Thursday, March 31, 2011

He's So Smart

Christopher (5) was quizzing Dennis with some little math flashcards.
Christopher:  "Dad--whaaaaaaat's 8-5?"
Dad:  "Three."
Christopher:  "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's 4+3?"
Dad:  "Seven."
Christopher:  "Man!  Whaaaaaaaat's 5+8?"
Dad:  "Thirteen."
Christopher:  "Oh MAN!  HOW are you guessing all these?????"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Laura Asked...

Laura asked:  What is my favorite recipe?
First, I have to say that I LOVE Laura's blogger profile name:  Laura Lu.  Seriously, how cute is THAT?  I think I like it so much because my mommy used to call me Lissa Lu.  This sometimes morphed into LuLu, which my brothers exploited when they learned Boss Hogg's wife from The Dukes of Hazzard was named LuLu.  Sadly, when they started saying I had the same name as her I asked my mom to quit calling me that because LuLu on the Dukes was really overweight and I was chubby and I didn't like what my brothers were saying about that.  (Aaron, Jeremy--do you remember this?  I promise I'm over it now.)
Another thing I love about Laura is her new nickname that she talks about on facebook:  Big Mama.  'Cause Laura's got a big beautiful family!  Four lovely daughters and two handsome sons--whom she loves like CRAZY.
When I first met Laura, it was at our homeschool support group Mom's Nights.  She made me laugh harder than anyone I'd ever met before.

So, since she asked...
(Honestly, I'd answer if someone else asked, too, just to be clear.)


I have several "go to" recipes.

The first:

Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Ingredients:  peanut butter
bread

To make:  smear (or slap, depending on Mom's mood) some peanut butter on the bread.

Variations:  one slice of bread
two slices of bread
if one slice, you can leave it flat or fold it in half
cut in triangles
cut in squares
add jelly

The second:
Cereal
Ingredients:  cereal, milk

To make:  pour cereal in a bowl
pour milk on top of the cereal

Variations:  if we're out of milk, my children have been known to re-constitute an envelope of hot chocolate and pour that on top of the cereal
my kids' favorite variation is to spill a bunch of cereal on the counter or table while trying to be "really big" and pour things themselves.
another variation is to miss the bowl entirely while pouring the milk,
or pour too much so it spills over the side.

The third:
Papa Murphy's Pizza


Ok, seriously now, I'll share some others.

One of our favorites here is scalloped potatoes with ham.
I felt like I had "arrived" as a farm wife (and, dare I say, as a Lutheran) when I successfully made scalloped (or as some call them "scalped") potatoes.  It's really not that hard...it's a bit time consuming to cut all the potatoes, but when you have a crew to cook for, cooking takes time.  Simple fact.
I'll give you the recipe in it's orginal "small" version.  

Oh, and can I just say something first?  
Of course I can--it's my blog.
"Serving size" is just a tricky term.  When cooking for our family of 10, let's think about a serving size...some of the diners are little folks, some are teenage boys.  Teenage boys--and teenage FARM boys--give no heed to some pre-determined serving size.  HA!  They laugh in the face of some government nutritional expert who decided what a "serving" should be.  It's true--boys who work hard eat a lot.  A. Lot.  
I have to take a lot into consideration when I try to figure out whether to double, triple, or even quadruple a recipe.
For our crew, I triple the following recipe.

Scalloped Potatoes
(6 servings)
6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
3 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 T. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 cups milk

1 ham steak, cubed

1.  Heat oven to 350.  Grease bottom and sides of a 2 qt. casserole dish with shortening.  (you do really want to do an adequate job of preparing the pan; it will be hard to wash off if you don't.)
2.  Prepare potatoes, slicing thin and enough to measure 4 c.  (I just leave the skin on; it looks "earthy" that way and you don't have to go through the rigmarole of peeling all those spuds.)
3.  Melt 3 T. butter in a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onion in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Stir in flour, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
4.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.
5.  Pour milk mixture over potatoes and cubed ham arranged in pan.
6.  Cover and bake 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.



I've learned over the past few years that when you're cooking for a large family, you have to develop a "lunch lady" mentality.
This is how I prepare our hot ham-n-cheese sandwiches, in the same way that Palma, Sandra and Gladys made them when I was in school.

Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
sliced ham
sliced cheese
hamburger buns

1. place ham and cheese on bun
2. wrap in tinfoil
3. place all wrapped sandwiches on/in pan

The great thing is, you don't have to "cook" these--
just melt them.
I heat my oven to 350 or so while I'm preparing the sandwiches.
(and when I say "I'm preparing" what I really mean is "my kids are preparing"--just so we're clear.)
When we place the piled-high-pan of sandwiches 
in the hot oven, I turn the oven off.
Let them warm/melt for about 15-20 minutes.
These are oh-so-good.

Serving these also satisfies our phy ed requirement for the day.
How, you ask?
Well, see, the tinfoil wrappers get smashed into little balls
and all the children, from very young to very old 
(--*ahem* Dennis--)
think it great fun to see if they can
"make a basket" and hit the garbage can.
Sort of like a game of basketball and dinner,
all in one.

(Talking about this draws to mind the 
"physics experiment" Dennis lead
that involved spaghetti noodles and the ceiling fan.
The children still talk about that one.)



Saturday, March 26, 2011

More Questions

Kim and Carrie both asked me if I'd teach them how to crochet these washcloths.
The answer: YES!  Most definitely!

It is a very easy pattern and you'd pick it up in no time.
Kim--we're up for some kids to play, any time now!
Carrie--how's 4-H time lookin' for you?

A number of years ago, I decided I wanted to learn to knit.
So I did.
I made many mistakes.
My hands hurt.
I dropped stitches.
I couldn't make anything more complicated than a scarf.
I always had to finish the row and then I couldn't remember if I was knitting or purling.
To put it plainly, I was NOWHERE NEAR as gifted as my friend Gretchen.  That woman can KNIT.

This woman can't.

Then one day, a magazine in the checkout lane caught my eye; it was all about crocheting.
I decided to give it a whirl.

I LOVED IT!

For me, crocheting is easier than knitting; I think it's much easier to stop and start with crocheting, and you can fix mistakes easier (in my opinion.)
My grandma also crochets A LOT, so I knew if I got stuck on something she could help me.

I have deeply ingrained in me a belief that hands should always be busy with worthwhile things.  If I am watching a movie at night with Dennis, sitting by while the kids do their school work, on a car trip, in a waiting room, or in the car waiting for someone--my hands can keep busy with my crocheting because I always make sure to have a little something along to work on.  (I also make sure to have a book along because I love to read, too!)

To Megan J--I make sure to put the afghans that I make on the davenport.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Answer

Becca asked if I ever got 
the newborn rocker thing
that I really really really really really
wanted.

YES!
I even did a post about it

It was a great first bed/bassinet for Ivy.
Love, love, love it.
I don't even set up our crib for a new baby
anymore because it takes up so much room.

I think that Christopher was the last
child to use the crib...and that's a maybe.
It might have even been Andrew.

I just use the pack-n-play
for the baby's bed.

When you have kids,
you gotta do what works!

Thanks for asking, Becca!
Aaaaaaand, Becca has a new,
VERY cute little bloggity
where you can read about how
she keeps up with her sweet baby,
Kendall.
You can see that by clicking here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Asked

I told you to ask away,
and you did!

Since Salena was one of the winners,
I thought I'd start with her question:
 And 1 question...when are you having the next baby??? Hopefully soon? you make such cute babies and obviously God thinks you're really good at it and I LOVE reading birth 
stories...like I wish someone would publish a book of a whole bunch!!!

Answer:  I wish I knew!
However, since we believe that the Lord is the Author of Life,
we let Him write the story!
At the risk of giving TMI for my 
brothers/brothers-in-law/nephews/sons/pastor,
I'll tell you that I'm surprised that I'm not pregnant yet.

Apparently Salena isn't the only one wondering,
however, because whenever I call someone,
they wait expectantly for "the real reason"
that I called.
This makes me laugh.
It also makes me realize that one of the few reasons
I call anyone is, in fact, 
to tell of a new baby on the way.
Admittedly,
it's a little fun to play with people's minds.


I will say that I think people could be a 
bit more discreet when they pass me in the grocery 
store and look at my stomach to see if I'm pregnant.
I do notice when they do that.
Trust me when I say this:
how my stomach looks now is not a good indicator
of whether or not I am pregnant.
False positive, if you catch what I'm sayin'.


I promise I won't keep it a secret long
when/if we get to have another baby!


