Friday, December 20, 2013

Peanut Cluster Cookies.....Raymond's favorite

I recently found out, not only is this my brother's favorite cookie, but also my FILs. I also love these....except right now, as sweets make me sick :(

Peanut Cluster Cookies

-2 pounds white almond bark
-1c creamy peanut butter
-2c salted roasted peanuts
-3c pastel marshmallows (colored minis)
-4c crispy rice cereal

Melt almond bark and peanut butter on stove in double broiler or thick bottom pot.....on low. Stir often.

After melted add remaining ingredients and drop by tablespoon on wax paper.

- I add a a little more cereal and whatever was left in the bag of marshmallows, because it looked like there was plenty of almond bark/peanut butter mixture to cover more dry ingredients-


Monday, December 16, 2013

Cookie bake

We have a cookie bake every year that normal consists of my MIL (it's at her house), my SOL, Elsie, and myself. Sometimes my SIL'S sister comes or even my mom :) But usually it's just the 4 of us. And Mary will join the baking crew when she is either 9 or 10 (Elsie was 9).....for Mary it can't come soon

The annual cookie bake was this past Saturday. We started at 10am and left my mother in laws at 8pm. It was rainy and cold outside, but you would have never known. The kitchen was toasty and cheerful ask day. As usual, it was a wonderful day and we all left with a ton of cookies to share with others.

My mother in law made Cherry Bon-bons cookies, pecan maple cookies, and choc peppermint fudge. My sister in law made pumpkin cookies, Cadbury egg cookies, and choc
Elsie and her Bon-bons
oatmeal cookies. Elsie made divinity, almond bon-bon cookies, pumpkin fudge, and peanut butter fudge. And I made choc mint cookies, choc oat cookies, and a white choc cluster candy (we call them Raymond's favorite cookies, because my brother likes them so much)

I wasn't sure how the smells would bother me, since I have been having so much trouble this pregnancy. But I was fine and had a great day. I normally bake 6-7 different recipes every year at the cookie bake, but this year I down sized. I'm so glad I did, because I was wiped at the end of the day.

If anyone wants any of the cookie recipes, let me know and I'll post them....I may post a few anyway in a couple days.

SIL with her huge spatula!

All our hard work
Me looking over

Elsie and her Bon-bons

The cookie crew

Friday, December 13, 2013

Date night to see "Catching Fire"

Buck and I had been trying to make it out to see "Catching Fire" and we finally made it. The movie is long, but it doesn't feel like it. The movie stuck pretty close to book, but they had to leave a lot out. All in all they did a very job of tapering it down. Especially since the movie still ended up being almost 3 hrs long. But, everyone one we talked to who had seen the movie said the same thing....."I didn't like the ending." That's the way the book ends and it prepares for the next book (movie). And I think Buck liked it even more than me....mostly because I knew what was coming. He kept asking me..."does that guy die?" "What about her? Does she die?", it was funny. Oh, and we had a greasy bag of popcorn and a's was so yummy. But, we only ate half the bag of popcorn. I though we would polish it off! We're such party

Watch the trailer and if it looks appealing, have a date night.

The pigs

After my last post I had a lot of questions about the "Do the pigs have a pen?" Do you let them free range?" "How often do your pigs get out?"

Well, we DO have the pigs penned. But we have one that is more wild than the others and she keeps digging out! Buck will fix the fence and she'll dig out somewhere else. So, Buck isn't going to fix the fence anymore until he sells her piglets and she becomes sausage. I know, I know....But that's the truth. And if truth be told, the sausage Buck and my dad makes is delicious!

Oh, and the pigs get out on a daily basis now :( Elsie, Mary, and I try to feed the chickens and ducks as fast as we can before the pigs come. Plus, we can't let any chickens or ducks out to free range or the pigs will get in and will rip the fencing trying to get out.

But, all the piglets are old enough to sell now, so before long this little glitch week be fixed :)

Did I mention how much I dislike pigs?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How did I prepare for Thanksgiving?

The day before thanksgiving, I decided to do something special for myself. I thought to myself, what do other people do for themselves. Let's see....get my hair cut, a massage, paint my nails.....yep, paint my nails. After I prepared my food, to take to my parents, I would paint my nails!

