Our Family's Favorite Holiday Recipes

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Busymomof10 wrote a blog about some of her favorite Christmas time recipes on her blog, Yes They're All Ours and they sounded so yummy that I thought I would post a few of our favorite Holiday Recipes!

Our Favorite Holiday Breakfast:
I make these pancakes at least once a week, but I ALWAYS make them the morning of a holiday because they are so simple! I think they are super yummy, easy to mix up, and work out FABULOUS because they are egg and dairy free! (We have allergies...lol) For Christmas, I added green food coloring and white chocolate chips...

Egg-free pancakes
  • 3 cups all purpose wheat flour
  • 3 tsp pure cane sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups vanilla soy milk
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tsp butter (I use Smart Balance 50/50 because it doesn't aggravate my sons' dairy allergies!)

1- Mix dry ingredients.
2- Add wet ingredients, minus butter. Let rest while you heat up your griddle.
3- Heat up pan over medium heat. Melt butter.
4- Add butter to batter and stir together.
5- Spray pan with non-stick spray. Ladle 1/2 ladle of batter into pan. Cook until bubbles pop and then flip. Cook on that side until brown.

Serve Hot. Makes +/- 12 pancakes.
I always make extra batches of batter to store in the fridge for next time! If you are planning to eat them in less then a week, just double the recipe and freeze the pancakes. Then you pop them in the microwave for about a minute wrapped in a paper towel, and they come out (almost) as good as fresh!



Our Favorite Holiday Staple:
This next recipe I got a couple years ago off of Martha Stewart's website (I mean, you need some creative, absolutely delish food, who else can you go to? LOL) It's a family favorite, and gets requested from the first of the cool season when fresh cranberries start to show up in the stores! Plus, it takes up absolutely no time at all to prepare, uses mostly ingredients you will have laying around the house, and is an awesome twist on a classic dish (one that you will actually want to eat instead of jellied cranberry sauce!), and is so sweet and juicy even the kids will LOVE it!

Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries
  • 3 1/2 cups cranberries (one 12-ounce bag)
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice of one orange, about 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1- Combine cranberries, cherries, shallots, vinegar, orange zest and juice, ginger, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat until cranberries pop.
2-
Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries release their juices, about 15 minutes. If the cranberry sauce becomes too thick, add water until the desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a bowl to cool

I always make mine a couple days ahead of time, and it keeps really well in the fridge for about 3 days. Just make sure that you keep a tight lid on it! This recipe makes about 3 cups, and of course, we always double it to be sure everyone gets some- but it doubles perfectly!


Our Special Occasion Main Course:
The last recipe I am going to share today is a delicacy around here. I only ever make it on super-special occasions because it just takes so much time and energy. But it is, and always will be, TOPS of my meal requests when I cook for people! It is definitely worth cooking, at least once! Again, I always triple this recipe (because I almost never cook it unless I am serving at least 10-12 people, including my family) and it triples just fine!!

Porcupine Sweet and Sour Meatballs
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw rice
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 20 oz. can pineapple chunks
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

1- Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, rice, egg and salt and pepper in bowl. Shape into medium sized meatballs and place in Dutch oven. Add beef broth and simmer over low heat (do not boil) until done for about 75 minutes, skimming off any fat which rises to the surface while cooking.
2-Drain syrup from the pineapple and set aside. Combine corn starch and brown sugar in a saucepan. Add syrup, vinegar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cook over medium-low heat until thick and syrupy.
3-Pour sauce over meatballs and carefully stir in the pineapple. Simmer 10 minutes.

.Serve over rice or pasta.


Yummy. Absolutely delish!!

Hope you guys enjoy!!

My Cabinets Are Almost Ready!!

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So, my Christmas present from my Daddy this year is... New Kitchen Cabinets!


My Dad owns Best Built Cabinets, in Columbus, GA (if you need new cabinets, he was voted one of the best cabinet builders in the South two years ago! He makes awesome cabinets!! ...and he travels! *lol- don't you love my shameless plug?!?*) But it works out great for me, because he knows we are re-doing our house and of course, needed new cabinets!

He's been sending me pictures of them as they are working on them and I am so excited!!


This is my nephew, Jeremiah, working on them!



And my brother, Danny cutting out doors! Danny actually works for Dad-lol



My favorite niece, Linda sanding! That's little Christian and my step-mom, Kathy working with her!




My dad, and my nephew, Christian! I don't know how anything gets done without Christian!!



And here's my doors all sealed and stained!



And here's the cabinets!



They should be here Friday morning, which also happens to my wedding anniversary LOL, to put them in! I'm ecstatic!

Scheduling My Large Family!

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I am a scheduling fanatic! I LOVE schedules! Don't believe me? I have an ENTIRE 1 inch notebook full to the brim of schedules for every possible scenario that could happen on a day to day basis. I have cleaning and home maintenance schedules, divided by daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. I have school schedules and lesson plans in the same notebook that are divided up into daily to-dos, weekly to-dos, and monthly to-dos.

I also have medication schedules, visiting schedules (who I promised to see or who we haven't seen in a while and needs a visit), traveling schedules, holiday schedules (everything from simple BBQ plans for Memorial Day to birthday celebrations to to Christmas gift and decorating ideas for next Christmas!). My control journal includes the animals feeding and vacination schedules, gardening plans, and home improvement projects that need to be finished by the end of next


It's not as complicated as it sounds- I put my control journal together 15 minutes at a time over several months, and maintain it 15 minutes at a time as it's needed (about once a week).

If I took a 6 month vacation next year, providing someone would read my Control Journal, my house would still run smoothly and they wouldn't be able to forget anything!!
year.




OK, I admit I am slightly OCD. But that is not what makes my schedules work so well. That gives me a driving need to make lists and have everything organized, but it also causes me to become overwhelmed and NOT get anything accomplished when everything is not perfect, which ends up being ALWAYS in a house with six little ones and a husband who works at the whims of the weather. My natural inclinations were working against me! I couldn't be perfect!! :(

I used to be beyond frustrated all the time. I would snap at my husband, I would yell at my kids, I wouldn't sleep because I would be up scrubbing the house (or worrying about what needed to be scrubbed) only to collapse and have everything get messy again while I slept. It was an awful way to live.

