Please note: All images on this blog (except where noted) are original works of Miki Baxter and cannot be duplicated without permission. Also, if you're inspired by a project featured on here, then please link back to me and give proper credit. Thank you!!!


Halloween Photos

Hope your final day of October 2009 aka Halloween was a good one!  I’m participating in Brenda’s Photo Challenge as well as showing our photos off over at 5 Minutes For Mom.We took the children to a Trunk or Treat event last Sunday at a church close to our home but actually spent tonight playing games, having a family party of sorts.  We’re not huge fans of the spooky aspect of this holiday but definitely enjoy dressing up!  And we wear our costumes and dress up accessories year-round!  Even our little guy got caught up in the fun and allowed me to put a disco afro wig on his head for all of 2 seconds.  Long enough for the photo.  Boo crew_Page_0


I am THAT Mommy

Reflecting on a previous post about being THAT family, I realized that there were bizarre family moments that weren't initiated by the kids. Nope. Not them. The evidence points to the fact that I am THAT Mommy, y'know, the one that...

...Shaved her head completely bald after catching head lice at the pediatrician's office at her firstborn's two week old check-up. Beingbald headcropbw a first-time nursing Mommy concerned about the chemicals in lice treatment, freaking out about bugs in my very long and thick hair, with a newborn with a full head of hair, I had to take fast action. Concerned friends quietly passed the word about what I'd done and asked for lots of prayer, which is probably what enabled me to get through that first year until my hair grew back. Going bald is not a big deal, but the re-growth is a nightmare. I had a horrible cowlick that caused my hair in the back to grow straight up. No amount of hair product would make that area lay flat until my hair grew long enough - I was sporting bad 80's hair for a l-o-n-g time.Barnabas01017 ...Challenged a large man over 6 feet tall to step out into the parking lot of our church after service to settle this "once and for all" when he would not stop calling my infant son a "pretty boy," though I had asked him numerous times to stop. I do not tolerate labels being placed on my children, even in jest. It's a major deal with me, and this man would not respect my calm requests to cease. And I was serious about taking this outside (can't fight in church, y'know.)

...Scared my potty-training daughter the first time she made it to the bathroom by shouting with excitement, so she refused to do it again for several months. I am an expressive person.  Some might say excitable.  Hmm.50054999 ...Takes a gazillion pictures of every event that my children participate in, camping out early to get the best seats, crying and beaming - that's Mommyhood 101 isn't it?!!476248 ...Is asked by my daughter to not smile, clap or even look at her (impossible!) during her performances (see previous entry) because it embarrassed her. The ban has finally been lifted, thank God!IMG_3295IMG_4149_1538    ...Treats every sporting event that my son participates in like it's the major leagues and takes pictures like I'm shooting for ESPN. Who knows, I may be practicing for a new career in the future!Blogboysphoto …Starts picking out clothes for the holiday pictures months in advance and finds great pleasure in coordinating outfits, especially for her sons who happen to be born on the same day.  I just found a gray, white and red striped sweater for the youngest to match a sweater I purchased for the older one last year.  Now off to find clothes for the rest of us – pulling from what we already have and adding to them.  So excited!!!   49534951 …Has folders and folders filled with candid photos of her children, unable to resist capturing their antics and realizing that they’re growing up so quickly

There are many more moments like these; motherhood has brought out things in me that I didn't know existed, bold actions bordering on the crazies, passion, a tenderness, deep emotions, and a stronger voice. A favorite quote: "I'd fight for my husband but kill for my kids.”  True, so very true.


My Cozy Nook

Inspired to create a place of my own in a corner of our living room, I am ready for the reveal…ta da!!!    7566aFor more details, check out The House of Beauty & Culture, my creativity blog.

If Life Were A Movie...

