Monday, September 26, 2011


Time for a quick update on our Little Red House happenings...

Our Miss P. is turning 1 in about 3 weeks.

After I stop sobbing over the fact that she is so big and time flew past my face...

Im excited to plan Sweet P's FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY!!

I don't have a big guest list, just small and intimate is my style. Only those closest to our hearts...but Im not holding back on decorations and sass!!!

In true GiGi fashion, this day will be nothing short of a pink, sparkly, tulle extravaganza. Im debating on making the cake verse buying the cake and Im not sure of the type I want yet but I still have time.

She is soooo close to crawling and tries to pull up. When we stand her up against the couch, she just flips with excitement.

I know she is behind most benchmarks for an 11 month old but she is right on par for one of my kids. All 6 have marched to a different drum and she is drumming along right in tune.

She claps and waves and chatters Mama, Dada, Hi, Hannah, uh-oh and other small little words we catch.

She is my sweet baby and I wish I could capture this age and this time in a bottle. Her baby smell still calms me, just like it did the moment I held her in my arms...

Fall is upon us.

The maple trees have began to change colors and our new crepe myrtles lost their leaves. Night are cooler and days only peak in the low 80's. The cold weather will be here before we know it, but our minds are at the beach.

We picked out our hotel for next years beach vacation. 2012 pricing comes out next week and once it does, we will jump on making the reservation and have our countdown begin.

 a few nights ago at dinner, we took a vote on where we wanted to go this year. Disney OR the beach. To both my husband and I's surprise, it was split 50/50. With my older girls begging to go back to the beach, we decided to possibly hold off on going to the most MAGICAL place on earth for another year and head east. a full 7 days of relaxing fun in the sun...

only problem is...

 We have to go thru winter to get back to the sand.

Oh well.

We will make the best of it. Cooler nights mean time around our fire pit chatting and counting the stars. As the air gets crisper, the stars get clearer.

I like to grasp each season and enjoy it to the fullest.

Fall is here and all things pumpkin, Apple and spice will make its way into our home.

Homeschooling is going WONDERFULLY!!

I was soooo close to giving in and throwing them in public school... even though it was not the desire of my heart but I stuck it out. 

I prayed and just when I thought I hit a wall, God broke through and showed me another glorious world.

He answered my prayers and this year has been great. Its still hard but each day I wake up thankful for the decision I made and I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor with my 2nd grader. How awesome to know that I, taught her all she knows. Im so proud!! Of BOTH of us.

So a BIG BIG THANK YOU to all of you who encouraged to me to keep going when I was about to quit...


helped me remember the vision God had given me 4 years ago...

I appreciate you all and hope one day, I can return the favor to you.

a big MUAH from...



**** UPDATE****

2 hours after this post was written Miss P crawled for the very first time. WOOT!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Winds Of Change On An Island...

"The only thing constant in life is change."

Last week my cousin gave me this wooden kitchen island he had sitting in his garage. It was given to him by his friends back in PA. Since his new house has a huge island, he had no use for this one...
So last week, the girls and I went over there and proudly transported her back to her new home in our Little Red Kitchen.

I have been telling my hubs for MONTHS that I needed a small something in the middle of my kitchen. I needed more space and a place to station the little kids so they are not always in my way as I cook. So, it was a total "jump for joy" moment when my couz offered this to me. I took it as an answer to my wants. Even though I had not been praying for it, God still knew the desires of my heart!!

Hannah was so excited to wheel it in. They lifted both sides and extended it out. All the kids loved it.
But I hated it.
It looked so out of place.
It didn't go in my kitchen.
It was something new. Something changed. And you all know I hate change.
But I forced myself to keep it there and now I simply adore it.
It really is an answer to prayer and comes in sooo handy.
I can't imagine not having it now.
Truth is, my kitchen is small. As much as I adore my Little Red House, I believe we outgrew it 1.5 kids ago. Don't worry, we have no plans on moving. At least none that I know of. I always say I will die in this house. My grandchildren will come to visit me in this house, I will marry off all my kids in this house. I can't imagine moving from this house.
But if God calls us to, I will.
And I will be ok with it.

