Saturday, February 28, 2009

About Me, 2.28.09

Hi! I'm Stephanie!

I'm a home schooling, stay-at-home mom to four kids - Will, Ben, Ellie, and Sam. Yes, my hands are full. Yes, she is the Princess.

I'm originally from Arkansas but have lived in Rhode Island since September 1997. I moved here because of my husband's job. Since then we've bought a house and put down some pretty deep roots so I guess you can say I like it here - now.

I've been blogging at Stephanie's Mommy Brain since July 2007.
I write about a variety of topics: home management, food, books, and products I find useful. Oh, yeah! I also write about my family life. My kids give me lots of material!

2009 has brought some exciting opportunities for me on other blogs. I now help administrate giveaways for 5 Minutes for Mom and 5 Minutes for Giveaways. I will soon have a post published at Praise Baby. And I am currently working as an intern for Kelly McCausey at Profitable Mommy Blogging.

On my own blog I have several projects in the works. A giveaway, a book club and a book tour stop for Jill Savage.

If you have any questions or comments about Stephanie's Mommy Brain I can be contacted at or on Twitter at stephmommybrain.

Friday, February 27, 2009

SMB Book Club: Ministry of Motherhood 1.1

March has arrived with blustery winds and the first Stephanie's Mommy Brain Book Club!!

For this SMB Book Club I have chosen to read The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children by Sally Clarkson.

Why this book?

Because I've been convicted that I need to go beyond just requiring obedience from my children and capture their hearts. And we all know conviction is easier to handle when it's shared. {}

How will SMB Book Club work?

Each Friday I will post my thoughts on a section of the book:
  • March 6 Introduction: Discovering the Ministry of Motherhood
  • March 13 Part One: The Gift of Grace
  • March 20 Part Two: The Gift of Inspiration
  • March 27 Part Three: The Gift of Faith
  • April 3 Part Four: The Gift of Training
  • April 10 Part Five: The Gift of Service
  • April 17 Wrap-up
You can leave comments here, write your own posts, and leave comments on other blogs.

Who can participate?


If you have a blog. If you don't have a blog. If you read the section. If you didn't read the section. Everyone is invited to respond in the comments.

I'm excited about the first Stephanie's Mommy Brain Book Club and really hope you read the book with me! Are you in?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reading Less While I Carpe Diem

Are you ready to hear why I lowered my reading goals for March? Your are? Great!

The short answer

I don't have as much time to read right now because I am working as an intern for Kelly McCausey and writing at Profitable Mommy Blogging.

The long answer

Last fall I decided I wanted my blog to be more than just a place to record the cuteness of my kids. So I started brainstorming ways to improve my blog and do more with it.

At the same time, my friend, Alicia encouraged me to take risks and be open to opportunites. So I entered 2009 with a new motto - "Carpe Diem" (how very Dead Poets Society of me! LOL).

I am amazed at the opportunities that have come my way in the last two months! Administrating giveaways at 5 Minutes for Mom/Giveaways. Writing a post for Praise Baby. Hosting another giveaway next month (that I'm not paying for!). And now interning for Kelly!

All of those opportunities mean less time for reading books.

They also mean for the next few weeks I am reducing how often I post here so I can keep up with the rest of my life. My plan is to post menus and home management ideas on Monday, book reviews on Tuesday, and on Thursday post about my family life.

There will be an occasional random post as I implement Kelly's ideas here so please bear with me and feel free to leave encouraging comments! :)

Each opportunity the last 2 months has had the fingerprints of God on it. I'm not sure what He's up to or what the rest of the year holds for me and Stephanie's Mommy Brain but I'm excited to find out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's on Your Nightstand, 2.24.09

I set small reading goals for February:

* Making Children Mind without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman.
* Something by A.A. Milne.
* The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.
* A review book for Thomas Nelson Publishing.
* Children's books with a focus on Valentine's Day, President's Day, Lincoln's birthday and Washington's birthday.

