Flower Girl
An Age-Old Lesson for a Four year Old
"Mamma, my head looks like a clown!"

Eve learned a crucial lesson last night; one women have been learning for centuries, really. The lesson was this: there are times you will have to look quite ugly for a small, little while to ultimately look gorgeous.

And look gorgeous Eve absolutely will. Today is her debut as flower girl in Leigh's wedding. Let me just tell you she takes her job seriously. At the rehearsal last night she used every single petal they had placed in her basket. She is nothing, if not thorough.

You know, it's funny - as I watched her start to walk down the aisle practicing for her part in the wedding, my heart twinged a bit. I wasn't really expecting that to happen, it's not as if she is the bride.
Must be my mind's eye could see that being her someday and it made my heart hurt. Daniel said he felt the same way, except he was thinking - just wait until tomorrow when she walks down the aisle with her beautiful white dress on.

These thoughts make me want to run, grab her, and hold her tight in my arms forever.

If only I really could.
Eve's First Day of Preschool
All these pictures are taken by Daniel, post- preschool. I forgot to bring my camera when we dropped her off. I nearly died. But I didn't, Daniel resuscitated me. He's a good man, that one.

Yesterday was the day. My little girl started preschool, what a weird feeling that was. I hated coming home and seeing the lack of life in our house. Eve is a little light - shining and bright, her excitement for life reflecting throughout the house. Our home was so quiet and boring with her gone. But, no tears were shed, we were too happy for her.

Eve was super excited; she absolutely loved everything about going to school, especially having a backpack and lunch pail. It was funny because with her being so tiny, she was nearly tipping over from the backpack's size! When I left she was painting and I knew then that all would be well. That girl loves to paint.

When I saw Eve get out of the van, after school, I barely recognized her for the layers of dirt she had all over her body! She had a blast! They painted, gardened, helped with the animals, had story time, snack and sang songs.

Eve even had a little boy tell her that she was mean, which seemed to nearly break her little heart. We talked about it and found she handled that particular situation just the way Daniel and I taught her to. Though, it is never easy to have someone think badly of your child, it was good to see her live out the principles we teach her day after day. Sometimes I have wondered if that stuff is even getting through!

All in all everyone's heart is still intact. We had an exhausted, but happy, little girl on our hands last night. A relieved little boy, with his "Ce-Ce" back home, and parents who can't believe how big their baby is. Where do the years go?
When is Thanksgiving going to be here?
Daniel and I are supremely protective of our children's minds, their eyes and their hearts. We take guarding their innocence very seriously. Eve often sings that little song "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see...." and she knows that it is true. That it's not just a cute song, we do need to be very careful. You can imagine then, this time of year is especially hard for us. There are grotesque masks, decorations, figurines, clothing everywhere. Evil is a celebrated event.

We have a grocery store chain here in Vermont called Hannaford's, maybe some of you have this store as well. Hannaford's will receive no business from me during this time of year as I absolutely cannot take my children in there. They have witches, horrid, horrid witches lining the front entrance, along the aisles, and on top of shelves. They even have them standing next to the check out lanes, right at eye level for Eve. Daniel and I have taught her to look away if she sees something like these witches, or cover her eyes when we tell her to. But, here's my question - Is all this necessary? Is it necessary to accost children, and adults for that matter, with these horrible images? I choose, during this season, not to take my children to certain sections of Costco, or Walmart because of the amount of disgusting decorations and items that they have for sale. Really, it's appalling.

Our children, they are so precious. Their minds are incredibly innocent and the images they see are so impactful. How easily influenced they are. I know, not everyone holds my viewpoint. This isn't considered an issue to a lot of people. Perhaps I am seen as silly or archaic, even overprotective. I am okay with that because I don't have to answer to those people. God has given Daniel and I our children; they are a gift, and their innocence is a gift. We intend to guard their hearts to the best of our abilities, all with the understanding that eventually innocence will trade for reality. In knowing all this, we are concentrating on building the character and fortitude our children will need to be able to stand under life's realities. And they will be faced with those realities soon enough. Let's allow our children the innocence of youth.
Wordless Wednesday
Eve in 2003 ~~ Just a few days old.

