iPod lesson

07 Oct

My husband got an iPod touch a few years ago “free” with his MacBook. Since then, we have gotten iPhones and he doesn’t need it.  He gave it to his father, who now has an iPhone, so we have the iPod back into our hands.  My 7 year old has wanted it for a long time, he loves to play games on it (and doesn’t it do music too??)  :)

We got it back just before his 7th birthday, so we  put an $80 price tag on it and “gave” him half of it for his birthday.  He had to come up with $40 and we had a list of things he had to show responsibility with.  Here are some of the things he did.

For money:

Cleaned out and vacuumed car (after a long trip-it was bad),

Weeded the back garden (also, after we were gone about a month, weeds were almost as big as him),

Helped weed the front garden (ditto),

Cleaned base boards,

Emptied dishwasher lots of times,

and some other tasks, can’t remember.

He also had some money and was given some money for his birthday, the rest he earned by doing those things.


Take care of your Bible like you would take care of your iPod touch (that’s my favorite)

Be ready for school at 9:00 (this had been an issue-great motivation)

Have all morning chores done-without me nagging

Memorize the rest of Matthew 5:1-12-he had it started

Memorize Phillipians 4:8-9 (iPod is strictly locked down-but just in case, thought this was good to have in his heart)

Memorize Isaiah 54:17

There may have been some other things, but that’s pretty much it.

One month and one day after his birthday he received his iPod and he’s a very happy 7 year old.  Sometimes I thought it was kind of a lot-but he’s 7 and he has an iPod touch…

It is a great tool has lots of games, his e-mail, Bible reader, flash cards, music, audio books and I’m sure something else.  He’s a happy boy and I think it’s been a great lesson for him.

I am linked with Works for me Wednesday over at We are that Family today.  Check it out!


And a little more….

16 Sep

Here I am, still climbing, and oh am I getting tired.  I think I am writing this more for myself than for anything else.

I was talking to someone today and I could see how worried she was for us and she had that “I’m so sorry” attitude.  Now, I have no issues with this person and was touched by her sincere concern and caring thoughts for us.  I found it almost amusing though because Jeremy and I don’t really feel that way.  We get frustrated somedays, we get mad once in a great while, and we aren’t sure what’s ahead.  We do know God is in control of this and for the most part, we are just living our life.

Not to say we have arrived, but how did we get to where we have next to no income and are enjoying life and our family without totally freaking out.  Well here’s a couple of stories that might explain it a bit.

Jeremy (dad) was very sick as a child.  One time he had spinal meningitis.  The doctor told his parents IF he survives, he will be a vegetable.  By the way, Jeremy is not a vegetable,  but maybe that’s why he hasn’t eaten any since he recovered, I’ll blame it on the dr.  Knowing him he probably said at roughly 2 years old, “I will not be a vegetable, in fact I will not eat any vegetables, I will have nothing to do with vegetables whatsoever, take that devil”.    He also had some other health issues I can’t remember specifically.  When his family moved and switched doctors, the new doctor looked at Jeremy’s records, looked at a completely normal and healthy boy and said “this can’t be the same child”.  Jeremy has also had multiple sclerosis like symptoms.  If you know him, you would know that he will never say to have it-not as a denial thing, but he will not hold on to THAT.  I’m right there with him.  About 9 years ago he had his first attack.  He had MRI’s taken to show there was a lesion on his brain.  One MRI and 2 doctors appointments is as far as we went with that.  He has had attacks here and there over the past few years.  He has worked through them and worshipped through them. Do you know how hard it is to hold a drum stick when your hand is numb or burning, or “asleep”-you’d never know,  I think he even played extra hard those days.  Take that satan,  no vegetables AND I’m going to worship harder.   He won’t let it “stick”.  After 9 years it has no hold on his body.

What made me start thinking of this, is one year ago we started tests to see what was causing cyclic fevers in Jeremy Alan.  After MANY tests, a few trips to Miami, and trying medicine, he was diagnosed (through dna testing)  with Familial Mediterranean Periodic Fever.  A genetic disease, with no cure.  You have to take a pill every day to prevent damage to your organs.  Every day for the rest of your life period.  Jeremy took the pill for a couple months.  I was given advice from a friend to pray over it.  She had been on something that was to be for life and she was able to get off it.  I thought HOW do you know.  BUT, BUT BUT…..this is genetic BUT, BUT….  A couple of months later I missed a couple days and  after that I couldn’t put him back on it, I knew in my spirit it was over.  That was April.   The fevers came every 16-21 days without fail, except when he was on the meds-it went 40 days.  It’s done, he’s healed.  

