Saturday, December 26, 2009

A movie you've got to see!!

Gifted Hands- the story of Ben Carson.

We rented it from the Redbox. It is based on the book by the same name. Ben Carson is a pediatric brain surgeon who started out with learning problems. His single mom required that Ben and his brother go the extra mile in their schooling, and the world now sees the end result of all their hard work. I think we need to watch it every year, to remind us of the connection between hard work and making a difference in the world.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Black Light Show

Preparation for our kid's Christmas program was easy this year. We are repeating the same show we did last year. We had a one hour practice and we were ready. We had most of the props from the last performance. We didn't get to the point where everyone was sick of practicing. It was nice to give the kids and parents something to look forward to. One Mom is supposed to be coming and she has never been to church, even though her kids have been coming for two years. I am excited and praying that she makes it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Counting the Cost of Following Christ

One of the head rests in our van has a chunk of foam carved out of it. I have never seen a pocket knife in any of my kids' hands and none of my kids sat in that seat the time that it had to have happened. The person that was sitting there during that time was found with a pocket knife, but denies that he did it.

So why would we be spending time with a destructive, lying juvenile? Because that is what God has called us to do. I am not sure how we will handle the situation, but when I see the chunk of missing foam, I will pray for the boy. His salvation is more important than our van headrest.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

what's new?

What's new at my house?

Fallball- Levi and Mandi are playing baseball and Dick is coaching both teams.  We are at the ball field 5 or 6 days a week.

The Maker's Diet-  I went on the Maker's Diet.  The first three days were miserable.  Once I passed that hurdle, I loved the results.  Joint pain went away.   I had much more energy and positive outlook on life.  My skin cleared and no headaches.  Now I am on a modified version of the diet and it seems to be a good balance for me.

I love seeing Mandi's toothless grin.  She lost her top front tooth two days after she discovered it was loose.  She is a determined girl.

Grace has braces.  She is doing great for a girl with sensory integration issues.

For the first time since we started homeschooling, I have been writing lesson plans and chore plans for the kids.  We have been accomplishing more school and more chores are getting done.

I discovered it is frugal to clean your house.  We found the missing library book, several new socks, Mandi's missing favorite skort, shoes, and Olivia's favorite toys under Olivia's bed. Now I don't have to spend money to replace those items.

For the first time in my married life, I handed out candy on Halloween.  I have never wanted to celebrate Halloween, but decided to embrace the opportunity to connect with the kids in my neighborhood.  We gave out a Christian music cd, The Lads Band, to each family that came and had Christian music playing.  It was really fun and I am looking forward to next year.

I walked 4 1/2 miles in one day.  I heard my dad say that if you walked 3 miles, any stress you were feeling would go away.  I was having some unexplained anxiety, so I thought I would try it.  I decided to walk around the baseball field near my house.  I walked what I thought was 3 miles, but it was really 4 1/2.  I had a wonderful time with the Lord and most of the anxiety was lifted.  God gave me these two verses to stand on;

The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me Gal. 2:20

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of power and a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:17

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good Bye

 We took Rosie to the vet for the last time.  It was time to say goodbye.  The kids were ok with it because they had been around her long enough to know that we had done all that we could do.  I am thanking God that the kids enjoyed her so much the last year of her life.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Olivia swimming 2008

Olivia was 3 years old when this was taken.  Now  at 4 years old, she can swim the length of an Olympic size swimming pool and back,  thanks to Infant Swimming Research.  She started lessons at 13 months old. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

School this year

Here's what we are doing this year.


Bible- Children's Church memory verses
            Reading aloud portions that go with History 
            Grapevine studies (maybe later in the year)
            Studying morals and manners with the Book of Virtues

History-  The Mystery of History vl. 1 (finishing finally)

Geography- the Usborne Internet linked Children's atlas

Science- Great Science Adventures -The World of Light and Sound
                The Periodic Table of Elements- How to Teach Science Newsletter

Piano- I am teaching  them using Alfred's Teach Yourself to play Electronic Keyboard,  Musicademy Modern Worship for Keyboards, and Simply Music (I just ordered this and am anxious to try it out.)

