Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just yesterday I was discussing Christmas with the kids and Isaiah was telling me that it was all about baby Jesus' birthday then he said, "But He's a big boy now." Merry Christmas from the Arnolds.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Food

What can one make with 7 pounds of rice, 6 bags of mozzarella cheese, 1 carton of heavy cream and salmon? And 32 cans of cream of mushroom soup. Ew. No food, no idea what to fix for lunch. I guess the kids will have peanut butter crackers and oranges for the 5th day in a row or pretty close to it. I am having a cup of coffee and the last Aldi brand swiss cake roll for a late breakfast. I should be eating eggs, but I chose sweets and caffeine because I was a zombie this morning. Oh! Eggs! I can make the kids eggs for lunch! If you couldn't tell, it's grocery shopping day.

We just made a cute little craft for Nannie and Pop for Christmas. It's a little box made of craft sticks. I have some more crafts to make before Christmas. We are probably going to make a gingerbread something. A couple of years ago we made a gingerbread train and it was really cute, and easier, I think, than a house. I do want to try a gingerbread house sometime though... Maybe after I get the kitchen sparkling and sanitized I will get the ambition to go forward with the ordeal. Hence the coffee.

Oh and we had hamburgers on homemade buns this week and they were awesome! I don't know if we'll ever buy buns again. We already don't buy bread, but I have been really slacking off on making it, so we have just been doing without. But one night this week I wanted burgers so I had to make buns, and YUM! The recipe was from allrecipes and the bread only had to rise once which was nice, but I think I could actually make buns with any of the bread recipes I already use and I could probably only let it rise once too. Especially my whole wheat bread, it rises so well, I could probably just let it rise once. Okay, here's my whole wheat bread recipe. Usually I just write down the ingredient list and MAYBE fragments to get me through the recipe, but I will try to be thorough for you who may actually try this:

Ingredients
8 c. whole wheat flour
2 packages (5 tsp.) of active dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. veg. oil

Although I would feel comfortable substituting some water for some milk or sugar for honey if I was out, or some white flour for some of the wheat or melted butter for oil... I'm getting pretty adventurous with my bread making!

Okay back to the recipe

I use the kitchenaid, but I have made it by hand because it is past the capacity for our mixer.

1. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour undissolved yeast and salt

2. Heat milk, water, honey and oil until very warm (not boiling!) about 120-130 degrees. Sometimes I use the thermometer, sometimes I just wait until little bubbles form around the rim of the mixture. It's usually pretty close.

3. Gradually add the warmed mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl already.

4. Beat 2 minutes

5. Add 1 cup of flour and beat 2 more minutes.

6. Stir in rest of flour and knead 6-8 minutes

7. Let dough rise until doubled 45-60 minutes

8. Shape dough and rise again until doubled, 30-60 minutes.

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until it looks and sounds done.
Although if you use all whole wheat flour the bread is really dense so it takes
a bit longer than you might be used to if you use a mixture of white and wheat.
If it looks done, I usually give it a few more minutes. Sometimes I slice into
it and it's just not quite done in the middle, but we usually just eat it
anyway.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Favorites

Christmasy stuff
Tagged by Kristin

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I try to wrap at least part of the gifts the kids open, but we do a lot of bags. Last year we used some leftover baby shower bags. It's more about what's inside that counts, right?

2. Real tree or Artificial? I've never had a real one, but we thought about it this year since the state apparently decided to cut down anything within 20 feet of the road and that included a LOT of perfectly sized Christmas looking trees...ah well, eventually.

3. When do you put up the tree? Sometime the week after thanksgiving usually, although I ask Nathan if we can put it up before Halloween almost every year.

4. When do you take the tree down? Pretty quickly after New Year's day, but what about the 12 days of Christmas? That would put us to at least the 5th.

5. Do you like eggnog? Never tried it because it looks GROSS

6. Favorite gift received as a child? a pretend camping set with a lantern and a canteen and other great stuff. My sister spoiled the surprise that year, but it was still the best gift ever.

