Monday, December 17, 2012

Defining Priorities in Life

Man! It feels like forever since I have written on my blog. I have thought about it almost every day. I have so many topics swirling around in my head that I want to write about. Since I've been stuck in bed with morning sickness and feeling faint, I haven't been able to take care of any of my regular responsibilities around the house (I can barely even shower regularly), blogging just hasn't happened.

I'm finally starting to feel a little better! Thank God! Or at least every day is different instead of the same awful days. Having it come and go is a lot more manageable. Although, when I do feel well I still am scared to do much for fear of starting to feel bad.

So slowly, but surely I am trying to get back to normal. It's hard to not be able to do everything. I need to realize the fact that I just cannot physically do everything. And I am working on being content with that. 

Because really in the great scheme of things... The health of myself and this new baby are far more important than my floors being vacuumed or dishes piling up in the sink.

This is not the only time I have felt like this... There have been plenty of other times when I've been sick or when I have a lot of school work or overwhelmed with other activities or holidays. Realistically, no one is going to be able to do it all. And that's okay. 

I'm sure you've heard the analogy of filling up a jar with rocks, then pebbles, and then sand. But if you fill it with sand first there will be no room for other things. You must first decide what the rocks are in your life.

Here are my "big rocks":
  1. Quality time spent w/ my husband, kids, family and friends.
  2. Time w/ God.
  3. Strong marriage.
  4. Consistent parenting.
  5. Staying healthy & fit.
  6. Saving money.
  7. Good grades in school for the kids and myself.
  8. Warm home - clean, nicely decorated & organized.
  9. Healthy & cheap meals.
  10. My blog.

These things help define my everyday life.  These are the things that I try to stay focused on throughout the day. But when I want to freak out because the laundry is piling up I remember I don't want to take it out on my husband or kids or neglect my school work to get it done. Of course my family needs clean clothes, but a few piles never hurt anyone. :)

Another example would be that my kids play sports. While they are very important there are times when we don't all make it to a game or a practice has to be skipped for things that are of higher priority.

Also, realize that I have 10 things on my "big rock" list does not mean every single one of them gets attention throughout the day. There will never be enough time in the day and energy in your body for everything to be done. And that's also okay.

What are the things most important to you in your life? How do you want your life to be defined???

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby #5

Well the news is out! We are having another baby! We are ALL so excited! The kids have had fun watching my belly already starting to grow and picking out names! It's going to be a fun and interesting next year for our family.

This is the reason that I have been absent from blogging... Among other things. Before I found out I was pregnant I was diagnosed with Mono. This was causing some extreme tiredness... Along with a lot of other random symptoms, like nausea and dizziness. A few weeks later I finally took a pregnancy test and sure enough, it was POSITIVE!!

So for the past 6 weeks I've been pretty much glued to the couch. I have had terrible morning sickness (a.k.a. ALL day sickness), along with headaches and a little bit of sciatic pain... It's been a blast! :) My poor family has had to pick up my slack. The kids have been doing extra chores. My husband has been serving me non stop, along with taking care of my other responsibilities! 

Why have I not posted a meal plan in 6 weeks??? Because I haven't made a single dinner, until last night! And by "made dinner" I mean heat a frozen, store bought lasagna & steam some frozen broccoli! Yay me! Although it wasn't anything too great, my husband was extremely happy to finally have a night off from cooking.

I have finally had a few "easier" days here and there. I'm about 9 and 1/2 weeks, so I should be rounding the corner soon of the first trimester. Between trying to catch up on my house duties, school work and family activities hopefully I can start to blog some. I really miss it!

Since beginning this journey in my life, it has given me many ideas for future postings. Not just things that would relate to pregnant women, but things that will help all women get organized and feel ahead of the game. That's what I've realized the most... I was merely maintaining. The day I became "bed ridden" everything started falling apart! I now see things that I could have done so that in these types of events things didn't fall apart. And also I'm seeing things that I need to teach my children. So going forward hopefully I'll be able to get these things done BEFORE this baby arrives!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Meal Plan 10/08 - 10/14

I probably sound like a broken record, but last week was busy! (And I don't say that for sympathy, just as fact.) But nevertheless, it was a good week. We had lots of baseball, volleyball and playing outside. We had a great week enjoying the last few days of warm weather. 

