Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Nerd List is Ready or Things To Do At Home This Summer

I love lists. I am a nerd. I love planning things. My children are 4 and 8 years old. They are also girls, so I know this list won't be the best for everyone. If you have all boys, some things may not work for you. If you have toddlers or teens, it may not be helpful either. Hopefully some of you can find some things on here to do. You could post the list inside a kitchen cabinet to look at when the kids say they can't find anything to do (or they start getting on each other's nerves). You could write them on little strips of paper and put them in a basket for the kids to choose when they need an activity. Whatever works for you. Hope this is helpful!

I tried to make a good mixture of things children can do on their own and things mom can get involved with them in doing. I am going to make a real effort to be involved in fun activities with the girls this summer instead of always being busy with "my" stuff. Later, I may have a list of places to go in the summer, but with gas prices being what they are--I was more concerned with what we could do at HOME. You know?

At home children can...

1. Play with Play-doh (homemade is best!)

2. Read a book.

3. Play computer games.

4. Watch a video/DVD.

5. Bake a cake/pie/cookies.

6. Clean something.

7. Hula hoop.

8. Blow bubbles.

9. Put on music and dance.

10. Color in a coloring book.

11. Paint a picture.

12. Do a paint-with-water page.

13. Paint with water on the fence or sidewalk outside.

14. Look at a catalog and circle things they like.

15. Cut things out of newspaper/magazines and glue to make a collage.

16. Water the plants.

17. Make a card and mail it to someone.

18. Write a letter.

19. Set up a zoo for their stuffed animals/beanie babies.

20. Have a tea party.

21. Fix each other's hair/makeup.

22. Give themselves a pedicure/manicure.

23. Play dress up.

24. Play school.

25. Sew small pillows or clothes for their dolls.

26. Bag up cereal, snack mix, nuts, raisins, etc. into snack size baggies and put in pantry so they won't have to bug your mom when you want a snack.

27. Play in the sprinkler.

28. Dress up and put on a fashion show. (my sisters and I used to make great creations out of sheets and clothespins!)

29. Make a craft for an upcoming holiday to decorate the house.

30. Start making Christmas presents.

31. Collect items from outside and make a nature collage on a paper plate.

32. Put on a play.

33. Color with sidewalk chalk.

34. Tape together a lot of sheets of paper and spread out in floor. Color to make a long mural.

35. String beads to make necklaces and bracelets.

36. Have an indoor picnic on a rainy (or too hot) day.

37. Put a sheet over the kitchen table and make a club house.

38. Make special place mats out of paper, cover with clear contact paper.

39. Set up an animal hospital for their stuffed animals/beanie babies.

40. Pretend the kitchen is a restaurant. Make menus. Serve lunch.

41. Rearrange the furniture in one room.

42. Make popsicles with juice in an ice tray with toothpicks for handles.

43. Make a paper chain.

44. Paint/decorate a t-shirt.

45. Play hopscotch.

46. Play a board game.

47. Play marbles or jacks. Someone may have to teach them how!

48. Melt crayon pieces in muffin papers for a little one to use.

49. Jump rope.

50. Go on a scavenger hunt around the house. Take a clipboard and count all the windows, doors, mirrors, light switches, doorknobs, etc. in the house.

51. Make a map of their room.

52. Decorate the door of their bedroom. We like to cover it in solid wrapping paper as a base and then add art work/flowers/decoration, etc.

53. Make a fruit salad. (or an ice cream sundae!)

54. Take pictures with a digital or disposable camera.

55. Paint/decorate plain picture frames to give as gifts.

56. Count all the loose change in the house.

57. Break out the face paint!

58. Do a scrapbook page.

59. Wash clothes (or doll clothes) in a washtub outside. Hang to dry.

60. Wash baby dolls outside in a tub.

61. Plan a movie night for their family. Choose the movie, make posters and tickets, serve popcorn, snacks, and drink.s

62. Cut a hole in a large cardboard box and put on a TV show or make up commercials.

63. Play in bubbles in the kitchen sink.

64. Play with shaving cream on the table or outside. If you have a wooden table, I wouldn't suggest it without a vinyl tablecloth. If you have another surface inside, it makes a wonderful clean smell in the house!

65. Play with an aluminum pie plate full of flour. My kids love this.

66. Clean up their shoes with baby wipes. Older kids could actually learn to shine shoes with polish.

67. Hammer nails into a board. My husband gets them started for them.

68. Make a bird house.

69. Write and illustrate a book. Use stickers if they don't like to draw.

70. Make a telephone directory of family and friends.

71. Ride bikes.

72. Ride scooters.

73. Roller skate.

74. Help with deep cleaning (one room a week?). Clean fans, wash baseboards, move furniture and clean behind things, dust knick knacks, help declutter, etc.

