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Laura
Follower of Christ. Wife to Adam. Mama to Joshua (9), Abigail (8), Esther (7), Hannah (6), Noah (5), Joseph (3), Peter (2), James (9 months), and Blessing #9 due late August. Soli Deo Gloria!
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Adam and Laura

Adam and Laura

Joshua Addison

Joshua Addison

Abigail Lauren

Abigail Lauren

Esther Rebecca

Esther Rebecca

Hannah Ralene

Hannah Ralene

Noah Evans

Noah Evans

Joseph Patrick

Joseph Patrick

Peter Edwin

Peter Edwin

James Emil Robert

James Emil Robert

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Super Savings Saturday


I don't participate in Super Savings Saturday often, but I have to share the deals that I got on bedding for the girls. Abigail and Esther have been sleeping on mattresses on the floor since we moved, but we recently got a bunkbed for them and I had been eying these quilts on Overstock.com. I didn't want to pay $80.00 apiece for them, but after looking around online that was about the best deal I could find for something pretty, feminine, and of decent quality. Well, last week I decided to make a quick run into TJ Maxx and I found two matching patchwork quilts on clearance for $20.00 each! I also found two matching twin sheet sets marked down to $15.00 each, so I grabbed those too. When I got to the register I discovered that all of their clearance items were an additional 25% off! So I got both quilts (they came with pillow shams, but I haven't put them on the beds yet) and both sheet sets for $56.00!! I don't like the quilts quite as much as the ones on Overstock, but for a savings of $130.00 I think they'll do just fine.


We moved Abigail and Esther into Hannah's room and made what was the big girls' room into the nursery. Hannah loves having her sisters in the room with her! She lays in her crib and waves at them. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vision Forum Black Friday Deals!



The Vision Forum is allowing affilates to offer this great Black Friday Deal. If you click on the link in my sidebar or on the banner in this post, you can buy any 2 items and receive a 3rd item for free. And you can do the deal as many times as you would like! This is a great opportunity to snag some good buys on great Christmas gifts, but it's only good tomorrow (Friday) through midnight on Saturday!

Yet Another New Nephew!

There are lots and lots of things to be thankful for today and always, but we are especially thankful and excited that we have a new nephew! My brother and sister-in-law (Mark and Amanda) had their baby yesterday afternoon. His name is Jackson Cole (they're going to call him Cole) and he weighed 9lb 4oz! Mark told me that I could post a picture, but I decided not to post one until Amanda has a chance to introduce him on her blog. Be sure to check there for updates!

That's three new nephews in two months!! Not bad. :) It's my turn next, unless Tami decides to do a turbo adoption in the next 4 or 5 weeks. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rather Large


My baby belly, that is. It's gotten a whole lot bigger since I last posted a belly picture, just three weeks ago! It's a little hard to tell with the striped sweater, but I'm definitely bigger than I was with any of the girls at 35 weeks. I was bigger and gained more weight when I was pregnant with Joshua, so maybe it's a boy thing. At my appointment last week, the doctor took a long time looking through my chart and at my last ultrasound report. Then he mashed on my tummy some and said "That's a big baby"! :) No more sugar for this baby! I can really take or leave cookies and cake and that sort of thing, but ice cream and fruit are hard for me to pass up. I had been trying to satisfy my sugar craving with fruit, which is good I guess, but fruit is still sugar and can make the baby big. So I've cut out ice cream and cut back on fruit. Thanksgiving will be an exception though. :) I gained 7 pounds in the last 3 weeks (yikes!), which puts me at 29 pounds total. I gained 30 with each of the girls and 40 with Joshua. I think I'll be closer to 40 this time!

I'm still feeling pretty good. Yesterday was kind of a long day and, as I'm sure you can tell, I was tired and ready to hit the hay by 7:30 when Adam took the picture! I haven't been sleeping quite as well because my arms and legs keep falling asleep. They fall asleep a lot during the day too, which I haven't experienced before. Sometimes just sitting in a chair for 10 minutes will make my legs fall asleep. I don't know if it has something to do with my varicose veins or what. I feel pretty stuffed, and to be honest I feel like I did when I was close to delivering my other babies. I've wondered if my due date is accurate (I was having some pregnancy symptoms about a month before I actually got a positive test). It probably is and I'll most likely be a week or so "late" like I have been the past three times, but sometimes I wonder if I might be "early" this time! There's no rush as far as I'm concerned though. I'm certainly not tired of being pregnant. Of course I can't wait for the baby to get here, and he's welcome to arrive whenever he wants to, but I like being pregnant and am perfectly happy carrying him around for a while longer. Not to mention the fact that I have to play a wedding on December 20th, our Christmas Festival Service at church on the 21st, and a Christmas Eve service on the 24th. It would be nice to get through those so that no one has to go through the hassle of getting a substitute organist!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Movin' Right Along

Adam brought something home the other day that I was quite impressed with. Not that I'm usually unimpressed with what he does, but I thought that this was especially noteworthy!