You can find more Wordless Wednesday photos here and here
Tuesday Recipe - Morning Glory Muffins
These muffins are incredible. Really. I'm not just saying that. Moist, delicious, and healthy! Shhhh ......They even contain a vegetable. Perfect, don't you think? Here is the recipe:

Morning Glory Muffins

1 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups flour ( I do 1c. white and 1 1/4c. whole wheat)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup grated carrots
1 apple grated
8 oz. crushed pineapple - drained
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup pecans broken into small pieces -optional


Sift together the first six ingredients in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl whip eggs, oil, and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the carrots, apple, pineapple and nuts. Mix well.

Pour into greased or papered muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. The muffins might need a few minutes longer to bake should you use a muffin tin with an over-sized cup.


One Year Later

In some ways I can't believe it has been a year. In other ways I can't believe it's only been a year. So much has happened since Daniel has been home. We're still in Vermont, and we are having our third baby; both are situations we never thought our family would be in if you had asked us last year at this time.

I have definitely struggled with remembering to keep my perspective. I swore that when he was actually home from being deployed I wouldn't miss him when he had to work so much, or even take short trips. I was a mess last Sunday night when he had to go to Boston for ONE night. I have perspective problems.

I do have to say that I still appreciate any and all help he gives me when he is home. That is something I haven't lost. It's tough having to do everything by yourself. I was constantly exhausted from all the extra work. To this day I still appreciate every time he takes the trash out, or changes a light bulb, straps Judah in the van, does the dishes for me, on the list goes.

And I feel safe again. I constantly felt vulnerable when he was deployed. Exposed, like everyone knew my husband was living across the world. I dared not tie a yellow ribbon around my front yard tree, or hang a flag in my window. But, now that he is home I know I am protected.

My favorite part of Daniel being home has to be the hugs. I missed the touch of my husband incredibly. I was giving so much to my children, hugs, kisses, snuggles but no one was here to give any of that back to me.

It's been a good year, hard but good. I think I'll go give that husband of mine a squeeze now.
My Little Ham

" Momma, I just want to be with you."

Can I be a little transparent with you all? I need alone time; I crave quiet...no music, no talking, just quiet. Yet, I have a four year old and an almost two year old. I don't really get to have a whole lot of quiet and it tends to wear on me, quite honestly.
I really like to make dinner in a quiet atmosphere so this is when the kids have movie time. But that wasn't going to happen tonight. Tonight Eve just wanted to be with me. Thankfully, I had given myself a pep talk just yesterday, reminding myself that this time with her is fleeting, to enjoy how she wants to be with me. It may not always be this way. Because of that fresh pep talk I cheerfully plopped her on the counter next to where I was working and we chatted. We chatted about everything. If there is one thing that girl knows how to do well, it's talk. And I have no idea where she gets it from. Ahem.
It was a bit of a sacrifice to have constant company tonight, but what sweet company it was. And if I had sent Eve back to the movie I may have never known that she loves me times six.
Thankful Thursday
This week I am so thankful for:

** Daniel's good health. His labs won't come back until early next week, but the Doctor said everything looked great.

** For the special time Daniel and I spent feeling our baby have the hiccups. It was so fun to share a laugh with him.

** That it's apple season here in Vermont!! Fall means that HoneyCrisp apples are back. These are pretty much the best apples known to man.

**Judah said "I love you" to me for the first time, all on his own. I have been waiting his whole life for that moment, my heart absolutely melted.

** For Daniel's good secure job. This particular job has been filled with long hours, and plenty of sacrifices, but we are so grateful for his wonderful career.

** For the special time Eve and I can spend together each day reading. We just finished the "Trumpeter Swan" which was an exceedingly fun book to read.

** That Daniel doesn't mind killing spiders for me. I shake at the sight of them.

** For our marriage. That the love is deep and faithful, but also because he likes me. And we just have so much fun being together.