We did pretty good with sticking with our meal plan last week. We ate at home every night. The only thing we didn't have was the BBQ. We ended up having breakfast for dinner instead. Yum! We also had one unsuccessful night... The Chicken Tortilla Bake was not a hit. As I was making it, I had the thought that it wasn't going to be as great as I originally thought. It was very bland and soggy texture. Bleh. My husband, me and two oldest kids ate it without much enthusiasm. But the younger two refused after one bite. Lol I couldn't really blame them, though. Definitely won't be making that again and don't recommend it to anyone else. 

I wrote a post on Friday titled, "No More Shame". It had a tremendous response. Funny how you write something never thinking about how it will effect others. It was just something that was on my heart and God has been speaking to me about. I am so glad that God used it to speak to many of you. 

Here's or plan for this week:

Friday, October 5, 2012

No More Shame

So last night, I hate to admit it, but I got sucked into Oprah's new show "Oprah's Life Class." I know there are a lot of thoughts about her... It was a weak moment. (And I may secretly love her.) My husband was upstairs. The kids were in bed. I had the tv to myself AND total silence.

But that's neither here nor there.

The topic of the show was guilt. Now guilt i can deal with... Most people can. But really what the show turned out to be about was shame.

Shame. I think that word is the single most threatening word, because it carries so much. It's so heavy. It brings up the dreaded past. It is like a shackle that hold us to things that have been wished away and yet, still remain ever so clear in memory.

Overtime, shame grows. It eats away at happiness and peace. It hangs over the present.

Shame says, "You deserve to feel this way and never forget."

There was a woman, on the show, who got into an accident with her kids in the car, while driving drunk. It was 3 years ago and the moment she started talking about it, she couldn't stop the tears. She had since gone to rehab and is sober. Her kids survived. Her marriage survived. But the shame was still there. She described her shame as saying, "If you stop feeling this way, then maybe you're not really sorry." 

Ugh... I then could not stop my own tears. They then went on to talk about how our shame robs us of so much throughout life! Shame keeps you from smiling, laughing or enjoying yourself. It holds you back. It keeps you isolated. It is restrictive.

For me, my struggle is with being a mother. To make a long story short... I went from being 18 and graduating high school in June. To September I was pregnant, living with my boyfriend and being an instant mother to his 2 children, ages 2 and 3, because their mother was never around.

In 4 months my life had gone from just beginning to feeling like it was over. It was a nightmare. A nightmare that I could not wake up from. I could barely cope. I was so miserable and unhappy. And I took my frustrations out on the kids. I was mean and rude. I was impatient.

I know now, that I was doing the best I could. I was postpartum. I was depressed. I was lonely. I was sleep deprived. And I was not relying on God for my strength. I have been forgiven by God and forgiven myself, but every once in a while the shame creeps back in. 

For instance, last night my kids were talking about memories from when they were little. And I wondered if they remember how mean I was? The shame.

We all carry around baggage... What have I caused my kids to one day carry around??? The shame.

Here's the thing... In Christ there is no shame. Guilt has a purpose. It is to bring us to repentance. Shame says, "I will never change." It keeps us from moving on. 

Guilt says I have done something wrong. Shame says I am something wrong!!! 

 ~ Isaiah 1:18 ~
"Come now, let's settle this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

My sin does not define me! It is not who I am. It is something I did. With the power of Christ my sins, mistakes and regrets can be changed, forgiven and forgotten! 

~ Psalm 103:8-13 ~
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

Christ has given us permission to move forward in Him. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for ALL of our sins. He has chosen to remove our sins and not treat us according to them. 

He hung on that cross and said "It is finished!" (John 19:30) It is no more. Satan and death have been defeated. And we can rest in the hope of Christ. We don't have to dwell on the past, but can live the life that He has planned for us. 

To live in your shame is to say that your sin is not covered by the cross!! Oh man that's good! Let's say that again... Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for every sin. Period! To believe that we can not move past our sin is to discount the power of the cross. It is to not fully trust the words of God in the Bible. 

Through the cross we have not just been forgiven, but we have been healed. And we have permission to live as such.  