It's a gold crown that he made! It's exciting for him (and for me) to be nearing the end of chemistry and anatomy and bookwork in general, and to be getting into the more hands-on, patient-oriented part of dentistry. Of course there is more bookwork to come, but he is starting to see patients now which is much more interesting and rewarding than studying muscles, ligaments, and a bunch of other things that have absolutely nothing to do with dentistry!

There are certainly a lot of things to be thankful for, and my hard-working husband is at the top of the list, second only to my salvation!

Menu Plan Monday

Instead of posting our menus for the week, I decided to just post what we are having for Thanksgiving dinner. The children and I did our grocery shopping this morning while the store wasn't too crowded. I was hoping to spend a lot less than I did, but alas, I've blown the grocery budget yet again. Things add up so fast! I read on a few blogs (no one that reads my blog, in case you're wondering if it was you!) how other ladies were only spending $30 or $40 on their Thanksgiving dinner. And then I read what they were having. It obviously sounds good to them, but it sounded pretty lame to me! We like to have a lot of choices and we like to have specific recipes every year. We also like having a lot of leftovers. So yes, I did spend a good bit more than $40, but we'll definitely enjoy it and I won't need to cook for several days afterwards!

Turkey Breast using this brine and Gravy
Cranberry Sauce (I enjoy making my own cranberry sauce, but it's expensive and Adam likes the canned sauce better, so we're going with that this year)
Stuffing (I use Stove Top. That's what we've always had and I've yet to taste a homemade stuffing that beats it!)
Sweet Potato Souffle (I lost this recipe somehow, but I'll try to get it from my Mom and post it later. It's incredibly good...almost like dessert!)
Pea Casserole (minus the water chestnuts, and using French fried onions instead of crackers on the top)
Corn Bread Pudding (thanks to Nikki for the recipe!)
Sour Cream Noodles (these are a must-have for us at Thanksgiving...and Christmas too, for that matter!)
Pear Salad (another recipe that I lost in the move, but I will update with a link later)
Fresh Green Beans (I had to throw something healthy in there!)
Rice Pudding (I've never made this before, but Adam requested it so I'm going to try the Uncle Ben's boxed version)
Frozen Pumpkin Pie (we had this last year for the first time and it is unbelievably good...so much better than plain pumpkin pie!)
Key Lime Pie

For more Thanksgiving menus, visit Laura!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recipe Fun Friday

We've had a fun week with our company here, which is why you haven't heard much from me. I'll get back to more frequent posting next week, but for now I wanted to share a new recipe. I made Apple Pumpkin Muffins for a men's Bible study that met at our house on Saturday, and they were great! A little on the rich side for everyday eating, but good for special occasions or company. They were so good that I may try making them with whole wheat flour, half the sugar, and no streusel topping just make them healthier. I think that the pumpkin and apple flavors would stand out more that way.

For more Recipe Fun Friday ideas, visit Nikki.

*I have a picture, but Blogger won't let me upload it right now. I'll try to add it later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


My aunt and uncle are coming into town for a visit this week, and I'll probably be changing our menus around a bit, but this is what I've got planned for now.

Monday - Linda's Mozzarella Bake, Broccoli, Millet Muffins
Tuesday - Lentil Rice Casserole, Corn, Homemade Bread
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Ham and Spinach Pie, Applesauce
Friday - Quesadillas
Saturday - Leftovers or Sandwiches
Sunday - Lasagna, Broccoli, Homemade Bread (lunch); Hot Dogs and Beans (dinner)

I'll try to post the recipe for Linda's Mozzarella Bake soon. It's very good and is easy to make. I didn't get around to making the Farmhouse Breakfast last week, so I can't share a review of that recipe yet. I'll add it back into the lineup soon! For more Menu Plan Monday ideas, visit Laura.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gucks

Adam took the children into the front yard last Sunday afternoon while I was making lunch. He taught them how to play Duck Duck Goose, and Hannah loved it. She needs a little help to keep going in the circle, but she caught on pretty fast. Here is a short video of her in action. I don't know if you can hear, but she is saying "Guck" and "Doose". :)

video

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe Fun Friday

We had company for dinner last night and I tried a few new recipes. I know that you're really not supposed to experiment when you have company over, but I did it anyway. The dessert was the only one that I had doubts about, and I had a back-up plan in the freezer (ice cream), so I wasn't too worried about everything flopping.

