Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Weekend Shopping Experience

Pin It Now! Had my bank account been full, I still wouldn't have braved the 5 am crowds (mobs) for the sake of a "good" deal on Black Friday. It would probably be safer for me to stroll the streets of south Phoenix in the middle of the night than to fight my way through that sea of selfish, childish creatures who call themselves civilized adults. I mean, how can people stuff their faces 'til their bellies are full, give thanks for all their blessings then get up the next day and stampede another human being to death all because of a SALE!! That's just crazy. And very, very sad.

Okay, okay, I know not everyone who shops the day after Thanksgiving falls into that category. Even I have done it once, and it's actually a nice memory. It was way back in November of '98. Mark went camping, I think, and since I do not do that sort of thing I stayed home. He was so sweet and gave me a certain amount of money to go shopping for "themed" Christmas tree decorations. So yes, the day after Thanksgiving I went to Hobby Lobby and filled a cart to the brim with beautiful gold and garnet ornaments and such. The really exciting part is that everything I bought was 50% off! And I can honestly say, I didn't knock down any old ladies or crafty moms to get what I wanted.

This year I had the pleasant experience of accompanying my mom on Saturday while she shopped for Christmas presents. One of the reasons I do love living in the hotter than hot desert is because of all the time I get to spend with my mom. We always have a great time together. She even bought me a Green Tea Frappuchino for which I was ever so thankful. I think I was beginning to have GTF withdrawal. It was a little difficult for me when we went to Target and ended up in the candy isle, but I am proud of myself for resisting all of those tantalizing, Christmas colored treats that I really can't afford.

Oh my goodness, there are these limited edition Christmasy flavored Junior Mints that were calling my name, and I hope no one noticed me foaming at the mouth over the red and white striped bags of Ghirardelli chocolate peppermint bark! I am a little kid in a candy store when it comes to beautifully wrapped chocolate, and the wrappers in shiny reds, greens and golds were almost too much to bear. I usually love to have Christmas candy on display (and some hidden away), but this year that just isn't going to happen. Not that I need it anyway.

The real test will be in just a few minutes. I have to go to Fry's to do some regular food shopping to get us by for the rest of this week, and I just don't know if I will be able to resist 2 days in a row. Not when I have been thinking about it all night and all morning! I know what will happen at the store. I will justify the bag of M&Ms or whatever by telling myself I just won't eat real food for lunch or something.... Anyway, we shall see.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday--Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

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I love plain old, homemade pumpkin pie, but one year for Thanksgiving, I decided to whip up something a little different. It's been requested ever since!

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

* 1 6 oz. graham cracker crust

* 4 oz. of cream cheese, softened

* 1 TBSP milk

* 1 TBSP sugar

* 1 1/2 cups thawed cool whip

* 1 cup cold milk

* 2 small packages instant vanilla pudding

* 1 16 oz. can pumpkin

* 1 tsp. cinnamon

* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

* 1 tsp. ground cloves

** Beat cream cheese, milk, and sugar with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cool whip. Spread on crust.

Beat remaining ingredients with wire whisk. Mix well--mixture will be thick. Spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with extra cool whip if desired.

Click on over to Rocks in my Dryer for more great tips!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008


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SAHM Wise {Stay-at-home-mom Wise}
(Not to be confused with Frodo's loyal gardener and friend.)

I've been wanting to start this series for some time now. Ever since my oldest turned 10. Which was last August. (2009)

Seriously, I think any mother who's reached the decade mark deserves an award! Mothering is indescribably wonderful but TOUGH, too! I think after 10 years of being a mom, I have learned a thing or two, and my desire is to share and hopefully encourage other moms trying to get through the "little kid" stage.

(Yikes, right now I am entering the "tween" phase, and each day is a brand new challenge!)

My ways are certainly not the only ways, and I hope I never convey such an attitude. Nobody has to answer to me, so please know that I will never purposely try to offend anyone. Your comments will be much appreciated, and I would love to know your personal, mothering triumphs and trials. And just remember nobody is the perfect parent and nobody has the perfect child.


