Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice...

I love playdates. They act as a sort of sanity keeper. Not that any playdate can have very much sanity in it when there are 5-10 preschoolers running around. But at least I know I am not crazy when we are all in it together. Thank the Lord for friends, and babies, and kids, and loud crazy days, chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, and chicken salad, and hand-me-downs, and last minute sitters, and text messaging, and powerful prayer, and Bible studies, and story swapping, and coffee, and supportive husbands, and laughter, because that what Big girls are made of.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just wondering...

Who reads this blog? I thought there were like maybe 5 or 6 people. But I have been noticing comments from people I had no idea who they were. Now, I get to read their blogs. Fun. So, you know, just wondering, if well, you know, ummm, would you, if you don't mind, i mean, if it is ok, could you tell me who you are, if that is cool with you, you know? Just 'cause I want to know. Maybe there are like 10 of you. That would be cool.


This is me in the oven. Well, me, reflected in the oven. That would be dumb. Really. I sit at the counter while working on the computer often. My children, in the background, are always in the background. My children follow me everywhere I go. I noticed that I do the same thing to Shane. If he goes to the office, I do too. If he goes to the shower, well, I all of a suden have the urge to brush my teeth or something bathroom related. I think it is interesting our need for comany. I also treasure my alone time, but I have enough of that by the time he gets home. When it snowed for many days in a row, Shane was home for about three days straight. We didn't go anywhere, just stayed in. On the third day we sat down at the breakfast table and he asked me if there was something wrong. I said, "No. Why?" He replied, "Because you aren't talking." I laughed and realized this poor man knows nothing of the quiet Jackie. I am quiet most of the day. I talk to no one about my deep thoughts, frustrations or excitement. I share things with my kids that would pertain to them. I teach them things. I share loving words, but you know...a 2 year old can only handle so much. So, Shane get it all when he comes home. The Jackie he knows talks nearly non-stop. He of course has known this for years. I just realized this. Wow, and he still loves me. I can only imagine how many nights I have bombarded him when he was so very tired, or frustrated, or just over hearing. He hears all day. He works in a gym where music is played loudly the entire time. He talks with clients for hours and hours. He listens to other people talking around him, for hours. He hears the clanging of metal weights and the spinning of treadmills. He hears intercome pages and laughter from the pools. He hears the base from the groupx room and the tempo from the cycle room. When he does have down time he is in a consult room on the phone with clients. Maybe I should start talking to my self during the day to give him a break. Do you think writing your words, as in writing this blog entry, counts for all the words we "have" each day?


We have been waiting and looking...and here they are, our 6-week old golden girls. We decided to go with one dark and one light, although it was a tough decision. They are sisters, which make the other sisters happy. They are fought over, held non-stop, picked-up, dropped, slept with and hand fed, but most of all they are loved. Very much.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I stay home with my kids all day. One might think they get my attention all day. But, somehow, there seems to be days where I go to bed at night and I am not sure if I even stopped to hug Annalee, or did I ever hold Avery like she had asked? Did I read to anyone? Did I crouch down and smile at Shelby? Or did I clean up messes, direct chores, provide food, change diapers and send them outside to play? None of those things are bad. In fact they are necessary, but those, without the others, is well, wrong. I know that. I know it deep in my heart. When I have a busy day where I forgot to stop and enjoy my children, I miss them when I lay my head down.
How is it that this happens? It is so easy to tell Avery, "Hold on baby, when Mommy is done with this I will hold you." She is ok waiting for a second, then we both get distracted and the moment is lost. I remember Shleby always wanted to be held. I remember thinking... I need to remember that she is extra affectionate and when she is a few years older she won't ask so much, but I need to remember to do it anyway. Because even though she doesn't ask, she still needs it. It is who she is. It is how she was made. That will never change. She may learn to deal with it in other ways, but at what cost, and why can't I stop and hold her? The dishes can wait. Who cares if I have sticky hands from baking. The bread will go in the oven when I need it to. The moment with Shelby is lost forever. Sure there will be more, but really, why do I stay home? Why do I keep them home? I never regret it when I do stop. We are all happier when I stop. Why is it so hard? I am a task oriented person to begin with. I often plow right through people to get a job done. I am really great at it. Sad, but true. I am working on it.
I also think about what I am imparting to my children in their faith. I love the conversation where there are many questions. Most of which I can't answer. I love to hear their thoughts and heart for God. Their faith is so simple, so uncluttered, so raw. I lead by example. We all do. What does my example look like? Am I making people the priority, or the task? Am I pointing to the Lord in all things? Am I being grateful? Am I talking with kindness? Do I have joy? Joy, peace, love...these are contagious. Am I living this way? Are my children learning about what a godly strong, peaceful woman of God looks like? Who am I in their eyes. Because, you see, they see the real me.
So to be intentional is hard. It take work, sacrifice and forethought. It requires time, flexibility and energy. It is something that doesn't come naturally. If it did we wouldn't have to be intentional about it, right. Right. So today I will smile, hold, hug, read, sing, thank, kiss and play with the greatest of intention. All with the grace of God leading my heart as I follow His example.