...which movie would I want to live in? That's the question for today's Friend Makin' Monday.
After a few minutes of thinking through my favorites, my answer is "A Walk In The Clouds." Keanu Reeves as an earnest, honorable man. A gorgeous vineyard. A close family. Keanu Reeves. Fantastic house. And...Keanu Reeves. The film is beautifully shot, and the story is a good one. I'll say no more if you haven't seen the film.
I'd love to raise a family with relatives close by in such an earthy setting, working together to produce our livelihood. A simple but meaningful life filled with fresh air. good food. tradition.


THAT Family Moment: Observant Kids

To help celebrate We are THAT Family's 2nd Blogoversary, I'm going to share a story. Long sigh. Not an easy one to share, but in the spirit of transparency, I will open the vault to show how we are THAT family too.
We are a talkative family and encourage our children to ask us questions/discuss things/etc. I am working on helping them understand the appropriate time to do those things and to consider someone's feelings before blurting out their thoughts. Now how to explain sparing Mommy's feelings and also not humiliating her in public???
The children (I had two at the time, ages 3 & 5) and I were shopping at a thrift store for Halloween costumes. A heavyset lady with a walker and leg braces commented on how adorable the children were as we walked by, and I proudly thanked her. Beaming. So delighted at the acknowledgment of my cute kids. I could see the curiosity on my daughter's face and answered her question before she asked, that the walker and braces helped support her and enable her to walk. And added that we should have compassion for people who struggle physically. As we made our way down another aisle, my daughter's eyes followed the slow progress of the lady with the walker. Did I mention that the lady was heavyset? With a sweet voice ringing with sincerity and her attempt to show compassion and understanding, my little darling said, "Mommy, your hiney is as big as hers!" My head whipped around as I loudly exclaimed, "It is NOT!" Trying to regain calm, I ushered us out of the store and grilled my little girl on the drive home. "Do you think this person's hiney is big (inserting various friends' names)???" And then tried to reason with my daughter about accurate comparisons and scale. Because I am a Momma fully in control of my emotions and utterly secure with my post-baby body!!!


Last night I read an article about the difference a grateful attitude makes, and I realized that I have not been focusing on the things I appreciate in my life.  Nope.  Too often, the ‘woe is me’ fog settles over me, blocking my vision of everything else but the immediate problem or circumstance.  Fog can be romantic when viewed from a distance and from an advantageous height, but it can be debilitating when you are caught in the midst of it.6821So I choose to ascend the ladder of gratitude by focusing on what I am thankful for: 

Sweet Butterfly, my firstborn, my treasure, gifted in so many ways, the motherhood adventure started with you                             7440QB, my hero with a tender heart, always concerned for others, especially your sister & brother   7483This Little Man with such a big personality has us all wrapped around his finger (shh, don’t tell him!), so affectionate & delightful                 7378 This plant has the simple posture of praise, reaching towards the One Who created it, basking in His Light.                                       5857I cannot forget the One Who brought me out of the prison of Darkness.  Sorrow. Torment. Hopelessness. Into the light of Freedom.  Peace. Joy.  Hope. Lots of Hope.   6981Even when darkness looms and the clouds threaten to obscure the light, His Light pierces through, penetrates the darkness.7036And the amazing thing is, when it grows darker, the Light becomes more visible

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."           John 8:12

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.                  2 Corinthians 4:6                                          4591

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
       be pleasing in your sight,
       O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14


A Place of My Own – Work In Progress

The lighting is all crazy in the photo, but I wanted to give a quick glimpse into the makings of my cozy corner.  I even left a pile of papers on the floor, oh my, and the ragged edges of the curtain (also a work in progress) show in order to be more real.   Smile.  The reveal will be all the more dramatic because of the current mess.  Ok, back to work!  I hope to show the finished spot later today.  Hurray!

