English Muffin Bun Recipe

Ingredients:

1. Package of English Muffins

2. Butter

3. Cream Cheese with Chives

4. Provolone Cheese

5. Deli Ham

 

Heat over to 350.  Open each English muffin and spread a thin layer of butter on top.  Add another layer of cream cheese, then a piece of ham, and finishing with a slice of cheese.  Bake until lightly browned and cheese is bubbling. 

Family, Faith, and Pumpkins

I LOVE being able to share our life with out of town family and friends through the blog, but I honestly procrastinate with these recap posts because they take so much effort!  It takes a significant amount of time to sort through photos, (if I haven’t misplaced the disk that I used!) fix the photos, effect and frame the photos, and then put those pictures to words instead of me spouting my pen off on some random topic that tickles my fancy for the particular moment.  But – I have made my peace with the amount of time it takes to construct these posts by telling myself that they can double as 7 baby books someday when I print each child a copy and hand it to them on their wedding day, right?  

 We started off the month of October with a weekend visit from Grammie and Papa, a wonderful time had by all.   The highlight was when Papa surprised the kids by bringing his two razors.  They had a blast whipping up and down the hills and crevices, to the river and back, blowing dust in everyone’s face and hollering pure joy at the top of their lungs.  Even Luke enjoyed a slower, more cautious version of the fun.

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IMG 7499 800x533“Dad! It’s too loud!”

 Last Saturday I decided to take six of the kids (Luke excluded) to the local fairgrounds where they were offering pumpkin decorating for $5.00, pumpkin included.  Sounded like a fantastic deal, especially considering that the mess would stay at the fairground.  Unfortunately the idea didn’t quite go as planned.  We arrived only to discover that it was a pumpkin painting contest, which drew lots of “Ughhhh’s and Noooooo’s” from the back of the van.  The kids had their hearts set on pumpkin CARVING so off we went to find some pumpkins to carve. We were successful and they had a great time making a gigantic mess all over our deck. 

IMG 7509 800x533“I want this baby pumpkin”

 

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IMG 7535 800x533The Proud Creations

I’ve been planning the Ronne Family Halloween Extravagance for about a year now after seeing the cutest costume idea on Facebook last year.  Here’s just a little preview of the fun to come; however, for some reason I couldn’t get the males in the family to agree to red tights so I suppose blue jeans it will be. 

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Our first visit to church was a wonderful experience, and I am very thankful.  That Sunday we also invited our neighbors over for a social gathering, the first since we’ve moved here.  It was so fun to entertain, even on a very small scale.   I made a tasty cheese dip and the girls made a childhood favorite of mine known as English Muffin buns.  These are such tasty, easy, little morsels.  If you need additional reassurance contact any of my siblings who will happily endorse them. I added the recipe for these to a new blog category called My Recipe Box which you’ll find in a side category  of the blog along with a few other features.   My goal is to occasionally add some of the tried and true gems I often make for my family.

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 Finally, we were brave, exceedingly, exceptionally brave, and we did something we do not plan on ever doing again.  We organized and conducted our own family photo shoot, and it did not go well.  Josh and Jada were so sad, Luke was so “all done” and Ryan and I felt the need to invest in some sort of relaxation inducing plant (just kidding, sort of…) by the end of it all.  Here are a few of the better shots we took. 

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Just keep livin!!

Vaccinating Against Dotted Whoo Whoos…

 

It was recently brought to my attention that my children were lacking in some of their immunizations and needed to be vaccinated immediately to bring them up to date.   I agreed, mostly, except that there are a few exceptions I make to their vaccination schedules, particularly with my 9 year old child who experienced a severe brain injury prior to birth.  I have done my research, thoroughly, and completely understand the risks involved by omitting one or two of these chemicals from passing through this specific child’s system.  This being said, it has been insinuated that if I don’t accomplish these immunizations by a particular date my children will be legally banned from public school; immunizations that cost $20.00 a piece without Medicaid, immunizations that I think should be free if they are a required for public school attendance. I was informed that I could opt out of these immunizations if I filled out a form declaring my religious opposition, asserting under penalty of perjury that I did truly believe this as part of my religion and then having this form notarized by a complete stranger who willingly had to attest to the validity of my private belief system.   Mission accomplished, finally, notarized form completed and appointment made for the remainder of the vaccinations.  Done. Right?  Wrong…  