Friday, February 19, 2010


They are everywhere. Last fall they made a fast invasion, somewhat like a plague. There were thousands and thousands outside our home. I am not sure why they like the house, but they would crawl/fly everywhere. Then they were inside, all over the windows. Hundreds of ladybugs would be crawling along my sills and door frames. The garage ceiling was COVERED! I kind of thought it was gonna be short lived, like two weeks or so. But everytime the temperature rises above 40 I see them start lining my windowsills. They aren't really bothersome. They make noises when their hard wings land on things, but other than that they stay near the windows. When they die they land on my floors. Reece likes to eat them. I just wish they would go away. We are going on 6 months of the ladybug invasion. Anyone know why, or maybe just some advice on how to get rid of them?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nannie Sews

Nannie sews a lot. And. She. Is. Good. I purge the girl's dress-ups often, but I can't get rid of Nannie's. They are beautiful. And there are always three of them. Three pilgrims, three Indians, three pj dresses, three christmas dresses, three robes, and of course three for all the American girl dolls, as well. Nannie is opening her own sewing business online. I will keep you "posted" (I crack myself up:) so you can have beautiful dress-ups, too!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Goodbye to the snow. I just wrote a really long post about how I heard everyone complaining today about this snow, and how their kids were driving them crazy. Then I erased it, on purpose. I wonder why they feel that way. This has been something I have been thinking about all day.

Friday Meals

Breakfast - Strawberry Smoothie, Ezekiel Toast

I make this smoothie with frozen strawberries, coconut milk, and a squirt of liquid stevia. Just to clear things up a bit, I do not use the coconut milk that comes in a can in the international isle. It is a half gallon container from the refrigerated section. It is not thick at all. It is available in original, unsweetened and vanilla. Ezekiel Toast is a loaf you find in the natural foods frozen section. The recipe is found in Ezekiel, hence the name. It says something about mixing 9 grains for the perfect bread. It is amazing because it actually forms a complete protein. Not sure why that is great, but is makes Shane say, "hmmm..." in a good tone, so I assume that means it is good for you. It is also made with spouted grains. Again, I am not sure why this is good for you, but every book I have ever read about healthy eating says you should eat sprouted grains, so here we go... I smear the toast with coconut oil and blackberry jam, remember the one from the farm wedding? Yeap, yummm.

Lunch Bob Evans

My mom and sister called to see if we wanted to hang out. We were treated us to Bob Evans. The kids had pancakes and bacon w/ fruit, I had an omlet and pancakes, and Shane had a BBQ sandwhich and fries. See, this is where that "reality" portion comes in:)

Dinner - Egg Burritos and Chips

Made with eggs, cheese and salsa on whole wheat tortillas. Served with corn chips and salsa.

Self Portrait

How come I never see pictures of the mama's? Probably because we are the ones with the camera in our hands. Or maybe we are the ones who don't want to show our bodies, faces to the wide world of bloggers. OK, so here is a little SP for you, or me. However you want to look at it. I took a picture. Truth be told I think it was about 10 frames. Some aimed wrong, some bad angles, some bad faces, but here is the keeper. Then of course, I have to edit it just a little in photoshop. But, you know I appease my conscience because I only used like 47% powder room, not 90%. That makes me feel like I am being real, or at least 53% real. So here is my just-woke-up-best-picture-of-10-only-slightly-edited-self-portrait. For Real.

p.s. My children were banging on the door asking me why I was in the guest bathroom the entire time. So I had to lock it because they kept getting in my frames. That didn't count at part of the 10. So maybe there were like 17, or something like that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I remember PE was a joke. We got 3 points deducted if we didn't "dress out." We played kickball, softball and other games I don't really remember. I do remember a lot of standing around waiting in lines. I also remember thinking, if we have 45 minutes of exercise a day why isn't everyone fit? Who know what those hours were used on. Maybe PE programs are better these days. I hope so. It would be fun to do things like aerobics, or zumba. How about yoga or weightlifting? How about flipping tires? That is what Shane does with the girls.
Shane is home most days from about 11:30 - 3:30. This is a great time to spend with the kids. Avery and Reece nap the last 2 hours, so it is a good time for him to spend with Annalee and Shelby. He had everyone out there the other day flipping tires, sprinting across the yard and pulling each other with trailer ties. It was a beautiful day outside. I sure am glad the kids get to play with their Daddy outside, in the sun, instead of in a gym with fluorescent lights. I must say though, thanks to all the teachers who do take the gym opportunity and put it to good use. Some of those kids might never get to play like that any other time in the day. I do remember playing flag football outside, in the sun and really liking it:)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Camera Tag

We play tag. With the camera. They run, I click. It is fun. Until someone gets hurt.

