Saturday, June 30

Better now

Well, I think I'm going to pull through. I think I might just make it to see another day. I feel like a completely different person! I finished my entry yesterday and went to bed before 9. I think I fell asleep before Evelyn did. I kind of made up for it today, though.

I woke up; made the wonderful coffee I can't live without, let alone start my morning without; swept all the downstairs floors; nursed the baby (and read out of Hebrews, the book I'm currently working on for my morning Scripture study ... and can I just say WOW?!? but more on that another day ...); harassed the kids into getting dressed, getting the paper, feeding the cats, emptying the dryer, and unloading the dishwasher; made breakfast and got the kids and the baby fed; then I sat down to eat while the kids played outside and David snacked on Cheerios. Then I washed a load of clothes; folded another; went out and picked tomatoes, green beans, and basil, and, and proceeded to spend the better part of an hour messing with my sprayer and taking care of a bug problem that is effecting my tomatoes.

Then it was about 10:30, and I woke John up. Poor baby, he didn't get home until 4 last night. And by 'last night', I actually mean 'this morning.' He got up, had breakfast and coffee, and then mowed the lawn for me. Sweet man. I was having trouble walking in the back yard, because the grass was almost up to my knees. I was ok with that, until I stepped on the end of one of my pumpkin vines because I couldn't see it. It was hiding in the grass.

We had lunch, my mom and Wesley came by on their way back from Camp Peniel, and then the whole family napped. Except moi, because I had some very important things to do. Like finish Great Expectations. Wonderful book. Go find it, and A Tale of Two Cities. Read them this afternoon. Now. Why are you still here?? GO!!

Friday, June 29

Kill. Me. Now.


It all started Monday night/Tuesday morning, about 1:45, when Sam threw up. He kept throwing up until Tuesday night, around midnight. (7 times. He counted.) Then Evie threw up Wednesday night, but only once, and has just been a little puny since then. But then ... Oh, but then. Then came Thursday afternoon. I started to feel a little 'off,' but thought it was just because I was tired from being up three nights with vomiting kids and not eating enough. By 7pm, I had sent Sam and Evie upstairs to play, and David crawled laps around the coffee table while I had to lie, completely miserable, on the couch. I sent everyone to bed early, around 8:15, and stumbled back to the couch. And then I started throwing up.

As a general rule, I don't get sick. I have had only one minor cough since last Thanksgiving, and that only lasted about 12 hours. My sweet husband was able to go by the store on the way home from work (at 1:30 in the morning) and pick up some Instant Breakfast and PediaPops. I admit it, I love them ... Then he didn't have to be at work today until 4, so all I really had to do was nurse the baby a few times. I tried to be good, and still get some stuff done. I washed a load of clothes, and folded what was in the dryer (while I was in bed, of course), and I ironed John's work clothes. He took the older kids to the park and to run some errands, so I could catch up on some important things ... like reading some great Dickens in the bath tub ... and sleeping. And eating PediaPops. And sleeping some more.

The baby is sick, too, but not near as bad at I am. He threw up a few times last night, probably after I did, but he never cried, so I had no idea until John brought him to me this morning, and we had to change all his blankets. He has still been in a surprisingly good mood (unlike certain other people who are writing this blog entry ...), just a little milder. More inclined to snuggle, which he rarely does when he's wide awake.

Praise God, John hasn't been sick yet. I love him, but I don't like him as much when he gets sick. He has been so wonderful at taking care of me, and has called a few times to check on me. Wonderful man. I sure do love him something fierce!!

Monday, June 25

Chicken and Pine Nut Couscous

I just made this for lunch, and we all stuffed ourselves silly. Mmmm ...

Chicken and Pine Nut Couscous
by Brea!

2 c whole grain couscous (you can find this in the bulk bins at Whole Foods)
4 c fat free chicken stock or water
1 c finely cubed cooked chicken
1/3 c lightly toasted pine nuts
3 heaping T chopped herbs (I liked basil, flat leaf parsley, and some rosemary)
2 heaping T minced leeks (onions or shallots would work fine, too)
4 cloves garlic, diced
olive oil, salt, and pepper

Pour at least 1/4 c olive oil into the bottom of a sauce pan, and bring to medium high heat. Add garlic, leeks, and herbs, and a generous pinch of salt. Sautee until onion is just soft, and add stock or water. Bring to a boil, then add pine nuts and couscous. Remove from heat and cover immediately. Let stand for 5 minutes, until couscous has absorbed all the liquid, and fluff with a fork. Add chicken and stir. Garnish with chives if desired.

