Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals




As I reflect back on this last year, its many ups and downs, and the fact that I am a better person than I was a year before, I know that now is the time for goals.  Goals to give me purpose, direction, and a measurable way to see how much stronger I have become.

You will notice that my goals are very general.  This is because I want to flow with life instead of fighting against it.   I want to pray and feel the direction that God wants me to go.  I want to be inspired, be open to new ideas and take an organic approach to everything.

Each month I will write specific goals based on my yearly goals.  Then week by week, I will share with you the progress I am making.

Do you set goals?  I would love to hear about them and how you plan on reaching those goals.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS IN 2014.




A Loving Family
Pursue Husband
Presence in the Here and Now
Physical Activity
Prayer

A Peaceful Home
Organized
Meal Menu
Cleaning Schedule
Flexible Daily Routine

A Healthier Person
Journal
Read
Loose 30 Pounds
Memorize Scripture
Read the Bible

On Track with Finances
Emergency Fund
Christmas Savings
Begin Saving for A Vacation
Replace Full Time Job's Income

Giving of Ourselves
Tithe
Open Our Home to Others
Family Service Project
Build Stronger Friendships 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Weekly Goals- December 30, 2013

A wonderful Christmas followed by a sick kiddo has left our lives in a mess, our house in a mess and any sort routine, schedule, productivity in a mess!  Oh, well.  It was Christmas and that time only comes once a year.  (Thank goodness!!!)

Here's how I did on last weeks goals.

Weekly Goals for December 23, 2013

1) Visit Santa  Check





2) Finish Gifts  Check





3) Post 5 items at the on-line garage sale site  

4) Write up an outline for organizing/cleaning house.

5) Clean Fish Tank  (Poor Spidey)

6) Review 2013

7) Set 2014 Goals  Check







I have been thinking a lot about what my goals should be for 2014.  Goal setting helps me to be intentional with life.  I'll be posting my goals for 2014 tomorrow and changing my weekly goal format.  My weekly goals will be centered around smaller goals I have set in order to reach the goals I have made for this coming year.



Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Memories

This year I focused more on memories and keeping Christmas simple.  I did this for several reasons.

We are in the process of buying a home and need to stay with our budget.  

The spending freeze that we went through in the months of September and October has left me critical of how focused we are on stuff.  Not just my family, but our culture as a whole.  Keeping our activities simple and not over-scheduling ourselves, allows us to stay focused on celebrating our Savior's birth.  Less stuff for me means a happier and less stressed mommy/wife... and that makes everyone's lives better!




Keeping things simple has given us more time together as a family and more time to spend with extended family and friends.






Here is a list of this year's Christmas activities.

- I wrapped up 25 Christmas books that I had gotten from the library.  The boys took turns unwrapping one book a night to read before bedtime.  (The books were a mix of Christian, secular and celebrations by various cultures.)

- We got hot chocolate and drove through a local neighborhood that was filled with Christmas lights.

- We watched a lot of Christmas movies that were free from our local library.

- My husband, the boys and I went Christmas caroling with our church family.

- The boys each packed up a shoe box with assorted gifts for operation Christmas Child.

- We visited Santa.




- Making Christmas cookies is always fun.  My mom and I used to make dozens of recipes between the two of us during the Christmas season.  I toned it down to just one recipe and kept things very simple for the boys and me.




- Matthew and Liam each wrote/dictated a letter to Santa.









-  My husband and I took the boys to the dollar store so they can each get a gift for their cousins and each other.  Then, I let go of my OCD and let the boys wrap their gifts.


- A homemade Christmas gift for the grandparents.



Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekly Goals, December 23, 2013

I got quite a bit accomplished last week and only a few things from my list were left undone.  I even learned how to crochet and am working on some last minute gifts.  :-)  (I had been planning on learning to crochet in 2014.  Check one thing off my list!)

Our Christmas Season has been plodding along at a slow and comfortable pace.  When I was younger, when I was newly married and when I was a young mom, I felt the need to fill my schedule with as many activities that could fit.  Now, I choose our activities very carefully and allow for a lot of "scheduled" down time.  Having specific goals and being intentional about choices paved the way for a relaxing and stress free Christmas season.