I am so glad Iris hosts this every week. It really helps me to focus on how grateful I am for all sorts of things in my life - little and big.
This week the theme is Grace - the perfect theme for me. I have needed an abundance of God's grace this week, and He has freely given it to me. I am so grateful, aren't you?
Wordless Wednesday
Part of you - Part of me

Find more Wordless Wednesday photos here and here

Tuesday Recipe
***Updated on popped corn amounts

This isn't your average Caramel Corn. Because of a couple key ingredients, it really stands out. The first one is the turbinado sugar (can also be called "raw" or "demerara"). This isn't white sugar; turbinado sugar still retains a lot of molasses so it has great flavor. You can easily find this sugar at your local health food store. The second key ingredient is the honey. Honey replaces the corn syrup traditionally used in Caramel Corn, is quite delicious and really a crucial part of this recipe. Here it is:

Caramel Corn

1+ cup of unpopped corn. 24-28 cups popped (amount depends on how much coating you like)
Place in a large roasting pan. Use two pans if needed.

In a large pot combine:

2 cups turbinado sugar
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup honey

Mix this well and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
Remove from heat and add:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

The caramel will bubble and foam quite a bit- stir it well and quickly pour over your popped corn. Stir mixture into corn until it's coated. Put into a 200 degree oven. Stir every 10 minutes for 40 minutes. Spread onto wax paper, break up the big clumps and let it cool. Store your caramel corn in an airtight container. (I do big ziploc bags.)

Enjoy! You'll never be quite the same.


Daniel has what the Air Force calls a Class Three Flying physical today. It involves lab work, chest X-rays, an EKG, on and on - pages of stuff it seems.

I know this is silly, but I have this little worry nagging at me... what if they find something wrong with him? I know we've all heard stories about seemingly healthy people going in for a routine physical and having the doctor find something horrible.

I told you all, I think way too much.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Pumpkin Pie

3 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
** After putting pie into oven turn heat down to 350 degrees

I pour all ingredients into my food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center to edge comes out clean.

Simplistic isn't it! Definitely healthy and it comes out beautifully every time.

* How to cook a pie pumpkin: Cut pumpkin in half - stem to bottom, scoop out seeds. Pour 1/2 cup of water on baking sheet, set pumpkin halves in water - cut side down. Bake at 350 until very soft. Scoop out flesh.


Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast
My kids are hungry when they wake up. Cereal alone will not suffice. Ever since Eve was little I have made pancakes, waffles, crepes, french toast, oatmeal, and nearly any imaginable combination of eggs and toast for breakfast every day. The problem is I have become increasingly bored with it all. I was really starting to dread breakfast-time.

While I was at the farmer's market on Saturday I had an inspiration! I saw the pie pumpkins and thought - Hey, I could make pumpkin pie for breakfast! My mom makes her pie with just honey as a sweetener; coupled with an oil crust, it would be perfect! Pumpkin is very healthy; eggs, milk, honey... all good!
So that's what I have done. I just baked the pumpkin, and then together the kids and I made the pie. Now, all I have to do in the morning is slice them each a piece, or two, and we're good to go. Easy, quick, healthy and they love it!

Pie for breakfast?! Life is good!

I have begun nesting. I think.

I'm not sure I have ever "nested" per se. I have certainly gathered the expectant baby's items together well in advance of birth, but this desire to clean and organize...it's kind of a weird overwhelming feeling. I have lists and ideas, cleaning products to buy, along with closets, drawers, and cupboards to go through. And the drive to keep my house picked up and clean is all-consuming. My poor children. I follow them around cleaning up and clucking like a mother hen. Isn't it kind of early for this?
Thankful Thursday
Wow! This week went by so quickly for me! I have so much to be thankful for:

** For a clean van! It's beautiful on the inside and outside. No more hunks of discarded snacks, books scattered everywhere, no old receipts, or empty ziploc bags!

** For air conditioning. It was HOT and muggy this weekend, but my house was a welcome retreat from all of that yuck because of the A.C.

** For money to pay the electric bill so I can have A.C.

** That Judah didn't cry at all when we dropped him off in the nursery on Sunday. This is huge!

** For the Vegetable omelet I had on Sunday. I literally craved it all week, it was just awesome! We had such a wonderful time eating brunch at a great restaurant with our friends.

