Sunday, December 30, 2012

A LATE, but FREE Christmas gift for you!

December got away from me.  It really did.  My friend's funeral early in the month cast sadness over the preparations and I didn't really get in the "mood" until the week before.  Then the kids got sick.  Then MOM got sick.  After 5 days, I have finally decided that I might live.  Maybe.

While in my feverish state, I spent a few hours on the computer, reading Lorrie Flem's new digital Eternal Encouragement magazine.  It was free the whole month of  December (sorry, I didn't get it shared sooner). 

Go HERE and then go down to the red "click here to read free issue" button.  Its that simple.  You will love the articles, recipes and ideas that Lorrie includes for busy moms.  All the links are "clickable" and there is even an audio message from Lorrie at the beginning. 

I encourage you to take this time and get to know Lorrie and her ministry to moms.  You won't be disappointed.

Check back over the next few days to see my New Year's goals, reading lists, etc. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Little Merry Christmas :)

I wrote a lengthy blog post last night.  It had no point and it was whiny.  I saved it but probably won't publish it.  I guess I just needed to get the "not fairs!" out of my system.  LOL

Today's post is very random.  There used to be a meme that went around that was similar to this and I enjoyed reading a glimpse into the days/lives of others.  I hope that you enjoy mine!

I smell...... an oats and honey bar in my scentsy warmer.  I don't think that I have turned on the one upstairs yet but it is Silver Bells.

I see.....a dreary day outside.  No snow and doesn't look like we will get any before Christmas.

I hear.....semi trucks driving by (we live on the highway) and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the TV.....the littles love this movie!  It helps that we live in the hometown of Burl Ives (Newton, IL) so we've seen the characters of this movie (in costume) around town a lot lately :)

Around the house.....I need to fold one more load of laundry for the day and then that will be done.  I cleaned both bathrooms and swept the downstairs hard floors.  The littles had a bath and got scrubbed up.  AVON phone calls were made.  We cleaned the playroom and moved a bookshelf.  I promise we picked up the living room but it doesn't look like it.  lol

Later today.....more AVON phone calls, knitting and Christmas carolling tonight.

For supper.....I laid out some chicken breast to thaw.  I'll probably bake them in butter with some cajun seasoning.  A green salad, corn and macaroni and cheese will round out supper.

In my sewing room.....My first big project of the new year is to clean/declutter/rearrange and redecorate my sewing room.  It just isn't functional and I need it to be functional.

On my needles.....a black shawl in seed stitch.  It's a Christmas gift :)

Plans for tomorrow.....working at Marilyn's house and then the last of my Christmas shopping. 

Have a great day friends!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Missing You

It's been a long week here.  I feel bad complaining about it though, because I saw the pain today of those that are hurting much worse than me.  I kept thinking about blogging, but I just couldn't put things in words.....and today definately won't be perfect, but I feel like there are things that I want to get out, I want to remember, and I'm afraid that if I don't do it now, I won't.

My childhood friend, Erin (Sparks) Bergbower, and her husband Barry, died last Friday night.  It was sudden, unexpected and a shock to everyone that knew and loved them.  Today we buried them. 

Erin and Jennifer Sparks were identical twins.  We have been friends since kindergarten.  I LOVED going to their home.  Their mom, Sue, was an angel (which ironically she collected).  Erin and Jennifer have an older brother and younger identical twin brothers.  Their house was full, crazy and fun.  As adults Erin and I didn't really revolve in the same circles.  She moved to another (nearby) town and never had children.  I see Jennifer all the time.  I wish I had made more of an effort to get together with Erin, but as happens so often, life just goes and if we don't make an effort to do something, it doesn't get done.....that's my life-point for this story.

Anyway, I have lots of wonderful memories of times with Erin.......
**Sitting in their front yards and getting the semis to honk at us
**calling the operator and trying to get them to connect us to the White House (you would probably get arrested for that nowadays  lol)
**watching Dirty Dancing for the first time
**a trip to St. Louis with the girls to the zoo
**slumber parties
**playing volleyball at their high school graduation party
**visiting after I had Greg (and my grouchy hospital roommate - Erin was sure she could take her out lol)
**Jennifer's bachelorette party
**a trip to Terre Haute for shopping and Chinese

Today, I can hear Erin talking.  I can hear her humor and see her beautiful smile.  A person couldn't be around Erin and not be happy.  She went out of her way to be like that and people LOVED her.

Another memory that I have, and one that seemed to haunt me today, was a sad memory.  You see, another friend of ours died over 21 years ago.  That funeral was the first funeral I attended alone, the first Catholic funeral I attended, the first friend that I had lost.  Erin and Jennifer were there also.  Their mom, Sue, played mom for us all, shepherding us through the service, taking us to the graveside, giving hugs and smiles and loving all of us.  Denise's funeral was the first time that I understood that bone crushing, breath stealing grief. 

Hearing about Erin's death, I just couldn't believe it.  I was in shock.  I told another friend that it was like the day Denise died, all over again.  That's exactly how I felt.  Exactly. 

Today I sat in a pew with my childhood friends.  I watched a mother, father, sister and brothers mourn the loss of their girl, Erin.  As terrible as my grief is, I would bear it all to not see the pain on Jennifer's and Sue's faces.

One of the pictures that was included on the memory boards was of our 8th grade class....before Denise died.  We were all there.  Probably the last picture of us together. 

As we were driving in the funeral procession, we passed a business that Jennifer's husband is employed at.  The men that work there were standing along side the highway with their hard hats across their hearts......and I cried.  Erin and Barry, you were loved and will be so missed.  I don't know how your families, your parents and sibling, your friends will go on without you, but we must. 

I long to see you again.  I know that you and Denise are waiting for us. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cooking Extravaganza

For our November Gabby Moms project, we are reviewing Lorrie Flem's new bundle Cooking Extravaganza.

This product group contains 7 e-books and 1 "real" book. 

The real book is What's for Dinner Mom?.  I reviewed that earlier this year so you can read that HERE.  This bundle will include a SIGNED copy!

Today I'm going to tell you a little bit about the other 7 booklets this bundle contains. 

1. Bulk Cooking Tips and Tricks contains all the "how-to's" of bulk cooking.  No recipes, just tips and tricks.  Wonderful information that you will want to have before beginning a bulk cooking adventure.

2. Fill Em Up is a booklet that all moms of boys should read.  Can teenage boys eat!  And eat, and eat, and eat.  Included are a couple of recipes but mostly this is another book of tips, tricks and ideas to fill those tummies!

3. Healthy Sanity Saving Breakfasts is a little booklet filled with recipes and ideas to get your day started. 

4. Lorrie's Favorite Recipes from 2011 are just that - Lorrie's top 10 recipes in 2011.  This is stuff that is relatively easy, pantry friendly and approved by her large family.  Meat dishes, soups, stews, casseroles....there's a little bit of everything in here. 

5. Pizza Primer - starting with crust and ending with spices, this booklet covers everything - including the scientific "stuff" about how to make the best pizza dough.  I will never wrestle with pizza dough again.  There is a from scratch pizza sauce recipe and ideas for interesting toppings.  I'd kinda given up making pizza from scratch but I think I'm going to start again!

6. Sensational Salads I think that this is my favorite booklet.  You can't go wrong with salads and I am always looking for ideas. 

7. The Secrets of Chocolate Chip Cookies This starts with the basic recipe and then gives you various ideas, add-ins, tips and tricks to make the perfect cookie for your family.

This bundle will be available beginning tomorrow, Nov. 19th for $19.97.  If you are thinking of purchasing this is a Christmas gift (It would be a GREAT gift) then be sure to order it by Dec. 12 in order to ensure delivery before Christmas (remember What's For Dinner Mom? is a printed book!).