I got busy doing things and happened to look out the window......there was a pig and 5 piglets inside one of the chicken pens! Of course, all the chickens were going crazy and the pigs were just enjoying themselves by eating all the chicken feed. I slipped by boots on, pulled on my hat and gloves (it was 28 degrees outside) and took off out the door. I wasn't sure how this was going to go as I knew the pigs were going to go crazy when I came close, maybe even trampling the chickens. But, as I approached the pen, all the pigs just pushed their way out of the pen. I was relieved that no one was hurt, but pretty angry at those pigs for putting a huge hole in the fencing. So, I got my staple gun and hammer to fix it. Of course, the fence wasn't quite as long as it should be, since the pigs just ripped it open, but I pulled and stretch until it reached the wood on the bottom, so I could start stapling. I was pulling and pulling when my fingers slipped off the fencing and hit the wood. Ouch, my fingers throbbed, but I was pretty sure it was from the cold. I finished the job and made all sorts of threats to the pigs..."We could have ham for Thanksgiving I stead of turkey" etc. Can you tell these are Buck's pigs. As I was walking to the house, I took off my glove on the hand I had hurt...... there were to blood stained fingers with no finger nails :( I decided not to paint my nails after all.....I just laughed.

 Walking back to the house I thought about all those other people prepping their houses and themselves for the holiday. If I had a plain Jane life with perfect nails.....I'd miss out on all the things I love about my life. Nope still no painted nails (haven't painted my finger nails in, but I still had a grand Thanksgiving....besides, the smell of the nail polish probably would have pushed my nausea over the

What do you do special to get ready for the holidays?

Friday, December 6, 2013


We love these muffins. And it's a great way to use up extra pumpkin during the holiday season.


  • Glaze
  • -powder sugar
  • -Orange zest
  • -milk

-set oven at 425
-combine wet ingredients, mix in the dry ingredients. 
- scoop into muffin pan.
-bake for 10-15mins (sometimes it takes a bit longer, but don't over cook)
-pop them out of the muffin pan and drizzle with glaze.

I just dump some powder sugar in a small bowl, add the zest , and add the milk a small amount at a time until it is a thick paste....perfect for hot muffins.
MAKES ABOUT 12-18 MUFFINS (ours are on the large side)

*sometimes i use fresh pumpkin that I cook down first
*sometimes I bake these at 350 degrees if I'm baking something else at the same time (they just take longer)
*I use Orange extract instead of zest, when I don't have an orange on hand.

Big News!

Sorry I have been MIA. With the birthday party and Thanksgiving, time just got away from me.

Plus, we are expecting our 8th child in early July 2014! I'm about 10 wks. Yep, we have been blessed with another baby. And with this one I have been so nauseous that simple things have been extremely difficult. But, normally my sickies don't last long, so they'll be gone soon. And at least I know my pregnancy hormones are still going strong ;)

I never got to share about my diet that I started. Of course I was only on it for a couple weeks before I found out I was expecting. So, I can't really give any good solid feedback on it. But, I'll give you my opinion anyway...... The diet (or "life style change") is called "Trim, Healthy, Mama". It's a book and will worth the $35 it cost.  A summary is....don't eat carbs with fat, when you have carbs, keep it low, and no sugar, only stevia. Now, the book is a wealth of knowledge and makes sense, but seems like a lot to digest at first. The first couple weeks I tried some low carb tortilla shells and I was terribly constipated, to the point that I was in severe pain. The shells were low in carbs, but extremely high in in 1 tortilla there was more fiber than a person should have in one day. It also could have something to do with my unknown pregnancy at the All that being said, my mother started the same time as me and has lost over 7 pounds. She only has a small amount of weight to loose, so I thought that was great! Yay, Mom!!! She has had a small issue with being constipated, but not like me.

I'm not sticking to the diet anymore, but I have lost 4 pounds due to the I am still keeping up my exercising, though :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big November Birthday Party

We had our our November this past weekend. It was a blast and everyone left stuffed.

I made all the cakes....

Elsie had a Black Forest Cake

Gus-gus had  Dreamsicle cupcakes

Mary had a Berry Torte Cake

Posie had a Reece cheesecake

Our date.....alone!

Band on the ferry

Buck planned a date for us and even took the day off work. I had no idea where we were going, but he had  to make reservations! And he said that I had to dress up. I was getting a little nervous, because I have never been to a really fancy restaurant. Then, I found out it was in Chattanooga, TN. Since we were going to Chattanooga, we decided to make a day of it, so we went to the zoo, too. The zoo was pretty small, but we had a great time. My favorite animal was the Red Panda. It was surprising the see how small they were, I expected them to resemble a panda a bit more. They were just beautiful.