7. Hardest person to buy for? brothers in law. all of them.

8. Easiest person to buy for? my kids!

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes a hand me down ceramic one and a beautiful small Fontanini set that I got as a wedding gift. Ooh and I love the willow tree kind but I don't have any of those yet

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I wish we were the mailing type, but email all the way.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I cannot remember any one specific bad gift, but I definitely remember being disappointed at least a couple of times

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Christmas Vacation--it's a yearly event

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes. Is that really so bad? I mean really who can use 4 bottles of bath and body works lotion in a lifetime, let alone one Christmas? (now you know! don't get me lotion! even though I am extremely dry)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? chocolate covered peanut butter crackers made by my Great Aunt Elsie and also her white chocolate covered pretzels. And all the other awesome candies at my granny's house on Christmas eve

16. Lights on the tree? Well, yes. White and colored. We try to find a new interesting set of colored lights every year when the Christmas stuff is marked down 90 percent.

17. Favorite Christmas song? We Three Kings. And the yellow disc of WOW Christmas 2002. Esp. Sing Mary Sing by Jennifer Knapp

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? travel close-by. Nothing out of state. Barely out of county, but still full and busy.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet Cupid Donner Blitzen Rudolph... but ask me in June and I will have no idea. I have just read them too many times in the past week.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. We have nothing at the top. Isaiah says we need a star, though, so we might make a star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas eve at my Granny's and Christmas morning at home and then at my parent's

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The unending annoying "Christmas" songs like frosty the snowman and jingle bell rock, although the kids really love stuff like that so it's much easier to tolerate it when it's my kids singing.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? No theme here. I would like to have a beautifully put together tree with all coordinating ornaments, but what would we do with all the ornaments we love?

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Not turkey! We have tacos at Nathan's mom's Christmas get together and I really look forward to that.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Money for our trip to Texas!

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? ? No Idea!

27. Does Santa wrap your gift or leave them unwrapped? Both. Some unwrapped for the WOW moment but some wrapped so we can enjoy the moment longer. and because kids like to un-wrap stuff.

Okay! I tag Jud, Jamie, Teresa, and especially Nathan! What IS your favorite Christmas song? And if you read my blog and I don't know it, let me know so I can tag you too!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Kid Quote of the Day

Nathan and the kids were playing a game in the living room that I'll just call "trapping a baby koala". Isaiah kept saying he wasn't a baby koala and then Nathan "trapped" him and said, "Well, you fell into a baby koala trap. What does that make you?" and Isaiah said, "That makes me MAD!" Oh my kids make me laugh every day! :)

No More Cooking!

Well, we did it! We cooked for Thanksgiving successfully! I got so many compliments on the bread I made, which I decided to make at the last minute. It was rising as I was driving over to Nathan's sister's house. It was a nice day full of family and FOOD. We have enough leftovers to make it through the week without having to cook at all. We will probably re-purpose some pork though. We made an entire Boston butt to have in addition to the two turkeys the others cooked and we still have about 90 percent of that left. Any ideas for shredded pork? We will probably do some barbecue and Mexican with it later in the week, but right now our stomachs are too sensitive. Nathan and Isaiah woke up throwing up on Wednesday, and today Toby and I have a touch of the tummy troubles (no puking, but you know...) I guess Lydia got off the hook this time. She keeps a cold weeks longer than the boys though, so I guess it's her turn to be well. I'm just glad we're getting it all out of our systems and getting all better before Nathan and I head to Texas in January. We have to be really healthy there so we won't make Ezekiel sick. We are really starting to get amped up about our trip! We can't wait to see Daniel and Kristin and to finally meet baby Zeke. And it will be the first time we have had that much time together without the kids. We love road trips, you know, minus the roads and traffic... At least we are getting better at travelling together. We still get lost all the time, but we are learning not to get mad when that happens. We were driving to a house in Hustonville (about 40 minutes from where we live) ---with a map--- and we still had to stop at the gas station and ask for directions. It's okay. We are directionally challenged, although Nathan would say he's not as bad as me. (I would agree.)

Yes, I got up this morning at 4:30 and was at Wal-Mart at 5:00 to get a few things for Christmas. I only ended up getting a few things because It. Was. Crazy. I had to park across the street. The Wal-Mart parking lot couldn't contain the (crazy) people that were there. I couldn't find most of the things I was looking for, so I got what I could find and hightailed it outta there. I was home by 6:15. I guess it was worth it because we got a pretty nice printer for $30. Whatever, I just don't know if I'll ever do it again.

