Friday, December 29, 2006

Movie Recommendation and an AWESOME web site that EVERY teen should be a part of

First, from their site, a movie review of the Movie The Nativity.

Next, that same site is an AWESOME resource for young girls and boys. I am simply amazed at the godly character of these two young men. And I pray that my own children will have that same love and devotion to Him and WISDOM!!

The site/blog is called REBELUTION and this article about kidults is the first one I read and I am simply hooked! I know that this site is for teens, but I will be reading it too to help me raise Godly sons and daughters. And I think it is gonna help ME too! I have some of the problems talked about in that article. *blush*

Craft Blog AND Monograming without an embroidery machine

In an effort to learn more about sewing/crocheting, I of course turn to the TALENTED ladies who are wonderful enough to SHARE how they do things!!

There is a WONDERFUL blog (Craft Apple) that I just learned about from Lorrie that I have been loving going through. I won't post EVERYTHING from there from the past (you can just go and search the archives), but I do want to share the things that interest me that I think might interest you as well.

I recently came across this how-to for Monogramming Without an Embroidery Machine. I thought it would make some great gifts (NEVER to early to get started on gifts - we buy throughout the year, why not MAKE throughout the year too! That way, come birthday, or surprise party, or Christmas, we can go into our homemade stash and grab something).

While this is for a letter to monogram something, I thought it can also be used for simple shapes (smiley face, heart, flower) too.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What do YOU want to learn this year?

Mrs. Cat from Making It Home Magazine has issued a pick at least three things to learn this year challenge.

Here area list of things you MIGHT chose from:
baking homemade bread
making your own yogurt
cooking a certain dish
freezing/canning foods
storing supply food
starting a cooking/sewing/crafting group in your home
starting a Bible Study in your home
how to be thrifty
consume less
create less trash/waste in my home
make my own soap (bath, laundry,dishwasher & dish liquid, shampoo)
make natural/whole foods
herbs (how to use them in cooking and for health)
homeopathy and other natural alternatives
downsizing (home, cars, bills)

List the things you would like to learn the most first. If you have more than 3...then include them in your list.

With your list in hand - take the top thing you would really really really like to learn about. You can only pick one...we don't want to have too many projects going on at once. We are going to take that one thing and learn all we can about it. We are not only going to study it but we are going to research what we can and need to online, borrow books/videos from the library, talk to others who know how or have experience on the topic and then take that and apply it by actually doing. Start making your list...
What I want to learn in January:

Links/Sources Online:
(You may want to list this in your favorites by placing in a special folder)
(Library or books found online)
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
(Set up a time for them to share/show you how they bake or organize, etc.)
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
(days and times might be a good idea too, not just amount of time)

SO here are my three:
1) I want to learn to ENJOY my children
Links/Sources Online:
LAF, NGJ, lots of blogs!!!!
I have several books on this, I need to READ them
None that I know of, do you know of any??
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
Nancy, Brenda
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
Read a book a month in the evenings after children are sleeping
Try to keep up with blogs during nap time
Set up a time with Nancy to learn from her
Set up a time with Brenda to learn from her
Set up at least ONE fun thing per week to do with the children (examples: pillow fight, make pizzas together, have a joke night, arts and crafts)

2) sewing/crocheting
Links/Sources Online:
lots of blogs!!!!
I have several books on this, I need to READ them
None that I know of, do you know of any?? check library
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
Nancy, Sister's Mother-in-law
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
Try to keep up with blogs during nap time
Set up a time with Nancy to learn from her
Set aside 30 minutes a day to practice WITH the children nearby with their own fabric/yarn(so they can learn too)
Keep bag of crochet nearby so can work on it to keep hands busy instead of idle

3) how to keep house better
Links/Sources Online:
LAF, Making It Home, Flylady, several blog!!!
I have several books on this, I need to READ them
None that I know of, do you know of any??
Person(s) who may know how to do this:
Unfortunately no one nearby, we all need to work on this :D
Time I will devote to putting into practice what I have learned:
Read a book a month in the evenings after children are sleeping
Try to keep up with blogs during nap time
Create a homemaking notebook
Create a cleaning schedule and STICK TO IT!!!
Find an accountability partner for this
Until I get organized, spend at LEAST 15 minutes cleaning in the Flylady zone AND Keep Sink SHINNING

There are of course other things I want to learn, but I don't want to become overwhelmed by giving myself so much that I get discouraged and don't do anything at all. I will see how these three go, and if they are going well, I will add more.

