Thankful Things and Laughter

It is almost the end of the “thankful month.”  Have you made an effort to be thankful or realize things you are thankful for?  Or has the busyness of life gotten in the way?  Today is Thanksgiving.  I hope that you are all with family or friends that make you happy, make you feel loved, and free to be yourself.  I feel so badly for “dysfunctional” families, not in a my family is so weird way, but in a my family is broken and I don’t know what to do way.  I feel sad.  If you know someone who needs a family for thanksgiving, invite them over, it might just make their day!  It is not too late, you know your table is going to be so full anyway, what is one or two more people?

Here are some of the random things we are thankful for over at Overholt8:
Healthy pregnancy
beds
“my own bed upstairs”~Little A Big Sister A
Books
Dinner
a hot shower
good health
a job
kids who generally get along
God~ the Sunday School Answer
my room
a washing machine
Doc McStuffins Birthday
technology
family
Santa
You People {I assume he is referring to his family}
God is omnipotent
friends
My family
dancing
spiderman
Macy’s parade
my new room {O}
that I am living
banana bread
Free Will and Sovereign Grace
That You raised me properly since I am leaving for the real world.{Yes I cried}
Drama
Grandma and Beda
books
Ability to read
cinnamon rolls
That God is ALMIGHTY
I’m thankful for O

DSCN1052I am so very thankful for my family both immediate and extended family.  I am thankful for the heritage of Christ loving, family who wants to love and influence my children.  I am thankful for their school, and our church.  I am thankful for friends who pray for me, laugh with me, and change me.  I am thankful for Keith who is still the man of my dreams.  I am thankful for the free gift of salvation the gift of God sending his only son to shed his blood to cover my sins so I can one day go to heaven.

What are you thankful for?  And more importantly who are you thankful too?
Go hug your kids, love your family and eat a ton of turkey!
jen

Shopping and Thanksgiving

We are only a few days from Thanksgiving.  Only a few days away from family time, from food, from the final holiday of fall before we begin the excitement of Christmas.   We have given the house a good scrub and will go over it all again on Wednesday, we are hosting thanksgiving again at our house.  I love hosting, really!  I love having the house filled with family, laughter, chaos, and love.  I love watching the different people interact, and watch conversations or quiet minutes happen.  We are having 15 or 16, right now, but will gather any stragglers if we find them.

We begin our day with cinnamon rolls.  I grew up having the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls on any morning of a special day, first day of school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and last day of school are the first things that come to mind.  I know there are a few more reasons we had them but I cannot think of them off the top of my head.  So now I make those same cinnamon rolls for my family.  Last year I tried to make home-made cinnamon rolls, but not a single person appreciated the switch so back we go.

In years past, before I hosted, we would put up the Christmas tree after eating our cinnamon rolls, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Each ornament has a story or a memory, we love pulling them out to look at and think about.  Hanging ornaments really pushes my OCD.  The littlest ones always hang ALL of their ornaments in a clump where they can reach best.  Thankfully the bigger kids can and do spread them out a lot.  Now that I am hosting we put up our tree and decorations on Friday, after Keith and the big kids get back from midnight shopping.

Speaking of shopping
I’m confused here, people are up in arms about shopping about Thanksgiving day shopping.  They are complaining about it being ruined, saying things like, “it is a family holiday” “it should be about family” “they are making money trump family” Blah blah blah.
Here is my question to them.
What about the Lord’s day?  The day of rest, the one we are shown in Genesis, on the 7th day GOD rested.  Not because He the All Powerful and All Mighty Creator of the Universe, Amazing GOD, needed a rest but as an example to us.  A day to rest, reconnect and worship. {Saturday or Sunday you choose the day} What about HIS day.  DO these nay~sayers shop on His day?  That should be a greater issue than shopping on a National Holiday, a holiday the government decided we should celebrate.  Shouldn’t spending a whole day with God be more necessary than spending a whole day with family?
So IF you choose to get all bent out of shape about shopping on Thanksgiving, you need to rethink your priorities about shopping on the Lord’s day.  That should be a bigger issue to you than having someone else go shopping on Thanksgiving.  Your heart desire should be more of a concern to you than if K~mart, or Target or Wal-Mart is open.  There are so many places that have to be open on any holiday, the police still work, the hospital is still open, Walgreen is open every single day of the year, firemen are busy with the new turkey frier fires, life must go on.

Here is an easy solution, if you don’t like the stores being open on Thanksgiving, the don’t shop there on Thanksgiving.  Make your statement right where they hear you best.  But don’t ask me to sign a petition or put a sign up on Facebook.

Do I shop on the Lord’s day, yes, will I shop on Thanksgiving, no, not because I care, but because I will be too tired, {I also will most likely not shop on Friday because I don’t care either…}  But you can be guaranteed that IF you choose to shop on Thanksgiving, I won’t think less of you, I won’t judge your family values, I won’t really even care.

Stepping off my soap box now.

Ok off to plan my part of the meal for Thanksgiving, because so many are coming we will have a table bursting with food, and noise.  I only have a few things to be responsible for!  I love it! And I love the variety of foods coming.  I instructed everyone to share what they were bringing, and did not give instructions, not a single person doubled and actually a few said “hey can ____ bring your whatever it is so good”    I love my family!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  If you are in my area and need a place to come eat, lease know you are invited to my house!