Also, I have been trying to learn how to read a crochet pattern, and I feel like a complete moron! I thought I knew how to crochet, but apparently I knew only the very basics. I'm learning, though. Today I learned about increasing and decreasing stitches, and I am kind of learning about crocheting in the round. I think before I tackle all the hard projects I am going to try for Christmas, I am going to try crocheting a simple ball. I found a good video on YouTube that gives very clear instruction on making this ball and it would be good practice for increasing, decreasing, and crocheting in the round. Ooh, and we are going to make the presents for my parents this year. I can't decide what to make. We will probably do some pictures of the kids with some crafts by the kids mixed with a few hand made things from Nathan and me. Did you know Nathan is the sewing machine master. I think it's because it's a machine. He can just figure anything out. I can push the pedal and get the top thread on, but he has to fix the bobbin for me every time and if there is ever a problem I just hand it off to him. He's so good.

Now, I need a nap. 4:30 is way to early for me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I got to go to the store by myself today!

My kids--all 3 of them--slept all night last night until after 7:00 this morning. You can't hear it right now, but the Hallelujah chorus is playing. I hope it wasn't just an amazing fluke. We have started giving Toby a bottle before bed instead of nursing him (again!). It seems to really help with him sleeping longer. We could probably do food instead, but the bottle puts him to sleep in addition to filling him up and that makes me a happy mama. We were just giving him the free samples of formula we had gotten after he was born, but I read the ingredient list on the last one and almost had a panic attack. They were almost all gone SO, I went out and bought some Earth's Best formula, which was the best choice between Wal-Mart and Kroger in Danville. It's got to be better than all the crap in the other ones. If you don't know this about Toby, he LOVES food. All food, all the time. I am dead serious. He would eat every hour, maybe every half hour if I offered. I have been nursing him about 5 times a day, and giving him breakfast, lunch and supper, and maybe something else if other people in the house happen to be eating when he's not. By 9:00 I am SO tired of feeding this child!!! Sleep already! Hopefully the bottle is the trick. The first night we gave him one, I cried, though! I had never seen him take a bottle before because he only takes one when I am not around. I just couldn't believe how big he has gotten.


Stealing something from Teresa's blog--Lydia has our quote of the day. I told her not to throw her baby because she might knock someone out with it, so she said, "I'll just SEND her." as she proceeded to do exactly what she was doing before. A little bit more gently than before but still... I just couldn't do anything but crack up.


After nap time, (what would my life be like without scheduled nap time?!) I have special snuggle time with each one as they wake up. It is just one of my very favorite times of the day. I think it is Isaiah's favorite time of the day too. He cannot get ungrumpy without snuggle time. We had good snuggle time today.


This week I am fixing half of the Arnold thanksgiving meal! I'm so excited to show off my from scratch culinary skills. I am cooking the sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn casserole, sweet potato pie, a cheesecake--my first one from scratch, and if I have any more time I may think of a couple more things. Nathan's sister Trina is cooking the turkey, macaroni, green beans, and some apple dumplings, and probably more. Nathan's Momaw will bring the yeast rolls (YUM!) and no telling what else. Then we will go on to my grandparent's house for another round of the same foods, only I don't cook anything for that one.


We are trying to keep the thermostats very low in our house this winter. We are doing pretty well! I was worried about the kids at first, but we are finally getting the hang of staying warm without the heat. Last night I made some rice and bean warmers for the bed and our bodies. Odd baby socks make pretty great hand warmers. This is what is going to get us through the winter. Before these we just talked about maybe setting the thermostats back, but now we pile the covers on and keep sweatshirts on and sometimes hats. My perpetually naked children are learning to keep their clothes on. Isaiah actually put his socks on without out my urging the other day. Lydia is harder to keep clothes on, but at least she usually has pants on now. That has been a battle....

Also, I bought a whole bunch of new crochet needles today and some new yarn to make Christmas presents! I had time to briskly go through the craft section today, because I was by myself. Nathan was working from home while the kids were napping. It was kind of fun not to be talked out of that 5th ball of yarn. (I love that my husband is so good at keeping us within our limits at the store, but still, it was nice to not have "direction" today!)