You may get this bundle from Eternal Encouragement at

ALSO, Lorrie will be giving away a copy of this bundle to one luck winner on her blog..... 

I received this product as part of the Gabby Moms review program in exchange for a fair review :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Month of Thankfullness Day 13

I'm thankful that we are a healthy family.  I know that is subject to change so I try to never take a moment of it for granted. 

I am praying for those families that are struck by illness. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness Day 12

I should have done this post yesterday but didn't want it to get lost in my list since I was behind.  Today I am thankful for all the veterans and those active duty members that are serving.  I am so thankful that you are willing to be out there on the front lines defending freedom.

Abby was being bullheaded today while I was getting ready to take her and Bear up to our local Veteran's Day ceremony.  She insisted that she wear a white bridesmaids dress someone had handed down to her.  It  had a FULL skirt and was a little long for her (we had to hold it up so she could walk).  I decided that the veterans probably wouldn't mind a little girl over-dressed for the occassion, so I put her in pants and a shirt, dress over the top, her cowgirl boots and a nice jacket.  Black knit gloves and her Hello Kitty stocking hat completed the look.  We got some looks but most were smiles. 

Our local town has a wonderful ceremony for the veterans.  They ask that the families of the deceased veteran's bring their flags in and they have them displayed around the courthouse lawn.  The Newton Marching Eagles played several patriotic songs, a local girl sang the National Anthem, a local minister led the prayer (Nate Hagen), the Boy Scouts led us in the Pledge of Alleigence and then a local Naval Reserve Lietenant (RoxAnn Dhom) gave the speech.  It was beautiful.

Thanks again for all that have served, and are serving our country. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving Days 8, 9, 10 and 11

I got behind.  Sorry about that.  I've been knitting a lot, finishing projects and starting projects.  Staying busy as usual.

Anyway, I committed to do this so I'm going to try to catch up.  Might not be as much commentary as usual :)

#7 I'm thankful that we have the freedom to go to the polls and vote.  I didn't like the outcome and I worry about the future, but I am thankful that I had the option to go and voice my opinion.

#8 I'm thankful for good friends that keep me in the loop, encourage me and help me any way that they can.

#9  I'm thankful for good, strong, responsible boys.  Lee and Greg are growing up to be such wonderful young men.  I'm so so grateful that God gave them to me. 

#10  I'm thankful that we can be a place for the kids to hang out.  I love having a houseful of kids/teenagers.  There have been several here already this weekend and I expect more to drop in since there isn't school tomorrow. 

#11  I'm thankful that my husband works so hard to support us.  There are so many mothers that struggle through life alone and I am grateful that by the grace of God I am not one of them.

More tomorrow :)  Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving Day 7

Good morning!

The reason that I am doing these posts on my blog rather than on facebook is because I have a lot to say about many of the things that I mention here.  Today may be one of those days.  lol

Today I am thankful for the ability to stay home with my children and still contribute to our finances via homebased businesses.

In case you haven't seen the writing on the wall, here goes.  In the last 4 years my dh has taken a pay cut in increased insurance premiums (copays went up as well while coverage went way, way down) and his pension isn't a guaranteed thing.  With the "yes" votes for the amendment last night he will be lucky to have  a pension at all and may have to work until he is 70 to get it.  My husband is a correctional officer.  He works in overcrowded, dangerous situations every day.  We have watched the state make promises and jerk them away (plus some) for several years now.  Give a little, then take, take, take some more.  Give a tiny bit, then take, take, take.  Keep them just happy enough that they have to keep working.  Make it so they don't have many other options.  I mean, really, lets face it....where is a 37 year old man going to get another job in this point in time?  One that might actually pay the bills and put food on the table?  Yeah.  So he keeps plugging along and we pray every day that he doesn't get hurt or nobody gets seriously sick. 

I work away from home 1 day a week.  I definatley am not getting rich but sometimes my work each week is what pays for the groceries.  I also run an AVON business from my home.  If you've been reading my other posts then you know that this is not eating bonbons.  If you want to build a business, you work your butt off.  You work at inconvenient times.  You work when you would rather be sleeping.  But in sales, the economy matters.  So in these times, it doesn't always matter how hard I work....if my customers don't have any extra money, then they aren't buying things from me.  I also do custom knitting and sewing from home.  I have to tell you that at Christmas I can make some decent money doing this, but the rest of the year, not so much.  It is what it is.  And the economy still applies.

Knowing what I know and facing the future, I find it imperative to work, work, work and build, build build.  I am thankful that I have the ability to do this.  I know that in some parts of the world it isn't a possibility.  Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to use the skills and talents that you have given me to help support my family.  Thank you for letting me spend 90% of my time with my children while still working.  Thank you for always loving me. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Month of Thankfulness Day 6

I am thankful for my God, who always loves me, protects me and sustains me.  He made a wonderful creation, He gave me a strong, loving husband, He gave me 4 beautiful children.  Most importantly He sent His Son, Jesus, to wipe away my sins, to take away my punishment and allow me to be with Him in Heaven. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Sex, Drugs and Bomb Threats

I still remember high school....its only been 20 years ago :)  I remember a lot of stuff about high school:  parties, dances, tornado drills, earthquake drills, a "blizzard" (forcing my parents to come get me from school).  I even remember some enthusiastic Chemistry students setting off an aluminum foil bomb in a trash can near the gym. 

The one thing I don't remember is anyone threatening us while we were at school.  Nobody walked into the bus garage one spring day and threatened the students.  Nobody called the school one fall afternoon and said a bomb was set to explode at 2 p.m.

My parents never had to get that phone call, that I was on lock down, that I couldn't leave.  My dad never waited outside the high school with a bunch of other fathers to get me out of school.  My mother never went to St. Thomas and encountered all of Wade Township's fire department protecting the students in the Parish center. 

I realize that I've had a bad day.  My family lost one of the best today.  I will always love and miss you Corky, always.  I am hoping that his loss is one of the reasons I cried when I encountered Newton's finest fire department at a school as I went to pick up my son.  I drove down that road and cried.  I knew my son was safe.  I knew that he wasn't in harm.  But as a mother, something inside of you breaks when you see all those firefighters protecting that school. (Honestly I don't know if they were protecting or crowd control, but either way....) 

Jasper County school district obviously had a plan for such a thing.  I don't know how you come up with such a plan.  The logistics involved in gathering buses and drivers and moving - 500???? - students from one school to another in the quickest way possible.  As far as I can tell, the plan went off without a hitch.  I walked up to the Parish center and got my son.  Signed a piece of paper saying that he was mine and took him home.  And cried when we got back here.  I cried for the loss of a good man today.  I cried for the loss of innocence that keeps these kids from feeling safe in their own schools.  I cried because a mother should never have to hear the "there has been an incident at your student's school" reverse 911 call.  Twice in 6 months.  In a small community.  In my hometown. 

A big thank you to the Wade Township Fire Department, Jasper County Ambulance service, Newton City Police, Jasper County Sheriff's Department and IL State Police, the teachers and staff at JCJH and NCHS and the bus drivers and bus garage staff for doing everything possible to keep those kids safe.  Thank you to Oblong Fire Department that came over to sit at our fire station so Wade Township could stay at the school.  Thank you God for keeping our children safe. 

A Month of Thankfulness: Day 5

I'm thankful for the good health of my children.

October was pediatric cancer awareness month.  One of Greg's friends is a survivor of pediatric cancer and the daughter of our minister is also.  Cancer scares me.  Bad.  The thought of one of my children getting cancer terrifies me. 

