Friday, February 27, 2009

House Beautiful

We had some fun digging around in the dirt today....

This is the jungle that we had in the front yard when we bought our house two years ago.

This is what it looked at this morning:

And, praise the Lord, this is what it looks like now:

Need I say more?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bloggy Give Away

Go check this give away out, it's for the Inherit the Land DVD.

Birthday Traditions

Years ago, when I only had one or two children, I did the traditional birthday stuff. You know, big themed party with all the friends at the expensive venue with the big cake, games, crafts, sleep overs and the party bag as the guests went out the door. Whew! Even typing that out makes me sweat a little!

Well, needless to say, not anymore. Somewhere along the line we stopped all of that nonsense. Why did I ever think all of that was necessary? Seems like you are putting on a big show for all of the guests rather than focusing on your child - of course, I am not even mentioning the money aspect here. When you have more than one person you are doing that for every year it could really break the bank.

Anyway, in place off those traditional birthday memories, I have attempted to give my children, simple, heartfelt and sweet things to look forward to. Here's what we do now....

1. Decorate the bedroom - After the child is in a sleep, I (or we if there is an older child in on the gig) hang happy birthday posters and put up streamers and balloons. It's fun to wake up to your birthday! The boys especially like it when I tape lots of crepe paper across their door way in a zig zag pattern so they have to break out of their room. Another fun idea is to tie a piece of yarn to their bedpost and, winding it through several rooms, attach it to birthday surprise.

2. Choose the dinner - this one is from my husband's family. The birthday child gets to choose what we will be eating. This last year Creative Genius and I went to the grocery store together and I let him buy whatever he wanted which I believe was bananas and cottage cheese. Macho Man dreams of what he will have me make! I've enjoyed Tara's posts about what her child's birthday, she always includes what they chose for their birthday meals.

3. Party or gift - When I say party here, I'm not talking about the ones like we did years ago. I'm talking about a fun family outing. If there is somewhere that the birthday child has really wanted to go, then we go there. Some places we've been for birthdays in recent years: the fair, a children's museum in a near by city that we'd never been to before, roller skating, ice skating and Chuck E. Cheese. The alternative to a fun family outing is getting a gift. They can choose something reasonable that they want instead. Among our children, though, an outing is usually what they want.

4. Special Cake - Now that we have a professional cake decorator in the family, she takes requests and comes up with some beautiful designs. Here is one and here are more. My parents come over about once month and everyone likes to share their cake with Gram and Grampy.

5. New Birthday Clothes - I have started adding one more tradition... this only works with children that actually care about what they are wearing (!) but with my girls I've started leaving them a new birthday outfit to wear on their special day. Sissy especially likes this one. :)

6. Birthday Picture - We have one of one of our children blowing out the candles in three steps, seeing the cake lit with candles, taking a big breath and then blowing. I put it in a triple frame and try to put it out every year around his birthday. I've been attempting to change my pictures for each season and holiday, putting out birthday photos from years gone by is a fun and easy idea. Another wonderful idea I recently read about, take a picture of the child with his/her back to back with mom or dad. What fun to get one like that year after year and see the progression!

So, that's it, a simple, memorable birthday for each child that we all enjoy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

70% Off the Clearance Price!

Sorry for the totally inappropriate joke above but I just couldn't resist!!!! Carry on.

One important thing with managing money is knowing when to spend it.

Right now would be that time.... Fred Meyer is having a great sale this week. All clearance apparel (clothes and shoes) is an additional 70% off. Sissy and I found women's leather boots (very cute!) for $18, tons of children's clothes and a few things for ourselves!

Oh, while you are out and about, stop by Big 5 for their 50% off of green tag clearance in shoes. I found four pair in boys larger sizes (small mens) for around $10 each.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stuff I Love

I've been way too political lately. Time for a little something different, so I thought I'd share some things with you.... things I love.

The discipleship, educations and example that my husband gives the boys.

In our house, one is never without a built in helper or friend no matter what is being done.

Around here, we have constant live entertainment.

Above all, I am so thankful that I am home to see it all. I am truly blessed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Must See

This is something else. She's twelve and she makes a really, really good argument.

Silencing the Christians

Have time for another video? Silencing the Christians is shocking! Go to Lanita's post here to watch it.

Schools Stimulated Too

I really find the amount of money we pour in to public education disturbing. I just can't stand all of the signs everywhere that say VOTE YES FOR OUR KIDS! Just because they say that a certain amount is spend per student, it doesn't mean that it gets spent on the student.

Don't worry about voting for your local school district to have even MORE money. The government will be sure it gets there somehow. Read this article, the link to where it was found is at the end.

Dems Thank Teachers Unions With 'Stimulus' Money
Pete Chagnon - OneNewsNow - 2/18/2009 7:00:00 AM

The managing editor of Budget & Tax News says no money for education should have been included in the recently signed economic "stimulus" bill.

