Living Loving Learning

Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

First, Second, Third….

In Family, Moms on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm

The Differences in  Your Third Pregnancy Compared to Your First


With your first suspected pregnancy you take a test before you actually miss your period and take a billion just to confirm that it’s positive.


With your third you remember a week after that you’re late and that you better take a test (maybe that will be a good excuse for how cranky and tired you are lately).


With your first . . . you plan each and every meal with organic and safe ingredients to make sure your new unborn little one is getting proper nutrition.


With your third . . . you’re just glad if you manage to get food on the table for your family and scarf down whatever leftover PB & J’s or mac n’ cheese your kids left for you.


With your first . . . you read every pregnancy book you can get your hands on, spending every waking moment  thinking about being pregnant and having a new baby.


With your third . . . you forget you’re pregnant amidst the wiping runny noses and dirty bottoms, cleaning, laundry, playing, schooling, cuddling just until you have time to run to the toilet and puke up that last food you managed to scarf down and then get right back to the hard business of being a wife and Mommy.


TheFirst . . . you call the Dr. and schedule an appointment the day you find out you’re pregnant and wait in anxiety until that day because it seems so far away.


Third . . . you forget to schedule an appointment, and when you finally call they want to see you that week, “Can you come tomorrow?”


First . . . you take your time getting properly groomed and arrive at your appointment early in time to sit down and relax before you go into the examination room.


Third . . . shower?  I had one of those last week when I decided not to nap during my kids’ naptime.  I’m clean enough.  Relax?  I’m just trying to keep my kids from jumping off the walls in the waiting room.


First . . . you try not to get uncomfortable and nauseated and pass out during your exam and lab work.


Third . . . you’re just trying to keep your kids at the head of the exam bed and tell them you’ll explain later why Mommy has to wear a sheet only.  In the lab you’re just trying to keep them away from playing with the needles while keeping one arm totally still – that takes major skills!


Though the differences are vast.  I still treasure each one of my little ones just the same.  It’s just nice to know I can relax a little more with my third.  I feel I’ve stepped into the veteran mom status just a bit more.   Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.


What else can you think of that changes with each consecutive pregnancy or childbirth?




(who is expecting Baby Simms #3 around Nov. 6, 2009)

Dear Robin

In Dear Robin, Moms on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 8:45 pm

 Dear Robin,

What do I say, instruct, teach a child who is insistent that his siblings are “ruining his life”?  Suggestions?  Ideas?  How do I show compassion but also get the point across that he is NOT a victim? That having siblings is part of life.


(This child is seven and the oldest of four children.) 


OK – help this mom out. Have some suggestions for her?


 Be sure to tell us your own birth-order…it will be interesting to hear your different perspectives.




Gardening in…the winter?

In Gardening on Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm

What?  A freeze and snow this late in March?  Well, it’s not so unusual.  The average last frost date for our zone 7 in Oklahoma is April 12 and the last recorded frost is April 28! 


So?  What will we do about those plants we’ve already put out?  Well, if they’re in pots, bring them inside, or at least into the garage.

Remember these? blog-038 They’ll be coming indoors this weekend.


The lettuceblog-3031


carrot seeds  we recently planted



the parsley (which has been in the ground about a week)


as well as the peas, potatoes and onions (which are all peeking through the soil) should be okay, even with a freeze, snow or ice.

Now these itty-bitty pears? 


We’ll see…but whatever the frost doesn’t get, the squirrels probably will 🙂

The shrubs, rosebushes, and perennials that have already started coming up should all be safe.  But, if you planted flowers, herbs, or plants recently, you may want to cover them during this cold snap with a towel, sheet,  or even a box, just to be safe. 

Now, for a suggestion I think you’ll appreciate.  Go purchase this plant!




This  is rosemary.  If this was “smellavision”, oh my!  You would love this fragrance!  I purchased this plant at Wal-Mart for $3.50, and I’m sure you can find it at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and any nursery.  I use it in hummus (recipe to come next week), chopped and added to olive oil for grilling vegetables, chicken, etc.  and several other recipes.  It adds the most wonderful flavor to your dishes….your family will think you’re a gourmet cook!  And they might just be right!


So, probably no gardening this weekend. What will your family do during the “Big Spring Blizzard”?  Looks like game night and either potato soup or white chicken chili for us.  Stay safe, stay warm!