Enjoy your family if you are luck enough to be around them, give someone some love and don’t forget to be thankful
jen

The Attic Fit For A Princess

Many of you know, or knew at one time that O was going to move into the attic.  To say the attic was in rough shape, was an understatement the attic at one time {back in 1920’s} was rented out with walls, and insulation, an outside entrance, two workable windows, and livable, actually it was rented out for years.  Long before we bought the house there was still an outside entrance to the attic, the steps rotted off before we bought the house.  The flooring had been ripped up the space was not useable, even for storage.

We began the remodel shortly after the January birthdays, in the free weekend time, between ball games, music concerts, science fairs, and family time.  Keith and his dad worked after school or weekends.  Some days both worked some days only one of them could work.  It was hot and dirty.  And I am sure more work than they thought it would actually be, once they opened that can of worms.

As time went along we realized the urgency of getting the room done, we were now on a time constraint to get A out of the crib in our room, and O out of the bed in her room, in order for A to move up O had to move over and it had to be done by January or sooner.
DSCN2413Climbing through the pull down stairs was the only way in.

When we added the back addition to the house four years ago, our contractor lined the addition up so when we were ready to convert the attic to a room, we could easily go through the wall next to the girls room.  Here are the before pictures.  Before as in even before we knocked a hole in the girls wall.  Before we could do anything but repair and clean out, clean up and get ready.DSCN2193You will remember the call out the window from O, when the guys were throwing debris out the window.  The “mom, dad just fell through the ceiling” that call.  I don’t know about you but I instantly had images of Clark Griswald in National Christmas Vacation, when he gets stuck in the attic and watches home movies.  See O’s head peeking through, Keith was a spoil sport and did not want to reenact it for a picture.
DSCN2198See his amused face when I asked him to please reenact the fall for the blog? DSCN2195He patched the hole with plywood, I was afraid that a rodent or bug would fall out on me every time I went into the boys hallway.DSCN2208Looking north {at this point they layered plywood on the floor beams so they could actually walk up there.}  Nice plumbing pipe in my face, the air conditioner is blocking the door that the renters would use to get up to the attic.DSCN2209The west wallDSCN2210The south end of the west wallDSCN2216Looking south, see the plumbing pipe?  That is where I was standing at the beginning.DSCN2213Looking down next to the plumbing pipe.  We found trash but no hidden treasures.DSCN2211More holes that had to be repaired, this is over C’s bathroom.DSCN2220Oh the wiring.  Seriously it was a good thing we did the attic remodel and we are amazed that God has protected us from the wiring mess up there.  Obviously there was no building inspectors when they added the electricity to the house.  Live stripped wires, old metal wires that were burnt, and wires that were not fully connected.  I am thankful that my FIL knows how to rewire a house, that he has the tools to accomplish such a big job, safely. The 2 of them spent weeks fixing the wiring,  I wish I was kidding on the amount of time, but it was weeks of fixing and making safe.DSCN2219See how few wires are in the same area?  See how safe the wires look now?  I am so thankful that Keith and my FIL are able and willing to make us safe.

Ok for fear of overloading you on the room remodel I’ll post more pictures in another blog.  This set of pictures started in late January, and went through March.  {Okay the wiring took us through March}

At the beginning of the attic remodel the room was not even fit for cinderella but O has the ability to look past the mess and distraction with vision.  Thankfully she is not easily discouraged.  From beginning to moving in this week it was 10 months.  And sleeping in her own room is now a reality.

Thankful updates!

Nov 19
I know this sounds silly but I am SO thankful for online shopping.  Keith and I spent almost 2 hours trying to find birthday presents for little A.  We came home with 2 things.  Do you want to know the biggest problems?  We don’t watch tv with commercials, they don’t know what is out there to know what they should want.  The other problem I buy toys based on quality, and imagination, toys that stand the test of time, there were a lot of toys out there, just none that would interest her.  Oh BTW, you walmart lovers…  I was trying to get some Doc McStuffins plastic toys for her cake… and at Walmart the EXACT same toy was $2 MORE. yes $2 more expensive than at Target…

Nov 21DSCN1026
I am thankful for A, surprise #3.  She is strong, funny, busy, loves life.  She is a great snuggle, has a vivid imagination, worships O,{crying when she has plans that don’t include her} She is smart, I N D E P E N D E N T and brave. She loves life.  I am thankful for the fussy baby who was born with out hip sockets, thankful for the running, jumping and normal walking that the doctors said might be a problem.  I am thankful she has grown into a spunky, sassy girl who loves ballet, her family, going to church to “see Jesus”, chick fil a, and playing with the big kids. I am thankful for A, who, by the way thinks she is WALKING to chick fil a for her birthday dinner, AllByHerself. she has a map after all…

Nov 22
Today is grandparents day at school, I am thankful for the Godly influence the grand parents have imprinted on my children, teaching them strength, dignity, true love, kindness, servants hearts, discipline, and knowledge.  I pray that the bits of wisdom them have pressed upon my children will one day be brought back to their memory and they will remember the teaching of their “fathers” I am thankful for grandparents.????????Keith’s parents with EDSCN1581My mom with the kids, last Christmas {lest you think I am that prepared for this year…}DSCN3093Keith’s Grandpa, {his dad’s father} and parents.  C rides to the early service every week with Papa, I am thankful that they have that time together each week.DSCN3057Keith’s Grandma (his mom’s mother) and Little A last March when we flew up to take care of Grandma.

What about you are you able to have a great relationship with the grandparents?  Make sure that during this month of thanksgiving that they know how thankful that you are for them.

