Announcing Aimee Grace

On Saturday Evening, after 13 hours of labor (about 11 of them with minimal pain) our third daughter was born at 10:33 pm.

We have a child-naming pattern. All of our boys’ names start with B,C,D,E and F (but not in that order).

Sons and One Daughter

Sons and One Daughter

Our girls’ start with Ad and An.

3 Daughters.

3 Daughters.

Now we have an Ai.

Aimee Grace was born with fairly long light brown hair. She is our second smallest, at 7 pounds, 10 ounces.

It’s been almost eleven years since I gave birth to E, our youngest biological child. He just asked if he could change Aimee’s diaper.

Aimee and a ten and a half year old

Aimee and a ten and a half year old

And it’s been more than five year since we adopted F. But the memories and skills are coming back.

Aimee and a five year old

Aimee and a five year old

We feel blessed and amazed that in God’s grace, he would gift us with another life!

By the way, here’s my husband’s post about our new daughter. It has more information.


The Last Nine Months

I’m writing this from a hospital room – for a good reason. I should have told you about this earlier.

Last summer, after thinking I was no longer able to have a baby (since I haven’t been pregnant in seven years), we received the happy news that I was pregnant.

The pregnancy has gone well. In fact, I think this has been was easier than my last few pregnancies. I’ve been much less tired. And my kids are much older. They can help out!

But now I’m at 38 weeks and the doctor was concerned that my blood pressure was too high so we’re inducing today!

Please pray; It’s been almost eleven years since I’ve given birth.

I’ll let you know!SAM_2769

Unwelcome Stress and God’s Mercy

Do you ever start “evaluating” your life and making plans for the future even when you don’t really want to?  Someone mentions to you something they’re doing (on what you assume is a regular basis) and you’re thrown into a mental panic: Oh, no!  I should be doing that TOO!  And if you’re a homeschooling mom, you add, I’m probably ruining my kids by not doing this already! And THEN I think, I’ll have to add that in the future—but how will I do it all?

Well, this happens to me ALL THE TIME!  So I was encouraged when I read the following devotional the other day…this is most of it, but it’s not very long…

God’s mercies are new every morning because each day only has enough mercy in it for that day.

This is why we tend to despair when we think that we may have to bear tomorrow’s load on today’s resources. God wants us to know: We won’t. Today’s mercies are for today’s troubles. Tomorrow’s mercies are for tomorrow’s troubles.

Sometimes we wonder if we will have the mercy to stand in terrible testing. Yes, we will. Peter says, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14). When the reviling comes the Spirit of glory comes. It happened for Stephen as he was being stoned. It will happen for you.

When the Spirit and the glory are needed they will come.

The manna in the wilderness was given one day at a time. There was no storing up. That is the way we must depend on God’s mercy. You do not receive today the strength to bear tomorrow’s burdens. You are given mercies today for today’s troubles.

(This is from Desiring God’s Daily Devotional app, which features over 30 years of John Piper’s teaching.  It’s free!)

We need to focus on the mercy that’s given for TODAY and remember that NEW mercy will be given for tomorrow—whatever that may bring.  So keep going today, even if you feel like you’re only plodding.  Or even “failing.”  (I’m preaching to myself.)  J

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

The Death of Our 36-year-old Freezer…Sorry Grandma!

Today we said good-bye to my grandma’s freezer, which we have owned for 15 years.  As we were waiting in front of it for the new freezer to arrive (we get excited about little things!), we wondered how old it really was.  So I told this story…

When I was (I think) seven, my grandma broke both of her arms while ice skating.  (I thought that was cool when I was seven; now I realize it wasn’t.)  As children like to do, I drew a picture of my grandma with both arms in a cast.  That picture hung on my grandma’s freezer for many years.  That’s how I knew the freezer was at least 36 years old.

Then we looked up “Sears Coldspot Freezer” online and learned that Sears only made “Coldspots” from 1928 to 1976.

I was sad to see it go, since it represented so many happy memories of my grandma’s house (and her cooking and baking), but here are some nice things about the new freezer…


  • The new freezer door closes all the way (and it’s even hard to open)!
  • We don’t have to use duct tape to keep the door closed.
  • I won’t have to dig out what I want from the freezer.
  • I won’t have to work really hard to get something in.
  • Our food is going to taste better—and I won’t have to keep throwing away my frozen vegetables.
  • It’s going to be less expensive to run.
  • It’s clean.
  • It’s cold.

I hope my children and grandchildren grow up to have fond memories of our freezer—and the food and holidays and family get-togethers it represents!

Swimming Lessons and Simplicity

Every Christmas for the past several years, my mother-in-law has given my kids swimming lessons for their Christmas present–and then she picks them up and brings them once a week for the next eight weeks.  This is a great idea for several reasons…

  • We don’t want our kids to associate Christmas with a lot of presents
  • We don’t need any more toys in our house
  • The kids are learning a valuable skill, and it counts as Phy Ed
  • I get a quiet morning once a week in January and February (this is the best one!):) happy

So each year I usually work on a big project on these quiet Thursday mornings, such as painting.  But this year, I’ve been decluttering, mostly because I don’t want to paint with my three-year-old around!  (He was still taking a morning nap last year.)  This morning, in addition to doing general decluttering in my bedroom, I went through a whole box of stuff in the storage room that we haven’t even looked at since we moved–six year ago!  Now I have room on my storage shelf for a box that’s been sitting in my bedroom for six months (cloth diapers–and I’m saving them for now; maybe one of my kids will want to use cloth diapers for their babies!)