Last weeks goals...
My Weekly Goals For December 16, 2013

-Christmas List for Gifts for the Boys
  Done
-Christmas Shopping  Done
-Letter to Santa  Done
-Visit Santa (for the kids, not me!)  
-Make Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

- Complete daily tasks to keep up with housework  
Still having a hard time following through with this.

-Research a yummy garlic bread recipe  Bought frozen garlic bread to allow for more time with family,


-Make Granola Bars  
Done  (Link to Granola Bar Recipe)
-Make Chocolate Syrup






Weekly Goals for December 23, 2013

1) Visit Santa

2) Finish Gifts

3) Post 5 items at the on-line garage sale site

4) Write up an outline for organizing/cleaning house.

5) Clean Fish Tank

6) Review 2013

7) Set 2014 Goals






Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Granola Bars

I've been on the hunt for healthy snacks that we can afford.  It's super easy and cheap to buy junk food at the store and fill our stomachs with empty calories, but I want to find a different path.

Here's a recipe I found, modified slightly and it met with the entire family's approval.  My seven year old, Matt, said if he had twelve thumbs, he would give it twelve thumbs up!

Plus, it uses chia seeds. These little seeds are packed full of omega-3, fiber, and antioxidants.

GRANOLA BARS



Ingredients:
  8 Tablespoons Butter
  1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  1/2 Cup of Honey
  6 Cups of Rolled Oats
  1 Cup Dried Berries
  1/2 Cup of Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar and honey.  Let it simmer until the sugar is dissolved, approx. 2 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat.





Add the oats and berries to the saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are covered with the syrup like mixture.




Transfer the granola mixture to a 10x15 ungreased pan.  Press it down to fit in the pan, making it as even as possible.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top and then press them into the granola.  





Place the pan into the fridge for 15 minutes.  Take out the pan and cut into bars.  (I used a pizza cutter and it seemed to help the granola stay together.  Place pan back in fridge, let the bars finish setting.  This helps the bars keep their shape when you remove them from the pan.




Store the granola bars in an airtight container and put wax paper between the layers.  Store in the fridge.

Below I have copied the link to the original granola bar recipe that I used.  That recipe included wheat germ, ground flax seeds and whole flax seeds.  I want to make that version but I didn't have those ingredients on hand.  Happy, healthy eating!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Comparison is a Slippery Slope

Comparison is the thief of joy - Teddy Roosevelt



I can't seem to help it.  I catch myself comparing my life, my children, my job, my successes, my crafts, my meals, my everything, to others.

Facebook is the worst.  It connects us to family and friends but with everyone putting the highlights of their lives on-line, it's hard to live in the raw reality of everyday.

Pinterest has its traps, too.  Cute outfits, gorgeous hairstyles, home decor ideas, gourmet meals, crafts, and enough children's activities to run yourself (and your children) ragged.

I'll let you in on a secret.  It's a secret that only three people realize about me.  The person I compare myself to the most, is myself.  Not the real, genuine me, but the person I think I should be.


I hate seeing myself in pictures, it thrusts how I really look right back at me.
I should be thinner and prettier.

I despise how I yell back at my three year old.
I should always be patient with him.

I feel fear when I sing off key in the kitchen.
I shouldn't sound so awful.

I wonder what is wrong with me when I forget something.
I should remember such simple things.

I am ashamed when I think about God's love for me and how I constantly put myself down.
I should have confidence in Him and always feel His love surrounding me.


Then, I hear myself speaking to my children.

"Don't worry about others.  You do your best and mommy will be proud of you."


I love my kids.  I want them to do their best and be the children, young adults and men that God wants them to be.  It is my constant prayer.  (Besides the hedge of protection.)

If I feel that way about my children, how does God feel about me?