Then two things happened:
#1- I spent three hours cleaning my daughters bedroom and woke up the next morning to ketchup all over their bedroom.

#2- I found the FlyLady.



The FlyLady is absolutely awesome. She tells you that you don't have to get everything done in one day. One Day? HA! You don't have to get everything finished in one YEAR! She breaks your home down into FlyZones and you work in that one area, as you can, for one week. Then if you're not finished, SO WHAT? You move onto the next zone! The area you were working in is better than it started in, and if you get some free time you can go back to it.

It was her idea for my control journal. You can see what she says here and here about the control journals. Now, I've read many other places where you create a journal or folder to organize your house cleaning, but her's is the first that really allows you to make a space for everything, however inconsequential. The whole idea is to get it out of your head so you can breathe!





I don't schedule our time by the hour, or half hour, etc. I schedule our time by our routines. We all have a routine that we do when we get up in the morning that takes 15-30 minutes everyday for the kids and about 45 minutes for me.
I make it my goal EVERYDAY to be up at least an hour before the rest of my family so that I can get started right and have a chance to get my head on straight before the chaos ensues! I have one, and each of the children have one. I start at my bedroom, and work my way into the rest of the house.

Mine looks like this:
My Bedroom
Get up (Hit the Ground FLYing! -or Finally Loving Yourself)
Make my Bed
Get Dressed to Shoes

Office
Windex Desk and Dust Computer

Check calendar for school and appointments
Check Control Journal for Daily and Weekly To-dos.
Check Email, Facebook, and Blogger (I set my timer for 15 minutes!)

Bathroom
Wash Face and Morning Toiletries
Swish and Swipe (a quick cleaning of the bathroom: swish the toilet and swipe the sink, cabinets, and mirror)

Empty Trash Can

Laundry Area and Hall
Reboot Laundry
Dust tops of washer and dryer
Swiffer Hallway

Kitchen
Coffee and Devotion
Disinfect Counters and Table (
We live in the Boonies, who knows what's been crawling on there all night?!? LOL)
Feed the cats
Start Breakfast

It looks like a LOT of stuff to do when you have just rolled out of bed, doesn't it? It didn't start out nearly that complicated: when I started, my entire morning routine was to make my bed, swish and swipe, and have my coffee and devotion and I would add one thing every few weeks! The rest has just evolved and now I don't even have to think about it: it's become an ingrained routine!!!


We have several routines to get us through the day. One for after breakfast, for schooling, for lunch, for before we go anywhere (even just outside to play), and one for before Daddy gets home. None of them take more than about 15 minutes to get accomplished so we have plenty of time for actual living and the unpredictability that is part of life in a large family.

The other MAIN routine that I have is called by the FLYlady the
Before Bed Routine. It is the absolutely most important routine of my day, because it prepares us to get the next day started calmly. Again, the children all have theirs, which takes about 45 minutes (including a bath) and I have mine, which is a little more involved and takes about 1.5 hours (not including my bath... but I am working through mine as the children do theirs).

My Before Bed Routine is kind of my morning routine in reverse. It starts right after supper and looks like this (My husband gives the children their baths, Bless him!) :


Kitchen
Wash Dishes and Put Away
SHINE MY SINK
Swipe Counters
Take out Trash
Swiffer Floors
Put dish towels in dirty clothes and set out fresh ones.

Living Area
Help
kids pick up toys
Fold afghans
Spray Febreze on furniture and curtains
Swiffer Floors


Laundry and Hallway

Put Laundry to Bed (Fold and Put away last load from the dryer, empty lint trap)

Gather up dirty clothes/put in washer/ measure detergent (so I just have to press a button in the morning!)
Hang up Kids Clothes for tomorrow
Swiffer Floor

Bathroom
Evening toiletries
Put out fresh towels
Check toilet paper and replace if necessary

Office
Clear off desk
Lay Out tomorrow school supplies
Check email, Facebook, and Blogger (another 15 minutes
!)

Bedroom

Lay out tomorrows clothes and shoes
Light a candle or put out fresh Smelly-goods
Read or Watch a Movie with Josh
GO TO BED AT A DECENT HOUR







Obviously, I don't get to do my Before Bed Routine straight through most nights, but I know when I enter a room, what has to be finished before I leave it again! Again, it's all become habit at this point!

It works pretty well for us! I love being able to keep the house cleaned "15 minutes" at a time! I love being able to sleep at night knowing that I already know what I have to get accomplished the next day and knowing that I am already off at a good start, regardless of whether I get woken up at 2 in the morning with a child and his achy ear, or whether my SIL calls at 9 in the morning, 5 minutes from our house. I love being prepared for whoever shows up or whatever life throws at us!



It's great!




Wanna check out more scheduling ideas? I know I love reading them! Go here and add your two cents worth!

Christmas is Over :(

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Christmas is finally over, and it's very strange how quickly life gets back to normal! Holidays never last long enough! I will try to post some pictures when I get them on the computer!

Yesterday, I accompanied Josh's grandfather, who we all just call Pa, to Huntsville, Alabama. We had to leave early but he drove down and, although it was rather quiet (he's completely deaf in his right ear, and for some reason, he says my voice is too low a pitch for him to hear well), I think we both enjoyed ourselves. He bought me breakfast at Cracker Barrel, which is awesome! :)

We went to Huntsville to pick up Granny's Christmas present: a 1998 Red Mustang GT!




Nice car, right? I got to drive it the 200 +/- miles back. It's VERY nice!
(Yes, I told Josh the minute I got home that I want one!!)


After I presented Granny with her awesome Christmas gift, I came home and tore up the boys' room. ... Well, I did!... I took everything out of there, ripped up the floor and Josh laid down new carpet! LOL. We are going over to my mom's this afternoon to get a new bed frame and desk to go in there. Forrest, Gabe, and Elijah (because that's who share that particular room) got a Spider-man bed suit for Christmas and we are trying to get the rest of the room ready for their new bed stuff. It's all been needing to get replaced, but in the day-to-day, it kept getting put off, even though we do have all the replacement materials sitting in my front yard (Grrr).

