Sweethearts {58/365}

{My Honey and I}

He started loving me at 16.  He still loves me going on 28.  Sometimes I cannot fathom why he loves me.  But he does, and he shows it. 
Today, while harassing me in the church kitchen, he randomly dipped me and kissed me.  In front of the college students, who of course pretended to be embarrassed.  It was great.
Sure is wonderful to be in love!


Cottage Cheese Hater {57/365}

{Levi hiding when Daddy offered him a bite of cottage cheese}

From the time our children began eating "table food", we have not allowed them to be picky eaters.  You eat what you are given with a happy face.  Period.  Also, from the time they began eating food, we only offered healthy, nutritious food so they would get a taste and appetite for "real" food and not prefer junk food.  They LOVE fruits and veggies!  But if, as they get older, there is truly a food that makes them gag and it is served at a meal, the rule is that you have to take the required amount of bites, without complaining, or you have to eat more.  That's a big incentive to eat it cheerfully!

Consequently, when people ask me, "Now, what do your children eat?", I tell them with confidence, "All three of my kids will eat anything."  And that has been very true.  Until now. 

Recently, my husband began to eat cottage cheese after hating it his whole life.  Then one day, Levi asked for a bite.  His reaction was a memorable one!  He winced, and gagged and made all sorts of faces!  Since that day, Levi literally runs when he sees the cottage cheese being removed from the refrigerator.  It is hilarious (Poor kid...he had to eat one tiny bite the other day at lunch.  He of course acted like it would kill him!  He survived.  I promise.)

Just for kicks, I wonder what would happen if I put the cottage cheese container beside something I don't want him to touch?  =)

Time to dish: what are your house rules when it comes to food?  Is there a certain food your kids really dislike?


The Bean Box {56/365}

Could also be entitled: "How to keep your 18 month old busy while you teach Second grade and Kindergarten."

I love this bean box.  I first made it when Lydia was in Kindergarten to keep Caleb busy.  And now it's Levi's turn. [sniff, sniff!]  Our bean box is just that: a plastic, lidded box full of different dried beans.  I put measuring spoons in it, cars, plastic animals, cups, bowls, etc.  Yes, it's a little messy, but Levi plays quietly for atleast an hour.  And that, my friend, is worth the mess!

What do you do to keep your little ones busy while you homeschool? 


DIY Dishwasher Detergent {55/365}

{Dishwasher Detergent}

Back in November, we finally bought a dishwasher for our home.  I had been dishwasher-less for about 8 months and I was thrilled to have one again! It was then that I began making my own dishwasher detergent because a friend gave me the recipe.  I had tried another recipe years before that was a gel detergent, and it did not work at all.  My dishes were cloudy and sometimes greasy. 

I have used this detergent for 5 months now and have been completely happy with it!  It works awesome every time.  I especially love it because not only is it cheap, it doesn't have sulfates or other harsh chemicals.  Now, some of you may think, "But I have an old dishwasher...will it still work?"  Don't worry, my dishwasher is old, basic and nothing special.  You know how I mentioned we bought a dishwasher????  It was $15 at a yard sale!  So if it works in mine, it will probably work in yours.

Dishwasher Detergent Powder
1 cup Salt
2 cups Borax*
2 cups Baking Soda

1)  Mix well.
2)  Use 1tbsp. in each compartment of your dishwasher. 
3)  Add white vinegar to your "rinse-aid" compartment.  This works wonders and will ensure your dishes are always sparkling! 

*You can find Borax in the cleaning section at Walmart and many other places.  The name on the box is "Mule-Team Borax."

Do you make homemade cleaners?  If you do, I would love to check out your recipes!


Baked French Toast {54/365}

{My piece drizzled with maple syrup...delicious!}

I've made this Baked French Toast several times now and every time we want to eat the entire pan in one sitting.  We don't.  But it's just that good.  

Besides the fact that it is amazingly delicious, there are other great things about this recipe.  1) It's perfect to make the night before!  Just sprinkle on the streusel topping before you bake it and then throw it in the oven. 2) It's awesome for using up stale or freezer burnt bread.  (This batch I made this morning is from bread that had been hiding in the church freezer for 8+ months and was really freezer burnt.  The french toast still tasted fantastic!)

The first time I made this Baked French Toast, I used the exact ingredients, but since then I've changed it up a bit to make it not so uber-fattening.  My changes are:

-Use 2% milk (or skimmer) instead of whole milk
-Use 1/2 and 1/2 instead of heavy cream
-Add an extra egg if using skimmer milk
-Reduce the sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup 
-Increase the cinnamon in the streusel topping from 1tsp. to 1 1/2 tsp.  We like cinnamon!

Now, go make this for your breakfast tomorrow.  You'll thank me.  =)


Got Style? {53/365}

I'm thinking maybe my outfits wouldn't be so boring if I let her pick them out.