I made an Autumn Cheesecake for dessert. I wanted to make this for Thanksgiving, but I definitely didn't want to experiment then, so last night was a good opportunity to try it out. This was my first shot at making a cheesecake and I wasn't exactly sure how to tell if it was done. After reading some of the reviews I made several changes to the recipe, and I think it turned out well! I will do a few things differently next time, like use room-temperature eggs and bake it the day before so that it has plenty of time to chill. But I was very pleased with the outcome and I think it's a keeper.

Ready to go in the oven.

Ready to serve!


Here is the recipe, including the changes that I made.

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese
3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and 3/4 cups sugar. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in vanilla and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pour filling into the baked crust. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Toss the cinnamon/sugar mixture with the chopped apples to coat. Microwave for 1 minute and discard the juice. Spoon apple mixture over cream cheese layer and sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes. (*I had to bake for an extra 15-20 minutes, but I'm sure this would vary by oven.) With a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool, then remove the rim of pan. Chill before serving, and serve with caramel sauce drizzled over top of cake. (*Some of the reviews said to bake this in a water bath. I was afraid that the water would leak into the springform pan though, so I just put a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and baked the cheesecake on the top rack.)
I won't take the time to type out the other recipes that I used last night, but I also made an Elegant Pork Loin Roast and Suzy's Mashed Red Potatoes. I've made the pork roast before, and
it is very good and can be made in the crockpot. We almost never have pork, so it was nice for a change. The mashed potatoes were really yummy too, though I made a few changes to the recipe. I added two cloves of garlic and a few green onions. I also cut out some of the butter and then put it all in a baking dish, topped it with a little bit of cheese and warmed it in the oven.

For more Recipe Fun Friday ideas, visit Nikki!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pampered Chef


I hosted a Pampered Chef show a few weeks back and just had to share what I got! I really like Pampered Chef products, but they are rather pricey. Hosting a show is a great way to get some free and discounted things though. I ended up getting $140 worth of free items, 3 half-price items, 60% off of the Simple Additions collection (this was the host special, which is different every month. I believe that it is stoneware this month...I wish I had waited because I love the stoneware!), and 25% off of anything else that I wanted to order. I also get to take advantage of the host special at any shows that were booked from mine (there were 2), as well as 10% off of anything that I would like to order for a year. All that for sending out invitations, making sure my house was clean, and providing some light refreshments! Definitely worth it in my opinion.

I like everything that I got, but a couple of my favorites are the Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls, the 5" Santoku Knife, and the 7" Santoku Knife. The bowls have rubber on the bottom and don't slide around when you are mixing in them, and they also have lids, which is nice. The knives are incredible! I almost put them away until after the baby comes because I tend to be a little on the klutzy side when I'm pregnant. I was afraid that I might cut off a finger or something! But I decided that I couldn't wait and I have really been enjoying them. It's amazing how easily they slice through things. I had boycotted cutting raw chicken because it was such a pain in the neck, but I tried it with my 5" knife the other day and it was so easy! All three of these items are quite expensive, and I wouldn't pay full price for them, but I was able to get two of them for free and one for 50% off. Works for me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grandma and Grandpa's


My parents live about 45 minutes away from us, which is very nice! They are over here fairly frequently, but we don't get over to their house as often as we'd like. It's hard to travel with little ones, even for that short of a distance. But we packed a lunch and headed over for a visit this morning. We took some fun pictures in their yard and went to see Grandpa at his office. Grandma made these cute matching fall dresses for the girls...complete with hairbows!

One of the men that works with my Dad used to be a firefighter. He has some neat things in his office that Joshua was pretty impressed with. (That's Grandpa helping Joshua put the hat on.)



Monday, November 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday


Monday - Thai Peanut Noodle (this ended up getting bumped last week)
Tuesday - Beef Enchiladas with Mexican Rice
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Farmhouse Breakfast (a recipe from a recent Southern Living magazine. If it turns out well I'll post the recipe)
Friday - Golden Potato Soup and Homemade Bread
Saturday - Leftovers or Sandwiches
Sunday - Pork Roast, Veggies, Homemade Bread (lunch); Homemade Pizza (dinner)

For more Menu Plan Monday ideas, visit Laura!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Finally...

Here's my 32-week belly picture! I'm feeling pretty good..better than I remember feeling at 32 weeks with my other pregnancies. I'm getting a little tired, but that's probably from a lack of sleep. I get my second wind after the kids are in bed and sometimes I have a hard time going to bed on time. I like to get up early enough to get my shower and get dressed before they wake up in the morning, so if I'm not in bed by around 10:00 or so then I'm tired during the day. But I can get so much done in the evenings! Adam is often up late studying, so I figure I should be up doing something productive too. :) I really do feel great though. My varicose veins aren't bothering me as much as they were when I was pregnant with Hannah, and I'm not swollen at all...maybe there's a connection between the two? I'm sleeping great at night and usually only wake up if I'm awoken by a little person needing to use the potty.

