Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall back!

Tonight we get to turn our clocks back an hour and "jump back into bed". (At least, that's what I read on my homepage) To be honest though, the past month has been perfect for getting some shut-eye.. the sun has set earlier and risen later. Perfect if you're like me and enjoy your sleep! So I'll admit that I'm dreading the time change. I enjoy it when it gets dark by 6 o'clock or so, but the downside is that it gets light earlier. If you're not a morning person, and I'm definitely not, then you understand what I'm talking about! And my kids will be "up with the sun", especially my 4-year-old son who's always the second one up (after Daddy). Yes, he's my little alarm clock! My oldest son and my daughter are my "sleep in" kiddos.. I like that. A lot! Once in a blue moon, Caleb gets to leave in the morning to go with Daddy, and I'll admit, I crawl back into bed and snooze. I usually feel guilty about it, being that my hubby and the rest of the world have been up and at it for awhile by the time I wake up. But a busy mama needs her sleep right? At least I do, and naps are few and far between. I've tried to be a morning person.. wake up feeling chipper, whistling, smiling, getting a jump on the day's chores, etc, etc. It doesn't work for me. I need at least a full thirty minutes just to come to, and get used to being in a vertical vs. a horizontal position. And coffee.. lots of coffee! Although I'm not fully coherent when I first rise, my favorite thing about mornings is that I get to hear sweet little voices telling me "good morning!" from a sweet, smiling little face. Even Hannah (19 mos) has a cheery greeting for me, followed by "poffee?". She loves coffee, like her mama ;-) So..

I'm off to get the coffeepot ready for tomorrow. Goodnight! Enjoy the extra hour :-)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reasons we don't celebrate Halloween

This post is for anyone who has asked my children "are you going trick-or-treating?" or "what are you going to be for Halloween?" and gotten a confused look in response. To our family, October 31st is just that. October 31st. Now, we realize that many people will think we're being "extreme", that we're "no fun", that "oh, it's harmless. Let your kids enjoy it." But we're not concerned with being liked or accepted for our feelings and beliefs on certain issues. We've always been the type to go against the flow. Because more often than not, the crowd is going the wrong way. So, that being said, here are a few reasons why we don't "celebrate" Halloween.

1) Our culture is headed to Hell in a hand basket. There is enough evil to overcome without actively inviting it into our lives. This is especially true of our innocent children. They are like a blank page. Be careful what you write on those pages.

2) Halloween is all about death and darkness. Where there is death and darkness, God is not there. Period. Why would I want my family to celebrate something that is totally opposite of what we believe? I do not want to be anywhere God isn't. We as Christians are so easily swayed to participate in things that are opposite of the beliefs that we profess. We have been called to a higher standard, to be the "salt and light" to this world. It's so sad that more often than not, Christians blend right in with the world. People are confused when they look at our lives because we are no different than a lost person. "Let your light so shine before men.." is often forgotten in our quest to "fit in" and be accepted.

3) We have been blessed with three innocent children whose souls are in our hands. We will stand accountable before Christ one day and answer for the way in which we raised these children, be it good or bad. To celebrate this day of darkness is to make null and void all of our careful teachings about God and His love. You can't mix evil and good, it just doesn't work.

So those are just a few of the reasons we don't celebrate this day. Call us crazy, but we won't be the ones who will have to answer for it someday. I realize that some may write us off as "kooks". So be it.
And on a similar note, no, we don't do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or any other mythical character with our children. A good friend once told me, "how can we tell our kids about Jesus and God, both of which our kids can't physically see, and then tell them about Santa, Easter Bunny, etc, who they can't see either, and then someday tell them that "no, Santa isn't real, it was all a lie. (yes, you are essentially lying to your children) BUT, Jesus IS real, although you can't see Him. Please believe me on this one!" How in the world are our children supposed to believe in Him? Or trust us, their parents? We don't want to take the chance of our children's souls being lost because we were so busy having "fun" and teaching them that these mythical characters exist. We will not ride the fence! This is serious business, and a we don't take our responsibility as parents lightly. We also don't participate in "fall fun night" celebrations at churches on Halloween. We realize that the church is trying to provide a "good" alternative to Halloween, but it is still participating in this evil holiday.

So, next time someone asks our kids about Halloween or if Santa is coming to see them, you will understand when they say "we don't play those games!" :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011

One cabinet at a time

I'm on a mission to clean out every cabinet in my house. I'm doing pretty well so far, but I do tend to procrastinate at times and that has impeded my progress somewhat. BUT, I'm patting myself on the back for the few things I have been able to check off of my to-do list! Babysteps..

