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Happy Belated Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend.  We spent Sunday together as a family, and had a nice day.  “The Kids” got their dad a cordless drill, which was mysteriously exactly what Daddy wanted.  I hope you’ll stick around, read some posts, and make some new friends!


 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg

Welcome to week#3 of the June “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

__________________________________________________________________________
WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the

June “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zpslunlirxh.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

Michelle @ Moms Are Frugal

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#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



(These features were chosen from the May “You’re the STAR” blog hop)

 

6 Ways To Turn Around a Crappy Homeschool Day by Home Made Lovely
tired homeschooled boy with his face in his books

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

 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YourAstarFEATURED_zpspebobflc.jpg

*******************************************************

 photo STARhosting_zpsqbwlkopx.jpg

*******************************************************
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! )

___________________________________________________________________

Whew! What a week! It’s been a whirlwind here lately! We’ve just wrapped up the birthday season here. So, I have been running. We’re taking a spring break from school this coming week, so I’m hoping to tackle a few big projects this week. I’m also hoping to get a little extra time to check out all of your fantastic posts. So link up, then stick around to make a few friends!


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg

Welcome to week#3 of the March “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

__________________________________________________________________________
WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
March “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zpsmife1ehc.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Linda @ Country Loving Mom

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

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#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc – anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.comphoto ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(These features were chosen from the February “You’re the STAR” blog hop)

The Best Kid Friendly Natural Common Cold Treatment by Mama Finds Her Way
common cold treatment

The Feast of St. Rocco, Gioiosa Ionica, Italy by Mille Fiori Favoriti

Blackberry and Chocolate Choux Puffs by I Wasn’t Expecting That!

Tips for Food Safety by Skill Trekker
How long can you save leftovers? What does an expiration date mean? These are food safety skills that our kids may not know. Here's how to remedy that!

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

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YourAstarFEATURED_zpspebobflc.jpg

*******************************************************
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! )

___________________________________________________________________

The Best Kid Friendly Natural Common Cold Treatment by Mama Finds Her Way
common cold treatment

The Feast of St. Rocco, Gioiosa Ionica, Italy by Mille Fiori Favoriti

Blackberry and Chocolate Choux Puffs by I Wasn’t Expecting That!

Tips for Food Safety by Skill Trekker
How long can you save leftovers? What does an expiration date mean? These are food safety skills that our kids may not know. Here's how to remedy that!

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

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YourAstarFEATURED_zpspebobflc.jpg

*******************************************************
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! )

___________________________________________________________________

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

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YourAstarFEATURED_zpspebobflc.jpg

*******************************************************
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! )

___________________________________________________________________


My dear, sweet, baby girl,

How has one year gone by already?  One year ago, you made a rather dramatic entrance into this world.  You’ve kept us on our toes ever since.

You weren’t content to do things like your older brothers and sisters…that just hasn’t been your style.  Just when I thought we had this “parenting” thing down, you’ve taught a little humility by proving to us that we haven’t actually seen it all!  Sometimes I just throw up my hands, because you have me completely baffled!  I’m sure you’ll probably continue down that path.  

It started out the day you were born.  We expected a 4 hour labor…just like all your other brothers and sisters had been (except your oldest).  So did the doctor.  He even had things all timed out when he started the induction so that he could finish seeing the rest of his patients for the day, then come back.  Boy, did you have different plans!  You were here after an astonishing 66 minute induction.  It set off all the blinky lights in the hospital and caused the doctor to break a lot of traffic laws.  The cops are probably still looking for him.

After you got here, you already had opinions of your own, and you had no problem letting us know about them.  You screamed at us at dinner time daily pretty much from the first day you came home.  You finally grew out of it about 6 months ago…mostly.  You still want your dinner on time, and you’re rather adamant about bed time too.  

You never did like a binky, or your thumb.  You never wanted to suck to sooth yourself like most babies do.  When you were mad, it really seemed that you just wanted to be mad.  You started fighting the swaddle months earlier than your brothers and sisters as well.  Oh, the things we tried to help you stop crying every evening at seven!  Your daddy walked up and down the driveway every evening while the rest of us ate.  Then, he’d come back in and get your brothers and sisters ready for bed while I nursed you and put you to bed.

You like food.  All kinds of food.  In fact, you like food so much, you gave up nursing early.  It nearly broke your poor mother’s heart.  But, I still pump every day, twice a day, so that you’ll still have some milk to drink.  When you see your cup come out, you still get excited.  But then, when I have to heat it, you get angry because you have to wait.  I keep telling you that if you’d go back to nursing, you wouldn’t have to wait for it to heat up…but so far, you haven’t listened.  

