Friday, July 13, 2007

Frugal Friday

We like pancakes and waffles with hot syrup at our house. Hungry Jack syrup comes in a rounder, flatter bottle that you can warm each time in the microwave. To save a few dollars, I buy the Hungry Jack only when on sale and I have a coupon. Then, I buy the cheaper store brands to refill it. The bottle lasts through several re-fillings. No one - not even my finicky ones know the difference. Think of other items that this might work for. If you like the packaging of name brands, see if there isn't a way to re-use by refilling with a less expensive replacement.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"I will pray for you." Have you promised to pray and then later realized that you've forgotten? Do you have so many people/situations to pray for that there is no way that you could cover it even if you prayed all day? Do you wish that you had an organized way to pray for your husband and children? My friend helped me to come up with a calendar/schedule to help me to cover all my bases. Here is the blank page that I use which has 5 rows of 7 columns. (I use the horizontal one.) Across the top row, I have different families and causes for each day of the week. For example, on Monday I pray for my church family's needs (fresh in my mind from Sunday.) On Tuesday, I pray for my husband's family. I list every one's names so I remember everyone. On Wednesday, I pray for my family. I have various other people and organizations on Thursday and Friday such as Voice of the Martyrs, Joni and Friends, City Union Mission, Answers in Genesis, and other worthy ministries. I also pray for issues that are important to me such as abortion and the soldiers serving in Iraq and their families. Then, (I got this idea from Stormy Omartian's book), I list specific things to pray for my dear husband every day of the month. I pray for his health, his work, his relationships, etc. Last, but certainly not least, I pray especially for one of my precious children each day. I list some specific things for them as well i.e. relationships with Jesus, parents and siblings, life purpose, future spouse, etc. I keep my prayer calendar in a protective sleeve with a notebook to write down prayer requests that I receive. The system is not perfect, but I find that when I use it, I am blessed to pray for the people dear to me.
For more tips, go to Rocks in My Dryer.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Frugal Friday

Crystal over at Biblical Womanhood just had a baby a couple of weeks ago, but she's still going strong reminding us to live frugally.
My frugal tip this week came to me as I was running out the door to our annual fireworks celebration. One of our traditions is to eat homemade popcorn and red licorice during the display. Very American. I was not prepared when it was time to go. In fact I almost forgot the popcorn. Everyone would have been disappointed. I didn't have any cups or bowls to put the popcorn in. I spied some coffee filters and grabbed those. They worked great and they're much cheaper than plastic or styrofoam.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy Independence Day

Here's a question for everyone in blogland. How in the world do you find time to blog? What exactly do you neglect to get it done? I can't seem to squeeze it in.

Anyway, enough complaining from me. Happy Independence Day! Here's a short story to get you in the patriotic mood.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Busy Weekend Weeks

Me, Hubby, Grandma Darlene and Grandpa Dave and kiddos

Grandma Judy and Natalie

Ballerina Julia (with the real ballerina pose)

Grandpa Gary, Drew, and young'ns on Father's Day.

As long as I'm up way past the time I'm supposed to be in bed, I will post some picture from our busy last couple of weeks.
My mama came and went with us to shop for a wedding dress. I would post a picture, but the groom-to-be could drop by. Saturday Grandma Judy's hubby, Gary joined us and we celebrated Erica's and Patrick's engagement and Father's Day by Gary taking us out to dinner. (Nothing like taking yourself out!

The following Thursday, my dear mother- in- law and her hubby, Dave came. They treated us to dinner to celebrate our anniversaries. Twenty sweet years for us!
Weekend entertainment included a ballet recital (Princess #3) and Audrey's participation in Backyard Bible Club. A group of teenagers spending their time evangelizing and ministering to children in local neighborhoods. Erica was training to help with the City Union Mission camp for kids, so she missed some of the action.
My mom rejoined us on Saturday to share in the festivities.

Okay, I've made a mess. I need to figure out how to upload photos on the page where I want them and write next to the photos. This could take all night!
But, right now I'm too tired. Good night.
Oh, below are pics of Backyard Bible Club featuring Audrey.

