Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Despite my plan, it appears that I will be awake long enough to see in the New Year. (That's the price for getting behind with my blogging, and I want to catch up the last few weeks so that I can get 2009 printed in book form for the munchkins to have to look back on some day.)

2009 has been the craziest ride yet since Gareth and I have been together. I have made some of my happiest memories, been more stressed than I ever would have thought possible, done some of the hardest work I've done as a Mommy, and had some of the most rewarding moments possible.

As I end this year, I am more thankful than ever for my sweet husband. Helping keep the kitchen clean, supporting my work as a homeschooling Mom, being my encourager when I struggle with whether I'm being a good Mom, providing for our family in the midst of a tough economic year, and keeping me laughing, he continues to be my best friend.

Sweet Noah is an anything but typical 6-year old. He has the typical lack of coordination and gappy grin of a 6-year old, and a sweet spirit that leaves me so grateful for this gift from God. I love that he still likes my lullabies and wants to hold my hand when we go to the store together. He is growing into a young man that I am so, so proud of. I can't wait to see who he continues to become this next year.

Nathan continues to be my ornery, strong-willed boy. He is almost 5, and his eyes still twinkle with mischief like they did when he was 2. He loves to sneak up behind you to poke you in the bottom, or to wrap himself around your legs for a hug that threatens to knock you over. He is generous to a fault. He tries at least once a week to give me the money from his piggy bank as a gift. He is a complex little man, and I have a hard time knowing what is going on in his head some times. He and Rosie together can be the sweetest of friends, and the most competitive of enemies ever. He often leaves me shaking my head and praying for wisdom and guidance in how to raise him. And, he definitely leaves me humbled in my parenting abilities, but that makes me love him even more. Nathan will be coming home from pre-school to start school with Mommy this New Year. I am looking forward to the chance to spend more one-on-one time with him.

Rosie is a bundle of contradictions. She is very girly and loves high heels and beads and fancy dresses. She is already anxious for a "big girl" figure (can't think of a more polite way to say it!). Her favorite color is pink, and she loves all things princess. But, she also loves mud, wrestling, riding the 4-wheeler while standing up, and playing with Thomas the tank engine. I am so proud of Rosie. She has made such good progress. There have been times in the last year when I have been at my wits' end and more stressed than I could ever have imagined while trying to help her adjust and become part of the family, but God is faithful, and I can honestly say that I am so grateful for this sweet little girl that God saw fit to put into our family. Her hugs and "I love you's" are sweeter knowing some of the hard places we have visited in the last 8 months. Last week, she asked me, "Mommy, when Rosie tall (Rosie speak for when I am big), still live at MommyDaddy's house?" When I replied with a hug and a yes, she wrapped her arms around me and said "I love you, Mommy". Then she began to sit and tell me in great detail about the day that we first met. She has remembered that first week in such amazing detail. And, when she was done, she said, "you, Mommy Moffatt, I, Rosie Moffatt. I live MommyDaddy's house. Thank you, Mommy". We still have progress to make and issues to deal with, but oh how I love this little girl.

And that, is my sweet little family in a nutshell. In the midst of the fear and uncertainty this current world finds itself trapped in, I am grateful for the truth that God is in control and that I can trust my family to His loving care. This year, my prayer for you, is that you will come to know Him more, love Him better, and trust Him fully with your future

The Blizzard of 2009

It was the most fantastic White Christmas! What a great way to introduce Rosie to snow. Our county had its' first ever blizzard warning issued on Christmas Eve. With 45-50 mph winds, we got some fantastic drifting, and it was a beautiful Christmas morning.

After opening stockings and a hearty breakfast, we ventured out to enjoy the snow. Here are the munchkins breaking through the drift to get out of our garage.

Look at these snowdrifts in front of our house!!!!! I recognize that for some of you, this much snow is no big deal, but for us this is a rare occurrence.

The shoveling hero!

Rosie loved the snow. The first time she fell face down she wasn't sure, but she quickly decided that the fun was worth a bit of cold. She had a great time helping Daddy shovel the sidewalk and driveway. And, with a bit of instruction from Mommy, she then had a great time throwing snowballs at Daddy!!!!!!!

Assorted Christmas Snapshots

Granny brought some special Christmas projects to enjoy with the munchkins. Here is the gingerbread house they made together.
I always wish for a White Christmas, and this year I especially wanted one for Rosie's 1st Christmas. And, I got my wish!!!!!! The snow started on Christmas Eve, which made for a great evening to light a fire in the fireplace and be cozy and warm inside.