75. Help clean out refrigerator. Wash shelves, take out bins, etc. My girls think this is very exciting.

76. Make sachets for dresser drawers. Give some away as gifts.

77. Decorate a plain canvas bag to use at church, the library, on trips, etc.

78. Wash the cars.

79. Set up an obstacle course for matchbox cars. Use books, cardboard tubes, blocks etc. to make a cool one.

80. Set up a tent inside or out and pretend to go camping.

81. Help spruce up the outside of your house: make a wreath to hang on the front door, paint the mailbox, clean up or get a new welcome mat, sweep the front walk, clean up the flower beds, polish or paint the front door, etc. Even very little ones can help in a family project like this.

82. Work puzzles.

83. Do some handiwork (cross stitching, etc.).

84. Set up an "office area" complete with play phone (or real one not plugged in), paper, pencils, stamps, paper clips, etc. One day it can be a bank, the next a receptionist desk. Good way to work on phone manners when mom pretends to call for an appointment!

85. Practice handwriting, math facts, or any "school" thing they need more practice on.

86. Play hide-n-seek.

87. Make a village or town out of play pieces or blocks. We set up all the Little People stuff we have sometimes in one big circle in the floor. They will play a long time that way. My sisters and I always build a VBS out of blocks after we had been each summer. The wooden Little People we had were the VBS children and teachers. Big fun.

88. Make a house out of a shoebox. Or a diorama.

89. Catch bugs and keep them a few hours in a baby food jar with holes punched in the lid.

90. Pick flowers. Make a bouquet for the table.

91. Pick one thing they love. Give them a poster board so they can find, color, make pictures to glue on the poster board about whatever interests them.

92. Play Follow the Leader, Simon Says, Musical Chairs, Duck, Duck Goose, Hot Potato, etc.

93. Put on a parade. Make musical instruments, costumes, flags, etc. March around the house or street.

94. Go bowling with a ball and empty 2 liter bottles in the hallway.

95. Play Frisbee.

96. Play catch.

97. Have a read-in. Throw down sleeping bags, pillows, etc. and read for an hour or so.

98. Have a theme day. Sports day? Play a sport, watch an Air Bud movie, read sports books, have a competition etc. Pick whatever theme interests your kids.

99. Take a nap!

100. Do absolutely nothing for a while. It's good for them.

OK. That's my list. Now, if you have some more to add, please do so in the comments. The more ideas, the better!

Bear With Me

It all started so innocently. Our babysitter wanted to take her daughter and my Sweetheart, age 3, to Build-A-Bear Workshop one day while I was at work. She wouldn't let me help pay for it--wanted to do this for the girls for fun. Sweetheart came home with Duckie, a black bear.

How fun! I hoped you liked that, Sweetheart!

We didn't darken the door of Build-A-Bear again except to wave at the moving bear in the window, until Sweetheart was turning 5. That's what she wanted to do for her birthday and we arranged for her cousin to meet her at the mall and they would make Build-A-Bears together. Then, her cousin got sick. But you know we took her anyway because that would have been heartbreaking. Trixie, the brown rabbit came to live at our house.

Then Sweetheart got invited to a Build-A-Bear birthday party where the host parents buy all the girls a bear and accessory. Great, it's free? Yes, you can go. Vanilla, a small white bear came to live at our house.

Sweetheart and her best friend (the old babysitter's daughter) wanted to go to Build-A-Bear for their 6th birthdays (they are 9 days apart). We talked them into taking Duckie and Firetruck (her friend's bear--they were identical) back to Build-A-Bear and just fluffing them in the bathtub and getting them new accessories. MUCH cheaper! So it was on that day that Duckie and Firetruck underwent a sex-change operation and came home named "Princess" and "Princess" and wearing a wig and Hello Kitty panties. Oh yeah, and some clothes on top of those panties.

ENOUGH BUILD-A-BEAR!!!! I screamed. And I meant it too.

Then an unfortunate occurrence, um, occurred. Little Bit broke her arm in the Toys R Us play place the night before her cousin's birthday party last summer. The birthday party was out at my sister's house and they were supposed to go to Teddy Bear Adoption Center (a Build-A-Bear knock-off, very cute animals there). They were so excited and then the broken arm kind of messed that plan up. My sister, ironically, took her daughter anyway because that would have, of course, been heartbreaking. And I said, "See? That's how we felt when you got sick before Sweetheart's 5th birthday!" No. I didn't. I said, "Take her. We'll worry about our girls' trauma of not getting to go."