With no comments since I changed my blog I am wondering if anyone is reading this anymore??

Fabric Paper Dolls

This is from The Common Room.

I am posting it here JUST IN CASE the other site is taken down (you know how that can be).


Fabric Paper Dolls

Use a large gingerbread cookie cutter for a pattern. Trace and cut out a figure from felt or other scrap fabric, a solid color. Dip this in a mixture of boiled cornstarch and water (about 1 tablespoon of starch in two cups of water. Let dry on waxed paper.

Sew or attach velcro, snaps, or a button to the doll's front. Make her face with fabric scraps, needlepoint, markers, or fabric paint.

Cut other dress shapes (using the cookie cutter as a pattern) from other scraps of fabric and attach velcro, snaps, or put in button holes on the front. Dip these in starch and water and let them dry, too. These make nice paper dolls because they don't tear, the dresses can match your child's, and they store nicely.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!!

I am actually quite amazed at how wonderful Christmas turned out for us this year! We are in our new house (which was such a blessing from God). All of the girls only got a small handful of presents but were JOYFULLY pleased with what they did receive (oh how I love when they are happy with so little!!!!). And it was baby JJ's first Christmas. It was so sweet. He was so excited about all his gifts (he is 7 months old now). And the girls ,each one excited about their gift. I will post layouts soon. As you know I love scrapbooking in order to capture precious memories that fade WAY too fast as the children grow WAY too fast.

So, how our Christmas was: we woke up and had breakfast and then all sat down around the nativity scene. The girls act it out while Daddy reads. Then the children look for the hidden nail (like the tradition of the hidden pickle, but we use a nail from the cross - more of a spike than a nail really). Then whoever finds the nail talks about what it represents.

Whoever finds the nail gets to pick the first gift. They give it to whose name is on the gift. That person opens the gift and we all watch. After thanks are given, that person gets to pick a gift to give. This goes on until every gift under the tree is given. Then they get to open their stockings.
It really was so peaceful and joyful (well until momma got tense because she really wanted video tape of baby JJ playing with his gift and the other girls were enjoying the gift more than him). But Momma changed her attitude pretty quickly and all was well.

Well, blah blah blah, I feel like I have just babbled on. I hope that you had a merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Helpful Resources for Being Good Stewards of Our Money

There are two wonderful resources I would LOVE to share with you.

The first is one that is truly a WEALTH of information for saving money on anything and EVERYTHING! I always check out this site first. They have a WONDERFUL and FREE newsletter with GREAT ideas, but that is just a SMALL amount of the wealth of information on this site.

The Dollar Stretcher

The second is one I just recently learned about from Cindy Rushton in this interview. It is called Living On A Dime and looks VERY good so far.

I also wanted to speak for just a second on buying stuff second hand. I know that this is becoming a HUGE trend, especially after a group of people did nothing but that for a year. But I wanted to speak about my experience. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to save money. I need a shirt that says "I LOVE GARAGE SALES" because I do. We can be traveling at 65 miles an hour on the freeway, I will see a sign for a garage sale and slam on my brakes and turn! And I love going to thrift stores (that might be because we do have some REALLY good ones near where I live). And I LOVE Ebay (boy can that become addicting, but be sure NOT to pay too much for something JUST because you want to win the item, I have seen people pay TWICE what I can get it NEW in a store for because they got caught up in the bidding process). And I LOVE the internet used book stores ( is an AWESOME resource and searches the web for new/used titles of books and shows you all the lowest prices).

But I have noticed that sometimes prices are lower in stores on their discount racks (Old Navy, Christopher & Banks, Sears). I find BRAND NEW CLOTHES for cheaper than thrift (even cheaper than Walmart and better quality too!!).

Christopher & Banks has be one of my favorite. I recently got a $65 dress for $5!! Become friends with the staff and find out when their do their markdowns. C&B does markdowns on top of markdowns. So if you see something you like, but don't like the price, try again in a week or two. If it is still there, they will have marked it down some more.

Sears is great because their KidVantage program is FREE. If the clothes stain, tear, rip, you name it, during the life of the clothing for that child (in other words, while Suzie can wear it, as long as it still fits) bring it back into the store for a replacement! I got a brand new winter coat for my oldest last year for $5!!! A similar coat in Goodwill was $8, had had some stains on it.