Sometimes the winds of change blow when we least expect it. When we finally become comfortable and steady, the winds begin to blow and God beings moving.
My hubby and I were chatting last night and laughed at how God works in our marriage. In us!!. I stress Our and Us because each relationship with Him is so unique.

We both dislike change. Slow and steady is our motto. Comfort is our security... and change is kept at least an arms length away.

But ironically, every monumental moment, every major decision has been nothing short of a whirlwind. In a blink, our lives changed.

Over and over and over.

Last night we chatted in our closet (because thats the only place we find privacy) and started to look back on our 15 years together. Before we even became us, God worked swift and steady.
Our dating was a whirlwind
Our wedding was fast and furious.
Before the ink was dry on our marriage certificate, we were on the road to becoming parents.
Homes, moves and jobs were all last minute and decided fast.
Our big black van was decided and bought in less than 3 days ( and never even turned the engine before we drove it home)
The decision to move 900 miles away was decided and done ( and we were unpacked) in 3 months.
6 weeks later, ( after an unexpected afternoon drive) we signed on the dotted line and our Little Red House began to form.

God knows our hearts and knows when the time comes, He needs to move and move quick!

Like a warrior, He charges thru our life before we have time to react.

There is no time with us, to sit and ponder. Opportunities will come quick and decisions will have to be made before we have time to think about them. I mean, really think.

After all, we hate change.

So, when I begin to feel the winds blow thru the rooms of my Little Red House, I know I have to trust God completely. Fear takes over. My feelings lie. They never lead me where I should be. Not all the time though. Through the years God has helped me to learn more about myself, and to quickly, trust Him completely.

Our prayers are pleads.

"Show yourself quick. Make it obvious. Send us peace because you know us Lord, If you don't make your will evident with neon flashing lights clear, we will not act..."

Most times, when the winds blow, change is imminent. And surprisingly, we are fine with the change. As long as it is in God's perfect plan for us, we follow.

He has never ever let us down. He has never been wrong.

I thank God every day that I have him to help me navigate through this crazy game we call Life!!

And I often wonder... how in the world do people survive without Him???



Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall In A Crock-Pot

This past weekend, we packed up our big black van and headed towards the fields to pluck ripe apples from all the trees. The kids were counting down for 2 weeks and with some threats of rain, prayers could be heard at bedtime pleading with God to NOT let it rain on apple picking day!!

He answered the prayers of the kids and the day turned out to be just perfect!! The last time I walked on those fields, my belly was huge and Miss. Penelope was almost ready to meet the world. This weekend, she sported the most cutest furry boots and a pink bow and enjoyed the fresh air.

We came home with a huge bushel and we about ate our weight in apples.

After we gave some to my Aunt down the block, and everyone had some for snack... and a huge tray of apple crisp was made, we counted about 100 apples left. They are everywhere. I left them all on my counters. If they are in my way, they will be cooked and used quicker.

Today I have 2 crock-pots going. I really need more but for now, the 2 I have will do. Perhaps my Santa-baby will surprise me with another one under the tree ;)

Anyway, today applesauce is on the list. This recipe is quick and easy and should put everyones fears to rest about making "homemade applesauce." 

Mine is simmering away and we will partake tonight. Something warm in our bellies on a cool september night.

5 apples peeled, cored and cut into small pieces.

1 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and apples together and place in crock pot.

Pour in 1 cup of water

1 tbs lemon juice.

Thats it!!

Cover and simmer on low for 6 hours.

Isn't it easy?? Applesauce can be made in all sorts of ways but I am trying this recipe today and will try another one tomorrow.

My Aunt Diana will be coming over later this week for canning lessons and HOMEMADE APPLE BUTTER!! I can't wait!!

Tons of apple goodness coming from my Little Red House to last us thru the cold harsh winter! (HA!)

Who says you can't bottle up the seasons??

and in crock-pot corner #2... homemade beef stew for tonight.