Go hug your kids. the need your love.
jen

Freezer Meals Take 1

Okay, so I officially have 10 weeks left.  I would be thrilled to have less than that but I have 10 weeks left.  My friend said I have started nesting.  If so, then Yahoo! there are plenty of things I need to get taken care of in my house over the next 10 weeks.  I am sure that Keith would be thrilled to see the stacks on the sewing dresser or the random get to it later stuff taken care of.  I have prints to frame, I have bows to make, I have Christmas stuff to sew.  If I am nesting bring it on!!!

Yesterday, I began to fill my freezer.  I know that after I give birth, whether it is a “normal” delivery or another c~section, I know that my family will still want to eat.  I will still have to plan the meals, and organize the dinner time.  Oh, I can send the big kid to Publix for groceries, with a detailed list, he is fine.  Sure, the princess of the kitchen can cook anything she sets her mind to.  I can order pizza, but we are not fans of pizza too often.  I still have to do the planning, lets be honest here, some days the planning is even more than I have energy for.  My solution is to fill my freezer now.  The more frozen dinners we have in there the easier it will be for me in those first few weeks when my energy comes in small bursts.

I love to make freezer meals during our busy season, I usually double each meal as we have dinner, serving one meal while freezing the other.  Not so this time, last time either, which was so exhausting but the reward was worth the exhaustion.  This weekend when I went to Sam’s club and bought 12 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts I had a plan.  I had meals to make and meals to freeze.  Because I am often asked for freezer meal ideas  I decided this was easier than posting them over and over on Facebook.  If you are not remotely interested in freezer meals, then skip this post and each following post which would be obvious by the title.

The whole fill the freezer process can get quite messy so if you are a little concerned than stick to one recipe a day, yesterday I knocked out 3 recipes for a total of 9 meals {we did eat one of the chicken enchiladas meals for dinner it was yummy}  I knocked out those meals, but my floor is sticky and my counter could use a scrubbing again.  I cooked 9 lbs of chicken on Sunday, let it cool and refrigerated it over night.  So in all the recipes assume that the chicken is PRE COOKED.  NO RAW MEAT is used in these recipes.  Watch the SODIUM, too many times we add salt to foods already filled with sodium, pre made meals or canned goods, or processed foods add sodium to meals they are often are packed with sodium.  Check it out you will feel less bloated when you start to watch the sodium.  I tell the kids, taste first salt later.  Remember there are a lot of people in my family but I have a few who don’t eat more than 3 or 4 bites at a meal so you will have to be the judge as to how many this will feed for your family.

White Chicken Chili
{2 meals for the freezer}
2lbs chicken breast {cubed}
4 cans reduced sodium garbanzo beans drained not rinsed
2 cans navy beans drained not rinsed
2 cans white beans drained not rinsed
2 small cans of chopped green chilies
1 box of Carroll Shelby’s no sodium white chili seasoning
{If the other beans can be low sodium go for it, the meal can be quite salty if you are not careful}

1 in a large bowl combine the chicken and the seasoning mix
2 in large freezer baggies divide the seasoned chicken into 2 baggies
3 add into each baggie 2 cans garbanzo beans, 1 can of navy, 1 can of white beans and 1 can of chopped chilies

Seal and freeze.

To Cook
remove from freezer put into crock pot add 1-2 boxes of reduced sodium all natural chicken broth (note that said BOXES not cans)  turn on the crock pot on high and let it go.  You want the broth to be higher than the chili when you get started and adding only 1 box at a time,lets you add more to make it how you like it.  I usually cook mine all day.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, onions and rolls with butter.

**I used to freeze the broth in the baggie and discovered that while freezing there would be some spillage and I would end up with chicken broth on the inside of my freezer or on top of other foods.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alfredo Chicken Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms
{3 freezer meals}
3 lbs of chicken breast cubed
2 boxes of Ziti style pasta {whole wheat}
4 jars of Newman’s own Alfredo Sauce {I used 2 regular and 2 roasted garlic}
3 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
8 to 16 oz of fresh mushroom caps sliced
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cook pasta until 1 minute shy of Al’Dente
2 in a large pot combine chicken, cooked pasta sliced mushrooms and 4 cans of sauce
3 divide the chicken/pasta/mushroom into 3 baking dishes, as you layer it in sprinkle the spinach leaves on top, add layers until all the mixture is used up.
4 top with the shredded mozzarella cheese

Cover and Freeze

To Cook
Place frozen dish into 350 degree oven, and bake for at least 1 hour

** If you use whole wheat pasta and cook 1 minute short of the recommended Al’Dente than the pasta remains firm when baking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chicken Enchiladas 
{4 Freezer meals}
4 lbs chicken breast cubed
2 small cans of chopped green chilis
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 cans of refried vegetarian style beans
18 oz of canned tomato sauce
16 oz shredded cheese
7 cans of enchilada sauce

1 Combine Chicken/beans/chilis/tomato sauce in a LARGE bowl
2 pour 1 can of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the baking dish (use about half reserve the rest for the next pan)
3 scoop 1/2 cup of the chicken mix into soft shells, add shredded cheese and wrap (It is full I kind of folded/wrapped it)
I can stuff about 14 stuffed shells into a pan, it takes a lot of squeezing to do it
4 start to line the baking dish with rows of stuffed shells
5 top with 1 can of enchilada sauce
6 cover with more shredded cheese

Cover and Freeze

To Cook
bake at 350 for 1 hour 30 minutes
Serve with sour cream

There you have it 3 different meals that freeze up nicely.  I know, it was a boring post but I keep giving out these recipes.  You will notice there are no pictures of the food, I find pictures of food so yucky to look at unless you are a food photographer.  You can use your imagination and there is no expectations as to how yours is supposed to look.  Off to cook some more today, if I can get all of yesterday’s dirty dishes washed.  The meals did not actually make that big of a mess, but I did not get it all cleaned up, feet and ankles were too swollen.  Or maybe I’ll get something accomplished in the house.  Fingers crossed that I actually am “nesting”  how nice to get some things done around here!

