Friday, July 29, 2011


Have you ever felt like you couldn't go on?

Have you ever thought that if you had one more day like the previous one you might just fall apart? 

I have!!  In fact it happens a lot around here.

Probably if every mom was honest--we would say we frequently have discouraging days.

So............what do you do to encourage the other mom's around you?

Now, I know what you are thinking--"I'm so busy that I don't have time to help anyone else."

But, I'm not necessarily talking about physical help--although that would be nice too.

I'm talking about words.  (One of my favorite things by the way.)

Often I get so busy with all my own crises that I forget to notice and encourage the people around me.

It only takes a minute of time.

You could send a note.

Make a phone call.

Write an email.

Or simply drop in. (Maybe you should call first, or you might create more stress.)

I can't tell you what it means to me to have someone let me know that they were thinking of me.

Makes my load SO much lighter.

So--go ahead--encourage someone today!!

Then tell me about it in the comments. : )

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I'm struggling with thoughts and worries about the future today. 

As I was praying about some of the details this verse came to my mind. 

We only need to wait on the Lord. 

He will take care of the future.

He will renew our strength when it fails.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;  they shall mount up with wings as eagles;  they shall run, and not be weary;  and they shall walk, and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Walking In Sand

I grew up mere minutes from sand dunes near Lake Michigan.  I have some fond memories of climbing sandy hills and sliding down the other side.  I also have some not-so-fond memories of having sand embedded in my clothing, but that's not what I'm writing about today.

When you climb a sand dune it is a rigorous process.  For every step you take you slide back a half step.  It can feel distinctly like you aren't making any progress at all.  Your leg muscles burn and your breath fails you and you gaze toward the top of the hill with the sun in your eyes thinking--"I'll never make it."

Not really that much different than parenting is it?  Some days you feel like no progress has been made. 

You tell the eight year old that only HE can choose to have a good attitude--only to hear him huff under his breath.

You remind the six year old that obeying mom is what he must do first--only to have him once again debate what you have asked him to do.

You remove the almost two year old from a no-no spot for the millionth time--only to have him happily return.

You can't accomplish any laundry because the baby is mysteriously fussy, and nothing will calm him, but being held CONSTANTLY by you and you alone.

Your heart aches and your patience fails you as you look up and think--"I'll never make it."

But wait--there is a strategy to climbing sand dunes that also applies to parenting.  You need to look back to see how far you have come.  You can see your straggling footprints trailing up the sandy hill, and suddenly you have courage.  "I've come this far--I can keep going."

Monday, July 25, 2011


Lately I've become aware of a bad habit of mine because it is being reflected in my children. 

It's making excuses. 

I excuse my crabbiness toward my family by saying: "My back hurts."

I excuse my lateness to an appointment by saying: "My children were naughty."

I excuse the cold shoulder I gave to my husband by saying: "Little people have been hanging on me all day."

I realize that all of these things are true, but are they good reasons for mistreating the people I love most?  Often if we correct the issues with a little more foresight there is no need to make excuses. 

I could take a pain reliever for my back.

I could take the time to prepare better for my appointment leaving a little extra time for "naughty children."  

I could read the toddler and baby a story and play with them and they might not hang on me so much--leaving a little more for my hubby.

Sometimes I fail though even with preparation.  What should I do then?  Instead of excuses I could simply admit that I was wrong.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you."

"I'm sorry I'm late."

"Yes dear--I have time for you."

It's really not that hard, but just like the habit of making excuses wasn't born overnight--neither will the habit of being honest, and admitting the truth.  It will take a conscious effort and a lot of help from above.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What's Blooming

Trumpet vine growing on the washline post

Our onion harvest--better than I expected.

Bee balm--almost past it's prime.

Hibiscus bloom by the front walk--what a nice welcoming sight.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saving Money With a Baby

No doubt about it baby supplies can add up on your grocery bill.

Several years ago I tried making homemade baby wipes, and I was unhappy with the results.

Within a few days they smelled rancid, (because of the baby oil in them) and they dried out quickly.

A friend encouraged me to give this recipe a try and I am amazed.

I've been using them for almost a month now, and the other day I used some store bought wipes and realized I like the homemade ones better!

Whisk 2 tablespoons each of baby wash and baby lotion in 2 cups of warm water.

Pour over 1/2 a roll of Bounty paper towels stuffed into an airtight container.

This container is what I use to store the wipes in, but any round or square airtight container will work.

The lotion gives them a soft baby scent that lingers on the baby.

If you prefer unscented wipes you can use scent-free lotion and baby wash.

I have my hubby cut the paper towel roll in half with his radial arm saw--makes a smoother cut than an electric knife.

These wipes could be used for any quick clean-up--not just for babies.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Free Fun

Who needs expensive toys?

All you need is a pair of feet and some bubble wrap.

It will entertain everyone for hours.

Even the dog--who barked herself hoarse.

What do you do for free fun at your house?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2011

Playing With My Food

The other evening my hubby told me he wanted a salad for supper.

Our lettuce in our garden is doing so well we can hardly keep up with eating it.

