Monday, January 28, 2008

Consider it pure joy...

You know those old Gumby toys? I used to love playing with those. My favorite thing to do was to wrap his arms and legs all around himself and pull him every which way. Today I feel like that Gumby. Stretched so thin and twisted up so hard that I feel like I am never going to get out of it. Sometimes in the midst of the craziness I stress on what the current problem is and forget to focus on God and turn to the scriptures where all my answers are. I am always being reminded of this passage in James. It was actually the first big passage I memorized when I was in 4th grade. Today I looked it up on Bible to just browse through the different translations and see how it was worded. I found this New International Readers Version and liked how it broke it down.
James: 1: 2-8 My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. 3 Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. 4 The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need.
5 If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn't find fault.
6 But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around. 7 A man like that shouldn't expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 He can't make up his mind. He can never decide what to do.

Apparently I have been doubting because I definately feel like that last line and feel blown and tossed all over the place!!! Guess I need to fix that huh?!? ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Where has the time gone?

I can't believe she is 6 months already. These were taken on Sunday. I just love the last one, it really seems to capture her pureness.
She is so amazing and wonderful. Children are such a blessing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

BPA free sippy cup reviews

Here's a great article I just read today reviewing sippy cups that are BPA free. Yippee! There are actually affordable ones. Praise God! The others are very cute but very expensive. I think they would be worth it to buy just one, but we go through lots of cups at our house and I would hate to lose a $15 cup!!!
Check this out...

Been super busy, will try and post later this week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Schedules and Discipline

When you are home all day everyday and you homeschool and have little ones even if you don't homeschool and are just a sahm I believe it is important to have a schedule to keep things running smoothly. Now there are various ways to go about doing this. You can schedule your time in 30 minute incriments throughout the day and run around all day playing dictator making sure things are done. This may work for some but for me the thought of it is exhausting. Even if you schedule free time and playtime. It's just too overwhelming for me.
Every year I sit down with my husband and we rough draft a schedule for the school days and pray about what we want done throughout the day. This can sometimes take weeks of prayer and planning. We start off small maybe just scheduling the morning and leaving afternoons open. That works well. We did really good last year until I got pregnant and sick so the mornings got thrown out of whack. We slowly got back on track then I needed afternoon rest time and then the baby came and the schedule went out the window. Now that Elizabeth is almost 6 months old (where has the time gone?!?) I realize I HAVE to have a schedule to keep things rolling smoothly. So here we go again.
Right now we are functioning on a "skeleton schedule" things we know that have to be done in the mornings get done ie; morning chores, school etc... but nothing is written down. The problem I have found is that we are all exhausted by the afternoon and then I realize the house is a wreck and I run around all afternoon cleaning like a madwoman and feel as though I am running in a hampster wheel with no end in sight. With Brandon's crazy work and school schedule I have been nothing less than exhausted. So spending time in prayer and realizing I am once again doing things "in my own strength" I knew a change needed to come into play. After spending a whole morning talking to a wonderful friend who has FIVE little blessings at home she helped me to realize I had to implement a chore chart and chore schedule.
So this is what I did..
I sat down and wrote out all the chores that need to be done in the home. I separated them into daily, weekly, and monthly. Then I looked at what the kids could do to help and added their names to the daily, weekly and monthly chores. I asked Brandon for any thoughts or changes that needed to be made and then I started adding them to a spreadsheet on the computer. Tristan has his own chart and we have a laminated one for the family that sits on the fridge. The daily chores are on there along with one extra chore for each day of the week that came from the weekly chore list. Every day we spend ONE hour sometimes it only takes 30-40 minutes to do all those chores at one time. And we take our little dry erase pens and cross things off as they are done. Since Brandon is gone on Saturdays I use about 2 hours on Saturday (usually during the little ones naps) to do the big monthly chores. There are different chores done every Saturday.
This has been AMAZING for us. The house is so clean and it is so nice to sit down after dinner and not have to run all over the house doing things I forgot that I needed to do and driving myself crazy. This is our second week doing the chart. The first week was hard to be so disciplined about it. I don't like cleaning and it sucked. And I had to remind the kids of their duties along with making me do mine. But we pressed through and the results have been wonderful. Now Tristan helps to remind and encourage me and we all work together and clean as a family. Put on some happy music and get it done. Even Abby cleans up her toys and brings all the trash cans to the kitchen. I reward us all with a snack when we are finished.
I was excited especially this week when we looked at the chart and it said "oil and dust living and dining room furniture and dust shelves" I looked at my furniture and it was still all shiny and clean from last week's cleaning. The shelves weren't even dusty. One plus about not living out west, is that you don't have to dust as often. Anyways, it was such a blessing to me to look and say
"WOW! It's already clean, we can skip this week!" I am loving this chart. And I encourage anyone who doesn't already have a cleaning plan or just cleans when needed to try something like this.
Now that we are on a routine and that part of our house is undercontrol my next step is to work on a daily schedule for school. Right now we just get it done but there isn't much detail to it. I don't mind, but Tristan seems to thrive much better when he can see what needs to be done next and there is much less frustration. So back to the discipline part... maybe I'll do a part two post next week and see how far I have come...

