Friday, October 31, 2008

My dear, dear all know who!


#3 (aka Luke Skywalker) "Here mommy, here are the scissors that were in our room"

Mommy "Thank you "Luke" - did you cut your hair?"

"Luke" - "no....."
Mommy "Why don't you go look in your mirror...."

While looking in the mirror "Did you cut your hair?"

Sheepishly, "yes" in his smallest voice possible.......

Dr Kevin Lehman calls it reality discipline.... here is what that looks like in my house right now.......
New nickname - JarHead!! I just need to trim the sides down to the skin!

Note - the last time he had the scissors he cut my dear daughters UNCUT hair - in the front, on top - hard to hide that mistake while wearing pig tails!! Thus the reality discipline - he not only cuts his hair but has cut his sisters twice now!!
While being caught with a sharpie in hand and the following face....

"Here mommy, I accidentally......"

Mommy - "No you did not accidentally stand in front of the mirror and draw on your face!"
"Sorry" again sheepishly and small voice!

What do you do with a child who in his fourth year of life has been to the ER FOUR times, had Poison Control called FOUR times, and this does not count times like above????

I trust that God has something special planned for this child should he make it to adult hood! And I know God made him extra cute to help him make it!!
Any parenting advice will be read & attempted and is welcome!
Did I mention that the three boys with their sisters supervision - disassembles our Little Tykes picnic table yesterday too? Yes, what a day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Soups on! Lots of yummy recipes!

Soup is on in our home! We are sharing some of our favorite soup recipes, enjoy these and check out the link below for even more!! Happy eating!!

Harwood Family Potato Soup
6 lg. potatoes, peeled and chopped 16 oz carton sour cream
1 lg. onion, chopped 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 tsp. chicken bouillon 1/2 c. green onions
1 stick margarine
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese

Cover potatoes, onion and bouillon with water; cook until tender. Do not drain water. Mash potatoes; add margarine, Velveeta, sour cream and bacon. Heat until cheese melts, garnish with green onions.


5 lbs. chuck, cut into small bite-size pieces
flour, salt & pepper, shortening
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (12oz.) frozen chopped onion, or fresh
1 pkg. (12 oz.)frozen chopped bell peppers, or fresh
2 cans (28oz.) Italian tomatoes, diced
6 cups hot beef stock (or a combination of boullion and water (watch the salt though)
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup pearl barley
2 t. ground thyme
2-3 bay leaves
1 pound carrots, cut into matchstick size
2 (8oz.) cans mushrooms, stems and pieces
10-16oz. frozen green peas

Season meat cubes with flour, salt and pepper. Brown in shortening or oil in heavy iron pot. May have to do this in 2 batches. Cook onion, peppers and garlic in same pot with meat for about 5 minutes. Add hot stock to meat mixture. Add tomatoes, wine, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil. Add barley. Cover and simmer about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and add seasonings as needed. Add carrots and cook 45 minutes more. Add mushrooms and peas. Cook a little longer to heat through. Remove bay leaves and serve. Makes about 7 quarts.
***this is always better made a day ahead***
Chicken & Rice Crock Pot Soup
1 family size can of Condesed Chicken and Rice Soup
2 Can Ranch style pintos (not drained)
2 cans of diced tomatoes (not drained)
4 cups chicken broth (or 2 cans)
2 cups chopped chicken (optional)
1 can cream corn
grated cheese to garnish
Tortilla chips (optional)
Mix first 5 ingredients. Heat in crock pot all day. Before serving add cream corn stir & warm a little bit. Sprinkle cheese over bowl of soup - we crush chips too and eat like tortilla soup.
"Souper" Easy & everyone in my family loves it!!
Betsy's Tomato & Bean Soup

1 sm onion chopped
2 t olive oil
3 clove garlic crushed
1 T chopped fresh parsley
2 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes undrained
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) can white beans
¼ t pepper
¼ c parmesean cheese
¾ t oregano

Sauté onion and garlic 4 min or until tender. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients (tomato-pepper) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 min. Ladle into bowl & sprinkle parm cheese on top.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What a Wednesday!

Act I : It started with one child throwing up at the breakfast table! Yuk!

Act II : Little girl shattering a large clear glass bowl all over the floor and proceeding to try to back out of the mess.