Monday, September 12, 2011

The Fab Five

I lost 5 pounds. Im not quite sure how it happened though. Probably a perfect mix of stress and anxiety but one sweet day, when my feet hit my leopard print scale, that little needle became my friend. I am now 4-5 pounds lighter. (depending on what time of day it is.) Either way, it motivated me to get moving again. My days are pretty packed, so evening walks are what fits. Its not much compared to most of my Facebook friends. Zumba, running and spin class seem to be the new "it" exercise. Quite frankly, I still think my daily activities add up to at least 2 daily zumba classes, but thats not the point. Walking the neighborhood with my Sweet P added more activity than pre-scale off we go. Almost daily.

I love it and so does Penelope. She has never been a good sleeper. Case-in-point- last night... every hour we were tortured graced with her voice. I want to chalk it up to teething but who knows. Anyway, Our evening walks seem to calm her. I won't let the other kids come with me. By then I'm hanging dearly to my last shred of sanity in need of quiet time. Time for me to just think and listen to the wheels hit the crack in the sidewalk. Penelope just sits in her pink stroller and rests her head on the side. Not a peep emerges from her lips... but I know her eyes are taking it all in.

I love my view the best. Two tiny baby feet sticking out. I stare at them almost the whole time. Just in love with each and every tiny toe. Her left big toe is always flexed up. I just want to nibble away at them. Aren't they just deliciously edible!!!

One block over from me is this house. Sometimes I think I go for walks just to see it. I don't know the woman that lives there, but I know she has a passion for flowers that runs deep. Every time I go by, I discover something new she planted. Secret walkways, bushes and lattice emerge from every nook and cranny. From what I can tell (from over the fence) her backyard is even more magical.

Rumor has it, she hates kids and threatens to call the police every time a child throws one of the balls over her fence. She is an older woman who has a passion for tanning and cigarettes... and flowers. My old, selfish, horrible,  sinful, human nature just wants to buy an endless supply of balls in all shape and color and just send them over to her side once an hour...

but I won't. I think thats why God made sure we didn't back up to her house. Remember the bible verse that says God won't tempt you with more than you can handle??? Yeah, thats me. He knows I would crumble like tin foil under the pressure.

So I just walk by and gaze at her house in awe. I did it today and she was out front watering her flowers and sucking on her cancer stick. Wait?? Was that wrong of me to say? Sigh, that darn foot in mouth disease flared up again. CIGARETTE. I mean Cigarette... So, I smiled to her and said in my "I really am a nice lady" voice... your yard is beautiful. I love looking at it. She half smiled and mumbled some smoke filled sentence I could not understand. That stick was hanging out of her mouth again. But for a second I thought we could be besties!! You know, exchange flower bulbs, work on our tans together while my children played in her yard.... oh wait... maybe not. 

Oh well.

Maybe one day we can at least be neighborly...

then I can walk thru her secret gardens. Until then, I continue my daily walk and wonder when she will go out of town. Then maybe I can peek over my neighbors fence and really stalk admire her little piece of heaven.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Link Update

And now its time for our regularly scheduled "Link The Cat" update. With only 3 months under his belt of living in our Little Red House, he has made it clear that HE adopted US and not the other way around. Every day is a new adventure.

From him getting stuck in the dryer to frequent swims in the toilet bowl.... we never know where he might turn up next. But one thing is for sure... his life is heavily intertwined with ours and we love him.

So without further a due... his week in pictures...

Whenever we get ready to leave, he tries to stop us!

he likes to play "baby" with pretty girls!

all tuckered out from a hard days work!

can you say bed hog??

Who knew a little black ball of fur could bring so much life to our little family of 8.



Friday, September 9, 2011

Hip Hip Hurray... Its Friday!!

Its FRIDAY!! And from now on that means CO-OP for our family. For all you NON homeschooling friends, Co-op is usually a 1 day a week program offered at a church for homeschooling children. Its run and lead by the parents and offers various classes for your children to take. Gym, Math, science, history, cooking, art, drama, cake decorating, Royal Rangers, government, yearbook... the choices really are endless in what is offered. All based on what parents decide to teach. Our co-op offers 4 hours of classes. Each 1 hour long and an hour lunch in between.
99.9% of the participants are like minded Christian moms who have a heart for keeping our childrens lives and hearts good and pure. Each session is opened up in prayer and worship.

Today was our very first day. I only overslept by 15 minutes and for those of you that know me... thats just A-mazing!! I was up at the same time before the sun and was extremely thankful I spent the previous night packing bags and preparing.

