Monday, January 31, 2011

Otto and Olive








Introducing our latest additions to the Reynolds Nation....Otto and Olive, born on January 29th. Their mom, Baby (the Boer goat) delivered them quickly and without problem. We didn't expect them to be born so soon...we just realized a few weeks ago that she was pregnant. Our other goat, Shirley, looks like she has been pregnant for fifty years, but still no baby yet. So, here are a few pictures of them right after they were born, and then of the kids feeding (at least trying to) and handling them. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Together



I am posting a shot that Bryn took of us the other day at the park. We look so happy in this shot. I love the joy in both our faces. Love my teenager...through all the good and bad. We will both come through these years stronger. Thank God for her and all her beauty, talent, joy and love!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fabulous Friday

Well, my house is nice and quiet. I woke up at 5:30 and got to spend some time in prayer. I love quiet mornings like this. It brings peace to my spirit. The kids are sleeping soundly...not a peep from anyone. So glad that it is Friday. Busy week as always. Nothing really planned for the weekend...that's the way I like it! So today, take some moments to spend with the Lord. He brings peace to your mind and heart...he knows us through and through. Nothing like spending some time with your daddy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Life Long Friendships


We had a special visitor stop by last night! Our dearest friend, Nancy Ellis, came by after travelling from Asheville, North Carolina. We have been friends with Nancy for over 20 years now, and we miss her and her family so much. Five years ago they moved up north, so we have only seen them once or twice a year.
The older I get, the more I cherish these life long friends. We can pick up a conversation at any time and we truly trust them to speak in our life. Her life and words have blessed me beyond anything I could ever imagine. No matter how far apart we are we have continue with this life long friendship.
So, it was fun to take her picture with Bryn. Bryn is about an inch taller than Nancy now...which is crazy to even imagine since she held Bryn as a baby. They both got a laugh when we had them stand side by side.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Favorite Things 2

Flour Tortillas
I got this recipe from Hillbillyhousewife.com...it is my all time favorite! My kids eat them rapidly...with or without anything in it. I replace the shortening with the same amount of olive oil and I use the baking powder. The tortillas also freeze really well...just put wax paper in between them and heat it up in your toaster oven when ready to eat! Enjoy!

4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1/3 cup shortening
1 to 1-1/4 cups water
Waxed paper
oil (optional)
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. I prefer to use the baking powder because it makes the tortillas lighter, even if you roll them a little thick. The baking powder is not an authentic addition though, rather it is a southern mutation. Next cut in the shortening with a fork. When the flour is crumbly, add the water. Stir the dough with your fork until it makes a cohesive ball of dough. You may need to add an extra small spoonful of water if the dough is too dry. Be careful not to add too much though. When the dough forms a ball, knead it about 20 times. Then let it rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes. After it has rested, form it into 10 or 12 equal balls. Roll each ball in a little flour, to coat the outside of it evenly. Place a ball of dough on a sheet of waxed paper, or a clean, well floured surface. Roll the dough out into a a 6 or 7-inch circle. Try to get it as thin as you can. Loosen the tortilla from the rolling surface. Flop it onto a dry, hot skillet. Cook about 30 seconds, until the under side is dry, with a few brown spots. Flip it and cook the other side the same way. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate, and cook the next one. This goes pretty fast after you get the hang of it. You can roll out all of the tortillas first, in one stage, and then cook them all in the second stage. After you practice it some, the whole procedure takes less than 20 minutes, and the tortillas are sooo good. Use them the same way you would store-bought tortillas: burritos, soft tacos, etc.

The first few times you make these, you will need 30 to 40 minutes for the whole procedure. It takes time and practice to get the hang of rolling them out quickly and into a roughly circular shape. Please persevere. This recipe will save you $1 to $1.50 every time you make them. Also, if you don’t have access to the store, you can still have lovely Mexican dishes all the same.

Homemade tortillas are not as flexible as store-bought tortillas. To make them more flexible, place them in a plastic bag while still warm, and let them cool right there in the bag. The steam will make them more pliable, and easier to roll up into fancy burrito shapes. This recipe makes about a dozen tortillas.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Scenes From The Mall

