Wednesday, January 28

flushing is its own reward

My little boy, my little 2 1/2 year old, is potty training himself. I'm thrilled. And all he asks is for me to sing a made up potty song and of course, he wants to flush. I think that is a fair enough request. The best part is that I don't have to battle with the my own strange ethical dilemma of rewarding with M&M's (not to mention, I don't have to introduce candy yet)

Yes, I realize most children have had pop and candy and all manners of sugary sweets by now. I realize most of you think I am a psychomom, but whatever. They are my kids. And that means they aren't going to eat junk yet. So there. (tee hee)

We've kind of had a laid back approach to the toilet training, with potty sitting sessions off and on since Aaron was about eleven months old. He has never really cared either way, until recently. And now, this week, today, he's pooping, and peeing, and asking to go on the potty. I'm thrilled. Even though each toilet session includes multiple flushes, and extra gallons of water are being flushed. It is worth it, for there were no dirty diapers today. Well, no two year old dirties, anyway.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I was over at Raising Five today, and found the link for Website Grader which was quite the interesting tool to find out more about my little blog, and what I'm doing wrong (quite a bit if I'm trying to run a business, which I'm not).

What I found absolutely staggering is that the tool detected 1,349 subscribers to this blog. And, "this is usually a small fraction of the total subscribers to the feed" according to the page.


Honestly, do I know that many people? I suppose I do. Welcome, little readership group. We could have quite the party, if we all got together. Let's wait until summer. I don't think that you'd all fit in my house. Oh, whew. Karen noticed she has the same exact number. I think there is a glitch, which makes me sigh with relief. Not that I would mind the expanded readership, but I was slightly shocked.

Another OH my goodness is this. The quarterly Bloggy Giveaways Carnival is going this week. But seriously, don't visit unless you have a ton of extra minutes to burn. And I mean a TON. One of these days I'll participate, but until then, I'll just have giveaways here for you, my 1,349 loyal readers.

SURPRISE!! TADA! I am giving away some coupons. I have three coupons for $1 off a Ghirardelli Peanut Butter bag, and I'd use them myself but I won't, for several reasons.

1. Eating peanut butter and chocolate does not help me achieve my weight loss goal.
2. I can't find them in the stores around here.
3. They sent me a sample, and they were very delicious.
4. I would eat the whole bag.
5. See number one.

So, if you want a coupon for these delectable treats, leave a comment, and I will pick 3 winners at random and send each of you a coupon!

Monday, January 26

keeping up

Last week, Katie drew my attention to the new White House Blog. Today's post caught my eye. I agree that we need to be responsible for our choices when it comes to the environment, but is this a federal guideline issue? What do you think?

Works of God Monday

This past weekend was Snow Camp, and though Michael stayed home this year to take care of me, we were blessed to hear of multiple spiritual decisions made by teens in our youth group. Snow Camp was held at Camp CoBeAc this year and there were 3 other groups besides our church in attendance - over 120 kids! Four teens accepted Christ as Savior, and it is always exciting to hear that.

In less eternal exciting news, sometimes, God chooses to provide through the government!!! We are still waiting on one form before we can complete our taxes and file, but this year's refund looks like it's going to be a good one! What a blessing it was to see the larger-than-expected number come up on the Turb*T*x screen! It seems like during the course of this year we have seen one financial setback after another, and we were just grateful that we could pay our bills and keep going!! It seemed like no matter how hard we tried, no matter how much we economized, we felt like we couldn't get ahead! I praise God for allowing us to economize where we needed to, for surely it was HIS wisdom that prompted us to scrimp - sometimes the exact amount needed for an unexpected bill!

Our income didn't change very much, so I am guessing the difference is due to the fact that we have TWO little tax deductions this year! We are praising the Lord as this refund money is really going to help take care of some things we've been praying specifically about, and allow us to put more money into savings on a monthly basis. (Lord willing)

I'm also praising the Lord for modern medicine and a loving husband who takes care of me when I am ill. My infection of last week has bid adieu for now, so I am beyond grateful for that.

How is God showing Himself at work in you this week?

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.

Wednesday, January 21

Romans 13:1-7

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." (ESV)


We have fun at our house! The first photo shows Michael's genius idea to prop up the futon mattress on the frame to make a "hill" for Aaron, who has had a blast rolling down and climbing up all week long!! We have to be creative with ways to run the energy out of this boy!!!

Last night we had a unique opportunity to meet with a Christian attorney and discuss Estate Planning - we are praying about what God wants us to do. We believe that creating a trust would be in the best interest of everyone, (since we would hate for everything to go into probate) so we are praying about what to do about the initial cost (which would be worth it in the long run). We also learned a lot about durable power of attorney and medical decisions that need to be made - did you know that HIPPA laws can prevent anyone but a judge to make medical decisions for you? Precluding your family, even your spouse? We didn't.

