Monday, October 10, 2011

October is officially "Finish Unfinished Projects" Month

here at the Lewis home.  Tony painted and repainted our exterior doors -- at least the back porch and front porch doors.  The downstairs doors were today's project but the rain put a stop to that.  So instead he is painting trim and doors in the hallway :) 

I have a "Honey Do" list for him!  :)

I'm so glad to get these things finished up and will post pictures as we go! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What a Fabulous and Blessed Vacation!

Our Fall vacation was just amazing!  God is so good to us!

We left here Sept 2 and drove to Brownsville TN (my hometown).  We 'camped out' at Daddy's house and visited with Daddy and my sister and nephew.  The next day we drove up to Daddy's Family Reunion.  It is always a blessing to see these aunts and  uncles and cousins and we only see once a year.  I have a sweet extended family :)  We spent the next day visiting with my mother.  I wish my parents weren't divorced but I am glad they live in the same town as it makes visiting a little easier. 

The morning of the fourth we left to drive north.  We visited our dear friends in MO for several days.  The children had such a blast swinging through the trees!  LOL  We also were able to meet my friend Katie and her dozen children at a park in MO and enjoyed our afternoon with them.

On the eighth we left MO and drove north to Iowa.  There we stayed with my friend Jennifer and her family.  I have *known* Jennifer for many years via an online message board for Christian women.  Meeting her in real life was a real blessing and she's exactly as I thought she would be.  The children enjoyed the big back yard and then came in and played Spoons.  It was just such a nice visit!

The next morning we were WI bound!  I have a dear, dear friend in WI, Cathy.  We have been friends for seven or eight years but never met in person.  We met on a message board and have been email pals and phone pals for many years.  Our daughters (both sets) have been penpals for three or four years.  Meeting their family was almost unexplainable.  Our hearts are now so firmly knit with theirs.  God is so good to us!  We had much fun at their house -- we visited with Tami who is a wildlife rehabilitator and we saw many different animals at her place.  Duane is a woodworker and Caleb has enjoyed learning about woodworking for the past few years.  Duane really took Caleb under his wing and taught him to use a lathe.  Caleb made a bowl.  :)  It is very pretty.  Our children all had so much fun playing together, they made a movie of an original play, they rode horses, we roasted hot dogs and had s'mores... many wonderful memories were made.

The morning of the thirteenth we sadly left their house with many promises of visits to come and drove to southern WI.  We spent the night here with another 'previously unmet' friend of mine, Cathe.  She, also, is a friend from the message board.  Cathe arranged a picnic for the other ladies on the board who live locally.  It was so nice to see Mary again and to meet Angela and Amy.  Cathe's daughter in law to be even came by for a few minutes.  Cathe and her husband Pat were amazingly gracious hosts.  Our family much enjoyed our time at their home!

We left there on the fourteenth heading toward Chicago.  We hadn't been on the road very long when someone pulled up beside us pointing frantically at our front drivers-side tire.  Tony pulled over immediately and saw that his tire was dangerously low.  We saw the Lord's protecting hand so clearly in the hour that followed.  We were very close to an exit so Tony slowly drove to the exit and to the first gas station, which *just happened* to have air :)  Here he noticed that the valve stem was very loose and whenever he touched it it leaked air badly.  I asked the store attendant for a tire store and it *just happened* that there was a Sears only two lights down.  We made it safely there and the attendant who *just happened* to not be busy checked and said he could fix it.  An hour and less than $20 later we were on our way.  As soon as we headed back toward Chicago it started to rain.  It was dreary and drizzly all day long.  We are so thankful we did not have tire trouble in noon time Chicago traffic.  Can you even imagine?...

It was after supper time when we arrive in TN at Tony's brother's house.  We crashed.  LOL.  The following day we slept in and rested some.  Later the family all started trickling in.  We were able to see everyone except Tony's stepsister Andrea and her family and Derek.  It was a good visit with everyone.  We are blessed with family who loves us :)

The sixteenth we drove home.  It was a lovely drive.  We were all glad to be home.  Two weeks away from home is a long time!

And our wonderful vacation was made possible in large part by Traci and AT.  Their family took care of all our animals and did our outside chores daily.  They are very dear to us... and not just because they keep our animals well! 
It was a really wonderful trip and I will try to get some photos up as soon as possible (Molly is still editing and resizing them). 

And that, dear ones, is a condensed version of the story of our trip.  I could go on and on and on about each family we visited and spent time with.  I am so blessed with all these wonderful people in my life.  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Joey's First Time Sewing *all by himself*

He was so excited... :) 

And the finished product... an I Spy Bag for his friend Nathan <3  He's so precious! 
 I love sewing with my children!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beck's Chimichangas - A Family Favorite

Caleb makes these almost every Saturday night for supper.  They are a real family favorite and I wanted to share the recipe with you... cause I'm just nice like that!