Normally on Sunday afternoons we come home and relax. We try not to do too much...yard work is saved for Saturdays, and we plan the afternoon together. Well, yesterday we had a change of plans. Matt's new I-Phone 4 kept on losing it's audio capabilities. The closest Apple store is in Altamonte Springs, so Matt made an appointment at the mall for Sunday afternoon. We figured we could head over there after church and possibly do a little shopping...Bryn and Esther had Christmas money burning in their pockets.
Sounds easy enough, right? Yeah right. Remember we have five kids. And three of those kids are of the male nature. And these males really prefer dirt, climbing and playing rough with each other. They don't like to shop. Period.
First stop was the Apple Store for Matt's appointment. I found a comfy seat not far from the store and we decided to wait there. Well, Judah proceeded to cry the whole time that he wanted his dad. Though we could see him from our vantage point, that wasn't good enough. Thankfully, it took a whole 10 minutes in the store for Matt took get his new phone.
Then we went to various stores in the mall for the girls to look at things. The boys complained the whole time. We finally went with the girls by ourselves while one parent stayed with the kids. I found Matt taking the boys up and down the escalator. What a sight! We found a little kids play area finally, but Caleb and William were too tall to play. So it was only for Judah, which didn't sit well with the rest of the boys. We didn't stay long.
Finally, I was done. The boys were over it. The girls could have shopped the rest of the day. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, Judah started crying (the whole way home) that he didn't want to leave the mall. Needless to say, I can guarantee that this will be the last time the boys see the mall for about a decade or so.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

There Once Was A Girl, Part 2

So, at eleven years old God took this young girls heart. God took her and kept her from a life of craziness. He washed her clean, made her whole again. The situation didn't change around her, but it changed how she responded and what she absorbed. God took hold of her and loved her!
What a peaceful place to be...in the loving hands of the father. His grace is sufficient for thee. Over the years, the young girl grew up. And around every corner he had a place for her. He would specifically found a body of believers for her. When it was only her...no family to join her, just her going alone to worship. Friendships were made that would last a lifetime. God would put certain people in her life who would be able to dive deep into her spirit and start to open up wounds and bring healing to them. That's when the change happened. She started to think differently. New ideas replaced the old ones. She even met her future husband one day, and didn't even know it.
No longer did she believe that she could only trust herself....there were others to trust to. And God wanted more from her...not to be this independent career women. He wanted her to be a wife, a mother, a caregiver. All the layers came off...slowly. When she put her trust in Him, she became her true self. Not someone that was made up by this wicked world.
And now, she is a loving wife and mother...She continually seeks God's purpose in her life. He always has a higher way then her own thoughts. He has greater and more for her. She is amazed in the transformation that he performed. She is so grateful, to be loved by the Father. And now, she is able to LOVE!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Friday!


Snapped this picture of my little Esther yesterday right before school started. She is a beauty in the making. Have a fabulous Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are You Missing Something?

I can't let the moment pass me by. My little man, William, lost his first tooth yesterday. Lots of sad thoughts for this mommy. How can my sweet boy grow up so fast? I remember being so excited when he got that first tooth, and now it is the first to go. I put it in a small baggie, with a special note and I put it in his box. I keep a special box for each child to keep mementos in. Of course William was super excited...he said yesterday, "I can't wait until tomorrow, because then I will get money!" So, sure enough under his pillow this morning (given by the mommy fairy...he knows that there isn't a tooth fairy, but mommy leaves special treats) was a package of bubble gum (he loves to chew gum, though we don't do it often) wrapped with a five dollar bill. His excited reaction makes this mommy's heart smile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Favorite Things 1


So, I thought I would start a series of favorite things. My rice cooker was kind of the first one, so I thought I would continue....I love to talk about things that work well in my busy family. Please feel free to comment on some of your favorite things.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite cleaning products. Now, let's remember that I am not into the latest cleaner, fad, extra super duper item that hits the market. I am very simple when it comes to cleaning supplies. I like bleach, Lysol, vinegar...the basic items. I usually get all stains out on my clothes (including grease) with regular dish soap that I wash my dishes with. It always works...even if it has been dried on by the dryer.
So, one day I left a partial crayon in my pocket that I had picked up on the floor from my kids. It landed in the washer and the dryer and got all over my husbands....WORK CLOTHES!!!! Dress shirts and slacks...with red crayon marks all over them. I noticed this after it came out of the dryer. I thought everything was ruined. I tried my faithful dish soap...and it didn't touch it. I tried some commercial cleaners...and it didn't help in the slightest. Then I googled (naturally, why didn't I think of this in the first place) what other people used. And this product...Oxi Clean Max Force Gel Stick kept on coming back up in responder's comments. So, I plunked down the almost $4 for this product (which is expensive in my book) and Voila...all the crayon came out!!! For $4 I saved over a $100 dollars in dress clothes. It was worth every penny. And then today, it got out butter residue that had leaked through a popcorn bag at the movies. My faithful soap got half of it out...but my gel stick saved the day.
Sometimes it is worth trying some new things...I only use the gel stick on hard items. First I try my soap (which is still faithful) and then I go to the gel stick. It was worth every penny...I just try to stretch the money as far as I can. Give it a try...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nurturing Their Talents...

