Friday, February 26, 2010

Baby Fever ~ BAD!

(Selah Alyssa Grace)

Yep. ((very deep sigh)) I want another baby. I have for awhile now, kind-of off and on. But lately I've really been wanting another one. Charis just isn't a baby anymore, and yes, I am having a hard time with it. She's still MY baby, but she's so strong and independent, and can pretty much do what the other 2 kids do AND MORE! Now anything "baby" is gone from this house.
She still naps and wakes up, stumbling through the house with a bad case of bedhead, looking for me, and wants to snuggle (melts my heart every single time)... she still sleeps with me every night (on my pillow, with one leg and/or one arm thrown over me), and she still talks like a baby sometimes (when she's trying to get what she wants, mostly) but other than that... the
"babyness" is gone.

Alan is done. I want another. The other night he suggested that we both be praying about it, and that God will either change where his head is, or put a peace and rest in my heart. Alan would have to get a reversal, and he just isn't sure he wants to go through that. I'm like "what are you talkin' about!?!? You'll be fine!!" The other day he told me he looked it up on-line and saw pictures. Yeah. That wasn't a good thing for him to do ~ ha!

No, adoption is not something I'm really interested in. I'm one of the rare few that love being pregnant, having the baby, nursing the baby, etc.

(the morning of Charis' birth ~ leaving for the hospital)

We had all the kids so close together, that it was stressful often times, and sort-of a blur. We didn't have family to help us out much. This time the kids are so much older that it would be fun for all of us, I think! The kids are wanting another baby too. But... like Alan said when he got the Vas. after Charis was born... I'll probably never be "done" having kids. Although I know I would NOT want more than 4 kids (shoot, even 4 sounds like alot!), he's probably right that I will never be that woman that says "I'm SOOOO done having kids!"

(Charis Alayna Anne)

My babies were all such GREAT babies! Slept good off the bat, no crying or colicky problems. And my pregnancies are so easy and I just GLOW through it all.

I even have a name picked out for her (because I do think I would try for another girl). And for some crazy reason that name keeps popping up all the time lately. Weird.

Anyway, I've got a case of the baby blues I think. I'm trying to sort through it all and see if it's just a realization of the inevitable "next phase" of life. Or if it is something that our family would want to do again. Well, I know the kids and I would be... if Alan were to decide to go through his little part :-)
There is an element of not having a baby that is kind-of nice (I hate to even say that). But after watching my sis-in-laws (on both sides of the families) having to monitor and run after a baby/toddler during holiday gatherings... watching the moms with a "just walking" baby have to chase after them at soccer games... it is during those times I sit on my be-hind and think "I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore!"

(Bryson Noah)

But all the other baby stuff... diapers, nursing, waking up at night, the sling, the strollers, the blankies and burp cloths, etc. Those parts don't bother me at all. In fact, that's a big part of what I miss!

Another thing that is a big part of the tug on my heart... since I did have mine so close together, they are all going through everything at the same time (which is great), but they'll also all be teenagers at the same time, and then with-in 3 years, they'll all be gone - grown up - at college at the same time.

Well. I guess I'll just have to see what is ahead. Either me coming to a realization of our family being truly and infinitely complete, or perhaps finding myself praying for a little ****** to come into our lives.

In the end, I do know that I was born to be a Momma, and I feel so blessed to have these 3 incredible, amazing little kids that "God has so graciously given to us" Genesis 33:5! Thank you Lord!

ps. I just showed Bryson the picture of me when I was pregnant with Charis, and he said "You were that big?" then he chuckled and said "Instead of fat I used the word big." "Thank you!" I said, flatly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Selah Story

Selah wrote a story today using the suggested words in the box. I love the way she even thought to use quotations in her story. A few of the words she added an "ing" ~ cool.
She has a journal that she writes in each day, but I thought this little story was pretty well written, and I wanted to save it to be able to read again someday.
She really seems to excell at the "english/spelling/reading" type of stuff. (how's that for "english" from her teacher?? Ha~ "type of stuff" ~ Tttssst. I crack myself up.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Performing Arts Tour

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Today our group of local home schoolin' friends took a tour of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. It was an amazing field trip, to say the least.

