dentist yesterday that involved some metal contraption prying  and keeping my jaw open and freezing not taking the first time so I felt what it actually feels like to have someone drill into your tooth...Anyways, what I can't imagine is feeling pain in your mouth on a regular basis. So she certainly does have my pity. I also hate giving Tylenol too often but sometimes it just needs to happen (like at 3am after being woken up 5 times...).

Piper had a hard time teething too but I came across Hyland's Teething Tablets. They worked quite well and were so easy to adminster - just pop a few of the tablets in her mouth, they would dissolve instantly and moments later she had relief. But wouldn't you know they were recalled this year. Although I personally think the recall is likely a pile of fluff (I think it was likely parents giving way more of them to their child then what was recommended), I tend to err on the side of caution with things that apply to my children. So there I was, avoiding Orajel altogether and rationing Tylenol. There had to be another option!

A couple of nights ago, after a hard day of crying, teething baby and whiney toddler with a cold, my hubby sent me out on my own to take a break, warning me not to come back until after bedtime (Isn't he great?!). Of course, I ended up at Walmart looking to buy some Pediatric Advil so we could at least switch between that and Tylenol. Thats when I spotted it, my new favorite homeopathic teething relief solution, Camilia! I had heard of it before from my cousin who highly recommended it but we weren't in the severe stages of teething so I'd simply forgotten about it. I brought it home and showed Matt what it claimed to reduce right on the front of the box: Painful Gums, Restlessness, Irritability! Talk about an apt description of our daughter for the past week! Upon administering the first dose to Tait, I noticed a big difference. She calmed down, stopped following me around crying, with two fingers in her mouth. Instead, she was back to her old, happy self, playing with her sister, meowing like a cat ("OW!") and pushing a baby stroller around. Talk about a sigh of relief! So if you have a baby who is teething or will be, go stock up - it will be worth your while!

In conclusion, I thought I should also mention that tonight I noticed 2 back molars that just pushed through in my baby girl's mouth! We did a cheer for them (and for us surviving it all) and I couldn't help but giggle at my little Taitum Jubilee with her chubby little fists raised high in victory! Thats my girl!



*Please note that Camilia also contains belladonna, the same ingredient for which Hyland's Teething Tablets were recalled. Supposedly, the tablets have inconsistent quantities of this ingredient therefore the recall. I say this just to caution anyone who decides to use this product to NOT go beyond the recommended dosages on the box. Just because its homeopathic doesn't mean it can't be harmful if used incorrectly!

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The Perfect Cupcake & A Princess Debate

It was my Dad's birthday this week so I went to work looking for a recipe that would make him feel loved on his b-day! I came across a recipe for Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing. Even typing it causes me to drool! To make a long story short, the cupcakes and icing turned out perfectly and the birthday boy was happy as were his guests. The icing really was to die for but the cupcakes weren't totally what I had hoped for. Maybe because of the bittersweet chocolate. I mean, they were dark! I should have figured! If you like that, then this is the recipe for you! But I went on the search again for a different chocolate cupcake recipe that would meet my fancy. I found one at Joy of Baking and because we had friends coming over I thought I'd give it a whirl and use up the leftover icing I had. Once the batter was made, I was very afraid for my cupcakes...it was REALLY liquidy. But I thought, why stop now? So I scooped the runny batter into the muffin tins, pretty sure that this recipe would be a fail. 18 minutes later, I was pleasantly surprised! These cupcakes were DELICIOUS! They were everything I ever wanted in a chocolate cupcake! They were moist but dense. They tasted truly and perfectly chocolately and with the peanut butter buttercream on top, they were pure bliss! They were a little undercooked which I personally like but if you don't, cook them for the full 20 minutes. Also, fill the tins nearly to the top since they don't rise very much but they do leave a nice flat service condusive to icing!

Batch #1


In other happenings, Piper and I had a riveting debate this morning over breakfast about what princesses wear to bed. She claims they wear their pretty dresses because if they don't have their princess dress on they are no longer a princess. I told her that just wasn't true. Everybody, EVEN PRINCESSES, wear pajamas to bed! But Piper would hear none of it, no matter how hard I tried to reason with her...a princess dress would be uncomfortable to sleep in, their dresses cost so much that they wouldn't want to ruin them by sleeping in them, wearing a princess dress does not make you a princess - its all about who your Daddy is (or who you marry!)...Regardless of all this, Pipe held firm to her conviction about a princess's bedtime attire and I have a feeling one of these nights I'm going to find a little princess in her bed with a princess dress on! :)

Ok, so maybe she does have a point!

