Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Back To School Clean Up Challenge

Here is the new challenge...clean something!LOL What I'd like to see this time is for the focus to be on getting ready for the new school year. Pick a room; declutter, organize, and use that space the best you can. Now that doesn't mean that it has to be a room that you will use for school but this new focus will be to make your home clean and organized for the school year. If your bathroom is so dirty that you keep losing a kid during each bathtime, then that's the room for you. If the dining room is in a state of perpetual disorder, then clean it! If your kids can't find their way out of their rooms before dinner time, well, either clean it or consider yourself lucky.LOL I'll be sending out a $10 gift certificate from Amazon.com to whoever makes whatever space they choose, to their best advantage.
1. Take a before photo
2. Save the Graphic to your computer
3. Write a comment to me on this post, saying that you are going to participate
4. Post your before photo with my graphic at the top of your post and link back to this post so others can find out about it and post these rules in your post (*snort* clear as mud, right?)
5. Clean target area (LOL)
6. Post an after photo and tell me when you're done so I can keep up with your progress
On the last day of August, I'll have my dd, Allison, pick the best cleaning job and I'll personally send you a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate.

PS. You are welcome to use any of the graphics that my kids made last month! I just thought it'd be easier to keep track if I named this month's challenge differently.

And The Winner Is....

Here's the deal. The next few days are going to be busy for us. Allison, who was supposed to be the judge, doesn't get back until tomorrow afternoon but we have some out of town friends coming here the same time. It's a surprise for the kids, so don't tell.LOL So I've decided to take things into my own hands and judge for myself. After looking at everyone's work, I have to say that I'm proud of all participants. You all did what I asked, did GREAT jobs, and you were brave enough to post before photos.LOL Because you all did such a great job, it was very hard to decide who to give the gift certificate to. I could just keep typing all night long but I'm just going to tell you who won.LOL

Debbie is this month's winner. Congratulations! Not only did she clean, she decluttered, rearranged, and really, went above and beyond the call of duty. She really impressed me by her willingness to keep going when the going got tough and by making that room homey and inviting. This has also inspired her dh to work on his own areas, making this achievement far reaching. Any cleaning that inspires others, should be commended. I'm really proud of you!

Because everyone had fun with my cleaning challenge, I've decided to create a second challenge starting August 1st. I'll post the rules and graphic later today or tomorrow, first chance I get.

I am blessed by you all and so thankful that I have so many friends willing to do even the yucky stuff, like cleaning, with me. Keep up the good work and I'll set up the next challenge soon.



The Jon Manual...

I don't know if you all have looked at my son's blog but he's going to be putting photos of his cooking and baking projects and his Summer Clean up Challenge ideas and photos. I just wanted to plug his site since I'm so proud of him. :) I guess it'd help if I posted his blog addy...LOL




My Daily Ramblings...

My girls enjoying some girl time...

Today's been a good day. We started the day with a quick dip in the green pool.lol Jon needed to clean the bottom of the pool and Evie wanted to go too. You couldn't have PAID me to get in.LOL While they were out there, they found this....

I'm telling you now, if you can't see it, too bad. This was as close as I was willing to get even with Jon telling me it was non-venomous.LOL

After the pool, we went to lunch with my Mom and brother at Larry's Subs. Sophia had such a good time.LOL Everyone just loved her. She was talking and cooing and smiling at anyone who came close enough. She's such a great little baby.

Sophia enjoying her new highchair...
I have to admit that I don't do change too well.LOL O.k., that's my big understatement of the day Kristine.LOL It's taken me 5 MONTHS to leave the house with this baby. And to actually do this without Allison is huge. You know I must have been desperate for Adult conversation.LOL

After lunch Jon, Sophia, and I went to Staples and My mom took Evie and Isaac to run errands. We bought way too much. Art supplies are my Achilles heel. Then we headed home. It was Sophia's naptime and I needed to get to the store today. She was really good and slept the whole time I was grocery shopping and Jon did a good job watching the sleeping baby.LOL

Now we are enjoying some down time until Mom brings the littles back. It's been a nice day even though I spent most of it running. It was a blessing to get out of the house.LOL



Monday, July 30, 2007

My Menu for this week...

Today's been good so far. The littles helped me make some bread and Jon has made some Chocolate Chip Muffins. Afterwards I gave them a bath and we're now waiting for those muffins to be done. Here's our menu for this week...

Crockpot BBQ Chicken, buttered noodles, salad
Crockpot Beef Short Ribs, rolls, broccoli
Ham and Potato soup, bread, salad
Grilled Chicken, rice, salad
Beef Stroganoff, broccoli
BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Lots of BBQ!lol I guess I'm in the mood and it's something that I can just stick in the crockpot and forget. With less help this week, I need simple and something that I can cook when Sophia is napping.(whenever that is...)