I know that this makes it more difficult to shop, especially if you have little ones in tow. But I use this as alone time with each of the children. I take them shopping with me. We try on clothes for Mommy, then clothes for them, then a trip to the pet store, and a lemonade to split while we walk around the mall. It is a GREAT bonding time, AND teaching time as well (teaching my daughters about frugalness, being good stewards, AND how to shop for QUALITY (not just the cheapest).

All this just to say, be frugal and good stewards of your money doesn't mean only buying second hand. If brand new is cheaper and better quality, you are still being a frugal and good steward by buying new.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cast Iron Waffle Maker - AWESOME!

Hubby gave me my Christmas present early. A cast iron waffle maker! This is one by Rome Cookware and can be used on an electric range! (My husband DID buy me a cast iron waffle maker a few years back that was from the 1800's, but it was definitely for cooking outdoors over a campfire!) This waffle iron has gotten rave reviews among cast iron enthusiasts and now I know why!

I AM SO HAPPY I can have waffles again. You see, we do NOT use anything with teflon, so that has meant no waffles for a long LONG time!

Well, this morning I got to try out my new waffle maker. I seasoned it last night (according to how Alton Brown says to : pre-heat oven to 350F. Coat both sides of each individual piece - it comes apart into two pieces - and handle with Crisco - we used coconut oil. Place UPSIDE DOWN in oven with something underneath to catch the drippings. Bake for 1 hour. Take out and rub with paper towel - I rubbed it all over with a pastry brush to make sure I got into those little crevices. Don't forget the underside and the handle and place back into over, again UPSIDE DOWN for one hour. Take out and rub again with paper towel - again I used a pastry brush. Place back into oven, UPSIDE DOWN, turn off oven and let sit overnight.). This morning it was ready to use.

SO we preheated the waffle iron to 300. Then I very LIGHTLY coated the iron insides with a pastry brush. Put a small amount (I am guestimating a little more than 1/4 but less than a half cup) in the middle. Close and FLIP! The flipping is SO IMPORTANT because the side that was not on the burner has cooled off while it was open for you to brush and pour in batter. We found that if we cook for 2 and a half minutes and then flip again, we come out with PERFECT WAFFLES every time. Crunchy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside.

I will admit that the first waffle did NOT come out, but all other waffles did! And because of the oil, it seems the first few times you use this you need to have your oven fan on to get all the smoke and fumes!

We did LIGHTLY coat again in between each waffle.

We also discovered that if you start off with the one with the bar on bottom (meaning that is the side you pour your batter on). Then when you flip, and flip again you end up with the bar side underneath to open and get your waffle out. This helps keep the parts from coming apart. So in other words, when the waffle iron is closed, and you look down on top of it and the hinge, you should see the BAR instead of the cover for the hinge.

And you do need a little fork to give a little nudge here and there. CAREFUL and SLOW with lots of patience the first few waffles and they WILL come off without sticking. Buy the time you are half way through the batter your waffles should be coming off with ease!!

I hope this encourages you! And if you want pictures of need help with the explanations LET ME KNOW! I would be happy to have an excuse to make MORE waffles!!

Oh yeah, clean up is so easy! Because no sticking, just rinse under HOT HOT water (NEVER use soap on cast iron - it removes all the seasoning which is the protective coating you want and need to prevent sticking. Well seasoned cast iron is black, not the silver-grey that it arrives as). Dry THOROUGHLY! Rub lightly with oil to help prevent rusting. And store with a paper towel in-between like a waffle! :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Free Pattern - Crocheted Hair Net

While the following link has patterns to other things, they asked not to post direct links, but this one link.

This looks like a really nice store/site for modest dresses and other things. Worth checking it out. But right now, I have a purpose, and that is to find some easy sewing patterns (and crochet patterns) for quick projects. Sticking with my priorities! YEAH!!!!

Free Pattern - Simple Drawstring Bag

Oh this tutorial/how-to is so PERFECT and EASY for beginner sewers. PERFECT for your little girls to do by hand or on a small machine next to Momma on hers. This is SUCH a cute bag and I am amazed at how simple it is! I have NEVER made anything other than an envelope quilt before, but I am excited about this! I think I will try to make each of the girls one before Christmas (yes that is how easy they look to make). Hmmm... maybe wait until AFTER Christmas just to be safe. :D

Simple DrawString Bags

Desperate for a Picture!!!

You can click on it to see the credits and details.