Cancer isn't the only thing that attacks our children.  There are a host of childhood disease, birth defects and other things that can make our children, my children, so very sick.  I am so thankful that my children have been given good health (I say that as Lee is upstairs sick with the stomach bug - again).  I hate to see my kids sick with a cold or stomach flu.  I hate to see them hurt mainly because I know that I can't "really" do anything to make them better or heal their hurt....time is the main healer.  I can't imagine having a child with a life threatening illness and knowing that "really" there isn't anything that I could do to make them better.

Today is a "hug and kiss" your kids day today.  Love 'em bunches, I know I will mine :)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 4

I'm very thankful for my church family.  They have been right there for us when we needed them, never asking anything in return.  They support us, laugh with us, cry with us.....they accept my past mistakes, they accept my quirks.  Unconditional that expects nothing in return, love that forgives and forgets.  I never knew that kind of love until I met Norman and I always thought that he would be the only one, but this whole group of people love just the same.  Their love isn't dependent on my behavior, my acquisitions, I don't have to prove how good I am with them.  They just love me, and I love them as well.  Love is a beautiful thing :)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Month of Thanksgiving - Day #3

Today I am thankful for:

A husband that supports me no matter what, holds me when I cry and encourages me to keep keeping on.  Yesterday was a terrible business day.  Terrible with a capital T.  When I finally got home last night I cried and Norman was there to hold me while I got it all out. 

He truly is a blessing from God.

Today we are going to Chuck E Cheese in Evansville as part of Bear's birthday surprise.  Greg is playing basketball in Flora and won't be able to join us :(   We will miss him but that is part of growing up I guess.  Bear and Abby have never been to CEC....but they have seen the commercials so I can't wait to see their faces when we get there.  And Lee is driving with Norman riding shotgun so I get to knit the whole way there and back :)  It's gonna be a good day!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Days of Thanksgiving #2

Today, as I sit here munching on the most wonderful grapes, I am thankful for the food that we have to eat.  In this country, the variety of food is amazing.  We can get so many things that are exotic or out of season.  We don't have to travel far and wide to find these things, they are available right here in my little town of 3100 people.  That is amazing!

I know I complain a lot about the cost of groceries, and I will admit it is very difficult to manage a grocery budget of $300 a month in a family of 6 (with 2 teenage boys!).  BUT we could be eating beans and rice all the time - we aren't - so I consider us very lucky and blessed indeed (we would be blessed if we had only beans and rice but we are more blessed with a variety).

I've begun to plan our Thanksgiving meal.  What will be on your Thanksgiving table this year?  No matter what your meal, how fancy or plain, remember to be thankful for it and the people that will partake of it.....those that love, respect and care for you.  In the end, they are the most important thing :)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Help Wanted????

I know that it is the time of the year for all of us when the money goes out quicker than it goes in.  Are you looking to earn a little extra money for the holidays?  Or all the time? 

I would love to have you join my AVON team.  AVON is a great company to work with.  For the $10 start-up fee you get selling resources, in-person training and online training.  I have made so many friends selling AVON.  It really is whatever you want to make of it.  Would you like to give it a go?  Here is my erep site (you will get one also - for free - after you get signed up), my leadership code is carieshinn  If you are local, let me know and I will get you signed up in person (you will immediately get your selling materials that way). 

Do you like the rythm of data entry?  You can truly set your own hours with this place (like work in the middle of the night hours).....  Online Jobs Free

I also do tutoring (like beginning reader type stuff) at my home.  I've taught 2 children how to read all by myself and helped some others before this so I feel confident in my abilities in this area.

Are you creative?  I do custom knitting and sewing projects also....hats, scarves, blankets, cowls.  If I see something that is cute I will make it up, place it on my business facebook page and see what happens.  Sometimes orders come in, sometimes not.  These are things that I can do while watching TV with my family so I feel that it is just bonus time spent for me.  I will tell you that some people don't want to pay a fair price for hand-made items.  Stay firm with your price.  Your time is worth some money.

I hope that these ideas are helpful to you. 

A Month of Thankfulness - Day 1

It is November!  The month of gratitude.  I fully believe we should be thankful always, but in November it seems a little easier to remember.  lol  So this month, I am going to try to post at least 1 thing every day that I am thankful for.

Tonight's entry is:

Tonight I thankful for a husband that fixes supper so I don't have to after work and a son that helps so when I get home after 9.5 hours working I can just sit down and have supper.

My husband is great.  Such a blessing to me.  I don't know what I would do without him.  After the craziness started I got a job working 1 day a week, sometimes up to 10 hours on that day.  My job isn't strenuous, but it makes a long day, and I'd been out of the workforce for over 10 years before that.  Now I am also balancing the operation of 2 home businesses in addition to part-time tutoring.  It's a juggling act every single day to get even part of my very lengthy to-do list done.  Remember, we have 4 children.  Every day of the week (excluding Sundays) I do 3-5 loads of laundry.  2 of our children are small so there are still messes to clean up and toys to corral.  2 of my children are teenagers so there are practices/games/meetings/social appointments to coordinate and drive to.  I have to keep up with their social calender as well as mine (wait, I don't have time for a social calendar).  My wonderful husband works overtime every chance he gets and is also starting his own business.  We are basically starting over financially so every single penny counts at this point and there are some weeks when the money goes out faster than it goes in. 

For the most part, my husband never complains about my odd business hours, or watching the kids, again, while I am gone for the evening.  He is great about picking up the slack, even though he wishes I didn't feel like I needed to contribute to our financial resources.  We have  a long road to go to get back to where we were but I am so glad that I have my best friend with me for the ride.  I love you baby!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Day.....

Would you like to get a glimpse of a day in the life of me?  Here goes......

I got up at 6:30.  Lee had gotten up on his own and was in the shower.  I stumble downstairs, start the laundry and do my Bible study (Colossians 3:17-18).  Start paying bills, NO internet (makes it difficult to check my direct deposit).  I work on that until 7 when I go upstairs to wake Greg up.  Abby is also up - she had come downstairs on her own - such a big girl!!!!! 

I get the bills paid as best I can with no internet.  Make a grocery list.  Call the internet people (for the 3rd time in 3 days).  I wake Norman up, gather up an AVON leadership kit, and leave for a sign-up appointment in Bridgeport (something like 40 miles away).  I leave for Bridgeport.  I am almost to Sumner - well over halfway there - when my appointment calls and cancels.  Yeah.  Great.

Well then.  I need to pick up some books for my manager in Bridgeport anyway so I travel on.  The books were to be waiting outside the house on a patio.  I find the house, I find the patio, I do not find the books.  I knock, ring the doorbell, answer.  I leave, send a message to the lady that was to leave the books, call Norman and let him know how horrible my day is going so far.  The lady returns my message and assures me that her husband is there and he will be waiting.  I go back.  He is waiting.  The books are now on the back patio.  The husband and his friend - I doubt that either are over 30 - stand on the front porch and watch me carry 180 AVON books from the back patio to the back of my van.  Nice huh????

I leave Bridgeport more than a little irritated.  I get back to Olney and stop at Burger King for an early lunch.  The lady that canceled her appointment reschedules for Friday.  This has to be the most relaxing part of my day up to this point.  Then I go to Walmart.  I dislike Walmart to begin with but I really dislike Olney's Walmart.  Their selection is small, things are hard to find and there are never enough checkers.  Never.  And I almost always refuse to use the self-checkouts - I find it disgusting that they make me do the work to figure out how much I am going to pay them for their stuff.    I find a fantastic parking spot.  I get almost all of the stuff on my list (except carrots - they were out of carrots 2 weeks ago too).  It is busy and there are 3 - count them 3 - checkers open.  You've got to be kidding me.  So I wait.  Another checker opens up and I get into the 2nd place of that line.  I get checked out without incident.  It's a Christmas miracle.