We got Netflix this week since we are getting rid of the tv--haha. It is so bad! We have the movies on demand on our computer. Nathan JUST said as I was typing, "DO you wanna watch a movie?" This is ruining the progress we have made in the "watching" department...Ah, but we love it. I have been on a documentary craze. Business of Being Born (loved it), My Kid Could Paint That (so so), and I have a few more on the queue. We also watched a good one called The Amish: A People of Preservation. We were surprised the Amish allowed all the video, but we really liked that one.

Good times at the Arnold homestead this week. Gotta go watch a movie! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Gift Inspiration

I was checking out a new website I happened upon today on another blog. It is a site for buying and selling homemade crafts! So cool. I saw some really awesome crocheted things that I am thinking about making for the kids for Christmas. They seemed to think the pictures were cool and asked if we could get them, so if I have the skill, they may get homemade gifts this year. They are selling the patterns, which I am thinking about buying, but the doctor kit is only $18 dollars and after buying the pattern for $4 and all the different colors of yarn, I am thinking about just buying the crocheted doctor kit pre-made. It would be cool to have that pattern, though to make gifts.

The ice cream scoops are removable and can be crocheted in any color (obviously).


I think the kids would especially like the doctor's kit. They are starting to get into playing doctor.

I am trying to think of different ways to incorporate more natural materials into the kids toys, and this is one way. We also got them the cutest SIGG water bottles for their stockings this year and we are throwing out all the plastic cups. Fewer cups to wash, better for the kids. :)
In other news, I can't keep Toby out of the toilet. Since all my kids are constantly using the bathroom, Toby just follows them in and proceeds to splash until I catch him. It's usually not too long before I catch him, and he's not yet put the toilet water in his mouth, but GROSS. We have been taking extra precaution to have everyone put the lid down and shut the bathroom door and he still managed to get to the water twice yesterday. Today he got close but I caught him first. He was racing me to the toilet and I won this time.
Lydia is rocking her baby right now and I just want to pick her up and snuggle her! I thought about trying to make Lydia a baby for Christmas...I just might do it.
I have to learn to crochet in the round before I start making all these gifts, so I have been brushing up with YouTube videos. I really think I can do it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Isaiah's Birthday = Success

Happy Birthday, Isaiah! What a good day we had today and yesterday! Isaiah's party was big-time fun. Bunches of family came to the party and even though 4 of his cousins couldn't make it because of illness there were still plenty of kids to play with. There were balloons and streamers, cake, and lots and lots of presents. I asked Isaiah what his favorite part of his birthday was and he said, "Owen and Jerome. And PRESENTS!" (Jerome is Nathan's sister Trina's husband and Owen and Samantha's dad. I keep Owen and Samantha 3 days a week.) Isaiah chose to have a "Ben 10" party. Ben 10 is this cartoon that he sometimes gets to watch with Nathan. It is about a boy who turns into all different kinds of aliens. So Isaiah got a whole bunch of new Ben 10 figures, some cars and a car case, some Moon Sand (BOO! So messy. But very very fun, too!), some pants, a new set of Spiderman sheets and Spiderman blanket, money, and some new games. That is our new thing these days--We have been playing lots of games. We already had Chutes and Ladders, and Isaiah just got Candy Land, Memory, and Crazy Eights. We played Memory a lot today. Lydia just flips the same two cards over every time and says, "I got a match!" even though it doesn't match... Isaiah gets Memory and Candy Land very well, but HATES to lose. We are trying to teach him to be a good sport, but every time he loses he's furious and every time he wins he gloats. Ah, well, in good time... But the party was great! No meltdowns, Isaiah was very patient and well-behaved, he said his thank yous and gave hugs all around. I can't believe how big he is!

This week is also break-Toby-from-his-middle-of-the-night-feeding week. NOT FUN. He was up for about 2 1/2, maybe 3 hours last night--from 2:30 until the roosters crowed (Literally..until Henry crowed at about 5:00AM)...Maybe tonight will be easier. I am so ready to sleep all night, or at least without a baby in the middle of the bed. The other night I practically slept on the night stand. No more!