I, like most moms, like to capture my children's fleeting moments on film as the grow up so quickly. I have been trying for WEEKS now to capture him smiling with those two teeth! But he has started smiling with his mouth closed. TOO CUTE, but it doesn't work for a picture of his TEETH! LOL! So finally, I pulled down his lip and took a picture. As you can see, he was NOT too pleased!

This is a style called freestyle/fandango. I am so loving this style! I still have not mastered it (hey, I am a homeschooling mom who would rather spend her time WITH her kids rather than mastering HOW to scrap about them).

If you want to learn more about digital scrapping, you can in the archives of this blog (by clicking on the left hand side).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Using The Fruit Of The Spirit To Get Out Of Debt

This is just a small excerpt from a letter I got from Cat (Making It Home Magazine). If you do not belong to her yahoo group, I HIGHLY suggest you join!!

What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and

Love what you have already. If you do this you will not require more or
want more.

Joy in that you have so many blessings in your life that you can share it
with others. Don't take the joy out of your life because you are a slave to
your credit card.

Peace of mind when going to the mailbox not worrying about opening up a
credit card bill.

Patience in waiting to get what you want but only when you have the cash to
purchase that item. Patience in knowing that maybe by the time you do have
the cash to many not really want it.

Kindness to be able to share and bless others with your time...not your

Goodness in being "able" to help and provide for the needs of others.

Faithfulness - are you being faithful in what God has given you? Are you
tithing? No? Why? Because you can't even meet your own bills and if you were
to tithe well...that would really put you out. What does God say about
tithing? What does God say about His being faithful to you when you do what He
has asked of you? Do you not have enough faith in Him to know that He will
see you through? Faithfulness in paying what you owe to others and seeing to
it that you pay them in a timely and God honoring manner.

Gentleness in how you spend your money.

Self-control is not just buying what you see but waiting. Self-control is
thinking purchases through before just allowing the impulse to take over. We
can see what little self-control we have when we open up our checkbooks or
when we look over our credit card statements.

How To Fold A Shirt

My husband has been folding shirts this way ever since he saw it on Martha Stewart (am I blessed to have such a man or WHAT!), but on another site there is a flash video of how to do it.

I must admit that I have NOT tried to teach my daughters this way to fold a shirt. Right now, they fold it the best they can. The 6yr folds it nice and neatly. The 4yr folds it fairly neat. And 2 1/2yr, bless her little heart, tries so hard but just ends up with a pile. Thankfully the shirts don't wrinkle hardly at all so I don't have to go back through and redo everything for her (which takes up time and also, I feel, discourages her).

I hope you enjoy the link!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

First Corinthians 13 - The Christmas Version

This should look familiar! Was in my TOS mailbox this morning.

First Corinthians 13
Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
I'm just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able
to give in return; but rejoices in giving
to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

--Author Unknown

Monday, December 18, 2006


These are the CUTEST camera bags I have ever seen!!! And since they don't LOOK like camera bags, you aren't as in much danger of them being stolen!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Even YOU can make this

What a FUN idea here to make a castle or a pirate ship, even a fire engine!!!

Oh man, this right after a post about priorities! LOL!!! I really need to get my priorities straight.

BTW - if you have older children, then can make their own castle or pirate ship! What a NEAT idea!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Family Journal - A Great Idea

I was reading an article in AEW written by Nancy (from Above Rubies). She said that her family had a family journal. It sat on the table and anyone in the family could write in it when they wanted to. They wrote about what was happening in their lives, special memories, etc. Whenever they had company over, instead of asking them to sign a guestbook, they asked them to write in the journal.

I have young children. The younger 3 are too small to write, but I can always write down cute things they do or say, and can also have them color a page every now and then. My oldest (6yr) is learning to write. She spells love “lov” and time “toym.” I think it would be wonderful to have her write in the journal.

I thought that this was a great idea and wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UGH! The "P" word

Moving into a new house, a blizzard which had snow drifts up to your chest and caused the internet connection to be down for almost two whole days, having to dishes by hand, and trying to play catch up on all the laundry created by moving has taught me one thing - I really need to PRIORITIZE!

