Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bubble Day

Yesterday, Cole's homeschool co-op met at our house for Bubble Day. I didn't have a lot of time to plan, what with all our Christmas celebrating (more on that in my next blog), so it wasn't quite as cool as our Snow Day we had at our house last week, but the kids had fun playing with bubbles, making bubble art, and making (& eating!) bubble bread.

You can make Bubble Bread with canned biscuits, but I like to make my dough from scratch. (Yes, once again, I am a foodie-snob!)
Bubble Bread
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
Mix milk, oil, and sugar, cool (to no hotter than 110 degrees). Add 1 1/2 Tbs. (or one packet) of yeast. Let mixture "sponge" for 5 minutes.
Add 2 beaten eggs and 3 cups of flour, mix well. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and knead lightly on a floured surface.
Place in a greased bowl and let it rise until double. Punch it down and let it rise 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, melt a stick of butter. Also, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 Tbs. cinnamon.
Make "bubbles": Pinch dough into walnut-sized bubbles, dip into butter and then sugar mixture, and drop into a well-greased tube pan. Layer bubbles with chopped nuts, if desired. (yes, please!)
Let your bubble bread rise about 45 minutes, and then bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Maddy's Dollhouse

Sometimes I just get this idea of what I want my kids to get for Christmas (whether they want it or not), and I just HAVE to get it. This year, I really, really wanted to get Maddy a doll house. After tons of research, I decided we couldn't afford the one I wanted to get, so I decided to make one out of the pile of foam-core board we have lying around.

I started it a week ago and it was so much fun. Cole helped me pick out the "wallpaper" (scrapbooking paper from the Dollar Tree), and gave his opinions about where the walls should go. He kept saying, "This is the best Christmas ever!" He was very upset when Maddy woke up from her nap and we had to put our project away.

When we got it mostly done, I started shopping for inhabitants for her house. It didn't take me long (well, actually it was several different stores and a few lost bids on ebay) to figure that was going to be a frustration, too. As a last try, I looked on Target.com and found these adorable little animal families that I used to play with when I was little. The hamster family was even available with free shipping!

I didn't get it all the way done by Christmas morning, so this morning I put the shingles on and made some furniture. Casey's cousin had sent us this awesome gift tower from Harry and David's (Thanks, Gina) and the pretty little boxes made an awesome couch and coffee table. I used the foam from inside the boxes as mattresses.

Oh! And I learned a valuable lesson about cutting with a razor blade (away from your body!) when I stabbed myself in the leg. The razor went in about 3/4" (and it kinda hurts)!

Inside View

Outside View (CJ wanted to pose the family outside like it was their Christmas portrait)

Hamster Sister in her bunkbed.

Maddy playing very hard with her dollhouse.

Mama Hamster watching TV (Cole insisted they needed a Christmas tree).

Master Bedroom

Daddy Hamster taking care of Hamster Brother in the kitchen. PawPaw (my dad) bought her some real kitchen furniture.

Monday, December 15, 2008


My pastor said a few weeks ago: "Sometimes relationship is more important than being right."
Wow. It seems to be the theme of my life right now.
I've always prided myself in being pretty quick to apologize, at least professionally. In my ministry, working with other churches, pastors, and organizations, diplomacy often means apologizing for things that weren't your fault. So I've had practice.
Today I gave the hardest apology ever. It's not the offense that I had a hard time apologizing for. (It was a relatively minor, stepping-on-of-toes situation, and I like to apologize quickly, thoroughly and sincerely, so I set off to do just that.) It is just that the person I was apologizing to was so nasty to me--even during the apology, that by the time she sneered, "Well. I forgive you," I wanted to say, "Well, don't. Because I take my apology BACK!"
It occured to me during my drive home, as I fought back angry tears, that perhaps I am too proud of my humility. Maybe I take a perverted sense of being "right" when I apologize for being wrong--after all, I'm being the BIG one, the one with the chutzpa to "take one for the team". And when someone isn't so quick to dismiss what I feel is a small infraction, my true feelings come out. That it "isn't fair", that "I didn't do anything wrong", "she was so mean to me", "whine, whine, whine"......
So I have some new things to ponder. Some more iron sharpening my iron. *sigh*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Christmas List

