Monday, September 28, 2009

A visit from someone very special

I have not done any blogging in several days, but for a very good reason. This weekend, we had the blessing of having my mother-in-law visit from Arizona. It was a very quick trip, unfortunately, but we enjoyed every minute we had with her.
Our plan to take the older girls to a Build-a-Bear store Saturday to make a bear were quickly dashed when we realized that the store had gone out of business months earlier. Already at the mall, we made the best of it. Here is Grandma with little John in front of Rainforest Cafe.

It's amazing how many kiddos you can stuff onto those overpriced mall rides, isn't it?

After arriving home, an unfortunate incident happened. Eden, my 2 yo, walked out to the front lawn, stepping right into a fire ant mound. Most people would have moved, but she must not have known what to do, because she just stood there being bit. When we were able to finally count all the bites, they numbered almost 100. They really only went for her right foot-the left one was spared. Poor thing swelled up horridly. We couldn't even fit her shoes on her the next day!
Good thing we had a doctor in the house, though! Looks like that homeschooling is starting to pay off!
Sunday was Awana day for my kids and it was crazy hair day! Grandma is quite the hairdresser, so she styled all the kids hair.

I love this 'do on John-he looks just like his older brother!

There's so much more I didn't get to post or just forgot to take pictures of. She even watched all the kids one nite so hubby and I could go out for a nice dinner and movie. Wow! We were sad to see Grandma go-we had such fun with her here. She is such an encouragment to me and is a wonderful Christian woman! If you ever see really nice comments on my blog from an anonymous, that's her. She's so sweet and always quick to give a kind word. Thank you for being a blessing to me and all my kiddos! We're hoping you'll visit us again very soon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting it all done....

Being a momma of many, I am often asked the question, "How do you do it all?" Well, after many years, I think I can finally share with you my secret. Would you like to hear it? Are you sure? It's pretty profound. Okay, here it is..............I DONT do it all! Not much of a secret, right? Buy it is the truth. Hopefully it doesn't come as a shock to any of you, but I am no supermom. I had to hang up that cape long ago. But even though my days are busy and my house is never quiet (except when everyone's in bed!), there are a few things that have helped us accomplish what we need to and keep the chaos under control.

1. Put the Lord first! I can't emphasize this enough! Find time to spend with the Lord each day,whether that means getting up earlier or staying up late-even if you have only a few minutes...spend that time digging into the Word and building your relationship with Him! Remember, prayer can be done anywhere! Changing poopy diapers, washing dishes, or making dinner-the Lord is always listening!

2. Prioritize! Spend time in prayer, seeking what God would have you do with your days. Just because your friend's kids are all involved in certain activities doesn't mean that yours have to be. Likewise, just because someone else grows all their vegetables in their garden doesn't mean you have to either! What we do doesn't make us a better mom or a better homeschooler. The Lord has a different plan for each of us-and one way is not necessarily better than another. Remember that when you add something to your schedule, you have to take your time away from something else. Spending time on doing crafts may mean the laundry won't get done. Running to an activity may mean that dinner is drive-thru that night. What priorities does the Lord want you to have? Seek those and plan around that.

3. Keep a schedule. We have a daily schedule Monday thru Friday (weekends off-schedules drive Dad nuts!) We use MOTH as the basis for scheduling and it has proved quite helpful. Our schedule is not quite as structured, especally in the afternoons, but it gives us some direction and structure to our day and helps keeps littles occupied. No matter how loose, a schedule can help provide guidance and helps kids know what to expect from each day.

4. Organize your house! Let me tell you, all your scheduling efforts will be in vain if you can't find anything you need! If you're scheduled to work on math for an hour each day, but spend 20 minutes trying to find the book, that's just wasted time! Spend some time going thru your house, decluttering and throwing stuff out you don't need-then spend some time organizing what's left I love Rubbermaid boxes of all sizes to store things. I use different sizes to organize kids toys in our gameroom and keep track of school items on our bookshelves. If it were up to me, nothing would ever be out of place, but oh yeah, that's not reality...which brings me to the next item......

