Our Family

Bits of my life

Sitting down to write a new blog post opens so many possibilities. I usually have numerous post ideas waiting to be used... and my camera's memory card is nearly always bursting with photos of recent meals, just waiting to be shared.

And then I like sharing just normal stuff from our life, too. But how to fit it all in?! And it's nice to try to stay on-topic just a little bit... since there are plenty of blogs written about normal life stuff...

But this evening I got an email from Annie H., encouraging me to share more about our life.

I'd love to know what it is Joshua does and how you are able to save enough money to order things like the water filter system... or wait until you're out of everything to go grocery shopping and how the two of you met and courted... and what your routines are like throughout the day and what your growing up was like and whether you rent your house and what you and Joshua do for fun and...

Sooo... :)

I'll start with a Q&A from someone else's blog (I think this is the first time I've ever posted something like this!) and then answer some of Annie's questions. :)

What is in the back seat of your car right now?
Three child car seats and some tissues.

Name 3 people who made you smile today?
My three children (and Joshua too!).

What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Trying to wake up and figure out what I should make for lunch. I stayed up way too late last night talking to Katie on the phone! :)

What were you doing 30 minutes ago?
Answering email.

What is your favorite board game?
We like the Worst Case Scenario Survival Game. For non-board games, I love Boggle and Taboo! Garage sales are a great place to get games.

What is the last thing you said aloud?
"Love ya" (to Joshua)

What is the best ice cream flavor?
Extra-creamy chocolate...

What are you wearing right now?
Denim skirt, green/grey/white striped t-shirt, barefoot, with my hair in a bun. :)

What was the last thing you ate?
Rice cakes. (I don't buy those, Joshua does! But I help him eat them...)

Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
No. But I got the shirt I'm wearing at a garage sale last week!

What's the last sporting event you watched?
Figure skating on You Tube. :)

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If I could take my family with me -- I'd go to Seattle to visit Joshua's side of the family. :)

Who is the last person you sent a message on MySpace/Facebook?
I actually don't use either! I do chat through Gmail sometimes though... mostly with Ruth. Chatting can take a lot of time though! :)

Have you ever lost anything down a toilet?
Not since I was a little kid! ;)

Do you use smiley faces on the computer a lot?
Yes, I do. I have to restrain myself from over-using them. And I still use them a lot!

Do you drink your soda from a straw?
I don't drink/like soda.

What did your last text message say?
We don't have cell phones. :)

What are you doing tomorrow?
Going grocery shopping, making cabbage casserole for dinner, and washing diapers and work clothes... that's what comes to mind right now, anyway. :)

Where is your mom right now?
Probably in bed! She gets up at 5:30am every day. :)

Look to your left.....What do you see?
Ripe tomatoes from our garden.

What do you think of when you think of Australia?
My friend Ruth...

Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
We tend to go in. Fast food is really gross when it's cold!!

What color is your watch?
Plain... white face, brown strap... but the battery has been dead for several years so I don't wear it.

Last person you talked to on the phone?
My friend Sheri, whose family is taking us to a private park of sorts on Thursday. Joshua is bringing his grill! We were planning the lunch menu. :)

Any plans today?
Earlier, the children and I took a very long walk and were able to see a train close-up. ;) It's quite a ways to the train tracks, and then to wait around for a train, well, there is really no good place nearby to wait. We were blessed to be able to watch one train go by and the boys LOVED it!! They talk about trains all the time.

Are you happy?
Yes.

Where are you right now?
The kitchen.

Biggest annoyance in your life right now?
Crumbs on the kitchen floor. :P

Last movie you saw?
Hmmm... I can't remember! It's been a while. Probably National Treasure 2, which took a long time to watch due to interruptions... I think I forgot half of the important details and then I fell asleep near the end. I am not a very good movie-watcher. :P

Are you allergic to anything?
Cashews and pistachios.

Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
Anything I can slip on really quick to head out to the clothesline or mailbox! :)

Are you jealous of anyone?
Not unless I am grumpy or something. The majority of the time, I feel very blessed and thankful! It's hard to be jealous when God has blessed us so richly.

Is anyone jealous of you?
I hope not! Everyone's life has its own trials and blessings. :)

What time is it?
10:55 PM.

Do you eat healthy?
Usually. Having a grain mill has been a huge blessing in this area, since we eat a lot of grains. I am also thankful for a husband who loves variety and trying new things! :)

What do you usually do during the day?
Change diapers, do laundry, make meals, clean the kitchen, help my boys brush and floss before bed/naps, do school work with Yehoshua, check on the garden, take a walk, pack a lunch for Joshua, take a shower, pay bills/keep after the clutter, take my vitamins, and probably tons of other little things! :)

Do you use the word 'hello' daily?
Yes... when the boys wake up, when I answer the phone...

