Thursday, August 30, 2012

THANK YOU ALL for Motivation!

Well, I am happy to say that I spent all evening working on an article for the blog that was so good that I submitted it to  But, legally, I now can't share it with you until it is published and or rejected.  So, thank you all  for encouraging me to keep on writing.  I am no longer feeling HELD BACK (see article). Hopefully, I will continue to grow in this area because I know God has a plan for me and he's not finished with me by any means!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Surrounded by what?

I've been watching a heated discussion on Facebook.  It is all about homeschooling vs. public school- what we teach our kids etc.  It is interesting to watch everyone's ideas and perspectives on this topic.  Some feel lead to home school - others do not and that's ok.  There are great families out there that send their kids to public school.  And, I see rotten attitudes from kids in all realms.

The truth of the matter is, how hard are you working at the goals you have for your family?  What are your goals?  Do you have any?  What do you want your child to look like (attitudinal) when they are adults?  Have you even thought about it?  I personally do not have a list- although maybe I should.  But, I know what I want in my kids and try very hard to get there.

For example: I do not want kids who talk back to adults.  I want to have kids who are compassionate, generous, helpful, etc. I want my kids to reach out- be service oriented.  I don't always achieve these things in my children, but that is my goal.  For me, my goals did not line up with Public school.  They don't teach these things in school so, I need to.  Unfortunately, I've seen way too many kids bring home the bad habits of other kids not the good ones.

I would love that my kids turn out to be huge brainiacs too, but we will see in the future how that turns out.

Friends are another huge factor!  With whom does your child spend the most time?  Who is over at your house?  If there is a child that is bringing detrimental attitudes into our home, we stop having them over or take a break.  If a child has to take a break (for a few months)- I do suggest trying them again when they are older.  Maturity can definitely help a child to know what you expect in your home.

So, I suggest to you that if you struggle with a decision to do public/homeschool/private think about your goals.  How do your goals line up with the choices available?  What do you want your child to look like as an adult?  And, with whom should you surround yourself and your children? And, above all else, PRAY.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Buried under the pile

There is a pile of stuff in a basket and bag on the floor.  It's been piling up for the past 6 months.  Papers that come in the house (not mail- hubby takes care of that), books, little toys, recipes, coupons, uno, and even some clean toothbrushes from the dentist are all in attendance.  

I can't take it any longer.  I have tried may systems over the years to "get organized".  Either they are all failures or I am.  I'd like to say that they are the failures but in all honesty, I am the loser!   I can't seem to stay consistent in the cleaning realm.  I don't like it, and I do it all day long!

I like change.  I don't like to eat the same things over and over again.  I've even tried systems where I clean the same things on every monday...etc.  I cannot be put into a box!  I am a free spirit!  So, I guess the organization will forever allude me until you post your wonderful ideas and ways to fix my homemaking wanderlust.  HAHA!  Good luck- we need ideas here!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Work Ethic Window

We personally know a college kid in our neighborhood who has not lifted a finger at all this summer to help his family in the care of the house/yard.  He plays on the computer all day, he finally got his first summer job  (he's 21), and still does not have his driver's licence.  He has all his needs met and lots more.  He is a product of a society that encourages young adults to "live it up" and enjoy life as much as possible.

His parents love him with all their hearts, and they were doing what they thought was best for him.  They gave him everything he ever needed, and they did everything for him.  That is how a lot of people show love to their kids- but is it truly loving?  And, the father mentions frequently, if I could only do it again....I would've  done things differently.

A lifestyle like the one aforementioned, has actually been very detrimental and harmful to him.  He was scared to call people for jobs and he struggled in interviews because he didn't have the confidence to speak for himself.  He had no hard work ethic to draw upon.  He was even scared to be alone for a few days this summer when his family went away on vacation once he got his job.  

This was a huge summer of growth for him. He got his permit, he finally landed a job, he managed to not starve when his family was gone, and he had to learn what it meant to work.  He truly made huge strides.  But, how painful for him at the age of 21 to have to learn all this the hard way!  