Comparison




A life without worry, anxiety or fear is a lofty goal.  But, with practice, gentle reminders, diving into the bible on a consistent basis and supportive family and friends, I can move one step closer to that goal.  One step forward is one step closer to being the woman that God desires me to be.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekly Goals- December 16, 2013

There has been a lot going on the last few weeks.  Although life is great, holidays are great, and life as a whole is great, I've been emotionally struggling.

I see everyone's homes all decked out for Christmas and I'm lucky we even got our Christmas Tree up.  If it weren't for the boys, I may have skipped it this year.  I feel a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Christmas this year but am having a hard time getting into all of the traditions.

When I tried to figure out what was bothering me, I came up with many answers.

Missing my mom who died 5 years ago could be why.  She celebrated Christmas with the best of them and traditions were her thing.  You didn't mess with the traditions.

The death of our first born son, William, is next month.  Although it is only December, the weather sure feels like January.

Uncertainty with future income, future housing, and the weight  of future choices have sent my head into a tail spin.  Any one of these things could be the reason, or it could be a combination of it all.

Plus, I get mad at myself because my life is great.  Feeling depressed almost feels like a spirit of ungratefulness for everything I do have.

God has given me a loving husband, a great marriage, two healthy and energetic boys, a warm, safe and beautiful home to live in, jobs that help pay the bills, and family and friends to spend time with.

So, it's something I'm working through...






My Weekly Goals For December 16, 2013

-Christmas List for Gifts for the Boys
-Christmas Shopping
-Letter to Santa
-Visit Santa (for the kids, not me!)
-Make Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

- Complete daily tasks to keep up with housework

-Research a yummy garlic bread recipe

-Make Granola Bars
-Make Chocolate Syrup


Many people often struggle during the holidays.  I didn't understand this when I was younger but I certainly do now.  It might just be God's way of showing me how others need compassion, a friendly smile, a listening ear, or a helpful prayer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding Peace in Where You Are



I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with a group of ladies yesterday.  I talked about recent revelations I had found in Proverbs 31, what they meant specifically to me and how the information inspired me to free myself of guilt that has been weighing me down and effecting my choices.  I briefly introduced my new business, Simply Fun and sang "Away In A Manger."  (Singing was not in the original plan but when a lifelong friend asked me to sing, I swallowed my insecurities and said yes.)

I struggle with life no matter where I am at.  When I'm working full time, I want to be at home with my children.  When I'm home with my children, I stress about money and feel out of sorts.  Our lack of income keeps us home more than I would like.  My hearts desire is to be home for my family, so it's a sacrifice I am willing to make.

After the meeting, two women approached me and mentioned how they feel guilty about what they're doing.  One was a stay-at-home mom and the other was a home maker.  Both struggled with guilt from not bringing in an income.  We spent a few minutes encouraging each other before parting ways.

Their struggles seem similar to my own inner struggle and it left me wondering...

Why don't we have peace with the *work God has given us?

How can we find a way to shift our thinking away from what is "correct" in our culture and embrace what is right with God?

"In everything you do, work at it with all your heart.  As working for the Lord and not for men."
Colossians 3:23


If I spend my time questioning, feeling guilty, or stressing about things, I will miss wonderful opportunities to fulfill my purpose.  A purpose that is important enough for Him to place me here, right now and in this very moment.

Whatever season of life I am in, I need to be satisfied.

It's where God has placed me.




the definition of work as found at dictionary.com:

*work
  [wurk]  Show IPA noun, adjective, verb, worked or ( Archaic except for 29, 31, 34 )wrought; working.
noun
1.
exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.
2.
something on which exertion or labor is expended; a task or undertaking: The students 
finished their work in class.
3.
productive or operative activity.
4.
employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one's
 livelihood: to look forwork.
5.
one's place of employment: Don't phone him at work.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training



Meet Liam Cedric Daly.  My baby who came out at 11 pounds, 3 ounces and was the biggest newborn in the NICU.  He was the most easy going, flexible and happy baby and young toddler.  Was...


He's three years old now and his halo often explodes when his horns creep out.

When he doesn't get the cup he wanted (but didn't tell me he wanted).

