Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Like Father, Like Son - Wordless

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Being Real

My friend and midwife posted this site on her facebook page and I couldn't help but share it with you. It is truly a Mom being REAL. She says things we only think of saying. Hope you Moms enjoy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Weekend Events

Can you find the diver?

Joshua and me

Jim and Josiah at the horseshoe crab tank

The kids

The kids under an aquarium

This weekend we went to Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg as an extended birthday weekend event. We had never been before and we weren't disappointed. We had a blast touching sting rays, horseshoe crabs and going through the shark lagoon. We all enjoyed the variety of sea creatures they had were amazed at the number and size of tanks in the aquarium.

You may wonder how we can afford to take our family there. Well, if you homeschool you can get the homeschool discount. Just bring in your homeschool ID and that's it. We would have not been able to go except for this discount. All the more reason why it's good to homeschool. It was a fun weekend event as well as a field trip :)

Hope you had a fun filled weekend. The weather was great and it was great to get out and enjoy the day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Josiah!

Today is Josiah's birthday. He is my firstborn son and such a sweetheart. He loves to go to work with his Dad and help out and he is already learning a trade that will stay with him. His little brothers look up to him and love having sword fights and wrestling with him. He is a great protector of his sister's and can make up some of the funniest characters in plays that they make up together. He's smart and handsome and I thank the Lord that I have the privilege of having him for a son. I pray that the Lord will give me the wisdom and the discernment to raise him to be the man God desires him to be. I would like to wish him the best birthday ever. I love you Sweetheart!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Frugal Help

If you are looking for a great website that can offer frugal recipes, then I encourage you to try out I go to her site often and get great ideas when I'm menu planning. Not only does she offer recipes (they're healthy too), she also shares deals at stores and other frugal advice. Check it out and let me know what you think. Are there any blogs or sites that you go to that help you stay frugal?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sticking to Our Standards

Do you ever feel like you are under pressure by other parents to raise your children by their standards? We have more strict standards than some, and sometimes we feel that if we don't allow our children to do all the things everyone else is allowed to do that we are just too strict. So we come to the place where we have to consider the influences from others on our children and if they are taking precedent over our influence on them. It is very important to my husband and I that we keep our children's hearts. Sometimes that means reevaluating things. For instance, family time is very important to our family. We do not like our children going and doing things with others more often than they are doing things with our family. Sometimes we feel that others think we aren't being fair, but that's okay. I have to remember that every family has a different way of bringing their children up and each family has to answer to God for the way they choose to raise their children. God's plan for my family isn't going to be exactly the same as other's plan, so it's okay.

I want to encourage you to stick to your standards for your children and not give in to others standards. We have to answer to God for how we raise our children, not how other parents raise their children. So don't feel pressured to give in because someone else thinks you should. Remember, we are pressing in toward the high calling for our families and that means making ourselves aware of, and recognizing peer pressure so that we don't give in to it.

Phillippians 3:13-14

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Cone Day

Today is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's. So find yourself a local scoop shop (go to and use their store locator) and between the hours of 12-8 pm have yourself a free scoop. Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rewards of training your children

Josiah is such a big help with cooking

Kaitlyn and Christiana, my only girls, what a blessing!

I have been sick since Sunday with an awful headache and pains in my joints. I have the side effects of someone who has the stomach flu but I don't have the stomach flu. I share that with you because today I have remained in bed most of the day. You may wonder how a houseful of children can manage when Mommy is sick in bed. It is because I have taught my children how to do everyday chores and give them responsibilities daily so that they learn how to do things on their own.

My oldest daughter steps up and plays Mom when I'm sick. She is such a great help. She knows what I do each day (plus we have a chore chart on the fridge) so she just takes care of things. My oldest son, loves to cook so he likes to take care of meals. My youngest daughter steps up to help take care of Joshua, our one year old. Now, do things always go smoothly, no. You see, more than one of my children enjoy cooking and Josiah doesn't want help when he cooks so there is that little disagreement I have to help with. Also, my oldest daughter becomes Mommy and my oldest son becomes Daddy so there is the battle of who is really in charge when Mommy is sick.