One thing that's helped me immensely is The FlyLady. If you haven't heard of her, check out her website at I've been following her de-cluttering/organizing/cleaning methods for over a year now, and while I still have a long way to go, I feel better about my home routines after utilizing her methods.

One of the focus areas for this week is the laundry room. Mine is not very big, and besides the washer, dryer, and clothes hampers, it also houses a large chest deep freeze and the water heater. So needless to say, it can very quickly become cluttered and messy, especially when I get behind on laundry! (which, I'm sorry to say, is pretty often!) I managed to organize a bit, sweep the floor, clean out the lint trap on the dryer, wipe off the dusty tops and sides of the washer and dryer, and rearrange some things stored in there to make more room. It's nice to know that should someone open that door, I don't have to throw myself in front of them and try to think of a distraction so they won't see the mess that usually occupies that room, KWIM? ;-)

Another accomplishment of the week was cleaning out my fridge. Yes, I know it should be done on a weekly basis, but my afore mentioned problem with procrastination tends to rear it's ugly head right around the time the fridge needs a good scrubbing. So it averages about once a month. (just being honest here!) I knew it had needed to be cleaned for a good while when my 5-year-old opened the fridge door and exclaimed, "WOW! It looks really nice in there mom!"  I meant to take before and after photos, but forgot. Actually I would have been embarrassed to show the world the inside of my refrigerator. But, hopefully my FlyLady routines will keep me on track from now on :-)

Still on my to-do list for today is clean/organize my medicine cabinet. There isn't a lot of cabinet space in this old ranch house, so the medicine is stored on a shelf in the pantry which also houses my growing collection of cookbooks (I love a good cookbook!), birthday party supplies, some paper goods, and a few sentimental, breakable items that can't be left out where little hands can reach them. It will be quite a feat to go through everything, but, again, I'm willing to suffer a bit to avoid having to throw myself in front of the unsuspecting person who decides to open that cabinet door. Last time my very-clean, VERY-organized mother-in-law came over, she was that person. And there was no time to throw myself in front of her, and it was too late for trying to distract her.. she'd already seen the mess in there. So I tried to nonchalantly help her look for whatever it was she was looking for, while cringing the entire time and making up my mind to make some changes in my organizing skills. (or lack of!)

So now I'm off to try and check a few more things off of my list before winding down for the evening. Friday is my housecleaning day, and I still need to accomplish a couple of things before family time tonight. We eat pizza, pop popcorn and relax together, either watching a family-friendly movie (often times a Veggie Tales!) or playing a game. Sometimes we even just go outside for a walk and enjoy God's creation. We're pretty laid-back when it comes to entertainment :-) Enjoy your evening and have a restful weekend!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun with the kiddos

My boys were showing off for me, doing all sorts of tricks and contorting themselves into different shapes in the kitchen this afternoon. I decided to show off for them as well.. and I discovered that 1) I'm not as young as I used to be, and 2) I'm not as young as I used to be. I discovered this when I attempted to do a crab walk across the kitchen. I can remember when, as a young, fit, limber girl, I could drop down to a crab walk from a standing position. Today I had to lie down on the floor on my back just to get started. We all chuckled as I took two "steps" and then called it quits. "See guys, THAT'S how you do a crab walk!" as I tried to nonchalantly get up off the floor. Thankfully, they aren't old enough to know the difference yet, so for now I'm still a cool mama to them :-)

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Sister's Baby Shower

This past Saturday, my mom, myself, and my sister threw a baby shower for my youngest sister who's expecting a baby boy in October. My mom is awesome at decorating for parties and other events, being that almost my entire family on her side are florists and are used to creating beautiful things! The shower had a woodland animals theme, and it was precious. My expectant sister and her husband had chosen owl-themed bedding for the baby, and we just kind of took that and ran with the woodland theme! Here are a couple of photos I took with my iPhone (because I was rushing like crazy and forgot my camera!) so they're not the greatest quality, but you can see most of the stuff.

The table layout, complete with a mini-waterfountain, twinkle lights and flickering "candles".

I made the cake and adorable little owl cake pops, they turned out great and were delicious! I don't consider myself to be a creative person, until it comes to cakes and then I tend to go crazy. I have a blast coming up with an idea and then creating it. I started making cakes for my kids' birthdays instead of buying them from a bakery. Each cake has been a labor of love! And most of them take me SEVERAL hours to make, but, the recipient's face is worth all the effort!