** For a mom who can sew beautifully.

** For my mom.

** For Viva paper towels. They make my life so much nicer and easier to keep clean.

** For my washing machine and dryer. I was thinking the other day, as I walked away from another new load swishing away in the washing machine, how thankful I was to be able to just walk away and come back in forty-five minutes to clean, sweet smelling laundry.

** For how forgiving my children are to me when I mess up. Because I do and it's quite often. They love me so sweetly.

** For a delicious dark roast coffee with a little bit of espresso added. I can continue on because of it.

You know, I could list so many things my heart is thankful for but above all I am most thankful for God's mercy - that it is new every morning!

Have a wonderful week and have fun counting your blessing! Please go check out my brother's Thankful Thursday post - it's his first one!! Thanks to Iris who hosts this every week.
I felt like the worst mother in the world. I watched with horror as the van door shut on Judah's pudgy little fingers. Thankfully, I didn't slam the door like I usually do. But to see, for that split second, his fingers caught was horrible. And to know that I did it - my heart! Poor little man. Oh, how the tears flowed.

Wordless Wednesday - Best Friends

Best Friends

More Wordless Wednesdays found here and here

Tuesday Recipe

Baked Chicken Nuggets

2 cups bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (Kraft)

3/4 teaspoon salt

11/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

4-5 boneless chicken br*ast

1/2 cup oil


Combine in a shallow bowl or a brownie pan all the dry ingredients. Mix it together well.

In a separate shallow pan place your oil.

Cut up your chicken into medium to large bite sized pieces.

Dip chicken pieces in oil to coat, roll in breadcrumb mixture.

Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Continue until all your chicken is coated in breadcrumbs. Space out the chicken pieces so they are not touching.

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Look for chicken to be lightly browned.


This entree is excellent with garlic mashed potatoes and a salad. Last night I did roasted acorn squash, mashed potatoes and steamed spinach.


This is a huge hit with my kids. Judah ate a ton of this chicken last night. Eve did as well, especially because she was using it to help the spinach go down!

The picture is terrible. But I was much too tired and hungry to make it right.


Head's Up
Daniel has been harassing me since the beginning to post more recipes on our blog. I haven't wanted to do that as there are so many wonderful food blogs out there. Pioneer Woman Cooks, anyone? While I really enjoy cooking, I am not a professional, just a mother needing to feed her family.

To satisfy Daniel, I decided to let Tuesdays be the day I would post a tried and true recipe. In all honesty I hate gourmet food. If that is what you are interested in, please don't try to find it here. You won't. I cook meals that my entire family can eat and enjoy. Simple, no frills, healthy, delicious food. We're on a budget too, just like you, so they will be economical.

My hope is that should you try any of the recipes I post, it will bring happiness to your family. Tomorrow look for one of our family favorites - Homemade Chicken Nuggets. They are lot easier to make than you may think!
The first time Judah sprayed Eve was completely an accident, unbelievably, so was the second and third times.

But the fourth time! He did it on purpose. Poor girl, we laughed our heads off at her. The funniest part was watching Judah laugh and point each time he sprayed her - I am really going to enjoy watching them grow up together.

Eve, being the sweet girl that she is, never sprayed him back. I don't think it ever crossed her mind. Me, I'm such a sinner. As soon as she got the hose my first inclination was to tell her to spray him. Thankfully, I bit my tongue. I'll just let her keep being my sweet, non-vindictive girl.

Judah loves Eve's pink crocs. I don't know why hers are any better than his blue ones, but apparently they are.

Six Month Baby Belly

Wow! This baby moves.... a lot. Six months along, I can barely believe it at times. So far this has been my easiest pregnancy. I can still sleep on my stomach for short amounts of time which is great, no ligament issues, my bones are still in alignment, nothing weird going on..... all the fun stuff that pregnancy is made of.

