Sunday, January 27, 2013

10 Things About Me

Here's a little random "get to know me" post for all my new followers :)

1. Talk history with me, particularly American history.  I don't care about the details of war or economic changes, I want to know about the day-to-day lives of people that came before me.  I want to know the daily routines, their lifestyles, their beliefs, the good-the bad-the ugly.  I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the thought that every day I CREATE history.  Think about that for a while.

2.  I am technically challenged.  For a while, in the early 2000's, I was digitally literate.  Now I'm barely able to turn on the computer or operate the remote.  I don't know what happened.  I suspect the last 2 kiddos had some to do with it......

3.  I LOVE football.  Especially NFL but I enjoy a good local high school game on a Friday night also (GO NEWTON, IL EAGLES!).  My obsession with the NFL started when I was pregnant with Bear.  It gave me something to do that didn't require moving (he was born in the middle of the season) and I could spend some time with the big boys also.  Now I knit while I watch the game.  Maybe sometime I will tell you how I choose which teams to root for............

4.  I LOVE creamy pasta dishes, spicy Mexican (or Mexican-American) food and good authentic Cajun food.  But I don't like crawfish or oysters.  Although the men in my family hunt game, I very rarely do more than taste it.  Give me chicken, beef, pork, turkey....I'm good but still picky.  I could probably live the rest of my life as a vegetarian but would miss dairy foods.  So I won't :)

5.  You can probably call me a prude but I firmly believe that women should behave one way and men another.  I think that a lot of problems in society today stem from the inability of women to behave themselves.  I do hold women to a higher standard to men.  Keep things covered up that you don't want your grandfather to see.  Watch your language and try to act like you've got a little sense....the world will be a better place for it.

6.  Knitting gives me peace.  I believe that life is too short to waste on cheap yarn.  I happily make beautiful, impractical items.  I knit things that make me smile and make those around me smile. 

7.  I joyfully homeschooled my older 2 children from K through 6th grade.  They each transitioned into public school in the 7th grade.  I do miss them terribly but am proud of their accomplishments.  I am once again homeschooling a kindergartener.  This time around I take nothing for granted.  These days are short and they are adorably cute.  I cherish every single thing the littles do and I cherish the memories made with the older 2.

8.  I LOVE to I blog.  I'm not sure how worthy my words are of reading but I write them anyway. 

9.  I LOVE to read.  Mysteries, suspense, end-times stuff, history (particularly American or anything about royalty past or present), biographies, and my Bible.  I also read a few magazines and blog that I find inspiring or interesting.  I like to know about the daily lives of people (whether they are dead or alive - see #1).  You can see my current reading list in the left-hand sidebar. 

10.  I do care what others think of me.  I try not to, because I know that only God matters, but it happens.  I'm very soft-hearted.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I want to get very close to you, but I can be hurt easily.  I forgive easily.  I try to always see the best and assume the best about everyone.  I am learning that I don't have to allow myself to get hurt.  That was a hard lesson to learn but I'm working on it. 

I guess that's it for now.  I'll probably post another 10 things some other time.  Here's a post of wrote a couple of years ago......

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Helping Hands at Home

I know that as a mother, I frequently feel as if I am the only one doing anything around here.  Do you ever feel like that?  If that is the case for you, then keeping reading!  I have something that will help you!

Training our children is one of the most important things that we can do as mothers.  Character training, potty training, housework training....the training never ends. 

In Helping Hands at Home Mrs. Lorrie Flem gives us step-by-step directions on how to train our children to clean 2 rooms; the bathroom and the kitchen.  Starting at any age, Lorrie explains how our children can help us clean up our homes.  I loved her ideas and have already started implementing several of them with my 5 year old and 3 year old.  It isn't hard, it is just something that we need to do and stay on top off....the benefits will be worth it in the end!

Lorrie is offering this book on Amazon for the kindle for 99 cents!  Remember that if you don't have a kindle, you can still download an app for your computer for free :)

Lorrie loves helping women grow in their callings as wives and mothers.  Her website, Eternal Encouragement, offers guidance and encouragement as you try to be the best woman of God that you can be.