When his seven year old brother runs faster than he does.

When we're out of bananas, or french toast sticks, or suckers.

When the sun is out.

When the moon is out.

(I'm sure you get the pattern here.)

Random moments, unexpected times, and unavoidable situations.


At around two, we started letting him go around without pants or a diaper.  He knew when he had to go and would ask us to put a diaper on him.  I encouraged him to try to go on the toilet and was met with crying, screaming, and anger.  So, I backed off.

I take more of a "wait until they're ready approach" with potty training.  (Too many early childhood classes in college resulted in me being hyper aware of potential issues potty training can cause.)

Fast forward to his third birthday.  Cheerios in the toilet and peeing with his dad got us through the anxiety Liam felt when it came to peeing in the toilet.  Pooping was a whole other issue.  Liam would hold it until we put a diaper on him for bedtime or nap.

He really wants to be a big boy and do big boy things, like go to the preschool class at church. Over the last two months we had lots of conversations about how preschoolers go poop and pee on the potty.  Then, I let us run out of diapers and after holding it for two days (and making me really nervous) he went poop in the potty.

We've had no accidents and much success over the last week and here are a few things that I want to remember.  It might come in handy for future teasing and loving harassment.

1) The moments when Liam comes to me and says "Mommy, I need you to help me brave."  We make out way to the bathroom, I sit down next to him and offer encouraging words as he poops.

2) Liam laying his head on my lap and birthing his poop.  I swear it reminds me of childbirth.  He face gets all red and sweaty and he makes noises that sound like he's having a baby.

3) How proud he is of his pooping accomplishment.  I told him how proud I was and he responded "I so proud of me, too!"

4)  Talking poop.  Yesterday, as Liam sat birthing his poop, he started talking in a loud, angry and forceful voice.  I asked him why he was yelling at his poop and he told me that his poop was talking to him.  It was saying "WE WANT TO COME OOOOOOOOUUUUUUUTTTTT!"  Please note that this all happened in the bathroom at Aldi's.  Normally, I would have worried that the entire store heard Liam screaming, but Matthew's singing drowned it out.


We're headed in the right direction and it's time to celebrate by taking our big boy to Chuck-E-Cheese.  My reward is not having to buy or change diapers.

I must say, it has been quite an adventure.







Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekly Goals: November 18, 2013

My progress on the goals for November 11, 2013:

My home will never be spotless.  I have two young boys, two cats and a husband whose natural gift is not picking up after himself or taking his shoes off at the door.  It is the season of life that I am in and I am choosing to embrace it.  I spent the last year or so, living with the philosophy to not worry about cleanliness and order.  My children are only here for a moment and a joyful marriage is more important than a spotless floor.  Cat hair, ripped napkins, and a litter box must be overlooked if I am wanting my boys to learn responsibility and empathy for God's creatures and have a furry friend to play with.  Although I still agree with the reasoning behind the philosophy, I have learned something about myself.  When my home is too cluttered and unclean, I feel grumpy, irritable, stressed and am downright unpleasant.  I need some sort of order in the midst of my chaotic life.  I need my home to be a restful haven.

I'm searching for a simple routine that I can easily follow that will allow me to enjoy life to the fullest and not be caught up in keeping things clean and organized. 

Here's the plan I have come up with so far.

Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter.

Monday- Bathrooms
 
Tuesday- Vacuum
 
Wednesday- Sweep and Mop Floors
 
Thursday- Kitchen
 
Friday- De-Clutter
 
Even though I didn't get every single thing done, every single day, I did notice that getting a little done every day helped create more order.  This allowed me to relax and enjoy life more.  I'm going to keep at for two more weeks to see if this schedule is what I need to stick with.



1) Knit, Read and Walk  Yes, Yes, and No.  I think I need to get our treadmill fixed.  :-(
 
2) Menu for Thanksgiving and confirm plans with family  Done
 
3) Clean and Organize Basement and Den  Done
 
4) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned.  Done
 
5) Get Matthew started on a project  In progress...
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weekly Goals: November 18, 2013-
 
1) Continue with weekly cleaning plan
 
2) Organize File Box
 
3) Sort items for re-sale
 
4) Knit and read.
 
