Monday, February 28, 2011

Large Family Logistics

If you live locally you can call Laura's Home Goods and have her order this for you.  You don't even have to have 9 kids to read this-it would work even if you live in a college dorm room.  This is the most valuable resource for managing my home that has come across my path over the last eleven years.  If you have felt overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, training your children, doing laundry, basically overwhelmed with managing your home and not having enough hours in your day, then I strongly encourage you to invest the $21.00 in this book.

Homemaking is the new topic of discussion around these parts for the next, well, however long it takes to get it talked about.

I'm going to try not to dump my entire purse out onto the table today which would leave you overwhelmed.  When I get excited that is what I do and let me tell you I AM EXCITED.  I feel HOPE.  After one week I SEE CHANGE FOR THE BETTER.  I am ENCOURAGED right now.  Life has been PRODUCTIVE.  Our home has been  ORDERLY.  There has been TIME FOR THINGS THAT MATTER, like RELATIONSHIP.

Last Monday something changed around here.  Last Monday I decided it was time to try something new.  A new way of how I do things.  A new way that personally, is not my personality.  Change can be painful at first, and I can assure you it has been a struggle for me to think outside of the box.

Last Monday when I decided to take the plunge and try out a new system I felt drained and mentally exhausted by the end of the day.  By Tuesday night I fell into bed early from all the mental thinking that had taken place over the last 48 hours.  A looming question of,  "Is this worth it to feel so worn out?", would not leave my thoughts.  "This is not coming easy to me, it is requiring  hard work and planning and it is not fun."  As a person who loves to have fun you can see the dilemma my thoughts and I were having.

Last Thursday as I sat down before lunch to play a game of Uno with my boys a glimmer of hope and joy filled my heart.  It is Thursday, I thought, and the laundry is done, the pantry is filled with the last $43 I had in my budget for the month, dinner is planned for the rest of the week, everything is tidy, and my heart feels at peace.  I never, ever feel I can stop mid-morning to sit and play a game with my children.  My hard work of only 4 days is paying off and I am already enjoying the fruit of my labor.

Life was beginning to replace Tired & Overwhelmed.

Last week my husband came home to order.

He came home to peace.

If you have been living in survival mode then I am so happy you stopped by today.

As a woman your actions, heart and attitude set the pulse and atmosphere of your entire home. That is a huge responsibility and it is a huge opportunity to be a blessing.

I'm going to go ahead and share with you the basic changes I made last week.  If you are eager to change it up around your house you can jump right in today. If you want to hang around a little to check it out that is great too.

Today do your laundry.  4 loads (or more) by 4:00pm.  If you work full time maybe just go home and do 1 or 2 loads tonight.  But do as many  loads as you can today to try to get caught up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


What chores do you your children do and what are there ages?

I hope you will stop back by on Monday because there are some very exciting things about keeping house that we're going to be talking about.

In the meantime, I'm very curious to hear how you handle chores at your house.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pull Over

This weekend turned out a little different than I imagined.  During our down times we planned to do things that refresh us.  For me that was going to include decorating magazines and thinking about my home.  It turned into a weekend of unscheduled revival.  Shane and I get a kick out of the 'scheduled revival'.  We see it a lot on back road church billboards when we're traveling to see his folks.

So this weekend turned into a lot of Bible reading and talking to the Lord about things.  I did not plan on extended time in the Word and Prayer but am thankful and changed because of it.  In a nutshell, I feel like I was cruising along, getting by pretty good and this weekend we pulled the car over and stopped it.  Not only did we pull over and stop, but we turned the car around to head in an entirely different direction than we were going.

There was a lot of time spent talking to God about what kind of ship I am running around here in the day to day.  I found out something that was, um, humbling and disheartening.  This weekend God revealed to my heart that I've been reaching a very low bar in how I am managing my home life.  If you shoot for nothing you will hit it every time.  This weekend I got a real, vivid picture of how with a little discipline and direction from me, our days can become more intentional and purposeful.

I am on a new mission.  A mission to first and foremost make God and His Word the first and last thing on our hearts each day.  To have His Word hem us in behind and before.

For starters, this morning I read the Proverbs to the boys while they ate their cereal.  I simple task that took 3 minutes.  We had a short prayer of blessing for God to guide our time today and make it His.