A Place of My Own

Wendy at The Shabby Nest had a wonderful post about creating a place for yourself, to unwind, be inspired, daydream, etc. The bathtub used to be that place for me in previous homes when there were multiple bathrooms and deep tubs to relax in. But I haven't had "my space" for about two years...until today! Inspired by her post and desperately longing for a spot of my own, I hauled my gorgeous freecycled dark wood table that was buried under boxes in the dining room (we're still unpacking) and created a cozy nook in the living room.
This corner contains several of my treasures: a vintage picnic basket, a tray with my oldest tea set, some candles, my correspondence box and the softest white blanket hugging the back of the leather chair. Pictures to come.
I am so pleased and soothed inside. Haven't been able to write much in recent days due to inner turmoil. So much going on. But now I have a feminine spot. To unwind in and to process. To have a cup of tea and to read. My Bible, which I have not been as faithful in reading, which will really help bring comfort and peace. To write, something that is so necessary to me. To create, which brings such delight. And to hold my precious ones. Moments spent with my arms wrapped around them are some of the sweetest in my life.


Friend Making Monday: What Makes You Happy?


Amber hosts Friend Making Mondays and posts a different question every week. This week’s question is, “What makes you happy?”

My Children kids_Page_0The Ocean6783Flowers7060133 Reminders of God’s Faithfulness (see the rainbow effect & bird by the sun) 6958doverainbow Pumpkins & Making Things

Also, spending time with close friends, a great cup of coffee, answered prayer, rainy days, a good book, taking pictures, meeting a goal, putting together gift baskets, being with my family and working through communication challenges. These are some of the things that make me happy. What about you? Join the party and make some new friends in the process!

I Apologize...

...if I'm driving any of you as crazy as I am driving myself with the various new looks I'm trying out for this blog. This will be settled very soon. Promise. Until the next time I get bored and need a change (smile,) which won't be for at least a few months. I think.


Day Two Fall Fruits Festival: Pumpkins

On day Two of the Fall Fruits Festival, the celebration is PUMPKINS! Go over to Stop and Smell the Chocolates for more great recipes. This recipe came from a lovely lady named Bonnie - my kids gobble them up like crazy!
Pumpkin Cookies
Cream together 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar.
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree (from can or freshly made)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Add nuts if desired. Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Test like a cake with a toothpick.
Melt 3 tbsp butter, add 4 tbsp milk and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Boil for 2 minutes and cool. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies. Enjoy!


Autumn Pear Mini Muffins

Today we're celebrating PEARS in the Fall Fruits Festival. My contribution, Autumn Pear Mini Muffins, are in the oven right now! I realized that pears weren't a common ingredient in any of my recipes, so I searched for several to try. These mini muffins were on the Family Fun website and were simple to make. I added mini chocolate chips to the second batch of muffins and think they add more yumminess to the subtle pear flavor. I wonder if the flavors will intensify the next day, so in the name of "have to know," I will set a few aside to have for breakfast tomorrow morning.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 16 oz. can of pears, drained and finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degress. Line the muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt.

2. In a large bowl, blend the buttermilk, oil, egg and brown sugar. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined. Fold in the pears. Fill the cups 2/3 of the way up. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.


Fall Fruits Festival

Doesn't this sound lovely? This is the description of the Festival on Stop and Smell the Chocolates: Each day will be about a different fruit - of course, one is chocolate, which I have made an honorary fruit - LOL! I will have a recipe to share and you can link up old or new posts/recipes for the fruit of the day - every day of the week! Here's the schedule to help you plan your "fruity" posts:
Monday ~ Pears
Tuesday ~ Pumpkin
Wednesday ~ Apples
Thursday ~ Cranberries
Friday ~ Chocolate (!)
I am looking forward to collecting new recipes and sharing some of my favorites!


