June 30, 2008

Weekend busy-ness

Busy weekend!

Saturday morning we worked outside in the nice hot humidity at our other house clearing tree limbs and stuff and working on the garden. I hadn't sweat that much in a long time. Then we went to the lake that afternoon- talk about tiring!

I don't know about you out there, but it seems like everytime we go to a lake, the same kind of people are always there. Even when I was a kid, the same people are still at the lake. Women who are barely covered with their string bikinis, some of which should not even be wearing one, the men have mullets, a cigarette in one hand and beer in the other, children not being watched running all over the place, loud country music playing from someone's car, the interesting smoke smell coming from something other than a cigarette :) When I stood in a certain part of the lake, I could smell the beer, LOL! Oh and not to mention the random dogs running around that belong to someone who isn't watching them either. But we still had fun, especially the girls.

Today I will be using my computer time to work on a simplified home management binder for my sister. She has three kids, is a teacher but just took on a new position as a counselor and is getting her masters degree. She definitely needs some organization. So, this is it for the blog post.

June 27, 2008


Finally here is a picture of my dishwasher. Keep in mind this thing is old and weird. The bottom rack has these weird bracket things that take up space so I can't really fit big pots down there and the space between the top and bottom racks is too small so plates don't fit well either! Anyways, there was more space for dishes to cram in, I just didn't have anymore dishes!

The top.

The bottom.

Once I ran out of dishwasher gel, I started using the recipe on Candy's blog, which is half baking soda and half borax. It works well. The dishes aren't as perfectly sparkly but I could put vinegar in the rinse thingie if I had one. Maybe those knobs on the left are where I'm supposed to put it. It works well enough for me! No gunk stuck in the glasses.

Vicki's dishwasher

Jennifer's dishwasher

Shannon's dishwasher

Mama's dishwasher

Candy's dishwasher

I couldn't help but take this picture and post it. This is how Sarah, the baby, sleeps. So cute! She was taking her nap yesterday and was in such a deep sleep I could hardly get her awake. So I took pictures :)

June 26, 2008

The new 'me' or 'us'

Well it's just darn hot here. I love my pretty long curly hair, but it was getting old and I always wore it up in giant claw clips because I'm hot natured and for practical reasons. So I chopped it. I've had really short hair before , so this doesn't seem that short. My husband wasn't too thrilled, but he'll get used to it :) It was kind of a shock yesterday but he told me he liked it today.

These pictures are not good. I kept forgetting to get dh to take a pic, so I did my best.

It's longer in the front then short and 'stacked' in the back- you can't tell here. It's less than 2 inches long in the back though. I feel much lighter :)

Miss Alexa, my spirited and strong willed 4.5 year old, has been experimenting with scissor the last few months. She cut her hair twice, and I told her that if she did it again I would get her hair cut off. Well, guess what happened.

I love her outfit- it is so her. Clearance at walmart :)

And, you know you live in the south when your supper table looks like this:

Everything is from the garden except the canteloupe and it's local. I didn't plant yellow squash because it grows like crazy and I don't care for it that much. This is the only dish I really like, which we ate with our raw veggies and hamburger gravy served over homemade sourdough bread.

You need:

approximately 6 medium/small squash or 4 bigger ones
4-6 slices bacon
1 small onion
1 can diced tomatoes
salt and sugar to taste

First you slice the squash in 1/4 inch rounds and put them in a small pot. Just cover them with water and bring to boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, till cooked but not mush. Drain and set squash aside. Cut bacon into small pieces and put in the pot. After fat has rendered add chopped onion and cook till softened. Then add the squash, tomatoes and seasonings. I generally add 1-2 T sugar. Let simmer 10-15 minutes. Perty good. Not necessarily frugal, but a nice treat.

June 25, 2008

This was yesterday's post but blogger didn't work...

It's been a busy day- majorly!

God is so good. He cares so much about the smallest details of our lives. Last night I noticed that our air conditioner wasn't blowing cool air. It had been on all day running constantly, and sometimes it can freeze up if it runs so much. I dreaded telling my husband because that means something is wrong with it which means we have pay for someone to fix it. And sorry, but you cannot live without the a/c here. Absolute misery.

So he was checking on it in the midst of getting the girls ready for bed. I was putting Sarah to bed and said her prayers with her and also said a quick "And Lord help that air conditioner to work..." or something like that. I shut her door and Matt was standing there reaching into the unit and says "Hey it just kicked on and I feel cold air. " I said, well I just prayed for it- and 'the prayer of faith heals the sick, even air conditioners.' LOL :) It's still doing good.

After that, Matt put the other two to bed and Alexa had contracted the hiccups. He felt like he should pray for her and they went away immediately. I mean honestly, who would think God would care about hiccups and air conditioning? But He does and it is our faith that makes things happen. Whatever we believe we can have, says the Bible.

Today I was running lots of errands and half way through I noticed my gas gauge had suddenly dropped from a quarter of tank to E. As I was driving I noticed it registered that I had 60 miles to go then it went back to 61 miles. I literally said 'That's right, God can multiply my gas like the loaves and fishes.' Well to my amazement I watched my gauge move up- with every mile I drove I had more miles to go before I was out of gas. It was the reverse of what should be happening, but the further I went, the more gas I had. By the time I got back to my mom's to pick up the other girls, I had 80 miles left before I was supposedly out of gas. When I got to my house, which is 40 minutes away, I had 89 miles!!! I saw it happening, ain't no coincidence. That is my God!

Anyways, last Saturday I was loading up the dishwasher and noticed that my mother-in-law is very good at packing it full. I consider dishwasher loading something of an art form to fit everything in there. I'm not too good at it, maybe I give up too easy and just handwash, LOL. I was never really fond of puzzles. So I thought it would be fun to have a contest on who can fit the most in their dishwashers or dish drainers. That's hard too. Take pictures and post them on your blog and I'll make a link to you, or if you don't have a blog and still want to do it, email me at sundholm5@yahoo.com

I will try to get my own picture up soon- won't be today because I have an empty dishwasher right now.