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Slowly But Surely

Do you ever worry about how your child is going to turn out? They throw a tantrum, talk back or smack their sibling and all of a sudden you delve into all the parental concerns that can randomly flow through your head at any given moment....Are we doing something wrong? Should we be disciplining more? Or less? Do we show them we love them often enough? Do they have too many things? Are we being good examples? The list goes on and on....

But then there are those moments when you sit back and watch your child do something nice or kind or helpful without even being asked or prompted. And then the thoughts are different and more reassuring...They are going to be OK. We are doing a good job. Being consistent and firm is proving to be energy (and patience!) well spent. All the love and affection we show is rubbing off. My child is learning and growing and turning out to be a pretty great little person!

In the past little while I have had quite a few opportunities to think those thoughts about Piper, my 3 year old. Not that she has ever been a terrible child but she certainly has been a spirited, strong-willed little girl. She has kept us on our toes and there have been moments where I was 'Ready to sell her to the gypsies', as Mom would say! Instead, we have been calm, patient and consistent with her, trying to teach her self control and kindness and thoughtfulness...pretty much all of the qualities worth instilling in a child!

Here is what I am noticing about my little gal....

Piper is kind. I see this especially in her role as a big sister. She teaches Taitum things (some good, some more mischievous...), she helps her, hugs her, makes her laugh and is concerned for her little sister's well being. If I give her a drink, she is quick to inform me that Tait needs one too! She always wants to be the first one to greet Taitum in the morning. She encourages Tait to use her baby signs and when she does praises her profusely!



Piper is helpful. The other night Matt was hooking up my new printer for me and was under the desk plugging things in. Seeing this, Piper ran into her room and grabbed her night light that can turn into a flashlight and brought it out to him. "This help!", she said, and proceeded to crawl under the desk to help him out! She also has conquered the art of properly folding faceclothes so as soon as I bring up a load of clean towels she is right there beside me, folding away!




Piper is caring. I brought home a basil plant from the store the other day and set it on the kitchen table. Well, you would have thought I'd brought home a puppy! She pet the leaves, hugged the pot, asked every question she could think of about the plant. Now she reminds me on a daily basis that the plant needs to be watered! Her nurturing personality also comes through with things like her snake, a plastic toy she got at the dentist. After bringing it home, she put it in a bucket and carried it all around with her. I watched as she stopped to take it out and feed it and then put it back to bed. I have a little girl who loves to take care of things!



Piper is obedient. Although it has been a long haul, she is finally getting the hang of bedtime. When it is time, she tromps off to the bathroom to pee and brush her teeth. Then she puts her own pj's on and crawls into bed. We're getting to the point now where there is rarely a problem with this routine. She knows the rules and has slowly but surely learned to abide by them. Another example is when she takes a toy from Tait. I generally only have to ask once for her to return the item, even if it is one of her special toys that little sis has got her hands on.


There are many other positive things I am seeing in my daughter's life that are giving me so much joy. On a daily basis she amazes me and makes me so proud to be her Mama! But my point in all this is not just to brag my girl up but to encourage fellow parents who are going through some of the hard times of parenthood! The time and energy you are putting into raising your child and teaching them right and wrong and instilling in them a good character is worth it!


Above all pray for them and for you! By the grace of God, they WILL be just fine!

"Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Romans 12:11

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Satisfying Your Inner Vegetarian!

I'm not gonna lie...I love meat. I could not and do not want to live without it. BUT I have found that veg meals aren't so bad. In fact, they are down right delicious! I've been discovering the joys of vegetarian cooking from my sister-in-law who, along with her bf, is a for real vegetarian. She shares her recipes with me, I try them and, so far, have enjoyed every single one. I've also found quite a few on EatingWell.com (my favorite site for finding yummy and healthy recipes!). Anyhow, I have recently worked in 2+ vegetarian meals per week for my family. The real clincher was the fact that the cost of a vegetarian meal is so much cheaper! I save money by eating tofu or portobello mushrooms or eggplant instead of meat! Added benefits are that these meals are more often than not HEALTHY and my family loves them as much as I do! What more could I ask for?! So here are few of my favorite veg meals...if you're not already incorporating vegetarian meals into your meal plan, I dare you to give it a try. Don't be surprised if you end up craving these tasty dinners!



