My Pinterest Fail and other funny stories. Bring it, Christmas!


I am excited about the holidays! So excited! Mostly because it means I don’t have to teach as much. Is that wrong?

I was at the chiropractor’s office today, when lo and behold, Daniel’s new preschool teacher walked in. I admitted to her that her job was much too hard on the back for me. Just the one day of volunteering had me running home to my hot pack. But you know what? She loves teaching. It’s her calling!

I’m so glad that there are people who actually do love teaching. I am in awe of teachers.


So, some funny things have happened lately.

Yep. I can explain.

Yep. I can explain.

The boys were so excited about this, so goofing up was sad. They were soft and delicious, but the icing was runny. That wouldn’t have mattered, if the icing bag had not BUSTED wide open all over the cookies. Icing everywhere. At that point, we just gave up and ate the cookies.

As for the Crispy M & M on the crotch, that was Daniel, and I assure you it was just a button. I’m pretty sure.


My #1 Kitchen Helper

Alan said, “Did HE make the cookies?” See, this was the day Dan had croup. I said, “Yes, but I tried really hard to not let him touch them…” That’s like taking Nonna shopping and not letting her buy anything. I wasn’t super successful.


The weird-looking ones are triceratops, and there’s one steam engine and one caboose.

Truth is, I just found that Pinterest photo and stuck it beside mine. I never had any intentions of doing something I’m completely incapable of: making cookies that cute.

The holiday bug took over me yesterday. I cooked 2 pans of cornbread, 1 pan of dressing (southern style), and gingerbread cookies! I even made my own chicken broth, mostly because I didn’t think I had any. Daniel later pointed out that I had an entire unopened carton of chicken broth in the refrigerator.  Where were you two hours earlier, Daniel?


gluten-free corn bread: Joshua has a mild wheat allergy.

One day, Daniel’s wife is going to thank me for her amazing chef husband, and I’m going to say, “Oh, you’re welcome dear. I did that just for you,” when in reality that was all God. I have nothing to do with Daniel’s awesomeness in the kitchen.

I took a few photos of making chicken broth and corn bread dressing for you. I thought I’d photograph the whole process and share my to-die-for family recipe with you.


FYI: I make chicken broth all the time. I just boil chicken (any chicken) in water with salt and garlic. Done. Easy and delicious.

Despite what Food Network might lead you to believe, cooking can be easy and still taste incredible.

Instead, I forgot to take pictures past the first 10 or so minutes. I’m sorry. Multi-tasking is also not me… I didn’t even take a finished product photo…..and that, my friends, is why I will never be a famous blogger. Pioneer Woman I am not.



Alan still probably felt like I was on his side of the bed. haha! Just kidding, Honey.

My boys are eaten up with poison oak. Monday we finally made it to Classical Conversations. I knew Joshua’s face was starting to break out, but after missing two weeks in a row, plus several other weeks this year, due to one or the other of us being sick or having an appointment, I refused to be stopped.

We had one, shining, glorious day of CC. Then Monday night, Caleb’s entire body exploded in poison oak rash. Joshua’s face itches so bad that he sleeps on ice packs, and Daniel woke up at 1am barking and struggling for air.

When you have four boys, you should really have a MD. Yes, all parents should be doctors. It would save so much time, energy, phone calls, etc.

****Disclaimer: Please do not take anything you read here too seriously..*****

OH! This next one may look like a Pinterest fail to some of you too, but the boys and I were pretty excited about our first home school garden harvest of seriously dirty potatoes:


Dan and JD had a great time washing them.

Again, I forgot to take a photo of them clean… They tasted perfect! I caught Alan trying to throw them away.

“But they’re tiny.”

“You still pay $2 a bag at the store for tiny Steam bag potatoes, you know.”

“Well, you can fish them out of the trash, if you want. They’re right on top.”

“Ewww. No.”

“April, they’re in a plastic bag. Here, see, here, I’ll put them back.”

“Thank you.”


So who’s ready for Thanksgiving? I am. I mean, what could happen?


Happy Holidays, y’all!



day 1

So proud of our big boy!

Alan and I agreed that this would be the perfect weekend to begin JD’s potty training. Why? Well, it was because yesterday, while JD was playing quietly in his room, he took off a poopy diaper all by himself, and let’s just say the Lightning McQueen blanket may never be the same…

Of course, that was completely forgotten by this morning. I was standing at my sink putting on my face, when JD walked over to the toilet and said, “Potty. I go potty, Mom. I go potty.”

Oh, right. He did not forget. That’s usually what it takes for potty training dreaders like me to finally get it done.