Followed by the typical ups and downs of a day. But boy when it starts like that it is hard to expect it to end well!
We did get some reading done out of a couple new books we received on Monday - one is Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children. Oh my! It was so good. We read Midsummer Night's Dream this morning and I remember seeing that play in High school, probably reading the actual play, but never knew the story! I was so excited to finally know the plot and the characters and get it! I don't think my kids were as impressed but now, if they see the play or read the big stuff, they will get it more than I did! We also got the Blue Fairy book - and started a story in there. So far we are enjoying our new Ambleside books!
I did get some sewing in today too - the finished product...

Notice you either cannot see her head or she is balling in most of the pics - because she HATES the outfit ...why? Because she is a 2 year old little girl - go Figure!!

But I thoroughly enjoyed making it and plan to keep sewing! I was pretty excited for Robert to ask me "Did YOU make that?" In that way that said- you can really make something that looks good? So I was happy with my finished product! Even if my dear daughter is not. I will bribe her!

Yesterday was a great day in our home .... we got our annual supply of fire wood! Usually I have to ration myself all winter to ensure we have some for the late winter days in March that sometimes hit us. This year Robert was a dear and went ahead and ordered a FULL Cord of wood! So I get to burn to my heart's content this year!! We even had it delivered & stacked - what a blessing that was! After they finished I went to see "how much" a cord really is... well it is a lot! I do not have a pic, but maybe tomorrow! I am so excited - a bit sad the cool weather is already gone!

We were supposed to camp this weekend and it looks like we will be hanging out here since we are having double auto issues...the little car is in the shop in need of a new engine! Ugh!! And now the truck needs a repair too. But surely God knew this was going to happen and we will make it!

Here are some pics from our Fall Party we had on Monday with a few friends and some pumpkins! Lots of fun!

Playing Pin the Football in the Goal post!!

Here we are decorating our pumpkins!

The Coles and the Snodgrass Family

Well, hope your life is blessed and you are praying for our country! Thankfully we have a God bigger than all this stuff going on. Unfortunately he is a God who does allow things to happen and our country sure deserves some discipline right about now. I pray that an Un-Godly President is not our method of discipline right now. Anyway, I voted! Did you? If not - hope you will!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What a day...

We left the house yesterday at 8 am and did not get home until a little after 8pm. This may seem normal to some ... it is not to our family! We are never gone like that. We started out heading the the Dallas Arboretum to meet our CHEA friends (homeschool group) but we wanted to get there a little early (when it opened) to get our pictures out of the way first. That was a great success! There was not hardly anyone there and the kids were somewhat compliant! WOW! I did bring chocolate!

Next, Jennifer arrived and suggested we head up to IKEA to take advantage of our current location....with a little coersion I decided that did sound fun. For some reason I did not compute the time in my head. Needless to say after leaving IKEA we were in "early" rush hour traffic and had to skip the stop at home to "regoup" and went straight to church, to choir, to lead Bible study and so forth.

During Bible study someone called my cel, and since I could not find it I ignored it. I mean, most people know that Wednesday night I am at church. They called back about 10 minutes later - so at that point I found my phone to see what was the problem. It was Robert, his little car died and he was awaiting the tow truck! Ugh!! So then after church, the kids and I trekked over to the auto shop to meet him (in the dark and secluded auto shop) to take him home. We finally arrived home to then have to put pre-school activity packets together for about 2 hours (they are due today) (and I procrastinated!) so now, I am tired and we have another full day.

The good news? Well, I got some great pics, some fun Christmas gifts, and I did enjoy hanging out with Jennifer! So, all in all it was worth it!

My favorite pics are at the top - hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Morning Activities

I know I just got a post up but I thought I would post some pics of our morning! Can't you smell the bread?

Off Hiatus

Okay, so it has been a while - and a couple of states since I last posted! Anyway I am back for today!

Life has been so good. We are home from our fantastic trip to North Carolina and we had so much fun! The kids are still talking about all the great things we did and saw and of course playing with the kids! I am happily in my own bed and in my own home. I thoroughly enjoyed the road but it was so good to see our home. I was even happy to see my street and my mean neighbors across the street! And to express Robert's joy at having us home would be impossible!

Last week we tried to recover from living out of suitcases and get readjusted to Central Time Zone and our little reality!

It took a week! Yesterday was our first REAL "full" day - really morning - of school, and we still had our craft Monday friends over and did a shaving cream craft and had lunch and played. It was a great day. Above you can see "Luke Skywalker" and his friend doing their shavign cream art! The kids loved having their hands in it all and getting diry!

