Archive for November, 2007

My daughter thinks she doesn’t like spaghetti with marinara sauce on it.

She loves pizza.

So last Monday, I took great pleasure in watching her eat this…


Oh yes! Spaghetti disguised as pizza! It’s the little things really.

I used this recipe and this recipe. I liked the presentation of the Kraft foods recipe since it officially looks like pizza. I added the milk and extra sauce from the allrecipes recipe since the Kraft commenter said hers turned out a little dry. I topped mine with 1/2 pepperoni and 1/2 green pepper. Both my kids ate it, which I consider a miracle since they are currently averse to casseroles.

Have you tried this? What’s your recipe? Got any other favorite kid pleasing recipes?

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Jeanne over at At a Hen’s Pace is hosting the first-ever Carnival of Anglican Advent Traditions on Tuesday. Head on over and get some great ideas for celebrating the season of Christ’s birth with your family.

We are trying some new things in our house this season. I’m keeping my eyes out for a really special Advent calendar and Advent wreath. Until I find one, we are using a store-bought paper Advent calendar on our fridge, and we are lighting some random candles around our nativity scene each night while we have a Christmas-themed story time. My oldest is just starting to separate fact from fiction and to develop her own personal piety, so I really long to develop some Christian traditions that work for us this year. This is also the first year since we moved here that we will not go South for Christmas, so I pray that it will be a really special time for our family.

Other than the above, I’ve borrowed this Advent devotional from the library for myself. And I hope we’ll read the Christmas story from Luke before we open our gifts Christmas morning to keep our focus where it belongs.

I’m looking forward to getting some great ideas from the rest of you.

Most of all, I’m trying this year to catch my children’s enthusiasm for the season. Not officially Advent yet? No bother, I’m making use of the teachable moments. If the world wants to worship Christ through music incessantly for days on end, I’ll take it. I’ll revel in it with my twirling children.

I’ll bake cookies with them. I’ll order early Christmas cards. I’ll think about gifts before I’m ready. I’ll put to death my earthly curmudgeon, and make room in my heart for a new baby.

God bless you and yours this season.

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Random tidbits @ moi

Stephanie, aka bad mom, tagged me for the 7 random things meme. And I realized it’s about 100th post time for me! woo hoo! Consider this a little foretaste of the traditional 100 things list.


1. Eggplant makes me throw up. Do not try to sneak it into my food. ‘Nuff said.

2. Buy now, save later! I am becoming addicted to bargain shopping at CVS and at Meijer stores using The Grocery Game‘s list. I’m not sure this is a good thing. But, yes, it is fun. If you’re interested, I can hook you up and you can take it for your own test drive. I am learning things…about bargain shopping, and about myself.

3. One of the things on my thankful list this year is Barney. Yes, I was one of those people who swore he would never be watched in my house. And, no, my kids are not particularly interested in him at this stage of the game. But I don’t think I would tell my kids ‘I love you’ nearly as much if it weren’t for Barney. Those words didn’t come easily in my family when I was growing up. But good ‘ole Barney said it enough for several lifetimes. It flows effortlessly from me now.

4. I love Hello Kitty. I’m not sure why. But apparently this unexplainable love was genetically transmitted to my daughter.

5. I don’t have cable. (Blogging is the new cable, isn’t it?)

6. In college, I won the Margaret Beatty Courtney poetry prize. This was my last major literary honor until my honorable mention in the Haiku Buckaroo contest.

7. Even though I am an introvert, after we moved to Illinois I went knocking on neighbors’ doors to find playmates for my extroverted child. I am not sorry.

I’m tagging Sincerely Anna, Knightly Chats, Jill @ The Diaper Diaries, David @ Conscious and Occasionally Organized Ramblings and Cindy @ Happy Chaps. If I haven’t tagged you, you’ve either already done it — or you don’t seem to be much of a meme-er. So if you’re reading, and you want to play, consider yourself tagged…and take pity on me and leave a comment! It’s my 100th post!