How many kids do you want to have?
At least 3. ;)

Do you know the last person you kissed?
Ruth. She's soooo kissable!

How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
27

Have you ever been to Six Flags?
No, but I've been to Cedar Point!

How did you get one of your scars?
I was carring a canning jar full of my mom's dill pickles and I fell. The glass cut my right knee. (I was 5 at the time.)

What are you excited about right now?
Bethany said she is sending me something. Surprises always make me excited and curious! And who doesn't love mail?! :) I'm also excited because Yehoshua is nearing the end of one of his school books (preschool math). :)

If you actually read all of that, I'm amazed! :) Now to answer some of Annie's questions... :)

About Joshua

Joshua works at a factory right now. In the past, he has been in the Air Force as a flight medic, worked for a web hosting company, and done web development here at home. He's the one who takes care of the technical stuff for this website... making my "idea" for a cooking blog into a reality!

Joshua is a hard worker and spends his free time either with the children and me or else reading books on Biblical topics. :) He's working on finishing up a 4-year theology degree through a distance learning program.

Saving money for "big" things

We're actually very frugal in a lot of areas, and have learned to keep our expenses minimal. During a particular period of very little income, we had to cut out anything extra just to get by. I really recommend Money Saving Mom's frugal articles and advice. I also have most of my frugal-minded posts located here, which might give even more of a glimpse into the things we do or don't spend money on. :)

The Berkey was a big purchase to us, too. I feel blessed that we have been able to afford several large items this year -- including the Berkey and our grain mill.

Since we were already buying our drinking water, we figured out that the cost of the Berkey would be recouped in a year's time, and after that we would be saving in excess of $20/month... plus less frequent trips to the store (we can now wait longer than a week to go grocery shopping, since we won't be running out of water!).

How we met and courted

Joshua and I "met" through a forum online, but since my opportunities to use the internet were rather limited we corresponded through mail. (My parents still don't have internet access at home -- and when I lived there, there wasn't a single computer in the house!) I had written to numerous penpals throughout my teenage years (Money Saving Mom and I were penpals when we were teenagers!) so writing letters was nothing new for me...

As usually happens when two perfectly compatible people meet... we decided we wanted to get married. Our letters turned to phone calls. Joshua came to visit my family on two different occasions, and then a few months later we were married. Joshua is everything I knew he would be -- and more! We couldn't be happier. :)

Growing up...

I am the oldest of 6 children (the youngest is 15 right now). My parents were married for 8 years before they were blessed with children. I lived the first few years of my life in the same town where we live now. Then, my parents had saved enough money to purchase a farm, so we moved out to the country.

When I was little, I didn't always like or understand why we didn't have the money to do all of the fun things I saw other people doing. I learned a lot of my frugal ways from my parents. They were very careful with their money. It was always interesting when others would express envy of things my parents had saved for -- because numerous times those people actually had better-paying jobs than my dad, who worked in a factory.

I went to public school through 4th grade, and then my parents decided to start homeschooling. I was excited about being homeschooled, and was grateful to remain homeschooled for the remainder of my formal education. :)

Music was a big part of my life, as I played piano and violin. I also loved writing letters to my penpals and reading. Some of my normal chores at home were dishes, vacuuming, hanging out laundry, helping in the garden, and helping with my younger siblings. I did get plenty of free time though.

I finished high school right before I turned 18. I had saved most of my babysitting money throughout my teenage years (another rule I didn't always like at the time!!) and was able to go to visit 2 of my penpals, and then buy an inexpensive car and start working full-time at a small grocery store here. I actually only worked full-time for about 2 years, and then I go married. :)

Oh -- yes, we rent our house. It's a 2-bedroom house and it's not huge but it's big enough. :)

I will have to do a "day in my life" type of post again soon... it's been a while! :)

What we do for fun...

Fun? :) Well, we like to have company over. We like to play games. We like watching dvds but the time for that sort of thing seems to be getting scarcer and scarcer. :) We like to go on walks. I love garage sales. Every now and then, my mom will offer to watch the boys while Joshua and I have a "date"... we usually stay home, make a nicer easy meal (like grilled steaks! yum!) and just hang out together. We love to talk. We never have enough time for all the talking we'd like to do... or kissing...

Most of our time is spent with our children, so a lot of our fun things at this stage of our lives ends up being stuff the children like to do. The boys love it when Joshua plays outside with them, or we set up the racetrack, or get out legos, or even just read stories!

Joshua and I like to cook, too... but these days it's more challenging to try to cook together while watching 3 children. :) So it's not as relaxing as it once was... :)

Sooo, there's a little more about our personal life. :) If any of you have more questions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to reply! :)

Fun with friends

Our friends!

