Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beauty in the Common Things: warm jammies
Listen In: dishwasher running, baby talking, my timer ticking
Supper Plans: see post below
Today I Plan To: buy one more pumpkin for ds9 to take to school tomorrow to carve, work on house, finish creating my holiday planning spot, make appt. for holiday picture, write a few emails, write a few notes, read my new Above Rubies magazine from cover to cover : )
View From the Kitchen Window: sunshine, dh's truck (I now drive the truck; diesel is expensive right now and he drives almost 100 miles each day to work and back. I only drive about 15 miles each day so I am driving the expensive and LOUD vehicle)
What I Am Reading: I am currently reading A Dog Called Kitty to the kids~ neighborhood kids and my kids. I am reading a book called Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund. This is such a great book! I highly recommend it.

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Menu Plan Monday

Last week I modified my menu quite a bit. We ate some of the meals I had planned but a few of them are going on this week's menu.

we had Smashing Pumpkin Soup, whole wheat rolls, and salad

*The pumpkin soup was not a hit with the kids. The adults liked it; it was a nice change. It had a nice subtle flavor even with the curry. I will make it again, but it's not a favorite.

Chicken and Artichoke Casserole, steamed baby carrots with brown sugar, brown rice, baked butternut squash

Texas Black Bean Soup for the crockpot, brown rice

Texas One Dish, baked sweet potatoes, and spinach salad

Bean Chili (black beans, pinto beans, red beans, chili seasoning, diced tomatoes), cornbread


Halibut Marengo, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Holiday Countdown


Assignment #1:

Designate a spot for Christmas planning.

My spots are limited because we are very crowded in this little rent house. I am going to designate the countertop in my kitchen where my cookbooks are located. I am going to have to clean it off first and then tell dh and the kids not to pile their papers there.

I need to put these items in my Christmas planning area:

  • Christmas Notebook (I will be making this later on today)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Christmas cards (need to make appt. for holiday picture for Christmas card)
  • Address book
  • Stamps (order online)
  • Mailing labels
  • Stapler
  • Sticky notes or tape flags
  • Accordion file or hanging file folders for tear files
  • Christmas magazines
  • Mail order catalogs
  • Cookbooks
  • Recipe files
  • Christmas books
  • Lap desk or writing surface (going to use kitchen table)
Today is day #9 of the official Holiday Countdown, but I am just getting started so it is day #1 for me. I have attempted to follow this plan for a few years now, since 2004 I think, and it always help me have less holiday stress. I never follow it to a T, but I try to. Each year I get a little better at planning the holidays so that they are not stressful. The most stressful thing for me is traveling during the holidays. Just the packing alone takes me a full 8 hour day. That is very stressful and I don't like it. This year we are staying in TX for Thanksgiving and traveling to OK for Christmas. Next year we will be in our new house so we will be hosting Thanksgiving and staying home by ourselves for Christmas. I am looking forward to that!
Have a happy Monday! : )

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beauty in the Common Things: "Titus 2" women (older Christian women who teach younger Christian women)
Listen In: a conversation about a spider
Supper Plans: sister-in-law has something planned for dinner
Today I Plan To: go out of town with brother-in-law and his family
View From the Kitchen Window: our scarecrow in the front yard

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Sometimes it seems that there is just too much work to do...too many messes to clean up...too many kids to raise...not enough money...not enough energy...

But then I remind myself that God is in control. He gives us what we need. He watches over us. He pours His love and blessings onto us. I remind myself that I can do ALL THINGS through Christ, who gives me strength.

I also remind myself that sometimes all I need is a good nap. So, I am going to go take that nap and wake up with a fresh perspective and a great attitude!

God gives rest to those He loves. I am so thankful for that!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Beauty in the Common Things: parents
Listen In: ds5 spelling words out loud
Supper Plans: BBQ beef sandwiches, salad
Today I Need to: download Dave Ramsey Show to iPod, work on laundry and house, make grocery list, go to grocery store, write a few thank you notes, plan Christmas picture/Christmas card, upload pictures of horses to blog (did I mention that we got 2 horses Sunday?? We are SO excited!!!), make sure ds5's outfit is clean for school pictures tomorrow : )
View From the Kitchen Window: sunshine, wind, green grass that is starting to turn brown

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Time Travel Tuesday~accident or illness edition

This week Annie has asked us to tell about the most serious illness or accident we have ever had. I lead a boring life. I have not ever been really sick or had a bad accident. I know, that is a good thing, right?