Whatcha think?


Impromptu Picinic {52/365}

During recess this morning, Lydia and Caleb asked if we could have a picnic for lunch since the weather was so nice. 

Our gourmet lunch included PB&J and apple wedges.  Served in an old baking pan.  Very Martha Stewart-ish, eh?

Here was my second attempt at a cute picture with everyone smiling.  Levi was only interested in stuffing his face.

Here we go again, this time with Caleb squinting and Levi again shoving a sandwich in his mouth. (I'm beginning to think that getting all three looking and smiling will take a miracle!)

After I took those pictures, I noticed that all the sandwiches in the tray had one big bite out of each of them.  Levi had been sampling!  

Here's the other side of the tray with the other sandwiches.  The top one has a big bite, and the other had the top nibbled all the way across.  Not only had Levi been sampling the sandwiches, he evidently had to taste some of the apples as well.  See the two pieces of apple?

Oh look, there's another Levi apple on the blanket! 

A few minutes later Levi took Lydia's sandwich and ran off.  As soon as he turned and saw us looking at him while he stuffed it in his mouth, he dropped it!  Guilty!!

 Then he came back, plopped on the blanket, and received punishment for stealing his sister's sandwich: a smooch.  It's always terrible for a little brother.  His face says it all.

What wild antics have your children been up to today?


Sunday Afternoons {51/365}

We always look forward to the Sunday afternoons when our small group of college students come over.  We eat.  And eat.  And eat some more.  And talk and fellowship and goof off and just have a great time.  Then when our kids take a nap they all spread out and study.  Or read.  Or text when they should be studying. [Ahem.] 

I love Sunday afternoons like these.

What do you love about Sunday afternoons?


Throw Pillow Covers {50/365}

Definitely loving my new pillow covers!  Always amazing what fabric and a little time will do!

P.S.  Linked this post to Under the Table and Dreaming.  Check it out to see some fabulous projects!


Busy Sewin' {49/365}

Sewin'.  That's how they say it 'round these parts. 
I still say sewing.  My favorite English teacher would be proud of my lack of conformity.  But then she would probably read the rest of this and shake her head. 


Anyways, I finally bought the fabric I've been eyeing for months.  [Thanks again, Amy, for the Hobby Lobby giftcard!]  Today I made new pillow covers for the throw pillows on my couch.  It took all of a whopping thirty minutes for the measuring, cutting, ironing and sewing.   But it made such a difference!!  Can't wait to show you tomorrow!

Have you sewn anything lately?


Woo-Hoo! {48/365}

{Caleb was very proud of the certificate they gave him!}

Caleb got a 109% on his Pulmonary Function Test on Tuesday!!  This is a BIG deal since Caleb has struggled with breathing problems since he was born.  As most of you know, he was born at 28 weeks weighing a mere 1lb. 15oz.  Although he did awesome for his gestational age, his premature lungs put him at risk for asthma and other pulmonary disorders.

At seven months of age, Caleb's battle with asthma began and we  started daily breathing treatments.  We have done them literally everyday for five years now since he is now 5 years and 8 months old!  He has had many, many ups and downs with asthma, but during this past year, God has blessed him with tremendous health.  While he has had several "asthmatic" episodes, they have all been mild and cleared up quickly.  We still continue daily breathing treatments as usual for "preventative maintenance" and one day hope to be free of them.  For now though we are thrilled with the awesome test results. Praise the Lord for healthy lungs! 


Hat Thief {47/365}

See the little hand.

See the little hand attempt to take brother's hat.  Brother escapes unscathed.  Barely.

See baby brother again trying to steal said coveted object.

Baby brother keeps trying while big brother laughs at his failing attempts.

Baby brother, after persistent reaching and almost tackling his big brother, gives up the assault. 

Just another moment of brotherly love brought to you by the Chambers family.



How To Have a Happy Valentine's Day When It Doesn't Start Out So Happy {45/365}

Today began badly.  My usually sweet children were acting like whiny monsters and I felt like Momzilla because of it.  Not a good way to start out a holiday that is supposed to be all about love now is it??

We did our usual morning routine, I made a yummy breakfast and started school.  As the morning progressed, things were still bad and getting worse.  Levi was throwing fits like I've never seen before and all was becoming chaos.   

"Who wants to spend Valentine's Day, or any day like this?", I thought.  So we put away the school books, completely switched gears and I'm so thankful we did!  

After looking back over our morning, here's just a few tips to make an unhappy Valentine's Day (or any day) better!

1.  Bring on the crafts.  Seriously, a little paint and paper can do a whole lot for children!  Let them have fun!

2.  Play some happy tunes.  Their choice was Patch the Pirate (of course!), but music always has the ability to cheer us up while calming us down. 