I held off on the going to Build-a-Bear thing for a few weeks. Then, mid-summer with nothing to do (no swimming, no parks, no swings, no jumpy places, no nothing because of the broken arm!) my husband said, "Take them." Spotted, the asthma friendly dog and Orange Juice the cat came to live at our house. This was Little Bit's first Build-a-Bear experience and she was thrilled!

Now we are really done! I said.

Then Little Bit kind of developed an obsession with her sister's dog, Spotted. She loved him. She wanted him. She carried him everywhere. She asked for one. She talked about him. She drove us slowly insane. It was during this time that we really, really caved. Little Bit was having all sorts of problems from what we would later find out was Tourette's Syndrome. We were very worried about her. The tics were really bad. The leaning toward OCD was really looking permanent. She would not stop worrying about that dog. Husband finally said, "Go get her one today!" So, I rationalized, she's only been there once. It's OK for her to go again! C.C., the identical twin of Spotted, came to live at our house.

OK! I announced. ENOUGH Build-a-Bear!!!!!
Then Sweetheart's Girl Scout troop went camping. I went with her. Little Bit was not too happy. I promised her that she and Daddy would do something fun while we were gone.

Bet you can't guess where they went?

Brownie, the little brown bear with more accessories than you can shake a stick at, came to live at our house.

Oh, but I'm not through!

I then found out that Sweetheart's troop sold enough cookies that they all get to go to Build-a-Bear and get a $10 bear and $10 worth of accessories! OH BOY! CAN SOMEONE PLEASE PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY? We are going today.

And of course Little Bit is coming too. But she is NOT, I repeat, NOT getting a new bear. We are loading up Orange Juice, C.C, and Brownie into her stroller and taking them for a fluff in the bathtub and a new accessory--ten dollar maximum.
I really mean it. And then we are through, OK?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Keepin' It Real: The Bottom Line

When I got married I weighed 128 pounds. The week after my wedding, I went back to my normal weight of 132. Either was a splendid weight. I was 22 years old. I was 5 foot 7 inches and I wore a size 8 or 10. I really can't remember. All I know is, I was skinny.

Six years later I was no longer 132 pounds, but I bet I wasn't much over 145 when I got pregnant with Sweetheart. While pregnant, I ate like there was no tomorrow. I was ravenously hungry and I listened to my body. I topped out somewhere in the 190's. Sadly, as Barbara Bush once said, the baby did not weigh 50 or 60 pounds. I seem to remember I lost some of it. Some being the operative word.

Three and half years later I got pregnant with Little Bit. I didn't have as much time to eat and Sweetheart kept asking for bologna to eat which kept me in a constant state of nauseousness. However, I still managed to gain quite a bit of weight. Just as with my other pregnancy, I got asked several times if I was having twins. It would have been a great excuse, I'll give you that. When Little Bit was born, she was so fat and I said out loud to no one in particular, "HOW can you just be born and already have that many rolls?" My dad answered, "I believe it was all the Casa Ole' someone ate before she was born."

It was supposed to be a rhetorical question, Dad.

But I really lost weight after Little Bit was born. I was back in a size 12. It was awesome. I don't remember feeling very skinny because even though I was back in a number that I liked....things had, um, shifted a bit. No one really warned me about that.

When I quit work 6 months later I lived in blue jean shorts or blue jeans or wind pants for the next year of my life. The next time I picked up a pair of work pants I was surprised to find that they didn't zip. It seems that wind pants and jeans don't give you a very fair estimate of your weight gain. What a shock.

My bottom had decided to expand. The hips, stomach, and thighs must have thought that looked like fun and they decided to join in. I was unaware of this meeting.

My next job landed my bottom in a big cushy office chair just steps away from a snack machine. This arrangement was working really well for my newly expanded body parts. I slowly realized that I was skinnier after I had my second daughter than I was now. Very disturbing.

And that brings us to my current number of 16. It's not a number I like very much. And that brings us to our current new purchase.

This was my husband's idea, by the way. Now we all have bikes and can ride together as a family. And towing a 34 pound preschooler around on a bike when you haven't ridden a bike in upwards of 10 years has GOT to have an effect on all those body parts I was talking about, right?

I guess I'm joining you, GB...even if the numbers I'm after are not so scientific (OK, they're located on the tag of my clothes.) It's going to be a summer of fun, isn't it?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Camping We Will Go

Our living room is full of plastic tubs waiting to be loaded up this weekend. It's time for our big vacation of the summer and we are so excited! At least the girls and I are--S has hardly had time to think about camping he's been so busy at work. That means that I have packed us for our excursion. Should be interesting!

We are going with another family, the same family we are beginning the church with. Come to think of it, our entire church will be camping together this weekend. How many people can say that?