I’ll soon have pictures to post of the bassinet bedding I am making for Ellen’s baby, Keep praying for baby girl, the birth mom, and for us as we wait on God’s timing.

Even more exciting, I will soon have pictures of O’s bedroom.  The transformation has been amazing, from a termite problem attic to a full bedroom.  It is almost complete, the carpet is in, now we are just waiting on me to go get the light bulbs, and curtains.  It is great!

We also have a birthday this week!  Big sister A is having a party!  A family party!

Go hug your kids they need some love.  Don’t forget to share what you are thankful for.  Have you had success on freezer meals?  What is your go-to meal at your house?

jen

Thankful Posts and Funny Questions

How was your weekend?  Mine was terrible and I am thankful it is over.  I was bragging on Facebook and it backfired on me.  Or my children humbled me?  At any rate it went from peace and harmony to disaster in just minutes.  I am thankful it is over and while the biggest frustration is not yet taken care of the others are, and peace is once again higher than the frustration.  I did not have enough time or energy to do what was needed and so I am still working on things.

Our school has a HUGE wreath it puts up at Christmas time.  Because we use an outside source to store the wreath and hang the wreath we put it up when they can fit us into their schedule.  But truth be told I get a little shiver of excitement every time I see Christmas decorations up.  I might be one of the few people I know who does not mind that Hallmark starts ornaments in July.  I might be one of the few people who is drawn to the Christmas section of Target as soon as the Halloween stuff is clearance’d into 1 aisle.  It makes me smile, it makes me happy and I love it.  {Oh I realize that they have it up to make a buck, but here is the secret…  shhh… You don’t actually have to buy anything until you want to, you don’t have to give them any money to look and enjoy, and if you feel that November 1 is too early to see the trees, guess what?  You don’t actually have to go to the back corner and look at it! Ha so if it bugs you, stay away and don’t complain}  So, as I was saying, our school hung the wreath this last week.  Little A and I were there delivering lunches {no time and no stuffs to pack early I had to go to Publix to get what I needed}  When we were coming out of the building there was a big bucket truck on the sidewalk and my F~I~L was talking to 3 guys who were working on the wreath.  That bugger is HUGE.  So we stood and visited and laughed with the workers, then we stayed way out-of-the-way to watch them hang the wreath.IMG_1784I think it was 14 feet it was so big!IMG_1786My F~I~L and another one of the principals talking as we were watching.  What is it with men/boys and big trucks?IMG_1787Almost up!  And btw it was about 87 degrees out when they were putting up the wreath.  Christmas spirit is not dependent on the weather, but cooler temperatures should be here in about 7 weeks.IMG_1788It was a long way up. IMG_1789Ta~Da
{Okay see the guy in the bucket, red shirt, white beard…  You think “santa” right?  Nope little A ran up to him while the wreath was still on the ground and asked “are you from Duck Dynasty?”  The 2 guys working with him burst out laughing, he laughed a little but those 2 guys thought it was quite funny.}

IMG_1796So my friend Christine is an accidental farmer, chickens at first now pigs.  I just want to know if she has pickled their feet yet?  And who eats pickled pigs feet.  It was a thing of interest when O and I went to Sam’s club this weekend.  And honestly just looking at them makes me feel a little like throwing up.  Those pigs feet were coated in pig poop and fly and food not too long ago, and now they are ready to be eaten.  How can that pass any health code?

Thankful things

Nov 16
I am thankful for aunts who LOVE on my kids!  Thankful for Aunt Kim took the 2 middles to her school and out for lunch Saturday, and E is having a sleep over during thanksgiving week which is all she talks about!
Thankful for Aunt  Ellen who comes over to study with the boy child who asks her to come, she gives rides, and reads books, and bathes the littles, goes on vacations and hangs out with the kids.

I am thankful for my friendship with the aunts, and thankful for the aunts and their positive Christ like influence they give to my children.

Nov 17
I am thankful for my house, thankful that it is dry, secure, safe, and perfect for our family.  Thankful for the crookedness and character, thankful for the stories we have had in the house and the memories we’ve made.  I am thankful for running water, air conditioning, and soft beds.  I am thankful for our house.  Not so thankful for the critter that has set up residence in the house, but thankful that we have the ability to catch it and get rid of it.  { R went to the kitchen to get more milk during dinner late last week, he came back with out the milk and said “I’m pretty sure I just saw a mouse in the kitchen, or a small rat but I saw it sitting next to the fridge when I got out there it ran into that hole at the base of the cupboard.  YIKES we have been hearing something and that afternoon it was really loud, the sighting just confirms it.  Oh we sent him back to get the milk anyway, and have covered the hole for now}

DSCN0886Nov 18
I am thankful for E.  She is so strong, and such a fighter, I am so thankful that she is healthy right now, she has not missed any school, she is amazing to me.  She is smart and loves to play school, loves to play with her sister, and brother.  She still loves a good snuggle and loves to wear nice clothes.  She is turning into such a pretty young lady, loves Jesus and loves to share what she is learning with us.  I am so thankful for surprise #2 E!

IMG_1765What does a fox say?   So I finally watched that video on YouTube.  Weird, strange, and I don’t even know what to say… But check out these cute foxes made out of Legos.  How clever is that?