Wouldn't it have been easier had he learned to work at a young age?  Wouldn't it have been easier for him in the long run, to work for what he wanted, gain confidence in his abilities, and win respect of adults who could then act as references for him when trying to secure a job?

I am starting to believe that there is a Work Ethic Window time in every kid's life where, if you take advantage of teaching them to work hard and diligently, they won't have to tough it out, the hard way, later in life when the process is so much more painful.  Is it easy?  No, teaching our son to mow a lawn with just a couple breaks has taken us all summer.  There have been complaints and there has been whining.  But, he now has pride in his accomplishments, some money to learn to manage, and he has gained the respect of adults who can then act as references for him.

Look for the window when your child wants to be trusted with responsibility, earn money, and has the desire to prove themselves.  Hitting the window at the right time and lots of prayer, may be the key to a young person's good work ethic.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Persistence Payout

Our oldest son has been mowing our lawn for 2 years now and is enjoying a little extra pocket change.  He's only 11 years old but is very responsible and creepily careful.

We've taught him everything he needs to know to mow safely.  Yet, no one wanted to hire him.  They were too scared to have a young kid like him mow their lawn for fear of him losing his limbs or that he would etch an alien mother ship pattern into their grass.

It was our rule that he stay within our eyesight and only mow level lawns this year.  That limited him to a total of 7 options.  Even though people had expressed their apprehension, I encouraged him to make his own flyer and hand it out anyway.  We made a flyer and practiced what he would say when he handed them the flyer. What person is gonna hire a kid when his mommy knocks on the door and speaks for him right?

The house across the street was for sale and the owner only showed up on the weekends.  He came back only to mow.  Our son saw his opportunity-after I coached him along.  But he had to wait to catch the guy at home.  He could hand over a flyer and offer to mow, so he could free up his time.  It took two weeks before our young man finally connected with the owner, because of his weekly absence.  When he finally caught the owner at homer, our son ran across the street to hand him a flyer.  He set his price at 15-20 dollars, telling him he could pay whichever he felt was a decent amount.  He accepted, and our son had his first mowing job!

There are some kids that should never be allowed the responsibility of mowing the lawn, for lack of proper fear of power equipment.  No one seemed to want to be the one to hire an 11year old because they were afraid that he might be one of those kids.  But our neighbor stepped out on a limb, in faith, and trusted.  After that, another neighbor hired him to mow when he went on vacation. And another, one of the most hesitant ones, is having him mow every week.  Last week, he was asked to help a lady 5-6 streets away pick up all of her hedge trimmings.  Our son is already more than halfway to earning the money for a tablet computer- and he has set aside over 30 dollars in savings and set aside his tithe.

Sometimes all it takes is one person to give you chance and believe in you.  If it weren't for the guy across the street, our kiddo might still be twiddling his thumbs this summer.  We have watched our son grow in leaps and bounds this summer because he was persistent to find the one person who would give him a chance to prove himself.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


We will be very busy the next few days.  But, as I spend time with the kiddos and have lots of fun, check out these pictures that we took today at a conservatory/gardens place.  BEAUTIFUL!  Did I mention, I like to take pictures too?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Licking Armpits- sad but true

Yes you read it correctly.  Yes, it says armpits and licking the same sentence.  And, yes, my whole household has lost it.  I think it's time for school to start.

So, I am sure you're wondering what this is all about.  Read carefully, because we don't want to lose you on this sad, pathetic display of boyhood!

We were sitting at the dinner table (which is a wonderful place for discussions like this- gross!).  I was being playful, obviously not a good first step.  I leaned over and put my mouth on one of the boy's arms-pretending he was dinner- exclaiming, "you taste salty!"  Immediately, all four kids put their arms in their mouths to see just how much salt is on their skin.  (ASIDE: a friend of mine told me the salt thing is a myth- but I digress)

It was cute, all four kids even the girl- and the laughter that ensued was contagious.  Well, I am sure you can already guess how we got to the next step.  One of the boys (which will remain nameless) said, "Hey I bet my armpit is salty!"  He then proceeds to try to lick his armpit.  Yes, he did!  Out of the corner I could see the other three about to do the same.