5) Pick up materials for Matthew's Project
 
 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Beyond Please and Thank You

Manners are a way of life.  Some choose to live them, others choose to not. 
 
My grandmother was a huge, huge stickler on manners.  Please, thank you, may I, walk softly, chew quietly, sit with your legs together, look at the person in the eyes when speaking to them, walk softly, etc.  (Yes, I wrote walk softly twice.  I apparently was a very, very loud walker.) 
 
When we tried to get around someone and said "Excuse me." she would ask if we had passed gas.  Excuse me is what you say when you pass gas or burp.  You say "Pardon me" when you want to get around someone. 
 
Oh, and the classic.  You ask "May I...?" not "Can I...?"  Anyone can, but you say may when asking for permission. 
 
But, wait!  There's one more.  You never say "I'm done."  A turkey is done.  You are finished.
 
 
 
 
Liam and Matthew are great with using their manners.  Although I am nowhere near as strict as my grandmother, we all use please, thank you, excuse me, bless you, etc.  I use them at home and the boys have just picked up on it.  (Even my husband's manners have gotten better after 12 years of marriage!)
 
It's a simple thing that we can do to be kind and respectful to others and to treat them the way we would like to be treated.
 
What do you do when it goes beyond just saying please and thank you?
 
 
 
 
 
 
We homeschool and I am with the boys for a majority of the day, every day. 
 
Now, don't get me wrong.  I love it.  I choose it and I wouldn't want it any other way.
 
But...
 
We all need time to do our own things.
 
I need some time to finish a sentence with the first child before the other one demands something of me.
 
It needs to become a habit to use a respectful tone when speaking to others.
 
My boys need to learn when it is appropriate to ask a question and when they need to wait.
 
Our family needs to learn that respect means complying with a request that doesn't have to be finished with a consequence.
 





It will take some time, a lot of love, grace and patience.
 
Respecting one another goes deeper than a simple please and thank you.



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Woman Who Fears the Lord #13

The Woman Who Fears the Lord
 
A Study of Proverbs 31
Verse 22
 
"She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple."

If you have read any of my previous posts about our gal Mrs. Proverbs, you should remember that this is an area where I am seriously lacking.

When I was single, before I had children and before I realized that our budget was tight, I bought clothes.  And shoes.  Now, my closet was never over flowing, but I certainly had plenty.

The last four years have been full of financial struggles.  We aren't homeless or hungry, but we have had to realize that we have to make some hard choices.  One area that has been cut has been my clothing allowance. 
(I'm pretty much the one who figures up the budget
and I'm the one who cut it.)



Mrs. Proverbs, you make your own blankets, sheets and quilts.  You dress in fashionable clothing that makes you stand out as a classy woman.

What can I learn from you?


Bed coverings must have been a big thing back in the Bible says.  I typically close our bedroom door when we have guests and my husband is OCD about the sheets and blankets, so I just leave the bed coverings up to him.  We have a quilt that my mother made us and the rest has been purchased from a store.  No Susie Homemaker here.


How I dress is important.  I'm sure God doesn't look at my stained shirt and my ripped jeans and say, "Wow.  I'm super disappointed in you." 

But, God did call each of us to minister to our husbands and those around us.  For me, it's easier to have the confidence to talk to someone if I'm not wearing stained clothing and ripped jeans. 

(But that could just be the circle I run in.)

For my husband, I believe that I need to do my best to remain attractive to him.  This can relate to the above verse in regards to clothing but I believe it goes much deeper than what is on the outside.  My attitude, spirit and heart are key in maintaining a healthy and joyful marriage.  Not just my clothes.

So, again I will say that I had better be more intentional when it comes to clothing. 

Moving slowly towards being a woman who fears the Lord, one outfit at a time.


 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekly Goals: November 11, 2013

I totally lost my focus last week.  It started out well, but ended up in the toilet.  (And the toilet was still dirty.)
 