10 Things I Love About Homeschool

My friend over at One Christian Mom asked for others to share a list of their favorite things about homeschooling. Here's mine:
1. Learning what each child's strengths and interests are and being able to customize our studies to enhance these
2. Spending every day, almost all day with these incredible gifts from God - it's not always easy & we do have outside activities too, but we do love being together as family
3. Being able to make adjustments to our day and our studies based on what's going on, family needs, pausing & going deeper into a subject that interests us
4. Though we have a basic schedule we keep, not having to race out of the house every morning is wonderful!
5. Homeschooling has opened my eyes to the educational opportunities all around and in ways other than sitting at a table or in a textbook.
6. I view homeschooling as training my children for life versus just giving them an education in the required subjects - this has transformed how I do everything!
7. Being in a community of other parents & families with similar values
8. Being more aware of the things going in my children's lives since we're together versus being apart for hours every day - I don't always know what's going on but our cultivated closeness helps with the open communication
9. The opportunity to expose our children to various cultures & languages at an early age (Sean speaks Spanish to the kids & they're learning Japanese too, which I speak)
10. I really love that we are living our values in this way.


Does A New Season Start Today?

Yes, I know Fall actually started a few weeks ago. The season I am referring to is a possible new season of life for us. Just like the gradual shift of hot, sticky summer days to the crisp coolness of Autumn, I don't expect the changes to be dramatic. Initially. But hopefully after today we will have direction. A firm commitment. A regular income.
It's been nine months since Sean's job had a "work force reduction." As the newest kid on the block, he wasn't surprised. And God had gone before us to prepare a place to wait out the storm. He has been so faithful to us, providing for our needs, giving us strength, hope and joy in the midst of a challenging time.
We've lived and learned a lot during this leaner time. Our family has grown closer, and we seem to value things more. Who could complain about that?
An extra $5.00 to spend is a delicious luxury full of anticipation and lots of planning. I don't want that to go away, the appreciation of even small splurges. A cup of coffee (Starbucks!) A new craft project at Michaels. An outfit or two either on clearance or at the 50% day at the thrift store. I've been a frugalistic frugalista forever and shop regularly at discount & thrift stores. The difference these days has been the frequency and the more careful perusal of what we really need versus what we just want.
Like I stated above, God has really provided for us during this time - we've had food, shelter, money enough to pay our bills, and I am so grateful for His faithfulness to His promises. Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. The One Who sees the need ahead of time and makes provision. It may not come in the way we imagined, but it does come!
The difficulties during this time have mostly been with people who don't understand. (Unless you walk through a situation like this, it IS hard to understand what it's like. My level of compassion has increased as my empathy increased for others - understanding that comes from experience.) This occurred several years ago during another lean time but is fairly representative of what has happened even in recent times. I remember being at a thrift store with a friend and choosing between outfits. She questioned why I was putting some items back - why I don't just buy that $2.00 dress at the thrift store since it's only $2.00, what's $2.00? I explained that I only had $10.00 to spend and needed to make the best choices. For a moment I thought she understood until she replied that she tries to do the same but since it's a thrift store, she just withdraws the extra if she finds more that she wanted to buy. Why don't I just use my bank card if I didn't have enough cash? Then my daughter found a beautiful specialty doll that she wanted desperately that was $10.00. Kind of expensive for a thrift store but it'd cost a lot more elsewhere. I knelt down and gently explained that we couldn't get the doll. Touched by her attachment, her little brother implored me to get that doll for her. With silent tears, I even called Mr. Nice Guy to ask if there was any way, but it was the doll or gas money. The three of us held each other and cried, then put the doll back. God still provided for us as she was blessed by another beautiful, specialty doll soon after by her loving aunt.
The beautiful times far outweigh the challenges. Because God is good. He is with us always and His Word is true.
Today Mr. Nice Guy took a plane to a very important meeting out of state. I am still waiting to hear how everything went, but only God could have orchestrated the events that led to today. The opportunity for Mr. Nice Guy is incredible and would utilize his experience, creativity and giftings as a storyteller and filmmaker. More details to follow. Regardless of today's outcome, I have peace knowing God is watching over us.