Most of the time, though, I can get plenty of rest and not worry about everyone being taken care of. Once I straighten out that I am still in charge everyone falls into proper order and I can relax. Today, everyone worked on school, fixed meals, and did what needed to be done and I am so thankful. It helps me to know that my house is not in shambles while I am sick and I can relax and recover quicker than I would if I had to be up doing everything. My children are such a blessing to me and I love them dearly.

I encourage you to teach your children how to do everyday tasks even when they are young. Trust me, it does pay off. Now if you'll excuse me I have some precious homemade Get Well Cards to read.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little Bouquets of Love

My kitchen sink

A mini vase and votive candle holder

A votive candle holder

I love spring and summer because my boring kitchen sink gets a face lift all throughout these seasons. My precious children bring me little bouquets of love, almost daily, and I lovingly display them.

Some people might consider these little vases a bother or find them always in the way, but I love them. They are little mini vases I've found, or even candle holders, that I put treasures my children bring me from outside. Some may look at them and wonder why I'm keeping weeds by my sink, but to me they are beautiful flowers sent to me from a precious little one while they looked up at me with their big, beautiful eyes and told me they love me.

It reminds me a lot of how God looks at us. Sometimes we are shy about bringing our gifts to Him because we feel they are not very good, but God sees them as a beautiful gesture of our love for Him, no matter how anyone else may see them. He loves it when we sing to Him, even if others may think we sound awful. He loves our artwork, even if it may look like primary artwork. If it comes from our heart He loves it. Think how happy our children are when we take their "flowers" and put them in vases for everyone to see. We let them know that we love them and appreciate them.

We must remember that God loves us more than we love our children and that He wants good things for us and our family. It's a good reminder to us Mom's of God's pride in us and love for us. So bring your gifts and know that you shine in God's eyes and He delights in you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good posture

I found my youngest daughter slouched down and practically lying on a living room chair one day when I decided to talk to my children about proper posture. I can remember when I was younger always finding every way, except the proper way, to be the most comfortable way to sit (or slouch). So after talking to my children they all decided to demonstrate for me the proper way to sit on a couch.

As you can see, I still have my work cut out for me. (I love that my kids have a sense of humor).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day and we had doughnuts with green sprinkles and green colored milk for breakfast. As we sat down to breakfast I spoke on who St. Patrick was and the story of St. Patrick's Day. He was a man with a mission to save the Irish by teaching them about Christ and according to Irish folklore he would use the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.

I encourage you to learn what the day is really about and teach your children so they know why we celebrate certain days and certain people. And have fun with the day. Do crafts, color you food, make a special meal or anything else that will help you and your children remember that's there's more to this day than just celebrating the Irish. Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good Big Brother

Josiah holding Micah on the hill so he can get a good start
Josiah running beside him and catching Micah as he falls

I'm so proud of my oldest son, Josiah because he chooses to help his younger brother learn to ride a bicycle. I never told him he needed to help or made him go out to help, he just chose to help. I had to go out and take a couple of shots so I could remember this precious moment.

I'm so thankful that I have children that enjoy spending time together and are happy to help each other. I consider myself very blessed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crazy Love

In Sunday School class we are studying the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I highly recommend this book to anyone who really wants to fall into crazy love with God and understand His crazy love for us. It will change the way you think of God. It's amazing. You can go to to learn more.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Frugal Weekend Ideas

Lowes is doing their Build and Grow Workshop this Saturday March 13. If you are interested in finding something to do that doesn't cost anything and will give the kiddos something to do I think this is a great idea. I believe you may need to register before you go, but it can be done online. For more information you can go to, this is where I found out about it. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take part in it this time due to previous plans.

