Time For A Yard Sale

There is a children’s book by David Shannon.
It is titled TOO MANY TOYS
In it, David has too many toys, they are everywhere, on the stairs, in the tub, on the floor, his bed, you name it the toys are in it. His mother tries her hardest to have him sort out his toys and get rid of some of them.  In the end he has a box full to get rid of, he decides he wants to box that the discarded toys are in, he turns it into a space ship or some such thing.

A few months ago my sister Ellen was discussing ways to raise money for this adoption.  {She has still not been chosen by a birth mom, we are praying for that young lady, who will make the choice to give her baby to Ellen, to be her mommy.}  She looked into grants but since she is a single woman wanting to adopt there are just no grants available to her that she can find.  She must raise the money herself.  She is a blog reader and has a few adoption blogs she reads.  They mentioned doing a yard sale fund-raiser.  How simple is that?  We usually hold our own sale in the spring anyway, it was decided a yard sale for the adoption would be perfect.

The last week in December, we began to really discuss this, and I posted to face book, “if you are cleaning out things as you put your new  away please donate them to Ellen’s Adoption Yard Sale.  Well lo and behold the things keep coming, for a while every time Ellen came home there was a load of things in her driveway.  Big things, little things, furniture, toys, home goods, yard goods.  You name it, they were showing up.

After things began to arrive, we began to discuss a location for the yard sale, it needed to be central, on a busy street, with plenty of space and parking, and easily accessible for a lot of people.  She lives on a cul da sac and I live on a small old street, there was no way it could happen at our places.  We were out to dinner as a family and the manager of our Red Elephant came up to us to tell us that her daughter had stuff for our sale.  She also offered her parking lot for the sale.  We were so happily surprised,  and we were amazed as to how quickly we could see God work this out for Ellen and princess lolly pop {still trying out nick~names for baby girl… what do you think? too long???}  The local Red Elephant is on one of the main streets, it is the only one that cuts right through the entire city.  They have a big area of the whole building up for lease she offered to let us store the things in the large back rooms, even telling us to let people know they could drop off stuff too.

Amazing we had a  Date, Location, Storage, and Product, lots of product.

This last weekend I scheduled a trailer to pick up for the people who had furniture, Ellen, Keith, C and E took 4 hours and 2 loads of stuff to the storage room for the yard sale.  We had people lined up on the list for a pick up, they went to 4 houses took an extra long trailer and had to make 2 trips.  There are 2 more people still on the list and another trailer run is being scheduled.

I have pulled countless stuff from the house for this sale, which makes my house feel quite like David’s rooms full of toys.
The game closet was reduced by half, the baking dishes were reduced by half, the toys in E’s room were reduced by half.  The extra backpacks and lunch boxes are gone, books that I dislike reading are gone, stuffed animals, clothing, all gone in the big cleaning out.  The toys in the boy’s room were not reduced I went through their toys before we discussed the sale…  My kitchen cupboards have been cleaned out, the laundry room {which is like our basement, only 11×8, not huge since we live below sea level we cannot have a basement} is loosing things daily, every time I walk into the dining room I set things in there for her sale.  {On Sunday they took 10 garbage bags filled for the sale and yesterday  I took a big box}  In the process of getting things out for the sale I have been doing a deep cleaning, taking all the old Christmas card envelopes making sure I have correct addresses then shredding the envelopes.  All the old paper work for things like bikes car seats, toy directions that we no longer have are now in the recycling bin.  I have sorted and reorganized the game closet putting stray game pieces back into boxes.

During the time I have been doing the big clean out, my house has been lived in, life continues to go on, it is not stopping so I can get the daily things done.  Laundry is a constant, the dishwasher cannot keep up, the floor is filthy.  Last night I was so discouraged I dumped it all on a friend.  And to top it all off since the dog is gone a critter moved in under the house {it is dead now} the fleas off the critter have managed to get through the floor boards.  I have to bomb the house.