But, for all of your stubborn ways, you are still so affectionate.  Even though you went on a nursing strike at 10 months old, you still want to snuggle every night before bed.  You also give the sweetest little hugs and kisses. 

When I walk into the room to get you up from a nap, your giant, dimpled smile lights up the whole room.  You have an exuberance for life that is contagious.  You have a precious little laugh that makes your whole family smile with you.   

You often toddle about the house, getting into all kinds of mischief.  When discovered, you give us that big smile of yours and chuckle at us as if to say, “That’s fair…you caught me!”  Then you run away with your pilfered item as fast as your little legs can carry you.  Lately, you’ve been stealing carrots off the front porch as they’ve been picked.  As your mother, all I can do is shake my head and laugh.  Go ahead…eat that carrot.  I dare you!

You don’t say much yet, but you do try to copy things that we say.  One of your favorite things to do is throw something off your high chair then look up at the rest of us and say something that sounds suspiciously like “Uh, oooooooh”.  Then you grin while you wait for one of your dutiful subjects to start playing fetch with you.  Out of your 4 other brothers and sisters, you can usually find at least one who will follow your command. 

The other day, I’m pretty sure I also heard you say, “I love you Mommy”.  [*Daddy wants me to edit here that you most definitely said, “Love you Daddy”, not Mommy.]  Don’t worry, dear daughter, this little argument will continue for many, many years!

Happy Birthday my sweet little girl.  I’m looking forward to watching you grow up even more!  

 


Check out this video of Baby’s first taste of her birthday cake…with a surprise ending!

 

Welcome!  It’s been cold here (for a Texan, anyway), and it’s supposed to be colder tomorrow.  They even say we may have some ice accumulation on the roads.  Which, of course, means that everything will be closed down by the time you are reading this!  Ha!  We sure don’t know how to deal with cold, wintry weather.  We’re trying our best to keep everything from freezing on our little farm.  The chickens are cold, the hogs are cold, the children are cold…and one of our cows is starting to think it looks like good calving weather (I don’t know why they pick the worst weather of the year to have their calves, but at least one does this every year!).  We’re all cold, but our home is warm.  Pull up a chair and a blanket, stay a while!!


 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg

Welcome to week#3 of the January “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!

__________________________________________________________________________

WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
January “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zpsmife1ehc.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Linda @ Country Loving Mom

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

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#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



(These features were chosen from the December “You’re the STAR” blog hop)

 

76 Fun Winter Activities for your Family by Magical Mama

15 Fun Ideas For Charlotte’s Web by Not In Jersey

9d82f70ccf61abc8b2de469af1519b09

Making An Easy Advent Calendar with Felt by Just Measuring Up


How to Make an Advent Calendar out of Felt

 


Andes Mint Christmas Bark by Marilyns Treats
Mint Christmas Bark. The definition of cozy. Hot cocoa, pj's, a crackling fire, a good movie and this! #andes #mint #bark

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

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YourAstarFEATURED_zpspebobflc.jpg

*******************************************************

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! )

___________________________________________________________________

Happy Monday everyone!  I know things have been a bit slow around the blog here lately, I appreciate your patience!  Baby has been keeping me a little tied down with her newest milestones.  We are in full-on, “I can’t let Mommy out of sight for an instant!” phase.  It’s exhausting, but I suppose it’s nice to be needed!

On to the party!


 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

 

Welcome to week#3 of the December “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!

__________________________________________________________________________

WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
December “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zps6gnkp7zk.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Linda @ Country Loving Mom

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

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#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



(These features were chosen from the November “You’re the STAR” blog hop)

 

10 Ways to Improve Your Christmas Right Now by Mrs. Kringle’s Kitchen

 

Finding My Center (in Two Ways) by Life In Spandex

20 Minute Home Core Workout

8 Organization Mistakes That You Are Making & How To Fix Them by Just Measuring Up


How to Organize Your Home for Good


4 Top Saving Tips You Need To Know For Christmas by Intentional Home Life
Getting Christmas done on a budget can seem impossible! I've got four frugal money-saving tips to help you stay in the black without being a Scrooge!

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! )

___________________________________________________________________

Happy Monday, Everyone!  We finally seem to be out from under sickness here at the farm.  It’s about time!

My husband plans to be home all week for hunting season, so that should make our school day interesting.  I hope you have something fun scheduled for the following week…we’re coming up on Thanksgiving!