Thursday Meals

Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Nachos
I use yellow corn chips, cheddar cheese, salsa and avocados, all organic. My kids love this meal and I use it often when I need them to get a good fill of veggies. Sometimes I will add black beans or ground venison, but not tonight:)
Dinner - No Harm Chicken Parm, The Sneaky Chef
I love this cook book. Can I say that about a book? It is so practical and it works. My kids were great eaters as babies, eating all kinds of veggies, but now they can vomit on command. I know this for a fact. So, I don't push the "eat it all, or else, rule." We do make sure they taste all new things and sometimes we make them take several bites, but if they look like they are gonna lose it, we stop. I mean, talk about dumb. Who has to clean that up? Oh, yeah, that would be me. So, this book has all kinds of veggie purees snuck into regular kid loved meals, like chicken parm. I am not giving you the recipes because there are a lot related with this one meal. Each puree is it's own recipe, but you can go get the book, or check it out from your library. This meal had spinach, broccoli, almonds, wheat germ, whole wheat bread crumbs, and many other nutritious goodies. The kids ate it up and I only wished I had made more.

Let it snow...

We are loving the snow, all of it. There is a lot. We have had many, many hours of snowfall, and we are expecting another 11 inches tonight. It is beautiful. I think my favorite part of snowfall is the sound, or lack there of. I love to go outside and listen. If you listen very closely you may be able to hear the snowflakes landing on the snow, but other than that there is nothing. No animal noises, no highway sounds, no kids playing, just silence. I think so is so amazing how everything halts in the snow. We all stay in, sit peacefully, and enjoy just being. I don't feel a sense of urgency to clean, or rush off to the gym. I get to be off the clock and take it all in. I also enjoy the anticipation. Everyone prepares with store runs, laying ice, filling up and getting warm. Everywhere you go people seem to have a look of anticipation. Excitement to share.It is so bonding. People smile more, with looks of agreement. We are all in this together, have fun!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Wednesday Meals

I have found that taking pictures of all my meals is super impractical. I usually am hurrying to get the meal on the table for the ravaging children and get halfway through the meal before I remember that I have not taken a picture. So, only one picture a day from now on. I think I can remember to do one out of three. We shall see. I also apologize for the late posts, but we were without power all weekend due to the amazing snowstorm. I was going to catch up on all things computer, but ditched that idea to snuggle up on the couch with the family by the fire. That was fun, for one night. Then we were off to my mom's the next day. One can only dream of being praireish for a little while before the reality sets in and you realize you smell a little from not showering. (That is because we had no running water:). I didn't really smell, I don't think, but I did want to bake cookies for the Super Bowl party we were attending and I needed a working oven. So here we are, back at last weeks Wednesday meals.
Breakfast - Cheerios, banana, and milk. I am currently weaning my kids off of cows milk(from a drinking glass that is...) and onto coconut milk, but they don't really like it. So, I mix it 1/2 and 1/2. Soon enough they will love it like me:)
Lunch - PB sandwhich and apples I used Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, all natural from Peanut Butter and Co., and wheat bread, the one I love from Wegman's
Dinner - Cheese and salsa quesadillas - how do you spell that? Made with organic salsa from Wegman's and whole wheat tortillas

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Um, no. That would just be the way Shelby's hair always looks. I brush it often, at least twice a day, sometimes four or five times. It is super fine and she plays rough. There is this one spot , well, maybe like the entire back of her head as you can see, that always gets tangled and sticks up. I have tried growing it long, cutting it short, putting product in it. It just seems to like to be this way. So my new plan is to grow it very long and keep it in pigtail braids, like on The Little House on the Prairie. That would be fun.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tuesday Meals

