Nunez News

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our 2011 Christmas Letter

This is the letter that I wrote to go a long with our Christmas cards. I actually tried to keep this letter to 1 page but it went a little over. I think I could have typed 5 pages but that might have been more of a chore then a pleasure to read. :)

Happy last day of 2011 everyone! I hope your 2012 is filled with many blessings!

Our 2011
Hi Family and Friends! Hope your year has been a great one. Our year has been filled with many, many blessings. Robert still has his job and is doing well and I was able to get a lot of photography jobs throughout the year. Robert was able to work his schedule out so that he could do the men’s bible studies on Monday nights and then he’d be home Wednesday mornings for me to be able to attend the women’s bible studies. Robert also plays on the church men’s softball team at least once a week and I was playing on the co-ed softball team up until the end of October. This year we started monthly family fellowship days at our house (and sometimes other people host). Robert or one of the other men share what God has put on their heart and we get to eat and fellowship for a few hours with friends.
            At the beginning of the year we got a new backyard! No we didn’t move. At the end of last year we had a retaining wall built that is around 8 to 9 feet high and a TON of dirt moved to fill in the backyard to make it level. So the kids went from a cement enclosed patio for their backyard to a big green backyard to run around in. For those of you who don’t know, my uncle Paul’s company did all the cement work and the sprinklers and grass. I highly recommend him and not just because he’ll be reading this letter but because he’s awesome, along with his workers. Good peoples! ;)
            Once we had our backyard we got to work planting in our garden boxes that Robert built with of course the 3 little eager assistants. Our zucchini were HUGE and so yummy, green beans did great and our tomatoes are still producing along with the strawberries. Robert even made his own batch of pickles with the pickling cucumbers. One of the four boxes is the kid’s dirt box. We figured that was the best bet in keeping little shovels out of the vegetable boxes.
            In the summer I started a blog for our family. Robert is supposed to help contribute but he’s only done 1 post. I guess he doesn’t have as much of a desire or need to type what is on his mind as I do. I post a good amount of pictures from our outings and activities if you want to check it out, it is at
            In August we got a new little nephew, Obadiah, AND we found out that I was pregnant with our 4th little person! Woo Hoo for babies! I am due in April 2012 and no we do not know if this one is a boy or a girl. That information is only known by God and maybe the ultrasound tech if she saw anything during my ultrasound.
            Another exciting thing that happened at the end of August was Kiera starting 1st grade. She’s a quick learner and very contemplative. She’s great with figuring out puzzles and patterns. My dad showed her how to do a Sudoku puzzle and it seems to just make sense to her. She’s reading stories to her brothers now. Domenic will ask her to read Curious George and she’s such a great big sister so her answer is always, “Sure, I’ll read that to you buddy”. She’s also a butterfly and bee expert. Seriously, she knows all the terminology for the life cycle of a butterfly and when she found a dead bee today she informed me that it’s a worker bee because it has pollen baskets. And of course when one is doing school the other two (especially Nathan) want to sit right there and absorb as much information that they can. Domenic counts, which is so cute. Nathan will tell me that there is a specific letter in a word. For instance, he’ll say, “there’s a “p” in the word apple huh mom?” And he likes to count in Spanish.
            We went to the mountains for my birthday in October. Last year we had rented a lodge in Arrowhead and this year we rented a cabin in Big Bear. It was cold and lots of fun. It snowed up there the weekend after we were there. We were kind of glad and sad about that. During our hike we saw a lone coyote that did not seem to care about us much, but it was one of the highlights of the hike. We had all the great comfort foods like chicken enchiladas and mom’s meatballs and of course we baked cookies and Robert made pancakes on my birthday morning.
            In November we hosted a boutique and fundraiser at our house. That was really fun! I had invited vendors to come sell their products. Most of them were handmade items so all unique kinds of things. The fundraiser was the bake sale that I baked everything for except the oatmeal cookies that my mom offered to make. Each vendor donated an item to raffle for the fundraiser as well. We were able to raise $240 that we used to buy gifts through the World Vision gift catalog. We bought a sheep and 8 chickens for a village and we also were able to get vital medicines where the gift would be multiplied 11x. So our $35 for medicine was multiplied into $385 worth of medicine! Robert and I agreed that we’d like to host another boutique/fundraiser again next year.
That is our 2011 year in a nutshell. Merry CHRISTmas!
Love, Robert, Alaina, Kiera, Nathan and Domenic