3.  Have a treat.  These babies are hidden in my sugar bowl.  And these are for mommy. =)  Mommy needs sugar to be sweet, right?

4.  Give a treat.  They enjoyed the rare pleasure of eating candy while painting!

5.  Go ahead and paint some more!  Once my little Picasso's start, they don't want to stop.  The table is always covered pretty quickly!

6.  Wear something red.  Red is fun.  And you have to wear red on Valentine's Day.  (Just found this sweater at Goodwill last week...yay!)

7. Eat some chocolate.  Chocolate makes the world a better place.  And my hips a little bigger, but it's all good.  I found this recipe in the newspaper and I'm going to try it today.  YUM!

8.  Be thankful!  We can always find something to be thankful for and our family has something extra special on this day. Today is not only Valentine's Day, it's Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day.  Lydia was born with three complex heart defects which resulted in her only having the left side of her heart.  She has been through three open-heart surgeries and three heart cath surgeries.  God has been so good and she is doing AWESOME!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!!


Marriage Seminar {43/365}

All words to describe today.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you have ever attended a Marriage Seminar?


On the Mend {42/365}

I skipped a day in my "365" committment.  But I needed to rest.  Hope ya'll can forgive me.

Today I am feeling so much better!  Still having pain, but I've just been taking Ibuprofen today and that is enough to manage it.  I felt like I was in a fog while on Percocet and am glad to feel "all here." 

It's been a busy day filled with the final preparations for our Marriage Enrichment Conference at our church tomorrow.  I'm excited about it and am looking forward to being challenged in my role as a wife. Focusing on our marriages is so important...they always need work don't they?

Just thought I'd share a picture of what my hubby made the kiddos for breakfast yesterday.  They think he's the coolest Daddy ever.  I wholeheartedly second that opininon.


Recovery {40/365}

I am alive and am recovering slowly but surely.  My two wisdom on the left side are not really bothering me at all.  There are huge holes where the teeth were but it is not giving me any trouble.  The lower right wisdom tooth though is causing tons of pain.  They had to cut out some bone and there are many, many stitches on that side.  It hurts all the way down my throat, internally and externally, and my tongue feels like they attempted to remove it as well!  

Honestly, I think recovery from wisdom tooth extraction is worse than having a baby.  Seriously.  I never used pain meds after my three were born, not even after Caleb was born via C-section.  Now I am so grateful for Percocet!

Yesterday I was very tired and just slept, laid around, and read.  Oh yeah, and ate ice cream.  Hey, the doctor said cold foods!

Last night the kids wanted to cheer me up and put on a puppet show for me.  Lydia decided to use a book for her puppet's narration and read, "My Tooth is Loose."  Appropriate.  Afterwards though she said, "Oh Mommy, I'm sorry!  I didn't realize until now that it might hurt your feelings!"  Sweet girl.  I assured her my feelings were fine. =)

{Puppet theatre I made for Christmas}

Today I am still in a lot of pain, but I was getting a little stir crazy. My husband has ordered me to do nothing (can I just say how wonderful he is?), so I sat on the bed and made these with fabric scraps. ( I found the tutorial here.)  I can't wait to get some chain and finish them.  They will be such pretty necklaces!

{I love them already!}

Any of you had your wisdom teeth removed?  How was your recovery?


Guest Post - Mr. Mom {39/365}

So this time I'm posting to my wife's blog with permission.  

This morning my wife had her wisdom teeth removed so she is currently incapacitated. It was quite an ordeal that began last Tuesday.  

I took her to her regular dentist last week with the intent of having her pull two of my wife's wisdom teeth.  The plan was to come back a few weeks later and have the other two pulled. The dentist felt sure she could pull them without any trouble. So much for feelings.

The top tooth came out fine, but when she began to attempt the removal of the lower right prudential molar, it was not so easy. In fact, she spent nearly fifteen minutes prying and wrenching before deciding that she wasn't going to be able to extract that tooth. This left my wife with a shifted molar, a sore jaw and a whole lot of disappointment.  

The dentist set us up with an oral surgeon for the following morning (Wednesday) and we went with the expectation of having the rest of her wisdom teeth removed that morning. Long story short, it was going to be more involved and cost more money than we anticipated. It simply wasn't possible to get it done that day.

For the next six days my wife endured the pain of an almost-pulled wisdom tooth while we got our ducks in a  row. We thank the Lord for a special gift of money that provided what we lacked to pay for the surgery. We finally took her this morning to have the procedure done. It was a quick surgery but certainly not painless.

Now she's resting while I play Mr. Mom. As you can see from the picture above, I'm a professional when it comes to keeping kids creatively occupied. God bless the one who invented DVDs.

What's your worst tooth experience?
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