Friday, November 30, 2012


Joy and Grandpa after Thanksgiving
Yesterday I read this post by another blogger.  She's on a trip to Africa to meet her daughter.  This one's about all the kids she can't adopt.

It made me cry, want to wake up my sleeping children so I could snuggle them, and realize how precious my time is with them.

 I also read somewhere this week that a child learns their attachment by the age of 5 and if they spend more time with their peers they may well attach there ~ or not at all.

And then earlier this week another friend told me she's giving her 6 week notice and staying home with her 8 month old, just to enjoy this time.

All of these random thoughts about my children and the time I have with them.

Life is such a balancing act and I'm such a Type A person that it's hard for me to just chill out if there are too many things out of line.  But my children will only be home with me for a little while... Cory's already in school half days and I don't see him there.  He's growing up and in the craziness I don't often get to spend time just with him (time for dates to begin?).

It's hard to slow down, but if I don't, I miss the wonder.  In light of my friend's post I have tried just to take a few minutes more with my children.  The laundry will always be there...  their childlike wonder will not.

Where is the wonder in your life?  Have you made time for it lately?

This is the last 5 Minute Friday of the year.  I haven't been as good at participating this year, but I love the prompts for writing.  I hope you'll consider joining me more often next year!

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Eats and Treats: Gluten Free Dining (and cruising!)

This summer in amongst the craziness that is traveling with 4 small children someone told us about this completely gluten free restaurant in Oregon.  Of course that sounded awesome to me - letting the boys eat whatever they wanted without having to say "no, you can't have that" would be great!  Also, not having to ask 50 questions about the ingredients or how it's prepared...

So on the last night of our visit to the in-laws we went and since I was feeling so miserable I just left my camera at home.  BIG mistake!  We met the wonderfully friendly owners and had a lovely dinner in their cute little cafe called Eats and Treats.
The food was SO yummy and even our regular non-GF eaters were impressed!  I was sad that I didn't get to take pictures of my new friends and their restaurant.

However, all was not lost since we went back on our smoke evacuation.  This time my sister-in-law (who is also GF) got to come with us too.  AND I remembered my camera!

This is Lynda and her husband (I'm so bad, I can't remember his name!) who own and run the cafe.

I'm pretty sure that we'll be making a trip to this place every time we go visit family!

They also have a GF farm and produce their own GF flours and mixes.  This summer they sent us home with a bag of their new waffle mix to test and we LOVED it.  Even Brian said it was the best waffles ever!  I can't wait until it's available... *hint hint*

And finally... Lynda is a travel agent.  Since she understands the importance of being able to eat gluten free she has put together her own cruise that is entirely gluten free!  We are actually going on a cruise at Christmas with my family, but I am slightly jealous that we can't go on her cruise.  We have had to make special arrangements for our food and I'm going to have to bring some of my own snacks for me and the kids anyway.

If you or anyone you know is interested in cruising would you check this out?  The AmaPrima is sailing the romantic Danube River with gourmet chefs on board to provide delicious gluten free food and pastries!  Unfortunately for me it's in May and most teachers don't get vacations in May.  Let me know if you get to go, okay?

I am relatively new to the world of food allergies, having just a year since my son's diagnosis, but I never realized how much it affects all areas of your life.  It changes everything.

What about you?  Do you have or live with/care for someone with food allergies?  What kind?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Favorite Toy

Hand me down toys are the best... we brought this home with us from my best friend's house a couple weeks ago and it has gotten a LOT of use...  by all the kids!  The girls use it to pull up on as well, but sometimes they pull hard enough it tips over on them.  Not so great!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Growing UP!

Joy has learned how to pull herself up on everything in the last week... Hope is getting there too, but these are all Joy.

Look at me Mama, I'm pulling up!

Standing up with my new favorite toy (that brother's like too!)

In my new bed all by myself!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book: Courting Cate

When This Couple Gets to Courting, Sparks Will Fly!

In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!

But the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor ~ until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.

Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate's hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?


An Amish retelling of the Taming of the Shrew, this was an interesting look at how we allow our circumstances to define us. The story is all told from Cate's perspective so we see how she changes as she becomes aware of herself.  At first I wasn't sure I liked the story, it seemed strange, but once I realized what it was based on it made a lot more sense.  And it was actually slightly convicting, making me wonder if how I see things is really how they are truly.