3-ish pound beef roast (cheapest cut with as little marbling as you can will shrink)
an onion, quartered
about 2 cups beef broth (or 2 c water + 2 t bouillion)
Cook above in crock pot for about 6 hours on high. You really want this to fall apart.

8-10 10-inch flour tortillas (burrito size)
1 small can plain tomato sauce
chili powder/taco seasoning
shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese (about 10 oz?)
about 1/3-1/2 cup oil and a pastry brush

When roast is done, take out of broth (save for another use...great for the beginning of french onion soup!), and let cool enough to handle. In a large bowl, shred beef well with two forks. Pour on tomato sauce, however much is needed (this keeps it WANT this. My tomato-hating children hate these without it!) and sprinkle on a good amount of chili powder/taco seasoning. Blend well.

Heat tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds, IN THEIR BAG to make them pliable and moist. I work one tortilla at a time, keeping the others in the bag.

Lightly grease a baking sheet, either with PAM or oil, or whatever you use.

Lay out tortilla, sprinkle some cheese on the center, where you're going to lay your meat. Maybe 1/4 cup or less? Lay the meat on top of the cheese. Picture this as if it's divided vertically into thirds. You want to fill the center third, and leave about 2 1/2 inches at either end. You are making the size of your chimi here. Fold in the ends, and then one side. Tightly roll the chimi into the final side, and lay onto baking sheet, seam side down. The weight of the chimi will hold itself together, and the cheese is now on "top" of the meat, to ooze down into it, yummy-like.

Keep rollin'. When you're out of meat, you're done. I find that a 3 lb roast gives me a good 8-10 chimis (but I often make more roast and freeze some for omelets later! )

Brush the chimis with oil, and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden in a 375 degree oven. We serve with sour cream, black olives and sprinkling more of cheese.
Holler if you give these a try.  We really love them :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our Children

from 2004
from 2006


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Pool Yard Fence

Another project finished!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Quilt for Ivy Jewel

oops... can't show a picture of this one...

Oh, Mandy... I need your address please!!

Joey's Birthday Quilt: Brown Bear, Brown Bear...

Joseph loved this book when he was younger (and he still likes it now).  I bought this fabric, I think, two year ago.  I scrambled and scrambled trying to think of ways to use it.  Finally I had an idea!

And the finished product.  Oh, I need to take a picture of the back too!  It's so cute!

UFO: Baby Quilt

This is a quilt I started a few years ago.  I was trying a new technique.  It was all done except for the sashing.  Now it just needs to be sandwiched and quilted :)

Finishing UFOs: Quilting

So making Avery's quilt inspired me to finish some UnFinishedObjects :)

This is a quilt top I started making for my Great Aunt Louise.  I hadn't finished it yet when Aunt Louise's health started rapidly failing.  I just put it aside knowing that I would know when I was ready to finish it. 

She was so very special to me and I loved her a lot.  I will finish this quilt and always think of her -- especially when I use it.

A "My Favorite Things" quilt for my nephew...

The last time we were visiting with Tony's sister Anitra and her son she was telling me some of Avery's favorite things.  I made a mental note and then had this smashing idea:  I would make him a fun quilt using fabrics of his "favorite things"!

Most of the fabrics are self-explanatory except maybe the gold and black border.  You see, Avery is a Vandy fan!  LOL

...and the back:

I can't wait to see his face -- I hope he loves it!!

Click each photo to enlarge. 

This was all machine pieced and quilted.  I used two layers of Killington flannel instead of traditional batting.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summertime Updates

So we decided to put up a pool this year.  But you know us... nothing is ever simple or easy, right?  LOL  The children have been saving for the past year and bought this pool with their very own money <3.  The pool is up and we are enjoying it.  We are also fencing in the pool area -- that is still a 'work in progress'.  I will get some photos up soon to share with you.

The spot where we decided to put the pool was off level by 11 inches.  That may not seem like a lot but if you've never leveled a 17 foot diameter circle that is 11 inches off in 100+ degree weather in clay-y ground that hasn't seen much rain all summer... well, let me tell you... it's a tough job.  I'm proud of my guys!

The "Pool Yard" not only houses the big pool (15 foot x 4 foot) but the kiddie pool also.  There's room for Sam's new aviary and a deck around part of the big pool.  Tony ran electricity and water out there so we have lights too!  We have big plans for the pool yard and I'm excited to see it all coming together.

I am also happy to report that swimming lessons are coming along great!  The Lord is so good to us. 

Have a blessed Summer!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Our New Roof


Isn't it pretty?!  Now I can't wait for the fascia and soffets to be all pretty and white!  I still can't decide on a door color.  Any ideas?

Monday, March 28, 2011

A few photos of the kids...