Sophie took special care to keep cozy and warm! She DOES NOT like snow, but she does appreciate our fuzzy winter blanket.

Christmas Eve snapshots:
Christmas morning opening the stockings
And then, on to the presents.

Favorite Auntie Keri, these are for you. The munchkins LOVE their pillow animals

For a couple of my favorite guys, the excitement was a bit too much.

Cherub Choir

Call me prejudiced, but I think that we may just have the cutest little angel and shepherd in the history of the cherub choir! (Of course, I can think of 50-60 families who might disagree with me!)

And, as a bonus, Rosie remembered to sing this time!

Looks can be so deceiving. I tried all Sunday afternoon to figure out a way to prop up that halo with some horns, but couldn't! She was the picture of sweetness and light, but we know better!
And, would you look at that smile? He just makes my heart melt.

Trip to Silver Dollar City

After all of the sickness during Thanksgiving break, we finally got rid of everybody's bronchitis and enjoyed a trip to Silver Dollar City two weeks before Christmas. Rosie fell in love with everything about Christmas, but especially the lights, so I couldn't wait to show her all of the lights.

It was cold! Nathan was NOT loving the cold.
But, the kids did have a great time looking at everything.
And, of course, riding a few rides.
Did I mention it was cold? We were so bundled up that it was difficult to get all of the straps done for the rides.
Silver Dollar City when I was a child was a rare treat, when I was dating Gareth it was a whole different world for long, romantic walks and cuddling up on the scary rides, but I think I have never loved Silver Dollar City more than when I am enjoying it through the eyes of the munchkins.

It's Good To Be Back

After a couple of weeks away, and the need to set up a new blog that is more secure, it's good to be back! Keeping a journal has never really been my thing, but I have really enjoyed keeping up with the blog. My apologies for how long it has taken me to get everything back up and running. With Christmas vacation here, I spent most of the last two weeks baking and reading and playing, which there isn't so much time for while school is in session. We also enjoyed a 2-week visit from Gareth's parents.

The last two days have been spent getting everything sorted out ready for the next term of school. I've got plenty of pictures from the last couple of weeks, so I'll try to get them posted in some sort of order to catch you up on life with the many mini munchkins.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Okay, I think I've got everybody invited that asked for a blog invitation. If you have received yours and can make it work, would you please drop me a note and let me know?



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Hand-me-Down Princess

Last week, we received a bag of "hand-me-downs". Now, I have a love/hate relationship with hand-me-downs. I love getting them, I love passing on Rosie's to others, and I LOVE the sharing that reduces expenses to the clothing budget. On the other hand, it is always so disappointing to open a bag and see something really cute, only to discover that it is torn or has a very bad stain.
And so, when I opened the bag and found 4 adorable dresses only to discover that 3 of them had magic marker or paint stains on them, and that the white one had rust stains, I was SO disappointed. But, after 3 days of scrubbing and mixing and matching 3 different stain removal products, I got all of the stains out, and we got some of the cutest dresses! In fact, I think that the satisfaction that came from managing to get the stains out and ending up with such sweet dresses might have to make me re-evaluate my love/hate relationship with hand-me-downs. I can't wait for the next bag of them now, and if there are a few stains, well that will just be part of the challenge!

The flowers on the white one were a bit past their best, so Rosie and I replaced them with ribbon poinsettias and made it into the perfect Christmas dress.
Rosie is convinced that this is a princess dress. When she saw how full the skirt was and how long it was, she immediately told her brothers that she was a princess and then made Noah dance with her.

Thankfully, Noah was happy to oblige.

Best Buddies-Take 2

More and more often these days, we find Nathan holding on to Noah while he sleeps. I hope to put them in bunk beds this coming year. I wonder if the novelty of having bunk beds will make up for the inability to hold onto each other while sleeping?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Merry Christmas to the ACLU!

I LOVE Christmas! Not the "winter holiday" or any other such nonsense, but Christmas! If you do, too, then join me in what has been a tradition for the last couple of years: send a Christmas Card to the American Civil Liberties Union. As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world. For the cost of a stamp, you can let the ACLU know that they need to leave Christmas alone! Make sure it says "Merry Christmas", not happy holidays or season's greetings or any other such nonsense!