So we did it. HE did it! I stripped down his bottom half. That’s right. He went naked bottoms all day long.

It was so easy. JD’s readiness made it a breeze.

We now have three successes in the pot and only one accident—Yeah, he peed on the Lego drawers.

This morning he went two hours without going, so I poured warm water over him, as he sat on his little potty. That did the trick. Then the other times, he just casually walked over to his potty and peed. Whoot!

Oh, and I use pull-ups for nap time, and wonder of wonders. When we opened the Pull-Up box, there was a full-sized stuff Mickey Mouse in the box! What a perfect surprise for his first day of potty training! He was so excited.

We didn’t even have to resort to candy bribery. Throwing a jump up and down party worked well for JD.

The third time he went, he stood back, pointed at his potty and said, “Ta-da!!”






“Handcuffs, A Balloon, and A Car” Let the shopping begin!


The Dan Man

It’s the week before Thanksgiving. At our house that means that Alan’s entire family is doing their Christmas shopping. They will be completely finished before the rest of us even start. I just wanted to pass that info on. Maybe it will help motivate other Christmas slackers, like myself.

I asked Daniel today, “What do you want for Christmas, sweetie?”



“Yup. And a balloon!”

“Oh, good,” I mused to myself, “I can do all of this boy’s shopping at Dollar Tree and be done just like that…”

“And a car!”


“with a remote”

“Oh, you want a remote control car? I’m sure we could do that. Okay.”

“No, a car that you can ride on, actually.”

Whomp whomp whomp. Oh.

He wants a Power Wheel. We were so close.

Amazon affiliate link

I’m having trouble talking Alan into going along with that one. But, Alan, it’s Christmas…

So I’m making a note of this moment, I’m writing it down. Let the record show that I, April, am going to order at least one Christmas present today. I’m doing it! Joshua’s bringing me my hot pad, for my angry old hip, and I’m going to lay here and shop from home.

This has been a big and exciting week for us:

#1. Daniel had his preschool observation day. We got to go and sit in on a class, and if all went well, they told us he could start in January.

Well, someone get this boy a cookie. He was so mellow and sweet and well behaved. They told me he could start right away. She said, “He has done so well here. He’s so good and so mellow. It’s like he’s been here all year. He can start right away, if you’d like.”

Whoot! Go, Dan, go!

#2. I passed glucose tests 2 and 3. One was a three month sugar level test. Passed that. One was a fasting level test. Passed it too. No diabetes. Roll Tide!!

#3. I have my rheumatology appointment scheduled, but it may not even be a rheumatology related issue, so the doctor finally also ordered a new MRI.

#4. Alan’s list of possible jobs is in for us to choose from, and it looked good to me. We will probably be going right back to where we moved here from.

#5. This week is Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for!


So thankful for these guys!


The healthy eating thing went so well last week, but I’ve made several big goofs this weekend, mostly involving Oreo cookies. I’m still trying to improve my diet, though, for the benefit of the whole family.

Would you believe that I did not get fog brain a single time this week? Amazing. It didn’t help the joint pain, though. That just keeps getting worse and worse. That’s why I’m looking forward to talking to more doctors about it. If we can figure out what is causing it, then I feel like I could more accurately do something about it.

I’m off to start this shopping! Happy Thanksgiving!!




So let’s just talk about the two-year-old and other updates


my chubby little cherubs



Soccer season is officially over. We have a couple of weeks of peace and quiet. (Sort of. We do still have four children.) Then basketball season starts. Caleb and Joshua will be playing on the same team this year, with Alan as their coach!

Daniel is now enrolled in a pre-school! Just half day, and he doesn’t start until January, but  I’m excited for him. He’s going to love it.


JD is becoming quite the blabber mouth. It used to be that Dan followed me around all day and talked my ear off. Then the cold and the rain came. JD does not enjoy the cold or the rain, so he stays inside now. He’s like a leg appendage half the time, and he has plenty to tell us. There is no word that he cannot say. There is no feeling that he cannot express. There is no need or want that he does not feel compelled to share with me.

“Gert? Gert? I want gert.” That’s right. JD correctly uses pronouns. Hurray!

“JD, please get out of the fridge, and yes, you may have a yogurt, but get out of the refrigerator.”

“Poon. Poon. I get it. I get a poon,” as he fishes around the drawer, which is so high compared to him, that he can only peek into it with one eye, as his hand searches for a spoon.

“Got it!” He runs to the table.

“Nakin. Nakin.”

“There’s a napkin right in front of you. See?”


He says ‘oh’ all the time, and it’s adorable. He tells people hello, and it’s adorable. He says pretty much anything and it’s adorable. That’s the beauty of being two.