Poetry-   Poetry memorization from Favorite Poems Old and New

Typing- Dance Mat Typing

Art- Art lessons at a local library, Creativity Express Computer game

Cooking-  Cooking class at the same local library

        Right now, my mom is working with Grace on her math and language.  She is using various books and curriculum.  Both my mom and I feel like this is going to be the year that Grace makes great advances in her learning!


Language Arts-  The Grammar Key  This is online and I love it!  

                             Spelling Workout 6th grade

                             Handwriting Without Tears 

                             Reading-  I am still deciding on this.  Right now I am assigning him science                                       reading and quizzing him for comprehension.

Math-  Rod and Staff 6th

Science-  Crime Scene Investigations  This is a curriculum meant for a classroom, so we will be                    adapting it.

                 Electronic Snap Circuits Student Guide ( Hands-on Program for Basic Electricity and                    Electronics)  So far, he loves this!


Language Arts-  Rod and Staff English  2 and 3

                             Handwriting without Tears

                             I am still looking for reading comprehension and vocabulary and/or spelling.

Math-  MEP mathematics 2nd and 3rd

I will be adding Wordly Wise or for vocabulary for Levi and Mandi.

Two fun learning games we have been playing are  Monopoly Jr (adding small numbers) and Totally Gross- The Science Game.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rosie injured her back while playing with the kids on July 7th.  Whe stayed at a friend's house for 3 weeks, then we brought her home.  When she came home, she was able to stand for about 30 seconds if we propped her up.  She would occaisionally move her legs and her tail.

Now, she can stand about 1 min.  We still have to prop her up and we are supposed to do it several times a day.

I did some research and found out that water therapy is very helpful for parylized dogs.  So we borrowed a horse feeding trough and have attempted therapy with her.  What we do is fill the container up just so that Rosie's back legs are extended, she is standing on her front legs,and her back is floating at a level position.  Then we entice her with treats to make her walk from one end of the container to the other, over and over.

The first day we did therapy, she shook her hind quarters for the first time.  She was shaking herself dry and I had only seen her shake the front part of her body before.  That was an encouraging sign.

We do have some concerns about Rosie.  One is that she has developed sores in several places from when she drags herself.  I put triple antibiotic cream on them, but they continually stay raw.  And I don't know that getting them wet from the therapy 2 a day is good for them.

I haven't seen Rosie move either leg in a while.  I don't know if she just doesn't want to, or if she can't.  I am concerned that one leg may be atrophying.  It just doesn't look right.  The other leg seems stronger.

Any ideas for the wounds or how to do the water therapy?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Olivia said...

"Mommy, what does it feel like to be a Mommy?"

After I told her she was  loud, she whispered, "Mommy, I'm not always loud."

When I was complaining about a boy leaving his things at our house and threatening to send it all to Good Will,  "Well, if it was his favorite, he wouldn't have left it here."

When we were discussing what time we would get up for school everyday, "We get up when we get up."

When I asked her about a book that she had checked out and the library said we had not returned it, she said this. " It is yellow and it is on the shelf at the library."   
And she was right!  It was!

I love talking to my 4 year old girl!!

Thanks for the Swagbucks!

To all of you who signed up for Swagbucks with my referral code, THANKS!  I will soon be able to get a $30 gift card for Target or Amazon.  I think I am going to wait until I get to $50 so I can get free shipping from Target.  

I think I will buy new bath towels since I have destroyed so many caring for Rosie.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Magic Kingdom

We had a great day, even though it was hot and crowded.  We rode most of the rides we wanted to , thanks to the fast passes and found air conditioning when we got too hot.  

I worked at this attraction 21 years ago.

I had a blast showing my kids where I used to work.  

Libby's Fun!

Levi's Favorite Ride

Our First Trip to Disney!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rosie Update

We are bringing Rosie home tomorrow.  She still can not walk, but is gaining strength in her legs.  She has moved her tail several times.  She has been to the vet twice a week and he is continuing to see improvement.  We still do not know exactly what happened ( we chose not to do x-rays), but the doctor says he has seen dogs snap out of this.  He says it might just take some time, like maybe 6 weeks.  It has been 3 weeks so far.

So we are bringing her home and this is what it means I will be doing (with some help from the kids).

-Lifting her up and positioning her on her hind legs several times a day.

-Helping her and cleaning up after her when she needs to go potty.  She has control, just can't get outside in time.