The question now is will you give yourself permission???

I know for me, when my shame creeps up again I find myself not connecting with my children. Do I deserve to? Do I deserve to give them advice and guidance? I am the one that hurt them and now I want to help them? Do I deserve that relationship with them??? The truth is, I don't deserve any of that. I do deserve to sit and wallow and suffer from my sins. But through Christ I am given another chance. 

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Monday, October 1, 2012

My Meal Plan 10/01 - 10/07

Well, this week I can actually claim meal plan SUCCESS!!! We stuck to the plan every night except last night. I really don't know why I ever plan to cook on Sunday nights, unless we have someone come over. Sunday's are always so relaxed and I completely lose track of time. Instead we just did spaghetti leftovers.

Now let's see how long I can keep my success going??? Any bets? :)

This weekend our family had a great time celebrating our friends wedding. It was such a magical day... Despite it being an outside wedding in the rain! My youngest son was the ring bearer. And he was so handsome! 

He surprised us all with his great attitude and smiles! You never know with him... He even made friends with the flower girl!

We were so excited that he followed through with his wedding duties!

This was Isaac's first wedding and he had more than enough fun for one little 4-year-old! When we got in the car to leave he said, "That was the best party ever!"

This week we of course have another busy week. But I'm trying to focus on planning our camping trip in 3 weeks!

Here's our meal plan:

Friday, September 28, 2012

10 Ways to have an Epic Marriage

This weekend our family is beyond excited to celebrate and be apart of our friends wedding. I don't think there has ever been more hype over someone's wedding! Our youngest, Isaac, is the ring bearer. And even he is super excited!

It seems it is natural that when you attend a wedding it automatically brings up all the thoughts of your own wedding. The things you loved. The things you didn't love. The things that when starting your marriage you had wish you would of known. And the things your happy you were blissfully ignorant to!

If I knew then, what I know now... Here is what I would say to myself:

  1. Your sex life will never be what you think it will be... At times it will be better than you imagined & at other times it will be worse than you ever thought possible. Don't get discouraged. But always try to say "Yes!"
  2. Don't be afraid to show emotions. Be vulnerable. Be open. It's more connected to sex than you realize.
  3. Talk about your responsibilities around the house. Don't assume anything!
  4. Always give yourself time apart from your husband throughout the week. Whether it's your Mom's house, coffee with a friend or grocery shopping alone. Encourage the same for your husband.
  5. Don't feel bad that you can't be the same friend you were when you were single. Your marriage and husband need a lot of attention. Especially, during this time of adjustment. Relationships change and that's okay.
  6. You can only control you! Whenever there is a problem or argument... Do what you can to fix it. Always focus on what changes you can make!
  7. Compromising, apologizing, forgiving and agreeing to disagree are things to embrace!
  8. The desired result of an argument should never be to win! That means your husband is losing.
  9. Do NOT compare your marriage with any others!!! No relationship is perfect! Just because you don't see their struggles, doesn't mean they don't have them! Focus on what works for your marriage!
  10. Let God be the center of your marriage. Invite him from day one. Don't wait until things get tough... And they will.

 What would you say to yourself on your wedding day???

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Meal Plan 09/24 - 9/30

Well, I had fully planned to start this week by getting back on track with my blogging. I've had a lot of ideas for things I want to post. Since I made those plans... I should have known that something was going to go wrong, right???

Our poor Hannah Grace has been battling strep throat this last week. Sunday morning she woke up with a rash and Monday morning it had spread more and her lips were swollen, which freaked me out! So, off to the ER we went. After 3+ hours they told us she was allergic to Penicillin. (The antibiotic she was taking for strep throat.) 

Nonetheless, I'm going to try to push through with my original blogging plan... We will see if any other distracting situations arise. :)

I haven't gotten back on track with the coupons, but I have still managed to stay in the $50/week budget! This is just by shopping sales! So for all of you that are skeptical about curbing your spending... Know that you can do it without even using a single coupon!

This week will be a challenge to stay on track with the meal plan, but I'm going to try my best! We have a busy week of sports and my husband is traveling. That's why planning ahead is the most important part of meal planning!