Biggest Loser Cookbook

In Lifestyle, Recipes on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 10:54 pm


I don’t know about you guys but I love watching The Biggest Loser. When I saw they came out with a new cookbook that was all about being budget friendly, I couldn’t wait to get it from the library. It shows us how we CAN stop using the excuse that it costs too much to eat healthy. Here is a sneak peek at one of the recipes I tried this week.  It’s really good…like Potatoes O’Brien.

Breakfast Sweet Potatoesimg_5330

1 lb. Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1/2 c. Green pepper, chopped
3/4 c. Onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Garlic
1 1/2 tsp. Olive oil
1/4 tsp. Paprika
1/8 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Mix ingredients and arrange in single layer on pan. Bake 20 min, turn and bake 20-25 more min.

Makes 4 Servings

Calories 125
Fat 2g
Fiber 4g

2 points per serving





An Entrepreneurial Spirit

In Lifestyle on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 8:25 pm

When I was 7 or so, I was determined to get RICH! Kool-Aid stands, “baby-sitting” my little cousins, raking leaves, collecting golf balls from the ditch by the fairgrounds and washing them for resale…I was just sure I was going to make it big someday! Let me tell you that selling used golf balls is no way to get rich quick. But then, few ventures are.

One of the most rewarding things to me about being a designer/creator/brain-storming machine with some technical skills is this: Creativity is what you make of it. A couple years ago, I began a side business I call “Z as in Zebra“. I create handmade books and designer cakes and although it’s nice to make some extra money, that’s not the main reason behind what I do. Whether I make a dime or not, whether someone loves my wares or not, whether my baked goods look more like biscuits or bricks, all that really matters to me is the process of creating. It’s liberating.

So liberating, in fact, that I’m taking steps to improve my business and get my name out there more. I’m being more intentional about building a strong base now so that my dreams are easier to reach in the future. My #1 dream is to someday be a stay-at-home mom (perhaps even a homeschoolin’ one!) who still finds joy in creating handmade things that bless other people.

By now, you’re probably wanting me to put my money where my mouth is. 🙂 So…to satisfy your curious minds, here are some snapshots of some of the work I’ve done.






If you want to see more (or if you want details on how you can get your very own custom journal or cake!), check out Z as in Zebra. Through the process of building my business, I’ve learned that my dreams may not necessarily make me rich, but chasing them does make me happy! And that makes it all worth it!

Do you enjoy making things? What do you create? Why do you love it?

abbi1 ABBI

Tweaking Tricks for Baking

In Lifestyle, Recipes on Monday, March 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Use these tweaking tricks to help you squeeze out the fat and calories in your baking and in turn help you squeeze into your cute jeans.  😉


Most basic baking recipes call for dry ingredients, wet ingredients, fat ingredients, and sweet ingredients. 


For dry ingredients such as flour you can pretty much substitute any whole grain type flour and/or whole grain cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat) or mix and match.  I use a scant less than it calls for when baking with whole grains to keep my baked goods moist.


For the wet ingredients you can make any substitute of skim, lowfat, reduced fat, etc. in place of whole fats.  (in place of whole milk, sour cream, yogurt, etc.)


For fat ingredients you can substitute no-sugar added applesauce cup for cup with little or no change in taste for any oil, margarine or butter that the recipe calls for.  I use a bit more applesauce to oil to help with the moistness.  For things where the flavor would be appropriate bananas, pumpkin, and plain non-fat yogurt can be substituted for the fat. 


To tweak the sweet ingredients choose from these lower calorie and/or healthy substitutes :





Sugar-free maple syrup

Go here for specific details on using these substitutes in your baking.


So to take this recipe I just randomly looked up, check out how I would tweak it in the parenthesis that follow each ingredient:


To Die For Blueberry Muffins



1 -1/2 c. all-purpose flour (slightly less of a mixture of whole wheat flour, little wheat germ, little oat bran)

3/4 c. white sugar (splenda, or other tweaks from above)

1/2 t. salt

 2 t. baking powder

 1/3 c. vegetable oil (applesauce or banana – or a little of both)

 1 egg

1/3 c. milk (skim)

1 c. fresh blueberries


I’m going to bake these at 375 (25 degrees less than it calls for) and check them way earlier than the original baking time (about 12 minutes) all to keep moist.  Using high fiber and sugar substitutes makes things drier and causes things to cook faster so I work real hard to keep my baked goods moist.