In a recent press conference, Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned that if the economic stimulus bill did not pass, up to 600,000 education workers could lose their jobs as states face enormous budget shortfalls. But Steve Stanek of The Heartland Institute argues that the bill should not have included the allotted $87 billion for education.

Stanek argues that the stimulus basically amounts to a payoff for teachers and teachers unions who supported Obama.

"The teachers unions are extremely powerful at the local and state levels -- and certainly at the federal level," Stanek acknowledges. "You can look at the money that [the Democratic Party] receives from the teachers unions and it's enormous! And they are not fans of meaningful reform in education."

According to an Associated Press report, $39 billion is going towards K-12 and higher education, $8 billion is to be used in upgrading existing schools, $4 billion will be used for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and $25 billion will be used to bolster No Child Left Behind. Stanek has little positive to say about George W. Bush's signature education program.

"I did not like No Child Left Behind. I think it's a huge intrusion of the federal government into what ought to be local and state issues," he shares. "It's a way for the federal government to simply grab more power, and I think another $25 billion is just $25 billion more power the federal government is going to have over public school education."
Stanek contends that lawmakers in Washington, DC, used the economic downturn as an excuse to throw more money at education. He notes that in the last decade the U.S. has only seen a nine-percent increase in student enrollment, but a 22-percent increase in the number of teachers and administrators in K-12 education.

This article can be found here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Busy Day

Time for a quick picture today. Here is one of my little girls just hanging out together in the office. These girls are nineteen months apart and, as I am sure to tell them all the time, best friends.

Busy, busy today! I received my seeds this weekend, so I am hoping to get some tomatoes planted in their cute little Jiffy peat pellets. Those are oh so fun, especially for little ones. While at Costco the other we also picked up four blueberry plants and I am looking forward to beginning to get their little corner of our yard ready for them. I do hope to get that butterfly bush outside pruned too. I had better get in the kitchen now and whip up some breakfast as I hear the boys stirring upstairs.

Oh, coming your way soon, another round of spring spruce up, this time with something inside the house. I am so excited about it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Selfish Choices?

"...and in this world at this time large families are selfish choices that are everybody's business and everybody's problem." Mary Wells Taken from the MSN article: When is a Family Too Big

This quote was brought to my attention by Chelsey. She asked what we thought about it.

Here's my reply:

"It is obvious to me that anyone who'd make such a statement has never cared for a large number of children at one time. Selfish? I beg to differ.When God gives you children, He not only wants them to be raised for Him, He gives us the opportunity to be crafted more distinctly in to His image. We have to pick up our cross daily, continuing to follow Him. There are very few times when you focus on yourself as a mother of young ones. I would call that an act of selflessness."

So, I've been thinking about this a little more. Why is it such an outrage when people have larger families?

One argument is that no mother/parent can give 6 or 10 or 20 children what they need. The parent is selfishly propagating and lacking the means (emotionally and financially) to provide for those children.

This line of thinking has a few holes in it. Most families with 5 or more children have one stay at home parent. And, generally, they home school those children. They are there for the children day in and day out, answering their questions, making sure that their needs are met. What about the average family? Those with one or two children? Where are those parents? Not with their children. Those one or two children are dropped off at 6 am at the day care where there are 19 other preschoolers or 29 other school aged children with a couple of young girls who make minimum wage. What sort of care do you think those children are getting? Even at a "good" child care center children are receiving a substandard level of care. Why are we not outraged at this? I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.—John 10: 11 - 15. Mothers, you are the shepherd to your children. There is no amount of money that can pay someone else to do it for you.

What about the financial aspects? Are larger families just sucking up every resource available? I am surprised that this argument is even brought to the table in our ever increasing desire as a nation to move toward socialism. Isn't it everyone's RIGHT to receive everything? Isn't it my child's RIGHT to be parented by the state? Isn't it their RIGHT to get food, clothing and shelter from the government? It seems a little funny to me that people who have no problem saying that a family with lots of children takes up too many resources but we should vamp up the No Child Left Behind because every child needs to be brainwashed educated. Funnier still is that most large families aren't dipping in to that state funded program that we call education. Think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that our family alone has saved our state, even though our property taxes pay for it.

What about our planet!? How can we continue to support all of these people? My guess is that any family that has over four or five children has a much smaller impact on the Earth per person that a family with one or two offspring. A mother with many, who stays at home isn't causing all sorts of nasty emissions to waft up to our ozone layer because she isn't commuting to and from work or driving to the daycare/school and back every day. She's buying food in bulk, therefore avoiding the packaging that will be hanging out in landfills for generations to come. She's hanging clothes on the line, planting a garden, cooking at home, using cloth diapers, walking with her children to and from the library because she has time to do so.

Ok, now what about this one? Isn't it a FAR less selfish act to go through the process of having, caring for and raising a child than aborting it? There are 3,700 abortions that happen every day in the US alone. Why should these people die when I don't see you or anyone else killing themselves to reduce the size of their carbon footprint?