The kids were nervous and full of anticipation for what lay ahead. All classes were assigned to each one. Even Miss P. had her very own class full of babies!!
This was our very first experience with a co-op. We homeschooled for 3 years without one and last year I decided i was completely crazy for not joining one  a co-op might really be beneficial to our family.
And boy was I right. We almost did not start on time but last week, after many months of prayer and hounding the sweet ladies via email... a spot opened up for me!!! I really feel this was God-led and inspired in every single way. That was confirmed the moment I walked thru the doors and began meeting the moms and interacting with the kids.

After skidding into the parking lot at full speed and arriving exactly on time, all 8 of us walked in iin a frazzled mess. Bags, strollers, lunches all hanging off of every arm. Kids pulling at my shirt asking me question after question and me not knowing what the heck to do. First day of anything is pure chaos... but I was relieved to know I was not the only one.

Soon enough, I was given a tour and the kids were ushered into classes and our day began.

6 hours later we left. Utterly exhausted and completely happy.

Friends were made, relationships were started and the kids are already counting the seconds till we can do it again next week.

Many homeschool moms are anti-co-op. I know, because I used to be one. Im very happy im not anymore. Homeschooling can be a very lonely world. Its tough. Its not easy. But its soooooo worth it. The support of fellow christian women and kids are so very vital in this type of lifestyle. My only complaint is that I didn't do it sooner.

Yup. we are a co-op family now and we are lovin it.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. I didn't want to look like a total dork on the first day. I'll save that for day 2!
Oh, and please excuse the grammar errors on every this post. Im completely tired and wonderfully exhausted and could give a hoot about english right now.



Thursday, September 8, 2011


You would think that after 35 years of life on this amazing planet, it would finally occur to me how time flies by?? Yet each and every day, as another milestone passes and anniversaries are celebrated, I stand there completely dumbfounded on where the time went since the start of whatever event we are celebrating/mourning. In the bible, Jesus mentions that we are nothing but a speck.. a fleeting moment in time... which is quite ironic considering most everyone thinks their something quite unique ya know? So Im quite thankful for this blog... even though its only 3-4 years old. It chronicles day to day event, passing thoughts and moments in time I should remember even though Im quite sure I won't.

So what has made me so nostalgic you ask? Im not quite sure? Maybe its the fact that September is almost halfway done? Or this Sunday will mark 10... T-E-N years since September 11th, or that my sweet tiny Baby Penelope is no longer tiny... ( or sweet depending on what day you catch her on...) Just more constant reminders on how young and thin I used to be on "such and such" date and how before I know it, this season of my life will be raked up and bagged by the curb.

Being it being almost mid- September, Life is in FULL swing in our Little Red House. Coming out of a very transitional and rough summer, God has graciously slid me into a very peaceful and grace filled fall. ( remember?? In my mind, it IS Fall. Reference back to THIS post please ;)

Here is where you picture me jumping around as I tell you my most wonderful praise report. Just last week, we were accepted into the co-op I have been begging praying to get into. We start tomorrow and its safe to say we are ecstatic to walk thru the doors of the church and begin a whole new journey in Homeschooling. A full day of classes, worship and creativity with like-minded moms and kids. Can it get any better??

My Molly is nicely settled in her weekly gymnastics class after I had to lie pull a mom moment and tell her we were just going to the gym to jump around. As a hater of all things new, I knew it would be the only way to get her through the doors. ( I simply have no clue where she gets this stuff. Must be from her dads side..*wink*) Just like I expected, she loved the class and we even were blessed to meet "old" friends there AND make new ones... all homeschooling moms... all with the same heart!!



She loves her class and spends most of her free time standing on her head. She is trying to break a record. Im fine with that. In a family of 8, its nice to see something new sticking up!!

My 2 oldest started Drama again. Practices will begin for their big event in their youth group in 2 weeks... which will then roll into Fine Arts competition in the winter. They are working hard on their monologues... They are taking various classes that focus in on their interests. Emma is in an intense Art class  and Hannah will focus on cooking and cake decorating... something she just ADORES. As a matter of fact, I think she can probably teach the class... ** mental note: tell Hannah not to correct the teacher**

Molly is in an etiquette class.... I'll just leave it at that. After todays episode, it was a miracle I didn't drag her there a day early!! I'll pray for her teacher tonight.

