Friday, May 31, 2013

Updates On Our Homestead

Since we moved 2 months ago, we've been very busy.  You might remember we moved into the house hubby grew up in, the house my father~in~law built almost 45 years ago.  While the house is in good shape, it has not been updated since it was built.  We have been busy painting, carpeting, ripping out overgrown shrubs, transplanting flowers and plants, and starting a garden~just to name a few things.

the kitchen wallpaper
after we removed the wallpaper and painted the kitchen

hubby creating a garden for me
there was not only wallpaper on this wall, but also a {almost} full wall landscape mural papered on it.  While the wallpaper came off fairly easy, this mural did not!

our little ones like to pitch in, too! 

I love this picture~helping out daddy
life isn't all work, though!  We do get to enjoy our yard and home, too!
This weekend we are ripping off an OLD solar panel unit off the house.  We {think} that mice are getting in our basement through the old venting.  Another joy of country living~rodents!  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Breakfast Of Champions?

We have something going on in our house I am calling the great cereal debate.  I have a love/hate relationship with cereal.

It's an easy breakfast for the kids.
It is full of things they really don't need to be putting in their bodies.

It's something all of my kids can agree on.
It's costly as our family can easily eat a box or more in one morning depending on the size of the box.

It's yummy! {I must admit, even I love cereal!}
So is cheesecake~that doesn't make it a good choice for breakfast!

I've been in this cereal debate for some time now.  I make the announcement that ALL cereal will be banished from the house from this point forward.  I get children complaining that they will never get to enjoy breakfast again!  I try it for a couple of weeks, then cave and go back to the cereal again.  Because it's easy.  Because I'm tired of the complaining.  Because I just don't want to deal with it anymore.  Then start the process all over again! 

I wanted to find some new breakfast foods that are easy to make and healthy.  We have a few kiddo's who don't like oatmeal, and one who doesn't care for eggs too often.  I like to make breakfast foods for an easy lunch, so pancakes, waffles, French toast, and even scrambled eggs get made sometimes for lunches.  So I've hit the web trying to find some healthy alternatives.

One of the best sites I've found is Heavenly Homemakers.  She has tons of recipes that are made with real food!  This is something I have been looking into for a while and would love for my family.  She has a cookbook I think I'm going get.   Anyway~a  few of the recipes I've tried or want to try are...

 {these are absolutely delicious!}
{Our kids love poptarts, but have you read the label?}
A few other recipe's I have found on other websites and want to try

I'm finding that there are lots of alternatives out there to boxed cereal.  Many of these things I could make ahead of time and freeze, therefore making them an easy, quick breakfast.  I love that idea!
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
I'd love to know what you make for breakfast for your family!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday~FOOD

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I am addicted to Reese's peanut butter cups.  There I said it.  They say the first step to recognizing you have a problem is to admit it.  Well...I'm finally admitting it.
Losing weight would be so much easier if it weren't for one thing.  EATING!  The majority of my weight gain over the years has simply come from eating too much.  I eat when I am stressed.  I eat when I am bored.  I eat when I am sad.  I eat when I'm happy.  I'm eating too often, too much, and too poorly.

I need to look at food differently.

So, this week I've made a few changes to how and what I eat.  I used Weight Watchers in the past, and still had my materials.  I am sure it is way out of date now {it's almost 10 years old!}, but I figured if it worked back then, it would still work now.  This helps me watch how much I eat during a day.

I am also watching what I eat during a day.  I've added much more fruits and vegetables to our diets.  I've added more whole grains to our diets.  I haven't had one peanut butter cup this week!  {Those who know me well {my family!} will know how huge this is!}  Instead of mindlessly putting things in my mouth, I'm thinking about these choices before I eat them.  I am hoping this will become a life long habit.

I'm giving myself grace.  This past weekend, we had a birthday party for my grandpa on Sunday, and on Monday we attended a pancake breakfast and had a cookout for dinner.  It is very difficult to stick to a diet at these activities.  However, I did watch my portions and ate less than I would normally have.  I know that there will be days like this, and I'm trying not to get too worked up about it.  I do still love to eat after all!

I have also stopped eating after dinner.  This is a problem area in our life.  Ever since our first kiddo's were small, we've enjoyed a treat after they went to bed.  It is usually ice cream {moose tracks with what else...peanut butter cups!!  Yummy!}.  Now that our older kiddo's are older, they have joined us in this habit after the smaller kiddo's go to bed.  I now realize the mistake in this habit, and fear breaking it for the rest of the family may be a bigger hurdle than I would like to jump.
Soooo true!!'d I do this week?