-Making sure she is clean and dry, giving her a bath every other day.  Checking for rubbed areas on her back legs and applying antibiotic ointment as needed.

-Letting her scoot on the carpeted porch and in the grass (doctor prescribed)

Thanks for the prayers.  I have hope that she will one day walk again.  She is happy and is glad to see us when we visit and sad when we leave.  I think she will be glad to be home.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We are praying for Rosie

 Our basset hound, Rosie, is paralyzed in her back  legs.  Last Tuesday, she was playing with the kids and did something to her back.  She immediately yelped in pain and went into shock.  She is on pain meds and is staying at a friends house.  They rescue animals and are used to dealing with sick animals .  We all miss her so much.  We are praying and waiting for  her healing and return to our house.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Vacation to Remember

I don't remember where we went or how old I was, and I don't think my parents had any idea the lesson that I was learning. We were on our way home, probably from my grandparents house.  I think I was around 10 years old.  I think we were on an interstate in Georgia when our car broke down.  I was excited.  I couldn't wait to see how God  would take care of us this time.   He had done it before, and  I knew He would that He would do it again.  I know we must have immediately started praying and here is how God answered.

At our last rest stop, my parents had met a Christian family that lived near our hometown.  They saw us on the side of the road and pulled over to help.  I was so excited that we would get to ride the rest of the way home in their conversion van.  They had kids that we got to play with the  rest of the way home, while mom and dad chatted with their parents.  I always remember that God worked it out for us to have the right people at the right place at the right time to make sure that we were protected and taken care of.  I never forgot that feeling of security and comfort from my Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I found a way to make money by doing what I am already doing everyday, searching the internet.  I signed up for Swagbucks and use it as my search engine.  The more I use it, the more points I get.  Then when I have enough points, I will go shopping in the Swagbucks store.  I am planning on getting either the Target or Amazon gift cards.  They are 45 points for $5 gift cards.  I am hoping to be able to redecorate my house with the gift cards.  Maybe not redecorate, but buy new towels or kitchen gadgets.

I have made Swagbucks my home page and taught everyone in the family to search with Swagbucks, even if they are just checking their email.

If you decide to join, click here.  I will get get bonus points if you join from my referral.

Thanks if you join, and I hope you get lots of points.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hillbilly Housewife

This week we are eating the $45 emergency menu from  There is no emergency in our household.  I just wanted to see how we would like the menu and if we could do it.  The $45 amount is really 2006 prices and now it is about $75.  But really it is less than that because she included items like salt and pepper and ketchup.

It is a weeks worth of beans and bread.  We are on day 5 and I have to say that the meals have been tasty and had variety.  I am shocked that all my kids have eaten all or most of their beans at every meal.  Last night we had creamed tuna over pasta, but only half of my family ate it.  
Everything is from scratch, so I have spent a little more time in the kitchen.  I made flour tortillas for the first time and they were delicious.  I also made skillet corn cakes for the first time.

We have not followed the menu exactly, but mostly.  We have eaten what we usually eaten for breakfast, but I did add a glass of orange juice every morning.  That has been a hit around here.  We added sausage to the beans one night because we had company and didn't want to give them just beans.

We also made the Magic Milkshake recipe that I found on the website.  It is like the Wendy's frosty and you make it without ice cream.  It was really tasty.

This is also the website that I used to learn how to make bread.  She has a beginner's bread recipe that is very easy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Surprised by My Kids

Yesterday, each one of my kids did something that surprised me.  When we first started homeschooling, I had a picture of what schooling would be like  at my house.  As the days turned into months, it was so hard not to get get discouraged.  My kids were no where near what I had envisioned.  

Years have gone by, and somehow, little by little, my kids are turning into the  students I had pictured in my mind. And yesterday, each one of them  took a big step in that direction.

It all started when we attempted our first lapbook.  I  have always loved the concept of lapbooking, but didn't think it would work in our house.  A class they are taking online, included a lapbook, so I decided to try one.

Well, first off, they were arguing who was going to do the cover, so I found out that they each wanted to do their own.  

Then, Levi, the one who I thought would not want to do it the most, took great pride in how his looked.  He thoughtfully decorated it and them lamented that he did not have a picture of the scientist.  I tried to contain my joy as I told him that he could find a picture and he could add anything he wanted to add.  The next thing I knew, he had printed a picture  and was saying, "Mom, this guy discovered lots of elements.  He even discovered oxygen."  I was so excited, I almost cried.