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Small Voice

It is good to just sit, and listen. 
Have you every been in a conversation that was one sided? One person is talking and the other person can not get a word in? Or even when that other person does finally get a chance to speak the one doing most of the talking is not listening because they are thinking of what they want to say next.
I think that is how we can be sometimes. With our children and with God.
I tell my kids "look at me" so I know they are listening and I think sometimes that is what God as our Heavenly Father is thinking, "just look at Me". 
We can get caught up in the I want, I need, please do this, please do that. When He could very well be answering or trying to talk to us but we are so busy doing all the talking we can not hear.
Stop and listen.

1 Kings 19:11-13
So He said, "Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. And it came about when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

I also believe God can use our children to speak to us. Their hearts are soft and open to Him speaking to them. They listen.
There has been more then a couple times where during our devotional times or while we are writing out our list of people and things to pray for that Kiera has mentioned certain people. Some have been people that she had not seen in so long that I would not have even thought she would remember them. But she names them, so we pray for them. Sometimes I find out later after we have lifted them up in prayer that they really did have a specific need or there were health issues going on. Sometimes I do not find out anything. But I know that God's hand is mighty and when you lift up a loved one or just an acquaintance He will take care of them.

So, especially with all the business of this month, this season, just in life. Remember to stop... And listen... Then you'll be able to enjoy watching God's wonderful loving hand work in your life and the lives of others.

I linked up today with Women Living Well head on over and check out all the other great posts.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Moma's Oatmeal Cookies

I started the day with another batch of mini pumpkin loaves that baked while we had some breakfast. Then we went over to Knott's Berry Farm to check out the Christmas Craft Fair that happens to be free Monday-Thursday and this is the last week it will be there.

This evening we made a batch of oatmeal cookies. We were going to make them yesterday right after the chocolate chip cookies but I only had maybe 1/2 cup of flour left. So we made a batch tonight, well, it was actually a half batch because I forgot to set out more butter so that it would be soft. Oopsie! (as Domenic says)

These cookies are some of the favorites around here. We do not add anything to them other than oats (no nuts, raisins or chocolate chips). Though I had made up an oatmeal cookie recipe last year with 2 different oats and almond meal. Those were really good too, I'll have to find where I wrote down the recipe. But anyways here is Moma's (my mom's) oatmeal cookie recipe (the full batch, not 1/2).

Nathan was my assistant today and again the photos are courtesy of Kiera. :)

Moma's Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned oats

In a small bowl sift together flour, baking soda and cinnamon.

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oats.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet.
Those dollar bin ice cream scoopers are the perfect cookie scoop size.
I always used a regular spoon before I bought these.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (for me it is 11-12), until golden around the edges. They may still look soft in the middle but they will set if you leave them on the cookie sheet for about a minute after you remove them from the oven.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of my cookie recipes I do not use white sugar. Makes everything hard and crunchy and adds extra sweetness that is not necessary. Sugar overload! I always prefer the soft more biscuit like cookie so we just use brown sugar in most of our cookies unless it will totally change the flavor.

Today I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies with my little baker assistant Domenic. The photos are courtesy of Kiera getting picture happy with my phone.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (do not use if you are using salted butter)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt (if using).

In a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Add flour mixture until mixed together well. Stir in chocolate chips.
**I usually do not add them but you can always add 1 cup of chopped walnuts when you add the chocolate chips.**

Drop dough in rounded tablespoons on a cookie sheet.

