Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Obedient Octopus

This little idea came from one of my favorite books, 1001 WAYS TO INTRODUCE YOUR CHILD TO GOD by Kathie Reimer.  I've loved this book for many years.  It's chock full of great ideas!

Each time she obeys she will get to put a star on the octopus.  After all of the arms are covered in stars she will get to choose to go out for ice cream or go to the Dollar Tree and pick out a treat.  Such fun, and a helpful way to remind her to obey.

  • I obeyed my daddy's words.
  • I obeyed my mommy's words.
  • I obeyed Jesus by being kind.
  • I obeyed Jesus by praying.
  • I obeyed Jesus by sharing.
  • I obeyed by doing my work.

Ephesians 6:1  Children, obey your parents the way the Lord wants.  This is the right thing to do.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Good Morning!

Monday morning, that is.

How's your Monday looking?

Mine's a monster!

I just read a facebook status that said, "I hate Mondays".  I get that.  I don't hate Mondays though.  I usually like the fresh start of a new week.  I usually like setting out my plans and contemplating all of the things I want to accomplish.  I usually look forward to trying to get more done than the week before.  Usually.

Today's a little different however.  I just looked at the family calendar for this week and nearly fainted.  Not only is there something (several things actually) written on every square, but I've even managed to double book.  There's a lot of school work to do, and a couple of optometrist appointments and several soccer games, a hair appointment, co-op day, a field trip, a party, an appointment for a physical, and a Good Friday communion service, among other things.  

I don't have our Easter menu planned or any of the food purchased yet.  Not only that, but I haven't gotten any of the clothes ready for Easter weekend except the pretty little dresses my mother-in-law sent for the girls.  Everyone needs shoes and so forth and since we've been stuck in a really long winter we haven't seen any pastel clothing in forever.  There are baskets to fill and groceries to buy, food to cook, a house to clean, errands to run, appointments, and oh yes...eggs to color.  We're reading a special Easter book this week too and believe it or not we really have to work at making the time to do that each day.  Easter really is about the cross, our Savior, His Resurrection and the grace of God!  It's not about clothes and shoes and eggs, of course.  We just have our special traditions that go along with this holiday and I'd like to work everything in this week.

I don't plan on letting this Monday intimidate me.  I've decided what I'm going to do.  Here's my list of how to survive a little too busy week.

  • Take time to pray.
  • Concentrate on one day at a time, one thing at a time.
  • Use the timer for cleaning jobs.
  • Make lists and enjoy the good feeling of crossing things off.
  • Go to bed at a decent hour and get up early.
  • Get everyone to help.
  • Stay calm.
If I can stick to this list we will not only survive the week, but it will be a great one.  I hope you'll have a great week too.  Make it cozy!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A little heads up...

What do you think of my Eastery background??  I'm still trying to decide if I like it.  Easter is just over a week away!

I entered into a little agreement today with Google to allow advertising on my blog.  I'm not completely sure how this is going to go, which is why I wanted to give you the heads up.  I can't see just yet how much control I am going to have over what gets advertised.  We will have to figure the kinks before I decide whether or not I'm going to remain in this agreement.  In the meantime if you see something advertised that you think I wouldn't endorse, I probably didn't.  If you see an ad you are concerned about please send me an email or leave a comment and let me know.  I'm going to be watching very carefully but I don't have time to camp out at my blog all day and it's a little concerning to me to give up any control.  :)

Thanks friends!  Here's my email if you need it...  - there are 8 of us now, have been for three years, but we just haven't ever changed our email.  Poor # 8,  hahaha.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Motherhood is Hard - Press On with Eternal Perspective

Today I sat down with my laptop and pulled up my blog for the first time in almost a week.  I have so many things I'd like to write about but such little time.  I noticed when I logged in I had 30 posts in my drafts.  I was surprised to find 30 different posts started, but never published.  That's a lot!  I saw this one from a year ago and decided to click on it and see what it was all about.  It seemed fitting to publish today. Apparently I was preaching to myself and right now I could use a little bit of that.  