Okeedokee, my friend Bethany had this on her blog, so I stole it. Feel free to steal it from me!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags feel like laziness, but they are sooooo much easier! I do wrapping paper when I can. And homemade gift tags.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I love the way real ones smell, but the penny-pincher in me can't stand the thought of spending $40 on something I throw out in a few weeks. So I bought an artificial one after Christmas years ago. And the Christmas tree candle from Bath and Body Works is awesome!

3. When do you put up the tree? Not until after Maddy's birthday party!!!

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after the new year.

5. Do you like eggnog? In moderation.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A baby doll that was a whole lot like a Cabbage Patch. I think it was a Pumpkin Patch Kid or something.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Casey's dad and brother...definitely!

8. Easiest person to buy for? Cole-- he loves everything. And this year he still wants scotch tape and juice boxes.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a white one. And a tiny one carved from olive wood. And a stuffed one. I think that's it.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I mail some but not a bunch.

12. Favorite Christmas Movies? How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mixed Nuts (hilarious), Island of Misfit Toys, Small One. The Lord of the Rings also says "Christmas" to me...don't laugh, but the all came out right around Christmas, so I love to watch them then!

13. When do you start shopping? I shop all year. But I have a hard time waiting, so people get gifts from me all year!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Sure!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? One thing, seriously? Rosette cookies.

16. Lights on the tree? Yes, please, LOTS. This year, white.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Emmanuel

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home. Maybe we'll travel next year!

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer’s? Hmmm...nope.

20. Angel on the tree top or star? Up until this year, we've just had a very pretty bow. Pretty, but no symbolism there....so I read the story of Jesus' birth to the kids to explain why we were changing and let Cole pick out a star for the top. He was so cute and thoughtful when he chose it.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Growing up, we did all our celebrating on Christmas Eve. My parents said it was because of our Polish heritage.... Now it depends on when/if we have to share CJ with his bilogical dad. This year we will open presents (with our household)Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Cranky people.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love sparkly ones, white crystaly ones. We found one in a box this year that reminded us all of the ship Superman came to earth in as a baby. (o: Cole saw it and said, "Oh. I like that one." Hands-down, the ones with my kids' pictures in them, though. I love to see how they've changed each year.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Mom's bread.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? We're not exchanging grownup gifts this year, so it's irrelevant. We are researching a memory foam mattress pad. These bones are getting old!

Okay, TAG, you're it! If you want to do this, go for it. I would love to know if you do it though, so please just leave me a comment letting me know to come look at it, okay!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So I just have to share about my day yesterday.
Apparently, I am the current victim of the bug that's made its rounds through my house and many others, and I woke up feeling really bad. I took some of my kid's prescription, which I thank Jesus I had the presence of mind to have the doctor call in last week when the first one went down....(I realize it's semi-illegal to take someone else's prescription meds, but I was desperate). The medicine was all that stood between me and puking my brains out all day, and it still only helped a bit, but I had to go to Bible Club, because my assistant's pregnant and on bed rest and I can't just call the kids and cancel--most don't have phones.
Those babies were so......chatty yesterday. Oh. My. Gosh. I promise you, they called my name a million times. No lie. 1000 times 1000= a million times. I took them outside because my head was splitting from their love and affection, but they just wanted to run and scream and play....right next to me. I knew I didn't feel good, and that's the main reason I didn't get on to them or anything, but they were oh, so noisy.
The climax of the day was when we were loading into the van to go home, and they were arguing over where to sit, yelling at each other, laughing hysterically, etc. and this little girl sitting directly behind me was saying, "Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Mary, Mrs. Mary..." And since this was the one million and third time my name had been called in one day, I said, "Kenyetta. WHAT." through my clenched teeth.
She just looked at me with her big eyes and said sweetly, "Nothing. I was just saying your name."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Guest Writer

For those who don't know (hmm...I think everyone, all three of the people who read my blog already know this), I psuedo-homeschool CJ. We use Georgia Virtual Academy, which is technically public school, but since I'm doing all the WORK, and he's at home while he's schooling, it's homeschool. No matter what the snobs at our former homeschool group thought.

