Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Packing the Moving Truck Adventures...moving part 2.

So, if you're new you'll want to catch this one about our first part of our move to the west coast. Selling our house was all GOD oh, and our awesome relator.

After we got word that our house sold, we knew that we would be moving as a family of 5. Because had our house not sold, Pastor would've moved out west and lived at the church or on the street or something while the kids and I stayed in Idaho until the house would sell. Praise the Lord the house sold. I am thankful everyday for that. We didn't make anything, but we sold it. Got our hands out of it. Sure we probably could've rented it but we didn't want to have to worry about it. PLUS now we can focus on our home buying process in Oregon (more on that to come).

We reserved a moving truck, 21sq ft of a semi. My thoughts were, OH plenty of space....ha. ha. ha.


When the truck arrived and I looked at how much "JUNK" we have, I was a little worried it wasn't going to fit. However Pastor is a very, very, VERY good packer. I had confidence. We packed the truck ourselves....and I can honestly say it'll be the LAST TIME we ever pack a truck ourselves for an out of town move....yeah we are young, but I can understand and appreciate now why people pay people do that stuff. Its a LOT OF WORK!

Pastor had started packing the truck early on October 29th. He was about an hour in, hadn't even made a dent in the boxes and a guy from our church comes over and stands at the back of the truck.

He told Pastor...take it all out...let's start over.


Here's the thing. He used to work for Mayflower. He KNOWS how to pack trucks. We took it all out, and started over. It took a whole 9 hours to load the truck (not bad for a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, double car garage and shed in the backyard house!). We AMAZINGLY got MOST stuff in there. We did have to load a small open trailer that we pulled behind the van (thankfully I convinced Pastor to sell his motorcycle...don't worry guys, he already has bought a new one).  Otherwise the trailer would've been used for the bike.

We loaded the truck and when the driver came to pick it up he said he has NEVER seen someone load it so full. Yeah, Go Us!

We left Idaho on November 1. We spent our last night at a friends house and trick or treated with their family. It was probably the most fun way to end our time in Idaho!

We  set out for Oregon. We took two days to get here....and had a bit of van trouble on the way. Oh boy. It took us 5 hours to what should've taken us 2.5 hours to get to the first stop. We had some tire problems. Had we not noticed, the tire might have completely fallen off. Some how we lost some very important nuts or bolts (see how much I pay attention to that sort of stuff). This then caused us to depart 3 hours later the next day...but luckily the kids and I just swam at the hotel.

We made it to  our new city and were welcomed by our new loving congregation. We are still learning new things about our new city, but the kids and I love exploring!

I told Pastor I didn't want to move again in a LONG time....but I guess "long" is irrelevant, because we're moving again in less than a month. We've already purchased a new home....and THEN I don't want to move for a long time. We will have lots of DIY projects with our new home that I'm very excited to share with you!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Count Down Box

If your kids are like mine, they can't WAIT for Christmas. We've had a paper chain going for weeks now. Every day #1 reminds me "Only _____ days until Christmas, Mom!" He's just a BIT excited.

Now, rather than just using a paper chain to count down, I've got a neat way for you to create meaning in the last 12 days of Christmas count down.

You'll need:
Egg Carton
Binder Clip or Paper Clip
Cotton Ball
Crumpled Paper
Heart Sticker
Aluminum foil
 Rubber Band

Put each item in a spot in the egg carton. There isn't any rhyme or reason to the order, because you'll eventually cut out openings on the top of the egg carton (like the chocolate advent calendars) and let them choose which one to open each day. You can print out the slip of paper for the bible verse and idea for each item here.

Some of the bible verses and ideas are.

  • Paper clip: Read Ephesians 2:13. Hook the paper clip to a keychain, zipper, or other item. Talk about how that resembles being united with Christ.
  • Staple: Read Romans 8:39. Talk about what a staple does, and how that compares with God's love.
  • Pebble: Read Matthew 7:24-25. Try to flatten the pebble with your finger. Then set it out as a reminder that Jesus is your rock and your firm foundation.
 For the complete list of all the bible verses and activities use the link above.

I think this is a great way to focus our kids count down  to Christmas! It's quick, simple, toddler and preschool friendly, and most of all you'll have most of the items in your house and you won't have to do much to prepare! What are you waiting for? Go make a Christmas Countdown Box! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Zucchini Blueberry Streusel Muffins - THE BEST

We made these delicious Zucchini Blueberry Streusel Muffins last week. I perfected a zucchini recipe from a church cook book. These are BY FAR the best zucchini muffins, I think the streusel adds a LOT.

It made quite a bit of muffins, so what I've been doing is keeping 1/3 out and freezing the other 2/3 so we have muffins ready when we don't have any baked and we are in a rush. It works great! Even with the reduced freezer space we have at our rental (we HAVE found a house, moving again in February), I still make it work!

Here's the wonderful recipe for you all to try!