Clean Fingernails

I know that I will win the grand prize this time for WFMW! Okay, everyone get ready for this piece of advice that will change your lives...
I have found that if I trim my children's fingernails and toenails before their baths, they get cleaner because I have revealed and released the gunk from under the nails to be washed away. The little princesses get a bath at least twice a week and on Saturday, they get nails trimmed first. Strong Soldier usually takes a shower now but it still helps to get 'em clean. He usually protests because he's always pretending to be something/somebody else (i.e. a gorilla, a character from Lord of The Rings, etc) that needs claws.
Anyway, go ahead and try it. See if it doesn't change your life forever.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Common Homeschool Mom Phrases

" I don't want to hear you talking until you are done with that paper. Take that out or your belly button."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Don't Waste Time

My grandma always said, "There just aren't enough hours in the day." I remember wondering what in the world she meant by that. I had plenty of time. Now I know. When she learned that I was having my first baby, she said, "Your life is not your own." She was right about that one, too. But, that's a whole 'nother post.
Anyway, my WFMW tip is Don't Waste Time. Sounds simple. Here are a few examples of ways to "lasso the time" and squeeze some more productivity out of your minutes. I keep a laminated map in the bathroom with the U.S. on one side and the world on the other. You might as well learn your geography while you're sitting there. We have many audio tapes that have a variety of topics put to music; bible verses, states and capitals, and multiplication tables to name a few. We can learn and memorize these things in the car or kids can listen to them during quiet time. One more example is that I have my older children teach and demonstrate things to my younger children. Julia practices the sign language alphabet with Natalie, Ben reads to his sisters, Erica and Audrey will demonstrate a cooking or cleaning skill to each other.
When there is a need to learn something and we have discretionary time (okay, going to the bathroom isn't really discretionary time!) I try to find ways to combine activities to seem like we have more hours in the day. Grandma would be proud.
For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer

Our Family Tree

Here's Daddy and his family on Father's Day. Along with Erica's fiance'. We don't get our picture taken often enough.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Looking Over The Fence

My little princesses were dancing and prancing around the living room. Julia has the grace and poise of the ballerina she envisions herself to be. Natalie has the grace and poise of...well...okay, she doesn't have grace or poise. Anyway, Julia was dancing, delicately waving her beautiful arms in the air when Benjamin came and roared in her face. Julia continued to dance, unfazed. Since we have been discussing the ways to deal with others (i.e. be a peacemaker and a servant) I began to praise Julia. "Julia that is wonderful. Beautiful. Great job over-looking an offense!" Natalie came flitting back into the room. "I want to look over the fence! I want to look over the fence!" She began to wave her pudgy little arms in the air thinking it was a new dance move.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm Lazy

It's true. I might not look lazy to the naked eye since I'm always running around barking orders and looking busy. I cook and clean, mow the lawn, drive people here and there, plan and tie up loose ends. But in my heart I'm lazy. I secretly wish that I could sit, eat, and read. Basically, that would be a fun life in my opinion. I've always been lazy. I have friends who seem to be natural "do-ers." They jump right in and do whatever needs to get done in the situation. I have a couple of sisters-in-law like that. While I'm sitting around trying to think of a way to get out of the dishes, they're running circles around me. I've taught my children to pray that the Lord would help them to serve with joyful hearts. I have prayed that prayer for myself as well. God answered my prayer last year when I started mowing the lawn for my husband. My dad used to try and get me to mow the lawn when I was a teenager. I told him that I would get a farmer's tan so I couldn't. I'm thankful to have a chance to serve my husband in this way. He's thankful and tells me how much it blesses him. It frees him up to spend some extra time with the kids and it gives me time to pray and ask God to make me a joyful servant.
I just knew that my *little* brother would read my blog. He's a great guy! (See comments.)

No More Late Fees

I was returning my library items a few weeks ago (late, as usual.) The nice lady behind the desk asked me if I had e-mail reminders. E-mail reminders? Never heard of it and I can't believe that no one else had bothered to tell me about it. I guess then they would have to get their income somewhere else. So, I signed up and now, a couple of days before my books/videos are due, they email me and remind me. I think I've already saved a bunch of money. Check into it at your library and see if they're as techno-savvy as they are at mine. Could save you some late fees.
For more frugal tips, go to Biblical Womanhood.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hard Work Pay-offs

Yay!! Benjamin can read a bedtime story.

Julia considers it a privilege to do the dishes.