We were blessed with a visit from our friends Lindsey, Abigail, Susanna and Lydia! Yehoshua, Ruth and I joined them for this picture. (L to R: Lydia, Susanna, Yehoshua, Lindsey, Ruth, Tammy, Abigail)

They drove all day to get here. We were excited to see them pull into our driveway about 6:30pm! I introduced Yehoshua and Eliyahu to everyone, and the boys very quickly started asking our guests to play with them. ;)

I had some leftover beef and barley soup to warm up, along with fresh homemade bread, cooked green beans, and a taco/bean dip with chips. I am always glad when guests come with an appetite! I guess when I serve food to others, it makes me feel like I'm doing my job as a hostess. :)

Ruth

Ruth (6 mo.) sat on my lap while we ate. She's doesn't get any solids yet. :)

Abigail, Yehoshua and Eliyahu's "Auntie Abby" made them cover their eyes while she hid some surprises in the living room. They were very curious and had a lot of fun finding two wrapped packages, two outfits for Ruth, and a set of pajamas for Yehoshua. :) Yehoshua's gift was this screened-in bug box with a green plastic tweezers. He knew immediately what it was for (some friends of ours have one like it) and got very, very excited.

We told the boys that when the fireflies were out, we'd take them outside to catch some for Yehoshua's box. Here they were asking Lydia if the fireflies were out yet. :)

Finally it did get dark, and we all went out bug-hunting. We found a cicada, june bugs, a big red beetle (cicada-sized!) and lots of fireflies. When we were ready to go back inside, we let the bugs out of the box and discovered that while the cicada was inside, it had molted and was now a soft, wet green thing! Fascinating. :)

Lydia holding Ruth. Ruth was smiley and happy all evening. :)

Lindsey and Ruth, with the quilt that Lindsey's twin sister Erin made for Ruth. Ruth sleeps with it every night, holding onto the fringe with her little fingers... so sweet! :)

I had never met Lindsey in person, though we've known each other online for many years. It was fun to get to talk with her... our visit ended too soon! :(

Yehoshua and Auntie Abby... very very special buddies! This was their third meeting in person. Yehoshua could not have had a better time... he was grinning the whole time!!

The next morning, Auntie Abby and Yehoshua played banjo together. Yehoshua loves banjos, but had never seen one in person before.

Yehoshua also got to use her camera (with help, of course!) and he took at least a hundred pictures...

...including this one of all of us! (L to R: Joshua, Abigail, Susanna, Yehoshua, Lindsey, Lydia, Eliyahu, Ruth, Tammy)

We had waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast. Eliyahu got to lick the beaters! Abigail took this photo and I love it! She's very good with her camera. :)

Ruth looks stylish in Yehoshua's sunglasses.

And she loves to smile at the camera!

Up on her head... look, they hold her hair back out of her eyes!

I love happy giggly babies...

Babies are such a blessing!!

This is Ruth's most-beautiful-dress-that-fits-her-right-now! My friend Tanya made it for her. Yehoshua took all of these pictures of Ruth, by the way. He loves his little sister... he even tried to get her to use the camera with him!

Before she left, Abigail took a picture of our whole family! Joshua (age unknown), Tammy (me -- 26), Yehoshua (4), Eliyahu (2.5) and Ruth (6 mo.). Wow... I loved having several cameras in the house... I didn't pick up mine the whole time! (I actually don't really enjoy photography that much... having to grab my camera always kinda ruins the fun for me!)

Here and then gone, so quickly!

Yehoshua with his Auntie Abby

We were blessed with a wonderful 16-hour visit from some friends of ours from Iowa and Canada! I didn't take a single picture, but our guests let me copy from their memory cards... all 275 photos that were taken!! I'll be doing a big photo post later this evening. :)

In this picture my friend Abigail, Yehoshua's beloved "Auntie Abby", is letting him use her camera. He had so much fun with her... I think he would have liked to go home with her!! :)

Ruth and her mama

Ruth and I had fun playing with my sister Bonnie's webcam (in her laptop) last evening. :)

It was 9pm, and the boys were asleep... but little Ruth (6 months) thought it was playtime!

Taking pictures was fun! Posing was tricky though. I had never used a webcam before. :)

So Loveable

Yehoshua, Eliyahu, and Ruth

Though fuzzy, it's the best of the dozen or so pictures I tried to take of all three children one afternoon. :) At least it captures Yehoshua's infectious grin, Eliyahu's big-boy mannerisms, and Ruth's chubby baby-doll look. ;)

Yehoshua with Ruth

Yehoshua (4) loves taking care of Ruth (4 months in this photo). Actually, both boys are big helpers and love Ruth very much. They're constantly entertaining her (and waking her up from naps -- grrr!) and always want to be near her... :)

Ruth, 5 months old

And little Ruth, 5 months old... loves toys, tries to sit up, loves baths, plays peek-a-boo, giggles with us, loves being outside (what baby doesn't?!), and wears 6-9 month clothes these days...