Selah has been to 2 different Broadway shows, The Lion King, and Wicked, so she was also excited to get "behind the scenes."

We toured all 4 theaters, an art gallery, the dressing rooms, the orchestra pits, and the best part, getting to go in the very top room of the Chapman Hall (the biggest theater, seating 2,400) where the spotlights are located. Our tour guide said we were about 100 feet high up from the stage when in the spotlight room.

This is another one of the reasons I love teaching my kids at home. They get to do/see/learn the coolest stuff!

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on stage

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standing in the orchestra pit, under the removable stage pieces

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up high in the spotlight room

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an art display in the lobby ~ always looks so beautiful when lit up on show nights

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goofy girlz!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm Kicking-Off another season of 'Soccer Mom!'

And so it has begun again... soccer season. The kids played indoor soccer this winter, but the official spring soccer season has started again. Yippie! I Love it! Tonight Selah had practice for 1.5 hours at Stone Canyon gym, and I was chuckling to myself about how much of a soccer mom I truly am. The 1.5 hours flew by as I sat there and watched. And it flew by for Selah too! As soon as we got in the car to go home, Selah began saying that she wanted to do lots of soccer camps this summer after the spring season is over. She just can't get enough!

This season Selah is on an Academy team. After a couple practice sessions with all the new girls, her coach told me that she has "really good skills" and will do great! Since it's academy level, they play 8v8 with a goalie. There are a few new rules she is learning, such as OFF-SIDES. They also work hard on ball handling skills/drills, and she will learn to play the specific positions (rather than the "cluster" of kids trying to take the ball down field and score). She is PUMPED! and soccer is definitely her favorite thing!
I have a visual picture of her that is forever frozen in my mind... when we lived at our old house, in the big back yard... she was wearing a pink princess dress-up dress, kicking the soccer ball across the yard. Yep. That's her.

Bryson is "kickin' it" again too! This past week we've had 3 indoor practices (in Tulsa) to get ready for a tournament they have this coming Saturday in Claremore. His team is so cute and so fun (and so good - but I'm not biased or anything)! In fact, the Owasso Soccer Club asked them to move up a bracket rather than playing U6 again this spring. We all agreed that it would be more advantageous for the team, and for the teams they were playing against. Hopefully they will be able to hang with boys a year older, a year more experienced, and a year bigger. The consensus is that we might not win every game, but that we should win some. In any case, I'm sure it will be more of a challenge, ie. a good experience!
We did lose a player to baseball, and Lane will be missed. Last night Bryson said "I already miss Lane!" Who knows... maybe we can get him back next year?

And Charis is starting soccer this season too! She is very excited, and I can't wait to see her play. Um... I'm pretty sure she'll rock the field too... after playing with big sis and bro in the yard so much. She has been waiting and waiting for her chance to play. I totally can't wait and I am so excited for her!

So for the next 12 weeks, it's Charis and Bryce having Saturday games, and Selah having a game on Sundays in Tulsa. So... like I've said before.... it's a good thing I LOVE being a Soccer Momma!
Soccer Mom

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy LOVE Day!


Since Alan and I spent celebrated Valentines yesterday, today is about LOVIN' our 3 favorite little people.

After church, we had a homemade card for the kids and a few sweet treats. And best of all, a KISS hunt. I hid 7 chocolate kisses for each kid somewhere in the kitchen and living room (Selah's were pink, Bryson's were green, Charis' were silver). They had a really good time looking for their kisses from Mommy and Daddy. It took them about 30 minutes to find all of them.

Tonight we'll make a big heart shaped pizza, and once the kids are in bed, Alan and I can watch our chicka-flick. I'm sure he's sooo excited.