Today, Lydia got shut out of the playroom and wanted in. I told Isaiah and Owen to let her in, but after that I heard, "Lydia, say ding-dong!" in hushed voices. So, Lydia said, "Ding-dong." in a sad little voice. Then the response, "Who is it?" Lydia said,"ME!" and then was let into the playroom by the boys. Oh, they make me laugh.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yard Sale

Snow or shine but not rain. No one wants to buy soggy clothes and toys so no yard sale today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yard Sale, Party, Hobby, and Laundry

I think they are prettier in person.
I have been a loser on the blogfront, and I apologize for my blog laziness. This week has been kind of nice. We went bowling last weekend for the first time in around a year. We average about once a year for bowling, but we love it! I actually bowled pretty well--not at all like the time I bowled a 22. For real.


We have been digging through closets and under the bed in preparation for a massive yard sale we are having tomorrow, snow or shine. Anyone need a tv or a lava lamp? We have much to offer! Yes, we are getting rid of the tv. I am actually really glad to get rid of it. We can still watch tv on the computer if we feel the need--and we did last night to watch The Office and ER.


Sunday we are having Isaiah's birthday party. He's going to be 4 on Monday! I can't believe I am going to have a 4 year old--that makes me feel ancient! So in addition to dragging out every last piece of junk in our house for our yard sale, I am also trying to clean like a mad woman for the party on Sunday. And I'll have to cook before then, too. I have so much to do, but I work much better with a deadline. Now that I have a goal, the house should look pretty good by the party.


This week I have been crocheting a pair of fingerless gloves. I didn't know if I even really liked them until I started crocheting them, but I definitely do now. I also love picking up a hobby again. Without tv I am going to need one! I have also read about 4 chapters of my new book about keeping house. I really like it, but am taking a mini break from it until my house is clean enough to implement her strategies for KEEPING house. She doesn't have any tips for bringing a house out of the depths... But a tip I got from Nathan (not from my book) has really worked for me this week. I have been struggling with keeping the laundry even moderately kept up--the only form of clean laundry being jumbled basket on top of basket of clean clothes waiting to be folded in the living room. Literally for weeks. So, Nathan suggested I try folding clothes straight out of the dryer on top of the washing machine. I was very resistant at first, but it really does work! I usually have just enough room to fold one load and then I HAVE to put them away because I need to get the next load out of the washing machine and into the dryer. The result is approximately 8 loads of clothes not only folded, but put away where they belong! Last night I thought I would put just one load in a basket and fold them while watching the office. I folded about 4 baby shirts then quit and that basket still sits jumbled in my living room floor along with another basket from 2 weeks ago. SO, I have learned that the folding-on-top-of-the-washer system works way better than the leaving-in-baskets-on-the-floor system.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Routine

What a long, routine week. We did the same old stuff all week long. Laundry, dishes, playing, discipline, eating, sleeping (a little....Toby is teething.). I'm glad the weekend is here just to shake up the routine a little bit. We did at least go to my parent's for supper last night. That was fun!

We ordered new books this week! I can't wait until they get here! I chose Home Comforts, a book about the lost art of keeping house. Just what I need! We also ordered The Foxfire Book, the first in a series of many, and Nathan chose Ideas Have Consequences. Hooray! I can finally take a break from The Encyclopedia of Country Living (which I will probably never finish--who needs to? It is the ultimate homesteading resource! If I ever need to look something up, but don't have access to the internet I check that book and so far I have found what I wanted to know every time. Of course most everything I was looking up was related to simple living.)

We changed our phone/internet/tv plan last month because our bill just kept getting higher and higher. Last month it was $114! For the amount we use it that is just outrageous! So we switched to the "greenstreak" with windstream, where we pay less for higher speed internet, we don't pay for phone at all and we get to keep our phone number. People can call us and it's free, and we can call 800 numbers and 911 for free. We have to pay 10 cents a minute for local calls if we make them and we can't make long distance or collect calls at all, but we just use our cell phones and most of the time people call us back. And we also (finally!) got rid of our dish. We had it down to a $10 a month plan (which was actually $15 a month), but we never watched it. We mailed back our receiver and remotes and something Nathan had to get off our dish on the roof and now we're free! No more dish! They cannot talk me into more tv again! So all this to say, our bill was only $16 this month! It will be around $35 next month, but we had prepaid for the dish service and didn't use it so we got a credit! An extra $100 this month!

Wow, my blog is boring today. This has been my life this week, and I love it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heels!