My Results:

Weight loss this week~ 4 pounds

Total weight loss~  4 pounds

Amount left to get to goal~36 pounds

Although I am excited about losing 4 pounds in one week, let me just say that I know this was water weight.  I retain water at this time every year.  My rings and my shoes fit much better now, and I can see the difference in my ankles.  Oh yeah, and my watch is not so tight on my wrist.  Because I was hoping to loose weight in my wrist and not my hips!!

How did you do this week?


Friday, May 24, 2013

What I'd Miss If We Didn't Have Dinner Together

Eating dinner together has always been a priority in our family.  When our kids were smaller, it was just something we did.  As our older kiddo's grew, it became something we purposely did.  Now all our kids know that it is just expected that we will all be at dinner together.  Now that we have a couple of teenagers, there are days when we are missing a child or two.  But this is the exception and not the rule.

This is our time to connect as a family.  Hubby works from 7:30AM-5:00PM, so he is away from the home most of the day.   Dinner is the time when all the kiddo's get to sit down with Daddy and talk with him.  If we didn't have dinner together, we'd miss some opportunities for good communication.

We get to hear some pretty funny stories during dinner time.  We would miss this time if we didn't spend dinners together.  The silliness is usually from our youngest 2 children,  and sometimes we can't believe the things they come up with. 

We find out things we never knew about.  This is usually from our oldest 2 children.  We've found that they will admit things~especially things they may have done when they were younger~or freely talk about things we never knew about.  For instance we recently found out about some mischief on Stinkerbelle's part when she was about 6 years old.  We would miss out on these opportunities if we didn't have meals together.

We get to meet people we may not have the opportunity to meet otherwise.  Since our older kiddo's know that family dinners are important, they are more likely to invite a friend over for dinner if they want to spend time with that person.  There's always room at our dinner table for more.  We've had great discussions with many kids {who were not ours!} at our dinner table.  We would have probably missed out on those connections if we didn't have dinner together.

We'd miss family devotions.  After dinner each  night hubby leads family devotions.  We have several different devotionals we use.  Since we have both small and older kiddo's, we like to mix it up so we are reaching each of them at some point during the week.  As Sweetcheeks is learning to read, she likes to try reading our preschool devotional.  Yes, it's very simplistic for our 16 year old {not to mention that she's heard it many times already!}, but it is something that our 4 year old understands.  We would miss these opportunities for character building and strengthening our spiritual walk if we didn't have dinner together each night.

Taking our time at the table and just enjoying each other is something I look forward to each day.  We're teaching our children that family is important as is family time together.  Unfortunately in our society, this is something that is declining as we are all in such a hurry to get to the next thing.  If family dinner's are an area your family struggles in, take small steps to get there.  Start by scheduling one night a week and work your way up.  Most of all, enjoy the time together {in our house, this also means no phone calls or electronic devices!}.  You'll be glad you did!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

{DIY}~Super Easy Earring Holder

This has to be one of the easiest projects we have done.  Stinkerbelle had a earring tree {that was actually mine when I was younger!}, but it was no longer working for her.  She wanted something new, but something big enough to hold some of her larger earrings.

Since she has an obsession an interest in Pinterest she found some projects to create an earring holder.  But she really wanted something quick that she could do on her own, and finish right away.  I really wanted something that would be inexpensive.  So we came up with this.

We just took a sheet of plastic canvas and cut it to fit into a picture frame. She choose a double frame so she'd have more room.  Then we just glued it around the inside edges to keep it in place and Voila we were done!

We actually got both the plastic canvas and the frame from a thrift store, so the total project cost less than $1!  She gets a new earring holder, and I get something inexpensive!  We're both happy!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday~40 Before 40

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"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."  1 Corinthians 6:19-20
This verse has been on my mind a lot lately.  I am unhappy about the way I look and feel, and I know I am not honoring God.  I have plenty of reasons excuses about how this happened, but the reality is that I am overweight and I need to do something about it.

I am at my heaviest weight {aside from one pregnancy where I had pre~eclamsia and gained 60 pounds} that I have ever been.  I need to not only loose weight, but also get healthy.  There is diabetes and heart disease in my family history.  I do not want those labels as I grow older.

I turn 40 this fall, and my goal is to be much healthier by then!  While I want to loose weight, getting healthy is my goal.  I have chosen 40 pounds as the amount I want to loose before I turn 40.  However, getting healthy is the end result I want to achieve.

I have debated about putting this out here on my blog.  It's just not something I am comfortable talking about.  I also know myself.  I know that it will be easy to give up, and putting this on my blog will help hold myself accountable.  So, each Wednesday I'll be giving an update on how things have been going.  I hope to not only keep myself on task, but maybe I'll help encourage someone else.

