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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Souptular Crockpotalooza



I was so excited when I found this today. When the weather is cool/cold out I make soup about once a week. I LOVE soups!!!! And on the flip side - when the weather is warm/hot, I love all things grilled. But, back to the soup......

I am actually making this soup for supper tonight.

Hamburger Chowder

1lb. lean ground beef 2 lbs. diced tomatoes

4 carrots, sliced 5 c. water

1 large onion, chopped 3 beef bouillon cubes

2 c. celery, chopped 1/2 c. rice, uncooked

1/2 c. green pepper, chopped 1 bay leaf

1 sm. cabbage, chopped 1 tsp. pepper

Brown ground beef. Add all other ingredients. Simmer for one hour. Serves 8 - 10.

I am hoping that my husband doesn't ask what the purple stuff is (the cabbage)......think I can get away with it? We will see.....

I haven't tried this in the crockpot but I totally think you could put it all in there and let it cook all day if you wanted to.

I can't wait to check out all the rest of the recipes. Go see BooMama for more!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2 Months



Guess who has learned to be a charmer all ready?!!? He smiles all the time. It is so sweet when he wakes up in the morning smiling.....I'm wondering if he could teach his two oldest sisters about this concept. The whole being happy when you wake up is lost on these two. He doesn't have to teach L. She's not caught the "not a morning person" bug yet......
Today, he even laughed while we were waiting at the doctors office.
But then the nurse came in and brought the yucky shots and that was the end of the laughing.
And since my new pediatrician's office doesn't give me those nifty stickers that say "I've Grown!" and then gives his stats, I'm putting it here so I will have a record.....that can't get lost (I hope). This picture is of B and his Daddy at exactly 2 months old.
Today B is:
length - 24 1/4 inches (still 90%)
weight - 11 lbs (just under 50%)
I'm still amazed that he is in the 90% -- his sisters are all under the 50% in every measurable area. He is one long and lean little guy, but you can't tell by the looks of those cheeks can you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pondering On........This Statement

Remember a while back when I was pondering on God's Sovereignty?

Well, as I was driving my two oldest to school this morning at 9:30 am -- we had a two hour delay for snow....can you believe it?!!? It is only October 28th, and I do live in NC, for crying out loud. BUT I am loving it! I will take snow whenever I can get it..........

anyway -- back to what I was saying.......While driving them to school, I was listening to this pastor speak on exactly this subject.

While discussing his take on God allowing bad things to happen to people, he made this statement....

"God's love is not like our love.
God's love
is a perfecting love...."

What statement....this I will ponder on today. Your thoughts? All 5 of you who read this, please let me know your thoughts =)

Pumpkin Patch

The youth at our church have been selling pumpkins during the month of October. I absolutely love all the pretty pumpkins. They looked so pretty spread all over the lawn. We started out with over 550 pumpkins.....obviously a lot of them were gone by the time I took this picture.






I've worked "the Patch" a few times and one afternoon I took the children down with me. I took a TON of pictures of them playing in the pumpkins. They played hide and seek for a while.....

L counts while M hides..... but M is upset because she gives herself away when being sought.....





A spent a lot of time doing cartwheels.
And there was lots and lots of twirling, singing and running through the pumpkins.










I took a TON of pictures. These are my favorites of the day.....





















Monday, October 27, 2008

A is 7!!!!


I cannot believe it but last Monday - October 2o, 2008 my oldest child turned SEVEN.
I look at her and I wonder where the time has gone. How is it that she is already seven years old and in the first grade? I even asked her this on Saturday before her party.
I said, " How did it happen that you are seven? When did that happen?"
She laughed (as if to show how silly I am) and said, "Last Monday!".
But it just seems like yesterday that I was carrying her around in my arms. Now she is this big girl who got a new bicycle for her birthday. A girl who is determined to learn to ride it without training wheels!
A is such a conscientious child. She took cupcakes in for her class on her birthday and she insisted on getting princess cupcakes for the girls and football cupcakes for the boys since the boys wouldn't like the princesses!
We celebrated her birthday with cake and ice cream on Saturday. The day started out with A's last soccer game of the season.
After soccer, we picked up a friend of A's and we met Grandpap and Nana at a great pizza place in town. After pizza, we came home to find Grammy and Granddaddy had joined us for cake and ice cream. What a wonderful surprise!