June 23, 2008

Crazy Monday

I had great hopes that I would start off the week with my new schedule in place and all would flow well. Due to some, er, issues me and dh have been dealing with the last few weeks, I had a late night and an emotional morning. That's all I can really say about that. I had a sinkful and counterful of dirty dishes, garden produce spread all over another counter needing to be tended to, mounded over laundry hampers needing attention and various stuff scattered around. Not a pretty sight.

So, after I got myself together, I got dressed and made my bed and tidied my room. The girls had eaten breakfast already, so I allowed them to continue watching their movie. I worked on the laundry and picking up and getting the girls dressed. Movie was done, got them at the table to play with something quiet while I did dishes. Then I got myself some breakfast (it was almost 10am!) and coffee, took my vitamins and sat the table with them. I worked on some things in my home management binder and gave them each a whole pad of post it notes and a pen. That kept them busy!! Then I got my Bible and read some Psalms and some parables and explained it to them. Then I made a word chart with pictures for Alexa- I'm priming her for homeschool next fall :) Then we cleaned up and they went outside for a bit and I made lunch. After they ate I changed into workout clothes and went outside to dig some holes for some plants and planted them. Then I found our double stroller and loaded them in it and walked in the super hot sun! Do not ever buy anything Jeep related to baby equipment- the whole time I was walking I had to fight to keep it from turning to the right. Then I ran some--wow was I tired and hot!

We got in and got cold drinks and cold cloths to wipe ourselves down and prepare for rest/naps. Now I'm chilling out- literally I am trying to cool off. Then I'm going to take a shower, eat something for lunch and work on my to do list :)

So, thankfully the day has gone much much better that I thought it would. I prayed a lot for my attitude to be right and obviously He heard me. I also took my vitamins and supplements and that makes me feel better. So, commit your way unto the Lord and He shall direct your path. Give Him the firstfruits and He will bless your efforts. I am so so glad that I know the Lord, or rather, that He knows me.

June 21, 2008

Trying to get motivated

The last five years I've been putting myself on the back burner. What I mean is that as I've had children and become more focused on my family and home, many parts of me have been put on hold. The most specific part is losing extra weight. I've been at a stable weight for over 5 years, even through 4 pregnancies, which is good, but it's not where I want to be or where I should be.

It's just been one of those things that I really wanted to do, but felt powerless to make it happen as life got busier and my body was carrying babies. Now that I am finally healthier and feeling better, I'm a lot closer to accomplishing what I want now, it's just making it happen! Fitting in hard exercise and finding a diet that will allow me to lose weight without being costly or unhealthy isn't easy. There are so many diet plans that work, but which one is the healthiest?

When I lost a bunch of weight before, 70% of my daily intake of food was raw vegetables and fruits. Eggs and canned tuna are now cheaper than fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, a good part of the time that is. If I did a lower carb plan, then I would eat more eggs and veggies, but that would get old and meat isn't cheap either. Whole grains are healthy and cheaper than meat, but it can be easy to overdo it for someone like me. I love brown rice and can eat a lot of it! However I guess it's better to gorge on brown rice than cookies...

One thing I can do to help is to cut out all sugar, except some honey for tea, and to just try to eat less. I don't overeat a lot, but I could probably get by on less. Oh and drinking water wouldn't hurt either- our water here isn't just wonderful tasting so I haven't been drinking it much. Buying water isn't fun, but that's what I've been doing.

So, cut out the processed sugar as much as possible

Eat a bit less at each meal.

Drink more water.

Include more raw fruits and veggies.

Get up and walk/run early in the mornings. (it's not hot yet, and the sun is fully risen by 7am)

Anyone know how to make a flabby belly that's been stretched out a few times tighten back up again?

Being fat is a burden to me. I get depressed about it and feel nasty at times. I want to look better for my husband and children; I want to be able to shop in regular women's clothing. I'm tired of feeling like everyone dislikes me because I'm big. I've failed a lot in the past, so maybe I can do better this time and actually get somewhere :)

June 20, 2008

Sourdough bread

Early this morning I got up and tried out Candy's bread recipe again. The last time I didn't have homemade buttermilk and had the Hodgson Mill brand of whole wheat flour. The result wasn't the best :(

So, I planned better this time around. I made my own buttermilk per her instructions so it was ready by yesterday afternoon. Then I took my sourdough starter out an fed it and let it sit overnight last night. I woke up at my usual early time (by myself) and started working on it.

My buttermilk was so thick, like yogurt! I used 3.5 cups of that, 5 cups of starter because mine isn't homemade and is from white flour, so I wanted to use a bit more in case it didn't leaven as quickly as Candy's. I didn't have maple syrup or honey so I used some natural sugar. I kept everything else the same. I ended up just using 8-10 cups of flour- Gold Medal brand whole wheat flour.

I kneaded the dough at least 15 minutes, maybe more, to fully develop the gluten which is what makes a whole wheat bread not taste so heavy. I only made three loaves out of mine since I only have three loaf pans- they'll be big loaves I guess. I put them in buttered pans and covered them with a wet towel. That was at 7am and they are now fully risen at 1:57pm. So, about 6 hrs of rise time. I'm about to bake them and we'll see how it works out.

For anyone not familiar with sourdough, it is so easy to make. And the bread is easy too because there isn't any waiting for the yeast to bloom, you don't have to let the whole batch rise, then shape into loaves, then rise again etc. Most sourdough bread recipes are simply starter, flour, salt, sugar, some butter/fat and water. Very easy and the dough comes together nicely, which is a big plus for me, because I hate sticky dough!! Yuck...