Weekly Goals: November 11, 2013
 
Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter. About 1/2 the days this was done.
 
Monday- Sweep and Mop Floors Done
 
Tuesday- Vacuum: Done
 
Wednesday- Bathrooms
 
Thursday- Kitchen
 
Friday- De-Clutter
 
 
 
1) Save, Give, and Spend Jars Done
 

 
 
 
2) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned. Not Done
 
3) Read Done, I'm reading a challenging book called "The Artist's Way for Parents, Raising Creative Children" by Julia Cameron
 
4) Knit Done, I am working on a scarf that a friend wants for her son.  I also met with a friend who taught me how to crochet. 
 
5) Walk Not Done at All.  :-(
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weekly Goals: November 11, 2013
 
I really, really want to stay focused on this idea.  My theory is that if I am consistently cleaning a little bit every day, I will be able to focus, relax and enjoy life to it's fullest.  A cluttered and messy home really distracts me and I get grumpy.  Even if I don't get everything done every single day, it should make a difference if I am cleaning on a consistent basis.
 
So, I cut and pasted the goals, printed it out and stuck it on my fridge.
 
 
 
Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter.
 
Monday- Bathrooms
 
Tuesday- Vacuum
 
Wednesday- Sweep and Mop Floors
 
Thursday- Kitchen
 
Friday- De-Clutter

 
Normally, I write my goals on Sunday for that week.  I had such an emotionally difficult day yesterday that when we got home after being gone for 9 1/2 hours, I went to bed.  (After taking care of the boys, of course.)  This morning I woke up and had such a long list of things I needed to get done today that I instantly felt overwhelmed.  I wrote everything down, decided what was most urgent and began taking care of those things. 
 
Here are my main goals for this week:
 
1) Knit, Read and Walk
 
2) Menu for Thanksgiving and confirm plans with family
 
3) Clean and Organize Basement and Den
 
4) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned.
 
5) Get Matthew started on a project
 
 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Giving Children Commision for Chores

A while back I read an informative book titled, America's Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides.  One of the ideas they gave in their book was to have commission for the children and to have timecards for everyone to show the tasks they had completed.  Do the tasks, get paid.  Don't?  Well, you don't get paid.  Matthew, who is 7 1/2 has been wanting to get a job to earn money and frequently asks to do things to get paid.  Liam is 3 and has no clue.  He likes money but that's about where it ends.

I figured we would start simple.  I call them their task sheets.  They each have three sections and there are three tasks in each section. Complete the tasks in one section and you get the agreed upon amount.  For Matthew, it is 15 cents.  For Liam, it is 5 cents.  On Monday we go through the task sheets, do some math together and they get paid.

Here's the List of Matthew's tasks:

1) Brush teeth and wash face
    Laundry
    Wipe Bathroom Counter
2) Unload Dishwasher
     Scoop Out Litter
     Trash
3) Put jacket and shoes away
    Pick up toys
    Brush Teeth and Wash Face

Here's the  List of Liam's tasks:

1) Go Potty in the toilet
     Brush Teeth and wash face
     Get dressed
2) Go Potty in the toilet
    Unload silverware from the dishwasher
    Give cat's food and water
3) Pick up toys
    Go Potty in the toilet
    Brush teeth and wash face

My goals are 1) to get them to do their tasks without being told and with a cheerful spirit.  2) To learn how to delay gratification.  3) To learn how to handle small amounts of money so that they can handle larger amounts when they get older. 

All important life skills that I am including in the children's education.


Big dreams meet reality.

We've been doing the task charts and commission for almost 3 weeks now and let me tell you what's happening...

The first day was awesome!  The second day was okay.  Then Matthew figured out the message I was giving him.  He can CHOOSE whether he wants to do  his tasks or not.  So, he took some time off of work.  About two weeks now.  Liam joined him on his vacation.  They both say it's okay that they're not getting paid.

