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Time marches on...another busy week

What a busy few weeks we’ve had around here!  Rhino turned three, we’ve been hatching chicks, and I’m still trying to work out our weekly trips to town for allergy shots and speech therapy while still managing to get all the required school work done!  

The thing is, I don’t see an end in sight!  The next few weeks bring a birthday, Halloween, a second round of hatching chicks, and then a trip for Thanksgiving.  I don’t know where I’d be without good old Google Calendars!

Rhino’s Birthday Recap:

My little Rhino is now three years old.  Now, he still lays claim to being Baby’s BIG Brother, but no longer admits to being anyone else’s little brother.  Three is such a complicated age! 

We celebrated on the evening of his birthday with a cloud cake, per his request, and a monster truck…complete with flashing lights, music, and wheelie-popping action!  Coolest.  Toy.  Ever.

Happy third birthday with a cake and a monster truck

Next Week:

Monkey will turn five on Monday.  I don’t know how exactly that is possible, but that’s what the calendar tells me!  He still hasn’t reliably decided what kind of cake he wants for his birthday, so I still can’t make plans for that.  I’m pretty sure he’s going to have to make his final decision today, so his daddy can bring any needed supplies home from town!

Hopefully, within the next couple of weekends, we will be able to get together with some friends to celebrate both of our October birthdays.


Usually in the past, my mom has made costumes for the kids.  She enjoys sewing, and does a great job.  However, this year, it just wasn’t going to happen.  She and my dad have been dealing with crisis after crisis this year…floods, fire, and the death of a parent.  Add in a home remodeling project, and my mom’s sewing projects have understandably gone on the back burner.  So, it’s up to me this year to acquire Halloween costumes (insert ominous music here!).

After a trip to Walmart, the children were not really all that excited about the selection of costumes available.  Some found that the costume they wanted wasn’t available in their size.  Some found that the costume they liked was too scratchy.  Others found that they just didn’t have anything all that exciting.  It was very disappointing.  

But then, in the car on the way home, someone came up with THE idea.  Someone wanted to be an Indian (Native American, for my more politically correct friends and readers).  Immediately, everyone else thought that was the best idea they’d ever heard.  So, everyone now wanted to be an Indian for Halloween.

As this conversation transpired, I thought to myself, “Now that is a costume even this DIY-challenged mom can make!”  So, I encouraged this line of brainstorming.  

I consulted with my mom on the plans for this project, just to make sure I wasn’t over-estimating my abilities…she would tell me if I were!  She agreed it was manageable, so, with her expert advice, off to the fabric store I went to purchase the perfect Indian costume fabric…with all 5 children in tow, of course!

After much fabric browsing, I finally found the right kind of fabric (I think!).  This is my big weekend project for the week.  I’m hoping to be able to post about my huge success next week…so stay tuned.  If it’s a huge flop, I suppose it might make for an amusing story, too!

So…wish me luck!  I’m off to make four little Indian costumes…

We have chicks hatching out in the loft above our room this week.  All day and all night we hear little cheeps and pecks coming from the incubators up there!  So, I must say, I’m feeling a little groggy.  Welcome to the Creative week for October’s You’re the Star blog hop!  Enjoy the party!



by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

Welcome to the second week of the October blog hop called “You’re the Star!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

Rhino and MommyMy dear, sweet little boy.  Where does the time go?  It seems like just yesterday we were meeting you for the first time (though you’d already been kicking and punching me for quite some time!).  Your birth itself was rather uneventful.  It was a four hour long induction.  At the end, there we were, holding our fourth baby.  A little boy weighing in at 8 pounds 7 ounces…bigger than any of your older siblings (though your little sister would eventually beat you by 8 ounces). 

 You’ve been a little rambunctious from the beginning, and so you still are today!  You are a happy, healthy, strong 3 year old boy.  You have no sense of pain (we’re fairly convinced you have a future in the NFL at defensive tackle), and rarely show any signs of fear.  Sometimes, I wish you had just a little more fear.  You make your old momma so nervous sometimes, while you climb furniture and old tractors without a thought for your own safety.  You think fist fights are hilarious.  Luckily, when you do get hurt, a kiss and a band-aid still makes you all better. 

Rhino with a pipeA year ago, we were worried, because you didn’t seem to talk much.  You’d get frustrated and angry when you didn’t get what you wanted, but you didn’t talk much.  You’ve come so far over the past year.  You jabber up a storm these days.  Unfortunately, it’s still mostly spoken in a foreign language.  But, at least you’re talking!  You’re speaking more clearly each day.  By this time next year, I wonder if we’ll even be able to remember your special language! 