The house was tidy and I was a little bored.

So, I played with my food and came up with this creation.

Everything on the platter is from our garden except the tomatoes.

They came from a friends hothouse.

In case you were wondering it tasted every bit as nice as it looked.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What God Sees

When I look in the mirror I see a rather frumpy looking thirty-something lady looking back at me.  There are straggles of hair around my face and dark circles under my eyes.  My chin has multiplied and there are love handles in places where no love handle should ever be.

This makes me wonder...........

What does my husband see when he looks at me?

  Why do his eyes still sparkle when they meet mine across a crowded room.  Why does he search me out when he walks in the house after a hard day of work?  Why does he call me for no reason in the middle of the day to see how I'm doing?

What do my children see when they look at me?

  Why do they bring me their treasures to share with me?  Why do they cling to me at night after a bad dream?  Why do they tell me their deepest darkest secrets with such a look of confidence in their eyes?

What do my friends see when they look at me?

 Why do they send me a card just to let me know they are praying for me?  Why do they listen to me when my babbling makes no sense and I just need to vent?  Why do they sound so happy to hear my voice on the phone?

Most importantly what does God see when He looks at me? 

Does he see that my intentions are good even when I fail?  Does He know why I cry when no one else can see?  Does He care if I look frumpy?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

To Clean or Not to Clean Part 2

I am a rather scatter-brained disorganized person by nature--so do not read these posts and get lofty ideas about how orderly my mind is.  I organize my days to survive.  If I just cleaned when I felt like it my house would look like the proverbial pig-sty.

 Having said that I promised yesterday that I would tell you how I clean a room.  This concept is not original to me--I worked for a housecleaning service for several months many years ago and I learned it from them
 I have added my own little quirks to it, but the basic concept is not mine.

When I clean a room I take all my supplies into the room.  Usually this includes a dust rag, Windex, and vacuum cleaner.  (My dust rag is a microfiber rag that I dampen with a little water--I have a son with severe allergies so I avoid dusting sprays)

I start by emptying the trash can--if there is one in the room.  Then I start to the left of the door and work my way around the perimeter of the room in a clockwise direction tidying and dusting.  When I have completed a full rotation around the room I wash all the mirrors, and vacuum the entire room.  If the room has linoleum I sweep and then wet mop.

I try to continually tidy the house all week long.  I borrowed an idea from Raising Arrows and recently began incorporating 15 minute pick up time late in the afternoon.  We turn on some energetic music and everyone cleans up like mad.  This makes the house look nice when Daddy gets home. 

Another coping strategy that I use is to put something away every time I walk through a room.  For example if I'm headed for the bathroom and I notice that the Ora-Gel is sitting on the kitchen counter from a late night teething session I grab it and take it with me to the medicine cupboard.

I've found that with this cleaning schedule I can accomplish my chores in about an hour per day.  This means that if I have a busier day with Doctors appointments etc--I can still finish my work for the day either before I leave in the morning or after I return.  It also means that if I have fussy children I can get it done during nap time.

Keeping an orderly house is a continual work-in-progress for me and if you stop by to visit me unannounced you may find my counters covered with dishes and toys and dirty laundry on the floor.  It just means that a busy family lives here.

I'd love to hear from some of you.  How do you accomplish your weekly cleaning?  What works for you?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Clean Or Not To Clean Part 1

I've cleaned my house using a schedule for about 4 years.  I find that it helps me hit all the major areas in my home at a relaxed pace rather than tearing around on Friday or Saturday.

My former weekly schedule needs some revamping due to the arrival of two new little ones in our home.  For one thing we are using a bedroom that was normally empty, and also I don't have quite as many large blocks of time.

An article over at The North Forty got me thinking about this even more.

  Sometimes when something changes in our daily lives we simply give up and decide we can't keep up.  Our homes and lives can end up in a disordered tangle and we hopelessly shrug and sigh--when all we really need to do is use our time more wisely and come up with a better plan.

My weekly cleaning schedule formerly looked like this.



Wednesday--Laundry, Clean Both Bathrooms, Water House Plants

Thursday--Laundry, Clean Master Bedroom, and Living Room

Friday--Clean Laundry Room, Kitchen, Family Room, and Boys Bedroom

Saturday--Outside Work, and Preparation for Sunday.

You will notice that I do laundry almost every day.  I usually do 1 or 2 loads every day.  This works for me because my hubby encouraged me to use my dryer a little more to help me keep up in the laundry department.

Here's the new schedule.

Monday--Laundry, Wipe down all kitchen counters

Tuesday--Laundry, Wipe down kitchen Appliances and Washer and Dryer

Wednesday--Laundry, Clean Bathrooms, Water House Plants

Thursday--Laundry, Clean Master Bedroom, and Living Room

Friday--Laundry, Clean Laundry Room, Kitchen, Family Room, and Children's Bedrooms

Tomorrow I'll post a little more on how I clean a room, and how I maintain the house throughout the week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Life's a Bowl of Cherries

As I mentioned yesterday I bought two 5 gallon buckets of sweet cherries. 