It won't get painted this week because #1 I haven't bought the paint for it, and #2 They decided a couple of weeks ago that they were going to paint everything in there ORANGE... like the orange in my bathroom. Josh had pulled the paint cans out of the hall closet and left them laying in the hall... so of course, the boys decided to paint their rooms... and their carpet... and their mattress... and themselves! We are going to see how they do with new flooring before we paint the walls, anyway. LOL

My dad, Kathy, Danny (my brother) and his children should be up here next weekend to put in my new cabinets!! My dad owns a cabinet shop down in Columbus, GA and since we are in desperate need of new cabinets, he promised me that he would make me some for Christmas! And, of course, when one of the best cabinet makers in the South offers you new cabinets, you say, "Yes, Sir! Bring 'em up!!" But we are trying to get all this other piddly stuff out of the way before he gets here to install them...

He's bringing the kids a trampoline, for their Christmas present. We were clearing out an area in the back yard to put it up, and make a play area, but I don't think that that is going to work. The flat area we thought we found turned out to be just dead-fall with a couple of seasons worth of leaves and bramble piled up... it's not solid at all! It makes you wonder- what were the people who cleared this land for the house thinking?!?





This picture was taken this past spring... so it's harder to see since NOTHING was cleared then. But if you look on the left side of the picture... looks pretty flat and stable right? It's not! It's not solid at all... I found out the hard way- by walking on it, and almost breaking my ankle falling through it!

So we are going to have to find a place in the front yard to put the trampoline until we can get a couple loads of dirt brought in to level out some of the backyard. :(

I guess that's it for today! I have to get dressed and get the kids out of their pj's for a trip to Nana and Grandpa's!

Peace

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I love Jesus. I may see things from a strange perspective that has been formed over 24 years of a very unusual life, we will see. But there are times when I just want to run to Him, throw my arms around His neck and give Him a big kiss on the cheek. He never dances around a subject, He gets right to the meat of it and tells you what you need to hear... even if you don't want to hear it.

I try to listen, Lord, every chance I get. Please never stop trying to tell me even though I am usually to thick and oblivious to hear.

OK, to the meat of this post. :)

It seems incredible how two weeks can hold such highs and lows of the human mind, two such opposing emotions warring for the right to dominate. Do I rejoice or do I mourn? Am I full of praise or full of sorrow?

I am full of rejoicing!
Two weeks ago today, my niece, Kelley Leigh-Ann, was born after a long tumultuous delivery that eventually resulted in a cesarean section. BJ called me before she got to the hospital and I stayed by her side until she, Daddy, and Baby were resting peacefully and I could barely hold my head up straight. I was so proud of B and so joyful for such a beautiful baby! I spent the night getting to know Kelley's dad in a way I hadn't been able to before, and shared several precious moments with the two of them I will never, ever forget.



I am full of sorrow.
Then last Thursday, Jesus called one of His own home to Him... we were just not willing to share. My dear friend, Jessica, won her fight against PNETs cancer after two long years of battling. She went to her ultimate reward, and left us all here to celebrate her life and mourn ours without her. Jessica's father is the man who joined me and Josh in marriage. Her mother helped me with all the planning (and actually did the majority of it herself!) and Jessica was one of the few of my friends there to celebrate with us. I've known her all my life (at least since my life began) and grew up with her, besides. She was beautiful, inside and out, and I can't imagine how beautiful she is worshiping her Savior at His feet. I will truly miss her.



But where does that leave me? Do I celebrate and rejoice in a precious new life or do I weep and lament in the beginning of another? I don't have the answer.

I did, however, hear a wonderful broadcast on Sunday morning. "Peace," the preacher said, "Peace in yourself and peace with God. Most people will say that they have peace with God and themselves, but whenever great tragedies or great wonders happen, they find themselves torn from the inside and learn that their peace was nothing but a veneer over rotting wood."

It stopped me in my tracks. Peace. The knowledge and understanding that God truly controls everything, a comfort and assurance of our place at His feet. Peace. How wonderful it sounds.

I am trying to hear, Lord. Quiet my mind so I can hear your voice!

I sat down over the past couple days to really try and discover if I possessed peace. Do I know for sure that God is watching me, and caring for me? Am I really able to weather a storm of emotions from some elusive inner wellspring of peace and joy or am I just faking it? How do I know when I am actually peaceful?

Jessica's mom, Sharon, sent me, although she doesn't realize she did, to a website called What About Jesus where I found this in the Daily Devotional section:


Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus - Philippians 4:4-7


"In our reading for today, the Apostle Paul actually encourages us not just to rejoice but to rejoice always. Crime in the streets ... rejoice? Young people dying in foreign wars ... rejoice? No job ... rejoice? Yes, what we have in Jesus lifts us above all that. All of these things are problems in this sinful world. Jesus lived and died to take us out of this sinful world to be with him in a perfect world forever. But can we rejoice and find peace while we are still here? Again yes, because “the Lord is near." We don't have to scratch and claw our way through life grabbing things as if this is all there is. Jesus is with us, and through him we are blessed with God’s favor and the joy of life with God now and forever.

We don't have to be anxious about anything, either. We know who is in charge of all things, and he has invited us to present our requests to him. We can take our worries and problems to our God in prayer and leave them with him, knowing that he will always answer according to his great love and his eternal will for us. Then, as Paul explains, "The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." '


Rejoice Always! Again, Rejoice! Present your cares to Jesus and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind!

I am Listening. I think I really am beginning to understand!

Maybe peace is not something that we have or have not.

Maybe peace is not something we can earn or lose.

Maybe, just maybe, peace is a gift waiting for us to reach out and take it for our own.


Am I brave enough to accept it? Are you? Or do I think I can somehow find peace apart from the Peacemaker?


When I search my mind, heart and soul, I am confident when I say to any who read this, "I have peace in my life. I am peaceful, regardless of the sorrow that pierces my heart. I am peaceful when I am rejoicing and I am peaceful when I am shattered. I feel peace with Jesus, my one true love, my God Most High, my shelter, and Savior. I rest in His glory, and I am peaceful in His arms."

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war and a time of peace.

Amen.

