Friday, April 30, 2010

Home Depot Kids Workshop

Tomorrow Home Depot is doing their monthly Kids Workshop and this month they will be making a picket fence planter. My kids love getting to go and make something and then receive a certificate and pin (to go on their free apron that they get to keep). It's always a lot of fun. So take advantage of this opportunity and visit your local Home Depot tomorrow. Have a great weekend and be blessed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet Rewards

Last night at church Kaitlyn and Micah's Victory Kids class had a talent show. Jim and I stayed to support our kids instead of going to our Victory Group and Christiana and Josiah left their classes to come support them as well. I love that our family supports and encourages each other. Kaitlyn and Micah both did an excellent job. We were SO proud of them, words just can't express our true heart's expression. There were no winners in the talent show, so not to hurt anyone's feelings, so after church we took our kids out for ice cream. We were going to go to Baskin Robbins because they had 31cent scoop day , but when we got there the line was out the door. So we decided to go to McDonald's instead. As you can tell from the pictures, no one was disappointed.

We love hanging out with each other and we always have a blast when we do. I love my large family and all the perks that come from having a large family. I am so proud of each and everyone of my children and love expressing it in all sorts of ways, including going out for ice cream.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Playing Dress Up

Each of my older children takes a half an hour break from their school to help watch the little guys so I can focus working with the school age kids. Well, Kaitlyn, loves to play dress-up with the boys during her time. Sometimes it's Davy Crockett, sometimes they are cowboys. On this occasion she decided to play Indian with them. I couldn't help but to get a picture of her and Joshua. Notice that Joshua is wearing a breechcloth (over his diaper, of course) and not a cloth diaper.

I love that they play along with her and that she enjoys spending this time with her brothers as well. Without them having this individual play time with an older sibling moments like this would never happen. I'm so glad that I learned about it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Precious Request

Every year for my children's birthday I usually make them a cake. They get to choose if they want an ice cream cake, cheese cake or regular cake and what design they may want on it. Well, Sunday, my three year old came up to me and told me he wanted me on his cake. It took me a while to understand what he was talking about because he caught me off guard. His birthday isn't even until July. But with his adorable blue eyes he came right up to me and stated that he wanted a birthday cake with me on it. What an honor to get such a request. Most kids want their favorite super-hero or TV character, but my son wants me :) My heart was so blessed and of course I gave him a big hug, it was precious, a moment I hope I never forget.

Now, I don't know if it will happen, not exactly sure how I would do it, except to get a picture of us on a cake from the store. It would be quite weird and a little embarrassing for me to actually have me on his cake. I guess we'll just wait and see.

What did your child say to you that just blessed your heart that you have never forgotten?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Garden Planted!

This weekend we were able to get our garden planted. I was so excited because the weather forecast was rain. When I woke up Saturday morning I noticed that the rain had subsided for a while. I fixed breakfast for everyone then headed off to the store for the plants and seeds. Once I got home we gathered our supplies and headed up the hill to the garden. There we planted corn, pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, yellow squash, zucchini squash, salad cucumbers as well as pickling cucumbers, green beans, green pepper plants and tomato plants.

I was praying that we would get everything done before the rain since I would have to drag a lot of water up that big hill to our garden. Fortunately, we did and we made it inside just before the rain started coming down.

The kids were a big help. I never would have gotten it done before the rain had it not been for their help. Now we are all excited about when we can harvest our crops.

How about you? Have you planted a garden this year and if so what did you plant?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Starting Young

The other day I blogged about the Bible being Matthew's favorite book and about how we should encourage our children to love and use the Word. I just thought that I would post about the fact that we really do let our children start early. Joshua also loves getting hold of a Bible and flipping through the pages. If I were to take it from him and tell him that he is not allowed to mess with it, then I am giving him the impression that the Bible is something he is not suppose to touch. However, if we give him a little New Testament that is just his size that he can hold and look through while we look at ours, then he thinks he is a big boy and it encourages his love for the book. Now some of you may think this is trivial but trust me, it makes a difference. So, if you have small children go get a cheap New Testament that they can carry around as their own and let them turn the pages and such. Let them love that little book and when they are older and ready then you can get them something more age appropriate.

