Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Last Week of March Daybook

Outside My Window... can you believe it, it's snowing? Where did our nice spring weather go?

I'm Listening to... Dora and my little ones eating breakfast, plus the washer and dryer running as it is laundry day.

I'm Wearing... black yoga pants, long sleeve gray t-shirt. It is cold once again.

I'm Grateful for... meaningful conversations with my mother-in-law after the kids are in bed. It is rare because the kids are usually around.

I'm Pondering...

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given
to you as well. --Matthew 6:33

I'm Reading...

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns (I'm rereading this one with a group of friends. We are doing a book club on it over Facebook. It is pretty neat since we are all spread out across the world.)

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

I'm Thinking... of my to-do list for today...dinner in the crockpot, laundry, three kids baths, vacuuming the upstairs...

I'm Creating... clean and organized spaces throughout my home. Want to join in check outProject Simplify on Monday.

I'm Hoping and Praying...

*for strength to continue in seeking God.
*for God to reveal his will in a few areas.
*for some warmer weather.
*no cavities today at the dentist for the two oldest.

Around the House... this week for Project Simplify the challenge area is the pantry and refrigerator. I have been hoping this would be one of the areas covered. Both of mine need it desperately. It will feel good once they are all cleaned out. The upstairs needs some cleaning too (vacuuming and dusting). I also have five bags of kids clothes that I need to get back into the right bins in the basement.

From the Kitchen... I've got a serious craving for some baked goods. I'm thinking I'll be making some cookies or cookie bars soon.

Weekly Menu...
Sunday - Leftover pizza, peanut butter and jelly, fruit
Monday - Steak and ale pie, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Tuesday - Chicken tortilla soup, corn bread, salad
Wednesday - Tacos, applesauce
Thursday - Oatmeal pancakes, bacon, fruit
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Taco salad

One of my favorite things... climbing into bed to freshly washed sheets.

A Few Plans for the rest of the week... laundry, cleaning, dentist appointment for two, girls night out with small group, planning out next months budget.

Picture thoughts...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Looking for the Lovely

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.
Phillipians 4:8

We live in a broken, a fallen, an ugly world. We all have bits of ugly in our own lives...short tempers with our children, hurtful words, kids fighting, tiredness that causes crankiness. Then we turn on the news...more ugly...earthquakes, wars, accidents, murders, sin. The list goes on and on.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the ugly of the world and of our own life, to go over and over it in our heads... to worry about it, but the Bible says we are to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure lovely, and admirable.

So choosing to see the beauty around me because "every good and perfect gift comes from God" (James 1:17) I continue to count my one thousand gifts.


* birds singing in the early morning
* great fellowship with great friends
* friends who sharpen us
* notes from my seven year old during church saying, "you are pretty."
* Zoe
* the river as the sun reflects on it
* wisdom imparted to Steve just when needed
* beautiful warm weather
* playing outside
* warm, hearty meals

Friday, March 25, 2011

Project Simplify #3 - Toys

I have to admit this one was a bit overwhelming for me. At Simple Mom this week's challenge also included kids clothes. The fact that I have seven kids each one of those challenges, toys and kids clothes, could possible take me weeks to conquer. At the beginning of the week, I wrote out my priorities regarding this weeks challenge. This is what I came up with...

1. The Game Closet
2. The Girls bedroom
3. The basement toys

I had to make it attainable or I would have given up and gotten nothing done. For all of these areas, I focused on toys and not clothes. That challenge is for another week.

Game closet before

and after

I forgot to take a before picture of the basement, but this is the pile of broken toys or unwanted toys to get rid of.

Basement after (although we still need to get rid of more toys)
It is hard having kids in so many different age ranges. That just equals more toys.

The basement girls dress-up area

I didn't do as much as I should have, but I got a few areas of the house picked up and I feel good about that. The secret is to make your goals attainable, so as not to get overwhelmed. Another project successful. I can't wait to see what next weeks challenge is. Go here on Monday and join me. You can also go here to see how other people organized their toys and kids clothes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Daybook

Outside My Window... the door is open as it is still in the 60's at 9 p.m., gorgeous Spring day.