I might keep this one for myself and I'll definitely be on the lookout for the rest of the series!


Courting Cate: Book 1 in The Courtships of Lancaster County series.
See more blogger reviews on the LitFuse site.

Leslie Gould is the co-author, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels, including Garden of Dreams, Beyond the Blue (winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006), and Scrap Everything. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet Treat: Make a Friend's Day

I love to get mail.  I mean real mail that's addressed to me from someone I know.  Junk mail and bills don't count.

I try to return the favor by sending birthday cards and notes to let friends know I'm thinking about them.  I haven't been the greatest this year.  My life has gotten a little more complicated!

But when I do want to send a card and I haven't had time to stop by the store there's a place online I know will have the perfect card for any occasion.

Treat lets you personalize any card and they will even send it for you.  So there's no excuse that you don't have a stamp anymore!

They're so convinced you'll love their product and convenience they're offering a free card to anyone who wants one.  Just use code TREATBLOGR today and tomorrow (11/19 or 20 only) for one free card.

Got a friend with a birthday coming up?  Someone you know that needs a little encouragement?  Or simply someone you've been thinking of?  Send them a card today!

I have been compensated for my time in sharing this promotion.  I use Treat on my own dime as well and all opinions are always my own.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

8 Months!

My girls are moving!  Joy is faster than Hope at the moment, and has already scaled the baby wall (couch cushions) so we had to make it bigger.

 I took these photos on their 8 month birthday, 
but they turned out a little blurry so I had to take some more on Saturday.

Hope was super smiley that day, watching Cory be silly for me to hold their attention.

Joy just wanted off the couch!

These are the outfits that my penpal, Amy, sent me from Australia.  They came from Target, but I've never seen such cute baby girl clothes here in our Targets!  I'm jealous!  Also, yes, I had to wash them between Thursday and Saturday so they could wear them for picture retakes!

Saturday I could NOT get Hope to stay sitting upright.  She was in a chill mood apparently.
And Joy's expression is awesome!

Joy always wants in on the action!
She's the one that will crawl over to me if she can.

I'm really not sure what Hope was doing with her foot, but this picture cracks me up, 
she just looks like a ballerina to me!

And I have a feeling this may be the last month I can convince them to sit, 
together, and nicely for bunny pictures!

Hope has her 2 bottom teeth and Joy still the one, but with the amount of fuss and drool lately I'm sure more are to come.  They eat Kix and soft veggies (although more end up in their laps and stuck to their clothes than in their mouths right now) and baby food with gusto.  If you don't feed them fast enough or to their liking they will shriek.  They don't do it so much other times thankfully!

Joy sucks her right two middle fingers and if I'm holding her she will reach up with her left hand and play with my earring or the hair at the back of my neck.  Or if she's very excited she bounces in my arms and pats me with her hands. Hope sucks her left thumb only.

They are both babbling much more now and starting to make sounds that could be "mama" and "dada" although I'm fairly sure it's still just babble.

Sisters are very aware of each other now and in their bed if one of them is trying to sleep and the other is awake she will often go and mess with the sleeping one.  Not so fun when the sleeping one is awakened then.  More often than not it's Hope messing with Joy, crawling over and pulling on her ear, chewing on her head or her leg, or one time just laying on top of her!

We have a little mirror that came with a playmat and Joy has discovered the baby in the mirror.  Seriously adorable when she sits there and stares down at it and talks to it!

The girls are both sitting up and playing with toys, something I don't remember the boys doing much, they were always moving and didn't actually learn to sit up on their own and balance for awhile.  Yes, cutest thing ever!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Friend Hopping: In-laws Edition

So after staying with my friend Hilary for 5 days, Wednesday (Sept. 26th) was "do or die" day.  Do we go home now or do we commit to going to Oregon?  Because if I was going to Oregon and the smoke miraculously cleared up I was not going to turn around and come back in 3 or 4 days.

The smoke was still bad enough and the forecast was still bad enough that we went.  And spent 10 lovely days in Oregon with all of my in-laws (except Brian) because his sister was in the process of getting ready to move to Africa for 2 years.

And when we finally came home the smoke was still moderately bad for about 2 more days and then we had rain and it's all been lovely since.  So it was perfect timing!

