Friday, January 29, 2010

Rejoice and be glad

So I'm sitting at home today waiting for this big snow we are suppose to be getting. My mother-in-law arrived a day early (which explains why I didn't blog yesterday, I had to get ready) in order to beat the storm. So we are just sitting and waiting now hoping that it does snow, since she's from Florida and hasn't seen snow in years. As we sit and talk I'm reminded how quickly life moves and how we should make the most of every day. My mother-in-law, Melanie, works in home health and we've discussed how precious life is. It reminds me to enjoy each day. We were talking about quality time and I shared how that is part of the reason we don't watch TV much in our house. I don't want to sit and waste time while life passes me by.

We have a tendency so many times to want rain then complain when we get too much. To want snow then complain when it inconveniences us. To want sun then complain when it's too hot. To want a day or week to pass by quickly then complain later when life seems to fly by and our children grow up too fast. We (including me) need to enjoy each day whatever it may bring. Life does fly by too quickly and I don't want to spend mine complaining. So, if my children are fussing, the house is not picked up, the dishes are overflowing, it's raining and I can't send the kids outside or whatever, I will count it all joy. Because...

"This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making time for your spouse.

So how do you have a large family and still have time for your spouse? You make time. Just like with reading your Bible, you will never find time to do it, you have to make time. It is so important to make time for each other. Remember how fun it was to go on dates before you were married? Well, go on dates after you're married too. Keep in mind that one day all the children will be grown and they will move on with their lives. You must work on your relationship with your spouse or when the kids are gone you will find you have nothing in common anymore. How sad would that be, to have shared so much with someone just to find out after the children are gone that you are living with a stranger.

Dates do not have to be extravagant or expensive. They can be as simple as going out for dessert if you don't have time for a whole meal. Go to a park and walk together. Go out to dinner when you can. I've known some to go grocery shopping then out for ice cream or something of that sort. Of course you can go all out and go to a concert or fancy restaurant, but if you set yourself up to do that every time you will find that you stop because you just can't afford to keep it up.

You should try to go out once a week. Have someone you trust watch the children so you don't have to worry about them. You need to enjoy yourself and not feel concerned about the care of your children while you are out. Remember to enjoy yourself, that is the point of the date. Talk, laugh, share with each other the things you haven't been able to share at home with the children around.

Another way to spend time with your spouse is to have a set bedtime for the children each night. This way you have some quality time together each night. Make sure you don't spend this time watching tv or on the computer or catching up on your reading. That defeats the "spending time together" part. Just because you're in the same room doesn't mean you are communicating with each other. Besides, without these distractions you'll find more opportunities for intimacy. Ever wonder why your not as intimate as you would like, think about what you spend your free time doing.

Make spending time with your spouse a priority. Too many marriages don't make it these days and I believe that is due in part to not making time for each other. I believe that if you can do this it can be the thing that could possibly save your marriage from being dull, mundane and boring. Make the time, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why we homeschool

Where I grew up everyone went to public school. I knew one girl that went to a private Christian school and had heard of one family that homeschooled. It was just an accepted fact that when you had children they would go to public school. I never really thought of doing anything different.

When I was in college my aunt decided to homeschool her daughter and had invited me to attend a homeschool meeting with her. It was at that time that I realized that I really wanted to homeschool when I had children of my own. After I was married and had children we attended a church where three other families homeschooled. My best friend, who had six children at the time, homeschooled and was able to show me how she did everything. We were surrounded by people that homeschooled. So, when it came time to school our oldest child my husband and I just naturally chose to homeschool (being in agreement was confirmation that it was the right decision for our family). So, since the very beginning I have homeschooled our children.

We choose to homeschool for various reasons. We believe that it is God's design for our family. We believe that our children will receive a better education through homeschooling. We believe that by homeschooling our children will receive the behavioral instruction we desire for them. We believe that it is our job to raise and teach our children and we choose not to give that job to someone else.

By saying all that I'm not saying that everyday is easy. And yes, there have been days when I wondered if it would just be easier to send them to a private school. But since I believe that God led us to this decision then He will give me the strength to do what needs to be done. I love watching my children learn and discover things. Missing out on this would be like missing their first step or their first word, for me anyway. It is a joy to hear my child read knowing that I helped them learn to do that. Just as I believe God enjoys watching us learn to do the things He is teaching us.

