30 March 2011

Focus on Family - March 30

I got a few good pictures of my kids this week. I actually remembered to bring the camera with me when we relocated to a different part of the house, although we usually congregate in either the living room or the kids' bedroom.

Little miss chubby cheeks.

I posted this on my facebook status yesterday, but I know I have readers who don't have access to my facebook, so I'll repeat myself. Two nights ago, Isabel woke me up for a feeding at around 4:00 a.m. Being so tired, I fell asleep on the glider while I was feeding her. I slept there for an hour. When I woke up and saw that it was just after 5:00 a.m., I put Isabel down and half sleep-walked up the stairs to our bedroom on the third floor. When I pulled the covers back to get into bed, I felt a small head of hair. Yes, that's right. Alexander went up the stairs while I was sleeping, and he got into my bed and fell asleep. He wasn't too happy that I woke him up to bring him back to his bed, but he didn't agrue too much at being put back into his own bed. I guess he was too tired.

My handsome little boy - the most handsome boy in the world!

I'm really glad that Alexander is feeling better. His nose barely runs now, and he coughs only occasionally. And he's staying in bed for the majority of the time. YAY! When he was sick, he would be getting up four or five times a night, just to snuggle. It would drive me crazy, since I was up twice with Isabel, then five times with Alexander. And I hated doing it (since he was sick), but I had to discipline him, or he would have thought it was okay to do it all the time.

So the first time he got out of bed, I gave him a warning, telling him to stay in bed, and that I would spank him the next time he got out of bed. When he got out of bed again, I would pull his diaper down and spank his bare bum. He must have really good padding on his plump little bee-hind, because he doesn't cry. It stings my hand and it sounds really loud, but he doesn't cry. I guess he gets that from me, because my dad said that when I was young, the spankings he gave me didn't hurt me at all, either. I guess I'm receiving my comeuppance for giving my parents such a hard time (I would get out of bed quite often as well, so I'm told).

I've been doing fairly well with thinking of things to make for dinner this past week. I made Jeffery's meatballs - the best meatballs in the entire world - but since I forgot to take pictures, the recipe will have to be posted another time. So here is the recipe for a really easy and yummy slow-cooker beef stew I made yesterday:

looks yummy, doesn't it?

3 lbs cubed beef stew meat (I used 1 pkg of stewing beef from the store and cut them into smaller pieces)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup carrots
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp pepper
2 cups beef broth (I used 4 cups to get more juice - I'm also sure you could use chicken broth or even water if you wanted)
1 pkg dry onion soup mix (I used vegetable soup mix, which is all I had)
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1/4 cup red wine (I only had white)
1/4 warm water
2 tbsp flour

-Put beef, flour and salt into a plastic bag and shake to coat the beef.
-Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until the outside is browned. Transfer to a slow cooker along with carrots, potatoes, parsley and pepper.
-In a small bowl, stir together beef broth and soup mix; pour into the slow cooker.
-In the same skillet, melt butter and saute onions until softened; add to slow cooker.
-Pour wine into the skillet and stir to loosen the brown bits stuck on the bottom; add to slow cooker.
-Cook on high for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 6 hours or until meat is tender.
-In a small bowl, mix together 2 tbsp of flour with 1/4 cup warm water (make sure there are no lumps!). Stir into stew and cook on high uncovered for 15 minutes, or until it is thick.

I didn't have the 6 hours of cooking time the recipe required, so I just cooked it on high for about 3.5 hours (had to get the juice simmering to cook those potatoes quicker!), and it turned out really well!

Isabel tries so hard to sit up - this is her "I'm concentrating" look.

Every morning after Isabel wakes up and is changed, Alexander, Isabel and I go downstairs to have breakfast. I put Isabel in the swing and Alexander and I eat. And during that time, Isabel just stares at me. It's as if she knows that once I'm done, she will be fed. She stares at me while I'm eating breakfast, while I'm cleaning Alexander up from his breakfast and doing the dishes, and while I boil water for my morning tea. Once I'm done all that and sitting on my spot on the couch, that's when she starts fussing. I always hope to be able to drink my tea without have to breastfeed her at the same time, but I guess I should stop hoping. It's as if she knows when I'm finished being busy doing things, like once my hands aren't occupied with something, she expects them to be holding her. It's kind of disconcerting. She's going to be a smart little cookie.

Alexander loves the bear Jeff got him when he was born.

Jeffery has been super busy at work - he's even being scheduled for appointments on Thursday and Friday evenings (which he usually has off for men's group and IGNITE), and even on Saturdays. It would be nice if these appointments would translate into sales, but unfortunately, not all of them do. :(

But God is definitely providing! We were able to catch up on our property taxes and visa bill from the slow period of Jeff's work with our tax return, and so now we know to save up even more for the next slow period. We are very grateful to everyone who lifted up prayers on our behalf. And to those who gave us gifts of food, money, gift cards, and diapers, we are SO thankful that you were willing to give in that way.

Alexander's cool pose.

Next week Jeffery is going to be going to Connecticut for sales training. He will be gone from Tuesday until Friday. It will be a VERY lonely week for me. Maybe I'll invite myself to peoples' houses. If you get a call from me, you know what it is for (mom and dad!).

Alexander is trying to reach the toys in the back corner.

I have been reminded the past few weeks of how I must purify my heart and mind of anger and unkind thoughts, and the importance of striving for holiness.

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." Matthew 12:34

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.... Without holiness no one will see the Lord" Hebrews 12:10, 14

And this has been the verse that I have meditated on the most lately because I have challenges with this:

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires." James 1:19-20

When I was younger, I remember memorizing the first part that verse for Calvinettes, but I really wish that I had remembered the second part. It really speaks to my heart and is a really good reminder for me to bite my tongue when I would usually just blast off with a litany of angry words. I have this verse and a few others attached to my kitchen fridge, so I am constantly reminded.

I hope that all your weeks have been as full of joy as mine has.


  1. So nice....you are a wonderful mother....and yes Isabel has figured it out...when you are done breakfast...it is her turn to eat!!!

  2. Sounds like Isabel is a very considerate baby! :) Hey, if you're lonely, I'd love to have you over for a day!!

  3. Your kids are as cute as buttons! And, the stew makes me hungry!

  4. You know, i always thought i had to spank my kids to discipline them too, but in the end it didn't work. especially when they are sick, it only makes them sad cause they need comfort, and we're the ones that primarily give it to them. I wanted to let you know, I've found a different way, you don't have to spank to discipline! And i was so relieved to have found it cause i hated doing it too. If you want to see what got me started in finding a different way to train up a child check out this site http://aolff.org/ and I got a couple good books, biblical parenting and grace based parenting. There is also a message board i've joined called gentle christian mothers. I hope that i've not offended you in sharing a different way, I'm just so glad that i did, and want to share it with everyone I can!

  5. Christina, It's an interesting link. I'm going to read more into it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. :) And I'm not offended at all.


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