I made it through a wedding in 3 inch heels! NO! I just measured--4 inch heels!!!I am actually surprised that I made it. I had to be at the church at 1:30 to take a bunch of pictures. The wedding didn't start until 4:30. So I had the shoes on and off a lot before the actual wedding. You know, take a picture, take the shoes off, put them back on, take another picture.... But at 4:30 it was game time. I walked down the aisle like I had been walking in giant heels all my life. Then I stood there, very painfully for around 30 minutes. It was a short, beautiful ceremony and the only "extra" thing they did was light a unity candle while a friend sang a short (and beautiful) song. Every time there was a prayer you could see all seven bridesmaids shifting, just trying to get some feeling back in their toes before we had to walk out. I waited patiently for my turn to be ushered out of the church and I almost didn't make it. The groomsman laughed all the way up the aisle because I was wobbling the whole way! My feet were numb, but still in pain if you know what I mean. The very second I got through the door the shoes came off and the blood came rushing back to my toes. It took about 15 minutes to feel them completely again, but I guess it was worth it:) My friend's wedding was beautiful and I think it turned out just the way she wanted. Now, I'm trying to figure out what to do with those shoes....should I burn them? I don't think that's harsh enough!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Granola Bar of My Very Own

As a mother of three kids 3 and under, very few things in this house are truly my very own. All the kids like to eat and drink what's on my plate or in my glass. Toby thinks our bed belongs to him--not just any part of the bed--the prime center of the bed. Three feet of it. How can one so small take up so much room? He has been sleeping better though now that he has cut some of his teeth, but he usually ends up in the bed around 5:00. (Last night it was 3:00) I have to share the computer with Nathan when he works from home 2 days a week, but I really don't mind that so much because he gets to be home all day. I always have to share my seat, my lap, even my clothes! Isaiah and Lydia wear my shoes around and Toby loves to roll around with my bra around his head. I attribute that to the breastfeeding. The point being that we share LOTS of things. Except one thing. I DO NOT share my free samples. Yes, I know I'm a loser for ordering free samples, but I do almost weekly. Some of them are hair products, face wash, diapers(I do share those:)...I have a small bucket under the sink in the back bathroom full of goodies (mostly useless). However, occasionally, there is a free food sample, usually a cereal in the tiny one serving size boxes. Or, one time I got some of those little flavor things you put in your water bottle to make it fruit punch, or green tea, or some other beverage. This time I got a granola bar. A really yummy, all natural, full sized Quaker Simple Harvest granola bar. I ate the whole thing by myself. I did not share it even though I was asked repeatedly by my eldest for a bite, and as he persuasively told me it was his favorite (although he has never had one of these particular granola bars) I was tempted to give him a bite, but just decided not to. I felt a little bit selfish/guilty, but it was really yummy and it was mine. Now you know my secret--Hands off the granola bar!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Colts?


I was dressing Toby tonight and I chose this warm, comfortable, cozy outfit that Isaiah used to wear. It turns out that it is a Colts outfit. Who knew? SO whan your little one gets big enough, Jamie, this outift is for you. (I actually looked up the Colts on Wikipedia to make sure that this was their symbol... Nathan and I don't watch a lot of sports:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Laundry. AAAHH!

Why, oh, why do we have this many clothes? Five people times four seasons makes for a lot of clothes I know, but really? Mountains upon mountains of clothes? For what purpose? I know we all need a couple of pairs of jeans, but does everyone need their own dresser full--each season? As you can tell it is now full on fall here and the shorts are being put away until next year. I dread the changing of the clothes every season, but the big changes happen when it's too cold for short sleeves and too hot for pants. We have now reached the too cold for short sleeves time of year so each child's wardrobe has to be almost completely changed out. I am so thankful for all the hand-me-downs the kids get from their cousins because they save us all kinds of money, but they do sometimes make it a bit more difficult to separate the kids clothes out. For instance, we get a lot of clothes from Hanah and Ella, two of our cousins who were born in September. Lydia was born in March. Warm clothes are off in size by about 6 months. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of overlapping in sizes to more than adequately dress my little girl, but there is a lot of weeding through. Every season. Also, some of the clothes we get from Samantha are from 9 years ago, so you know how fashionable some of them are. (I really hope I don't sound ungrateful or complain-y, but I am just trying to show you that it's not an easy job.) On the bright side, it gets easier as they get older and boys clothes are easier (and fewer!) than girls. So, what's the excuse for the adults in the house? We have too many clothes that no longer fit, or that fit but we don't wear, or that we wouldn't wear if we only had a few clothes that we really love and really fit. Instead of having a few clothes that we love and are really well made, we buy cheap clothes that we have to replace often. Or people buy them for us. Have you ever tried to get rid of a brand new really cute shirt that doesn't fit? Or even a brand new ugly shirt that fits? It took me three years to get rid of a brand new really cute shirt that my granny got for me. It never fit. I still have a pair of pants more than one size too small, just waiting for the day I see my pre-pregnancies weight. At least Nathan and I don't change our wardrobes out every season, as we aren't continually growing like the kids are. We just cram everything into our closet and two dressers. And a little in the kids closet. And a lot more in the laundry room. If it's all clean at the same time (It has been, about twice:) all our clothes so do not fit.