Monday, January 07, 2008


So as I was clipping coupons on Sunday I was so amazed and happy to see not one but NINE coupons for organic products ranging from organic chicken, organic sausage, organic tomatos, organic salad dressing, veggie chips, organic cereal and organic pasta. And not just 30 cent coupons either. They ranged from 50 cents up to a $1.oo! What cracks me up is that they were just randomly in with the other coupons, I found one next to general mills cereal and the other next to a coupon for microwavable hamburger helper. Yucko.
I hope this is going to be the norm. And not just something different because of the whole New Year resolutions for better living, eating etc...
It seems like more and more people are getting on the organic bandwagon. Most likely because it's so trendy to be "green" and that includes organic foods as well. I've never been super trendy, but have always wanted my family to eat well and be healthy even before this whole green movement. And the more and more I read up on things, the more disgusted I get and want better alternatives for my home. You see, in Arizona it was so easy to live like that because there were Farmer's Markets and quirky little organic stores and Trader Joe's on every corner. For one big supermarket chain there was always one competing natural market. So because of the competition that made living that way very affordable and sometimes cheaper!
Not so much here as Jacksonville was dubbed the city for beer and barbecue. Nice. One natural healthfood store that is so overpriced and I shop there if I need something I can't find elsewhere.
So many may think organic coupons are no big deal, for me it was a blessing and an encouragement that maybe one day it won't be so expensive and hard to live the way I feel we were called to live.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

BPA in bottles and sippy cups

Just wanted to post these links to mom's who are concerned about what goes into their children. I had heard about this last year when I was nursing Abigail and dismissed it because she never took a bottle and figured it didn't pertain to us. Now that Elizabeth takes to a bottle of breastmilk just nicely and after reading other blogs about this subject I started to research it myself. WOW. I had no clue how horrible the BPA toxins are in baby bottles and sippy cups. There is so much information on the internet about this subject that you may feel free to do the research yourself. But here is a link I found that explains about the dangers of BPA and reviews of BPA Free sippy cups and bottles. Of course the sippy cups are harder to find and more expensive but bottles are a lot easier to obtain. I am going tomorrow to pick up a few old fashioned glass bottles for Elizabeth. She only takes a bottle when we are out which is about twice a month so I am not too concerned about glass breaking and her holding a bottle herself. There are also plastic bottles that are made of polypropolene instead of BPA which are a much safer alternativebut you do have to do the research on them.

Anyways, if you are interested here is the link.

Scroll all the way down to read more information on the BPA issue and details and links to other websites that are helpful.

Here is another link ( an adobe file) that I found helpful explaining the different types of plastics and what chemicals are in them:

Anyways, there are a ton of scary things out there that our children are exposed to on a daily basis, and of course it is impossible to protect them from everything. You could start researching and find so many things that are harmful and can become obsessive about it. For me, I trust that God has his hand of protection over all of my blessings, but as a mother I have a responsibility on how I care for my children and the ability to do the research for myself. If there are simple things I can do to prevent exposure and help them be healthier (ie; switching to a different bottle or cup, homemade baby food etc...) then I try my best to do that for them. Happy Reading! ;)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Creative Inspiration

This lovely layout is from the super talented Emily Falconbridge. I had been wanting to paint a tree with the fruits of the spirit for our playroom/schoolroom. When I saw this it just confirmed that I needed to do it and was so inspiring to me! So, this is our winter break. And last week, while Brandon was working insane amounts of hours, instead of packing up and putting away all the Christmas decorations, I stayed up and painted and redecorated the schoolroom. Priorities right?!?!

This is what I came up with!

And a closer version (little birdie was a clearance ornament from Target! Just had to throw him on the tree for fun)

Thanks for the inspiration Emily! And if you haven't checked out her blog before, please do, it's packed full of clever ideas and lots of cuteness!
More photos of the room to come later...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And a whole year later...

WOW. Can't believe it has been so long since I wanted to get this thing up and running. So I had all the intentions of starting this up then I had to go and get pregnant again! :) :) :)
When that happens my brain goes out the window. But nothing like having another little one around to give me the itch to organize and want to keep better records of things, especially daily life which can easily get forgotten as the months go on.
You'll have to excuse my run on sentences, right now I am only teaching third grade language arts... and being around kids and babies all day and night, when I get a chance to talk, even if it's to a computer screen, I tend to go on and on and on...
So let's see... I guess I will just start this blog off with a few photos...and end it at that for now.

The Christmas Photo Shoot:Brandon was working and I just dressed them up, lined them and Voila! A christmas card... (Wasn't as easy as it sounds :) )
They love her so much and she is just so sweet...
Oh yeah, Brandon and I finally got to go out and dress up for a change. The ambulance service he works for puts a fancy Christmas party together, so we had our first Grown up night out since Elizabeth was born. I was so proud of him he still fit into the suit he wore on our wedding day!!! Even with eating all my good homecooking!
My sweetie sweet on Christmas day.
Okay... that's it for now. I have lots of neat creative home decor ideas and crafty things to post soon enough...