Wednesday, June 27, 2012

S.O.S...a cry for [practical] help (question #6)

Thanks for visiting today! A few Wednesdays ago, I started this series to help all of you with those everyday practical questions you may have about housekeeping or raising children. OK., that is SO not true. I started it for more selfish reasons - to help myself! I'll admit it. I wanted to hear your advice, your systems and your encouragement. We all need a little of each of those from time to time, don't we?!?!

I thought I would do things a bit differently today. I want to answer my own question and then I hope to hear from some of you, as well : )

Question #6

What are some things that you do to get some down time (alone time) or refresh?

A: For me, I renergize by going for a walk outside (with my favorite worship music on my ipod), taking a hot bath, reading (books or blogs), blogging (yes, it's true), or working on a hobby/project that I haven't had time for. Sitting down for a few moments with a cup of coffee or chai tea does wonders for me too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More attempts

Book Babies.

Craft time.

Silly songs and pom poms.

OK, I cheated a little with this photo ;). This was from the spring session, but I wanted to show you how cool our library is....they actually brought areal llama in for one class. Notice that Lai Lai wanted to introduc
e her own llama to his momma {insert laugh here}.

In keeping with my little "how we're going to attempt to avoid mushy brains and bodies this summer" series, I wanted to share a little peek into our library story time sessions (or "library school" as the girls call it). We actually finished the summer sessions up today. Two of our girls attended classes and had a great time.

I am so truly grateful for our library. They go above and beyond in their story time sessions. The themes, stories, crafts and short videos (or music time for babies) are always so fun and interactive. Our girls have a great time. Another aspect that I like is that the sessions are usually only a few dollars to cover the price of materials or sometimes, free.

It's a great opportunity for the girls to make new friends, acquire skills and learn to love books and stories. We'll definitely be signing up for the fall!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Perspective, it's a beautiful thing!

I always love when things come into perspective.

One day recently, seemed to be a particularly long day. After nursing the baby through the night, another one of our little cuties woke me up quite early. Her sweet morning "mommy" calls are too precious to make me cringe at the hour she wakes me. We all did our daily routine and when my husband got home, he had to finish a project he had started in the garage. The day seemed to all run together into the evening without a break to stop and breathe.

I had wanted to go for a walk that day, but it didn't really happen. When he finished his project, we all spontaneously loaded up the van and headed for the beach. It was beautiful. It was what we all needed. My husband very graciously played in the sand with our girls so that I could take a long walk down by the water. It was amazing! The sun was setting and the water glistened.

I have always loved the ocean and large bodies of water {our beach is not the ocean, but it is still huge} because they remind me of how big and beautiful this world is. It takes me outside "my little box" of life. Mountains, stars and sunsets have the same effect on me.

Consequently enough, that same week our pastor showed this video about the hugeness of God and his love. The vastness of the universe and really how small our part in it really is. The book that I have been reading, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Frances Chan, sends out the same reminder. It is a humbling thought, but it truly puts things into perspective. It's not that we don't matter or our problems and concerns don't matter. In fact, the Bible speaks about the fact that the God of this HUGE universe even considers us.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them
You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds.... (Psalm 8:3-7)

That's a pretty amazing concept. The God of the universe cares for us. I just think it's a good thing when we keep that in check. God is SO much bigger than us, our problems, our thoughts and our worries.....and our "greatness". I guess to put it plainly, let's all step outside tonight, look up at the enormous sky filled with millions of stars and eat a big piece of "humble pie".

Friday, June 22, 2012

Psssst...don't forget about Swagbucks

Hey everyone. Happy {frugal} Friday! I just wanted to remind you about Swagbucks today. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here to check out my previous post which explains this phenomenon where you can earn free stuff.