Bake until golden around the edges. About 10 minutes

Let cool on the pan for a minute before transferring them to a cooling rack with your spatula.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Pumpkin Bread

Every year we make pumpkin bread with fresh pumpkin. We usually cut up the pumpkin into big chunks, put in a pan with some water and cover with foil. This year I stuck the whole pumpkin in the oven. WAY easier! You probably want to put it in a pan or on a cookie sheet just in case it starts to drip. A few of mine did. Put the whole pumpkin in an oven that is set for 350 degrees and the amount of time that it is in there varies depending on the size. 1-2 hours was what we averaged. You will be able to tell when the pumpkins done, the middle where the stem is will start to sink and the rind will not feel soft but actually get more of a crust type of feel, almost hollow sounding when you tap on it. Once it is done you can grab the stem and if the top comes off very easily you know for sure that the pumpkin is cooked enough. There were a few that I took out of the oven to soon so after I had peeled the pumpkins I stuck them in a big pot with just a little bit of water, covered and steamed on super low. It was a good thing that I had it set so low because I would forget about it until I walked past the pot throughout the day and that is when I would stir.
Let me tell you, baking the pumpkin whole is my new favorite way of cooking pumpkin to puree it. Much safer than trying to cut through the hard rind too. I usually left the cutting up to Robert because I was not a fan. I think it is because I cut myself when I was little with a safety knife while trying to carve my pumpkin. Yep, pretty sure I am scared from that one. ;)
If you are not going to use it all right away it is best to freeze it as fresh pumpkin in the refrigerator goes bad within the week.
Here is the recipe for my pumpkin bread.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2/3 Cup butter (softened)
2 2/3 Cups sugar (Substitute: 2 cups packed brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup-might need to bake 5 minutes more)
4 eggs
2 3/4 Cups pureed pumpkin (I just don't scoop as much pumpkin on my 3rd cup)
2/3 Cup water
3 1/3 Cups all purpose flour (use whatever flour you prefer)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (I do not add extra salt if I'm already using salted butter)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt (if using), cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Add the water and pumpkin and mix until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix well.

Pour batter in pans that have been greased at the bottom.

If you are using mini loaf pans 1 batch will make 7 and you can bake them for about 40 minutes.
If you are using the disposable regular size loaf pans, 1 batch will make 3 loaves and bake for 1 hour.
If you are using the regular size loaf/bread pans it will make 2 loaves and will need to stay in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

I always check the loaf that was in the middle with a sharp knife. It it comes out clean than the loaves are done!

You will want to let them cool for at least 10-15 minutes before you cut into a loaf.
Our mini pumpkin loaves and pre-measured cookie mixes

I hope you enjoy! Let me know if you make it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Talented Individuals

In the mommy world you meet some pretty inventive individuals. Us mommies take our jobs at home very seriously and love it so very much but also a lot of times want to contribute to family income or just have so much creativity inside of us that it needs to come out somewhere to bless others.

That's why I started doing freelance photography work. I truly enjoy creating memories and art with my photos. I love working with children and families and capturing their love for one another in a photo. Sure I could raise my prices and advertise myself a lot more and probably make a good amount of money but a lot of families that call me would not hire someone who charges higher prices. If my prices were so high that even I could not afford them I do not think I would be able to bless as many people as I have been able to. Though I do have to charge a fare amount for my time at least.

I've met some awesome ladies/mommies that have created their own company. I'm going to tell you about them so you can look at all their really fun things. 

First there's Kristen with Rock A Bow. I had hired her to put on a tea party for Kiera's 4th birthday party. She was just starting out her business then and has grown from just little girl things of pretty dress up to bible covers, artfolios and even a new dress line. If you're on facebook she's going to be having a huge giveaway once she hits 500 fans so I would suggest you like her page.   ~ Here's a photo of Kiera and I sporting our hair pretties that we got last month ~