I'm using my Valentine's Date and Ben's birthday party as my excuses for failing to reach my reading goals this month.
*The Leman book didn't even make it off the shelf in the basement.
*I read a non-Pooh book by A.A. Milne and listened as my husband re-read the classic Pooh story to our children.
* I'm only halfway through the Clarkson book.
* I requested a book from Thomas Nelson but still haven't received it.
* I couldn't find any Valentine's books I liked but came home from the library with a huge stack of President books. Most of them were OK but none were so good I want to buy them.


My reading goals for March are even smaller.

* Finish the Clarkson book.
* Read a Beatrix Potter book for the March Children's Classic carnival at 5 Minutes for Books.
* Read the Thomas Nelson review book when it finally arrives.

There is a very good reason for my reduced reading goal. Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about!

*** To see what other's read in February and plan to read in March visit What's on Your Nightstand at 5 Minutes for Books.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Crazy Busy Week!

For some reason I always seem to plan our activities in clusters. We'll go weeks with no plans and then all of a sudden I find myself with THREE events in one week. That's what happened this week.

First, we had a lunch play date on Tuesday. We planned to meet at a friend's house but sickness arrived at her home Monday night so the rest of us moved the party to McDonald's.

This particular McDonald's has an indoor playground. Before you judge our meeting place you should know my children have played outside twice in the past month because of the weather. So they (and I) were getting a little stir crazy. I needed them to burn off some energy!

Added to my hyperactive children were four other hyperactive children (well, really only 3 since the two-month-old isn't mobile yet.). With so many little wiggly bodies it made total sense to move our party to a crowded germ infested McDonald's playground. Judging by the naps my kids took Tuesday afternoon I'd say they burned a lot of energy and had a great time!

The rest of the week has been spent shopping and preparing for Ben's birthday party on Saturday. How is my baby turning four?!

Ben chose a cowboy theme for his party. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find cowboy stuff in Rhode Island? Let me tell you, it's not easy!

I finished all my shopping last night and now need to make chaps for 7 little cowboys/cowgirls, clean my house, bake a cake, make some ice cream, and figure out how to fit four additional children (plus a baby) and their parents into my home!

Added to that lengthy to-do list is a meeting with my local home school support group this afternoon. I joined the group (read: paid dues) back in the summer but because of Sam's birth and my skin cancer surgery I haven't been able to attend a meeting yet. I don't really have time for it today but want to get plugged into the home school community before the school year is over!!

And now you know why my blogging has dropped off this week. I've been crazy busy, or maybe just crazy. I think both apply in this case.

Does anyone else find their activities come in clusters? Or am I the only crazy one? Also, Will's birthday is coming up in May. Do you have any cute party ide as for a 6 year old?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Valentine's Date to see Fiddler on the Roof and the boots I wanted to wear.

Joel and I celebrated Valentine's Day last Thursday evening with a double date. I had a lot of fun!

The steak dinner at Texas Roadhouse tasted delicious (and was still warm when I ate it!).

The time spent in adult conversation with my husband and our friends refreshed my baby-addled brain.

The performance of Fiddler on the Roof at Providence Performing Arts Center reminded me how much I wish I could sing and dance.

The date is the reason I didn't blog much last week. You see, birthing four babies in five-and-a-half years can really do a number on your wardrobe, not to mention your body! So, almost every night last week I shopped for a new outfit to wear on my date.

Sadly, I failed in my mission to spend money on clothes for myself. I tried Target, T.J. Maxx, J.C. Penney's, and Macy's. I found nothing that fit correctly in the right style (does no one make clothes that aren't hoochie momma or grandma-ish?!).

Let me tell ya. It was most depressing to have money in my pocket and not find anything to spend it on!

To comfort myself I cruised the shoe sections of the same stores. You could say I have a thing for shoes.

I hit gold at Penney's! A $150 pair of brown (almost) leather knee high boots now resides in my closet. If you know me by now you know I did NOT pay $150 for a pair of boots. No, ma'am. They were mine for a mere $30!! I also bought 2 pairs of black flats for about $10 each. And I paid for it all with a gift card except $1 and change! Yeah for me!!

