A Pictoral Glimpse of 2009

Learning to ride her bike ~ January 2009

Many Youth Orchestra practices, performances and concerts throughout the year

Fishing...catch and release several times...a birthday memory

Spring Picnic and several other times of fellowship gatherings during the year

Snippets from our stay in TN

Trip to KY ~ Wonderful time at the Creation Museum

While in KY ~ a drive north into Ohio to visit the US Air Force Museum

The men in the family enjoyed a Cincinatti Reds game on Memorial Day...and took home a foul ball to remember the day

Snippets from our week in NC

Many trips to the beach over the summer ~ always new sea creatures to be discovered...this was quite a day

What's summer without watermelon ~ I can only imagine how much was eaten this summer!

A fun field trip to tour the Nina and Pinta replica ships ~ VERY HOT day

September Events...My 38th and 5 days later the much anticipated arrival of Elizabeth Hope!

Fall Family Style Fun ~ Pioneer Settlement was the setting of a full day enjoying musicians, artisians, craftsmen, good food and fun ~ like barn dancing.

Several trips to the museum...family membership is great!

This was a blessed two day event Alyssa & I participated in ~ both days full of Biblical training in godly character, etiquette and the finale of a full luncheon ~ putting all the learning into action.

Every year we take a family Christmas picture and there is usually a story to share...

The last quarter of this year has been a joy with Elizabeth ~ she is greatly loved & not usually without one of her siblings at her side.

Our 2nd annual trip to see the Festival of Lights locally ~ a new family tradition we have enjoyed.  Whether at the festival or out looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, we always look for the nativity scenes.

Before Christmas Sunday service...Elizabeth's 1st

That is a glimpse of our year...so much more was done, experienced and seen.  So many "seasons of life" which we have walked through...so grateful for His grace and mercy as we did.

Pictures of this Week

O Christmas Tree

If our "season" is not to go TO North Carolina...then North Carolina will come to us ~ a beautiful tree brought to us from NC ~ thank you!  Our home is filled with the lovely evergreen aroma and our hearts with memories of days gone by ~ Lights...the same lights we bought for our 1st Christmas tree 20 years ago ~ Ornaments...some over 20 years old, others new ~ some store bought, others homemade ~ some given from dear friends and neighbors...all memorable and reminders of Christ, family and friends.

"Legend has it that Martin Luther was walking home on a dark December evening when he was struck by the beauty of the starlight coming through the branches of the many fir trees in the woods around his home.  The German Protestant reformer was so captivated by the way the filtered light appeared that he felt moved to duplicate this effect on the tree he had placed in his home.  He tied a candle holder onto one of the evergreen's branches, put a candle in the wooden holder, and lit it.  Walking to the opposite side of the tree, he studied the flickering light.  He liked the effect and attached several more candles in the same way.  Not only was the preacher's family impressed, so were his neighbors.  A host of them added candles to their own indoor trees, and the tradition of a lighted tree was born."

"Luther taught his friends and family that the tree represented the everlasting love of God.  He pointed out that the evergreen's color did not fade, just as the Lord's love would not fade, no matter what the circumstance or trial.  The candlelight represented the hope that Christ brought to the world through his birth and resurrection.  Thus, to those who knew Luther, the tree evolved into a symbol not just of Christmas but of Christian faith in general."  Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins

The Sound of Music

The first concert of the season...music rolled off the strings from pieces of folk to more traditional ones and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to bid good night to the filled auditorium.  Well done students!  Our family was blessed with the sounds of these lovely instruments all working together to produce sounds so pleasing to the ears.

An Impromtpu Lesson & Blessing of God's Creation

What a delight to see Monarch catepillars on our milkweed plants today!  These were planted in our butterfly garden last year and not only do we have 8 catepillars, we were visited by a Monarch butterfly while taking pictures!  This was an unexpected gift of God's creation today and a delightful lesson we gladly made time for!

(I took this picture last month...it reminds me of the three blessings the Lord has given me ~ three lovely daughters.)



Author of all blessings I enjoy,
of all I hope for,
Thou hast taught me
that neither the experience of present evils,
nor the remembrances of former sins,
nor the remonstrances of friends,
will or can affect a sinner's heart,
except thou vouchsafe to reveal thy grace
and quicken the dead in sin
by the effectual working of thy Spirit's power.

