Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Order from Chaos

I  have been trying to create some order here in our home after the chaos that results after Christmas.  We still have lots of sweets in the freezer, but they can be taken out for treats throughout the next month.  All the Christmas trimmings and baubles have been gone through and put away for next year or to put into a yard sale.  The kitchen and dining room have been put back in order (except for my baking cabinet in the kitchen which will be cleaned today).  The den and schoolroom will get a facelift today and hopefully the bedrooms will have a turn tomorrow.  New books, games and puzzles need to find a home.   Laundry is always going here as I am sure it is in all large families.  It never gets caught up!

We made a Sam's run on Monday and bought up lots of salad items and fresh fruits to combat all the rich and fattening foods that have been consumed lately.  I have been losing some weight these last few months (I think due to my gall bladder surgery) but need to lose some more and Jeff could stand to lose a little as well.  We are gearing up for a year of change here in regards to diet and exercise.  We woke up one day and found ourselves overweight, out-of-shape and middle aged!  How did we get here??

We are also looking forward to sitting down and making out some plans for our family for this next year.  There will be a lot of traveling for Jeff and the older boys with The Homeschool Channel and we need to determine what trips the rest of us will try to make.  I have always loved attending homeschool conferences whether as an attendee or a KONOS rep, so Jeff's work with THC is right up my alley!  However, trying to school and then travel with the whole gang every other week?!  The travel is not really the stressor for me, it's the preparation and the return that involves so much work.    But meeting new people and developing relationships with them and deeper relationships with the family may be worth it in the end.  If you would, please pray for us as we start this new year.  We are wanting/needing to make some changes in our "school" that will be significant.  We desperately need to find a terrific buy on a 15 passenger van (so we can travel together in one vehicle) and we need to make some improvements to our home and property.  All will take discipline to set aside money and patience as we go through the processes.  We are also trying to discern God's will in finding a place to serve Him in a church setting.  Jeff misses being "in the ministry" in many ways and we really want to find a place for our children to learn to lead and serve others in worship and ministry.  The last three years have been very different for our family as Jeff had always been leading worship in our churches before this time.  He feels he is learning a lot right now, though.  However, we are all longing to find a home and fellowship.

As I type here Jackson stands beside me making a crown.  Cutting paper, using glue and glitter.... more chaos (not really, just a little messy), but he is so intent on his creation.   One thing we are striving to do is to encourage our children to be producers whether it be in the kitchen, with a camera, with a musical instrument,  with the written word, in a garden or in taking care of the home and property.  Always thinking and creating and blessing others with their creations and service.  It's quite fun hearing him explain to me each step that he is taking in making this crown.  I should have written it all down as narration!

I will continue to take comments for The Homestead Blessings DVD giveaway until tomorrow night (New Year's Eve) at midnight.  I will draw and announce the winner sometime on New Year's Day, so stay tuned!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Homestead Blessings Giveaway!!

I am celebrating my 200th blog post with a very nice giveaway!!  Franklin Springs Family Media has produced a whole passel of great videos that my family has greatly enjoyed.  The Homestead Blessing Series has been great to encourage our family to create more items on our own and to get out and work harder on a garden this year.  The entire series consists of bread making, candle making, soap making, gardening, canning and herbs.  There has been one recently released on cooking and another will be released soon.

Jeff has become friends with Ken Carpenter, creator of Franklin Springs, and Ken recently gifted us with the entire Homestead Blessings Series.  Well, we already had the first 3 DVD's, so I am offering our second set to my blog readers.  These cover bread making, candle making and soap making.  The West Ladies host these videos and are so helpful and down-home.

From the soap making DVD cover:  "With warmth, hospitality, and southern charm, the West ladies offer great insight, encouragement, and a joyful picture of family unity.  This unique and creative DVD is sure to provide fun skills that will inspire families to work together, learn together, and enjoy the art of soap making."

These DVD's were part of a set and are not shrink-wrapped, but they have never been opened or viewed.  Leave me a comment and let me know what new life or creative skills you will be working on in your family this year and your name will be included in a drawing to receive all three DVD's.    They truly are a blessing!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve and Cinnamon Roll Recipe

I am having trouble with this post.  Sorry for the empty spaces!

This will be the last year we use this tree.  I am ready for a change!

