Monday, December 29, 2008

A note to everyone on my blog roll

My blog, which really was just intended for friends and family, gets a lot of traffic because our church's website links to it. A lot of this traffic is from people who have radically different beliefs than we do, and invariably they write to leave nasty comments.

While that does not phase me at all, and may in fact amuse me, I realize that blog authors listed on my blog roll may feel some of this "fallout".

So if at any time you would prefer for me to remove a link to your blog off my website, please just let me know. I won't be offended at all, or have my feelings hurt.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas. Usually, we open presents in the morning on Christmas Day, but this year, we opened them on Christmas Eve after the evening church service. I liked that better because the kids could sleep on all their excitement about their gifts, which made Christmas Day more relaxing for us parents. Plus, I had a chance to tidy up the house and throw away all the gift wrap/boxes/etc. after they went to sleep. I think that will become our new tradition. It also freed me up on Christmas Day to cook a big breakfast and to start the dinner leisurely while the kids were busy playing (but not bouncing off the walls with excitement and anticipation).

On Christmas Eve, before going to church, we also took a few more family photos because everyone was dressed up for Christmas. Believe me, it is not easy to get 7 people to look even half-way nice on camera! My husband was goofing around with the boys, all the kids were totally antsy because they knew we were opening presents after church, and Miriam had just woken up and was mad about me fixing her hair for the pictures.

Anyway, this is what I came up with after an hour of trying:

The whole family

The kids


The boys



The girls


Miriam



Rebecca




We had a ham dinner with all the typical sides for Christmas, and it was delicious. My husband and I got to play five rounds of the board game I gave him as a gift, and I beat him every single time. He had more luck the next day, when we also played this game and this one, which we already had. Can you tell we like this game?!? We usually only ever get to play on holidays when he is off, and it was fun.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joyous Kwanzaa? - No thanks!!!

If you have never heard of Kwanzaa before, you may not be alone. The first time I heard of it was about 5 or 6 years ago, and I had no clue anyone actually celebrated it. But lately, I have run into several people who do observe Kwanzaa, and it peaked my curiosity enough to look into this "holiday". The following information is based on various Wikipedia entries (direct quotes in red).

An African-American scholar and social activist, Ron Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first African-American holiday. Karenga said his goal was to "...give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society." The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza", meaning "first fruits". The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s.

Apparently, people who celebrate Kwanzaa do so as an alternative to "imitat[ing] the practice of the dominant society", which is celebrating Christmas and New Year. The implication, of course, is that white people are the dominant society. I would like to ask - in which way are we dominant? Even if such was the case back in the 1960s and no longer is, why is the holiday still being observed? It has always boggled my mind that in the United States, it is apparently o.k. to be a racist if you are what is considered a "minority", but if you are not, you have to forever feel bad about the fact that you are white and therefore by definition evil.

But let's take a look at the brilliant mind that is behind this "holiday", Ron Karenga:

- A high school dropout.

- In 1965, Karenga founded the Organization Us, a Cultural Black Nationalist group.

- Created Kwanzaa in 1966.

- In 1971, Karenga was convicted (along with 2 others) of felony assault and false imprisonment for assaulting and torturing over a two day period two women from the US organization, Deborah Jones and Gail Davis. The details of his conviction are far too disgusting and graphic to post here, but you can read about them on Wikipedia. He served 4 years in state prison, where he adopted his views on Marxism. After reading the charges that he was convicted of, I cannot understand how or why he only served 4 years in prison.

- Admitted to UCLA in 1975 as part of a federal program. He went on to be awarded several doctorates.

- Chairman of the black studies department at California State University, Long Beach, from 1989 to 2002.

This guy sounds like a real winner. Given his background, it is no wonder he went on to teach at a state university. But back to the holiday he founded:

Kwanzaa is a celebration that has its roots in the black nationalist movement of the 1960s, and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of "African traditions" and "common humanist principles."

"Common humanist principles"? Personally, I would like for my principles to be as different as possible from the principles of this evil man, but let's take a look at them here:
  • Umoja (unity)—To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (self-determination)—To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (collective work and responsibility)—To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (cooperative economics)—To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (purpose)—To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (creativity)—To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (faith)—To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
Need I say more? Clearly, this man was a Marxist through and through. I will not even go through the above principles point by point to prove why they are stupid and wrong, or I might get too worked up to be able to go to sleep tonight.

