Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions In The Making

Typically Monday's are reserved for my friend Nan's link up at her blog Mom's The Word. This week she's taking the week off, but you can still check out her latest blog post here. She's amazingly funny and insightful all at the same time!

Traditions are a big deal in my family. We have the typical traditions of the tree and the decorations and the gifts, but we also have some unconventional traditions thrown in there for good measure.

For example:

Christmas Adam: each year we do something different for the night before Christmas Eve (get it - Christmas ADAM?) This year we went with my folks to see the Christmas light display at the local university (well, 60-ish miles away IS local here!) then to eat. It's a walk-through display with lots and LOTS to see. The very best part was hearing the kids' excitement with every display. They of course had their favorites, and the hubbs and I had ours.

Christmas Eve Smorgasbord: No, we are not Danish, this is just something fun we do. Each year we have a different theme, with similar ingredients. One year we had a fish fry, one year we had a crawfish boil, one year shrimp and lamb chops (meat pops as my minecraft inundated kids call them . . .). They always involve seafood - kind of our answer to the Italian tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes.

Gifts of the Magi: Each year our children get three gifts from us (one from Santa!) - these three are to remind them of the gifts given to Christ by the kings when they came to see and worship him. They are usually fairly small gifts, but fun ones that the kids wanted.

We've also started some new traditions this year:

The Elf on a Shelf: No, we didn't buy one from the store. We actually HAD an elf that my husband got from his family some time ago. Who knew that all we needed to do to give him elf magic was to name him and sprinkle him with some cinnamon? E named him Buddy after Will Farrell's character in Elf. Buddy's gotten into a bit of mischief this year - we'll have to see what he gets into next year!

The Christmas Pickle: As it turns out, this is a REAL tradition! My husband is part German, so we get into the German traditions a LOT. This is one that we just found out about. The kids search for the pickle on the tree and the first one to find it gets a "special" gift as a prize! Not sure how this one is going to go with our kids . . . We may have to nix it next year!

And of course there are the traditions that I always WANT to do, but never get around to like:

Christmas Cards: I think I have FOUR boxes of these suckers. I ALWAYS buy them, and NEVER send them!! I don't know if it's laziness or what, but I haven't sent a Christmas card in  . . . well . . . Okay a LONG time!! All I can say is thank God for Facebook . . .

Christmas Cookies: I always want to bake, bake, bake the holiday season, but I NEVER have time to do it with all of the running around! So we rarely have Christmas cookies. Not sure what I'm leaving for Santa this year. Maybe rice cakes and a protein shake . . ?

The Gingerbread House: HahahahahahahahahaHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahahahahahaaa! Sorry. Got a bit carried away. Yeah. The Gingerbread House. Every year I say "we're going to do it this year!" and . . . nope. It's a laugh for sure.

Christmas lights: I want lights on the house so bad, but they never happen. Maybe one day . . . (hint, hint, hubby!)

So that's what our Christmas Traditions look like this year. What traditions do you and your family share?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When Your Child Can't "Go"

Yesterday I had one of the most frightening moments of my life.
E had been sick the night before - I'd assumed she'd eaten too much or caught a flu bug going around, so I brushed it off. Then, yesterday morning, I woke her up to get her ready for school. She had seemed like she felt better - playing with the puppy in her bed, smiling, and laughing (as she does). She headed back to get dressed and I went to get her clothes. I heard her in the bathroom, retching and my heart sank. I hate when my kids are sick - my heart just breaks for them. So I went in and helped her, then decided to help her back to bed - there was no way she was going to school. When we got to the door between the living room and the dining room, she stopped. I heard the scared tremor in her voice as she cried out "mama I can't SEE!" I ran to her and looked at her face. Her color had gone from her usually pale pink to an ashy grey-green. And her eyes, in a fully lit room, were completely dilated. My heart racing, I quickly helped her sit in a chair and called my mom, in a panic. She rushed over and we planned to take E to the ER in the next town over.

As time went on, she looked better and acted like she felt better, so we decided to take her to her pediatrician rather than sitting for hours in the ER.

Then, something dawned on me. E had been constipated (severely) the week before. We had done a clean out routine that involved Miralax and a suppository, and she had gone, but I didn't know how much (she wouldn't let me look). As it was, she hadn't gone to the bathroom since. Apparently, the clean out we did did not take and she wasn't completely cleaned out.

