For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 31, 2008


Well it's season has started for our household. The older boys had tryouts on Saturday. Dad had to be up at the fields all day, so mom got to play taxi all morning. It was Garrett's turn first, and he and Nolan went to the fields with dad. After G's turn, mom gets the call to come for both is very damp and chilly outside. "How did it go, G-?", asked mom. "I didn't hit very well. I missed the catch, but I ran really fast," responded the G-man.
We went and picked up burgers for lunch and took dad his. Nolan's tryouts were next. We left him with dad and returned home. I am still packing boxes, sorting and cleaning. I managed to get several of the "garage sale" items sorted into boxes, and then there was the call to come get Nolan. Nolan was very hyped up and, I posed the same question to him (expecting him to share his great tryout success). His answer, " I did average mom". He was just happy... a boy and his favorite game... Baseball is starting!
Practices begin this week (if we don't get rained out) and then games will start next month. My goal for finishing the house and listing it with a realtor is passing right before my eyes. We are so close to having it ready... rain has delayed the "curb appeal" update we need to make to the yard and to the front of the house. We have several things that need to go to storage...again the rain delay. Then there is final cleanup. If we can just work in the time to finish it soon... a slight delay of a week is the new goal. Wish us luck....

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Quick Fix Dinner

I thought I'd share a recipe for a quick dinner I made. The kids all like it a lot...never any leftovers.
1 to 1 1/2 c. diced ham(I used leftover from our Easter dinner,but you can buy the prepacked diced ham)
1 c. cream of chicken soup(I use lowfat/low sodium)
1 c. nacho cheese soup(I use lowfat/low sodium)
1/2 c. lowfat milk
1 pkg. southern style (diced) frozen hashbrowns(I defrost these a little to speed baking time)
** you could use 2 large potatoes,peeled and small diced
1 to 1 1/2 c. fresh asparagus tips (blanched for 5 min. in boiling water)
or 1 sm.package of frozen sweet peas
1/2 t.onion salt or powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-3/4c. shredded colby-jack cheese
Add hashbrowns(potatoes) to a 9x13 pan. Pour cream of chicken soup, nacho cheese soup, lowfat milk on top of potatoes. Add diced ham, asparagus or frozen peas. Season with onion salt, salt and pepper. Stir all together...spread flat and top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. .
This makes a great make ahead meal and can be frozen. Make sure you defrost it for a while before baking or lengthen baking time.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Does This Look Like Fun to You?

The Tornado has hit... winter and spring clothes for five kids.

Mia is supposed to be playing with her baby...
Nolan and Nate playing nicely together...
Mandy loves her sticker books...Can't I pleeeeeeeaaassseee help, mommy?Garrett is being the studious one... finishing his school work.

It seems as if a tornado has hit our house... it is rated a category 5. We made the decision to sell our home(well try to). It is been a crazy whirlwind of activity around here trying to get the house in showing order. The last 2 mornings have been spent working on the mounds of clothes my children have in their possession. I am trading the winter clothes for the spring/summer variety, and in addition I am sorting the "keepable" with the "throw aways". We are making a pile of garage sell things as well.
Since our weather was so beautiful today, the kids and I went outside to work on the front yard for a while. We raked up those leaves(**see Easter pictures), bagged them, and cleaned out flower beds. We will be sprucing them up somewhat with some mulch and flowers. I had all 5 of the kiddos outside helping, and they thought mom was a slave driver. I think I wore myself out before I tired them out.
We still have a lot to do, but we are seeing progress. Our bathroom redecorating is almost complete (I will post a picture when it is complete). I am making great progress on the decluttering; although I still must tackle that playroom. That is my project for the next two days....if you don't see another post soon,please call the toyroom rescue team(haha). I will take some before and after pictures and try to post my progress soon.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Easter Pictures...

Egg-citing Egg decorating...

Mandy is enjoying her first attempt at egg decorating...

This is what Mandy thought about the start of this morning...
Nate would rather be sleeping... (I thought these pictures were too cute to pass up)

Cool Dudes...Do you think they are ready for a trip to the beach?(Our living room was a lot warmer than outside)
Mia made a BIG find...It didn't take Mandy long to understand this game. (Do you see the fall leaves in our yard that still haven't been raked??...)How many have you found Nate?