I love Pre-school Logic :)

4:55 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
"Forrest," my husband asks, " What came first: the chicken or the egg?"

Yes, these types of questions are frequent in my house. Usually these types of questions require an answer before a reward of some type... this time it was a corn-dog. The oh-so-yummy treat that our children get maybe once every two or three months. Sometimes it's an ice cream cone, sometimes its an extra hour before bed, sometimes it's just praise for a well thought out answer.

Age is no guarantee of an easy question, either. Forrest is four, and we expected him to be able to give an answer. We want them to think, to use the knowledge base that they have in new ways to expand their capacity. Once you learn to talk, you can learn to think! You will be asked why and how instead of what and when.

Knowledge is very important and we teach our children facts and figures but our goal is not so much to teach our children what to think as to teach them how to think.

So you see, for these the answer doesn't matter so much as how you arrive at the answer. With these questions we just want them to be able to answer with the knowledge they have and back their answer up

Forrest, eager as he was for his corn-dog, answered right away, "The egg."

"Why do you say that? If the egg came first, where did it come from?"

"Well then, the chicken came first!"

"But how did the chicken get there to lay the egg?"

"It hatched out of an egg!"

"But how did the egg get there, then?"

He was getting the point pretty quickly, and getting rather anxious for his corn-dog, so he sat down on the arm of the couch to think.

Josh went on to Harmony, " OK, Harm, what is 3 times 5?" (It does seem a little unfair she gets an easy one, doesn't it? lol)

"3 times 5 is 15, Daddy."

"How do you know that?" (Maybe it wasn't as easy as she thought!)

She stood staring into the distance for a minute and answered, "I know it because if I count 5 three times, I count to 15. So 3 times 5 is 15 because 5 three times is 15!"

Oh yeah. Corn-dog time!

Josh went back to Forrest. "Son, which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

Forrest scratched his chin for a minute and a light bulb went off in his head.

"Neither! God made ducks to lay eggs first! They are bigger and He had to make sure there was enough room for all of them before he made the chickens!!"

Somehow, while we were holding our stomachs, laughing so hard that tears streamed out of our faces, we handed him his corn-dog.

You have to love pre-school logic :)

My Forrest

7:02 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »

My Forrest is an enigma: a very special and unique riddle that must be mulled over and considered very carefully. Just whenever you think that you've arrived at the answer, it's suddenly obviously different and you must begin again. He is charming and sweet, cranky and temperamental, and fluffy and iron all bundled up in a package sealed with smiles and giggles.


He has been with me for four glorious years full of emotional soaring. He was the answer to our prayers from the beginning: a baby boy who could pass on my husband's proud family name, a little angel to fill our pink and cuddly doll filled home with trucks and cars and bring a sense of reality and balance to a young family totally engrossed in our 1 year old blossom.



Of course, our Forrest didn't come to us alone. We knew very shortly after his conception that he brought another soul with him, his twin sister Regan. No matter what order they arrived in or the manner of their arrival, we had our first-born son and we were ecstatic. Our joy was only impossibly doubled by the realization that with our son we received another daughter to pamper, but Forrest was the child we had prayed for and Regan was a joyfully adored bonus.



In the first few weeks of his life, Forrest was a colicky baby, always seeming to be sick from one infant infirmary or another. I joked my way through the time, telling everyone "He's managed to make me worry about him every day of his life so far, I may as well get used to it!"

As it turned out, Regan was afflicted with a much more serious and chronic health condition: a spinal column injury in her brain from the overdue vaginal birth of six pound twins. Her condition would manifest a mere six months after her birth, but we would have to wait three long and heart-wrenching years of watching our little angel suffer through her physical disability before the doctors would make a prognosis and decide on a course of action.



In that time, as much as we doted on her, it was her big brother who was her steadfast shoulder, her rock that she leaned on. When Regan was chemically burned with bleach while visiting her grandmother, it was Forrest who could cuddle beside her and give some peace to a aching 9 month old. When Regan would fall down crying after trying to keep up with their friends running and playing, it was Forrest who would always reach her first, helping his 2 year old darling up, wiping away the dirt and tears and bringing a smile back to her face.

Forrest would take no teasing his little sister, even at a young age, and would often have to reprimanded for beating on his toddler and pre-teen cousins for their careless remarks about his precious sister. His protectiveness hasn't lessened since Regan had her surgery, just changed as his sister is able to run and dance with the best of him.



When Forrest was a little over two years old, I had Gabriel and Elijah by c-section. Two days after I came home, I was still on strong medication from the pain and had a houseful of family and friends helping care for my older children. One member of our family was left to watch Forrest and Regan playing in the backyard, and walked inside to make herself a drink.

Forrest tried to follow her up the back steps and fell the 15 feet down to the hard packed and rock fulled Tennessee ground beneath it. He didn't cry. She didn't notice. Regan's screams of terror and sympathy woke me from my chemical and fatigue inspired sleep in my bedroom beside the back door and I dashed, confused and almost blindly to the door, where I found him laying, stunned, his head swelling and blood pouring from his mouth and nose.

I screamed for my husband and almost fell the same distance trying to get to him through the haze that had almost cleared when I saw my son laying there unmoving. Josh rescued me from falling and Forrest, it seems in the same instant and we rushed him to the emergency room, calling my mom from her room where she was watching the new twins and completely unable to speak to the woman who was supposed to be watching Forrest and Regan.

Thankfully, God protected Forrest that day, and he suffered only a mild concussion. Later his teeth turned black. The dentist says it was from the impact, which killed the baby teeth and may have scarred the permanent ones. But it's a small price to pay for my little prince's life, for which I am beyond grateful because the day could have turned out so much worse.



Next week, we will face one of the scariest days of Forrest's life, for me and Josh anyway. He has recently developed a lump on his neck that is very painful to touch and is often warm with fever, and he will go to his doctor to discover what it is. My husband, Josh, had a very similar lump on his neck whenever he was about Forrest's age and it turned out to be lymphoma and had to be surgically removed and monitored for a long time. We will pray and trust God in this, as in all things, no matter how scared we may be. We know we all are blessed beyond belief with this wonderful boy who brings life and light to whoever he meets!