She is just the sweetest little girl!! :) Ruth's cute jumper was a gift from my friend Tanya (see her little girl wearing an identical one over at her blog!).

We've been busy with more strawberries, cherries, mulberries, peas, weeding our own garden, etc. etc... I'm dreadfully behind in answering email or doing about 50 other things, including housework... I have about 10 blog posts in my mind waiting to be written... thanks for your patience and for forgiving me when I'm scatterbrained and don't remember to answer all the questions, etc. left in comments! If it's urgent, email me again. :D

Outdoor fun

Ruth, 4.5 months old

Our weather has been hot and sunny... perfect for doing lots of laundry and playing outside! The boys seemingly never tire of being out in the fresh air, and they've been blessed with many second-hand outdoor toys (including tricycles!) to make it even more fun. :)

Here was Ruth today, watching me take down and fold my laundry. :) She just looked so cute to me, I had to run back in the house for my camera!

Ruth, laughing!

Babies are such a blessing! (Sadly, not everyone feels that way.)

Ruth's Quilt

Ruth's baby feet on her quilt

Kelly asked if I would share about the quilt which has ended up in many of my photos of Ruth. Ruth's quilt is easily the most beautiful and treasured fabric item I've ever owned, so of course I'd love to share about it! :)

The front of my raw edge quilt

This quilt was made for/sent to Ruth by a friend of mine and her twin sister. I was speechless when I opened the box that came in the mail... and pulled out this quilt! I have never, ever had something so beautiful before. I loved it the minute I saw it!

This quilt is called a "raw edge" quilt or "shaggy quilt". I had never seen that sort of quilt before, so I looked it up online. ;) Anyway, the first thing I noticed about the quilt was that the edges had a sweet old-fashioned look -- crumpled and slightly frayed! :)

This is what the back of the quilt looks like! Soooo comforting to snuggle under. Ruth sleeps beside me at night, so that means I get to use her quilt, too. And we do use it... multiple times each day! :) The quilt isn't quite the size for a single/twin bed, but it's definitely a big crib/toddler size (it would be plenty large for Yehoshua to use, and he's 4).

A close-up of the back of the quilt. I love quilts (who doesn't?!) and someday I'd love to get a few supplies so I can make quilts. My past attempts -- completely hand-sewn with only a scissors, ruler, needle, and thread for supplies -- don't even compare to this quilt! I feel so blessed to have something so lovely. :)

More baby Ruth

Sweet little Ruth!

You all must love babies! Not many of my posts here get 37 comments! ;) Thanks for all the kind words. :) Here are a few more pictures of Ruth. :)

Ruth, sleeping

This is how Ruth sleeps! She sucks her right thumb, and put the back of her left hand/arm across her face. :) For the past month or so, this is how she always sleeps. When I put her down, if she does this, I know she'll be asleep in a couple minutes! Sometimes she stops nursing and does this... sadly, at times she wants her thumb and not nursing! :P

Ruth loves her daddy

A lot of mornings, I hang out my laundry during Ruth's morning nap. (Yehoshua and Eliyahu come outside and play while I hang.) If Ruth's awake, I take her out with me.

Ruth

If we're in a room full of people and we hear the words "so much hair", we know they're talking about Ruth. I guess she has an extra lot of hair, but it seems normal to us, since we see her every day! :)

Ruth

Such a precious blessing -- I can't imagine life without her! :)

Just like challah

Challah bread loaf (not baked yet)

This morning, I brushed my hair and put it into one big braid rather than the usual pony tail. Yes, I'm that stylish! Wink

Yehoshua watched me as I braided my hair, and I asked him, "Do you know what this is, Yehoshua?"

He said, "Yes. A braid. Grandma does that. It's just like challah!" :)

The sunshine in our lives

Ruth, 4 months old

Ruth Patience is our sweet smiling sunshine girl! She's such a precious blessing. It's been a while since I shared pictures of her, so here are a few! :)

Ruth, 4 months old

Ruth is 4 months old now. She eats well, sleeps well, and smiles lots. :) Her middle name, Patience, describes her well, as she occasionally has to be patient while I am attending to a brother-caused emergency of some sort, and she takes it all with a smile. :)

Ruth, 4 months old

Ruth's just getting interested in toys! :) We got some Peek-a-Blocks at a garage sale last week, and she's had a lot of fun with them! Yehoshua even builds towers for her to knock down. :)

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