After the zoo, Buck decided to take me to our "date" location before we got dressed. We drove right over by the Aquarium, down by the river and just stopped. There was a big ferry boat! Buck had booked a dinner cruise on the ferry! The inside of boat was very detailed and had such a royal feel. Our table was by the window and we looked out at the lights of the city while we ate our Prime Rib dinner. There was a nice band that played most of the trip. It was a romantic trip and worth every penny.

Red Panda

Meerkats, this little guy was always looking out and trying to get everyone's attention

These are black and white...something-something monkeys. They were so cute and friendly
Inside of the ferry

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Victory! Sleeping through the night

You know, sometimes when your going through a battle, you don't want to share about it until the victory. Well, that's the way I felt about Little Young sleeping through the night. It was such a struggle for me, but I just couldn't talk about it until I was the victor.

Little Young was by far the worst sleeper. When he was 4 months old, he started sreaming for an hour after (one of his many) nightly feedings. This continued for almost a month. Once a night he would just cry for an hour and then go back to sleep. We had a trip planned for South Dakota and I had this fear of being kicked out of the hotel, because my screaming baby. God answered our prayer and a couple days before the trip, he stopped the middle night crying. We can't explain why one child is the "best" sleeper and another has issues. God made everyone different and all of my children are a great example. What works with one, sometimes doesn't work with the other children.

We tried all the same things with Little Young, that we had used with the others. I spent many nights sleeping beside his crib, with my arm through the rail, patting his back or holding his hand. I nursed on demand with no relief. When he was 13 months old, I remember telling buck, "I NEED Little Young to sleep through the night!" But Buck wasn't as concerned, because I don't normally start my cycles back, unless the baby is sleeping through the night (so I can't get pregnant). I shot back, "I don't care if I do start my cycles back." "I get more sleep with a newborn." But, he finally did start sleeping through the night when he was 14 months old. I just kept thinking, "All babies sleep through the night eventually." And remembering that really helped me. I'm the type person that can endure just about anything, as long as there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I knew eventually we would be out of that on to the next challenge.....weaning the pacifier.

A baby not sleeping through the night until 14 months, is not normal!!! I don't want to scare any first time parents. My average baby sleeps through the night at 6-8 months.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Meet Posie

Posie will be 5 in November, yes another November birthday. She was my first labor and delivery without any pain meds. I was induced with all my precious pregnancies. If you have never been induced, pitocin causes unnaturally long and painful contractions. Yes, contractions are uncomfortable and somewhat painful, but pitocin induced contractions are unbearable. Anyway, with all my inductions I had an epidural. But, with Posie, I went into labor on my own! Her birth was wonderful! Yes, I still had contractions, but they were managable. She was born after 4 hrs of labor instead of 12+ hrs like previously. Plus, recovery was a breeze, I never even needed a Tylenol.

Posie loves art (drawing, coloring, cutting, pasting) more than any of the other children. She
Just Beautiful
enjoys playing with horses, strawberry shortcake, and her 18" doll.

She is a great little helper. She is more than happy to help out with holding babies too, if she can get to them before Mary!

Believe it or not Posie is our loudest child. She has the most petite body, but a loud voice!

She just recently learned to spell her name and is so proud of herself. Her real name is 8 letters, with no duplicates.....So she did a lot of practicing. And she loves animals.

Posie's favorite meal is.........Perogies and Sausage. I know, these poor kids need a little change. You can imagine with all the November birthdays, we have this meal a lot in November. This year Posie decided to change it up a bit......She wants blueberry pancakes and breakfast sausage for her birthday supper.

Posie and a snail

Rolling out bread dough

Swinging with a chicken :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bonnet and her babies!!!

Bonnet is a pig, if you can't tell from the pics. She is the best mother pig we have ever had. She had 7 healthy fat piglets....yay! 4 Girls and 3 Boys.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How do you stay so thin?!?

I get asked this question frequently. I don't personally think I am that thin....anymore. I wouldn't consider myself overweight, but I would like to fit back into some of my clothes that I haven't been able to wear since 2009. I don't know what it was about #6, but after Snail, I never went back down to a size 4. I know, I know, some of you are shaking your fist
This says thin in 30, but that's if you do the extra ab DVD too
at me. But, I have a small frame and I have....sorry "had" been a size 4 since high school. Normally, I tell the curious strangers, that is genetics. Anyway, the point of this post is to share my favorite workout. I have done quite a number including Tae Bo, a few from Denise Austin, Pregnancy Yoga (i know there is a couple more) So, my fav is (Drum roll please) ..... The Firm Express!