Motherhood is hard.  Anyone who tells you differently is wrong.  And really, who would tell you that?

Motherhood is a lot of work, super rewarding, but a lot of work.

I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything in the world.  Ever.  Even on the hardest days.

Right now my house is a total disaster and there are dishes in my sink.  I just changed a stinky diaper.  My laundry pile is high.  My to-be-folded pile is higher.  And there are dozens of items waiting to be ironed.  I've been up since 6:30 a.m. yet I'm still in my pajamas.  I've already seen two boys out the door to work, loaded up one sick boy with ibuprofen and reminded a whiner not to whine...numerous times.  Yesterday we conquered three appointments (two being to the cavities!).  Today we must reload our food supply as it is empty again and make a couple more appointments.  Sunday at church I left the service just in time for my toddler to puke outside the church doors.  I let the kids eat pizza again last night and I'm feeling guilty about that.  I have not one clean bathroom.  In the last week we've visited the pediatrician, eye doctor, and dentist.  We've managed to work in some school and a field trip.  We are practicing music, practicing kindness, and I am currently practicing not yelling (see THIS).

Motherhood is hard.  Did I already say that?

If you work each day taking care of your children and your husband and your family you will be tired, and sometimes you might be overwhelmed.  When you're working every day in the trenches of motherhood you may think you are not making a difference for eternity but YOU ARE.  Rocking babies, folding the laundry, teaching children to read and putting dinner on the table is important work and don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

A while back I received a series of anonymous comments full of false accusations and lots of insults.  My husband and I were accused of having too many children and having them too young (we were 23 and 24 when we had our first child by the way).  Sometimes the comments that have been written to me get down in my heart and hurt my soul.  I have to go to God in prayer on the hard days and ask Him to help my heart.  I have to search the scriptures for truth when the voices of the naysayers are pouring into my inbox and my mind.  Can I just take a moment and encourage you to do the same?  When things get you down and your mind gets muddled up - go to God, and to His word.  His word is truth.

I'm an imperfect mother.  I'm trying really hard but I make a lot of mistakes.  Here's what I know:  When I mess up I can ask for forgiveness.  My mistakes offer me an opportunity to tell my kids of God's forgiveness and  point them to Jesus.  We can read the bible together and pray for each other.  We are a family full of sinners and we all know it.  We live and grow by God's grace - and as the years go by I see glimpses of fruit.  Thank you, Lord!

If you are overwhelmed, as I am sometimes, stop and pray.  Know that patiently teaching your children will yield far better results than a clean house.  When other voices come in telling you something contrary to the word of God, go back to the bible.  Children are a gift from God.  The fruit of the womb is a REWARD.  When you feel like you just can't get mothering right, remember that God gave your children to you and He will supply all that you need to be their mother.  Don't give up.  Don't throw in the towel.  Each day you can plant seeds for eternity.  Keep loving and forgiving and teaching and praying.  Some days will be hard, really hard.  Ask God for the help you need.  A mother's love and hard work are invaluable in the life of a child. Point your children to Jesus.  The laundry and the cleaning and the cooking and the errands have to be done, but don't lose sight of your real purpose.  Glorify God by loving your children and shaping their hearts for eternity.

Motherhood is hard, but so is anything worth doing right.  Press on with eternal perspective.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yummy (and easy) Homemade Donuts


1 roll biscuits
vegetable oil

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Oil should be 1 1/2 inches deep.  Cut donut holes out of center of biscuit dough.

 If you don't have a pastry cutter a frosting tip works well.

 Fry donuts until golden brown on one side ( 1 1/2 to 2 minutes).

 Use chopsticks or two wooden spoons to turn donuts.  Fry an additional 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown.

  Transfer donuts to a plate lined with paper towels.

 Mix up glaze ingredients in large bowl.  Allow donuts to cool for a couple of minutes, then dip in glaze.  Serve warm.  Yummy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Spring Decorating


I am sooo glad Spring is here!  Aren't you???  It's a beautiful, sunny day here in my neck of the woods.  I've had the pleasure of being outside several times today and it's so warm it makes me smile!