And now, on to the party…


 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

 

Welcome to week#3 of the November “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

Thanksgiving in America is a proud tradition with a long history…though it has only been an “official holiday since the Civil War.  Of course, every school child is taught the story of the first Thanksgiving, with the Pilgrims and the Indians…usually culminating in a big feast at school, complete with costumes and a pageant!

But, over the past several years, Thanksgiving has slowly been pushed aside in favor of the bigger money-maker: Christmas.  The stores put up their big Christmas displays before the last Trick-or-Treater has even made it home to sort their candy!

Now, I like Christmas, don’t get me wrong.  What’s not to like?  We get to celebrate the birth of Our Lord with cookies, candy, and presents!  But, when we skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, we miss something…something important.

Why is Thanksgiving Important?

1.  Time to slow down.

Many (but not all) of us get a little time off work during the week of Thanksgiving.  We get to slow down and take a little breather.  Of course, I’m a mom, so that doesn’t really happen for me!  But, we do usually take a trip up to visit my parents.  It’s the closest thing to a break I ever get.  Everyone needs a break now and then.  It helps us clear our heads.  When we come back, we feel refreshed and ready to tackle all those problems again.  It’s nice to have a change of pace!

2.  Time to remember who is really responsible for all of the blessings in our lives.

Just before Bear’s first Christmas, I had quit my job a few months earlier to be a full time stay at home mom.  Money was tight…very tight!  We had a long (expensive) trip to make…which would turn out to be the last Christmas we ever traveled to Odessa.  We had a baby to (obsessively) buy gifts for.  Our list of bills was never-ending.  How were we ever going to pay for all this?

I sat down at the computer one afternoon to check on our checking account before we paid a bill.  I clenched my teeth as I logged into our account.  Then the screen popped up…

“There’s nearly a thousand dollars more than there should be!  Where on earth did an extra thousand dollars come from???”  I was frantically going through scenarios in my head.  I was very sure that I had no rich uncles…not even the kind that live in Nigeria.

I clicked on the account details.  Something had to be wrong, something must have gone unpaid.  There was an automatic deposit in the account from my former employer.  They had finished paying out all of my vacation time months ago.

I called my husband…I couldn’t think what to do.  He told me to call payroll for my old department.  So I did.  They had to put me on hold while they looked it up.  When the secretary came back to the phone, she very nonchalantly explained that because of some sort of glitch, they had failed to pay me for all of the compensation hours I had earned for working so much overtime in my former position.  As soon as they caught it, they had sent a deposit to my account.  There was no mistake, the money was rightfully mine.

You see, we were in an hour of need.  God sent us those funds at exactly the right moment…a moment when we would remember and know that He was really the one in control.  

I have more stories, similar to this one.  Some have happened to me, some to my husband (one even involving a deer).  These things happen to us to remind us that God is in control, He will provide when we call on Him.  

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to remember and reflect on all of those instances, and then to give thanks that He cares about us so much!

3.  Time to spend with family and friends.

When I was young, we spent many Thanksgivings at my grandparent’s house in Odessa, Texas.  We would spend the morning together, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and preparing in the kitchen for our big “feast” at lunch.  Then, we would sit down together at the table, pray to thank God for all the blessings he had given us out of His bounty.  As we ate, we sat around the table telling stories about family…both those gathered in other places, and those that had already gathered in Heaven.  Eventually, we would get up, and clean up the mess inevitably made by the festivities in the kitchen.

When we finished the clean up, we would often sit around a card table, putting a puzzle together, or maybe playing dominoes.  My grandparents and mom and uncle would talk about memories of their childhoods, or maybe trouble they got into with their cousins.  I learned about our family history, and in doing so, I learned about myself!

When the game-playing was all done, my mother and grandmother would eventually turn their attention to the newspaper ads, to try to quickly coordinate their plan of attack for Black Friday.  There would always be jokes about how the stores seemed to open earlier and earlier every year.  I specifically remember one year, when I was a teenager, I quipped back that by the time I had kids, Black Friday would begin on Thanksgiving itself!  Everyone laughed and said, “No way!  People would never stand for that!”

Black Friday Eve

Until they did.

To many, Thanksgiving means little anymore, other than an excuse for gluttony, followed by a marathon of greed…a rush to the store to get the most stuff for as little money as possible.  If you have to beat someone up to get it, no problem!

Unfortunately, that greed marathon requires many thousands of people to leave their families to serve the shopping hordes.  For them, Thanksgiving can no longer mean slowing down, thanking God for all his blessings, and spending a little time with family and friends.  Now, it’s just another day at work, with even longer, harder hours than usual…hours spent breaking up fights over big screens in the electronics department, or Legos in the toy department.

