Wednesday, December 14, 2011

End of the year...

I can honestly say that I will not miss 2011. We had good times, but we had so many ups and downs I am ready for the start of a new year. I just wanted to let you all know that we are doing fine. We have a lot going on. Somethings I want to talk about but can't yet. And then there are somethings that I can talk about but they need to wait. All I can say is...the waiting game is no fun.  So anyway, I pray you are all having a wonderful December and I hope to be able to update you all very soon!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Special K!

It's a very special day. Special K is now two years old! It's amazing how fast two years fly on by. She is my adorable, sweet, and lovable baby girl. I am so blessed to be her Mama. = )

Minutes old...



About a week (maybe two) old


1 year old

2 years old

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grieving...

I have been struggling with whether or not to write this. Since I decided to write something I have been struggling with what to write. Most people know that I had a miscarriage a couple of months ago. At first the pregnancy seemed to be going just fine, but there was always something. Some feeling that I had that things weren't the way they should be. After a few weeks I went in and had an ultrasound. All I can say is it's pure torture to have your ultrasound done on a Thursday and have to wait till Monday for the results.

Anyway, the ultrasound confirmed my suspicions. Even though I felt like something wasn't right it didn't make it any easier. I would have been ten weeks a couple of days after the miscarriage. And I know people meant well, but a lot of people just made things worse. My emotions were all over the place. I never really got a chance to grieve. I felt forced to push through and just move on with life. I know I needed to take time to grieve. Time to cry and cry till I had no more tears. I had a very good friend tell me that I needed to do that. That it actually helps to heal to just have a physical release of all things emotional and physical. I should have listened to her, but I truly never had the time. I had a family to take care of and I am okay I guess. I have times (weeks in between) where something just triggers a complete emotional breakdown.

And this brings me to the real reason I am writing this. Children. My children. Your children. Please....please....please.... if there has been a loss in your family (grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, baby, cousin, sibling, etc) make sure your children grieve if they need to. My boys seemed to just move on with life. No big deal. Big T doesn't ever mention the baby. Little E will say things like, "the baby died. The baby is with Jesus." But that is about it. Sweet E on the other hand is a completely different story. She took the miscarriage almost as hard as I did. And I thought she was fine....until today


Boy, do I feel like a horrible parent. Tonight during the evening church service we came across a picture Sweet E drew a month or so ago. It was a picture of a baby, Jesus, and a heart with a cross and Heaven written in the middle of it. She drew it for our baby. Tears immediately came to my eyes. I hugged her and thanked her for the picture. Sweet E got a little teary eyed too and I thought that was it. Next thing I know she bursts into tears in the middle of church. I took her out in the hallway to hold her and talk to her. She just kept crying and crying and crying. Oh how my heart ached for my baby girl. She has such a tender heart. I ended up just holding her and having her tell me what she was feeling. How? How did I not do this sooner? She doesn't understand death and loss. She needed me to tell her it was okay to cry. To grieve. I feel like I deprived her of true healing. 

After church she couldn't stop crying. She sobbed the whole way home. I dropped off Beloved, Big T, Little E, and Special K at home for dinner. I took Sweet E and we just went to W@lMart to pick up frozen asparagus. I know it sounds silly, but it was just spending time with her and letting her know that everything will be okay. Reassuring her that the Lord will help us through. That we WILL heal from this but we will never be the same. But we will heal. We will. 

Before we made it to the store I stopped to put a few dollars of gas in the tank. As I was coming to the gas station Sweet E, in tears, said, "Mama, I think my heart is broken." Of course, hearing that just broke my heart. So please, let your children grieve. Tell them it's okay to cry. To talk about what happened. I held a lot back after the miscarriage and apparently Sweet E tried to do the same thing. 


