Friday, January 30, 2009

Given - If - Then Problem Solving. Thank you, Mr. R.

Math. {shudder.}

I have vague memories of sitting in a muggy high school classroom as Mr. R. tried to instruct a bunch of know-it-all sixteen-year-olds on the basic principles of higher mathematics. That poor man endured a lot from us. Specifically, moaning and whining about how we would "never use this math stuff in real life."

You know what? I realized recently that I do "use this stuff" in real life. Don't get me wrong. I'm not computing the angles of an isosceles triangle. Nor am I finding the square root of 14,721. But I am using the Given - If - Then problem solving method.

For example.

I recently escaped from my home enjoyed a quick shopping trip without my children. Joel called 2 hours into my errand (at 5:30). I'll spare you the details of the conversation. The important part is that we decided I would bring home supper and return to the store the next day.

Here's where the math problem solving comes into play. My thoughts as I walked to the van went like this-

  • After we eat supper, Joel will clean the bathroom, give all 4 kids baths, and read our family devotions.
  • That will all take about 2 hours.
  • I want the kids in bed sooner rather than later.
  • I don't want to have to wash dishes.
  • I don't want to spend a lot of my grocery budget.

If I go next door to Walmart:
  • Then it'll take 15 minutes to move the van, pick out supper from the freezer, and check out.
  • Then I'll spend $10-$15 of my grocery budget on frozen food.
  • Then another 5 minutes to drive home.
  • Then 20-30 minutes to heat the food.
  • Then I'll have dishes to wash. Ugh.
If I go down the road to McDs:
  • Then it'll take 20 minutes to drive to the restaurant, use the drive-thru, and drive home.
  • Then I'll use a gift card we received for Christmas and spend $0 from my grocery budget.
  • Then supper will be ready when I walk through the door.
  • Then I won't have to wash dishes.
See?! Given - If - Then Thinking. Mr. R. was right. I am using "that math stuff" in my every day life. I guess he knew what he was talking about after all.

I wonder if he had the answer to:

3 month-old-baby + X = momma sleeping 8 hours straight.

Have you also discovered your high school teachers were pretty smart? What lessons did you endure as a teenager but now use on a regular basis?

*** Edited to add: Visit the What I Learned this Week Carnival @ Musings of a Housewife.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things a Mom Says.

I have said a lot of things as I mom that I never imagined would come out of my mouth. Last week I heard myself say, "Will, don't wipe boogers on your brother's bed."

I guess he was taking a little revenge for the germs Ben puts on his bed.

Oh the stories (and pictures!) I will have to share at their weddings!! Then Momma will get her revenge {evil laughter}.

Please tell me you say things like this!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

4th Photo and Ben's thoughts on Heaven.

Alicia at Experiencing Each Moment tagged me for the 4th Photo Meme.

Here are the rules:

1.) Go to your 4th folder where you store your photos.
2.) Select your 4th picture (no exceptions)! Seriously.. no exceptions.
3.) Post the picture with an explanation and link it back to your tagger.
4.) Tag 4 people to do the same!!

That's Ben. He'll be four years old in February. This photo was taken last week. Believe it or not, he wanted me to take his picture. I have not idea why he made sad/mad faces.

Here's a sampling of recent Ben quotes:

"If the earth burned up Heaven would fall down." - Ben, 3 years.

"Heaven is a rock." - Ben, 3 years.

Alrighty then!

I will now tag 3 people: Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer, Stephanie @ {Olive Tree}, Stephanie @ A High and Noble Calling.

If your name is Stephanie consider yourself tagged! Be sure to leave a comment letting me know if you participate!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand? 1.27.09

I'm officially one month is to my Reading Goal for 2009. And I'm feeling pretty proud of myself!

For January I planned to read:

* For The Tough Times: Reaching Toward Heaven for Hope by Max Lucado (for Thomas Nelson);
* Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (for SimpleMom);
* I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (for 5MFB);
* The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories by L.M. Montgomery (for Reading to Know).

And I did it! That's four grown-up books in one month. Amazing!

You can read my review of Lucado here and Montgomery here. I haven't written my review of the Dominguez book, yet. I'm saving that for sometime in February. The Maya Angelou review will post on February 3 for the 5 Minutes for Books Classics Carnival.