Thanksgiving has lost its meaning.  All it is to many is just Black Friday Eve.  The day of early Early Bird sales.  Doorbusters start at midnight on Thanksgiving!  Better get on out there…you might miss out on the stuff.

As for me and mine, I think we’ll live with it…missing the stuff.  We’ll slow down, thank God for His many blessings.  We’ll spend a few days with family that we don’t get to see very often.  We might even peruse a Black Friday ad or two together.  But, you can bet we won’t be there on Thanksgiving.  It’s not the time or the place.  We’ll save it for Friday afternoon.  The stuff will still be there…if it isn’t, we’ll order it online on Monday.  Life will go on.  What is stuff compared to time with your family?  Mere nothingness.

Thanksgiving precedes the first Sunday of Advent, usually only by a few days.  What better way to enter into a period of making our hearts ready to welcome Christ than to slow down, and thank God for the blessings in our lives?

Don’t forget Thanksgiving.  Remember it, dress up like an Indian if you need to.  Just don’t forget to slow down and be thankful.

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve?  Or Thanksgiving?

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve? Or Thanksgiving? Click To Tweet

 

__________________________________________________________________________

WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
November “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zps6gnkp7zk.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Linda @ Country Loving Mom

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

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#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



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

 9 Tips For Conquering Your Mom Funk With Food by Mama Finds Her Way
Conquer Your Mom Funk | 9 Ways To Eat For A Balanced Mood 

Life Giving or Death Dealing? by A New Lens
IMG_1943

Mango & Passion Fruit Jam Recipe by Claire Justine


The Attitude Adjustment by Homeschool Insights


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! )

___________________________________________________________________
Save with Black Friday Eve specials!

Thanksgiving in America is a proud tradition with a long history…though it has only been an “official holiday since the Civil War.  Of course, every school child is taught the story of the first Thanksgiving, with the Pilgrims and the Indians…usually culminating in a big feast at school, complete with costumes and a pageant!

But, over the past several years, Thanksgiving has slowly been pushed aside in favor of the bigger money-maker: Christmas.  The stores put up their big Christmas displays before the last Trick-or-Treater has even made it home to sort their candy!

Now, I like Christmas, don’t get me wrong.  What’s not to like?  We get to celebrate the birth of Our Lord with cookies, candy, and presents!  But, when we skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, we miss something…something important.

Why is Thanksgiving Important?

1.  Time to slow down.

Many (but not all) of us get a little time off work during the week of Thanksgiving.  We get to slow down and take a little breather.  Of course, I’m a mom, so that doesn’t really happen for me!  But, we do usually take a trip up to visit my parents.  It’s the closest thing to a break I ever get.  Everyone needs a break now and then.  It helps us clear our heads.  When we come back, we feel refreshed and ready to tackle all those problems again.  It’s nice to have a change of pace!

2.  Time to remember who is really responsible for all of the blessings in our lives.

Just before Bear’s first Christmas, I had quit my job a few months earlier to be a full time stay at home mom.  Money was tight…very tight!  We had a long (expensive) trip to make…which would turn out to be the last Christmas we ever traveled to Odessa.  We had a baby to (obsessively) buy gifts for.  Our list of bills was never-ending.  How were we ever going to pay for all this?

I sat down at the computer one afternoon to check on our checking account before we paid a bill.  I clenched my teeth as I logged into our account.  Then the screen popped up…

“There’s nearly a thousand dollars more than there should be!  Where on earth did an extra thousand dollars come from???”  I was frantically going through scenarios in my head.  I was very sure that I had no rich uncles…not even the kind that live in Nigeria.

I clicked on the account details.  Something had to be wrong, something must have gone unpaid.  There was an automatic deposit in the account from my former employer.  They had finished paying out all of my vacation time months ago.

I called my husband…I couldn’t think what to do.  He told me to call payroll for my old department.  So I did.  They had to put me on hold while they looked it up.  When the secretary came back to the phone, she very nonchalantly explained that because of some sort of glitch, they had failed to pay me for all of the compensation hours I had earned for working so much overtime in my former position.  As soon as they caught it, they had sent a deposit to my account.  There was no mistake, the money was rightfully mine.

You see, we were in an hour of need.  God sent us those funds at exactly the right moment…a moment when we would remember and know that He was really the one in control.  

I have more stories, similar to this one.  Some have happened to me, some to my husband (one even involving a deer).  These things happen to us to remind us that God is in control, He will provide when we call on Him.  

