Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guess I'm sticking with epic updates for now!

Okay, here's the low down on what's been happenin' lately.

First off, Sam never went to San Angelo. At the last minute, someone else was sent in his place. God works again! I'm tellin' ya, God wants us here.:)

Also, Sam's back is still yuck. He has an appointment at the spine clinic on Friday. Hopefully, we'll know more then. We went and got him a back support brace the other day after considering my mom's advice and it has been helping a lot! Thanks, Mom!

Work is going well, steady. Sam's "other job" as site pastor is challenging, but really rewarding and God is teaching him so much as well as doing much through him. That's really exciting to see!

Braden has been using "gross" for expressing displeasure at things. He has also gotten to the stage of not wanting to help out with non-fun activities, such as cleaning up the floors, picking up toys and the like. So it goes something like this:

Me: Braden, I need you to pick up all the toys in the living room and take them to your room.

Braden: Aw, GROSS! I don't want to have to pick up all these toys!

Me: Well, who should have to pick them up? Me? Did I make this mess?

Braden: No....

Me: Well, who should have to clean it up?

Braden: Me?

Me: Yep! Why do you think that is?

Braden: Because I made the mess?

Me: Absolutely! Now, get going.

Braden: But, Mom (in a very whiney tone)! If I had to pick all of this up, all my energy would be gone!

Me: Well, you obviously have enough energy to play with all these toys and to do the things you want to do. You only run out of energy when I tell you to do things you don't want to do.

Braden: But, my arms are too tired! -alternate reply: But, my back is hurting!

Me: Your arms/back are/is just fine. Now go pick up. The longer you stand there and whine about it, the longer it is going to take you.

Braden: I'm thirsty! Can I go get a drink?

Me: Sure. Make it quick and get back in here and clean this up!

Usually, by the end of this exchange we have to discuss his attitude and what is going on in his heart, but there is headway being made! God is so good and His ways are perfect!

In other Braden news, Sam and I are talking about getting him into soccer when the season starts back up. His friend across the street plays and I think it would be fun for him to play on the same team and also GREAT exercise for him. He seriously goes non-stop from the time he wakes up in the morning until his head hits the pillow at night. I don't understand why I can't take some of his energy for myself. I'm the one that needs it! ;p

He is still doing a great job with school. We are having a great time doing all the projects from my father's world and learning a lot about science and history and reading in the process. So fun! He's still reviewing his HOP books and he gets better all the time. He's even literally putting 2 and 2 together and doing addition and subtraction. Most of the time, he does it unprompted. Aren't kids amazing?!

Now, then, Zekes is my little bulldozer. I think he needs to be in hockey or something. He really doesn't know his own strength. Right now, we are working on his pronunciation. He doesn't really say the beginning and ending consonants, so I'm starting to do with him the same thing I did with Braden. I'm having him repeat words after me and my mom suggested sitting in front of a mirror with him and over-pronouncing words and having him repeat them to me. I'm seeing improvement already. I was concerned he might have hearing issues because he's had so many ear infections, but I don't think that is the case. I am going to take him in to the doctor for a check up and have his ears checked out anyway, cuz it won't hurt.:)

The older Zekey gets the more snuggly he gets. He is definitely in need of specific mommy and daddy time on a regular basis, so we go on mommy and daddy dates with him. The change in attitude afterwards is really amazing. A complete 180. Plus, it gives whoever is home with Braden and Ailey a different dynamic to experience. Fun!
My mom expressed a desire to hang out with Zekes alone too at some point this summer. I think he would just eat that up! I love that my kids love playing together, but I also love it when they get one-on-one time with the people who love them!

We are still potty training though every day, its still hit or miss. He is in pull-ups instead of diapers which has enabled him to pull his britches up and down himself to go on the potty, but he still gets to involved in playing outside to come inside to go potty most of the time. Ah, it'll happen. We also talk about how whatever character on his pullups doesn't want to get peed upon. Its quite an interesting discussion.:)

Okay, Ailey aka Ler-loo. She is getting into lots of stuff! She has an affinity with the kitchen trash can which I just don't understand. Ew, yuck! She also likes to climb up the chairs and sit on top of the dining table and "talk" at us. She's nearly walking like a pro now. She is able to do turns and keep going. Oh, yes, she loves to dance. She has been grooving for lots of months now, but it has morphed from her sitting on her bottom and kind of wiggling around to her standing up and half-squatting up and down really fast and then prancing around, stomping her feet really fast. So, stinkin' cute!

I'm still nursing her about three times a day. I just cut out her first nap-time one, so now we have the morning evening and before bed-time ones. I'm aiming for the morning one to be the last to go. We're getting there.:)

She's also started throwing little temper tantrums and she grunts and gets hissy if you have something, like icecream, and she wants some/more. Very interesting progression so far. She's still super sweet tempered and cuddly and just a whole lot of cuteness. Oh, yes, and she is now saying, "Daddy" and "Puppy".