Home again, home again.....with a quick stop at Circle K for gas.  Except the pay-at-the-pump thing won't accept my debit card.  Grrrrr.  So I go in and prepay.  I hate that.  I hate that my card will work inside but not outside.  Grrrrr.  And finally home.

Norman helps me unload the car of groceries and 180 AVON books.  I do the dishes, I do the laundry, put away groceries, pick up the living room, clean the downstairs bathroom.  The internet people came and fixed the internet - they assured Norman anyway - so I finished paying my bills.  Norman labeled and I dated 50 AVON books for the next campaign and I organized the orders for this one.  Worked on a recipe project I am organizing for Eternal Encouragement magazine. 

The children are running around the house like crazy people while I type this.  I think we are having soup for supper.  Bear wants to go to Wednesday night church.  Abby and I might go for a walk.  I will do my AVON order later, hopefully start a new knitting project.  I've got to work - away from home - tomorrow during the day.  Maybe the Pops Concert tomorrow night?  We will see.

I get so tired of people telling me that they are too busy  to do this, or too busy to do that.  Let me tell you about busy.  If you are responsible for doing something, do it.  Don't complain, just do it.  That's my public service announcement for the day. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where Did September and October Go?

That's what I want to know!

Let's see.....
Lee started his sophmore year of high school.  So far, so good.  He had driver's education this semester and now has his driving permit.  I have a chauffer.  :)  He drives really well.

Greg started public school this year, 7th grade.  So far, so good.  He played soccer again this year.  Season is over - thank goodness, because it really wears me down.  Greg also decided that he would give basketball a try so that has just started.  I think he will do well.

Greg went deer hunting during the youth season early this month and got a 6 point buck!  His first deer.  His dad is going to do a shoulder mount for him :)  He is very proud.

Right now the older boys are checking out bow hunting areas.  lol 

Bear is almost 5 - next week.  He is doing kindergarten this year, just on a relaxed schedule.  Usually 3-4 days a week and we don't work at it past his interest level, usually just 45 minutes or so.  Abby is following along and she can say her alphabet to G.  Smart little kids, I say :)  They must taking after their momma.  We are using My Father's World - both preschool packages and the deluxe kindergarten package.

If you are  a local reader, you know that I've been doing custom sewing and knitting.  Mostly knitting.  I really prefer knitting, but I just can't buy everything that I want so have to sew sometimes.  If you are on facebook look me up, my page is Sew Blessed and my pictures are there. 

I'm still selling AVON and training others to do so also.  I'm also doing some tutoring.  I'm teaching a knitting class.  Sometimes I clean the house and wash laundry. 

I love my life.  I love every day of it.  I love waiting to see what God is going to do next and where he is going to take us. 
I'll try to get some pictures up here soon.  Maybe tomorrow.  Have a good night :)


I like to think that I am a grateful person.....but am I really?

I mean, its easy to be grateful when life's going good, when things are going my way.......

Am I grateful when life crashes down?  When the bad stuff just keeps coming?  When I don't even know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel?

I honestly believe that I have a tendency to be grateful in many circumstances, but it ISN'T easy and I DON'T do it all the time.  There is always room for improvement.

In this month's Gabby Mom review products (audios that will be available November 1st), Lorrie Flem hit to the heart of the matter.  She examined her heart and made me examine my heart - which I didn't really want to do.  She made me take a good, hard look at my sinful nature and how ungrateful I really am. 

My God is a mighty God.  Good, kind and generous.  He provides when I don't deserve it, when I don't need it and when I don't expect it.  There is no way that I can ever thank Him enough for the things that He has done for me....but just because I can't ever do it enough, doesn't mean that I shouldn't TRY to do it more!

Using the PDF files that came with the 3 audios (Centered and Sane, Growing Gratitude, and How To's of Growing Gratitude) I examined my heart and hope to grow in this area and help my children grow in this area as well.

This product is brought to you by Eternal Encouragement Magazine, and will be available on November 1st at

 As always, I received this product in exchange for a fair review as part of the Gabby Moms review program.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Managing My Minutes

Routine or Schedule.......Routine or Schedule......or both.....or NEITHER! 

As homemakers we make so many decisions each day.  Some of our tasks become routine, wash laundry, put it in the dryer, fold laundry, put away laundry.....but some of them need to be thought out and considered.....or do they?  Have you ever considered that maybe you could make a decision about when to do something, or how to do something, and just do it that exact same way every time?

Welcome to the heart of the home, a schedule.  I've been an on-off scheduler for many years.  I like a schedule.  I don't have to think about anything, I just do what is next and move on.  But then sometimes I am being rebellious and just don't want to do anything on the schedule.  The schedule usually enters the trash can shortly after.

This month's Gabby Moms review item is Managing My Minutes: Do I Really Need To? by Lorrie Flem.  Lorrie uses the book of Nehemiah to remind us why it is so important to plan our minutes, rather than just letting them go by and that God needs to be at the heart of our planning. 

Not really a "how to book", this is a why book.  Lorrie then explains the differences between a routine and a schedule and how each can be more important at different stages of your family.  This is a great foundation book.  I think that maybe I wouldn't have thrown my schedules away so many times if I had understood the flexible nature of the schedule. 

I can't wait to get ahold of Lorrie's bundle about routines; Managing My Minutes: Babies, Preschoolers and Kindergartners.  (or for older children (schedules); Managing My Minutes: The School Years)

This book will be available very soon from Eternal Encouragement;

EDITED TO ADD: This booklet is now available at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Sugar Creek Gang

Audiobooks are a main-stay in our family.  We really spend a lot of time in the car and it can be wasted time.  We started listening to Jonathon Park and just kept on listening to just about anything that I could get my hands on . 

Beloved books has taken the 1939 stories of the Sugar Creek Gang (originally by Paul Hutchens) and brought them to modern-day readers.  Paul Ramseyer dramatized these books for today's listeners, reading straight from the originals.  The stories are wonderful!  Full of character building adventures, woven with scripture, poems and other interesting tidbits, you will never get bored listening to these stories. 

I've got a large range of ages here, boys ages almost 5-15 and one sweet little girl (age 2).  Abby didn't really get into the stories but ALL the boys did.  I thought they were fantastic as well.

Beloved books has numerous resources available to encourage and strengthen your family.  G.A. Henty books, The Little Britches stories and KJV memory resources are just some of the other products that this wonderful company provides.

Don't take my word for how wonderful these stories are!  You can listen to the complete Swamp Robber story HERE for free! 

When you decide to order (and you WILL) use coupon code Lorrie12 to get $12 off each CD. 

I'm so glad that we were able to enjoy these stories together as a family and I can't wait to get ahold of the next CD - hurry up mailman!!!!!!!

***I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review as part of the Gabby Moms review program.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Artists and Authors by Lorrie Flem - and a GIVEAWAY

Are you looking for a new way to work in character training during your day?  Something simple?  Hands on?  Something that works? 

This little treasure covers 24 character traits, the 10 Commandments, The Fruit of the Spirit, and has lessons on why we celebrate major religious holidays.

I have to say that I have looked at this product for several years.  Never bought it, just looked at it online.  I wondered if it would be one more thing that I would buy and then never use.  As part of the Gabby Moms review program I received a copy in exchange for honest review.  I choose Artists and Authors because I was going to be using it with my little almost-5-year old Bear.  For older children you can choose to use Authors and Artists.

