Saturday, November 21, 2015

26 Weeks Pregnant and Family Update

Well here I am again. Wanting to do an overdue post. It will have to be quick since I am hiding in the bathroom for a quick moment alone. This week marks pregnancy week 26. This pregnancy is flying by as I am busy with homeschool and the holiday season fast approaching. I can't believe it is Thanksgiving next week! I am feeling good overall, besides a tooth ache that only bothers me around 3 am! I need to have it removed. Of course I keep putting that off...I hate visits to the dentist, not to mention the cost of a simple tooth extraction makes me cringe. Baby is very active all of the time. That is fun! I am a bit nervous about having another baby around here. With 6 small kids in my world, it can seem like I won't be able to do it all. But I cling to the words of God! And I know that He trusts in my abilities, even when my faith is wavering. He would not give me more than he thinks I can bare. I have so many friends that a pregnant right right now, it is definitely a blessed season of life. I love babies! I am anxious to meet my little one in February for sure! If you are wondering, we have decided not to find out the gender. We normally do, but this time it will be a surprise. So no, we are not keeping it a secret from you! Ha!

The kids are doing great! Home school is going well and we should be finishing most of our cirriculum just before baby arrives. Yay! Perfect timing. Lately my two littlest ones have been a quite the mischievous pair. I have to keep constant eyes on them or they are getting into things. Just today as I folded a big pile of laundry with 3 of my bigs, one certain 3 year old, packed a big backpack full of raw eggs, butter and random condiments from the fridge...that was an ordeal since half of the eggs ended up broken on the floor. It has been a trying time to say the least. I just remind myself that curious little people tend to get into mischief but grow out of the "terrorize your house" stage right before you can go insane.

House work has been overwhelming lately too, but again, I remind myself constantly that I have priorities, and the top priorities do not include a perfectly spotless house. I mean really, when would I sleep? My walk with God is most important. I feel so lost if I don't spend time reading my Bible every morning and praying before I get out of bed. I need God's help to get me through each day. I lean heavily on Him in times of weakness and wavering faith. My children need me constantly and that can be a heavy burden. I strive each day to help them also walk with God. And I feel my main goal each day is to be sure we have spent time reading the Bible, talking about what we have read, praying, and singing praises to Him. This daily routine really brightens my day and it makes a noticeable difference in the atmosphere of my home. The kids love Bible time. We learn new hymns and sing fun songs too. If you haven't started something like this in your home, I highly recommend it! It will change your family's life.

I am finishing up this post at 3 am just a little more than 3 days after I started writing it...goes to show how hectic things can be around here. I hope this has encouraged other moms. We all need to be encourged! Have a blessed weekend.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Don't and I Can't Do It ALL #FiveMinuteFriday

Lately I do not have alot of time to blog. I do not have time to do a lot of the things that I like to do. Because of...well...the obvious! I have 6 little kids. But I decided that I do have 5 minutes to just write a quick blog post. Hooray!! So here is my first #FiveMinuteFriday.

I have been thinking of ways to streamline things to get more done in my day. I am overwhelmed with so much all of the time and I honestly do not have time for all of what I want to get done. So I have decided that during this season of my life I will offer myself grace. I will embrace the season of undone things. I am such a huge critic of myself, just the fact that I am saying this rubs me the wrong way, but it must be said. If you have many small children there may be times in your life when you wont get it all done. There will be dishes in your sink, your laundry will be piling up, your kids will eat fast food, you will cheat on your diet, you will forget important things, you will loose sleep, you will oversleep, you will loose your temper, you will cry, you will laugh at inappropriate times, you will wear dirty clothes to the store, you will go somewhere and your kids have not brushed their hair, you will forget to make a grocery list, you will homeschool without a schedule, you will forget to brush your hair, you will spill the milk all over the kitchen. you will make mistakes, you will BE NORMAL!!!