As usual, I've been reading plenty of children's books. I reviewed three of them in January: The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia, If You Give a Pig a Party, and The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books.

I have to say I've very pleased with January's reading!

Now looking ahead to February.

* Making Children Mind without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman (for Heart of the Matter Online Book Club, by February 21). I read this book last year {I think} and NEED it again!

* Something by A.A. Milne (for 5 Minutes for Books Children's Classics Carnival, on February 10).

* The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson (A Christmas gift. I hope to write a series of articles in March about what I learn from this book. Will you join me for an unstructured book club?)

* I'm still reviewing for Thomas Nelson Publishing. They aren't currently offering anything that interests me but that is always subject to change.

* As usual, I'll be reading children's books with my kids. I'm hoping to find some good books on Lincoln, Washington and Valentine's Day. Do you have any recommendations?

Monday, January 26, 2009

First Ever Stephanie's Mommy Brain Giveaway!

Welcome to the first ever Stephanie's Mommy Brain Giveaway!

If you are new here, thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed so you can find Stephanie's Mommy Brain again!

If you are a regular visitor to Stephanie's Mommy Brain, thanks for being a loyal reader! Have you considered subscribing to my RSS feed? You will receive my new posts much quicker that way!

For first time visitors, let me tell you a little about Stephanie of Stephanie's Mommy Brain.

As you can guess, I am a mom. I am also the home school Kindergarten teacher for my oldest son (I have 3 boys! and a girl). Much of my day is spent instructing refereeing my children (5, 4, 2.5 years) or nursing my youngest (3 months).

When I'm not tending to my kids I try to manage my household. Right now that means menu planning, cleaning our home, organizing all our stuff, and tracking our finances.

In my spare time (bwhahahahahaha!), I read grown-up books and blog about - home management and family life.

As I considered my prize for this giveaway two things were important to me. 1. I don't want to have to go to the post office! As you can imagine, it's quite the ordeal. 2. I want to give people something they will really like and use.

So, I offer to you ... A $25 Amazon Gift Card (electronic version!).

Because it is electronic (meaning no shipping), this giveaway is open to anyone. Just leave a comment telling me if you are a first time visitor, an occasional visitor or a regular visitor to Stephanie's Mommy Brain. If you only write "pick me" or something similar you will be disqualified from the giveaway. I'd hate for that to happen!!

Thanks for stopping by Stephanie's Mommy Brain! Come again real soon!!

*** Edited to add: Comments will close Jan. 30 (Friday) at 7:00 PM (Eastern) with the drawing via shortly after that. Please remember I can't contact you if I don't have your email address or blog name!

*** Edited to add: Thanks for all the compliments on the Cheerios layout. I have a confession. All I did was type my name and tag line into the header. If you like this layout go visit Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. She has some great layouts and easy to follow tutorials!

*** For more giveaways visit Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival.

Weekly Menu Plan and Tips for Buying Meat without Spending a Fortune.

This week didn't go as well as last week did. You know it's a bad precedent when you go out for supper on MONDAY! Then Tuesday I heated up some leftover potato soup. The week improved after that but my menu never quite recovered. Maybe this week will be better!

This week I have planned for us to enjoy:

Chicken Curry, Onions, Carrots, Rice, Pineapples
Easy Chicken Parmesan, Pasta, Salad, Focaccia Bread
Bacon, Gravy, Biscuits, Fried Potatoes
Mexican Chicken Cornbread, Sour Cream, Black Olives, Fruit
Pizza, Salad, Pineapples
Seafood Chowder, Cheddar Bread

One of my Rhode Island friends thinks biscuits and gravy for supper is not common among Southerners. Is this something only my family does?

Tell me I'm not weird and leave a comment if this is something you do, too!

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.


Thursday morning I stopped in at my local supermarket to buy one of their loss leaders - $1.99 for bottom round roast beef and top round roast beef.

I have noticed in my area, supermarkets usually have their best deals on meat during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the month and the week before a major holiday. I try to plan my menus and food budget so I can take advantage of those sales.

So, I bought 2 roasts about 3 pounds each. I would have bought a third roast BUT I noticed some of the steak packages had $1.50 off sticker coupons.