Join me next Wednesday for an update of how this week has been going.  Who wants to come along?!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Letting Your Husband Lead

Note~I originally ran this post in October, 2012.  Submission in marriage is a topic that I feel is very important in a strong marriage (something I have learned the hard way and continue to work on).  I am again posting this as part of my anniversary week posts on marriage.  I pray that this post will lead other women to take a step back and allow their husbands to lead their families. 
Hubby and I on our wedding day 19 years ago!  We didn't have a clue about anything then!

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." 1Thessalonians 3:18

I admit, this is an area I didn't understand when hubby and I were first married.  In fact, I can honestly say it wasn't until recently that I understood this concept in our marriage.

As a child, my father was a truck driver.  He was gone during the week, and only home on weekends.  My mother was the leader of our home, even on the weekends when dad was home.  What was modeled to me during my growing up years was that mom was in charge~~period.  I did not come from a christian home, and had no idea that God has a plan for both man and woman in marriage.

When I first got married, I wanted to let my husband know that I was a valuable asset to our marriage.  I didn't understand what it meant to submit to my husband.  So I tried to show him how I could do anything he could do~~maybe even better.  What I didn't realize was that I was hurting him and degrading him as the leader of our home.  I would not know then what an impact this would have on us as a couple and a family.  Sadly, I wouldn't realize my mistakes until much, much later.

Ladies, our husbands want nothing as much as they want to be our protector and provider.  They want to know that we need them in our lives.  Let your husband start leading you and your children.  Go to him and ask his advice on things~and listen to him.   My husband will often have no opinion either way on trivial things, but I've asked his advice and this lets him know I value his opinion.  Get him involved in things like budgeting, grocery shopping and meal planning.  If you homeschool, make sure he is involved in that process.  Most importantly, pray!  Pray that your husband would seek God's will for his life and his family.  Even if your husband doesn't want to lead or take charge of the family, you can pray that God would change his heart.  A praying wife can lead to many wonderful changes.  Know that you alone can't make your husband lead your family~only God can do that.  You can do your part to make sure that you are stepping back and allowing your husband to make that change.  He may make some mistakes along the way, but know that God is refining him to be the man that He desires.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Letter To A 19 Year Old Bride {Myself}

Dear Jess,

Today is one of the happiest days of your life.  Yes, I know you think it is THE happiest day of your life, but let me tell you, the best is yet to come!  I know it's your special day, but I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know a few things.

Today you will walk down that isle, holding onto Dad's arm, and step into the arms of the man who will hold you for the rest of your life.  Those arms will hold you in many good times and a few hard times as well.  Those broad shoulders and outstretched arms are made just for you.  Embrace them {literally!} and enjoy the warmth and support they give.

One of the greatest gifts you can give to your marriage is finding a mentor.  An "older" woman to teach you how to be a help~meet to your husband.  You may not understand the importance of this right now, but it will have a lasting effect on your marriage.  Read Titus 2:3-5 and then pray for God to lead you in this area. 

Marriage will not always be easy.  There will be times you look at your sweet new husband and wonder what planet he just fell off of!   Take these times to God in prayer, and pray with each other.  Don't wait several years to learn the importance of prayer time with each other and for each other.  Start right now.  Pray that God will help you to become the wife He would want for you to be.  Cover your marriage and husband in prayer.  It really will make a difference.

Never stop working on your marriage.  Continue to date one another.  Don't think now that the wedding is over, dating must end.  It is so important to spend time each week connecting with one another.  Communicate with each other.  Let each other know how you feel, but do so in a non judgemental, loving way.  Never stop doing this.  Even when the kids come, the mortgage is due, and life's challenges are hitting hard~make it a point to place each other first in your lives.

Enjoy your new life.  Enjoy each day and live each day to the fullest.  Keep anger and bitterness away.  Let love fill each minute of each hour of each day.  Soon you will wake up and find you've been married for 20 years.  It may seem like a long way away, but it will be here sooner than you think!

" Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE."  1 Corinthians 13:13



**As a side note, I printed copies of this out to give to our daughters on their wedding day.  Seems appropriate for that date as well!**

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

20 Things I Have Learned In 20 years!

As part of my celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary, I'm sharing with you a few things I've learned about both marriage and my hubby along the way!  Some I learned the hard way, others came more easily.