So many times I have beat myself up for being normal. I try to do the best I can. And that must be okay! It is okay that I am not perfect, that my mommy skills are not perfected, that I am not a perfect homemaker or the perfect wife. It is just fine. God gives us grace, why not offer yourself the same grace and enjoy the time with your children and husband while you can. Focus on God and teaching your children about Him and everything else will be there another day.

Luke 10:40-42  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  (41)  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  (42)  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Time Saving Tips- In the Kitchen

Part two the the series, Time Saving Tips for Families. But this post could be useful to anyone!

First off, I would like to say that I prefer to make as many meals that I can from scratch for my family. I really only use ready made processed foods if I have no other option. Of course I can't get away from them completely. I do like to keep cans of re-fried beans in my cupboard. I will buy store bought bread, snacks, and that sort of thing.
-To save time I will sometimes brown a bunch of hamburger all at once then freeze it. I will do the same thing with chicken and sometimes a roast. My largest pan will hold about 6 pounds of ground beef comfortably. I brown it, let it cool, spread it out on cookie sheets and let it freeze slightly in my freezer. Then transfer to small Ziploc baggies and freeze for later use. This is great when I want to make tacos in a hurry, or quesadillas, spaghetti with meat sauce, taco skillet, tostadas, etc. Which leads me to my next tip.

-Have ideas for dinner ready to browse.  One day I will be a little more organized and laminate note cards with my dinner ideas and put them all on a ring. But until then I have a little composition notebook that I use to write down all of my dinner ideas by categories. Starting with type of meat (or meatless). Then breaking them down further into types of food, i.e. Mexican, Italian, BBQ, etc. Eventually I will also add the ingredients to the note card system, mentioned above, to each meal so that meal planning can be even easier. I have to admit, I am not very good at meal planning. I hate being put into a box when it comes to what is for dinner. Lately, I do not have a set plan for dinner until around lunch time of the same day...BAD...I know! Typically I will stock my cupboards and freezer in such a way that I can make most meals in my notebook with what I have in stock. Sometimes I will ask my husband to pick up something to go along with dinner on his way home from work, like fresh produce or cheese. That is probably not the best route, but it works for me. I have, in the past, made lists of  meals I am wanting to make and then I can do the shopping ahead of time. Then I was able to pick from my list when I was deciding what is for dinner that day. One day, I will get back to that, especially now that I have a vehicle again while my husband is at work. Before we got our van fixed it was quite challenging to go shopping late at night to get everything. I would rather go without some things, then have to go so late at night. I have been ordering a lot of my food items from Azure Standard. I am able to shop right from my cell phone, while I am laying in bed, it is SO much more convenient. And the prices are good compared to other places I already shop. (Wow, this post is turning into the confessions of a mom with 6 little kids post....hahaha!)

-Wash dishes as you cook. I am not consistent  at this either but it really does cut down on dishes after dinner.

-Have the kids help clear the table and wash their own dish and silverware or put it into the dishwasher. Even a small child can be taught to wash a plate or bowl! (Plastic is a good idea)

-Since we don't have a dishwasher, dishes can become overwhelming. So I wash in shifts. I wash dishes for 10 minutes or as many minutes as I have available and I come back to them later. Even though that goes against my nature, I have settled in with the fact that I may not finish the dishes every time. And because I decided to do it this way it is a SANITY saver.

-Store leftover dinner in a container that is ready to be reheated for lunch the next day. You can even cover it with foil. I always try to make enough leftovers to eat another meal, that makes for less time cooking in the kitchen. And... pack your husband a healthy lunch with the dinner leftovers as you are putting the food away.

-Improvise! There has been many times when I was cooking a recipe and then I realize I don't have an ingredient. I look up a substitution for the missing ingredient on Google. The possibilities are endless on Google! No running to the store for just 1 or 2 ingredients.