Got other things going on and need to occupy a child for a minute?  Pull this out and read them the scripture or prompt and let them go.  I love that I will have a record of their thoughts and drawings when we are finished with the book.

At $9.97 I really, really wish that I had used this product with my older children (and I still may!).  Don't be silly and wait, like I did.......

Go to and check this and other great character building products out. 

Please, enter for a chance to win this great product yourself at Randy's Rib!  You've got nothing to lose and much to gain!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Catching Up......

I think I've used that as a blog post title, but it fits so here goes.......
****Lee turned 15.  I don't think I'm old enough to have a 15 year old, but he is so I must be.
****Greg went to bike camp and Junior High camp at Oil Belt this year.  He was impressed with how more mature the older years of camp are.  I think he enjoyed being more grown up.
****Lee was faculty at Niners week of camp and then attended Deeper Life week.  He also loves camp and especially enjoyed being faculty.
****Abby is starting to talk.  A little.  Most can't understand her.  Heck, half the time I can't understand her.  It is frustrating for all of us.  But we are trying.  I am going to begin working more specifically with her this school year.  The speech therapists refuse to accept her so I'm going to have to do something.
****Lee will be a sophmore this year.
****Greg is going to be a 7th grader this year.  He is starting public school.  He has went to 2 orientations and feels relatively prepared.  All the fees have been paid, all the supplies have been bought. 
Sidenote- when I was homeschooling the older boys full time I would laugh at the public school parents that would complain about school costs, etc.  I mean, I was paying for books and everything.  Let me tell you, if you don't qualify for public aid school is expensive.  I spent $300 just to register the 2 kids.  I will be required to send lunch money and sports fees throughout the year.  Not to mention fundraisers, special events, etc.  I spent $250 buying clothing and shoes for the 2 of them (4 pairs of shoes because you have to have special gym shoes).  Another $238 for the rest of the school supplies (scientific calculators, thumb drives, backpacks......).  I am going broke sending them to school. 
****I will still be homeschooling the 2 littles (at this point I couldn't afford to send them to public school if I wanted to).  I am hoping to scrape together the $124 for MFW Kindergarten.  If not, we will make do with what we have. 
****My AVON business is going well.  I am an Unit Leader and have a wonderful team that I am helping to start their businesses as well.  I love what I do and am blessed to be able to stay at home with my littles while helping to supplement the family income.
****I'm knitting an adorable baby blanket for a friend's new grandbaby.  Gotta stay busy!

I think that's it.  If you are interested in AVON you can go here -

Have a great day!!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yelling: The Cause, The Casuality and The Cure

Last November I did a review about this book that Lorrie Flem wrote called Yelling: The Cause, The Casuality and The Cure

I thought it might be nice for you to hear how the follow-up has been.  I can honestly say that by employing the techniques, routines and habits that Lorrie suggested, I have really gotten a handle on  yelling.  I still yell, but not every day.  I am able to catch myself and my pity party before it gets too bad.  I have found that regular Bible reading gives me the proper frame of mind to go about my day (sometimes it take a little here and there to make it through) and that regular child training helps all of us to know what is expected and when. 

Now, if you haven't already gotten a copy of this book I have the most fantastic news for you.  On July 24th this book will be FREE for Kindle on Amazon!!!!!  WooHoo!  I told you it was fantastic news. 

AND to help celebrate this wonderful achievement for Lorrie and Eternal Encouragment magazine ( Lorrie is hosting a facebook party!  Have you ever been to one of Lorrie's facebook parties?  I have and they are always a blessing.  Worth every second that you spend.  I can promise you will feel like you sat down at a coffee shop with friends. 

Soooo,  I expect to see all of you there!  Make sure to come back and let me know how this book has blessed you and your family.  I know it will!!!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's For Dinner, Mom?

Those are the words that strike fear into this mother's heart.  They really do.  Especially if they are asked anytime after 3 p.m. and I don't have an answer. 

We aren't wealthy...we aren't even close.  So we can't just go to Hardees (3 doors down) or call for pizza.  And 9 times out of 10, all the supper options are in the freezer.  The worst place in the world for the supper options to be at 3 p.m. (for the record, we eat supper early, usually in between 4 and 5). 

I've done menu plans.  They work.  If you remember to make a plan, shop for the plan.  They work if your wonderful husband doesn't get into the food and make something else while you are at work.  They work if you remember to look at the plan in the morning and get things out to thaw.  I can't remember anything so meals can be a big problem here.

Once-a-month cooking intimidates me.  I figure if it takes me most of the afternoon to deal with one meal, then I don't have a hope to get more than 1 done in a day. 

This month's review item for Gabby Moms is What's For Dinner, Mom? by Lorrie Flem. 

Lorrie takes the first few chapters of this book (available for $12.97 from Eternal Encouragement) and explains the various methods of bulk cooking.  She gives you a little background on her family and that of her friend Karen.  (They are normal, busy people.  They are not Wonder Woman - I don't think anyway) 

Then Lorrie explains how SHE does bulk cooking.  She shares some of her favorite recipes and gives tips so you can modify your family's favorites to this method.  She makes bulk cooking do-able.  Now, I think I can do it.  And boy do I need to do it.  What a blessing I could be to my family! 

So, thank you to Lorrie!  You have taken the dread out of supper preparation.  I don't have to be home in order for our family to have a decent meal.  My family thanks you!


****I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review as part of the Gabby Moms review program.****

Friday, June 08, 2012

What's New with Us

Welcome Summer! 
I think it is finally here and I am glad to see it.  Although the winter was very mild here, I am thankful for sunshine, warm breezes and a few trees to sit under in our yard.  We are outside all the time.  Our garden is growing well and we are enjoying green onions, salad greens, spinach and even picked our first zucchini!  WooHoo! 

Finally school got out.  Greg tested into the 7th grade for the fall, so come August I will have a 10th grader and a 7th grader.  Not real sure how I feel about I'm not going to think about it.  LOL

Bear and Abby are great.  They are enjoying the swimming pool.  You have to practically drag Abby home from the pool.  She loves it!  So glad that they are able to enjoy it and have fun on the hot days.  Although I prefer not to be there, it could definately be worse. 

Camp season is upon us.  Greg is going to Bike Camp next week.  They will ride 20 miles a day at the Land Between the Lakes area in KY/TN.  It will be his first year but he is going with a lot of friends so should have a blast!  Lee is faculty at 1 camp in July and attending as a camper another week in July, then Greg will go another week in August.  So busy!!!!  Then school will start, but we aren't talking about that.

The stomach flu has hit here.  Lee was "sick" last Saturday.  Abby was sick on Sunday (she threw up for 12 hours).  Bear was sick on Thursday (another 12 hours) and Greg has been sick today (Friday - and another 12 hours).  Assuming that Lee actually had it (although a mild case by far) on Saturday that means that all the kids have passed it around.  It is possible that Norman also had a very mild case on the weekend but he has stomach issues sometimes so it is hard to tell.  So that leaves me.  Its like waiting in line for the know its coming and you wait with dread.  I don't see how it could miss me, but if you can OD on lysol and hand sanitizer, I am your girl.  Praying for a miracle.