Selah made me a cute Valentines card.

And a sweet card from Charis... it's a picture of me and her

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Love...

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Today Alan and I spent the day together for our Valentines date. James and Lydia watched the kids all afternoon/evening. We started the date out well, we eventually made our way to Tulsa ~ lol! We spent the afternoon at our favorite date spot ~ Borders Bookstore. A couple hours later we were hungry for some dinner, so we decided to find a romantic spot to dine. After a couple different attempts at a few spots we like (one being closed down, the other having a 2 hour wait) we ended up sitting at the bar at The Wild Fork, Utica Square. It was actually very romantic. All the tables were reserved for guests that had previously made plans for dinner. The only open seats were at the bar. Reluctant at first, we decided that we probably wouldn't find anything better at 6pm on a Saturday night. Turns out, it was actually very romantic. Our bar stools situated so we sat so close to each other... the bartender always there catering to our every need... quiet and romantic. Delicious food. We loved it. After dinner we found ourselves back at Borders Bookstore again, because that's what we like the most. We sit, browse the books and magazines, sip on tea, and enjoy the peace, quiet, and anonymity. On our way home we decided to rent a chick-flick from RedBox to end the evening with... but it turns out after our peaceful relaxing Valentines date, we are so exhausted, we'll be in bed before 10pm. Ha! Figures. Oh well... at least we already have the movie for tomorrow night. Hmmmm... that should go perfect with a homemade heart-shaped pizza to celebrate the holiday!

Love to ALL!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

WhAT A CrOCk!!!

Sometimes I get these crazy cool creative ideas in my head. Last fall one of those ideas hit me! I think it was about the time our days were full of school, soccer, dance, more soccer, more dance, soccer games, church, not mention my busy season of painting was in full swing. Quite often, as dinnertime rolled around, I was out of ideas or at least out of time to make a meal at home! It was too easy to just drive through Taco Bueno or Chick-Fil-A.

That's when I realized I needed to be using the crock pot more often. I love cooking in the crock pot, but really only have a couple meals that I use a crock pot for. And is it just me!?!? but there is something about a crock pot that gets my 'Domestic Diva' on! Putting together dinner early in the day somehow just sets everything else up to go smooth the whole day long! Call me crazy!?!? Nah... call me Domestic Diva. I like that much better.

So... it hit me... Crock Pot Party!! I put the idea out there to my friends on Facebook, and lots of them wanted to come! My friends from afar that couldn't come wanted recipes too, and asked me to post them on Facebook. So I came up with the name WhAT A CRoCk ~ ha! ~ and it was a big hit.

Yeah... so it took me until January to host the party, but hey, see what I mean by "BUSY"!

I thought it would be fun to have a prize for the voted "best recipe" and Nicole was the lucky winner with her Italian Beef, made with a specialty sauce from Chicago.

Here are a few of the recipes:

Meat Lovers Pizza Pasta
by Jen Lyness

1 lb. corkscrew pasta - cooked and drained (I use whole wheat)
1.5 lbs. lean ground beef - cooked and drained... See More
1 lb. Italian sausage - cooked and drained. (use sliced, or I prefer ground)
2- 3oz pkgs sliced pepperoni
4- 14oz jars pizza sauce
2- 16oz packages of shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
black olives, chopped
Season to taste with garlic, Italian seasonings, and pepper

In crockpot combine all ingredients. Mix well.
Cook on low 4-6 hours or on high 2 hours. Serves 6-8

"The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind that the discovery of a star"

Drip Beef Sandwiches
from Mandi Everett

3-5 pounds roast
Packet of Au Jus Sauce... See More
Packet of Italian Dressing (dry)
1 can beef broth
1/2 can of water

Mix all of the ingredients together in your crockpot, then add roast

Cook on low for 8 hours

Serve on sandwich rolls or french bread

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
by Kim Walker

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (17.5 oz) bottle buffalo wing sauce, divided... See More
1/2 (1 oz) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
2 TBSP butter
6 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise

1. Place the chicken breasts into a slow cooker, and pour in 3/4 of the wing sauce and the 1/2 pkg of ranch dressing mix. Cover, and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

2. Once the chicken has cooked, add the butter, and shred the meat finely with 2 forks. Pile the meat onto the hoagie rolls, and splash with the remaining buffalo wing sauce to serve.