I did have a near-drowning once at South Padre Island. I was on a trip to the island with the youth group from our church in Mission, Texas. I was swimming out to a sand bar alone and I kept swimming and swimming and swimming...and I never got there. I couldn't figure it out because the sand bar was there in the past (a few hours before this happened we had swam out to it). Anyway, I got really tired and the waves started going over my head. I couldn't keep myself above the waves, I was swallowing water, every time I tried to catch my breath a wave would crash into my face. It was very frightening.

I finally decided to give up. I literally made a decision to let myself just go under the water. There was no one anywhere near me and no one could see me out in the water. My muscles were aching and I was so tired from fighting those waves.

Then out of nowhere I saw man and his son on boogie boards. I cried out to them but they couldn't hear me. they finally saw me and came over. The man put me on the boogie board and took me to the shore. I collapsed onto the sand and cried.

That was the closest to a real accident I have gotten. I haven't had any real car accident, no broken bones, no hospitalizations except for pregnancy related stuff (kidney stones, miscarriages, etc.).

Wow, what a positive topic you chose this week, Annie! LOL Just kidding!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

My Mary Kay online party

I am hostessing a Mary Kay "E-PARTY" through my Consultant, Joslyn Eaton..... it will be ALL Day (24 hours) on Tuesday, October 23rd!!

Here is all you have to do...

*Get comfortable!! You can even shop in your jammies!

*Visit her web page here.

View and shop for the latest and GREATEST in Mary Kay Products!! You can even do a virtural makeover!!

*Don't forget the Holidays are fast approaching so check your list twice...she'll even gift-wrap for you for FREE!!

*You will also receive a FREE GIFT with a $40 or more purchase!

*You can either pay online with a credit card or pay Joslyn upon delivery.

*Joslyn will confirm your order with you and arrange for delivery or shipping with you via email or phone (whichever you indicate on your order).

Please put MY NAME in the COMMENTS SECTION on the order page! This will let Joslyn know that you joined my E-PARTY so I will receive my hostess credit (FREE Products)!!

*If you would like to get FREE Products and want to hostess your own ON LINE PARTY, make sure to let Joslyn know in the Comments section. She will send you the details and an "E-MESSAGE" that you can pass on to your email list of friends!!

Don't delay...this "E-PARTY" invitation self-destructs in 24 hours!!!

Have Fun and Happy Shopping!!

P.S. If you have any questions about any of the products you can email me at gigijones@sbcglobal.net or call me.

I sent out an email about this to a lot of you, but there are some of you whose email addresses are MIA. So I thought this would be a great way to get the word out there.

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Money-Making Monday

This morning I was reading Money Saving Mom's blog
and saw Money-Making Monday.

One way I have been making $ is by selling things on eBay. I am selling clothes the kids have outgrown, homeschooling books we no longer need, DVDs we no longer watch, and also things I have bought at garage sales that I think will sell. Right now I have a huge stack of clothes and books that I need to list. I am also going to list dh's handheld pocket pc. Hopefully that will sell because we paid an arm and a leg for it.
I also got a Gymboree credit card, planning to buy stuff on sale and then sell it on eBay later in the year. Right now there is a ton of summer and fall stuff on sale on gymboree.com. If I buy it on sale, then use the discounts I get for having a card (mainly coupons I get in the mail plus sometimes they offer free shipping) I can get lots of great clothes inexpensively. Then turn around and sell it and make a little $$.

I could write lots more on this subject but I need to go. The day has started and I am still sitting here in my jammies. It is cold and rainy and I wish I could sit here all day in my jammie!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Red Beans and Rice
Tuesday: Crock Beef Sandwiches, cole slaw, baby carrots
Wednesday: Michelle's Country Ham Chowder
Thursday: Chicken and Artichoke Casserole, steamed baby carrots with brown sugar, brown rice, baked butternut squash
Friday: Texas One Dish, baked sweet potatoes, spinach salad
Saturday: Halibut Marengo, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad
Sunday:Smashing Pumpkin Soup, whole-grain rolls, spinach salad

Smashing Pumpkin Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium hig heat and saute onions. Cook till very soft and add remaining ingredients, except milk. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Add milk and continue to cook (but not boil-it will break) for another 5 minutes.