This morning I was contemplating my extreme dislike for maternity clothes. Wondering why I flat out refuse to wear them unless I absolutely have to. Is it that I, deep in my psyche, want to prolong this baby coming? Nope. Is it that I worked so hard to lose the extra weight from Judah that it makes me feel upset to have to wear a bigger size than normal? Perhaps. But, I finally concluded that I just feel so decidedly unsassy in maternity clothes. I feel matronly. Big, like a bus. So, I put rubber bands on my jean's buttons, and layer tank tops under my regular shirts. Eventually I will have to succumb, but I won't like it. I also concluded that I annoy myself when I think too much.

The best part about being pregnant this time is having Eve understand and be excited about our new baby. I cherish the "morning hug and kiss" she gives the baby, I laugh whenever she says: "Whoa, Momma! Your belly is getting SO big!" , and I love when she talks about the future and how this baby is fully integrated into that time. She is going to be so wonderful with this new member of our family. As for Judah, well...he's the one we're worried about.
"Why yes, that is my memory on the cupboards"

My short-term memory, while pregnant, is non-existent. So I instituted the classy "sticky notes on the cupboard" approach.

It's all the rage, you know.

What I look forward to the most, with having this new baby, is the first few days when I can cradle the soft baby's body against mine and memorize his or her features. The curves of skin, seeing long thick eyelashes laying closed on a plump cheek, enjoying this baby's uniqueness. I love to trace my fingers along the baby's face taking in what for nine months I wondered about.

I still do this with my children, when I am rocking them to sleep or just snuggling after naptime, except by now I have their features engraved on my heart.
There is something so special about a new baby though, so fresh from heaven. This morning I am longing for those first few quiet moments when I can look upon my baby's face.
Eve and her Fan Club

The emphasis on buying local is huge in Vermont. I oblige when it's convenient for me. (how's that for honest!) After all, I wouldn't want to hurt Costco's feelings, now would I?! One place I shop at very often (I buy my chocolate there if that's a clue as how often 'very often' is) is our local health food store. At this store Eve has her own fan club; the employees fuss over her, give her stickers and flowers, hugs, fruit, even pennies a few times. Last night, after paying for the item I went there to buy, Eve's favorite cashier gave me these two beautiful plate sets. One for Eve and one for Judah.

She said that she wanted to give them to her favorite people. The kids flipped for them this morning!! Corn flakes never tasted so good.
To thank Laura, Eve and I made her a cute little thank you card. When I asked Eve why she spelled her name with two "v's " she said: " Because I love Laura so much!" It's really no wonder people love her all over this town.

Since Judah slept until well after ten this morning, Eve and I enjoyed some creative girl time. What fun it was! And Laura loved her card. It was a good morning.

Think she had fun at AWANA clubs?! As soon as I saw her come flying out of her classroom, with her hair completely out of control, I knew it had been a fun night!
Thankful Thursdays
I read my friend Tarrah's Thankful Thursday every week, and I love it. So I decided I would join in. You can visit Iris for more TT links.

This week I am thankful for:

** Chocolate. Seriously, it gets me through at times!

** My husband's vacation. It was so incredible to have him home with us this last week. I loved sharing all the moments that happen through out the day but I forget about by the time he normally gets home. Like Judah saying: "Go way fly!" and shoo-ing the air with his hand.

** My Gram and Poppie's visit. They have loved me so well my whole life, I am deeply thankful that they have invested so much of themselves in my life. I am very thankful for their wisdom and willingness to listen to us.

** I am thankful for the delicious vegetables Tarrah shared with me. She let me go pick up her share of the CSA she belongs to since she was on vacation and couldn't pick them up herself. So yummy!

** For Eve having a blast at AWANA clubs. I love to see her happy and making new friends.

** For how amazing Eve is in group settings. We are constantly complimented on her excellent behavior and good manners. Her teachers often tell us they wish all the kids were like Eve. It is encouraging to hear these things, because parenting is hard work!

** For the kiss Judah gave me tonight! He has been really stingy lately!

** Did I mention chocolate?

** For my health, and that I can grow another baby in my womb.

** For Tarrah and Sam, our good friends. It's so nice to have them home from their vacation. Yeah, selfish - I know!

** For my mother-in-law, that she loves me.
How much is too much
Eve with the egg she found at Shelburne Farms

I am trying to figure this out with regards to Eve. She is four, with a need to get prepped for kindergarten. She doesn't need academic help, but more in the social skills department.