Everything after that was a blur of laughter and confusion because I got up from my chair screaming and running away.....they actually came running after me trying to do it more to gross me out.  I locked myself in the bathroom till I could control my laughter and my thoughts of them never ever getting married one day.  They stood outside the bathroom laughing till Daddy sent them all back to the table to get themselves under control.  Seriously, we are definitely a crazy bunch but this is not normal behavior to chase mommy and freak her out!

It made me think about when they get older- and the way we might have to deal with the BIG teenage issues.  I may be off the mark here, so please just read this as a maybe or probably statement.   But, I believe that the more we make a big deal out of something or freak out about their decisions, the more they'll want to do that thing.  That's our human nature anyway.  That's why we need to teach them calmly, all along, about the dangers, decisions, and the things they will face.  So that they can make informed decisions.  And, hopefully stay out of danger.  I know they will all make decisions that I won't be happy with. But hopefully, I can hold it together and not run and lock myself in the bathroom.

Unfortunately, I overlooked teaching them NOT TO LICK THEIR ARMPITS AT THE DINNER TABLE.  I mean really, did you think to teach your kids that?  HAHA!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Bad things happen to good people.  There's no denying that.  But, we live in a fallen world-so fallen it will be, until all is made right.  My heart breaks for those suffering of no doing of their own.  It does happen, and it is so sad.  

I see others, though, in the midst of a mud pie of their own making and they want to blame everyone and everything else.  There are guidelines laid out for our lives.  Guidelines that tell us what we should and shouldn't do.  They're in the Bible. They are not suggestions, they are laws- like the law of gravity. It's tried and true.  The rules are an If : Then statement.  The results are guaranteed.  God doesn't give us these rules to stomp on our fun.  It's so that he can protect us from getting harmed.  

Yet time and time again, we turn our backs, thinking we know better and make our own choices- not caring about the consequences of OUR choices.  Where does it lead?  It leads to our very own, personalized, mud pie.  We chose it for ourselves.

Do you find yourself in a mud pie of your own making?  Don't pout and fling the mud in any direction to get it to stick.  Pick yourself up, clean yourself off, read your Bible and learn about the rules set out for our lives.  Do the right things and trust God to help you.  And, stop making the choices that continue to throw you back into the puddle.  We are all sinners and make mistakes but, we should strive to do the right things.  You are beautiful- made in God's image.  The last thing He wants is for you to wallow in the mud.  So, look up, ask for his help to get you out of the mess.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Laundry part 2

Confession #2- I don't have it all together!  My friends could tell you all about it.

Sitting at the computer, typing yet another entry, I have something looming over my shoulder.  In the other room, I have a increasingly mounting blob called my laundry pile.  It is very clean and very happy on that love seat in the family room.  After I am done here, I will go in to the mountain and try to tackle it.

The boys help to process the laundry.  Every day, (SEE THE Chore Chart) one of the kids brings down the dirty laundry, puts it into the washer, and pulls out the dry laundry and places it on the loveseat.  There it sits till I get a chance to fold it.

The helpful thing that I can pass along is the idea of having a separate laundry basket for each person.  As I fold, I put the laundry in the appropriate basket and then the basket gets hauled upstairs.  I actually will place the folded clothes on the floor in front of my children's dresser so I can have the basket back.  The boys will put away their laundry using the labeled drawers to match the labels on the clothes (see Laundry part 1).   I then REPEAT the whole thing a couple/few days later.

One more thing, if someone puts their dirty laundry in the wash inside out, I fold it that way.  Why go through all the extra work of turning their clothes right side out.....cuz guess who has to fix it if they want to wear it?  Hee Hee!