S especially deserves this break. He's been working 12-14 hour days for what seems like forever. It will be nice to get to know him again! We are both taking along some books to read. He'll be reading this and I'll be attempting to read this. We have to do something to help control the twitching from having no laptop for 3 days!

Speaking of twitching, Little Bit is pretty excited and her tics have escalated some, but they aren't too bad. With Tourette's, anything stressful, scary, exciting, etc can cause an increase in tics. This week she's been tucking her chin to her chest, spreading her fingers out and holding her hands in front of her with the thumbs touching and looking at her hands (kind of hard to explain that one--it's actually a quick movement) and huffing. It sounds like she's just exhaling hard in bursts of 4 or 5 breaths. We are so used to her tics they usually don't bother us. I do wonder sometimes if they are noticeable to others. It's just her.

Have I told you how much I'm loving There is one show that I watch and love. However, it's not entirely child-friendly and comes on while the girls are still awake. No problem. I just watch the show a week behind on Hulu every week---without all the long commercial breaks! What did I ever do without it? Can you tell we don't have TIVO?

And I just want to say, for no reason other than it is interesting to me, that I have 2 posts which receive hit after hit on search engines on this blog. They are this one and this one. Every single week someone googles something along the lines of "who comes first mother or wife?" or "mother comes before husband" or something like that. Obviously the order of the family is confused in our society--no shock. The other thing that gets searched all the time is "how to be a homemaker" or "homemaking skills" or "professional homemaker". you suppose a lot of women are as lost as I am on this whole "be groomed your whole life for career and then find yourself at home" thing?

Last of all, as my FIRL Katherine alluded to in the comments of the last post....I perhaps have not been entirely open about my nerdiness. There are certain things I am very particular about and making lists/plans is one of them. Not lesson plans, mind you....that's too mundane. But when I get excited about a project, I really get into it. Most of the time, my plans go way beyond my actual achievement level, but no matter. Lately I've been thinking of things we can do at home this summer and I intend to provide you with that completely anal/OCD-like list next week. For your viewing pleasure.

You're welcome.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm Tired of Waiting....Let's Talk Summer!

I just read this inspiring post at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home. It really got me to thinking about how we can spend our days this summer at home. We will be home quite a bit with gas prices like they are, and a need to be frugal we might as well make the most of it.

I feel so blessed to be home with the girls this summer. I remember all too well the alternative from summers past (school-age daycare is scary to me!). Let me share some of my summer plans with you and I hope some of you will do the same, because I am nosy that way. Well, actually, you give me good ideas and I'm always looking for good ideas!

My sister is one of these nerd-types that makes out summer calendars and writes in all the activities before summer even gets here. Oh wait. I do that too. Well, she's still a nerd because she used to read encyclopedias for fun.
Actually my sister has a great deal to do with our summer plans because she and her kids drive an hour to come to our house each week. I live by the grandparents so she has to drive this way instead of the other way around, which I think worked out quite nicely. Tuesdays will be taken up with cousins and visiting and playing and a whole lot of screaming. Four girls ages 4-8=a lot of noise! Plus, on Tuesdays we all trek to my old city for story time at the library with our wonderful librarians. All four girls will be old enough to participate in the summer reading program so I believe reading will take up a huge chunk of time this summer. (By the way, working off of those reading lists has made ALL the difference in our book selection. They have LOVED the books I've been picking--ones that they would have never picked on their own either!)

So what about the rest of the week? Well I really need to find a balance between housework, home projects, and spending time with the girls. I know, I know, they can help with the housework. We can do it together. And we will most of the time. But I really need to be purposeful in choosing activities for them to be involved in every day that we can all do together. It's really easy to get out the water paints and leave them to paint at the table while I go do something else, but I also need to choose activities that we can all three do with each other. It all goes back to keeping their hearts and tying strings of fellowship and all that.

We are also going to have to figure out some inexpensive places to go. I am not capable of staying in this house 6 days a week. This is Texas, so soon it will be too hot to visit any parks for more than 10 minutes at a time. It's a challenge. I believe I need to do some brainstorming.

And I'm not sure you understand the level of mine and my sister's nerdiness. We are picking themes for each week and skills for each girl to work on. More on that later.

OK, what are your ideas? How do you fill the days up? And please don't write and tell me all about your vacation plans because that will not add to my contentment. :) But how do you fill up the regular ol' summer days at home? Can't wait for your ideas--you can leave them in the comments or post it on your blog if you like. Just make sure and tell me so I can go read it! I really do need ideas!