These meat packages expired today. Which meant the store wanted to sell them fast. I quickly did the math. And just as quickly popped them into my basket.

Here's what I bought:

Eye Round Steak .68 lb (2 individual steaks) with coupon $1.55
Eye Round Steak .65 lb (2 individual steaks) with coupon $1.42
Round Stew Meat .59 lb (1 individual steak) with coupon $ .26
Round Stew Meat .49 lb (1 individual steak) with coupon -$ .03

Yes, you see that correctly. I bought a half pound of beef for TWENTY-SIX CENTS and they paid ME three cents to take another half pound of beef home!!

With the loss leader and the coupons I paid $14.55 for 8.12 pounds of beef. That's less than $2 a pound!

I cut it all up into meal sized portions and put it in freezer bags. Now I have roast and steak for at least 6 meals in my freezer. That's less than .50 cents a serving for my family of 5!

Buying loss leaders and soon to expire meat with coupons Works For Me! What tips do you have to buy meat without spending a fortune?

For more Works For Me! ideas visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Links for your enjoyment, 1.25.09

Welcome to Links for Your Enjoyment, 1.25.09 Edition.

I've reorganized my "Thought Topics" or labels or tags; whatever you want to call them. I wanted the list to better describe what I write about.

I also categorized Links for Your Enjoyment by applying the same "Thought Topics" labels. I hope this helps you find the links that interest you.

What do you think? Do they describe the posts you've read here on SMB? Can you easily find a post on a topic that interests you?

Home Management: Weekly/Monthly Menus and Misc. Food
  • Freezer Friday at Frugal Menu Mamas. (I'm wanting to do more freezer cooking this year. This post has great ideas and recipes.)
  • Meal Planning Part III at Life @ 7000 Feet. (The last in her series on how she plans and prepares meals for her family. See last week's Links for Your Enjoyment if you missed the first two posts.)
  • Starting a Freezer Cooking Co-op at Frugal Menu Mamas. (I like this idea! Does anyone else do this? Anyone in Rhode Island interested?)
Family Life: Just MeFamily Life: Friends and Family
  • Ship Departing... at Experiencing Each Moment. (Great pictures of her husband's ship deploying. Look for the picture of her son and husband silently expressing their love to each other.
Family Life: Books Family Life: Faith
Blogging: Miscellaneous

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Review: The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Short Stories

The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories by L.M. Montgomery is a compilation of 14 short stories written by Montgomery throughout her career.

In general, I am not a fan of short stories. I feel like I'm just getting to know the characters and the story ends. It's just not as satisfactory as a good 200 pages of experiencing the life of a character.

However, my reading is done in short spurts these days so I wasn't sure if I could handle a real novel. When Carrie at Reading to Know recommended The Doctor's Sweetheart I decided to give short stories another try.

After reading "Kismet" I began to doubt my decision. This story is just 5 short pages. The characters don't even have names. They are simply referred to as "a man" and "a woman." The story takes place during the duration of a couple of horse races. While I enjoyed the brief exchange between the couple, the story left me wanting to know more. Why had they separated? Did their reconciliation last? Would they find happiness with one another?

By the time the book was over I was glad I had given short stories another try. As you progress through the book the stories get longer. You also receive more detail about the lives of the characters. I ended the book wishing there was more.

The themes of all the stories (as best I recall) in The Doctor's Sweetheart is pride and reconciliation. Over and over the various characters make decisions that are ultimately rooted in pride. They live for years with less than fulfilling lives as a result. Most are able to put their pride aside by the end of the story and reconcile with someone they care about.

This kind of story is bittersweet to me. I'm thrilled at the reconciliation but saddened by so many years (and lives) wasted because of pride. But isn't that like real life?

How many relationships (friendships) are ruined because someone is too proud to admit they need help? Or unwilling to overlook petty differences? Or refuses to forgive deep wounds?

I am reminded of a valuable friendship I lost a few years ago. Was pride the root of it? I'm not really sure. By the time my hurt had healed enough to consider reconciliation, my friend had moved away. Now, over 4 years later, the sweet memories of her are still bittersweet to me.

Do you regret the loss of a friendship/relationship? Have you ever reconciled after a long separation? Was pride the cause?

