Monday, March 30, 2009

First, Second, Third....

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)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dear Robin

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 will be interesting to hear your different perspectives.




Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gardening in...the winter?

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!




Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Biggest Loser Cookbook


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 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



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

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. :) 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

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tweaking Tricks for Baking

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.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Best is Yet to Come

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?"





Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break!

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?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vegetable Gardening + Learning = Fun!

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!




Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Parenting Towards Partnership (Part 2)

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.




Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Parenting Towards Partnership (Part 1)

Parenting shifts into different seasons as the kids grow up. It’s amazing how things change, and in just a short time. You may remember the diapers or the getting-into-everything times, or how about driving to all the activities that you could get your child into? You may still be living those times. If you are, cherish those times and invest time into your kids. It will pay off when they get older.


Harry Chapin wrote a song called “Cats in the Cradle” that talks about a relationship between a dad and his son.  The song reveals the relationship from the cradle to being grown. There is one part in the last verse that hits hard on the way we raise our children. It goes:  And as he hung up the phone it occurred to me, He'd grown up just like me, my boy, was just like me.


That song was an indictment on a father that didn’t spend time with his boy while he was growing up. The choice is ours: to invest or not, into the most precious resource we are entrusted with. Do you want that child to grow up just like you?


What about when they become teenagers?  Do you want that time to pass fast because you don’t know how to relate?


I’m convinced that it is never too late to spend time with your kids no matter their age.  It’s all about relationship.


I’ll write next time about what I’m finding the rewards to be in parenting toward partnership.




Monday, March 09, 2009

My Mother is a Waiter

Whenever any of my brothers and sisters got injured or were sick while we were growing up, I always remembered these words come out of my mother's mouth, "Well, let's wait and see."


My mother is a waiter.


This is not a bad thing of course, as there are plenty of injuries or sicknesses that do not need emergency medical attention.  It is a bad thing though, if it is something critical. I remember when I was about 12 or so, my brother Jacob broke his leg playing on the neighbor's trampoline. My mom was at the garden and I had to convince her that his leg was definitely broken.   Other than major injuries, : ) she was always good at diagnosing and taking care of non-emergency situations. (There were only 3 emergency trips from the 7 of us).


I thought it might be helpful for those moms that are waiters and for those that race to the emergency room at the slightest break in skin, to list some criteria that warrants a visit to the ER as well as some that can stand to be taken care of at home. 


Reasons to go to the ER:


--You or your child has a temperature of 104F that is unrelieved by Tylenol or Motrin AND you cannot get in to see your regular doctor


--You or your child has a laceration that needs sutures. For example, very deep or a split like across the eyebrow AND you cannot get in to see your regular doctor


--You or your child has a suspected broken bone and there is obvious deformity or unbearable pain when trying to move it AND you cannot get in to see your doctor.


--You or your child sustains a head injury, with loss of consciousness and are confused when they wake up, for example, ask the same questions over and over again or has slurred speech or just isn't making sense AND you cannot get in to see your doctor


--You or your child is having an allergic reaction, breaking out in hives, getting short of breath, etc. 


--You or your loved one has a sudden onset of chest pain that makes you short of breath, nauseas or radiates to your arms, shoulders or back (especially for women), that is unrelieved by antacids or rest, and you have a history of heart or cholesterol problems


--You or your loved one are having any trouble breathing, have a history of asthma, coughing especially at night, chest tightness, pain or pressure, wheezing, very rapid breathing, difficulty talking because of shortness of breath, feelings of anxiety or panic, pale or sweaty face, blue tinged lips or fingernails.

These are signs of an asthma attack, or could be of any type of breathing difficulty. It is especially important to be attentive to these signs in children as risk for respiratory arrest is increased in a child with asthma.


And many others....but please use common sense!


Reasons not to go to the ER:


--You think a bug flew in your ear and you want to see if it got in your brain

--You have a splinter or a paper cut that takes a microscope to even see

--You have a fever and you have not taken Tylenol or Motrin

--You have a runny nose

--You can't find the contact in your eye

--You have the common cold

--You think you are pregnant

--If any of your complaints are followed with the words "for a few months"

Example: "I have had a cough . . . for a few months"



Are you a waiter or do you jump to the ER at any sign of sickness?



Katie (who works in the ER)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Dealing with Disappointment

Recently I attended a talent show audition where about 35 youth were performing their various skills in hopes of winning one of the 5 top places.  Only 5 people or groups would be chosen to go on to the next level.   All these kids poured their hearts into what they were doing and many were disappointed when they weren’t selected as one of the top 5. 


It got me to thinking.  I wondered how their parents helped them walk through the disappointment.  In fact, I actually did overhear one parent telling her child, “It was rigged.”  It made me wonder if that response would affect the way this child handled disappointments later in life.


So?  How do you help your children overcome disappointments? What would your words have been if your child had not been one of the top 5 in the talent show?