I will do my absolute best to take a picture later, but no promises. I've been awful about picture taking lately, sorry, so busy!!!


Ok, here are some pictures. Here are my fully risen loaves.

You've probably read what Candy says about not being able to get all the loaves the same shape. Well, neither can I.

And here are the loaves baked up and sliced. This bread is GREAT!!!!! The key I think is the homemade buttermilk and how you bake it. 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then I did 30 minutes at 325 degreees.

The bread doesn't have a sour taste at all, just yummy all purpose soft bread. I sliced a loaf and put in a plastic gallon baggie, then wrapped the other loaves in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. I think they stay moister if you leave them in whole loaves for the freezer.

So there it is, truly amazing bread. Thanks Candy!

June 19, 2008


Sorry my master schedule didn't work. The problem is I don't have excel on this computer, it's on the other one, yet the other one doesn't have internet right now, so I'm stuck. I'll rearrange the info on it later.

Someone asked me about the ingredients for the toothpaste I made. You can buy everything at a natural foods store or health food store. Or, you can buy it online. I don't have any recommendations about where to buy online except that you can get pretty good deals on virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. I bought a gallon the beginning of March, which cost me $70 and just ran out a few days ago, but I used the last of the oil for frying donuts. That takes a lot of oil :) One thing, I would use less baking soda than what I originally put up, like 2 T, because after a day or so it started tasting salty. Adding more peppermint and stevia would help too, so it's really just something you have to play around with.

About kefir, there really isn't a 'recipe' to follow, just a method. I ordered my kefir grains, the live blob looking things, online. (Fermented Treasures I believe) Then you plop them in some milk- I use regular whole milk from the grocery store- and let it sit 24hrs. We like ours thick and creamy, so sometimes I let it go longer. Then I removed the grains, put them in new milk and refrigerate the kefir. I prefer to not use a blender to blend fruit with it to flavor the kefir, so I just use jello. I pick up a few boxes each week and mix the powder with the kefir to the desired sweetness. We love lime and strawberry and I bought orange flavor to try this week. I had to figure out an easy way to get the kids to drink it. I've also taken little paper cups, like Dixie cups, filled it with flavored kefir and fruit, partially froze it, then added popsicle sticks and let it freeze all the way. They loved it!!!
Kefir has helped us in so many ways, especially me as I suffered from IBS for a period. Thank the Lord He showed me what I needed to do.

You all came up with some good ideas regarding my neighbors. However I must clarify, we currently do not have a relationship at all; I have to start one :) I don't even know if she is interested in homemaking things right now- in fact I don't think she even cooks at all or anything. So, it will take time to make a relationship and help her desire to do those things. I just need to pray for the right opportunities I guess.

Well, went to the zoo this morning, then got caught in a massive thunderstorm, then got the power blown out at my mom's while we had seven children to watch, and now I'm finally home and need to do a few things since I've been gone since 8:15 this morning :)

Later 'gaters!

June 18, 2008

Daily Routine and Stuff

I really like how Candy has her daily routines and to dos posted on her blog. I got an idea about how to simplify things in my binder so I don't have to keep flipping pages all over. I thought I would put all cleaning, meals, daily work etc. on one page for each day of the week.


Monday- To Do's

clean all appliances, stove/oven and fridge

wash bedding laundry

strain and make new kombucha brew

Bible study with girls-15 minutes or so

Brain Gym with Leiah- basic exercises

exercise- Jiggle Free Abs tape, 25 minutes

kids' showers

I shower and tweeze eyebrows :)

Kids' Cleaning Chores:
L- wipe down fridge and oven door, also tidy room, make bed, table chores
A- wipe down dishwasher and washer/dryer, room chores and table chores, feed pets
S- at sink, wash it, help with bedroom and toys pick up and assisting me

Meals- quick and easy- usually ground beef based such as: beef and rice, spaghetti, sloppy joes, tacos, chili et. Breakfast is usually scrambled eggs and toast, Lunch is sandwiches and fruit

My master schedule, well, i don't know how to post an excel spreadsheet. I broke it up and blocks rather than specific times. I decided that the easiest thing to do to ensure most everything got done each day was to get up early. So, from 5-7am I do my cleaning chores so that during the kid's chore time I can help them without getting distracted. So far I've only been able to get up at 5:30-5:45, but we've had guests and been up later than expected.

I'll have to include my routines and such another time- I am out of computer time for now.

Today I went to get groceries, and got tied up on the computer with some bills this morning, so we haven't done Bible, Brain Gym or exercise etc. Sarah was very cranky when we got home and I put her in the playpen for trying to hit me (!) and she ended up falling asleep. The other two ate lunch while I put groceries away and then I let them watch a movie we just rented. Now Leiah is asleep on the couch an Alexa will be going to her room for a nap/rest time in a bit, which means Sarah may be up before they are that will throw me off. OH well. In the mean time I have clothes to fold and more to wash, bread to bake (in bread machine), buttermilk to make and kefir to strain, make 2 gallons of koolaid (yes I allow it once a week or two) and finish cleaning my bathroom. However I don't have to cook dinner because what I cooked yesterday didn't get eaten- we ate out instead. We will probably go outside at some point and get in the pool to cool off- yes even with central air it can sure get hot in here!

Gotta GO! But there it is and I think it will work. So far it seems to flow well with our lives. It is just a guide however and I certainly need one :)

Popping in

I'm back for a bit. Yesterday after I did my usual take-Leiah-to-speech trip I got EVERYTHING OUT of the other house. I won't go into details about why I did it, but it's out, and my back is sore :) Guess we're having the garage sale at this house now.

Anyways, I have some new neighbors. They live in a tiny little trailer behind our house. They are a very young newly married couple. I have a good idea that the wife doesn't know anything at all about being a wife. I don't know if she is a Christian. I really want to help, but I'm not sure how, since I don't know her that well. When I use the youth pastor at church I had her husband as a student :), so I know him.