So with all the big clean out, and the regular clean up, and activities I had to prep the house for bug bombs.
I was going to bomb on Tuesday, there was too much mess in the house, I decided to bomb Wednesday, the house was still too much of a mess.  I spent hours and hours sorting, and cleaning but still had so much to do.
Frustration!
Yesterday I managed to get most things done, the kids all willingly pitched in and helped me.
Last night the floors were swept.
This morning the toothbrushes and any opened foods were put in the freezer or refrigerator.
I packed up my mending and sewing stuffs,  gathered little A and some toys to head over to my sister’s house.
I set off the bombs and after 4 hours will go back do more dishes, do more laundry and wash all the floors.
I am tired thinking about all I will have left to do…

But I know that tomorrow the house will still be clean, really clean and I can relax, really relax!
I can’t wait!

What about you, are you gathering for a yard sale this spring?
Does your house get worse before it gets better?
Or am I the only one?

Go hug your kids and if you are local and want to donate to Ellen’s Adoption Yard Sale, send me a message we’d LOVE to have your stuff!
OR
If you are not local and want to donate money for her adoption send me a message we’d LOVE that too!

jen
p.s. tonight is the 1st and 2nd grade music program I cannot wait to…
“Spend a while on the Nile”  E has been singing the songs for weeks now she is so excited!

Whats for Dinner {2}

Here is the 2nd post on what is for dinner.
Did you give last weeks meal a try?
How did you like it?

Last night at 5:10 after J and E left for Hoopsters practice, and C returned home from play tryout, but before he left for Moe’s Monday.  I realized I again did NOT have anything for dinner.  Shocking I know…  So I scrambled, O visited with me, and ate an entire mini loaf of my banana bread {her Favorite she says} and I experimented with a chicken pot pie.  It was delicious.  Everyone {but C, too full of Moe’s} said they liked it.  {Oh R is gone, more on that tomorrow}  So I thought I would share it with you.

Okay before you get reading don’t judge I used a lot of short cuts that I don’t ever use but a friend is moving and gave us bags and bags of canned goods, which I don’t buy so I used a lot of them in the meal.  {Until her delivery I had 8 cans in the pantry and they were all cans of beans for chili}

2 pie crusts
3 cans of chunk white meat chicken breast in chicken broth
2 cans of low sodium cream of chicken soup
1 can of nibblet corn
2 large potatoes chunked into small pieces
handful of baby carrots cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp garlic and herb seasoning {trust me you don’t want to use more!}
1 tsp onion powder
{I would also have added celery, purple onion, spinach leaves and mushrooms to this but forgot the mushrooms and I was out of celery, spinach, and onion}
I did not add salt because of all the canned goods.  If you are using all fresh it might need some salt and pepper.

I used frozen rolled up crusts, let them defrost before starting so they unroll easily.
Dump all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir together.
Place pie crust in pie pan.
Fill with the chicken mixture.
Top with the 2nd crust and cover in foil.
Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes {until the top crust is golden and flakey.}

***Remember this serves my huge family*** you could make the pie into 2 pans and wrap and freeze the 2nd pie, or bake it and deliver it to an elderly family, shut in, or new mom.  Our crust was stacked high and filled over the sides

When I set it on the table E said “oh that looks good I want to try”  and J the puke’er even had a few bites picking out chicken and crust.   Being especially careful to avoid the carrots, a sure fire way to puke all over the table is to accidentally bite into a carrot.  E had all her chicken, potatoes a carrot and asked for more, she picked out the good stuff from it too.

DSCN2276{I think most food pictures look yucky.  But I promise it is much better tasting than it looks…}
So, for an impromptu meal it went over well.  Next time I make it, I will use fresh ingredients, I will also double and freeze it since I know everyone who eats, liked it.  I do not want entire meals frozen that no one likes.  That would be terrible!

Go hug your kids and give this meal a try, let me know what you think or what you did different I am up for new tastes!
jen

Delayed Obedience

I expect obedience from my children.