Saturday, July 28, 2007

Farewell Cousins...

Today we had a lot of goodbyes. First, we sent Allison off to Orlando. She'll be gone until Wednesday and we'll miss her greatly! Afterwards, My Dad brought the cousins, Nicolas and Briana over to say goodbye and to take Jon skating. They'll be flying home tomorrow very early in the morning. We're sad to see them go but I think they had fun while they were here...

My Dad getting the kids ready for Skating...

Briana posing while looking for her lost sneakers...

Nic being goofy...

Sophia in her brand new high chair...

Jon joking around, boy he's really growing up...

My Mom came over later and picked up Evie to go skating and run errands. I heard that they had lots of fun. I took a nap with the baby since I got up a 5am this morning with that same baby and then had to do more laundry for Allison's trip. Eric got some one on one time with Isaac. I've heard that they played cars.LOL All in all, a good day.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer Clean-up Challenge...

O.k. Ladies, This is the final weekend before the end of this month's challenge.

For myself, I plan on getting those locks on the cabinets and closet door so that I don't have to keep cleaning this room over and over and over again.lol I would still like to at least get some pictures on the walls this weekend. I wanted to paint but that just isn't going to happen with Allison gone til Wednesday.

I'm very happy that you all want to join me for another month! I'm going to try to tackle a few problem areas this next month. I think I'd like to tackle the laundry room and maybe my room. My room is not good at all.LOL Sophia is growing so fast that a few of the things in my room will be relocated and I'm also going to be tackling all the outgrown clothes. I have 5 kids worth of outgrown clothes to go through. ACK!



The Sophia Chronicles...

Here are Allison and Sophia...Allison is making that face because we wanted to get a photo of Sophia in her new outfit from Kohls and she was spitting up all over the place! Isn't that how it always is? She wore this outfit just long enough for this photo shoot.LOL Happy 5 months Sophia!

Hurry Mom, she's gonna blow! Nanny-nanny boo-boo...
Did you get that last pose? I'm so funny...


I know I'm cute, now take this outfit off since it's all wet...



Thursday, July 26, 2007


Southwestern Chicken and White Bean Soup
from a Swanson broth pamplet...

1 lb chicken, cubed
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 can chicken broth
1 cup salsa
1 can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn

Cook chicken, til browned. Add onion, garlic, and cumin. Cook til onion is soft. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20 min.

I served it with a dollop of sour cream for the littles so it wouldn't be as spicey.



A Portrait of Allison...

Here are Allison's highlights...
She picked a nice red color...
Here's Allison and Sophia in my yucky chair that I hide in my room...

Allison is leaving this weekend for the National Youth Gathering in Orlando. She's so excited! Her favorite band, Stellar Kart will be performing. I hope you have a great time!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Epic of Isaac...and The Days of Our Genevieve

Isaac really likes to spend time with his little sister. She is the only one who he will share his blankets with.LOL

I had the cutest conversation with Evie on the way home from taking Allison to Bible study tonight. We've been reading a child's Bible each morning as part of her school work and we happened by a beautiful rainbow on the way home. She was soooo excited and asked again what it meant. I told her it was God's promise never to flood the earth again and she asked what flood meant. So I told her it meant to put the dry ground under water. She watched the rainbow for a little while and then asked how did God make rainbows?LOL I told her I didn't know and she told me that she didn't think God made it, she thought that he found it and put it in his pocket and then decided to share it with us today. Then she asked if she could make a rainbow and give it to God. I'm sure that gave God a smile. I told her she could make one when we got home and mail it to Him.
I just love this age.

The Sophia Chronicles...

My almost 5 month old!

We have had a very busy week. Allison, Jon, and Genevieve went to the water park on Monday with my Mom and the cousins. They all had a great time but ended up sun burned even though they used a whole bottle of sunscreen while there.

Yesterday, I finally did my shopping.LOL I was under budget! Whoohoo! It doesn't happen often and a few of those times it was because I forgot things but when it does happen and I didn't forget anything, it a big celebration around here.LOL

Allison got highlights in her hair yesterday. She's been wanting them forever but we made her wait until she was older.LOL She's very pleased with the look and I think it looks nice also. I'll post a photo later, she's wrangling the baby to sleep right now.

Sophia has outgrow the 6-9 month outfits and I only have two 12 month outfits so I guess I'll be shopping sometime this week.lol She's huge! She's teething again! She needed Tylenol yesterday. I sure wish she'd just get that tooth.lol

Well, I guess that's it. I've got a lot of work to do today. I'm going to install the locks in the toy room, do bills, and I think I'll go shopping with Mom and leave everyone else at home.LOL



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Clean-up Challenge...