I want to pass on info for a happy marriage, but I'm not sure how. I figure the best way is just let her see what I do daily over a period of time, which means we have to develop a relationship, and that takes a lot of time. They have pretty much nothing right now, but the church is planning a wedding shower for them in a couple of weeks. So, any helpful ideas are so very welcome :)

I created a daily routine and master schedule. Today is the first day I've been able to try it out, as things have been out of sync with company and all. Maybe I will get more time to post that later.

I have to finish my grocery list now and head out to the store, so that's it for now. More later...hopefully...

June 16, 2008


Hi everyone- wow I've gotten lots of new visitors. Thanks for all the nice comments ladies. I have visitors this week- my in-laws- and we are working getting everything moved out of the other house so we can sell it, so I won't be around much. (for those who are new, we recently moved out of a house they owned so they could sell it)

So, if I get time I will certainly post. Have a good week!

June 13, 2008

Homemade toothpaste

I made it finally- I've had the recipe for months. My husband and I have been using Uncle Tom's brand of natural toothpaste for a year or so now. So, we are used to the less sweet more baking soda-y taste. To anyone who isn't used to it, it will be quite a change. That toothpaste has gone up and can cost close to $4 per tube. So, I happened on this recipe and just happened to have all the ingredients, so here it is.

2 T virgin coconut oil- has to be the good kind
3 T baking soda
5-8 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil
pinch of stevia powder or 5-6 drops stevia liquid

(stevia is an herb that is naturally sweet)

Basically you just mix it all together and put in a sealed container. I just dip my toothbrush in it and brush. My teeth feel very smooth after brushing, however I'm told it doesn't totally take away bad breath. Maybe I should add more peppermint...

My husband tried it this morning and he liked it. I may try one for the girls only use some tangerine essential oil and vanilla extract and more stevia. We'll see...

Deodorant recipe coming soon :)
Sorry there are no pictures. I just don't have the time I would like to take and download pictures right now. Maybe in the future I can get some up. There's not really a lot to see on this one.

My Friday

I really expected today to be a wash out. The past week I have gotten only 4-6 hrs of sleep each night for various reasons. Mostly because I wake up and can't get back to sleep. The past two nights I've only had 4 hrs. We were at the church last evening working on music for Sunday and had some errands to run, so the girls didn't get to bed till 10pm.

So, when I got up at 6:30 and so did they, I greatly dreaded the day. So, I sent them back to bed for awhile so I could get myself 'together'- clothes on, bed made, breakfast in the oven, I had a sink full of dishes from last night because I was so tired I just left it, did those, then I 'let the girls out' LOL. We laugh at that term, like we're letting caged animals out or something.

Anyways, wow I'm rambling, I was so sleepy and tired. We all ate breakfast and I made a cup of coffee. They asked to watch TV so I let them and sat in my recliner. I decided to go get my Bible and read that since my spirit man is more important than sleep. I didn't get to read a lot, but my day has gone so so well. My heart is peaceful and calm. At about 8:45 I decided we better get around and get some things done.

We got dressed and began working on the bedrooms- rearranging them and tidying up. After that it was obvious the girls were super tired, so I declared a quiet time- Sarah in her bed, Alexa in her bed, Leiah on the couch. I set the timer for 25 minutes. I unpacked a few boxes and then sat in the chair to rest a few minutes. Leiah fell asleep and I got the other two a snack while I folded clothes and put them away. Then we all did one cleaning chore- Alexa wiped down mirrors and screens and Sarah helped me clean the toilet in our bathroom. Then we woke Leiah up and I got them at the table to do playdough. I finished cleaning both bathrooms then made lunch and set it aside. They started coloring at the bar where I was cooking and I showed them how to really color a page in the coloring book. We cleaned all the playdough up and had a bath. They really needed one last night, but it was just too late. We ate lunch- they had macaroni and cheese with sweet frozen peas mixed in (thawed of course) and fruit cocktail and lemonade. I had leftover corn chowder.

They asked to watch a movie so I put Finding Nemo in the VCR and they made little beds on the floor. I swept and cleaned up the table then sat down with some cookbooks to look for a quick dessert recipe idea. (I usually make one on Friday) We are having tacos, chips and refried beans. I think I'll make some peanut butter and jelly bars. Sounds good :)

The reason I'm writing about all of this is because I truly expected to get almost nothing done today; I thought I have really whiny gripey children. But I didn't. Oh there have been some moments, but on the whole, it's been a very good day. Thank you Jesus :)

Still on the agenda is to unload the dishwasher and reload it, make our dessert and dinner, fold up the diapers in the dryer, prep any food that needs it for tomorrow etc.,figure out what I still need from the store,( I always forget stuff) and I have some plants I need to get planted.
Oh and the big one, take a NAP!!!

Putting the Lord first doesn't always make the day go perfect, but when He sees us seeking Him first He is blessed and wants to bless us. We serve an awesome God.

June 12, 2008

Homemaking skills

So many people ask me 'how do you do everything with three small children?' Especially if I do something like the tea party I did a month ago or the church Feast thingie- they are awestruck. Well you know what, if you want to do something, then you will find a way to do it.

The other day a friend came over on a Monday. I needed to get a lot done that day including baking bread. She was just so amazed that I would even attempt to make our family's bread with my children to care for too. It seems that most women have forgotten about the homemaking part of our role and focus on the 'stay at home mom' part. Just leave out the husband and house- focus completely on the kids. While it is obviously important to give a large part of our time to our kids, I don't want to just let the house and my husband go. People just do not seem to understand this!

Yesterday I got two phone calls from our friends trying to get me to get the girls and go swimming at the pool we live next to. I had to figure out a valid' excuse' besides ' I'm training my children to help me today' or' I'm busy with meal preps etc.'. Everyone else just seems to throw that to the wind and just go go go! Then they look at me and think I'm some type of homemaking queen know-it-all.