Breakfast - Oatmeal We have oatmeal almost four times a week in the winter. I love hot food, especially cereal. I have a new love for steel cut oats, and so does Shane. I get it in the organic bulk foods section at Wegmans, very inexpensive. The texture is a little chewy and very hearty. I add turbinado, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, yummm. Lunch - Burgers and Chips Shane gets venison from a friend when he helps him butcher it and we use it in place of all beef. It is lean, organic and FREE! We cook the burger on the stove in a little coconut oil and skip the bun. The adults to it with a little cheese, avocado and salsa. The kids usually skip the avocado and get a little more cheese. They often use ketchup, as well. The chips round out the meal and make for a great filling treat.
Dinner - Almond Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with Clementines
This wasn't on the menu for tonight but, we got a last minute invitation to do a little shopping with my mom and sister, so we had to be fast. I almost never go to fast food restaurants because it really only takes 3 min to whip this up and give it to the kids in the car. They love to peel the clementines and they sandwich is super good for them. I really like the bread, it is from Wegmans and it is made with 100% whole wheat, honey and a few other real ingredients. Very simple, very whole. The jelly was a gift from a wedding. The bride grew up on a farm, so although it was probably loaded with sugar, I am sure the fruit was free of pesticides.
For snacks we te bananas, juiced a green lemonade, and had some almonds. I also had coffee:)

Monday, February 01, 2010


I have a little secret, but I am not ready to tell. I can't wait to share it with you, but I want to have it perfect before you see it. Here is a little sneek peek to get your mind rolling. Just know that you are gonna love it!

Monday Food Run

I am excited to share with you some insight into our ways of nourishment. I think we have a great balance of healthy eating and reality. Of course I do, that is why I choose to do it. And, if you know me at all you know that I think my opinions are often beneficial to others. If you don't want to hear it, just move on to your next blog:)
So here is the beginning of a week-long look into our meals. I ran to the grocery store today, Wegman's, my favorite. Shane stayed with the kids, love him for it! I plan out my weeks meals ahead of time so that I can stick with my list. I work with about a $500 budget each month for all 6 of us. We eat about 95% whole foods, meaning is either grew on a tree or in the ground or it came from or had a mother, i.e. chicken, eggs, salmon... Additionally, we eat about 85% organic, at least 50% of that being raw fruits and vegetables. The only thing we eat "bad" is creamer in our coffee. It has fake stuff in it, like corn syrup:( I try to limit this treat, but I get on kicks where I make it everyday. Oh, well.
I cannot tell you how much better I feel, just knowing what is going in our bodies. No modified junk, no prepackaged, foil wrapped, never expiring so-called food items in this house. Oh, no. I mean, except the creamer, er, yeah, just sayin'. I love to come home and clean out the fridge, stock it full of fresh, colorful nutritious goodies.
We juice a lot, so much of our produce is consumed in liquid form, which of course makes it easier
to actually get all that nutrition in one day. I mean, if I actually ate 4 apples, a bag of carrots, a head of romaine, a lemon, ginger root, 5 stalks of kale, and a coconut, I might be in the bathroom all day! But running it through a juicer, not all at once:), provides for some tasty drinks and more nutrients than I could consume just by chomping all day.
So, here is what I bought today. I had a lot of produce at home because I had just stocked up before the big snow this weekend. So I didn't need to buy our usuals; apples, oranges, bananas, romaine, lemons, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados and spinach. Stay tuned for the daily meal plans and recipes starting tomorrow.
Wegmans trip 2/01/2010 - $113
2 All Natural Pizzas (for the babysitter to feed the kids during the Superbowl party)
Organic yellow corn chips
100% Whole Wheat bread
Ezekiel bread
Jalapeno cheese
Mozz cheese
Organic plain whole milk yogurt
Coconut milk (My new found love, they sell it by the 1/2 gallon. we use this now in place of regular milk) Coffee creamer, french vanilla (for me) hazelnut (for Shane)
2 bags of whole wheat, Omega-3 tortillas
BIG bag mixed frozen fruit
Organic frozen peas
Organic frozen blueberries
Hagen Dazz ice cream (2 pints, ok, I failed to mention this because I forgot, this is a treat for Shane, I can resist it because I hate to be cold and it makes me very cold!)
24 pack of bottled water
1 gallon of distilled water
Organic applesauce
Organic tomato paste
Organic whole tomatoes
Organic maple syrup
Organic mayo with flax seed and omega3's (this is made by Spectrum and I really like it because it is sweetened with honey and is actually pretty good for you)
All natural dark chocolate peanut butter
Organic buttermilk dressing
Corn tortillas
Almond milk
Sweet potatoes
Trail mix
Decaf coffee (whole bean)

Eggs in the Snow

Annalee is so serious about her egg buisness. She is saving for Disney World and wants to get there fast! She collects the eggs every morning and is always asking if she can go sell. She gets quite irritated when I use the eggs for our family. But, I explain to her that we get to use them first, she gets to sell the leftovers. We eat a lot of eggs, even before we had our own. So Annalee is reinvesting some of her Disney money into the business to buy more chickens.
More chickens = more eggs = more money = more Disney!

Happy Birthday Carla!

My Aunt Carla turned, ahem, 29. My mom, sister, aunt and I celebrated at the Melting Pot with Fondue for four. It was a great night full of laughs.