Unfortunately, the boots didn't work with any of the outfits that I could wear to the Providence Performing Arts Center. I worked hard to figure out a way to wear them but it just didn't happen.

You know what this means, don't you? Before our next date I must shop for a great outfit to go with my boots! lol!

Did you celebrate Valentine's Day with a special date? Have you scored any great bargains on clothes or shoes lately? Please tell us about it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Telephone pole replacement provides hours of free edu-tainment.

7:45 Thursday Morning.

I sat in my glider dozing feeding the baby while most of the household slept. Joel had taken the day off work so there was no reason to rush out of bed and start the day.

Until the doorbell rang.

At 7:45. In. The. Morning.

That will get you out of bed in a hurry! Joel jumped up and ran to the door. By the time he reached the front door the person on the other side was POUNDING. When he opened the door he saw two utility trucks and a police officer.

Apparently, they were replacing the utility pole at the corner of our property and needed Joel to move his truck, which was parked on the street near the pole.

Joel hurriedly moved his truck into our driveway and joined the boys in their room. They lifted the shades on the windows, sat on Will's bed and watched the men replace the utility pole outside our house.

I use the term "replace" loosely. What I really mean is they put in a pole right beside the old one and strapped the two poles together after cutting off the bottom of the old pole.

It begs the question why?

Why cut the bottom off of a perfectly good pole? Why leave it supported by another pole and WOODEN BLOCKS?!

And why start this project before 8 AM?!

Can anyone answer these questions for me?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I won two awards and a giveaway. I'll be writing for someone else. AND I have a job.

How's that for a descriptive title? LOL! I've had several fun and exciting bloggy things happen in the last few months. I've tried to come up with creative ways to tell you but it's just not working. So, I'm resorting to a list.

1. National Handwriting Day Winner from Stephanie at {Olive Tree}. In honor of National Handwriting Day Stephanie asked us to write a note or card to someone and then leave a comment on her blog to win a giveaway.

Just so happens I sent my dad a birthday card that week and wrote a note inside. I also had Will, Ben & Ellie each sign their names.

I can't wait for Stephanie's notecards to arrive. They are super cute!

While I'm on the topic of fun and unique holidays, my friend, Ann recommended Every Day a Holiday by Silvana Clark to me recently. I haven't read it, yet, but I trust Ann's judgment that it's a good book.

2. Kreativ Blogger Award from Stephanie at Addie Mae's Closet (and My Answered Prayer).

Thank you, Stephanie!

I don't feel very creative (or Kreativ) but I'm thrilled someone else thinks I am!!

I'm nominating the most creative person I know for this award, Kat at Kreative Korners. Go see the amazing things she makes!!

3. Kreative Blogger Award from Carrie at Reading to Know.

I can't believe 2 people think I'm creative (Kreative)!!

Carrie has a great blog all about books: grown-up books, children's books, non-fiction books. I don't know how she finds the time to read so many books and be a stay-at-home-mom!!

Go visit her! You can thank me later.

4. Boomama recently mentioned that some folks are going to be writing for Praise Baby CDs and DVDs on their new blog.

I am one of the folks! You'll be able to read my post on the Praise Baby Blog in the next few months. I'll be sure to let you know when it's up!!

In the meantime, go buy one of their CDs. You won't regret it!

5. Last but not least, I now have a (very) part-time job. I know! I couldn't be more shocked by it myself. I never thought I'd become a Work at Home Mom (w@hm)!!

I am working with the ladies of 5 Minutes for Mom and 5 Minutes for Giveaways. Each Friday I close their giveaways, notify the winners, announce the winners on the blogs and then send the winners' information on to the sponsors.

Basically, it's administrative work, which is right up my alley! It's fun and I'm learning some new things about blogging.

Speaking of giving away stuff. Next month I'll be hosting my 2nd giveaway! I'm very excited about it!! Any guesses as to what I'll be giving away?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book Review: Winnie the Pooh

A.A. Milne is the author of one of my favorite children's classics - Winnie the Pooh.

My love of all things Pooh is relatively new. I'm sure I watched the Disney movie growing up (what child of the 70s didn't watch Disney?) but I don't remember Pooh from my childhood.