So, find a recipe or use one of those favorites you’ve had to put away because it is too fattening and get to experimenting.  Now you can enjoy those baked goods a little more often since you have some new baking tricks up your sleeve.




The Best is Yet to Come

In Marriage on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

My husband recently said one of the nicest things he’s ever said to me…and this from a man who frequently says some pretty nice things. 

“I think the best years of our marriage are yet to come”.


Wow!  This is after 35….count them….35 years (this July) of  what has been an already great marriage. 


And yet, we know so many instances where friends and acquaintances have ended their marriage relationship about the time their kids are leaving home.  

Why does this happen?  Why after all those years of staying together?


We discussed these very questions after he said those endearing words. 


We decided it is because married couples lose their focus along the way.  Rather than being focused on each other they are focused on:



Service outside the home

Hobbies and other interests

Outside activities

Other relationships


(This is, of course, besides your relationship to Christ.   And that is for another discussion).


It takes work, hard work,  to keep your focus on each other.  The world will offer many opportunities to get us off-track, to take our interests away from each other. 

I’m really not asking for your personal answers, but I want to leave you with a couple of questions to ask yourself: 

Is your focus on your mate?  Really on your mate?  What are you doing today that will ensure many tomorrows and “’til death do us part?”





Spring Break!

In Uncategorized on Monday, March 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

The Many Meadows’ are taking a break this week!march_bds_005

Dirk, Kody and Jacob will be working.

Robin will be gardening and painting.

Erin, Ali and Brad, and Abbi will be up to their usual busy selves.

Alexander and Katie are actually staying in OK this school break, and will be enjoying visits with friends and have NO school!

Anna, Kody and Jacob leave for a mission trip on Thursday.

Look for us to all be back Monday, March 23.

What are you doing for spring break?

Vegetable Gardening + Learning = Fun!

In Gardening, Homeschooling on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Having a small garden plot (or even growing in containers) is an excellent way to teach many traditional school subjects, but with a hands-on approach.

You can show your children that carrots actually look like this


Not this


Your kids can learn that potatoes grow underground and that tomatoes grow on a vine. 

You can do all sort of math projects, like measuring your plot, weighing your production, counting seeds and seedlings.  And the science:  Everything from labeling plant parts, the biology of reproduction, to measuring the pH of your soil! 

Entomology—good bugs and bad bugs in the garden

The vocabulary:  decomposition, organic, pollination, germination, etc.

Geography, economics, nutrition.

And the greatest for me:  the scriptural application and Truths found in dirt, seeds, plants, vines, water, giving, receiving…well, you get it.

And then there’s just the good old hard work, not to mention the yummy good taste and high nutritional value of fresh vegetables. 

So? What are you waiting for?  Think it’s time to start growing some veggies of your own?  Experience is the best teacher of all!




Parenting Towards Partnership (Part 2)

In Parenting on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Do you ever ask yourself what this parenting is all about? I mean really, who would ever purposely get themselves in a place where most of us parents find ourselves sometimes? Where is this parenting taking us? Where will it end up?


It’s all about relationship. Parenting is developing your relationship with your child. There are many things that we can do. First, of course is love. Secondly, comes the support that they need to become a productive person of society. Giving our children the tools they need to become what they are called to in life should not be taken lightly. I don’t think you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.


But at some point, our children are no longer children, and you’d better be ready. The changes they make can be rapid and extreme. The important thing is learning to allow them to grow and then growing right along with them, not allowing our perceptions of them to remain as if they are still little children.  If we recognize and accomplish this, it can bring great rewards.


One of the best rewards that I have been experiencing lately is partnering with my kids. It has been great and I am looking forward to many years of partnership with them. My older kids have their lives and families, jobs and hobbies.  They have value and now we do things as partners rather than “I’m the dad and I said so” because now, I listen too. And you know what? I’m learning a lot.


Just one example of partnering is working with my daughter’s ministry reaching youth in our city. Another is learning about some new businesses and how to bring those about in our new family corporation. We are partners because we are growing. We have grown because we work hard on our relationship.


How about you? Are you ready to partner with your kids? Do you already? Let us know your ideas on developing your relationship with your kids.