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading for the week of Jan. 6th

Here is my list of things I read or finished reading last week: (This list is mainly for me, because I want to know how much I read and what I read over time, feel free to ignore.)

TEACH Magazine Fall 2002  This issue was on procrastination.  Some of my other reading touched on that as well.  I find it interesting how God works that all out.  I definately needed to read it.  It's a work in progress, I don't claim to have to worked out.  God is always working in me.

Large Family Logistics Chapter 1 This was a thorough going through of the Excellent Wife of Proverbs 31.  The main thing that I learned from this chapter is that God wants me to be seeking wisdom.  Wisdom in how I handle my home duties, my business dealings, my time, my family and life in general.  The way to get wisdom?  Deep and continual study in the Word of God. 

Etsy Success Stories by Vivian Ajetunmobi -   I used Etsy for a while, didn't have an success, but because of reading this I am willing to try again.

Healthy Make Ahead and Freeze Muffins by Mara Michaels and Carolyn Stone - Tips, tricks and interesting recipes if you want to freeze muffins.  They never last that long around here but it is good in theory.

How to Save Money on Groceries, Back to Basics: Recipes for the Savy Shopper by Liz MacGregor - Honestly, I didn't take away a lot of info that I didn't already know from this book but if you are new to really working a grocery budget then this would be very helpful for you.

Helping Hands at Home by Lorrie Flem - Review will be following in the next few days.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Want to see a little about keeping it real?
A classmate from school wrote this and there isn't much else that I can say that she hasn't said.  It is an absolute must read:

Mercy, Grace and Comic Relief

I'm a member of the "keeping it real" fan club here.  I type this as the littles are in the bathtub....Abby is crying, because life didn't go her way.  Earlier she cried because Bear wouldn't eat the cracker that she offered him.  There are a lot of days I want to lock them in the closet.  But I don't, because in the end, I'm trying to do the very best that I can by my children.  Isn't that what we all are striving for?  Our life, my very best, probably isn't going to look a thing like yours.  And we all FAIL....daily.  But the fact that we fail daily means that we are still trying, we haven't given up and Satan hasn't won.  I believe that he isn't going to either.  :)

Enough about that.  Read the article. 

I also updated my current reading list.  It is in the left hand sidebar if you are interested.  Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you are reading....because I need more things to add to my list (chuckle, chuckle).  Hey, I didn't list all the books that are just randomly living on my kindle.  I just added the books that are a priority right now.  But I really would LOVE to hear about what you are reading.  So please share!

Love ya!  I'm off to break up the latest fight :)

Monday, January 07, 2013

Back to School

The big boys had to go back to school last Thursday but today was the day for the littles.

For some reason we kinda slacked off, Nov. 15th being the last day I have recorded school work.  A perk of homeschooling I guess!

This year we are using MFW PreK 3, PreK 4 and Kindergarten.  Abby is 2 years old, Bear is 5 (but with a late birthday wouldn't be in kindergarten this year).

Abby worked on colors, shapes, worked puzzles, used glue and scissors, and repeated the alphabet flashcards with me.  She also listened in on our read-aloud.

Bear worked on the letter S today, name and sound; played a upper-case/lower-case matching game, alphabet flashcards, number recognition, patterning and calendar work.  And our read-aloud.  Our Bible theme is Jesus is the light of the world.

I'm working on being more consistent with a quiet time here.  Last week we moved Abby's toddler bed into a closet (with a window - a big closet) in Bear's room (with no door so its not like she is shut in).  So now they both have their own little spaces and WE don't have anyone sharing our room!  Woohoo!  So I moved a lamp over to my nightstand and I've been going to bed a little early some nights and reading.  Fiction at night (I'll share when I get finished) and Bible in the morning.  This morning I started in I Corinthians.  I read chapter 1 and then followed the bunny trails that my Life Application Bible had :)  I did some significant journaling and prayer time and really feel like I started my day the way God wanted me too. 