Can you see the baby owl in the middle?

Don't know if you can tell or not, but the cake pops were nestled inside a nest my mom made from a wreath and grass, with real store-bought feathers. It was all very cute!

I wish I had documented with photos the cake and pop-making process, but I'll have to save that for another time when I'm not so pressed for time. My youngest son's birthday is coming up in a few weeks, so maybe I can try it then ;-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning To Be Content

Contentment... what does that word mean to you?

I'll readily admit to you that I often struggle with being content. Actually, more than often. More like, say, every day. It's not always big things that cause me to feel a pang of discontent, no, more often than not, it's the little things. Things like hearing about my friends who are at the salon getting their hair and nails done, or friends who are shopping, or so-and-so is going to such-and-such place for vacation. Then I look down at my several-seasons-old outfit and unmanicured nails, as I'm checking the bank account only to find out that we will be very "tight" until the next paycheck, and the discontentment starts creeping into my heart.

We have never ever gone without anything we need. Wants, yes, but never needs. The Lord has always provided for us somehow, and often in an unexpected way. Like when our tab was picked up by some kind, unknown person at the restaurant. Or one of our parents hands us some gas money as we're leaving their house. Somehow God has always pulled us through.

Last night Brian came home from a visit with an older friend and was telling me about some of their conversation. There is a huge oil boom right now in our area, and lots of people around here are getting rich fast. And I do mean fast. This friend said that one lady cried when she received her first check because it was more money than she'd ever seen at one time. And she would continue to receive those checks every month! I can't even fathom that! To have enough money in the bank that you don't have to keep a careful count of each item you buy at the grocery store so you don't go over budget just blows my mind. Or to decide that you suddenly have the urge to take an exotic weekend trip to Kalamazoo and hop on a plane and head that way with no worries... what is that like?! And that's when I get into trouble because then discontentment rears its ugly head.

Just this afternoon, I was trying to focus on being content with my life, our finances and anything else I could imagine. It actually came easy to me on a day like today.. beautiful fall weather, a cool breeze, a pot roast simmering in the crock pot, the smell of cinnamon on the baking snickerdoodle cookies in the oven, and the sweet laughter of my three little ones playing together. I felt totally at peace and thankful. I know that "my God shall supply all thy needs according to His riches in glory..", I just need to continue to focus on what I've been blessed with and not what I wish I was blessed with.

How do you deal with feelings of discontentment? I'd love to hear..

Until next time..


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

We enjoyed a relaxing weekend for Labor Day, it was a treat to have Brian home with us the entire time! I can honestly say that we both felt rested after spending so much time together as a family. I got up and had coffee and wonderful sour cream pancakes waiting for everyone Saturday morning. Then we just spent the day enjoying each other's company, watching movies and napping. That evening, the boys helped me put together a breakfast casserole to have for Sunday morning before church. It's our standby breakfast for busy Sunday mornings, and very easy to make.

Next morning I popped the casserole in the oven, started the coffeemaker, and jumped back into bed for a little while longer. Then I heard little voices as they were waiting for their breakfast, so we got out of bed and headed to the kitchen. After our yummy breakfast, we began dressing for church, rushing all the while! It seems that no matter how early we get up or what preparations have been made the night before, we are always running late for church! We managed to make it halfway there, and it's a 45-minute drive, when Brian said we'd have to turn around because he had a horrible stomachache. Uh-oh. So back home it was. He spent the rest of the afternoon going between our bed and his recliner. Another afternoon of movies and napping!

Monday morning we all woke up feeling well, and after breakfast Brian and the boys went for a hike. Yay! Some "me time" was definitely in order! So I read Hannah a few books and put on an educational video for her while I took a shower and made some lunch. By then, the guys had returned and the boys told me of all their adventures that morning with wide eyes and excitedly-raised voices. They had had a blast with Daddy! After lunch, you guessed it, we all laid down for a much-needed nap. We woke up refreshed and went outside to enjoy the beautiful and surprisingly mild weather. Then Brian fired up the grill and I went inside and prepared some ribeye steaks for the grill. While they cooked, I made some skillet potatoes and corn on the cob to go with them. It was all SO good, Brian is awesome at grilling steaks! After that it was bathtime, storytime, and finally, bedtime. And that word is music to a mama's ears after such a long and busy day!

Until next time..