Thou hast shown me
that the sensible effusions of divine love
in the soul are superior to and distinct from
bodily health,
and that oft-times spiritual comforts are
at their highest when physical well-being is
at its lowest.

Thou hast given me the ordinance of song
as a means of grace;
Fit me to bear my part in that music ever new,
which elect angels and saints made perfect
now sing before thy throne and before the Lamb.

I bless thee for tempering every distress with joy;
too much of the former might weigh me down,
too much of the latter might puff me up;
Thou art wise to give me a taste of both.

I love thee
for giving me clusters of grapes
in the wilderness,
and drops of heavenly wine
that set me longing to have my fill.

Apart from thee I quickly die,
bereft of thee I starve,
far from thee I thirst and droop;
But thou art all I need.

Let me continually grasp the promise,
'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'

The Valley of Vision ~ Puritan Prayers and Devotions

May this Thanksgiving prove to be a time of remembrance of what the Lord has done ~ the testimony He has given us which drives us to gratitude ~ understanding who we are in light of knowing who Christ is...that He is even mindful of us.

Have a Blessed and Joyfilled Thanksgiving ~ The 9 Smiths

What fills our days...5 1/2 weeks young

Little Elizabeth was in such a good mood yesterday after one of her afternoon naps, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures. So, as she was comfortably laying on the sweet quilt she received from a woman at church (she is a gifted seamstress) and wearing the precious set that was made for Kailynn by a friend (another gifted seamstress whom has taught her daughters to be equally skilled) ~ now blesses Elizabeth ~ I snapped away...here are a few of the results:

I just couldn't quite catch her sweet smile...this was a partial...

Precious little feet...peeking out from beneath her gown...

Soon after this shot, she let me know it was time to eat...

Thankful for the sweet pictures to add to her baby scrapbook and the joy she brings to our home ~ Blessings ~ Jarnette

Monthly Organized Round Up ~ Drawer

When seeing what the organizing challenge was for October (drawers) at I'm an Organizing Junkie and then seeing the condition of my kitchen cooking utensil drawer, I was inspired to participate...so here is the process (which took about 20 minutes to complete)...


My before picture...a very full and not so organized drawer. Items seem to accumulate, then when many hands are in and out of this drawer, it doesn't take long for disorder to happen. At this point, I evaluated what the purpose of this drawer was based on it's location...and envisioned what I wanted it to look like when the project was complete. For me, the drawer is right next to my stove, therefore it's purpose will remain to be storing all my kitchen cooking utensils and gadgets. My vision of completion...items will be sorted by type and kept neatly separated using storage bins/dividers. Purging will be necessary to accomplish this!


After emptying the drawer completely (the heap of utensils set aside for a later step) and cleaning thoroughly, I used the rubber mesh drawer liner (easily found in the kitchen gadgets section of discount stores for around $2 per roll). This will keep my utensils from shifting each time the drawer is opened and keep the drawer from getting scuffed.


Bring in the organizational bins...love bins and baskets! For this project, I choose to use a divided wood cutlery tray, one over-sized plastic drawer bin and a small plastic bin (all of which I had on hand). These would provide adequate space to keep like items together and neat.


The sorting process begins...the heap of drawer contents are sorted by type. After all the utensils and gadgets were in neat type specific piles, I took out the items that were not being utilized (a few items were transferred to our 'camping bins' for use on camp trips, other items were put in the 'baking drawer' and the remainder of purge pile were put in our donation box). I eliminated about 1/4 of the original drawer contents and moved another handful to more applicable locations.

Below is a picture that shows the sorted piles before the purging process occurred.

STEP FIVE (my final step):

The remaining type specific piles were then transferred back into the drawer according to size and type. I tried to keep regularly used items toward the front and middle of the drawer, then placed small gadgets and less frequently used items toward the back of the drawer in the appropriate bins/dividers. Mission complete...drawer neat and less cluttered!

My Scriptural inspiration (although this verse relates to orderly worship ~ it shows that God is a God of order...from the beginning, He created all of creation in a perfect order).