Many of you may wonder if you would be able to help your child learn by homeschooling, or think that you couldn't do it. Think for a moment who taught your child to walk, speak, drink from a cup, eat with a spoon, tie their shoe, etc. Now understand that there are all types of curriculum out there to help you teach however you want to teach; hands on, very involved, not so involved, through the computer, or textbooks. You can do it if you desire and there are so many resources available to help you achieve this goal.

I'm not saying that every person should homeschool. I believe that it is each person's decision to make on their own. But if it is something that you would like to do, then let me encourage you that you CAN. If you have the desire to homeschool then pray about it. God gives us the desires of our heart (meaning He is the author of your desire, He is the one giving you that desire). Yes, it's a little scary at first, but you can do it. Just take one day at a time, give it to God and remember to smile.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why a large family?

I have answered some of the "how do you do it?" questions so now I thought I would share why we do it. We believe that children are a blessing from God and who are we to reject His blessings? It really was never anything my husband and I debated over or disagreed on, it just seemed to be something that God placed on both our hearts.

After we had Christiana there wasn't a question that we wanted another one so we didn't do anything to keep from getting pregnant we just let things happen naturally. After Josiah, we still wanted more so Kaitlyn came along, then Micah. After Micah, we thought that maybe we were done. Thinking that we had two girls and two boys we were satisfied. Then we unexpectedly got pregnant with Jonathan. After the shock wore off and he was born we felt so blessed to have him as part of our family. He is such a joy to all of us and so precious, I really would hate to think what we would have missed out on if we had decided to take our family size in our own hands instead of trusting God. Since Jonathan we have decided to trust God, since He knows best anyway. We now have seven children (Matthew and Joshua came after Jonathan) and we are open to whatever God chooses for us.

It is a step of faith to trust God in this area. So many times we want to think that we know better what we can or cannot handle, but God has shown us over and over again that if we trust Him to provide our family then He will provide for our family as well.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127: 3-5

Friday, January 22, 2010

Helping Hands

I think it is so important to teach our children to help out around the house. One day they will have their own home and they will need to take care of it, so it is my responsibility to teach them. Keeping a home neat and clean does not just come naturally to everyone. To not teach them is doing them a disservice. I also think they should start learning as soon as possible. Now I'm not talking about being a slave driver. I do believe children should be children, but I don't believe that means all play and no work. Part of life is about fulfilling responsibilities, and we all have the responsibility of creating a happy home environment. The way to do that is to teach our children this responsibility as well. If everyone is doing their part, then no one person is having to do too much.

Now I have no problem with the children helping sweep, do dishes, clean bathrooms and such, the hard part for me is letting them help cook. You see, I LOVE to cook. That's my down time. I just enjoy cooking, it's not a burden for me. Of course, my children LOVE cooking too, so I'm having to learn to SHARE this job. It's the one thing I have to remind myself to have a meek and quiet spirit with. I can be in the kitchen fixing a meal and one of my precious children will come in and ask if they can help. Now I know I should be happy they are asking and gladly invite them over to help. Instead, I have to take a breath and make myself smile and invite them over. But, I do invite them over. I know that it is important for my children to learn to cook. It will help them with their budgets and to save a lot of money when they are adults. So, I CHOOSE to smile and CHOOSE to let the little ones come pour measured amounts of stuff in the bowls and stir and mix and pour, even though it takes longer. And I CHOOSE to enjoy this time and try to remember these cute little hands doing something that makes them feel BIG. I should be happy they want to spend time with me, so I CHOOSE to enjoy spending this time with them. One day when they are all grown up I'm sure these will be my fondest memories.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Picnic in January

Today we decided to enjoy the sunshine, after all the rain we have been getting. We couldn't have a picnic on the ground because it's soaked, so we had one on the front porch.

The sun was shining and the breeze felt great. It just does something to your spirit to get outside and breathe in the fresh air.

I am looking forward to this spring and summer so we can picnic more. We love picnics. They are cheap and you can take them anywhere. Just find a nice spot and set up. (Clean up is great too, no dishes).