All that to say-what’s a few thousand dollars to a God who did all that (and more, those are just the highlights).  We are praying, fasting, getting ourselves and our business ready.  Waiting on God and trying to hear what he has for us and what our next step is.

Romans 4:17-18We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”

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Posted in Faith


Just a Bit More

20 Jul

Buttermilk Falls

I have lived in the flat state of Florida for 11 years,  each year I visit NY state and have a great time.  This year, I decided to visit my Aunt in Ithaca and take a 3/4 mile hike up Buttermilk Falls.  With my three boys.  All under 6.  One was 18 months, in a backpack, on my back.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.  This was a very steep climb, my 3 year old was having a tough time, I was having a tough time.  It was a hard climb, especially with a 25 lb toddler strapped to my back.  We pushed and pushed, positive we had gone the 3/4 mile, no way 3/4 of a mile would take THIS long!  We checked our map and were sure we were close, so kept pushing.  We got to a point, checked our map again and thought maybe we had figured wrong and may have quite a bit more to go.   There was a couple there trying to figure it out too.  I decided I couldn’t push my 3 year old any more (maybe myself a bit too….)   and it looked like it might rain, we decided to turn around.

We got to the bottom of the trail and headed over to the middle of the bottom of the falls and we see the couple we had seen on the trail.  They said the bridge that crossed the waterfall was just up the trail from where we turned around and the trail that went down the opposite side of the waterfall was much more beautiful than the way up.

The Way Up

What a great lesson.  I won’t be able to make this trip for at least another year, I missed out on the best part of the hike because I didn’t push it just a bit more.

Jeremy and I have been going through a really tough time financially.  We were both getting to the point asking how long is this going to take, how bad is it going to get, a bit of frustration coming on.   We have had so much clear direction to trust God and rest in him and we know He has given Jeremy amazing talents to use, we’re just not sure of the next step.   It’s been 40+ days since he lost work.  Prior to losing about 95% of our income,  our finances had been pretty much drained for other reasons.  It’s been tough.  I read this post this morning and it hit me.   We have made it through the hardest part,  hiked up the steepest sections, been faithful. Now, we are leveling out and just around the corner is rest at the top, a cool drink and a beautiful view!   Don’t give up and take the same way back you came from!


“Free” Chicken Wings

19 May

My husband’s engine  on his truck that he loves dearly went a few weeks ago.  That combined with some other extra expenses and  hiccups in income, are encouraging us to become creative with our thriftiness, getting that truck up and running as soon as we can.

One thing I do is use whole chickens.  I often roast one for a meal and have leftover for soup or a thrifty chicken dish like this.  Then I use the bones for stock.  Another trick to get even more out of one of these little guys is,  taking off the wings, I take them off before I cook the chicken, split them and throw them in a ziplock. You get 4 pieces off of each chicken.  I use at least 2 chickens a month, so in two months, I have 16 chicken wings to cook up.  Easy as that!

I’ll probably have some more good money saving tips coming up, I’m getting pretty good at making breads, not eating out, preparing menus, so some of this should be coming soon!

Head back to We are that Family for more tips on Works for Me Wednesday


No Child Left Inside

08 May

I come from the middle of no where, we had no traffic lights, anywhere.  They put one up in “town”  when I was in eleventh grade.  We watched in awe from our Social Studies class.  My parents live on 15 acres and there were many more we could hike through.  The boys have a blast when we go there, able to run, play, dig, create, observe and inspect when we visit.   I went off and moved to the big city here in FL, by big city I mean, we have 6 houses on our street.  We only have a quarter acre, but empty lots on all sides.  

Today,  I let my kids play in the woods empty lot next to us.  I’ve always been a little skiddish, being in FL and all, snakes and bugs and such.  They had rubber boots on, mind you…  Anyways, they had a great time, played so long WITHOUT fighting.  Tearing apart dead tree stumps, playing with vines and inspecting leaves.  I don’t know if I’m a big fan of this free range parenting that I’ve heard of, but I’m learning to let go a little.

Oh, and yes, I am the mother of Buzz Light Year, he may be from space, but loves to play in the dirt.   :)


Surviving Wednesday Night Church with 3 Littles

28 Apr

We are linked up with We are That Family for Works for Me Wednesday

I have three boys: 6, 3 and 1.  I also have a very busy hubby.  Here is a “typical” wednesday night at our house.

3-4:30 (yeah, I start that early)  pack diaper bag, make sure kids are dressed or at least have clean clothes laid out-get dinner ready

4:30 Fill the Littles bellies

5:00-5:30 Clean up from dinner, finish dressing, shoes, diapers, get them in the car   Phew!!!