Friend Making Monday

I'm joining Amber's Friend Making Monday post. The questions for this week are: What are your hobbies? What do you wish you knew how to do?
I love reading and can devour books! I guess you could call it a "talent," the ability to read quickly.
I am a photographer and enjoy experimenting with my camera and Photoshop to create artistic portraits and landscapes. I am working on incorporating more of this type of imagery in my business since it's more true to who I am as a photographer versus taking more traditional kinds of pictures.
Working with my hands to make things or transform something hideous into something lovely absolutely delights me!!! Reading all the fairy tales in my childhood may have left a permanent frog-to-prince mark on me, but I love make-overs of every kind.
My other hobbies include writing, scrapbooking, and drawing.
I would like to learn how to knit and crochet, carpentry, and sing better.
Some of my creative projects are featured in my design/creative outlet blog The House of Beauty & Culture - check it out!
Enough about me, how about you? Link back to the Amber's post and join the get-to-know-you party!


Life Lesson from Math

A Friday morning epiphany.
Mr. Nice Guy has taken over teaching math to the kids. R.E.L.I.E.F., pouring out of me. He's gifted in math and science. After analyzing various methods, he chose one based on how math is taught in Japan. QB seems to have an affinity for math, and we wanted a curriculum that really grounded the kids in understanding math concepts.
Mr. Nice Guy observed our school day a few weeks ago and had a puzzled look on his face as I taught the math lesson. I burst into tears, explaining how I only knew what was explained on the page - beyond that, I was blank. The same look on the kids' faces. As I taught math. Though I did well in school, taking all the advanced courses, I was a good memorizer when it came to math. Passing the classes was my objective - beyond that the concepts meant little to me. (I excel in Language Arts, Social Studies/History and the Arts. I stink at Math. I'm OK with that.)
This morning, as he was waxing eloquent in math class, passionately breaking down the lesson into bite-sized morsels and making sure our offspring could swallow them with understanding, Mr. Nice Guy said something that jolted me. I almost spilled my coffee.
"It's not about the answer. It's about the process."
I've always been "the right answer" type of girl. Point A to Point B. Black & white. There's always a right or wrong. That's what matters. Or so I thought.
From one of favorite sermons: "Life is about the journey, not the destination. Don't forget the thrill of the climb." But too often I do forget or think the climb is not thrilling at all. "Enough already - let's just get there, " I grumble. But our lives ARE about the journey. Big things and little things, what matters is the PROCESS. So often we think, "When this happens, when I achieve this, etc., then I will be happy."
Gobs of money, time and attention for the wedding day, which is an important day, but what about preparing for the marriage? What about the process of the relationship which reveals who you both really are and is the hardest challenge and biggest blessing in the whole world? My sweetest memories of my wedding have so little to do with the ceremony or reception. Those were great moments, but the most meaningful ones include...
... My sister throwing me a wonderful bridal shower in response to one that left me in tears (one that made me feel like I was being punished for getting married ahead of some of my friends), and including Mr. Nice Guy in it. He helped me unwrap the gifts and pass them around - he was so cute and oohed & awed like a real trooper!
... Reading the cards we received together and talking about the history of our relationships with the senders. I still have all of our cards and enjoy reading them over and over.
... Mr. Nice Guy rolling up his sleeves and helping to clean up after our reception along with his family because our ushers and helpers bailed. The Victorian mansion we rented out had strict rules, and my prince wouldn't let me do anything but wait in my going away outfit as they took care of everything. That revealed the true character of the man I married and helps me through the bumpy times when we aren't so happy with one another :-)
Graduations, births, milestones in our lives are all worthy of celebrating to be sure. But the real value of all of those is the process. Drinking in knowledge, time spent studying, marveling at the life growing within, preparations, prayers, lots and lots of growth both figuratively and literally.
I sensed God telling me that even the search for a new job has less to do with the outcome and more to do with us in the process. How will we respond and live during the season of the unknown? How will we handle the disappointments and changes? What kind of children will we be when things are more challenging financially, what kind of life partners will we be, what kind of parents will we be??? The answers are discovered in the months of waiting. And if the answers aren't satisfactory, there is always room for change! We can choose to live a different response. The final outcome we celebrate (hurray!) is made up of the choices we make throughout the process. Adjustments to the steering wheel while we drive on this road of life, through valleys and across mountaintops, are necessary and important!