3 eggs
1 c applesauce (unsweetened- I used my homemade stuff)
3t vanilla
2c sugar
2c grated zucchini (YES, I still had ONE fresh one that I insisted on bringing with us in the move)
2 3/4 c  - 3c flour
1t salt
3/4t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
2t cinnamon
2c fresh blueberries (I used frozen ones, that's what I had)

For the Streusel topping 
1c flour
1c sugar
3/4c butter, softened (NOT melted)
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins (or use paper inserts). I personally LOVE my muffin cups.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, applesauce, oil, vanilla, sugar, zucchini until well combined. Mix in dry ingredients until well mixed. Fold in the blueberries. Scoop into prepared muffin tins.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt and softened butter together using a pastry blender until its crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the muffins.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Windows 8

Have you upgraded to Windows 8 (PC users that is)? I absolutely LOVE Windows 8. Now, don't think that I made the transition easy, or willingly. I actually put my foot down for a good two months or so. Pastor is always up to date with the latest and greatest software. He did, build our computer! So, when Windows 8 came out, he was on the list to get it FIRST. We got a Surface, the DAY it came out, which also operates with Windows 8.

Now, if you don't know much about PCs or are Apple users, Windows 8 is very  different than any other operating systems. The start up page for example is completely different.

It's taken me about 6 months to get a good "touch" on the "how tos" of Windows 8. However, now that I've walked through it and have used it for a while now, I'm in LOVE with it.

 This way of multitasking is my favorite. The kids can watch Netflix and I can  find holiday cookie baking ideas! (Oh, and we have our computer that Pastor built, connected to our TV, so the TV acts as our monitor...hence why the screen is so big).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Moving with 3 kids, Part 1.

We just recently moved from Idaho to Oregon. A 14 hour drive. We've done the drive many times from Idaho to where we live now. About 6 times, since Pastor's brother in law and sister in law live in Oregon as well. The drive wasn't bad. The kids were excited, we broke up the drive in two days. We swam in a pool at a hotel, wore the kids out. It was a decent drive. What was stressful rather, was the before process. Let me fill you in.

First, this was our FIRST move with 3 kids. You see when we moved to Idaho in 2010, we only had 1 child. #1. He was 16 months old. Since, we've added two beautiful girls, don't get me wrong....but packing boxes with 3 kids is NOT IDEAL!

#3, being 11 months old didn't understand why things were going in boxes. She thought it was a game. A fun one for her. Every time I would put one thing in a box, she would take out 10. It was a game I lost at. Everyday. The boxes didn't pack themselves, and to be honest, Pastor packed the garage and shed....and then helped carry some boxes but otherwise I did it. ME. SOLO. UNO. (Except for one day when a church member from our church in Idaho was so gracious and came over and basically packed my kitchen for me....because that's the ONE room in the house I hate packing, because it takes so much patience.) I utilized NAP time like you'd never believe. I prayed and prayed that the kids would sleep for hours so I could get as much boxes packed as possible (and sealed, so #3 couldn't empty them).

We did get the boxes packed.

It happened.

We also, by the Grace of God, and a VERY awesome relator, sold our first home. Boy, it's still hard to think that we left that house. So many memories. I cried. and cried. and cried as we pulled out the driveway for the very last time. I even begged Pastor if he would drive by it one more time before we left town for good, but he said it wouldn't help. I have pictures. I have my memories. Boy, I miss that house. I miss the back yard. The deck we put so much LOVE and care into building. The shed we finished just 2 weeks before we sold our house. I miss it.

However, before the house would "close" we had to do a couple repairs. One of them being very minor and cheap. A furnace flu, for $10 Pastor fixed that problem. The second repair was NOT cheap. Not one bit. The buyer asked us to replace the ROOF. The ENTIRE roof. Or he wouldn't buy the house. Now you see our house was only 17 years old. The roof SHOULDN'T have needed to be replaced. When we bought the house 3.5 years ago we were told it had a "long life expectancy left". I don't know what you consider long by 3.5 years isn't it, in my books!

So. I started panicking, when I should've started praying. A roof was going to cost us nearly $5,000. We already weren't going to make a dime on the sale of our house, but now this on top of it. I was freaking out. I trust God, but when it comes to finances I freak out, because money isn't something we have a lot of....(and don't really want a lot of, just the needs to get by everyday, that's all).

So. Here we are, figuring out what to do. Our relator said they could help us a bit, but not covering all the costs...

I was on the phone one night, almost in tears with my mom. When my step father in the background said "Why don't you file a home insurance claim?" . He was BRILLANT! We've paid our home owners insurance faithfully for the years we lived in the house. We had a LOT of unseasonably wet weather and hail this past year. It was worth a try.

I called them, but of course, it was a holiday, Columbus Day I think. So I got routed to the main office. He told me he would file a claim but he didn't think anything would happen. I didn't set my hopes to high.

