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

30 November 2012




Cranberry Relish

1 pound cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice

bring to a boil then simmer until cranberries pop open and liquid is thickened approximately 7-10 minutes
refrigerate and cool


We have been enjoying candle light suppers. While kiddos eat I read aloud Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

Helping Daddy


These are our favorite ways to eat cauliflower:

~Sauteed in olive oil until golden brown...seasoned with sea salt and pepper

~toss in olive oil, season with paprika and bake at 450 degrees until browned

~place in blender with almond milk and puree...season with salt and pepper, heat and pour sauce over cooked cabbage and quinoa

Family Visit

Uncle Matt and Aunt Ellie and Gavin came to visit us earlier this month.  We we very excited to see them and have them stay with us. 
Grandma went home with them, which made the visit bittersweet.  We would not have survived without Grandma!


Due to a misconception regarding my character I have compiled the following information regarding hemp as a food.  The more I read about hemp the more I realized that I need to eat more hemp!

 It is not from the same variety of plant that is used as an illegal substance.  Hemp is extremely nutritious!  Hemp products are available at Nutivia.com and Whole Foods.   Hemp protein powder is sold at Trader Joe's

Our first President, George Washington, was a hemp farmer!

"Q. What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?
A. Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties. There are different varieties of Cannabis, just as Chihuahuas and St. Bernards are different breeds of dogs, Canis familiari.
Marijuana is the flowering tops and leaves of psychoactive varieties of Cannabis that are grown for their high THC content.
Hemp, also referred to as industrial hemp, are low-THC varieties of Cannabis that are grown for their seeds and fiber. Hemp is grown legally in just about every industrialized country except the USA"
From Nutivia.com (emphasis mine)

"You can buy hemp products in America, including textiles, nutritional supplements, soaps and ropes. You just can't grow hemp in America. So all the hemp used in these products purchased by Americans is grown somewhere else: China, Canada, India, Chile and many other countries. Meanwhile, Americans farmers suffer under increasing debt and decreasing revenues from stalled crop prices. What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong, it turns out, is that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) makes no differentiation between industrial hemp and marijuana. To the DEA, it's all the same crop (never mind that smoking industrial hemp will only make you vomit, not high) and anyone caught planting hemp will be arrested and prosecuted using the same laws that were really only intended to halt hard-core street drug pushers."
From Natural News

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/027257_hemp_America_farmers.html#ixzz2DjMV1BKC

"Since hemp seeds contain 65% globulin edestin and 35% albumin, both in a highly digestible state, it contains a protein panel similar to that of human blood. In addition to the necessary amino acids, it contains the right 3:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids our bodies need to be healthy. Hemp seeds also contain sufficient quantities of zinc, iron, and magnesium, three of the most common metals/minerals implicated in mineral deficiency diseases."
From Natural News

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/027691_hemp_protein_seeds.html#ixzz2DjN0hkRZ

"Hemp is easily grown without pesticides or herbicides, and besides its tasty nut it yields a strong fiber used for cloth, paper, construction, plastics and auto parts, and countless other ways.
The hemp plant has been in cultivation for thousands of years throughout Asia and the Middle East before finally making its way across Europe and to the Americas. It is an extremely versatile and hardy plant, with many uses including fibers and plastic, and being known as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using the hemp seed for more than 2000 years as a healing and tonifying food in treating a number of ailments. Hemp is protein rich, gluten-free food loaded with protein, Omega-fatty acids and fiber. No known allergies exist to hemp foods."
from  Nutivia.com

19 November 2012

Celery Snack

Celery Stick
Shelled Hemp Seed
spread sunbutter on celery stick
sprinkle hemp seeds on top

14 November 2012


Isaac has discovered how to successfully suck his thumb. 

Our Thankful Banner

We are thankful for:
mommy and daddy
the thankful tags were downloaded from Jones Design Company

Puzzle Time

My friend Marsha gave this puzzle to us.  Abigail, Matthew and Josiah put it together almost all by themsevles.  They had a little help from Grandma, Uncle Chuck, Uncle Matthew and Mama, but most of it was put together on their own. 

One Little, Two Little

Two little Indian boys and one little Pilgrim girl. 
This evening is Pilgrim and Indian night at Awana.  Abby's outfit is made from a sheet, shirt and jumper purchased at Goodwill.  Matthew and Josiah's outfits are also made from clothes purchased at Goodwill.  We cut a pair of corduroy pants to make the fringe and attached it with safety pins.  Daddy made the Indian headdresses.
Sunday an elderly lady gave Matthew and Josiah a twenty dollar bill as a gift.  Sunday is also when I realized that children were dressing up for Awana this evening.  The gift of twenty dollars more than covered the expense for their outfits. It took just one trip to the thrift store and a couple hours work to result in three thankful and excited children.

Chili on Potatoes

1 chopped onion
1 pound ground meat
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in basil
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP honey
cooked beans
brown meat and saute onion
stir together with remaining ingredients
serve on top of baked potatoes
Everyone thought this chili was delicious!  My younger kiddos had it for breakfast the next day mixed with mashed potatoes.
The original recipe is Cincinnati Chili with Turkey and Pumpkin from Clean Eating Magazine. 
The recipe above is my version modified to exclude my kiddos food allergies.