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to remember and reflect on all of those instances, and then to give thanks that He cares about us so much!

3.  Time to spend with family and friends.

When I was young, we spent many Thanksgivings at my grandparent’s house in Odessa, Texas.  We would spend the morning together, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and preparing in the kitchen for our big “feast” at lunch.  Then, we would sit down together at the table, pray to thank God for all the blessings he had given us out of His bounty.  As we ate, we sat around the table telling stories about family…both those gathered in other places, and those that had already gathered in Heaven.  Eventually, we would get up, and clean up the mess inevitably made by the festivities in the kitchen.

When we finished the clean up, we would often sit around a card table, putting a puzzle together, or maybe playing dominoes.  My grandparents and mom and uncle would talk about memories of their childhoods, or maybe trouble they got into with their cousins.  I learned about our family history, and in doing so, I learned about myself!

When the game-playing was all done, my mother and grandmother would eventually turn their attention to the newspaper ads, to try to quickly coordinate their plan of attack for Black Friday.  There would always be jokes about how the stores seemed to open earlier and earlier every year.  I specifically remember one year, when I was a teenager, I quipped back that by the time I had kids, Black Friday would begin on Thanksgiving itself!  Everyone laughed and said, “No way!  People would never stand for that!”

Black Friday Eve

Until they did.

To many, Thanksgiving means little anymore, other than an excuse for gluttony, followed by a marathon of greed…a rush to the store to get the most stuff for as little money as possible.  If you have to beat someone up to get it, no problem!

Unfortunately, that greed marathon requires many thousands of people to leave their families to serve the shopping hordes.  For them, Thanksgiving can no longer mean slowing down, thanking God for all his blessings, and spending a little time with family and friends.  Now, it’s just another day at work, with even longer, harder hours than usual…hours spent breaking up fights over big screens in the electronics department, or Legos in the toy department.

Thanksgiving has lost its meaning.  All it is to many is just Black Friday Eve.  The day of early Early Bird sales.  Doorbusters start at midnight on Thanksgiving!  Better get on out there…you might miss out on the stuff.

As for me and mine, I think we’ll live with it…missing the stuff.  We’ll slow down, thank God for His many blessings.  We’ll spend a few days with family that we don’t get to see very often.  We might even peruse a Black Friday ad or two together.  But, you can bet we won’t be there on Thanksgiving.  It’s not the time or the place.  We’ll save it for Friday afternoon.  The stuff will still be there…if it isn’t, we’ll order it online on Monday.  Life will go on.  What is stuff compared to time with your family?  Mere nothingness.

Thanksgiving precedes the first Sunday of Advent, usually only by a few days.  What better way to enter into a period of making our hearts ready to welcome Christ than to slow down, and thank God for the blessings in our lives?

Don’t forget Thanksgiving.  Remember it, dress up like an Indian if you need to.  Just don’t forget to slow down and be thankful.

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve?  Or Thanksgiving?

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve? Or Thanksgiving? Click To Tweet

 

 Thanksgiving or Black Friday Eve?

sick teddy bear

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year.  The holidays are right around the corner, there’s so much to do!  But it’s also cold and flu season.  In our house, when someone gets sick, everything shuts down.  Once the first kid goes down, there are 4 more waiting in line to get it.  Even with the best prevention measures in place, chances are, that bug is going to make the rounds.  We just live too close to each other to prevent it in most cases.

We have quite a nasty bug going around our house at the moment.  Severe headaches, sore throats, high fevers…the works.  It seems congestion and cough follow the sore throat after a couple days.  Just to make things interesting, it seems to disappear entirely from about 2-5 pm every day.  But, boy, does it come back with a vengeance at 5:30!!!  Bear came down with it Saturday evening/Sunday morning (sometime overnight…I didn’t look at the clock), and we’ve been playing this game ever since.  Now, everyone else under the age of 35 has it, with the possible exception of Baby.  She had a fever Sunday evening, but as of yet, no other symptoms.  I’m unclear as to whether that was from teething or (crossing my fingers) she’s getting some passive immunity from nursing and has come through relatively unscathed.

Anyway, all this sickness started me thinking, “What are some of my best tips for surviving the inevitable viruses that pop up so often in childhood?”