Now we are all back inside getting ready to head to the store. I'm trying out some coupons today at Kroger. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Family Time

It's not always easy to find time to spend with your kids. You have to make time. So many times we let modern conveniences take our precious time from us instead of giving us more time. How is it that it seems family quality was better back when we had less "conveniences?" I'm mainly speaking of the TV/computer. It's nice to have the world at your fingertips in a matter of seconds and to know what is going on through the news, but I wonder just how much we are truly giving up to have these. Besides, what is on there that is worth watching or more important than spending time with your children? Now don't get me wrong, I'm not judging anyone. I have been there too. It has only been in the last couple of years that we have cut back on the amount of TV that our family watches. Every day I make the choice to spend time with my family doing something like playing games or reading, instead of spending time watching TV with them (not really with them they just happen to be in the room while the TV is on). There is a BIG difference. Have you ever noticed that when everyone is playing together you don't mind the noise of little ones and they don't seem to get in the way as much. Yet, when you are watching TV you are always telling the little ones who are playing to be quiet and move (because they always seem to be in front of the TV). Ever think maybe they just want your attention? Ok, ok, I'll get off my soap box here because I think you get the picture.

Usually I'm the one who reads to the kids, but Jim decided he wanted to read a book to them that he read when he was young. The children LOVE this time with him reading. They always cheer when it's time to start and beg him to read "one more chapter, please." I love watching our children come together and cuddle during this time. It's a something I'm sure the children will always remember.

I challenge you that if you like to spend your evenings around the TV to take a break from it for a while and try reading to your children instead. I think you will find that it brings everyone together and brings some peace and quiet as well (you can't listen to a story while talking). Plus it gives everyone something in common that they can talk about and discuss. Or, pull out some board games and play together. It really is a lot of fun. And maybe you'll find that you enjoy it more than you thought you would. Our children grow up too fast as it is. Let's not waste any of the precious time we have been given with them. Make memories together.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Kaitlyn

Today is my daughter, Kaitlyn's, 10th birthday. (For those of you keeping up, yes this is the third birthday three weeks straight). It's hard to believe that 10 years ago today I was holding her as a newborn in my arms. She is such a sweetheart and always has been. She was my easiest baby; sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old (I could lay her down and she would just go right to sleep), then when she would wake up she would just sing until I came to get her, she potty trained quickly and didn't have hardly any accidents at night, she can keep herself entertained for long periods of time playing or drawing. She loves to be cuddled with and is a compassionate person. I am proud to be her mother and feel that I am blessed to have her in my life.

I love you Kaitlyn! You are beautiful inside and out and I look forward to watching you grow into the awesome woman that God has designed you to be. Happy Birthday!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Family Night

Every Friday night we have Family Night. It started back when Josiah was born as a way to spend some extra, special quality time with Christiana since the baby, Josiah, took so much of my attention. Jim decided he would take the night before his day off work, which at the time was Monday night, to hang out and spend the night on the floor, watching TV and snacking with Christiana while I stayed in the room with the baby. As Josiah grew older and the next baby came, Josiah joined them and then so on and so forth. It has now become Friday night and all the kids except the baby sleep on the living room floor. We usually make pizza, have popcorn and sometimes a dessert treat and watch a movie together. Since we don't watch TV during the week it is a treat to watch a movie together. Now that we have seven children, Jim and I usually go to our own beds once everyone settles down to sleep (I just don't do very well on the floor anymore, besides there's no room). Even after all these years, I look forward to Friday night and the time we all come together and hang out and the kids still get excited as well. There's just something about hanging out together and doing something different than your everyday routine that's fun. I love hanging out with my family, and try to always remember that these days will be gone too fast. So take the time now to make your children feel special by doing something special with them and enjoy these days, make lasting memories and laugh together. I can only imagine that you will be glad you did.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Do You Do It? Helping Hands

I could never accomplish all the things that need to be accomplished without the buddy system. All our older children 9 and up have a younger buddy. They help with getting their buddies clothes changed in the morning, teeth brushed and hair combed. They help at meal time, when needed, especially when we go to a restaurant or church meal in which there is a buffet type line. They help with getting ready anytime we leave the house to go somewhere, making sure outfits match (and are not play clothes), getting shoes and socks on and making sure hair and teeth are brushed. When we are going somewhere in which there is a crowd each older buddy keeps up with their younger buddy. This helps me keep my sanity and not worry constantly that I have everyone. I just check with each older buddy and they let me know everyone is present.