I need to re-think my message.  :-0

This leaves me to do most of the work.  Brushing their teeth and using the bathroom typically gets done.  The cat's get their litter changed when I remind Matthew that we will not be able cats to keep the cats if he doesn't scoop the litter and their father just says "You will unload the dishwasher, NOW."

I still like the idea of commission... 

I just need to figure out how it's going to work for our family and the ages are children are currently in.


Week One

Week Two


 America's Cheapest Family, A Book Review

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Simply Fun Game Review, "Share A Berry"

I had been a consultant for three days before I was able to unpack my box and look through all the products that came in my kit.  My two boys wanted to play all the games but since there are only 24 hours in a day, they each got to pick one.
 
Liam, who is 3 years old, chose "Share A Berry!"
 
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect.  I guess I was expecting a game similar to "Hi, Ho, Cherry-O" and was pleasantly surprised to find out this game offers much, much more.
 
 
 
Matthew, age 7, and Liam, age 3, getting ready to play the game.
 
 
Each player has a path.  The berry path cards have numbers along with + signs to indicate the amount of berries that player gets to remove from the main berry basket and add to your berry string.  When it's your turn, you flip the tile over and add the number of berries indicated on the card to your berry string.  Everyone has a small basket to put their berries in while stringing.  That way you don't have to go chasing berries!
 
 
 






After each player has turned over all the berry tiles, the river path tiles are next.  Each of the river path tiles have numbers, - signs and a bear that is facing left or right.  When it's your turn, you flip the tile over and subtract the number of berries indicated on the card and pass it to the person who is sitting in the same direction the bear is facing.
 
 
 
After everyone has taken turns flipping over the berry tiles and adding berries and flipping over the river path tiles and subtracting berries, the player with the most berries on their berry string wins!
 
 
 
 
You can each count the berries on the string or you can line the strings up and measure who has the most berries.
 
 
 
Both boys enjoyed this game but it was Liam's favorite.  I was amazed when he independently recognized all the numbers.
 
Matthew enjoyed more of the adding and subtracting. 
He also counted by twos to add his berry string up.
 
 
 
If you would like to add this game to your family's game night, visit my website at
 
You can also "like" me on Facebook and stay up to date on product details and specials.
 
 
 
Below you will find the product information that is found on the Simply Fun Corporate Website.
 
 
 
 
It's fun to "Share a Berry!"
Players take turns flipping over their 4 Berry Path tiles, collecting the number of strawberries shown from the Big Berry Basket and threading them onto their string. When players begin turning over their River Path Tiles, they must remove the number of strawberries from their string and pass them to another player as directed by the bear on the tile. It's fun to "Share a Berry!"


  • Plus and minus as well as early counting.
  • Fine Motor Skills.
  • Right and Left recognition.

  • Box Contains:
    • 28 Wooden Strawberries
    • 16 Berry Path Tiles
    • 8 River Path Tiles
    • 4 Strawberry Strings
    • 4 Mini Berry Baskets
    • 1 Big Berry Basket
    • 1 Rule Booklet
    Ages 3 and up
    :30 mintues game play
    2-4 players

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Homemade Yogurt, A Slow Cooker Recipe

     
    Homemade Yogurt
    A Slow Cooker Recipe
     
     
     
    1) Heat 2 liters/9 cups of milk in the slow cooker on low for 2 hours.
     
    2) Turn the slow cooker off and leave milk to cool for approximately 3 hours.
     
    3) After you have allowed the milk to cool, remove 2 cups of the milk and mix in 4 Tablespoons of plain yogurt.  (I had to specifically buy plain yogurt for this recipe because my family will not touch the stuff.)
     
    5) Replace the lid, wrap your slow cooker in a towel or blanket and leave 8-10 hours or overnight.
     
    6) Remove 4 Tablespoons and put in a freezable container to have your starter for the next time you make this recipe.  (I've heard that you just have to remove the water before mixing it with the milk.)
     
    7) I added 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1 cup of sugar to the yogurt.  Since my family wouldn't touch the undoctored yogurt, adding these two things made it appealing to them.
     