IMG_1755Took Sassafras to my OB appointment last week.  She was styling and knew it.  Told me to take her picture then told me to “hang on, okay I’m ready” and posed for the picture.  How funny!  Those red shoes are her favorite shoes, and I just love them!  All is well with the baby except that the baby is bummer down.  So the baby needs to flip in the next few weeks.  Praying for a flip so I can avoid a C~section.  I had one already, it was not the end of the world but it was a pain and slowed me way down.  I’m older now, remember a “mature” pregnancy, I can’t imagine how much more it will slow me down.

What about you?  Have you had any pickled pigs feet, do you get a thrill when you see Christmas decorations?

Go hug your kids and share a thankful thing with someone!
jen

Revenge of the Tadpoles, and Other Stuff

Those tadpoles, are coming back to haunt me.  Well, not in the Scooby~Doo ghost kind of way but in a completely real way.  You know how R and the little girls collected tadpoles that were days away from growing legs and jumping out of the pool, and invading my house.  They collected them to dispose of them.  {Read, let them die so they did not over take everything, those invasive things are known to do.}  They dumped some behind the shed, they spilled them in the yard and someone, I’d name names {or letters in my case} if I knew who it was.  Someone dumped them in my flower pot.  I believe that actually they asked “hey Mom want us to dump them in the flowers to use as fertilizer, after all the Indians taught the Pilgrims to plant corn on fish heads.”  Well if it is good enough for the earliest settlers and their food, then it is good enough for my orange and yellow mums.  Go ahead I know I told them.  Not giving it another thought, until today.  Three days later.  The tadpoles have drawn flies.  Death flies.  And as someone walks up the porch steps the flies swarm out of the flower pots and fly about.  But they fly about with decomposing tadpole germs on them.  So if they bump into you, they are bumping tadpole gunk into you too.  Lovely right?  So here is my advice, if your pool is overtaken by thousands of tadpoles, and you decide to let the children use them as fertilizer, then at least have them bury them in the flower pot not sprinkle their dead bodies around the base of the plants.

Thankful Update
Nov 11
I am thankful for the Heroes who served, giving us a freedom we don’t really understand but freely abuse.  I am thankful for Papa, Uncle NG, and Keith’s cousin SS, and 2 of  my own uncles all from our own family who gave up their own comforts for mine.  I am thankful for the many friends I have whose families also sacrificed for my comforts.

Nov 12
So thankful for a friend who gave me 8 FULL garbage bags of baby boy things {IF THIS IS A BOY?!?!?} and an entire crib bedding set, a boppy and so much more!  I can’t thank her enough I am sorting through the things to put away and am so thankful!  {ALL WITH OUT STAIN!!!} so so so blessed!!!  Now if this is a girl, I’ll be sharing the love! so thankful!!!

Nov 13 DSCN0899
I am thankful for R, thankful for his sweet spirit, and his quiet sense of humor, thankful for his willingness to help out at home and help family.  Thankful that he loves school,learning and reading, he is self motivated and wants to know as much as he can about God.  Thankful that he is a calm person in our house full of chaos. I am thankful for him and cannot imagine family with out him! I am thankful for R!

Nov  14
I am thankful that I get to go to my kids field trips. Yesterday was a lovely day and we had a great time.  I am made more thankful after watching 3 women in charge of 18 2nd graders that they did not love, trying to corral them and get them to go as a group to an activity. {This was NOT my childs school, but another school field trip at the same location.  It made me sad for the kids to have to listen to their loud corrections and comments all day.  Really the children were behaving wonderfully and the adults were the problem.}  the kids and adults interaction made me sad for them, but glad that I can go to my kids. trips!

Nov 15DSCN0896
I am thankful for J.  Thankful for this funny never stop playing with a ball climb the walls, jump and do tricks kid!.  I am thankful that he loves math in a way I will never understand.  He loves to play and be heard.  He has become a good reader thanks to Diary of an Wimpy Kid, and thankful that he will still come sit on my lap or snuggle up on the couch with me.  I am thankful he is a morning person and usually is up and ready with out any help from me.  I am thankful for his strong body and strong mind.  I am thankful that he loves Jesus and wants to learn more about him.  I am thankful for J.

Anyone of my readers use a water timer for the shower?  I have a child who uses up enough hot water for 5 regular showers. And after yesterday morning I am over cold or cool showers.  I am looking for a timer that shuts the water off, cannot be tampered with, and is not terribly expensive.  The child wastes water so much and I cannot get them to stop.  So I will control the water.  If they are not finished then they can use the garden hose outside.  But this has got to stop!  SO if you know of any water control device, please let me know I am willing to give it a try.

Tonight we are off to watch  C perform in a county wide choir concert.  It is a pretty big deal, students from all over the county try out and few are selected.  We went last year to listen and it was so nice, tonight is this years concert.  We are excited to go, but realize that this will be his last high school all county choir concert.  And again it makes me sad.

What about you?  Any decomposing animal/pest problems at your house?  Were you in an all county choir as a student.  Did you even sing in choir{I did not…}  Or do you have an idea on a water turn off valve?