I also have our school day set up with 1/2 hour increments in which an older child will take a break from school to watch the younger non-schooled children. This is such an amazing help to me. Before doing this my little children were constantly getting into things they are not suppose to get into while I was trying to teach my older children. I lost so much teaching time chasing my little ones around. Now I can relax and teach knowing that my little ones are being watched. This is also good for the older children in that they get to spend quality time with their younger siblings and the little ones really look forward to it.

I have to admit, when people ask about my large family, that it really is easier now than it was when I only had 2-3 children. I believe in the philosophy of The More the Merrier. It's true, the more you have the easier it gets because you have so much more help than when you only had 2 or 3 little ones by yourself. Of course you have to teach and train your children to help, it doesn't come naturally. I love watching my little guys look up to their older siblings for help and watching the older ones care so affectionately for their younger siblings, it's so precious to me. I love my large family and wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How Do You Do It? Schedules and planners

I would find it impossible to accomplish all the things I need to accomplish each day without some kind of plan or schedule. I also find it much easier to stick to a budget when I have a menu plan for each week. I even have a chore chart made out so the kids know what's expected of them. Now do we always stick to these plans and schedules? No. There are days we make adjustments and that's ok. At least I have an idea of where I'm at and what needs to be done.

For school I have a chart for each hour of the day starting from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed. At any time of the day you can look at our schedule and see what is suppose to be happening (notice I said suppose to). I don't stress over whether we stick to every little minute, but at least we have a plan. Just make a few adjustments here and there and keep moving forward.

For their chores, I have a chore chart made out so everyone can remember what is expected of them. I have daily chores written out then their once a week chores. No one can say they didn't know they were suppose to do something because it's right there on the chart. (We're still working on this one because I'm still working on the "following up" part to make sure their work is accomplished).

Each week I make out a menu plan for our meals throughout the week. This helps me not stress each day about what to fix for meals and it helps the older children know what we are having so they can help or at least get use to the idea if it's not something they really like. My kids have made the comment many times about how they love the menu chart. They just like knowing what's coming up. It also helps me with my budget. I figure what meals to make for the week, and make my grocery list so that I stick to my budget.

Having these may seem rigid to some people, but I realize they are essential. They help me keep up with my day and to accomplish way more than I ever would without them. When everyone knows what is expected of them it just makes the whole house more peaceful. It also helps when I'm sick or when I'm not around, anyone can look at the schedule and stick to the routine. So, for instance, if we had a babysitter come to our home, they would know what we normally do and follow the chart. It would keep me from having to write so much out every time someone came to watch our children. Less confusion is always better, and you can't argue with what's written.

I just figure that if God is a God of order (seasons, night and day, etc.) than what better example to follow than Him.

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." Genesis 1:14

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you , plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How Do You Do It? Recipes

I told you yesterday that I would share some of my recipes for the homemade items I make to save money. So, here they are.

Laundry Detergent
1 bar soap
2 C baking soda
2 gallons hot water

Grate one bar soap. You can use whatever you have on hand, I like to use Ivory. Put grated soap in saucepan and just cover with water. Cook on low until soap melt, there will usually be a few small undissolved pieces, that's ok. In a five gallon bucket (with lid) pour in the 2 gallons of hot water. Add dissolved, melted soap. stir well. Add baking soda, stir again. Cover and allow to sit overnight. Stir in the morning and add to an empty detergent jug that you've used or just use a cup to dip what you need from the bucket. Use 1/2 c for regular loads or 1 c for heavily soiled clothes.

Dryer Sheets
Container of fabric softner
3 sponges

Rinse or clean an empty plastic ice cream container. Take fabric softner and pour into container. Fill jug with water and add to softner, do this two times, so you have 1 part softner to two parts water. Take the sponges and cut each in half. Add to the container of softner until saturated. Each time you dry a load of laundry, squeeze out a sponge and throw into dryer as you would a dryer sheet. When finished with load take dry sponge and put back in with the softner.