On that exciting note, I have a few Spring decorating pictures to share.  I've done only a bit of decorating, as we have been superdy duperdy busy, but I will show you what I've got.  I would love to see/hear what you are doing to usher in springtime too.  Feel free to leave links in my comment section or slide some pictures into my inbox.

(About that "super duper busy" thing...
I haven't had near the time to write that I would prefer.  I'm trying to keep things in proper order - My honey, my kids, our home, our school.  You know, clean underwear for my family and food on the table comes before blogging and that sort of thing.  So, if something is going to get neglected, it's my blog.  If you're checking here for new posts just know that spring is usually a busier time for me and I will get back to regular blogging soon.)

Here are a few shots of my Spring spruce up.

I've always thought it terribly difficult to decorate around electronics.  I hate the way electronics look with primitive decorating but they are a necessary evil, I suppose.

I had planned on making a banner, and had even purchased all my supplies, then I found this one.  I loved it so much I decided to put my banner making plans on hold.

I've been wanting to do a Peeps craft ever since one of my friends did this one a couple of years ago.  I put mine together the other day and it was pretty fun.  Eventually I will let the kids eat it, but for now it's just so fun to look at.

I've shown you this area by our front door in other decorating posts.  I change out the decor frequently.  It's the perfect little corner to put holiday goodies in.

The thing you see on the middle shelf is my bunny train.  I've had it for 20 years and the kids love it.  Every car on the train opens up, even the caboose.

This hutch sits in our family room and serves many different purposes throughout the year.  For right now I've got a bunny tucked in one corner and Easter books ready for reading at the other end.

Speaking of Easter books, here are some of our favorites.  All of these we've had for a long time.  We enjoy getting out our box of Easter books every Spring and re-reading our favorites.

And, every year we take a look at our Resurrection Eggs.  We've had these for close to 20 years also and we adore them.  It's one of our most loved traditions.

The girls and I made this little Easter tree for their bedroom.  It sits on their dresser and is bright and cheerful.  We simply hung plastic eggs with fishing line on a little tree I picked up on clearance.

I've just started to work on our front porch.  These cute little bunnies sit on a bench near the door and the wreath is one I made last year.

These last two pictures have nothing to do with Easter really.  They are just some new additions to my porch.  I'm showing them to you because (a) I love them and (b) to remind you that you can inexpensively add a little spring spruce up to your porch too!  Both of these items were under $20.  Little things can make a big difference especially on your front porch/door area where you greet your guests.  With each change of season I like to add a little something different to liven things up.  It's nice to hang a wreath on the door or to change out the welcome mat.  A good sweep and clean is always nice too.  Add a little something new to your front porch and see how it makes that area feel.  By the way, the rug is from Kirkland's and I believe it was $10.99.  The mail drop is from Hobby Lobby and if I remember correctly was $5.99.  See what I mean?  Cheap and easy, just the way I like it!

Happy Spring decorating!  Please send me photos of YOUR latest projects.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eli's NASCAR Birthday

I'm still planning to finish up the Avoiding Burnout series, tell you why my No Yelling Challenge was a fail, and show you my Spring mantle, but for today, I have pictures of Eli's 12th birthday to share.  (How can my baby boy be 12?  It doesn't even seem possible!)

Eli is NASCAR crazy right now so we took him to the NASCAR Speedpark to celebrate turning 12.  We stayed there for 10 hours.  Yes we did.  At least I left there knowing we got our money's worth (we also left there sunburned, sore, and tired - that too).

We did a little more celebrating the next day at our house on his actual birth date.  Keeping with the NASCAR theme, here's what we did.

The girls and I decorated the dining room.

Our NASCAR themed menu, as chosen by Eli, consisted of chili dogs, chips, carrot sticks, and pickles.

And of course, cake and ice-cream!

Happy Birthday, Eli!  We love you so much!!


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