Last night I sorted and washed them. 

Today I bagged up 23 quarts of them to freeze. 

 I don't pit them we just eat them partially frozen and spit out the pits like you would do when they are fresh. 

 This is a favorite evening snack for our family in the fall and winter months when fresh fruit is not readily available.

 The rest of them I put in a clean drawer in my fridge for a healthy snack.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 11, 2011

List Time

This past week felt productive--until I looked at my list and realized I didn't accomplish anything on it.  I did work on my canning shelves a little.  Somehow making it to the sewing room is a daunting task right now, but I guess I will just forward some of last weeks list.

Patch jeans.

Sew on my dress.

Freeze sweet cherries. (I'm getting two five gallon bucketfuls tonight.)

Work on a new weekly cleaning schedule.  I'm planning to post more about this later in the week.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Day of Rest

Listen closely to the words of this song--so beautiful!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Things I'm Happy For This Saturday 2

Naps--I was up more than down last night.

Weeds--there's something very therapeutic about garden weeding.

Grilled Food--for me this means two things-I didn't have to cook, and my kitchen stayed clean.

Good Friends--sometimes a simple phone call can do so much to cheer, and encourage me!!

A Dishwasher--don't know how I would keep up with all the bottles and sippy cups without this appliance.

Sunshine--even tho we could use some rain I do enjoy the bright sunny days.

What are you happy for this Saturday?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Doesn't Get Much Better Than This

It really doesn't get much better than this.  Fresh lettuce from the garden!!  Our lettuce is doing beautifully this year.  All the rain and the cool nights have made it a gorgeous crop.

Although lettuce is one of the more time intensive veggies to get to the table I would have to say it's one of my favorite garden treats.  Washing it takes a lot of time, and the fact that we mulched with grass has made it a little harder to clean.  There are a LOT of grass clippings on it.
This year I planted Leaf Lettuce and Romaine.  I don't usually let the Romaine go into heads I just cut it like leaf lettuce.  Because the leaves are long and flat it is easier to wash. 

We've also been eating a few little cucumbers and zucchini.  My family likes to eat zucchini raw.  We slice them up and eat them with ranch dressing or just plain.

I spent about a half hour pulling weeds today. I need to make it a priority to work a little on the weed crop every day--otherwise it gets overwhelming.

What's growing in your garden?
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Open Hands

I tend to get attached to things.  Especially things that are close to me.  I like my house and the furnishings in it, and I get upset when something gets lost or broken.

I'm that way with my children too.  I tend to think of them as "mine."  I don't like the thought of them growing up and "flying away."  I hold them tightly with a strong grip.

For this reason foster parenting is a scary venture for me.  I don't like to think about losing someone I've grown close to .

However, none of the things that I mentioned before are really mine.  Not my house--the things in it--my children--or my foster children.  They all belong to God first.

I must hold all of it loosely.   If I grasp at things and people too tightly I don't have my hands open for God to place added blessings in them.

So, I hold all of it with open hands.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Is It Monday Already?

I'm not sure where last week went.  Somewhere between bottles and diapers it disappeared.  By the way--guess how many diapers I change on average per week.  You can leave your guess in the comments. 

I did manage to accomplish my list.  The chicken is all in the freezer.  I left 11 of them whole--to be roasted, and three of them our neighbor smoked for us--yummy.  (If you've never had smoked chicken try it!)  The remaining 19 I cut up and froze separately wings, leg quarters and boneless skinless breasts.  The necks and backs I freeze in large bags.  On cold winter days I pull a bag out of the freezer and cook it off the bone and use the chicken for soup, casseroles or dumplings--but who wants to think about cold winter days right now.

The corn patch is weeded. 

The clothing is sorted and organized neatly in a tote.  Wonder what people did before there were storage totes?

This week we have several dentist appointments, but there are still other things to be done.

I would like to finish some sewing that I started before our foster children arrived.

I need to patch a large pile of jeans.

Last but not least I need to work on my canning shelves.  I will soon be filling them again and I would like to organize them a little before then.  Am I the only one that gets a slightly panicky feeling about the upcoming canning season?  Once I'm in the middle of it I enjoy it, but the anticipation is stressful for some reason.

Today we host a family reunion at our place so my day will be filled to the brim.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Things I'm Happy For This Saturday

Slobbery baby kisses--forgot how much I love them.

A clean house--thanks to my six year old baby entertainer.

Daddy's home--so I might get a nap this afternoon

Sams Club--plenty of groceries in the fridge.

Air Conditioning--it's sweltering outside.

Baby giggling--there's no sweeter background noise.

Good Health--my cold is finally better!

What are you happy for today?

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Rainy Day

Rain Drops on Pine Branch Needles Photographic Print by Eric Kamp

I love rain in the summer.

I love going to sleep to the sound of it pattering on the roof.

I love the fact that rain forces me to take a break from outside work.

I love that I don't have to water my garden when it rains.

I love to curl up with a good book on a rainy day.

I love to take a nap when it's raining.

Do you like rainy days, and if so, what do you do when it's raining?