The day of reckoning arrived, a day of fear and trembling, a day of desolate sadness for all smaller Ronne beings (until the promised treat was in hand after the mortal danger had passed).  I faced the day with a sense of anxiety because in past experiences any opposition towards these chemicals being pumped into my offspring has been met with the passive aggressive implication that I am not only harming my children by electing out of these shots, but I am harming the entire human race by a lack of responsibility.

Early that morning I stepped into the clinic with three of my children, one in a wheelchair, and signed the necessary forms.  I gently disclosed the fact that I did not want a few specific immunizations administered to which I heard the reply,

“But they need them.”

I thought, not aloud of course, “Yes, I understand that you believe that they need them, but I do not so we will not be having these pumped into their veins today, thank you very much.”  

Instead I said, “I understand, but I don’t want them to have these today.” End of story, Right?  Wrong….

“Perhaps dear, you need some literature about these particular immunizations?”  

Again, my thoughts, “Perhaps I do not, I’ve already made an informed, educated decision, but thank you again.”  My angst building and breathing a silent prayer, “Lord, guard my tongue.”

But instead I vocalized, “Nope, we’re not getting those.”  

Smile Laughing

Simple and to the point, my response met with quiet despondency.

 I’m sitting in the clinic now, awkward silence descending upon the room, and I start to think about life and mothering, and all sorts of ridiculousness. In the process of these profound thoughts, I look around the room and notice cute murals of Cookie Monster and Big Bird, lots of informative posters, and then I see something on a shelf, a picture that catches my attention, a picture that looks like a REAL LIVE WHOO WHOO, a Whoo Whoo covered in numerous red, enlarged dots which upon closer inspection are actually genital warts and then my oldest daughter follows my gaze and declares in pure horror, “Mom!! WHAT IS THAT? AND WHAT’S ON IT ?!?!”  I read the scare tactic above the picture which is something about these ghastly projections happening to your private parts if you don’t protect your daughters against HPV, and I realize that the picture is indeed exactly what I think it is and my daughter realizes this as well although she can’t quite figure out what all those hardened, bulging dots are, and she exclaims loudly, “GROSS!!” 

I think viewing this picture alone might be enough to keep my boys sexually pure throughout their teenage years; I think maybe I’ll request this room for their next visit… at least that’s how the plan goes down in my fantasy world. 

I continued to wait, now trying desperately to get the disgusting whoo whoo out of my brain, my thoughts beginning to wander, going to some odd places, for example, the fact that there is absolutely no accountability as a parent if you want to feed your child Twinkies and a two liter of Mountain Dew every day of his life.  Or perhaps filling her baby bottle with Diet Pepsi, maybe even leading to a type 1 Diabetes diagnosis when she’s 30 and then having tax payers foot the bill for insulin shots for the rest of her short life.  It makes zero sense to me.  Sure, nice, informative nutrition pamphlets line the walls, but no one is in your face, questioning your parenting rights, or passively aggressively breathing down your back about it.  Or how about allowing your child to watch 8 hours of violent television per day forever and ever and never suggesting that they should exert their little heart rates just a tiny bit by playing outdoors, a weird idea…   Or those who don’t breast feed, admittedly the best nutrition for a child; however, the medical community doesn’t clamp down or question any mother who makes the decision to choose formula after having a baby, an absolutely inferior option to breast milk, something no one will deny.   BUT – if you deny any immunizations you become enemy number one, even immunizations for a unique child that the medical community repeatedly projects all important decision making to the mother because they undeniably agree that she knows best – except in the case of vaccinations. Parents so called “rights” in this area are rights but they surely are not socially acceptable rights if you try to execute them for your children. Instead you hear declarations such as, 

“You don’t agree with the live virus? Have your children been exposed to this particular virus?  Do you understand the potential risks associated with this?  Do you understand how you are endangering others by opting out of these immunizations?”   