“Done! Cars. Cars. Cars. Cars book. Read me. Read me this Cars book,” as he shoves his laptop-sized book in your face.

I try to at least read to him once per day. The others all got so much more of my time. I want to squeeze this poor little home-school toddler. If his brothers were at school, he’d get so much more of my time.

There are so many pros and cons to the home schooling. JD may not get as much one-on-one, but he adores running around with his big brothers, which he gets to do so much more of this way. He’s much better at entertaining himself than he probably would be if he were my sole focus. He made a Duplo tower today, all by himself, that was as tall as he is.

Oh, and the boy has sweet manners. I never have to ask him to say ‘thank you,’ he does it naturally. He also says, “No, thank you,” when he doesn’t want something.


I’m off to bed. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. My old lady hip is angry with me. If it doesn’t improve, I will be tempted to cave and get a steroid injection. I keep reminding myself of the long term disadvantages to that, though, so I’d rather not.

I did receive the rheumatologist referral in the mail this week, so maybe I will soon be getting more answers. God knows. God knows what is causing my pain, and he knows what I need.

This home-school experiment has forced me to lean on the Lord more than I ever have, and  I’m learning so much. I would that everyone would have the opportunity to be given more than they can handle! Haha! That’s what it has taken for me to learn how to trust God more.

Okay. I will really go to bed now. Bring on the weekend!



How can we help the Syrian Refugees?

“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”     James 3:16-18


I’m a slow starter in the morning. I wake up aching all over, and I have zero desire to get out of bed. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy my life. I am so blessed! I love my people, my house, and my mission!

I’m just not a morning person. I should hit the chores right away, but I can’t. It helps me to pause and dig into The Bible first.

Sometimes I feel tempted to get too involved in politics, which is NOT my calling, but there are some things that are bothering me too much to stay silent. All over the news, they’re battling it out over Syrian refugees and the upcoming presidential election speculation.

Donald Trump. Are we going to elect a president who trash talks people the way that he does? Hillary Clinton. We aren’t worried about honesty in America anymore? No, we like entertainment. These two choices are high on that. By all means.

Are we a country living in fear?

Jesus never taught that sort of fear. I know. I know. Jesus wasn’t ruling a country. Jesus was here to bring us to peace with God.

Let us not forget to behave in a way that honors the name of Jesus. I don’t expect non-believers to do that. Why would they? They have every reason to fear, once their life here is over, they think that’s the end. We don’t believe our spirit dies with our body, as Christians, so why should we fear what man can do to us?

I don’t want Christians to be the group getting upset about a Starbucks cup. Jesus wouldn’t have done that. I don’t want us to be the voice shouting, “Keep out the homeless refugees!” We should have no respect of persons. Did you know that the people left in Syria are being brutally murdered, especially the Christians among them. 

Of course, the media will never tell you this, but there are Christian organizations out there helping the Syrian refugees.

Would you like to help? Here are a few links for you to look into doing that. ( I can assure you there are many more Christians helping, but I only had time to scout out a few, with JD on my lap and little boys to take care of):  That one is the Catholic Relief Services.

JD keeps pointing to this boys saying, “Daniel.” This is the much publicized little boy who died during the escape.

This one doesn’t work in Syria, they would be murdered if they did, but it is a compelling account of the power of helping a single child: blog.compassion I think this one’s my favorite. This is the same company that gives a Christmas box to children in third world countries every year, Operation Christmas Child.

Whether you think it’s wise to bring in Syrian refugees to the US or not, let’s not have that as our rally cry. Let’s make it, “Show them Jesus by helping them.” We don’t have a mind set like those who are without hope.


I understand the fears, but what about love? Where are these people going to go? Back to Syria, where probably they will have to live with the reign of terror going on there, thanks to ISIS, and at that point, probably some of them will join ISIS. They need homes. I think that when people are shown the love of Jesus, they will be less likely to choose the other path.

Even if you don’t agree to accepting refugees during this war against terrorism, perhaps you could check out these links and help in some other way.



My One of a Kind MawMaw and Her Secret for Happiness


The other day, as I dug through the books on my shelves, I came across a book I have thought of a lot lately, a book like no other.

It’s the little book of Poetry, written by my grandmother, BHK. We’ll call her Beth. Beth died when I was 16, of breast cancer. Her death was one of those that didn’t sit well with anyone. No one said, “Well, it was just her time to go.”

Everyone was more like, “Why did she have to go so soon?”

It was Christmas, and she was only 56. You see, that’s another reason some of us have never been the same on Christmas. There’s more to our Charlie Brown-ness than just commercialism.