Baby Wipes (Duggar recipe)
1 - 1 gallon ice cream bucket
1 roll Bounty paper towels
2 C water
2 Tbsp. baby oil
1 Tbsp rubbing alcohol
opt. -1 Tbsp baby bubble bath

Cut a whole roll of Bounty towels into two halves. (Brand name counts.) Use an electric knife for best results. Place one of the halved rolls vertically in an empty and thoroughly cleaned one gallon ice cream bucket. In a jar mix water, baby oil, and alcohol. Pour over towels in ice cream bucket, and soak for thirty minutes. Remove the cardboard center. Pull towel from center roll and push through the X-shaped slit you've cut in the lid of the ice cream bucket so you can pull out and tear off one "wipe" at a time.

All-purpose cleaner
Empty spray bottle
1/4 C Dawn dish soap

Recycle an empty spray bottle that has been cleaned and rinsed. Add Dawn (must be Dawn) and then finish filling with vinegar. Shake and use.

Hope you will find these recipes as frugal as I have. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Joshua's 1st Birthday

Today is Joshua's Birthday and he is one year old. It's always amazing to me how much a child accomplishes in their first year of life. Joshua has 7, going on 8, teeth, and he is walking all over the house. I never grow tired of watching my children grow. Each one has their own little personality and Joshua is a happy little guy that brings joy to everyone he meets. I am blessed to be his Mom. Thank you Lord for letting me be His Mom. Give me the wisdom and discernment to bring him up to be the man that you would have him become.

Happy Birthday, Joshua. I love you so much.

"How do you do it" Financially

Another aspect of "How do you do it" is how can we afford a large family on one income. First of all, we are not rich. You don't have to be rich to stay home with your children. My husband, Jim, is a subcontractor for security. He is a technician in security, as in security systems. We do not have any other businesses at this time nor does Jim have to work two jobs.

We took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class this past fall and are learning to live on a budget. We are looking forward to the day when we can call the radio station and yell "We're Debt Free!" We don't have a lot of debt, but I do still have some old college bills. We do not use credit cards of any type (except debit/credit cards that are attached to our bank account) so if we don't have the money for something we don't get it.

I do make a lot of homemade things such as laundry detergent, dryer sheets, baby wipes, cleaning supplies, bread and so forth and have tried to learn as many ways to save here and there by making a few small adjustments, such as using dry milk in recipes that call for milk. I have never been a coupon person because I have found that buying Walmart generic is usually cheaper than a name brand with a coupon. However, I have recently come across some blogs that teach you how to use coupons so you can buy things at rock bottom prices or even for free sometimes. I'll get back to you on that one as I educate myself more.

I believe that children are a blessing from the Lord and that He doesn't give you any more than you can handle. I also believe that God is our provider and that if He is going to bless my family with more children then He will provide for them. My part is making sure that we are using His provisions wisely. I'm not the kind of person that needs a lot of fancy things. I think quality time is more important than stuff. I'm willing to make the sacrifice of living a simple life so that I can bring more quality to my children's lives.

I will post some of my recipes on the items I mentioned above and go into more detail concerning budgeting and planning. So, if you're considering staying at home but don't think you can afford your family on one income, come back for some great tips on how you may be able to do it after all.

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward" Ps. 127:3

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How Do You Do It?

I suppose one of the main questions I'm asked when people see me with all my children is "How do you do it?" usually followed by "I can't even keep up with the two that I have." My standard answer has become, "One day at a time and by the grace of God." Which is true. I decide not to worry about what tomorrow will bring and just focus on each day at a time and trust God's grace to help me with whatever that day brings. Now saying that doesn't mean that I don't plan ahead. My day is full of schedules and plans. I don't think a large family works as smoothly without some kind of direction. But what I want to focus on today is the grace that comes from God that helps me with each day. I recognize that I could not do what I do without Him.

I start each day with a prayer that God will help me face whatever challenges I'm going to face that day and to react to those situations like He would have me react. I pray for grace, wisdom and discernment. I realize that I have a wonderful opportunity every day to show God's love to my children by my actions. I take very seriously my calling to my family and realize that every day is a gift. Do I ever mess up? YES. That's where God has taught me to be humble and ask for forgiveness. That in itself teaches my children that they are not perfect and how to humble themselves and ask forgiveness.