5. Have realistic expectations. This one is hard for me sometimes. I would love for everything to stay clean, my kids to always 's obedient, and to always get everything crossed off my "to-do" list. Well, let me tell you, it will ever happen-and if you think it is possible, you will make you and everyone else miserable trying to achieve it. If you find yourself always irritable and frustrated, you probably have very high expectations. Nothing wrong with goals, but is it worth it to always be angry that everyone is not living up to what you expect? If you think I'm up on my soapbox here, I'm really just speaking from experience. I know how this is-and it's not pretty!

For now, there's my list-a few things that help us keep life running a little smoother. yes, we have more specific things, but I don't have the time or space for that now! It's time for bed (that glorious quiet time!) Goodnite!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mommy of the year!

If you are squeamish at all, stop reading now-if not, keep reading for a slightly entertaining story....Several days ago, little guy was crawling around on the floor when someone opened the back door to the yard. For him, that's the signal to crawl as fast as possible to the open door, in hopes of getting out. Well, that he did, and instead of just crawling outside, he sort of lingered in the doorway, looking out. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, he found something interesting sitting on the doormat just outside. Curious as he is, he figured the best way to find out what it was would be to put it in his mouth. About this time, I walked in the kitchen to hear one of my kids say, "Ewwww..he's eating something." I walked over to where he was and picked him up, while he was chewing on something small...and brown. I grabbed it out of his mouth and that's when I realized......the smell......oh yuck.......yes, it poop! Gross! Now how did we end up with dog poop on our back porch when we don't even have a dog? Well, one of the neighbor kids kindly let my kids adopt their dog for a couple hours the day before in our backyard. When I realized it, I sent him home, but not before he pooped on the patio, apparently. At this point, I was freaking out-trying my best to wash what was left out of his mouth. He ate most of it, so it really was no use. If I didn't know Purell was not a good thing to ingest, trust me, I would have squirted some of that in there. After I got him all cleaned up and sanitized-and myself, too-the next step was to "google" it. Surely this had to have happened to some other mom. I was quite comforted to find it happened to a lot of people-and guess what-the babies were all fine. Whew! I guess it's just another of those things that God knew was going to happen. Babies would always be falling, so give them flexible bones-and babies just might try to eat poop, so give them strong immune systems. Thanks, Lord! Luke did turn out fine-and is now a bonafide poop conossieur! As for me, I'm still waiting for my 'Mom of the Year' award. Do I hear a nomination?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Enjoying the great weather...

It's been so nice the past couple days here, we went to the park...twice! The first day, we decided to try and fly a kite we'd had sitting in our closet for a little while, but just hadn't gotten around to trying to fly it. We got it all set up, with high hopes, but had no luck getting it to stay in the air! There was even a decent amount of wind-I guess we're just not too skilled in the kite flying department!
Here is a picture the girls took of some of the ducks at the park. This day, there were tons of ducks, but we had forgotten to bring any bread. The next day, we brought bread, but the ducks weren't hungry. My kids threw the bread to them and they just stood there looking at it....weird.

All the kids had a great time at the playground.

Little guy loved, loved, loved, the slide! Here he is climbing up it....
And going down.....

He was full of belly laughs! Too cute! I hope the weather stays nice like this-it's so great to be able to be outdoors without sweating to death. Now only if we can get rid of those pesky mosquitos!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cooking Canadian style!

I'm a little late in posting, but we recently finished up studying Canada in homeschool. So, just like we did when we studied Mexico, we had a cooking day to sample some yummy "Canadian" food. Just a note, I'm not sure if this food really qualifies as Canadian, but it's the recipes the book gave us! At least we didn't do Canadian bacon, right? The first one was a blueberry crumble, I guess you'd call it. It was blueberries with a yummy oatmeal/brown sugar topping. Here are the big kids cooking away-and one acting very goofy!

Posing for the camera!

Here is what it looked like before putting it in the oven. You can't even see the blueberries, but after it baked you could.

Then came the fun....the sampling! The kids all loved it. We also had a dessert called 'snowballs' which was a scoop of vanilla ice cream with maple syrup and nuts on top. Obviously, because there are so many maple trees in Canada! Here is little guy after trying a bite of the blueberries. He didn't get to try the ice cream-sorry, too young!
We just started learning about Brazil. I took a look at some of the recipes and they don't look nearly as good as these were! I may have to do some more researching. We'll post when we have our next cooking day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The bug whisperer....