Me? Well, I can't remember if I already said this, but I'm the children's pastor for our campus and I am really loving it. It has it challenging moments, don't get me wrong, but its so neat to see the kids getting to know God. I LOVE that. Plus, we get to do games and crafts and you know that's right up my alley!

I still go on baking sprees, but I've curbed my Amish Bread baking a bit. I'm not going to make quite so much of it and I'm only go to make it every now and then. Every ten days is a bit much. I put the starter in the fridge, which will curb its need to feed and I'll just do half from now on, I think.

I did make granola bars yesterday and let me tell you, I'm SOLD! I don't ever want to buy store bought again! Here are some pics:

I began with two different recipes that looked good and then just basically made up my own recipe. The interesting thing will be to see if I can duplicate it the next time around because I didn't measure anything.:) There is butter, salt, honey, puffed rice, quick rolled oats, graham cracker crumbs, mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and vanilla...mmmmmm.....

Also, I'm intending to make my own nutrigrain bars soon. It doesn't look any more time consuming than making my own poptarts and it'll be much easier on the pocket book. :) I'll have to let you know how that turns out.

This past Saturday, we went to the Celebrate Killeen Festival. The boys got to play on a plethora of bouncies. I took Ailey into one of the less crowded ones and she had a good time bouncing and going down one of the slides with me. Then, they got to get their faces painted, make pet rocks and get some fun balloons made into helicopters. They had such a good time! Here is our picture collection from that event:

I would've like to get a picture from the other side because this bouncy was really tall and the other side had something akin to a vertical climbing wall. It took a little while, but Zekey did it!

Being pretty patient....
Braden called this his super rocket power mask. He left it on the whole day and we went to SamsClub and later to Wal-mart.
Zekes just wanted a puppy:)

I thought I would also include some of the drawings Braden has been doing lately. These were inspired by a book names, "If I Built a Car" :

Rocket powered travel is an obvious point of interest. ;p

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Waddling Toddle and a Potty Miss

And.....she's off! Ailey has been toddling around in a waddling manner. Sam and I are greatly amused watching her. She gets the biggest grin on her face and you can just tell she is enjoying her newfound freedom immensely! She's even able to walk forward, turn around and walk back the way she came. So funny! Its the most funny when she is getting her diaper changed and she's necked as a jaybird! She very much resembles a frog standing up! I'll have to get a good pic of her in that state. :)

Two days ago, Zekey went poo-poo on the potty. Well....sort of. I sat him on the potty to go and a few minutes later, he came running in to tell us that he did it! Sam went in to take a look and there was an immediate groan of horror. Apparently, he got some in the potty, but the bulk of it landed on the floor.:) Let's just say, Sam did not find the cleanup a joyful task. I, however, got quite a kick out of the whole situation.:)

Friday, April 9, 2010

The best dressed

Okay, you all know that I can't resist sharing a fabulous giveaway when I run across it. I was over at bloggiveaways again and saw this giveaway and knew that YOU would want to know about it, too. (Didn't know I could read your mind, did ya?;)

William Riera Dress Giveaway

William [Riera] began sketching clothing designs when he was only twelve years old in Caracas, Venezuela. He used to take his sketches to the family seamstress, who would sew his ideas. ... Although fashion design was his first love, after high school, William began studying Business Administration at Caracas College. ... [He] worked as an office boy at a company that manufactured clothing. With designs always sketching themselves in his mind, he showed some ideas to an employee at the company, who loved his designs. After the company had bought several of his designs, William realized that he needed to change majors. {text}

Now he designs modest, classic, and affordable dresses right here in Utah. You won't be seeing any cheezy cutesy dresses that you see in other Utah-based clothing companies - you'll be able to wear his dresses to church or out on a date and feel feminine and beautiful and never overdone. The fit of the dresses are also impeccable and flattering on any womanly figure.

One lucky winner will receive a dress in the reader's choice of dress and size!

Now that I have your semi-divided attention (I know you are having trouble taking your eyes off of the super lovely dress), you can click on ClothedMuch and read all the details. Oh, and just so you know, this is my favorite:

Heidi Dress by William RIera

Now SCOOT so you can get your entry in!!!

Homemade bread

Okay, MzTerry, this one is for you.

So far in my homemade sandwich bread foray, I've tested 3 recipes:

I did tweak them all a bit. I like to put whole wheat flour in everything. I got the Grandmother Bread recipe off of Chickens in the Road and it can be made white or wheat or anywhere in between. This is a very hearty, old-fashioned, very textured bread. The flavor is very good and the recipe has a ton of variations on her website.

The Buttermilk Wheat Bread recipe came from I used to by Mrs. Baird's Buttermilk Wheat Bread, but its not always in stock, so I switched to Sara Lee Soft and Smooth Whole Wheat, but we started going through it like there was no tomorrow and at about $2.19 a loaf, it was starting to add up. I looked without much success for a buttermilk wheat bread recipe online. In a search for something else, I came across the site and lo and behold there was the buttermilk wheat bread recipe! Yay, thought I. Well, the outcome wasn't as grand as I expected. The bread didn't rise very well and it burned. I cooked it according to directions and everything, but each time, it came out the same. I tried turning down the oven, but it still didn't turn out well. I thought it was my oven, but I now don't think it is. The taste is very strong and doesn't taste at all like Mrs. Baird's and the texture is very crumby. :( Its okay and I didn't mind it very much, but the rest of the family gave it a thumbs down. Oh, well.....:)

The Country White bread also came from It is VERY good. I of course added a bit of wheat flour to it. I really can't help myself.;) The texture is very nice, its delicious and it rises and bakes beautifully. Very light and fluffy. I haven't had ANY complaints with this bread. I intend to make it our staple sandwich bread.