My children will not be able to say that. We own the movie on VHS (really need to upgrade to DVD!), 3 modern Pooh story books, Once Upon a Time with Winnie the Pooh, and a musical Pooh book. We do NOT own the original Winnie the Pooh book, though we have brought it home from the library a couple of times.

I enjoy Pooh and friends because the stories are simple and contain positive messages. The friends eventually work together and accept each other's differences - even Rabbit comes to appreciate Tigger's special bounce.

Working together and appreciating each other are lessons I want my kids to learn. With so many different personalities in our home we do a lot of working and appreciating!

Come to think of it, Pooh and his friends are a lot like my family. Without a doubt, I am most like Rabbit. He likes a plan, order and to be in charge. Yep! Sounds like me!

Owl reminds me of William. Both have long winded stories that often don't make sense. And they both think they know how to spell. At least there's hope for Will's spelling and story telling.

Gopher (who isn't in the original books) makes me think of Benjamin. Ben loves to build and spent much of last summer digging up our backyard.

Ellie is like Tigger. She never sits still, RUNS everywhere, enjoys bouncing on people and is generally a happy girl. Though she does have Rabbit's bossy tendencies, which makes me smile as long as it's directed at the boys.

It's too early to tell which Pooh friend Samuel will be like. Right now he just likes being clean, fed, and hugged. Hmm... sounds kind of like a certain Bear I know.

Well, this review hasn't turned out the way I intended. I had planned to write about a non-Pooh book, Prince Rabbit and The Princess Who Could Not Laugh, but as you can see that isn't what I've done. Uh-oh! Maybe I have a little bit of Owl's wandering storytelling in me, too!

Do you love Pooh as much as we do? Can you see the personalities of the Hundred Acre Wood in your own home? Describe them for us in the comments.

For more Children's Classics thoughts on A.A. Milne visit 5 Minutes for Books.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Playing catch up and the Zoo.

Last week I played catch up with all my housework and things were looking good until I hit the weekend. What is it about the weekend that throws off a great routine?

Anyway, due to playing catch up with my housework I didn't read many blogs all week. As a result I didn't have any links for you Sunday. Sorry about that. Hopefully this week will be better.

Sunday was a gorgeous day here! About 50 degrees, which after being in the 30s for weeks felt like spring! So we packed up the kids after church and visited the zoo.

One highlight of our trip was listening to a docent talk about the giraffes! Unfortunately the daddy giraffe was having "romantic" ideas and the docent felt the need to explain what was happening. That was a little more education than we wanted!

After the zoo we used a gift card for supper at Olive Garden. {sigh} They just aren't as good as they used to be. I ate a meal similar to Penne Rustica from Macaroni Grill. Similar but not as good. The boys complained that their pizza "tasted like spaghetti sauce." Throw in less than stellar service and we won't be going back unless we have a gift card.

That's my weekend in a nutshell.

What about you? Do anything exciting?

*** Picture by Martin Pettitt

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

William, The Future Blogger

"This should go on the blog!" (while taking pictures) - Will, 5 years.Of course it should!!! = )

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Scripture Memorization Team, 2.1.09

He said to Me, "You are My Servant, Israel, in whom I will show My glory."
- Isaiah 49:3.

Read more about the Scripture Memorization Team and visit Beth to add your verse for February.

Photo by Jiaren Lau

Book Review: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

When I picked up I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou I knew two things:

1. The author is friends with Oprah and the Clintons.
2. The book is considered a classic.

Amazon describes the book this way -
"In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever."
The book is mostly set in the tiny town of Stamps, Arkansas. I lived much of my childhood within an hour's drive of Stamps so I found that detail very interesting.

The account of life as a Negro (the term Ms. Angelou uses) in rural Arkansas was fascinating. Some of it brought to mind memories of my own childhood (though I am "lily white"). Ms. Angelou's detailed description of food left my mouth watering. Barbecue. Mmm! Fried chicken. Oh, yeah! Where can I get some of that?!