The cake was an Enchanted cake. Complete with Giselle and her forest. A loved it!
Then we opened a few more gifts before it was time for everyone to go home.

In honor of her 7th birthday, here are 7 of the millions of things I love about A!

1.Even though it can be incredibly frustrating at times, I love how fiercely she fights for what she believes in.
2. I love what a loyal friend she is. She is an incredible friend. I strive to be more like her in this.
3. I love how she loves her siblings. Every afternoon when I pick her and M up from school, I love watching her take M by the hand and lead her to their appointed place in the car line to wait for me to pull up.
4. I love that she is so proud that she can read and that she loves to read.
5. I love that she still wants to have one on one time with me. I hope that she always does.
6. I love it that she is always so excited to see me when we've been away from each other for a few days.
7. I love it when I go in to check on her at night and she wakes up just a little and gives me another hug and a kiss in her sleepy stupor.
I cannot believe she is 7 years old. Last week, I was searching for age appropriate chores and I was completely disturbed by the fact that on most sites, she is now considered a preteen. Really?
How did we get here?
I love you, A!
I hope your 7th birthday was one to remember!












































































Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Beauty

I absolutely am loving living in the mountains!

These shots are all from our house. The leaves are beautiful!!!!

God is so good! Just watching the leaves change reminded me of these words:
For The Beauty Of The Earth Hymn
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.
JMom talked on her blog yesterday about being a pilgrim in this world and not just a tourist. Gave me lots to think about and ponder on. I have been very guilty of being the tourist and just wanting the pretty stuff. I want to be a pilgrim. I want to enjoy the journey. The good the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. I don't want to get so bogged down in my 'troubles' that I forgot to see the beauty that surrounds me. God made it all so beautiful. Thank you, Lord!
And thanks JMom for the challenge this day!






Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thanks!


I was checking out my friend Lisa's blog and just figured out remembered that she gave me this sweet award.

I feel really embarrassed that I didn't remember til now.....sorry Lisa. You gotta hit me over the head with it or something so I can thank you properly. I really am honored!!!


Anyway -- as a part of this award, I need to answer these four questions and pass it on to others so here goes:


1. Do you have the same friends since childhood?
Come to think of it -- not any that I say in close contact with.....I need to do a better job!

2. What do you value most about your friends?
That they love me for who I am and that I can be 'real' with them.
3. Are your friends your sounding boards?
I have a group of very close friends who are my sounding boards......it is an unfortunate honor I guess.
4. What is your favorite activity to share with your friends?
Girls nights out or in where we can really talk.....


I want to pass this award on to these wonderful ladies:


Ginger - my sister and best friend

Wendy - my cousin and friend since birth


Deidre - a blogging friend I actually know in real life


Sarah and Cheryl - blogging friends I don't know, but who encourage me greatly!


Continue the blessings, girls!



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekend Recap

This past Friday, after we picked the girls up from school, we drove about an hour and a half to where Grammy and Granddaddy were camping. My stepsister's were there, too along with the husband of the one that is married.

We surprised Granddaddy because he didn't get to visit with us much when were were home last weekend due to work stuff. He was surprised!!! We had chili with them - my Mom makes the best chili - and brought along the ingredients to make S'mores.
To be honest my girls really like the idea of S'mores rather than the S'mores themselves. Here are a few pictures of our evening.


K and L roasting marshmellows.




M really enjoyed hers...for about 20 seconds -- then she gave it away.





This is one of my step-sisters and her husband, Granddaddy and A.





This is my other stepsister and A.





Then on Saturday, we hit the ground running beginning with breakfast for a Rotary Club Fundraiser. Pancakes and sausage-- it was delicious!



After the pancake breakfast, we headed on to the soccer fields. M's game was first and this was her last game. She received a medal.

I think she likes the medal better than she liked soccer!

After that, was A's game. Her last game is this coming weekend. I will be so happy that soccer is done for this year.