Next, Mandi piped up, "Wow! He must be the most famous scientist ever!"  And later, she said," Mom, I know how to spell 'discovered' .  I memorized it."  She still wanted me to write hers for her, (I didn't) but she was learning so much by being a part of the process.

Grace struggled to get started.  It was a new thing for her, so it is normal for her to have a hard time, but by the end she was enjoying it.  She told me that she wanted to start writing history reports.  I swallowed hard and replied, " Yes, you can start doing that.  In fact, I already had that planned for next year." 

 Later, Grace surprised me again.  We were at a friends house, learning about bats.  Grace had  a piece of paper and was writing on it while the friend was reading aloud about bats.  I thought Grace was doodling, but when we were done, I saw that Grace had taken notes.  She had written down 5 or 6 facts about bats.  This is a child who still struggles with fine motor skills, so hand writing is exhausting for her.  And she still struggles with processing.  I did not know that she could listen and write at the same time, but she did!  I was so proud of her.

Lastly,  Olivia is illustrating the poem "The Creation", by Cecil Frances Alexander.  It is the one that starts "All things bright and Beautiful.."  It was my idea, but she is excited about it.  I just noticed that she has been drawing lots of pictures and making up stories to go along with them.  We are both having fun with this project.

Thanks, kids!  I needed a day like that!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Simply in Control- revisited

I failed to mention in my last post, that Dick and I have a goal of saving a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time.  When I saw how much we were able to put in the bank because of not eating out, it inspired me to try to save in other areas.  So, the extreme saving is not a permanent  way of life for us.  It is more like a challenge we have given our selves.  I'm sure that we will learn from this time and continue in some areas and not in others.

In the past few months, we have been able to put money in the bank and use some of it to go on a trip to GA,  and buy a computer.  In the next few months, we will be buying some vinyl fence and Grace and I will buy some new clothes for our birthday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Simply in control

Dick and I have always been frugal, but up until about a year ago, it was normal for us to go out to eat once or twice a week.  Then two weeks went by and we had not gone out to eat.  We decided to go for 2 more weeks and not go out to eat, just to see what it was like.  It was not easy, but we kept reminding our selves, it is only until the 2 weeks is over.  Once we were at the end of the 2 weeks, we realized that we were OK with not going out to eat, we actually preferred the food that we cooked  and would like to keep eating at home.

Little did I know the effect that it would have on me.  I began to compare  the cost.  I found that it cost at least 3 times as much to eat the same meal at a restaurant.  So any time I would think about eating out, I would think long and hard about how much effort  it really took to cook the meal myself.  Most of the time,  I chose to cook it and save the money.  Instead of feeling disenfranchised, I felt empowered.  I was in control of where we spent our money, not the marketing department of some restaurant.

I began to think about how I spent our money in other areas.  I have always shopped at yard sales and thrift stores, but still would feel the need to buy new clothes for my kids.  I  decided to check at thrift stores when my kids needed clothes and if I still couldn't find it, then I could buy it new.  I found a thrift store that sells kids clothes for 25 cents and started going about once a week.  Now I rarely buy new clothes for my kids.  Also, I found that if I didn't rush out and buy the needed item, many times a friend would just so happen to give me a bag of clothes that had just what we needed.  

When I needed an item for the house, I slowed down and thought about where I could get it used.  For instance, our vacuum cleaner broke and I decided not to go to the nearest store and buy a new one.  I prayed that God would guide me to the vacuum cleaner that we needed.  Just about the time I broke open the bank to buy a new one, I found an old one on the side of the road.  All it needed was a belt and a new bag and it is a great vacuum.  I don't know how long it will last, because it seems to be over 30 years old, but I am enjoying it right now.  I recently saw an add for a good vacuum at Big Lots and I said to myself,  " I am in control of where that $250 goes and not the marketing department of Big Lots."