This week's meal plan:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal Plan 09/10 - 09/16

First week of school was a great success in our house! Everyone was excited the first morning. They have all had great attitudes about school work, early bedtimes and even early mornings. So far no tears!! That is quite an accomplishment in our house! We have settled into a great routine! 

Here's our routine:
I wake up 30 minutes before the kids to get myself ready. As much as I love to sleep, I also know I feel better showered & dressed cute. The kids get up, get ready, eat breakfast, they each do one simple chore and off we go. The normal morning chores are to unload dishwasher, takeout trash, clean up breakfast, etc. This really helps us keep up with the house work and lessens what they have to do after school. 
After school we have a routine, too. First, we have snack and a few minutes of chatting about our day. Then homework, chores and a few minutes at home before they play with friends. We make sure that we are prepared for the next day by unpacking book bags, lunch boxes, putting away school clothes and shoes.

Then, at night we have another routine! We get in pjs, brush teeth and hair, set out outfits for the next day, clean up rooms and have reading time. They have an hour to get this done, so the faster they get ready the more time they will have for reading. Again, cleaning their room every night makes it easy to keep up with. 

My number one tip on being organized during the school year would be to get prepared the night before! There is nothing worse than searching for things in the morning or feeling rushed. Take inventory every night of what you will need the next day... Any supplies, PE clothes, planners signed, lunch money? Get it all together at night. Even if they get in bed a few minutes late, it is worth it to not have to rush around in the morning and possibly forget something.

Another exciting accomplishment for this week is that I did some couponing! I got a few free & cheap things at target and Farm Fresh! From Target I got free eggs and ibuprofen. Paid $0.74 for frozen veggies. $0.85 for Up & Up spray cleaner. Up & Up Mayo for $1.89. And pasta for $0.75 each. I was very happy to be 'back in action'! All of this was bought using printable Target coupons on regular priced items!

So far I am making great progress on my Fall Plans! We actually ate all but 1 meal at home this week! And the one night we ordered pizza I was planning on cooking, but my hubby was being nice & insisted so I could relax after our baseball games Saturday morning. How lucky am I??? Now, although I did cook I didn't follow all that I had plans. So a lot of meals are being put back on the list for this week.

How did your first week of school go???

Here's our plans:

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Meal Plan 09/03 - 09/09

And I'm back... It feels like forever since I have posted a meal plan. Really, it's been forever since I've even done a meal plan! And if I'm really being honest, I can't remember the last time since I've even cooked! *gasp* Between Summer and just having a lot of chaos in our lives currently; cooking and grocery shopping have not been a priority. And I'm okay with that. But now it's time for us to get back on track and back to a schedule.

Our lives are actually about to become more chaotic! With school, kids sports, small groups, college courses, and so much more starting... I know that we won't be eating anything if I don't start planning ahead! 

So for the first week I'm keeping it simple. Especially since it's the first week of school! I already went to the grocery store Saturday morning and bought most of the things we need for our meal plan and a ton of snacks! The last thing I want to worry about the first week back to school is not having enough food.

Summer has been great, but I am kinda ready to be back on a schedule!

Here's our plan:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I Do What I Do

Right now, as I sit on the floor matching a basket full of socks for the millionth time it can make me have a moment of, "Why am I doing this? Nobody even appreciates this. They just expect it. What's the point?" 

Matching socks is not the only time I think about this.... Sometimes when wiping up the peanut butter and jelly off the table, or picking up the dirty socks and towels off the floor, or when dusting all the decorations that clearly no one else in the house cares about!

I'm not alone, right? Tell me you have those moments, too???

So what keeps me from blowing off these things and focusing on what I want to do? Because I love my family and I desire to serve God! 

~ John 13:34 ~
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."

We are to love others with a love like Christ's.

How did Christ love? Christ was a servant to all those around him! He washed his disciples feet, He healed the sick, He spoke to the outcasts, and He fed those around him. Being a servant is who you are, it's not just what you do. Volunteering at church or giving to charities is great. But being a true servant starts in your every day life.

~ Phillipians 2:5-8 ~
"You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!"

Christ came to earth to live as a man, so that he could better show His love and better serve us! He even died on a cross! How much more selfless can you get??