So, I know this post isn't eloquent or a life changing. But I just felt I needed to write this down. To share a little of what our family is going through. And please..(don't take offense to what I am going to write.) if you have friends or family that loose a child (through miscarriage, illness, accident, etc.), think before you speak. Just say your sorry for their loss. Let them know you are there for them, but if you have never been through their situation don't try to help. We know you mean well, but the ones grieving don't take it that way. Don't tell me....."You already have x number of kids. So-and-So had it worse than you. So-and-so has been trying to have children and they don't have any. So you shouldn't be upset by loosing just one." Miscarriage doesn't involve just tissue. It's a BABY! And it hurts more than anyone (that hasn't been through it) can imagine. Just be there to give the women and families hugs and a shoulder to cry on. It takes just as long for the body to heal after a miscarriage as it does with carrying a baby for nine months and delivering. (maybe not as long for some, but it was for me) And to top off insult to injury...I (and other women) had to endure the pain of miscarrying (which is labor in a slightly milder form, the hormone changes, weight gain) and I don't have anything to show for it. I don't get to hold my little one in my arms. I don't get to snuggle with them while nursing. I don't get to kiss them good night. I don't get to see that first smile. I don't get to hear that first laugh

So once again....please allow yourself and your children to heal from miscarriage (or any other form of loss). And if you aren't the one dealing with loss...allow your friends/family to grieve. It's necessary to heal.

I, and my family, are resting in the knowledge that our little one is heaven with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I just tell my little ones that God couldn't wait. He wanted our baby first. (How else do you explain miscarriage to a 4 year old?) If it wasn't for Jesus....well, I don't even want to think about how difficult the situation would be. I know God has a purpose for our family. He is always there for us. For me.......


Sunday, September 25, 2011

WonderMaps Review

I had the privilege to review WonderMaps by Bright Ideas (thanks to Timberdoodle). When I heard about the product I just jumped at the chance. Our curriculum for the year requires a LOT of maps and this is perfect. We are studying different countries and cultures all year long. 

So, you are probably wondering what is so special about the WonderMaps program. It's so special because you can customize it! It's so funny to see homeschooling mamas get excited over maps. When you are given the opportunity to make it match up with a lesson it's makes a person giddy. = ) There are over 350 maps to choose from (just to start with)! And it's not just the typical maps that you expect to find. Besides the maps of the world and the United States there are also historical and thematic maps (bible maps included.) 


Features (as listed in Timberdoodle)
WonderMaps is designed with easy-to-use layers that allow you to enjoy great customizable features with just a click. Select:
  • historical or modern-day maps
  • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
  • black-and-white or color maps
  • features including:  names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules
WonderMaps includes:
  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II

So, any map we need for a school lesson I have it right at my fingertips.  There have been a number of times when Special K gets into the school papers and marks all over them or rips them up. Now, if that would happen again I can quickly go into the WonderMaps program and make one just like it. You don't realize how happy that makes a Mama of four young children. :-) 


Even if you don't think you will use it much I would still suggest purchasing it. (Timberdoodle has it for $44.95) I would bet, that if you have it on hand, you will end up using it a lot more than you expected. Plus, it's fun to use!




This is a map I printed for my youngest  son. I could have added city names if I wanted . I could have also printed it without the state names. So much you can choose to do. 

We are studying Mexico this week so I printed out a map just for my oldest daugther. Once again I could have printed city names, rivers, the topography, color, etc. This one needed to be more plain though.

You should also sign up to get a free Timberdoodle catalog while you are there purchasing WonderMaps. (hint, hint) I also recommend liking Timberdoodle on FB to keep up with new products, reviews, and tidbits that they post. 


Legal Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of WonderMaps in exchange for a frank and unbiased review. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy 9th Anniversary Beloved!

Today is our 9th wedding anniversary! It's amazing to think all that has happened in nine years! (In September it will be 12 years since our first date). So, I wanted to take time to share some pictures with you. I have divided them up into groups: our engagement and our wedding.  (this is a repost from a couple years ago)

I will first tell the story of our engagement. We had been together for 8 1/2 months when Hubby asked for my hand. And boy...was the proposal a good one. I had many friends jealous over this. That summer I was babysitting for 3 children and when I returned home from work I came home to an apartment filled (and I do mean FILLED!) with streamers and balloons. I think I had about a hundred balloons in my apartment and streamers were everywhere.

On the table were a dozen yellow roses (one of my utmost favorites) and a box. What was inside that box you say......It was a gorgeous black dress that he picked out for me and instructions to put on the dress and meet him at the place of our first meeting (we met on my college campus at Sonfest which is a Christian Concert type of event).