For more reviews and thoughts on the works of L.M. Montgomery go visit The L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge at Reading to Know.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Update from Baby Sam at 3 Months.

Hi! I'm Samuel.

I turned 3 months old yesterday. My momma can't believe it.

Momma says I LOVE to eat. When I was born I weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces. In December Dr. S. said I weighed 11 pounds 15 ounces. That was over a month ago. Momma is sure that I'm getting close to 15 pounds now. She's starting to complain about how heavy I am.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start sleeping longer at night. I got tired of listening to Momma complain about how tired she is. Not to mention she kept falling asleep while I was eating! So now I sleep about 6 hours at night but not the hours Momma wants. I prefer 8 PM to 3 AM. I can't let her start thinking she's boss or anything!

I've also decided the other people in this house are OK. My Daddy is lots of fun. He makes silly faces and noises. I usually smile and laugh just so he'll keep acting so goofy.

There are three other little people in my house. I like my oldest brother, William, the best. He doesn't pinch or poke me in the eye like the other two do.

The best part is that he likes to read me books! I don't understand what he's saying but the pictures are fun and I like to listen to him talk. We've had some good conversations and laughs together. He's a great big brother!

I also made an exciting discovery a few weeks ago! I have a thumb! And it fits in my mouth so nice. Momma says that's why I'm sleeping longer at night. I don't know about that. I just like the way it feels when I suck on it. Momma says I look very cute when I suck my thumb and Daddy agrees with her.

Do you have any little people at your house? How old are they? Maybe my brothers and sister could have a play date with them.

Well, I'd better go now. I think it's time for a snack.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How do you get a 2 year old girl to use the potty?

Bribe Reward her with some of these, while keeping your sense of humor.

*** For more tips and ideas visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.
*** For more pictures visit Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Book Review: Children's Encyclopedia and Give a Pig a Party

Every third Tuesday of the month 5 Minutes for Books hosts the Kids' Picks Carnival. This is a great way to see what other children are enjoying. Some posts are written by the kids; others are written by the mom (like mine). If you need any book ideas be sure to check out this Carnival.
As I mentioned last week, we added TEN new books to our shelves over Christmas. I reviewed one of them last week. Here are two more.

The Kingfisher First Encyclopedia has quickly become Will's favorite book.

I can see why. It answers lots and lots of the questions a curious five year old asks. Covering subjects from Africa to the Zoo in just 155 pages it's hard to think of a general topic that isn't mentioned.

William sits with this book daily. He pours over it and "reads" the pages intently. He is in the beginning stages of reading so most of the words are beyond his ability right now. However, the photographs and illustrations are so well done reading isn't required to understand most topics.

One of his favorites is "Planets." This two page layout describes planets, Earth, the Sun and moons. It also includes a picture (that covers both pages) of our Solar System with each planet named. Because we have read this page to him repeatedly, he can name some of the planets.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone with a curious child (especially if you home school). Just be warned that it will create even more questions for you to answer! :)

If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff is currently one of Ellie's favorite books.

It was a Christmas present this year from Grammy (who had the joy of reading it to Ellie MANY times during her week-long visit after Christmas).

I'm not surprised Ellie likes it so much, it is another in the "Cookie Book" series. She drags our "Cookie" compilation book around a lot so it stands to reason that she would like this one also.

I enjoy these creative books just as much as Ellie and the boys do! The story stimulates the reader's imagination, which is something I value in a children's book. The illustrations by Felicia Bond are simple and colorful. Definitely some of my favorites.

Anyone looking for an imaginative and simple picture book is sure to fall in love with this series. We have at our house!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I would wear if I could go to a blogging conference.

Sarah at Real Life is hosting a fun carnival/giveaway. She, like so many others, is headed to Blissdom. What? You haven't heard of Blissdom?

Basically it's a conference for bloggers to network, get great ideas for their blogs, and learn new ways to improve their blogs. And have fun. Oh, does two days of blog-talk sound like fun to me!!!

I know. You all just rolled your eyes. That's ok. A year ago I thought blog conferences like Blissdom, BlogHer, and Mom 2.o Summit were pretty silly. As I have gotten more involved in the Mommy Blog Community I've changed my mind.