I struggled with the preschool decision. Should I enroll her or not? I had a really hard time finding a preschool that was just that - a preschool. They seem to be mostly day-cares with a little learning thrown in for good measure. Not what I was looking for, at all. Then I found a program at one of our favorite places - Shelburne Farms. It is perfect. A small group with an excellent child to teacher ratio. The emphasis being on gardening, nature, and the environment. Eve is so interested in these areas. With this program she'll be learning both social and group skills, and I like that it's only one day a week.

She is also going to be involved in the AWANA clubs at church. I am really excited about this. I think she is going to have a blast! I love that we get to be involved as well, helping her do book work during the week.
Her main interest is that the prizes she may receive would be candy. This comes from a girl who has never had "real" candy, since we don't eat any refined sugar. (She'll get to swap the "real" candy for a healthier version of a lollipop here at home)

Here comes the sticky part. Do we stop here, at two events a week. Or, do I add in gymnastics, making it three weekly events. She loves gymnastics, but I don't want to go overboard on her. We, as of right now, have no scheduled weekly events. Besides the selfish reason of missing her and wanting her to be with me, I worry that she'll be over-extended. I love her sweet personality, how she enjoys being with me. What I don't enjoy is cranky, tired Eve.

Where's the balance? I am just not sure.
Wordless Wednesday -Adoration
Complete Adoration

You can find more Wordless Wednesday photos here and here
Happy Thought
What a happy thought it is to remember the chocolate stashed in the cupboard.
Happy, happy, happy!

There is something about having red hair that makes me still feel like Andrea. Not Mama, or MAMA!, or twenty six years old, pregnant, and with two small children. Simply Andrea.

Besides how it makes me feel, I love seeing how embarrassed parents get when their small children loudly proclaim: " She has RED hair!!" or " Look, it's Arielle!" This, and more, happens often and it always makes me giggle.

Red is so me.
Judah loves Bessie.

Bessie is our little silver Nissan Altima. She's the car I bought before Daniel and I got engaged, the car we had shipped to Alaska, drove from Alaska down to North Dakota, to Texas and back to North Dakota again, and finally Vermont. She's the reason Daniel changed from a Honda only man to a loyal Nissan driver.

About a year ago the transmission went, so she was retired to the side of the house while we figured out what to do. To keep or not to keep - to keep meant fixing, fixing meant a lot of money being spent. We ignored the problem for a long time, but recently talked with our landlords about who they went through to fix a transmission on one of their cars. Transmission work is rife with ways to get ripped off. Word of mouth is good.

We took Bessie in and a lot of money was the consensus. Surprise! We talked it over and over eventually deciding to go for it. It was better and cheaper than buying a new car for Daniel. I love having Bessie back, she's such a good car - we've only had to ever do a muffler on her - other than the recent transmission. Pretty good for a 1995, I say. Plus, the memories she holds for us are dear; if cars could talk..... I just couldn't bear to see her carted off to a junk yard. I'm so sentimental about my Bessie.
Flower Girl

Eve and I attended Leigh's bridal shower yesterday. Eve embraced her flower girl duties with gusto! She helped Leigh open each and every present she received, and showed the appropriate excitement as well. We are looking forward to Leigh and Andy's special day!

We had to stop by the grocery store on the way home from a wedding shower; Eve saw the seagulls. She asked me if she could chase them, I said yes. I knew they were going to fly away, I knew that she didn't stand a chance at getting close to them. Yet, I said yes. She really wasn't all that disappointed when they flew, because she knew they were going to fly away as well.
As I watched her I was thinking how much this mirrors my life these days, except my "seagulls" are answers to the questions of - what is next, where do we go, what are we going to be doing job-wise; around and around the questions swirl in my head.

I wrote in my journal a couple of mornings ago for the first time in probably eight months. Two pages of questions. I was hoping that when I woke up yesterday morning I would find the consecutive pages filled with the answers to my questions.

Illusive answers.

Perhaps someday I will look back and see those answers written on the pages of my life.
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