My dining room table covered in clean clothes.

The kitchen counter ALSO covered in clean clothes. Note that this is in addition to the clothes on the table--not before and after. Plus there are clean clothes all over the couch, and about 4 more dirty loads to do. Maybe five.

And all our closets and dressers are full.

Camera Happy

I have rediscovered my camera and learned that I like to take pictures of things that don't move. As much as I love my kids, they are very hard to photograph. Here are a few of my favorites.

Our eggs make me happy.

A half-eaten brownie.

A rare clear shot of Toby. He looks so serious!

Nathan says my favorite pictures are the weirdest ones. This is one of my very favorites of Lydia and I'm not really sure why.

This picture captures Isaiah pretty well and it makes me laugh.


These last two pictures are from a couple months ago. I haven't caught them still since!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crazy Maze


We have had such a busy weekend (for us). I worked until 4 on Saturday and as soon as I got off I came home and showered and Nathan and I went out to do something cool and new. Without the kids! We met a couple of friends that Nathan knows from work in Lexington to go to a corn maze. Take a look at the coolness of this maze. We had fun getting lost and finding our way out. We had a little map to help us find our way around. It was really neat to be up in the letters at the top of the maze. We could actually tell when we were in the "A". After that we got some cider and a funnel cake and had a pretty good night out without the kids.

Today we went to church and ended up keeping the 4 year old class during the service. That was the first time we ever had that class and it was pretty fun. The kids were old enough to play short games and actually pay attention. It wasn't just crazy running around for an hour. After church we had lunch at Nathan's sister Rachel's house. The cousins all had fun playing together since it had been a few weeks since they were all together. I love Nathan's sisters. Also, Nathan's mom was there today and it was nice to see her.

This much excitement in one weekend is almost too much for us to handle. I'm really tired!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vaccines!

Oh how much would I pay someone to do all my vaccine research for me... I guess part of me sort of, kind of, maybe believes in vaccines a little bit. After all, I was vaccinated. I was not, however vaccinated for chicken pox, and I suffered with those for -gasp- a whole week. Many times I sit down at the computer just checking email and I end up there for an hour reading about the horrors of vaccination.

We have decide not to have Toby vaccinated for many reasons, but I was struggling with getting religious exemption because I wasn't sure if our reasons were religious (whatever that means). Then yesterday I found a website that shows how aborted babies were used to create some of the vaccines. Every time I read something good about vaccines it is countered by something 10 times more horrible than the good. Also, I struggle with being mandated by the government to inject my kids with anything. I believe that as parents we should have full disclosure on the substances (food, medicine, etc..) that are entering our children because I am the one who has to answer for the way they are raised, their health and character until they are old enough to answer for themselves. Isaiah and Lydia were vaccinated on "schedule" but I really had no idea what I was doing or anything about non-medical health at that point (besides breastfeeding and lots of fruits and veggies). That was before our great friends Daniel and Kristin gave us a wonderful gift of chickens, and pen and food thus changing our diets and palates forever. I do know that our kids will probably not get any more vaccines unless I find some amazingly compelling evidence that it is unbelievably healthy and ethical. (I cannot get "Let's get Ethical" from The Office out of my brain!) Which means probably never. Lots of probablys. As you can see, I really don't want to mess my kids up, and I fear I already may have in so many ways. We just have to prayerfully consider our options and believe that whatever the Lord tells us to do is the best thing to do. Of course what He tells us to do is best, I could just use a much louder instruction sometimes. OR maybe I should become a better listener.