We got the house cleaned up, school done and I decluttered my sewing room a little and made a curtain for Abby's new room.  It's adorable :)  Not pink, I let her pick from several fabrics that I had and she choose a sky blue with yellow daisies on it.  Very cute. 

Lee made it home from school a few minutes ago.  Greg is at basketball practice.  When he gets home we are having pancakes for supper.  Norman is working 16 hours today so he won't be home until around midnight. 

I'm looking forward to some knitting after supper tonight.  I'm working on a special surprise for a friend.  I'm always inspired when I am upstairs and see all the yarn that is there waiting for me - and a friend is donating some more to the cause on Wednesday!  Am I a lucky girl or what?????

Friday, January 04, 2013

Welcome to the Middle Class

I think that maybe while growing up, I led a somewhat sheltered life.  I mean, I know I did, but there are a lot of things I didn't realize growing up......trying to keep to today's topic, we will just stick with some financial considerations here but I'm sure there will be more posts.......

Anyway, finances were almost never discussed in our home while growing up.  If I happened to catch the tail-end of a conversation about money, I was always quickly reminded that we don't talk about money with ANYBODY.  That included my grandparents.  So we never talked money.  My parents, my mom especially, was very frugal.  She was careful that she didn't overspend.  That meant that frequently I felt like we were poor.  I remember being told often that we couldn't buy this or that because it was too expensive or it wasn't needed.  I still remember with horror the "granny" shoes I had to wear for marching band my whole freshman year (we had to have black tennis shoes but all Dollar General sold was these very ugly old lady black shoes, so that's what I got.....).  Occassionally I was teased about my clothes or things like that and I did spend my own money (when I began babysitting, etc) on odd things - fancy ink pens, binders, books.......just trying to fit in.  As an adult, I know it had to be hard for my parents.  As farmers their income wasn't guaranteed the next year and there are a lot of unknowns in agriculture.  So, growing up I thought we were poor.....even though we lived in a nice house (that was paid for, my parents made sure I knew that lol) and my parents drove nice vehicles (again paid for lol)......I will never forget when I was in high school.  Someone asked if I was going on a trip and I said no, we didn't have the money for that.  My not-so-close friend laughed at me.  I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they were laughing, until they clued me in to the fact that my dad raced stock cars as a hobby - poor people don't do that.
 I guess they don't.
 My whole perception of my upbringing changed.  My family wasn't poor.  We were solidly in the middle class.  Had been the whole time.  How sneaky is that?   I felt a little cheated after many times did I just not ask to do something or for something I needed because I didn't want to put undue pressure on my poor, struggling parents.  lol

My husband never knew middle class growing up.  He was the poor that we weren't.  Poverty wasn't anything new to him.  The stories of his childhood sometimes make me cry.  His mom was single.  They moved every 3-6 months.  He never knew what it was like to live in a house that was 100% paid for, heck his mom didn't even own a house until he was almost an adult.  My husband had medical issues as a teenager and young adult that saddled him with thousands of dollars of medical bills.  He graduated high school but had no higher education.  He had never been taught the value of paying off debt or learning a trade.  He floundered a little in early adulthood.  We met, married and started this adventure the first year we were married, dh was hospitalized with different things 3 times.  He had heart problems and 3 surgeries.  Although most of his problems were able to be fixed or treated, those first couple of years he didn't work more than he did.  And we amassed more medical bills.  We used a medical card for me when I was pregnant with Lee.  I will never forget my dad's contempt.  He was disgusted that "he" was having to pay for my pregnancy.  I was, again, mortified.  We used food stamps, WIC, both of us working when we could.  We bought an older trailer (on payments of course).....we always paid our own utilities.  I tried to stay in college.  Norman took a night class to prepare him for IDOC training - he took the test for Illinois Department of Corrections 3 days after I gave birth to Greg (again with a medical card, food stamps and WIC - oh the horror! Imagine my shock when I learned about farm subsidies.....really dad?  You made me feel bad all these years.......). 