So this was Monday, by Thursday I had a call from an inspector from our insurance company saying he could be out by Saturday to look at the house....note we had 13 days until the CLOSE of our house. Time was of the essence.

I called my relator and told her and she immediately told me to take the "FOR SALE" sign down, just in case that would sway the inspectors mind about approving our claim.

He came Saturday. He looked at the house. He told me "I don't see any hail damage on your roof...." He then said "But I DO see it on your screens, so let me run my numbers and see what I can do". Oh, Praise Jesus. I fought with LOVE and it worked.

I explained to him that we wanted to get it done before it "snows", aka, before we close on the house in less than 2 weeks. He told me this process could take up to about 6 months....I was thinking in my head...not for me it won't. He said that if I had a contractor come and give an estimate and sign off on it, we could start work.

He left at 10:15 on Saturday morning, our contractor was there by 10:30! We got a bid from him and he was even going to cut us a deal, since we are in the ministry he wanted to help us out (he grew up as a missionary kid in another country, so he understands a bit). God is on our side! We asked the contractor how we could save the most money and if he would let us tear off the roof ourselves to save money. He agreed. So Sunday Pastor and about a dozen people from church tore off the roof in 2 hours. Monday they felted the roof. Tuesday they put the new roof on. Wednesday I got BOTH insurance checks. Thursday I paid the contractor....and guess what. It cost us $78....for a NEW roof on our house.


Whew. One major thing done, all while trying to still pack the house up.

Stay tuned to hear about the packing the moving truck adventures, in part 2!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Turn Taking Lesson

Sharing and Turn Taking =  Brother and Sister ages three and four.....
We try our best to teach our kids to share, share with each other, share with everyone. Do we succeed. Not always. Is it important? VERY. With #1 & #2 only being 18 months apart I hope they grow to be best friends, where they both look out for each other (I hope that for all my kids really), but let's be honest....18 months causes some friction. Serious friction. #2 is full out a three year old. She wants everything her way on her time or else. Her favorite saying right now is "I don't want to".
#1 is great, most of the time. He is humble, and tries to teach #2 how to share and take turns. She gets it, some of the time. Recently during a morning of homeschool "game time", the kids asked to play Connect Four. Now the kids don't understand the "concept" of playing this game, but that's not the point. The point is they have fun and they are learning a very important life skill while playing. We emphasize the importance of turn taking. One child gets red, the other child gets black, and you cannot put your "coin" in, until the other person goes. You can usually tell because #1 needs to create patterns while if #2 goes out of turn, he will get really frustrated because it messes up the patterns, so we have to stop and talk about taking turns.
Taking turns is something I didn't realize that we do everyday, all day. For example...
We take turns as to who gets to:
Empty the dish washer each day.
Get the mail.
Be the leader in biking.
Brush their teeth first.
Pick out the first story of the night.
Get in the van first.
Close the door.
Lock the door.
Go to the bathroom.
I could go on and on. For this very reason is why I teach the kids how to take turns, even if it requires hand holding every step of the way, its essential for my kids to learn this skill. Here are the TOP THREE ways that I've helped my kids learn turn taking.
  1. Play turn taking games.
  2. Provide a chart as to who gets to go "first" so they can see who's day it is to go first.
  3. Give incentives when they do take turns.
How do you help your kids take turns?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Best Buns EVER

I have to brag a little bit. My mom makes THE best buns, EVER. I mean, they are the best. I can't replicate them exactly, but I sure try.

I made these for Thanksgiving this year. Boy are they yummy. I could eat about 5 right out of the oven. My mom calls them "Terrific Buns".

You'll need:
3 pkgs. yeast, dissolved in 1/2 C. very warm water
3/4 C Crisco shortening
1 C sugar
3 C lukewarm water
3 eggs beaten
2 tsp salt
10 c flour (may use 5 C whole wheat flour and 5 C white).

dissolve yeast in water. Set aside. Beat eggs, shortening, sugar and salt together. Add water and stir. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat. Then add yeast mixture and stir. Continue adding remaining 8 cups of flour, 2 cups at a time, stirring after each addition. After all flour is added, knead the dough with your hands. If its sticky, keep dipping your hands in flour and kneading until the dough is more manageable. Place in a warm place with a light towel cover. Let rise until double in size. Knead this down. Place in warm place until it has risen again, double in size. Cut off pieces of dough, the size of an extra large egg. Form into balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and punch down flat. One baking sheet usually holds 15 buns. Let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Do NOT over bake. Freeze after cooling. Makes about 45 buns. If I am lacking in time, I will only let it rise once before shaping.

ENJOY! Don't eat too many.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Are you brave enough?

This enlightens me. It would mean a LOT of sweets in the house, but  sounds fun! Make a different batch of cookies a day, until Christmas. For the Advent Cookie List, go here! I'll be attempting this and posting about it along the way! Join in the fun!

Here is another quick and easy fun 25 days of Christmas to read list with your kids. I love the little handout! We are doing this one too! 
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