Go hug your kids, the need your love and acceptance,  If home is not a peaceful place where can they go to escape the harsh reality and cruelty of the world?
jen

Tadpoles and a Swimming Pool

Our pool pump broke weeks ago, seriously it broke while still in pool season.  {Of course if you are from the north, sorry about the snow, our 80’s is prime pool season for you.}  Keith looked at it and could not fix it, he took it off for me to take to the pool store, and due to poor planning it never made it to the pool store.  Since then our pool has been over taken by frogs, not just any frog but the invasive Porto Rican Tree Frog, they are loud and apparently fertile and very invasive.  We have heard the frogs for months, we knew that they were laying eggs on the surface of the pool, until the broken pump the chlorine and filter took care of that problem.  But without chlorine and the water running through the filter there was no way to control them.  Until yesterday.  A few weeks ago E’s class was studying the life cycle of frogs, she told her teacher our pool was filled with tadpoles {oh how I wish she was exaggerating}  and she could bring some in.  Her teacher was more than thrilled with the prospect of tadpoles.  O helped her catch them, they filled a milk jug with more than 200 of them, she counted.  {Again I wish I was kidding.}  I told the teacher that when they grew legs she was going to have to dispose of them and not release them at school.  At our school we have a “gator pond,” {A gator trapper had to come get the gator out last year.} a turtle pond, and some protected wet lands.  She could not release an invasive species on campus.  She laughed but promised not to.  All was well, until yesterday.  Ellen brought home the kids from school, within minutes of getting home, before they even ate their snacks, they told me “we HAVE to get rid of the tadpoles!”  What?  Apparently the ones we took into school have grown their back legs they were trying to get out of the container the teacher had them in.  Which meant that ours are about ready to climb out of the pool and invade something, the logical place would be our house, and shed, and the neighbor’s house.  So… I did what every reasonable person would do, declared the tadpoles to have lived a good life and offered to pay the kids to remove them.  Having seen the massive number of them swimming around a week ago, I offered a penny a tadpole.  R knew it was an easy buck, he took the pool net and set to work easily filling the bottom of a big trash can, I’d say there was about 6 inches worth of tadpole in the bottom of the heavy-duty big gray trash can.  We estimated that at the beginning of the sweeps he was pulling out one hundred each time.  {Again, I so wish I was kidding} He stopped his work to help the girls collect tadpoles, and visited with the curious neighbor kids.  We estimate, because neither of us were willing to actually count them that he collected over a thousand, honestly it was probably closer to 2,000.  We settled on a fee of $15.00 which I will pay him on Friday.  Not to be left out the girls will be getting $2, and $3 and O who had a ball game but heard the story when she got home has declared she collected about $5 worth those weeks ago.  Hey I’m not going to complain and I will gladly pay the kids the money so I don’t have to worry about the frogs getting in our house.  Of course that being said, If the kids played it right, there is someone who remains unnamed who is terrified of frogs.  I bet they could work it to get that person to come up with some money too.

We’ve added chlorine to the pool and hope that it will prevent more eggs from being laid.  What I really need to do is get the pump to the pool store and get it fixed, we just fear it is beyond repair at this point.  {It is probably gunk’ed up with frog parts}

What about you?  Ever been invaded by an insect or animal?

Go hug your kids, enjoy the calm before the holiday chaos, and share the love to someone who needs it.
jen

 

A Month of Thanksgiving 2-8

Wow did I get behind or what?
I know I did a few blogs on Ellen’s Adoption.
We are still hopeful and praying to our sovereign God who does all things well, thankful that this adoption is going as He planned not as we have planned.  No new news to share but a lot of friends and family have purchased a puzzle piece for baby girl!  I cannot wait to see it hanging on her Nursery wall.  Here is a quick story of God’s attention to detail, Ellen has been looking at a very nice stroller, ok drooling over a very nice stroller.  It converts from a buggy to a stroller which is compact but roomy, and will not tip over when loaded down with packages from shopping.  At any rate, a few times Ellen has mentioned seeing it on sale or on Craig’s list, I have talked her out of buying it for months now.  A good friend {her former roommate} is no longer in the baby stage at her house, and offered up the stroller to Ellen.  We went to pick it up this weekend, she had every single baby thing pulled and set aside for us, baby clothes, high chair, port a crib, seats, and carriers,  just about everything you can think of.  All set aside we were instructed to take it all.  How amazing is that?  God is in the details.  Ellen was able to get the exact stroller and baby carrier that she has been watching all gifted from a friend.  {Her last child is a boy so if I am pregnant with a boy I also have some very nice boy things for our baby, if not I will be sharing the love to my friends}

Ok so I’ll catch you up on thankfulness.  Have you been sharing your thanks with others?  I saw some super cute things on Pinterest {crack for crafters}  making thankful trees, or thankful jars, or garland so cute and simple, but such a visual reminder of their thanks.  Do you have a “Thankful Display” at home?  What is it?

Nov 2

DSCN0857I am thankful for Keith, thankful that he puts up with my weird “I have an idea” that he does not complain when I begin a craft idea.  Thankful that he lets me work for a month on the set of the musicals and does not complain about the mess or meals, or lack of meals.  I am thankful that he lets me go out with friends with out expecting me to have everything done before I go.  Thankful that he washes dishes, does laundry, and will attempt to put the little girls hair up in a pony tail.  I am thankful that he is smart and I will never realize exactly how smart he is.  I am thankful that he is funny and makes me laugh when I am ticked at him, thankful that he makes me smile and thankful that my heart swoons when I see him.  I am thankful for the 21 years we have been a couple and the 20 years we have been a family.  I am thankful for Keith!

Nov 3
I am thankful for my church, thankful for my quirky just the right fit Sunday School (ABF, Bible study, what ever you want to call it) class. I am thankful for the group we have.  I am thankful for the people who care for the little children and babies so mom’s and dad’s can worship in peace, I am thankful for the preschool programs who teach my children God’s word, even if they come home with the stories mixed up.  I am thankful for the big kids programs and the high school programs, I am thankful for the adult classes and programs.  I am thankful for the worship and for the preaching I am thankful that in season and out of season we are fed the rich and powerful words of God.