I'm working outside the home 2 days a week now.  I average about 20 hrs a week.  I get to do some reading/sewing while there so it isn't like it is hard labor.  LOL  But I really have to play catch-up the rest of the days here at home.  Norman is home on the days I work so he cares for the kids, but not so much the house.  Also, I restarted my AVON business.  I gave it up when I got pregnant with Bear.  I missed it.  Really working hard to build  my customer base and make Unit Leader.  I've got a great team of 8 business partners so I am hoping next week will be my week :)  It is wonderful to meet new people and help them reach their dreams.  If you would like to be my customer you can go HERE.  Just make sure to choose direct delivery if you aren't local :)

I'm super tired so going to go lay down for a bit.  Hope that all are good and I will post again soon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chores: Many Hands Make Light Work AND a Giveaway


Nobody likes it.  I mean really?  Maybe you enjoy it, but I don't.  Over the years I have learned that it is a necessary evil and I have come to enjoy the routine of it and the order that is the result......I will never love scrubbing the toliets or bathtubs or cleaning up little people's rooms.  I don't do it perfectly.  I probably don't even do it well but I do the best I can with what I have.  I have come to accept that my best is enough.

Part of housework, or maybe home management, is chores.  Chores are the housework done by little people.  Oh, how I struggled the first few years to get my older 2 children to do chores.  I finally resorted to paying them.  Now that they are older they do better.  Now I am training the little ones. 

This month I was asked to review Chores: Many Hands Make Light of the Work for the May review as part of the Gabby Moms blogging program.  This isn't a book or an audio.  It is a bundle.....4 audios and 6 e-books, all pertaining to the topic of chores.  Chores for you and chores for your children.  How to get chores done.  How to encourage others to do their chores.  Efficient ways to get things done.  Lorrie also discusses the Biblical basis behind chores and our attitudes regarding work.

Here is a list of everything that is included in this bundle:
God Blesses This House, but He Doesn't Clean It
God Blesses This House, but He Doesn't Organize It
12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips
Cheerful Children and Challenging Chores

Neat and Tidy, Tried and True Organization Tips
Turn Housework Into Fun and Games
Teach Your Kids How to Clean a Kitchen
Teach Your Kids How to Clean a Bathroom
Keep it Clean and Toxin Free
DIY Cleaning Supplies

All this is available from for $24.97

Tidbits that I took away from this bundle:
**We are blessed that we need help - God has blessed us abundantly with our home, possessions and family!
**Give children guidelines BEFORE they start
**Make every minute of the day count
**I LOVE the marble chore reward method.....I guess you will have to get the bundle to see what I am talking about :)

NOW.......I have a giveaway for you :)  YOU can get a copy of this bundle for yourself.  To enter go HERE and leave a comment before May 31st and one winner will be selected and notified via email.

I received this product as part of the Gabby Moms review program in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Monday, May 07, 2012

It's a Facebook Party!!!!!

As a mom, we hold a lot of job titles and lets be honest, we aren't exactly pulling in the big bucks :)  We are paid in hugs, kisses and the knowledge that we are fullfilling our God given roles as wives and mothers.  With that said, sometimes I am empty.  KWIM?  I think that we all feel that way sometimes.  I love reading blogs, magazines and email and many times I get the encouragement that I need from that.  Another wonderful resource of encouragement for me is facebook.  The best thing on facebook (in my opinion) is a facebook party.  Lots of people gathered in one spot (computer techy speaking anyway - you don't want to hear my theory on the internet) talking about a common theme.  An honest to goodness party!  With gifts :)  Want to join the party on Monday May 14th? 
See you there!!!!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Eternal Encouragement Magazine and More

This month's Gabby Moms review selection was Eternal Encouragment Magazine.  Sometimes these review items are such a hardship! ((NOT!!!!!))

I've been an EE subscriber for years......since it was TEACH magazine.  You've probably heard me ramble on and on about it before.  But I'm going to do it again.  Why?  Because in the truck load of magazines that are available out there, Eternal Encouragement is a rarity, a real gem.  I can only think of 2 other magazines that even compare and they aren't "mainstream" either. 

When I was a new wife, I set out to find a magazine that would help me be the best wife and mother I could possibly be.  So off I went to gather up the popular woman's magazines.....Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, Woman's Day.......surely I could find one that would help me out.  Alas, I couldn't and I became discouraged.  Apparently a woman's place wasn't at home, serving her family anymore.  I struggled along until I found TEACH magazine (now Eternal Encouragement).  THIS is what I had been looking for.  HELP with homemaking routines, practical parenting advice, godly encouragement.  That's what Eternal Encouragment is all about.

The Spring 2012 issue continues to help, encourage and uplift woman in their godly calling as wives and mothers.  Some of this issue's topics include......
***Two-Legged Eeyores and the Nehemiah 8:10 Cure
***CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)
***Marriage Interrupted
***10 Reasons We Need to Think About Hospitality
***First Fruits

Subscriptions to this amazing publication are available in  printed and digital formats. Any subscription receives the NEW EE Etc. Web Magazine that is published 8 times a year. This has full magazine articles that are only available to Eternal Encouragement Subscribers via a new online magazine website.  A one year printed subscription is $19.97 and a one year digital subscription is $12.97.  Each are published 4 times a year.  Subscribe to either HERE.

Still don't know what Lorrie Flem and Eternal Encouragement are all about?  Check out Lorrie's website at

I received this product for free as part of the Gabby Moms program in exchange for a fair review :)

Friday, March 09, 2012

Tot School This Week

I remembered to take pictures!

The weather outside has been wonderful!  Nice and warm :) 

Mommy playing football.  I am not a football player.  I am a football watcher.  Dh was taking pictures.  He should have been playing.  LOL

We played with bigger are Abby, Jeffrey (brother at heart), Bear and Gregory

Please take note of Abby's clothes.  I dressed her and then she fixed herself up with a couple more shirts and Bear's cowboy boots.  She wore it all proudly......

Bear has gotten really good at staying in the lines.  I think we are almost ready to start some writing exercises.

Abby loves pegs.  See her tongue sticking out?  It works better that way.  I got these from Oriental Trading Company.  We use them to build, count, sort colors.

She finally figured out how to stack them herself :)

We also played the Two by Two Matching Game from Alphabet Alley

Bear's awana verse this week was Through Him all things were made John 1:3

It's been a great week :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Recently Completed Projects

I complete projects all the time....the problem is that I rarely take pictures of them.  LOL Here are 2 such projects.

This is the window seat in the sitting room (aka, Ping Pong table room).  Abby and I love to sit here but it was kinda hard.  I had a whole bundle of coordinating fat eighths.  I cut each one into forths, mixed them up and put them all back together with a double layer of quilt batting.  I used leftovers for binding and then tied them with crochet thread.  I made 3 and they fit perfectly.  The pillow in the corner was made by my grandmother, for me, a few years ago.  Isn't it cute???  This is what you could see out the window seat window until the snow came on Sunday.  Aren't they beautiful?  I'm so ready for spring.

I made this wreath last night to replace the silver/blue winter one.  I bought the ribbon at walmart but couldn't find a wreath form anywhere local.  So I ordered one.  I didn't want one this big and I don't really like the straw but it is what it is and it is done.  I did it last night with dh's help with the hanging.

I cut the ribbon into lengths and then just tied them all the way around. 

I also finished a shawl and some dishcloths but they didn't make it to the camera this week.  I'll try again next week :)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Tot School

I was doing good on this but then flaked out with the move and such.  Please forgive me!   Finally, I've gotten back in the swing of things with the kids.  Greg is doing 6th grade Switched on Schoolhouse for his lessons so I have very minimal work with him.  Bear is 52 months (4 1/2) and Abby is almost 22 months. 

Awana lesson and memory work.  Both listen to the lesson, Bear does the memory work.