I'll leave you with some shots of last summer! Of course, I didn't take many pictures of the everyday things.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Keepin' It Real: My Stupid New Mom Moments

Welcome to the 2nd Keepin' It Real Extravaganza here at The Family Revised! Hopefully a lot of us have stupid new mom moments to share with each other. Remember, the point of these extravaganzas is to dispel the myth that we are all perfect, no matter what image we may accidentally project on our blogs. Usually only the best stuff makes it on the other stuff will rear it's ugly head!


We started off in the hospital with our first stupid new parents move--just after Sweetheart was born. I'm giving S credit along with me for this one. Two heads are not always better than one--especially when the 2 heads are new parents who have lost sleep. So Sweetheart needed her diaper changed. S rose to the occasion and decided to take care of everything for me. The hospital did not provide baby wipes, but only small squares of gauze that you were supposed to get wet. So horrible! She was dressed in a white, long-sleeved shirt from the hospital and a pair of hospital white pants as well. During the changing of the terrible newborn dirty diaper, he accidentally got poop on the pants. There were extra shirts under her bassinet, but no pants. So, I called the nurses' station.

Nurse: May I help you?

Me: Yes, we got our baby's pants dirty and we don't have another pair.

Nurse: (pause) Pants?

Me: Yes. My husband accidentally got the pair of pants she was wearing dirty. May we have another pair?

Nurse: Um, we don't dress the babies in pants.

Me: Well, she was wearing pants when ya'll brought her to us!

Nurse: Oh. Um. Ma'am? That was just a shirt turned upside down.

Me: ohthankyouverymuch

After I relayed that information to S, he said, "Oh, so that's why there's this big hole in the crotch!"

Yes. We were some smooth operating parents. Totally ready to take a baby home and be solely responsible for her. (And on a side note, the nurse had to teach me to read a thermometer before we could be released. Yes, I was really prepared, wasn't I?)

My next stupid new mom moment happened a few weeks later. I was determined not to be one of these moms that hauls around a diaper bag the size of a Metro Geo. I decided before she was even born that people just carried far too much stuff around for their children. Give me a break! I got two diaper bags at the baby shower. One was a Metro Geo bag that I decided was SURELY for when you were taking a month long vacation with baby, and the other was cute and denim and no larger than a pretty good sized purse. The first Sunday we made our big debut at church as a family of three, I naturally opted for the cute denim one. I mean, church is only an hour and a half, right? I threw in 2 or 3 diapers, some wipes, a pacifier, a burp rag, and at the last minute it seemed prudent to add an extra outfit. Not thinking I would need it, I selected a plain, white onesie.

Well, you can see where this is going, right? We set Sweetheart down in her carrier car seat and stood for singing time. She looked SO adorable in a ruffly green dotted swiss dress, matching bloomers, ruffly socks, and a pair of soft satin shoes. We were late so no one had seen her yet. On the second song she turned into the exorcist of sorts and threw up what looked like a gallon of liquid onto her dress. NEVER in the history of all time have 2 parents have been so unprepared. S and I spent the next 30 minutes in the church nursery stripping and bathing our daughter with wipes (whoops! those are all gone) and then scratchy water-resistant paper towels. We air dried her and dressed her carefully in the white onesie. So that was her lovely introduction to our friends and family at church: barefoot and wearing a white onesie with not one whit of decoration on it.

I believe it was at that point I began packing up the entire nursery in the "Geo" bag for every single outing away from our home. Live and learn!

OK--your turn! Post your stupid new mom moment on your blog and then come back here and sign up on the Mr. Linky. Remember to link to your KIR post--not just your blog in general--so people won't have to search your archives to find the right post. If you aren't sure how to do that, just e-mail me! Also, if you don't have a blog, feel free to leave your moment in the comments section!

I can't wait to read everyone else's stupidity! :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Keepin' It Real Extravaganza--This Monday!

Are you ready? Our second Keepin' It Real Extravaganza is this Monday, May 19. The theme is Stupid New Mom Moments, but you can post whatever you like as long as it sheds some light on the fact that we are not all super women who have everything together all the time. You know how intimidating it can be to read some blogs? Well, we are going to smash that myth on Monday.

I'll have a Mr. Linky up on Sunday night. Just write your post, come back here and sign up on the Mr. Linky!

If you are not familiar with Keepin' It Real, just click the button in my sidebar to see previous posts.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Red Pen Strikes Again!

I've said it before, I don't think we are quite through with revisions around here. Next up on the revision list: church.

S has been kicking around the idea of alternative church for a while now. He's talked about having church at a local park, having church in a home....just somehow to reach those who do not and are not going to set foot inside a church building at 9:00 on Sunday mornings. I've listened to his ideas, we've prayed...but we were really uncertain about how it could all work.