I'm Listening to... the dryer and traffic on the highway and other than those, silence...ahhh!

I'm Wearing... my pj's

I'm Grateful for... a great season of Upward basketball for Tristan. We had his awards ceremony tonight. Upward is such a great program. We now have three boys who want to play
next year.

I'm Pondering...

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given
to you as well. --Matthew 6:33

I'm Reading...

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns (I'm rereading this one with a group of friends. We are doing a book club on it over Facebook. It is pretty neat since we are all spread out across the world.)

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

I'm Thinking... we've had a very busy weekend, but the weather has been wonderful. We had great fellowship with friends last night and we ended the weekend with Tristan's basketball awards ceremony and dinner out with the kids. The kids have been great this weekend. We are so blessed, I love our kids so much!

I'm Creating... clean and organized spaces throughout my home. Want to join in check outProject Simplify on Monday.

I'm Hoping and Praying...

*for strength to continue in seeking God.
*for God to reveal his will in a few areas.
*for Cason as he gets his braces off tomorrow. He is really sad to get them off.

Around the House... getting the house back in order after a busy weekend. We are also in process of making a home office in the nook in our bedroom. We need to do some organizing and moving of things. I also need to go shopping for a dest chair.

From the Kitchen... with all this gorgeous weather we've been having, the grilling begins :)

Weekly Menu...
Sunday - out for Mexican... Yum, Yum!
Monday - Pesto Chicken Pasta, veggies, rolls
Tuesday - Chicken BBQ's on a bun, chips, salad
Wednesday - Grilled Pork Chops, cheesy potatoes, veggies and salad
Thursday - Steak & Ale Pie or stew, mashed potatoes, veggies
Friday - Date night (***wink, wink - mom)
Saturday - Pizza with friends

One of my favorite things... Seeing my kids smile and enjoy themselves.

A Few Plans for the rest of the week... two orthodontist appointments, getting my hair done, Andrew's Fifth grade musical (Oliver Twist), finish finding his costume, and my mom arrives on Thursday. A busy week, but it should be fun.

Picture thoughts...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Signs of Spring

For us one sure fire sign of Spring is new sidewalk chalk. We headed off to Walmart today to get some, as requested by the girls. They spent the rest of the day coloring and drawing. Zoe and daddy even joined in on the fun.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Project Simplify #2 - Paper

This weeks challenge room for Project Simplify is Paper. You know those piles you have laying around the house. Thankfully, this one wasn't too hard for me. I dislike having piles of paper sitting around, so I tend to keep things cleared out. I try to get rid of junk mail as I bring in the mail each day and I also try to pick up kid's art work daily. I also cleaned out the kids school papers a couple of weeks ago. So my job wasn't so huge this week, but still rewarding.

This week I tackled our "to file" folder and the magazine rack. I also cleared out a cupboard that has kids craft supplies in it , but I didn't get any pictures of that. I sent old magazines to the recycling bins and it only took me 10 minutes. I like these short quick jobs which make things look tidy once again.

The filing took me around an hour. This is usually a job I save for Steve to do, because I don't like it and it is hard for me to find the time to actually do it. I think he was relieved that I did it for him. What a way to serve my husband :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Boys, Boys, Boys

You can tell you have boys in the house when you find things like this

This is one of my knitting needles with a pen taped to the end.
My best guess is that it is a spear or an arrow.

and this...

A squirt gun with a flashlight taped to the top.

laying around the house. As you can probably guess, we go through

a lot

of tape in this house.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beginning to Count My 1,000 Gifts

Well, here I begin to count my 1,000 gifts. Ann Voskamp in her book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are gives the challenge to create an attitude of gratitude, by counting the gifts/blessings God has given us and/or the ways we see God in our everyday life.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. --Sarah Ban Breathnach
I know from my own life experiences that those are the times in my life when I focus and look for God working around me, I see less of my own problems and I see more of God.

So in an attempt to see more of God and less of me I begin counting.