Coloring Worksheets (Bear)
- letter B sheet
- #3 and 3 animals sheets
- letter C sheet

Hello Kitty coloring pages

Hands-On activities (both)
- finger/Qtip painting
- cutting activity (Bear)
- glue/yarn activity

Books we read:
The Greedy Python by Eric Carle
Bedtime Bear
What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?
Lemony Sknicket: The Lump of Coal
Beaver Gets Lost
Mouse's First Fall by Lauren Thompson
Red Sled by Lita Judge
Bedtime Words - Usborne
Graphic Design Pterandon, Oviraptor and Pachycephalosaurus (3 books)

We also read extensively from our home library.  Extensively.  I imagine that we spend 2-3 hours a day reading aloud.  Whatever suits their fancy.  I am going to try to implement book baskets with "focus" books each week for each of them.  We will see how that goes.  I am also implementing "theme" weeks.  Didn't happen last week, or this week, but it will come in the future.  I am getting a lot of my ideas from Totally Tots.  I've borrowed her ideas for Bear since he was very small.  Bear will be transitioning to preschool starting next fall.

Last week we also had a trip to the library here in town.  Another day we took a bike ride to the local skate park.  Bear got to ride his own bike with brother Greg while Abby (in the stroller) and I (pushing) followed along.  It is an easy 4-5 blocks to that small park and we enjoyed a wonderful hour playing before coming back home.  That day was beautiful!  It snowed again last night.  Grrrr.  I'm ready for spring.

I promise to do better with pictures.  Dh bought a new camera that I am trying to learn the ropes on. 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Project Planning and Organization

First let me tell you what I see as I sit here at the dining room table:  2 rooms over we have a ping pong table (in the sitting room of all places LOL)....currently under the ping pong table are 4 children, ages 14-22 months.  They are playing war or campout or something (I really haven't been paying attention).  It makes my heart so happy to see all these kids playing together so nicely.  I just had to share!

Now back to the topic at hand.  Project organization.  This could be ANY project but for the sake of time/space considerations lets tackle crafty type projects. 

In this new house I have a sewing room.  That should solve the problem, right.  WRONG!  I am a little ADHD, or maybe  alot ADHD.....or maybe I lost significant brain cells with the birth of each child (and extra with Abby because she was a girl).....I don't know what is wrong with me.  I have a project planning problem. 

I like to knit, sew, quilt and do other "crafty" type things (this problem also carries over into the kitchen and homeschool but lets stay on topic for now).  Here is a list of my current "wish I could do" projects:
**ribbon to make a spring wreath for the front door - but no wreath form.  So the Christmas/winter wreath is still out there
**knitted Jane Austin dress for Abby - I actually have the pattern, needles and yarn for this but not the material for the skirt
**knitted Jane Austin shrug for the above dress - I have the pattern and yarn (the yarn actually coordinates with the yarn for the dress) - NO needles
**sweater for Abby - I have yarn.  NO pattern.  No idea if I have enough yarn.  I might have needles that will work.  I will know when I decide on a pattern.  The yarn is currently living on the above mentioned ping pong table.
**sweater for Abby - I ordered a kit from Mary Maxim for an adorable cardigan sweater.  Should be here any day.  Who knows if I have the right sized needles but it should come with the yarn and pattern
**quilt for me? Abby?  - I bought 9 yards of coordinating material (in sage green/pink).  I found a pattern that I LOVE but don't have enough material for it.  Can't find another pattern that I like.  If I do, I DON'T have batting or backing material.  The material is currently living on the ping pong table.
**dresses for Abby - I have the material sitting upstairs for AT LEAST 5 dresses for Abby.  I also have 1 new dress pattern for Abby.  I can't decide what I want to make.
**I have been busy buying pattern books....lace knitting, theme knitting, quilting.  I have found a ton of things I want to make.  How am I going to keep all this straight?
**I want to make a pillow for the window seat (might have the material and pillow form)
**I want to knit a coffee cup huggie - I have some patterns, I have some yarn, I don't know if they will work together though.....
**I have the pattern for a beautiful lace shawl for me.  Don't have needles and can't decide on yarn.

Right now my sewing room, that started off fairly neat, looks like someone threw up a bunch of material/yarn and trash all over it.  The ironing board is covered with stuff I laid there earlier today.  Stuffed animals that need repair are on the floor.  Yarn is EVERYWHERE (but not really good is itchy acrylic yarn in small bits of each color.  I am thinking of donating it just so I don't have to look at it any more.  It was given to me by my mil who used to do plastic canvas).  Material is everywhere. 

I thought about small bins or boxes to put project parts in until I was ready to do them.  Like put the yarn, pattern, needles in a small box so that it was there and I could just pick it up when I am looking for something to work on and it will be ready.  Does anyone think that's a good idea?  Any other ideas?  At this point I need HELP.  Maybe an intervention.  And a professional organizer.  And a maid (so I have time to do all these wonderful projects).....and 28 hours in my day.

I am open to any and all suggestions as this is also the problem with cooking projects (I have a recipe but not ingredients or an idea but no recipe) and homeschooling stuff (I want to do a project with the kids only to find out that I don't have the stuff).  Please help!!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Three Weavers

The Three Weavers plus Companion Guide
by Robert and Shelley Noonan

Several months ago, I applied to review a product for Pumpkin Seed Press.  I do that all the time :)  Anyway, the reviewer contract and form came in the mail just before we moved, so I didn't submit it until after Christmas.  I had to choose a book and knowing almost nothing about their products (they come recommended from a friend, but that is it) I chose The Three Weavers.

I had NO idea what the book was about.  When it came I skimmed the cover and then set it down......why?  Because it is a Father's Guide to Guarding His Daughter's Purity.  In case you hadn't noticed, I am a mother, not a father.  And our daughter is not quite two.  Hmmmm. 

But I had AGREED to review this book so I took it to work with me last week.  I honestly expected to muddle through it and write the review and hope to never hear from Pumkin Seed Press again.

Boy, was I in for a wonderful surprise!  I couldn't. put. the. book. down.  (It is a blessing that I don't have a very demanding part time job.  LOL)  Yes, the book is for fathers.  Yes it is for the father to work through with his 9-12 year old daughter.  No, I am not a father or a 9-12 year old daughter.  I WISH that my dad had done something like this with me.  I wonder what heartache I would have been saved.  I wonder how close our relationship would be now, if he had taken the time to invest his heart into my life like this.

But I digress.  The "story" part of this book is an allegory about 3 weavers and their daughters.  I'm not going to ruin it for you.  It is wonderful!  Anyway, each little section of the story is followed by discussion questions for the father/daughter and a Bible study for the father to do alone (before going through that section with his daughter).  There are small projects for each to complete along the way, all designed to tie their hearts together forever and teach wonderful truths of purity to young daughters. 

 Designed to last through 7 weeks, this study is totally complete and ready to use.  I KNOW how busy dads are.  My dear husband would never have the time to do this if it wasn't all set up for him.  As I read through this book, though, I believe that he could and would do this with our daughter when she is old enough.  Ending with a family purity ceremony, I can't think of any little girl that wouldn't love to spend this one on one time with her daddy. 

Available from Pumpkin Seed Press, The Three Weavers, is a wonderful book on the study of purity and encourages fathers and daughters to a deeper relationship, mirrored by the relationship we all have with our Heavenly Father.  I can't be more pleased that I was able to read through this resource and look forward to using it in the future.  If you would also like a copy it is available for $10.50 HERE.  I can't wait to see what other products Pumpkin Seed Press has available for our family.

***I received this product for free from Pumpkin Seed Press in exchange for my honsest review.***

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips for Moms

Have you been reading along with me lately?  If you have, I'm sure you have noticed that I've been a bit frazzled.  I guess I forgot how crazy life was with 2 littles.....and then add in the activities and needs of 2 teenagers!  I am catching myself as I run in circles.  lol  I needed a little encouragement this week (did you read Hacked?????)