Happy Easter...a little late

The clan... Our Princesses...(couldn't convince Mia to look at the camera)
Our handsome boys (mom wanted them to "dress up" but ...)
Their Easter "surprise"...

We pray that all of you shared in the glorious day of Jesus' resurrection. He lives so that we may live forever with him in eternity! We began our day attending Sunday School and church. It is my month to teach the Kindergarten class, and I have to tell you, it was a joy to celebrate with all the kids. Many were decked out in their Easter finery, but more than that they were excited to share, and listen to the story of Jesus' love for us. It was wonderful to watch and hear them answer questions, and listen to their discussions. It wasn't about Easter eggs and candy.... what a great job their mom's and dad's are doing teaching them. It was truly an amazing blessing to my day! The church service was lovely, and the lesson spoke directly to my heart. We are truly the temple of the Lord. It isn't the building or the physical aspects of a church service. We should be acting and treating our bodies as "the church". Jesus dwells within us, and we should be honoring him!

Following church, we returned home for a "snack" because we would be having a big dinner later. We always get the kids an Easter surprise, and this year we filled Sand Pails with items for the beach (We hope to take a vacation to the beach at the end of summer). There were a few candy filled eggs included. The kids loved their surprise, and delved into their pails with gusto. They entertained themselves for a bit. Brad did a little work around the house, and I spent a great amount of the day in the kitchen fixing the "huge" Easter meal. I'm not sure who all I thought I was feeding(guess I was missing our rather large extended family). We invited some friends to join us, and the kids had a great time hunting eggs, sneaking candy, and playing together. It was just a relaxing peaceful day, and we were so blessed to share it as a family.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Sleepover...

Ready for the sleepover...
Friends Forever...
I love my "Jae-Jae"
Sweet baby girls...

Mia was so excited that she got to have a sleepover at her friends house. We have been remodeling and repairing things in the house, and friends offered to take Mia for an overnight stay(thanks Ms W & Mr A). The cool thing is that Mia and Jae came from the same SWI in China. They were brought there a day apart. We have pictures of their life there together, and our families traveled together to get the girls. It still amazes me how God works things out,and the plan he has for our lives. He has orchestrated these girls lives so that they remain close friends and live less than an hour away from each other.

Mia had a blast, and when we picked her up she chattered away about all they had done. She had a great time playing dress up and just being near her friend. As time drew near for us to leave, she said,"No leave momma,we stay here." She didn't want to go home, but she wanted momma to be with her. We stayed to visit a few minutes as all the kids love to play together, and then as we left Mia had hugs to give out to everyone. She had a special bear hug for Jae. I am so glad that they love to be together and can be forever friends!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Menu

I always love new ideas for my menus,so I thought I would list ours and share our ideas. We welcome other menu suggestions.
Monday: Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Bread
Tuesday: Tortilla Soup, Avacado/Lettuce Salad (or Guacamole), baked tortilla strips...YUM!!
Wednesday: Chicken Chow Mein, Steamed Rice
Thursday:Breakfast for Dinner(Pancakes,bacon/sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit)
Friday: Grilled Fish,veggie,baked potatoes
Saturday: Red Beans, Rice, Salad, cornbread
Sunday: Grilled Pork Chops, wild rice(or seasoned,roasted potatoes), blackeyed peas,applesauce
(believe it or not this is an overwhelming favorite of my kids)
Monday: Spanish Rice (a rice casserole with meat and cheese), corn
Tuesday: Spaghetti, Salad, Zucchini, and Italian Bread
Wednesdy: Baked Chicken, Greek Potatoes, veggies
Thursday: German Sausage, pan fried potatoes,(sauerkrat for those who like it), and a veggie

I try to make a nutritionally balanced menu. Some weeks are more hectic and less than nutritious.

It's the Little Things....

Thanks Mom!! I love it!!!
Momma,this looks yucky!
"Nolan, does it taste good? Should I try it?"