Anyway...I put on the dress and drove over to the college. Down in the grove there is a crick that has a bridge and on the bridge were more balloons and a note. That note had instructions to put on a blindfold. (Can you see the balloons on the bridge?)

Before I could put the blindfold on, a jogger came running by and said, "Am I interrupting?" So I put on the blindfold and I hear music playing and I hear hubby (well...boyfriend at the time) reading a poem to me that he had written. Then he had me take off the blindfold and asked me to marry him. I think I got my yes in there I was crying so hard. After this we went to his parents home and called my parents. Then it was off to a very nice restaurant called the Granville Inn. It was wonderful. It was a very beautiful place that I had never been to before. So anyway...that is my engagement story and now here are some of our "official" engagement pictures. Note that the black dress I am wearing is the one he gave to me the day he proposed.



Now...onto our wedding. We were married on July 13, 2002 (obvious I guess....) I graduated from college the end of May so I had a busy summer. Besides our wedding I think we had 4 or 5 others to go to. My friend from high school got married one week after us so we actually cut our honeymoon short a couple of days to make it back in time for hers. We got married in the town we live in now. The wedding was at the First Baptist Church and had our wedding reception at the Dan Emmett Conference Center . In this picture we are having a time of prayer after lighting the unity candle. You can see one candle in the lower left hand corner. All of our guests had candles and after we lit our candle we "passed on" the flame to the ushers who then passed the light on to the guests. It was such a beautiful sight. =)
Funny thing is...well maybe not funny...more like depressing....is that neither one of us can wear our rings. Never thought I would have to think about loosing weight in my fingers! ;)


Here is the nifty car we had the privilege of riding away in. Our friend hadn't even had the car for a month!

I just had to show a picture of our cake. This was one of my favorite things. It tasted wonderful too! (even a year later.)

Thanks for looking at my post today. Sorry it was so long but I would have loved to share more pictures. Actually if I can find one I will show a picture of my parent's wedding sometime. Why? Because the dress I wore belonged to my Mother. Blessings to all on this wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shower, Dinner, and Mother's Day

I thought about making two separate posts, but I think it will be fine with just one. First up is Miss H's bridal shower. I am going to miss this girl. I already do (her family moved away). But the thought of this wonderful young lady getting married puts a huge smile on my face and makes me cry all at the same time. I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked, but I did get a couple. (and some video of the music too) 


The last wedding shower I attended was for Miss R. I wanted to do one for my sister last year, but I failed (it never happened. Sorry Sis) Anyway, this was a nice shower and had a good time visiting with friends. (Until the children got covered in mud, but I will get to that in a minute)

Opening Gifts

Next in line to get married (Miss B, not Special K)

Enjoying the sunshine
Playing in a puddle they were told not to and got splashed
when the pony/cart when through it. Gross!

The next day was the Mother/Daughter dinner at my Mother-in-Love's church. Big T wanted to take pictures of us getting ready.




It was a nice dinner. The girls enjoyed the story time. :-) And I enjoyed the time with my oldest niece (youngest had other plans), Mother-in-Love and Sister-in-Loves.


And of course Sunday was Mother's Day. It was a really long and busy day, but it was a good one. Got to see all of my In-Love's. Nice to have our oldest niece back from college for the summer.

Please excuse my fatness and focus on the cuteness of
my children. ;-)

Knights of the Round Table (Mother/Son Dinner)

The Friday after Resurrection Sunday was a special night for the boys and me. You may remember the Princess Ball last year. Well this year it was the boys' turn. It was time for the Knights to have a special night with their Mama. The bad thing was that we had to wait almost 30 minutes longer than what was written on the tickets. Not good when Little E can't stand still for more than 2 minutes.

It was pretty neat to see some of the older boys at the door to greet the guests.

They thought this suit of armor was pretty cool. 
Mr. Ornery himself

What boy doesn't love a boomerang? I am just glad he didn't give any of the boys a chance to throw one. Someone could have been hurt. ;-) After we watched the demonstration of the boomerang and the didgeridoo we had a big meal. The boys sure loved the mini cheeseburgers. We were blessed with a talk from a son (soccer play for MVNU) and a mother (of 10 boys). It was a very nice evening that ended with the boys being knighted. :-)
Little E wanted to show off his art work.