Product Reviews

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The Old Schoolhouse Reviews (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

Lonestar Learning

READS Reading Comprehension System

Essentials in Writing

The Art of Poetry

MusIQ Homeschool

Target the Question

Abraham's Journey

College Common Sense

Song School Spanish

Journeys of Faithfulness

Beloved Books

Samson's Classroom

Vocal Coach Singer

Growing Up Wild

Grace and Truth Books

The Pilgrim Story


Beeyoutiful Skin

Speekee TV

Reading Kingdom

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an ATHEIST

Vocabulary Spelling City

King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do


Super Duper Publications - Hear Builder Auditory Memory

Knowledge Quest - Map Trek 6 E-book Set

Keyboarding for the Christian School

Creation Illustrated

Pearson Homeschooling - Scott Foresman Reading Street Grade 5

Heritage History - Young Readers


Judah Bible Curriculum

Critical Thinking Company - Inference Jones

Amazing Science! Volume 1

Classical Academic Press: God's Great Covenant

Write With World

Amazing Animals by Design

Progeny Press Study Guide - The Bronze Bow

The Art of Argument, An Introduction to the Informal Fallacies

Molly Crew Reviews

Everyday Cooking

Product Reviews for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

The Dragon and the Turtle

Books for Young Learners

The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch

God's Prisoner: The Story of Richard Wurmbrand

Dolphin's First Day

Exploring Creation with Astronomy

Disney Princess Learning Pack

How to Homeschool Kingergarten

It's Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Dinosaurs Don't, Dinosaurs Do

Teacher's Tape

I See Cards Educational Travel Game

Oonawassee Summer

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Building Character: Personal Devotions for Children

A Wish and a Prayer

Rosie Fights the Twisted Wind

Basic U.S. Geography Fun Packet

Grammar and Punctuation Made Easy

That Puppy Dog Took My Boots

Aloha Cheerio

The Astonishing Journey of Teddy Bodain

Climbing Lincoln's Steps: The African American Journey

Go Green With Me

Deep in the Desert

Who's in the Garden?

The Fall of Satan: Rebels in the Garden

The Smiling Stone

The Boy Who Cried Wolf and More Children's Fables

Moving Picture Books, Vol. 3 DVD The Wild n' Wonky Collection

Meet the Instruments


Zany Wooden Toys that Whiz, Spin, Pop, and Fly: 28 Projects You Can Build . . .

Peppy's Shadow

Rowdy Raccoon Audio CD

365 Great Bible Stories: The Good News of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation

The Wolf of Tebron

The Map Across Time

Emergent 1 Kit for New Emergent Readers

The Good News Must Go Out: Stories of God at Work in the Central African Republic

What on Earth? Book and CD

Everyday on Earth: Fun Facts That Happen Every 24 Hours

Mom, I'm Bored! Series

Ancient History Unit Study Bundled Set

Metamorphosis: The Beauty and Design of Butterflies DVD

Joy Cowly Collection Books and CD

Early Reader Set - Kaleidoscope Collection

A Good Night's Sleep

Beyond the Rapids

Summer: The Magic Blanket

Attack at the Arena

The Great Mogul Diamond

Tugg and Teeny Jungle Surprises

Art Adventures in Narnia 2 CD-ROM

Do Tell Family Edition (game)

Friends and Heroes DVD

Oum Early Learning DVD

Barney and the Runaway

The Grand Canyon: The Puzzzle on the Plateau DVD

The Boy Who Changed the World

Lost Island Smugglers

Dragons of the Valley

A Necklace for Jiggsy

Jesus Rose From the Dead: The Evidence

Small, Medium, & Large

George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Way DVD

The Little Man in the Map Teaches the State Capitals

S is for Scientists: A Discovery Alphabet

Digger's Garden Match Game

A Broken Yesterday

A Tailor-Made Bride

Families of USA DVD

Kid Scoop

Starlight Sailor

The Wagon

A Name for Kitty

The Adventures of Tommy the Tomato

Erudition Game: Sight Word Edition

Creation by Design Bible Trading Cards

Serendipity Says to Know Me is to Love Me

I See Cards Educational Travel Game

The Richard Wurmbrand Story DVD

Barack Obama Making History

One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math!