Finally, some concrete evidence that all of my hard work will eventually pay off. The Bible says not to grow weary in doing good(training my children) - that in due time we will reap a harvest. Maybe, just maybe I see the blossoms. Many of you have young children close together. They don't usually tell you that they're bored, they just begin dismantling your home and un-doing everything that you're trying to accomplish. I have found that a schedule or at least a routine helps head off boredom. I try to alternate chores, quiet learning play and physical activity - not always in that order. I'm blessed to have my 19 yo and 14 yo daughters to spend some time with the little girls and the boy who says he's "not really a teenager, but like a teenager!"
Actually, one of the few rules that I haven't had any trouble enforcing is "We don't use the word bored at our house." Everyone helps and everyone gets to have some fun. Usually.
One more little tip I heard that works for me - always have the youngest person capable to complete the needed task. That way the littles can gain confidence and it gives the older children a break.
For more tips to help relieve summer time boredom, visit Shannon's site.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Cell Phones

If it's at all possible, have everyone in your family and all of your friends who have cell phones use the same company. I'm not sure if all providers have similar deals, but with ours, you can talk free with everyone with Ver*zon. We have the same company as my brother and his family, my mom and her husband, my dad, my mother-in-law and father-in-law, nieces, and several friends. That way, you can stay up to date with loved ones and let the children keep in touch with their sweet grandparents when it's convenient for you and them during the day and not have to wait until after 9:00 pm when the minutes are free. That is the time to call people who are out of network. See my previous post for a great idea to honor your parents.

For more frugal tips visit Crystal's website.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Honor Your Mother-in-Law

I am SO excited about my new great *big* idea! Let me start by saying that I am blessed to have a mother-in-law who loves me and never hesitates to tell me that she loves me and that she's so thankful that God brought me into their family. How sweet is that? I have always tried to call her at least once a week. She We usually talks for at least an hour. A few days after one of our lengthy conversations, she was talking to my husband on the phone and said "I haven't talked to Jennifer for so long." I felt frustrated that we had had a nice, long conversation and that it wasn't still fresh in her mind. Well recently, I had a light bulb moment. We have five children. And two adults. 5+2=7. There are seven days in week. I will have someone call her every day. She can't hear enough about her grandchildren and they love to talk to her and Grandpa. Even my little two-year-old wants to tell Grandma all her important news. We have the same cell phone company so it's free. Everyone is happy. You can't beat that! We never know how much time we will have with our precious loved ones. I don't want to have regrets.
For more great ideas go to Rocks in my Dryer

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Name That Gift

My son, the strong soldier was secretively busy in the next room. "Don't come in here, Mom!" he cautioned several times. Finally, the surprise was ready. "Here you go. They were earrings, but Audrey said they were too heavy. You can use them for Christmas ornaments."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Daytime Sleeper

This post is for those of you who may need some tips for a daytime sleeper in your home. You need to make the room as dark as possible along with some white noise to reduce the possibility of your daytime sleeper being awakened by noisy eruptions outside his door. If you don't want to spent the $100 apiece for the "blackout" shades, use garbage bags! You take the large size garbage bags and clothes pin two of them vertically to the sides of your existing shades or blinds. They actually work better than the expensive blinds that I looked at. And then, when you want the sun to shine in, you can quickly and easily unclasp the clothes pins, fold the bags and put them in the drawer!
The white noise machine comes from Bed Bath and Beyond called the Sound Spa. BBBeyond has 20% coupons that they send out frequently. There are a few different models. Each has different sounds that emulate soothing environments: waterfall, rain forest, the ocean, a thunderstorm. We use the waterfall because the noise is constant and doesn't vary. In fact, we have these machines in every bedroom so the young'ns don't hear us at night and in the morning and think that they 're missing out on a party. When my big daytime sleeper has his garbage bags pinned up and his "waterfall" he says that he dreams he's in a cave and can't get out until he retires. Hey, it works for me.
For more frugal tips see Biblical Womanhood.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tribute to Princess # 2

My lovely # 2 princess pointed out that in two of my posts, I commented that we're keeping her around for awhile. A long while. There are reasons for this. First, let me back up. I mistakenly called my younger princesses #1 and #2. They are actually #'s 3 and 4. So, I have 4 princesses living here with my strong soldier sandwiched in the middle. That's alot of royalty in one household.

The reason that we're keeping Audrey around for while (besides the fact that she's a mere 14 years old) is that she has many wonderful talents and character traits. One of the most unique talents that she has is the ability to discern little moan-y grunts that are a sign that one of her younger siblings is about to vomit. Then, she can leap from across the room, bowl in hand and prevent a huge mess. She's always been able to see others' needs and respond with the right kind of help.
She's very entertaining. Especially around midnight. Right when I really want to go to bed. She can also dance like a real ballerina even though she's never had lessons. Oh, and did I tell you that she and her friend made the dress that she's wearing in the picture?
She's kind and helpful. Versatile and flexible. She serves her family with joy. (Usually she has joy. Sometimes she just serves.)
Oh, and one more thing. She's the only person I know who received a scholarship to preschool. When she was 3 years old, she attended preschool two days a week at a church in our neighborhood. We needed to cut some things out of our budget and preschool had to go. When I told the director, she said, "Oh, we need Audrey! She's a special little girl." Then she told me that people from the congregation sponsor children to go to preschool there. So, Audrey got a scholarship to preschool.
I could tell you more, but given her many talents and sweet spirit, I'm sure that you can understand why we want to keep her around for awhile.