I want to turn around and say, “Do you understand that I have a severely handicapped child who cannot adequately inform me if something were to go horribly wrong with one of these vaccinations? Do you understand that I am not willing to subject his brain to any more brain damage, no matter what the statistics say about it occurring because statistics do happen to him as seen in his extremely limited abilities as a 9 year old?  Do you understand that I am his mother, and I 100% have his best interest in mind and NO ONE loves him or will fight for him like I will, surprisingly not you Ms. Nurse, or you, Mr. Doctor, or even (shockingly, I know) you, the government of the United States of America which has proven yourself to be so superiorly intelligent in the past few days and weeks. You, FOR SURE, have our best interests in mind. 

Just because the government or the medical profession says that we must do something, doesn’t necessarily mean we have to do it as parents.  In my opinion, we MUST feed our children properly, we MUST get rid of the chemicals and preservatives in our foods, we MUST encourage fitness and movement, and we MUST get rid of the idleness that straps our youth to their gaming chairs, encouraging hour upon hour of engagement in horrific violent mutilation, these are things we MUST do.  Immunizations yes, most are absolutely needed, but medical community, world, I beseech you, allow for the fact that you may not be entirely correct in ALL of your assumptions regarding ALL parents, or ALL children; allow for the fact that the parent may just know a thing or two about her child that you are not aware of, and allow for the fact that most mothers, above all else, want the best for their children.  

It is disturbing to me that a woman who wants to abort her child can walk into a medical facility and not be pressured at all to change her mind but an educated woman, who has done her research, cannot walk into a medical facility with facts in hand and request that her child not receive all of the recommended chemicals to be pumped into his young, fragile body without receiving pressure to change her mind.  

I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, I don’t care in the least if you follow the CDC’s vaccination schedule to a T, I am simply asking that the community at large respect my decision as my children’s mother, and I will respect your decision to feed your child processed chicken nuggets from a box 7 days a week, seems pretty clear cut to me.  

I’ve proven myself to be pretty competent in most of my choices as a mother, I tend to ere on the sacrificial side, sacrificing my body for a year to nurse, sacrificing time and energy to make food from scratch to eliminate my kid’s exposure to preservatives and chemicals, which I believe can harm them, part of this I do out of the fact that they all have a birth parent who has passed away from cancer and part of it I do because I absolutely believe in it. I do these things because I don’t generally believe in short cuts.  I believe that it takes work to keep my kids healthy and it takes work to educate myself about vaccinations and it’s not something I’m willing to blindly follow the crowds regarding, especially when it comes to a child who is not a part of the “normal” crowd.  Allow me the grace to be able to make an educated choice for my children in this arena as well. I have weighed the risks and benefits, I have looked at all of the information, I have researched both sides of this issue, and I have made my decision which is my right to do living in the United States of America, thank you very much.  Trust me as a mother who has proven herself in many other spectrums of motherhood to make the best possible decision for my situation and for my children, trust me please, this I beseech of you America.  Thank you.     

Just keep livin!!

Making Time for Lawyers and Turkeys (in no particular order)

 

During this period of admitted restlessness and boredom I’ve been busy taking a mental inventory of how exactly I used to spend my days in a former life of abundant civilization, obviously not in the same category as New York City, but I did have an abundance of entertaining options when I was in need of something to cure a day of impatient monotony. That may sound dramatic, but it feels true for me, especially in an entirely new southern culture which is foreign to anything I’ve ever known before, not at all bad, just completely different.  My existence now is in the middle of nowhere.  We live down a dirt road that leads to The River, we have one neighbor, and we are surrounded by trees and abundant wildlife including frequent coyotes, deer, snakes, and turkeys, which on a side note can be positively hilarious to watch after a night of roosting high in the tree branches and then ever so gracefully PLOPPING to the ground the following morning. 