Next there's Gaby with Nature Mamma Handmade. I met Gaby this past year and asked her to create a monkey beanie so I could use it as one of my photography props. She totally created what I had in mind! You have to check out her facebook page and look at all the photos of her amazing creations!  ~ Here's a photo of my sis in law and nephew modeling the adorable curious monkey beanie ~
Sparkly Blue Necklace
I've also recently met Stacy who has a family business called Solomon Beads. They (as a family) cut strips of magazine paper, hand roll them into beads, hand paint each bead several times and then spray (to seal) and string each bead to create beautiful jewelry. Read the About Us page on how their bead making business started. ~Here's a picture of their Sparkly Blue Necklace that's only $18 for all the work that goes into making it.~ 
The last one I'd like to tell you about is Jill with Time for Tots. They create activity kits for young learners and they are all themed. Very fun for your little one or a great way to keep the younger ones preoccupied with "school" while you're homeschooling your older ones. They're also on facebook. ~ Here's the Happy Birthday Jesus Learning Kit~ 
If' you happen to still be looking for gifts that are unique and or fun. Most of these ladies are still taking orders for Christmas until this weekend. So you might want to check them out and check your list to see if there's someone you might still need to buy for. Or just keep them in mind for a later date. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

This activity was planned for December 1st but had to be postponed a day due to not having enough salt.

We've done cut out cookies but we've never tried the salt dough ornaments. Yes Domenic even tried to take a bite out of one of the ornaments when it was time to paint them but found out very quickly that they were much too hard.
It was super simple! All you need is 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water. Once it is all mixed together you kneed it for 5-8 minutes, until it is smooth. You'll be able to tell. It feels really grainy at first and then starts to actually feel like cookie dough.
I rolled the dough out for all three kids on the floured table and they got to choose which cookie cutters to use. Robert thought I rolled them out a bit too thin (worried they might crack) but they seemed to turn out fine and actually puffed up a bit.

We used a tooth pick to do the holes before we baked them for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Just make sure to make the holes bigger then you think you need them. I wanted to be able to use some yarn but I think some of them I need to use embroidery thread because the holes are too small. oops!

Once the ornaments were cool I checked the mail and we used the ads that came that day. I get rid of the ads pretty quickly around here so it was actually a good thing that we got some in the mail that day! We used water color paints to color the first tray while I put the second tray in the oven. Robert helped with the second tray and rolled those out thicker. I ended up baking that tray 3 hours (just to be sure they weren't going to be soft in the middle) and they turned out fine, just heavier.

See the tiny thread hole above the gingerbread man's nose?

I loved watching the kids create from start to finish and it was a simple clean up (always a plus!).

I linked up and today is the last day of the blog party. Go check it out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thankfulness-sweet and simple

Since November is over I figured I'd talk about Thankfulness. ;)

Kiera said she wanted everyone to say a prayer of what they're thankful for during our Thanksgiving dinner. I told her I thought that was a great idea. It was my parents and my grandma (mom's mom) and us at our house Thanksgiving evening. Kiera started and said she was thankful for ALL of her family, my grandma listed off all of her kids, grandkids and great grandkids, Nathan said he was still thinking when it was his turn and Domenic said he was thankful for cars. :) My dad said he was thankful that God had a plan for his life and already knew what it was because my dad had another plan but God's plan was much better. How true are those words! God already knows and it's better than we could ever imagine.

I apologized to Robert just the other day for there being lots of laundry to be done and him having to feel like he needed to take care of it on his day off. He (the wonderful man he is) just smiled and said that it was ok and laundry was actually relaxing to him. [Big cheesy smile from ME] "That's why you are the perfect man for me! God knew I needed a husband like you." I'm so very thankful for him!

When we pray we always thank God first for the day. "Dear Lord, thank you for this day..." What am I thanking Him for? For waking up in a funny sleeping position because our bed is overcrowded way past the recommended # of sleepers for a queen size bed; because we are so very blessed to have such cuddly, lovey children. For being able to take a deep breath and feeling my lungs fill up with air. For my husband who so diligently takes care of his responsibilities and still has time to make waffles (most of the time) when requested by one of our little loves. For our cozy house on the cold, chilly days. For a bump or cut not being as bad as it could have been (I've thank God many times for this one!). For being able to pray anytime and anywhere. For my mom who is my close friend and mentor. For His love for me.

This list could get mighty long, but I need to remind myself of how much I am blessed on those days that don't feel so blessed. You know, the days that start with a grumpy child or a pounding headache. The days that feel so overwhelming that I tend to through my own pity party, whether it be in my words, actions or just my own head. Whoa, whoa! Who am I? I am a child of God. And when you give your child a job to do or a responsibility their response can bring you joy or frustration. You want them to work diligently at the task(s) that you have given them. Should I not work less diligently for my heavenly Father?