There are so many blogs I want to read (and come upon new great ones everyday like this one - The Sparrow's Nest). I know that I can learn a lot from the ladies of the blogs I love, and yet, I really need to spar down on them. Now that I have the computer back, I find myself spending more and more time on the computer trying to catch up on all the blogs I love (which of course have new blogs that they tell you are must see's and of course, I MUST see them! :D

Then I want to get back into my digital scrapbooking. The one thing I LOVE about digital scrapbooking is how FAST it is compared to paper (so that means that I can actually get a page DONE before I forget what it was about). But the more I scrap, the better I get, and the longer it seems to take me because I want NICE pages, not just pages. I want to create something that my children will enjoy to look at years from now. A book that tells the story of their growing up. Where we were, what we did, how I felt. My mom has pictures and PICTURES and can't tell me who is in them or even what they were doing. In some of them, she even has difficulty telling if it was me or my sister! LOL! (Which I can TOTALLY relate to now that I am a mom myself.)

I also have been trying to keep up with posting to two blogs. I plan on making that one blog (this one) soon. Moving everything over. That will really help simplify things I believe. Then there is of course making your blog look really good with graphics and such other than those provided.

I also really want to get into homeschooling the children. Learning about WHAT I need to do and HOW to do it. So thankful that I have friends (hi Nancy) that I can hopefully call on for advice (you too Brenda!) and counsel (I haven't forgotten you Konie and Leigh) especially with the style of schooling we are wanting to do.

And then of course we have cable TV now that we have cable internet service. Oh my how addicting TV can be. You use the excuse of I will only keep to th educational channels (like Food Network), but the SHOWS that are on each of them, what to watch and when to find the time?!?!

And not to mention that our new house is much bigger than our old house, which is great for being able to host missionaries and have friends and family visit (Stacey are you reading this!?!), but it also means more to clean. And I am still learning about that.

And on top of it all (which always seems to be LAST on my list when I know how desperately it needs to be FIRST), my devotional time. I really need to be reading my Bible and praying EVERY morning. I want to make a list of people I am praying for and put it on the fridge so the children can see. They can see what we are praying and how it is answered.

So many fears! Will I be able to homeschool my children the way we want? And if so, how with all the testing and CRITICISM from parents? Will I be able to have time to scrap so my children have an heirloom book full of memories of who and what? Will I ever learn how to clean house and be able to make my home a haven and resting place of peace for my family? Will I ever finally get putting God FIRST instead of Him being an afterthought? And will I ever learn how to spell without spell check?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Make Your Own Soap

I am sure ALL of you are as big of fans of Crystal's as I am, but if not, first, check out her site.

THEN check out

What do you spend on kids at Christmas?

This was the question asked on a group I belong to and here is my answer. A lady didn't have much money to spend on gifts this year and did not want to disappoint her children.

I would LOVE to hear how much you spend AND some of your holiday traditions!

We usually don't have a set amount that we try to spend on each child. My
husband and I try to keep it under $25 for each of the kids. We get them
something we know that they will enjoy. Yes, That usually means only one of
two gifts. I remember growing up with at least 20-50 gifts each Christmas. I
rushed through unwrapping them and usually only ended up playing with one or
two anyways. I know growing up my parents spent the same amount of money on
both me and my sister. We don't do that. If we find something that is
meaningful to one child and it costs $10 that is what is spent on her gift.
Especially if we cannot find anything else meaningful for $15 or less.

Plus the kids need to realize that life is not fair, and Christmas (or
birthdays) are not about getting. In fact, Jesus was not brought gifts on
His birthday. The wise men did not show up till He was a toddler, and even
then, they were not gifts celebrating His birth, but foretelling of His
death. We are not ready to give up giving gifts at Christmas just yet, but
we definitely do try to foster a more giving and being grateful attitude.

There is a story book that is illustrated Christmas story using KJV
scripture. I LOVE IT! We got it from rainbow Resource. We read that book and
the children each go through the story with the nativity we have (Fisher
Price has a nativity AND a shepherds in the fields kit that are perfect for
little hands!). I know that the older the kids get, they might not want to
do that, but I hope that they have the grace to sit joyfully through it and
encourage the younger ones. Then we have a nail (like the ones nailed Jesus
to the cross) hidden in the tree. I am sure you know the Victorian tradition
of hiding the pickle in the tree. We hide a nail and all the children look
for it. The one who finds it gets to tell the reason behind the nail
(completing the story of His birth --- He came to live and die). They also
get to grab a candy cane off the tree.