We also decided to not spend money  for family time, besides food and gas money.  This was harder to do.  What do you do if you don't go to theme parks, don't go out to eat, don't go shopping, don't go to movies, don't play putt putt golf, don't go bowling, don't slot car race, and don't get your hair or nails done.  Well, we spent some time sort of in withdrawals.  But after spending some time not doing much of anything, we began to come up with ideas that we found fun and I realized that the other things were not as much fun as we thought they were.  And if we do get a chance to do them, now they are much more appreciated.  Since our lives are not so cluttered with activities that our culture tells us is fun, we have a clearer vision of what is truly enjoyable for our family and individually.

Now that our lives are simpler, I feel more in control of how we spend our time and money.  My life is full of the things we have chosen and we are enjoying a richer life.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blessings from the clothesline

Last month, my father in law mentioned that his power bill was back down to $50 where it should be.  I asked him how he did that because my power bill is never less than $100 and that is even with the air conditioner not running.  He said he doesn't use his clothers dryer.  I  thought, " Wow, if I could save $50 a month, I'd hang my clothes out to dry, too."

I decided to give it a try, thinking it was going to be very inconvenient, but worth a try.  The first day, I was excited, thinking about the money I might be saving.  As the days went by, I started to see some amazing benefits of not using the dryer. 

 First, I started to notice that some of the clothes we were wearing were not worth the effort  it took to wash them.  I started getting rid of even more clothes than I already did. I began to see the laundry as individual items, instead of a load of clothes that I put in the dyer.

Next,  I noticed that laundry was not piling up on the couch, waiting to be put away.  I did not want the clothes to stay out in the sun too long or stay outside and get dirty all over again, so I always brought them in and put them away.

I began to have a better laundry routine.  I needed to get them out in the morning sun, so I could put them away by lunch time, other wise I would forget about them, or get too distracted.  So every morning I was quick to get a load done and out on the line.  I even made sure to do a load before I left the house for the day, because I wouldn't be able to do it at night.  And I didn't want the laundry to back up.

I enjoyed an excuse to get outside.  I had just read Amy Grant's memoir, and she said that every day, the first thing  in the morning, she step  outside  and talked to God.  I found myself doing the same thing, and feeling refreshed.

Today, I am doubly blessed.  I opened my power bill to find a $59 bill.  I really didn't think it was right. I checked and double checked.  It was for a 30 day cycle and appears to be accurate.  Who knows what our bill will be next month, because I have only been hanging out the clothes for a few weeks.  

So what I thought would be a burden has become a double blessing!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Whenever I hear this song, ( see the previous post) I am transported to several times in my life that were "desperate days".    I learned early in life, that there was power in the name of Jesus and that if I could pray nothing else, just saying his name was more than sufficient.  

One of the earliest times I remember was on a sleepless night as a teenager.  I was anxious and could not even put my thoughts together to pray.  I remember lying in bed, just saying His name over and over.  Now I realize that it was an act of surrender and an act of humility.  I was "screaming from my soul... giving up control.  The only hope I knew was Jesus."

A few years later, I was a college student and had just heard that a very good friend's dad was in a serious car accident.  I couldn't talk, all I could do was  cry the name of Jesus.

Another time, I was in the delivery room having Levi.  I was not prepared to have Levi without an epidural, but was  forced to do it because of timing.  I called out repeatedly the name of Jesus.  I heard the doctor chuckle and tell me,  " He can't help you now."  I later found out that he was not a Christian, and he was not right!   Jesus did help me !

 The last  major time that comes to mind is when I found out that Olivia's cord had prolapsed.  I was on my knees with an oxygen mask on my face.  Again, all I could say was "Jesus" over and over.  My doctor was on the bed, too, frantically trying to keep pressure off the cord, giving orders to  everyone.  She took the time to ask," What is she saying?"  I had the feeling she knew that I was praying and she was glad that I was.  

So as I sing along with the song,   "Any desperate day, one word I can pray, all I know to say is Jesus." I mean it with all my heart.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jesus-Robert Pierre-with English subtitles

I will be writing about what this song means to me.

Look for it next.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I think I am just going to have to... these books, A Child's Introduction to Poetry by, Michael Driscoll and Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris.

I have always wanted my kids to have a love for poetry but didn't really know how to start.  A few years ago, I read that the book by Michael Driscoll  was a good overview.  I didn't want to buy it if we wouldn't use it, so I requested an interlibrary loan and got it.  I just started from the beginning and read it to my kids.  Some of it went over their heads, some they discovered that they did not like, but they did become familiar with different styles and different writers.  It is now in our library system and I have checked it out 3 more times.  I hate it when I have to return it. 