Anyway, mom and dad watched both kids for us so we could learn where our will went wrong. Isn't my mommy beautiful?

Tuesday, January 20

a vvvvvvery important question

When you get to the end of the cereal box and there is slightly more cereal than you planned on pouring in your bowl, what do you do? Eat a little more or leave less than a serving in the bottom for the next unfortunate soul?

Inquiring minds want to know.

check this out

I cannot believe the ridiculousness of this case. While the alarmist tone of the article doesn't jive with my view of things, I am still struck by the idiocy of the judge.


Happy Inauguration Day, everyone! I've seen and heard many thoughts online and off regarding the new president. Regardless of your political views, this is a day that will be written in our American History books for years to come, and it's really, really awesome that we get to see it.

I kinda missed out on the first man on the moon moment of history, but I sure remember the day that the Challenger went down. I was 7, but it's really a moment I remember. And I remember when the Gulf War began. I think today is another one of historic proportions.

And, if you need the reminder, take a deep breath. God is in control, and HE knows best!

Monday, January 19

Works of God Monday

I am fighting a nasty round of mastitis, feeling a whole lot like I've got the flu, so my Work of God Monday consists of the fact that Michael can be home to take care of us all.

What has God done in your family this week?

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.

Thursday, January 15

Kickin' Corn Chowder

I came up with this recipe last night after church with items we already had in our pantry. It would have been good with chicken but I did not have any in the fridge and it would have taken too long to cook some due to the time of night I started to cook dinner!

4T butter
3-4T flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream style corn
1 can carrots
1/2 bag frozen hash brown potato cubes
4-5 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (a hefty sprinkle)
leftover chicken, optional

Melt the butter in a dutch oven, cook onions until just softened. Add flour to make a rue and gradually wisk in milk. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the seasonings, heat until slightly thickened. Season to taste, be careful with the cayenne! Serve with biscuits and salad and enjoy! This makes a pretty good size pot of soup, probably enough to serve 4-5. I don't know - we had lots left over! It's perfect for the freezing cold temps and the squeaky snow that reminds us of Northland (with fondness, and thankfulness that our winters are usually much warmer here)

Thanks, Aunt Mary and Karlene for this great blanket! We use it all the time to play on the floor. As you can see, Evan is QUITE enamored by his older brother. The feeling is (thankfully) mutual. This is getting more fun every day.

Wednesday, January 14


So this morning, Aaron tried to grab this long broken mop handle thingy to play with and had a meltdown when I would not let him. After he yelled at me in his sassy toddler way, and got in trouble, we sat on the rocking chair in his room and I asked him what was going on. He told me through tears that he wanted to "hold the violin" and I realized he wanted to pretend that the handle was a violin.

"Would you like me to make a violin out of cardboard?" I asked. You would have thought I offered him the moon, and that this hastily drawn and sloppily cut violin was the real thing. He "played" it all morning and it was the first thing he asked for after his nap. Ah, simple pleasures. He's been enthralled with the violin since the day he first saw it being played in person. (I think that would have been the Pettit team)

Monday, January 12

Works of God Monday

God is at work - all the time! He has given us many opportunities this week to serve, and has held us up when we are weak. But this week, I'm taking a break from reporting God's work in our family to let you read about His working elsewhere. God has allowed us to watch some friends begin trial after trial with bravery, peace, and quiet acceptance of God's Will. This family's testimony is a shining light in our church and our community. Read the linked article and see how God has been at work, and how this family is continuing to trust His will.

Then, post about how He has been at work in your family!

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.

Friday, January 9

another hot topic

I was doing a little reading online today, and, frustrated by the extremists on both sides of the child-having debate, decided to focus on one aspect that not too many Christian women know, or even care to know. I am hesitant to share my findings from my research on hormonal birth control pills, but God has really been laying this issue on my heart lately and I feel that I have to share it.

Like I've posted before, this is a sensitive issue, and one that must be approached with humility and grace. I beg you, please do some research on what options are available if God leads you to delay or prevent the growth of your family.

Please do your OWN reading and research. When I was first married, my PA gave me some information that was misleading on this topic. I personally was so concerned about convenience that I really just jumped on the bandwagon without taking the time to research things out for myself. I knew which questions I needed to ask, and when she gave me the answers I wanted to hear, I was satisfied with that alone.