And THANK YOU for the kind words.
I agree whole-heartedly about the cute babies statement.


And birth stories?  ME TOO!!!


Thanks for the great question, Salena!
Oh--and for fun,
you all should go check out Salena's blog.
Her two boys are hilarious 
and she loves them
and her husband
beautifully.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The WINNERS

Yay for 
Christel
and 

These three ladies 
were chosen via random.org
as winners of a
dishcloth.

Thanks, everyone,
for entering!
Watch for future posts
in which I answer your questions.

I so enjoyed reading all the comments!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Whom Much Has Been Given

“Ohhhh, I bet you’re busy!”
“I can’t imagine feeding all of those children!”
“You must have to be soooo organized!”
“How DO you do it?”

These are just some of the comments I get on a weekly basis…sometimes from the same people—over. and over. and over again.

I was thinking these over in my mind one night as I was going from room to room, picking up stray pajamas and toys…finding new messes…starting the bath/bed time routine…while knowing that I still had a counter full of dishes to wash and some laundry to fold—when what I really wanted to do was just sit down on the couch and crochet.  Or eat a bowl of ice cream.  Or both.

And then I remembered the Holy Spirit reminded me:

“To whom much has been given, much will be required.”

I have been given eight children (so far).

Much will be required of me.

Much of my time.

Much of my patience.

Much of my energy.

Much of my creativity.

Much of my resourcefulness.

Much of my self.

Much of my love.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Anticipation

Andrew had some birthday money
burning a hole in his wallet
so I helped him order something online.

He waited and waited and WAITED
for it to come in the mail.

On the day it was to come,
he watched for the mailman
and ran down the driveway to the mailbox.

Getting a package in the mail is always fun,
especially if you've been waiting for the special thing to come!

The children gathered around and watched him open
the box...

waiting to see the 
CAP GUN!

What else would one of my boys
spend their money on??

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm Sick

I'm sick.
I'm laying around.

My children doing a fair-to-middlin'
job of keeping the mess from being noteworthy.

I'm sick.
I'm laying around.

Dennis made a trip to town
to the pharmacy
and remembered all the things on my list.

I'm sick.
I'm laying around.

My friend brought us supper 
and some goodies for me while I lay on the couch
and think about all that I really should be doing.

But hey--just 'cause I'm sick
doesn't mean you can't still
leave a comment on my 500th post!

Go ahead--it's not hard!
If you don't have a google id, 
you can enter as "anonymous"
 and just leave your name within the comment.

I'm hoping to be back to "normal" (HAHAHAHAHAHA!)
soon.

Until then,
I'll be laying around,
thinking about all the things I should be doing.

Oh, and looking at my pretty new slippers from my friend,
gazing at the flowers she brought,
and reading a magazine that 
contains photos of clean houses.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Big 5-0...0

Yes, indeedy!
A farm wife's life has
500
posts!

In honor of this occasion,
I am joining the ranks of those who do
give-aways on their blogs.

And by joining, I mean 
doing it once.

Giving away what, you ask?
Why,
a crocheted dishcloth, of course!

I made them,
'cause I'm farm-wifey that way.



I have three of these ready to give away
and all you need to do to enter is leave a comment.

In the comment, 
tell me something about
how/when you began reading my little bloggity. (1 entry)

"Follow" me and leave 
another comment telling me you did so. (1 entry)

Tell me about one of your favorite posts
that you've read here on this blog in another comment. (1 entry)

Ask me a question that you'd like me to answer
in another comment. (1 entry)
PS. My kids read this blog, so keep that in mind.

I will choose three winners via random
and notify you so I can deliver the dishcloth to you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

When You're the Baby

When you're the baby,
your big brothers and sisters want
to include you in their play.
So they tie themselves to a laundry basket,
pad it with blankets 
and place you inside.

You, as the baby,
sit like the Queen of Sheba,
and let them proceed.
Your big brothers and sister
pull you through the living room
and down the hallway.

And you love it.
'Cause you're the baby.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

For Silje

We're dog-sitting "Lena" for my friend Gretchen.
Lena has made great friends with our dogs
and is really enjoying playing outside a LOT!

Gretchen's daughter Silje was so happy
to learn that Lena was going to come stay 
with a family with a bunch of kids who live on a farm!

