27 December 2012

Bed Frames

After moving to Virginia we all slept on mattresses placed on the floor.  For various reasons we moved with only a bunk bed frame.  While Matt was deployed and my mom was here I made a dedicated search for bed frames.  John now has a nice wooden one purchased at a thrift store.  Matthew and Josiah have a trundle bed from Craig's list.  The previous owners delivered it for a small extra fee.  The trundle is on wheels and is completely separate from the higher bed which makes less opportunity for the bed to break. Chuck helped Matt put the trundle beds together.  Abigail received an entire bedroom set that was also purchased on Craig's List.  She has a doll house bed, a two drawer night stand, chair and a dresser with mirror.  Our neighbor, Mr. Mike, drove our big van and took me to pick up the set.  The family who owned it was moving, but the husband took the time to follow us home and help Mr. Mike out it together.  That was a tremendous blessing especially since Matt was deployed.  Amie and Madison have the bunk bed frame we bought in Maryland.  After all our kiddos had bed frames I purchased one for Matt and me.  It is simple and lovely!  I am quite pleased with it and it is nice to be sleeping off the floor.  Matthew and Josiah helped put the frame together.  They love to work and help daddy!

Abigail's bed

O Come All Ye Faithful

22 December 2012

Lootens Family Khaki Ball


First Course

Khaki Ball Attendees
Lootens Family Khaki Ball
Mr. Matthew C. Lootens
National Anthem
Miss Madison Lootens
Mr. John Lootens

Miss Abigail Lootens
Keynote Speaker
SCPO Matthew G. Lootens
Mr. Josiah Lootens
During our Khaki Ball we learned about proper etiquette at a formal dinner and the reason behind  Khaki Balls.
Abigail explained the symbolism of the POW/MIA Table.
The table is set for our prisoners of war and those missing in action.
The chair is empty because they are not with us.
The white table cloth reminds us of the purity of their actions to respond to their countries call to fight for freedom.
The lone candle reminds us of the frailty of one prisoner alone.
The black ribbon reminds us of those who will not be coming home.
The single rose reminds us of the loved ones and family waiting.
The lemon reminds us of the bitterness of their situation.
The salt reminds of us their families tears.
Remember those whom we depended on in battle and fought for our freedom.

Five Months

17 December 2012

Saving Money During the Holidays

Following is a guest post by Jen L.

Ways to Save Money During the Holidays
Saving money is always a good idea regardless of the economy. The holidays are one time of the
year where saving becomes a particular challenge to many as the temptations abound and gift
lists continue to grow. There are, fortunately, many areas where applied frugality can be a great
benefit to the budget. All we need to do is to apply a little holiday common sense.
Shipping – The cost of shipping has ballooned in the past couple years, due to rising
fuels costs. This has made the shipping of certain gifts, like toys and clothing, cost
prohibitive. Buying a toy for 25.00 and paying the same or more to ship it can make you
question reasoning. A gift card to the same Toy store or online site costs only the price
of a postage stamp to mail. What child does not like to pick out his or her plaything?
Also think media. Books, DVDs, Blu Rays and CDs can be shipped via media mail which
is far less costly than priority, first class, FedEx or UPS. Note that tablets like the Kindle Reader and other brands are not considered media by the USPS. Also media ships
according to available space so allow for extra shipping time.
Create Your Own Gifts – If you are a crafter, a handmade gift will be appreciated and
cherished for life by the recipient. A gourmet gardener may create attractive products
in jars from the past seasons harvest. For the candy aficionado, an attractive and
delicious homemade creation in chocolate, like Christmas candy ideas from Martha Stewart, would be enjoyed.

Create Personalized Photo Gifts – If you are not the crafting type, it is easy and
affordable to take ready-made items and personalize them with your favorite photos.
For the tech savvy, a customized iphone case with their name or
favorite photo shows thought and creativity without having to dig out your craft

Give the Gift of Time and Talent - If you, or your mate or partner, have a skill that
someone could utilize, the unique gift you can give, would be like none other. Cook
a gourmet dinner in someone’s own home or build them something useful, if your
talent is such. Offer decorating advice or do a photo portrait of their entire family for a
holiday card if photography is your talent. These are gifts that will never be returned.
There are more, less festive, ways to save around the holidays too. These can include staying
close to home to save on the cost of travel and gas. Serving a turkey instead of the standing
rib roast can save you substantially at the Christmas table. Avoiding the energy consuming
incandescent holiday lights and replace them with LED lighting inside and out. This will save
electricity and they will last for many years.
Not only will all of the suggestions made in this post save you money; most will also help to
save the planet. Less shopping and travel, together with reduced purchasing of factory made
imports and decreased electric usage all work towards reduction of pollution and waste. The
benefits are many and the savings are great. What could be better?

Jen L. is a freelance writer and aspiring blogger. She enjoys writing about parenting, cooking (especially cupcakes!) and crafting. Jen is happily married to her college sweetheart and a mother to two beautiful little girls. If Jen's not at home, you can find her at Whole Foods! Follow Jen on Twitter @KeepCalmandMom 

13 December 2012

Quinoa Salad

cooked quinoa
sunflower seeds
diced apple
diced celery
olive oil
sea salt
Josiah says this salad is yummy!

Mango Ginger Chicken

rice or quinoa
brussel sprouts
kale greens
peppers and onions
Mango Ginger Chutney from Trader Joe's

note: all of these vegetables I purchased frozen

toss brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale greens, peppers and onions with olive oil
and bake at 450 degrees until browned

season chicken with sea salt and pepper and bake

cook rice or quinoa

serve together with a spoonful of chutney on top

Josiah is being my helper right now.  He said this meal was spicy and good.  He liked it!

06 December 2012


USS Enterprise and Teeter -Totter built by Matthew

Psalm 57

1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
4 My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

05 December 2012

A Mother

Do without if you need to,
but don't do without a mother.
~H. Burke Peterson