Anyway. Back on point.

Sarah is hosting a carnival/giveaway for those attending Blissdom to link up video posts about what they will be wearing at the conference. Yes. It is a VERY important question! ;)

Obviously, I'm not attending. Just going to the grocery store alone is a treat these days. Two days alone in Nashville sounds like, dare I say it, ...bliss. ; )

Sarah invited those of us who won't be attending to post a video (or pictures in my case since I don't own a digital video camera) of what we will be wearing while she is at the conference. So, here ya go.

Shoes I would wear if I were going to Blissdom:

Shoes I will be wearing since I'm not going to Blissdom:

Are any of you attending a blog conference this year? If so, I'd love to hear all about it!

Menu Plan with an Organized Pantry

I am so loving my monthly menu! Last week I did really well. I had to rearrange a few meals but still managed to cook EVERY NIGHT LAST WEEK! You don't know how amazing that is! Maybe you do!

This week I have planned for us to enjoy:

Balsamic Chicken, Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Rice
Lemon Garlic Chicken, Spaghetti, Broccoli
French Toast, Sausage
Tortilla Stack w/ Chicken, Sour Cream, Black Olives, Pineapple Chunks
Pizza, Salad, Pineapple Chunks
Taco Soup, Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Black Olives, Tortilla Chips

Have you planned your weekly (or monthly) menu yet?

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 recipes by other bloggers visit Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday Carnival.

Before I made out my Monthly Menu last week I had to take stock of my pantry and freezer. This was so I could plan meals around food we already had and save money.

I had not organized the pantry since October before Baby Sam was born. You don't have to imagine the chaos. I have pictures.

You can barely see a disposable tin pan on the top shelf. The other items are randomly stuck in there.

How about that bag of potatoes sitting on the shelf instead of in the potato bin.

Notice the bag of flour is sitting on the FLOOR in front of the bin.

The picture doesn't show the chaos very well. Trust me. It was a mess.

So I went to work...

Ahh... much better. I try to organize my pantry shelves by categories. The top shelf is miscellaneous items, plus any candy or goodies I don't want the kids to reach.

Then we have hot drinks, spices and seasonings, and baking supplies.

The third shelf holds pasta, extra flour and sugar, oatmeal, and formula supplies.

Next are my cannisters of flour, sugar, etc.

Below that is canned goods.

And the last shelf is cereal and large containers of spices.

(See my pretty 4 slice toaster? My Christmas present from my Mama. After cooking for my crew in October she understood my wish list this year.)

That was my Home Management Project for the week month. I know it wasn't much but at least it was a step in the right direction.

To be inspired by more projects visit 5 Minutes for Mom's Tackle it Tuesday.

How about you? Do you organize your pantry or food cabinets? If so, how? By category? What the kids need? Frequently used items?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Links for your enjoyment, 1.18.09

About to fly away...

The Homemakers Haven: How to Participate at A High & Noble Calling. (Every Monday she will post a cleaning challenge/carnival for you to participate in. If you are looking for motivation in ordering/cleaning your home this just might be it.)

2009 New Year's Cleaning Grand Plan Challenge at Organized Home. (Another weekly cleaning challenge.)

On Reading - A Reader's Diary at 5 Minutes for Books. (A great idea for helping you process and remember the books you read.)

Meal Planning Part 1- Purpose at Life at 7000 Feet. (I love to read about how/why other people plan meals!)

Meal Planning Part 2 at Life at 7000 Feet. (She has great ideas. We're both menu/meal plan, just use slightly different systems.)

Link-Tastic: The Filing System Edition at Org Junkie. (DID YOU SEE SHE LINKED TO ME?! I am beyond excited!)

Pretty Please with Sugar on Top at Life at 7000 Feet. (I couldn't agree more!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Prayer for Cookies

"Jesus, help us eat cookies." - Ellie, 2 years.

This is Ellie's most often said prayer. Daddy obliged her and made sugar cookies after Christmas with all three kids.

What cute things do your children say when they pray?

* For more fun questions to answer visit Kailani at An Island Life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Scripture Memorization Team 2009

Have you heard about Beth's Scripture Memory Team? She is inviting women to memorize 24 scriptures in 2009.