Have a great weekend and be blessed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fun at the park

Monday was such a beautiful day here in East Tennessee that we decided to take off and go have a picnic at the park. It's so nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The kids had a blast and are already looking forward to our next picnic :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

Our goal as a family is to buy land and build our own log home from scratch. My husband took a course with the Log Home Builders Association in Washington state a couple of years ago and part of our reason for moving back to Tennessee was to find land and build. So when it came to finding a rental home we wanted to make sure that it wasn't too comfortable (because we want to make sure that we will move) and not expensive (since we are trying to save and build, debt free).

We feel so blessed to have found a 1500 sqft two bedroom home for way less than half of what we were paying for our home in VT. Fortunately, this home has an office, so that serves as a third bedroom, but even so it's still a squeeze for our family and all our stuff (not much storage). It's a cozy home and we are glad to have it but we are keeping our eye out for land. Some people think we are crazy for moving into a two bedroom with our family of nine, but it works for me :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Frugal Weekend Activities

Ahead of time, I decided to do some research this weekend to find out what was going on for our frugal family. I was excited to find out that Home Depot was doing their Kids Workshop. I always forget until after the fact. But this time, we made it. The kids got the chance to make rain gauges. I think they are cute and I'm glad that I remembered to take them. They also got aprons that they adorn their pins on each time they complete a project. For those of you like me who forget when things happen because you have so many other things on your mind, you can find great websites to help you. If you live in the Knoxville, TN area you can visit for all kinds of frugal ideas. I wanted to take the family to Bruster's this past weekend because it was PJ Day but we were not in town while they were open. I love finding free things to do, don't you?

So maybe I'll post what we do on the weekends that are cheap and give you an idea of how we can still go out without costing us and arm and a leg. Maybe it will help you find things to do too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Out for the day

Sorry I didn't get to blog earlier today. I decided to take the kids to the park for a picnic. Then we headed over to the library. It's been such a beautiful day here in TN that we just had to get outside and enjoy it. I hope that wherever you are you are enjoying your day as well. God bless.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Remembering to Praise

How many times I wish I would remember to praise and encourage my children. Often I find myself upset that my children don't praise and encourage each other as much as they should (or as much as I would like them to). Then I remember that maybe they don't think about it because they don't hear me do so. Don't get me wrong, I do praise and encourage my children, just not as often as I would like. I'm too quick to notice what didn't get done before praising what did get done. I understand that sometimes that comes from being the oldest child (I am oldest of my siblings) but that's not an excuse to continue. I've always heard that praise brings about the behavior you are looking for because when you praise your children then they desire to continue doing what brings them praise. So instead of fussing at our children for what they do wrong we should try to praise what they do right. After all, our children really do want to please us.

So, I am going to try to remember to praise more and criticize less. You try it too, and let me know how it works in your home.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Making Adjustments

I just wanted to update those of you keeping up with how we are completing our morning tasks and the competition between buddies. Well, I had to make some adjustments because everyone was so in to competing to get finished first, that they were scarfing down breakfast and running around taking care of themselves and their own buddy, not caring for anyone else. Then it would come down to being neck in neck and then it was like, "so and so didn't do this and so and so didn't do that." It was totally defeating the purpose of working together.
So, I've adjusted the terms. Now, everyone has to get ready and have all their tasks completed before time for school to start just as before. Only now, everyone works together to make sure everything is completed. If everyone is finished and ready by school time, everyone gets to have a treat (dessert) on Friday Night Family Night. If not, no treat that week. It should work like this, if someone gets ready and notices that a younger person is not ready or needs some help they should help them whether it's their buddy or not. If everyone wants the treat, everyone has to help and hold the others accountable (in love). We'll see how this goes and I'll keep you posted on our progress.
In the meantime, if any of you have any suggestions, I'm open to receiving them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mmm Mmm Good - Wordless

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why do I get so frustrated?