What is the point of this post, you wonder? I would like to clarify, once and for all, that Black activists are the real racists. They are the ones who label African-Americans as an abused minority, which they are not. In turn, too many Black kids grow up with a chip on their shoulder, thinking Uncle Sam owes them a living, and viewing white people as the root of all their problems. It is no wonder so many of them grow up to live off government support, which in essence makes them enslaved to the government. Instead, somebody should have taught them that white or black, red or yellow, you have to work hard to make a living, and that griping about what wrong was done to your great-great-grandpa by people who are long dead will not make your life any easier. That instead of fighting the idealistic battle of a Marxist criminal, they would be better off investing time in their families and freeing themselves from dependence on the US government.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Finally!

Firefox has been giving me some serious grief lately. Most notably, I could not update the column on the right side of my blog without jumping through a lot of hoops, or using Internet Explorer which is painfully slow. Tonight, after the latest Firefox update, Blogger was working perfectly again and I updated my blog roll, what I've been up to, etc.

Please don't hold me responsible for anything Matt Stucky writes on his blog, though. The guy is nuts.

My favorite copycat recipes

I enjoy going out to eat as much as anyone else, but it is a lot healthier and cheaper to cook at home. Which is where the internet comes in. If there is a certain dish you like from a certain restaurant, you can search for a recipe of it on google and are almost guaranteed to find something.

There is only one recipe I have never been able to find online yet, and that is for the bread that they serve as a starter at Stuart Anderson's Black Angus. My guess is that it is some sort of oat bread with lots of molasses. If you have a recipe for it, I would LOVE to get it!

Here are my other favorites:

Lemon Loaf like Starbucks


This recipe is great, and tastes just like the real thing if you manage to wait long enough for the cake to cool and the frosting to set. In our house, that has only happened once. Warm it doesn't taste exactly the same, though still absolutely delicious. Substituting whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour works great in this recipe because the oil retains the cake's moistness. Or, you could substitute part of the flour.

Chicken Enchilada Soup like Chili's

There are several different popular versions of this recipe. This is the one I liked best and thought tasted most like the real thing. I found that if you add the amount of masa that the recipe calls for, the soup will be very thick the next day if you have leftovers. I simply added some more broth and spices until it was the right consistency again. Also, I used shredded Jack and Cheddar cheese instead of the velveeta. It was a little stringy when the cheese first stared melting, but after 10 minutes of careful heating and frequent stirring, the cheese was completely dissolved and not stringy at all.

Fajitas like Chili's

A long-time staple in our house. I serve them with the flour tortillas that can be found uncooked in the cold section at the grocery store and have to be fried before serving. Sam's Club and Costco have great deals on those.

Cinnamon Rolls like Cinnabon


This recipe was not advertised to taste like Cinnabon, but I think these are THE BEST cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten. Seriously. You HAVE to try them. The only change I made was in the frosting: I left out the maple flavoring and coffee and instead added more milk. Plus, in addition to the powdered sugar frosting, I also put cream cheese frosting on these puppies. Simply beat a stick of softened butter, an 8 oz pack of room-temperature cream cheese, some vanilla and enough powdered sugar to get the right consistency and sweetness and spread on liberally. This recipe makes enough to fill about 6 or 7 disposable round baking pans, so you can spread some serious joy with this recipe if you are so inclined. Or make a half batch and eat it all yourself, but don't blame me if the scale won't be kind the next day. But then, these are SO worth it. I am getting hungry just writing this.

Now please get off the computer and bake a batch of these. Right now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Becca smiling



I meant to post these pictures of Becky with this post, but I couldn't find my camera that day. She has actually been smiling since the day she was born, but not as often as she does now. However, I don't have many pictures of her smiling because I am usually too busy admiring her to want to put her down and grab the camera. Plus, I don't want to "punish" her for smiling so beautifully by flashing her poor little eyes with the bright flash.