  1. Marriage is never easy, but always worth it!
  2. Love really does grow stronger as time goes by.
  3. Hubby is not always right, but neither am I {one of the hard learned lessons}!
  4. I am looking forward to the years when we are both old and gray, and will be able to look at our future generations.
  5. The time to have a deep conversation is NOT when the Packers are playing or when a Nascar race is on.
  6. Watching a man try to conform to the will of God is a wonderful sight.
  7. That it is easier to just put the seat down myself~and believe that this is just part of God's will for women!
  8. That family vacations MUST hit the road no later than 4 AM!
  9. That my man shows his love for me and other's differently than I do.  And that is OK.
  10. There is no better sight than to see our baby sleeping soundly on my hubby's chest.
  11. When a man doesn't like vegetables, he won't eat them.  Stop trying to make him by telling him to do it for the kids!
  12. Apologize! {'nuff said!}
  13. Making the bed is just not on his "to~do" list.  He doesn't understand why anyone would spend time arranging the bed, just so you can jump into it again and mess it all up again!
  14. Husbands are given a measure of wisdom that will grow only if us wives let it.
  15. I will never have to kill a spider!
  16. Doing the little things will bless my husband.  Things like having the house picked up when he gets home, picking up something for him at the hardware store, or making his favorite meal will let him know he is important to me.
  17. A little encouragement will last a long time.
  18. Communication is very important.  It sometimes takes a lot of effort, but we just can't read each other's minds.
  19. Learning each other's love language is so very helpful.  I encourage all newly married couples to learn this right away in marriage.  It really will make a difference in your marriage.
  20. I am very blessed to have my hubby in my life.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Anniversary Week!

Most years, I just get an anniversary day.  This year I'm prolonging it into a week!  That's because this week is our 20th wedding anniversary!

When we got married, I thought I knew everything I would need to know.  I loved my husband, I knew how to clean a house and cook {semi} decent meals.  We were going to buy a house, have kids and live happily ever after!  Well...I guess we did things pretty much like that, but life hasn't been as sweet as I imagined it to be!

There have been struggles and trials along the way, but I am glad that God had chosen my hubby to be mine for the rest of our lives.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

Join me this week as I take a look at marriage and what makes it work.  I certainly don't have all the answers!   What I do have is a desire to have a great marriage and live "happily ever after"!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Child Like Faith

I am amazed and humbled by my children more often than not.  These small creatures have the ability to stop me in my tracks and call me out on an area I am lacking in.  It is usually when I am tired or frustrated over something.  It is usually because I am saying something in "THAT" tone.  Yes, that tone!.  The one that tells my children that I am not really loving them that much right now. 

Mamma is frustrated and spewing bad attitude all over the place!

Yet, these little ones look at me with innocence in their eyes and are unable to figure out why I am angry with them or their siblings.  Our 3 year old is usually the child to set me straight.  If I am angry with one of his siblings, he will come up to me and simply state, "but mommy, he's/she's my friend". 

What do you do with that?

This child doesn't care that his sibling just did something I consider not to be right.  He's/she is his friend!  If he can look past the offense, why can't I?

Why Can't I?

Because I am stuck in an unforgiving attitude.  I am still upset about something, and I just can't let it go.  I need to stew about it for a while longer. 

And this accomplishes what, exactly?

Good question! 

When we go to God and ask for forgiveness, He certainly doesn't act this way.  He doesn't sulk in a chair, or make sure everyone knows how He has been wronged.  He doesn't hold a grudge or become crabby.

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12

All is forgiven.  I am forgiven.  And He will remember it no more.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

So, I am thankful that God has blessed me with these little souls.  And I will remember that what is important is that they are my "friends".  I will forgive their sins, and remember it no more.  What a blessing to have a child like faith.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

{Semi}Wordless Wednesday!

Finding FREE printable sight words to print out=happiness

6 year old learning to read= exciting

A prankster making new words out of sight words=priceless!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Bondage Of Busy~ness

life~going so fast it's a blur!

Back when we started our family, I found myself wishing we had more to do in our lives.  Many of our family members and friends were going from committee meetings to sporting events to music lessons to dance class.  We had one small child with another on the way.  We were home every evening and we felt like we were missing out on something.  Fast forward a few years.  Hubby was on our church council along with a couple of other committee's at church.  He was also working at his landscape business which he did on the side of his full time job!  I was involved in our school's parent organization, our church's worship team, and on the steering team of a MOPS group just starting out in our community.  At this time I was working part time outside the home.  We were also in the process of an adoption.   Between hubby and myself, we had meetings several nights a week, sometimes we both had a meeting on the same night.  We were getting stressed out.  We soon realized that we definitely had NOT missed out on something earlier in our lives, but we were absolutely missing out now!