I'm Putting My Foot Down: My Ode to Cliches

5:41 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »

There will be no gilding the lily here: keep your fingers crossed because I am going to jump in with both feet! I am not some fly by night, here to tickle your fancy... I am down to earth and cute as a button. *wink* I may not know you from Adam's housecat, but the proof is in the pudding and I just might cut you to the quick! My momma always says curiosity killed the cat but my daddy says that you don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

I may go down in flames, burning my candle at both ends, but I am chomping at the bit to spread my wings and think outside the box. When push comes to shove this may be just the calm before the storm.

Let's get the cat out of the bag: Cain't never could, and could never would. After all it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog... and right now, I'm the big dog around here.

Buckle up and hang on, because this is going to be one crazy ride. It's my last ditch effort to make a name for myself. Let's leave no stone unturned. Time to put our noses to the grindstone. We may as well bite the bullet because there is no time like the present! In this game, the early bird gets the worm! I'm not the biggest fish in the pond, but for my two cents worth: no pain, no gain and no guts, no glory!


I mean, after all, if a frog had wings, it's butt wouldn't hit the ground so hard!





(Post script: I am sure that Amy at Raising Arrows had exactly opposite of this in mind when she wrote her post: Choose your words wisely! Part A about avoiding cliches in your writing but, being from the Deep South, cliche's come as naturally to me as flowers in spring. We cling to them dearly down here, and our everyday speech is sprinkled heavily with the sweet sugar of our beloved cliches! Come to think of it, perhaps that is why, when one of our Yankee cousins (hahaha-sorry, I had to say it!) come visiting, they find it so difficult to understand us- what with our slow drawls and Southern wisdom decorating our speech! But it's as natural as breathing to most of us, and we really have to catch ourselves to avoid sharing with the rest of the world!)

I've Had Enough!

6:09 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »



As I am walking through the store yesterday, I think I know what the surreptitious glances from a harried looking man meant... Here is a young woman in a brown floor length skirt and a plain button up shirt. She has a baby on her hip, two toddlers in her buggy among her purchases, and three preschool and kindergarten aged children walking quietly beside her... 'She's one of those people.'

You know the people I mean: they're crazy, off the wall, those types that think all children are blessing even if she's having to flip through a coupon book to make sure she has the cash to cover all her purchases. The people who gladly say "I wish I had six more!" while they are groping at the hands of three and holding two cranky babies in their arms while blocking juice packages being chunked with full force at the cashier.... The weirdos....

I wasn't looking for snide remarks. I wasn't in the mood for questions about how many children I have (I know it takes a couple counts sometimes- but do you really have to ask?), how many are twins (*sigh*), how full my hands are (isn't it obvious?), or if I know what causes that (Ummm, I think so... it's the water, right?). We'd been out and about for several hours at this point and only the promise of a visit to Nana's was keeping my children from bouncing off the the shelves, and I wanted to hurry through this last stop.

As we made our turn onto the last aisle we would have to traverse before we could finally leave, my eldest son accidentally knocked several toys off the end-cap. I was almost in the mood to pretend that it didn't happen, but my son's conscience wouldn't let him pass it by. So we stopped to try and repair the damage. His sisters ran to his aid and the three of them attempted to rehang a dowel and put the toys back where they belonged.

I tried to move the buggy out of the walking room but still, when the man needed to get by, he had to squeeze between the buggy and shelves. I was bent down beside it, auspiciously to assist the children who had everything under control and thankful that he didn't utter a word as he passed.

We (ok, THEY) finally, after a bit of figuring, returned the fallen toys to their rightful place. As we finished up, the man walked by the end of the aisle again, and I literally sighed. I just knew what he was thinking, the inner reaction and the curiosity that drove him for one last glance of my insanity.

As my miniature helpers placed their items on the checkout counter (thankfully, they were gentle), I shot a glance around; a subconscious count of my children and an appraisal of the strangers close to them. Next in line behind us was That Man.

I had to look twice because on his face was a huge smile! He saw me looking at him and somehow managed to smile even bigger! I half smiled back, thinking to myself, "Oh NO! Here it comes!" I braced myself for the repressed ridicule and looking-down-of-the-noses that usually assails me when people are brave enough to look at us squarely.

"Surely, these are not all your children?!?" The Man asked. When I nodded that they were indeed all mine, his eyes twinkled. I stifled an inner groan.

"I bet bear hugs are the best in your house! You call for a hug and have all these wonderful babies pile up on you!"

All I could do was plaster a huge grin on my face and agree.

New Pictures from Yesterday

5:42 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
While we were running errands yesterday, specifically paying the water bill and buying our 500th plunger (because somehow, we can never find one when we need it!LOL) we decided to go and pay my mom a visit. She suggested we take some new pictures of the kiddos, and so, yes, we did arrange the flowers and have the kids pose (something that I am usually against!) but here are our newest pictures of my babies!


We ended up staying far later than I had planned, an before I was finished helping my step-father with his webpage, the children were bringing me their shoes and saying "OK Mom! We are ready to go now!

So we finally did. Once we got home, I cooked Spaghetti for supper, and Regan and I decided we were too exhausted to stay up one more minute! Everyone else was looking forward to the new episode of MythBusters, and decided to stay up. Apparently they didn't make it though, because my husband didn't come to bed until after 2am! They had all fallen asleep on the couch!

Now to see if I have time to catch up on the Creative Writing!

Updating on the babyshower!

5:10 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »



Hello! How funny that I post something full of pictures and Lynette posts a blog about posts with lots of pictures! I just thought it would be fun to link up to her Getting to Know You for this one!


I have not been able to get online very often the last couple of weeks, and have missed out on the creative writing course! Yes! That's what I've thought about!! I will be wondering around the house trying to get my day accomplished wishing I could find a half hour to blog about it! I don't know if that's sad or not! lol I should probably just be happy that I am living my life instead of wishing I could blog about it!

I thought I would steal a few minutes this morning and post some pictures and share from my sister in laws baby shower last weekend and share how it went...

We didn't get a newborn, but we did get London!


Not everyone understands how truly beautiful diapers can be!
(BJ deciding on game order and my diaper cake in the background!)