If you've already signed up...don't get discouraged if it seems like it's taking forever to earn your digital dollars. Remember how you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you get free Swagbuck at a time. In fact, I'm using my Amazon gift card that I got from Swagbucks to order this book today:

Why do I feel like a cheerleader for Swagbucks right now?!?! Happy searching and earning everyone and have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why I love having a large(r) family

Today, I want to continue the Why I love having a large(r) family series by saying that t
here are so many reasons why I love having a large(r) family, but one of them is:

Because you always have a buddy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

S.O.S...a cry for [practical] help (question #5)

The ever ticking "clock" of time. It never stops, never slows down, does it?! It seems since having children, that has become even more evident. Everyday in our home, we seem to reach different milestones and reach new phases of life. Crawling, walking, saying new words, learning new skills, potty training and so on. It's almost monthly that someone is wearing a new size of clothing and the old is being packed away in boxes.

I want so badly to stop time and really live and relive each and every moment. I want to capture every second and bottle it up. I think most of us try our best to capture those moments the best ways we can. I'm learning to keep a camera handy and a notebook close in reach. Still, my best efforts won't truly tell the daily story in years to come. I don't want to miss out on life by worrying about preserving everything, but I do want to have things to remind us of the days that little feet scurried across our floors.

This truth leads me to todays question in this series:

Question #5

In what ways do you preserve memories to look back upon in the years to come? Are you partial to photos, video, scrapbooking or journals?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

S.O.S...a cry for [practical] help (question #4)

Whether you know me or whether you may have observed from my posts (or lack therof on this topic), that housekeeping is not one of my greatest strengths. Managing home finances....sure, teaching children....yep,, all right?!

I could be wrong, but not many people actually LOVE cleaning and doing chores {okay, okay even if you do....just humor me here}. Don't get me wrong, it can actually be somewhat therapudic at times and I have learned to enjoy it a little more. I DO, however, like interior decorating and setting up my home very much. That is a motivator for me because you can't decorate what you can't find in a cluttered mess ; ).

Over the past few years, I have really searched my heart in this area. I have also realllllly tried to become better at organizing/cleaning, etc. and not just settle with the attitude "I just don't like it and it's not my thing." I know that attitude does not bless God or my family. On that note, I'll share some things that have helped me (are helping me NOW) in this area:

1.) As I said, I have had a major attitude/heart change regarding this issue. I have been really challenged to view it not as doing something I just don't like because it has to be done, but that I'm doing something to serve my family and make our home a clean, sanitary, beautiful and peacful environment for the people I love - and myself : ).

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Col. 3:17

2.) I bought the Motivated Moms app that totally fits my personality as far as loving checklists and my "get 'er done" style. P.S. they also have a printable version which I almost chose. I'm so old school when it comes to lists. There are so many resources and systems out there to help those "like me" who need to find one that works best. There is no one size fits all.

3.) Having balance and showing grace {to myself and others}. I seem to go from one extreme to another - from being totally okay with clutter, to being completely overwhelmed and stressed out by it. I'm trying to focus on what matters most and that is relationships and not walking around with a bad attitude or grouching at the kids because of a mess. I try to do all that I can when appropriate and leave the rest for when I can get to it. It's also a matter of realizing the season that I am in {one of raising small children}. It's been said that:

"cleaning with small children around is like shoveling during a blizzard" and I couldn't agree more.

4.) Thankfully, my awesome husband helps as much as he can. To tell the truth, he does a lot of the laundry. He does it to help me, but also because he is quite particular on how it is done...shhh, don't tell him I told. He also vacuums on occasion and is great at organizing and de-cluttering, which I am quite the pack rat. (I knew I married him for more than his looks ; ))

Anyway, those are some things that are helping me in one of my weak links. Now, what about you?

Question #4

Do you have a specific "plan of attack" when it comes to cleaning and organizing? Do you do specific jobs on specific days or do you do a little of everything each day? I look forward to hearing your womanly wisdom on this....pllllleassseee (hey, don't make me beg here ; ))

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer fun (and learning of course) begins

I mentioned to you last week that we were going to attempt to avoid mushy brains and bodies this summer by being intentional about some of our activities. Although it's not "technically" summer, we have been having a blast.