Were there is order, there is can be peace...
"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." 1 Corinthians 14:33

It's easy to participate in Laura's Monthly Organized Round Up challenges. Visit her blog for tips on organizing, decluttering and meal planning...just to get you started.

Nacho Chicken Recipe

What a blessing to share this much requested recipe that I took to the Fiesta birthday celebration...and since I have had several requests, I thought it might be better to post it...so without further delay ~

Nacho Chicken Casserole


One whole chicken (I slow cooked ours the day before, then pulled all the meat from the bones) cooked & meat diced
8 oz. Velveta cheese cubed
8 oz. shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz each)
1 can (approx. 10 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1/2 finely chopped onion (about 1 cup)
1 can (4 oz.) mild green chiles
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 bag (14 1/2 oz) nacho cheese tortilla chips (Doritos), crushed

Preparation Directions:

In a large bowl, combine diced cooked chicken, cheeses, soup, tomatoes, green chiles, onion and seasonings; mix well. Crush the chips and set aside 1 1/2 cups of chips to use for the topping; blend remaining chips into the chicken mixture. Spoon mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish (sprayed with canola oil); sprinkle reserved chips on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbling. Serve over rice. Enjoy! ~ Mrs. Smith, October 2009

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes...Sort, Sort, Sort...Store, Store, Store

Phew! Okay, six years of shoes. We are tackling a few closets this week and this was one aspect of it, shoes from six years...one girl to be passed on to two more. :-) This morning, Alyssa was put to the task of sorting all her shoes by size and then pulling out the sizes that currently fit her, Kailynn and Elizabeth. The others have been neatly put in clear totes for future use. Now the girls' shoe organizer rack in Alyssa's closet are neat, de-cluttered, and ready for easy access for each of them. :-) If only shoes could manage to stay with their match to put an end to the ongoing saga of "Time to go...where are your shoes?" There never seems to be a match when we are trying to go somewhere ~ why is that? :-) That's 9 people, 18 feet...multiply that by at least 2 pairs (more like 4 pairs) per person...ugh! That's a lot of shoes to keep sorted, paired and in their proper place!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap...Update

Almost two months have passed since I first posted about our laundry soap making. Here is the update I said I would post about how it turned out and our experience...

The actual making of the soap was fairly simple and very inexpensive to make. The recipe for the liquid laundry soap is at the bottom of this post with step by step instructions. I have put the cost and purchase location next to the ingredients to provide you an opportunity cost analysis.

With doing as much laundry as we do...at least one large load per day (sometimes 2), our detergent has lasted over 2 months (I have enough to get through the end of October). I figure we spent approximately $2.72 to make 6 gallons of detergent. I used to spend about $20 for a super-sized Gain powder detergent at Sam's lasting about the same amount of time...therefore, we are saving over $17 to make our own detergent.

My overview of this detergent:

  • I believe it is effective and the tea tree serves as an anti-bacterial in the soap.
  • It does not leave a heavy fragrance (faint if any) on our clothes.
  • It is not a sudsy soap...saving water needed to rinse thoroughly.
  • It is gentler than heavy chemical detergents, which will help preserve the wear and tear of our clothing...allowing them to wear longer (unless you have boys that play hard and then the clothes will wear out before they normally would anyway ~ we have our share of hard-playing boys )
  • I still pre-treat stains with diluted Simple Green (found in the automotive section at Wal*Mart for about $5) as I find it to be necessary in our home.
  • I would also recommend removing washed clothing soon after washing is complete, otherwise they may get a sour smell if they sit too long (I'm talking hours here.).
  • It is not too time consuming...about 15 minutes to make with an additional 24 hour waiting period...which makes it an money saving benefit.

Happy washing...Jarnette

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27



1 bar of Fels Naptha soap (97 cents at Publix)
Arm and Hammer Washing Soda ($2.29 at Publix)
20 Mule Team Borax ($3.36 at Wal*Mart)
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap...I use 16 oz Tea Tree scent ($8.39 at Target by the Burt's Bees display)

  1. Grate 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap into a pot with water and melt over medium-low heat...stir often.
  2. Pour 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax into a 5 gallon plastic bucket.
  3. Pour 1 gallon of VERY hot water into the bucket.
  4. Stir melted Fels Naptha into the bucket and stir until well mixed. Add VERY hot water until the bucket is filled within a couple inches from the top and stir well again.
  5. Add 1/8 cup of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap and stir again.
  6. Let sit for 24 hours before using.