All the necessary people showed up!
(My inlaws/BJ's cousin, aunt, granny, and mom!)

And the other side decided to make an appearance as well!
(In-laws from the Daddy to be's side)



We even had a guy to embarass with our baby shower games!
(Heather and her husband, Justin!)


There was love all around!
(Granny and my mommy)

We played games and the girls enjoyed poking fun at BJ's very pregnant belly!


We knew that having a big strong man would come in handy!






So that's it, in a condensed version! We'd been planning it basically since we found out she was expecting, and even though it was fun, I am GLAD ITS OVER! :)

There's so much going on!

7:07 AM Edit This 0 Comments »
The entire family is exhausted today! We've all woken up late (those of us who've made it out of bed so far, that is!) and I kind of elected to just stay home on my own... my husband is still snoozing away! There's just been so much going on lately, outside of our little family, that we need a day to recoup!!

Josh had the children all day yesterday all by himself, and while he is perfectly capable of tending his own children, he's just not used to all day stints! lol-He's pretty tired from yesterday! But he kept them all day because I desperately needed to go shopping in several stores where the aisles are not big enough for an adult to get down without bumping into expensive items, much less an adult with six children!

OK- first a little background so that my blog doesn't get to be unreadable!

BJ is my husband's sister. She got it a little backwards and she and her fiance got pregnant before they've gotten married. Seeing as my sister-in-law is also my best friend, I am in charge of hosting the baby shower (she wanted to plan it and get all the stuff, she just doesn't want to have to host her own! haha- Believe me, I've offered to do it all for her; she's just the type that enjoys planning things!) AND matron of honor (which I am 'sharing' with my other sister-in-law, Jamie who lives in Florida- but because I am right down the road I get all the duties and Jamie gets to look pretty! Which she does exceptionally well, I must say!).

My exceptionally pretty SIL, Jamie!

BJ's due date is December 5th, and the baby shower is scheduled for November 7th. So anyway. Since next Saturday is Halloween (and we DO NOT want to be in Nashville on Halloween), and the next Saturday is both the Goodwill 1/2 off sale AND the baby shower, we decided we had better go baby shower shopping yesterday. (Because there's no way we are going to miss the Goodwill 1/2 off sale!)

BJ and her big prego belly! :)

We left at 8:30 so we could have breakfast at Hardee's while we were out- we usually end up pulling up as breakfast is ending! (So, my dear husband literally had the children almost all day!)
On our long, very exhausting day, especially for a 8 month pregnant woman, we went by The Dollar Tree, Party Central, Micheal's, Hobby Lobby, the Goodwill, Game-stop (that one was for a treat for our men lol), Rivergate mall (where we ate lunch at Subway-yummy- and went to Hot Topic-I love the shoes!-, Motherhood Maternity, Journeys, Icing, and Macy's), and one of my favorite stores- Parent-Teacher Store, which is not really in the mall, but right behind it. :)

I found a very cool game about the human body designed for preschoolers through 1st grade. Harmony has been bugging me that she wants to know the different bones in the body, how they work, and why they stay together. I can teach her the basics, but I'm not a doctor or nurse and can't remember all the names of the bones- this game teaches that, so I was excited to find it and she was excited to get it! And it was only $15!

I also found a new wall calendar, like we used to have in classrooms, that matches the new green (BH&G's shade of 'dill weed' LOL) on my walls. It has polka-dots! It's so cute!

I bought Harmony a Word Family dictionary, that she will 'make' herself, and me a new planner for her lessons as well. I have had a hard time finding a planner that works for me AND her. My goal with it is for me to be able to write out her assignments and her to be able to look inside and know what it is that she needs to do. I want to teach her to that when she needs to do certain things- like copying her Bible verse, doing a coloring page, her math drills, etc that she can do on her own- she is capable of getting them out and getting them completed without me standing over her. This one is very simple and straight-forward so I have high hopes for it!

We were both about ready to drop when we left Parent-Teacher so we headed on home. The kids were still in bed from their naps and I spent about an hour putting Harmony's next week's lesson plan in the new planner, and organizing her 'school drawer', filing papers, etc...

After supper, another of my good friends, Sarah, sent me an email. She is getting married in January and Harmony is going to be her flower girl. I think she's finally picked out her dress!


That's not Harmony, obviously, it's from the David's Bridal webpage. But I think it's adorable. I'm not quite sold on the spaghetti straps but if she can wear a shrug or an under tank, it should be perfect! I don't quite know the etiquette though, of whether Sarah will be buying the dress for Harmony or if we need to buy it! I don't mind buying it, because she did find a reasonably priced, at $99 + the sash and shoes, dress so we can afford it anyway :) It's actually a fairly decent price for a formal wedding, I think! Of course, we will have to get the others a formal dress/ suit to wear in attendance but there is a local dress shop that sells children's formals for around $20-$50 a piece, so that shouldn't be a problem.

*WHEW* I got tired again just talking about everything that I did yesterday! LOL

Rambling Thoughts

4:36 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I saw an episode of Wife-swap yesterday (Yes I know, I have much better things to be doing with my time!) about a woman from a conservative Christian family who lived as a 'help-meet' for her husband, home-schooled, taught her daughters to be home-makers and mothers, and her son to be a provider and protector. She was swapped with a woman who took a very liberal view of God, was the sole provider of her family, and her husband raised her daughters to be liberal and not believe in the Bible as it was written... when the Ms. Non-conservative arrived at Ms. Conservative's home, she immediately began attacking the values of the family- telling the children that their parents were not teaching them right and making every effort to contradict the values of purity, virtue, and obedience to God that resounded in the home. When Ms. Conservative arrived at her 'new home' she began trying to instill a work ethic in the children and husband, and set out to serve the family with joy and love.

Yet, when it came down to the table meeting, Mr. and Ms. Conservative were repeatedly attacked by Mr. and Ms. Non-conservative for being 'brain-washers, close-minded, and bigots', whilst they took their verbal beating with grace and composure.