On a side note, I am just so grateful for my husband and children and the lifestyle we are striving for. God certainly has a direction for me that sometimes I couldn't/can't figure out, but, oh, how much better He knows than me.

I was telling Isaiah the other day, "I told you once and you didn't listen, so now you are gonna have to figure it out yourself!" And I had a thankful thought to Jesus for not being like me! How patient He is with me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baby Food Day



My new project is making baby food. I can't stop. Our freezer is getting full of all these baby food cubes and I just keep making more and more. I love the freedom it gives me. We were almost out of baby food one day and my granny gave me a butternut squash, which I don't particularly like or know what to do with, so I found an easy recipe for baby food and it was over. Now I don't have to buy baby food (for fifty cents a pop) and I get to see exactly what is in the food I am feeding my infant. I feel like when we are growing all our own food that I will be able to provide for any baby that we may have or that may come visit. Just one more step on the way to being more self-sufficient. And it's really, really fun. Toby LOVES baby food making day. I usually make a few different kinds of food and all he does all day is try everything out. Yesterday and today I made peaches, plums, vanilla cinnamon peach oatmeal, and apple plum rice cereal. I already had apple blueberry oatmeal, butternut squash, and carrots in the freezer. Toby will not eat the carrots or squash unless applesauce or something sweet is mixed in. Come to think of it he will not eat anything that isn't sweet at all. He won't eat plain yogurt, green beans, or anything else unless it also has a fruit or some kind of sweet in it, unless sweet peas count. I'll keep working on that. Maybe he'll develop a savory tooth later. Speaking of teeth.. Toby just cut his third one and I am still nursing! The thought of breastfeeding after teeth was scary for me, because Lydia didn't cut hers until 8 or 9 months and by then she was weaning. (Poor Isaiah only nursed for 3 months, but, alas, I have made peace with that.)

SO, back to baby food. So easy to make and so very fun. Cut your fruit/vegetable in half put it face down in a baking dish and put in an inch or two of water. Bake at 400 degrees until the skin puckers and then peel and process or blend, adding water, juice, baking liquid, or breast milk or formula until you get the consistency your baby likes. Freeze it in ice cube trays and thaw as you need it. Also, there is a really easy recipe for apple oatmeal that Toby loves that I found on someone else's blog..somewhere..You just put your apples or other fruit of your choosing (about 4-5) all peeled and cut up in a pan with 1/2 cup of oatmeal and cover with water, cooking until tender. You can add vanilla and cinnamon or other spices, whatever your baby likes or is ready for, and then you just let it cool a bit and blend it up. I had to blend this one longer to get the oatmeal small enough for Toby, but I think it is the easiest recipe and Toby's favorite by far. Next I am going to do frozen peas, but not until some of what I have already made is gone! Wholesomebabyfood.com is a great website for any questions.

It's a quiet night at the Arnold homestead, and that's a good thing. A beautiful harvest moon tucks us in in Kentucky. What is a harvest moon anyway? That's what my mom called it and it sounded as pretty as it looked. Good night moon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Daydreaming

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining and the grass has somewhat greened up since the rain last week. We went to church and ate lunch out because the only meat in our house is tuna which we saved for supper. There have been too many meatless meals in our house lately. I can't wait until we have a deep freezer full of our own beef! Maybe next tax return...

We got a new homes book to look through and found a few new properties that we might take a look at, but it's really hard to make a decision. We still don't know how much the state is going to give us for the house, and we don't know if we should just buy as much land as possible in the middle of nowhere (because that's where all the land is) or to settle for less than we need to be closer to friends and family. I keep daydreaming about building our own cabin in the woods with all the animals we want and enough room to grow all their grain and ours. All our vegetables, meat, dairy, fresh from our own land and all the resources to make whatever we need. I can't wait to open the front door and send the kids out without the highway being right there. That will be so nice just to let them go outside while I fix supper or wash dishes.

Speaking of the kids... just look at how sweet they are! The one at the well at camp is for Daniel and Kristin. I MISS the water from camp!