You have an exuberance for life that is infectious.  Everything is exciting for you…even if it’s just an episode of Paw Patrol (or is it Pop Control, as your big brother calls it…or maybe Bah Bole, as you assert?) that you’ve seen a thousand times…today.  After all, we bought them on DVD so we could see them over and over again.  You come grab my hands and start jumping up and down, telling me that you want to dance at least 3 times a day.  I need to agree far more often!  Just, maybe not while your baby sister is trying to sleep. 

Muddy RhinoSometimes, you look up and smile at me, and you have a certain twinkle in your eye.  That’s when I know that the proverbial brown matter is about to hit the rotary cooling device.  You’re up to something.  If I say, “What are you up to?” in my biggest, gruffest Mommy voice, you’ll get a huge grin on your face and start giggling maniacally.  Then, you’ll say, “I Doh-nooooo!” (that’s “I don’t know”…if you don’t speak Toddlerese).  Perhaps, when I get up to follow you, there will be a flood in the bathroom, or I’ll walk through the door just in time to see you scramble up the side of the bathroom counter to a perch you’ve found standing in the bathroom sink…why is it always the bathroom?  Your cuteness at these particular moments, when you know you’ve been ‘busted’ is incredibly endearing.  But, no…for your own good, I must stand firm…all while hoping that someday you have a little boy just like you.  Then you’ll understand.  I just hope your future wife is a patient woman (Bless her heart!). 

For all of the mischief you make, you pour out just as much love.  You bring Mommy flowers, and give me huge squishy hugs.  You can be as sweet and gentle with your little sister as you are rough with your big brother.  You have a big heart, my dear son, and you use it well.  I pray you keep it that way.  I pray for you every day.  On good days, I pray for all the big, grand things you might do with the life God gave you.  Some days, all I can manage is constant prayers that your guardian angel is being extra vigilant!  Thankfully, you’ve made it another year. 

I love you son.  More than you can possibly understand.  Happy Birthday! 


WELCOME to CREATIVE feature week of the October You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your CREATIVE week Hosts 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarCreative_zpsumokaegr.jpg

This week is CREATIVE feature week
Swing by the Creative hosting Team’s blogs:

Colleen @ Butterfly in the Attic

Darlene @ Let It Shine

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!

There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#2 CREATIVE – arts & crafts, music, writing &/or dramatic arts (this can include sewing, yarn work, dance, art history, handmade jewelry, painting, computer art, fashion etc – anything creative while remaining family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(These features were chosen from the September “You’re the Star” blog hop)

DIY Farmhouse Fall Wreath by Wonderfully Made

How To Make Easy Fall Puppets by Just Measuring Up
Easy Kids Craft - Making Popsicle Stick Puppets and Puppet Theater from a Diaper Box

Embellished Fall Ornaments by Debbie-Dabble Blog

Easy Twine Wrapped Acorns by Vintage, Paint and More….
Vintage, Paint and more... twine wrapped paper mache eggs with pine cone caps make acorns for rustic fall decor

If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts). 
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.


All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )

husband on a tractor

Recently, something happened that has made me think…a lot.  In fact, it really got under my skin.  I’ve been considering things a lot in the wake of the event.

How it all began:

an annoying, baby-waking dogMy day started out much like my days always do.  My husband got up about half an hour before I did.  When I got up, I was a little grumpy.  It had been raining overnight, and the dog had been acting strange.  She had woken me up at 4 am.  I tried letting her out, but when I opened the door, she didn’t want to go.  She then followed me into the restroom and growl-talked (those of you with dogs will understand what I mean) to me.  After I’d finished in the restroom and started back to bed, she reclaimed her nightly spot on the couch and laid down.  I got a drink of water, and headed back to bed, hoping I’d be able to get back to sleep in the 2 hours I had left.  As I laid back down, here came Patch, running back into our room, growling and squeaking…and waking up Baby.  

I fed Baby and put her back down to sleep, but was faced with less than an hour left before I knew I’d have to be up and ready for the day.  

I was irritated with the dog, and seriously grumpy to start my Monday.  Stubbornly, I lay in bed, seething and rebelliously pretending I still had enough time to go back to sleep while my husband got up to start his day.

Just as he was going out to tend to the animals, I got up, emerged from our room, and was angrily stalking towards the shower.  He noticed, and made a little joke about my being grumpy…which almost immediately diffused the situation.  I was still mad at the dog, and I was still grumpy, but he had made me smile.  I would be able to get myself back under control.

Andrew went off to take care of the animals, and I wearily shuffled off to the shower where I managed to wake up a little.  