I'm really grateful that we live near one of the Great Lakes. It's such an amazing place to go and one of our favorite family activities.

The long stretch of sand and dunes allow for a natural playground - a nice soft landing pad for little knees and/or bodies that tend to fall often. A huge body of water, sand dunes, and wildlife are a perfect backdrop for a day out and lessons in nature.

The girls love to run and yell [all the things they cannot do in the house ; )] dig, build and splash their little hearts out. They especially love chasing the gulls who perch themselves all over the beach.

There are many more trips to the beach in store for us : )

Keep coming back to visit on {homeschool} Tuesday, there are some fun giveaways coming soon!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I love having a large(r) family

Today, I'm continuing the series on Why I love having a large(r) family. Yes, having multiple children comes with it's challenges. Yes, I am told on a daily basis that "I have my hands full", but my heart is even more so. There are so many reasons why I love having a large(r) family, but one of them is:

Because there is just that much more love and cuddles!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

S.O.S...a cry for [practical] help (question #3)

It is Wednesday again. Is it me or do the weeks pass like days?! Wow. That is such a reminder to me to truly live each moment.

Today, I want to continue the series that began a couple of weeks ago, S.O.S a cry for [practical] help. It has been fun to receive different suggestions for questions posted. It has also been fun to think of questions to post. I truly enjoy learning how other people and other moms do things. Just today, a great friend of mine brought her two little cuties over for a play date. She and I always swap ideas for crafts, recipes, workouts, character building, discipline, etc. or just dream, laugh [occasional ranting or crying ; )] about motherhood and life.

You know that I love having multiple children, because I have mentioned it various times and I even started the Why I love having a large(r) family series ; ). They are so much fun together and they always have a playmate - their sisters. Some of my favorite moments, however, are those special times (even if it's at home while the others are napping) one-on-one with each of them. It's like they blossom into a different person. They totally thrive on that special attention. Even our twenty one month old thinks she is "top dog" when her sisters spend the night with their grandparents. She puts on quite a show for mommy and daddy. It's a blast!

One challenge in having a larger family, however, is making time to spend one-on-one time with each child.

Question #3

For those of you who have more than one child, how to you balance that special alone time with each child? What kinds of activities do you do?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Thank you spring! Gracias primavera!

It's always so amazing to me how beautiful nature is and how it changes with the seasons. Especially this year, due to an unseasonably warm spring, everything bloomed early and so quickly. It seemed as if we hadn't put the winter coats away before we looked out the windows and saw blooms and buds all around us.

As I mentioned before, we live in a part of the Midwest that can get pretty cold in the winter [ makes me cold just thinking about it]. It really makes one anxious for a change of the seasons. We are always pretty ready to shed the winter coats, boots and blankets and run freely outdoors in flip-flops or bare feet. Ready to see all of the brown turn green and watch the trees and plants display their beautiful masterpieces. Ready to hear the birds give their wake up calls by song again.

Spring is beautiful, but I truly enjoy the change of seasons in general. I like change. The bittersweet ending of one season and the beginning of a new one. Isn't it funny how life is just the same?! Sometimes we know what to expect in the next season, but sometimes we are faced with the unexpected - just like in nature. Seasons of parenting, seasons in our careers, and in relationships. Life and death (literally and figuratively), sowing and reeping, and joys and sadness.

In it all, I'm thankful that as a Christ follower, God is the one constant thing in it all. In the seasons of nature and the seasons of life.

I the Lord do not change. Malachi 3:6

Whatever season of life you are in - winter, spring, fall or summer. Whether it's a season of growth and life or heartache and challenge, choose to look to the One who changes not. When you are in the cold and fierceness of "winter", know that spring is right around the corner.

He has made everything beautiful in it's time. Ecclesiastes 3:11