Coincidentally, a devotion showed up in my inbox this morning on the meaning of the word "Christian" from the Institute for Creation Research which says :

" 'Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.' (1 Peter 4:16)
....
We can "glorify God on this behalf," or "in this name." This implies more than just praising the name. We can glorify God in what we do--in how we live in that name. We can certainly also bring dishonor to the title "Christian" by our actions. A solemn responsibility is then ours, to bring honor and glory to God through our lives."

Both women called themselves Christians, but which brought 'honor and glory to God through their lives"; which could you look at and really see the grace and love of our Precious Savior in?

It is for this reason that when I walk into a crowd and am picked out as a Christian based on outwardly signs (my large family of polite, -mostly- well-behaved children, mine and my daughters uncut hair, our modest dress, and orderly appearance) people seem to immediately shy away, fearing either a heretic, holier-than-thou family, or a bunch of crazy 'bible-thumping Christians'.

Yet we, as Christians are commanded to be a light unto the world- to go out and share the gospel with all that we meet, to live our lives in service of the Almighty so that the world may know us, not by our words, but by our actions! How is it possible when people are reluctant to talk to you- fearing a beating and condemnation for all of their sins? Simple. Sharing the gospel doesn't always mean immediately shoving Bible verses down their throats nor does it mean that every other sentence should begin or end with "By the grace of God" or "Praise Jesus"

You see, I make it a goal whenever we are out and about to always start up a friendly conversation with strangers- the over-whelmed mother dragging her unruly twins, the scared looking father trying to find the best diaper brand, the young woman looking through cleaning supplies with a befuddled look on her face... the punks, the goths, the rednecks, the corporate types... whatever name society has given them, they all find their way onto my radar and involved in discussions with me about everything from fertilizer to child-rearing to decorating styles to video games. :) I try to remember that no matter what a person's outward appearance, they were all created in the imagine of God... of my God. And He loves them!

No matter what direction their lives have taken they were all created with one purpose- to love God with all their hearts, minds, and souls. They may be biased against Christians or they may have had no experience with religion but they are still precious.

Sharing the love of Jesus with unbelievers doesn't mean being pious and un-reachable. Sharing the love of Christ means reaching out to all people, understanding and excepting them, and through your actions and reactions showing the grace and forgiveness that you have been shown. No matter what (Godly, I hope!) topics comes out of your mouths, if you're actions don't back up your words, you will be branded a fake and lose the blessing of sharing Christ with that person!

Always remember : Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:5-6)

Creative Writing Part 1

2:34 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »


I think better when I am typing! I know I am probably not supposed to share the entire thought process in a blog, but I enjoyed it! Here's to hoping you do, too! Oh and anyone who wants to know where I got the questions or to join in the fun- just go here!

#1- I want to write to other mothers; those seeking out a way to raise their families with Biblical principles and, like me, do not find very much support from their families. I want to be able to encourage those who are frightened of letting God be the central theme in their lives and also to tell about my journey through the world as a homeschooling, quiverful, God-centered, organic gardening, homemaking mommy!

#2- a-As a mommy of many little bitty ones, I spend my days organizing, managing to find the time (usually!) to accomplish in one day what most 'normal' families take several days to do. I have learned that I must live as though I am always having company over, otherwise the chaos will take over!
b- My life is unique is many ways! I had six children in the span of four years- four of those being two consecutive sets of fraternal twins! I breastfed all of my children until they were at least six months old (some a little while shorter and some for a little while longer and several of them while being pregnant with the next one(s)!). Two of my children have potentially life altering medical conditions that require consistent, highly qualified medical care. We are in the process of stripping out and remodeling our home while we live in it, and making it efficient for the home-centered life of eight people. I struggle to make my life as simple as possible while living with a techie husband who wants (and has!) all of the latest gadgets and is in school full time to gain a degree in a technical field! I am an organic cook, but try to make as much good food as possible on a very small food budget. I could go on and on... maybe there's a lesson in that!
c- When asked what do I know that could help other people, I immediately think of pregnancy, child-birth, and raising children. I don't claim that my children are perfect (or even as perfect as I want them to be!) but when I think of what's asked of me most often- it's related to pregnancy, delivery, child-birth, and child-care. I am also an expert (in my own way!) on multiplies and having tried many different approaches to breastfeeding and raising my first set of twins, once the second set arrived, I was prepared and still to this day can honestly say that the entire process of bringing those children to toddler-hood was the easiest of my child experiences yet.

So my five topics would be : #1- Caring for babies in large family or stressful situations #2- Dealing with cronic health problems in your child #3- Efficient living in unusual situations for large families #4- Using real life to home-school #5- Leading a simple, Godly lifestyle

#3- I believe that, yes, these topics are worth discussing! All five of my topics are integral parts of my life; I have an endless store of knowledge (learned from both intensive book study and personal experience) on all five of those topics. I also believe that I just might be able to impact someone's life- give them encouragement or useful ideas with posts about any five of those topics. Since I believe that all of the above mentioned topics (which are really parts of my everyday life) were given to me by God to live and learn and teach (at least my children, family, and friends) I do believe that they would be God-honoring if expounded upon. :)

*I would like to write a post on Making a Small House fit Your Family!

(Probably not the best post topic but it's something I am very involved in right now!)

#4- I would want my readers to feel encouraged that it's not the size of their home but the size of their creativity that limits them. I would want them to actually use some of my tips for coming up with ideas to expand the usable space in their home!

#5- I will have to come back to this one! I don't have time right now to fully think it through- I hear kids up playing in their bedrooms! LOL

One Last Exercise!
Why is a coffee cup like a bathroom?

A coffee cup is like a bathroom because they both start out beautiful and shiny and without being filled with the proper amounts of water and soap regularly will both make your stomach churn!

Trying to Figure This Out.

3:24 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
So I decided I was going to decorate my blog a little, and ended up messing up BIG TIME! I usually am pretty savvy about these types of things, but for some reason- Blogger is escaping me. I am not completely satisfied with my layout (although I do like the three columns!) and I messed up and deleted all my blog rings! Not that I get many, if any visitors right now but I still enjoying flitting back and forth between the blog rings! *sigh*

If anyone happens on this post and has any advice- HELP ME PLEASE!!!