Crockpot Chicken Stroganoff
by Dawn Allen

4 skinless, boneless breast halves, cubed
1/8 c. margarine... See More
1 pkg dry Italian dressing
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken
1/4 cup sour cream

1. Put chicken, margarine, and dressing in cooker; mix together and cook on low for 5-6 hours

2. Add cream cheese and soup. Mix together and cook on high 30 minutes until heated through.

Cream~Cheesy Chicken and Spaghetti
from the kitchen of Cari Aberle

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ... See More... See More

~ cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup water, or 1/2 cup white wine

1 pkg. dry "Garlic and Herb" or "Italian" dressing

~ I used the garlic and herb at the What a Crock party

Place above ingredients in crockpot on low, 6 hrs.

add 1 pkg cream cheese

add 1 can cream of chicken soup

Cook on low for 1 more hour -ish

Break spaghetti noodles into small pieces, boil in sauce pan as directed.

Stir into crockpot, serve! (could be served over rice)


Crock Pot Italian Beef
by Nicole Warren

2-3 lb roast (I used chuck)... See More
1 jar Giardinera

Mix together in slow cooker and cook 6-8 hours on high. About 1/2 way through, use forks to shred meat. Serve on rolls.

Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil. Giardiniera is available as either mild or hot.

In Chicago, giardiniera is a condiment, typically used as a topping on Italian beef sandwiches. Giardiniera is commonly made with serrano peppers and some combination of other assorted vegetables, such as bell peppers, olives, celery, pimentos, carrots, and cauliflower, and sometimes crushed red pepper flakes, all marinated in vegetable oil, olive oil, soybean oil, or any combination of the three oils.

A 1964 advertisement in the Chicago Tribune offered "Dell'Alpe Imported Italian Giardiniera," consisting of "peppers, celery, onions, capers, and pimento in vegetable oil and wine vinegar. 3 oz jars for $1.

The word giardiniera in Italian literally translates to "female gardener." It is derived from the root giardino, which means "garden."

(Nicole orders her jars of giardiniera from Chicago.)

Here we are with the Cookbooks assembled at the WhAT A CrOcK! party, full of all our recipes from this evening.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This is 'Daddy's doing'

Last year after Valentines Day was over, Alan and Selah began a plan for this 2010's Valentines Box. They decided to make a swimming pool with a Barbie diving in. So Bryce and I started coming up with the ideas of what he could do for his Valentine's Box, and he liked the idea of an aquarium. And Charis just took off on her own design with paint brush in hand.

Last Friday night all 5 of us spent the whole evening, and part of Saturday as well, creating their boxes, and bringing their ideas to life. The kids really did most of the work. There were times when Alan and I threw out ideas, but they wanted to go with what they were thinkin'. And must say.... my husband is pretty darn good at this stuff! Who knew!?!? He whipped that little adirondack chair out of cardboard (Selah painted it), and then Selah found a round "craft paint lid sealer" that she decided she could use for a table next to her chair. She told Alan she needed a little tiny glass of lemonade to set next to the beach chair... so he snipped the end off of a pink straw. When we hot glued it to the table, and the hot glue inside actually looks shiny, like ice! So cool! Literally...
With all this crafting lately, the kids are getting pretty good at using the hot glue gun and Modge Podge. They've all been burned a time or two, but that doesn't slow them down one bit.
The Valentine's Day boxes turned out AWESOME! The kids were proud to show them off today.