Brad and I are really working on debt reduction. We were very blessed to attend a financial class through our church (check out the link on our website). One of the plans is to stay on budget, and to help out with that budget, I plan bi-weekly menus. I don't know about you guys, but I hate always planning the menu only to have the family say," Uck!". So, I started using a plan which I learned from my mom. Each of the kids gets to list 2 meals that they would like to see on the menu. Brad and my choices round out the remaining days. I say all this to set the scene for a meal that we had this week.

Mandy had her turn to pick the meals. Now, when we brought Mandy home from China, she would not touch anything except rice,noodles, hardboiled eggs and fresh fruit. Over the past few months she has made great strides in learning to like American food. She hated pizza and now loves it. Her favorite food still contains noodles...but it has tomato sauce on it(Pasketti/Spaghetti as she says). On this pick, she decided to stretch mom's cooking skills. "Momma can you make Chinese Food?". So, mom gave it her best shot. I attempted to make Chicken Chow Mein...or maybe it was more like Chicken Chop It didn't look great; however, it did taste a little better than it looked. [I have to put in here that we have been many times out to eat "China Food" (as the girls would say); however, Chinese food is not an area of cooking that I excel at,and I have never made it at home. We all love to eat at a little place here in town (not exactly authentic but good), and we eat there a few times a month. ]

I discovered that this little step spoke volumes to my daughter. She was ecstatically happy that mom tried to make "her " food. She was very kind and complimentary of the meal, and she ate it with gusto until her plate was clear. The look on her face just made me have to smile! I would never have dreamed that such a simple thing could brighten her day. As you can tell by the pictures, the other kids weren't so enthusiastic! Maybe I will get better with practice???

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tag Your It...

I was tagged by Tami.
This should be interesting...

1) I guess one of my random things is that I am not very computer savy. I have minimal training in computers, and I have only been a part of the "blogging" world for a couple of months now.

2) I am an obsessive compulsive about many things. Yes it is true! I like my clothes organized just so in the closets, in the dresser, and towels in the linen closet. I want the laundry folded a certain way. I guess that is why I am the one stuck folding the mounds of laundry at our house.
I have had to learn to be less like this because I can drive myself crazy.

3) I am a night owl. I would much rather stay up late to finish projects and complete work than to have to rise early. It is rather difficult to be a night owl with several early risers in my family.
I still get very irritated at those "chipper" morning people until around 9 am.

4)I used to be an avid Football fan (especially for the Dallas Cowboys). I had to stop watching football because I found myself being a poor winner and loser. I married a baseball fanatic, so baseball became the sport of choice in our home.

5) I love to read!! I love to read anything I can get my hands on.

6) I am a romantic and very passionate about life. I tend to get on soapboxes and share my opinions passionately about most things.

7) I love children! This is probably not news to any who would read this. I am a passionate advocate for children, and most especially for adoption! I love to witness God at work in the way He has created children. I love to watch them work, to talk to them, to see them accomplish goals, to see them play together and laugh together. It is my prayer that I will always be surrounded by loving children even at the ripe old age of 90.

8) I am quirky/picky about food quality. I love to cook and have specific brands of ingredients, fresh foods, and food preparation items that I find necessary to cook. Aren't all good chefs like that?

9) Communicating and talking with others is a "quirk" of mine. Most of my friends and family would probably agree that sometimes I can talk too much. I love language, and teaching others about the importance of language/reading skills. I took many years of Spanish and several of French in highschool/college. I thought that I would major in Spanish; however, I quickly discovered that I was ill equipped to speak it fluently enough to be an international interpreter. I have had several years of training in Sign Language, as well. I wish I had a better aptitude for speaking different languages. I would love to use it to help with bible translations and communicating the message of Jesus.

10) I try to be a people pleaser. I hate conflicts of any kind, and try to restore peace whenever possible. I was always the "good girl" growing up, mostly because I didn't want anyone to be unhappy with me. I don't like hurting anyones feelings and although I learned to speak up/ speak about my passions, I try to do so lovingly and without hurting anyone.