The boys LOVED playing with their new cousin William - taking turns in the bath with him...

Playing with him in the pool...

And generally enjoying being back at Grandma and Grandpa's house (we'd only left a month earlier!)

We spent a day with Great Grandpa so he could have more time with his new great grand daughters!

The girls and William didn't actually spend a lot of time together as they were on very opposite sleeping schedules.  These were the best pictures we got of them together!  William was SO interested in them.

Uncle Joel is a great pianist and he was sharing the love of Grandma's piano with all the boys.

At the end of our stay Brian flew down and the timing was right for us to attend a family birthday party that we never would have been able to otherwise.

Miss Brooklynn turns 4!

It was at a nickel arcade up in Portland and Noah was enthralled the whole time we were there.

Daddy teaching his son the finer points of gaming...

Oh the fun that can be had for a nickel!

These ball games are actually my favorite... but I guess having a baby on your hip (or an encouraging husband) helps you win the jackpot!

The boys came home with some lovely treasures and it probably cost us less than $10.  Good times!

And it made for a great photo op!  Great grandpa with some of his grandkids and ALL of his great grand kids!  Not going to happen again for awhile since William is now residing in Africa!

And after the birthday party we went to a park and then a Mexican restaurant with some other friends.  They put us in the very back corner, but the place filled up and I think we were a little loud... that's what 6 kids under 5 does!

The girls got lots of attention from Grandpa (Joy) and Uncle Joel (Hope) who was super great as my backup kid watcher even though he was studying intensely for a Hebrew exam!

In all it was a really good time even though a bit crazy for me.  And then it took me a good two weeks of being home to catch up on my life!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book: Change of Fortune

A Change of Fortune

Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiance, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.

Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone.

Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence.

When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.


Well, it seems in all the chaos that is my house I managed to read my books for review out of order.  So I only just started this one and have the next one done.  Whoops! 
From what I've read so far this is a fun, light read.  I don't know if she'll get her fortune back, but I'm pretty sure by the end of the book she'll get the guy.  Isn't that how these work? *smile*
And I have really no idea what life was like back in 1880, but I'm kind of surprised that an upper class girl would travel from England by herself and be resourceful enough to find someone in New York.  But maybe I'm being snobbish/snarky tonight.  It is kind of funny the situations she gets into, so far all because of someone else's decisions.

With that...if you would like to read the first chapter of A Change of Fortune, go HERE.

Jen Turano grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.

She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she fired up the computer and never looked back.

Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.

Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Last night I was thinking, as I went to bed early, that I hadn't participated in Five Minute Friday in a long time and I kind of missed it.  I wondered what the theme was for this week and thought that Silence would be a good word.

And then I looked just now and found the word was quiet.  A synonym.

Quiet is the peace that descends over my house when all my littles are asleep.  The time for my brain to slow down and be able to concentrate.  A time to ponder things that hover at the edges during the mad rush of the day.

Sadly it is in the quiet that sometimes I feel the most overwhelmed.  The piles of things undone loom large and there never seem to be enough hours of quiet to accomplish even the most basic of things.

And as we've yet to move the computer out of the babies' room now my typing has awakened my light sleeper, Joy, and my quiet is over for now...

PS. You can see what it feels like my life looks like... we got a new photo for the header!

This is a post prompt from The Gypsy Mama. Join in?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween Crazies

I'm not quite sure why I think I have to do the holidays to the same standards this year... must be my Type A personality...

Anyway, we finally got around to buying pumpkins this weekend - took what was left at the farmer's market - for an awesome price I might add!  Then we carved them last night.

And by carved I mean Mom and Dad did the carving with a little creative input from the boys.  Cory is never quite sure about the scraping the guts out part, but Noah just dives right in!

The aftermath... at about midnight!

This is the only picture we got of the costume crew tonight.  Kinda hard to wrangle a camera and two babies between us!  But thankfully it wasn't too cold this year and the rain held off so we were good! 

I finished the girls' costumes at about 4pm today.  Next year I'm just buying them.  Oh wait, I just ordered some on clearance tonight.  Cheaper and WAY less stressful!  Although I did get lots of comments!

And then we finally lit our pumpkins.  L to R: Daddy, Noah, Joy and Hope, Cory, Mommy