By the time Andrew headed out to work, I was still feeling a little “off”, but functional.  We joked a little more about my being grumpy as we were saying goodbye for the day, and both laughing about it.  

From there, our day here at home progressed normally.  It was Monday, so the kids were all off our routine from the weekend…and there was occasional fussing about an assignment, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After breakfast, I sent Andrew a message to tell him that we needed milk and a prescription picked up before he came home…I wasn’t really expecting an answer, so it came as no surprise that I didn’t get one.  

A couple of hours went by.  We were hard at work.  Soon after lunch, Baby started fussing, right on schedule at about 1:15.  Time for her afternoon nap!  I gave instructions to the other kids as to how they should use their time while I put Baby to bed.  Then, I brought Baby in to our room to feed her before she went to sleep.  

I often do a little internet surfing to make sure I don’t fall asleep while I’m nursing Baby before her nap.  It’s dark, it’s quiet, I have to sit still.  If I don’t have something to keep me from it, we’re both fast asleep!  Then I wake up an hour later, while the older kids have been doing who knows what in my absence, and I have a crick in my neck from sleeping while sitting up.  It’s just not good.  So…I play internet.

The news:

my husband's car
My husband’s car

This particular afternoon, I opened up my laptop and checked my email…nothing of consequence.  Then, I headed on over to KBTX, the local news station’s website to check on the weather.  It had been raining off and on all day, and I wanted to check the radar.  But, I never made it.

My heart stopped when I saw the top story on the KBTX homepage.  There was a picture of a small champagne-colored SUV, smashed beyond recognition.  The headline underneath read, “Fatal car accident this morning on Highway 21.”

I couldn’t breathe.

Andrew drives to work on Highway 21 every morning in a small, champagne-colored SUV.  But the one in the picture was in such bad shape that I just couldn’t tell if it was his or not!  I was trying to stay calm so I wouldn’t upset Baby.  I slowly managed to click on the link to the story, desperately hoping that it was the wrong place on Highway 21.

There wasn’t much more information.  But, it did tell me where on Highway 21…and it was not the wrong place.  My husband drives that stretch every single day.

Panic set in.

I realized I had to calm down so I could get Baby down for a nap.  I couldn’t do anything.  There were rocks in the bottom of my stomach the whole time she nursed.  She took 22 minutes.  It was all I could think about the whole time.

“What if it was him?”

“There are thousands of SUVs that color.”

“He should have been at work already.  But how long did it take the news station to post the story?  It didn’t say what time it happened.”

“I texted him a while ago.  He hasn’t answered.  What if he’s dead on the side of the road and I’m sitting here texting him about milk, and not thinking about something important?”

“It can’t be him!  It can’t be him! Please, Dear Lord, don’t let it be him!”

I laid Baby down in her crib and quietly left the room.  For once, she didn’t scream when I put her down.  I walked across the living room to get my phone.  The older kids were in the kitchen, washing the dishes we’d used at lunch.  I picked up my phone just as I received a message…

Was it him?

It was from Andrew.

“Thank you, Lord!”

He wasn’t dead on the side of the road.  He said he thought there were still a few gallons of milk in the garage refrigerator, and asked if we had to have the prescription that day, or if it could wait for a day or two.

“Really?  I’ve just been through the longest 22 minutes in my life!  You’re worried about milk!?!”

But then I came back to reality with a jolt.  He had not been here during my 22 minute panic attack.  He probably hadn’t been on the internet all day, so it was unlikely he had even seen the story.  Andrew was working…blissfully unaware of the emotional roller coaster from which I had just disembarked.

I checked the outside refrigerator…no milk.  So I answered his message, and went on with life.

I talked to him on the phone a little while afterward and told him all about the incident.  He looked on the news page and agreed that it did, in fact, look a lot like his car.  But, the back window (one of the only things left intact) wasn’t the right shape.

Apparently, I need to pay more attention to back windows.


Often, when I’m faced with a scenario, I have a tendency to jump to the worst possible conclusion…just as I did in this case.  I convinced myself that my husband was gone in an amazingly short period of time.  It was only afterward, however, that I started to consider what it might have meant to our family if something like that were to happen.

What if my husband weren’t here anymore?  What if my children lost their dad?

What if my husband weren't here anymore? What if my children lost their dad? Click To Tweet

I know he would be in a better place.  I have no doubt of that.  But, the selfish part of me keeps reminding me how much we would miss him.  He does so much.

husband working on the tractorMy husband keeps this family moving.  He works hard to make money to provide to us.  Then, he comes home and works hard to grow food to provide for us.  Then, he comes inside and often cooks dinner and takes care of the kids while I put Baby to bed each evening.