I hope you find some of these ideas helpful! And if you have time saving tips for the kitchen please add them in the comments below.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Visit to the Farm

On Saturday we visited a dairy farm about an hour north of Fort Worth. I have been waiting to go for weeks, because I really wanted my husband to come along too since it was our first trip out there. A scouting trip of sorts. I called the dairy farmer before we drove out to see if he was available to show us around and if my kids could look at his animals. There are not only cows on his farm, he also has pigs, bunnies, and even a litter of 10 puppies. We had such a great time, we stayed for nearly 3 hours. Mr Steadham showed us around and explained what steps he takes each time he milks his cows. He also talked to us about how he is against GMOs and refuses to use any GMO feed for his animals. The farmer makes raw cheese, and sells free range eggs, along with raw milk and cream. In his little shop he sells grass fed beef and pastured pork products. I was very impressed with how clean everything was and that Mr. Steadham cared so much about what goes into our food! It was refreshing to say the least. When we first arrived he offered us all a glass of milk as he was pouring milk into gallon jugs to sell, he poured each of our kids their own cup to sip. Here are some pictures we took while we were there.

 Dry Valley Dairy
 Mr. Steadham was quite the character
The kids drank their milk with chocolate and strawberry syrup
 30 lb blocks of cheese
 The piggies were SO cute!!
 4H Rabbits raised by Mr. Steadham's daughters
 The cows coming in from grazing to get a drink

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Time Saving Tips

How do you get it all done? I get this question a lot. Truth be told, being a mom of 6, I don't get everything done. That in itself is key. I don't try to do it all. If I did I would still not be able to get everything done and I would go crazy trying. Over time I have figured out ways to save myself time and my sanity. This post will be the first post in a series called, Time Saving Tips for Families.

The first tip I want to share with you is a huge help. I came up with this idea when I wanted to make it to my favorite thrift store, the Goodwill, on dollar day (everything is $1 that is a certain color tag) In order to find those hot items I would have to be there Thursday morning right when the doors open at 9 am. Maybe for a normal person it might be a little easier to get ready and be at the door ready for it to open. But for me, I had 5 small children plus myself to get ready. On Wednesday night we have church. I always change my kids clothes right before we leave for church on Wednesday so that they are fresh and clean. This is how I came up with the idea to have my kids go to bed in their clothes after we get home from church on Wednesday night. That way, when I get them up early Thursday morning they are already dressed! This worked out so well that I could drive to almost any Goodwill in Phoenix and still make it there before it opened. I saved my family a lot of money shopping dollar days. Good ole days. They don't have that kind of sale here in Ft Worth. But hey, any time I need to get out the door in a hurry the next day. I just have the kids get dressed the night before. Hope this post will help you get where you need to go early in the morning and save you from getting stressed out by the logistics of it all.  Blessings to you this week!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Day in the Life

5:30 am- I wake up with a kiss from my hard working husband leaving for work. This morning kiss wakes up the sleeping baby by my side. Samuel is looking for breakfast and a diaper change, so I quickly change him and then I settle in snuggled up next to my nursling as I check my email and start reading a part to my Bible reading plan on my cell phone. Then I doze off...

7:30 am- I wake up thinking it is too late to be sleeping. As I open my eyes I see the toddler peeking around the corner. She is trying to see if she will get away with breaking the rule of staying in bed until mom is out of bed. I give her a break this time and she sneaks into my bed to snuggle the sleeping baby. Samuel wakes up with a smile on his face as he greets his big sister for waking him up.

7:45 am- It is past time to get out of bed so I make myself get up even though everyone else is still asleep...well at least for a few seconds until the baby starts crying when I change his diaper. I change both babies and get them dressed for the day. I also get dressed and start giving orders to my chatterbox children. They are to get up and dressed, brush their hair, make their beds and clean their rooms before breakfast.

9:00 am- It took longer than I would like to mobilize and motivate my kiddos this morning, but now we are finally able to sit down and eat breakfast!

9:30 am- Once again we begin working on chores. I am working on folding mountains of laundry and the kids are doing their usual daily chores before we have Bible time at 10:30 am sharp!