Then S got to talking with another man at our church. Turns out he has also been thinking of some of the same things. Together, we are going to begin a home church in June. This is such a blessing beginning something like this with friends (who have missions experience!) and their children (4 of them!). We have instant fellowship before we even grow. They have already had several "chance encounters" with folks they know who are not attending church anywhere and were excited to hear about the house church starting.

There is still so much to talk about, decide, and pray about. This is not easy. It is not comfortable. I told them my body will probably go into auto-pilot when it's "church time" and begin bathing and dressing children without even thinking! (Our church will start much later in the day) Thirty-seven years of habits die hard.

So we explained to the girls what was going on so they would have some time to adjust to the idea before we begin this journey. (Programs and classes are all going to be completely different beginning in June so it's good timing.) Sweetheart was very excited that we were going to be missionaries in our hometown! Little Bit doesn't really understand but when she realizes we are going to our friend's house for church--she will be very happy.

I have a feeling this is going to really change us. Except for a period of time back in late 2001 to mid 2004, we have both attended the same church our whole life. Moving outside of that is really causing us to look at scripture carefully. Looking at our whole community instead of just the folks we know is changing our view. It's a pretty big revision and I'm thankful that the Lord sees fit to work through us for His Kingdom.

Now--two other things. CONGRATULATIONS to Terry and her whole family on the birth of their 6th daughter!!! I told her that God had made her calling very clear: to raise godly women! :)

Also, Jamala over at Single Moms for God is having a contest. The whole time she has been blogging she has been doing so as a single mom for God--thus the name! Well, she is getting married soon so that will necessitate the blog name changing a bit. Go over to her contest (there is a prize) and help choose the new name. Thanks!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Keepin' It Real Extravaganza Part 2----Coming Soon!

OK, we took a poll in my sidebar to determine what our theme should be for our next Keepin' It Real Extravaganza. The topic that won was:


This is a great theme. Everyone would like to know that they weren't the only one doing idiotic things during those first few, months....ok, years of motherhood. I would think it would be especially refreshing for those who are expecting their first child or have recently become parents.

(But I'd like to hear your dirt, too!)

If you don't want to do that theme, no biggie. Feel free to do whatever you like for this next KIR. The main thing is that we continue to show the bloggy world that we are not all perfect homemakers, wives, mothers, women, etc. The important thing is that people don't feel intimidated because they think they don't "measure up" to all the other bloggers out there.

I know you have some great things to tell about yourself, so please consider participating on that day. Even if you are not able to participate, but like the idea...feel free to grab the KIR button and display it on your blog. It's going to be a whole lot of fun!

Remember: the date is MONDAY, MAY 19. That's next Monday, so get ready!

For other KIR posts, or to view our first extravaganza, or to get the button code, just click the button in my sidebar! It's all there!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My New Homemaking Project....Or Idea

I'll get to my post in a minute, but my heart is so heavy with all the events going on around the world. First Myanmar's cyclone, now China's earthquake. S and I were discussing a few weeks ago how to instill a biblical world view in our children and these events have served towards that purpose. Firstly, because we know someone in Myanmar. I keep reminding them that there are brothers and sisters around the world and many of them have been affected by these events as well as the lost. Doesn't it make a "sense of urgency" in your heart? Ours too. I'll be posting more on that later this week.

On a lighter note, I have a new project. Well, let me re-phrase that...I have an IDEA for a new project. Husband ever-so-unkindly pointed out that I have many projects hanging around the house begging to be finished. What a time to take notice of details! So, I've painted the other sconce in the girls' bathroom (we've had one gold and one silver for about a year), cleared the gifted curriculum from the hallway (finally thought of a place to put it), and felt I was fast approaching my project when Sweetheart ever-so-unkindly pointed out that she only has half a valance on her window. AND YOUR POINT? Sigh.

So here's my IDEA. No plan on when I'll actually start on this. At this house (we've lived in for about a year and a half) there is no office space. I've paid bills at the kitchen table and we stack mail on the kitchen cabinet. I've carved out a shelf in a closet to keep office-y stuff but it's frustrating. There isn't one place where everything lives.

So I was looking at our laundry/sewing room. It's a weird little room of added-on closets and cut out nooks created by the add-ons. In one of the cut outs I have stacked bins of clothes waiting for Little Bit to grow into them, among other things. I sewed a curtain and hung it over the ugly area with a spring tension rod. Here's a picture of last year when everything was clean and sparkly. It um, looks a little that now. But I got to thinking....could I make an office nook there? (See the blue curtain on the right? That's the nook. I'll post better pics later.)