(This is now one of my all time favorite meals! Added bonus: its super fast and easy!)



Bon Appetite!

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Goodbyes

We spent the last few days saying goodbye to a wonderful lady, Matt's Grammie, Edna Mingo. I am sad to say goodbye. She was not my grandmother but it felt like she was. She loved us, thought about us and cared about us. She called before Piper and I left for Germany to wish us the best and tell us she was praying for us. She knit us sweaters and hats and mittens to keep us warm. She taught Piper how to shake hands and say "How do you do?" when she was just a toddler. She corrected us when we would sing "Little Donkey" to the kids ('No, no! Its "Little DOGGY!"') She told stories of her past over and over (which I am so thankful for now because after hearing them several times I can remember them. I hope our family can tell her stories to my girls someday.) She came to our wedding and although I know it was hard for her, she was there for Piper's first birthday party. She was really good at Skip-bo and would play with all us younguns', beating us more often then not. She always put up a fuss about getting her picture taken even though she had the prettiest smile.




Even though I only knew her for a few years, I have lots of memories of her with my family and they mean a lot. I will miss seeing her on our visits to Truro, hearing her stories and her laugh. I will miss her coaxing the kids to come sit with her. I will miss her hugs hello and goodbye. But she gave me one final hug the last time I saw her at Thanksgiving. Not an everyday hug but an extra tight squeeze. It was one of those moments that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Goodbye, Grammie. You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race. I know you are enjoying your reward. I know we will say 'hello' again someday!

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What Day is Today?

I remember when working in daycare, we often had a class calendar that we would work with everyday at circle time. I remember finding it very tiresome and felt it was so unnecessary. I mean, really, do kids need to know what the date is?? But now that I am into the homeschooling scheme of things I have come to recognize the importance of this in a child's life.

First of all, vocabulary. I am constantly amazed at the fact that Piper doesn't undertand certain words that I take for granted. Like November or yesterday or FRIDAY! How quickly I forget that she has only lived in this world for three years!

Secondly, I sometimes find it hard to help her comprehend why she can't go to dance class today because it doesn't happen until tomorrow. She has no concrete idea of time therefore this can become very difficult and frustrating for her! Having a calendar provides her with a visual representation of time and such abstract words as yesterday, today and tomorrow.

 Furthermore, important things such as sequencing, counting skills and letter recognition are taught and strengthened through this daily exercise!

Coming to these conclusions, I decided this was something I needed to implement in Piper's homeschooling! I went on the hunt and found a year round calendar package and we now have it posted in our kitchen. I found the calendar at Scholar's Choice in Moncton but you can also buy it here: http://childcare.scholarschoice.ca/products/Year-Round-Calendar-Bulletin-Board-Set-p2517/pstart1/  or make your own! I added velcro to the calenadar and the backs of the numbers so that there would be less wear and tear from adding and removing the numbers on a monthly basis.

 Piper loves being able to put the new number up for the day and together we repeat the day, month, date and year. We talk about what happened yesterday, what is going to happen today and what our plans are for tomorrow. We also will be putting up any special holidays or events so we can have a countdown to whatever occasion is coming up! And if you're 3, countdowns are exciting! We also sing a song about the days of the week. Songs, of course, are an extremely effective way to help kids memorize so hopefully before too long she will able to recite them!

As an added benefit, I no longer lose track of what day it is myself! :) But look out! That days of the week song is pretty hard to get out of your head...you just might be singing it to yourself for the rest of the day!














Days of the Week Song{to the tune of Oh My Darlin' Clementine}

There are seven days, there are seven days,
There are seven days in a week.
There are seven days, there are seven days,
There are seven days in a week.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

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Life's Sweetest Moments

Tonight I was able to enjoy one-on-one time with my baby, Taitum. Although her and I spend every day together it is rare that we are alone. Usually, big sister Piper is around, too. I really do love the dynamics of being around both my children. They love each other so much, interact so well and the 3 of us always have a blast together. But there is also something special about being with them individually.

Often it is Piper who gets the alone time with me. She is older and so is much easier to take to the store if I need to run out in the evening for something. Plus there is more of a variety of things to take her to that just wouldn't be age appropriate for Tait. Taitum and I always have a little story and snuggle time before bed but quality play time with her alone is a rarity.