So... I am supposed to tag five people;however, most of the people I know who blog have already been tagged. I am going to tag
Connie ( I know you are in China, but what else are you going to do on those last days in Guangzhou when you don't want to see another shop, and you are more than ready to come home). I am not as nice as Wendy and Tami
Brad, I already know a lot of his quirks, but I want to see what he says...
.... and if anyone else wants to play along that reads my blog,please feel free to join in...just let me know when you have posted on your blog.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Field Trip...

The Zoo Gang...What's that mommy....a Jaguar!

Baby Giraffe...
Mia and her buddies

Bluebonnet is growing up...she was born in the FtWorth Zoo and named by the school kids. She is affectionately called "Bonnie" by all.

Dr. Doolittle I presume...

Or is this he?...

Just how many does it take to wrestle a crocodile?

Last week we took a field trip... a field trip to Texas. Brad had meetings on Wednesday and Thursday in Texas. Since we are homegrown Texans, we never miss an opportunity to visit "home" and our family. The kids and I took a field trip to the Ft.Worth Zoo. This zoo is fabulous, and if you have never been there, you need to visit at least once. This zoo has been around a long time. I remember visiting this zoo as a child. Of course, it has made many transformations over the years. We think that it just gets better all the time. We took our field trip on a gorgeous, warm day( and just in time because a major snow/ice storm hit North Texas the next day). Nana, Uncle Rob and two of our cousins joined us. The animals seemed to all be outside enjoying the weather, and they all put on quite a show. Some of our favorites were the elephants,lions, snakes, birds, and jaguars. There is a beautiful silverback gorilla in residence at this zoo. I believe he has been at the zoo for many years (if I am not mistaken, he has been there since I visited as a child). I love the fact that this zoo is committed to caring for it's animals, and they have made improvements to allow the animals a more natural habitat. All of the kids love to see the baby animals. We were able to catch a glimpse of a very young baby giraffe, and we got to watch Bluebonnet,the elephant,who was born several years ago at the Zoo. The younger kids had a good time playing "Diego" as they watched for the Jaguars. We ended our Zoo visit with a snack that Nana prepared for us. We were able to enjoy dinner with all the family, and then we met daddy back at the hotel.
Our trip to Texas was a quick one. Brad's was let out of his meeting early on Thursday morning. It was a very good thing as the weather was rapidly becoming worse. We drove home in major snowstorms, but luckily as we got closer to home the weather cleared. We had a great time even if it went so quickly...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Things That Make a Mommy's Heart Sing

I am going to spend today rejoicing in all the many blessings God has graciously given to me.
Here are just a few things that make my heart sing:
1) Knowing that Jesus is my Lord, my savior, and my friend, and knowing that He PRAYS for ME.
2)My wonderful,caring husband of 13 years. He is such an terrific provider,husband, and father.
3) A child joining His family forever...Congratulations Connie,Clayton,Kaeleb, and family.
4) My 11 yr old sitting in my lap last night, giving me hugs and telling me he loves me.
5) My 7 yr old daughter (who has a mommy,daddy, and family for the first time in her life) who tells me (of her own free will) that she loves me.
6) My 7yr old daughter wanting to hold my hand, wanting to sit on my lap to watch TV, and giving me hugs before bed.
7)Sitting at the dinner table surrounded by my hubby, and my kiddos having a discussion on what it will be like in heaven someday.
8) Getting kisses and hugs from all five of my precious kids.
9) Walking into the room this morning and seeing my 2 oldest sons sitting at the table reading their bible together without any proding from me.
All glory to GOD who is worthy to be praised!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Busy as Beavers

We are working, working, working around our house. On top of the normal routine around here, we are adding the task of delving into all of the things that have accumulated over the past 4 years. When we moved here 4 years ago, we had only three small boys. We have grown a bit... 3 big (and getting bigger by the day) boys and 2 little girls (or should I say princesses). It is amazing at what a rapid rate that things accumulate. We spent today decluttering, organizing, and cleaning around our house. It was such a beautiful day (spring is in the air), and we would have much rather been outside playing with the kids; however, I can proudly report that we stuck with the task. We are not even close to being finished, but we were able to make a huge dent in the mess. Brad made several trips to the storage place, and I am sure we will make many more over the next couple of weeks. I will post pictures when we get all the task complete.