Saturday, January 31, 2009

Guess it's time for an update...

Pin It Now! Our current status according to the government is still POOR, but that doesn't mean I don't have some good news to report.

First of all, I really do have peace in the midst of this storm. And I know God is building some serious character in me. Hmmm, this could take a while.

Anyway, we finally made it to the Arizona Department of Economic Security a few weeks ago, which by the way, was a pretty interesting place. Glad Mark was there with me. Really it wasn't that bad. A few folks looked as if they were probably in the same boat we are in, but then others, unfortunately, looked like they had probably been in and out all of their lives. Made me thank God once again for the wonderful family with which we've been blessed, because if it wasn't for all the help we received from them, we'd be a lot worse off.

So begins a new phase in our personal economic crisis--the SNAP phase. I never thought I would be ecstatic over food stamps, now known as SNAP, but when ya got mouths to feed it really doesn't matter. I think I have gotten over the embarrassment factor, I think. One thing I am grateful for is the fact that I can buy CHOCOLATE with my SNAP card. Now that news is Hallelujah Chorus worthy!!!! Can anyone guess what my first chocolate purchase was?

The kids and I survived 2 months without health care coverage. Not one single episode, praise God!! We've got the government health care now. And funny thing is, we will finally be able to take care of some things that we couldn't afford to do pre-job loss. Crazy.

Last but not least our mortgage company has agreed to work with us, so we will not be homeless.

God surely is teaching me that being rich doesn't really have anything to do with money, but that's another post at a later time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Napless in AZ

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I'm not talking about myself--I hate naps. Always have.

I'm talking about that little stinker in the photo. I think it's safe to say naps are a thing of the past.

Wow, could I really be out of that stage of life. No naps means no babies.

I will miss the hours of total peace and quiet, but it will be nice to be able to get out and do things and not be bound to a nap schedule. Plus, my sweet Shiloh falls right to sleep when we put her down for the night, so it is time for the naps to end anyway.

She is so worn out by the end of the day that she sometimes just falls to sleep while cuddling on the couch with me. Love it!

One thing that I made Shiloh give up the other day, well, just at nap time, was her "pappy". Super Nanny would not approve, I know, but that is beside the point. Momma has to be ready to take it away, and I admit that I wasn't ready for that battle yet--until a few days ago.

She threw a fit for five minutes over her terrible loss, but then she was fine. I just told her Momma decided and that was that. One thing I am not is a pushover-at least 99 percent of the time!!

At night she still gets it. One thing at a time. Poor Mullin--made him give it up by 2 and 1/2. Lincoln had to give it up on his 3rd birthday. It is true--by #3 Momma is just flat out tired, especially since my 3# still wakes up at night. Good thing she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and love her like crazy!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: High Fructose Corn Syrup

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For the past few years I have tried to make my pantry a high fructose corn syrup free pantry.
I have seen a few commercials recently that reassure the world that hfcs is an all natural product--after all it comes from corn, right?
"Okay, whatever." was my response but for the most part still kept our diets as hfcs free as possible.
I just came across this article from Stonyfield that explains, in English, exactly what hfcs is and where it comes from. I am not saying we should stake our views on this subject based on one article, but it helped me so I thought I would pass it along to those who are interested.
For more tips visit Rocksinmydryer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joyful Juicers

Pin It Now! My dad gave us 2 very large bags of pink grapefruit, so we decided to juice some of them on our day off yesterday. Citrus trees are abundant here, and so much seems to go to waste. People just leave it on their trees without ever picking it.

You wouldn't believe how excited the kids were about doing this task. Basically, the boys did most of the actual juicing.

Mullin and Lincoln were awesome: complete cooperation!!

I did the cutting. I am just not ready for their fingers to get sliced!!

Even dad made an appearance and juiced a few.

After sweet Cinderella woke up from her nap, she wanted to help, too. I was surprised at how well she did!

After about an hour and a half, we had an entire gallon of grapefruit juice. Even though I added sugar, it was still pretty sour by Lincoln and Shiloh's standards.
Fun time had by all!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cold-Blooded Cricket

Pin It Now! In science class we are studying the flying creatures of the fifth day, and we have already covered birds, bats and Pterosaurs. For the rest of the year we will be studying insects. The kids thought the following cold-blooded science experiment was pretty cool!!
First, Mullin caught a cricket in a glass jar. Lincoln, of course, wanted to catch his own, too. He decided to attempt this feat while I was busy giving Shiloh a bath. It didn't end well. A cricket jumped on him, he screamed, glass jar fell---big mess on patio. :(

Second, we placed the cricket into the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Then, I calmly cleaned up the mess on the back patio.

We kept checking on Mr. Cricket. His movements were getting slower and slower until he finally stopped moving altogether.

At this point we took him out of the fridge and set the jar on the table. After a few minutes he began moving his antennae. A few more minutes and he was moving his entire body.

Hopefully the kids understand the meaning of cold-blooded a little better now.

Any cricket who happens to trespass into our home usually ends up in the sewer by way of the handy dandy toilet, but I thought I would be nice and let this one go since we put him through so much already. And he was a MALE--they are the ones who make all that noise!!

Ta Da!

Pin It Now! It is a great feeling to be done with Captain Rex!! I wouldn't have a chance in a competition or anything, but Lincoln is satisfied and that is all that matters!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Trip Down Cake-Making Memory Lane

Pin It Now! I need some inspiration to get me pumped for the cake-making task ahead. I usually make all of my children's cakes, but it is very hard work, especially for me since I've never had professional classes or anything like my mom. Cake decorating is also very time consuming since I don't own very many decorating tools. This is something I both hate and love!
2004-- I just loved Lincoln's little airplane cake!!