So WHY did it not work? We're talking 17 capfuls of Miralax in a pitcher of water and a suppository. And it wasn't until the suppository that she actually went.

According to our pediatrician, when some people digest their food, their bodies remove TOO MUCH water, causing what's left over to become too dry. This puts them into a continuous cycle of constipation. And not much can help with it. Miralax will, for a while, but once their bodies get used to it or they come off it, the cycle begins again.

FINALLY we're beginning to get some answers.
This explains EVERYTHING.

We have had issues with this since E was 3 years old. Now I know why.
The constipation was so bad that it caused Emily to get sick (this has happened before).

So what now?

Well for this initial clean out we have been told to use drastic measures after which we will be doing an unconventional treatment - suppository therapy.

We're praying this finally works for E. It's time for this cycle to end.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordful Wednesday: Ragamuffin

My spiritual life has been rocky, to say the least.
When I was younger, I turned completely away from God and into an opposite direction for a while.
When I returned to Him, I still wasn't the person I could be.
Even now, I am not the model image of "Christian".
I am a sinner.
I am a gossip, a fornicator, a drunkard, and a liar.
I fail, quite often, and I can be quite good at it.
And the beauty of it is:
Christ doesn't see these sins.
When I chose to accept Him, my sins were wiped clean.
I begin each day free and clear.

Salvation is a gift, freely given, of God Himself.
He does not require that we do anything to receive it, other than accept it.
When he sent Christ to die on the cross, it wasn't with conditions or stipulations:
He did not say, "I'll do this, but you have to do something for me first . . ."
Nope. All he wants is for us to accept Him.

Recently I started reading a book called The Ragamuffin Gospel.
This book speaks about Christ in a way I've never heard before.
You see, out of all the holy people in Israel during his life: the pharisees, the rabbis, the sadducees . . . He did not associate himself with them.
Instead, Jesus hung out with the rif-raf.
He dined with prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, murderers, and the like.
He sat with gossips, fornicators, drunkards, and liars.
Jesus' friends were all, to coin a phrase, ragamuffins.
He knew who needed him most.
He knew who needed salvation most.

Looking at my own life, I realize how big a ragamuffin I am, personally.
I am a sinner, sometimes in the worst way.

I hear a lot of "prosperity preaching", and have even heard some ministers and preachers say: "God has promised you blessings!" "You deserve to be blessed!" This is something that, no matter how hard I try, I just can't adhere to.

We do not deserve blessings. We are human, therefore we are sinners. Sin, according to the bible, is "punishable by death" (Romans 6:23). That punishment was taken by Jesus.

While God does promise blessings for His children, being blessed spiritually and being blessed secularly are two totally different things. God promises SPIRITUAL blessings. He doesn't promise financial, romantic, or any other blessing in that realm. In every scripture I've ever read about blessings, these are never addressed. (There are many of you out there that will disagree with me, and that's okay.)

Accept His Blessing (eternal life) - accept His Love - accept His Sacrifice (Jesus Christ) and you WILL be blessed.

I am His Ragamuffin.
Are you?

God Bless,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making Your Home Sing Monday: Turn Off The TV!

I'm a day late! But at least I got it posted, right? 

Hey there everyone! It's Monday again (not anymore)! You know what that means: I'm linking up with my wonderful bloggy friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her weekly link-up Making Your Home Sing Monday! Wanna know more? Go check it out and link up!

Hello. My name is Jen. And I am a TV addict.
So is my husband.
So are my children.
And let's not get started on video games.
We are a total gaming family.
But there's a problem with that.
We spend so much time in front of the TV having "screen time" that we don't really interact with each other much. We don't have dinner at the table. We don't play board games. We don't have very many meaningful, in depth conversations with our children, either.
This is a problem.
So this week, I am going to propose something that I have a feeling my family isn't going to love.
This week, we are going to turn the TV off.
Not completely mind you - my husband would NOT go for that. Rather, we will have the TV off from the time the kids get out of school until after dinner is cleaned up.
As for me, I will allow myself an hour of "screen time" a day.
Rather than watching TV, in the afternoons we will listen to music, play games, talk, the kids and the hubby will help with dinner/setting the table, etc.
My hope is that this will help my family get to know each other a little better.
Pray for us . . . This should get interesting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