Serve with a huge spinach salad and whole-grain rolls.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007


This morning I was awakened by my darling hubby at 6 am. No sleeping in for me. I had to get up, shower, get dressed, etc. and go pick up ds9 and ds5 at IHOP at 8. They spent the night with Pap a last night out in his camper, out at our land. I picked them up, got ds9 on his way to football practice (he rode with a friend) took dd13 to the Fall Festival where she was helping with the pumpkin painting booth (Girl Scouts). Imagine me at the fall festival with 5 children ages 7 and under trying to paint pumpkins. Hi, what was I thinking? Pushing a stroller with one hand while holding a toddler's hand and trying to juggle a wet pumpkin all while struggling against intense wind is lovely. So much for the nice hair and makeup I did this morning at 6:30. I was looking pretty cute before I went to that festival.

Anywho, I planned to go home and work on laundry for a while. Laundry is mucho backed up around here. DH has to dig through the piles on the couches to fund undies. Not good.

BUT, I got a call from dh asking me to bring lunch out to the land to feed all of the guys. The guys= dh, dh's 2 brothers, dh's dad and mom, my dad, my dad's 2 friends who have driven down from Oklahoma to do our conrete work on the shop. Plus me and the 5 children I was bringing with me. So, I ran home, fed Chunky Monkey, changed a couple of diapers, fought the neighborhood kids off, then jumped back into the van and went to Wal Mart. I bought these gigantic sub sandwiches, chips, and cookies and went out to feed the troops.

Lunch went well. Everyone was fed and there was food left over. Yeah me!

We piddled around out there for a while, then I took the babies back home with me to take naps. That went well until I figured out that Chunky Monkey was running a temp of 101+.

Went to Walgreens to get Tylenol for him then back to the land with my children plus 3 borrowed ones from the neighborhood. Right, at his point there are 10 children out at the land/house with us. They were having a blast getting dirty and running around. Those children will all sleep very well tonight!

Came back home, where we ate dinner (Baked Rigatoni, spinach salad, green peas, green beans) then bathed kids and put them to bed. Baby Girl screamed for about 45 minutes saying that her knees hurt. I finally gave her ibuprofen and put her to bed. She cried/screamed for a while and is now asleep. I hate to put my kids to bed crying, but she was completely inconsolable. She seemed to scream louder if I held her and tried to comfort her.

Chunky Monkey is awake now so I have to go. Just thought you would like a rambling, fragment-sentence-filled update.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Meema

My Meema (Mom's mom) went to heaven on this day in 1993. She was a great lady. I miss her still, but I am so glad she's in heaven and I will get to see her again someday! That will be so fun!!

Here is a picture of me with her when I was a little girl.

My Papa (Dad's dad) died when I was in 3rd grade. I remember lying in bed at night missing him so much. My Dad's parents lived next door to us and I saw my Papa a lot. I remember asking God to tell Papa Hi and to tell him that I loved him and missed him. Well, I must admit, I still do that! I ask God to tell Meema, Granddad, and Papa hi from me. Isn't that silly? It just makes me feel happy to think that maybe God does tell them Hi from me.

So tonight I am asking God to tell Meema that I love her and I will see her again one day and that she will get to meet all 7 of my children one day. What a great reunion that will be!

When she passed away, my 14-year old niece was the only one of my mom's grandchildren we had. She was 2 months old at the time. The other 15 grandkids came along after Meema died. I found out one week after Meema died that I was pregnant with my oldest child. My poor Mom. Her mother had just died and she found out that her 16-year old daughter was pregnant! Oh my goodness, now that I have a teenage daughter of my own I can't imagine what I put my mom through. But all is forgiven now and we have a great relationship.

I am thankful for such a wonderful grandmother. She was strong, quiet, loving, interested in my life, and kind to everyone. I remember that she always had tears in her eyes after we prayed before a meal. I remember her washing dishes and whistling hymns as she washed. I remember her little red belt. She only had to get it out one time with me! She was a quilter and I had gotten a bag of her quilt batting and was playing with it. She told me to put it away. I kept playing with it. So she went to her bedroom and got the famous little red belt. I immediately put the batting away and never defied her again! I cried because I had gotten in trouble with her. I will never forget that experience. It was such a big deal to me because it was the first time and only time I remember Meema being disappointed in me.