After we finished with soccer, we drove to Asheville to meet some friends. My camera died after I took the medal picture of M so I have no more pictures from our wonderful afternoon. We met our friends at the WNC Nature Center. We had lots of fun looking at all the local animals. There was a beaver there that posed every time someone walked by. Too funny! After that we drove down town to eat at this fabulous place! It was a great day!Our friends then joined us at our house where we put the kids to bed and we adults played a rip roaring game of Cranium. I love that game. If you like board games and don't know this one, you have to get it. It is so much fun. I will admit that the boys team won (but only after they cheated!).

Our friends joined us in worship on Sunday morning and then headed back home. The kids and I stayed home on Sunday because K had two meetings.....

I love weekends like this one. Full of memories. I hope my children remember these times with great joy. I know I will.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love Starts With Elle Book Review

How about some great new fiction? From the author of Sweet Caroline, comes a great new love story by Rachel Hauck. I want to tell you, though, that is book is more than just a great love story. It spoke some great words from the Lord directly to my heart. As you will read below, Elle, the heroine of this story , is in a time of wilderness in her life. One of the characters in the book gives Elle this pearl of wisdom.... "promotion often comes from the wilderness".

I have been in a time of wilderness for the past two years in my life, friends, and I am hanging on to that wise saying. I am claiming it to be true for me, too! God blesses Elle with beauty for ashes in this book and I know he will do the same for me in his time.
Isaiah 61:3 (New International Version
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor

Here's a little about the book:
Elle's living the dream-but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.

Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.

Is love transferable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?



Check out this cool trailer for the book:







And a little about the author:
Rachel Hauck is the author of ten, going on eleven novels, and has recently become an "acclaimed" author. (Yeah, funny how that happened. Some dude found her lottery stub stuck to the bottom of his shoe and tried to "acclaim" her. But her husband refused to pay out.)
Since then, she's gone on to become a best selling author of Sweet Caroline.
Living in central Florida with her husband of sixteen and a half years, one sweet little dog and one ornery cat, Rachel is a graduate of Ohio State University and a huge Buckeye football fan. One day she hopes to stand on the sidelines next to Coach Tressel as a famed, acclaimed best selling OSU alumni, beloved for her work in literature and letters. (She's written at least a couple hundred letters in her life time.)
Her current release, Love Starts With Elle (July 2008, Thomas Nelson) is set in the South Carolina lowcountry, and earned 4.5 Stars and Top Pick from Romantic Times Book Club.
Look for her next release next spring, The Sweet By and By, the first book in the Born To Fly series with award winning country artist, Sara Evans.
Of the writing journey, Rachel says, "I'm humbled by the amazing things God is doing in my life. I love what I do, and am so privileged to work with Thomas Nelson fiction and am excited to see what God has in store for all of His authors and writers. Just keep praying and writing!"
Visit her blog and website at http://www.rachelhauck.com/




You can also win your copy by going to Rachel's website and leaving a comment here:http://www.rachelhauck.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-blog-tour.html




Check out what other folks had to say about this book:http://www.rachelhauck.com/2008/10/love-starts-with-elle-blog-tour.html




I loved this book. It was an easy, fun read. Go get yourself a copy and let me know what you think!










Monday, October 20, 2008

Note to self

When shopping at Wal*Mart to buy supplies for smores with little girls, and you remember you need a finger nail file, DO NOT go get it. Wait for another trip.

And then if you decide that you really need it and you go to that part of the store, and the little girls then see the little girl fake fingernails, and they start begging to get said nails, say No.....

Other wise, when you do buy them and apply them, you end up with very sad little girls.

A 3 year old who takes hers off because she doesn't quite understand that they will not go back on and cries when you remind her that you warned her not to take them off because this would happen.

And a 5 year old who wakes up crying because a few of hers have come off and they don't look pretty anymore and again, won't go back on.

You also end up with a daddy who is very unhappy with all the crying and who says NO MORE fake fingernails.

Next time, just splurge for manicures instead!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A couple of pics.

Last week, I posted a picture of M and her fashion sense. L was there and saw the whole thing. Not one to be left out, the following day -- she dressed like this and insisted I take her picture.