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I love THIS. (Hat tip to Ann Kroeker)
I think I’ll keep working on this thankfulness gig, and I’ll try to share something more throughout the month. Will you join me?

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I made several attempts at a thankfulness post, but nothing came together quite right; so I decided to go ahead and share S.’s birth story with you today. It seems quite fitting for the occasion. Be thankful. Enjoy.

1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.

I confess I was initially somewhat ambivalent about having a second child. I didn’t have strong feelings one way or another. But at the time, I felt really connected to Hannah’s story about Samuel. I felt God telling me that if I did want a second child, all I had to do was ask. And I felt that it would be a boy. Although it took us quite awhile to get pregnant with our first child, once my husband and I agreed to start trying for a second, it seemed we were pregnant right away.

Dear S.

My pregnancy with you was different from the start. You got a mama that was more experienced…and more tired. Sissy and I took our quiet time every day — giving my body a chance to help you grow inside me.

I confess that when I found out you were a boy, I cried. I thought that I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy since I only grew up with sisters — but of course, God placed you in just the right family at just the right time, and you have been nothing but a joy and a blessing.

Sometimes I wondered if you were OK in there because you were so quiet and still in my belly compared to your sister. But I know now that was just your calm and gentle personality.

I developed gestational diabetes while pregnant with you, but that meant we both got lots of extra care and attention. I got to peek in at you every month at our ultrasound to see how big you were getting. I ate a special diet and learned to give myself shots.

Because I had gestational diabetes, we had a delivery one week early by scheduled induction. We had an amniocentesis to make sure your lungs were mature. I decided to give you as much time as I could after your sister’s birthday, so that’s why we chose the 14th. I hope you like your birthday.

Your lungs were ready, but my body, as usual, was a little reluctant. My doctor suggested we use some dilating cream and wait one more day, but I was too impatient to meet you; so we stuck with the 14th. A. was already at Grandmother’s having a spend the night party. She made us beaded necklaces to wear at our birthing party. And we did.

Since we were using Pitocin, I decided to go with an epidural again. I got it a little earlier this time, and it wore off before you were born. It seemed like things moved very slowly because I expected them to go faster the second time (I’ve done this before). You finally came, and it was much easier and faster to push you out.

I remember seeing you come out so quietly and so peacefully. Time stood still while you slowly unfolded your arms before you made any noise. I couldn’t believe how handsome you were. A. was excited to come meet you and even shared her special blue blankie with you. We are so thankful God sent you to our family. You fit in perfectly.


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WFMW – get more lotion


Picked up a great WFMW tip from my big sis on my trip home. If you cut the top off of hand lotion bottles (the tall ones that are designed to “stand” on their ends), you can get more lotion out with your fingers. She uses a clothes pin to clip them shut after she cuts them open. Haven’t tried it yet, but sounds like a great tip for all you frugal types out there.

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img_2009.jpgI’ve just returned from a long weekend “down South” where I attended my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration. For various reasons, it was decided that I would fly down by myself for a few days. I was excited about taking a vacation from motherhood and spending a few days with my extended family, acting like a grown-up, not just a mom…thinking complete thoughts, writing some things, reading, sitting quietly (I know, it’s the little things; and I am a nerd.)

But, y’all, how cute were those kids in the airport? And how friendly were those parents with other kids shooting each other knowing glances and making witty repartee about the kids?? Of course, I saw the cuteness everywhere I went. And I called home daily to hear the cuteness. And those grown-ups keep late hours, and don’t take naps.

I am so glad to be back home in mom-ville, doing laundry and enjoying a pajama day, complete with playdates with the neighbor-kids. It’s a good life I got here, y’all. I am grateful.

Overheard on the plane at take-off:

“Mom, I feel just like a tube of toothpaste!”


