Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pancake Sunday

On Sunday it is always my aim to cook up a pancake breakfast. Well, it does not always happen for various reasons, yet today it did. We wanted to share our breakfast with you all. (Oh, and by the way, the recipes will follow this entry)

Noah is not entering an "all-you-can-eat" pancake breakfast. This is meant for our family (grin). Thankfully, Noah has extremely strong biceps....despite that fact, however, he still struggles to hold the immense towers of pancakes steadily on the tray. (not to mention that he is a bit clumsy sometimes as well :o).

Here are Dad's special order banana pancakes (the ones I cook lastly because they really mess up the grill). We must keep the Dad happy and banana pancakes will do the trick (smile).

Elijah holds up his gluten-free special order. (Elijah, your shirt is on backwards)

Some of the children are literally fainting from hunger (ahem!) as Mom annoys them with another photo. (John, get a shirt on, would ya please??)

After all the hard work of carrying and transporting literal piles of pancakes from the kitchen to the table, Noah is rewarded with a giant stack of peanut butter & syrup covered hotcakes. Yes, he ate every last drop.

Everyone went away from the table least for a few minutes anyway.

Here are the recipes:

Basic Wholegrain Pancakes (adapted from the La Leche League cookbook) We quadruple this recipe to suit our family's desire for massive amounts of food.

2 cups milk (or other nondairy liquid)

1-3 eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour (we use freshly-ground whole wheat)

1/4 cup honey or other sweetener, optional

1/4 cup oil, optional

Combine liquid ingredients, sweetener, & oil. Combine well. Mix separately the dry ingredients, stir well to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet. Stir until lumps are almost gone. Cook on a hot skillet or griddle.

Elijah's Custom Gluten-Free Pancakes

Stir the following together:

3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tablespoon guar gum or xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Stir the following together in a separate bowl:

1 cup of water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 egg

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Combine the wet and dry ingredients above together. Stir well until batter reaches thick consistency. Batter is a bit thick. Drop onto greased hot griddle or skillet, cooking about 3 minutes per side, turning twice. Each side should cook 2 times. Serve!

Have a great day!



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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bad Mom

It's been a rough few days...I have been very sick and in bed most of the day (fun). This is not pretty when you have an 11 year old boy in charge of 4 younger siblings (of whom 3 are boys).

Yesterday, 11 year old and 9 year old played videogames all day...seriously. I did not have the gumption to redirect or instruct them to do something else. While the two of them indulged their videogame fancies, the other little ones ruled the roost (yikes). 3 year old boy drew on the walls with dry-erase marker as well as in some of our good books (frown). We won't even discuss how the kitchen looked....(shudder).

So, I am thankful that today is a better day, and I was able to get up and eat breakfast (very carefully so as not to upset my fragile constitution at this juncture).

I aim to get supper started this morning so I don't have to worry about it this evening. It seems that I feel worse later in the day, and the kitchen is the last place on this earth (w/ the exception of our heavily-used boy bathroom) that I want to be.

Our supper today:

Hamburger Gravy w/ Mashed Potatoes

I use ground turkey for this recipe, 3 pounds.
Saute ground turkey w/ chopped onions. Stir in about 3-4 tablespoons flour until browned. Add either chicken or beef broth and stir well over medium-high heat. Add other spices (or salt and pepper) according to taste. I like to add a splash of Bragg's Liquid Aminos for a rich flavor.

This makes a delightful gravy to put over top mashed potatoes. Comfort food at its best! (Let's hope it comforts me at the end of the day when I am feeling yucky).

I am sorry if I sound like my posts are full of complaining. If I am physically compromised, my attitude becomes negative. However, last night as I was doing the dishes (at 10:00 pm..frown), I listened to the radio program called "Nightsounds" by Bill Pierce. He has one of those deep, hypnotic voices. The program features older, Christian music with an encouraging theme.

Mr. Pierce mentioned how God will never leave us nor forsake us, even (and especially) during the tough times. I have found this to be true! It really blessed me.

Hope you have a great day!


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Sharing Struggles Leads To Catharsis

I was chatting with my friend Elise today about the common struggles we face as mothers of large families. Elise has 8 children that are very similar in age to my children.

We were discussing the frustration that occurs when momma is down (sickness, pregnancy, overtired, blah, blah, blah, etc..) and how when momma is down and out, the children have inefficient oversight and management. This eventually (in a very short time!!!) takes us to the "point of what-seems-like no return."

Meals go down the tubes, the house goes by the wayside, you can't find anyones shoes or socks, and everyone becomes very cranky. Many of you can relate to this very same phenomena. If you have many children, it is like a monster that gets bigger and bigger! (actually, I think the monster is the toddler, who isn't being as well-trained as they could be...LOL!).

As we spoke, I could feel the relief of being able to share this similar struggle with a dear, dear friend. What a blessing that God provides friendships that allow for deep sharing. So cathartic!

I was telling my friend that I could observe from my vantage point, debris on the floor, books and toys strewn about the room, etc. etc. It takes less than an hour for it all to unravel and happen.