I tried to take some "under-the-tree" pictures with the three little boys, but they wouldn't cooperate! Grandson Elisha, my Caedmon, Grandson Chase

My oldest daughter, Lauren, with her boys, Elisha and Chase.
Her hubby is a state trooper and had to work!

Needs no explanation!

My baby's curls.  So cute and they are really pretty after his bath.  He may be the first long-haired boy in our family!

My and some of my favorite men.

Chase looks angelic, doesn't he?  Looks are deceiving!!  He is precious, though!

Marshmellow Baby (Elisha)
He messed up his clothes and was wearing Caedmon's.  It's ok, though, all three of the little ones wear the same size!

Me and the best five-year-old in the world!

Caedmon is ready to tackle some paper work! (wrapping paper)

Elisha with Uncle Jack.

Kaelan opening a box full of Boxcar Children books from Lauren.  One of her favorite gifts!

My two oldest daughters, Lauren and Devin.  So thankful for these beautiful girls!

One last look at the tree before bed.  Can you see his curls?

Cinnamon Rolls

I had a couple of requests for my cinnamon roll recipe.  I use a recipe for pizza crust intended to be made in the Vita Mix, but I make it in my Bosch Universal Mixer.  (Love my Bosch!!)  The recipe can be multiplied.  I NEVER make a single recipe!

1 cup lukewarm water
1 package active dry yeast (1 tbs)
2 tsp. sugar (I use honey)
1 tbs oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour (I use all-purpose and whole wheat)

Mix water, yeast, and sugar until foamy.  Add oil, salt and flour, Mix and knead until it isn't sticky.  Turn out onto floured countertop and let rise for about 45 minutes.  Punch down and roll out into a rectangle about  1/4 inch thick.  Pour melted butter over dough and spread from end to end.  Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and then spread with brown sugar.  Roll up carefully and then slice with a knife.  Place in a greased pan and let rise about 45 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned.  We top with a cream cheese icing made with softened cream cheese and powdered sugar.  This is what we typically have for Sunday mornings.  We are so spoiled!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Makeover and Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls were lined up cooling for the freezer last night.  We will have cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and at my mom's on Sunday morning.  The smaller pans will be given as gifts.  I partially bake my cinnamon rolls then freeze.  I will mix up icing in quart size bags and tape to the top of the package to give.  An easy and yummy treat!!

Last night I was trying to clean my blog up a bit and accidently took out the background which made it necessary to add a new background.  I had the other background since just after last Christmas so I guess a change is okay.    It's a little lighter than I would like, but I am going to give myself time to get used to it!

Today is a wet,  gray day.  I have the laundry to do, as usual, a couple of cookie recipes to make, a few pies to bake, several loaves of bread to bake and two kinds of jelly to make.  I also hope to sit down and play a game or two with some of the children and read to the little ones.

I'll soon be posting my 200th post and will be having a great give-away.  Stay tuned!!  Time to get the show on the road!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What Happened?

In my last post, almost a month ago (!) I told you that my all night viewing on hulu while Caedmon was sick and needing to sleep upright ate up the bandwidth on my internet.  That prevented me from posting all this time and we have been busy with Christmas preparations anyway!    Well, we were sick back on Nov. 28 and we are still sick today!  Caedmon and I will be heading to the doc this afternoon and I think I will insist on an antibiotic this time for both of us.  Caedmon has never had an antibiotic and it's been a long while since I have had one, so I think it will be okay!  We have much to do this week and a little traveling as well, so I would prefer to have everyone as well as possible.

Some of us still have a little shopping to do, we have some baking and jelly-making to do, some games to play and books to read!  Kaelan hosted a small group of girls to make Christmas ornaments out of dominoes (thanks to raising olives for that idea!)  They turned out cute and Kaelan made enough to give to my extended domino playing family as well.

Mid-Christmas season the clutter that is in my home began to bother me greatly, so I started a great de-cluttering session.  I will continue to declutter as we get into the attic next week to go through boxes and eliminate unneeded items.  I am ready to organize for next semester and get things in good order for a great year.  I know we will have lots of traveling and times of meeting new people, so every bit of organizing and planning I do know will help to keep things going strong during the more stressful days ahead.

So much for my rambling!  Baby Caedmon (he's walking everywhere now, so not so much the baby anymore) is trying to climb into my lap.  He needs some mommy time!
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