Here's the address: ACLU, 125 Broad Street- 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004

Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions. And, maybe they will begin to get the idea: We love Christmas, we enjoy Christmas trees (not holiday trees), and all of their "liberties" they are fighting for are actually a huge infringement on the liberties of anyone who calls themself a Christian.

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Her Mother's Footsteps

While trying to get ready for church last night, I realized my boots had gone walkabouts. Here's the little culprit. She LOVED them, but was having a terrible time trying to walk and fell over several times. In the end, she was persuaded that her shiny black dress shoes matched much better.

Ooooh, I just love baking at this time of year

My favorite-gingerbread
A new recipe invented for my husband-lover of chocolate and peppermint
Now, off to finish baking that gingerbread dough!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Favorite Food Fridays-Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding

While I was growing up, I remember the winters when my Mom would make bread pudding. Yech! It was so nasty! (Sorry, Mom, but it's true.) Not that my Mom's bread pudding was especially bad, but that bread pudding in general is nasty. Kind of slippery and slimy and not much flavor, except for soggy bread. Ooh-makes my toes curl just thinking about it. Anyhow, she made it because my Dad loves it. None of us kids would touch it, though.

I assumed that all bread pudding was this way, until a couple of years ago when I found a recipe for Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding in a cookbook from my Grandma. The picture looked great, and the ingredients list looked promising. I was a little skeptical, but in the end decided it had to be tried. And, it was fantastic! I love it. No mush or slime or soggy bread flavor, but loads of cinnamony, caramely, nutty goodness. It is one of those desserts that is just made for a cold winter night. In fact, I think I'm going to make one tonight.

If you've never liked bread pudding, then you have to try this one. It just might convert you.

Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding

16 sliced day-old bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (I prefer to use good quality french bread)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 cups milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. vanilla
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling (personally, I prefer to use homemade, but the store-bought stuff works fine-especially if you buy one with plenty of cinnamon in it)
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup butter, melted

Open up your bread and allow it to dry out overnight. In a large bowl, combine bread and sugars;set aside. In another bowl, beat eggs, milk, cinnamon, salt and vanilla until foamy. pour over bread mixture; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut apples from pie filling in half; add apples and filling to bread mixture. Stir in pecans, raisins and butter. Pour into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares. Serve warm or cold with freshly whipped cream.

My kids and I love it warm with whipped cream, but it's equally good eaten cold the next morning for breakfast!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Family for Daniela

The presents have all been purchased, a few of them are wrapped, the tree is up, the lights are hung, the first batch of lemon curd has been made, and I've got the gingerbread dough chilling in the refrigerator. My Christmas "To Do" list is gradually shrinking, but there is one BIG thing still on my list.
You see, on my refrigerator, is a picture of a little girl named Daniela. Okay, actually, her name is Daniela Lisseth Abigail Campos Pereyra. It's a big name for a little girl. Daniela is just a couple of months younger than Noah, and she lives in Peru. This year, our family is using the month of December to pray for Daniela, and I have committed to try to find a sponsor for her.
In Peru, thousands of children do not have access to safe drinking water, enough to eat, a safe place to live, or access to an education. Daniela is one of those children. But, through sponsorship with Compassion International, Daniela has the opportunity to attend school, obtain medical care, and receive enough to eat. More importantly, she will learn about the love of God as the gospel is shared with her. Sponsoring Daniela would provide her with an "extended family" who could pray for her, write to encourage her, and provide her with love and support.
This year, our family began sponsorship of a little girl in Ethiopia. I can't begin to tell you how much that sponsorship has come to mean to me. Knowing that she receives enough to eat now, and medical care, and an education are great, but for me, the best part is the letters. It felt a bit awkward at first, but now I love to sit down and write to Meron. What a privilege to share with this little one that God loves her, and because of that, so do we. In a situation where life is so difficult, I write in the hope that those letters will provide another way for her to come to know about the God who loves her, and that our encouragement and support will help her to succeed against overwhelming odds. The munchkins get the opportunity to draw pictures for her and ask her questions. And, in return, we get the sweetest letters. Her first letter was a little shy, but her last letter was full of excitement as she told me about getting to start school, how excited her family was because she got a pair of shoes and a new set of clothes thanks to the birthday gift we sent, and at the end she shared things in her life that she asked us to pray with her about. What a privilege!
For the amount of $36 a month, you could have one meal out, four trips to starbucks for coffee and a pastry, a trip to the movies with popcorn and a soda for 2, or you could choose to make an investment in a little girl named Daniela. Would you prayerfully consider adding Daniela to your family's Christmas list? If you would like to see her packet of information or are interested in sponsoring her, please leave a comment on my blog.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cinnamon Applesauce Glue Ornaments

Here is the recipe for the cinnamon ornaments I mentioned in my last post. They make a great craft activity for the kids. And, they make the whole house smell lovely. We use stars, hearts, and angel cookie cutters and hang them with red ribbon.