We realized that this was not the way we wanted to raise our children.  As soon as hubby's term ended on church council, we made a drastic change.  We quit all outside activities.  Hubby left the committee's at church.  We evaluated the landscape business as well and decided that while hubby still wanted to keep his hands in landscaping, he would end the business.  I left all of my outside activities as well.    We needed to be home for our kiddo's.

I recently heard someone refer to busyness as the "bondage of busyness".  This is so true.  When I have to look at the calendar before making any decisions, I am slave to this busyness.  When we are trying to decide which child's sporting event to go to because they are both on the same night, we are slave to this busyness.  It takes our eyes off of what is really important in our lives.

We came up with a solution for our family in this area.  Whenever someone wants to be involved in something, we ask ourselves a few questions.  How will it affect the family?  Are you using the gifts and talents God blessed you with?  Will it make a lasting difference in your life?  It's not that we can't be involved in outside activities, we just realize that we want our family together as much as possible.  As we are finding out with our oldest child, we only have them with us for a short time!  We do not want to spend this short time running from event to event, rarely seeing one another, only to colapse into bed each night exhausted.

There will always be groups or events that are worthy of our time.  We just have to set our priorities with the season of life that we're in.  And we need to realize that even though society tells us otherwise, it is OK to say NO!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Flashback Friday~5 Years

Five years ago we brought our 9 year old to the hospital for open heart surgery.  We knew that he had 2 holes in his heart that needed to be repaired, but found out during the surgery that he also had his pulmonary veins in the "wrong" place, and that needed to be repaired as well.  As I look back at this time, I see God's hand in place during the entire process.  We were hoping that a heart cath could repair his heart.  That changed when they found he actually had 2 holes and not just one.  Had we done a heart cath, we would not have known about the problems with his pulmonary veins.  At the time we were so disappointed that he needed the open heart surgery, now we are thankful that this was necessary.
I am so thankful for the advances in medicine that make these surgeries possible.  We were told that without the surgery, our son would not live to be older than his mid 20's, and the latter years of his life he would not be able to do much activity without serious strain on his heart and lungs.  His heart was already enlarged due to the strain of compensating for all the problems he had.  He will now be able to live out his life to the fullest, without worry about his heart!  What a blessing!
As I look at him now, I see a 14 year old boy quickly turning into a young man (much too fast for this mamma!).  He is always willing to help others, and is not afraid of hard work.  He is very creative, and loves to find ways to fix things.  He wants to work in construction and has a desire to re~start the construction business his grandpa started.  He loves to be outside and will find any reason to get out of doing math!  He is very soft and kind to his younger siblings, and they all look up to him.  He is also our prankster with a great sense of humor!  We are proud of the young man he has become and look forward to seeing where the Lord places him as he grows.  And we are so thankful that, Lord willing, we will watch him grow to become a man after God's heart.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why Modesty Matters

I hate standing in the checkout lines at stores.  They are filled with magazines and papers with pictures of half~naked women on the covers.  And I am not exaggerating.  Tell me that I am not the only one who thinks this?!

So, why does this even matter?

Modesty is something I feel is very important.    How we dress sends a very clear message to others.  I know it is not up to me to judge others, but just by looking at someone, I can see what they feel is important in their attire.  Are they drawing attention to themselves and their bodies?  Or are they drawing attention away from their bodies?

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:3-4

Our society tells us that beauty is what someone sees when they look at you.  Your outward appearance.  This is very evident in what we see some women wearing.  Much of today's fashions draw attention to certain parts of our bodies.   We want other's (read MEN) to look at us and find us attractive.

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  1 Timothy 2:9-10

Scripture tells us just the opposite.  We should dress modestly, with decency.  Our beauty should come from our spirit.  We should be beautiful on the inside, then we will naturally be beautiful on the outside.  Regardless of what society says. 

I am not saying that we should all wear black clothing that covers our entire bodies.  This can also be a way to draw attention to ourselves.  I do like to wear pretty clothes and jewelry.  But I am not dressing for the world.  When I pick out something to wear I think about how I look in this particular item.  Will other's see me, or will they see certain parts of me?

This is also what I consider when choosing clothing for our daughters.  I can not believe the clothing out there for young girls.  My six year old does not need to dress like a woman.  Whatever happened to the pink ruffly things for little girls?  It is even more difficult for our 16 year old daughter.  Since she is in womens sizing, it is difficult for her to find things that are not cut too low or too tight.  I am thankful that she, too,  looks at these things when choosing her clothes. 

As you get dressed this morning, just take a look in the mirror before you leave the bedroom.  Who are you dressing for?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Romans 12:2