Duke & Duchess

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Introducing.... We have new kids!!!

It was Tuesday afternoon...Imagine our surprise! We had friends over and one of their children said to one of our children "So, how many goats do y'all have?" To which our child began pointing and naming goats only to realize...


Lady and the kids
Appropriately named Duke and Duchess

Duchess!  Isn't she beautiful?!
Duke, he looks like his mother :)

By now we had figured out that our attempts to neuter Bucky must have failed (LOL) and that must mean that Lucy is pregnant too.  It's so hard to tell with goats, they are very round anyway.  Sure enough, Wednesday morning we awoke to:
Lucy and her new kids!
Now we need names for these, a boy and a girl.  :)

Life on the Lewis Farmette... never a dull moment!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Friendship House

And for a little story about the name... the home we lived in when we lived in Mississippi was called The Friendship House.  It was built in the early 1930s and many homes in that area are named. It was also used as a restaurant in the mid 60s and again in the early 90s. It was a gorgeous house. Sigh. Anyway, when we moved we brought one of the signs with us.

We had this storage building, 20x24, right outside the sewing room door. (Which is relevant when you get to the bathroom part of the story. LOL)

Matt and Jennifer had lived with us off and on for two years. We decided to renovate it to make it a small 'guest house'. We did all the work ourselves and with some friends from church. (That is the reason is has a half bath and not a full bath. LOL.  It’s a short walk to the sewing room door and there’s a full bath just past the sewing room. :hn: ) The plan was for M&J to live there and save $$ so they could buy their own place. That happened sooner than we expected and we found ourselves with an empty FH. We talked about what would be the best use for the space and decided we wanted it not only for guests but that it needed to be a useful place for us too :hn:

The front half is living room/kitchen and the back is a large bedroom with half bath. We are going to put a full-sized stove in the kitchen and use it for a summer kitchen and for baking overflow! Molly and I are SO excited about this!!! The boys wanted a place to exercise and a ‘rec room’ so that’s what the back room is for. All these things can be pushed aside to make room for several air mattresses for when we have guests. The futon in the living room makes a nice bed space too.

From the front.

Looks like a harmless storage building, right?  hhmmm... let's look inside!

The living room/kitchen.  LR is to your right, kitchen to your left.
And the back room and half bath.

It was decorated to match their colors (notice the “accidental” Dr. Pepper kitchen colors ROFLOL ) Molly and I have decided we want to go with a beach theme color scheme in there. We can recover the futon easily and maybe I can beg a friend to help recover the loveseat.  That will be a project for later but it’s fun to plan it.
Now taking reservations for the Friendship House, The Lewis Family B&B! Come one, come all!  We love to have company!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Woohoo!!!! Movin' on up!

Remember that song on the Jefferson's?  I'm dating myself, aren't I?  lol

We now have DSL.  woohoo!!!!  Thank you to my sweet husband for his patience and diligence getting this all set up.  It's not only Faster than what we did have, it's CHEAPER too!  A win/win situation for us!

Maybe now I'll blog more regularly?  Well, we also got a new computer and all of the photos are on the old one so ... ;)  Tony got a transfer cable, I just have to ask him what goes where. 

Everything is good around here.  School is going well, everyone is healthy, life is good.  God is good!  (Well, He's good no matter how things are going around here, amen?!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Caleb is a little lighter now... :)

He had all four wisdom teeth removed yesterday.  The surgery went well and he is healing nicely.  Thanks for praying :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Great Backyard Bird Count

3 Canadian geese
2 pied-billed grebes
1 turkey vulture
2 red shouldered hawks
2 American coots
2 mourning doves
1 Eastern phoebe
1 brown headed nuthatch
1 Eastern bluebird
1 American robin
2 Northern mockingbirds
1 Eastern towhee
41 chipping sparrows
6 Northern cardinals
1 Red winged blackbird
2 Brewers blackbirds

Bird count:  69
Species count:  16

8 Canadian geese
1 pied-billed grebe
2 turkey vultures
3 American coots
2 mourning doves
2 red-bellied woodpeckers
3 bluejays
1 Carolina chickadee
2 tufted titmouse
2 Eastern bluebirds
1 American robin
2 Northern mockingbirds
1 Blackpoll warbler
1 black and white warbler
1 Eastern towhee
27 chipping sparrows
10 Northern cardinals
1 redwinged blackbird

Bird count:  70
Species count:  18

8 Canadian geese
2 pied-billed grebe
1 osprey
3 American coots
2 mourning doves
1 red-bellied woodpecker
1 downy woodpecker
1 Eastern phoebe
1 bluejay
1 American crow
1 Carolina chickadee
2 tufted titmouse
1 American robin
1 Eastern towhee
35 chipping sparrow
7 Northern cardinals
1 red-winged blackbird
9 Brewers blackbirds