It's official. My oldest daughter, Erica is engaged. She and her fiance', Patrick are almost giddy. God is very gracious and kind. So is Patrick! If I had to go searching for the right young man for my princess #1, I would hand-pick Patrick. He is a handsome, God-fearing, passionate about Jesus, respectful, kind, patient, articulate, fun, responsible, smart Eagle Scout of a guy. I'm sure that I missed some of his attributes. My sweet daughter is a beautiful, God-fearing, passionate about Jesus, hard working, kind to her siblings, submissive to her parents, wise, discerning, creative, fun, faithful princess of a daughter. What more could a humble, tried-my-best mother(and father) ask for?! Did I mention Eagle Scout? Okay, I know it's not humble to brag. We are excited and thankful.
That is princess #2 in the picture with the happy couple. We're keeping her for awhile. A long while.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WFMW More Never Give Up

In my last post I wrote about never giving up on my big ideas. Today I want to talk about not giving up on the commitments that I've made to myself. Reading my Bible, exercising, not yelling at my children, speaking in a respectful voice to my husband, making dinner on regular basis, keeping my papers filed, not eating late in the evening, eating less sugar, getting on my knees and praying every night, making a menu on Saturdays so I will make dinner on a regular basis. The list goes on. The biggest thing that I've found that works for me is, again, to never give up. It's easy to get discouraged. Most of us know the things that we should do to maintain spiritual and physical health. Most of us struggle with some lack of self control. I was not raised in a home where self control was demonstrated very often. People ate, drank, did and said whatever satisfied them in that moment. I have found that if I have a plan and stick to the basics and accomplish my priorities early in the day (i.e. read my Bible, pray, exercise) and plan the rest of the day (dinner included) then I'm more likely to honor the commitments to myself. And if don't? I get up and try again. Never give up!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Never Give Up

In my "about me" description, I say that my interests include trying to work in the time to develop all of my big ideas and being a better wife and mother to my husband and kids. And relationships. I have a few other interests but those about sum it up. The details of my big ideas vary in form. Like how I plan to help my mom clean out her Salvation Army basement. Or how I can utilize the time I have left with my oldest daughter at home. But most of my big ideas are related to relationships and being a better wife and mother. My latest big ideas have to do with developing a business that I have thought about for a year or so. In the process of developing this big idea, I hope to help my husband to be home more and to include my children and teach them entrepreneurial skills.
It takes perseverance - the quality of continuing on as you jump/climb yet another hurdle to develop big ideas. I have it. I will never give up. I believe that God gives me many of my big ideas to make me keep coming back to Him to study His word and pray and re-evaluate my plans to make sure that my will is aligned with His.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Frugal Friday

This week my Frugal Friday tip requires creativity and prayer. Have you been unable to provide music lessons for your children because of the cost? A couple of years ago, I really wanted my older girls to be able to take piano lessons, but it just wasn't in our budget. I was calling a few piano teachers in the home school newsletter to see how much they charged and if I could squeeze it out of our budget. Well, I couldn't. But, one of the piano teachers started asking me questions. "Do you have anything you could trade?" We discussed possibilities and came up with a deal. It was very exciting! My daughters cleaned for her for awhile. We have watched her school-aged children for her, too. She has been very generous and yet she feels like we have blessed her as well. So...if you have been wanting your children to have music lessons or perhaps something else. Maybe, you could barter with the piano teacher...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Special Time With Each Child

Don't you love being a mom? Don't you hate the guilt with the nagging feeling that you're not spending enough time with your children? For us stay-at-home moms, one would think that we have ample time to just "hang out" with our precious ones. My experience is that time is eaten away by the hungry beasts of urgent situations, time-wasting activities, and just plain not planning. That's why, after discussing it with my dear husband, I plan in special time for each child. Actually, my oldest two daughters(19 and 14) and I have a set date every Wednesday with a babysitter for my younger three. We use the time to read a book that we're studying and to just talk and laugh without being interrupted. I want my kids to know that they are that important to me that I make spending time listening and connecting with them a priority worthy of my time, energy and money! I will tell you about what I do with my younger ones in another post.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Grand Prize Winner!