Think that sounds like a lot? She's broken it down to 2 a month. One on the 1st day of the month and a new verse on the 15th day of the month.

Just select a verse and leave a comment on her Scripture Memory blog posts with the verse and your name. Of course you don't have to leave a comment to participate but I find it encouraging and helpful to have some measure of accountability - which is why I'm writing this post (I intended to write it 15 days ago but forgot).

So I will have accountability, for the rest of the year I'll just post my new verse on the 1st and 15th and link back to this post so you know what it's about.

If you are interested in joining me, I suggest you read:

* Anybody Game? (Beth's original post),
* 1st & 15 Siesta Scripture Memory Team! We're On! (Beth talks about how many women are participating and prays over us all),
* Scripture Memory Mini-Tutorial (3 videos of Beth explaining a simple way to memorize).

I've also written two posts on Scripture that you might find helpful:

* Memorizing Scripture with Children and for Myself.
(This explains how I'm memorizing with my kids this year. These are different verses from what I'm choosing for myself. There are a couple of links in the post to other blogs that describe memorization systems or techniques.)

* Making Scripture Personal. (More on this in a moment.)

Here are my 2 January scriptures:

"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." - Proverbs 31:26-27. (NASB)

"Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. Your walls are continually before Me." - Isaiah 49:15-16 (NASB)

I chose the Proverbs verse because I haven't liked what I hear coming out of my mouth lately. Also, my Theme for 2009 is "Looking well to the ways of her household." I'm really trying to get my house in order in every possible way.

I chose the Isaiah verse because some days I need a reminder that God hasn't forgotten about me. It really speaks to me on a personal level because I'm currently nursing an infant.

Here's an example of making scripture personal that I mentioned earlier.

"Stephanie, can you forget your nursing child, Samuel? Can you have no compassion on Samuel, the son of your womb? As unthinkable as it is, you are capable of forgetting. BUT I will never forget you, Stephanie. Look, I've tattooed you on the palms of my hands. When I look at my hands, I am reminded of you. You are constantly on my mind."

Have you already joined Beth's Scripture Memory Team? If so, what verses did you choose? If you haven't, will you join now? It's not to late!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Review: For the Tough Times by Max Lucado

"When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?' The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord sits on his throne in heaven." - Psalm 11:3-4.

"Isn't David's question ours? When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do? When illness invades, marriages fail, children suffer, and death strikes, what are we to do?" - For The Tough Times: Reaching Toward Heaven for Hope by Max Lucado.

Don't we all ask those questions at times? I know I have. When my Grandma died after battling cancer. When we left a church after 7 years. When I endured a miscarriage at 8 weeks.

I find great comfort in knowing God is sitting on his throne!

In this small book Lucado does an excellent job of reminding us that God has a plan for each life. Not even Satan can derail the plan of God. In fact, Satan is often an unwilling participant in God's plan.

This small (only 83 pages long) book would make an excellent book for someone going through a difficult time. Or as a Gift Book for an introduction to Lucado's books.

It's a quick read. Not terribly meaty or deep but it will make you think about God, prayer and Heaven.

*** For more reviews of this book see Alicia at Experiencing Each Moment or Doug at The Thoughts and Ramblings of Doug (the husband of a college friend).

Book Review: The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books

Children's Classics

My kids received TEN new books at Christmas this year. Picture books. Non-fiction books. And drawing books.

I can't wait to share them all with you! But I'll restrain myself and not review all ten of them in this one post. I'll spread them out a little.

(However, if you can't wait, click on the GoodReads link in the sidebar and search for my children's shelf.)

The one book we bought ourselves was The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books.

This book includes: Go Dogs Go!, It's Not Easy Being a Bunny, Are You My Mother?, Put Me in the Zoo, The Best Nest, and A Fly Went By.

Usually I don't like compilation books but this was about $5 more than we would have paid for ONE of those titles by itself. I LOVE me a bargain!

All of my kids are enjoying these stories. Ellie walks around with the book and calls it her "Bible." (We think God understands the mind of a 2 year old and won't strike her for her blasphemy.) She and Will (5 years) both like to sit and "read" the book.