B is smiling all the time now. I'm having a hard time getting him to smile for the camara though. Here are two recent pictures of him:
Smiling at Dad!
6 weeks old.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nostalgia

I really love going home. I love visiting with family and seeing friends I grew up with. It is always wonderful to feel the love of people who you love and who love you back and this past weekend was no exception.On Friday, the kids and I loaded up in our van and drove to my hometown. Well, I didn't really have a "hometown" since the place I grew up is a little community on top of Lookout Mountain in Georgia.
The little community is called New Salem and every year they have a festival the 2nd weekend of October. It was so much fun to see everyone. And boy, was my nostalgia ever running on high!I got to visit with lots of family and friends that I went to school with!
When I was young (about 12 I'd say) I was allowed to work the 'coke' booth. I felt so important pouring drinks and taking money. Really I think I was just an easy target as none of the adults wanted the job.
As I got older, I worked in the Food Booth that my church sponsors still. The menu has not changed. As far back as I can remember, it has been bbq sandwiches, chips, hot dogs, chicken stew, pinto beans and cornbread, and desserts....and sweet tea, of course. I had to have some of all of it -- except hot dogs -- I'm not a hot dog fan-- this weekend. So, on Saturday for lunch, I had both pinto beans and chicken stew.
There are many other things that are a MUST at the festival. Things like popguns, boiled peanuts and funnel cakes. As well as this FABULOUS singing group. This is the New Salem Men's Ensemble. Of course, I might be biased since I'm related to all but one of these fine gentlemen. In fact, my dad is second from the left in this picture. Then there is my uncle in the middle, a couple of cousins and one who married into the family.....are you getting the picture that I'm related to just about everyone in this community? If so, that would be the case! Which is why I married a guy from North Carolina -- I was related to everyone!

And this is their wonderful accompanist -- she is my second mom. Her daughter and I have been BFF since we were about 10.






I didn't do a great job of getting lots of pictures at the festival. But, if you'd like to see more, go here. There are many great pictures of the goings on there -- there is even one of me with my girls and Na Na holding B.


While I was there B got to meet his great grandparents for the first time. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that I got a picture of my grandparents with all of my kids.


The kids also got to spend some time with their Uncle H. He is my brother and my girls adore him.






My Mom even came home with us for a couple of days. My girls were so excited that Grammy was coming home with us. Here is a picture of her with B.

Even though I am absolutely loving the town we live in now, when I come back from being 'home', I'm always a little sad. I miss being in that place sometimes. Being in a place where everyone has known me since birth and they love me anyway. But what a great reminder it is of God's love for me. He has known me since even before birth and he loves me anyway.

This is my prayer for each of your this Thursday. That you'll know how much Christ loves you. I love how the Message puts it!

Ephesians 3:18 (The Message)

14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

Know His love and be blessed this day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pondering On...........Honesty

Recently I made this statement to someone.

"Being an honest person is more than just answering questions when asked."

What do ya'll think?

Does answering questions when asked make you an honest person? Or is there more to it than that?

I tend to think that there is more to it. I think that what makes someone an honest person is a willingness to be open and upfront. Maybe to even talk about something before you are asked about it.

This is something I'm pondering on....... Am I wrong?

What do ya'll think?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A MeMe about Me.....

So, yesterday I was tagged by Lisa to do this MeMe.
And while I LOVE to read about other people , I have a hard time coming up with anything interesting about myself to share. I mean what would a mom who stays at home and spends all of her time with 4 children have to say? My life is full of kid stuff -- I'm not complaining -- I love it-- I just don't think anyone else cares to hear much about my very ordinary life.....
So, I'm warning you -- what follows isn't very extraordinary. Matter of fact, it might even be boring, but I promised to do the MeMe.....
SO, I will follow through with the promise......

ONE
I love polka dots.... I am drawn to them. Especially for my girls. That is why I'd really like to have this outfit or this one (among others). And yes, I fully enjoy dressing them alike with big bows and even coordinating all 4 of them so that the colors are complimentary. Don't judge. It's who I am.

TWO
I am having beautiful bedding made for my girls and can't wait to get it. But, because of my aforementioned love of all things with polka dots -- I am longing for these duvet covers.... or maybe even these.