I am blessed and I thank you Lord for adopting me as your daughter! I need your guidance and I am so very thankful that You are always near.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Traditions-What's Important to ya

Thanksgiving is in 2 days! Got our turkey yesterday and am hoping it's all defrosted by Thursday morning. Robert does the awesome job of brining the turkey the night before and has this special way of roasting it. He sets it in the oven at a high temperature (I think 500 degrees) for the first 30 minutes to give it a crust and then drops the temp down to whatever it's suppose to be and covers the bird with foil for the rest of the roasting time. It's pretty yummy and turkey isn't my favorite flavor during the meal usually.
We also made this sweet potato casserole last year (I got the recipe from Eating Well Magazine) and it's a keeper! Super yummy, not much fat, perfect!

But enough about food... I'm talking traditions here. After having kids we think every year what are some things that we'd like to do for them and with them every year that will be fun and exciting and most importantly make them remember what the true meaning of the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas ) are and WHY (like Domenic has been asking about everything lately) we celebrate them.

Every year we bake. We bake pumpkin bread to give to family and neighbors around Thanksgiving. We bake cookies around Christmas to share with friends, family and neighbors. There's usually some marathon baking going on Christmas eve. Yesterday the kids and I gave a few of our neighbors some pumpkin bread. It's sad that we've been here for almost 3 years and haven't met the people 2 doors down or across the street and to the right one house. I need to work on that. But anyways we met a few neighbors and hopefully we blessed them. The kids are always so generous with giving, especially if it's something they've helped create. The older couple next door to us was very thankful (we give them goodies often because we see them all the time) and I think they wanted more. :)
When I was younger my mom use to bake a bunch of cut out cookies and we'd have the neighbor kids over (our friends, because everyone's your friend when you're a kid) to decorate a plate full of cookies and make an ornament with their photo on it. My dad would take everyone's picture and then run up to the 1 hour photo place. I do remember the instant pictures from the camera though too!
Since we all enjoy baking together for the fun, for the smell, for the taste and for it always seeming to multiply enough for us to share plenty, I think we'll keep that as a tradition.

Now here's a new one that I saw on another blog recently. What this other family did was give out the Christmas stockings after Thanksgiving dinner. So they're more like Thanksgiving stockings with something small and useful inside. For instance, new cookie cutters, an ornament, a craft kit. Something that can be used during the current holiday season and get the kids in the mood for Christmas. I thought that was a really cute idea (and when I find where I read it I'll post it). So Robert and I decided that we're going to give the kids their stockings on December 1st. Maybe it will be a tradition, maybe it will be a one time thing. We'll see.

Another thing I remember doing when I was growing up was buying presents for my brothers. When I was little I think the limit was $5. So some new race cars or GI Joe's it was. Robert and I always help the kids pick out presents for each other. When the younger one is a baby obviously mommy and daddy take care of it and say it's from the baby. But I think it helps them think of each other a little more. Not as much about "what am I going to get?" but "what am I going to get them?" It's pretty cute to see the little shoppers pick something for their siblings and then see how excited they are when the present they picked gets opened.

I also saw this felt wall hanging called the growing tree. If we do it this year I'll take a picture. But there's a fabric tape measure on the side and the tree is made out of green felt triangles and the circle ornaments have the child's name, height and the year stuck on the tree. I don't think that's a tradition but it sounds cute and fun!

The most important thing we always do is talk a lot about the story of Christmas. The story of Jesus' birth and how God gave us His son and that's why we give gifts to others and each other. We make a cake for Jesus (streussel coffee cake!) and sing happy birthday to Him. He also has a stocking that is white and sparkly with a J on it (all our stockings have our initials). The kids can make birthday cards for Him or write a note. Robert and I usually talk about ways we can serve more, more outreach work as a family and as individuals. We're suppose to write them down and put them in the stocking so that we can look back and see how God worked over the year but I don't think we've written them down yet. Something we need to do this year! And now that the kids have more of a comprehension of what being a servant of Love is we'll involve them in the discussion and see what their input is. I'm all excited now! :)

Do you have any fun traditions? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My place-Helper

I've been thinking a lot about marriage. How sad it is that the word's "forever" or "as long as you both shall live" are not taken seriously. Just like how the word love is tossed around so flippantly that the word no longer carries the same power that it was originally intended.