Today went so well I think because I was up before Robert left (5:30am) cleaned up the kitchen and had my quiet time before the kids were up! It meant I went to bed at 8:30 but that was great too!

This weekend we camped in Cedar Hill again. We went this time with CHEA (our homeschool group) and there were 3 other families. One family, the Myers brought lots of talents along with their balloon animals on Sunday and face painting too! It was a great way to conclude all our fun!

On Saturday we learned a lot about Dutch Oven cooking at a demo that the park put on. That day for lunch we enjoyed some great stew (dutch over style) and for dessert that night we "baked" a cobbler in our dutch over! It was great!

(Did I mention S'Mores very night? As per Robert's request!!)

I feel so blessed to see God working in our lives and those we love. I have been reminded lately of how he allows us to go through the fire sometimes because he wants to change us. We saw a Blacksmith on Saturday too - and he branded a piece of leather to show the kids. I think that when we go through the fire, sometimes it is in order for God to "brand" us by putting his mark on us in a more visible way. I think then we show God through our lives more clearly than when life is good and we are just rolling along. When we go through the fire and it hurts, we either try to gut it out on our own (and usually fail) or we turn to him for comfort, love, and support.

I am privileged to be seeing this in some lives right now. One is a fire of friendship and seeing how God is working in that, and how my friend will be a different person on the other side of this. We so often get caught in the moment and how it stinks or hurts, but we forget that in the years to come we will look back and say "Ahhh ha! That was why!" and I have to say those are my most precious parts of my life - now when I see it, but when I look back and the fire and see how God was more at work in my life than before. When I see how he was molding me because I was broken from the fire and how he needed my brokenness to make me more into the woman he wants me to be.

Anyway, I am blessed to be seeing God do great things in the lives of those I love. It reminds me more of how he is doing that in my life too!

Here are a few final shots of the kids while in Mississippi visiting our family! It was a great visit with lots of catching up and having fun! Adam is playing tag with my boys here and they just loved playing with him!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Endings - well kind of....

Today was our last full day here in NC. While it was a good day overall I think our kids are all turning into pumpkins. It seems as if they know that it is time for us to go home and the Lewis kids are wanting their home back and my kids are wanting to get to their home. Either way we had lots of y kids today and lots of tears. They did all play well together and we even had a friendly - well competetive game of soccer between the families. I am not sure who won but I seem to think Kristen took out my kids when she came in after Chewie asking is he told me who won. Did I mention she is pregnant & pulled her back today but still pushed me out of the way during the game? That competetive nature was kicking in!
Tonight we ended the trip with a movie too - this was a first for us letting them watch tv (the sitter did allow some tv time but oh well) and they were thrilled! We even treated them to some popcorn!

Yesterday we had a fun trip to West Produce where we took a hay ride, saw lots of fun animals and got a pumpkin to take home! What more could you ask for? The kids had lots of fun running around and playing and seeing some new NC friends! And we will 5 nice pumpkins to decorate our front yard on Sunday!

We have spent the last couple days talking about my "controlling" personality - well Kristen has been pointing it out to me. I told Robert and he actually said that I do have a controlling personality! Go figure that both Kristen (my best friend) and Robert (my dear husband) are in agreement! Maybe I do need to look at how I can be maybe not. I am sure they are just confused! So what if I took over Kristen's kitchen and did most of the cooking while I was here and gave her lots of grief over her "over-stocked" pantry and her plan for powdered milk in the coming weeks.... I am sure that is completely normal! Anyway I guess I will have to look into this behavoir!

Either way it has been great hanging out and talking and catching up on the past several years. We enjoyed walks and a few trips and lots of talking time with the kids at the table. Imagine feeding 9 mouths 3 times a day and 7 of those mouths are under the age of 8! We put away a good amount of food this past week and a half! We had lots of talks about God and we even talkign via webcam to James a couple times. The kids enjoyed this trip so much I cannot even list all the ways! We are so blessed to homeschool and take trips like this. We are also blessed to have a husband who supports a trip every now and then! What a great guy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Go Army!!

Its been a good couple of days! We are enjoying some treats that we usually do not have - well with the kids anyway! We had ice cream sandwiches for Han Solo's celebrate day on the 3rd - and they were a huge hit! The next day Kristen surprised me by bringing home the ingredients for S'mores - and the kids were thrilled!