In the meantime, be blessed and have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Garden

I am so excited to have a garden this year. Our landlord cleared an area for me to have a garden and even plowed 15 rows for me. This is awesome because I have never had a landlord so helpful. Usually I have to do all the clearing and prepping and plowing. So a great big thank you goes out to my landlord for all the work he has put in to helping me have a garden this year.

I'm hoping to get some seeds in the ground this weekend. In the past we have grown corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, squash, greenbeans, pumpkins, broccoli and watermelon. I love to store up my harvest so I'm hoping to get enough bounty to can and freeze.

I love gardening and my kids love it too. It's a great learning experience and it's healthy eating too (plus it saves money, gotta love that part).

I'll keep you posted on how it all goes. I'm so excited and can't wait...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Arms of Love

Pretty flowers. Yes, that is red water.

Notice the smaller flower stem inside the larger one?

Yesterday my oldest daughter brought me these flowers. The story behind them touched my heart so much and made me so happy to be her Mom.

She went on a walk and found these two flowers on the side of the road and picked them. The really neat thing was that the two flowers grew from one stem. She told me that the two flowers were me and her. That she was the flower inside the stem of my flower and that I was the outer flower with my arms were wrapped around her all the time.

I love that my fourteen year old still thinks of me that way. I'm so thankful to God that she wants to be around me and have my arms wrapped around her. I love that she enjoys spending time with me and sharing her feelings with me. So many people assume that once a child becomes a teenager that they will rebel, but I don't agree. There is no where in scripture that tells us that our children will rebel, so why do so many parents think it's normal for them to do so. Yes, it takes extra work on my part to make sure I keep a good relationship with my children, but it is worth it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

His Favorite Book

Matthew's favorite book has always been the Bible. Even when he was real little if he could get a hold of one he would spend a long time sitting quietly looking through it. I couldn't help but to take a picture of him the other day when he fell asleep after spending such a long time looking through his sister's Bible. I only wish I would have gotten a picture of him earlier while he was awake looking through it.

I try to encourage my children to read the word and learn to find principles for living in it. I want them to realize that it is truly the best rule book for life that they will ever find and that it has all the answers in it. I encourage them to look up verses that pertain to things we are learning. I want them to use it as their guidebook and for it to be the first resource they go to find answers.

Do you encourage your children to get into the word or do you just assume that they are learning to do that at church? Remember that it is our responsibility to teach and encourage them at home. What they see and learn at home is more likely what they will do later on their own.

I hope and pray that my children will come to love the Word and and apply it to their lives on a daily basis. What do you do to encourage your children to read the Bible?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Family Time

I look forward to every Friday night because it's our Friday Family Night. Every Friday night we get together and hang out. I usually fix pizza or something similar like pizza bake, pizza bites, biscuit pizzas, etc. or buy frozen pizzas for supper then make some sort of dessert (this is the only day of the week we have dessert). Then we gather around and watch AFV (America's Funniest Videos) and a movie with popcorn. The kids get their sleeping bags and blankets and sleep on the floor. It's their late night so they get to stay up until midnight before they have to go to sleep, not everyone makes it that late.

Some of you may be thinking, "Why do they spend their family time watching TV? Why don't they do something in which they spend quality time together?" Let me tell you that we do have other nights for game night and I try to read to them everyday. Of course now that the weather is nice we like to be outside more. But we do not watch TV during the week (except the Duggars on Tuesday) so it's a special treat to watch a movie together and it's a fun way to start our weekend.

We also enjoy camping in our big tent. Now that we live near a campground, we will be spending some Friday nights camping with hotdogs and smores. We're all looking forward to that. I can almost smell the campfire now...