Marriage, unity, is under attack and we need to check ourselves and remember Who brought us together in the first place. Our marriage is a gift that was given to us by God. We made a promise to each other and to God that we would stay together for the rest of our lives. I'm pretty sure there was no, "unless...". Genesis 2:24 says, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." I looked up cleave and found this definition, "to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly." So he is my other half! :)

What's even worse is marriages are falling apart over trivial things a lot of times. Something that could have been caught early on. My husband and I read this book written by Jerry B. Jenkins called Hedges. Like the little title states, it's about loving your marriage enough to protect it. It's mostly written to men but I think it's good for the wives to read it as well. Just to put myself in his shoes, since my usual day looks much different than my husbands and my weaknesses are not his. It's about having a plan before you come across a situation that could eventually be detrimental to your marriage.

So this made me think about my place, my role as a wife. Us women tend to be pretty opinionated and since we run the house most of the time (while our husband's are at work) we can sometimes fall into running our husband's too. We can put our husband's up on a pedastool and expect him to be what we ourselves are not and what he can not be, perfect. And then we get frustrated at him for not being perfect. But hello, I am not perfect! And he doesn't get frustrated at my imperfections so easily.

Eve was created for Adam because God saw that it wouldn't be good for him to be by himself. Genesis 2:18 says, "Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." I am the helper. I'm the one who sets the tone of the home. When my husband comes home from work I can great him with a smile and a kiss or barely acknowledge him. Which one would be more of a blessing to him? It's pretty obvious right? 1 Corinthians 11:9 says, "for indeed man was not created for woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake." I'm guilty of having a bad day, an emotional day and talking to my husband on the phone crying. Of course he's going to come home, not very happy and instead of him coming in to relax after taking care of things at work he's coming home to "fix" what's wrong with me. The house, the kids, whatever. I'm not saying we're not allowed to have bad days, but how we handle things and who we take our upsets to first should be God.

I went to a women's retreat last weekend for a day and the challenge was to think of things that we say or do or think that tears down our husbands, and then give those things to God and ask Him for help to stop. Then think of things that we could do to bless our husband's. I also have to remember that I'm setting an example for how a wife should be. What my sons should be looking for in a wife should be the way their mom blessed and respected their dad. And for my daughter, how she should be her husband's helper and not tear her husband down. Proverbs 14:1 was the theme verse for the weekend. It says, "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands." If I'm building my husband up, I won't be tearing down my house.

These seem to be a couple different topics that could have been different posts, but I needed to get my thoughts down and they go together. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our weekend in Big Bear-told by Nathan

Nathan was trying to add to Kiera's re-telling of our weekend so I had to tell him to wait his turn and that he'd be next. So here is what he had to say.

When we just got there we watched a movie and we played with cars.

And we made a track in the morning and played with cars.

I remember the tree that the woodpecker put holes in, and there were a lot of holes.

When we left we packed up tracks and we packed up my cars and Domenic dumped them, when we were leaving.

I only remember that we were looking at the pond at Riley's Farm.

And that's all I remember.

Our Weekend in Big Bear-told by Kiera

This is Kiera's memory of our weekend up in Big Bear

We went up to the cabin and it was a very long drive. When we got there it was nearly night time. We put on our footy jammies. The next night grandma gave me some new jammies and Nathan new footy jammies.

When we first got there we unloaded the car and then I put my jammies and my clothes away. We saw, "Milo and Otis".

The second day I remember we all got up. Most of them were upstairs, me, mommy, daddy, Nathan and Domenic were downstairs. We saw "Cars" in the morning. Brian and Julie came for the day, Julianna. We were going to go on a hike but we didn't because Brian and Julie were there and we had more things to do and me and Julie baked some cookies.