I have let go the notion of having a perfectly clean house with 4 kids.  If you come to my house unexpectedly, you'll see the love seat in it's many stages of laundry processing.  It's ok to not have everything tucked away and hidden all the time.  That's life!  Enjoy it and get the laundry done when you can.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Held Back

It's amazing how a mom can be sitting on a wealth of talent, yet feel so useless.  I suffer from that often.  I love to write, craft, read, sing, and cook.  I am better at some than others, but there is definitely potential.

I glance around to see what other moms/women are accomplishing, and I feel so inferior. They are doing so much more than I could ever do with 4 kids in tow.  It's not just the kids though,I think it's also a mental block.  If I get encouragement in an area, I move forward.  If someone makes even the slightest negative comment about it, I am discouraged against trying that specific venture.

For example, Last Summer I submitted an article to MOPS international for their magazine.  I submitted it and was published! This was my first article ever submitted and it was accepted!
I was ecstatic! Who wouldn't be?  I submitted a second article and it didn't fit their needs.  So, I gave up.  Really?  Am I that fragile?

I raise my kids the way I think is right, I home-school without a care what other people think yet I am so susceptible when I try to step out in a new direction.

Last Summer, I started making hair very pretty hair bows for little girls.  I got some great feedback from friends and sold a few.  But, as soon as I discovered that they didn't sell in a salon, I gave up.  I am trying them at a craft show this fall so you can follow my progress through here.

I need to move forward in confidence because God gave me these talents for a reason.  But, if all else fails, I need to remember that I am investing my time in my children.  This is an investment that will not come back void and will affect generations to come.  So, if you're feeling like your spinning your wheels and your only contribution to this world is dishes and laundry, you're wrong! Your investment is those kids and if you get anything else on top of that, it's a bonus!  See the published article HERE

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Dancing Shoes

He was a strong man who found joy in lots of things.  He loved hunting, joking around, watching football, farming, business ventures, his family, and his church.  People loved him for who he was and what he stood for.  He truly was an image of strength and hope.

Today he is laying in a bed, gaunt, with a fraction of the strength he once had.  He is fighting for his life.  Extremities swollen, he struggles for breath.  With every ounce of energy, he opens his eyes ever so slightly.  It is not apparent that he recognizes the people or anything going on around him.  He's always been a fighter but there's only so much a body can take.  A battle with Parkinson's has claimed several years of his life.  And, his recent fall has caused him much trauma.  His immediate family said that it's only a matter of time.

He isn't a close relative. He is my mom's cousin.  But, he holds a dear spot in my heart.  Maybe it's because when I was a child he was happy to see me.  He truly cared about my comings and goings.  He played with me- and isn't that what any child wants?

Watching him fight to do what we take for granted (breathing) brought tears to my eyes.  Silently, I sat and cried without sound, holding his hand.  His daughter looked at us and said, "He's getting a new pair of dancing shoes."  It's so true!  He's given his life to God and asked Jesus to be in control.  He's asked for forgiveness....that's all he needed to do.   Now this man, who is a shell of his former self, is waiting for his appointed time his time to reach Heaven. That's when he'll get his new dancing shoes.

We love you and will miss you when you go.  But, we know that you will be dancing in Heaven waiting for all those who are to follow.  xoxoxoxxoxox!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Homeschooling Independence

I am in no way a homeschooling expert.  I was a music teacher for 3 years before I became a SAHM.  Our two oldest children went to private school until last year when we needed to find a schooling option for our oldest son.  He has been home-schooled for the past year and has been enjoying it thus far.

Our son learned a lot of independence in school and I wasn't about to lose ground on that front.  An independent child is a wonderful thing!  After talking to a veteran home-schooling mom, I derived my plan of attack.  The planner system.

Our son and I have matching planners (well, mine is purple and his is blue- but the guts are the same).  I take my planner on Sunday afternoons and fill it with all the stuff he is to accomplish for that week.  Then, on Monday morning, he copies all the assignments in his planner for the week.  This is not busywork!  This teaches responsibility, ownership, leadership and organization.....this is how:

For example, if I have to leave for a doctors appointment on Tuesday morning, I can say, "Get your planner,  the books you need, put it in a bag, and I will meet you in the van in 15 minutes."  No more detailed instructions, repeating myself, or forgetting anything.  He has gotten very good at collecting his things and keeping track of them because of this system.