Mommy Survival Mode

Right from the first alarming “beep” of the thermometer, my mindset has to change.  All of my current plans and items on my to-do list have to go on the back burner.  I have entered “Mommy Survival Mode”.  It’s a defensive place in my mind, I think, fueled mostly by adrenaline and Dr. Pepper.  I will lose my mind if I start thinking about all the things that aren’t getting done or the sleep I’m not allowed to have.  At the end of the week, the house will be a bigger wreck than it already was, I’ll be 2 weeks behind on laundry, and my face will not have felt the outside air in seven whole days.  I don’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time for the entirety of the ordeal.  But, it’s all worth it to make sure my fever-ridden children are as comfortable and safe as possible.

Fever is actually a good thing.  It’s one of  the ways our bodies fight off infections.  But, we all know that too much of a good thing can be dangerous!  And so it is with fevers.  It’s good to let our bodies turn up the heat just a little to make us inhospitable for those germs…but, as a mother, I have to make sure my kids’ immune systems don’t get carried away when they turn up the sauna.

One of our little ones is rather infamous for her ability to spike a 104 degree fever within a period of about 5 minutes.  It’s an impressive, terrifying thing to witness…especially when she’s already had as much acetaminophen and ibuprofen as she’s allowed for the next 2 hours.  We have had to resort to cold baths upon more than one occasion to cool her off.  She is the reason I cannot sleep when the children are sick.  It’s my job to check on them every couple hours to make sure no one’s immune system is cooking them.

So, what are the tools I can’t live without during my stay in Mommy Survival Mode? 

Good Drink

Find something your kids will drink.  This is so important.  When you’re running a fever, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes…even more if there’s also a stomach bug in the mix.  Little bodies need to stay hydrated.  Plus, good hydration helps to keep a fever under control.  Buying enough Gatorade or Powerade, or especially Pedialyte to keep 5 kids hydrated while ill is rather cost prohibitive for our family.  So, we make up a little electrolyte drink ourselves with Kool-aid (made with only 3/4 the recommended sugar), water, and 1 teaspoon of salt per quart.  Now, if you want to avoid all the artificial dyes, there are a plethora of homemade sports drinks options you can find on a simple search.  Find one your kids like.  They’re all pretty easy to make, and so much cheaper than the commercially available alternatives!

Different colored string

All of our cups look the same.  Most of the time, that’s no big deal.  But, when something starts going around, cups start leaving the kitchen and going on to various end tables in the living room.  Pretty soon, I have no idea which cup belongs to which kid.  Since we have a bug going around, you can see why I might be rather concerned with making sure the right cup stays with the right person!  I could put a piece of tape and a name on each cup, but then there’s condensation, and the tape falls off.  I have several different colors of string that I use to make products available in my Etsy shop.  I assign a color to each child, then cut a section of string and tie it to the handle of each child’s cup.  Now, I know which cup goes with which kid.  It saves me from having to add extra dishes to my list of Mommy-I-needs.

Books and Movies

I spend a lot of time sitting on the couch reading stories when the kids are sick.  It’s always nice to have a few new ones available from the library.  But, of course, I’m bound to read the family favorites several times a day, too.  This can also be a great time to introduce your children to some truly great classics, like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or Treasure Island.  Of course, eventually, my voice is going to give out.  That’s a great time to have some favorite movies on hand.

Special Meals

When your kids have fevers, sometimes they just don’t want to eat very badly…even if you’re not dealing with a stomach bug.  Find some special things that are easy on the stomach to offer your kids.  Applesauce and bananas are great options.  Bananas are high in potassium, which can be lost due to dehydration during a fever.  Also, pancakes and biscuits are usually big hits in our house.  Last night, it was popcorn and spaghetti (with no sauce).  It was quite a bland dinner for my husband and I, but the kids ate something…and that was a win.  Nutritionally speaking, keep in mind that bending the usual rules when the kids are sick is ok.  A few days of carb loading isn’t going to do any lasting damage.  They need a few extra carbs to give them energy to fight the illness, anyway!  

An Extra Dose of Cuddles

This morning, I just sat on the couch and hugged my little Rhino for nearly an hour.  He was burning up, and I was sweating under all that extra heat, but it didn’t matter.  He needed me.  Most of the time, he’s a little bundle of energy, and has a hard time sitting still for longer than 30 seconds at a time.  But, when he’s sick, he still wants to just sit in my lap and cuddle with me.  For a little while at least, Mommy can still make everything better.  