I grew up in a divorced home and didn't have my parents together from the time I was five years old. So, I love to read Christian books on parenting skills. Some of my favorites are, The Bible, Keeping Our Children's Hearts by Steven and Teri Maxwell, How to be a Hero to Your Kids by Josh McDowell and Dick Day, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell (I think everyone who has children should read this book even if you don't homeschool), Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel and Bringing up Boys by James Dobson. Each night I also read a short devotional called A Cup of Comfort, Devotional for Mothers by James Stuart Bell and Jeanette Gardner Littleton.

I have learned, through these books, skills on how to be more patient, kind, and understanding, to have a meek and quiet spirit and how to see everyday as a gift and enjoy my children because they do grow up way too fast. I don't claim to have mastered all these skills but I do work on them everyday. I am thankful that having patience is not difficult for me. I do not anger easily and I'm pretty laid back and easy going. I still become frustrated sometimes and could always use more patience, just as God has always had patience with me.

I will leave you with a few encouraging verses that I try to keep in mind and hope that they can encourage you with what God has called you to do as a parent to His precious children.

"Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh everyday." Lamentations 3:23

"Guard what God has entrusted to you...May God's grace be with you." I Tim. 6:20-21

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart..." Proverbs 15:30

"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." I Peter 3:4

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13


Friday, January 8, 2010

Coming up...

Starting next week I will begin to answer some of the questions that people ask most. I think I will start with the "How do you do it" question and share a little something each day to answer different aspects of how we make our large family work.

If you have any particular questions, please feel free to ask. Looking forward to sharing with you.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Extreme Sheep Herding

Last night, everyone was kind of hanging around after supper, some in the living room playing board games, some upstairs in their rooms and my husband in our bedroom with his laptop checking emails and such. I was in the living room with some of the little guys when we start hearing my husband, Jim, laughing. I ask him what he's laughing at and he tells me that he was watching a video a friend sent him of extreme sheep herding. Figuring I'll watch it later everyone continued what they were doing. About 15 minutes later our 5 year old, Jonathan, goes into the bedroom to hang out with Jim. He looks at his Daddy and asks him if he could watch the video of the slapping sheep. Not quite understanding what he said he asked Jonathan again and again Jonathan asked if he could watch the video of the slapping sheep. It was at that moment that I heard Jim laughing very hard. I asked what was so funny and he repeated what Jonathan had asked him. Finally understanding what was going on I began to laugh too. You see, when Jim had informed me that he was watching a video on sheep "herding" Jonathan interpreted it as sheep "hurting" so it was only logical to him that the sheep must be getting slapped, that why they were hurting. We all got a good laugh out of it, since all the family had to come find out what was so funny, and kissed and hugged on Jonathan because he's so cute.

It's amazing to me how kids interpret things and how innocent they are in their understanding of the things they know or don't know. I love being a Mom to small children. It keeps me on my toes and laughing at life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back on Track?

We are trying to get back to our daily routine after getting over the stomach bug, and it's slow going. It appears that some of the kids are still feeling yucky and moving very slowly. We're starting our day later than usual. I look around the house and see laundry, messy boys room, bathrooms that need to be scrubbed (again) and all the stuff that got neglected while we were sick. But, I'm determined to get something accomplished today. We will try to get some school work done for those who are able and to get my house put back in order. It's amazing how just one day of sickness can seem to put me so far behind, especially considering the house was put together before we got sick.

It's days like these last few that I am so thankful that I serve a risen Lord. He is my strength when I am weak, and help in my time of need. I would just like to thank the Lord for being there for me.

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness." Romans 8:26

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christiana's 14th Birthday

Today is our oldest daughter, Christiana's, 14th birthday. I can't believe it's been 14 years already. Where has the time gone? I am so proud of her and all her accomplishments over this last year. She is a joy to be around and the life of the party. She is beautiful inside and out and I hope she realizes how blessed our family is to have her in it. I pray that God will bless her all the days of her life and that she will continually seek His face.