*I had actually intended on posting this with pictures, but I did not end up making it last night! I promise I will post pictures next week!*

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken with Sauteed Vegetables


10-12 chicken legs or thighs, washed and rinsed


2 T lime zest (about 2 limes worth)
juice of 2 limes
1/2 C vegetable or canola oil
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1/4 C water
1 T fajita seasoning
handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped slightly

1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 purple onion, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 yellow or green bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. place about 2 T of the mixture into a smaller bowl and set aside. Pour the rest into a plastic storage bag. Add chicken to the bag and squish around until chicken is well covered. Set aside and allow to marinade for 15 minutes.

Pour remaining marinade into another plastic bag and add vegetables. Toss to coat and set aside. Allow to marinade for 10-15 minutes.

To cook the chicken:
Remove chicken from marinade and dry off (this is VERY IMPORTANT!). Grill 6-8 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 164 degrees in the thickest part of the meat. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

To cook the vegetables:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp cooking oil of choice. Add veggies and saute until crisp-tender (or as done as you want them to be - I like them slightly caramelized!) Serve warm.

Make it a meal:

Add some prepared quinoa or a salad to round out this delicious meal!

Did you try this recipe? Comment below and tell me what you thought!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Is Coming!

Monday's are usually allotted for Making Your Home Sing Monday, hosted by my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word. Today, however, she has something else in store! A wonderful two-part series on how to have a self-cleaning kitchen! Yes, I am certainly going to be taking notes on this one! Go ahead and run on over there and give her some love - and trust me when I say you'll probably learn something!
Go on! I'll wait!


'K, back? Great!!

Guess what time of year it it!
My FAVORITE time of year.
I LOVE Christmas so much. The lights, the decorations, the food, the gifts, the family time . . .
It's all so wonderful.
This weekend we decorated for Christmas (a week later than I wanted, but hey! At least it got done!)
We got the tree up,
Got the little decorations up . . .
Even put out my decorative scent warmer
And gave Leonard, our rat, a bit of festive decoration of his own.
But it's still not enough.

I love what two of my best friends have done in their homes - they've decorated the pictures, wall hangings, and family pictures around their house with little Santa hats and other festive decorations (picture Ringo Starr holding a Candy Cane - AWESOME!!)
I have SO got to do this.

I want decorations EVERYWHERE.
Seriously, folks, I want it to look like the Christmas Elf threw up in my living room.

But I have to stop myself and remember something important.
This time of year is not about the decorations.
It's not about the lights, the food, the gifts . . .
In reality, it's not even about the family time.
It is about a tiny little baby born over 2,000 years ago, the night that His earthly mother held Him for the very first time, and the light and love He brought into the world.
It's about Jesus.
Christmas would still be here without all the other stuff, but it would not be here without Him.
So, this Christmas season, I will be making my home sing by keeping the CHRIST in CHRISTmas and teaching my children the REAL meaning of Christmas.

God bless,

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Back Again! New Look, New Format!

So, I have been on a bit of a haitus. Not because I don't love blogging. Au contraire . . .
I have just been lost on this particular blog. With my other blog, it's simple. It's all about my weight loss. Nothing else involved. But HERE. Well, this is my forum to talk about anything and everything.

What's a writer to do . . ?

Then it hit me!

A blog about everything should be just that! A blog about EVERYTHING!
So, welcome to it.
This is my blog about EVERYTHING.
The new format will look something like this:

Monday: I will be linking up every Monday with my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her link-up "Making Your Home Sing Monday"

Tuesday: "Tasty Tuesday" will return! And most recipes will be low carb and/or Paleo based (and YUM).

Wednesday: "Wordful Wednesday" will come about - this day will be dedicated to scripture and religious discussion.

Thursday: As a Mary Kay lady, I have to throw in a few posts dedicated just for that, and they will be here! Thursday will be "Thnk Pink Thursday" and all about Mary Kay, including my own personal successes, struggles, and any specials I'll be running for that week/month!

Friday: TMI Friday returns - with a VENGENCE (let's just say that having weight loss surgery has given me a LOT of TMI Friday moments!)

Saturday/Sunday: These two days will be dedicated to photography, art, music, crafts, and writing.

I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and I hope you'll join me! Thanks for reading!

God bless,