Then whoever found the nail gets to GIVE the first gift. They look under the
tree and find a gift that does not have their name on it and give it to that
person. We all wait as that person unwraps the gift. Than that person gets
to go pick a gift and give it and so on and so forth. Yes, that makes
Christmas last MUCH longer, but we LOVE it! Growing up, everyone's gifts
were distributed and then we rushed through them. This way you get to see
the joy and surprise on everyone's face. I remember when my daughter was 18
months. It was the first Christmas she was old enough to unwrap presents.
Daddy handed her a gift from Uncle Jeff and she took the bow and put it on
her head. Then she slowly unwrapped the gift and when she got to the stuffed
animal inside, she hugged it and then got up and gave Daddy and hug (kind of
thanking him for the gift). That memory will last with me for as long as I
live. I would have missed it had we opened gifts the way we used to.

Maybe this is the year to teach your children about giving? I know that I
have been working on mine with that this year. They are actually wanting to
give all their presents to the shelters this year to children who would not
get toys otherwise.

I am trying to move more and more away from giving lots of gifts, and giving
one or two meaningful gifts. A CD or DVD that your child may be wanting is
definitely under $25. I understand you not wanting to disappoint them, but
hopefully they will understand and be appreciative for any gifts they give.
And maybe you can fill the rest of the time that they would have spent
opening more gifts doing something special together. Maybe you bake and
decorate cookies and take them to the nursing home. Or maybe you volunteer
downtown at the soup kitchen and hand out meals to those who wouldn't
otherwise have?

I was reading an article about a woman who was watching in horror at how a
little girl was opening her presents. Just ripping through them,
disappointing looks when she didn't like what she was given, etc. She
compared that to another little girl who opened each card first and read it
and smiled thanking the person for the card. Then she opened the gift and
thanked the person who sent it saying what she enjoyed about the gift and
how excited she was to use/play with it. She also mentioned watching a funny
video on the TV. The girl was so excited about her present that she went
tossing out all the tissue paper and accidentally threw the dress out with
it. When the little girl got to the bottom, there was a hanger, and the
little girl squealed "Oh it's a hanger!! Thank you thank you thank you!" And
it was so sincere! I pray that my children would always so so content and

Anyways, I am sorry to ramble on. Just some thoughts.


Sites to See

Creating A Household Notebook

Fast and Easy Recipes for Busy Homeschoool Moms

Chores: You are NOT Doing Them All By Yourself, Are You?

Chores: What 1-2-year-old Walkers Can Do

Chores: What a 3-5-year-old Can Do

Chores: What Elementary-Aged Kids Can Do

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wise Things to do with Your Money Now

Ok, so this might be a bit long as I am playing catch-up.

So we sold our home, and are not going to get our homestead. We will however be staying right here in our city.

I must admit that I am actually sad that we will not be getting our homestead. I was so certain. But it looks like God has other plans for us for now. But thankfully, we will be able to have a big garden, so not all is lost.

I want to share with you ladies who are not married or who will soon be married or those who are newly married, so that should YOU want a homestead you will be able to get one if it is what God wants for you.

The main reason we cannot get our homestead is a lack of funds. My husband is paid well enough that I am able to stay home and not have to work. But we made several mistakes.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I first got married was to take all of my income and put it directly into savings (I know now that we should have been putting it into a ROTH - both husband ABD wife can have a ROTH if the husband is working!!!!). But that way, you get used to living on one income so when I stop working to be home with the children, we aren't missing out on any income we had been accustomed to having and living on. So we had a fairly large nest egg when we were first married.

HOWEVER - and here are where the mistakes start - one year after we were married, we fell for the "get rich quick" scheme. Bought some land in hopes to make some money (wasn't everyone making money in land at that time??). The first mistake was went went to a real estate firm who sent us a mailer saying they would give us a free gift if we come in and talk with them. They were scammers and we were scammed.

We should have done several things different.

First, NEVER goto a real estste office who sends you a gift for coming in just to talk. IT is most always a scam. We learned that out when we went to sell the land because we wanted our money back. Since we had the money, we paid for the land outright rather than taking a loan. We wanted our money back and TRIED to contact the office we bought it from and they were no longer around.

We found a reliable realtor who unfortunately was not able to help us and referred us to another reliable realtor who deals with land in the area we bought our land. She told us that we were ripped off and basically stuck with that land. Not only that, but the "realtors" who sold us that land are no longer realtors (prolly retired on all the profits they made). She asked if it was a family investment as several other owners in the area had the same last name (it was a mass mailing). She said several scammers do that. Set up office, send out mailers, sell off land, and then move on out. She also said that the land we bought happenes to be one of the most undesireable types of land as there is no public access to it (meaning a road cannot be built to it). We were told by the scam realtors that no public access meant a road had not yet been built to it. So now we are stuck paying taxes on land we can never get rid of.