Does this mean that those we serve are always deserving of what we do for them? No. By serving those around us, we are serving Him! We are not serving others for their sake.  

We serve to reflect Christ!

You are serving in all the little things you do throughout the day. Every time you do the laundry, cook, clean, carpool, wipe noses, run errands, change another diaper and every other little thing!

Now, sometimes I find myself doing all my responsibilities and getting everything done... But with a terrible attitude! I complain about how much I have on my schedule and look for pity from others. I envy others that seem to have it easier than me. I'm frustrated when I don't have time in my day to do what I want to do.

~ Colossians 3:23 ~
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."

Serving is NOT crossing things off the "To-Do List"! Serving is willingly sacrificing my wants and desires by doing something helpful for someone else purely out of love! Not out of self-gain! Without expecting anything in return! Doing my best even when I don't receive a "Thank you!"

As I finish matching these socks, I smile. Knowing that my family won't think twice when they find their sock drawer full. And that's okay, because God has not missed a single moment of my servanthood.

I don't write this because I happily sacrifice for others constantly and want you to learn from my perfect example. I write this, because it's on my heart and I feel it may touch your heart!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Change in Season and Life

I don't know about you, but this Summer has been crazy. And now... I have lost steam! This seems to happen to me every Summer. I start off being full of energy and having big plans. By the last few weeks I am tired and bored. I'm also a little depressed, when I think about all the plans I had of fun things to do with the kids and realize we barely did any of them.

Lately, we've been filling our time with t.v. and bickering! It's been grand!

Thank goodness for the change in season and schedule that is quickly approaching! I do love summer, but fall is definitely my favorite season. Summer makes me feel lazy. Fall seems to energize me!

There are a few things I need to get done before school starts.
  1. Take inventory of the kids school clothes.
  2. Go school clothes shopping.
  3. Go school supplies shopping.
  4. Stock up with healthy food for school lunches.

This Fall I plan on making a few changes...
  1. Get back to meal planning. We have eaten out a lot!
  2. Get back to cooking homemade items. I can't even remember the last time I've made anything besides dinner.
  3. Stock freezer cooking again.
  4. Stick to my cleaning schedule. My house has stayed pretty clean this summer, but some days we do no chores and other days we do all the chores. It's definitely easier to stick to doing a little bit every day.
  5. Start setting weekly goals for myself. This will help me stay focused on my priorities.
  6. Couponing! I have managed to mostly stay in our budget of $50 a week, even without using coupons. But we've also been eating out a lot. Without coupons my money hasn't been buying nearly as much.
  7. Blog more consistently. 

What about you??? Are you excited for the change in season coming? What is your favorite season? Do you have any changes that you need to make???

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Constantly Communicating with God

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips. 
 My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 
 Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together. 

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears. 

Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. 

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles. 

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing. 

The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days, 
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies. 

Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it. 

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry

the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles. 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 

A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all; 

he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken. 

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 

The Lord redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

This past week I have been reading a lot out of the book of Psalm. This book is full of emotions, but also of God's promises. It is full of encouragement for those going through difficult times. 

My husband delivered an amazing message this past Sunday about healing. (Titled: God is Still God.) He spoke about the story of Job. The main point was that through it all God is still God AND God is still good! Because those things are true, we cannot stop communication with Him. We have to continue crying out to Him. God created us with all of these emotions. Therefore, He is fully capable of handling them all!

The moment we stop communicating with God that is when we take God out of the healing process. What have you been silent to God about? What emotion are you scared to give him? What area of your life do you feel that God is too small for? Or maybe you think He's too big and doesn't care. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Still God

Lord, the God who saves me,
day and night I cry out before you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry. 

I have no words right now! There is so much turmoil and heartache.... This verse just happened to be my devotions this morning! Coincidence? I think not.

I know that God is still here and in control, but sometimes it's hard to see

This verse was written by David, who went through all sorts of trouble and triumphs in the Bible. And this verse reminds me that it's okay to have feelings... Any and all of them! I can worry, question, be sad and mad and a million other things! And God is still God! Nothing in this world changes who He is! Not a person or a circumstance!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Snapping = Being A Good Husband

My youngest son Isaac has been working on snapping lately! Ever since he realized that our best friend's daughter can snap, he has been determined! She is only one, to make time even more of the essence to him. When he saw her snap, he said, "Mom, I can't even snap and I'm 4 years old!"