Final Thought:
I’ve been doing much better at decluttering as I go (and you can get a LOT done in five minutes, as it turns out), but in order to tackle the “laziness” (or busy-ness) of the last fifteen years, it’s nice to have some chunks of time.  So I’ve decided that even after swimming lessons are over:( sad, I’m going to spend part of every Friday (a lighter school day) going through at least one box!  I don’t want to leave a huge mess for Scott and the kids when I die!  (Nor do I want to look at it for that long!)

I’m always inspired by images of simple homes, like this one…if one or two people can live in a house this tiny, then maybe my nine-person-family could live just a little bit like this–in a bigger house!  (Although the owner of the house in this image obviously doesn’t homeschool!)

Why I’ve Been Gone…

I just thought I would mention that my laptop has been going in and out of “surgeries” for three months(!), since the middle of December.  My loving husband bought me an iPod Touch during that time (which I really, really, REALLY like), but it’s a little hard to blog on it (at least for me.)  🙂

So hopefully, my computer is now here to stay!

Family Devotional for Lent

Since today is the first day of Lent, I got out our book, Family Celebrations at Easter, by Ann Hibbard.  I highly recommend this book, as it appeals to many ages and more than one learning style, and focuses on the gospel.

Each devotional begins with a short present-day story or situation, then moves to a Bible reading (not very long) pertaining to Lent.  Then come discussion questions, and I usually start with the youngest child and work my way around the table of kids, asking the provided questions and making up a few of my own.  I can quickly think of easy questions for the younger kids, and the more thought-provoking questions often launch my older kids into a meaningful discussion of the topic at hand.

The devotional ends with a short prayer and a suggested hymn, and then instructions about which symbol* to hang on our Lent tree.  The kids have fun guessing which symbol it is, based on that day’s reading.

*We copied the symbols (from the back of the book) a few years ago onto card stock, cut them out, colored them, and tied pretty yarn to each of them.  Also, we don’t have a tree; one year we just tied the symbols to a crocheted string hung across our fireplace mantel.

Simple Pizza Dip Recipe

My husband had his department potluck yesterday, and brought my pizza dip.  He got so many requests for the recipe, I decided to post it.  Now is the season when we’re all asked to bring something to share to many gatherings!


1 pkg cream cheese
1 jar pizza sauce – 14 oz.**
Mozzarella cheese – enough to cover the sauce two times (we buy it in bulk, so I really don’t know how much I used)
1 pkg mini pepperoni – 5 oz.
Oregano or Italian seasoning
Bread or crackers for dipping

The pizza dip is basically two layers of the first four ingredients.

  1. Cut half of the the cream cheese into small pieces and place in bottom of small casserole dish (or small crock pot).
  2. Cover with half of the pizza/spaghetti sauce.
  3. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella (in pizza-style) over the sauce (enough to cover it).  
  4. Scatter the pepperoni bites over the top so it looks like pizza.
  5. Repeat – with second half of everything.
  6. Sprinkle top with oregano or Italian seasoning.
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until heated through (or heat up in crock pot–works well for a potluck!)
  8. Serve with bread or crackers.
* I doubled this recipe for my 4 quart crock pot to serve a crowd.
**For the double recipe, I just used a 24 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce, rather than two pizza sauces.

Thanksgiving Traditions and Family Bonding

I LOVE simple traditions, and Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday for this reason.  So I borrowed the following excerpt from an email I received the other day from Keepers of the Faith…

Family traditions are one of the things that strengthen family ties or bond families together. A tradition is one thing that families can look forward to and enjoy together. They create wonderful memories, and are actually a great way to create future family togetherness and happiness within the family framework. Today there are many things which tend to divide families, but good traditions create warm bonds.

Regardless of the past, this is a new season for you and for your children. Give it some thought and prayer and see what you can begin doing this year to make your Thanksgiving a blessed one. Our traditions have changed through the years as is natural, but as grandparents, this is one that has been going on for nearly fifteen years. The grandkids wouldn’t miss it for anything. What do we do? Click here to find out!

One of our traditions is to serve a fancy breakfast (brunch) on Thanksgiving morning, with a white table cloth, candles, china and goblets!  (This was, of course, started by my mom.)  I might not have kept it up, since it is extra work, but my kids all look forward to it so much–partly because it’s such a sweet family time if you’re going to be with a large group for Thanksgiving dinner.

During the breakfast, we all go around the table several times and share something we’re thankful for–and place a kernel of corn in a dish for each item we name.  (Five kernels of corn are placed at each place setting and are to remind us to be thankful that we have more than five kernels of corn to eat!)  We begin and end with traditional Thanksgiving hymns, copied onto half-sheets of paper, with a Scripture reading printed on the back for everyone to read aloud.  It’s one of the highlights of my year! 🙂

Next time…our menu (with recipes)

Recipe for Chewy Brownies with Fudge-Like Frosting

I’m almost positive that not a day goes by that I don’t think about my mom, who passed away almost 15 years ago.  But I especially think about her during the holidays, since she made such a big deal out of them!

So here is her recipe for brownies, which never fail to get rave reviews like, “This is the best brownie I’ve ever had!”


1 ½ sticks butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 t. vanilla
Dash salt
1 cup flour

Melt butter and chocolate in large saucepan, stirring constantly (to keep chocolate from burning).  Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt, and then flour.  Spread in a 9×13 greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  (The brownies should still feel soft when you take them out!)


Melt ½ stick butter and 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate in large saucepan.  Remove from heat, and beat in (with mixer) 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and enough milk to make it glossy and spreadable.  QUICKLY spread frosting onto cooled brownies, and when it cools, it will be like fudge!