I believe that the next few months of sickness, trying various pills, patches, and potions was the wakeup call I needed to go do some research. Again, God used my desire for convenience (my desire to not be sick) to prompt me to research what this stuff was doing, how it was working, why it was making me sick, and what I could do about it. Turns out that for me, there were a lot of reasons that hormonal contraception was a bad idea. Including my view of when life begins.

Here are some links for you to get started.

How Birth Control Pills Work
A very short condensed version of a book in reference to how BC pills work
Is there a link between the Pill and Breast Cancer?

You are welcome to leave comments, but please remember that my only goal is to have you do this research for yourself, and prayerfully consider what God would have you to do. I do not intend to begin a debate. I ask again on this one post that if you would like to comment, please make sure you season your words with grace, and consider keeping your comment anonymous for this one post.

clearance makes me happy, good service is even better

I found Crat* & Barr*l's winter clearance sale via a postcard in the mail. I was able to score a square baker and a set of Parker nested mixing bowls (in last season's fall tones, but I like them better anyway) and both items shipped to my door for under $30. Now that makes me happy. Especially since I'd considered buying a set of 3 bowls at Men*rds' Black Friday sale for the same price as these FIVE great bowls! I'd been hoping for a deal on a square dish for casseroles (a 9x13 is too big for our little family!) and got this one for $6ish.

What else makes me happy is the grrrrrrreat customer service. A thank you email, a card in the box thanking me for my purchase and urging me to call with questions or problems. Reciepts, notification of shipping - I didn't have time to wonder what was going on.

And that is the way it should be! Valuing customers is key to repeat business. Which companies are your favorites for deals and/or service?

Thursday, January 8

A little reminder

Don't forget to send me your tuna recipes! I'm working on a prize and I'm certainly ready to ditch forever the childhood memories of tuna noodle casserole (sorry, dad, I know it's still one of your favorites) I've gotten several recipe ideas already that I'm looking forward to trying.

Remember: no "cream of" soup and it must contain at least a whole can of tuna. You have until the end of this month to submit, and my goal is to announce the winner on or around Valentines' Day. If any of you have recipes that minimize the tuna taste, make sure you send those, too. Michael is not a huge fan of the frugal(ish) fish.

Wednesday, January 7

I'd settle for a drip brewed water.

It's not like I'll ever get a chance to tell anyone who could fix the problem, but I've got a pet peeve about television. OK, more than one, but this particular one is a non-moral issue. This is not to say that it is not an important issue, because it has seriously distracted me from many a semi-decent plot. I've missed vital information, anyway.

It's the empty coffee cups. The "to go" variety of coffee cups.

I understand why they wouldn't want actual coffee in the cups, but would a few inches of water hurt anyone? It's a little thing, but really. Why would you pay attention to the intricate details of the accuracy of other parts of the show and skimp on the simple things, like coffee cups?

Let me just say this - when someone walks in with a cup carrier full of coffee cups and hands one to someone, it's not supposed to be able to to tilt at that angle without spilling coffee. A lot of coffee. And when someone hands you a cup of coffee, it weighs more than air. Puh-leeze. Drinking air from a cup? Not cool. At least not as cool as a water latte. That way, you can fake us out for real.

Please, tell me I'm not the only one who has noticed this.

Tuesday, January 6

nothing a little heart-shaped cheese can't fix

Just because I have boys, doesn't mean I can't still have fun with lunch. Aaron has been having a series of funky mornings. And when I say funky, I mean he's IN a funk, mostly due to the fact that he gets up waaaay too early and is tired and whiney until after his post-lunch nap. Today, I put him in his high chair for lunch and he starts crying, whining "NO HUNGRY, NO HUNGRY!"

I told him whining is unacceptable, and that when mommy says it is lunch time, it is lunch time. And then I presented him with a plate of crackers topped with bologna & cheese cut with some fun little Pampered Chef cookie cutters, (thank you, wedding gift-er!) and voila! Suddenly, the child is very hungry. I even got a tiny smile.

Yes, I know, bologna is disgusting and gross. It is not healthy, not even close. But sometimes, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do. It was buy one, get two free awhile back, and I'm using up my freezer at the moment. The applesauce is Mott's Healthy Harvest, no sugar added, and I used whole wheat crackers, so that should count for something.

How do you make lunch fun at your house?

Monday, January 5

Works of God Monday

Today is the first day back to school for a lot of kids, so I am sure SOME moms will get a lot done today and have time to blog about all that God is doing. I am not one of those moms. Michael went back to work today, and I am trying to re-adjust to our old/new normal. I've got to get back to the routine of things, or else. I'm sure you understand.

This has been a great break, wonderful family time of resting and relaxing as well as being able to get some pretty significant things done on our house. God is good, all the time. I'm hoping for some of you to share what God is doing in YOUR life and family too - remember, you can post a work of God any day of the week and link here - this is not for Mondays only! And if you don't have a blog, leave a testimony in the comments, please!!