Also, it affords him a measure of freedom.  I told him that he can accomplish his tasks in the order he sees fit.  He does have to accomplish everything in his day block by 2:30/ 3:00pm though.

 He may not want to do Math at the same time every day and now he doesn't have to.  He can do History first one day, and Reading the next.  It's his choice.  Once he completes a task, he crosses it out.  And, of course, I check up on him and correct his work.   There is accountability there too.

See a sample page of my planner below:

The planner system is probably only appropriate for 3rd grade and above.
Younger children may not be able to handle this level of responsibility. 
Note: this planner does not show his Basketball, Racket ball or other evening activities.

This system has also afforded me a level of freedom.  He will attack assignments and ask for help when needed.  Because of this system, I do not have to spoon feed everything to him.  

I hope this helps, gives you some ideas or just confirms what your doing is right for your family.  Either way, I wanted to share one of the things that worked for us last year....the planner system.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Experimenting on my kids

Ok, admit it, we all try new things out on our kids without their knowledge right?  Well, I am on a mission.  I have have two children that are "crunchy snackers".  They gravitate toward everything crunchy/salty for snacks.  They won't pick up fruit unless I make them.  They eat their vegetables on their plate only because they have to.  Now, is the appointed time.  The time for change! Thanks to pinterest and my love of surfing the web for creative ways to do practically anything, I stumbled upon a great idea.  Ready-made smoothie packs! is the site with the yummy idea. I will explain below:

I went to Aldi's (because I don't want this to cost a fortune) and bought
2 Avacados- $1.12 (1/4 of an avacado per bag)
4 bananas- ? cheap- (1/2 of a banana per bag)
a bag of spinach- $1.99
bag of frozen blueberries- $1.99
bag of frozen strawberries- $1.99
bag of frozen blueberries- $1.99

I divided all ingredients between 8 quart freezer bags.
Then the bags went into the freezer.

She then suggests to put a bag of ingredients into the food processor with 1 1/2 cups of milk, a tablespoon of flax meal, cinnamon, vanilla (a touch), and a Tablespoon of honey.

I now have breakfast for the next 7 days.  Hopefully, my kids will like it and I can add it into their diet too!
I'll let you know how it goes.  We're trying it tonight :-)
Here's another contest to check out.  The shoes look great and the blogger talks about how comfy they are. There are 6 days left on this one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I have two herniated disks in my back.  There are days when it takes me a hour to loosen up in the morning and there are days when I feel like my goal is to just get through the day.  I am not saying all this to complain, it's just to give you a "background history".

See, someone with a chronic issue can easily get lost in their pain and circumstances, because darn-it, it hurts. And a person can be in this situation for weeks, if not months.  I have had pain off and on for years.  But my pain has been on this time- since October, with little reprieve.  I am very thankful that about 2-3 weeks ago, I did something (who knows what??) that made my back pop!  I am now free of pain- for now.  :-) I have a break for which I am very thankful.  I didn't know how much longer I could take getting worse without any hope of feeling better.  I know full well that the pain can come back at any time.

I have felt so good that I have been able to reach beyond myself to help others.  I spent the morning making meals for a friend that is having physical issues herself.  That's what God wants us to do.  He wants us to be His hands and feet.  So, if you're feeling good right now, get out and help those that God put in your life.  If not, reach out to people and let them know you're hurting.
When we keep to ourselves about our hardships, no one knows what we're going through and when we keep our good times to ourselves we are not helping others.  I take my health for granted, I know that now.  Do you?  So get out there and Reach Out!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Redirect the Light

How many times have I had to tell my kids your attitude is your choice?  It has been my mantra lately.  One child might end up with less ice cream on their cone or may have 10 minutes less play time on the Wii.  Can you guess the attitude they might have?  The horrific tragedy is followed with whining, tears, or both in a huge  display of sadness.  Sound familiar at all?  Our kids are constantly comparing what the others have- and even though they gotten quite good about outward selfishness, I know there's still a tally going on up in their "brain filing cabinets".