We learned that we should ALWAYS say NO and pray and sleep on it. If God really wants us to have something, it will be the same price tomorrow as it was today and it will still be available at that time. Sellers want to make a sell!! We should have left and prayed on it and we would not have bought the land.

Secondly, we spent money on the little things. We goto Goodwill a lot to buy our clothes (and other necessities). What happens is we have a need (one of the children need new clothes) and go into Goodwill. We see several other WANTS and because they are such a good deal, we buy them. SO then we have a house full of clutter and only continue to collect more and more wants leaving less money for needs.

We should have created a budget of all the necessary things, then budgeted in savings and ROTH and tithe. After that, budget in amounts to spend on necessities: groceries, gas, clothing, etc. What we have done now is to give eachother an allowance each month. It is small, but enough to take the family out to dinner, buy a newly released DVD, etc. So that way we have a "fun" fund and can save up for the more expensive wants, and still build our retirement fund.

Don't think you are ever too young to think about or plan for retirement. Just think about it. If you start now, before you are even married. Then you won't have to wait until hubby is 65 and in a miserable job before he retires. He can retire at 40 and enjoy raising the kids WITH you (instead of always having to work or be thinking about work).

When we calculated the money we could have had by now, we would have not only been able to pay CASH for our homestead (which we wouldn't have done, it sometimes is more beneficial to take a loan out so you can keep growing your money - for example, if your ROTH is getting you 9% interest, and the loan is only costing you 5%, then you are making more money than the loan is costing you by keeping your money in your ROTH!), but it would have been enough that hubby could retire in 5 years instead of 32.

Imagine that!!! He will have to "waste" almost 30 extra years working that he COULD have been enjoying with family NOT working. He could have had the freedom to start up the company he wanted to start up but never had the time (because he is working a job to pay for our house and food and other needs and wants) or money.

We are SO THANKFUL that God has blessed us DESPITE our lack of good stewardship with His gifts. We are not in debt (but we are living paycheck to paycheck). We own our car. And with the sell of our home, we are going to make the profit we wanted to in order to be able to get a bigger home with bigger land (although still not the homestead we both really wanted).

So anyways, I hope that this helps some of you . And thankfully we are finding out NOW about how to do things instead of later when hubby is laid off because he finally reached that age where his company feels they can get cheaper labor from a college grad, despite all of hubby's knowledge, his knowledge is now too expensive for the company to keep him.

I also want to give one last word of encouragement - be accountable to each other on how you spend money. It is so easy to think that you don't need to discuss the dress you want to buy or the groceries you want to buy (after all, I am the woman and know what our family needs and am making all the meals), but I encourage you even in those areas to talk with your husband about it. Maybe he will suggest something that can save you an extra $30 a month. That may seem small now, but in one year, you will have saved an extra $360 plus interest (and if you were able to put that into either of your ROTHS or your husbands 401K that adds up FAST!! :D).

Try to max out BOTH of your ROTH's every year as well as your husband's 401K (your company should have a matching point - max to the matching point). That will help you build up that retirement fund fast.

And if you have a little extra at the end of the year, put it into a high yeild CD. I am hoping in 15 years to have enough money for the entire family (including any other children the Lord may give us) to goto Hawaii for our 25 wedding anniversary. :D

Friday, December 8, 2006

The Meaning of the Season and Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

I must admit that I find it horribly frustrating as a Christian that at a time of the year when we are supposed to be focused on Christ we can become some of the most selfish and gluttonous people. I admit that I love candy and cookies and breads as much as the next person, but too much is too much! I find myself wanting to eat things that I normally don't crave throughout the year. Maybe it is because all the best baking happens around this time of year. Maybe if we indulged just a little bit here and there throughout the year (like why do we only make cherry cordials this time of year, why not in Feb for Valentine's and in May for May day?) we wouldn't be so inclined to indulge at Christmas. Maybe this is a good lesson to enjoy everyday. Maybe by allowing ourselves only a short time of the year to bake these things, we are creating an excuse to over indulge in them. And then we are miserable, wondering why we let ourselves be so gluttonous and vow next year NOT to do the same.