    8) Place in a airtight container and refrigerate.
     
     
    This yogurt is much thinner than what you purchase in the store.  It looks like soup in the slow cooker but will thicken up slightly after putting it in the fridge.
     
    You can also add your favorite fruits to the yogurt to make it more like the store bought.
     
     

     
    My husband and oldest son, Matt, said it needed more sugar but Liam said "It's goodie."
     
    I think the other two need to give the healthier version a try.  I'm sure their tastebuds will adjust.
     
     

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    A Woman Who Fears the Lord #12

    The Woman Who Fears the Lord
     
    A Study of Proverbs 31
    Verse 21
     
    "She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet."

    This woman, our lovely role model and friend, Mrs. Proverbs has it all together.  I can't imagine that she had piles of clothes that her children have outgrown sitting in her basement.  I'll bet her son didn't walk around with a shoe that had broken open... for a week.  I'm positive that her husband's work clothes weren't stained and coming apart at the seams from years of wear.  I'm sure her clothes didn't have bleach stains all over them from work and half of her closet didn't fit her right anymore.

    It's doubtful that she dressed like a biblical supermodel, but it's pretty clear from the other verses in this chapter that she dressed well.

    Here's another verse where I fell like an epic fail at being a Proverbs 31 woman.  I'm trying to get better but with everything we have going on in our lives now, clothes are typically the furthest thing from my mind.

    Which leaves me to ask, what can I learn from this verse?

    We may not be the most fashionable family, but I try to have us dress in clothing that flatters us.

    We may not spend a lot of money on clothes, but I search high and low for great deals.

    We may not have outfit upon outfit to choose from, but we're fully clothed when we leave the house.



    If God cares most about what is on the inside, why does this verse point out what is on the outside?

    Our God provided for her and for her family. 
    Using the resources available to them, they were well taken care of.


    I'm not sure exactly where this verse fits in this season of our lives, but I'm determined to find out.



    For more posts about Proverbs 31, click on the following link: Proverbs 31
     

    Monday, November 4, 2013

    Weekly Goals: November 4, 2013

    It's incredible how fast the last month has gone.  While I was working, time seemed to stand still and now that the season is over, time is in hyper-drive.  I'm still searching for a balance in our schedule.  I'm overwhelmed by housework, wanting to spend more time with the boys without being distracted, and needing to find a healthy way to fit the two news businesses into our daily lives. 

    Last week was a little whacked.  My youngest, Liam's, 3rd birthday, Trick-or-treating, a trip to a local pumpkin patch, working on getting one of the businesses off the ground, learning activities with the boys and day-to-day/mundane/drive me crazy if they're not done tasks commanded my schedule.

    Weekly Goals, October 28, 2013

    1) Write down an outline for balancing children's activities, housework, blogging and business goals.  In Progress 
     
     
    2)  Save, give and spend jars.  Not Complete
     
     
    3) Walk  Does Trick-Or-Treating 3 Times Count?
     
     
    4) Read  I started two books for me and am reading the 2nd Harry Potter book with Matthew.  Add these to the picture books for Liam and I would say this goal was done.
     
     
    5) Knit  Done
     
     
    6) Organize Liam's 2 year old photos.  Not Done
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Weekly Goals for November 4, 2013-
     
    Housework throws me off balance.  The work will never be done and ignoring it doesn't work for me.  Trust me, I've tried.  I get really, really grumpy when the house is a mess.   For the next four weeks, I'm going to try following a simple daily and weekly schedule for the housework.
     
    Daily- Dishes, One Load of Laundry, Wipe Counters, Sweep Floors, Spend 5 minutes Removing Clutter.
     
    Monday- Sweep and Mop Floors
     
    Tuesday- Vacuum
     
    Wednesday- Bathrooms
     
    Thursday- Kitchen
     
    Friday- De-Clutter
     
     
     
    1) Save, Give, and Spend Jars
     
    2) Start a Notebook for Business Account to keep track of money spent and money earned.
     
    3) Read
     
    4) Knit
     
    5) Walk