Well, I took my role as wife, mother and homemaker seriously and researched it. I began to implement what I learned in my life, much to the joy of my husband and children. Our life is not perfect and I work pretty hard most of the day. But I can't imagine just doing whatever we wanted all day- never planning anything, just going with the flow. I really hate people to exalt me and what I do, because I don't want attention brought to myself and I don't want other women comparing themselves to me.

When I realized what my job was so to speak, I wanted to do it to the best of my ability. I love reading Amish fiction and the Little House books among others. They are resourceful, hardworking, simple, and never seem to tire of what they do. I admire that and have tried to model what I do after them. Some of the skills I've picked up along the way is home baking. I used to hate to bake because I hated to measure. Cooking I loved, but once I got good at that, I decided to try the baking thing. I got better at that so I could guesstimate how much a teaspoon or a cup was and things turned out fine. If I had a problem with something I kept at it till I got it. We might have had biscuits 5 times a week because I was determined to get it down pat! The same with rolls and tortillas, although I'm still working on the tortillas. Do it and do it and do it till ya get it :)

I love doing things myself, so I really liked the idea of making my own cleaners, soap, sewing our clothes and all that. Even if I don't do it all the time, knowing that I can if need be is a great feeling. I may not have to make my own laundry detergent, but knowing what will work in case I'm in a pinch is very comforting. So now that I've been married for seven years, what skills do I possess?

I can cook almost anything from scratch. Almost :)

I can make the best cheesecake you ever ate :) For real...I've made like 15 one flavor that everyone loves.

I can sew well enough to make clothing, women's and girls that is.

I know enough about herbs and natural healing that I can generally turn to that before I get medicine from the doc.

I can pin a diaper on my baby and do regularly :)

I can use vinegar, baking soda and borax to clean our house.

I can make homemade dairy products- such as yogurt cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream and so on

I can make toothpaste and deodorant, recipe coming soon :)

I can make soap from lye and fat.

Maybe there are other things too, I don't remember.

I am learning to live by the motto use it up, make it do or do without :)

I am not exalting myself, I'm just saying that I'm proud to know that I can do some of the same things our foremothers (is that a word) did a hundred years ago. I don't have to rely on the store all the time. I don't have to be like everyone else. I must not conform to society, LOL. I have always been like that somewhat.

Ok, well I must end the post as the girls are getting restless and are starting to turn on me :)

June 11, 2008


Since my post on my heart change towards my children, I've said I'm doing better but I haven't gone into the details of what exactly I am doing. It seems that a lot of us mothers struggle in this area, as it is so easy to let them do what they want and many of us did not have 'mom training'. We are learning by experience, on the job training.

A dear sweet lady has been 'mentoring' me, with some tough love. She is Mrs. Klause from Clothed with Scarlet. Go visit her :) I wrote a simple question how she organizes her day with her three little girls and how I can better train my children, and she began a series of emails that dug down to the core of my problem. God must have put a burden on her heart for me because I was so not expecting all the time and effort she gave to me. Thanks so much again.

So, the main thing I've been doing is keeping all of them with me as much as possible. I am not perfect in this, but I'm learning. So, instead of me running around getting the kitchen spotless after meals, I give them little jobs to do. Such as, Leiah and Alexa, ages 5.5 and 4.5 are able to bring their dishes to the sink and wipe down their 'spot' at the table and their chair. They can put things in the refrigerator, spot clean the floor, use the dust buster, hand wash some dishes etc. Then, we all go to the bedrooms and get dressed, make beds, tidy rooms then we all go to the bathroom and brush teeth and hair and clean up the bathroom, then we all go to my bedroom and make the bed, I finish tidying it up and getting myself ready etc.

For instance, this morning, after everyone got dressed and all that, I put Sarah in the highchair to eat breakfast, Alexa moved all of the videos to our shelves and arranged them by herself and Leiah stayed in the kitchen with me while I cleaned up breakfast. It worked very well- surprise! Then I vacuumed the living room quickly and got them busy with some coloring books while I made a menu and grocery list. Then things got hectic with a phone call, me trying to get a diaper changed and shoes on everyone and trying to get out the door. We went grocery shopping and that was not fun. These girls!!! They always act so terrible when I'm out- at least 80% of the time.

Things went downhill after that- Alexa and Sarah had an attitude, I was tired after all of that, the refrigerator is leaking etc. etc. Now everyone is down for naps, so hopefully we'll get refreshed and be nice again :)

While they are resting I need to finish some laundry, make some tea, make some bread and dessert and work on revamping my schedules. That way I'll be better able to guide them into what I'm doing without feeling behind and rushed. At least that's the plan. I'll do all of that after I rest a few minutes- hopefully I won't totally fall asleep :)

It's a bit harder to include them in everything, but it's getting easier. One day at a time :)

June 10, 2008

My modest dress choices

There were a couple of ladies that have asked me about modest dress and what I am doing now. Well, I still think that women and girls look best in dresses/skirts. However, they are hard to come by and not always practical, in my opinion. (like if I am gardening and don't want bugs crawling on my legs or getting my skirt hung on a vine) My life is quite busy with the littles and cheapest way to wear dresses is to make them. I don't have a lot of time to sew for 4 people.

Right now we wear shorts, capris and dresses. On a hot day a nice loose dress feels great, especially if you have floor vents and can stand over the air conditioner, LOL. I am planning to sew some more light dresses for myself and maybe buy some online. I do feel much more confident and prettier in a dress. I feel more powerful in jeans, more authoritative, so I save those for when I go out of the house or whatever. It all just depends on my mood.