Last year, Noah loved making them so much, that he also made batch and gave as gifts to his Sunday School, choir, and AWANA teachers. You can also use them as part of the decorations for Christmas gifts you are wrapping.

What you'll need:
1 1/2 cups ground cinnamon
1 T. ground cloves
1T. ground nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup white school glue (like Elmer's)
Plastic food wrap
Rolling pin
Wax paper
Cookie cutters or a knife
Ribbon or yarn for hanging

How to make it:
Mix cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg,applesauce, and glue together in a bowl. The dough should be as thick as cookie dough. Add a bit of water if the dough is too stiff.

Remove from bowl and knead. Put it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for at least a half hour.

Turn oven on as low as it will go.

Remove the dough, knead again to make sure it's smooth. Flatten/roll the dough between waxed paper until it's between 1/4" thick and 1/8" thick.

Cut out desired shapes, use a straw to punch a hole for the ribbon to hang. The circle of dough will pull out with the straw.

Gently place the shapes on a baking sheet lined with foil (make sure foil is VERY smooth) and place in oven. Turn ornaments over every 5 minutes, and bake until ornaments are completely dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool on counter overnight.

Don't be surprised to see that the ornaments get smaller during the drying process. Keep this in mind when you pick out the cookie cutters for your designs. You will also notice that if you do not turn the ornaments over often enough while they are drying, the edges of the ornaments will curl.

When completely dry, thread a piece of ribbon or yarn through the hole to hang.

O Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree is up. Oh how I love this tree! Well, more specifically, the ornaments. As I unpacked them last week-end, I commented to Gareth that it was just like unwrapping old friends.

What I don't love is the star which always tries to lean. But, it's part of the tradition. The star wants to lean, and I spend the Christmas season battling with it.
Also, note the cat under the tree. Again, this is Christmas tradition. From the second Sophie spies the tree going up, she positions herself to wait for the tree skirt so that she can make her comfy bed for the month. (Please ignore the chairs stacked on the kitchen table in the background. I was getting ready to mop the floor.)

Our tree isn't fancy or glamorous. But, it is very much us, and most of the ornaments hold special memories.

Here is the angel that I had on the top of my miniature Christmas tree in my dorm room in college. Add a bit of string, and she now hangs from the tree. I remember how much I loved my little tree in my dorm room, and then I remember how I discovered that if you used Windex to clean your dorm room floor it made it very slick, so I polished the whole floor with Windex and turned it into an indoor-ice skating rink for a few friends and I!

These two are part of a set of glass ornaments filled with old-fashioned animals. I bought them in 2002. It had been a tough year, and I was really struggling with the fact that after trying for 2 years, we had not succeeded in being pregnant and had been told that we likely wouldn't. I hadn't had the heart to put up a tree that year, but the day after Christmas I was out shopping with my Mom when I found these and fell in love with them. I could just imagine a little kid adoring the animals, and so I bought them in the hope of being able to use them someday. Little did I know that I was already pregnant. Morning sickness set in on New Years' Eve, and it was the best Christmas present ever.

The next year we had a sweet little 3-month old who wasn't mobile yet, so we could just lay him under the tree to enjoy the lights. We didn't have many ornaments and couldn't afford to buy a lot more, but he sure did love laying under that tree.

The next year we had a VERY active toddler and another one soon to make his arrival, so I very carefully made some soft, non-breakable ornaments and bought some wooden ones that would hold up to being handled by a toddler.

The next year, I happily added some pictures of the 2 little reasons for putting up a Christmas tree.
Last year, the entire family spent an evening making "cinnamon applesauce glue" ornaments as part of our advent activities. They still make the whole house smell great.
And this year, we have also added a very special ornament.

In all of the commercial pressure to make Christmas bigger, better, and more glamorous, may I encourage you to slow down, keep it simple, and use this Advent season to make loving memories and remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas? Sweet memories of home and family and time spent together will be remembered long after the memories of "cool" presents and fashionable excesses have faded.