I expect complete obedience from my children.

I expect swift obedience from my children.

I tell my children
OBEY
I tell my children
PARTIAL OBEDIENCE IS COMPLETE DISOBEDIENCE
I tell my children
DELAYED OBEDIENCE IS DISOBEDIENCE
I tell my children
OBEDIENCE IS YOUR CHOICE
I tell my children
CHOOSE OBEDIENCE OR CHOOSE DISCIPLINE
I tell my children
IT IS YOUR CHOICE

Yet when they CHOOSE delayed obedience, I am disappointed.
Yet when they CHOOSE partial obedience, I am disappointed.
Yet when they CHOOSE not to obey, I am disappointed.
Yet when they CHOOSE discipline I am disappointed.

I really hate to have to follow through with discipline for my children.

BUT
When I follow through with their discipline I am obeying GOD.
{Proverbs 22:6}

When I follow though I am showing them there are natural consequences.
{Adam, Eve, to name a few}

When I follow through I am allowing them to learn to follow direction.
{Ephesians 6:3}

When I follow through I am ultimately showing them I love them because I want them to be the best that they can be.
{Proverbs 13:1}

I am their mother
I am not perfect
I am a sinner

If I expect obedience
If I am saddened by disobedience

Imagine what GOD feels when I choose to disobey HIM in HIS perfection.

Some times parenting humbles us and brings us to our knees at the feet of GOD.

Go hug your kids, they need your love.
jen

15 Points will get you Oreo Balls

15 Points will get you Oreo Balls.
A long time ago O and her friend JA were wanting to make Oreo Balls.  I am pretty free when it comes to letting the kids make things in the kitchen.  I told them sure, but soon became unreachable so they had to guess at the recipe.  To say they got it wrong was an understatement…

At my Thirty~one party last week the girls were talking and laughing about the ruined balls, while they were enjoying the ones I made.  JA wanted me to make a batch just for her.  I laughed at her but told her if she made 15 points in the next ball game I would make her a batch all for herself.  Her eyes lit up, she took my offer.  The next game the girl was driven and made 15 points.  I saw her after the game and told her the Oreo Balls were coming to her.  After a few days I finally had a few minutes to make her an entire batch all for herself.

Here is how I make my Oreo Balls. {The idea is not new to me I saw it in a magazine at the ortho office when C had braces 4 years ago.}

Oreo BallsDSCN2199
1 pkg of Oreo {or Oreo Style} cookies
1 pkg of Cream Cheese {do not go low-fat!}
Melting chocolate, or candy barkDSCN2200Dump the entire pkg of cookies into the food processor.DSCN2201Give it a good whirl.DSCN2204Dump in the entire pkg of cream cheese and whirl it around until it starts to pull away from the sides and makes a nice ball.DSCN2206Roll unto bite sized balls and refrigerate for at least an hour.  {If you forget them overnight it is not a problem}DSCN2207I chop up some ghirardelli chocolate and melt {because I have no microwave I use a double boiler and Ghirardelli is a fussy chocolate but so so yummy follow the directions on what you like to use}DSCN2224Drop the balls into chocolate and then we use a fork to shake them out. {I have no idea why this picture of the chocolate looks so light, I used dark chocolate.}DSCN2225Line them up on WAX paper! {I forgot the wax and the bottoms all stuck to the pan}  Refrigerate until party time!

Keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.  I like them pulled out for a few minutes so the centers can get a little soft.

So very yummy!  Keith does not eat them because of the cream cheese.  But if you make 15 points in your next basketball game maybe someone will make them for you.  Oh I’ve up’ed the offer for her.  She is stuck at 20 points and cannot get to 21, so when she reacher 21 points than I will make her anther batch.

Have you ever had these before?  Have you had them?  Do you love them or hate them?
If you’ve not had them give them a try they are so worth it!