But, for the most part, I wear dresses on Sunday and 1-2 times per week. I think it's an individual journey and what the Lord speaks to you personally. Search it out like I did; get quiet to hear His voice and He will tell you. The other day at the water park I saw some pre-teen girls in bikinis. I was really disturbed about it because they were nice and curvy and it was distracting. I don't want my girls to distract others or for men to be ogling them, so I plan to enforce modesty a bit more, especially in public. For the most part they are always covered, but with a swimsuit we're usually at home, so it doesn't matter to us. I think sleeveless shirts/dresses, so long as it doesn't show the bra etc. is fine; dresses/shorts at the knee is fine and obviously showing cleavage or tight things on the rear are out!

That it is where I am at this point. I would like to do mostly dresses again, I just have to make time to work on it :)

The One Year Mark

I forgot that Saturday marked the 'anniversary' of my blog. I've been blogging for a whole year now. When I started I didn't think I'd have much to say or that I'd even be able to do it. But, it worked out.

I've really enjoyed having a blog. It's amazing to me that I feel free to tell the world about my life. It's really important to me to be real and transparent, even to strangers :) I've certainly grown a lot this past year- in my faith, in my knowledge about health and nutrition, about parenting and my marriage. It's very exciting because a year from now I'll know even more :) We are always learning in the school of life.

I also love 'hearing' what people have to say in the comments. Thank you all so very much for being so sweet and friendly. It does mean a lot to me, so if you haven't commented, go for it. I don't always comment on the comments, lol, but I try to recognize new people, though I miss them sometimes. You are all welcome and I greatly enjoy what you have to say. Again, thank you all for being my friends :)

I hope that I've been able to help fellow homemakers and mothers in some way. I try to pass on whatever I have learned that is helpful in this role because I felt so unprepared for it. Talk about a journey! It still is...

About my previous post on my heart change towards parenting and my children. My mother-in-law honestly was not trying to hurt me, but coming from someone I didn't know that well, the words were very, very hurtful. Reading words on a screen in no way compares to hearing the words from someone's mouth. It did cause me to seek out what I was supposed to be doing and then I learned about the Godly role and submission etc. That is great, but still, I guess some of the scars remain, and I am trying to get those scars erased now. All is forgiven, I harbor no ill feelings towards her, I love her a lot. She felt frustrated that she couldn't help me out more since she was so far away. I was just relating the reason why I was where I was so you could understand the epiphany I had. Make sense?

The Lord has truly been working on me. My heart is different and even though they still 'work my nerves' and I am better able to deal with it calmly and it's easier to just drop everything. I've been working at including them in what I am doing and keeping them all with me. It's a process and I'm not perfect, but it's better. Thank you Jesus! Love truly does cover a multitude of sins.

June 9, 2008

My weekend

Let me tell you about my weekend.

Many of my readers are also readers of Candy's blog, Keeping the Home. A year ago I contacted her to tell her I wanted to give her my fuzzi bunz cloth diapers for her baby girl as mine how outgrown them. Well, they are adventurous people and wanted to drive down to us to get them! So instead, since gas is costly, we met halfway. We spent a great day with each other, as our children are all around the same ages and our husbands are both very, very much alike.

A year passes and we were taking a trip up there way anyways for a family reunion, so I invited myself to stay with them while we were there :) Yes, I spent the night at Candy's house, LOL :) We all camped out in the living room.

I just wanted to say, that reading words on paper in no way communicates what a person is really like. I have found this out by meeting Candy. She may appear very strict and matter of fact on the screen or even tough. She is not. She is always laughing, smiling, and very playful. Her children are like any other kids- love to play and get excited- but they are well behaved and polite. One of the cutest things was when it was bedtime, her oldest boy was reading the Bible to my middle daughter (both strong willed children- they got along well together). I just thought it was so neat that his choice of a 'bedtime story' was reading the Bible. And she sat and listened :)

Anyways, we got there early Saturday afternoon and headed off to a little waterpark thing- a free one where there are sprayers and water guns and fountains that just spray water. It was so windy though that even if you weren't in the park part, you still got soaked because the wind carried the water so far. We all got some nice sunburns, LOL. Then we met some friends of theirs and went to a restaurant- yeah, 17 people and only 6 of them adults!

Then we watched a wonderful movie and chatted till after 1 am Sunday morning :) I tasted Candy's amazing bread for breakfast and it was good! I've never had 100% whole bread that tasted really good. And then we had to say goodbye. It stinks that some of my nicest friends are online and I can't ever 'see' them. Oh well...

So, today I am trying to get life back to normal with laundry and very tired children. Must get back to business :)

June 6, 2008

Changing courses

Recently I had an eye opening moment. About myself, and it wasn't a good thing.

I'm being honest and truthful because I want people to understand that I am not perfect at all. I am human and do not know it all. But, to put it bluntly, I've been a bad mother. On the outside it may not seem that way, but on the inside of my heart, it was.

What has been the problem? Well, selfishness I guess. Allowing myself to fall into the trap of being the 'martyr' and not wanting to die to myself. When I was just out of highschool I had high goals. To take up my cross and follow Jesus into a foreign land and live in reduced conditions, well, that was noble. To work my heart out to be a doctor or teacher for the Lord and His purposes, that was worthy to sacrifice myself.

But to just get married and have some babies? What is so special about that? Yet, the Lord specifically told me that was what I was meant to do. So, I fell completely in love and the rest is history. But, all my years in school taught me nothing of how to be a wife or homemaker or raise Godly children. I had lots and lots of head knowledge; I had lots of experience in missions and intercession and diving into 'ministry' work.

But all I could cook was scrambled eggs and spaghetti. I didn't even know how to properly hand wash dishes. How sad is that? My mom just didn't feel led to teach me- she probably forgot that I didn't know those things or that if I wanted to know I would ask. Oh, I could bake cookies from scratch, but that's it. My story is probably that of most women who now find themselves with several small children and want to be a homemaker.