Fever Reducers

Where would a list of Mom’s sick day arsenal be without a mention of fever reducers?  Good ole acetaminophen and ibuprofen can still work wonders for a sick child.  Sometimes, I have a little giggle at the transformation that occurs in a sick child half an hour after a dose of medicine.  This morning, Rhino got up, ready for his next dose of medicine.  I took his temperature, and it was an alarming 103.3, and he still had to wait another 30 minutes until he could have his next dose (remember, I had been up throughout the night, giving medicine or cool compresses as needed).  We made it through that half hour (and a little more), cuddling on the couch, with a wet washcloth on his head from time to time.  I gave him the next dose of medicine.  I settled him as comfortably as I could, and went to take a shower.  My husband hadn’t yet left for work…it was my last chance!  I finished, and said goodbye to my husband for the day.  Pretty soon, Baby woke up and needed to eat.  By the time I got done feeding her, and came out of my room, Rhino had on a backpack and was playing some sort of game.  When I came out, he proudly announced, “Mommy, I not sick anymore!” and gave me a huge grin.  I knew it was only temporary, and before lunch, sure enough, he was once again languishing on the couch.  But, these few moments give me hope.  Hope that this won’t last forever. 


By next week, my kids will back to their usual antics, and this will all be merely an unpleasant memory.  We’ll be trying to get back to normal, and playing catch-up on all the things we didn’t get done this week.  We will have survived another ordeal. 

Mommy Survival Mode, deactivated.


Dear Monkey,

It’s official.  Five years goes by so fast.  You’ve gotten so big this year.  Somehow, you’ve transformed into a little boy.  Not so very long ago, you used to be a baby.  Sometimes, it’s hard for Mommy to let go. 

Five years ago, I was exhausted…Daddy was tired too.  After a 4 hour induction, you were finally with us on the outside.  Your doctor was so happy to come deliver you…he got to leave a meeting.  It turns out, though, that your momma didn’t need him very long.  So, a few minutes later, you were here, and an irritated doctor had to go back to his meeting.  It’s a story that I’m sure you know well…you think it’s funny, and ask to hear about it at least every other day!  But that’s alright…we think it’s a funny story too.

You are a very thoughtful child, and you wear your emotions on your sleeve.  One minute, your little brother is tormenting you, and your world is falling apart.  The next, the two of you are conspiring and giggling in your room together.  I must always be on my guard…sometimes, when you ask me for something, you’re really requesting supplies for your plot.  Whenever the two of you are working together, I must be extra vigilant.  Otherwise I may need a shop vac to clean the bathroom.

Silly faces are your specialty.  Your pirate face is infamous.  To be honest, when Mommy had Bell’s Palsy last year, that face was one of the few things that managed to keep her in good spirits.  Then, there’s “the eyebrows”.  One of these days, when you get bigger, the little girls won’t stand a chance!  But of all the faces you make, I still like you’re happy smile the best.

Your laugh is infectious.  You like to laugh, and you always want to make sure everyone else is laughing, too.  Knock-knock jokes are your favorites…they don’t need to make any sense.  In fact, I think you like the ones that don’t make sense the best.

One of your most recent favorite activities is grasshopper hunting.  You’ve figured out that you can usually talk your daddy into fishing in the pond if you catch a grasshopper.  If Daddy isn’t home, you enjoy throwing them to the chickens then laughing at the game of keep-away that ensues.

You think you can conquer the world right now.  You can run faster, jump higher, and hit harder than any of those stinky old superheroes!  Just in case there was any doubt of your skill, you try to make sure someone is watching you every time you attempt any daring feat…like running up and down the driveway, or riding your bike through the grass.

But, your favorite thing to do is still sitting in my lap.  You’re starting to get kind of heavy, and I don’t let you just sit with me nearly as often as I should.  Sometimes, I need to remind myself that the dishes can wait a few more minutes (after all, they’ve been waiting several hours already).  Because right now, my little boy needs my lap.  You won’t always.

Happy birthday, little Monkey!  I love you more than words can express!


Happy Monday!  We are finally getting a break from the heat down here…at least for a few days.  We are really excited to be having a first little taste of fall!  I’m guessing that we will be working a few nature walks into the coming days.  But for today…on with the blog hop!

 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

 

Welcome to week#3 of the October “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

Sometimes, in life, decisions come back to haunt you.  Such is the case in our home right now…every time I go to put Baby to sleep.  Bedtime, naptime…they both present challenges right now that no mother should ever have to face.  It’s all because of one decision made nearly 7 years ago…the decision to let my husband have his way. 