Now, I must admit to the world that I am the least artistic person ever..I can not even draw a stick figure. It's horrible I know. I don't like to paint, draw or anything in those type of categories. The closest I get is probably scrapbooks...but that is easy compared to being artistic.
And then I gave birth to Esther. Who is incredibly artistic! Who has drawn some things before that I thought was done by my teenager daughter. She is always drawing, scribbling or wanting to do something creative. Not sure how I gave birth to this child....and other than the fact that she doesn't look like me one bit makes me question this too...lol! So lately, we have been trying to find avenues for her to be artistic...since I can not teach her with my own abilities. Yesterday, Matt bought her some special paints to make some pictures for his office (yes, she is that good)....and she did a fantastic job. We also have been finding little things for her to do so that she can use this talent. We also found a youth cake decorating class taught by an old friend of mine that will happen this spring...for $15 she will learn some basic cake decorating skills.
All these things are out of my comfort zone...it would be easier to mold her like me. But God made her different. We realized this at a young age when we would go shopping and she would pick the flashiest, most sequined full clothes. I love how God challenges us with different personalities for each of our children. It's good to keep open and pursue how they are different...even if it is out of your own personal zone.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

There Once Was A Girl...

There once was a girl who thought she had a vision of her future. She was an average looking girl...not overly attractive, with very little self-esteem. She came from divorced parents...which had been a marriage full of abuse, financial disaster and inconsistency. She moved around a lot...new houses, new schools (even in the midst of a school year), brand new cities and even different states. She really never became the rose that God intended her to be. There are a lot of roses out there that never bloom. Full of hope and color, but never able to become the flower God wanted.
Soon raised by a single mother, with a father who failed to be financially, emotionally or involved in her life. She would continue to look for that father figure for the next twenty-five years. Because she was in a maternal-centered environment she learned that women can control, take care of, and keep everything under their watchful eye. This includes finances, home care, a full time job and everything in between. They were put in role that God never intended to be. Instead of the nurturers that God designed they have become the head of households. Feminism would flourish in her mind....why not, man was not in his rightful place. And since he was not there, she would step in...if not, who else would?
This girl would think that she can do anything that her mind set to....a higher education, travel the world. Never did she think that a home and husband could be part of her world. Those positions had failed her so much before...why think that?
And then one day, God took a hold of her and showed her a new world...a new way of thinking...

To be continued...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Got To Get One!!!


As a mom of five kids...working part-time...homeschooling veteran...and head housekeeper...I am constantly looking for things to make my life easier. Now, I am not talking about throw-away junk that can easily be replaced by hard work. Example: we discontinued using paper plates about a year ago when I realized I bought a package every week, which cost approx. $10.00 a month, $120.00 a year. Instead, I just wash plates with free water from my well. But there have been a few items that we have bought that I love and would rather not do without.
Enter: The Rice Cooker. Approximately $30.00. Cooks about four cups of dry rice, and will also steam your veggies on the top. You just pour your water in, put the rice in and press cook. Most days I put the rice in first thing in the morning and press cook 30 minutes before dinner. You can push a delay of five hours...so I can have it go on even when I am not home. The great thing about this cooker is that I do not have to stir anything...like you would have to do on the stove top. Press cook and open when done...light, fluffy rice ready to go. And since the cost is not astronomical, this is worth your hard earned cash for the busy family.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cozy By The Fire

When we bought our "log cabin" style house, we thought how lovely to use the fireplace for joyful evenings...cozy on the couch, looking longingly at the beautiful fire. And yes, we have done that often the past eight years. But today it had a new function. We have kept a fire all day in the fireplace to keep the living room warm for the day. It's not a great functioning fireplace that will heat up the house...but it has kept our main living area comfortable...and I haven't had to run the heat all day. This is our second cold winter...if we keep on getting these we might have to put a special piece in the fireplace that will actually heat up the house. We will have to see about that...not sure how long we will actually be here. God may have other things in mind...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Capture Their Hearts


I have said this statement to several different people over the last week. I guess it's prevalent in my thoughts lately. "Capture their hearts...." What does that mean to you? To me lately, it has been my main reason and motivation for homeschooling my kids. We are in our ninth year of homeschooling....has it really been that long? Some days I feel like it is my first month...and then on other days there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
But the true reason to have my kids here with me every day...to lose a huge income that I could be producing every year...is to capture the hearts of my kids. This is my main motivation and my main goal. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that my kids should get a quality education. That is just a requirement. But in the end of the day, the most important thing to me is for me to capture their hearts..to have a relationship with them...to introduce them to Christ and the abundant life that He has for them...to show them how to love others...to love their siblings and bring out the best in them. That's what homeschooling is all about. And me, being their mother, is the most qualified person to do it. I know their ins and outs...what makes them tick...the idiosyncrasies that a teacher won't have time to figure out.
I am in this for the long haul...to love on them each and every day. To open up the world to them and all that is out there. What a gift from the Lord to me...and for me to give it to them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Look At Me"