For his portfolio assignment, he wrote a persuasive essay. He did a great job, I think, so I wanted to share it.

C.J. Dickerson
Millicent Pilate
Persuasive essay

Every four seconds a child dies from starvation and treatable illnesses. There is a great need for food, water and health supplies all around the world. There is a way you can give a gift to help. World Vision is a very cool organization that helps people in need. When you give a gift in honor of your friends, you not only get some Christmas shopping done but you help children everywhere.

Today alone, 26,000 children will die of treatable illnesses. 53% of these deaths are from starvation. In Ethiopia, only 22% of the people have access to clean water. They have to drink pond water while we waste water all the time. Right now there is a food crisis in Africa, and nearly 9.2 million people are in danger of starvation. These people need help and you can give it to them.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that reaches out to children in poverty. World Vision serves the poor in over 100 countries. 80% of their budget goes directly to programs that help people in need. World Vision’s gift catalog has gifts from a price range of $10 to benefit the Child Health Fund, to $500 for a dairy cow, all the way up to $39,000 for a health clinic. Also, because of corporate donations, a $35 gift multiplies 14 times to provide $480 worth of clothing and shoes.

Getting a gift in honor of a loved one can be very helpful with Christmas shopping. World Vision has an online catalog that allows you to order gifts like food or clean water. The online shopping saves the time of going to Wal-Mart and waiting in line. It also saves you the stress of having to put up with crabby sales people. It also saves you worrying about what to get your friends and family, because no matter what it will make them feel proud that they helped a child.

You have an opportunity to help these children. The people at World Vision want to help families in poverty. The gift catalog will help you spend more time with your family because you just go and order the present and you are done. In the time it took you to read my essay, 22 children died. Consider making a difference in the lives of children and with the way you buy Christmas gifts this year.

This is Tekalgn, the Ethiopian boy that CJ sponsers through World Vision.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Five Things I love...Finally!

I was tagged several weeks ago by my friend Bethany. She did a great job on hers, so here's mine!

Five things I love:

1. Jesus!! He said whoever is forgiven much, loves much, and man--was I forgiven MUCH. If it weren't for my Jesus, I'd probably be dead, or at least miserable enough to wish I was. He is my all.

2. My family. They are so wonderful. God has used my husband in amazing ways to bring healing to my heart. He's a wonderful man, an awesome dad, and the perfect friend. My children bring color to my life and make everything I do so much more fun. They make me feel RICH. My extended family is precious as well. My daddy is such a sweet man and my sister Autumn is bright spot in my life. My neice is a precious little peanut. My brother is strange and wonderful and funny. My mom is dynamic and interesting. My three other siblings are a joy to watch as they grow.

3. My ministry. I feel incredibly blessed to have a "profession" that is as rewarding as His Hands is. I love what I do, I love the kids I see every week for Bible Club, and I love being available to God to do whatever He asks me to do. These kids are just so wonderful, so full of potential.

4. Parties. I love food, I love friends, put them together, and I love PARTIES. Three times a year I get to go all-out when I throw parties for my kids' birthdays. My husband and I joke that one reason we want more kids is so we can have more birthday parties.

5. At the moment, number 5 is going to go to my electric blanket. I hate to be cold--it actually hurts me. When I get out of the tub at night, and I'm shaking and shivering, and I skooch down into the covers where my husband has thoughtfully turned on my balnket for me already....ahhhhh. It is so wonderful.