5:30 leave for our 25 minute drive

6:00 Drop off daddy for worship practice, we run errands, go to the park, do something to keep the kiddos busy

7:00 Return to church, I would like to,  but try not to get there early.  Since Daddy is always on stage, it is 3 on 1 for worship time until they go to their classes.  It pretty much wears me out.

8:15 church ends, after picking up kids, chatting, Jeremy doing something he needs to do (someone always needs him), drive home, and kids to bed it’s usually about 10:00.

Something that has made it sooo much easier is:  putting the kids in comfy clothes for church.  Not so much the oldest,  he dresses himself, but the 2 little ones go in sweats and a t-shirt.  They come home, quick snack, teeth brushed and straight to bed (diapers get changed in the nursery-yeah!)  Some may think it’s gross sleeping in the same clothes they were in nursery, but seriously, I don’t care.  It brings me that much peace  and it Works for Me!


We’re having that? Ewwww!

20 Apr

Does anyone else wonder how those “crunchy” moms get their kids to eat and enjoy all that good stuff? I see other kids happily eating hummus, I read about how they love their raw —-  bar, etc…  I hope to give you a few tips and maybe you can give me some in return.

We’re not super healthy here, but we try to eat mostly whole foods, although the occasional Chips Ahoy gets snuck in.  ;)

Here are some of my tricks:

Dips!! Kids love to dip.  I try to make my own ranch for veggies, or buy it as natural as I can.  Yogurt is great to dip fruit in.  My oldest son used to dip rye toast in yogurt-they will dip almost anything!

Sour cream/Cheese/Chips (I know, I know…)   I am desperately trying to get my kids to eat beans and rice about once a week.  It’s like a torture session.  I can tell the difference between “I really don’t like this” and “It’s not my favorite, I’d rather have chicken nuggets”.  Although they don’t say it, mamma knows. I know they don’t hate the beans and rice, so I am firm.  We had some leftover the other day with quesadillas, I put cheese on it and had them dip it with tortilla chips and they both ate most of it.  I think slowly getting them to eat new things gets them more comfortable with it and eventually, they will be more willing.

Dessert only after good food is eaten-self explanatory.

Crudite before meal-When dinner is finishing up, sometimes I’ll set out carrots, celery, etc.. with ranch for them to snack, it keeps the  hunger away and gets some raw veggies in them.

Give them a small portion of the food they enjoy along with the veggies, or beans, or whatever.  When the plate is clean they can have more of the food they enjoy. My kids (and pretty much every other kid) will inhale the chicken nuggets and leave the carrots.  So we give 2 nuggets and some fruit and vegggies.  When all that is gone they can have 2 or 3 more nuggets.

Nothing else until you eat what I gave you. Sometimes it’s a battle of will.  When I started working oatmeal into our breakfast menu they were miserable,   it was new, it was different and they didn’t WANT  to like it.  If they didn’t eat it for breakfast, it was reheated later for snack, lunch, or whenever they got hungry.  I’m trying to get them to understand we can’t eat our favorite foods every day.  Not everything will be great and exciting.

Another thought I have is feed them whole foods when they are young.  We have so many convenience snacks available now.  My opinion is that these condition their tastes for dry “fake” foods.  *Full disclosure, I use these and they can be lifesavers*   I’m thinking-cereal bars, puffs, these BEYOND overcooked jarred veggie and meat cubes, “Graduate” type foods.  I REALLY try to limit these sorts of snacks, but do use them.  It can be hard to find good foods when the little ones are in that in between stage.  One thing I would use as an easy breakfast are these whole grain waffles, they would be a great snack too.  Bananas, Cooked frozen/fresh veggies,  applesauce, casseroles, mashed potatoes mixed with veggies or cut up meat. I used a baby food grinder too before they ate the pieces-great for any type of pasta or potatoes mixed with veggies. The boys just ate what we ate.  I used some jarred food, but after the initial one food at a time, I switched to mostly table food (saves so much money and they really like it!)

Prayer-In The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omoarian,  there is a chapter where she talks about praying over our children’s eating habits.  Pray for them to be attracted to healthy foods and have a desire to exercise and take care of their body.

Some of these are pretty similar but take a slightly different approach.  It’s good to be firm and consistent, try to make it appetizing and be sensitive.  I always have them try a couple of bites with a good attitude, if I see they really don’t like it, I won’t make them eat it.  I also try to work just one new thing in at a time.  Right now, we’re doing beans and I try to have them once a week, with a yummy dessert that night too.  :)

So what tricks do you have?

We are linked up with Works for Me Wednesday.