Meema had breast cancer when I was in 4th or 5th grade. I don't remember all of the details, but I know that she had cancer in one breast, then went into remission, then had it in the other breast. It eventually went to her lungs and then spread to her brain. She passed away shortly after the cancer spread to her brain. That is how I remember it happening. She passed away at home. My sister Christina and I were there with her when she died. It is actually a very wonderful memory of mine. Just the fact that we were there meant so much to me. I'm glad I was there when she took her final breath and I think Christina can say the same thing.

I am thankful for her life. I am thankful God chose her to be my grandmother.

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My Stick Family

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Crock Pea Soup, spinach salad, baked butternut squash, whole-wheat rolls
Tuesday: Chicken and Rice Chowder, salad, whole-wheat rolls
Wednesday: Asian Orange Salmon, baked potatoes, steamed carrots, steamed green beans
Thursday: Baked Rigatoni, spinach salad
Friday: Stuffed Quesadillas, leftover salad
Saturday: Red Beans and Rice

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Grains of Gratitude

I really enjoy reading Michelle's Grains of Gratitude posts. It is always refreshing to read positive things and sometimes my thinking needs a shift. Today is one of those days!

Here are a few things I am grateful for:
1. I am grateful my son only has an ear infection and nothing more serious.
2. I am grateful we live close to a great children's hospital!
3. I am grateful that I have 7 children. With each child born or adopted, I learn more about love, I learn more about the Lord, my relationship with my husband grows better and closer, and God gives me more wisdom. Maybe we should have 7 more!
4. I am grateful that we moved to this town. I love it here! It feels like a small town but there are about 20,000 people here. I am confident that this is where God wants us and I don't want to be anywhere else.
5. I am grateful for my church family. God has blessed us, once again, with an awesome group of believers to worship with and to love. We saw Christ in action Friday night when our friends swooped our kids up and took care of them while we sat in the ER all night.
6. I am grateful for YOU!

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Meat loaf, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, baked butternut squash
Tuesday: Crock Pea Soup, spinach salad, whole-wheat rolls
Wednesday: Chicken and Rice Chowder, salad, whole-wheat rolls
Thursday: Asian Orange Salmon, baked potatoes, steamed carrots, steamed green beans
Friday: Baked Rigatoni, spinach salad
Saturday: Stuffed Quesadillas, leftover salad

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Update on Sickie

A quick update:
A few of you know that we spent 12 hours in the ER last night. I wanted to give you a quick update. Ds7#1 is fine now. Thank you for your prayers. He has a middle ear infection and an external ear infection. They gave him IV antibiotics and did lots of tests. The dr. was concerned that he may have an infection in the bones surrounding his left ear, thus explaining the swelling behind his ear. But, thankfully that is not what it was! We got to Dallas Children's Hospital at 3:45 p.m. yesterday and got home this morning at 3:00. Our other children were at different friends' houses. We have been blessed with great Christian brothers and sisters here and they all rallied together and took care of the troops.

All of our children are back home safe and sound and the sickie is doing much better after those IV antibiotics! Thank God for medicine and children's hospitals when we need them!

**I accidentally wrote that ds7#2 was the one who was sick. That was a mistake. It is ds7#1 who was sick! And, because I am getting tired of writing ds7#1 and ds7#2, from now on I am going to write B and E. I hope that makes it less confusing for all of us! B was the sickie.**

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An Award!

Annie gave me an award, the Mathetes award!

Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) is to make more disciples.

What an honor. Thank you , Annie. Love u too!

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

House and Shop Pictures

This evening I took a few pictures of our house and shop for you! I am getting more and more excited as things begin to take shape.

Picture #1: The view looking from an upstairs window on the back of the house. All of the black dirt will eventually be our back yard.
Picture #2: The back of the house, standing in back yard looking toward house
Picture #3: My cute hubby standing in the office (above the garage)
Picture #4: View from the side of the house, standing in driveway looking toward garage and front of house
Picture #5: ds9 and ds7#2 standing in office (above garage)
Picture #6: front of house
Picture #7: my courageous son standing on one foot very close to the edge
Picture #8: the shop, almost finished (needs doors and a bit more metal put up)

See all the trash laying around? This weekend guess what we will be doing? Yes, cleaning up all of that mess! The kids and I will clean up while dh works on the shop. We really enjoy doing it, though. It is very rewarding.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Our weather here is supposed to be gorgeous. I think our highs will be around 80 all weekend and then next week we are supposed to have 70s for the highs. Perfect.