And now, finally, I will tag five others: Autumn, Tonya, Kim, Jessica, and Mary. I'm surprised I even have 5 people who read this thing for me to tag, but I'm glad it's you guys. Can't wait to see what you have to say!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our Trip (Must see pictures)

Our trip to Illinois was absolutely wonderful!!! There was lots of fellowship, food and FUN!

On our way up we stopped in Atlanta (see previous blog) to stay with the Andersons. The second half of our trip, we stopped in Kentucky at Patty's 1880 settlement and restaurant. We weren't hungry, but decided to get out and see the beautiful lights that they display every Christmas. Cole as ecstatic at the sight of all the lights, and as we parked he shouted, "Oh my, I didn't know Christmas was HERE!!" and didn't stop squealing with glee the whole time. Kids make things so much fun.

Click here to see pictures of: Patty's (click "back" on your browser to come back here.)

In Illinois, we stayed in Granite City, at the apartment of Casey's cousin's in-laws, who are in Florida for the winter. CJ spent most of his time with his cousins, so we hardly saw him at all! Aunt Merrill hosted several pre-Thanksgiving meals for the whole family, so I think I gained 10 pounds before the Thanksgiving feast even began! She was a wonderful hostess, and everyone enjoyed all the food, coffee, and LAUGHTER.

Thanksgiving dinner was at Jeff and Ann's, and it went on (literally) all day!

Pictures of: Illinois (click "back" to come back.)

On Friday night, we stayed with Casey's cousin Gina in St. Charles, Missouri, but first we spent the day at the City Museum in St. Louis. I cannot say enough about how TOTALLY COOL this place was, omigosh! It was created by artists, and it's probably totally unsafe (I kept having flashbacks of my dad saying, "Be careful, that'll put your eye out!"), but oh, so stinkin' flippin' awesome!!

Two actual Cessna planes are suspended in the air connect of a myriad of metal tunnels, with secret paths, hidden room, and funky slides. There was a ball pit for little ones, and one for the rowdy older kids so that they could pelt one another to their hearts' content. And that's just OUTSIDE. Inside there were caves on the bottom floor that were just dark and spooky enough to give you a bit of an adrenaline rush, but not scary enough to keep Cole from dashing from tunnel to tunnel and making me slightly nervous about losing him in the semi-dark.

At first, Maddy was frightened and didn't want to do anything. I was dreading a day of being stuck watching everyone else (selfish mom that I am, I wanted to play, too), but Gina showed her how to climb up and slide down, and suddenly she wasn't afraid anymore! I mean, NOT AFRAID AT ALL!! I was struggling to keep up with her as she dashed across wire-looped tunnel-bridges and around dark corners! She was crazy!!

The second floor has a treehouse with tunnels and ladders and all sorts of things to climb and a whole other half-floor that we never got around to looking at! )o: The third floor consisted of a huge art room where you could paint, make stuff with clay, cut fancy snowflakes, or whatever you want! There was a circus show that we didn't get to see, too.

I was totally not ready to leave, even though we were there for an entire day, but everyone got hungry. I was like, "C'mon, you can eat anytime!!" But majority rules, we left about 7:30pm to go eat supper and drive to Gina's.

Pictures of: St.Louis

Alas, on Sunday it was time to pack up and start home. After breakfast with Aunt Merrill, Uncle Jerry, and Uncle Bill at Cracker Barrel, we were off. We stopped at Patty's again for a late lunch, and to celebrate Maddy's second birthday (one day early). After lunch we drove to Nashville, where we stopped to see the pretty lights at Opryland, and spend the night.

Pictures: GoingHome

The next day, we got up to drive home, and Cole finally got his wish: SNOW! We stopped off at a gas station in Tennessee to play a little, and then drove on into the mountains where the snow was much more impressive. We pulled over again, and had a great time playing in the snow. Casey made a sled out of a cardboard box and a trashbag that we had in the van, and we all had a blast!


It was a wonderful trip, not too long, not too short. Beautiful weather all week, so the kids could have fun outside, and then snow on the way home. Perfect.