Yep..that's what we call our little 5 year old. He loves bugs-any kind. I don't know if you can see in the picture, but that's a caterpillar he collected from outside. Before that, it was a tiny little bug he had sitting on his finger, just happy as can be. Funny thing is, the bugs really love him, too. I mean, they don't try to get away! I've never seen anything like it! A couple months ago, he adopted a pet fly and carried it around on his finger most of the day. It didn't even try to fly away. Weird. Not me-the only bug language I speak involves the bottom of my shoe. But he loves them-and as long as it doesn't branch out into cockroaches, I think we're okay. :-)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Future Christian Homemakers

I recently began a Future Christian Homemakers Club in my home to help teach other girls basic cooking and cleaning skills they can use as they prepare to run their own homes someday. It is something the Lord put on my heart a while ago and I'm glad it has finally come to be! We meet once a month and besides my girls, we have 2 girls who have decided to join us! We had our first meeting yesterday and had a great time! I have to say, these are a great bunch of girls! Yesterday's lesson was on cooking eggs, so we practiced cracking eggs, trying very hard not to get any pieces of shell in it and then whisked them up.
On the menu were scrambled eggs and french toast. They each prepared and cooked their own beautifully!
Finally, on to the fun part-eating! It tasted very good, especially with some yummy syrup and powdered sugar on top. Of course, all my kids wanted to take part in the "eating" portion, so I made up some extra.
Last, but not least, we went over some cleaning skills in the kitchen. All the girls wiped the table and counters, did the dishes, and swept-with no complaints! I was so proud of them!

My girls are so excited for next month when we work on our baking skills. Learning homemaking skills is fun-and even more fun with friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Big Cereal Bargains!

I am a pretty loyal Wal-Mart shopper for many reasons, but occasionally I make it over to some of the other grocery stores when they have a really great sale that's worth my time. Well recently, I encountered one of those at our local Randall's (that's Safeway for all you folks out west!). They were having a buy 5, get $5 off promo on tons of different cereals and snacks. They marked down the prices, plus gave you $5 off every 5 you bought. In addition, I also had some pretty good coupons for a lot of the cereals! So off we went to Randall's to stock up! Here's what we brought home-it's hard to see in the picture-20 items all for around $5! Pretty good, I think. The normal total would have been over $60.

The cashier said it was one of the best he'd seen! Wow-no one's ever said that to me. I was quite happy! I could have gotten more, but didn't want to be greedy and clear off the shelves. Goodness, other people need cereal too! The kids are happy with our cereal stash that should hopefully tide us over until the next great cereal sale!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life with kids...

Saw this cartoon and it gave me a chuckle-it's so true to life in our family! Where there's food, you're sure to find our kids!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Long time, no posts!

Yes, I've been absent from the blogosphere for a while, but for good reason! Remember my last post about sick kids, take two? Well, this one could have read sick kids, take three and four! Yes, I've had 2 more sick kiddos since last time-my 2 and 3 year olds. My 2 year old was the sickest by far. Her fever was 104-105 for a couple days and her little body just did not handle it well. She didn't sleep well and would be up on and off during the night. This was also while dad was out of town on business, so needless to say, Mom was exhausted. She is doing much better now, though, but still has the lingering diarrhea. Whatever this illness is, I wouldn't wish it on anyone! We're hoping that we're coming on the tail end of this in our household and that we'll be illness-free in the next few days.
With Dad home, I was able to take some of the well ones out yesterday to Heritage Park in downtown Katy, the city we live in. They have several old houses-original houses-from over 100 years ago, that were here when the city was first founded and they open them to the public once a month. This is one of them-isn't it beautiful?
What was so fascinating was how simple they were inside. There wasn't such a need for huge spaces for everything or lots of "stuff". Makes me long for that simplicity back then! Here are Sarah and John working the water pump behind the post office.
They also have a museum showcasing some of the older artifacts, including machinery. Here is John posing on one of the John Deere tractors. No, I didn't ask him to pose, he just did it himself!
In one of the houses, they also had a craft for the kids. That day, they were doing weaving. The girls were in heaven! John even tried it. It didn't turn out quite as expected, but he still had fun.

Mary made her's into a nice bracelet.
Rachel didn't get too much done, but she made what she finished into a bookmark.

All in all, they had a good time. It was neat to visit this part of the city we hadn't seen and even more fun just to be out amongst other people! :-)