What would we do without him?

I know we’d find a way to manage…but, how?

Our kids would have to grow up without their dad.

This evening, as I sit here and finish writing this post, I have been alone all day and all evening with the kids (though, in a house full of 5 kids, can one ever really be “alone”?).  Andrew had a rare evening when he had to stay at work late into the evening playing with NMR spectra…extra points if you know what that is!  I often don’t realize or appreciate how much he does to help our family.  But, when he’s gone, it really hits me full force.  I didn’t manage to finish getting all the kids in bed until after 10 tonight.  It turns out you can’t cook dinner and nurse a baby to sleep at the same time.  I need him here to make things run smoothly.  

I need him because I need him.  He’s my husband…the father of my children.

Our kids need him.

We’d be lost without him.  

My heart aches for the family that did lose someone that day.

The Blogger's Pit Stop



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WW Blog Hop cohosts July 2017


I’m amazed and very excited that my blog has been nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award from Natalie at New Momma Survival!  Go check out her blog, you’re in for a treat.

I just started this blog in February of this year, so being nominated for an award comes as a bit of a surprise!  I’m still trying to figure out all of this technology stuff.  I’ve learned about so many things that I didn’t even know existed over the last few months.

This award is a nice way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers, and help each other bring in some new readers to our sites.  So, this award doesn’t come with a blue ribbon, but it does come with a small little to-do list…just a few rules:

  • I must recognize and thank the fantastic blogger who nominated me, and provide a link to her blog.
  • I must write a post to showcase the award.
  • I must write a story about why or how I started my blog.
  • I must give new bloggers at least two pieces of advice.
  • I must select fifteen other bloggers to receive the award from me.
  • I must leave a comment on my nominees’ blogs to tell them about the award, and provide a link to this post.

Why did I start this blog?

Well, the short answer to this question is: because my husband told me to!  But, I suspect that if you’re reading this, you might want a little longer version of the answer.  So, here it goes!

I am famous for my exasperated emails that I send to my husband when something weird or frustrating happens around here.  We were spending a rare minute just sitting and talking one day.  The conversation drifted back and forth to various subjects.  We started talking about things you can find on the internet.  Andrew made a comment that I’d be really good at writing a blog because I have an entertaining style of writing…especially when I get excited about something.  He said he always looked forward to opening my emails, because he knew they were going to be entertaining (when the subject line didn’t say “grocery list,” anyway).  I laughed.  I thought he was joking!  Me?  Write a blog?  I dreaded having to write papers back when I was in school!  Then, I realized he wasn’t joking…he honestly thought I’d be good at it.  I filed the thought away to return to later…and promptly forgot about it for over a year.

I thought about it again in early January of this year, and started looking into what would actually be involved i creating my own blog.  It was mind blowing!  I had to think about all kinds of stuff…should my blog be self-hosted?  What company should I use?  What on earth is SEO?  How do I make those cool pictures everybody uses for their pinnable images?  Well, I finally waded through everything, and convinced myself I could do it.  

I figured I already had the hard part down: content…what to write about?  I’d write about what I spend 98% of my time doing.  I’d write about being a homeschooling mom of several children.  I have a semi-unique take on life, given my city upbringing and subsequent choice to live and raise my kids in the middle of nowhere.  I couldn’t make these stories up if I tried!  I don’t get to post as often as I’d like.  My kids and their educations are a higher priority, but I hope our experiences can at least entertain, if not inspire, other people.

Advice for New Bloggers

Well, I’m not sure I’m qualified on this one, since I haven’t been at this very long myself.  But, I’ll do the best that I can.  

First, take advantage of social media.  A lot of my traffic comes from Facebook and Pinterest.  I’m still learning about Twitter!  Tell your friends and followers to tell their friends to come take a peek at what you’re doing on your blog.  Join groups and group boards…don’t be shy about posting your work!

Second, take the time to get to know fellow bloggers.  Take advantage of link up parties.  Make sure you follow the rules.  Always visit other links when you party…that’s one way to meet people and form relationships.

 And the Nominees Are…

(In no particular order)

  1. Baby Henry Likes
  2. Tiny Toes and Big Adventures
  3. Little Lady in the Big World
  4. Ariana’s Corner
  5. This Big Wild World
  6. Military Spouse on a Mission
  7.  Southern Hearts Blog 
  8.  More Than Prep in Your Step
  9.  Frida Kabo
  10.  Christine Keys
  11. Parenting Expert to Mom
  12. The Happy Life Formula
  13. Petite Style Script
  14.  Healing Mama Remedies
  15.  Family Food Garden