Last night at Community Group we read the story about Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding.  He gave me an exciting picture that we can bring him our simple resources, something as simple and ordinary as water.  And we can bring it to him and he can transform it into something exquisite, valuable and very costly.

That is the plan.  Bring him our days.  One simple ordinary day at a time. Take 3-5 minutes as a family to very simply speak His Word out loud together and commit it in Prayer to him.

Tonight before bed, we will very simply have a time of prayer and Thanksgiving over the provision of the day.  If there are sins that need to be confessed we can do that.  We will praise God and ask Him to make us to make us more like Him.  To help us on our journey to more fully center our simple, daily lives around Him.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

King Never CanEver

This morning at Bible Study my boys learned about King Never CanEver.

He made a big gold statue and made them bow down to it.  King NeverCanEver threw the three men into the fire because they would not worship the false god.

If they worshiped the statue it would be nothing more than worshipping a lifeless chair. 

This morning I dropped the baby off and he walked right into his class without a tear.  This is the first time this has happened in over a year.  He usually has a major melt-down and I leave him kicking and screaming.  Thank you God for answering our prayers. 

My new hair cut has some surprisingly fun 1980ish features when I wake up.  It is big and fluffy and cool looking.  Not cool as in I'd walk out in public before making it sit down but cool as in I can sing some Debbie Gibson or New Kids and feel like I'm rocking out the right hair to sound great.

Last week I felt like God showed me I have been putting him in a small box.  I did not think I was the kind of person who would do such a thing and I'll be darned if I was wrong.  He is so big and have you ever just thought about what if you let him out of the manageable box you've put Him in what he might do?

There are Hershey Kiss with Almond wrappers on my nightstand right now.  Shane thought you'd like to see a picture of that.  What?  Last night I read a book before bed and got my final shot of protein in for the day.  I was thinking of my heart health.

When we got home from Bible Study this morning do not ask me why but, oh yeah I know why, I was looking for my waffle iron, but in my search I organized all my pots and pans and Tupperware cabinets.  I know, it felt random to me too.

I really like my Tupperware cabinet.  I put each lid on each bottom and stack them so I never have to go in search of the lid, it is all right there.  I pulled every piece out.  If it did not have a top and a bottom it went in the trash.    When I say Tupperware drawer the more appropriate term should be GladWare or ZiplockWare drawer.

How do you end a King Never CanEver post that talks about 1980 hair features and Tupperware that's not really Tupperware?  Oh, I know, has anyone seen my waffle iron?  We are getting tired of pancakes and wanting to shake it up a little around here.  Let me know if you've seen it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Sweet Gift

Did you know that I received a gift yesterday that was more valuable than any I've received in a long time.

Have you noticed that sometimes the days do not pan out like you imagined?

Someone says something cruel to you and it hurts.

Someone gets sick or something gets spilled and things get sticky.

You want to go do something but the money is not there.

Interruptions happen when you do not want to make the time for them. 

Yesterday Shane came home from work.  He was sick.  That never happens.  That also means I was all hands on deck yesterday so he could get the rest he needed.  Last night after I had cooked dinner, bathed the boys, washed the dishes and swept the floor there was a big smile on my face.  I was smiling because God had blessed me with the gift of contentment.  When you have a heart of contentment plans can change but they can't take away your joy.  When you live in a way that you roll with the punches trusting God all along the way there is a steady, unshakable peace you are blessed with.

When you have a heart of contentment you can find something good to focus on.  It is a choice you know.  The things you choose to focus on. 

A heart at peace gives life to the body.  That is what Proverbs says.  Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Last night after the boys were tucked in bed we made some good Dunkin' Donuts coffee.  We pulled out the Hershey Kisses with Almonds.  We watched a couple sweet movies. 

Let me tell you something else.  My boys are getting older.  We are walking into some new territories that I have felt unsure about.  I have had some fear and worry about if I am saying and doing the right things for them.  Before I went to bed last night, I knelt by the boys bed to pray for them.  As I prayed I was heavy hearted.  Wandering if I am doing OK.  Wandering if they are doing OK.  Am I teaching them the things they need to be taught right now.  Are we having fun and enjoying our days.  Are we using all the oppurtunities we've been given.

