Friday, September 30, 2011

Field trip and then some...

Four and five year old need hands-on activities, right? They loved writing and playing in shaving cream the other day. It gave us a chance to practice writing some letters, numbers, and shapes, but it also cleaned my table ; ).
We love to bake at school, too. The girls are the perfect combination. Sophie likes to keep her hands clean and Bethany loves to get hers dirty. Bethany loves to grease the pan for me. She did a great job...the cake came out with no sticking! We made this chocolate chip cake for Joe a little over a week ago for his birthday. It's his favorite : ). When he came home for lunch, we surprised him with the cake. It was great!

I ordered a kit online that would give us the chance to see caterpillars grow, turn into a chrysalis, and hatch as beautiful butterflies. This is when we first got them...they were so tiny! They ate the food that came in the bottom of the container and got really big. Then we got to see them starting to form their chrysalis at school one was amazing. Now they've broken free and are butterflies. We're feeding them right now but will probably release them next week. It was a great science project. I also read the girls "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric of my favorite children's books. It tied into our real-life experience perfectly.

We have also been studying the northern US border states. I have a geography songs cd that teaches the girls how to remember each of the states along the borders. So I thought it would be a natural order for us to study them. One thing several of the states we started with have in common is the fact that Lewis and Clark explored them. So we decided to do our own "exploration day". We went down to a pond not far from my house and had a little outdoor snack. Then we looked at the fish in the pond and walked all the way around the pond and gathered leaves, acorns, pine straw, and other "samples" that we saw. The next week at school we made an "Exploration Notebook" and the girls glued their samples on the pages along with some nature pictures I cut out from a magazine. They turned out really well.

Here's Bethany standing by the edge of the pond feeding and looking at the fish. She told me some of the different types of fish that were in the pond...I was impressed!

Here's Sophie scanning the area with the binoculars.

About a week and a half ago we had our first homeschool group field trip this year. Our local veterinarian, Dr. Jim Rahn, led us on a tour of his office and showed us the different ways that he cared for his patients. We were able to see a puppy, a cat that basically lives in the office, and some other animals. All of the kids enjoyed it. I'm so glad that we have a homeschool community here in our town. We all work together to try and provide fun and educational field trips for the kids, which I'm also thankful for.

Sophie is allergic to cats and dogs, but she was able to hold a baby squirrel that some of the workers at the office found outside. Isaac was even able to hold it, although I did have to supervise him : ). The kids loved this little guy.

We had a week off of school last week...Sophie was sick and so we just decided it would be a good time for a fall break. Next week we'll be back into action. Some of the things I hope to do in the future include finding a pumpkin patch close by and also making contact with a Mennonite community to see if we could do a field trip there. I would love it if they could show us how to make some homemade bread, life on a farm, or how to make some other homemade things. I could probably do some of that myself, but I think it would be fun to learn from someone who does it on a regular basis! Plus we would be able to get out of the house ; ). Our homeschool adventure continues!

God bless!

Monday, September 26, 2011

More than just a girls weekend!

My friend Jennifer and I were in a Bible study several months ago called "Brave". It was written by a lady named Angela Thomas...and we thought she was great! In the back of the Bible study, there was a page promoting Lifeway's "dotMom" conference. Immediately it caught our eye...and we wanted to go. Praise the Lord...we did! It was last weekend in Birmingham, AL. Our dear husbands watched the children for us so we could experience a time of worship, refueling, fellowship, and fun. Bless you, husbands. We had an amazing time! Here are some highlights...
My old roommate from Thailand, Foy, and her roomate Emily graciously opened their home to us for the weekend. We had so much fun talking and hanging out with them! Foy also came with us to The Church at Brookhills Sunday morning. We were blessed by a great time of worship there.

The first day of the conference, Jennifer and I were walking back from eating dinner and just happened to see a big group of kids and adults with red shirts on. In my mind I thought, "I wonder who they are...they sure look familiar." Then I saw Jim Bob Duggar and it hit's the Duggars! Jennifer LOVES the Duggars (we don't watch it often because we don't have TLC) and was so excited. I was excited, too. The only Duggar we were able to speak to was the wife of the oldest Duggar. She was so nice and down to earth. We wished we had more time to speak with her. She did give us a stack of Duggar family pictures and asked us to pass them around and then had to rush off. We did ask if we could get a quick picture : ).

