Monthly Archives: January 2013

Bacon and Eggs, chocolate style!

A few weeks before Christmas I was talking to a friend on the phone and she was telling me how to make bacon and eggs out of chocolate and pretzels.  Well the next thing I knew she was on my door step with everything I need to make them! What a sweet friend.  James and I just did them today and it was fun. Below is a step by step picture of what happened:


First we had to sort the M &Ms so we could get all the yellow ones (for the yoke of course).  It took a bit for James to understand, but as you can see from the picture with the green candies he did get it! I as so proud!

Then we had to line up the pretzels to look like bacon strips. The second picture is what they looked like after James fell off his chair and bumped the wax paper on his way down. ha ha!



Then came the placing of the yolks


Cheering himself on:

The finished look! We even had one egg with 3 yokes! wow!


The very best part was all the great, unlimited chocolate eating!


It was the perfect thing to do on a cold, snowy day. Thank you Diane for the great idea and for all the ingredients! 😀


The back yard My bird feeder.

My breastfeeding story so far. :)

It sounds like I am going to be published! 😀  A lady is writing a book about breastfeeding and she wants my story! Below is what I sent to her. I am anxiously waiting for the book, which will come out this May some time! 🙂


Breastfeeding has been a part of my whole life. I’m the oldest of 7 kids, all of whom were breastfeed (most past 2 years old!). Plus all of my mom’s friends were super breastfeeding mothers; most of them had over 5 kids and never seemed to have any problems.  I was exposed to many boobies and babies. Fast forward 25 years and I’m the mommy to be, and after watching my mom effortlessly nurse my 6 younger siblings I thought, “No big deal”.  A few weeks before my first son was to be born a very nice woman from our church lent me two books on breastfeeding just. In the pages of those books I learned the truth: breastfeeding is not always easy, nor is it always a natural instinct between mommies and babies.  I worried a bit, but again I wasn’t starting from scratch, I had my mom, right? Not that it occurred to me that she was 4,000 miles away since I had moved to Hawaii to be with my in-listed husband.  But no worries, it can’t be that hard. My first son, James, was born at home and we didn’t have too much trouble at first. We had some latching on problems due to some inverted nipples, but my mid-wife guided me through that and we seemed to be home free. At a week and half my son started crying. Not a nice, gentle cry, that could be soothed and helped. But a cry that lasted all day, and sometimes at night. I was dumfounded on what to do. As the weeks went by slowly I got more info. My cousin over facebook told me that she gave up dairy products with one of her kids. My midwife also said it could be something I’m eating. My mom said google it. So I did.  I came across a website that gave detailed instructions on how to eliminate dairy from your diet.  10 long days later my son stopped the painful crying. Oh believe me, he still cried, but not that painful sad crying he did before.  Before I gave up dairy he couldn’t be soothed with breastfeeding, only eating as much as he could handle and then quitting. Slowly he started eating more at each meal.  Giving up dairy was totally worth it. I was dairy-free for 5 months, and partly-dairy free for another 6 months.  We developed a great bond breastfeeding once the dairy was gone, and I was sad when he weaned himself at 15 months.