Other Reviews

My Memories Suite

Neon Colored Spider Webs

Imagination Box Company


Pin It Now! Thank you for your interest in advertising your business/products on Autumnfawn Lane.

I love to review products! When I started having children, I participated in many "diaper" reviews through a research company in Memphis, TN. When I started a blog a few years ago, writing reviews just came naturally. Recently, I have had the privilege of trying out some great products and writing a few "professional" reviews. Also, as of December 2009, I have become a reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and website. I look forward to partnering with you!
You may advertise in one of two ways:

Let me host a review/giveaway. I will write a review and host a giveaway for free, but you will need to send me the product in which I will be reviewing at no cost to me. The product is for me to keep. Once I write the review you will be entirely responsible for sending the winner their prize including free shipping.
*Giveaways must have a retail value of $30 or more.
Purchase an Ad Space on my sidebar. (Preferably a 125 x 125, but will consider any size.)Current options are as follows: monthly ($10) quarterly ($25) 6 months ($50) 1 year ($100).*I will also include one post introducing your business and products.
I accept payment through Pay Pal.
*Please note that as my blog grows prices may change but will not affect space already purchased.

While I am very willing to try a variety of products, here are a few areas of special interest:

home school and educational products
natural cleaning supplies
natural foods
natural beauty products
kids' clothing and toys
home decor

Please email me at brandiraae at live dot com to see if your company is a match for my blog!
*FYI-- At least 50% or more of all ad money received will be donated to charity.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Three Most Despicable Letters in the English Alphabet

Pin It Now! Know what they are?

P,M & S!!!!

Those three little letters, when put together, make me say and do terrible things!! I should get an a in "transfiguration class" because I can turn into a snapping turtle in less than 2 seconds. Give me about 5 seconds and I'm a feisty, mama tiger.

I can also go from one extreme to the other pretty quickly, too. One minute I'm the terrifying, half turtle/tiger thing, the next I'm a defenseless puddle of tears. It's not pretty.

I really do try so hard to not let those dreadful letters get the best of me, but golly gee, I seem to fail every time. It wouldn't be so bad if they bothered me, say, once a year or something but every 28 days or so is a bit much. :(


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Memory Tree

Pin It Now! It's that time of year again! Mark loves to kick off the holiday season quite early, so yes, we have had both of our trees up for about a week now. This year was extra nice because Mark and I were able to assemble and light the trees in peace and quiet while the kids were with grandparents. The kids hung their own ornaments on the tree last Saturday night.

Because our floors are tile, I have to spread out blankets to make a soft landing for any ornaments that fall. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough this year. We suffered one loss. I know, no big deal, but all of these ornaments are particularly special. Each year we all receive ornaments from different family members. Some of the ornaments are from my childhood. Each ornament carries with it a special memory.

Happy tree trimming!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

In Which the Ragamuffin Family Returns to Normal, Sort Of

Pin It Now! For weeks, a tornado of change has swept through our home leaving me exhausted. I have been caught up in a chaotic twirl of tears, joy, insecurity, and blessings beyond measure, so I say we have returned to normal because my hubby is employed again, and we can resume home schooling without distractions.

Yes, Mark has a job working for the county. It is an answer to prayer, and we are incredibly thankful. The job we thought he was going to have to settle for, would have really turned our family topsy-turvy! Less pay, but long hours, crazy schedules, working ALL holidays, working some weekends,even Sundays, oh the list goes on, so I am so glad this county job came along. I couldn't have imagined him not being home on Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!!! Working for the government will mean being off on tons of holidays--yea!

Home schooling with Daddy here became easier as time went on, but it was still a bit more challenging to keep the boys' attention. I did like it when Daddy would entertain Shiloh while I schooled the boys. She quickly became his little pet!!