Here's the family on stage. They were working with Habitat for Humanity that weekend and happened to find out about the Mom's conference. They agreed to stop by. Jim Bob shared about his and Michelle's perpective on having children and how God has blessed them. He also mentioned that the whole family just returned from a trip to Israel and Europe. Josie got a cold while in Israel, so the doctor there recommended she stay until she got better. So Michelle, Jill (one of the older daughters) and Josie were still in Israel. I'm sure the Duggars would appreciate your prayers! The family also sang for us before they left. What a neat family!

Another highlight...worship with Michelle Greene. This lady is amazingly talented. She looks really cool, too. Check out that hair! Anyway, she had some other friends with her, including another former member of Avalon, and we were privileged to get a little mini-Avalon concert Friday night. Good stuff.

We finished the conference around 4pm on Saturday, so we planned a girl's night with Foy. We had an unexpected call from some friends from Thailand, the Firpo family, saying they had only Saturday night free for us to visit. After supper we headed over to their house. The Lord has blessed me so much through this family! When I was in Thailand I taught two of the Firpo boys and spent a lot of time with the rest of the family. They just happened to be on furlough right now so I was determined to see them!

We were doubly blessed to be able to see another family from Thailand that is on furlough the same time as the Firpos! I was equally determined to see them while we were in Birmingham. We settled the plans on Sunday morning and saw them Sunday afternoon. I was so excited to spend time with them! Melody has been a friend and mentor for several years and still encourages me even now. She is an amazing woman of God who I love and admire! John, Melody's husband, was my supervisor for years in Thailand and I respect him very much. The Hunt kids are all very gifted, friendly, and have hearts for God.

Those are the highlights of our girl's weekend! We had so many opportunities to worship and study God's Word. We also learned about how to relate to our children and understand how to be better wives and mothers. Jennifer and I also appreciated that the main speakers were mingling among the rest of us, attending breakout sessions and being very approachable. I would encourage any mom reading this to think about attending next year's dotMom conference! It's going to be Sept. 21-22, 2012 in Birmingham. It's well worth the money!! Jennifer and I are already thinking about it! God bless~Stacey

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kindle Freebies

I thought it would be a good time to send out another Kindle freebies list. don't have to have a Kindle to get all of these. If you look on Amazon there is a place where you can download "Kindle for..." and there are choices of PC, Ipad, Iphone, etc. I did this before I got my Kindle. Then, when I did get a Kindle, all the books I already had transferred right over to it.

I also wanted to say that I haven't personally downloaded all of these books. Some of them just didn't appeal to me and I didn't just want to download for the sake of having a free book. I also don't know if ALL of these are Christian fiction. I always try to look at the description and the reviews to see if there are any red flags, and they usually pop up pretty quickly. For these books, I didn't see any "red flags" but I always recommend that you check for yourself to be sure this is a book you'd want. disclaimer is over : ). more thing. Some of these have been free before, so just in case you missed them you have another chance!

Stars Collide by Janice Thompson

The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang

Love From the Ashes by Denise Agnew (I think this was self-published)

Delivered with Love by Sherry Kyle

God's and Kings by Lynn Austin

A Cry for Justice by Shelley Hundley

Summer of Fire by Linda Jacobs (firemen story...sounds a little tragic/suspenseful)

Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson

Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren

A Stranger in the Family by Patricia McLinn

The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

The Glory of Green by Judy Christie

Christian Living books (nonfiction):

Hurry Less, Worry Less by Judy Pace Christie

Buck-Naked Faith (don't have the author on this one...oops!)

The End of Religion by Bruxy Cavey (not sure about this one!)