Here are a couple of pictures from our walk to the park the other day. None of my pictures of Joshua turned out very well, but I got some cute ones of the girls. Especially Hannah. I don't know why, but she's particularly fun to photograph! She loves to go down the slide by herself now. Abigail wants to hold her in her lap, but Hannah isn't interested!



Friday, November 07, 2008

Recipe Fun Friday

I had a little bit of pumpkin in the refrigerator that I needed to use up this week, so I decided to try these cookies. I didn't think that pumpkin and chocolate sounded good together, but the rating was good and there were 265 reviews, so I gave it a shot. I wasn't impressed with the outcome, but only because I was right about the pumpkin and chocolate not being great together. That and they were a little bready. I like my cookies chewy in the middle and crispy on the outside. But if you like bready cookies that have pumpkin and chocolate in them, you'll like these! They are very plump and they baked up wonderfully.

For more Recipe Fun Friday ideas, visit Nikki!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

John Newton Quote

I just received an email from a friend with this wonderful quote. I don't think she reads my blog, but thanks Jennifer!

"The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice!" Psalm 97:1

My dear madam,
He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows--is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth! Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him! His providence pervades and manages the whole universe, and is as minutely attentive to every part--as if there were only a single object in His view! From the tallest archangel--to the smallest ant or fly--all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and where to find their food. He over-rules the rise and fall of nations; and bends, with an invincible power, and unerring wisdom--all events to His sovereign will! So that while many intend other outcomes--their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of His holy will.

Jesus restrains with an almighty hand--the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness. Satan with all his hosts cannot exert their malice a hair's-breadth beyond the limits of His permission!

This omnipotent Savior is the head and husband of His believing people. How happy are those whom it is His good pleasure to bless! How safe are those whom He has engaged to protect! How honored and privileged are those to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim Him as their Friend and eternal portion!

Having redeemed them by His own blood--He esteems them as His treasure, and protects them as the pupil of His eye! They shall not lack any good thing. They need not fear. His unerring eye is upon them in every situation; His ear is always open to their prayers; and His everlasting arms are under them for their sure support! On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all His dispensations for their spiritual good. While in heaven He is pleading their cause, preparing a glorious home for them, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory which they shall shortly enter into!

We sinful worms were once blind to His beauty, and insensible to His love, and would have remained so to the last--had He not revealed His goodness and grace to us!

(From Letters of John Newton, 1776)

"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!" Revelation 19:6

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quote

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."

John Quincy Adams

Menu Plan Monday



I just finished my meal planning for the month...something that was on the to-do list last week that didn't get done. I was planning on going grocery shopping today or tomorrow, but it's pouring rain now and it is supposed to rain tomorrow too. I'd rather scrounge around in the cabinets and eat plain beans and crackers than do a monthly shopping trip with all four children in tow in the rain! Thankfully we have a little more than a bag of beans in the pantry though, so our dinners for the next two nights are at least kind of interesting!

Monday - Russian Crockpot Chicken, Rice, and Corn (yes, I know...two starches. But it's all we've got!)
Tuesday - Beef Burritos
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Taco Salad
Friday - Thai Peanut Noodle (a recipe from Christine that we tried last month and loved!)
Saturday - Leftovers or Sandwiches
Sunday - Spaghetti, Broccoli and Homemade Bread (lunch); Grilled Cheese with Apples, Fresh Veggies (dinner)

I can't seem to get the hang of gauging our leftovers. We usually end up with more than I think we will and dishes that I have planned end up getting bumped. Which is fine, I'd just like to figure it out so that I don't have to shift things around so much. Most of the things that were on last month's menu and are showing up this month are there because they didn't get made last month. Either that or I made a double (or triple) batch and froze some for later.

For more Menu Plan Monday ideas, visit Laura.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

I don't usually participate in Super Savings Saturday over at Money Saving Mom, but Adam found a great deal this week so I thought I'd post about it. Kroger had Celestial Seasonings tea on sale 10 for $10, and Adam likes the Chai teas, so he bought a few boxes. When he got home he realized that there were some $1 off of 2 coupons inside, so I went back last night and got some more boxes. I got home and found 8 coupons inside one box, so Adam got some more this morning! All in all, we got 17 boxes for $8.50, or $.50 per box! We like tea, so we'll use some of it, but it will also be good for gift baskets around Christmas time. We still have several coupons left and they don't expire until 2010! I think the Kroger deal is only good through today, but I'm sure they'll run it again before the coupons expire. Here are some of the flavors that we bought.