They were a mess though! As seen here with the chocolate on Mr. K's face! We credited this dessert night to Chewies celebrate day just a couple days early!

Here is another shot of a happy boy!

And another ....

We have had afternoons filled with soccer and football practice in the back yard with a neighbor stopping by to play too! So everyone has had a great time playing and soaking up the great weather - autumn has arrived - here anyway! Not sure what will happen when I arrive in Texas and realize it is still late summer there!!

Today was a fun day too! We headed on to Fort BRagg to go to PWOC (Protestant Women on the Chapel) with Kristen. First we took about 5 wrong turns to get in the right gate and all and then realized that I do not have my car registration and did I mention it is some Safety week and they have heightened security? Well God wanted us to be at PWOC and to get on post in a timely manner so we made it through! After the car search and some pleading eyes for the guard we drove on post. The kids were about blown away with soldiers everywhere! They pointed out soldiers every few seconds and were just so excited! They were excited by the cammo colored Bobcat - the Humvees - the FMTV (cargo truck) and everything else! We surprised them by stopping by some tanks before PWOC and they were ecstatic! They could not believe it!

The older boys went to a homeschool kid class at PWOC and saw some new friends from our Sofie's walk the other day. They did a little school and then made some new friends too! Our princess, Luke Skywalker and 2 of the Lewis boys were together in child care and seem to have had a good time as well!

PWOC was lots of fun - and very emtional too! They had a speaker today talk about Operation Bandana which is a ministry that strives to send bandanas to soldiers deployed that have Psalm 91 written on them. It was a great talk - she is an amazing woman with a passion to reach our soldiers for Christ! And this ministry is meeting needs in so many soldiers over there! What a way to really show the love of Christ!

Some happy Bandana recipients...

Check out this video... Come to Jesus to see how God is doing amazing things in Iraq despite current media reports!!

This afternoon we all enjoyed talking with James from Iraq via the computer! The kids loved saying hi and most of all hearing him! It was great seeing everyone gathered around the computer communicating with James from across the world! Sometime Technology can be a real blessing!

That's all for now....have a blessed day!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Out in NC

The Gang

Well, we are in the great state of North Carolina now for our second week! The kids and I trekked out in 2 days to visit Kristen and her brood here. James is settled in over in Iraq and already missing the family.

We have had a load of fun.

Day 1 - Wednesday
We spent our first day playing at the house and learning about Copper Heads. We came home from a walk and found a baby snake on the drive way. We enjoyed looking at the little fella with a green tail that he enjoyed rattling at us as he would strike out to warn us. We did not find out until about 9:30 that night that he was a new born Copper Head - he was just born and on his way to find his new home. We were not thrilled to find all that out, but were glad to solve the mystery!

Day 2 - Thursday

We headed out to the Airborne and Special Ops museum here on post. The kids absolutely loved it and now Chewie and Hans both want to be pilot in the special Ops. Not too bad for a goal! Kristen gave all the kids their first Airborne Lesson with the body of a plane at the museum. They learned how to check off each other, sound off and then jump out! It was a lot of fun to watch -as I am only Air Assault qualified and never felt the desire to jump from a perfectly good airplane!

Here are the kids playing Army in the Prone Position! So cute!!

Day 3 - Friday

On Friday we were a part of a walk for Vasa Previa here in Fayetteville. Kristen had this condition with Chase in 2006 and it was undiagnosed. Chase "should have" not survived - but God had other plans for him! And what a miracle God did! He was in that hospital and there were so many doctors and nurses that told Kristen and her family that "God must have a special purpose for their little boy to have survived what he did!" What a gift! There is about a 95% mortality rate for undiagnosed Vasa Previa. We had nine families and a ton of kids! It was a great walk and we definitely raised awareness among those present!

Here is a pic of our miracle - Chase! What a cutie & what a blessing!!

Day 5 - Saturday

Saturday we were blessed to watch Keegan play soccer with his friends and he did a great job! He kicked the ball a number of times and ran after it all the time! He was a super soccer player!

Day 6 - Sunday

Today of course we went to Manna Church and the kids loved meeting new people and learning about Noah. Kristen and I heard a sermon on how we are all called to serve and how we are the body. It was a good reminder to us.

Not to much - the kids are doing great and enjoying their time together! Kristen and I enjoy quiet nights to talk and catch up!


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