To accomplish this I have a few things to do: clear out the room and paint it, move the tubs to Little Bit's closet, find a desk or table that will fit in the nook, find a stool, hang a bulletin board over the part of the wall where they did a horrible job on the sheet rock, put trim around the add-on closet door, etc.

Just a little project.

And I've decided to do the entire thing used. I'm going to try really hard to not buy anything new for this office nook. We'll see how it goes. I like a decorating challenge. I have a hard time going out and spending money on decor when others in the world don't have the basic things they need, you know? So, I'm hitting the thrift stores soon.

Right after I sew that valance.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Socialization: Our Ever-Widening Circle

The meme today at Heart of the Matter is socialization. Before I tell you how we did it this year, let me tell you how we USED to do it. And, for the purpose of this post, socialization is defined as interacting with people other than the people who live in our house.

My children, one year ago, got up and went to school or daycare. There they interacted with their teachers and other staff members, lots of other children their same age, and also grandparents, aunts, cousins, and friends at church.

Does going to Wal-Mart count?

This year they interacted with the kids at the homeschool Brownie troop, troop leaders and other parents, all the parents and children in our homeschool play group, friends at church, the adults who come to our house for Bible study, the librarians and other children at story time, children they meet at parks, friends we meet for play dates, their grandparents, aunts, cousins, etc.

I did think of one close relationship we have lost this year: they have not seen the nurses and doctor at the pediatrician's office nearly as much as they did last year. Hmmm. We used to see them once a month at least.

Even more important to me: they have learned to interact with each other. That is priceless. And we have learned how to just be at home and not interact with anyone some days. And that's good too.

I don't know many homeschoolers who are concerned over socialization, but if you need some information for friends or family, or you are just curious how others handle it, head on over and see what others had to say!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thoughts on Frozen Waffles

I saw them tonight. They are way back in the freezer. Probably need to be thrown out by now.
You just never know what is going to kick off a train of thought, do you?

See, in our old life last year, my girls ate frozen waffles all the time. Not just any frozen waffles, but the kind that are 99 cents a box. I was so good--I had them liking the cheapest waffles in the frozen foods section. Good thing, too because we went through at least a box a week. Little Bit LOVED waffles. She ate them nearly every morning before day care.

I don't think I could pay them to eat a frozen waffle now. I tried once and they refused. Walked away from the table! Why? Because ever since I came home last June I've been making homemade waffles. (Bisquick counts, right?) And they don't want to go back. The old ones just don't taste as good now that they've had homemade ones.

Ah, and that got me thinking about how much has changed around here in the last year. And how much I don't want to go back to the old way. How can you when you've tasted the Lord's goodness in your life? Don't think you can change your circumstances? Think you are stuck eating frozen waffles forever?

Pray. Change your heart. Submit to your husband. Turn your heart toward your family.

God's way is infinitely better than ANY plan we are able to think up.

And you won't want to go back. I promise.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Myanmar Update

We heard from people who know things and our friend is said to be "fine." That's all we know right now, but it is enough.

We are just continuing to pray for the whole situation.

Just a Little Update

I wish I had something profound to share this morning---but I don't. It's Spring. It's May. I'm ready for school to be over.

That's about that.

So here's what else is going on. Are you sitting down? It's going to be REALLY really exciting. (End of sarcasm.)

  • I HAVE to find a way to be a better housekeeper. I WANT my house to look nicer. I plan to do some serious decluttering this summer. I wake up with the best of intentions and at the end of the day, it doesn't look too good. I was just sure (like Karly) that when I got home...things would be in order all the time. That hasn't panned out for me.
  • We are ready for Brownies to be over. If we stayed in, Little Bit could be a Daisy next year. It's tempting, I'll tell you. But then I tell Sweetheart it's time for Brownies and she moans. Guess she's over it now that the big camping trip is over. The girls in the troop are really nice. I like a lot of things about the troop. But, you know all the issues I've had. So, I'm thinking of piano lessons for Sweetheart next year. Now, what can Little Bit do? I want her to have an activity. Sweetheart went to gymnastics when she was 5. I made the mistake of asking around at our homeschool play group what all activities their kids are in and I could not believe how much running around some parents do! Still thinking...
  • I have a quilt to sew for Little Bit. Well, I have stacks of squares that will be a quilt one day. How can you sit down to work on something like that when there is ALWAYS something else that needs to be done first?
  • Did I mention that I'm really ready for school to be over? I think it's my house that's freaking me out. I want to just wake up and spend the day working on the house and school is interfering with that. If my house were in order...I rather enjoy working on things with the girls around the table. And reading to them. But I am very distracted by my environment right now.

OK, to sum things up. 1. School needs to be over. 2. My house needs to be in order.