I was reminded this evening about what a delight she truly is. Not that I didn't realize this before but after having an opportunity to sit down and play with her without any other distractions, I am once again blown away by what a beautiful little person she is. She is so quick to laugh and has fun with whatever we do. We build block towers and knock them down. She puts a block in her mouth to be silly and loves when I laugh in response. We play with the pop up toy and I keep making the animals pop up quicker then she can close them. This is SO funny to her. Then I hide her stuffed cat under a blanket. She rips the blanket off and howls with laughter! I get on my hands and knees and chase her all around the house as she shrieks and giggles. Then the tables turn and she is after me, peppering me with her slobbery, open-mouthed kisses when she catches me. At her learning table she turns the music on and starts dancing, showing off with her newest accomplishment - 'twirling' around in a circle (its not nearly as graceful as it sounds but adorable nonetheless!). And of course I join in with my own amazing dance moves that make her gurgle and grin. Then to wind down we cuddle up on the couch with some books and she nestles into the crook in my arm, thumb in mouth as I read. Her thumb comes out at every page so she can point at something and ask, "Dis?".




I am mesmerized by my baby girl. I love everything about her and who she is becoming. As a young mother, I'm discovering that that these times are infinitely valuable. These are the moments I will someday look back on and treasure and I hope she will too. I want each of my children to know that they are worth spending time with. They need to know that I enjoy being around them and that they are more important than housework or Facebook or the book I'm reading. I want them to always feel that they are amazing and beautiful and valuable in my eyes. I hope they forever hear in their hearts the words I whisper to them each night, "I love you so much! You are so precious to me!"

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I Heart Baked Oatmeal!

A while ago my friend Kara posted a recipe on Facebook for baked oatmeal. I'm not a huge oatmeal fan so at first I overlooked it. But then it got some really great comments from other people so I filed it away somewhere in my little mind as being worth a try. It took me a while but finally on Friday, a very rainy, gloomy day, I decided that the girls and I needed something warm in our tummies and oatmeal sounded like just the thing! So I whipped it up, popped it in the oven and was in for a very pleasant surprise! (Not that I ever doubted you, Kara!...) It was DELICIOUS! So good that both my kids downed it in a blink of an eye! Piper's first response was not her usual "Yucky!" but "Mmmmmmm!". Music to my ears!!!


THE Baked Oatmeal Recipe

This is an amazing recipe. It's great for breakfast with fruit on it, it's terrific for a snack and I've been told it's a wonderful dessert served with ice cream or yogurt. You could replace the vegetable oil with applesauce plus 2 tbsp of oil to make it lower fat and I've already decreased the sugar in the recipe. Enjoy!

3 cups oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 to 1 cup of raisins, or choc. chips, or blueberries.....
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix dry and make a well. Pour in wet. Mix altogether and pour into greased 9" pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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"Pray Like Crazy"

I came across the following on John Piper's site, DesiringGod.org and thought it so true and worth sharing...

An Encouragement and Precaution for Parents

Jesus tells of two sons:

What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” And he answered, “I will not,” but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, “I go, sir,” but did not go. (Matthew 21:28-30)
I draw this advice for parents from these words: Do not despair of the rebel, and do not assume the heart of the compliant child is with you.
Which means practically, pray like crazy for both of them. And keep showing both of them the gospel of undeserved, blood-bought grace.

Really great advice for a Mama who might possibly have one of each! ;)

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Soup Night!

Lately I have been attempting to make yummy soup that is low in sodium. I have found that this is very hard to do! But because I read recently that installing a weekly soup night is a great money saver I've had lots of opportunity to play around with some different recipes! I have also found that making the soup the day before helps immensely with the overall flavour. There is just something about soup sitting in the fridge overnight that makes it SO much better! Here is the soup that we tried this week - Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Soup!


My girls really seemed to enjoy this soup. I drowned the flavour a bit by adding more broth then the recipe called for but I'll be careful to not do that next time as the underlying balsamic vinegar flavour was delicious!

I also made Cheddar Cornbread Tops which you can see in the picture. They are really yummy and very quick and easy to whip up! I like to make homemade rolls to go with our soups but sometimes just lack the time. These are the perfect alternative!
I highly recommend 'soup night'! It is not only tasty but is a great way to use up all your leftover vegetables! We also make our own broth from the chicken we cook so the cost for this meal is minimal. I don't know about you but I love finding ways to reduce our family's grocery bill!

