Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What is New with Us

We are enjoying spring so much here! I planted a flower bed of beautiful annuals last week. I hope that they are hanging on in the cooler weather this week. Spring is here and I am so glad!!!!

Today we did our schooling, houseworking and I have been downloading the preview chats from Cindy Rushton's Ultimate Homeschool Expo. If you haven't heard of this you can go here . I am going to have some fantastic CD's from this!

Well, little Bear is grumpy and needs Momma.....better go!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Revolution Money Exchange

Here is the competition for Paypal.

Join Revolution Money Exchange by clicking on the button below and you will receive $25 for signing up. No strings attached!
To be fair, I will also receive $10 for refering you. If you refer your friends and family you will receive $10 also.

Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

You Knit What??


Yes, I knit socks. My goal is to have all of my personal socks handknit by the end of 2008. Cool huh? I thought so too.

Now, I am not writing this blog post just so that you can think that I am cool. In fact I am writing this to encourage you, my reader, to embrace some kind of hand-craft. Choose something that is both practical and pretty, something that you can poor your creativity into, something that will be YOU. I love cutsie socks. I knit myself cutsie socks. Some people (dh) think that cutsie socks are......weird. Most people think that cutise socks are at least cool for me, even if they wouldn't wear them themselves. Cutsie socks in interesting styles and color are ME. And I love to knit them.

There is something very calming about creating something for yourself with your own two hands. It is almost like a link to the past. I can almost imagine my great-great-grandmothers sitting next to the fire knitting socks for their families. How much closer to your heritage can you get?

So, my challenge for you today is to play around with different things that interest you. Find your creative outlet. Let that creativity flow!
(And when you do, please comment and let me know what is inspiring you!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Does My Garden Grow? Pt. 1

I am hoping to make this a biweekly part of my blog where I share how my garden is growing.....interesting things that I have planted or beautiful scenes that I would like to share. Gardening wasn't something that I was fond of at first, but it is quickly becoming a passion!

This afternoon I planted 18 petunias, 12 marigold, 2 mums and 12 salvias in my flower bed adjacent to the house. Dh was able to buy these plants discounted at work and it was such a blessing to me to have them and be able to fill this flower bed up! I don't think that there is an inch to spare except for the spot I reserved to plant a clemantis next to the wall. If everything lives and fills in nicely like I hope it will, this flower bed will be a sight to behold this summer.

Dh also brought home tomatoes and peppers for the veggie garden and chives and cilantro for the herb bed. I hope to get the herbs planted later this week. I have a problem with my hands swelling when I do a lot of gardening and could barely bend my fingers by the time I came in this evening. Greg blessed me by doing about half of the digging but the work still took its toll. Little Bear played in his walker in the yard and enjoyed squealing at the big dogs, Jasmine and Mixie, while he played. He hasn't really interacted with them much yet and Jasmine, especially, seems to like him a lot!

As that bed fills in I will share some pictures with you!

Please tell me, how does your garden grow?

Busy Days

This week has been busy so far and looks to continue that way. I hate a week of constant "busyness". I love to just be able to take a deep breath when I wake up in the morning and stay at home. I am frequently criticised by members of my family for my frequent "busyness". As most of you know we attend taekwondo classes 2-3 nights a week. In a town that is 25 minutes from home. I have worked hard over the past few years to consolidate my other errands on the days that we already have to be in town. That has been working fantastically, and has freed me up for other things at home. What I have found though, especially in the last few months, is that other people (more often than not, family members) expect things from me that cause me to be "busy" several other days over the course of the month. I am given responsibilities that belong to others and asked to do things that a "working woman" wouldn't ever be asked to do. I sometimes wonder why. Why would you ask me to do something when you know that I have 3 kids at home that I need to school, feed and clean up after? Why would you give me ONE MORE THING to do when I am already near the point of exhaustion? I find that I don't really know what causes some people to feel compelled to give me these jobs but I have recently decided to look at these things as ministries to others. I am able to do these other things. I have figured out, for the most part, how to juggle my schedule to fit these things in with the least amount of disruption for my family. So maybe, for this season, some of these things are important responsiblities in my life. Maybe instead of asking God to take these things away, I should ask Him to help me fit them in. I should thank God that I have the ability to relieve the burden of others. I thank Him daily for the strength that he gives to me.
If you feel the "added" responsibilities of life weighing you down, ask yourself if maybe this is where God wants you right now. Maybe this is the time of your life when you will be busy, doing the work of God, and hopefully shining an example of his love for all the world to see. Remember to serve with a smile!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Meet and Greet Monday (a day early)

I have been playing with my new digital camera and the software on my laptop. Even with highspeed internet it is a pain to upload pictures. But that's ok. I am learning! So I thought that I would share some of the new ones with you.


That is me, feeding Baby Bear (obviously!) at Christmas. He has grown a lot since then!

Lee and Norman

This is Leland and Norman. They love to snuggle together!


And here is Leland pretending to be asleep on the back of the couch with our cat, Tiger. Tiger and Sadie (our cocker spaniel) always sleep on the back of the couch.


Gregory with Norman. Now that Norman can play more, him and Greg get along a lot better. They are becoming great friends!


This has got to be my favorite photo of the bunch. Dh Norman gives Bear his baths when he is home off work....they take one together in the big bathtub. Thursday Norman put bubble bath in and ran the jets to make lots of bubbles and him and Bear played for a long time. They had so much fun splashing and eating bubbles!


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Children a Luxury Item?

I just finished reading this article HERE. I am just flabbergasted that someone would consider children a showy, luxury item.

My children are PEOPLE. I love them. I didn't have them to "show off". My dh and I, our family, is far from upper class. We don't even aspire to attain upper class status. We are happy where we are. We have 3 children, and (drumroll please) we might have MORE.