Do you have a special time of the week that you make a point to get together? We usually spend the whole weekend together visiting new places or having picnics as we go for drives. We love going to the mountains...but I'll blog about that another time. For now, it's Friday and I can't wait to smell the pizza.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fresh Air, Fresh Spirit

This last week I have made it a priority to go walking outside before I get my day started. I love fresh air, hearing the birds sing and getting some sunshine on my face. I have also noticed a huge difference in my attitude for the remainder of the day. You see, I take my walking time as my prayer time as well. I spend that 20-30 minutes in communication with God. I have come to look forward to this time each day. I feel like I am spending time with my best friend and now wonder how I ever managed without it.

I always read each morning and usually said a quick prayer (amongst the kids waking up and needing me for something every five minutes) before I started my day, but these last few days of uninterrupted time with God have been precious. I make sure that I also remember to be quiet and listen to what God wants to tell me each day instead of talking the whole time. My communication with God has been fun. We laugh together and I realize how much He loves me and knows me. I feel free to say whatever I need to say and be open to whatever He has to say as well.

I would encourage you also to spend quality time with the Lord each morning. If you enjoy being outside, like me, then take a walk. I stay near the house and walk up and down my street and take my phone in case the kids need me. I walk while they are finishing their breakfast and getting dressed so they are busy while I'm out. I feel refreshed from the fresh air and exercise and my spirit is refreshed from my prayer time. My day seems to run more smoothly or maybe it's just that I'm more relaxed about things and handle everything with more patience and care than usual. I feel like I can handle whatever comes my way. I have come to treasure this time and I pray that this may encourage you to do the same. Be blessed and have a great day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just Keep Smiling

The other day Jim and I found Joshua standing at our bedroom window with brown "stuff" all over his face. It was also on his clothes and the window sill where he was standing. After searching around the house to find what it was we discovered the kitchen floor.
The mess (it looked worse in person)

Align Left
Joshua with his mess

It appeared that he had decided to have fun with the tea bags. He's gotten to them before but never ripped one open or tried to eat any of it (yuck). I'm just glad he didn't get the vinegar open (see in pics above).

The ripped up tea bag

So, after taking a few pics (because I knew I had to mention this in my blog. Can't have anyone thinking I have it all together after seven kids) I cleaned up the mess. But what would I find once I was done cleaning?
Getting into the missionary jar

Joshua had climbed onto the kitchen table, taken the lid off of our missionary jar and was removing the money onto the table. (Doesn't he look like a deer caught in headlights here or a kid with his hand in the cookie jar? Hehe)

As I look back on this situation, I could have handled it many different ways. In times past, I may have gotten upset over it (because of the inconvenience it would have caused me), but now I just realize that he was just curious and took the first opportunity to learn more about his surroundings. Admit it, wouldn't it be kind of fun to tear tea bags open and spread them all over the floor, especially if we knew we didn't have to clean it up?

So I try to have buddies in place to keep an eye out for the little ones so they don't get into trouble. In this instance, his buddy is me, and I stepped into another room for just a moment then started having a conversation with my husband when Joshua came in with evidence on his face that he had been into something.

Life is too short to get upset about little things and our children's spirit is more important than material items. Material items can be replaced but the damage we do to our children's spirit is not so easily healed. So let's just remember that, and keep smiling.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Discovering is Fun

I've started taking our kids to the Home Depot Kids Workshop that takes place the first Saturday of each month. This month they made Butterfly Houses. When we got home the kids wanted to decorate them, so finally after having them a few days we got out all the supplies and let them go at it. They had a blast. They also did a little research on what would help draw butterflies to their houses and are now anxiously awaiting the butterflies.

I love homeschooling and getting to watch my children learn and explore things around them. I guess I'm kind of like a new parent that wants to see my children's first step or hear their first word. I like being there as they learn and discover everything for the first time. I never grow tired of watching their world open up to them as they discover something they didn't know before.

I'm so thankful that I'm able to homeschool. But even if you don't, take any and every opportunity you have to spend time doing things with your children. Go to a park and watch birds and butterflies, a pond and look at tadpoles, a museum where they can touch things, etc. Watch their eyes light up at seeing things firsthand. It's always fun to discover and watching your kids discover is even better.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What a Blessing

A friend from church gave me these clothes and I can't tell you how much I'm blessed to have them. You see, with five boys we go through boy clothes rather quickly. I try to pass stuff down from one child to the next, but many times it's wore out before the next child gets to use them.