Emma has school online now. Completely online. I love it because its free. Very interactive. Live virtual classes, constant communication with her teachers and live lessons which really enrich her learning experience. My role is a different one this year. Im not the teacher. I just simply ask her about her grades and if she is done with her assignments. Its nice honestly. I don't know how I managed High School the first time and Im not about to go thru it again. Emma is doing wonderful and maintains a steady AB average. We are working back up to an A again. We had a rough start the first day but that all will change soon. She likes it much better than last year. Prayerfully, this is the answer we have been looking for.
Last weekend the girls had some friends sleep over and I had the pleasure of taking them out shopping Friday night. What fun!! Seriously!! 4 girls giggling and trying on all sorts of dresses and clothes. They all left with something they "adored." which made me happy. I, of course left with some nice things too... after all, I needed something to reward me with putting up with them!!

Next month I was asked to speak at a Womens event at my church. Im still debating even though I have to give my answer by tonight. I simply love public speaking but hate it to the core. Know what I mean?? It really is a lose lose with me. I will kick myself for weeks for NOT doing it, but when I say yes, I will be an absolute anxiety ridden mess till its over! UGH!

In 2 more weeks I dive back into Beth Moore. My church starts BREAKING FREE!!! I don't think I have the words to describe how excited I am over this study, or how much I need this study... how much  every woman needs this study... or how much we have to break free from... and as my teacher said... Break free TOO!!! My fingers and my heart are dying to get back into the word and soak it all in. Im simply dying of thirst over here!!! Im sure I will tell you all about it as we move thru this study and begin our life changing class.

I also had some ladies over here for lunch a couple of weeks ago and just had amazing conversation. As you all know, I just love to feed people.. and eat, and gab. Little did I know how blessed I would be by their fellowship. 

and then lets not forget the wandering thoughts of a possible baby #7...

Thats all I'm going to say about that....

On that note, dinner must be cooked. Its late and I have yet another event to go to tonight. As you can see, and as I'm sure you can relate... time flies when your having fun...

or in other words, when your living life. We only live once, so live it right, live it good and live it FUN!



Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 1st!

For some of my readers, September 1st only means ONE thing... to most, who may be new to my blog, You may be wondering what all the hype in our house is about. To catch up and take a peak in the past, just turn back time to last year and the year before... and the year before that!! Since my blog is well over 3 years old, many of you have journeyed with me on several Apple Pie Celebrations...

For those that are new to peaking at the inner corners of my quirky life, let me fill you in.

I don't remember the exact year this started but I know my 2 oldest girls were very little and we were living in NY... so Im guessing I started my September 1st Apple Pie tradition about 10+ years ago...

By the end of August, our summer activities are coming to an end, school is on the horizon and no matter how much we fight it, our soul starts to yearn for Fall. Sweaters, Soups, Stews, crunchy leaves, Pumpkins and haybales run across my brain non-stop. Why did I have to wait for cooler weather? Why couldn't I start to celebrate a little earlier and extend the season... and pray that Fall would somehow find its way to my front door??

SO thus began my September 1st Tradition. The start of holiday pie baking, fall decorating and a new season in my life. Or at least in my house!! It caught on quickly once my family realized that this tradition meant home made apple Pie, Ice cream and whipped cream!! Just 1 year after bringing it forth, I had a table full of guests ready to bring in the newest season with me. Don't get me wrong, I knew they came for the food... But thats fine in my book. Feeding people is what I do best. If I cook for you, you know your in.

And yes, to all those that are wondering... It is still hot in the south but thats ok. The cool mornings and perfect evenings make up for the hot afternoons. To me, Fall is September 1st. When the smells of apple pie can be found lingering from every crevice of my Little Red House. Scarecrows and mums find new homes around my lawn and without fail... every year, Fall finds its way back.

Its a tradition. One my older kids know well. One my little kids are learning about. One that will be passed down from generation to generation long after im gone. My love for all things good will be left in an Apple Pie Legacy!!!

Does it get any better than that??


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