10:30 am- I leave the sink full of dishes as I gather the littles around the table for our morning Bible reading. We start by singing a hymn that we are learning. Today they are learning 'There is a Fountain'. I slowly break down the meaning behind the words as the kids listen and then we sing it all together. We pray over our prayer list and then we begin our Bible study on the Proverb of the day. Most memorably we talk about being a sluggard and how it is like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes to ask a sluggard to do something. We also breifly talk about being careful what you talk about (we read Proverb 10 today). So we finish up our devotions with 'Oh, Be Careful', a fun little song for kids.

11:30 am- the kids go outside to play until lunch time

12:10 am- I invite the kids to come inside and do a few things on their school workbooks while I make lunch ( I had been folding and putting away laundry and dealing with a fussy teething baby when they were outside) The emotions run high and then I decide that the kids need naps before lunch...or maybe mommy just needed a time out after the cry-athon.

1:30 pm- The little people are still not asleep so I invite them to have a lunch with us. They happily munch on their lunch.

2:00 pm- The 5 and younger crowd return to their beds for a nap. The older children, Guinevere and Glory, start on their school work. Samuel is crabby so I ask Glory to take him outside for some sunshine while I teach Guinevere her math lesson. That lasts for about 10 minutes...but it was just the time I needed to get her lesson squeezed in.

2:20 pm- I put Samuel down in his crib for a nap and settle in at the table to help Glory start her math test. Guinevere finishes her independent work and asks to play outside.

2:40 (something like that) pm- Nap time is a bust so I ask the littles to be quiet until 3 pm and then they are allowed to get up. I check over the school work the girls have done and help Glory with her cursive writing assignment. Guinevere reads me Hop on Pop.

3:00 pm- The kids are all up now and we sit down at the table for more schooling. In between folding laundry and helping the young ones with their school work I text some friends that I have been meaning to touch base with. The kids grub on apples, bananas, and oranges in between their ABC's and 123's.

3:45 pm- Children finish up their studies and I send them outside to play in the perfect sunny weather. Samuel is still napping so I use my quiet moments to call a dairy farmer to get some info about his grass fed beef.

Around 4:00 pm- I have yet to start on dinner and the kids are asking to go to the park. I decide on a dinner of cereal as we get ready to go to our neighborhood park.

4:45-ish We arrive at the park and my kids quickly make friends with the other kids there. Their new friends have several dogs and all of my kids are thrilled when they let them pet and play with their puppies. After pushing Mary on the swing for several minutes, I walk laps around the play area at the park with Sam in the stroller keeping an eye on the kiddos as they run here and there. I take a seat on a bench and I watch Glory trying to read her Bible with the friend she just made, on the bench directly across from me. Glory asks me what verse she needs to read to get her friend saved, so I take her to John 3:16 (Glory brings her Bible everywhere, especially when we go to the park. She also brings tracts and new testaments in her purse and gives them out liberally) Glory inspires me with her zeal as she keeps trying to convince her friend to get saved.

5:45 pm- We pack up and head for home. It is shower night and we still need to eat our "dinner" of cereal. I start the littles on showers and as they take turns, I serve them bowl after bowl of happiness ;)

7:15 pm- My husband finally gets home from work! He brings in some groceries he bought at the Asian market. Lots of things but specifically bamboo rollers (for sushi) and Panko bread crumbs for shrimp tempura. He so sweetly washes my dishes as I finish getting the kids ready for bed. We decide it is too late for a dinner of sushi and I was out of diapers. I run to the store to pick up the diapers and pick up something for a late dinner :/

8 pm- As I pull into Whataburger I see flashing red and blue lights in my rear view mirror...I am getting pulled over.  Thankfully the cop let me go with just a warning. Apparently I was driving with just my parking lights on. I head home and share dinner with my exhausted husband.

9:30 pm- We head to bed. I rub my husbands feet while he works on writing a sermon and he listens to me talk his ear off.

...I snuggle up next to my dear husband and sweet smelling baby. I am just where I want to be!