In the Mister Linky widget below, simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like.

Sunday, January 4

what ridiculousness!

This is madness. The article is published in the LA Times, but it is not just for California. I wrote my congressman, and you can too.

Saturday, January 3


I was looking at 2007 January's posts, and found this *sigh* Aaron was Evan's age, almost exactly. And about 2 full pounds lighter. Evan's a lightweight according to the charts, I'd forgotten that Aaron was off them for awhile. Check out the little Aaron picture. I think my boys are definitely looking like brothers!

on a (constructive) rampage

Michael has not been to work since December 23. Don't be sad, this was a planned vacation! Hallelujah, praise the Lord for paid vacation! Well, a week of it, anyway. The first week was spent celebrating Christmas here and in Ohio, and having a day or two where we tried catching up on any relaxation we'd missed.

Then, this week has been a busy one here in our house. I'm so thankful for a handy and hardworking husband! Here are the highlights - so if you are not into reading about home improvements, well, you are out of luck today!

When we first moved into our house, the floors were nasty. Stained old smelly matted down with dirt and goodness knows what else carpet on top of (drumroll please) asbestos tile. A joy to us all. So in the first months of gutting this place, we scraped up everything and took it out to the road. Leaving us with glue-stained concrete as our flooring choice. Before Aaron was born, mom and dad helped us paint the floors a nice neutral color. It wasn't my favorite choice, but it did the job of making our house look cleaner. I say cleanER because the texture of the concrete and glue under all that paint really made actual clean nigh unto impossible.

About the time Aaron was starting to crawl, God provided a sale and the money and we put laminate flooring down in the main living areas - and the bathroom. It said right on the box not to do that, but we gave it a go anyway. Little did we know that there were issues with the wax ring seal and then we had leaking going on, leading to a full ripout of the laminate flooring in the bathroom. Squishy floors = not good.

All that to say, we (ok, Michael & dad) have laid the final flooring (hopefully) in our bathroom this week, and there is actual trim around the door. And there are baseboards, too. Trim is one of those things that you don't really think is important or that you will miss it, but once it is up it's like the difference between antenna TV and cable. The edges go from fuzzy to sharp and the house is transformed.

I had gotten a green shower curtain on uberclearance at Target a couple months ago, then at the Menard's Black Friday sales we scored a curved shower curtain rod for $20. Worth every penny for that extra room in the shower, might I add. So we are enjoying a new looking bathroom!

The living room and the kitchen are divided by a wall and our weird fireplace, so when we deconstructed the kitchen, we put a window in the wall between the two rooms so that we could be in the kitchen and not feel separated from those in the living area. We've loved having it there, but it has been untrimmed and looking like the rough opening that it is.

Michael trimmed that this week, too. It looks so much nicer. I can't wait to re-arrange our living room back to its original state (we have a different format for Christmas) and see how it all looks.

Still hoping to get done this weekend, a couple doors for closets which have been hidden by curtains (which work just fine) Michael is at Home Depot even as I type. (Looky, looky! Those are the doors!!)

Just for those of you wondering why I can't just live with the house I have and be happy - I CAN! We are pressing on because our goal is resale - we hope to have the house refinanced later this year in order to increase our equity on paper, pay off some things, and become free from PMI, and then we home to sell this house (hopefully at a profit!) sometime in the next 3-4 years. It's not the "conventional" way, but we are confident that God has directed us this far and will continue to direct.

Thursday, January 1


Ok, break out the recipes, friends. 2009 is the year to wow me with your best tuna recipe. Two rules: it cannot contain "cream of" soup and it has to use at least a full can of tuna fish. Please. I'm begging you. I have at least 10 cans of tuna in the pantry. And they aren't going anywhere. Unless I make your killer recipe.

So submit your recipes! I will try them out and my family will be the judges! You have the whole month of January.

The winner will get a very special prize. Of course, it is yet to be determined, but still. I'm sure it will be Awesome. Just like your tuna recipe...

we are so cool

We had fun today. Family bowling with the church, then home to put Aaron to bed at 7. Whewie, we are party animals.

Mom & dad came over after watching the film at church and we Skip-Boed into 2009. California, you are like, so 2008. Oh, and you definitely want to check out my mom's face in that first photo. She is priceless after 11pm (well, always, but especially fun the later it gets!)

Oh, did I mention I had to go to the dentist? Nothing like squeezing out the last possible day on that deductible. I had to get 2 old fillings replaced. I'm happy - they are white now! Yay!

Happy New Year to you all!