This is off topic, but does any other mom of a young baby feel guilty about putting their little one in the swing? Becca LOVES her swing, the first of our babies to do so. The other ones would stay in it for a few minutes here and there, then start fussing, and I would put them back in the sling and carry them around with me all day. But Rebecca actually fusses to be put IN the swing - in the evening, she prefers it to being held or even nursed. Then she falls asleep, and I don't want to wake her just because I feel bad about leaving her in there too long. Plus, it IS nice to have my hands free to get housework done after the older ones are in bed while she swings away happily. I know all kids love swinging, I know this won't make her grow up to be a sailor, I know she still gets held and cuddled tons every day - but still, I have this nagging feeling of guilt.

Ugh. I think moms just always feel guilty when it comes to their kids, no matter what.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Special activities in December

As I do every year, I try to have a special Christmas-related activity with the kids every day in December up until the actual holiday. To be honest, it is not always easy to do with 5 little ones, nor do I always feel like it, so I always end up skipping a day here or there.

Here is what he have been up to so far:

1st - decorated gingerbread cookies


2nd - read a story about the first New England Christmas
3rd - made swirled glass ornaments


4th - made a paper chain for the Christmas tree
5th - read the Christmas story in Luke 2 and drew pictures to illustrate
6th - went to a German Christmas market
7th - baked cookies
8th - baked more cookies


9th - nothing
10th - went to see "A Danish Christmas" (a traveling museum exhibit)
11th - painted ceramic Christmas tree ornaments
12th - painted glass Christmas tree ornaments
13th - had a Christmas Tea Party for the ladies at our church


14th - 20th: I got so busy I forgot to write down what we did each day :( But I do remember we went to a Christmas lights display, baked several more batches of cookies, painted more tree ornaments, the kids made gifts for us parents, we wrapped presents and mailed them to family, and all the while sang lots and lots of Christmas hymns.




This is Miriam in the pretty little jumper that her Grandma sewed for her as a gift. It's too bad her jacket is buttoned because the front is especially cute, with pretty little buttons that are shaped like flowers. In fact, Grandma made her three different jumpers, and even bought matching shirt to go with them underneath. Thanks, Grandma! I am so glad Miriam gets to enjoy pretty homemade dresses even though I have no time to sew her any.


Solomon took this picture of me, and he just loved it. I am posting it on here for his sake.

As far as next week goes, I don't think we will be doing anything else special. I just want to sit back and relax. And maybe get caught up on the laundry for a change. The kids will have the next two weeks off from school work, so hopefully I'll be able to get some projects done that have been put off lately.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New e-mail address

Just a quick post to let everyone know that my e-mail address has changed, it is now [edited to remove email address].

I changed my e-mail address because my husband got me a new G1 phone for Christmas - YAY!!! I am very spoiled. He bought one for himself yesterday, but it is pretty much indispensable for his business and considering how much he travels. I really have no excuse to want or need a phone like that, other than wanting to be able to go online at high speed regardless of where I am or when. And looking very cool and important at the playground.

Anyway, I made no secret out of the fact how cool of a gift I thought it would make, but of course I never imagined I would actually get one. After all, I have been using my husband's old discarded phones for years because he would break his so often that all the new models would always go to him. In fact, I just got his hand-me-down yesterday after he got his G1, and it was still a pretty nice phone. Especially compared to what I had been using before that: a phone that Miriam had washed with soap and water in the kitchen sink and it had major damage to it ever since then.

So when I got a message on my phone from t-mobile today welcoming me to my new G1, I thought it was sent to my phone because it had been my husband's until the day before, when he got his G1. It didn't make sense, though, and I told him about it. His mouth twitched ever so slightly, a hint of a grin, and that gave it away - he had gotten ANOTHER phone for ME, which is why they sent that message to my phone.

Of course, I didn't want to wait until Christmas to get it, and he gave it to me today. I am very spoiled!