O.k. I've been hearing some dissenting voices either in my head or out here in cyberspace saying that one month is not long enough for my lofty challenge of "just clean something". Now I am faced with two options.

1. Heckle those of you who haven't finished your projects... FOR eternity!!!


2. Offer an extension with maybe a bigger reward, like a $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

Now if you all have an opinion on this subject this would be the time to give that opinion.LOL

I'm open to doing two challenges back to back if that is something that you all would be interested in. I could have the kids pick a winner at the end of this month and then at the end of next month or just do one big winner for the whole two months.

Please help me to decide what to do.LOL



My Menu for this week...

O.k. here's my menu for the rest of the week. My brain fog has lifted and life slowed down long enough for me to figure out the meat issue.LOL

I made a list of the different cuts of meat in the freezer and that helped tremendously. The biggest problem that I see is that not all cuts contain enough for a family of my size. I will need to look for those cuts in the store when I see them on sale. For example, I only got a 1 pound package of short ribs. That just won't do in this family.LOL

Here's the plan...

Taco Salad
Southwestern Chicken and White bean soup w/bread
Savory Pot Roast w/veggies
Country Creole Peas and Corn, Cornbread
Lentils w/tomatoes and homemade bread (part of the kids school work)

Meat that I have no idea what to do with...

What's this?
Beef Strip Steak?
Top Round?
Cubed Steak?

Things I'll need to buy more of...

Short Ribs (any idea what to do with these?)

If you all have any ideas for these cuts of beef, I'd be grateful. Also, if they need extra work, like marinating or cooking twice that'd be great.



Monday, July 23, 2007

My Menu for this week...

Taco Lentil Casserole from De'Etta (which we just found tastes just like the other recipe.LOL)

and I have no idea what else.LOL

I'm having a hard time planning this week. Before, I've always just looked through the sale ads and then compiled a menu off of that. Well, I just received in the mail 50# of organic grass fed assorted meat. It has sent me over the edge.LOL The big thing I'm noticing is it's not the same cuts I would normally buy and it's not in the same quantities. I'm flummoxed as to what to do with it. Before, I always just bought what was on the list, now I need to work with what I have. Interesting that this would be my downfall.LOL

I do know that I need to get some chicken. I couldn't even figure out what to get at the store this weekend and so I didn't go. I do have the basics but I need to get this list made.LOL

Feel free to leave me some ideas....lol



ps. I think I've realized that buying meat in bulk is not for me.LOL

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Clean-up Challenge...

I'd like to make sure that I know of everyone who is participating in this challenge so I'm going to list those I've visited and if you aren't on here then send me a link to your blog so you can be in for the gift certificate at the end of the month.








Now, if you aren't on the list, let me know! We want to be able to visit your blog and torment, I mean, encourage you.



My Daily Ramblings...

This was a hard week, no getting around it.LOL Isaac had his surgery on Tuesday morning, it went well. He's such a great little boy, except for right now as he tries to type with his toes while I'm blogging.LOL While he was gone, I played with Evie. It's a little hard to play board games when Isaac is here because he always thinks all the people should be his and then he'll decide that the spinner should be his also and after a while, well, the whole game should be his.LOL So Evie and I had a nice time playing Candyland, Shoots and Ladders, and a Diego game. It was really nice to be able to focus on helping her understand good sportsmanship and to be a good sport when I, I mean, you lose.LOL Even Jon got in on a game or two and enjoyed the time. I think we're going to make this a tradition while Isaac has his surgery. It took our minds off of worry and made it into a good bonding time.

As my kids get older, God has been gently showing me that I need to be firm in my faith and not afraid to share my faith with others. I am blessed that God is so loving and forgiving towards me and I am learning so much. I remember when I first began opening my bible. I used to get so....frustrated!!! What in the world does it all mean? How in the world is this supposed to apply to my life? Why can't this make sense?!?!?LOL Some kind friends would tell me to read what other people said on the different books in the bible and then some would say no, study with the inductive method, and then some would say just read it over and over until it made sense.LOL

What I've come to understand during this journey, is that there is no easy way. It is hard work to understand the writings of God. You must have a desire--a need, to begin to make headway. You must first TRUST in God and He will make His words have meaning to you. Whew, that's hard for me. I've never been good on trust.lol Now I know that there isn't a wrong way to read the bible, God will bless your efforts and someday when you are reading, you'll be surprised that you understand and that it really will apply to your life. Just use what works, pray, pray, and pray some more and God will bless your efforts. I hope this encourages anyone who is frustrated with the bible to keep it up. It's hard work but it's so worth it.