Other breads I have tried:

Challah bread - I got some from a bakery in Austin when we lived there because I saw a recipe for stuffed french toast on that Paula Deen party show. They were making cranberry stuffed french toast, but I decided to see if I could come up with a version of pumpkin stuffed french toast. Yeah, its now a favorite, too. Anyway, the bread is a sweet bread and it really did make the french toast. I decided I wanted to try my hand at making it, so I did. I got the recipe from (I like to stick with what works, ya know?:) It turned out okay. I think I over baked it because it was too dry. I will try again soon and see if I can't get it better next time.

I've also been making Amish Friendship Bread like crazy! I made a starter and every ten days I bake up a big batch of bread. My favorite so far has been the chocolate chip, with the chocolate and chocolate/chocolate chip following close seconds. :) Man, those things disappear fast! I make some of them the little loaves and then go around the neighborhood and meet the neighbors. I've gotten some funny responses so far, from suspicion, as in not even wanting to take it or even open the door and talk to me for that matter all the way to being asked if I'm selling them. So funny! Won't you be my neighbor?

Here's that link:

The funny thing is I haven't even made it the normal way, only with the pudding.

There is a Lemon Monkey Bread on the site that I fully intend to make soon.....

Dangerous Liaisons

I just put this pic in because its cute...

Now to the point!


plus, this....

turning into this.....

ending up in this with unhindered access....


I blame you, Vanessa.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

According to to make lemon bread

First he says you slice up a lemon, then you add it in cookie mix and then you add it in bread mix and then you put some crust around it. Then you just squish it down a little and also you have to cook it and then its done! Or you can just add it in cookie crust or something.

Here's his recipe for antenna bread (don't know where that name came from;). First you get some tuna salad and pat it around your plate and then you put both sides (of bread) onto your plate.

You heard it here first, folks!

On the fast track and a crazy dream

So, Ailey evidently wants to go ahead and get caught up on several developmental leaps all at the same time. I forgot to mention in the last post that she has been saying, "Ma-ma" for the last week and she means it. She is now branching out in her emphasis of it and the timing of when she uses it. As mentioned in the last post, she took her first step on Friday night and since yesterday she is full on walking. Her top two front teeth have now made their appearance together, the left one slightly in more of a hurry than the right. ;) She also followed directions yesterday of picking up some things off of the floor and putting them in the bucket. She has started saying, "There it is!", which sounds like, "Dere dis", "Thank you", which sounds like, "A-oo" and "Braden!!", which sounds like "Aa-an".

Zekey has been saying some pretty cute things, too. If you are pretending like you can't see him or you call him into the room, he'll hop up and say,"Its me! Here I am! Its Zekey!" If something is not working right and he needs help, he'll say, "Its too working." He's also started copying Braden a bit when he prays. He'll talk about having a good heart and blessing us. Its very sweet!

I'm very excited about some of the things that have been coming out of Braden's mouth lately. He has been talking a lot about giving God his heart and his whole self and loving Him by loving other people and being kind to them. He's really getting IT and it is blowing me away!

Okay, I had to tell about my dream early this morning. It started out with me frantically trying to string jewelry beads (I'm learning about making bead jewelry...apparently, I'm super focused on that right now. I've dreamt about getting a crochet project done before....yeah.) and then it moved to me waking up in the middle of the night and walking towards our kitchen. There was a deer in our house and I could see him clear as day even though all the lights were off. Then I was hearing this scurrying sound and I flipped on the light and there was this mess all over the floor, the trash was tipped over and the deer was there and that scurrying sound was roaches all over the floor. All of a sudden, I had a fly swat in my hand and I went to town on those little buggers! Next, I was running in to wake Sam up, telling him that there was a whole lot of craziness going on in the kitchen. Then, Sam woke me up bringing Ailey in to me because she was crying. I didn't even hear her! That's VERY odd for me. (She hasn't been feeling good because of those teeth.) Anyway, thought I'd share.

Oh, by the way, homemade pimento cheese spread on homemade bread is divine! 'Nuff said.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ailey Alert

Ailey took her first step today. She's been standing alone without holding onto anything for the past week and I guess she decided that wasn't enough. Sam and I were sitting, talking with one another in the living room and we were both looking at her at the same time when she did it. We were cheering her on like we were at a sports game. :) She also started squnching her face up and breathing heavy out an in her nose. Its pretty cute and funny. Oh and her top front two teeth are working on bustin out of her gums causing plenty of misery. Soon, very soon!