Enough bragging already!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

8 weeks old

Rebecca is eight weeks old today and as sweet as can be. So far, she has been our easiest baby. I think she has cried less than one hour total since she was born. She is just happy to be with us, and puts up with having to wait to be fed occasionally, such as when I am in the middle of cleaning up hazardous-waste-material-messes created by one of the other kids. At night she sleeps snuggled up against my side and I don't lose one wink of sleep because she knows how to nurse while lying down. She is happy, content and lovely in every way imaginable. I hope she keeps her mellow character in spite of her wild older siblings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More portraits

Here are this year's Christmas photos. They are only of the kids and not all of us this year because it's near impossible to drag my husband into a portrait studio. Works for me, I myself don't like having my picture taken very much.




And here are some of the portraits they took of Becca.








In case you were wondering, we usually have portraits taken of each of the kids on their birthdays, as well as a family portrait (with or without us parents) on Christmas. The new babies also have their picture taken any time during their first year when one of their siblings has a photo appointment.

I highly recommend the JC Penney portrait studio. A $30 portrait club membership covers all the sitting fees for 2 years, and includes other relatives and even friends (like grandparents, cousins, etc. - the rule is that at least one of us has to be in the picture). Sheets up to a size of 10x13 are only $4 each, and one 8x10 per sitting is always free (I picked the one in the very top of this post for my free sheet this time - regular price would have been $30). I never order the fancy special sheets (like the ones with multiple images) because they cost about $25-30 each. Instead, I count on buying the extra 3 sheets that always get sent back along with what I ordered, for $18 for all three (at least 2 of which are the fancy kind). Usually, I order 3 sheets at the sitting for $12, plus my one free sheet, and then I buy the three extras when I pick up my order for $18 - that's 7 sheets (with several expensive special ones) for $30.

The portrait studio by our house has really good photographers, and because we go there so often they know us and always give us outstanding service. Which is great because they are the ones who pick which extras will be printed, so they pick the ones they know I like best.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Women in the military

Following is an article I found on a website called "Ladies against Feminism". If you would like to read more about other related topics, you can find their widget on the very bottom of the sidebar on the right.


Women in the Military: A Gross Social Experiment
By MCW

Dec 12, 2008 - 12:21:23 AM

I served in the US Navy for nearly nine years. I joined the Navy because I wanted to leave home and see the world; and because my single mother and I did not get along.


When I was 17, my mother and I signed the enlistment papers and at 18, after waiting in the delayed entry program, I was off to boot camp by way of the Military Entrance Processing Station. It was after my physical exam at MEPS that I was offered my first package of birth control pills without having to ask.


I learned that sexual immorality was accepted and expected.


In nearly three months of boot camp I learned how to march, was made to get up at wee hours of the morning, learned to cuss “like a sailor,” and to determine by casual observance those who were lesbians and those who were straight.


I learned that sexual perversion was prevalent but protected.


My class “A” school was full of young people away from home for the first time, many of whom got married after knowing each other only a few weeks or months.


You could hear instructors voicing frustration at the number of marriages that were occurring almost every weekend. Sadly, no one ever taught a General Military Training class about how young women would naturally want emotional security after being away from home for the first time and going to school on a base full of men. But we received plenty of training on STDs and how one should use a condom so as not to contract AIDS on the beach from unscrupulous men who prey on young women.


I learned that women desire husbands, are often lead by emotions, and that promiscuity was considered normal while purity was not worthy of mention.


My first overseas duty station found me in mixed male and female company during indoctrination, where we were told by the "health counselor" that we should be wary and make sure we had condoms handy. The condoms were then freely dispersed for the taking. And if one got pregnant, there were places she could go to get rid of the "problem."


I learned that though we were in service to protect a nation, murder in the womb is an acceptable practice when one's career is at stake.


The duty station was in a very beautiful part of the world and the “scuttlebutt,” or rumor, was that girls, military and civilian alike, were leaving with suitcases full of cash. This cash was profit from operating a little “business on the side.” I learned that, right before my arrival, a high-ranking officer had been relieved of duty because of an affair he had been having with an enlisted sailor.


Any off duty night on the beach would find both soldiers and sailors making “movies.” Meanwhile, it was not uncommon for married men to initiate relationships with females at work. Ten or more hours a day in mixed company is more temptation that many will or are able to bear, especially when their spouses are half a world away.


More than one weekend party found a young enlisted woman assaulted or taken advantage of because of drunkenness in mixed company.