Leading From the Sandbox by TJ Addington

Prayer Begins with a Relationship by Cynthia Bezek

Hope you enjoy! I'm still waiting for my copy of Out of Control by Mary Conneally to come from Bethany House. I can't wait to read/review it! We also had a great time this morning on our field trip to the Veterinary Clinic. Pics to come! Until then...have a good weekend! I'm off to Birmingham tomorrow! Yippee!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our life at week 12

I haven't been a faithful blogger lately. It's not because I don't still love it or wish to tell all of you about the wonderful things we're doing around's simply that I'm nauseous and tired all the time. It's sort of draining. About 4 or 4:30pm every day, baby Daniel reminds me that he/she is helping those hormones do their work. Cooking dinner every night has not been pleasant. The thought of fixing a meal that involves raw meat is very unappetizing...but my family is depending on me to feed them. Let's just say we have had a lot of sandwiches and frozen pizza lately. Thankfully no one has complained! I know this, too, shall pass in time but I'm ready. I have hope, too. I'm entering into week 12 and that means that my first trimester is pretty much done. And that means that the sickness...if it's anything like my first two pregnancies...should start to let up. Yes! So I decided to look up how baby D is doing this week. Here's the scoop (according to

How your baby's growing:
The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder.
Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Pretty exciting! Our little one is growing and I can tell. I'm already wearing some maternity clothes. Yes, I'm stretched out from the other babies, or so I've been told. I'm really trying to be healthy this time around, though. I am charting my weight each week, trying to eat healthy and avoid sweets, and plan to do more exercise once this sickness lets up.

So...not only am I going through some physical transitions lately, but we've also been going through some other transitions with Sophie and Isaac. Sophie is now out of pull-ups at night! Wooohoo! I didn't know when this day would come. hasn't come without a price. Joe and I have to wake her up, usually twice a night, to go to the bathroom in order to avoid the dreaded wet bed. Is it worth not having to buy pull-ups? Yes. Do I wish I didn't have to wake her up? Yes. I'll deal with it. As I've stated before, Isaac is in a big boy bed now. The first week was kind of rough. He was not staying in his bed and it was taking forever every night to get him to sleep. Then he was tired and irritable the next day. Not fun. The words "Supernanny technique" even came up in Joe and I's conversation one night. That's how desperate we were! Thankfully...this week he's started getting on board with the going to bed thing. Yay! If he doesn't go right to sleep, he quietly gets up for a few minutes, but climbs back into bed and pulls his covers up. Awesome. Mommy and Daddy are happy.

Other happenings this week: our first school field trip of the year! We're heading out to the local veterinary clinic and they're going to give us a tour. I think everyone is going to enjoy it. And...the highlight for me is a Mommy's weekend! A friend and I are heading over to Birmingham to attend one of Lifeway's dot.Mom conferences. It's going to have some wonderful Christian speakers, authors, singers, and Bible study leaders. There will be breakout sessions that we'll be able to choose from that sound wonderful! I think it will be a great time of learning and refreshment for us. Not only that, but I'm also planning to see some of my old Thailand buddies! We're staying with one of my old roomies and will hopefully spend some good quality time with two familes who are home on furlough.

Thanks for sticking with me, everyone. I have pictures and things that I plan to post soon. We've been having fun with homeschool and the girls are doing great. Isaac is saying lots of new words and showing interest in learning shapes, colors, numbers, and other things.

We are truly blessed. Thanks for all your prayers!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I love the P-Dub!

I must confess that I'm one of the hundreds...probably thousands...of people who love The Pioneer Woman...aka Ree Drummond. I saw a link on a friend's blog to her site and it was all over. I started by reading her e-account of her and her man's love story, who she affectionately calls "Marlboro Man". I read "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" in no time flat. Very entertaining! Since then I've been following her blog ( She blogs on homeschooling, home and garden, photography, cooking, and more. I really don't know how she does it...and manages a home and family! A few weeks ago her Food Network show debuted on Saturday morning (at 11:30am). I was so anxious about somehow missing the first episode that I even dreamed about it the night before! lol That's crazy, right?! I didn't miss it (whew!) and really enjoyed it. One reason I liked it was because it wasn't just a person standing behind a counter telling us how to incorporated the ranch, the family, and cooking. And the food was "real" food...mashed potatoes, chicken fried steak, mac and cheese, sliders...things that my family would actually eat and I can find the ingredients for. Love it! I also introduced my parents to it and the other day Mom made the mashed potatoes. They were awesome. Here is the recipe (
Creamy Mashed Potatoes

2011, Ree Drummond All Rights Reserved

2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for pan
5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 4-quart baking dish.
Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the heat and add 1 1/2 sticks butter, the cream cheese, heavy cream, seasoned salt, kosher salt and pepper. Mash to combine.
Spread the potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Throw pats of the remaining butter over the top of the potatoes and bake until the butter is melted and the potatoes are warmed through, 20 to 30 minutes.