Nov 4
I am thankful for modern medical care! After some serious back issues I am thankful that my chiropractor can fix me right up! Thankful that he can fix up my kids too!!!
***Pregnancy Update***
Like most doctors, my doctor ordered the gestational diabetes test for me around week 28, I took it with dread because I have yet to pass the first test, but I have always passed the 3 hour test.  The last 2 times I was so close and my doctor was kind I did not have to take the 3 hour test but just be careful.  Not so this time, both my local doctor and my high risk doctor ordered me to take the 3 hour test.  It is hours of torture for me.  My doctor requires a carb overload for 2 days before, as in either 6 slices of bread each day or 3 candy bars each day, in addition to regular eating and drinking.  To my husband and biggest kid that sounded like a great thing I can hardly eat 2 full meals let alone add that to my regular diet.  I did my best but it was tough.  The nurse I talked to was not any help at all.  So I went to Dr Google, I learned that my doctor likes my body to be working it’s hardest for 2 days using the insulin and sugars before giving it the shock of the test.  Thanks Dr Google, but not thank you nurse who would not answer my questions.  The day of the test I drank the disgusting orange drink, the reason most women who’ve had a baby will not drink orange crush, drink.  {For the record it does not taste like orange crush but more like that orange drink I would get at McDonald’s when my Grandma took us when we were little, some flavors never leave the memory}  Lets just say there was gagging and tears and trash can hugging but I did it!  Small victory for me!  I took the blasted test and then treated myself to a chicken sandwich at CFA.  2 days later I called for the results.  I passed with flying colors.  I knew I would.  But both my local doctor and the high risk one are happy, and since they are calling the shots, and drugs, I’ll give them what they want.  The baby is now bigger than an egg-plant and weighs about 2 lbs.   We go in again on Wednesday for more pictures I can’t wait to see the baby again!

Nov 5
I am thankful for all the people who came out or contacted us about ELLEN’S ADOPTION FUND RAISER. Thankful for all the people who love this baby girl, who love my sister, who are willing to pray for this adoption, who can give to this adoption, and who already love this baby! I am thankful for Red Elephant for doing another share event for this baby girl! I am thankful that although we are anxious to see her, hold her, love on her that GOD has it all planned out and we get to sit back and see how God loves us and makes it work out! {On that note please keep praying we are ready!}

Nov 6
Thankful to have NO ONE in diapers for the next few months! {no more night diapers!!!}
The longest we’ve been diaper free in our house is the year before J was born. so in the last almost 18 years we’ve been buying diapers for at least 1 child if not 2 for 17 years. wow that is a lot of diaper changing… and a lot of $$ to huggies and pampers.  If I’d have known then what I know now I would have purchased stock in diapers…

Nov 7DSCN0931
I  am thankful for C, thankful for his spirit {sometimes more than we can handle} his drive for what he desires, his knowledge, thankful that he is my first-born and the reason I have the best job.  I am thankful that he has found his “thing” he loves musicals and loves to make us laugh. Thankful that when he is bored he bugs the daylights out of all of us who are actually trying to do something, thankful that next year he will be having the time of his life off at college, thankful that he is who he is and will be made better with in growth in God.  I am thankful for C.

Nov 8DSCN0907
I am thankful for O, she is a hard worker, she does the hard stuff, and is wise beyond her years. she chooses to do things that are different and makes her grow.  She has a servant’s heart and is fun to be with.  She is strong and clever and athletic and smart.  She will move mountains when she is ready.  I am thankful that she loves Jesus and wants to grow I am thankful for O!

What about you?  What are some of the things YOU are thankful for?  Care to share with me, or do you have a thankful display at your house?  Tell me about it.

Go hug your kids, time is moving so fast, and you cannot ever get it back.
jen

Dinner and a Puzzle

1394160_10201233358688828_625116379_nHow did the Dinner and a Donation with no Dishes to wash event go?  Thank you for asking!
It went well, not as crowded as that first event, but there were a lot of people there to visit with laugh with and be blessed by.  Seriously we stand in awe at what God is doing for baby girl.  We are so blessed, and she is so blessed.

Okay for my friend at the COOP who jumps ahead to see the results of events, Ellen was given a check for $180 which she will put right on her next home study, which comes up in a few weeks.  The cost of her home study is $425.  When she posted the blessing on Facebook, a friend sent her a private message, she wants to cover the difference on the home study.  We were brought to tears.  God is so good, all the time.

How about the puzzle piece fund-raiser, how did that go?  Thank you for asking about that too.  It is moving along, there have been 50 plus pieces sold since Tuesday.  So many families have shared the love, and $10 for a piece.  Yesterday someone dropped off an envelope in her classroom, they wanted a piece to be labeled from “uncle b and aunt m”  brings tears to my eyes with every puzzle piece.  Another family purchased one and put a tiny little heart on it with their name.  I did get teary when my mom wrote “love,____” and her special name the kids call her.  Seriously sweetness.  This baby is so so loved.  If you want a piece of the puzzle let me know, we would love to put your name on it.  This is a 250 piece puzzle!

1384792_10201329688417011_1830303842_nIf you are interested in purchasing a puzzle piece, you can do it through your paypal account.
1 open your account
2 choose send money
3 enter ellenoncu@yahoo.com
4 choose the amount you wish to send
5 choose “sending money to family or friends”
6 submit
7  leave a note {these notes make us cry}
8 confirm
Really it is that simple!