Most of the time I shop at thrift stores, but do you know how hard it is to find little boys clothing in a thrift shop? I do buy retail when I can get a great discount, but I do not usually pay full price.

I do want to start going to yard sales now that the weather is nice. You can get some really great clothes from 50 cents to $1 an item. I'll keep you posted on my yard sale experiences.

I once knew a mother with five children who would give her child's clothes away as soon as they outgrew them in order to keep from having so much to store. I asked her once why she did that knowing that in a year or two her next child would need them. She told me that she found that as she gave the clothes away to someone who needed them, she always found that God blessed her with clothes for her children when they needed them. Kind of the way tithing works, you can't out give God, He'll always bless you even more. This is something that I am learning to do.

At this economical time, couldn't we all use a little help? I'm sure glad my friend decided to bless me. I'll be sure to pay it forward.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Help with consistent discipline

A while back I mentioned a chart I had on my fridge and that I would explain it later. Well, I thought I would let you know more about it today. It is called an If-Then Chart.

Do you ever find yourself frustrated over trying to figure out what kind of consequence to give your children for things like disobeying, arguing, defiance, etc.? Well, this chart helps take the frustration out of coming up with a consistent discipline. And it gives you a scripture verse to teach your children about why that behavior should be corrected.

Here's a quote from the Titus 2 website on how it helped them.

The If/Then Chart was one of the most instrumental tools we found for helping us deal consistently with our children's misbehavior. Before using the If/Then Chart, Teri would often become angry with the children when they were doing something they shouldn't or not doing what they should. She knew they needed a consequence but wouldn't know what a reasonable one would be. Therefore, there were times she gave no consequence when she should have and other times when the consequence was stronger than it should have been.

The If/Then Chart changed all that. Steve and Teri sat down, discussed, and prayed about consequences. They added behavior their children needed help with that wasn't on the chart, and they chose their own verses for some of the sections. Because they had a wide age range of children, for a while they had younger children consequences and older children consequences. Before Teri laminated her chart and started using dry erase markers to fill in the consequences, she wrote the consequences on small sticky notes so she could change them if necessary.

When a child misbehaved, Teri took the child to the chart, read the problem, verse, and consequence. It was all laid out for her, which helped her be consistent and not be angry with the children when they needed correction. She loved using the If/Then Chart.

I do have to confess that I've been waiting to have my chart laminated so I haven't used it to it's fullest extent. I just take the kids over to it, read over the scripture verse that coincides with their behavior and we talk, then I give them a consequence for their wrong behavior. Since I haven't written on my chart or used sticky notes, I haven't always been consistent. I guess after this post I will have to change and get mine laminated and ready to be used like it should.

I am so thankful to have the chart. It has been a great help (the times I've used it). You can order yours from the Titus 2 website for $6. Go to then type "If-Then chart" in the search box. Hope you find it as helpful as I have.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Making it work

It's amazing to me sometimes the things we learn to work around when we have children. For example, the picture of our family from Easter. I can't help but laugh every time I look it. If you look close enough at the little blonde guy in the front row with the white shirt on, you will notice that he's standing sideways with one leg out front. Well, there's a reason for that. You see, when we got home from church he immediately took his shoes off, like he's suppose to. When we decided to get together to take our family picture one of his shoes was missing. After searching for his shoe for more than 5 minutes (or at least it felt that long) we gave up. We just decided that we would hide the shoeless (is this a real word?) foot and take the picture anyway.

He's just so cute and standing there with his hand in his pocket and a smile on his face you would never know that he was only wearing one shoe. He did a very good job of concealing his shoeless foot. He didn't seem to mind at all and seemed quite proud of himself at being successful in our attempt to work around it.