Anyway, this is what I've been listening to:

Let me start off by saying that I am eternally grateful to the inventor of mp3.  I WISH had I time to sit down and read a book (I keep adding things to my poor kindle).  Right NOW, I don't.  So I loved that this was something that I could listen to while doing other cleaning up lipstick (but I digress).

I have read ALL the organizing, home management books out there (before the babies were born, when I still had time to read).  I have gleaned a few good tidbits here and there that managed to stick.  Listening to Lorrie, however, made me believe that I COULD figure this whole thing out.  She doesn't demand that I do things her way.  She doesn't give me a one-size-fits-all schedule.  She encourages me to make my priorities my priorities and keep my eyes on the prize. 

I especially appreciated her encouragement to do the little things first.  I hate how I have a million things that need done and most of them take less than 5 minutes.  But there they sit on my to-do list, waiting for me.  I do find that my days go much more nicely when I spend the first 15 minutes doing those little jobs.  THEN I can tackle a bigger job.  AND I feel like I have done something, even if those 15 minutes are the only things that get marked off. 

I also appreciate Lorrie's reminder to take things as they come.  My priorities for my day need to revolve around my God, my husband and my children.  That might mean that I get the laundry done, bless hubby with his favorite supper and cookies and do lots of reading/game playing with the babies.  If that's all that gets done, I have had a banner day!  My priorities were my priorities, and in the end that is what matters each day.  This is a season.  In a few years there won't be any more lipstick episodes or stories to read. 

Thank you Lorrie for reminding me of that!

Let Lorrie share her heart with you!  You can get 12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips for Moms at Eternal for $6.97 and can start listening right away!  Trust me, you will be glad that you did.

***I received this product for free in exchange for a fair review as part of the Gabby Moms program.***

Friday, February 17, 2012


A few days ago, my email was hacked.  (I have hotmail if anyone cares about things like that)  I sent out apology emails and changed my password.  I made the mistake of thinking that life would continue on normally.  I thought wrong. 

Today hotmail locked me out of my email account.  I can't balance my bank statement, check on online receipts or work with my Gabby Moms blogging group.  I had to answer a bunch of mundane questions and maybe, in 24 hours, hotmail will grant me permission to access my own email account again.  To say that I am frustrated is an understatement.

I made the mistake, a few hours ago, of dozing off in my recliner while the babies were playing in the living room (yes, it was about noon.  yes, I was exhausted.  still am)  Anyway, while I was dozing Abby got into my purse, found a tube of lipstick and commenced to rubbing it all over her face (all the way to her eyebrows), neck, ears, hair and hands.  Somewhere along the way she also got it on the carpet.  THEN Bear decides to wake me up.  (((sigh)))  Things just aren't going my way today.

I have to say that I have a great appreciation for working mothers.  I have been working part time since July - one day a week and only on my husband's day off.  Beginning in February I began working both of my husband's days off.  So I am working 2 days a week, right now just afternoons (about 4 hours a day).  It could increase to 10 hour days again like it was most of the summer/fall.  I am exhausted.  I am chasing my tail trying to keep up with everything and making a miserable job of it.  I am grouchy when I shouldn't be and I know that the stress is showing in the care of my home.  I don't know when the last time was that I made bread or spent considerable time crafting and I don't dare ask for a little time alone for me because my poor dh is spending his whole days off taking care of the kids while I am gone (NOT that he wouldn't gladly give me time if I asked, I just feel bad asking).  Today I fell asleep at noon.  Noon.  It wasn't like I had a hard morning.  I had done considerable cleaning, but I had also colored with Abby and read books.  Nothing I did was heavy labor.  But all heck broke loose when I fell alseep and now the email thing really has me upset.  Not that it really matters, kwim? 

Well, I guess, this is my "day in a life of me" post.  Not very cheerful eh?  At least now you know I am human and struggle (like you could have missed that).  Keeping it real.  Pray for me if you feel led.  I need some rest; spiritual, emotional and physical. 

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Oh Pinterest

Our plans for the day were fairly simple....quick trip to walmart for paintballs (and the rest of the stuff on my list, but that's why we were going) and then dropping the older 2 boys and later dh at a friend's paintball game.  Then the babies and I would muddle through the rest of the day as best we could until they got home again.

I say muddle because the babies are in that stage where things are difficult.  Yesterday Abby wouldn't stop playing with the light.  I would spank her, put her in a corner for a minute or so and when I would allow her out she would go back and do it again......repeat punishment....and again....5 times total.  I was about ready to pull my hair out.  That was after she had been very whiny and Bear is being clingy.  I just wanted to run away! 

We managed along till the end of the day when Daddy got home from working overtime, took Abby and she instantly went to sleep.  Fine then, be that way!  LOL 

Paintball got canceled this morning.  The older boys are having friends over this afternoon.  I don't know when I will go shopping.  Abby is still whiny, but so far Bear is playing xbox kinect.  I know it is just a faze.  I know that it was my unluckiness that had both of them hitting difficult days together (isn't that how it goes????).

So, I've been amusing myself with Pinterest. Love that site!  I am normally on my kindle which doesn't allow me to pin from there.  Today I am on a computer and happily pinning away.  So many great ideas!  So many fussy babies :(  LOL  At least a girl can dream.....and print off yummy recipes. 

If you want to check out my boards I am Carie Shinn on pinterest.  Happy pinning!!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Little Bit of Sunshine on a Busy Day

Hi guys! (or girls....probably girls lol)  I could apologize, again, for the length of time between blog posts, but's the deal......I'm a wife and mommy first.  I stay pretty busy (gasp!  but you are a stay-at-home-mom, we all know they don't do much!) homeschooling Greg and occassionally Bear, trying to maintain order in a house full of children, love and read to Abby......I have meals to prepare and laundry to wash and homework to grade or help with.  All the normal wife and mother stuff.  I also work outside of our home 2 days a week.  If I have any free time I love to knit, sew, read and write.  Honestly though, the writing tends to be at the bottom of the list.  I LOVE to write, but for me writing requires quiet.....and that just doesn't happen here. Today happens to be a semi-quiet day :)

I read all the time.  For me reading doesn't require quiet.  I have the ability to tune the kids out sometimes :)  I love little encouraging articles that I can read in a minute or 5 and take something from to apply to my current situation.  You may wonder what magazine I isn't a magazine (well, I do love the magazine, but this is quicker) is the Eternal Encouragment e-newsletter written and produced by Lorrie Flem. 

I jotted down some of January's topics (the newsletter comes to your email box every Thursday):
**I can do all things.......let God do what I can't (I needed this, I tend to think that I can do EVERYTHING - but that's probably another blog post)
**Stick-to-it-Ness.....interruptions happen, how to embrace them and keep things moving in your life
**Are you missing God's encouragement to read and study the Old Testament stories and characters
**Happiness......happiness is a journey not a destination
**recipes....hamburger bun pizza, chicken divan
**coupons for Lorrie's don't want to miss the great stuff Lorrie has in her shop.  Take a gander around here for a while for more reviews of Lorrie's stuff.  I LOVE Lorrie's stuff :)

I know you are waiting for the most important part........its FREE!  Yes, free.  Not a free trial.  Not a free 6 month subscription.  FREE.  As in, get your fingers clicking, what are you waiting for, FREE.  Got it?  So what are you waiting for?  When you subscribe you will get a free ebook Organizing Happiness and on Thursday you will get a newsletter directly to your email box.  Go HERE and scroll about halfway down the page to sign up. 

Love ya all and hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

******I received this newsletter for free and you can too :)  This review is an honest opinion of my thoughts as part of the Gabby Moms review program.