Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meet my new friends, Baking Soda and Vinegar

Okay, this post might just put me in the "crazy" category because I'm blogging about home cleaning again, but this one is so easy and frugal it needs to be shared.
I really hate cleaning the toilets and the showers. We have 4 toilets and 3 showers, which means lots of stinky mess and soap scum. In search of something less toxic and cheaper than fancy cleaners and toilet tabs, I discovered the wonder of vinegar and baking soda. Now washing the shower is actually fun (in a homemaker-saving-money sort of way)!
Here is a website with more helpful ways to use vinegar and baking soda. Happy cleaning!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Amelia was singing the ABC song today and here's how it went:

Now I know my ABC's

Next time won't you sing with me!

Book Review: The Mommy Survival Guide

For our anniversary I told Bill I wanted some books by Barbara Curtis. They came in the mail and within two days I read "The Mommy Survival Guide." Since I had reviewed another book by Curtis, I figured it would be good to review this one too. Maybe reviewing books will become a regular blog thing for me.

This book was highly enjoyable for me to read, and Barbara Curtis is quickly climbing up my ladder of favorite authors. My favorite feature about this book is the super short chapters. The books is medium length--190 pages--and there are 30 chapters, but each one is no more than 8 pages long. Barbara puts her experience as a mommy and expertise as a writer to great work. The chapters are organized into subcategories such as "The sooner you surrender, the better," and "A little bit of Mommy goes a long way." Each chapter has a quick tip, word of encouragement, or resource as well. She lists helpful websites, recipes, games to play with kids, Bible verses, and quotes from famous people. At the end of chapter 5, "It came to pass, not to stay," there is a recipe for Toads-in-a-Hole which is an egg cooked in a piece of toast. The next day I made it for the girl's breakfast and they ate it up fast!

Many of her topics are somewhat counter cultural, such as saying it's okay to win and lose, and that boys and girls are really different and how (in general) the public school system has changed to avoid competition and favor girls over boys, labeling stereotypical "boy" behavior (being more active, etc) as bad. From page 63: "Some 'experts' read the active, more assertive behavior of boys as indicating a propensity to violence. But this line of thinking shows a lack of respect for the unique qualities God has built into boys--the qualities that will someday make them men."

I found a lot of encouragement in this book as well, and she brings it back to Jesus often. One afternoon I was an emotional wreck (pregnancy hormones perhaps?) and I sat down to read more of this book and got to chapter 23: Desperate Motherhood. From page 140, "But what happens when you come to the concusion that you're responsible for making a mess of things? What happens when you take stock of where you are as a mother and you don't like what you see? What happens when you feel you've failed, that you made the wrong choices or that you never tried hard enough?" When I read this and the rest of the chapter, I felt like Jesus, through Barbara's writing, came alongside me, making me feel less alone in my role as a mother. I have support but sometimes it does feel very alone on a bad day. Either my attitude or the kid's is off (more often it's me that's the problem!) and I just feel like a failure. It was encouraging to read in this chapter, "For anyone headed in the wrong direction--or who just needs to tweak a few things to become a better mother: Every day is a new opportunity to make a fresh start." I am thankful that Jesus always brings a new day for me to follow him in everything, including my role as a mother.
As with Barbara's other book I reviewed, I highly recommend reading this book for any woman, new or not-so-new to motherhood. Thank you Jesus, for speaking through Barbara to me while I read this book!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

No sheep were harmed in the making of this birthday party.

For Amelia's birthday we had a sheep party. 20 kids 4 and younger and their moms in the neighborhood park turned into a great party for Amelia. We are certainly blessed to be part of a community with so many young children that have become my girl's best friends. The kids made sheep out of hand prints and played "Stick the wool on the sheep." Thank you friends for blessing Amelia with lots of fun toys and clothes, and especially for coming to the party!

For the cake, I chose to make sheep cake pops. I got the idea from the Bakerella blog while researching sheep cakes. I chose one of the most difficult types of cake pops to start with, and these sheep definitely had a learning curve. The concept is fairly simple but me being without any kind of culinary education except knowing how to read blogs on the internet, it turned out to be quite an ordeal. But the end product was much enjoyed by the party guests and mighty tasty! The directions are on this Bakerella entry. I had to freeze the pops to make it easier to dip, I think I may have used too much frosting or something.

For the coating I used white non-pareil sprinkles, a candy blackberry for the face, cut up licorice for the legs and little licorice for the ears. For the noses I used Easter egg sprinkles. I almost wanted to use sheep meat instead of crumbled cake, but that would have been a little violent, let alone more expensive. Ironic too. Some of the sheep looked a little, um...slow because of their misshapen bodies or weird-facing legs. My rationale for this is that sheep aren't the smartest of animals so it's okay if they don't look perfect. As Pastor Mark Driscoll has said, "The smartest sheep is still just a sheep."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Dear Amelia,
Today you are 2 years old and today we celebrate that God has blessed us with having you in our family. You are so busy! You are such a little talker and imitator of all around you. You love to sing songs and give kisses and you especially love your sister Caley. We know that you will be a wonderful big sister.
Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Caley