The next day we went for a hike. We saw a split tree that looked like a V. We saw a coyote and Papa climbed on a rock. That day was mommy's birthday. That night we saw "The Black Stallion".

The next day we had to get up, pack everything and then go home. And on the way we stopped at Riley's Farm. We ate pot pie and we ate apple pie. And then we went home.

The end!

****I'll have to add pictures of her illustrations later*****

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Santiago Oaks

We recently went to Santiago Oaks for our nature studies. It was beautiful!

My friend identified this plant for me after I had first posted. It's Datura which is highly toxic if ingested so it wouldn't be a plant you'd want in your yard.

We saw this swallowtail butterfly just hanging out. We thought it might have been injured at first but it wasn't too sunny yet so it was probably just trying to stay warm.

On our walk to the dam

When we got to the dam this little crawfish was guarding our (his) rocky path. He wasn't very friendly either. he'd snap at you if you got too close.

The kids saw a bag dispenser on our walk and thought the perfumed bags would be a good thing to hold onto for anything they wanted to collect.

We walked a little further to have lunch and draw in our journals

It was a fun little outing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweetness and Sensitivity

Our daughter is 6 years old and the oldest of her siblings. She is very opinionated, outgoing, compassionate, creative, sensitive and stubborn. All of those are positive characteristics, even the opinionated and stubborn ones. Maybe I think they're positive because I have those in me as well. ;)

I think it's good to be opinionated because then you know what you believe. I have strong convictions in various things, what I feel is right for my children and family. My husband keeps me in line, I don't just have opinions that can be swayed unless my heart is in the wrong place. If I present my thoughts on any topic my husband always asked me "why do you think that?" or "why do you feel that way?" Almost always I can answer him logically with information or valid reasons to back my opinion. If he doesn't feel it's a strong argument, it's probably just me being overly emotional and like I said, my heart not being right.
So being opinionated is not a bad thing, unless it's mixed with being hard-headed. Then you're saying that even if I'm wrong and the other person is obviously right I'm still not going to change my opinion.

Kiera is definitely outgoing. We went to my friends house for a dinner party and Robert and I were the only one with kids (3 of them!). There were a couple women sitting on a couch and Kiera just climbed up on the couch right between them and started talking to them like nothing. She does holds her own with other kids too. It's funny that when she was younger (baby/toddler) she would give people the straight face, no expression look. Haha! Oh memories. :)

Compassionate. Very much so. Anything that is baby is cute, even baby flies. She'll speak up when a wrong doing has been done whether toward her or toward her brothers/friends. Even if she's in mid play or running by she'll stop and help someone up, "oh, are you ok?", she'll ask, and then take them to their mom or dad to check them. Compassion is such a wonderful gift. If Christ did not have compassion for us fallen, sinful people we would have no hope. It is a very powerful thing to show. In showing compassion toward others we are showing God's love.

Being creative with what you have. I remember we had a huge backyard when I was younger that was dirt and weeds when we first moved in. There were these weeds that would grow on the ground, kind of like a vine. I would pick them and make wreaths out of them. From my memory they were pretty good, not sure what I would think of them now. Kiera designed a playdough dress, made straps and buttons and a trim at the bottom. No picture to follow just something she thought up. Then she made the women to wear the dress and added a bump to make her pregnant. I was impressed! This is a little girl who was tying knots when she was 1 year old. She believes her mommy and daddy can make and build anything. I love that!

Kiera is such a sensitive little thing. There's still cartoons and shows that she hasn't seen or if she's seen part of it does not have a desire to watch anymore. Robert and I were always aware of her sensitivity and do not have any desire to desensitize her or her brothers. There's so much junk out there it's just craziness! We'd prefer to preserve her childhood of Strawberry Shortcake and Leap Frog and not push her to watch Tangled or any of the princess movies for that matter. We're not watching Dora anymore because we had to change it 4 different times (not exaggerating!) in 1 sitting because of a witch or something else that bothered her. I'm totally not into making them "tuff" or downplaying their emotions. They'll be able to handle more with maturity, which is not set at any age. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is good for you. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial. 1 Cor. 10:23
Sensitive is defined as, "aware of and responsive to the feelings of others." Those who are sensitive toward the welfare of others and have strong convictions/opinions will make a difference in the lives of many.