I did read a book on the plane called “Here Comes Heaven” by Bill Johnson, who has two other titles over there in my reading list on the sidebar. We’ve been discussing him in my church prayer group this fall. This book is written for kids to help them understand and grow in their relationship with the Holy Spirit. Very different from anything I experienced as I kid, so it was interesting to think about how to explain some of these concepts to kids and imagine what their prayer life might look like. I also got a chance to write some letters I’d been wanting to pen and work on my ds’s birth story, which I had never finished. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to share the fruit of those quiet moments with you in the next few weeks.

The reception for my parents was a simple, yet warm and affirming affair; just what they wanted, I believe.

from Psalm 119

89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.

90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.

91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.

I am so grateful for my family, for those who came before me and for those who have come after me. We are not perfect, but the author and perfecter of our faith is. He is faithful. His love endures forever.

I was a little bit sad to realize that many of the children of my parents’ peers have fallen away from their faith. I would hate for them to miss out on their greatest inheritance.

from Philippians 1:6, 9-10

he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Lord, graciously hear us.

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I had seen this beautiful button around the blogosphere, but just realized I better get in gear if I want to share the culinary joy. I am the lucky blogger who gets to go to Fried Okra‘s for Thanksgiving. I know, you are all jealous. She is preparing the big guns, but I’ll be adding the sweet potato casserole (recipe below) and the corn pie (I see lots of recipes for that have already been shared). Corn pie is a new holiday fave of mine. Try it! This is my mother-in-law‘s recipe for sweet potato casserole. It is delicious, as is every recipe of hers. (Jedi skills) Enjoy.

3 c. mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/3 stick butter
1 t. vanilla

Mix all of the above together and put it in a large casserole.


1 c. light brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans
1/3 stick butter
1/3 c. flour

Mix together and spread on top of potatoes.

Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

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circus_tent.gifYes, we went to the circus last Saturday. A. put on her fuzzy leotard and her tights (which, let me tell you, is a miracle because that girl reFUses to wear tights all winter. She has issues with how the seams feel on her toes and such; but — really, who can blame her?) because she wanted to look like one of the acrobats. I did convince her that we she might need to put a skirt on over this ensemble, so that no one would mistake her for one of the actual circus performers. (Yes, definitely, shades of Jacqui from over at In the Life of a Child. I love reading about her escapades). A. agreed, and then proceeded to load her very own .95 in her teeny tiny little skirt pocket.

I just got her this bank, because the child is ripe to learn about money management. And I know I’ve got to start teaching those lessons before it’s too late. This is a bank that actually has separate slots for money you want to save, spend, donate, and invest. She completely got me the other day when she was the one who remembered to contribute her own 20 pennies to her school’s Make a Difference Day fund drive for AIDS orphans in Africa. I think I ordered the bank online that very night. She’s very excited. She has cleaned out every couch cushion and junk drawer looking for spare change to feed the pig.

Now I don’t do actual allowance yet. And everything she wants is so darned expensive; it feels a little overwhelming to break down financial lessons into ones that are bite-sized and not completely soul-killing to a six-year-old who just wants to buy something sparkly with her own money.

All this to say, she didn’t get to spend her .95 at the circus because of course we all know that the sparkly things at the circus cost $20. I guess that is an important lesson learned that I hope didn’t kill off too much childhood innocence. How are we supposed to teach in this environment, people?! Instead she munched on the Halloween candy and Cheetos I had stuffed in the diaper bag and marveled at the noisy spectacle that is the circus. (Mom, look…DOGS! … Irony.)

I guess we’ll she’ll be practicing spending money at yard sales, dollar stores, and Aldi because I am frugal, and it pains me to let a 6-year-old child take her first steps into money management with a $20 bill. Silver lining, Sunday afternoon she found a Halloween “haunted” gingerbread house in the clearance bin at Aldi for .50. Just the perfect thing I consider too frivolous to spend my own .50 on, but holds infinite value and attraction for hers. She bought. She built. She bit.

Anyone who’s been there got any tips for me?

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Clearly, Fried Okra and I are different Mamas when it comes to crafting! Got a caption for this?

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