I felt outrage at the shoddy treatment Maya and other Negoes in her community received at the hands of Whites. I sympathized with the fear of lynchings (which I confess I've never learned much about). And I admired their ability to feel proud and strong under oppressive circumstances.

That's what I liked about the book.

I did NOT appreciate the explicit descriptions of Maya's rape at age 8 by her mother's boyfriend. Or those of her 11 year old brother "playing family" in a tent in the backyard. Or of her emotionless experience with a teenage neighbor which leaves Maya pregnant.

These accounts left me feeling sick to my stomach and in need of some way to cleanse my mind. I realize that these acts were horrendous but it seemed that Ms. Angelou went out of her way to make them as vulgar and disgusting as possible, which wasn't necessary to get her point across.

It is outrageous to me is that this book is used in 9th and 10th grade English classrooms. This book is NOT appropriate for teenagers! I won't quote you the explicit details Ms. Angelou uses. Trust me, I've read trashy romance novels that had less detail than this book.

So, because of the explicit portions of the book, I cannot recommend it to anyone. Not adult. Definitely NOT teenager.

For more reviews of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings visit 5 Minutes for Books.

Monday, February 2, 2009

In the Kitchen with a weekly menu plan and a project.

Last week I cooked one thing from my menu - bacon, gravy and biscuits. Yum! The rest of the week we ate leftovers and some meals I froze earlier in the month.

This week I have planned for us to enjoy:

Zesty Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Carrots, Cheddar Bread.
Penne Rustica, Salad, Rosemary Bread, Olive Oil.
Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Biscuits, Fried Potatoes.
Taco Salad.
Pizza, Pineapples.
Stone Soup (a cookbook recipe I want to try), Cornbread.

If you are interested in seeing more of my recipes, my entire menu for this month, and previous menus be sure to check out Stephanie's Mommy Brain in the Kitchen.

For more menus visit Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday Carnival.


A Kitchen Project

First, The Problem: crayon scribbles all over my kitchen wall since November.

Next came The Helper/ Culprit holding The Best Friend of a Mom with Young Children.

The Results: No more crayon on the wall.

No more sponge.

The New Problems: A definite line on the wall where I cleaned and where I didn't. Ick! Who knew walls could get that dirty in 6 years!! Also, paint is peeling off the chair rail and the wall.

Future Solution: Hubby will paint the kitchen. But that will have to wait until spring.

Are you working (or planning to work) on any short projects this winter? Tell us about them!

*** For more project ideas visit Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

First Giveaway Winner!

The first Stephanie's Mommy Brain Giveaway has come to an end. My first Giveaway closed with 499 comments!! That's amazing!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment!! Double thanks to those who bookmarked or subscribed to Stephanie's Mommy Brain!! I can't wait to read your future comments and get to know you. Y'all made this giveaway a lot of fun!

I hope to participate in the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival next quarter, though I don't know what I'll be giving away, yet. Maybe I'll come up with something more creative than an Amazon gift card.

Until then-

The winner of my first giveaway is ...

#391 Dana

Congratulations, Dana!

*** To read more carnival winner posts visit Bloggy Giveaways.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Links for Your Enjoyment, 2.1.09

Hi! The week's links are pretty thin. I haven't had much time this week to read blogs. I'm hoping to do that soon!

Family Life: Friends and Family
  • Military Communication Part 2: Military Care Kits at Experiencing Each Moment. (GREAT idea!!)
  • Calling all Christian Single Bloggers at Being Single. (I know most of my readers are mommies but if you are a Christian single, or know one, please check out my IRL friend, Michelle. She and I spent a lot of time together in college. Unfortunately we haven't spent as much time together since college - just too many miles between us but I still count her as one of my best friends in the whole world!)
  • Prayers of Sixth and Trinity at Singing New Songs. (Powerful and beautiful post about prayer.)
  • Dad's Birthday at The Robins Nest. (My family is in Arkansas. I am in Rhode Island. You can find entire restaurants that specialize in fried catfish there. You can not here. My loving family likes to tease me. Blogs have allowed them to stoop to a whole new level.)
Have your relatives ever found creative ways to tease you?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...