Well, now that he has figured it out... I'm not so sure I'm as thrilled about it as he is!

"Why?" you ask???

Example #1 - To ensure I see how well he can snap, he puts his hand directly in my face!

Example #2 - He told me in Target today, "Hey Mom, I hope you know, I will snap at you!" Is that a threat???

Example #3 - He tells everyone to "Just snap out of it!"

Example #4 - Isaac and Hannah were arguing and she says to him, "Isaac, you're not going to make a very good husband!" To which Isaac responds with, "Um, yes I will Hannah! Cause you know why? I know how to snap!"

Hmmm... Should I be worried that my son see's some type of a connection between snapping and being a husband??? Where has he seen this example? Have I done something that makes him think, "My Dad should really snap at my Mom for that!"???

This sounds like the perfect opportunity to blame this on my husband! Right?!! Yeah. Let's go with that!

Here is a little example of the snapping! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Survive Summer with Kids

Every school year when the weather starts warming up, I find my self saying, "Oh I can't wait for Summer and no more school!"

And then every Summer, I quickly realize, "What was I thinking??? I had it easy!" Lol

Let's face it... You love your kids and you love spending time with them, but when kids have free time it can quickly turn into a nightmare!

Summer can be a great time to connect and have fun with your children! It can be tempting when Summer hits to want to through any kind of structure out the window! But kids that spend too much time together and without routines... This can cause you to lose your mind! Now that I've had a few summers with kids under my belt (7 to be exact) I've found a few things that are necessary to keep some order and consistency.

So here are a few things that I do to survive:
  1. Keep a bedtime - Whether it's 8pm or 12pm have a time that they have to get into bed. Not only do kids need boundaries, but most kids will stay up all night if you let them. And they will not normally make up for any sleep lost by sleeping late. Which means everyone will pay for it the next day. Your job as a parent is to set your kids up for success! Structure and lots of sleep are a good start for that.
  2. Have a bedtime routine - Again, another way to bring structure to the summer. This helps to prepare my kids for sleep. We're calming down and they know what to expect. Also, when children are acting up in the evening I can punish them by sending them "straight" to bed, which works well. Of course there are some nights that we are getting home late and everyone just gets right into bed, but this is what we strive to make happen.
  3. Limit T.V. time - Television is definitely an easy thing to fall back on when your kids are bored, fighting, making messes, etc. It's a great distraction. But it can also have many negative effects. One thing that I always notice is it seems to make the kids irritable & lazy after awhile.
  4. Do something active every day - Whether it is inside or outside, I make sure that they do something active. Kids can be creative, let them use their imaginations. If they need some help give them some ideas. Here are a few ideas I use.
  5. Have a chore routine - Every day my children do chores. They vary every day, between how many and how time consuming. I do have a schedule of what I try to get done each day and we try to stick to that. This ensures that my house doesn't get too out of control. During the summer we often find ourselves making last minute plans and leaving in a hurry. By staying on top of chores we can avoid having to spend a whole day of summer inside!
  6. Have lots of healthy snack options - My kids always eat way more in the summer. They're more active and using a lot more energy, especially when we're at the beach or pool or out at a ballgame all day. Not only do they need to eat a lot more, they need to eat healthy. Of course, we still eat cookies and things like that, but I always make sure we have other options, too. Hungry kids quickly lead to grumpy kids and meltdowns!
  7. Have a daily schedule - I use the word schedule for lack of anything better. The schedule more just outlines inside time, outside time, time with neighborhood friends, t.v. time... Things like that.

Those are my Summer Survival Tips! What are yours???

    Making your home sing Mondays

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Mom on a Mission

    Can you tell by this picture what is happening in our house lately??? I went to the library and on Monday and this is what I came home with!

    Bickering between the kids is always more of a problem in the Summer. Or at least it seems that way with everyone being home and constantly with each other. There is not a lot of time apart or alone. Plus, when you add in boredom or tired from a long day of fun... Ugh!