To make it worse, Christmas was HER THING. No, really. She owned Christmas, I tell you. She made such a display of decorating her house that she won town awards.

(I’m going to do that this year, too, Grandma! I’m going all out!)


senior portrait

Beauty was her gift. Beautiful Beth. She had a house full of beautiful ceramics, all created by Beth, all perfectly arranged and well kept. Her closet was full of hand-made clothes, mostly dresses. She was prissy, frilly, sarcastic, and fun. Sitting down with a good book, a glass of un-sweet tea, and a cigarette, that’s how we’ll always picture her.

You won’t believe me when I tell you this, but by the time I was born, she wore false eye lashes every single day, and perfume. I used to stand in her bathroom for 30 minutes at a time, just gazing at the fantastic display of Avon perfumes, tiny ceramic pitchers and people, and her unmatched and always tidy collection of make-up.

Grandpa used to jokingly imitate her answering the phone saying, “Hello, this is Beth,” in THE most feminine voice you can imagine.

I loved her so. I often have thought about what it was that made me love her as much as I did, and I think part of it was because she was purposeful in spending time with us. We spent a week at her house each summer, and she would play board games with us kids for hours. She and our grandpa took us to the beach, to Six Flags, to the zoo, to movies, and thrift store shopping. From MawMaw (another name that we called her) I learned the fine art that is bargain hunting.

She used to write me letters, and I would write her back. I kept all of them. I’d love to come across those! She kept my letters too, so I also have those now.

She knew how to get along well with people. She was accepting.

Oh! And did I mention her vast collection of books! Well, obviously, she spoke the language of my heart! There were even times when she owned little book stores, but always there was her downstairs library, wall to wall with books. And scrapbooks! I think we counted about 198 scrapbooks.

At 4 foot 10, or was it 11, I hate how memories fade, she was the first grown-up that any of us kids caught up to.

The year she died was the same year that she announced to us that she had breast cancer, but by then, she’d already had it for two years. She had kept it a secret. I cannot imagine how. I never could, but by the time we found out, it had already moved to her bones. She was eaten up with it. It was only a couple of months after she broke the cancer news to us that she was gone.

We spent that Christmas vacation a couple of hours from home, so Mom could be by her side. We slept at my aunt’s house. I still remember the overwhelming heart break of the visitation service the evening before the funeral.

I sat in a chair near the casket, sixteen years old, losing one of the pillars of my life. I couldn’t take my mind off all the people around me making small talk about the weather. I was suffocating in my thoughts, and I just wanted to make them all be quiet or go away. How could they talk so carelessly? I could barely breathe, and when I couldn’t take it another minute, I ran out to my parents’ minivan, climbed inside, closed the doors, and bawled alone.

I don’t know how any of them figured out that I was there, but one by one, my brother, my mother, and my father all came out and sat in the van with me.

And it turned into one of the sweetest, most comforting moments in my life. There is something about sharing grief with the people who know, who get it, who have lost as much as you have. There is something about it that bonds you like glue and heals hurts deep inside.

I remember saying that I just couldn’t get past the fact that they were going to bury her, my dear little grandma, into the ground. I could not stand the thought of her being put down there and covered with dirt.

“Oh, April. That’s just her body. That’s nothing to her. Her spirit is in Heaven. She is with God, and we will see her again. That’s just her body. Don’t worry about that.”

I don’t remember what else was said, but for some reason, in the midst of my very first great loss, these were the words that I needed to hear. Even more so, I needed the comfort of sitting in the van, just me and the three most important people in my life.

But I’m not going to share this heart-rending story with you, and leave you feeling sad. I would never do that. You know I wouldn’t.

Here is one of my favorite little passages from Beth’s book of poetry. It isn’t a poem. Just wise words from a much loved sinner turned saint.



I have a secret for happiness I’d like to share with you.

When you awake in the morning, think of three things you are looking forward to. Remember life’s simple pleasures are often best. They don’t have to be big occasions.

When you retire at night, reflect on three good things about that day.

You’re sure to smile and be happy.               by BHK


Try her suggestion, I dare you.


The First Steps That I Learned from My Nutritionist to Lower Blood Sugar

lower sugar

Today I met with a nutritionist, also known as my friend Lacy. I bombarded her with all the food questions I could think of, and I’m going to share the first, most doable steps that I learned. I’m writing them down NOW before I forget any more than I already have!

Lacy is a fellow home schooling mom. She also has four kids, so there’s no one who better understands what I’m up against. She fully knows the drill of the busy, action-packed life!