Sir T
and Sir E

It was very nice to have time with my boys. I think they enjoyed it (I hope they did). It's good to have time with just the boys. They are growing up so fast. Big T is going to be 8 this summer. Where did that time go? They just need to stop growing. Yeah, that's it. They just need to stop growing. ;-) 



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Resurrection Day (weekend)

Wow, a whole month since I posted last. Really? It can't have been that long......can it? I guess I have let "life" take control. Not good. My sister kindly reminded me that I needed to get a post up. (She is having withdrawal. :-)

The day before Resurrection Sunday my parents came up to see us and bring the children some goodies. :-)

Checking out all the goodies

Getting help from Grandma
Special K loves to go on walks!
 Then after my parents left we went with my Mother-in-Love to the circus in town. I had to turn away for most of the first act because it made me so nervous. Especially since they did all of this inside of a building at the fairgrounds.

He was just inches from the beams in the building. Aack!

Big T was chosen to be apart of the hula hoop contest. Poor kid didn't have a chance. ;-)
 Resurrection Sunday was wonderful (although a very long day). We attended sunrise service, breakfast, and the morning service. Then we had the church service we do at CCRC (Country Club Retirement Campus). We tried to get pictures of the children while we were at CCRC, but Special K wanted nothing to do with it.
Three of my Blessings

Special K could care less about a picture.

See....she did not want any pictures taken.
She did finally give us one smile.
It was a very busy weekend, but a good one. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways. We have had a lot happen the past month and a half, but the blessings far outweigh all the trials.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sweet E's Birthday (Just a little late)

My 6 year old!
Okay, I should have posted this ages ago. I know, I know. Shame on me for not being able to catch up with posting. But at least I am getting to it now. ;-) She asked for a doll cake again, but requested that it be pink this time.



When I look at the picture from last year (the blue) and this year I can't help but remember the final scene in sleeping beauty (the Disney version).


She loved all of her presents but the ultimate present was this princess dress from Nana S. Of course Big T step right in front of me when I went to snap the picture! She loves playing princess and this was just the greatest thing. Nana S worked hard on getting this made and even has an injury to show for it. ;-)



I don't have any better pictures of the rest of her gifts. Had a hard time keeping Big T out of the way! Crazy boy........  She has used her stationary from Grandma K a LOT since her birthday. This little girl absolutely loves to write letters. So, not a massive post about her birthday, but at least I got a couple of pictures up. :-) Things have calmed down a little bit around the house. And that is a WONDERFUL after the week we had. No gas or water leaks anymore! Granted we got an extremely high estimate from Roto-Rooter, but it's not an emergency at this point.

So I am off to do some cleaning and maybe a load of laundry. Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Manhattan Toy: Boysterous Action Figure Review and Giveaway

Another wonderful item to review. (actually items....we received three things) When I saw these products come up for review I knew I had to get them for Little E. He loves to play with Sweet E, but we didn't have any boy action figures for him to use. Manhattan Toy sent Goalie Gavin and Slope Shreddin Shaun. Oh yeah, they also sent the Extreme Sports Zone.



I wanted to get pictures of Little E with all of this but I never had a chance with everything that happened last week. Plus the fact that I can't get him to slow down! (haha) You can purchase these and many more from Manhattan Toys. You can also find them on FB. The action figures retail for $18 and the sports zone is $30. These are geared for boys ages 3-8 (3 years because of the smaller accessories like the soccer ball) 



Little E was so happy to have these. Once he had them in his hand he didn't let go. Not even at bedtime. He took both his action figures with him to bed and they were the first thing he played with in the morning. Also the extreme sports zone is wonderful. I love the fact that it can zip up and be a storage container for the rest of the action figures and accessories. They are such a good quality and the magnets in the figures feet are what allow it to stay on the snowboard and soccer ball. Our whole family is very pleased with these products. I wouldn't hesitate to recommended them to anyone that has young boys in their family. I will be putting the rest of these on the Little E's wishlist as well. :-)

And you can win your own Boysterous Action Figure! This giveaway is open until April 18th. You can enter to win by doing one of the following and leaving a comment letting me know. :-) (Open to US residents only)

Possible Entries:

1. Visit Manhattan Toy and let me know which Boysterous Action figure is your favorite. 
2. Like Manhattan Toy on FB.
3. Share this giveaway on FB.
4. Become a follower of my blog :-)