I'm posting this picture (though it's not that great of one)
 so Silje can see that 
Lena is being well-loved in her absence. :-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Surprise!

Surprise!

 Ruby went to bed with a marker.

Surprises are always so fun in the morning,
aren't they?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Life and Death on a Farm

They say a farm is a great place for kids to grow up.
I won't disagree, but it certainly isn't without its challenges.

Thursday night one of Isaiah's goats began kidding.
When Dennis checked on it, one baby's head was nearly out but the mama was having trouble pushing her the rest of the way.
With a little assistance from him pulling, the kid was born.

He hoped that that would be it, knowing that it was her first kidding and hoping it was a single birth; goats often have twins, even triplets.
It wasn't long until he could see she wasn't finished.

But baby goat #2 wasn't coming out; it was stuck.
Calves and goats typically present head and feet first (think SuperMan in a flying pose), but this baby was coming with one foot forward and one foot back.

Dennis called me to come down to see if I had any ideas; also, my hands are smaller than his and he thought maybe I could help her more than he could.
We tried EVERYTHING.  I mean EVERYTHING and that goat would NOT come.
Finally we called the vet; he tried all the tricks in his bag, too, to no avail.

I watched as she went into shock...we decided to get the baby out, knowing the mama would not live much longer.  We were pretty sure the kid was still viable at this point; I had felt puffs of air when I had my hand inside her trying to catch that other leg up and out and the vet said that it sucked on his finger when he was trying to get it out.

The vet sedated the doe, gave a local anesthetic where he would do the incision, and began the process of a c-section.  (I'm not sure if you'd still call it a c-section, since it's only intent was to get the baby out; there would be no chance for the doe.)
When he cut through the layers, her womb just sort of let go. He hardly had to cut, he said, it just gave way.  He pulled the kid out and then euthanized the doe.  The baby didn't make it, either.

I felt SO BAD for Isaiah, and Linnea, too, as she had shown this goat at the fair.  She was a well-tempered goat and, this may sound weird, but just seemed to trust us to help her.  She didn't fight us as we tried to help her.

Back to the firstborn baby...we brought her to the house (it was now 2:00 in the morning--who says I'm not a good farm wife???) and I fed it some milk replacer (animal baby formula) from a syringe.  I put it in an old laundry basket with some old towels and went to bed for awhile.  To my surprise, it was still alive later in the (early) morning when I woke up to feed it.

Throughout Friday, it perked up, drinking from the syringe.  Isaiah made a batch of colostrum for it (he's so SMART!!  I didn't even know you could do that, but he did!) and fed her through the day.  This baby cried and cried when she was alone and awake, and would stop crying if one of the children were near her.

This morning at about 5:00, I woke up to feed her and realized something was wrong.  I woke Isaiah up because he knows a lot more than I do about these things.  He said he thought she probably had pneumonia.  He gave her a shot of penicillin and we did our best throughout the day, but when Linnea went to feed it after supper, she came to tell me that it had died.

Of course no one likes to see an animal die.  To a certain extent, you know it's part of living on a farm but it doesn't make it "easy"--especially when it's one you've worked hard to save.

So, I'm sad for my boy...he's a farmer through and through and he loves his goats like many boys love their dogs.  They come running to him when he goes by their pen, he lovingly names them all, and buys them collars.

Life--and death--on a farm:  sometimes it's hard.

My Baby is One

A year ago today,
I gave birth to this lovely little baby.
(You can read some of her birth story here,
if you'd like.)

And today,
she's one.
She's a toddler.
She's serious.

She thinks about things.

She walks, has some words,
some signs,
and a big personality.

She's my baby...
and she's growing up!

Happy Birthday Ivy Joy!
I'm so glad you're part of our family.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretty Purple Roo

You may (or may not) recall  that
Ruby has an affectionate relationship 
with all things pretty,
especially if it's for her hair.
Take a look here, for example.

whipped up this little treat
for Ruby
and she LOVES it.
No surprise there!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Left Behind?

When I opened the door to the bathroom
wherein Christopher was taking his bath,
I feared for a tiny moment that the rapture
had happened when I saw this:
I quickly came to my senses--
knowing for certain that I have accepted
Christ as my Savior and the free gift of eternal life
paid for with His life--
when Christopher saw me take a second look;
he started giggling and said,
"Hahahaha, I did that to trick you, Mom!"

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