#1 Sweet conversations with my 6 year old daughter on God's forgiveness
#2 For a husband who is sensitive to what is going on around the world
#3 Homemade chocolate chip cookies (and milk)
#4 Naptime
#5 Dinner already made
#6 The baby saying "back pack"
#7 Opportunities to help
#8 Other moms willing to help
#9 A clean and organized closet
#10 Five kids and one baby playing nicely at my feet at the dentist while I had my teeth cleaned

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mid March Daybook

Outside My Window... its dark since it is 8:30 p.m. It is amazing the difference one hour makes with the time change last night. It has been the weirdest day. Two kids wouldn't nap and I am exhausted. I'm looking forward to bed tonight.

I'm Listening to... the dryer and the chatter of three boys in bed whose bodies are telling them its only 7:30. They need sleep though!

I'm Wearing... my pajama bottoms and my black shirt from the day. I only was able to get halfway changed :)

I'm Grateful for... my husband who occupied the two little ones who didn't nap this afternoon, so I could nap.

I'm Pondering...

"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security." -- Gail Sheehy

I'm Reading...

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns (I'm rereading this one with a group of friends. We are doing a book club on it over Facebook. It is pretty neat since we are all spread out across the world.)

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

I'm Thinking... tomorrow is the day I start counting my 1,000 gifts from Ann Voskamp's book. I've been meaning to for weeks now. I even have new journals to begin. I am just having trouble writing down number one. I'm weird like that.

I'm Creating... clean and organized spaces throughout my home. Want to join in check out Project Simplify on Monday.

I'm Hoping and Praying...

*that the baby sleep all night as she is coming down with a cold or something.
*for strength to continue in seeking God.
*for God to reveal his will in a few areas.

Around the House... the house needs an over-haul after the long weekend with the kids home. Monday's are glorious for getting back into routine. I thrive on routine.

From the Kitchen... we made a fresh batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies with M&M's in them this afternoon. Come to think of it I think I might be hearing them and the milk calling my name right now.

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home from church so I could run in a grab something for lunch. While I was in there, I planned the weeks meals in my head and grabbed everything I thought I would need. I think I got everything I will need.

Weekly Menu...
Sunday - Reuben's & Grilled cheese for the one's who didn't want Reuben's (this was Steve's request)
Monday - Penne Pasta, Salad, garlic bread
Tuesday - Lime Chicken Tacos, chips & salsa, grapes
Wednesday - Hamburgers on the grill, roast potatoes and veg
Thursday - Chicken Fajitas
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - Chicken BBQ's, chips, fruit

One of my favorite things... sharing heart to heart with my husband.

A Few Plans for the rest of the week... cleaning tomorrow and working on Project Simplify toward the end of the week. I don't think we have any appointments this week, but one could possibly pop up with a sick baby. We are also excited to have friends for dinner on both Tuesday and Saturday. It is so good to connect with friends.

Picture thoughts...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Project Simplify #1 - My Wardrobe

I didn't think I would be able to do it, but amazingly enough, I did. Simple Mom is doing 6 weeks of simplifying and organizing your home one week at a time. Each Monday they announce the hot-spot to work on that week. They give you advice on where and how to start and also which supplies to have handy.

Week one -- My wardrobe, clothes, shoes, purses, accessories, etc.

I wasn't able to touch a thing until Wednesday night after the kids were in bed. I had a bit of energy so I started in the closet. After only about 45 minutes, I had finished the closet. I tend to keep up on getting rid of clothing I don't wear. I purge a couple times a year. I think this is why it didn't take me too long.

I am also not a very sentimental person and I don't usually hold on to things just for the meaning. I really thought because of these reasons this job would be easy. I did come across a stack of sweaters I have had for years. Some of them were even from college. Every time, I cleaned out my clothes, I would keep them saying I would wear them in the cold of winter when in actuality I haven't worn them in probably 5 or so years.