What ways do you save $$ when it comes to groceries?

Also, what are your favorite low sodium soup recipes? I could use some new recipes to try out!

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Prince Daddy

Today I was so very tired. Monday is my busiest day of the week and so it only makes sense that on Tuesday it catches up with me! Overall, I deal pretty well with days such as this. Being tired is part of motherhood and you learn to cope. My girls were fantastic today, too! They played together well, listened, napped nicely....I couldn't have asked for better behaved kids! And that makes a world of difference!
But tonight once supper was over and dishes were done, I was so ready to flake out on the couch. Instead, I had 2 cuties asking me to play. How could I say no? Quite frankly, I couldn't. Spending time with them is more important then how I feel. So off I went to the riveting imaginary play of dollhouse (in which I have to be the Mama and we basically reinact the whole day with a few crazy incidents thrown in...namely, a giant baby invading the house...).
Once that was done, Piper agreed to letting me braid her hair, It is getting so long but she rarely lets me do anything with it. She likes it down no matter how out of control it may be. Fine with me. I believe in choosing your battles and thats one I'm not interested in fighting. But tonight we were all in such a happy, lovey-dovey mood that she agreed even to the point of getting the elastic and brush for me. (It also helped that I told her princesses like to have their hair braided!)

Well, the 'princess' braid led to her needing to don her Sleeping Beauty dress-up gown and shoes. Next was a request for Dada to dress up as a prince and as ever, Dada was up to the challenge!

When he came out of the room with his princely garb, Piper's face lit up in joy and disbelief! Who knew Daddy could pull this off so well!? Of course Taitum then needed her tutu and we turned on their favorite dancing song - "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman. My girls danced with their Prince Daddy as I snapped away with the camera. Then Piper asked that I join them. So there we were, the four of us dancing all around, laughing and giggling and having the best of times!

And you know what? I didn't feel so tired anymore! I have a sneaking suspicion that the remedy to a mother's exhaustion may be simply enjoying her family....

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Sharing Some Yum!

I tried several new recipes in the past few days and thought I'd share them since they are "Fall-ish". There is nothing cozier then being in the kitchen baking sweet goodies this time of year! I try not to eat too much of it so I take any opportunity I can to bake for groups of people!

First, I tried a Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe for our Halloween party. You can't go too terribly wrong with cheesecake and this one was good! My only mistake (and I knew it was a mistake beforehand but did it anyway!) was using softened tub cream cheese instead of the regular brick. It made for a mushier cheesecake then I like but was still totally edible! I added the spiderweb with melted chocolate in a piping bag. You can find the recipe here: http://www.joyofbaking.com/PumpkinCheesecake.html


Together Piper and I also made Halloween Sugar cookies. I was so excited that this recipe ( http://www.joyofbaking.com/halloweenrecipes/HalloweenCookies.html )worked out because up to this point I had no 'go to' recipe for when we make cookie cutter cookies for any occasion. Well, this is the one! I loved it not only because it was simple and tasty but also because you can make up the dough the night before! I did and the next morning was able to pull it out of the fridge and get right to Piper's favorite part - the cookie cutters! I plan on making these again at Christmas with her! I did find that the cook time was too long as a few in my first batch burned a little but my oven may just be extra hot.

My only disappointment was that I didn't get to try out the Royal icing recipe. This was my own fault since I didn't read ahead to the fact that it calls for egg whites or meringue powder as an alternative. Considering how much of the icing Piper eats as she is decorating the cookies, I felt egg whites probably wasn't the best plan and had no time to go buy meringue powder...maybe next time. Instead I used this icing recipe which worked well too: http://www.recipetips.com/recipe-cards/t--2880/powdered-sugar-icing.asp



Mama's little helper!

Last of all, are one my favorites - Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies! This is not a new recipe for me. I found it online last year but have enjoyed it so much, I've gotten into the habit of baking several batches each fall! Piper and I made some this afternoon for the home Bible study group that comes to our house Monday nights. Considering there were only a couple left at the end of the night, I'd say I'm not the only one who enjoys them! http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies-iii/Detail.aspx



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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.

Motherhood=Adventure

Worth more than rubies.


“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson







My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.

Piper

Piper
She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!

Taitum

Taitum
She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!

Renly

Renly
She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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