Hello Friends,
Before you get all excited thinking that you won something on my blog. Let me explain...
My dear friend, Carole (I'll tell you more about her in another post) taught a quilting class at our church. She found a fun way to encourage people to come and admire every one's work. She had a quilt show / brownie bake-off contest. Being the chocolate connoisseur that I am, she asked me to be a judge. I just happened to be baking brownies for a bake sale that day, too. At the last moment, I baked brownies for the church get together, not really thinking about the contest. The other judges and I were sitting around our table tasting all the fudgey creations when one of my brownies appeared on the tray for judging. I didn't say a word. Each of the other critics tasted my brownie (recipe to follow.) "Ooohh, that one is the best," they agreed, filling out their score sheet. Sure enough I ended up winning the grand prize all while tarnishing my honest reputation. I just hope and pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ believe me and my fellow expert brownie tasters when I tell them that I didn't judge my own, nor did I let on to my cohorts that it was my brownie!



One box Aldi brownie mix
One half package Aldi White baking chips

Friday, May 4, 2007

Cheap Entertainment

The main entertainment around here is not only cheap - it's free. My children's words and antics keep us chuckling daily. I hope I always have young'ns around to keep me smiling. My oldest daughters, Erica an Audrey play beautiful music on the piano. Julia and Natalie put on their ballerina dresses and dance around. Julia is graceful and dainty. Natalie is...well...let's just say we hope she gains some poise as she grows. Her chubby, squatty moves are missing the ballerina marks. Scroll down for more free entertainment.

I would link back to Kim's (and Crystal's) site, but I haven't figured out how to say here and hide the link in a pretty way.

Frugal Fridays

Can you believe that it's Friday again? My tip is simple, but tried and true. We all love to splurge on ourselves and our children. When you do - SHARE! I have friends that take their children to Mc D's or somewhere and everyone gets their own drink, fries, etc. My children know that when we do enjoy a special treat, we share. Sometimes, we'll go to the convenient store and buy a big slush, then divide it into smaller cups. They wouldn't be able to drink a whole one anyway. I wouldn't want them to.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Strong Soldier

I have composed *ahem*( I use that word loosely) a song for each of my young babies as I rock and cuddle them the first few months of their lives. Benjamin was our first (and only) boy. Here are the words to his song:

"Benjamin my son

You are lots of fun

A gift from God; a special boy

You bring your family lots of joy

Some day you will be...

A strong man like your daddy!"

Okay, quit laughing. He loves it and each of my other children still like it when I sing their (and everyone else's) special song.

As Benjamin continues to grow up, he is showing sure signs of becoming a strong man like his daddy. It's exciting to watch his rudimentary endeavors to protect me and his sisters. I have to admit that I still don't completely understand his (or his dad's) testosterone-driven behavior. But, I will continue to help him to channel his innate desire to conquer and protect his mother and sisters.

I edited my picture to show my strong soldier in a tux and on his best
behavior. :) Isn't he the cutest ring bearer you've ever seen?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hope for the Technologically Challenged Person

It's kind of scary thinking about the fact that my 19 year old daughter will some day leave home. Since she's in love and we like the guy, it will happen. What will I do when I get stuck ... uploading my "about me" photo onto my blog? Or when the computer just freezes. Or what about installing new software or other gadgets?!
As a matter of fact, she just rescued me from HTML mode. I could be in big trouble...

Just look at the counter that I copied and pasted all by myself . That's not where I wanted it. I don't know if it's really working.

Here are a few things in which I have succeeded: I have learned how to send attachments, I have organized my email inbox, saving important info in folders, and I have learned *somewhat* how to drag and drop! There is hope for the technologically challenged.

And my 14 year old daughter won't be getting married any time soon.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Princess Prayers

Princess #1 (Julia, age 5)
"Deaw Lowd, Thank you fow this day. Thank you fow my mommy and daddy and sistews and bwothew. Thank you fow the sky and moon and staws. Thank you fow dying on the cwoss fow us. We love you Lowd. Please help me to be a sewvant. I pway that we can sewve you fowevew, Lowd. In Jesus name, amen."

Princess #2 (Natalie, age 2 1/2)
"Deaw Lowd, Thank you that I go potty and poop in the toe-let. Amen."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I've finally done it. I started a blog. Who will read it? I don't know. Maybe my brother will. Hi Steve. You're the best *little* brother in the world.

Brace yourselves for the excitement.