*Disclaimer- I received this products free of charge from Manhattan Toy for the sole purpose of writing a review, of my honest opinion, for MamaBzz.*

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

Most of you probably have noticed the first song that plays when you open up my blog. It's sort of become our family's song. When something else seems to go wrong I play this song and a smile comes to my face. If something happens at home and I send a text to Beloved that says, "Just another day in paradise" he knows that something happened but that it will be okay. Life isn't easy. Maybe it seems that way for some, but not for us. And...that's okay. The Lord has helped us through so much. If it wasn't for God I don't know how I would have made it through last week. I'm not perfect. I had a couple of breakdowns when it all seemed like too much, but everything was taken care of. Looking back I know that it was God. He provided everything we needed last week. He is good.....ALL THE TIME!

As I look around the house at the cracks in the plaster, the leaking shut off valve, the cars (only one is running), and the piles of laundry... I can let it overwhelm me. Or I can smile and go on with my day. I would like to say that I always have that attitude, but I don't. My temporary wedding ring (too fat to wear the original) says Christ's Strength on it. Referring to Phillipians 4:13- "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." No matter what happens, with my husband at my side and God carrying us through, we will make it. It may not be pleasant or the way we want it to turn out, but God never turns his back on us and I am so grateful for that. 

We have a mountain in front of us to climb, but at least we know (for now) how big that mountain is and we can take it one step at a time. (we need two new(er) vehicles and need the majority of our drain line, from the house to the city sewer, replaced.) I don't know how we are going to purchase these things, but I know that God will help us through. He will carry us through.

So, that is my rambling for the day. Sorry if it seems all over the place. I just wanted to write this down and share it with you all. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May his face shine upon you and give you peace. Oh...make sure you listen to the second song on my playlist. I love to listen to it at least a couple of times during the day. Blessings to you all!

Friday, April 01, 2011

I Will (I Did) Survive!

Wow! What a week our family went through. And it's not even over yet. This is going to be a long story so just bear with me. We have needed most of our water pipes replaced for a long time. We finally had the money put back to get it done. And that was planned for this past Monday. No big deal......until........I was down in the basement and felt the need to take a look at the water heater. Why? I don't know, but when I did I found it had a leak. Not good. :-( So lets just add more onto the bill. I had no idea how we were going to pay for it, but God did. Little did I know that the Lord had already blessed us with a way to pay for the water heater. (Beloved informed me that God provided money for the water heater...after I had a freak out session ;-)

Anyway, so I had no water for majority of the day on Monday while they replaced the pipes and water heater. Since it was cold I couldn't just spend the day at the park or on a hike. Thankfully my Father-in-love said it would be okay to stay at their house for the day. We arrived home late afternoon hoping the water would be turned on soon. I am not sure what time it was turned on to be exact, but it doesn't matter. I received a phone call close to 6:00 pm from Beloved informing me that he wouldn't make it home. The car (which is a standard) wouldn't shift. He was able to pull into the parking lot of Subw@y. At least he wasn't stuck in the middle of the intersection. Anyway, I loaded up the children and headed on down to Newark to pick Beloved up. We had the car towed to his sister's and headed on home. We arrived around 10:00 pm I think.

As soon as we walked in the door we were hit with the smell of natural gas.We figured it was the new water heater and went down to test it with soapy water. As soon as we sprayed the pipes there were bubbles everywhere. So they came back to fix the pipes. After he left I thought, "what the hay" and decided to spray the old pipes around the meter. As soon as I did that huge bubbles formed. I ran upstairs as fast as I could and called the gas company. Then I called my Mother-in-Love and asked her if we could come over for the. After I left with the children a worker from the gas company came by to test (Beloved stayed home to wait on the worker). We obviously had major leaks in the house and he also tested the line coming to the meter from the main line at the road. It also had major leaks that they needed to fix. So I came back to pick up Beloved about 1:30 am to take him back to his parents house. Turning off the gas meant no heat in the house and it was a cold night.