Anyways, as time went on in our marriage, I learned, but I still didn't know what my role was. I didn't know about wifely submission. So, and I hope my mother-in-law will not take offense to what I am going to say here, I have forgiven her, but this is how things got messed up. One day I received an email rebuking me for not keeping our home clean, for not taking good care of my husband etc. At the time I had my oldest two girls, ages 20 months and 9 months. I was caring for them, doing laundry and cooking good meals. I was doing my best, or so I thought. I was very hurt by this and was even more so when my husband agreed with her. So, many months later I was doing some searching and came across Ladies Against Feminism. I suddenly began to understand where I went wrong. I began making things right, slowly, over time. I was a much better wife and home keeper. I was able to accomplish so much more and took good care of dh. But, what happened to the children?

Over time, as I focused on those areas, my little girls were pushed out of the way. Leiah is special needs and Alexa is strong willed and loves attention. They got into all kinds of mischief while I was busy scrubbing every nook and cranny of the house! Then I got pregnant again and was tired and nauseous etc. and then we moved...I hardly ever just played with them. I went about my own business, while they ran wild. Don't get me wrong, I took care of them, I just didn't teach them much.

When Sarah was a newborn I got another email, this one much more hurtful than the first. Somehow my in-laws got me all wrong and thought I was the one leading in our marriage and telling my husband what to do, my house was filthy etc. This time my husband did defend me, but I was still so scarred. I began to think that if my house wasn't spotless then my husband would be disappointed and not love me. It was all about perfection- perfect house and wife, but what about the children?

They were far from perfect. Had I taken a few weeks to crack down on Alexa, we might be in a much better place now. But, no, had to keep everything spotless and perfect meals.

Soooo, this is long I know, I realized our family dynamic is not what I want for it to be. My girls don't listen very well, disobey me a lot, I yell, they fight a lot, one of them has sticky fingers and threw a bad temper tantrum at the store last week. I whine and cry to dh, which in turn has made him less than happy to see me...,big mess.

A sweet lady has been teaching me about what it really means to be a mother and wife. As I have seen my children's behavior reflect my behavior, I realize how truly sinful we can be, and how awful it is to God. They are a reflection of my heart. I keep holding onto me and my desires. I don't want to be hidden away; I don't want to fade in the background. To die daily and give completely of myself always is more than I can bear. To be humble and longsuffering; always loving even if I'm hurt- this I CANNOT DO !!!! But, that is where He comes in.

My heart was broken when I finally realized it was my own selfishness that made things the way they were. It was my own heart that was wrong. Though I thought I was giving and selfless, I was lying to myself. I so resisted having to give up everything of myself to this point. But I finally let go. Lord mold me into Your image- I am the clay, You are the potter. Though it may hurt, let me do only what You desire.

That's what I was prepared to do in any other vocation, so why not this? Because there is an evil one who knows that strong Christian families are the Lord's army. He must tear us apart because the time is short- he is angry because he is hellbound soon.

Last night my husband and I had a discussion- a very tearful and painful one, each rebuking the other. Yes it was arguing, but we did it quietly and calmly even with the children present so it didn't appear we were mad :) So my heart was broken again, realizing that I have the power to make or break my family, kids and marriage. If I am selfish, then it affects everyone and everything. If I give until I'm give out, there are rewards. Hard work...not glamorous and not easy. But, it's necessary to have fruit that will last.

I am having to completely retrain myself. If I need to cook, then I have to figure out a way to involved the girls or somehow keep them busy and next to me. I have to spend time with them in order to teach and pass on my values. If they need correction then I have to drop everything and deal with it. It may take an hour, but my focus has to be on eternal things. My husband and children are more important than a clean house and beautiful meals. And, if I would take time to train my girls how to do things that will help me, then I won't have so much work to do- I will have helpers! This will take time and not be instantaneous- must get it through my head.

I am doing better now. Yesterday was 100 times better than the days before it. Today I'm doing better, not perfect, we're all tired and a bit irritable. Right now I am focusing on my tone of voice and attitude, making sure each child is loved on adequately, playing with them and reading with them more, and including them in what I am doing as best I can. I know I will fail at times. But, at least I'm back on the right path.

June 5, 2008

Frugal Meals...

Another one today :) Chili and cole slaw. I would make some cornbread too, but I'm hot and tired and we have some corn chips.

Budget Chili

1lb ground beef or turkey
1 cup dried beans- I used red kidney-or 1 can of beans
1 medium onion
half a bell pepper- green or red or whatever color
1 T chopped garlic (1-2 cloves) or garlic powder
1 can diced tomatoes
6-8 cups of broth of some type- I had leftover canned beef broth- and water, or use all water
seasonings to taste- chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper

Soak your beans in warm water with 2 T whey, vinegar, buttermilk, or kefir for 12 hrs.
Drain and simmer until soft.
In a large pot brown ground beef. After it gets mostly browned add chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper. After meat and veggies are cooked add beans, tomatoes, seasonings, broth or water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer 30 minutes until liquid is reduced a bit and chili as a nice consistency. Be sure to taste and adjust seasonings to desired spiciness.

Serve with shredded cheese, corn chips, sour cream, chopped fresh onions etc.

Simple Cole Slaw

First off, this would be hard to do without a food processor. I guess you could slice it by hand, but the texture would be coarser. Anyways...

1/2 head of regular green cabbage
3-4 large carrots or 6 medium-small
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 T buttermilk or milk, to thin the mayo a bit
1 t dijon mustard
1/8th cup of apple cider vinegar
honey or sugar to taste
salt and pepper

Shred cabbage and carrots. Combine in a large bowl. In another bowl mix dressing ingredients together well. Toss dressing and slaw mix together. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Sorry I am not more specific with amounts- that's just the way I am. I added probably about 1/3 sweetener to the dressing and this was on the sweeter side for me. Some people like it real sweet and others not.