I have also heard from more than one person that Favorite Poems Old and New is a comprehensive collection of classic and quality poetry.  Again, I did not want to buy it if we would not use it, so I checked it out.  The introduction to the book was fabulous.  I had goose bumps as I read the author's description of  her family's love of poetry and how it enriched their lives.  That was what I envisioned for my kids.  

I started by calling Mandi, my poetry lover, over to look at this book.  I read her part of the introduction, showed her the table of contents then we both picked out a few interesting ones to check out.  She was hooked.  Especially when I read her "Casey at the Bat". 

The next night, as we skimmed the table of contents, Mandi said, "Look Mom, Emily Dickinson!  And there's Robert Louis Stevenson! "

Then, she earnestly searched for more familiar authors. I tried to get her to give me the book so we could start reading, but she wanted to keep searching.  I finally showed her how long the table of contents was, over 2000 poems, I think, and she said, " I'll finish looking next time."

So what I have been doing and plan on doing, is reading poems aloud to my kids  that have to do with something we have enjoyed that day or recently.  Then, when we find one that we particularly like, memorize it together.   My plan is to rea
d lots of poems and memorize a few.

I think the first poem we will memorize is "Geography"  by Eleanor Farjeon, because we are studying geography and Grace is studying countries.
Mandi will have a smile on her face if I do buy these books and I will, too!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's a good thing...

I declared a T. V. free day.  I think  4 y/o Libby has been watching too much t.  v.   On the day that I said no to it, I overheard here asking her siblings if they remembered when John and Kate went to get their teeth cleaned.  When I questioned her, she went into detail about their trip to the dentist.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy 4th birthday!

We spent Libby's birthday in the snow!  We were on a ski trip in NC.  The kids played in the woods behind the hotel.  There was only about 3 inches in the shade, but it was fun for our Florida kids.Libby liked picking it up and putting it in a bucket.

At first, all she would do was walk around in it because it felt different and she liked her foot prints.

Fun faces

Mandi's drawing of a baseball field

I like the way she put 4 people in the infield and lots of people in the stands.

Fun with Rosie!

My kids have been having so much fun with our dog, Rosie, lately.  
Levi has been taking lots of pictures  and video of her.  I think he wants to make a card or a movie of her.

This one made us laugh!

Opening Day!

The last words Mandi said before she went to sleep were,  "I had so much fun today!"  It was opening day for her baseball league and they played their first game.  She waited quite a long time to get her face painted and it was her idea to get her team emblem and her number on her face.  She has moved up to machine pitch instead of coach pitch, so she struck out for the first time today, but she was okay with it.  She even had to play outfield for the first time and she would much rather play infield, but she's still lovin' it!  

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fruitless Fall, by Rowan Jacobsen

 I just finished reading Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis.  It tells the story of the mystery of colony collapse disorder and the bigger story of how necessary bees are to our lives.
It is written in the form of investigative journalism and is full of details and easy to read.  Of course, I was ready to start bee keeping as I was reading the book, until I really thought of all that it would entail.  I don't want to get stung by bees or have that many creatures to look after.  I am still fascinated by bees and am now much more aware of their place in nature.

I do recommend it, especially if you are a nature loving, homeschool mom like me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It was like a game show in my head!

There is a new game show on t. v. called, Game Show in My Head.  The idea is that the player has hidden headphones on and is hearing instructions from the host, to accomplish a difficult task in a short time.  If they do, they win money.  For, instance, one contestant was supposed to stand at a  the entrance to a restaurant and convince a person that was trying to enter, that they were not allowed to go in the restaurant.   Usually, people just look at them like they are  crazy.

Yesterday, Levi said he felt like he was on that game show.  Here is what happened.  The kids and I were on our  way to a cookout with some friends.  We were short on time and I needed to buy gas and pick up some potato chips.  I stopped at a convenience store, prepaid for the gas and bought the chips.  I put the chips in the car and drove off without getting the gas.  I realized what I had done just as I was driving down the road.  I decided to pull in to the shopping center next to the gas station, only to see that I could not get there from here.  I sat there looking at the empty pump, and knew that it was going to take a few minutes to get back there, because of how the road was designed.  I was going to have to drive down the road a bit, do a u-turn, and then wait at a light.