Actually, William could read the book if he put some effort into it. It's a beginning reader book and he definitely qualifies for that. Ellie's version of reading the book is to say the parts she remembers us reading. It won't be long and she'll have the while thing memorized.

I have enjoyed reading some of the lesser known Dr. Seuss stories. There is the typical Seussian rhyme, silly antics by the characters and bright illustrations. Two of the stories (It's Not Easy Being a Bunny, The Best Nest) even have morals (be yourself and be content).

If you are looking for a beginning reader or a rhyming book other than Cat in the Hat, I highly recommend this book.

If you enjoy Dr. Seuss here are a few links you might be interested in:
*Seussville for games, catalog and events;
*Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden outside the Springfield Museums (Massachusetts)which also includes an exhibit on Dr. Seuss.

Finally, on March 2, 2009, (Seuss's birthday) the National Education Association's Read Across America program is calling for every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult.

(Let me be clear that I am NOT an advocate for or fan of the NEA!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Menu, A new layout, and THE answer.

Using my How to Make a Menu post as a guide, I typed up a monthly menu over the weekend.

I started Friday morning because I needed to go to the grocery store. In typical fashion for my life, I didn't finish the menu until Saturday afternoon. I still bought groceries Friday night; I just focused on the meal plan for this week instead of stocking up for the whole month.

This week we will be eating:
Breaded Chicken, Broccoli, Carrots, Rice.
Easy Lasagna, Green Beans, Corn, Cheddar Bread.
Tater Tot/ Hashbrown Casserole, Sausage.
Chicken Fajitas, Tortillas, Sour Cream, Black Olives, Salsa.
Homemade Pizza, Salad, Pineapples.
Potato Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Crackers.

If you are interested in seeing the whole month or the recipes I'll be using go to SMB In the Kitchen. Almost all of the meals on my monthly menu have links to my recipes. I hope to get the rest of the recipes up there sometime this month.

A word about my recipes. Remember I have 4 kids 5 years old and under so my meals are uncomplicated, quick, and fairly cheap. And kid friendly (for the most part). If you try a recipe I'd love to hear if you liked it, hated it, or tweaked it.

Also, if you are interested in seeing more menus head over to Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

How do you like my new layout? Or is it called a template? I'm never sure about technical blogging terms. I thought Cheerios was fitting for my life and blog.

Before you ask, I didn't make it. I've been tweaking and playing with the html code (much to the amusement of my computer programmer husband) but I'm not up to doing a whole layout - yet. I found this one at Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. Her button is in the sidebar.

THE Answer. I'm sure you've been wondering all weekend what the answer to this post is. What does "he's putting germs on my bed" mean?

You all had excellent ideas. I laughed outloud when I read them. I could also tell who is a mom of boys. Alicia at Experiencing Each Moment came the closest with her "#2 rubbing his bottom" suggestion.

We have talked with both boys about washing your hands after you go to the bathroom because certain body parts have germs on them.

Well, if Will (5 years) happens to be in the bedroom bugging Ben (almost 4 years) during the process of changing clothes, Ben takes the opportunity to sit or roll on Will's bed - sans clothing.

Thus, "He's putting germs on my bed!"

It never fails to crack me up; not sure what that says about me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Links for your enjoyment, 1.11.09

Best of 2008 Countdown #5! at No Time for Flashcards. (This is a really fun blog for preschool/toddler activities and crafts. This link will take you to a home made race track. Something my boys would enjoy.)

Best of 2008 Countdown #2! at No Time for Flashcards. (Now I know what to do with broken crayons!!)

Memorable Verses for Children at Heart of the Matter. (A great way to memorize scripture with your kids. Same idea as here, just different verses.)

The Importance of an Emergency Fund at Econobusters. (We saved 3 months living expenses through the course of 2008. I can't recommend this practice enough!)

MOPs Moment: Predator Proofing Your Children at Experiencing Each Moment. (A topic all moms wish we didn't have to think about. An director at a camp for abused children spoke to Alicia's MOPs group and gave them valuable information, including a link to a 55 page PDF workbook.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Germs on my bed!

There are 20 months and 3 weeks between William and Benjamin.

William is my first born. He's bigger than Ben. He talks more than Ben. He is "alpha male."