He wore me down, really.  I wrote a post about it, so, if you wish, you can go back and read all about it.  He wanted chickens.  If there was one thing in this world I didn’t want, it was chickens!  It was the one rule I had when we first moved out here.  No chickens.  How hard is that?  Honestly?  Well, apparently it was hard enough, because we did eventually wind up with chickens.  Lots of chickens.Chickens in the barnyard

Most of the time, the chickens and I keep the peace.  They stay out near their coops behind the barn.  I do my thing up at the house.  I happily eat their eggs and feed them to my kids all year.  But, once a year, in the fall, we hatch eggs*.  The lucky ones will grow to be replacements for our aging hens and roosters, but many will eventually grace our dining room table.  You may be wondering at this point what hatching chicken eggs has to do with my story, but don’t worry…I’ll get there.

The weather in Texas during the fall can be a little erratic.  One day, it’s 95 degrees.  When you walk outside the next morning, there’s been a cold front that has pushed through (often with plenty of wind damage in its wake), and it’s only 52.  Never to fear, it will be back up to 85 by lunch.  Chicken eggs require a relatively consistent 99.5 degrees during their 3 week incubation time.  With the fickle weather outdoors, that just isn’t possible this time of year…unless you have a hen with an inclination to stay with her eggs.  We have plenty of hens, but we have yet to produce a hen that is a good enough mother to stay with a nest of eggs longer than about 3 days.  We’re generally happy when they don’t break their eggs…asking one to sit on a nest may be a tall order!  So, up in the loft above our bedroom sit two egg incubators.

Hens hunting grasshoppersThey have been there, full of eggs for three weeks.

About a week ago, we began to strain our ears, listening for the first little cheeps and pecks coming from the loft.  Then, on Friday, it finally came…with a cheep cheep here, and a cheep cheep there…here a cheep, there a cheep, everywhere a cheep cheep.

Now, the eggs are hatching, bringing forth new life to feed us for another year.  The kids get so excited, and watch for their daddy to head up the stairs.  They know that when he comes down, he’ll be carrying all the fluffy little things that are ready to make the move from the incubator to the brooder in the garage.  It’s a wonderful, joyous occasion.

Wonderful and joyous…

…Until it’s time to put Baby down to sleep.

You see, chicks are really loud when they hatch.  Their doing it in my bedroom in the loft, remember?  Baby’s crib is in our room.  So, it’s me, my husband, Baby, and a bunch of hatching eggs.  We’re one big happy family!

Here I sit on my bed, nursing Baby (who isn’t really very good at  the whole sleeping thing to start with).  She drowsily starts to slip off to dream land.  I gently get up to lay her in her crib.  As soon as her little body touches the mattress, “CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP!”  It’s rather jarring, I must admit.  Baby is now wide awake, and is not pleased that her mother had the audacity to put her down just as the dreaded sleep monster was about to overtake her.  The chickens, sensing my ire, immediately desist.

“Dad-gum chickens!”  I mutter under my breath.  

I pick up my dear, sweet, non-sleeping child.  I comfort her, and she calms down.  She’s not hungry anymore, but maybe she’ll settle for a lullaby and some rocking.  So I sing a few verses of Jesus Loves Me and Baby is getting sleepy again.  It’s time for the dreaded transfer maneuver.  I gently lay her down, and she immediately rolls to her side…a sure sign that sleep is coming!

“CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP!”

I want to pull my hair out!  No mother should ever have to try to put a baby to bed with a loft full of chicks!  Why me?

I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I surrendered during the Battle of Chickens way back in 2010.  Now, despite the fact that “I wouldn’t have to do anything with the chickens,” I now have chickens in my bedroom…my bedroom!  My baby can’t sleep because of the chickens.  If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d have chicks in my bedroom, I’d have had you committed.

In a week, they’ll all be hatched, dried, and out in the brooder in the garage.  There will once again be peace between the chickens and I.  Only the white noise of air conditioner and noise machine will remain in my bedroom.  It will be back to just the three of us…me, my husband, and the baby.

Well, until the second batch starts to hatch in a few weeks anyway…


*We hatch eggs in the fall instead of the spring because our winters aren’t cold enough to freeze little chickens, but our summers are hot enough to cook them!


 

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WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
October “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zps6gnkp7zk.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:
Miranda @ The Myrabev Life
Linda @ Country Loving Mom
Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

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#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



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

 Inspiration for Clean, Bright, and Beautiful Linen Storage by From Play Dates to Parties
Find out key elements to creating functional and beautiful linen storage for your home, whether it's in a linen closet or open shelving
Trials of Chronic Illness by Homeschool Insights

Cuba- Day One, Havana by Not In Jersey
Havana, Cuba

10 Facts About Breastfeeding by Simple Indian Mom

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

You're a STAR

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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.

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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! )

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