    Besides all those circumstances, I still have noticed that the kids seem to have gotten worse about getting along. After "studying" the situation for awhile, I see a few things that seem to contribute.
    • The kids are getting older and therefore want to make sure they are being heard as an individual.
    • Also, with getting older come a lot of opinions.
    • Hormones are starting to be a factor.
    • Patience is not a virtue in this house.
    • They do not respect their siblings as an individual.

    The last point is probably the biggest problem. When you don't respect someone it is a downward spiral. They don't value others opinions, their property, their feelings, etc. 

     I know all of this is so hard to believe when you look at these sweet faces, right??? Pshh

    So I have done a lot of praying and seeking advice. And now I'm reading. **An important side note in reading, especially about something so personal. Make sure you already have a strong foundation before you start reading. It is easy to be swayed into someone else thinking.

    I already knew that we needed 2 things: To do something that would bring unity & to create respect for each other.

    So far these books are exactly what I was looking for... I read the beginning of one that was advising the parents to stay out of it so the children could learn to get thicker skin, stick up for themselves both verbally and physically and never take sides in saying a child is wrong in their behavior toward their sibling. Hmmm... Sounds like I would be a lazy parent creating a narcissistic bully?!? No thanks! That's exactly why you need to be prepared before you find information.

    Here are a few things that I am going to try to implement:
    1. Family Meetings - probably weekly or biweekly
    2. Family Rules - write these up during the first meeting
    3. Weekly Bible Verse - pick a verse to talk about throughout the week
    4. Do at least one family activity that we are all involved in - play a game, do a project, go for a walk, etc.
    5. Create meaningful conversations during meals
    6. Try new discipline techniques - this will be the most difficult

    The one thing that I realize is that these are all things that will create a lot of work for my husband and I! But that is part of being a parent. It takes work! 

    I also know that my children will still fight despite the changes we make. But I believe that it can get better than what we have now.

    I have been telling myself that this is normal and it will work itself out. But I don't believe that's the case. I believe that we will all just grin and bare it until it's over. And that's not what I want for my home. I want better.

    I'll keep you updated on our progress! Care to share any of your own tips for stopping sibling fighting???

    Making your home sing Mondays

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Look UP

    Good news... I managed to survive my last week of school for the Summer! Woo hoo!!! No school til the Fall! Although, I can't quite say the same thing for everything else! :)

    Apparently, my relief from finishing school has carried over into other things. And by "other things" I mean everything! Yardwork, housework, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry... You name it!

    This of course is another busy week. We have something every night. I also have the added stress of my husband leaving on Saturday for a missions trip in Mexico! He will be gone for a week. So that's definitely throwing me off a bit. 

    Hopefully next week should be better. I always get a lot of cleaning done when he is gone, so I can stay occupied. We'll see how successful I am.

    I'm planning on going back to the monthly meal plan and shopping starting next week. That was much easier! Especially with the summer, I want to spend the least amount of time in the grocery store. Plus, planning ahead allows me to pick meals that are quick and easy to get on the table.

    With weeks like this it is easy to get overwhelmed with life. I'm trying to keep my eyes on what is important... Which means that right now some things will be neglected. My house won't be spotless, my kids will have to entertain themselves (*gasp), I have no meal plan... But I'm okay with everything not always being perfect.
    I know that sometimes the Proverbs 31 woman can bring on an eye roll from many. But we shouldn't be intimidated by her, we should learn from her.
    It doesn't say that she does everything without failing. It says she works her hardest! Some days everything won't get done, but we should still work at it the best we can.

    Idleness is an easy thing to fall into, especially with all the electronic "conveniences". You can sit on the phone, t.v. or computer for hours. Nothing is wrong with taking a break or using any of these things. The problem comes in when we let them distract us from what should be our real priorities.

    What is your motivation? What are you relying on? Where is your strength coming from??? Yes... Even for housework! You are being a servant and that is hard work that requires patience, strength, perseverance, etc. All things that God can perfect in you

    Look to Him! Look up!

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    Making your home sing Mondays

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Week #3 of Summer

    I don't have too many pictures from this past week. We were so busy, I kinda forgot! :)

    I have been trying to catch up on some of the cleaning that has been neglected and I've enlisted the help of my children. So far we have done the kitchen, downstairs bathroom, and our foyer. We've scrubbed top to bottom. The kids do most of the scrubbing, I do the organizing and purging.