Ok this is great and wonderful and lovely but more than the puzzle or donations you can pray.  Please be praying for the birth mom.  This cannot be easy, but it can be peaceful.  Pray she has peace, that God will show her love, pray that she will have the support she needs.  This young woman who has a choice to make needs our prayer and our love.

Pray as we wait for baby girl, pray that we continue trusting God, that we continue to remember that He has this all planned out for our lives.

Share Ellen’s story, we don’t know who will be the one who connects this baby girl with her mommy.  Share it when you get the chance.  Someone will be our connection and wouldn’t that be exciting if it was you?

DSCN1048Pray for Ellen and baby girl.

November is adoption month, who knew?  Now you do!  What an amazing way to see a family grow.

Go hug your kids, and pray for Ellen.
jen

Here is a funny thing…  On the way home from O’s basketball game A was talking away and started talking about poop.  She went on and on whispering and talking about poop.  O and I were cracking up.  Finally O asked “why are you talking so much about poop?”  Little A whispered back “because you like poop” O replied back “no I don’t” little A whispered even quieter, “yes, you do like  poop”  Weird little girl.  For the record O does not actually like poop… but I am sure that goes without saying.

November is National Adoption Month

1394160_10201233358688828_625116379_nDid you know November is national adoption month?  No?  Me either, until last year.  A whole month of thanksgiving and celebrating adoption.  By now you all know adoption is important to me.  It is important because my sister, Ellen, is still in the process.  She says she has been “paper pregnant” for almost 2 years now.  This December will be 2 years.  That is a long time to wait, a long time to trust, and long time to pray.  Oh there is activity once in a while, the recertification process is a bit of a hoop to jump through but nothing more than a weekend of checking things off a list, getting fingerprinted again, and answering questions on her philosophy of parenting, of discipline, of education, and all sorts of other things parents encounter without formulating a plan.

I don’t know if you remember last year when we had the GIANT ADOPTION YARD SALE.  DSCN2774{These lovely matching shirts were fun, who knew that 2 different people would donate the same shirt?}
That was a lot of fun, a lot of work and we raised a lot of money.  Sadly we did not raise the final amount but we are close.  We are so close.  Ellen would love to adopt this baby girl debt free.  You all know that she sells THIRTYONE GIFTS {ohhhh side note check out her page and check out this month’s special!!!  Guess which blogger is going to be stocking up on the special!?!?!?- me!}  Anyway she has been saving for two and a half years now for this adoption.  We had the YARD SALE and 2 RED ELEPHANT fund-raisers.  {her first one was the largest donation our local Red Elephant had made.  I would love for this next one to top it!}

We are really praying that this month she is chosen, of course we are praying that she is chosen, but we are praying that the final funds will be raised for the baby.  We would love to get a phone call, write a check to the agency and be the proud mama and proud aunt of a sweet baby girl!

How can you help?
This month we have 2 fund-raisers.
Dinner and a Donation and Piece of our Puzzle
Dinner and a Donation
The first is tomorrow night {Tuesday November 5} our local Red Elephant is hosting another fund-raiser for Ellen.  Last fall was the biggest donation that they made.  I would be thrilled if we could top it this year.  If you are local, would you go to Red Elephant, and enjoy a nice meal or two.  Be sure to mention Ellen’s Adoption, so the meal counts towards her donation.  How easy is that?  Order some yummy boiled peanuts and hot wings, or go for their loaded fries, my personal favorite is the tomato soup.  Don’t forget to order some elephant ears, you do know that when participating in a fund-raiser the calories cancel themselves out with the good feeling you have.
How simple is that?  Dinner and a Donation, and best of all no dishes to wash!

“But I’m not local, I live far from you how can I help?”
I know that most of my readers are not local, and I am thrilled that you want to help.

Piece of our Puzzle 1384792_10201329688417011_1830303842_nHow cool is that?!?!?!
Seriously what a great idea!  You have the opportunity to have your name put on the back of the puzzle for baby girl to hang in her room.  I get tears in my eyes when I think of how sweet of a reminder this will be, a reminder of all the people who have been praying, who have been asking, and have been giving, {time or donation} I am amazed at the sweetness of this!  I will be selling pieces at Red Elephant tomorrow night if you are local and want to come put your name on the back.
Here is the super easy part for my blog readers who want to give but are not local.  Ellen now has a paypal account set up for puzzle piece donations.  It is simple, secure and safe.  Here are the easy directions:
1 open your paypal account
2 choose “SEND MONEY”
3 type in ellenoncu@yahoo.com
4 choose the amount you want to donate
5 choose “sending money to family or friends”
6 submit
7 add a note in the space provided
8 confirm

1418352_10201329686376960_584037399_nThe puzzle is beautiful, I’ll post a link tomorrow of the website she used.  There are 250 good-sized pieces in the box, big enough for your family name or message to go on back.

Please pray for this baby.  Pray for the birth mom who has such a hard decision to make, but a decision that will forever change the lives of so many people.  Pray that Ellen is chosen, 2 years paper pregnant is a long time to be pregnant.  Remember how long your pregnancy seemed?   Hers is still going on.  No quick adoption like they portray on television.  Pray for Ellen to remain patient, and trusting in God who before time began had the steps of this adoption planned out.

I would love to see my sister be a mommy soon, so please pray!

Go hug your kids, because you can.  Hug them and give them a good squeeze today!

jen
If you do not have a paypal account but want to give, let me know I can message you the school address so you can send the money to her school.