3 months later, my husband went to work at a job 3.5 hours away.  He had a salary.  We now had medical insurance.  We went off public assistance.  We PAID OFF all those medical bills.  We started establishing our credit.  We bought a house.  All while financially helping several family members who didn't appreciate the sacrifices we were making for them.  That kinda hurts, but I guess that is the way of life. 

Anyway, all this time we were proud of our middle class status. 

Things fell apart a few years ago. Those people we were helping, still didn't care and had no respect for anything at all.   We now live in a rental in town.  We don't know when/if we will ever own our own place again.  We try to be content. 

Norman still works for IDOC.  We are still solidly in the middle class.  We pay insurance premiums that would make some people sick - and deductibles and copays also.  We pay taxes for services we don't qualify for.  We pay a fortune into a pension that probably won't be there when my husband is ready to retire.  We worry where the money will come from for gas, groceries and our children's school needs.  Welcome to the middle class.

Some days I long for the lower class.  I know that I shouldn't, but let me tell you, it was easier.  Insurance for our children was paid 100%.  I didn't have to worry about a prescription not being covered, or coming up with a copay for 4 sick children.  People who qualify for food stamps get way more money than I would ever know what to do with in a grocery budget......Oh how I dream of walking down a grocery aisle and just putting stuff in the cart. 

What happened to the American Dream?  When it was a good thing to be in the middle class? 

I'm trying to learn contentment.  It's hard.  I will admit that I am jealous of those whom seem to have it all together and I'm jealous of those that don't seem to have to worry all the time.  I know so many people in our shoes.  It is a fact of life now.  A very sad one. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy, happy New Year!!!!!!

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful night last night.  We stayed home.  We were invited to one party by a friend from church but it was "adults only".  Our options were to
 1) make our teenage sons stay with the babies while we went to the adult party
 2) hire a babysitter that Abby knows and that was available (yeah, right) OR
 3) stay home.
 We stayed home.  Norman had to work the next day anyway so it would have been an early night whether we went out or not.  We watched a Nicholas Cage movie we hadn't seen yet (Stolen) and had homemade lasagna with garlic bread for supper.  Lee went to Anna's.  Greg had Anna's brother Brock here.  It was a good night.  I'm thankful for another year and looking forward to another one.

So, it is that time of year when we get to make grand plans for the future.  In the past, I would make great goals and have lofty expectations of myself and those around me.  I'm not doing that this year.  Instead, I'm making a list of things that I hope I or our family can do this year and that will be what I use as my guide.  Kinda like a bucket list, but a little less morbid :)

**Read books ((I have to add that I read, a lot, to the kids.  But reading has kinda fallen by the wayside for me.  I am changing that this year.  I will try to keep my sidebar updated with the things I am reading and maybe will review a few also))
**Walk more ((As in exercise))
**Knit - specifically learn to read lace charts and do a fair isle type project
**Plan 2 day-cations with my dh ((1 for our anniversary and 1 just because))
**Plan some kind of trip or excursion with all the kids ((probably over summer break but even then will be very difficult))
**Make quilts for all the kids
**Plan my Christmas gift list by August ((It take a while to make stuff))
**Watch less TV (especially for the littles, which takes creative planning on my part))

I think that's it.  Abby will be 3 this spring and I realized over the last couple of months that I was more "free" to do things without her attached to me 24/7....although I still consider her a clingy 2 year old.  I'm sad that she doesn't "need" me all the time but also grateful that now I can mainly do my bible study without her crying or spend time knitting without interruption.  I don't mind the interruptions but it was almost impossible to do anything that required concentration because she was so clingy.  Its getting better.  I'm looking forward to the next stage.

I'm also hoping to do better at menu planning and careful grocery shopping.  This economy stinks and I've got to do all I can to help our family without being away from my family :)

I think that's all.  I look forward to blogging again this year and hope you look forward to this glimpse into our lives.  Have a great day!