 How do you deal with disappointments in your own life?





Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's Spring!

Asparagus crowns going into the garden



Soon these will be green onions, a LOT of them! 



Potatoes are in the ground

Lettuce, spinach and peas will go in this week.

Time to prune the rosebushes and crepe myrtles. 

Plant shade grass this month

Fertilize already existing shade grass

Scalp Bermuda this month

Begin clearing flower beds of leaves and spring weeds.

Plant perennials this  month and next

WATER everything!  We are extremely dry in Oklahoma right now.

Along with the daffodils, the cherry bushes and peach trees are beginning to bloom.  It’s spring!



Planning some outdoor work this weekend?




Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Love Story

I love having my kids home with me and doing fun art projects. I don’t love when one of them disobeys and picks up a whole pint of yellow tempera paint and drops it on the floor splashing it up on walls and leaving a saturated pool of yellow paint in the carpet!
I love that when a certain child drops this whole pint of paint that I can call Mimi Meadows sobbing and she comes and helps me clean and saves her poor grandson from being killed. I don’t love that after 3 hours of working on this yellow stain that it still remains a huge yellow stain resembling a pool of dog urine right in the middle of the floor!
I love that after giving up and letting it sit for three weeks that this certain product Clorox Oxi Magic catches my eye at Crest and gives me one last hope for my pee-stained-looking floor. And after scrubbing it in and having it work I love it even more!
I don’t love that I forgot to vacuum it right after cleaning the floor like the instructions said (I didn’t get the point of that anyway - at the time) and when I go to vacuum a few days later I think my vacuum has exploded because Clorox Oxi Magic dust is flying all around. Oops. Hope those fumes didn’t mess with me too much. I think I’m still normal.

Do you have a favorite cleaning product? Or a paint disaster story?






Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When a Lion or Bear Comes...

lion-roaring-in-the-wild-photographic-print-c12197429_ivhjI Sam 17:34  "...when a lion or bear comes"

David conquered a lion and a bear before he ever met Goliath, before he was ever chosen as King of Israel. 


Just imagine the initial fear David must have had.  And maybe he missed with those stones a few times, only injuring the animal.  Maybe he even failed a few times.

I wonder...did God send that lion?  And the bear? 

I think so.

David needed to know he could conquer a lion, by God's power, before he would ever presume he could conquer Goliath.

And so, the lion was a blessing.  It was God's opportunity.

Every difficult and hard thing that comes along in our life is God's opportunity to show us we can do things far beyond our own limitations.

May God open our eyes to see His blessings beneath the coverings of our troubles, trials and temptations. 


What is your lion right now?  By God's strength and power, are you conquering it, or is it conquering you?




Monday, March 02, 2009


Read this in a very whiney frustrated voice:


I often find myself so dang weary from life.  Sometimes I just want to screw it all (can I say that on the ManyMeadows' blog?) and just give up on all the striving.  I mean, does everything in life have to be so hard???  There's nothing I do that just comes easy. 


I'm so tired of having to eat healthy to stay thin, having to workout to have a good body, having to save money to buy a house I can actually afford, having to cook good-tasting-affordable-healthy meals (all with less than the best quality of products and/or utensils -due to saving money), having to hold myself in check with my kids since I am with them ALL THE TIME, having to meet my husband's needs so many times when I'm just too tired and ready to wind down, having to clean the SAME things in the house DAY after DAY, having to wash, dry and fold the EXACT same laundry I do WEEK after WEEK, having to read my Bible OVER and OVER because I just don't get it, blah, blah, blah.


And then, look at all these other people in life.... just floating by.... no worries, and yet, doesn't it seem like things come so easy for them, that they have it all together?  That is so not fair!  I work my butt off to get everything I have, and make sure I do it the right way!  Why can't I just throw my hands up and forget about it like so many others seem to? 


Whew!  OK....I'm done. 


But, this is where I find myself many a time if I am striving to do these things with my own will and for myself.  All of these things that I complained about above are things that God has called me to and to have excellence for in my life.  These are good things, things that God calls many a righteous woman to do.  But, with the wrong attitude they are for nothing! 


A scripture I hold very close to my heart is, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Gal. 6:9.  When I start to feel weariness, comparisons with other people, moaning, whining, etc. coming into my attitude, God holds me in check.  It's not that He doesn't want me to strive for excellence in these areas; He wants me to do them unto Him and for all His glory, only worrying about what He has called ME to do.


Maybe you have other areas you grow weary in or strive for.  What are those areas and how do you stay focused on doing it unto Him?







Sunday, March 01, 2009

Dear Robin

Dear Robin,


My barely seven-year-old son seems to constantly have his hands down his pants.  Not in public, but at home.  My husband and I are always telling him, get your hands out of your pants and go wash your hands”. 


Do you have any suggestions to help him stop this habit?


What are your suggestions for this mom?