You see one was a sweater I got just after my first daughter was born. I felt so good wearing it, especially after wearing maternity clothes for so long. It was even pink, my favorite color and a color fitting since I just had our first baby girl. I wouldn't have thought I would have any emotion over my clothing, but alas I do. I connect different parts of my wardrobe with different memories. I have to tell myself that just because I get rid of a piece clothing because I haven't worn in years, I am not throwing away the memory I have while wearing it. Plus, if it was something I truly loved than I have a picture of myself in it, like one of me wearing that pink sweater while holding my sweet baby girl on Valentine's day.

As I was cleaning piles of clothes out of my closet, I mentioned to Steve that I think I have less clothes than most women. He corrected me and said I probably have less than most men. I am not really a clothes horde and I really try to only buy things if I feel good in them and if they are a good price.

Purses and shoes
Hanging clothes and skirts
Sweater pile (I cut this one more than in half)

I started on my dresser on late Thursday morning and was able to finish it in the afternoon with some help from a couple of little helpers.
And now for the after photos... (after filling 5 bags with clothes, shoes and purses to give-away)

Nice and tidy

Oooo, it feels so good. I'm looking forward to seeing what Monday's hotspot is and wondering if I'll be able to stick it out.

*I even motivated Steve and we cleaned out his clothes last night. One more large bag outa here!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jonah Bible Activity for Preschoolers

Last week as four of mine were at school and the baby was napping, I wanted to spend some time with my 3 and 4 year old. As I thought about what we could do together, I remembered how we used to play Jonah and the whale (big fish) with the older boys when they were little. I decided it would be a fun activity to do with them, plus it would teach them about God's will for us.

I told them to get their Bibles. They both ran and found their Bibles, actually they each grabbed two, and then we met on my bed. I hadn't had a chance to make the bed yet that morning so we snuggled up together. I then proceeded to find the story of Jonah in each of their children's Bibles. Then I read the story from each of their Bibles, not all four, but just one for each of them. After I read, we chatted a bit about how when Jonah didn't obey God he got swallowed by the big fish. It was then as Jonah was in the belly of the fish that he needed to ask God to forgive him for not obeying and then the fish spit him out.

Next we did a fun activity to make the story more real and fun for them. We pretended we were Jonah and that we disobeyed God. I then lifted the covers to the bed (our big fish) and we crawled inside. We talked very briefly about how dark it was and how we knew we had sinned against God by not obeying him. We said a quick prayer like, "God please forgive me."
Then we threw back the blanket as the big fish spit us out.

They absolutely LOVED it and we played it over, and over, and over again...until mommy had enough.

I just thought I would share a really simple, yet fun way to teach God's truth to your preschoolers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On Seeking God

Recently, Steve and I seem to have quite a few things we are seeking God for answers and direction in. During this time we have been more diligent than ever in praying and fasting for God to give us wisdom and for him to reveal his will for us. And, yet we still wait.

Towards the end of last week, I found myself getting frustrated that I haven't been hearing God give us any answers. I felt like, "Come on God, you know we've been seeking you and your will. You know our hearts and that we want to do and be a part of your plan and yet you remain silent."

I took some time on Sunday and again on Monday afternoon to pray, journal and read the scriptures. Now that I reflect back on those times, I believe that God has spoken to me. He was telling me that the answers to all of my questions for him are very small in the big picture that he has for me/us and that if he answered even one of my prayers, then I would possibly cease to seek him.

Steve and I were discussing this just this evening. Yes, we do have things we desire answers for. But maybe, just maybe God is remaining silent so that we will seek him and not give up in seeking him. One of the scriptures I read yesterday is Matthew 6:33-34...

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow..."
In these verses, I found what we believe is God's will for us right now. That is to seek FIRST him, his kingdom and his righteousness. As we do these with perseverance without giving up, fixing our eyes on Jesus, he will answer us in his time. He knows our hearts and the very best way to reveal his will to us. He knows when is the right time, so that after he shows us the answers we so long to hear, we will continue to seek him and not stop just because he answered us. The biggest plan he has for us is for us to know him and to be like him. One way we know him is to SEEK him.

So right now, we