This morning as I was reading my Bible I want you to know that God spoke right to my circumstances and questions.  He does that.  He is Alive and He is the greatest resourse I know of to talk to about my fears and questions.  This is what I read, "He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before".  He told me through that verse that I can walk into new territory with confidence because I know who is right by my side.  I may be walking into a territory that is new to me but it is not new to Him. 

Being able to communicate with God is another sweet gift.  If there is something you've been heavy hearted about you know that you can talk to God about it.  He will listen.  You can open up that Bible of yours and let God talk to you through His Word.  How many times does pessimism and lack of faith keep us from doing that very thing?

You know what else he told me?

I have chosen you.

I have called you.

You are my servant.

I have chosen you and not rejected you.

I will strenghten you and help you.

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Is that not the greatest news you have heard all day?  You have a helper.  You have someone who has not rejected you and left you to chance.  Don't reject that help and leave it in an unused heap on the floor, tossed aside.  Pick it up, embrace it, use it, enjoy it.  Walk into your new territory with faith and confidence.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Candy For Breakfast

Thank you Papa & Nana for such fun Valentine's Day Bags!  Today it is candy and suckers for breakfast, can I get a whoot-whoot?

This is going to be the best day ever.  Every time we eat on our new plates we will know how much you love us!
This little guy grabbed a sucker out of his bag and that was all he wanted.  He came back to grab another sucker and some chocolates and has been in Willy Wonka Heaven ever since.

My Valentine gave me a Scentsy gift card which was such a fun surprise since we said we weren't giving gifts.  Tonight we'll have my 86 year old Mamaw over because we always pick her up for dinner on Valentine's Day Night (you like that, Valentine's Day Night?)  She's the one who got on to me for not bringing her to our Dinner & Dance fundraiser at church Friday night so she could cut a rug. 

Our big Valentine's Day gift is a gift to ourselves this weekend.  A weekend at home with a clear schedule to do anything our little heart's desire.  We'll put the kids to be early Thursday, Friday & Saturday night and watch movies and have fun appetizers.  We might play games or get some fun books to read, but it's our Bed & Breakfast getaway at home.  This week I'm kicking it into high gear to clean and get things where they belong so we can relax together and have some fun this weekend.

We put this on the calender because it is hard to carve out time for just us.  There is always an opportunity to go and do and if you are like us it is hard to say no.  The nature of Shane's job causes us to be on call 24/7.  Making time for each other is something we have to be intentional and proactive with. 

Listen to me when I say you do not have to spend money or go somewhere out of town to take a family vacation or create a memory that will last forever.  You can do it right at home.  When the babies are little you have to be creative.  If you don't, it will slip right by you.

This week as I work around the house I'm thinking about the fun things I want to do this weekend.  Xaxby's has some new White Cheddar Cheese Sticks.  Shut up doesn't that sound so good?  It does not take a lot to make me happy.  Throw some good food and decorating books and magazines my way and I'll be happier than any girl in the world.  We also have a new hamburger place in town.  They use 100% fresh products and they grind their meat fresh and in house.  The fries are cut from fresh potatoes in house.  The only thing they serve is burgers and fries.  Whatever! 

We'll I'm off to work on my Valentine's Day gift for Shane.

Big Hugs to you!

Eat something good today.

Get you a Happy Hour from Sonic.

Make it a Route 44 just because you can.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meteorology Heaven