Unfortunately, I have seen children wallow in a funk for hours.  Why have we as parents not been more quick to say, "yes, this stinks, I am sorry for you, but you need to snap out of it and be thankful for what you do have?"  I think it's hard for us to see when we're in the midst of it, and I think we as parents suffer from the same stuff and don't realize it.  I need God's strength, for I can not do this parenting thing alone.

We are surrounded by so many things... new cars, houses, items, electronic doohickeys, sports, activities etc...that we are hurried, frustrated, longing for more, working for more etc.  Isn't it the same as a child getting upset because they wanted the bigger cupcake?  They (because they are children) get caught up in the things that we think are so RIDICULOUS!  But, that's what we are doing too.  It's during these moments that I need to ask for God's help once again, to have the strength to see my weaknesses so that I might be a strong example for my children in Thankfulness.

So next time your child is lost in their funk and can't seem to see the light (over something completely trivial)- look at where you've been focused.  Redirect yourself so that God's light might bounce off you as a reflection of thankfulness to your child.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hair bow creations

I love to create.  I love to craft.  I have revved up my hair bow creations yet again.  I am looking for ways to market them and sell them without a huge cost in shipping materials and fees. I am very excited because a friend of mine wants to do a craft show with me.  I am not at a point where I would want to fork out a lot for a craft table.  So, if you have any wonderful ideas for me, to help out my family with additional income, doing the things I love to do, let me know.

Each one is completely different and a work of art.

The Laundry Part 1- "the helper"

CONFESSION #1 - I have tried all these ideas at one point in time and they have helped me through a phase of life where I needed it. I do not do all of these at the same time nor do I use these forever.  I would go crazy if I did.  I am a creature of perpetual change and so I like to switch things up a lot.  

I love that my hubby helps around the house!  He's willing and able to do things if I ask, for the most part.  Sorting the laundry, however, was not his strong point.  With three boys, we had a mountain of boy clothes, tons of stained socks and lots of various sized tighty-whities!  Whenever hubby would sort the laundry, the boys would yell from their room constantly, "These aren't my _________ (fill in the blank)".  This constant beckon call was creating more work for me than I bargained for.  I would trudge up the stairs, grab the item, figure out whose it was and then place it in the correct drawer.  

Needless to say, we could not continue on this way!  So, I called a friend who has six boys!  She must have an answer to the, "same gender- similar hiney size," problem.  She had the answer I was looking for! She suggested putting a single dot on each article of clothing for the biggest (oldest) child- on the tag.  She then said do two dots for the second child and three for the youngest.  When the kids outgrow those clothes, add a second dot to all the single dot clothes for the second child.....add a third dot to the double dot clothes for the third child. etc.... I hope that makes sense.

I took this method one step further because I labeled each drawer for the child so they knew exactly where to put the clothes.  Example :   B's shirts .  B's Pants.   (those periods are supposed to be dots- lame!)  

This way my kids had no excuse and could put things exactly where they need to go!   So, have fun with the laundry and let me know how it's going! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A well oiled machine 8/7/12

I was on a mission at the beginning of the summer.  I was looking for a chore charts for my kids.  There are no charts that fit my family- what I want accomplish and the skill level of my children.  It is quite frustrating.  And, unfortunately, no one wants to share their stuff for free.  So, here we are.  I give to you the chart I devised for my family.  

Having 4 kids can make your house look like a perpetual bomb testing site!   But, this summer, we  re-instituted the chore for money program :-) And, fortunately, I have been able to relax more and spend more time doing things I enjoy.  There are a lot of chores not listed on the chart- those are still mine to accomplish but I am thankful for this much needed break.  What method do you use for chores in your home?