Healthy and Filling Sandwich *kid approved*

16 Apr

This seems to becoming a food blog, but I thought about it and realized that I’m in a house with 4 boys who eat


I came across this recipe a little over a year ago, I think it came from Paula Deen, but this is how I do it.   I have never had more than a quarter of one of these, it is sooo fattening.  Little Jeremy has never had much interest in food (until recently)  Around 1 yr of age he went through the “failure to thrive” thing, or as I like to call it “he’s just little!”  thing.  I’m always trying to get something that can fill them up and put on some pounds.Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana

Mix together:

2 tbs natural peanut butter (enough for a good slathering)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp honey

Spread on your bread ( I use whole wheat)

Slice up half a banana

Top with the other slice of bread and butter each of the outsides

Put a little butter in your pan and grill the sandwich

I have a cinnamon/sugar shaker I shake on each side when it’s done, or you could mix some cinnamon and sugar and coat the sandwich.

This is a couple of times a month sandwich and my boys are very active.  Made with whole grain bread, raw honey, cinnamon, it is high calorie and good for them!  Better than the dr’s suggestions of adding more butter and oil to their foods.. ugggh.



For the love of soup (and homemade stock)

10 Apr

I love soup!  I fell in love while I was in culinary school.  I made potato chowder and all I could think of was watery mashed potatoes.  I was amazed when I tasted it, such a basic recipe but so creamy and full of flavor!   As I went from restaurant to restaurant I branched out more and more.  The last place I worked, the evening “chef”  made beef vegetable, beef vegetable and beef vegetable soup.  It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t anything special and finally I got to show my stuff and snuck something else in.  I had to fight tooth and nail to get him to stop making this stuff in 5 gallon buckets (seriously).  When I went on vacation, I would make batches of soup up and freeze them so he wouldn’t make anymore beef vegetable!

I have recently started making more soup at home.  It is frugal and so yummy and healthy. What I make most frequently is Chicken Vegetable with Brown Rice-pretty basic, but easy to make and the kids like it.   I often make a roast chicken in the crock pot, so here are a few tips on being frugal with your time and budget.

Take a whole chicken and pull the skin up and rub seasoned salt under, reach back into the legs, get it all over.  Place in your crock pot with a half cup-cup of water, maybe some veggies if you’d like, but you don’t have to.  Cook it for 6-8 hrs on low, 4-6 on high.  The juices make a great gravy, if you don’t do gravy, leave the liquid in the crock pot.

When it’s done, Take the meat off the bone and stick the bones back into the crock pot.  Fill with water to cover the bones and throw in any veggie scraps you have around, some salt, a couple bay leaves and peppercorns.  Cook on high for another 6 hours or so (even low overnight).  I just strain mine through a colander into another pot, then dish it out into small containers.

Maybe I’ll share some of my soup recipes soon, I’ll think about it….


Washed out Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter jars-GREAT glass storage containers, we’re getting away from plastics here.

When I’m making soup, or anything else with celery, onions or carrots, I put the scraps into a ziploc in the freezer, when it’s time to make stock, I throw the veggies in my crock pot with the bones and put the bag back into the freezer, ready to fill again.

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Posted in Cooking


Homemade French Fries

02 Apr

These are good and fairly easy.  I didn’t think I could make really good french fries from scratch, even though 5 Guys does…..I googled a recipe and tried it not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised!  I’ve had lots of potatoes and no french fries in the house, so we’ve had these 3 times already.  I made them with red potatoes once and they weren’t as good as the russets.

Here is how I’ve been doing it:

Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch strips and put into ice water for about 10 minutes.

Heat oil on medium heat, put the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil, if it bubbles up around the handle, it is ready to fry.

Place your first batch of potatoes onto paper towels to remove excess water, then place into pan.  Fry about 10 minutes, they will float when cooked through.   You are not browning them at this point.  Remove from oil and place on another set of paper towels.  Fry up the rest in as many batches as you need to.

Turn up the heat to med-high, wait a minute or so, and place some of the fries back into the pan (I’ve found you can fit a bit more in this stage).   Cook them until they are brown and crispy as you’d like them, put onto paper towels and let them drain a bit.

Salt or season them as you like and enjoy!
A few tips:

I used about a 2 inch deep pan and only had about an inch of oil in it.  Obviously you could use more and cook more fries at a time.  I did 2 batches for 4 people and had plenty.

Also, if you use your oil often for fairly clean foods (like french fries)  you can reuse it.  Restaurants use the same oil for about a week (depending on how busy, but I’ve found that to be a general rule) it more has to do with how much it is used and what it is used for not how old it is.   Breaded items like chicken and fish will get the oil “dirty” quicker.  After it cools, I put mine into an old glass jar, I’ve used it 3 times now and it still looks good.  It’s a good idea to strain out some of the little pieces left behind, but not a big deal.  I”m not sure how long to keep it, but I would say at least a few weeks.