THREE
One thing I really enjoy doing at church is leading women's bible studies. It really provides learning opportunities for me as well as helping me get to know people deeper than just as the preacher's wife. HOWEVER, I feel completely inadequate to lead. This is a place I feel that God is growing me. It makes me very uncomfortable......

FOUR
I always said I wanted to have 4 children. And while I didn't push it with hubs, who didn't share my desire for a large family, we have these beautiful blessings -- and I feel completely blessed and my quiver is definitely full.

FIVE
One thing that makes me crazy is for people to say "Oh, you must have kept trying til you got your boy." We didn't. We were happy with our three girls and if #4 had been a girl -- we'd still be done. I didn't feel the NEED to have a boy.

SIX
On the other hand, I am happy to have a boy. Actually, when I was pregnant with A (my oldest) I dreamed that I had a baby boy. NOT that she was a boy, but that I had a boy. Because in the dream, I also had a dark haired older girl who was about three.....Which is EXACTLY what I have now. A brand new little boy, and a big 3 year old sister + 2 more big sisters. I believe that dream was God speaking to me.

SEVEN
I am a people person. I crave deep, meaningful relationships. Having to move has made this difficult for me in some ways. I have made life long friendships with people at each church we've served and I've enjoyed all (3) places I've lived. BUT, I want to tell you that I am LOVING living in the North Carolina Mountains. Fall is here and the leaves -- they are exquisite!!! And the weather -- perfectly fallish! Cool days and even cooler evenings. I'm loving it!

There you go. 7 Things about me.....
Anyone else want to play along? Please do -- I love reading about you all. Leave me a comment that you are playing and I will add a link to you.
Have a great Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Impromtu Day Trip

Yesterday, A and M were out of school half a day. I spent a lot little bit of time, trying to think of what we should do. I even talked to K about taking the afternoon off and having a family day.

Then I had a great idea. I had some maternity clothes to return to a friend who lives in our last town. So, I decided we should make the 2 hour trek back there and set up a playdate with some wonderful friends. K couldn't go because he had a meeting to be at, but the rest of us made the trip. The girls were so excited when I picked them up from school to know where we were going and who we were seeing!

I made a couple of calls and emailed a few people and it was done. I cannot thank our friends enough for allowing my whim and meeting us at the park yesterday afternoon. We had a blast!



This is one of our all time favorite parks. It has swings and climbing stuff and in the summer it has water fun! The water, of course, has already been turned off but we so enjoyed visiting the park again!












We actually had some other friends that I didn't get in the pictures because they had to leave before I remembered to get the camera out of the car.
This is a picture of the mommies hanging out on the park bench. Everyone got to meet B,too. My friend A reminded to a few times to take some pictures of B because he came to the playdate, too. Here is one of those pictures. Thanks A!












This was one of my favorite shots from the day. We were about to leave the park when we looked over and M and L were sitting with this statue of a little girl at the entrance of the park. They were posing like she is. I ran over and got the shot thanks to A (who gave me the heads up).


I know this means nothing to you folks in blogland, but I could NOT believe how much these two sweeties have grown! S (the blond) started staying with me when her Mommy went back to work after maternity leave. She was 2 months old. I just can't believe that she is going to be 2 years old this weekend!!!! Happy Birthday S!!!!
And J turned two in June. She looks so big with her new bobbed off haircut! Doesn't she have the best red hair?!!? I've always wanted to be a redhead!



After the park, we went to dinner at our favorite local Mexican place. El Paso has moved up in the world and have all new menus. So, I tried something new. I was, ahem, away from the table when they brought our food so when I walked back this is what I saw. My plate was twice as big as everyone else's. I felt like a big oinker! I don't feel so bad anymore though -- I didn't eat it all!







And this last shot was right before we left.







Well, just one more picture of B for good measure. He is exactly 6 weeks old in this picture. And really since he couldn't be in the group shot, he needed his picture made, too. =)


And even though the ride home was rough (I had one tired and grumpy 3 year old) and the morning was met with a lot of groans since we didn't get home until about 9:45, I'd do it again in a heart beat! Thanks to all of you -- our wonderful friends-- who took time out of your day to come see us. You made us feel incredibly loved. Know that we love you and miss you, too!