In my new land I’ve learned how coyotes sound when they’ve captured something late at night, an entirely eerie, almost demonic like glee that escapes their lips and can rattle the calmest soul.  I’ve witnessed an itty bitty cotton mouth snake attempt to fight for his life as blood fervently gushes from his wounded body.  I’ve seen young cocky bucks act as if they’ve just entered paradise as they proudly stroll upon our fields, standing tall and arrogant, awaiting a parade of 72 virgin does. What I’m getting at is this is my reality.  Gone is Hobby Lobby, a source of constant creative inspiration, Costco, a source of all sorts of wonderfulness including unbelievably tasty pizza and equally decadent cheesecake, Jimmy Johns, a source of instant bliss after an intense workout at the gym, the malls, coffee shops, Michaels, and movie theater options.  We do, however, have an abundance of churches (having that in common with West Michigan), Dollar Generals, and lawyers.  Yes, it’s odd, but there are quite a few attorneys where I live, but I suppose that is probably the case in just about every corner of the world.

I’ve realized that some of the activities that used to occupy my time were genuinely good things: having coffee with a friend, meeting for play dates, helping friends and family, working out at the gym, cleaning, cooking, laundry, lots and lots of laundry, bills, breaking up fights, lots and lots of fights, reading stories, and writing – generally productive, meaningful, accomplishments, but many of the activities that occupied my time were purely time wasters and pretty shallow at their finest hours (Target will you please stand up?) And, if I’m being honest, I bought an excessive amount of stuff that I didn’t need only to return most of it a few days or weeks later, only to then exchange it out for more new stuff, all to keep up an endless façade of productivity. The point being, it gave me something to do, an envelope to easily tuck my precious moments into, something that had absolutely no value, momentarily or eternally, and something that I’m actually happy to have removed from my life (usually).

The quiet of my new life, the lack of entertaining options, is making me reevaluate my days, the moments, and the seconds.  The quiet is strangely gleaning out the gold, the stuff that matters, holding it up to a microscope and displaying very prominently how much time I actually spend with my husband, my family, my children, on others, on things that matter and not just motions filling my days as a hamster, spinning round and round on a wheel that leads to nowhere.  

What it boils down to is this.  Our move has forced me to look deeply inward  because the WHOOSH of commercialism  is pretty much obsolete and now all I hear is the WHOOSH of the wind (literally) and the eerie coyotes when they catch something  and in the process of it all I can finally hear God’s still quiet voice again.   He has been stretching this idea of a life of simplicity and what it means for my family.  By eliminating, getting rid of belongings, we have actually gained a precious commodity – time.  The question has become, what do I do with this time? How do I spend this valuable resource that I have been blessed with? 

First and foremost, I’m learning how to relax, to breathe, to think, allowing myself the luxury of rest – seems simple enough but not so much for me.  My husband has actually accused me of having no idea how to accomplish this task that seems so simple to most people.  I have been engrained with this idea of “work then play” which for some reason, the work part has stuck, probably because I’m never caught up, but the play part is much more difficult for me.  It’s an act that I’m discovering takes diligence, the art of being still, hearing my thoughts, hearing God’s voice, a meditation that becomes invaluable as it rejuvenates my inner being.

Second, I need to finish what I’ve started.  My book, 9 years in the making, my degree, 7 years in the making, my quilt, 20 years in the making! What the heck?? Wrap it up already.  

Third, I need to speak for those who can’t, specifically, my special boy Luke.   Baby steps in faith, but I’m starting to do it.   Make the calls, meet with the lawyers, dig my nonprofit dream the Lucas Project out of cobwebs, you get the idea. Start and finish something meaningful.

Fourth, cultivating quality family time.  With all the stuff stripped away there are no more excuses.  I love my family, but at times it feels like they prevent me from doing the meaningful stuff, like all of the above mentioned, really good ideas at their cores, but in reality, THEY, MY FAMILY, THAT’S THE MEANINGFUL STUFF.  They zap my energy; spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, all zapped in one big gulp. They engulf me and frustrate me at times; they require more than I want to give at times, they wring me dry of everything I have some days, but they are my biggest calling right now, my heart beat, the stick of what everything else will be measured against one day.  They are IT and by stripping away others that would vie for my time, I’m discovering that my relationships with my children, with my husband, and with my Savior, are rising to the surface, being refined, and slowly being transformed through this quiet life of simplicity.

Just keep livin!!