I started the Firm Express right before I got pregnant with Little Young. And I continued until I was 32 wks. I would have been able to continue, but I got a cold, stopped exercising to save energy and I couldn't hang after that. Buck did the workout with me too. I started back at about 2 months postpartum and then gave up, because Buck didn't want to do it anymore. But, I've changed things up and started doing the Firm Express in the morning (I previously did it at night so hubby could be there). I have to say, I love it in the morning! The house is cooler and I'm refreshed and ready for the day.

Okay, what makes is workout better than others? Several reasons, first, there are 17 dvds...and you have to do them all in one day......just kidding! Don't stop reading ....I'm just kidding (there really is 17 dvds though).....Okay, There are 3 dvds you use per week. There

is one of each  Cardio, Sculpt, and Cardio&Sculpt. You do one Monday, one Wednesday, and one Friday (you could switch days of need be). So, there are 4 instructors, with their own set of can't get bored! I like some better than others, but they are all great. Buck had funny names for each of Second reason, Each DVD is only 20 minutes long. Everyone can devote 20 minutes, 3x a week to exercise! Third, the 17th DVD is for abs. After 7 children I have split tummy muscles and shouldn't do an intense ab workout. Plus, when I was preggers, I didn't have to sit out half the workout because of the ab sections. But, don't worry, there is plenty of core and ab workout in the dvds. Lastly, there is always someone working out with the main instructor doing an easier version (for beginners our preggos).

If you homeschool your children or don't have a manual laboring job, you should exercise. I'm not saying "you have to buy these dvds", but make it a priority to give your body a workout...even if you are just walking. And don't give me the excuse "but I have kids". Grab a stroller and get out there. When I exercise, I have several little ones copy catting (that's a word right?). Just to tell you, when I started exercising, about 2 wks ago, I thought I was going to die (now you really want to buy the dvds huh?). The first set are the easiest and I was still having  a hard time keeping up. I kept thinking, "I did these pregnant...big pregnant!" But starting week 2, felt sooooo much better.

If you have questions, send me a comment.

When I get time, I'll post about the new "healthier eating plan" I'm starting!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Great locomitive chase festival

Italian Ice gang
Yes, that's a mouth full! We took all the kids to the festival a couple weeks ago and everyone had a blast. They only thing we bought was food, but that was okay with
Buck and i
everyone! We had lunch where the children got a rare treat......Coca-Cola. As you will be able to tell, several of the children wouldn't put the can We do allow the children to have soda on special occasions, but normally it is root beer or ginger ale and such.Buck let the kids decide if they wanted to have ice cream or rides. Everyone chose ice cream, although Snail was confused after she ate hers and didn't get to ride any They opted for Italian Ice instead and everyone enjoyed it. I had my eye out for the homemade root beer, so I didn't have the Italian Ice. But, when we did get a price on the root beer, I decided that $6 was a bit much....maybe I'll learn to make my own.....look out waistline!

Posie, Mary, and Chuck
Maybe we should have selected Posie's color

Snail, Gus-Gus, and Elsie

Snail and Little Young

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hunger Games book review

I read all three books in the trilogy, over the past couple months.....Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay, all by Suzanne Collins. The books take place in the nation Panem (was United States). After a war against  the capitol, there are 12 districts  left. Each year the capitol has the "Hunger Games", where each district is required to send 1 boy and 1 girl (by a lottery drawing) to fight to the death, until there is one victor. The games are to remind the districts of the war. Katniss, is one of the main characters who is struggling to provide for her family , post-apocalyptic, after her father's death. Her sister is chosen, in the drawing, for a tribute to the Hunger Games and  Katniss voluntarily takes her place. So, now she has to try her best to win the games, so she can come back and try to save her family from starvation. BUT, there's a twist (of course) the boy selected from her district, Petta, and Katniss grow closer together than friends, and there can be only one winner in the games!

All I have to say is.....don't sit down to read these unless you have a lot of extra time OR your better at putting a book down than I am. I can honestly say that I didn't do any extra housework while I was reading these books. So, I took a long break in between books. And this trilogy isn't something I would normally read. I'm a nonfiction (mostly biographies), religious, or DIY kind of girl. If it isn't something that really took place or I can use in my daily life.....I don't read it. But, these books were an exception......LOVED THEM.