This is great served with a nice mixed greens salad, and cooks up super fast. Including all the picking of herbs, and chopping of herbs and veggies, this whole thing took me about 10 minutes from start to finish. What's not to love about that?? And it's super healthy, too. My kids scarfed it, and had seconds. Sam and John and thirds, and David just sat there like a little bird, waiting for each bite. (He doesn't get the chicken or pine nuts yet, of course ...)

You could also make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a day or two and reheat it. Just be sure that you reheat it covered, and add a little extra water to keep it from drying out.

So, go make this. Tomorrow. And enjoy!

Friday, June 22

I'm so excited and proud of myself!!

... for a few reasons. First, we're going to visit my mom this afternoon, which is always fun. Also, today is Friday, which means it is Farmers' Market Day. We love that! But, here's the real reason: I and rocking out on my budget this pay period!!

After paying $60 for part of my new bike and new shoes, that leaves me with $170 for the next two weeks. $25 goes to my IRA, and $25 goes into my savings account, leaving me with $120 for groceries for the next two weeks. I bought all my WalMart groceries for just under $30, and all my HEB groceries for just under $30. My total is now at $60. I took $40 in cash for the Farmer's Market, so that leaves me with $20 extra, in case I want to get a cup of coffee (have I mentioned that we have a Starbuck's finally??) or some Taco Bell.

That means that I'll be feeding our whole family on $50 per week, including meat and dairy. This has been my goal for quite a while, and I hope I can keep it up. I really am completely excited that I was able to do it!!

Thursday, June 21

Well ...

I'm still here, but busy as usual. Sam's party went swimmingly. We only had about 35 people out here (more than half were kids), which was nice, because I was expecting more like45-50. I have fajita meat coming out of my ears, and am totally loving it!! We start thank you notes this evening, and should finish tomorrow.

The kids are more than halfway through their reading curriculum, and we have started back up with math and signing. I have the best signing course. Ever. We learned a new song today.

My big tomatoes are finally turning red, as are my peppers. I love green bells, but John hates them, so I don't mind letting them turn red.

We're driving to Katy for a little day trip, coming back Saturday, maybe early afternoon.

I got some new running shoes, and a new bike, and I am veeery excited about both. However, I got them on Tuesday and have yet to use either (for their intended purpose, at least ...), so I should be able to run or bike tomorrow morning.

Now, off to make supper, and hopefully get some good sleep this evening ... something which has been eluding me lately. Hmm.

Wednesday, June 13

What I Grow to Eat

Since I've been having so much fun with my camera and new lens lately, I thought I'd share a little of my world with y'all. Today, a small sample of the things I grow that we consume.

My swiss chard. I don't grow enough (this year) to be on my own, so I still buy some from Erica at the Farmer's Market.

My strawberries! I didn't have any success last year with these guys (sequoias, I think?), so I made a few changes, like growing them in a container. I have a lot less bug problems, and these things have grown so much since I got them! I was very pleasantly surprised. They taste great, too. I'll have many more next year.

Green beans. Climbing Kentucky Wonder, to be precise. One of my favorites. We'll have about four times this many next year. Mmmmm ... the kids and I love to eat 'em right off the vine.

My Husky Cherry Reds. Since I took this picture last week, they've started turning red. Just off this plant, we're getting 2-4 tomatoes each morning.

Pumpkins ... we think. I wasn't going to plant pumpkins again this year, because while I think they're beautiful, I just didn't have much luck with them last year. But as it turns out, a lot of the seeds got mixed into the compost so late in the winter that they never ... well, composted. So when we put the compost down, all these pumpkin plants started coming up in the middle of the tomatoes! So I transplanted four plants, and three have made it, so far. Which brings me to my next picture ...

A baby pumpkin! Ain't he cuuute?? I love him. I named him Steve. Yes, I sometimes name my produce. We won't be eating this one, if he makes it that far.

This is a new one, too. Kentucky (something) Spearmint. Not as tasty as the regular, which I also grow, but its awful purty, don't 'ya think?

And last, but not least, the reason my grandmother loves me. Red tomatoes. These babies are Sweet 100's, a great patio plant for those of you who can't garden for various reasons. They are so easy to grow. We have three this year.

I have several other herbs I grow and dry throughout the year, and some other veggies, too. I'm getting to plant a new crop of something in the next few weeks, because I have a huge space available in my garden. Because of all the rain, my garlic and onions all died. Happened to a lot of people this year, apparently. I'll let you know what I decide on ...