If you go to this address... Type:Result&N=501&fnSearchString=The Pioneer should take you to all 13 of Ree's recipes. The lemon blueberry pancakes look divine! I hope you all have a great weekend! I'm planning to rest, hoping not to feel too nauseous, and enjoy spending time with the kiddos. Maybe I'll even read some. I've neglected my big pile of books that I want to read due to evening baby sickness! I also just saw that Lisa Bergren's next book is out (Torrent) and I can't wait to get it!!

God bless~Stacey

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big Boy Bed

Yes, big sis had to come join her little bro in his big boy bed. All smiley and was a great day! This is a close up shot, so I thought I'd include another one so you can get the full effect.
There they are. Isaac is holding his "Ten Little Monkeys" book..."reading"...and my Mom is sitting next to them. The bed fits just right in Isaac's room. The room is pretty's actually an old side porch that was enclosed, so it has windows almost all the way around it and no closet. We've definitely had to improvise : ).

Now don't get me wrong. We're happy to promote Isaac out of the baby crib into the big's not been an easy transition. Isaac really enjoys his new-found freedom. In fact, even though his eyes are rolling back in his head when I lay him down, he still manages to get up out of the bed, go to his door, and look at us. That's another issue. Because Isaac's room wasn't really designed as a bedroom, the door leading into it has glass panes on the front. Which means little man can see out. The other night I tried to duct tape a blanket over the door, but there was about a foot of space left at the bottom. Isaac got on his stomach and sat there looking at me. Yes, he's a smart little guy. He's also figured out how to position himself against the door so that when we're trying to go in and tell him to go to bed, we can't open the door. Yes, it's a new day at the Daniel house. We're hoping he'll realize that it's so much better if he just stays in the bed and sleeps...or that we'll figure out a better way to cover that door!

Prayers appreciated! : )

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's cookin' and some great Kindle freebies!

My friend Wendy brought me a little sample of a chicken dish she made the other night so I could see if I liked it. It was YUM-O! Plus it's easy...just what I like to hear! So Wendy brought the recipe over the next day and tonight I plan to try it out.

Tangy Ranch Chicken

4-6 (5 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2/3 cup Ranch dressing

1/3 cup classic yellow mustard

3 Tbsp. brown sugar


Mix salad dressing, mustard and sugar. Pour 1/2 cup sauce into serving bowl. Coat chicken with the remaining sauce in a 3 qt. greased baking dish. Bake chicken at 350 for 25 min. until cooked. Serve with reserved sauce.

Alternative to baking: Prepare sauce as above. Cook chicken in 1 tbsp. hot oil in nonstick skillet until well-browned, about 10 min. Stir in reserved sauce. Simmer 3 min. until flavors are blended and chicken is glazed.

Easy, right?! Oh, yeah! Just the way I like it. I've even got the nutrition facts...if you dare look : ).

Serving size: 5 oz

Calories: 371

Fat: 8g

Saturated fat: 5g

Carbs: 5g

Fiber: 0g

Protein: 28g

Cholesterol: 125mg

Now that you have is some entertainment! There are some awesome Kindle freebies right now! I was pretty pumped to see all of these great authors!

The Choice (can't remember the author) is free but I got the last time it was free. It's an Amish Christian fiction. I remember it being pretty good.
I Shall Not Want by Debbie Viguie (Christian thriller)
Invitation to the Jesus Life by Jan Johnson
The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado
The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
Stars Collide by Janice Thompson
A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer
A Daughters Inheritance by Tracie Peterson and Judith Pella
No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan
and RV Cooking Cookbook by Gooseberry Patch (it's got some great little recipes in there)
I also picked up Cathy Marie Hake's book "Forevermore". It wasn't free, but it was marked down from $14.99 to 50 cents! I love Cathy's books, so I splurged! : )

Hope you enjoy!