Being stubborn is not always a bad thing. It is when there's a battle of the wills and the child wants their way though the parents has said no. Fortunately God saw that I should be Kiera's mommy and up her one on stubbornness or standing firm. If she got her way when she stamped her foot or started crying because she wants her way I think it would be the beginnings teaching her manipulation. I think everyone has witness, been a victim to or a part of manipulation. Children/teenagers try with their parents (especially if their tears or whining has worked before), girlfriends pout or throw out the "nothing" when asked "what's wrong?" by their boyfriends. It's a nasty thing, manipulation. Stubbornness is not so nasty unless we're being stubborn to God's calling. If we're telling Him, "No Lord, I really want to do this instead." Sometimes we have to be stubborn (fixed or set in purpose or opinion) or persistent to see things get done.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ending, Middle, Beginning

So our last softball game of the year was last night. I'm a little bummed that we're taking a break for next season because when my team starts back up I'll be a little too far along in my pregnancy to start a new season. I usually play until I'm about 6 months, I only stop because it gets too hard to swing the bat. 
But it's a good thing to take this break, lots of things are going on and I feel like it's just going to speed up. I still have to take care of my top priority, my family and then the house, homeschooling which also involves nature studies, co-op and some field trips. As it is already the middle of October it's Christmas photo time so I'm getting more photo jobs, which is wonderful! 
Next month in November, I'm going on a Mom's retreat for my very first time! I'm only going for the day but I'm really excited that I get to go.
Also in November, I'm hosting a boutique/fundraiser at our house. This is the first one and maybe the beginnings of an annual boutique, we'll see how it goes. I have more info about it on my website. Kiera and I will be handling the bake sale part of the fundraiser, she's my awesome little helper and I'm sure she'll love looking at all the great stuff the vendors will be bringing. Pumpkin bread will definitely be on the menu! We just got our gift catalog from World Vision in the mail and Kiera and I were looking through it and getting excited about what we'll be able to purchase for children and families with the funds that we earn through the bake sale and raffles. She was giving her input on what she thought would be good gifts. Pretty sweet!

We are still in October which means our little man Domenic just turned 2!

So with all that, God knows what's best for me and my family and He also knows if I am feeling overwhelmed I wont do my best job on anything. Which is the most disappointing to myself. I like being busy, just not so busy that I'm not sure what to work on first. I feel like I'm good right now, I know what my priorities are. I also do not want to teach my children that they'll only be content if we're always go, go, going. I want them to learn contentment in just being still.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Backyard nature

We had to pass on our weekly nature outing with our friends this week because of a cold we have going on right now. Fortunately it's just a cold, stuffy nose, residual cough and no fevers.
So I had the kids look for things in our backyard (leaves, rocks, bugs) and collect them in their new burlap sacks they just made the other day.
So they collected a few things and I had to figure out what it was/where it came from.

Basil leaf, watermelon leaf, tomato leaf, strawberry leaf, and a nice rock.

Pear tomato, tomato leaf, grass, strawberry leaf, grape leaf, another tomato leaf, rock and basil leaf.

Kiera stumped me on which leaf came from which tomato plant. :)

I like her title  :)

Such precision and concentration, love it!

While we were waiting for their paintings to dry we got our sandals on and went down stairs to the park. But not without getting dressed up first. ;)

So that's how you wear and eye patch! ;)

Collected a few pinecones, saw some butterflies, heard something in the bushes and discovered it was a bird. It wasn't a very long outing since the kids are on the mend so they got tired pretty quickly. But it was nice.

For those who might be interested, the burlap sacks were pretty simple. I had a roll of burlap so we cut a piece, folded it so the seam was at the opening and the kids sewed them together with yarn and a plastic knitting needle. I braided Nathan's strap but Kiera braided her's. I hot glued where they sewed just because I know the ends of the burlap will fray and I don't want the sack to fall apart when that happens. Kiera added beads to hers and Nathan plans to.