Go hug your kids, they need your love
jen

Now she is 7

JOh my goodness, where has the time gone.
I will probably cry as I write this, but don’t worry no one can hear my cry talk so there is no need to be alarmed.  Not that my kids would be alarmed or feel badly for me, they’d just laugh at me anyway.

Our Surprise #2 our super sweet and completely content baby girl turned 7 yesterday.  She is no longer a baby 6-year-old, she is a big ‘Ole 7 year old.  She has 1 missing tooth and 3 wiggle teeth.  What has happened, the little one who could fit snuggled on my chest tucked under my chin with one hand hanging onto my saggy neck skin the other with her 2 {middle and ring} fingers stuck securely in her mouth.  What happened to that baby?

She has had a tough battle from the beginning.
She is a strong fighter.
She daily lives in constant pain, sometimes extreme pain.
She is strong.
She is funny.
She is L O U D.
She is love.
She is smart.
She is a reader.
She is a bike rider!
She is a learner.
She is amazing.
She has all the boys in the family wrapped around her finger.
She knows what she wants and works hard to get it.

From the beginning J took her as his own, it is the sweetest thing to see how he still holds her hand.  This year E started walking into school alone.  {Some days she needs me and I go with her.}  She walks hand in hand with J to the front of the school where she takes off to the lower playground and he races to the upper playground.  It makes me smile and cry {sometimes} to see them in my rearview mirror holding hands waiting in the crowd for the crossing guard to stop traffic so they can cross.

We are so in love with her.

She can run, she can jump, she can talk.  We did not know if she would be able to do these things.  She can go to school, years ago we did not know if this was going to be part of her routine or if I was going to have to home school her.  {Thankfully she can go!}

E loves her family she loves that she is named after 2 of her Aunts.  This year she chose them for her birthday meal.  She chose Panara bread.  She wanted a double layer cookie cake and tacos for her family party.

She is playing basketball and has been to a friends house to play with out me!  She went to 2 birthday parties with out me!  Someday she will be able to go up to her room alone until then we all take turns going with her so she feels safe.

Because this is my blog and I can do what I want…  Here are all her birthdays!
{If you don’t want to see them all than be glad she is only 7 and scroll to the end.}J1 year Birthday!j2 Years Old!!101_0793Look who is 3!!!101_29744 and fabulous!!!!103_58745 Years old with her new baby “Lucy”100_87276  is a GREAT age to be!DSCN2165Happy 7 years baby girl!  We love you!

We love you!

Go hug your kids time is racing fast!
jen

What is for Dinner? {1}

Okay I am officially in a meal rut.
I blame it on our lifestyle.
I blame it on an orange ball.
I blame it on my lack of planning.

I should not be surprised at the meal rut, I have not planned a meal in weeks, I have not consulted the schedules, the calendars or the kids schedules.  I am actually surprised every night when the kids want dinner.  I am left to scramble and put something together.  I have a difficult time living like this.  I cannot function properly in chaos.  Oh funny, I know,  I live in chaos, but it is not chaos for us this is our normal.  Not knowing the meal and trying to scramble when it is evening is just chaos for me.  SO back to meal planning I go.  Tomorrow of course because Keith’s brother is in town tonight to watch O play a game so we will go out after the game.

One of my easy to double and freeze recipes is so simple I’ll share it with you, then make it and double it today so I can again fill my freezer with easy go-to meals for our crazy busy life.  Next week I will share another one with you.  Maybe I’ll even include pictures but since this blog idea came to me before I made the meal you will have to use your own imagination.
{Please remember I cook for 9 so if you have a much smaller family or a larger family you need to do the math for that}

Taco Pasta
1 box of whole wheat elbow pasta
2 cans of vegetarian refried beans
1.5 lbs of ground turkey breast
low sodium taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of low sodium black beans

Directions
1 Brown the ground turkey and add in the taco seasoning
2 Cook the pasta 1 minute less than the recommended time on the box.
3 Drain pasta,  while pasta is draining put the refried beans in the hot-pot to loosen them a bit.
4 Put Pasta in with the beans give a good stir add in the seasoned meat, and half the cheese.  Stir together
5 Place into a baking dish, top with the rest of the cheese
6 Bake at 350 until the cheese starts to melt and get bubbly

That makes 1 meal for us.  If I am going to make a mess for one meal, then I might as well double and freeze.