Now, all has not completely returned to normal, and that is why I added the sort-of part. We are not having a normal Monday, for Mullin is under the weather, and I had a low-grade temp. yesterday. I decided the best thing for all of us would be to pretty much take the day off. I just feel as if that tornado I have been caught up in has suddenly stopped and dropped me to the floor leaving me a lifeless, crumpled heap of flesh.

Also, financially speaking, we will not be returning to normal. God has basically taken a very sharp ax and has chopped our salary, well, by A LOT! He has proven during these past few weeks that He will provide, so I am still trying to trust that He will continue to do so.

I am still trying to take in all that has happened to us this past month. I am still speechless over all the help being poured out on our family. Seriously, groceries were provided, bills were paid for (even our house payment!!), and a dear person even gave us money so we could buy our kids Christmas presents. Friends and family prayed for and with us, for which we are forever grateful. Each and every phone call, face book note, etc.. gave us encouragement and strength we needed to make it through! Even things like free coconut oil and make-up will never be forgotten. :)

Through this scary and difficult trial, I realized just how very rich we really are.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nuts About Acorns

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My Shiloh girl is absolutely crazy for acorns. (Yes, we do have oak trees here!) Everyday she checks under our tree in the front yard for more fallen acorns. She's sporting quite a collection!

Oh, the simple joys of little children.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fall Pics 2008

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It has been a while since I posted pictures of the kids. I especially hope our TN and CO families enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

God is Near

Pin It Now! Each week my boys have to memorize a verse from the Bible. I usually choose verses from the books we are studying, and right now we happen to be going through the book of Acts.

Last week we worked on Acts 4:12, so this past Sunday I was looking through Acts for a new verse to memorize for this week. Since Acts is really more of an historical account, I was having a hard time finding a verse. I finally gave up and decided to just open up the Bible to another part of the New Testament. The first verse I laid my eyes on was James 1:12, which reads

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Wow. In light of our present situation, what a perfect verse for us to be memorizing!!

Even in my personal devotions, in which I am reading Jesus Calling, God seems to be speaking right to me, like the past few days were written just for me for such a time as this. I know God is near.

My flesh wants so badly to give in to the temptations of being depressed, stressed, upset--you name it--but God continues to bless me and fill my spirit so it's pretty difficult to stay in a pit for too long.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Are That Family

Pin It Now! For months now, we have been hearing about how bad the economy is and hearing about hard-working folks losing their jobs. Sadly, we are no longer just hearing about it happening to other families--we are that family.

As of last Thursday, the day before Halloween, we have been jobless.

My first reaction was complete shock. How could this happen to us?? I know, dumb question--bad stuff happens to everybody. It was just so hard to swallow the reality of no income. None. It is already stressful enough living paycheck to paycheck, but no paycheck at all? Yikes!

Initially, there were some tears shed. It's scary not knowing what lies ahead. But, even through all the merry-go-round emotions I have been experiencing these past few days, I have felt God's peace and presence. Deep in my heart, I know He will provide in His time and in His way. I know He wants me to trust Him no matter how bleak the situation appears to be. I truly am resting in His sovereignty. In a weird sort of way I am even excited to watch God work this out.

He has already brought much comfort to my soul. Family and friends are reaching out, and so many bible verses I have read over the years flood my mind bringing peace that passes understanding, especially Proverbs 3:5-6. It is probably the first verse I ever memorized as a kid, and the plaque that hung in my mom's kitchen inscribed with that very scripture will be forever etched in my mind. (That plaque is mine when you (mom) "fall asleep", which will hopefully not be any time soon!!!)

With all that said, I can't deny that I still do have fears and doubts. But really, I know my feelings must pale in comparison to what my husband is experiencing. My life must go on the same as always--bringing up the children, home schooling, cleaning, cooking, etc... but he is the one who carries the heavy burden of providing for our family of five. He is the one who has to go out into the world and try to find a job. I have it easy compared to him.

I look forward to bringing better news, and hopefully that will be very soon!! Thank you all who are praying for us and helping us get through this trial.


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