It is the same with finances too. When we save and save and save and never have any fun with it, we usually end up doing one of two things:
*either we make ourselves miserable because we never have any fun and so we resent having to save and save and save
*or we end up nickel and dimeing ourselves into debt because we feel that we are saving our money so a little bit here and there won't hurt.

Why not start a small spending fund. Every time you have spare change or money left over from the budgeted groceries, etc. put it into a jar. My husband and I actually give ourselves an allowance each month to spend on things that we really don't have money in the budget for. It helps us to keep to the budget AND we are not miserable. We are able to enjoy life a bit (a small cookie at the bakery for each of the kids and myself, that movie that we just really really wanted, that new shade of lipstick that I don't really need but want).

Anyways, I guess my ramblings are more just a reminder to enjoy things throughout the year and don't save it all for Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Mommy, What Does GRACIOUS Mean?

I was talking to my daughter about how to eat properly and she said that Belle (oh please don't ask me why we ever let our daughters watch Disney princess movies - they have become OBSESSED with princess!) picked up the bowl and drank out of it. I mentioned that was because she was being gracious and my daughter asked what gracious meant.

I am quickly realizing that there are a whole SLEW of words that you just come to know and understand what they mean without truly knowing what they mean. So I had to look up the definition on the computer. In doing so I came across a great page that talks about ten characteristics of a gracious person. These are GREAT! I am thinking of printing them out and hanging them where I can see them and be reminded of how I want to be.

Because the web is ever changing and pages are ever leaving us, I am going to include the ten here. And afterwards, include some others written by others in the comments to the original post.

Ten Characteristics of a Gracious Person

Gracious … Now I like that word. Not a Terrell Owens or Randy Moss word. No, this word is reserved for people who recognize that they are privileged to receive what they have been given. A gracious person is wonderful just to be around. So what is a gracious person?

  • A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise.
  • A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. Humiliating another is not in this person’s vocabulary. (And please … don’t say something that humiliates another and then try to escape responsibility by saying, "I was only joking.")
  • A gracious person is always thanking others. Do you go through an entire day without thanking another?
  • A gracious person doesn’t monopolize the conversation. Someone else has something to offer.
  • A gracious person doesn’t try to play "one up-manship." ("That’s nothing, you should have seen what I did!")
  • A gracious person pays attention to people. Sometimes people come away from such conversations saying, "He made me feel like I was the most important person at that moment."
  • A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate. He doesn’t just say what is on his mind or whatever he might be thinking. (There is no redeeming value in emptying one’s mind of whatever fleeting thought has happened to land at the moment.)
  • A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others. "Would you like a cup of coffee? What about a coke? Can I get you a newspaper while I’m out?" etc.
  • A gracious person understands that she is not indispensable. You’ve seen this person. She desires constant attention. She has a way of constantly focusing most any conversation back on herself. There is a humility in realizing that you are dispensable.
  • A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees. Maybe you are visiting a friend who lives in another place. Instead of pointing out the inadequacies of your friend’s community, you are constantly finding things that are good. "This cafe has outstanding peach pie! That was delicious." "I just love the way you have planted your garden. It is beautiful!" Gracious people look for the good.

This is actually a post from October 2005. Why post it again? Because of a few comments that have been made regarding this piece. This was published in the Waco Tribune Herald shortly after it was posted on my blog. One gentleman told me a few weeks later that someone had placed the newspaper article on the wall in the rehab center at nearby Providence Hospital. A few weeks ago, a local anesthesiologist told me that it had been posted on the door of the operating room. He said, "I’ve read it several times before going in." An older gentleman in our church died of cancer in the last year. Before his death, he sent a copy of this piece to each of his grandchildren.

Why this response? I believe that in so many of us, there is a genuine hunger to experience the beauty of graciousness. After all, it is nothing more than grace lived out. And — that grace originates in the heart of God.

(I’m curious, what would you add to this list of ten? I suspect you could add another characteristic of a gracious person that might be helpful to us all.)

I might add that a gracious person really doesn’t care who gets credit, so long as the job is done. Gracious people don’t keep score.
Greg England

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Preserving Your Child's Artwork

I found FABRIC CRAYONS at Wal-mart. You have the child color a picture on regular paper (no letters or numbers because they will transfer backwards). Then iron onto fabric! We are going to be making pillowcases. I will post pictures when we are done. It might not be for a while because things are a bit busy right now.