            Fast forward again 19 months from my first born to my second son. This time, I thought, will be no problem. Surely I wouldn’t have to give up any food this time around. I mean, come on, my mom nursed 7 kids and never gave up anything!  So Gideon was also born at home although with a different mid wife since my hubby had left the Marine Corps and we had moved back to our home state. Nursing started out great, we had the first week of pain while the nipples toughen up, but it truly wasn’t that bad. Then at a month old I started having pain again. I’ll just wait it out, I thought. It’s probably from nursing at night or something. After about a week it got worse and worse, one of my nipples was cracked in 5 different places and every time my son latched on it would reopen those cracks. I was bright red on both sides, which I thought was weird but just kept with it. Finally I broke down; the pain was just too great.  I told my husband I was ready to quite, I told my mom I was ready to quite. I. had. had. enough. I would sit crying  holding my poor son (also crying) while I got up the nerve to latch him on. “Okay sweetie! Ready?? Mommy isn’t ready. Okay, ready? One, two, three! AWWWWWWW.” For some reason, yelling out loud really helped me, although this can be greatly disturbing to your little tyke. 🙂 So through my tears my mom tells me that it’s weird that I am having pain again. “Maybe something’s wrong,” she says “Have you googled anything? Maybe you have thrush”. Hummm, well okay. So I start googling again and thrush keeps coming up. So off we, my mom, me, my sister, and baby go, to the nursing consultant at the local hospital to see what she says. Turns out my mom was right, something was wrong and it was thrush.  Thrush is not fun, but you can beat it if you try hard enough. My son and I battled it for two months but finally got rid of it. Many thanks to all the home remides that people have put in their blogs and other places on the internet, couldn’t have done it without you. To make matters worse, Gideon also started a nightly crying of about 4 or 5 hours every evening. He did similar things as his older brother, pulling his legs up, lots of gas, and a very distressed look on his face. So I gave up dairy. After 3 weeks and there was no change, I was so discouraged.  I remembered all the research I did with James and sadly the next food to give up is wheat. I didn’t want to do that at all.   “It’s not fair,” I whined to my mom. “I hate breastfeeding.”  So guess what? I gave up wheat, and it made the biggest difference! All the crying stopped, and I had a happy baby again.
         The online breastfeeding support I have gotten has been invaluable.  I was clueless on how to eliminate all these foods from my diet. The blogs and websites other moms have taken time to write and organize is such a great source of info. My second son is 9 months now and I love breastfeeding.  It’s a great bonding experience and one that I would miss greatly if I had quit. So are you having problems? Do you want to quite? Been there, done that. My advice is skip the medical and doctor websites and read the mom blogs, and websites made by moms and mid-wives. You can have a GREAT breastfeeding experience if you really want it. Don’t give up, mommy!


By far the best website for milk allergy/sensitivities:

Other websites:  ;

And for Thrush:



~The Breastfeeding Book by Martha Sears, R.N. and William Sears, M.D.

~The New Bestfeeding: Getting breastfeeding right for you By Mary Renfrew, Chloe Fisher, and Suzanne Arms.

Christmas Letter 2012


Hi Family and Friends!

Here we are at Christmas time yet again! What does the time go? Since we didn’t send out a letter last year we have quite a bit to catch up on.

I am sure you all know we have moved back to Minnesota from Hawaii (facebook sure does help keep people posted doesn’t it???).  We have been back for two years now.  What a great two years we have had.  Our biggest news this year is the birth of our second son, Gideon Jonathan Penner! Here are some personal updates:

~Titus (26) is fulfilling his dream of being a dairy farmer. He has taken over the dairy from his dad for almost two years now. He does like it, but some times wonders if he wouldn’t like to do something else.  Titus does think about going back to college, on the G.I. Bill, but we haven’t taken the step yet (maybe in Colorado?). He also loves our big, white Ford truck that we drive. Rather a HUGE step up from the beater station wagon we drove in Hawaii! He loves theology and the high light of his year was going to Texas for the Free Grace conference in Dallas.

~Chantal (5 weeks younger the Titus) is also fulfilling her dream of being a wife and mother.  She loves being a stay at home mom. She loves having two sons so close in age (although it as NOT been easy!). In August due to one of Titus’ Military friends moving in with us she started meal planning for the first time. It has made such a difference! She also loves the new house we moved to this summer. It was kinda stressful (Gideon was only a month old), but the house is beautiful and we have so much more space. Please come visit us as she loves to entertain with such a pretty house now!

~James (2) is filling his little life with anything he can get his hands or mind on. He loves his baby brother (he calls him Dee Dee), Curious George, chocolate milk , and TRACTORS! We had a hard start with James as he cried all the time and he got 16 teeth in a year, but he is such a happy, fun little boy now. The highlight of the year for him was harvest since he was able to spend a lot of time with Daddy driving (I mean riding) the tractor and combine.