I am not afraid either...lol

Kristine posted a challenge to "show yourself" as you are in everyday life. Well, I figured this was something that I could definitely do today.LOL

Not pretty, but if I cared I wouldn't post it.lol

Here's my goofy photo.lol

I can now see how a pocket camera can come in handy. It's hard taking your own photo with a gigantic camera.LOL



Monday, July 16, 2007

Book Review...

A Farewell to Yarns by Churchill was not on my Summer Reading Challenge BUT after reading the first book I decided to read the next one in the series. I really like this author! I really like the main characters. I just wish that she didn't feel the need to put foul language in the book.

In this book Jane gets a visit from an old friend. She's dreading the visit but when things take a turn for the worse, she's into trouble again trying to solve the case! Cozy and fun.



My Camera Saga...

It started with this camera...

Casio Exilim 4.0
We began our quest for the perfect camera. Small but sharp. Easy to use but detailed.lol My trusty little Exilim is a GREAT camera. The only trouble I had was trying to take photos of the littles with it or sports shots. My little camera couldn't keep up with the movement or the kids would be teeny-tiny when out on a field.

Evie this morning...

This was our next camera. I was not happy with the action shots at all. Many photos were ruined by blurriness. (We gave this one to Allison but she prefers my new camera)

Kodak Easyshare Z650


Evie still eating her breakfast...

We then moved to a Canon S3IS. My dh traded it in because I still wasn't happy. It was hard getting those moving little ones. I would need at least 10 photos of them just to get one good one. I had to adjust the ISO speed and it helped but then things were grainy. Here are some photos from it...

We finally just moved up the the SLR cameras. This one is my very favorite and I will not be trading it in.lol

It's the Canon Rebel xti (notice it's blurry,lol)


Evie done with her breakfast...

So basically, that's my review of the whole camera finding process we've been through.LOL I love, love, love, my Casio Exilim for being an easy pocket camera. It takes good stationary shots. It's soooo easy, just point and shoot. (We gave it to Jon and he uses it everyday.)

I love, love, love my Canon Rebel for it's action shots, and wiggly little people shots. It has great color and detail and it's pretty easy to use. I also love that I can buy different lenses for this camera.



Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Menu for this week...

Dinner for this week...

Steak and Greenbean soup with rice
Taco Lentil Rice
BBQ Chicken, rice, steamed broccoli
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
Salmon Cakes, salad and fruit
Popover Pizza, salad
Black beans and rice, salad



The Sophia Chronicles...

I bought this cute little headband and just had to get a picture of her in it. They look easy to make and I'm going to try to make a bunch of different flavors.LOL



Friday, July 13, 2007

A Portrait of Allison...

She's ALIVE! We weren't sure she was going to make it but sure enough, she's up and around again. She was back to her usual wonderful self today and it was so nice to have my Allison back...
Eating fishy crackers and sitting upright.

The littles had a nice moment outback with the hose. It would have been a nice hour or two if the weather man had been correct in his forcast for no rain today...

Evie showing her dismay over my wimpyness for being inside.

We have been hanging in there. I haven't been feeling too well since yesterday but I think it's more to do with stress and exhaustion than illness. Sophia hasn't been sleeping and Isaac's been up every morning at 4-5am. I'm hoping and praying for a normal week next week but I've been so thankful that the littles have been so good all week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Three Amigos

I had put Sophia on the floor in the kitchen so I could cook dinner, just to look behind me to see this....

Today Jon got the honor of feeding Sophia and he took that job very seriously...everyone was watching to make sure that he didn't put the food in the wrong place...lol
Meanwhile, I gave each child two organic sandwich cookies and that was so exciting that Isaac was running back and forth behind the couch...

Evidence of cookie eatage...

An insuing foot fight resulted from said sandwich cookies...

So that, in a photo nutshell, was our day.LOL



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Days of Our Genevieve...and The Epic of Isaac...

What? You want a GOOD picture of me?

Hah! Foiled again!
Look at those EYE LASHES!!! At least a mile long. It's amazing that he can keep his eyes open.LOLWhat a sweet guy!

We're having a pretty good day today. No temper tantrums, biting, or hitting.LOL



The Jon Manual...

How does your garden grow?
A photo of the sky today.
Jon's cucumber plants.
The gardener himself getting out of the horrible heat.
Jon's garden is really coming along! The cucumbers are already 3 inches tall and the tomatoes, peas, and lettuce have sprouted. It's been raining lately which is such a blessing and I can just taste that homegrown produce!