I bet you would have never known had I not told you :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Play Time

Now that the weather is nice and it's great to get outside and play, I send the kids out as much as possible. There are a number of reasons why going outside is so good for you. It keeps you from staying inside and watching TV or playing video games, it gives you the fresh air and exercise you need and helps your body produce vitamin D. But what I want to encourage you in, as parents, is to get out with your children. My children LOVE when I make the time to go outside and play games. We play Mr. Wolf, Little Chicks, Freeze Tag, Red Rover and other such yard games. They get so excited when they see me come out and join them and it ups the excitement of the game to have me there.

Our children want to spend time with us and they love spending fun time with us. It helps build relationships and the laughter and memories that come from that time are irreplaceable.

So, let the house go for an hour or so, the laundry isn't going anywhere. Besides if you do all your housework first you might lose the opportunity to go out and play. You could make a deal with your children and tell them that if they will help you with laundry or dishes, etc. later then you can go out and play with them. I tend to be the person that wants to get everything done first, then play, so I have to remind myself sometimes to just go out and play. My children are usually willing to help if it means I can go out and play with them. If you still don't want to wait on the chores then have the kids help you before you go out, then you can relax and not worry about what's left inside to accomplish before the day is over.

So go out and play, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Learning Servanthood

As a way to teach my children to serve others in our community, I went yesterday to a nearby nursing home to sign us up as volunteers. We will not actually be working as volunteers so much as visiting and praying or whatever we can do to serve the people there. Some of my children are excited and others are a little nervous. I know that in the end it will be good for them and a learning experience. I have also recently inquired about helping at a local food bank.

I want my children to be so accustomed to serving that it is just a part of who they are and what they do. It's not something they will have to plan to do, they will just do it. I am hoping it will come naturally to them as they grow.

We have moved a lot and for that reason we haven't gotten too involved in our communities in the past, other than church. Now that we are here and don't plan on going anywhere (other than to build our own log home) I want to get the children involved. I think it is important that we do these things. After all, it is a part of everyone's calling as a Christian.

I will keep you posted on what we do and how things work for our "larger than average" family as we serve and minister to those in our community. How about you? What kinds of things do you do with your family? I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

I pray everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. I thought I would just share a few pictures of what we did.

On Saturday we always dye eggs. Sunday morning the kids wake up and get their Easter baskets (they know they are from Mommy and Daddy and not the Easter Bunny). Then we head off to church then home for our Easter meal and egg hunt.

Our family after church on Easter

Saturday we dyed eggs

Our bunny cake

Easter morning, kids with baskets

Hunting for eggs

I love spring and Easter here in the south where flowers are in full bloom and everything is so alive. We had a wonderful Easter. Now if I can just find all those plastic eggs laying around the inside of my house that the kids have been playing with. I feel like I'm the one egg hunting sometimes :) Be blessed everyone.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kids Workshop - Home Depot

This weekend, April 3, Home Depot is doing their Kids Workshop. Tomorrow they will be making a Butterfly House. It's free and educational, for ages 5-12.

Easter Weekend

I just wanted to take the time to wish everyone a Happy Easter. Remember that Jesus really is the reason for the season. Enjoy family and bless someone else. Be blessed and have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Resurrection Eggs

With Easter coming I always try to think of ways to teach our children the true meaning of this holiday. Resurrection eggs are a great and easy way to remind them of why we celebrate Easter. In case you have never heard of them, let me explain. You get a egg carton with plastic eggs of different colors and each egg contains an item that leads up to the resurrection of Jesus Christ along with a short description of what to read from the Bible and what each corresponding egg represents. For example, one egg will have coins in it to represent Judas betrayal, one egg will have a piece of cloth representing the cloth Jesus was wrapped in when he was placed in the tomb, one egg is empty representing the empty tomb, etc. You can start to do these twelve days before Easter or all at one time depending on your preference.

My kids love them and I love how it gives them something they can see and touch and hear about. Even the littles ones get it. If you don't want to go buy them (usually at a local Christian bookstore) you can go online and get instructions to make your own.

What are some of your traditions or ways you teach your children what Easter is all about? Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season :)