~Gideon (8 month) was born at home on April 4th 2012 at 10:45 in the morning. He was a big boy weighing in at 9 pounds 6 ounces! He loves his big brother, his pacifier, and nursing at night.  We also had a rough start as Mommy had to go on a strict diet, no dairy or wheat for a few month! But when Mommy did the hours and hours of crying i the evening finally stopped.  He has continued to grow faster then James. In November he was weighing 18 pounds already. James weighed 18 pounds at a year. Of course that might have more to due to the fact that he nursed EVERY hour and half during the night until recently (poor mommy!). He really wants to walk and eat animal crackers, but mommy said no, not yet to both of those. 🙂

~Dustin and Samantha Starweather moved in with us a few months ago. Titus and Dustin are Marine buddies and we hare helping them get back on their feet.  It is entertaining to hear the men sit around and complain about the military.  If anyone wants to be talked out of enlisting please come over and these guys will do just that! Ha ha  Samantha stays home with Chantal and Dustin is working in Jackson. They have plans to move to Jackson as soon as they can.

We hope you are all well and happy! Have a very Merry Christmas!

Love, Titus Chantal, James, and Gideon

Christmas Morning:

Christmas morning

The Christmas picture that was sent out with the letter:


Christmas 2012

As Christmas came and went this year I found myself dwelling on these verses:

Matthew 2:16-18

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

I can not even imagine what this must have been like.  I have two boys, two years and under.  If we had lived at this time both of my children would have been killed.  How would a mother ever get over that? So often I read over these verses knowing that Jesus and his family left and were safe.  But the longer I am a mother the more I notice stories like the one above.  It is a heart breaking story.  Full of sadness, and tears.  Just the thought of some military man coming in and slaying both my children gives me shivers.  My heart goes out to these mothers that lived so long ago.  I am so thankful to live in a safe country were my boys can grow up to become great men of God!


On a more positive note here are some pictures of Christmas.  This year again we had 4 Christmases: Our own little one at home, one with Titus’ parents and siblings, one with Grandma Penner, and one with Chantal’s parents and family.  It gets a little crazy, and my children have so many people to love them through presents it’s quite something!  But we are so very blessed to live here, to be so very close to family and to have all this time to spend with them.


New matching shoes! Opening presents Opening Presents Penner side Christmas Grandpa and James James and his cousins singing

The Great No Expectations

Before I became a wife and a mother I had expectations about what it would be like.  I thought our home would be filled with children laughter (and lots of children), that I would have a happy and healthy supper on the table every night, that Titus and I would work as a team in parenting…you get the idea.  In reality my story of being a mommy hasn’t been so flowery.  I love my children, and I feel as though I’ve grown as a person in being their mother.  But. it. is. exhausting!  Last week a dear friend and I were talking about the ins and outs of being mommies and wives.  I told her, for me, it comes down to having expectations.  If I expect my children to be happy, to go to bed on time, to play together nicely or eat what I put in front of them and this doesn’t happen I’m let down.  If I expect Titus to take pity on me and help me take a nap, or maybe wash the dishes or to like the supper I made 😉 and it doesn’t happen I am disappointed.  If I could learn to live my life with out any expectations I would be such a happy person! What would that look like?

~I didn’t sleep all night, no problem!

~Supper wasn’t any good, no problem!

~Because Titus is human and  doesn’t see that I’m starting to lose it big time, no problem!


But I think that as a person, one would lose a lot about life if we truly could learn to live with no expectations.  At certain times in our lives we must lower our expectations that is true. But to do without them completely? Well is that really what we want? In getting rid of all expectations it almost seems we would be getting rid of hope as well. And no one can live with out hope.  So while I might secretly hope that I might get 3 straight hours of sleep tonight, I’ve lowered my expectations to a reality level (I’ll be lucky to get 2!).

I need to learn to have expectations that are actually met half the time.  And when they aren’t met? Well I need to learn to let that roll off  and just go with the flow!

Nov 2012

Nov 2012