I have to document this saying, "look at me," before I forget. Our kids are growing so fast. The little things that they say or do sometimes disappears. But I can't forget this saying. It's from Judah. He has been saying it for about 6 months. It's hard being Judah. The littlest of the bunch...the end of the train...so he commands more attention than any of them. He talks the loudest...yells the loudest...and insists on my full attention....so he tells me every time he talks, "look at me." I think he picked it up from me, because I will tell the kids to look at me when I am talking to them about something important. I figure, he thinks the only way he is going to get his point across is if he has my full attention. I know it's a phase...he will grow out of it. I just didn't want to forget. Love this little man.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just Like My Dad...


Wanted to post this...it's from Christmas, but it's a great candid shot of Matt with Judah and William. The cool thing is that those stools have been there at Grandma's house for almost 40 years...Matt used to sit in them when he was little...waiting to open presents just like his kids do now. I just love when my kids experience or do some of the things I did (or Matt) when I was young. I think because I like to look at everything generational...pass the good down to our children.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Visiting Pooch




We have our dog Morgan visiting us for a few days. We are her part-owners...my mom keeps her at her new house, but we still feel like she is part of our family. Bryn got the camera out and took a few pictures...isn't she gorgeous?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Take It In

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;Yes I have a good inheritance." Psalm 16:6

Monday, January 3, 2011

Idle Hands

So, I was sitting at the computer on New Years Day, quite happily sorting through the pictures on the computer. I was putting them in folders and downloading from my phone. I even was able to take advantage of a great deal from snapfish and ordered all my Christmas photos. While I was doing this, I had this thought in my head of, "why are you wasting time here? You are not using your time wisely." It occurred to me that since I wasn't on my feet moving around the house that I was wasting my time...being idle. I shocked myself. I was amazed by these thoughts. I was actually doing a very important task that gets put on the back burner all the time...especially since the laundry calls louder than picture sorting.

It dawned on me that as homemakers, we feel the need to be running around the house taking on huge tasks...though when we do these simple tasks they are just as important. And even if I was just on the computer looking at blogs or facebook...is it all right for me just to relax? I figure with the homesteaders they had jobs like this too...maybe sewing, butter churning, quilting. All needed things to be done, just not monumental jobs that say, "Look what I did." My husband will notice that I scrubbed the floors or cleaned the bathroom...but I doubt he will know that I sorted and organized our photos. That's okay...each one is as important as the last.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Come What May....


Come what may...but Jesus is still at the Throne. Here is to a great 2011!!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

From Surviving to Thriving

Esther made this little sign yesterday in celebration for the new year. Though we didn't stay up to see the ball drop, I can feel a change in the air. I feel like there is hope abounding...anticipation for the marvelous. I am feeling a shift in the atmosphere...from Surviving to Thriving for the Reynolds Nation this year. I am excited to see what God has for us!
Not that I am a big New Year's Resolution person, but I do have some personal goals that I want to reach this year.


*Continue with the weight watchers program-expecting a continuation of awesome weight loss.
*Take more time for each of my kids...individual time with each one. May it be a game, grocery store trip, whatever...personal time.
*I vow to do more crafts with my kids. This is a stretch for this non-crafty person, but I will take time to do this.
*I want to go above and beyond with homeschooling my kids. Fill in the cracks...make sure they get the best education ever.
*I want to be super thorough with my job as a Lactation Counselor. To reach out to the moms. Take more time for follow up. I want to see my numbers for the area to exceed health dept. expectations.
*I want to go away with my husband for one weekend this year.
*I want to go to the beach every week with my kids during the hot months...free entertainment is the way to go.
*I want to have one garage sale. This will allow me to continue to streamline my house.
*Keep my house a refuge. Clean, organized and desirable to be in.
*Spend more time in the word and prayer...this is one of my first priorities. Especially the prayer part...my faith in action.
*I want to have more dates with Matt...some just at home and some out. Take more time for us.
*Continue with he awesome changes that God was making in me this year.
*Jump in with the Dave Ramsey principles...no debt, more saved.
*Love more.


Here is Matt and I last night on New Years Eve. Sixteen years after our first date...Love him!