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.