I sent  Levi to tell the attendant what I had done and that I was on my way.  He took off and soon I saw him standing at the pump.  I watched him as I tried to make my way back.  Everything was ok until I watched him from the light.  A car drove up to the pump.  I started praying that Levi would know what to do.  I saw him talking to the man and things didn't look right. The man just stood there.  He should have been getting back into his car, but he just stood there.  Then he leaned in to talk to the passenger in his car.  As I was finally driving up, I waved at the man and motioned, "It's me!"  He walked over to me and laughed as I told him I forgot to get the gas that I had paid for.  

Levi later told me, the man seemed perplexed as he tried to explain.  He also said he felt like he was on the game show and maybe the man thought it was some kind of hoax.  He said the man thought I was in the store, but where was my car?

I drove away, feeling  grateful that Levi was with me, because that could have really been a mess.

Friday, February 13, 2009

If being frugal is fun, Sunday was like going to Disney World!

Sunday, I fed 15 people for about $6!  Sav-a-lot had everything for a spaghetti dinner BOGO.  So we had spaghetti, salad,  and garlic bread.  I knew that on Sunday afternoon, we sometimes have neighborhood kids eat with us, so I bought it just in case.  

So, not only did I have fun being frugal, I had a blast serving the people that God had placed in my life to serve.  Nothing could have felt more right. 

There is nothing I love more than being used by God!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baby steps add up

I have been having fun being frugal in the kitchen the past few weeks.  I have been thinking about how many baby steps  ( Thanks for reminding me about baby steps, Ann Marie!) I have had to take to get to the place that I am now.  I've still got a long way to go, but I am much better than I was 18 years ago when we got married.

I like rules and I realized that over the years, I have compiled several rules for myself that give me some guidelines for being frugal in the kitchen.  They are not hard and fast rules, just general ones and I go through times when it is all I can do to keep my kids fed. 

-It is always cheaper to eat at home than at a restaurant.

-Plan ahead. One week at a time.

 -Meal planning steps.
   1. Check to see if I have any items that need to be used up.  Google ingredients to find a 
   2.  Check store circulars online.
   3. Check my running list of favorites and choose what sounds good.
   4. Choose one or two new frugal recipes online or in cookbooks.

-Learn to make convenience foods from scratch.  
         frozen breakfast foods
         pizza dough and sauce
         chicken nuggets
         refried beans

- Use dry beans instead of canned.

-Freeze chicken or turkey broth when it is available.

-Shop at Sav-a -lot.

-Beans once or twice a week.

-Only buy meats (other than hamburger and chicken) when they are on sale

-Get grocery money in cash and only spend that much.

-Only go out to eat if you have left over grocery money.  ( Usually I don't want to spend the money I saved, so we don't go out to eat.)

-Don't serve a meal too often or it will become despised.

-Eat homemade popcorn instead of potato chips.

-Serve leftovers for lunch.

-Make snacks out of leftover ingredients.  for example


-Get kids on board by showing them the money we save by the sacrifices they made, like eating    beans instead of going out to eat.  Occasionally, give one of them a bonus from the money            saved and use the saved money toward a family treat, like a trip or electronic device.

-Always remember, a meal doesn't save any money if no one will eat it.

I would love to hear some of your "rules" in the kitchen.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

He had lots of questions

A few days ago, I was cooking supper, and one of the "good" kids was at our house.  He peeked over my shoulder and asked me, "So what ya' cookin'?"  I told him and he said it sounded good.  He proceeded to ask me why I homeschooled my kids, how long have I homeschooled them, how long have we lived in this house, where did we live before that, why did we move, what kind of house was it, who bought it, how much did we sell it for,  and what did we do with all that money?

I answered each one as best as I could and told him that the Dick had fixed up our last house until it was almost perfect and now we needed to fix this house up.  

He looked around and said, "What is wrong with it?" 

I then pointed at the floor in the laundry room, the one coat of paint on the walls, the unpainted trim work, and explained that we wanted to redo the kitchen and the  bathroom cabinets.

He said, "Oh, I see."  Then he asked for a drink of water and a few minutes later he left.

Later that night, I was talking to another mother who told me  the boy I had talked to was recently living in a tent in the woods with his brother, his mother, and her boyfriend. And now they were living in an r. v.  