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Sweet Potatoes! Carrots! Yum!

This afternoon dd13 helped me make baby food for Chunky Monkey. Those are her chipped blue and pink polished fingernails in the top picture. Just in case you thought I was getting creative with my nails these days.

Chunky Monkey loved the carrots! They were a big hit! He's going to try the sweet potatoes for lunch tomorrow. Hopefully they will be a great success, too.

This is fun stuff!

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Annabel Karmel

This morning I have been looking through a cookbook called Super Foods for Babies and Children by Annabel Karmel.

For those of you who have little ones (birth to 5ish) and who want to try new recipes for them, especially for breakfasts and lunches, you need to read this book. I especially like the recipes for baby food. Who would have thought to combine banana and avocado (for a 6-month old)? Or salmon with sweet potatoes (for a 7-9 month old)? There are lots of great, healthy ideas in this book! Go check it out!

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Japanese Diet update:

I have taken a few things from the Japanese lifestyle and adapted them to fit our lifestyle. We are eating fish once a week. I know that isn’t nearly as much as the Japanese eat, but I do believe eating it once a week will be very beneficial to our health. I hope to add more in the future, but for now, we are consistently eating it once a week. We are also eating brown rice quite a bit instead of other carbs. We probably have brown rice with our dinner 3 times a week.

The unsweetened green tea didn’t go over so well with any of us. The Japanese Power Breakfast wasn’t so great either. Okay, it was pretty bad. It was very bland. The miso soup was bland, also. Yuck! Maybe I just didn’t cook it right. I haven’t made the Scrambled Eggs and Beef yet.

Bento lunches are still a hit! I am not making Bento lunchboxes every day, but when I do make them, the kids love it! For some reason cheese and turkey tastes so much better when it is cut into little acorns and leaves. J

Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on that. I am excited about the changes we have made!

Meal Reviews:

This week is our first week to follow the Saving Dinner menus and recipes. So far, so good! Monday night I made Apple Chicken, steamed broccoli, baked potatoes, and baked butternut squash. It was a big hit with everyone, including the kids! In fact, 3 of my kids not only got seconds, but thirds as well. My dad, father-in-law, and mother-in-law loved it, too. It was my mother-in-law’s birthday so we had cake, balloons, streamers, cards, and gifts after dinner. What a great night!

Tuesday night our family went to the state fair, so we had corn dogs and funnel cakes for dinner!

Last night I made Picante Beef, brown rice, baked sweet potatoes, and salad. I bought a different cut of roast than she suggested. Actually, I just used what I had in the freezer, which was a chuck roast. The author of the book recommended a sirloin roast, I believe. Mine turned out okay, but it would have been better with a leaner roast. Also, next time I will cook it all day in the crock pot. Roast just turns out better if cooked in the crock pot, IMO. It is more tender that way.

So far, both meals I have tried from Saving Dinner are keepers! Tonight we are having Beany Burritos. I will let you know how those turn out.

Beauty in the Common Things: the smells of Autumn

Listen In: silence

Supper Plans: see above

Today I Plan To: house maintenance

View From the Kitchen Window: sunshine and shadows

Yesterday I took ds7#2 to the dr. (ear infection). On the way home, he said, “Mommy, why don’t you go to work?”

Me: “I stay home to take care of you and your brothers and sisters and Daddy.”

Him: “But, some moms go to work.”

Me: “Right. Some moms work outside of the home and some moms stay home and work there. ”

Him: “So, what do you do?

Me: “ I take care of you guys, I take care of our home, I cook for you, and I take care of Daddy.”

Him: “So, you do laundry all day?”

I think I just confused him. I was trying to teach him that staying home is very important and that moms who stay home work very hard taking care of their families. And I guess he’s right in a way, I do work on laundry alot! It kind of hurt my feelings that he thought all I do is laundry all day, but then I remembered that he is a 7-year old little boy! Enough said.

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Monday, October 08, 2007