Tuesday the gas company came out and dug up a large portion of our side yard and put in a new pipe and new meters (for the house and apartment).Then we played phone tag for the majority of the day trying to find a plumber that did pipe work to come out and run new pipes in the house. We were finally able to get someone here in the late afternoon. He ran the new pipes and then the gas company came back out to turn the gas back on to the home. Of course the new water heater wouldn't relight so the guy that ran the new pipes in the house came back out to help us get it lit. So we were finally back in our home around 10:00 pm Tuesday night. 

Wednesday we were happy to be home. Nothing major was going on. Just trying to get caught up on laundry. But when they hooked up the water lines to the washer they switched them. So I had to work to change the hoses on the back of the washer. Not a huge deal just and inconvenience. But the cold water valve is leaking a little bit now. So it's going to have to be replaced. Anyway, when the washer started draining I noticed a gurgling noise coming from the kitchen sink. I remember that noise from a year ago. So I immediately call Roto-Rooter to see about having someone come out. Usually someone is able to come out the same day. Not so for me. They couldn't come out until the next day. So, to prevent a mess like we had last year I needed to stay out of the house. 5 people needing to use the restroom with a clogged drain is never a good thing.

But remember, Beloved had the van because his car had to be towed to his sister's. So I call my Father-in-Love again and ask if we can stay at their house again and he would have to pick the children and me up. Surprisingly (figured he would quit returning my calls. ;-) he came and got all of us and Beloved just met us there. When we went to church that evening a wonderful family offered the use of the pick-up truck until we could figure out what we were going to do about the car. What a blessing! This means that I can have a car to run errands during the day and can still take the children to the homeschool co-op!

So, on to Thursday. They were running behind but Roto-Rooter was finally able to make it out. He left around 1:30 pm and he had cleared the drain line the best he could. There was something still in there blocking it. So an inspector has to come out with a camera to see what exactly is blocking it. I am not looking forward to finding out how much work has to be done. But it will be nice to know what we are in for and can hopefully prevent this in the future.

Finally, today (Friday). I woke up late and had to rush around getting the children ready for our co-op classes this morning. But first I had to run by the bank. And wouldn't you know it....the teller shorted me $20!!!! So I had to go all the way back around (one way streets) and get back in line. Then to prove she shorted me she had to count down her drawer. So I was running late to begin with and this just made it worse. But we made it to co-op and everyone had a good day. So I am going to head to bed now and get some rest. There are still some things that need taken care of, but my family is safe and that is what's important. 

It was a very rough week, but God provided in so many different ways. Every person (from the tow truck driver to the plumber) were all very nice people to deal with and somehow we were able to pay for all the expenses. We can't afford anything anytime soon, but we somehow had enough funds to cover everything. Praise the Lord! So that's the story of my week. I am actually praying for a boring weekend. HaHa...I know...it seems crazy. I guess it won't be to boring. We are renting a dolly (or whatever it's called) to tow Beloved's car back into town and it's just going to have to set in the driveway until we can figure something out.

I pray that you all have a great and uneventful weekend! ;-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet E

I can't believe it. It's almost impossible to believe that Sweet E went from this.......to.......
1 week old

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old

5 years old

5 1/2 years old
 this. She has grown up so much! Happy 6th Birthday Sweetie! I love you so much. God has blessed our family by giving you to us. You are growing up into such a beautiful, sweet little lady. :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Finally Did It!

I finally made my own vanilla! I had the supplies for a couple of weeks, but I had a hard time getting the pickle smell out of the jar lid. But I finally figured it out. I boiled the lid with some baking soda for a little bit. Then added lemon juice. After boiling it for a while I but it into a plastic bag with some activated charcoal. The next day...no pickle smell! So I could finally get started on making the vanilla. I used the instructions from Heavenly Homemakers. I purchased a pound of vanilla beans from Olive Nation with the discount code from Heavenly Homemakers. 
I cut 80 beans to put into the gallon jar.
Then I poured a gallon of vodka into the jar.
After 6 months I will have a gallon and a half of pure vanilla!

I didn't have a half gallon jar so I just used the vodka bottle. I had poured a little of it into the gallon jar and had room to add 40 beans. I had 120 beans. The exact amount called for ...for a gallon and a half. Not that it would matter if I was a few under or over. I know that this is a TON of vanilla but I am hoping to sell some to Beloved's coworkers and have extra for gifts. :-) I will let you know how it is in 6 months!