After we complained awhile, we began to realize the blessings God has given us through our large families. Powerful blessings that are almost beyond words. The struggle, the pain, the frustrations are always replaced with laughter, joy, companionship. I don't think either of us would change of thing....

When I hung up the phone, the song "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns came to my mind. This song puts me in tears at the revelation that God is ALWAYS there in the midst of tough times. We just have to listen a bit harder for his voice.

If you have time, take a listen to "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns (lyrics included):

...and I realize that some of you face serious struggles everyday that make mine look minimal. May God encourage you today.


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(Oh, just wanted you all to know I am working on a daily check-off chart for our homeschool and school duties. It is my aim to post it soon!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

May We Never Forget

September 11, 2001

May we never forget the events of that day, and the people so intimately affected.



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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sick and Tired

What should one do when one is sick and tired, in the midst of early pregnancy? Rest. Rest. Rest.

I'm getting better at dealing with early pregnancy (it just took me a few times to practice..grin). It has been my experience that pushing myself to do more, despite the awful sensations of nausea and fatigue, is not helpful. It can actually worsen those undesirable symptoms.

So, I just sleep and rest in bed.

"What, pray, do the other children do while I am reclining" you ask? Yes, and keep in mind that my 14 year old twin boys are absent from the picture here and in school. Well, this is when the oldest child steps up to receive his promotion in the family.

Today, I announced to the younger 5 children, that they would be put in slightly different circumstances for awhile. Greyson, their 11 year old brother, would now be in charge of their safety and well-being. They are to listen and obey him, or it will mean terrible consequences for them. If he asks them to stand on their heads, then they must do so, and quickly.

Picture 5 children standing before me, all in a row like stairsteps. One of those children in particular, has the biggest smile on his face after hearing this news. He has just grown a few inches taller and become even more helpful and responsible. Can you guess which one? Laugh!

The others are slouching slightly, scuffing their feet on the ground. Realizing the announcement, they must make a decision: listen to their older brother, whom they have enjoyed many years of good sibling rivalry or deny his leadership and authority.

I tell them the choice is obvious.

As I lay in agony on my bed, my dear 11 year old comes in to check on me. He states rather confidently that I look very pale and white. He then offers to make me a few fried eggs. It is his opinion that I should eat some protein. I decide that this is a good suggestion.

He arrives a few minutes later with a plate of steaming eggs, the salt shaker, and a stool to use as a bedside table. "Should I get you some water, Mom?" he asks. I tell him "no thanks", since the thought of drinking water sends me into convulsions.

After eating the eggs, I did indeed feel a bit stronger and was able to sit up in bed. The blood then slowly redistributed itself properly throughout my body and enabled me to rise and make lunch. I used our leftover supper to make a nice, beef soup.

Here is our crockpot recipe for dinner:

1 beef roast (I used chuck)
1 large onion, sliced into rings
15 medium-sized white potatoes, scrubbed
10 carrots, peeled, halved and cut into long strips
1/2 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos (the best stuff in the world...a soy sauce substitute that has an awesome flavor)
1 cup of water

Place the beef and carrots in the bottom of the crockpot. Layer onions next, and then add potatoes. Pour the Bragg's and water over the top of it all. Turn crockpot on high and cook for 3-4 hours (depending on the temperament of your crockpot). Serve w/ potato toppings (we like cottage cheese, butter, chives, etc.)

The next day, I reheated the contents of the leftovers the next morning and at lunchtime, I cut the potatoes and carrots into cubes (right in the pot) and removed the leftover meat and chopped it into soup-sized pieces. I added some water to make it into a soup. A little salt and pepper and voila! A delicious soup for lunch.

I then retired back to bed for a nap with my 3 year old. I'm praying the soup will settle well in my disagreeable stomach!

And...thanks to all of our dear friends who are transporting boys to football practice so I don't have to. Thanks to my dear husband for arranging this.



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Thursday, September 4, 2008

I must say that the acceptance speech given at the Republican convention by Governor Sarah Palin was impressive. She delivered it with grace, confidence, and authority.

Though many women have held political office on both sides of the aisle through my lifetime, I have not seen even one of them who looks as comfortable in her skin as Sarah Palin, with one exception, Margaret Thatcher.

It is refreshing for me to see a Conservative woman hold her own and do it with style.

Overall, I was very pleased with the convention speakers last night. I especially appreciated Rudi Giuliani's words. Ever since 9/11, I have had a high regard for him.

The best part of the night was when I viewed Governor Palin's younger daughter holding her infant brother. She just stared at him affectionately as she cradled him. I loved it when she licked her hand and smoothed down the infant's hair! This is so reminiscent of my own children and what they would do! I thought that added such reality to the situation. Yah, this is a speech given by a powerful woman at an important moment in history....but when an infant's hair is standing on end, you can't help but lick your hand and smooth it down! Spit is the only thing that seems to work on that type of hair (grin).

So, I am encouraged. As a card-carrying, Conservative Republican woman, I am pleased.



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