Bird count:  78
Species count:  18

(In our backyard - early morning)
6 Canadian geese
2 pied-billed grebe
2 mourning dove
1 red-bellied woodpecker
8 bluejay
3 Carolina chickadee
1 tufted titmouse
1 brownheaded nuthatch
1 American robin
1 Northern mockingbird
1 orange-crowned warbler
35 chipping sparrow
11 Northern cardinal
1 red-winged blackbird
6 Brewers blackbirds

Bird count:  80
Species count:  15

(at T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Penisula State Park, St. Joe, FL)
9 brown pelican
8 great egret
4 snowy egret
1 white ibis
1 Wilson's plover
8 willett
15 laughing gull
15 ring-billed gull
2 mourning dove
1 belted kingfisher
2 fish crow
1 American robin
1 Northern mockingbird
1 song sparrow
4 Brewer's blackbird

Bird count:  73
Species count:  15

Total Bird Count:  172 (most seen at one time per species)
Total Species Count:  36

Monday, February 14, 2011

Large Family Logistics... book giveaway

My friend Chautona did a book review of Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.  Hop on over and read the review and you can get a chance at winning a copy of the book!

It Is Done

Well, it's been eight days, I'm calling it done. 

It seemed to take forever with Nehemiah but I think that's because he's so much younger than our other sons were.  He's asking to go 90% of the time, no day time misses and dry overnight.

Seems wierd to close that chapter and pack up the diapers.  I've had a child in diapers for eighteen years and three months.  :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

... and so the Potty Journey begins...

Nehemiah decided Saturday that he wanted to wear underwear and not a diaper. He said diapers hurt his tummy... lol

He had one pee miss Saturday. Wore unders all day Sunday (even at church, where he pooped in the potty once and in his unders once) and slept in unders.

I don't think he's really ready though. But if he wants to go potty I'm not gonna say no .

No misses, dry overnight

Two pee misses and I told him he had to go back in a diaper. He just cried this sweet little pitiful cry... he wanted his underwear and not his green diaper. ;) Wore the diaper for a few hours and had a bm and then back into unders. Dry again last night.
I just don't think he's ready because he doesn't come and tell me when he needs to go.  if I ask him if he needs to go potty he will either say "yes", "no" or "not yet" LOL
I guess we'll just see how today goes...

No misses today, dry overnight as usual.

Well, had a pee miss last evening and we put him back in a diaper.  He just cried and cried... he loves his unders.  He wore the diaper all evening and night and woke up dry again.  He's back in his beloved unders!

No misses, asked to go potty most times

One miss but Daddy takes the credit for it... lol, asked to go potty most times

I guess this is it.  I sure didn't think he would be ready so young but he is. 


On another note... we have one child who has secondary nighttime enuresis so we purchased a Malem Bedwetting Alarm.  I will post our journey here:
So we got the Malem bedwetting alarm recommended for our very deep sleeping son. Tony wanted to try this before trying the chiro and then the ped.

Sat night: he was dry

Sun night: alarm went off at 5:15 am. Woke us up but not son. That thing is LOUD. Tony finally got him awake but, of course, he was soaking wet.

Mon night: 2:15 alarm went off. Did not even phase son. Sound asleep and soaking wet.
Someone give me some hope that this will eventually wake him up

Tues night: 2:15 and 5:30, wet again and alarm did not wake him the first time but did the second time

Wed night: woke up at 5:30 when Tony's alarm clock went off, thought it was the Malem and went to the potty!

Thur night: woke up to his alarm by himself, small wet spot on unders but he stopped the flow and went to the bathroom himself.

Fri night: successful, woke up on his own to the alarm

Sat night: 2 am, half wet before Tony got him up.

Sun night: dry all night, no alarm

Mon night: got up to the alarm himself, still dry

Tues night: woke up to alarm, tiny drop of wetness, went potty

Wed night: wet, alarm went off

Thu night: stayed dry all night

Fri night: stayed dry all night

Sat night: alarm woke him up, already wet

Sun night: forgot the alarm, dry all night

Mon night: woke up on his own, no alarm, to go potty in the middle of the night

Tue/ Wed/Thu: Dry!!!

Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon: Dry!!!


Friday, January 14, 2011

It was neat when I started...

I promise!  Why is it that one always has to make a mess in order to reorganize and rearrange... ?

I had this idea.  But I was only going to move one shelf.  Really.  And then this happened...

I decided to redo the way I had patterns organized.  So I made a color copy of the front of all these patterns (almost 300) and organized them, put them in a binder with dividers.  I wanted the patterns to be in open totes (used like drawers) in the closet which meant I had to clean out the closet. 

Right in the midst of this the little ones got sick and have wanted me to hold them off and on for several days.

And now it's my turn... I have the head cold and feel miserable.
I just need to get this finished, ya know?