Now my conversation had so much more significance.  I was thinking that my house was inadequate and we need to get it fixed up as soon as possible and he wondered what was wrong with it.  Our house probably seemed like a mansion to him.  Something unattainable. 

My heart has been aching for him and so many other kids that I can not help.  I can not provide physical needs for all the kids that I meet, but I am determined  to point them to the One who can meet all their needs, no matter what this life brings them. They need more than anything the One who can do what no man can do, bring them into the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace and joy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, by Deborah Hopkinson

I love any book I've read by Deborah Hopkinson.  The first one I read was Apples to Oregon.  I liked it so much, I searched for any other books by the same author.   So when I saw that our library had a new book by her, I couldn't wait to read it to my kids.  

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek is a historical fiction picture book, based on true events.  It is the tale of one of Lincoln's boyhood friends and how he saved Lincoln's  life.  It is funny and inspiring and it is in our library system.  Check it out!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

People are always more important than things

A few weeks ago, one of our neighborhood boys was playing at our house.  He has adhd and was being particularly impulsive.  It seemed as if everything he touched either broke or was lost.  It was so bad, that even the kids didn't want to be around him.

He is one of those "good" kids that I have written about.  A person that I feel God has put in my life to fight for.  But this day, it was all I could do not to fight with him and tell him to leave my house.  He wasn't really doing anything bad, just so full of thoughtless energy.

So I left the house to get groceries and put Dick in charge of the kids.  

When I got home I found my kids playing with handmade puppets  with this boy.  He was making puppets for each  of them and they had made props and were having a grand time.

But, these puppets were made out of socks, and not just any socks.  They were our good socks.  The ones that had just come out of the wash, some of them brand new.  

So, I let them have it and of course every one pointed to the boy.  It was his fault.  I proceeded to ask him if he knew how much socks cost.  He said no.   I told him we did not have the money to be wasting the only good socks we have.  I reminded him that I had told him this before and he was not to ever do this again.  He said he was sorry as he handed Libby her freshly made puppet which she was thrilled with.

Later that night, it hit me.  I had put more value in those cheep socks, that maybe added up to $5 than in one of God's prized possessions, the crown of His creation. And really, it was a wholesome way for a 12 year old boy to spend his time.  I mean, I have seen him hanging around some pretty rough people and who knows what they do when no one's watching.

  I went to to boy and told him that I really liked to see them being creative.  So I was going to make a bag of socks for him to use the next time he wanted to make sock puppets and would he please use those socks instead of the first socks he sees.  He said yes and the next day in church, he told the whole children's church that I was going to give him a bag of socks to make puppets out of.  

And I was so glad that I did.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Thoughtful Child

I am reading Emil and the Detectives to the kids.  Last week, a passage in the book really touched me, because it reminded me of my Levi.  

In the book, Emil is taking the train to his grandma's house.  On the way, a man steals the money he is supposed to take to his grandma.  He decides that he will catch the thief himself, and enlists the help of the local children.

One of the boys asks Emil about how he gets along with his mom.  Emil says she lets him stay out until 9, but he comes by 7 because he can't stand the thought of her eating by herself.  He says that she gives him money for a field trip and he always brings most of it back, because he knows how hard she works for the little money she has.  That is what reminded me on Levi.  He is thoughtful.

Then, we went to a birthday party on 80+ acres.  He asked me if he could go in the woods with some of the kids.  I said yes and when he got back he said, "Mom, did you know which woods I was talking about?  I was worried that you didn't know."

Later, he went with a group of kids to another part of the property.  About 15 kids piled into a Suburban with 1 adult.  When they reached their destination, everybody jumped out and Levi asked the adult, " Maybe we should get a head count."  The adult said, "That's a good idea."

Then when they took a group picture, Levi said, "I think now would be a good time for a head count."

I also heard that Levi was taking good care of Mandi the whole time, just like his dad told him to do before we left.  

I left the party, feeling proud of my "Thoughtful Child".

Horse back riding

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mandi!

Mandi and I made a  Peppermint Marble Angel Food Cake for her 7th birthday.

December Pictures

My sister, Nadia, at the park with us.

Levi and Noah at the park.
Cousin Katie with Mandi and Olivia

Cousins on Christmas Eve at our house.