Double and Freeze
Stop at step 5 and cover well with foil, label and stick it into the freezer.
I buy the throw away pans now but I used to line a 9×13 cake pan with foil and freeze, pull it out and wrap it well, label and freeze, then when I thaw it i would pull the foil off and put into the baking dish.  You can even dump the ingredients into a LARGE freezer baggie and freeze that way {although I must warn you it looks NASTY}

Toppings
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
salsa
sour cream

That makes 1 meal for us, if I am going to make a mess for one meal, then I might as well double it and freeze.

Tomorrow nights dinner is done!

What about you?  What is one of the meals you know your family will LOVE?

Go hug your kids and breath in their kid smell!  It is wonderful, stinky, or soapy, what do you smell?

jen

Pride Goes Before A FALL

Years and years ago, way up north-eastern Pa, way back in out college days, Keith and I had a class together.  Actually we had a few classes together, we were both education majors.  Of course that was before I realized I just do not like most children, at least I realized I did not like them enough to spend the rest of my life teaching.  So after 2 years of college I quit, came home and cleaned houses until we got married.  Then I, {are you ready for it} baby~sat and did after school care.  Yup, the one who knew she did not enjoy most children did after school care, we had about 50 kids in after care from 3pm until 6pm every day of school.  The funny thing is most people did {do} not know this, because I am “so good” with kids.  I don’t mind them for short periods of time, I do like the little kiddies that I babysit on Mondays for the mom’s Bible study at our church, I do it with a friend and we visit while the kids play. I have been a substitute teacher and once little A starts kindergarten I will go back on the sub list, I just do not enjoy them enough to spend every day of my life with other people’s children.  Now I do enjoy my kids, I do want to spend every day {almost} of my life with them, I find them amusing, enjoyable, lovable little sinners.

But this is about the FALL.

We both had a teaching class with a very Wise professor.  It was one of the education classes.  We were to make a bulletin board that could be useful all year.  It was a base bulletin board.  I did a tree, I had examples and was able to show how it was versatile for many different subjects.  I was praised and used as an example then earned a high score on that assignment.  I scored higher than Keith.  I was so excited, Keith is way smarter than I am and was always getting higher grades.  As we walked down the 3 flights of stairs, I chanted, hummed and sang about how great my project was, how smart I was, how she liked me better than she liked him.  As we walked along the top of the mountain {the building was the highest point on campus, except for the high soccer field} I hit a patch of ice, and I bit it, my feet slid right out from under me.  My books went flying, my paper with my grade on it went flying, my feet went up into the air and I landed firmly on my rear.  Keith just stood for a second, smiled and said “pride goes before a fall” and walked away.  He left me sitting on a patch of ice scrambling to get off it and collect my books, papers, and my bag.  My adorable Eastland tassel loafers were not built with traction, they did looked super cute with my tights and denim skirt, but they were not made for walks along icy paths.  Now I had a cold wet bum and a boyfriend who was walking away laughing at me.  But I did not care because I got a higher grade than he did.

Those education classes were fun and I was able to score grades that were close to his, but when you are a book lover and the class is children’s lit, I knew I had it made.  Or when you are crafty and have to make “classroom” things I again knew I had it made!  But when it comes to developmental child psychology or philosophy of education, he had me beat by miles, and thankfully we had enough group projects that he carried me in those classes.  See how smart he is, he earned highest A’s in those classes and helped me earn passing grades.  Yeah one more reason I was not meant to be a teacher.

What about you, did you change your career choice half way through college, or did you change career choice half way through your career?

Go hug your kids and give them extra love, and watch out for strange patches of ice in your path.
jen