    The kids have had a relatively good attitude... Dare I even say that they've enjoyed it some??? I think anytime a child can justify standing on the counters, it's deemed fun! I'm not sure how much cleaning my youngest son, Isaac did, but I'm pretty sure he did the most climbing!

    We went to the park twice this week! Once, we met my Mom and Sister for about an hour! The 2nd visit we met our church Mom's group and stayed for about 4 hours! Thankfully the weather was great and the kids had a blast! They love being free to run around and be loud!

    He finally made it to the top of the big rock!
    We also had our 1st of many celebrations for Hannah's 8th BDay! We started with shopping at Justice and then mexican for dinner! It was fun to be out with only her and my husband and spoil her for those few hours.

    Yes, that would be a lemon in her mouth!
    We also had plenty of events without pictures... A double date with great friends, we went to see another $1.00 movie, a marriage conference at our church, a pastor's wives brunch, AND baseball games & practices!

    Funny how when I look back at my week like that I wonder how I fit it all in! :)

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Meal Plan 07/02 - 07/08

    This past week has been a complete blur! Surprisingly we did pretty good sticking with the meal plan. Only 2 meals didn't happen that will be repeated this week.

    This week I only had a chance to make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the freezer. I attempted to make Homemade Tortillas for dinner & extra for the freezer, but that did not work! I don't know why, but they were so tough I could barely roll them out! So that was a fail! I may try again this week.

    No shopping this week! I will be running in to Harris Teeter today or tomorrow to grab a few sale items, milk, bread and fresh produce. I'll post that later.

    We had another fun and busy week of Summer! I'll post some of our activities tomorrow!

    This weeks meal plan is all about survival. I have one week of school left for the summer, which means lots of papers. We also have a birthday to celebrate! My goal will be to simply put food on the table. Nothing fancy. And using mostly items that I already have, so not a lot of shopping. Crock Pot meals are great for these type of meals.

    What's your all-time favorite go to easy meal???

    Here's the details:

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Week #2 of Summer Activities

    Another successful week of Summer in our house! And so far it's only cost me $4.00! Now that's my kinda fun!

    Lately, my kids have been obsessed with riding bikes! I love it! They're outside, playing together and burning off energy! We have had a few accidents, but nothing too terrible... Yet. ;)

    We went to the $1.00 Summer Movies at Regal! We saw Journey 2. It was good. A little exciting for my 4-year-old, but he just sat on my lap & closed his eyes. Overall, it was a good movie. We brought our own bag of chips to snack on. Make sure you get there early, because sometimes they can be packed if there are a lot of day cares.

    I did get some baking done this week. I made banana muffins & bread, Homemade Granola, Homemade Granola Bars & Waffles for the freezer. I let Isaac help with mixing the waffles. It is difficult to let my kids help in the kitchen, but I know they like it. I just have to be prepared for the extra time it will take.

    On the first day of Summer we went to Rita's for discounted Italian Ice with my parents. My husband was out of town on business and they were keeping me company... A.K.A. Distracted from being alone! We walked there from their house. 

    On the way home, Isaac caught his first firefly! He was so excited! He didn't want me to take a picture of it, because he didn't want it to fly away! When he finally let it go, I was trying to take a picture of it and it flew right onto my finger. I freaked out screaming! I don't know why, but it scared me. Needless to say, I did not get this sweet moment on camera! Lol

    We also had some baseball... Of course! This hit he stroked the ball out to center field!

    We also had a beach day! It was too short, though. Could have stayed there all day!

    Another night that my husband was out of town, we went to my Grandparents with my Mom. We took the kids down to feed the ducks. Of course it ended with poop on Dilon's foot & Hannah's hand! Yuck!

    We ended the week by celebrating my sister's bday! And I welcomed her to the Coach purse club! I think I was just as excited about giving it as she was about getting it!


    Of course, these pictures glamorize my week! It was a fun week, but it was not without sibling rivalry, running errands, doing schoolwork, house chores, lawn work, etc. I definitely don't have any pictures of that! 

    *What were the glamorous parts of your week???

    Making your home sing Mondays