2007-- Harry Potter Cauldron cake for Mullin's 8th birthday. I was pretty delighted since this cake was created from nothing but what was in my head. Black icing is not fun to make!!!!

2007--Shiloh's 2nd birthday. I just love Carebears! So many colors, so little bags. Bag changing isn't fun either!!

2006--The very first "girly" cake that I was able to make!! I was so excited about doing this one. I had waited soooooo long to do a pink cake!!! This butterfly was inspired by the theme of her sweet nursery.

2006--Mullin had a baseball birthday when he turned 7. I have made many, many more of these for all kinds of baseball events, and I have mastered the art of making fondant so that the white part is nice and smooth. My baseballs look so much better now.
Well, this was just a sampling. I will have to peruse my scrapbooks to see more of my cakes--those pre-digital days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seven Just Sounds So Grown Up

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What a great way to kick off the new year---celebrating Lincoln's birthday! Wow, to say my middle child is 7 just plain makes me sound old.

January 12 began a bit rough. About 2 minutes before this shot, I was cleaning up vomit. My poor Shiloh girl threw up every home made waffle stick (lovingly made by Daddy) that she ate for breakfast. With that task out of the way, we proceeded to let Lincoln open a couple of presents before Daddy took off for work. From Pawpaw and Grandma, he got a really cool magic trick set.

Not sure which one it is again, but we bought him a new Star Wars ship. Obi Wan's maybe??

He's already learned one magic trick--how to make candy appear. Now that is my kind of trick!!

Can't go wrong with birthday cash!! He collected quite a bit from different folks, and of course he has already spent some on... can you guess? STAR WARS!

We will be having Lincoln's party this Sunday at a park, and I will attempt to free hand a Captain Rex clone trooper mask cake. Glad I am done with school today, so I can start making all the icing that I will need. Thankfully white is a predominant color! :)


How could this have happened so long ago?! Feels like a moment ago, I told Mark when he came to bed on Jan. 11, 2005, which was pretty late, that I thought we would need to go to the hospital. This is me right before we left-- I actually got up and took a shower first. What for, I do not know. By the time we got Mullin to Mark's dad's house, I was in some MAJOR pain! A few hours later, Lincoln Elijah was born.

He was so adorable in his first little outfit!! I will never forget Mullin's first words to his new baby brother--- "I love you Blinkin!" Mullin at 2 and 1/2 also said we needed to wash his dirty face. Lincoln was born with a tiny beauty mark on his left cheek, and Mullin thought it was dirt! Oh, those precious memories.

I love you my sweet sunshine!!!! Happy Birthday!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Shiloh's New Toys

Pin It Now! I think it is just as fun for me as it is for Shiloh when she gets new toys!!

This Christmas, she got her first Barbie, Melody, from the Diamond Castle series. She also got the horse and carriage from the movie. She has watched the movie like 4 times already, and I admit that 2 of those times I watched it with her. I am not ashamed to say that I loved it!!! It's so fun being a girl!

Shiloh also received a new baby doll bed. Wow, it's more like a piece of furniture!

She put her new Cabbage Patch Kid, Eliza, in it. Eliza is a 25 year anniversary CPK, which means she looks just like the ones I used to and still do have. Fun!

The Hello Kitty pop-up playhouse was a big hit, too.

She's wanted Bedtime Bear for a long time, and now she has one that's almost as big as she is!
I can't wait for her birthday, which isn't until June, so I can add to her Barbie collection!!!

Have I mentioned how incredibly fun it is having a girl???

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day--Ragamuffin Style

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2009? What? 2008 seems like a blur!
Anyway, everyone who knows me knows I HATE staying up late, so we celebrated the new year on New Year's Day instead of New Year's Eve. I was singing Tylenol PM's praises this morning b/c it kept me from waking up at midnight to the obnoxious firecrackers and pot banging that was going on, so my hubby tells me.
Mark, on the other hand, is an owl, so he didn't mind staying up most of the night tending the shoulder on the smoker. Lincoln tried to stay up but fell asleep on the couch around 9:30. Mullin made it to 11:00, I guess. Sad when my 9 yr. old stays up later than me!!! Yep, there wasn't much going on in the Ragamuffin household on New Year's Eve. I went to bed at 10:00 after watching the Dog Whisperer with Mullin. That is about as crazy as I get on New Year's Eve. (And I like it that way!!!!)

We spent the morning getting ready for our friends to come over, and sweet Mullin built Benjamin a Thomas track. Oh, brings back those fond memories of Mullin when he LOVED trains.

Mmmm, the shoulder is almost done!

Here it is.... Mark's a southern boy through and through--he's proud of his pork shoulder. He even made the Cole slaw. Rotel and his grandma's baked beans were also on the menu. Our friends are NOT from the south and weren't even sure what Rotel was. Someone from Mark's work wondered if smoking a shoulder was like smoking a cigar or something. Nope, we are not in Tennessee anymore. (I am glad.) Did I just say that?

Seriously, this was an amazing, melt in your mouth shoulder!! Watch out Paw!!

And here is my beauty waiting patiently for her friend, Kaiya, to arrive.

Kaiya always loves to dress up as a princess when she comes over.

The girls playing in Shiloh's new Hello Kitty house. Kinda clashes with our decor, but oh well.

Lincoln and Shiloh relaxing after everyone left. I was so busy pigging out that I didn't even get pictures with our friends. And I am sure Mark is glad that we don't have visual proof of him getting whooped in a basketball match with Jarid!!!


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