Kids Say The Darndest Things

For Sure!!! My kids have been cracking me up today!

We were just getting ready to start our science lessons on "teeth" when the kids started saying they were hungry...

Since we've had so much sugar today (ie. 2 Valentines Day parties), for a snack I steamed some broccoli and cauliflower (no~ I'm not a mean Momma... that happens to be my kids' favorite veggie dish).

A funny little conversation went like this:

me - Charis, I made some broccoli and white broccoli for you - the cauliflower!

C - Yeah! I love broccoli and white broccoli!!

B - Me too! And I love white broccoli and wheat broccoli!!
(ha! ha! ha!)

Then, a few minutes later as they were sitting there eating their green, white, and wheat ;-) broccoli, I was looking through my new Trisha Yearwood cookbook, showing Selah some of the pictures of the different recipes, and reading some of the excerpts.

Unbeknownst to her, I put the cookbook down and grabbed her science book. I flipped open to a page I needed to photo copy that just shows a giant tooth. She is suppose to label the 3 parts of it (crown, neck, and root). I flipped the diagram around and showed it to her, and was teaching her the 3 parts. She sat and listened, and then said "but I can't figure out why she would put that in her cookbook?!?!?"
(ha! ha! ha!)
I flipped the science book cover over and showed her that it wasn't the cookbook, but her science book, and we all belly laughed for a couple minutes. So funny!

Ahhhh. That was much needed!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beans and Cornbread

Mmmmmmmm! I can smell the savory pot of beans right now as I sit here and type. Talk about comfort food that takes me back to warm memories of my Momma in the kitchen. It's one of those meals you rarely find in a cafeteria or on the menu in a restaurant. That bowl of yum that is so deceivingly simple? Well, I guess I gave it away in the title of this blog, now didn't I? Yep. Beans and cornbread.
Simple, yet sort-a complicated. In more ways than one.

Brown Beans. Beans and Cornbread. Ham and Beans. Whatever your Momma called it. Simple enough. But layer on some chopped ham. Some chopped red onion. Some cornbread. Maybe a little cilantro and sour cream, if you're lucky. Add a glass of sweet tea and a side of fried potatoes. And there you have it. Southern comfort, that comes only from your Momma. De-lish!

So I started thinking about a pot of beans and cornbread. It's definitely a southern thing. It's definitely a comfort food. It takes me back... takes me way back. In reality, I think it's a meal more representational of the old days. I mean, this meal probably costs a total of $3.00 to feed the whole family. And that's 2010 costs. Back then, maybe a $1.00? It's not fancy. It's not what some would call delectable. It's hardly "cookbook worthy." And to those of us who remember those days when Momma would cook at home every day... when meals were homemade from scratch and eating left-overs the next day was understood... the days when a pizza was a "treat" and Pepsi cans were rationed in your own house... the days when a pot of beans and cornbread was considered a "hearty dinner" and I'm pretty sure the cornbread counted for dessert too ~ just add milk! ...those were the days when comfort perhaps had a little different meaning than we might think of today.

Back then, comfort entailed having a job that provided a house, some furniture, a trip to the store every other week for groceries, a pair of shoes, and a few pairs of jeans. Comfort was having Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and cousins over every Friday night to laugh and eat with until it was so late the kids fell asleep on the ride home. Comfort was watching my Momma make dinner at the stove top, while I helped chop the salad. Comfort was seeing Dad's well-worn boots sitting by the front door every night. Comfort was taking turns praying at dinnertime, and being tucked in bed each night.

So what's a girl to do when her Momma isn't here to make her that comfort meal? When one of the few things she didn't teach me before she left this earth was how to make a simple pot of beans!?!? Well... that girl instead... makes soups. Chilis. Chowders. And they suffice. But now I'm the Momma, and my southern babies must have their chance at good ol' southern Okie-style beans and cornbread.