This sounds so silly, but the hardest part of ALL of it is just not drinking soda. Coca-Cola has me the same way Marlboro has the smoker crowd! Man, I love my sugary sodas.

Home should be like Heaven on Earth.

Good-bye, soda. We must break up. This hurts me more than it hurts you. Can I still have one on my birthdays?

This is hard.

But I can do it! God will give me what I need.

Let me sum up why I’m cutting sugar.

  1. I have high sugar and high sodium in my blood stream. 
  2. My head keeps getting fuzzy, like when you have a fever. Sometimes I have a fever, and sometimes I don’t. I also get headaches.
  3. We think that some of this is caused by my high sugar and dehydration.
  4. I also get mucous-overload from milk products. Talking with Alan and Lacy helped me to reach that conclusion, so I have got to cut back on the milk. Yogurt should not make a person choke on mucous and dry heave, apparently….
  5. Inflammation in my shoulder and right hip

Here’s what I’m trying to do about it:

  1. seeing a doctor
  2. I’m already getting chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy for my pain issues.
  3. Now I’m all about lowering the blood sugar and eliminating the milk products.

So here are the tips (Thank you, Lacy!) that I’m implementing this week:

  1. Instead of snacking all day, which is my current habit, I need to sit down and eat three square meals a day. Greatly reduce the snacking in between.

Why? I have a sugar problem, so in order for my sugar to be handled properly in my body, my body needs the carbs to be combined with fat and protein. This should help my sugar stay at a better level throughout the day, rather than having constant spikes from my carb snacks. And let me tell you, I have been the QUEEN of carbohydrates, which is what got me into this mess.

2. My biggest issue is that people love to tell you what NOT to eat, but they don’t tell you what TO eat. I mean, if you take away my bread, my yogurt, and my granola bars, what do I have left??

They always say, “Avoid processed foods, but what does that look like exactly??”

Lacy gave me some “what to eat” ideas. These are specific to my sugar and milk issues, but I think they would be good for anyone!:

lowering blood sugar

lima beans cooked in ham…I think these are okay. I didn’t ask.. FYI, if you boil butter beans in ham, there’s no way you won’t like them.

Vegetables… cut up fresh bell peppers of any colors, broccoli, carrots, salad, fennel, onions, garlic, celery, romaine lettuce, and on and on. Cook ’em, roast ’em, eat ’em raw, whatever.

lowering blood sugar

Mini peppers, so sweet and crispy yumminess, even raw.

lowering blood sugar

Alan’s amazing, fresh homemade salsa: tomatoes, lime juice, onion, garlic, parsley. I love this stuff.

Fresh or frozen is better than canned because of the added sodium.

lower blood sugar

The label on the can of green beans reveals the higher sodium level. Not horrible, just not as good as frozen or fresh veggies.

lower blood sugar

This steam-in-the bag frozen pack of veggies contains far less sodium.

Avocados! That’s one of my favorite foods anyway, so that’s good news. Eating some fats is important for me, as it turns out.

Meat…..steak, chicken, bacon, fish, ground turkey meatballs…

lower blood sugar

tiny bundles of yummy beef..They were supposed to be triangles…..Oh well, it was my first attempt!

I loved her ground turkey meatball idea because our family loves meatballs, but I never make them because they are a lot of work. We also like “hamburger steak,” so this is a cross between the two.

Lacy said to just put your ground turkey in the big skillet, sprinkle your favorite spices and salt and pepper on them, and as they cook, cut them into little triangles.

That simple. So yummy.

Confession: I used ground beef, but I think that’s okay.

Carb Suggestions: 

Trader Joe’s whole grain bread…I can’t remember what it was called exactly, and I have to have mine in the context of a meal.

Sweet Potatoes (like half of one)

Fruit, but with other things

Beans or peas, which are also proteins

Milk Substitutes

Almond milk or coconut milk. Since our family has nut issues, we may go with the coconut. Some of our kids can still do regular milk.

I put the coconut milk in my coffee today, and that filled me with joy. I just can’t tell you. Coconut milk is naturally a little sweet.

Meal Plates

The plate should be half vegetables, 1/4 meat, and 1/4 carb.

Now obviously, she told me a ton more stuff. It’s still floating around in my head, but these are my FIRST STEP things.

Thank you so much, Lacy! My family thanks you as well!

This week my goal is to sit down and eat lunch with the kids, instead of standing in the kitchen picking on sugars. Once lunch is done, those boys are going to learn the new habit of helping Mom clean up lunch, and I don’t just mean their plates. I mean clean up the whole meal. Laura and Mary Ingalls did it, so I figure what was good for them is good for us too. hehe

Hope you are all having a fun weekend!






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