I will let your shock wear off.

Children do not cost a fortune to raise. That is why there are resale shops and yard sales. You don't buy new equipment with every child. In times of financial trouble (gas is $3.55 a gallon here today!!!!!) you switch to cloth diapers, clip coupons and grow a larger garden. If you think that children are exhorbitantly expensive then I suggest that you have a look at your checkbook and consider your priorities. Yes, the hospital bill will need to be paid if you don't have insurance. Yes, some equipment will need to be purchased (but only select things will need to be new, ie car seats and bottles if you use them). I bought my cloth diapers used. We were given a bouncy seat and walker. With this child we bought a new crib, playpen and swing. With boys #1 and #2 we had all that stuff used (through 2 children of our own too, mind you). If there wasn't a 7 year gap in children, we would have used that stuff again (or at least most of it). I don't nurse so we are buying formula. We buy ours in huge cans at Sams Club. That is our biggest expenditure at about $50 a month. That will last no more than one year from birth and then the little tyke can eat what the rest of us do.

I have encountered resistance to "more than 2". I couldn't believe at a family reunion less than 4 weeks after son #3 was born when a "well-meaning" aunt (several of them actually, over the course of 2 days) told us that we wouldn't be able to raise all those kids. When my dh told them that we might have some more, God willing, they about fell to the floor. We started getting lectured like we were obstinant 3 year olds. I don't think that most of them knew that I am a STAY-AT-HOME MOM. We only see these people once a year. I don't think that they would be happy if we caused them to have a heart attack. People honestly believe that you can't afford to have more than 2 children. That is so very, very sad.

I also want everyone to know that our children aren't deprived. We live in a new (4 year old) home. Our main vehicle 6 years old. Our children have a playstation 2 (bought used). They also have gameboys (Christmas gifts), cellphones (Christmas gifts - different Christmas), shotguns (Christmas gifts), nice bicycles.......all the trappings of a middle class life. They also understand that we SAVE for things that we want. They had a 4-wheeler fund. We made up the difference and bought them dirt bikes instead. The look on their faces as they did extra work every week to put into that fund was priceless (and I wasn't the one paying them to do the work - regular chores don't get paid for around here). Now, they are saving their money for our trip to Florida in October........that's right....we travel too!

I hope that Christians, especially, will stop listening to the nonesense that is coming from these people. Children are only as expensive as you make them be!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garden Plans

It is that time again. Are we all ready to garden?????

I started some seedlings on Friday. I know that I am late, but I figure that any head start that I can give the little things the better. My cabbage has already sprouted. I haven't seen anything out of my broccoli or the flower seed that I planted. I tend to be impatient.

Most of what we are planting will be the usual stuff. I am going to plant some okra this year. That will be new. I am also hoping to can a lot more stuff. Hopefully, we will be investing in a pressure canner. I have always been afraid to pressure can so I was limited to things that I could hot-water-bath. With the price of groceries goign through the roof I really need to stock up on as much home-grown stuff as possible.

Dh will be getting some veggie and flower plants from work next week I think. I am eager to see what he will get me. Last year he brought home lots of veggie stuff and some mums for our new flower bed. I am sad to say, I don't think that the mums made it through the winter. The didn't get the attention that they deserved last summer with me pregnant and I think suffered for it.

So what are you planning in your gardens this year?

Still Here

I apologize for the lack of posting lately. Little Bear is a handful some days. I have been setting up new routines, exercise habit, Bible reading habit, daily goals, etc. and have barely had time to read email, let alone blog. I hope that you will forgive me.

I have also been dealing with some heart issues of my own lately. They came to a head with an argument with my dh yesterday. We hashed everything out today (over the phone, we do better that way for some reason) but I have a lot of work to do within myself. I have been convicted of my unsubmissive spirit. I have also been placing undue pressure on my dh in areas that he CAN'T change (ie, work, etc). That is not what God would have me doing. I realize that now, and am thankful that I came to this realization now while it will be easier to undo the damage to our marriage relationship.

I realized today how much I idealize the "normal" marriage arrangement. By normal I mean the dh working 9-5 with weekends off; able to spend time coaching teams and camping with the kids; sitting next to his family at church and during the monthly potluck. This is the ideal that I was hoping we would eventually reach. This is NOT going to happen here. My dh works 3-11. He works 1 hour away from home, so he leaves at 1:30 p.m. and doesn't return until midnight. He winds down after work (when the rest of us are asleep), going to bed around 2 a.m. He wakes up after 7-8 hours of sleep; usually around 10 or 11 a.m. Of course, that is if he doesn't work overtime. He works a lot of overtime. His days off are on Thursday and Friday. We spend the better part of those days at taekwondo (dh is part owner of the school). My dh is a wonderful provider, and he tries his very best to spend quality time with us. I am thankful that we can homeschool; otherwise my boys would almost never see their father. We miss out on the weekend camping trips, sitting together at church (dh doesn't attend), going to local football games together; evening dinners with friends are out. If we wanted to invite friends for dinner, they would all be at work. This is the part that I struggle with. I wanted the perfect "family life". I realize that I need to accept that our "family life" is perfect for US. This is the way that our family operates. Me wishing that it is going to be different isn't going to help matters any. I know that God can give me contentment in this area if I am willing to seek His will.

All of this rambling is to say, that if your family doesn't look like the "perfect family" that is ok. All families are different and yours is unique to your unique personalities and circumstances. My relationships with friends may not be as strong as they could be if we were available to fellowship together, but my relationship with my dh and children is more important and I can nurture that in the common atmosphere of our home.....where we all belong!!!!!

I hope to post some more this week. I hope that everyone is enjoying spring!