This week I've been like a fat kid in a candy shop.  We've had weather drama and that is so dang exciting to me.  Tuesday afternoon I did something I never do.  Never ever.  I poured a bowl of BBQ chips (well, I do that part sometimes), opened a can of DP (OK, I do this part too somedays), but the next part is something that I ever do.  I sat down to watch TV.  In the middle of the afternoon.  We do not have cable.  We're in our 11th year of marriage and have never once had cable TV.  In our first year of marriage we did not even have a TV in the living room.  We wanted to spend our first year of marriage hanging out, playing games and having friends over.  That filtered into every year after.  Now we have that converter box and get about 5 channels including the important ones.  When I did have cable I was a Weather Channel freak.  I love the weather channel.  Anytime there is weather drama I could watch for hours and hours.  I even like the instrumental music when it tells your local weather.
I found a weathery channel on TV, ate my chips and drank my DP.  The weather was on it's way and words like Epic Snow were being thrown around.  Seriously, I was exploding with excitement.  It was 5 Live Dopplar Heaven I tell ya.
Sure enough, yesterday we woke up and the show had begun.  We decided to run to the church library and check out some movies, 11 to be exact.  We got the Love Come Softly series.  The only one we didn't have was number 5 in the series and apparantly in movie number 5 Willy died and Missie found her another man and adopted a couple cute kids.  Seriously, is there anything better on a snow day than holing up, eating good food and watching movies?
Did I tell you I put the hack on my hair?  It feels so good.  The older I get the more I am convinced about following your instincts when they are telling you to try another make-up color, hair style, or to buy a certain shirt or outfit...even in decorating choices.  The very first thing your eye is drawn to is what you need to go with.  I've been wanting to go this short for a long time.  Tuesday I did it and it feels so good.
OK so there is one piece out of place in the picture the wind was blowing and please pardon the sunglasses.  I didn't put on make-up yesterday so I couldn't blow my cover.  You'd have been saying, "Girl, are you sick?" No, I just left my mascara in the tube today.
We came in from playing in the snow and me and the baby crawled up on the couch and napped together by the fireplace.  We watched sappy romances all day.  Had a yummy dinner together.  Put the kids to bed and made a pot of Dunkin Donuts Coffee (thanks Mom & Dad!) and watched more movies last night.

Hip Hip Hooray for Snow Days!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu for the week

This week we are having Rachel Rays Steakhouse Shepherd's Pie. It is such a great dish.  We make it in a 9x13 pan and serve it with green beans and dinner rolls.

We are having beef stew on the snow day (Wednesday we are supposed to get lots and lots of snow).  It is super easy.  Buy a big package of stew meat (cubed up roast).  Dip each piece in flour, brown in oil and put in the crock pot with carrots, potatoes and 2 packages of Beef Stew seasoning (looks like the chili or taco seasoning packet).  Add water and let it simmer all day.  It makes a warm, hearty dinner.

Grilled cheese, potato chips, and pickles.  The good kind of pickles you find in the refrigerator section by the lunch meats.  When we were little and went on vacation and ordered grilled cheese it always came with potato chips and a good pickle.  Yum.

Pancakes, Sausage & Orange Juice.  We found some sausage at the store that looks like the kind McDonald's serves at breakfast.  I can't wait to try it out.

Nacho Night.  This consists of taco meat, tortilla chips, homemade salsa, lettuce shreds, cheddar and sour cream.  I'll pay $2.49 for a bag of Shreds because they make it taste like you are at a restaurant.  We'll drink Dr. Pepper with this dinner.

On Community Group night we're serving up Chili, Frito's, Cheddar Cheese and Rotel Cheese-dip.  You should come.

I don't have anything house wise to talk about today.  Shane and I went to a Leadership Retreat last weekend and I have been whipped ever since we got home.  We're unpacked, the house is tidy and the pantry is full now.  What a good feeling.

So, what are you cooking this week?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spruced Up

Last week as I was browsing decorating pictures I came across one and they had put a small table in front of a window.  I immediately loved the look.  It was cozy and warm.  Anytime you can put a lamp against a wall so that the lamplight reflects up and down on the wall do it.  The light floods the wall and adds instant warmth to your room.
Do you see my fifty cent column peeking out from behind the lamp?  I painted it black and green and distressed it with paint.  I also spruced up the lamp shade with ribbon and fringe.  The custom look cost mere dollars to create.
The lamp below used to be a gold buffet lamp.  I spray painted it white and added a scalloped edge shade that I got from my Mamaw at our yard sale last year.  Also notice what the lamp is sitting on.  A nightstand from our bedroom suite.  Breaking up our bedroom furniture by moving it around in other rooms has really added to the look of our home.  It makes your home look layered instead of like you walked into the furniture showroom and said I'll take that set and that one.  The small table in front of the window is a small dining room table covered with a Waverly table cloth.  One chair of the set is at the table, two of the set are on either side of the table you see below and the fourth chair is in my bathroom at my vanity.
The best way you can spruce up your house is by shopping your house first.  Look around and see if you love how you've laid out your space.  See if you have a piece of furniture that may be fun somewhere else.