There is a movie for Hunger Games. And Catching Fire should be released next month! On Hunger Games they stuck closely with the book, which is awesome.

Leave a comment, of you have read any of the books and let me know what you thought.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another broken bone......who is it this time?!?

The winner is......Chuck! Sunday, he was riding a razor scooter down an asphalt hill.....and the rest is history. I said, "Boy! How in the world did you hurt your arm?" All he had to say was, "I was going as fast as I could and....". That's all I needed to know. I was pretty sure it was broken right away, but Buck wanted to wait until the morning. Meanwhile, Chuck was sweeping one handed and trying to do his normal things....he didn't want any help! Of course by the morning, it was swollen and Chuck was in more pain than the day before, so
we got Xrays and they confirmed that it was a buckle fracture. We had a cast put on and I got to pick the docs brain. I was a little concerned with having the kids break bones, since we (me and my siblings, buck and his brother) never had any broken bones.....and we were dangerous kids.(That's a whole other post) The doctor put my mind at ease and said that they are "active" children and all of their accidents warrant a broken bone. She even said no to extra calcium! Chuck is a repeat offender, here's a list of all the broken bones.....

Chuck, July 31, 2007 (I remember the exact date because it was our Anniversary) he was trying to reach something on the floor, while in the top bunk bed. He broke his radius (lower arm).

Mary, January 2008, She was just over a year old and a Houdini at sucking her belly in and getting out of the highchair straps. She landed on the tile floor. She broke her radius, too.

Elsie, March 2008, She was trying to swing with no arms!  She broke her ulna or radius or both, I don't remember.

So, if your counting that was 3 in less than 8 months! And we only had 4 children at the time! There was a nice drought until....

Snail, December 2012, She jumped off the bunk bed ladder onto a toy...She blamed everyone for not catching her, like they have done in the past (there was no one else in the She broke 2 of her metatarsals (long bones in the middle of your foot)

And now Chuck...again.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A quick doll skirt

In our family, we don't waste. When someone wears a hole in the knee of their pants, we either patch it or cut them off into shorts.

Elsie recently wore a hole in both knee of her pants, so she cut them off. In turn, Mary and Posie both got a skirt for their dolls. They just took the cut off pants leg and rolled the raw edge under or over....poof....doll skirt. You could easily put a few stitches in that top to make a band, but they were not willing to wait....their dolls had things to do, you know! The pics are of Posie, I'll add some of Mary's when I get to it.

Meet Mary

Mary's birthday is in November, she'll be 7.
While I was expecting her, I dreamed of a baby girl both day and night. I had 1 girl and 2 boys at the time and I prayed, even before conceiving, that our next baby would be a girl. I
would have been just as happy with a boy, but Elsie wanted a sister and I was ready for
more pink.

Fast forward a few years, Mary is such a wonderful helper and takes pride in her work. She
has the most maternal instincts for a 6 yr old! Elsie has been helping with the younger children for quite some time, but Mary has had a natural interest for a while. I'll be looking for Little Young and she'll have him.....such a blessing. She is also a born leader and will take the reigns when given the chance. I was very curious to see who would step up and help, while Elsie and I were at the retreat....and it was Mary! I couldn't believe it. She got
Little Young out of the crib and even tried to rock him to sleep.

Mary's interests are horses, dolls, playing house outside, playing house inside, bugs, cooking (she helps Elsie with lunch everyday), helping with laundry, and reading....especially to the little girls.

Her favorite foods are....Perogies and Sausage....she also requests this for her birthday meal.

When I ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, it's always.....a mommy. She is only 6, so only time will tell.

Mary and Little Young

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our new Call Ducks have arrived!

We ordered a few nice quality Call Ducks, for the kids to show. They came from Indiana, by mail and I picked them up at the local post office....they know us well :) Everyone at the PO (even customers in line) wanted to take a peek at the ducks, but the guy had the box zip tied and taped, so I couldn't open it until I got home.....sorry guys.

Call Ducks were originally bred for hunters to take out duck hunting and "call" ducks in. They are loud and small enough to fit in a pocket. Of course, we don't use them for this, but they make great pets and are easy for the children to handle.
This is a magpie color call duck. You can tell he is a male by the curl in his tail and all the trouble he was giving 

Female Blue Fawn

male Buff

Boxes they traveled in

Buff female

Magpie female

Last one