Benjamin is my second born. He's shorter than Will. He's quieter than Will. And so far, he takes whatever Will dishes out.


Benjamin has learned that you don't have to use physical force to aggravate. Sometimes just a little bit of cunning goes a long way in making your big brother yell for mom.

In recent months I've heard a lot of "Mom!! He's puttin' germs on my bed!!" from William.

Any ideas on what Ben is doing?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How to Make a Monthly (or Weekly) Menu Plan.

I've been "winging it" for supper since October (partly because of this little guy). My food budget and husband's waist show the effects of my lack of meal planning. Well, no more! It's a new year and a fresh start for home management!

To motivate myself to return to menu planning (and you to join me!) I decided to write a step-by-step post on how I make a monthly or weekly menu plan.
How to Make a Monthly (Weekly) Menu

Will you join me? The benefits of meal planning are numerous. More nutritious meals. Spend less money on food. Less stressed at meal time. To get started planning your meals just download and print this pdf file. I plan to place this guide in my Home Management Binder.

Please leave a comment if you found this Guide helpful. If you Menu Plan already I'd love to learn about it about the system you use.

* For more tips on menu planning be sure to read Monthly Menu: A Work in Progress.
* You can also find monthly menus, weekly menus and recipes at Stephanie's Mommy Brain in the Kitchen.
* For more tips and ideas visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stephanie's Mommy Brain 2008 in Review

I thought it would be fun to Recap 2008. I realize I'm a little late jumping on that bandwagon. Sorry about that. I've been enjoying a visit with my in-laws this week instead of blogging. Shocking, isn't it?

January brought Sally into my life. How did I live without her? Apparently I also started 2008 in my pajamas and talking about poop. Not much has changed in a year.

February brought 2008 Medical Drama #1 and this sweetness (just to show you they aren't always mean to the girl).

March brought 2008 Medical Drama #2, more talk of poop, and an announcement I was pregnant.

April had pictures of one cute Girlie and 2008 Medical Drama #3.

May only had 2 posts! This one is fun.

In June I bored you with lots of picture posts of our vacation in New Hampshire. I also took a personal (me, myself and I!!!) vacation with 2 friends.

July is my Blog Anniversary. I celebrated by writing 100 Things About Me.

In August we visited some fun sea animals and Ellie turned two.

September 2 is an important date around here. The kids and I memorized some Scriptures.

In October I posted pics of our mini-vacation in Massachusetts. 2008 Medical Drama #4. 2008 Medical Drama/ Joy #5.

November had lots of baby pictures.

December brought 2008 Medical Drama #6, much mischief and a visit from Murphy's Law.

I'm looking forward to 2009 and a few less medical issues. No wonder I'm tired of doctors!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Links to My Community of Friends and Families.

In case you enjoy reading posts from my community, here is my list.
Community of Family Bloggers
Country Road Faith (my mom)
Cassie's Page (cousin)
Rambling Bits and Bytes (hubby)
Singing New Songs (sister-in-law/ Joel's sister)
The Robins Nest (sister-in-law/ my brother's wife)

Community of OBU Bloggers (IRL Friends)
Experiencing Each Moment
Experiencing Our Homeschool
Making Strides to Cure Found
The Navy Christian
Cardiff Central

Live, Laugh, Love...with boys!

Oh the Places You'll Go!

Being Single
Hardin Central (Private)
Arkhiker's Vicinity (husband of my friend, April)
Little Things
The "Dayly" News
The Greenwich Family

Community of Rhode Island Bloggers (IRL Friends)
Wherever He Leads We'll Go
A Journey in Mommying

Kreative Korners
Everyday's a Mundy
Future Travel, Spontaneous Love
College and Beyond
New New Englanders

Home Grown Blessings

Community of Internet Blogger Friends
1 Crazy Journey
{Olive Tree} / Punkin' Press

Reading to Know

My Answered Prayer
Yes, and So Is My Heart

Kelly's Korner (OBU)
Life at 7000 Feet (OBU)

I tried really hard not to miss anyone! If I did I'm very sorry. Feel free to leave a comment and I'll add you to my list!

Friday, January 2, 2009


While looking in the toilet, "One of my poops looks like a tuba." - Ben, 3 years and 10 months.
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