So, who are the selfish ones?

"Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse in to the future of that life as it reaches on into eternity; could she look into it's soul to see its possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for its destiny,--she would see that in all God's world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no others hands the sacred and holy trust given to her." JR Miller, a preacher from the 19th century, from the book Homemaking

And, of course, the final Word on all things: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:28

Climbing down off my soap box now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Church Bag

I was repacking our church bag a couple of days ago. We attend a small (as in very, very) group that really can't be called a church in the formal sense of the word. There just aren't many messianic Jews around these parts. So we've settled with attending a group on Saturday afternoons for a little teaching and a little study.

Generally, my children are the only young people there. As much as I'd like for them to follow along with the discussion it just isn't always possible. Which brings me to the church bag. I'm forever on the look out for Bible story books and activities. These are placed in the bag and brought out only during Bible study. My newest addition are the little action figures in the left top corner of the picture. I was surprised to find several Bible characters with little books at our Dollar Tree. My children have had lots of fun with those.

Every once in a while I redo the bag. Putting in a few new surprises and things to do. Bible flash cards, quiet one player Bible games and coloring pages are always a big hit. They do look through and read the books over and over.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Preschool Fun

Just a little peek in to preschool time at our house yesterday.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring Spruce Up

I guess it is just the ever faithful Rachel and I that are participating in the Spring Spruce Up. That's ok, I'm looking forward to seeing her projects - she's got a beautiful house with white carpets... how she keeps it that way with young children, I'll never know. Keep an eye out for her spring spruce ups, we can all learn a lot from her!

As for me, sadly, I've failed my first week! I had planned to paint the boy's bedroom. Well, to be honest, I haven't even started.

But, I did get a lot done around our yard. Every afternoon the boys and I have been outside pruning, pruning, pruning. It all started with the trumpet vine that sits in front of our porch.

I noticed quite a while ago that it was growing in to the roof. Aggressive plant, apparently. Not anymore!

We have junipers all along the street in front of the big oak trees. They were growing like crazy.

We took care of that too.
Another area of the yard has some english ivy that is super cute but totally out of control. I cut it from it's base around this oak tree. According to what I've read, it is really bad for the tree. Supposedly it will die and be easy to pull down.

Check out this pile of limbs behind the trampoline! We worked hard.

A photo of my helpers who were *ahem* in the tree house more than hauling brush! :)

Please be sure to notice the re-purposed garbage can lid. They are mighty proud of the new "door".

Here is my reminder that spring is on its way, the compost pile. I need to add a little manure and hope that it's done by the time the garden is!

Stay tuned for more Spring Spruce Up projects!

Old Fashioned Embroidery

I just love those vintage homemaking items that you can find at thrift stores and garage sales. Last summer I bought some embroidered pillow cases from a woman whose mother had received them for her wedding anniversary over 60 years before. I was surprised that she would let something like that go but thankful to have such beauty added to my every day life.

My daughter has been working on some recently, the kit was a gift that I bought her a couple of years ago. One day she brought it out and just started. Reading the directions, she just did it. Don't you agree that it is turning out really well?

So it got me thinking. I'd like to embroider something of my own. I have some flour sack towels that are just begging to be beautified. I was surprised to find that you can load free embroidery patterns on to your computer. Check out the Sunbonnet Sue days of the week, they are my favorite!

Fresh Thoughts CHALLENGE!

Well, my challenge to you is now officially over. I hope all that participated got something positive out of it, even if you didn't meet the goal you set in the beginning. It's more important to continue to move forward than to get there really fast. Remember to continue to take assessments and be honest with yourself and in doing so you will keep moving in the direction that you ultimately want to go.


Sunday, February 8, 2009


I finally have three participants for pay it forward! I'd better get with it!

The winners are: Rachel, Jennifer and Our Family

I will be contacting you and asking for a mailing address. I can't wait! Be sure to post a similar pay it forward invitation on your blog. Thanks for joining in the fun. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pay It Forward

I'm participating in Pay It Forward, a nice little thing going on around many blogs lately.

Here's how it works:

I have been blessed to be promised a handmade gift from a dear friend. The only pay back she's asking for is that I do the same. So, I am to offer a handmade gift to three other people. Would you like to be one of them?

The first three people to leave a comment will receive one from me.

I won't tell you what I'm planning - it's a surprise!

Now, I she says I have 365 days to get it to you, but I'll get on it much sooner than that, I promise. :)

Great Safeway Deals This Week

Don't miss this Safeway deal this week - at least here in the Northwest -

Cheetos and Fritos $1.00 limit 4 but check out the Tostitos dips in the same isle. Many of them have a coupon on them $2 off one dip if you buy 2 bags of Frito Lay chips. What a deal!

Ha! I loved this!

"Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of those pieces."
-Judith Viorst

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Titus 2:3-5

I just love to read Chelsey's blog. Check out the insight she gives in to these infamous scriptures here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rough Day...