Tuesday, June 12

Things to come ...

Coming soon, hopefully Monday, I'm taking a page out of the Pioneer Woman's book and doing a step-by-step picture recipe. One of my new favorites, stuffed squash! This stuff is good, and Sam just can't get enough of it ... Its a fun recipe, one I just really enjoy making. Here's to hoping I get my act together and get it posted. I think Sarah might quit loving me if I don't ... and I'll tell y'all what her husband, Scott, got Sarah for her birthday ... :)

David, or The Cutest Baby Ever.

Here's some pictures of my sweet baby. Enjoy!

Here he is in the wagon, one of his new favorite things. Basically, we just fold a huge blanket in half a few times, stuff it in the wagon, then add the baby. He just sits there like a little angel, unless we try to take his picture, in which case, he hams it up like always.

Here's his first sink bath. He probably won't have many more, because my life is so much easier when I bathe all three in the tub at the same time. And I don't have to worry about him trying to escape while I'm taking pictures.

Like this. It took two adults to keep that slippery little tree frog in the sink. Bad baby. :)

And last, but not least, a hug for you!!

I'll put teeth pics up as soon as I get them.

Monday, June 11


Just wanted to pop in and let you know I'm still here. The last few weeks have been crazy busy (although, lately, when have we not been??), and will continue for a little while. Sam's birthday party is on Saturday, and there should be at least 40 people here, maybe (probably) more, and although I'm looking forward to it, and know I will be ready on time, I'm just a little freaked out.

David is crawling, and has two teeth. But here's the funny thing. Most babies get the two bottom middle teeth, one at a time, then the top two teeth in the middle. My crazy little rebel, though, has decided to get one bottom tooth, then one top tooth. Here's the great part: they're not even on the same side! The one on the bottom is on his right, and the one on the top is on his left! He looks like a little country boy from Bastrop. Which he is. But does he really need to look that way??? I'll put a picture up as soon as I get a good one that really catches the teeth.

I'll try to do another update in a few days. Karin and her daughter are coming over tomorrow, and I have to go to the post office and mail a bunch of cd's I sold on Amazon. I have a dentist appointment Wednesday. And we have to go to the library. Thursday is my big work day, and on Friday I have to make a gazillion cupcakes and finish getting ready. Did I mention there's going to be more than 40 people here on Saturday??

So now, I'm off to get some much needed sleep, because I have to be up at 5:30 to run in the morning!

Friday, June 1


I cannot comprehend life without laughter. For all the issues my crazy family has (or has had), my house was filled with it when I was growing up. And not just the man,-that-was-a-good-joke kind of laughter. The kind where you-pee-in-your-pants (especially my mom) (sorry, Mom, if you're reading this), can't-even-stand-up, can't-catch-your-breath, and just-might-be-sore-the-next-morning laughter. Not just on special rare occasions, but all the time. Now I've grown up, and guess what? There's laughter in my house, too! I love it!

I have a friend who says she doesn't remember much laughter in her home as a kid. Not that her home was unhappy, but I think that comes with the territory with no siblings, and both parents working. One of the reasons I love having three kids and want many, many more is because there is just that much more joy! The more people you have in an immediate family, the more personalities start coming together and interacting, and that is almost always interesting at the very least, and really funny and a joy to be around, at the most.

God loves laughter and joy, too!

Psalm 126:2 'Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.'

Genesis 21: 6 'And Sarah said, "God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me."'

Luke 6:21 'Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.'

Nehemiah 8:10 'Then he said unto them, "Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength."'

Nehemiah 12:43 ' Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.'

Psalm 5:11 'But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.'

Luke 15:10 'Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.'

III John 1:4 'I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.'

Joy is even listed as a fruit of the spirit!! Galatians 5:22-23 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.'

If you go to Bible Gateway and search 'joy,' you will get 187 results, just from the King James Version!! Take a few minutes to think about this today, or for the next few days. Yes, we all have our issues, and we all have bad days, but if I talked to your spouse, or your kids, or a close friend, would they say that you are a person who is filled with joy? Or a person who laughs long and often?

Joy and laughter are such gifts. Not just to us, which they really are!, but to the people around us, too. It is very hard to stay in a bad mood when someone near you is laughing with unabandoned glee. It is hard to be cranky when the person you interact with the most is filled with pure joy. Bless those who are around you today. Laugh, smile, and praise the Lord for all your blessings!!!