Why is it that as mother's who want to create a peaceful, loving environment for our children, do we seem to be the one's bringing discontentment and strife. We are the one's that are to correct our children when they behave that way, not deal harshly with them and make matters worse by our reactions as we discipline. I have come to realize that it is (get ready, this is a hard pill to swallow) because we are selfish. " What!" you think. "How can I be selfish when all I do is work, teach and clean around here. I'm frustrated because I'm not appreciated and my children don't help by arguing all the time." We have become selfish because we consider everything to be ours. We get upset with our children when they interrupt our rest because "this is MY time." We get upset when something that belongs to us is broken or messed up because it's My Stuff. We get upset when they use things without asking, when they don't do what we say, when they are in our space, etc. We have forgotten that we are living on borrowed time and everything we have is borrowed for a time.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about...(taken from Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends)
Everything belongs to the Lord (Ps. 24:1)
Anything we have, including our own bodies, belongs to God. (I Cor. 6:20)
We are only stewards of the things God has given us. (Mt. 25:20-21)
It is God's responsibility to protect His own property. (Rom. 12:19)
We have no rights at all. (Gal. 2:20)
Rather than standing up for our wants, we must die to ourselves. (Jn 12:24-25)

When we remember that each day is a gift and that everything belongs to God then we will be less likely to get upset when things don't go the way we want. We can be compassionate to our children when they are upset about something at night (that seems petty to us) instead of mad that we have to keep repeating ourselves and having our time or rest interrupted. We don't get upset in the morning when we are awaken early because one of our little ones wakes up earlier than we would like. We don't get upset when something of ours is broken or spills happen, or toilets are played in (that never happens in my house *wink,wink*), or school work is not being completed in a timely manner. Our homes can be peaceful and it can be ushered in by us, the mother's who are striving for this in the first place. And we don't have to beat ourselves up when we mess up and fuss at our children when we meant to handle things with more patience and compassion than we did. We just ask our children to forgive us and try harder next time. And in the process we are teaching our children to do the same.

So, be encouraged. You're not alone. Recognize what is really upsetting you and then realize it's not yours anyway, then you will be less likely to get upset, and there will be more peace in your home.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Every Mom's Battle

These past two weeks I have had a number of conversations with Mom's and one of the topics which seems to come up is frustration and anger issues. How do you handle each day by remaining calm and keeping a meek and quiet spirit with your children so not to discourage them but to encourage them? I think that's an issue we all deal with from time to time. In my family, I'm the more patient, laid back one, but that doesn't mean that there aren't times or even days that I'm frustrated with my precious children and have to use self control to keep from exploding. Then there are the days I seem to explode anyway, despite self control, and have to apologize for my behavior later.

I suppose one of the things that helps me is the verse in Proverbs 15:1 which states, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh work stirs up anger." I do not want to stir up anger or rebellion in my children so I need to remember to use gentle answers with them. It's not always easy but Proverbs also tells me in 15:4, " The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, by a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit." My answers can be sarcastic and full of bitterness sometimes if I'm not careful and the last thing I want to do is crush my child's spirit, so I try to remind myself of these things often. The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters so I read the chapter that corresponds with the day of the month. It keeps me in check.

Also, I try to think, "If my home were a workplace and I were the boss, would my children want to work there or would they be looking for another job." Ask yourself, "Would I remain here if this were my place of employment and I had a choice or would I be looking for another job as soon as possible? If I don't create a caring environment in which my children can learn and grow and makes mistakes without being reprimanded harshly, then when they are old enough to drive or move out they will choose not to be around. I do not want that. I believe there has to be a balance in the home. If I'm too soft and do not discipline my children they will hate me later, if I'm too harsh my children will rebel. If there is not consistency in my home and my children feel that they have to constantly walk on eggshells or feel like they are walking through a mine field never sure exactly when they are going to hit that soft spot that causes and explosion then they will not be happy and they will leave the first chance they get. I do not believe that I need to live in fear of not doing exactly the right thing and destroying my children's spirit, but I do need to make myself aware of how I treat them. This is why I pray everyday for wisdom and discernment. I want God to show me what's best for my family and to help me choose to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. I also work hard to make sure that my husband and I have our children's hearts and not someone or something else.

Since this is a topic close to my heart I will probably touch on it often. Check back and feel free to ask questions. For now, be encouraged. There is hope for your home to be a peaceful and inviting place. Fortunately, God gave us the manual on parenting. We just need to use it.