So this meal probably costs less than $5 and would easily feed around 8 people. Not too shabby :)

June 3, 2008

In the game now

Well, I got sucked in to playing the CVS game. I've been noticing several ladies in the blog world talking about shopping at CVS Pharmacy. I thought, well, that works for them, but I don't have time to do that and I don't have a store nearby.

Anyways, now that we've moved and it would greatly benefit us to get things for almost free, I've decided to try it out. Now I don't live near a CVS, but every week I go into a town that does when I take Leiah to speech therapy. I had planned to go last week, but a big storm prevented me. I finally got to go today.

This was my first trip ever and I didn't have any coupons. So, my transactions will look quite expensive compared to others. The whole thing with CVS, for those who don't know, they have a card you can get called an Extra Care Card. If you get one, then you can get special deals. Every week they advertise certain products that will get you 'ECBs' or Extra Care Bucks, which is like extra money.

So, today, if you buy $20 of Charmin toilet paper, Bounty paper towels or Duracell batteries, you would get $10 in ECBs. Then you could use that 'money' on your next transaction. If I had coupons for any of those items, then I would pay less. I may subscribe to the Sunday paper just for the coupons, because it helps! There are also lots of places online that you can print coupons, but my printer isn't working. For more info go to www.moneymakingmom.com. That's where I started learning.

So here are my purchases for today:

In my first transaction, I bought the toilet paper and batteries, $20 worth, and the swiffer duster and febreeze combo, $10 worth, generated $15 in ECBs. The total came to $38.88

My second transaction I had lots of buy one get one free items. Ibuprofen, deodorant, and dish soap, and the pantyliners were 66 cents. (I gave the extra ibuprofen to my mom and bought some Nerds for Leiah, not pictured because she ate them.) I only had to pay .63 cents for the second transaction. I would have paid zero, but for some reason 'it' wouldn't let the register ring it up like that. Still...

So, I went into this knowing it might cost me a bit up front, but I still have $6 ECBs to use next time, and if I find some good coupons, I could go back, get more stuff and make more ECBs.

Very confusing, but it's starting to make sense to me. Now dh has deodorant to last the next 6 months, we have enough Febreeze to last like, a year, and dish soap to last several months. And that was just one visit to the store. Whatever I can get for free or practically free, I will just store up. Someday I will have enough stuff to give away to people who need it.

Also pictured were the fresh garden new potatoes my mom dug up today and blessed me with. I was going to peel and mash regular russets, but now I have fresh new potatoes to eat with our beef roast tonight.

I love fresh flowers, and lately I've noticed you can get very lovely ones for free. Just stop along side the road! Seriously, the yellow and pink ones are from the roadside. The hydrangea arrangement is from my mom's flowers. It's not hard to make things pretty or find things for free, you just have to keep your eyes open :)

I was going to take pics of the kitchen and dining area and forgot. Will try again later :)

June 2, 2008

Who's in Charge?

Is God in control? Can God do anything He wants? Why doesn't He just end world hunger or stop innocent people from being killed? Why do bad things happen to Christians?

Ever asked these questions? What are some answers we've heard?

" All things work together for good."

"It was God's will"

"Sometimes bad things happen to good people."

"God's bringing judgment on sinful world."

How about this- bad things happen because we let them. Yes, I said because we let bad things happen. Because of a lack of knowledge.

"My people perish from lack of knowledge."

So what in the world am I talking about?

Well a lot of people think that God is totally in control of everything, and ultimately He is, BUT, He can't overtake free will. He has chosen not to. Many Christians either don't really believe that there is a devil or realize that he is out to get them. Many Christians are lazy and want to let God do it all for us, so they just blame Him when something goes wrong.

Let's go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:27-31

"So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

Genesis 2:1

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

So, God made a beautiful place for us to live and lots of food to eat, made us, then gave us dominion on the earth, or authority. Then, He sat down. He handed it over to us. The earth is still under our authority. Animals still run in fright when they see humans and just as Jesus did, we can in His name, take authority over storms/tornadoes etc. I've done it before.

Now, the church is the body. We all have a part to play in His plan. However, who is our head? This is what the Bible says:

Ephesians 1:20-23

"Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.."

Christ is our head and we are His body. A head can't go anywhere by itself. It needs a body and feet. That is where we come in. Notice however that Christ is at the right hand of God, meaning He is in authority, and all things are put under His feet. Who are the feet? US!!!

We are the ones in control of what happens in our life. Jesus came and died for us, rose again and went back to the Father. The Holy Spirit dwells in us to be our guide and teacher, BUT, it is up to us to do what He says. We always have a choice. When I got locked out of my house I had a choice- panic and make a big issue calling my husband and making him come all the way home to unlock the door, or, do what the Bible says and pray in faith for God's help. If we see weather forecasts about storms and tornadoes we can panic and be fearful or we can pray and thank God for His protection as laid out in Psalm 91 and expect to be fine.

Always a choice. It is up to us and our faith in His Word, which is really faith in Jesus. Our words plant seeds as well, and if we're constantly speaking things like, " Well it'll be my luck that such and such will happen (negative)" or " There's a history of such and such disease in my family so I'll probably get it." Other things I'm catching myself in are saying things like " I just about died laughing" Or " That tickled me to death." Think about those words, though said in jest, I am basically speaking death over myself! The enemy has so fooled us we don't even realize what we're saying!

But I digress...

God's will is us exercising the God given authority over the circumstances in our life and the evil one. His will for us is always good and not evil. Anyone that says that God wants us to suffer for Christ is a liar. God is not glorified in the deaths of His saints or seeing them afflicted. It is costly to Him to lose His army on this earth. We need to practice what Jesus taught and really live by faith- faith that moves mountains and walks on water. If Jesus did it as our example, than we can do it too.