20 Questions (I Don't Know If I've Done This Right...

12:48 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
But I saw the link on RaisingArrows blog (and I hope she doesn't mind me linking to her either! But I LOVE her blog so I hope she takes it as a compliment!!) and followed it to the Harvest of Friends! So here's my answers to the questions!

20 Weird Questions That Will Give a Little Insight Into Who You Are
(Pick whichever ones you want to use , use all of them - or make up your own)

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
Coffee!! I'm not a big snacker, but I LOVE a good cup of coffee!

2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
My Bible and a notepad and pen... wait just one thing?!? I'd need my Bible and I'd be ok!

3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
:D On a farm in the mountians

4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
I enjoy household chores... so this is hard. My LEAST favorite would have to be.... changing sheets, I suppose!

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
I don't know of anyone!

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?
Staying home with my family

7. What's your all time favorite movie?
I don't know that I could choose just one.

8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?
I don't wear make-up! But I wash my face every night and morning with my Mary Kay like a good girl :)

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
I would like to learn to play the guitar.

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
I can name most songs off the radio with one or two notes :)

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
I could see his blue eyes flashing from across the room :)

12. What is something you love to smell?
Oranges.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
I always have the right bit of trivia to solve a debate lol

14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?
Add to my yarn and shoe collection!

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Loud! My children and my husband cutting up make me laugh the hardest!

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Goodwill! (and yes, I know how bad that sounds but my SIL and I make a trip once a month 45 miles to hit the Goodwill sale!)

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
Train my dogs to behave!

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
Frugal

19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)
Ayla, from the Earth's Children series by Jean Auel

20. Would you want to be famous?
No, except maybe for my writing!

Here Am I

8:28 AM Edit This 0 Comments »
Good morning, blogging world.

I have been gone for quite a while, although I don't know how many people were around to miss me LOL. We've had a very different couple of months: My husband lost a close family friend, one of my friends was violently murdered, and we've been recovering from the stress of those topped with the "official start" of the homeschooling year, birthday parties (I have two 4 year olds- where has the time gone?), planning a baby shower (although not :( for me ), and being the matron of honor in wedding planning for my sister-in-law, and out of town visitors trickling up before the ice and snow sets in.

I am finally willing to admit that it is fall in my sleepy little hollow. Fall is both depressing and exciting to me. I have to go outside and bed down my gardens for the winter, get everything spic and span because before too long the wind in this hollow will be far to biting to do more than dash outside and jump in a warm van before a trip to the grocers.

However, fall signals the beginning of the holiday season- which I particularly love! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and my anniversary, all within a two month time period! It's a hectic and slightly mind numbing amount of time and celebration, but I enjoy it nonetheless.

It's also begins my craft season... and I LOVE me some crafts! Although we live in a Southern state, where our little house is located, on the side of a steep hollow, the temperature can plummet way below 20 degrees and the wind chill is often way, way below 0, and house rattling. I am not an idle person by nature, so to keep my hands occupied I knit and crochet, do plastic canvas, paint, sew, do bead work and Kumihimo, and work on interior decorating. It keeps me sane in the forced enclosure!

I made my girls a crude Kumihimo disk yesterday and began to teach them how to weave necklaces. They both worked very hard on theirs, and each have an almost finished necklace to wear about their necks. I just let them make theirs out of yarn; it seems easier to me for a first project. I am almost out of floss for it, so I will have to pick some up next time I am in a big town- we no longer have a source here!

I was also out in search of hat patterns to crochet. It's still early in the season and I don't want to start a large project until I genuinely have no escape outside. While I didn't find any child hat patterns I love yet, I did come across a blog that had the absolutely cutest pair of fingerless gloves that I think I've ever seen. I really stopped right there and crocheted up a pair! They took less than 2 hours and are so adorable! She also had a "head hugger" that I particularly loved- although for the first one I am making, I've modified it to be worked with a G hook and to fit me (because it's in a child's pattern). I will post pictures of the set when I get them finished!

Well, my children have told me they are reduced to eating pickles since I am not making them a snack to tide them over until lunch (lol- they just ate about an hour ago!) so I will say adieu! Until Next Time!

A Little About Us

11:09 AM Edit This 0 Comments »
This is me. My name is Desi and I am the one writing this blog. (you would never have guessed would you?) For informational purposes, I wanted to introduce myself and tell you just a little bit about me and my family, so I am not some crazy person coming out of no-where. :)

I, personally, come from a not-so-normal background. My mother raised me by herself in Georgia from the time I was 5 years old, and did a pretty darn good job of it too- if I may say so myself. She struggled all our lives to pay the bills and keep a roof over my head, while going to school, and managing to keep me out of too much trouble. When I was fourteen, I met a girl who managed to outweigh my Momma's good sense (don't we all meet someone like that?) and dragged me into a world of witch-craft, eating disorders, self-mutilation, and trouble. I was sinking in deep, became clinically depressed, cut myself and dreamed of suicide.

My Momma did the most amazing thing for me. We waited out my freshman year, and picked up with a car-load of stuff and drove to Tennessee. I didn't get put back into public school, although that would have been the easiest thing. My Momma homeschooled me for the remainder of my high school, all the time working full-time. She got me involved with a fantastic local church, where I found the true love of my life: my Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now, I am twenty-four years old. I've been married to my darling husband for ... a long time. No really, we got married whenever we were 18 years old, and welcomed our first child, Harmony, into the world shortly there-after. Our first set of twins, a boy and a girl, Forrest and Regan came into the world 19 months later. Then we decided to try for one more boy, and ended up with two! Gabriel and Elijah were born 19 months after Forrest and Regan. We thought we were finished having children, but God knew better. Our baby, Jude Conner, was born exactly 13 months and 1 day after Gabriel and Elijah. Jude is over a year old now, Gabe and Elijah are two, Forrest and Regan are three, and Harmony is five.

We never planned on having a large family, especially not one this quickly, but I enjoy every minute of it... well mostly.

My husband owns and operates a construction and home-remodeling company in our small town, which he started after getting out of the military. We've lived all around the country, but always end up coming back 'home'.

Currently, we are buying six acres at the end of a hollow in Tennessee, remodeling the existing house, and all the while planning on building our 'dream home' and ripping this one apart- hopefully not too far into the future.
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