Today we decorated the dining room for her with streamers, signs and balloons. She chooses all her favorite meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then tonight we have cake, ice cream and presents. The little kids like going to get her a little something from the dollar store and they all make homemade birthday cards for her. We try to make her feel special all day so that she realizes how special she really is to our family.

In case you're wondering, before the day was over we all had the stomach bug. I was the last one to catch it around midnight last night. It is a 12 hour bug so everyone is better but weak because it completely wipes you out. Christiana got sick last night so she is not spending her birthday sick, just weak. She is enjoying all her birthday meals, just in smaller portions.

So, Happy Birthday Christiana. I Love You So Much.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day Back to School

Today is our first day back to school since Christmas break. I finally got the house back in order and ready for school and I spent last night excited to get back to our daily routine and trying to find a fun lapbook lesson for the kids. After getting everything ready and feeling prepared for the day I headed to bed, sure that the next day would be great.

I wake up around seven, go get our youngest son for his feeding and come back downstairs to find Matthew, our 3 year old, in our bed (a habit he's gotten into the last week or so). I finish nursing Joshua and head to the kitchen to start breakfast when I hear shuffling in my bedroom. I go in there to find my husband, Jim, and Matthew in the bathroom while Matthew is throwing up. "Oh no," I thought, "poor guy." You see yesterday our youngest son, Joshua 11 mos., was sick. So now it appears Matthew has gotten the bug.

So, I head back in the kitchen to finish preparing breakfast then upstairs to wake the kids. After coming back down I'm informed by my other children that Micah, our 7 year old, doesn't feel well. I inform them to let him stay in bed and everyone else to get ready.

Breakfast comes and afterwards Josiah, our 11 year old tells me he doesn't feel well. As school starts, Kaitlyn, our 9 year old, says she doesn't feel well. So now here I am making everyone comfortable and cleaning out bowls while the kids watch Veggie Tales instead of doing school. (I wonder if they planned this)

Fortunately, this bug seems to only last a few short hours, or at least that's the way it was with Joshua. Oh well, there's always tomorrow for the first day back to school :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bible Reading

So I thought I'd post a note about reading through the Bible in 90 days. I decided to join the challenge through the Raising Olives community since I honestly have never read through the entire Bible from start to finish. I've started with reading through in one year, but never finished. So I thought that if I joined others and became accountable to others that I could do this, besides 90 days isn't that long and I figured I could press through and do this one.

So, I challenge you. If you have never read through the Bible then join me. It's not too late. You may have a lot to read to catch up but you can do it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Funny story

Just a funny story I had to share...We went out to eat tonight, and as usual, as we walk in the restaurant people stare at the size of our group. I wonder what they're thinking. Some look at us as if we are going to disturb their quiet evening out (then seem pleasantly surprised when they realize how quiet and well behaved our children are at restaurants), others smile as if remembering the days when they had small children and others seem to wonder how we can afford to take our family out to eat (with coupons and water for everyone). Each older child has a younger buddy they help and keep track of. So, as we are leaving the restaurant and crossing the parking lot, Kaitlyn our 9 year old, starts yelling out to one of the little boys and trying to get him to stop running in the parking lot (a BIG no no for our kids) and herding him back closer to our group. As the little guy turns around Kaitlyn realizes he's not one of ours and we all get a chuckle out of her innocent mistake. You know you're part of a large family when you try to corral all small children around you to join your family.


Welcome to my blog.

I am a Christian, wife, stay-at-home, homeschooling, love making things from scratch, Mom of seven wonderful children. I figured that since so many people ask me questions about my family and how we do things that maybe the easiest way to answer all these questions is to just give you a glimpse into our lives. I know that I don't have the largest family around, but it's large enough that it draws attention wherever we go. I do not claim, by any means, to have all the answers but I will try to answer the questions that most people ask. I'm not one to spend forever writing, I just don't have that kind of time, so my posts will probably be short and not take a long time to read. I understand that we all have busy lives and usually have short moments throughout our day to receive a little encouragement and to help us realize that we are not alone in our day to day routines.

So, enjoy and feel free to ask me any questions that you may have of a large family. I look forward to sharing our lives with you (plus it gives me a great way to keep a journal of my family), and hopefully encouraging you along the way. Blessings to you all and thanks for stopping by.