The soap will transform as it sits into a watery, gloppy gel. You can at this point (after waiting 24 hours) transfer some of the gel to an empty liquid laundry detergent pump container, filling container with equal parts of the gel soap and additional water. Shake well before each use and pump one cap full per load for standard washers...1/2 cap full for front loading washers. (I didn't have a pump container so I use 1/2 the recommended amount, as it is concentrated in the 6 gallon bucket...hope that makes sense.)

Looking Back Over This Week

Much is to be said about this past week...

A ray of emotions and adjustments have taken place...

The joy of having the long awaited arrival of Elizabeth Hope was experienced...being greeted by all her brothers and sisters. Marveling at God ~ the Creator and Giver of Life ~ the intricacy of how He grows that little baby in a womb for months, being totally dependent on the mother to nurture the life He has given...the way the baby lives and breathes in that water protected environment AND then directly after birth takes the first breath of air. How the Scripture about laboring to eat comes to a literal reality when now this sweet babe that has been fed by umbilical cord now has must 'work' to eat.

The adjustments (physical and emotional) a mother goes through. From having sleepless nights due to size and discomfort to sleepless nights due to nursing. :-) The bonding that takes place from feeling all the little bumps when the baby is growing in the womb to bonding that takes place from actually holding that precious gift in her arms.

The roller coaster of emotions one goes through as the body's hormones adjust...tears (which is one way these hormones are released), the sense of 'how am I going to do this?', 'the need for getting back to normal routines' (which is now learning what the new normal will be), not to mention the physical changes...milk coming in (engorgement) on day 2, after-birth contractions each time you nurse, the angst of that sweet little babe 'latching on' knowing the pain associated with it :-), and the back aches and head aches lingering from labor position and blood pressure adjustment.

Praise the Lord for the encouragement He gives through good friends...those needed reminders they provide...the care and love extended by the dear sisters in Christ of caring for our children and ministering to our family through the gift of meals. Truly not having to fit meal planning and preparation into full days is a great ministry to any family that has just had a baby! Visits with friends (for me and the children) as meals have been delivered...having my husband home for that first week was a tremendous blessing, too.

Taking a few days 'off' from bookwork (school) was not what I had originally planned to do, but under wise counsel, did do. This gave some time for the children to bond more with Elizabeth, spend time with me and their daddy and even the blessed time of going to several friends' homes for play time (which allowed time for their dad & I to get some needed rest). By Monday though, I felt the need to start our schedule again, which was equally good for them. Having the routine in place gave them focus, kept the home functioning peacefully and did help to provide those times of rest needed (for them & us) in the afternoons.

Yesterday was a test...as dad went back to work and oldest brother had classes in the afternoon, then rehearsal after that. Testing did happen with computer slow-downs challenging business that needed to be done, the fact that it took all morning to accomplish business work that should have only taken 1/2 that time, that sweet little one not sleeping like she should have in the morning, a few glitches with chore time and extra help being needed to keep on track with school work. It made for a very full morning and caused some discouragement in me. BUT...the afternoon was redeemed by enjoying the beautiful autumn-want-to-be weather, which seemed to bring rejuvenation in us all. Good naps were taken by the younger children allowing peace in the home before dinner. Some encouraging words from a friend and a visit from another friend along with some play time for the children with their friends was a blessed way to bring the day to a close.

Elizabeth Hope is now 9 days young today. She is doing very well ~ gaining weight (not losing the usually several ounces most babies do after birth...she's a Smith) ~ learning to sleep better and other than bouts of belly bubbles, is a sweet wee one. She is the apple of her siblings' eyes and is not lacking in attention... ;-) My physical and emotional well-being are close to normal. Maternity clothes have been packed back away for this season, sleep patterns are adjusting much better than a week ago, lessons are taking place daily (deeper than bookwork and surely will be longer lasting), relationships are deepening as one more has joined the sweet word called "FAMILY" and God continues to be the center of all that takes place.

And the mediation of my heart these days is "My grace is sufficient for thee...".

Joyfully His,