I now have a simple, yet sort-a complicated chance to teach my 4, 6, and 7 year old children about comfort. In this world today, comfort might bring to mind the state of being comfortable, or comforted. It might have more concrete applications such as secure numbers in the stock market, a vacation to somewhere tropical, down feather comforters on the bed, even a pair of nice furry UGGS to wear in the winter.
Webster (1990) defined comfort in several ways: (a) to soothe in distress or sorrow; (b) relief from distress; (c) a person or thing that comforts; (d) a state of ease and quiet enjoyment, free from worry; (e) anything that makes life easy; and (f) the lessening of misery or grief by cheering, calming, or inspiring with hope.

Definition (D) is what I'm getting at here: A state of ease and quiet enjoyment; free from worry. That sums it all up.

So here I am. Early 2010, bringing this blog entry to a close. And thanks to my Aunt Lynette's recent instructions on how to make my Momma's beans and cornbread, I'm heading downstairs to dish up a bowl for my family. Hopefully a dinner to make their little bellies warm on this snowy day. And hopefully a gesture in their memory to let them know just how blessed they truly are are. To have heat within these 4 walls we live in. To have a Momma that cooks for them each night, and a Dad who plays games with them around the table after dinner. The state of comfort is more than the absence of discomfort.

And for my kids, I'm pretty sure they have the comfort-thing down when it comes to the "free from worry" part.

Comfort. That is what a pot of beans takes me back to. Mom in the kitchen. Dad's boots by the front door. Free from worry.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Haunted Lunch Date

Today we had a fun Girlz Date with some friends!
Starting with lunch at the Belvedere Mansion on Route 66, in Claremore. After lunch in the dining room, we toured the old historic mansion. There are rumors that the house might be haunted with ghosts of the Belvedere family... so we were excited to check it out! But, after an afternoon of great food, sunshiny atmosphere, and lots of laughs, we're pretty sure that "ghosts are NOT real anyway" ~ to quote Selah.

The gothic style brick home, complete with tile roof and four towers, provided for a portico on the north side for the guest carriages, as well as a large covered porch at the front entrance with a matching balcony directly above it. Inside, the floors were covered in tile, with wainscoted marble walls and pressed tin ceilings. Sliding pocket doors were used in several rooms and many had fireplaces. Much of the trim and woodwork used were brought from the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. The third floor of the mansion was dedicated to a 2,400 square foot ballroom.
Due to its immaculate details, the mansion took several years to build. At the same time, Bayless was also building a three-story Opera House, the Sequoyah Hotel, and an athletic building with an indoor swimming pool. However, Mr. Bayless would never see the completion of his grand mansion. In 1907, just six months before it was completed, Bayless died following an operation for appendicitis. He was president of the Bank of Claremore at the time of his death.

Mary Bayless and her six surviving children finished the mansion after his death and continued to reside there until 1919. All of her children resided in Claymore, with her older sons becoming involved in the Bank of Claremore. Another became the local postmaster, and yet another went on to become a State Supreme Judge.
Of the buildings that Belvidere built, only the mansion remains today.

Over the years, numerous people have reported that John Bayless and other members of his family; however, still continue to "reside” in the beautiful old home. These allegations tell of unexplained noises, actual sightings of hazy figures, toilets that flush by themselves, hot and cold spots, and feelings of being touched by someone when no one is there.

On several occasions paranormal groups have investigated the old mansion, seeming to find the most paranormal activity on the second floor. There, psychics have "seen” children playing, as well as "meeting” a distressed John Bayless, and a distraught young woman who allegedly committed suicide when she lived in the building as a tenant in the 1940’s.

After lunch we mosied on over to the Claremore Antique stores. This is the first time Selah and Charis have been antiquing. They thought it was pretty fun and saw some neat things. And to end the GirlZ Date, we had dessert at the soda fountain shop.

On the way home Selah said "Momma... this is EXACTLY why I LOVE being home schooled!"