I learned that marital fidelity was not the norm, adultery was expected, women were left unprotected and, as a result, often preyed upon--and if you’re not asked, you don’t have to tell.


It was not difficult nor was it long before I found myself caught up in a life of immorality even as I pledged to honorably defend my country. It was not until the Lord called me to Himself and changed my heart that I realized what a gross social experiment it is to allow women to serve in the military.

The military has become a subculture which reflects the immoral culture and twisted values of our present culture. It is foolishness to encourage women to defend a nation when it is the duty and privilege of men to execute this duty.


It is absurd for women to expect any organization to “respect” their roles as mothers and wives, and even be treated with dignity as women, when these same women have volunteered to act in the same capacity as men.


It is shameful for men who serve in the military to allow their wives and daughters to leave home in the same capacity, leaving their children potential orphans and allowing these wives and daughters to work in an environment where femininity is not exalted or honored, but degraded and trampled upon.


Through God’s mercy and grace, I have learned that to be a woman is a blessing and a privilege and to be called to marriage and motherhood is the highest honor.


I do not condemn my sisters in Christ who serve in the military, but I do ask them to examine themselves and the role God has created for them using the standard of Scripture alone and to leave the feminist lies behind.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

weird quirks of the kids



- He loves to dress up as something or other every single day, in fact, sometimes several times in the same day. I can't remember the last time he dressed "normal", other than when I dressed him for his birthday portraits or for church.

- His two favorite shoes to wear are flip-flops and cowboy boots.

- He purposefully mismatches his socks and puts his shoes on the wrong feet every day.

-



Hormone use and breast cancer

This is a very interesting article.

John's birthday

Thursday was John's 4th birthday. Sadly, the old cliché that they grow up too fast is all too true.

These are some of his birthday portraits:





John's main present from us was an astronaut costume because he loves dressing up more than anything else. He also got a construction-worker vest, a pair of PJs I sewed for him from fabric that he had picked out, and a small game. In addition, he got tons of presents from relatives and people at our church, all of which he loved. For his special breakfast, John requested "palacsinta", a Hungarian specialty similar to crepes.









We did not have a party for John because we were going to take him on a trip to Legoland for his birthday instead. We ended up having to put that off until January, but by then it was too late to plan a party for him. As always when one of the kids has a birthday, I gave them the day off from school work. We went to a little play town in the morning, and in the evening we went to Family Fun Night at Chick-fil-A.






Monday, December 8, 2008

My new CD player

On Dec.6th,2008,Dad got me a CD player that has:
A GREAT sale
A handlebar
An antena
IRS hating(Just kidding!)
Comes in one piece
...and much more!

If you come to our,we can drive you to the store that sell it.
 
If it has that handlebar, we can bring it on a vacation!
 
I'll promise you,it is the best CD player on earth.

My little troupe

The three boys dress up as something or other pretty much every day of their life. We get a lot of amused looks when we show up in public. From left to right, there is: Miriam, not dressed up, but her hair a mess as always, Isaac as a fireman, John as a train conductor, and Solomon as a pilot. Need I mention they all picked their own outfits and did not ask my opinion on it?

What would you think if you ran into us at the store, me with another baby in a sling, pushing a cart overflowing with groceries??? It's a traveling circus.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My big helper

Solomon turned 7 at the end of September, and I took him to J C Penney have his birthday portraits done. For some reason, I was never e-mailed the information to retrieve the photos from the sitting online.

Today, I took John for his birthday pictures, as well as Rebecca for her newborn pictures, and a Christmas photo of all the children. It went amazingly well, and I will be posting those pictures as soon as I get the online code.

While I was there, I asked about the login information for Solomon's birthday pictures, and just downloaded them all tonight. Here are some of them.







Solomon has always been very mature for his age, as well as very helpful and responsible. Since the baby was born, he has become my indispensable right-hand man. He can hold and rock her like a pro, and Rebecca loves it so much she almost never fusses with him. He has figured out his own tricks of how to get her to sleep in his arms quickly, and then he moves her to bed without waking her. He even checks her diapers and changes the wet ones. Best of all, he does it with a great attitude, never grudgingly, and gushes over the baby the whole time.

He is great. One day, he will be a wonderful Daddy, just like my husband is.