How are things going at your house?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Prayers for Myanmar

We have a dear friend who lives and works in Myanmar. Several years ago I had never heard of this country (also known as Burma). Here is a map. But through our friend we have learned much about this little country in the last few years. When we got home from church Sunday I saw on the computer that Cyclone Nargis had hit their country and over 300 people were believed dead.

Today that number is more than 10,000.

From people we have been able to contact, we believe our friend to be alive, but we are not certain. Obviously, communication is down. The area where she lives was almost completely destroyed. If she is alive, is she homeless? Does she have basic necessities? Is she OK and able to help others? We don't know. So we pray.

It is very frustrating to be so far away. If I could, I would be there helping those people right this very minute. They need help and they need to know the Lord.

Please pray for our friend and the people of Myanmar. It's all I know to do right now.

News story here.

My Money Saving Monday Lessons

Boy, I just opened a stack of bills from the weekend so I can't think of a better day to have a "Money Saving Monday"!

I hope to learn more here than I will teach you. We have a long way to go in the area of being frugal. For years, we both worked and had the attitude of, "we worked hard, we should be able to spend it how we want." I shudder to think of the money we might have today if we had been frugal from the beginning of our marriage.

So I choose not to think about it.

My first lesson in frugality was in college. My roommates and I went grocery shopping and I saw "aluminum foil" on the list. I reached for Reynold's Wrap, which was what my parents bought at home. THEN I saw the price! And the other choices available. And I entered the world of generic brands.

Generic brands is a tricky area, but don't be afraid of them. I watch what people have in their carts at the grocery store and I wonder sometimes if their "image" causes them to choose name brand foods as well as clothing. I personally don't care if you see that I have generic brands in MY pantry, but obviously other people do.

Now there are things we do not buy generic on. My husband bit into a sandwich years ago with generic brand sliced cheese in it and said, "Gross. Don't ever buy that again." So I don't. There are items that we choose to buy the "real" thing instead of generic.

Years ago as a teacher I went to the bread factory on a field trip. It was there that we saw they not only made the name brand bread, but about 10 other generic brands--right there at the same factory. The same is true of sugar and many other foods, I'm sure.

In fact, no offense to you who are super coupon shoppers, but I have also found that generic brands many times beat out name brands even with a coupon.

That's my tip. Obviously, I need help. Looking forward to what I can learn from everyone else! Head over to Karly's blog and get better ideas than mine! :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Let's Wrap This Week Up (And a baby shower!)

I wrote a really great post yesterday. It was witty, thoughtful and had a punch of an ending. Then something went wrong with my browser and BOOM the post was gone. It hadn't saved either. I was devastated. There was no way I could duplicate it.

But when you really get down to it, it was a post about how I need to clean my house.

So I guess your lives are OK having not read that after all.

Then I got a killer headache yesterday that lasted for most of the afternoon and evening. It was not fun and I'm ever-so-thankful for Little Bit who was very big and called Grandma to say, "Mommy has a headache. Can you come get us?" And thankful for Grandpa who served them pancakes for supper. I woke up 2 hours later not believing the time, but able to be a mom again for the rest of the evening. From the recliner.

Now I have some other things to share:

1. My friend Karly is hosting an event on Monday....MONEY SAVING MONDAY that is! The question this week is:

What do you do to cut your grocery/personal items/household items costs?

She will have a Mr. Linky up for you to participate. Here is the link to Karly's post.
2. And finally, I had a brilliant idea in the night a few nights ago. It was so brilliant I had to sit on it for awhile and let it all soak in. Are you ready for this wonderfulness?

How many of you know Terry from Ornaments of Grace? I suspect a lot of you do because just about everywhere I go in the blogworld, Terry has already been there and left a comment before me. (But that's only because she gets up so early. Ug.) Her baby, whose gender we do not know yet, is scheduled to arrive on May 13. So I was thinking...LET'S HAVE...


No gifts, please! Just leave comments for Terry right here and she can come over and enjoy them! (And I will send them over to her via e-mail so she can keep them.) Here are the guidelines:

1. Give Terry a link to a wonderful baby product. Money is no object here because we aren't really buying her a thing! :) Terry is not a new mom, but it's been well over a year since she had Little Princess and you all know that the minute you gave birth they came out with 50 new products that you would have loved to have. I know, none of it is necessary. Your favorite item might be a special blanket a friend makes. Whatever. Just send her a link to her "baby gift" from you.

2. Give her a word of encouragement. These will be wonderful for her to read in a few months when the reality of the tiredness! and all the children! is sinking in. Plus, Terry may not have as much time for blogging for a while. So after you leave your gift link, leave your encouragement as well.

How's that for a bloggy baby shower? Spread the word and join in below!