Saturday, August 16, 2014

How our family does Birthdays

Birthday parties are something everyone loves having, and going to.  Once upon a time we did have the bigger parties.  At the time I thought it should be that way.  Big, $200 plus spent, and lots of planning, stress, and left me exhausted.  I met some dear ladies that taught me it didn’t have to be that way.  I started to think the Birthday party seemed more about the guests than the person we were actually celebrating.  Food, decorations, goody bags.  I also feel that it makes the people coming feel obligated to buy gifts.  While that is nice, our kids don’t need more “STUFF”, and we really just enjoy others company.  I started to change my perspective, and realize the day is about the person we are celebrating.  What do you think of when you think “Party?”

Food:  In our home we let the birthday person pick the menu.  What their fav. Foods are.  For some it may be Pancakes, some a pop tart.  It is usually stuff I don’t make on a daily basis, therefore making it extra special.  We may take the child out for lunch or dinner.  Many times we make the cake, but we also buy them too.  With 3 birthdays in May, 1 June, 2 July, 1 August, 1 September, 2 December plain cake gets boring so we like to change it up, and try cookie cakes, ice cream cake, etc.

Decorations:  My kids are into themes.  My oldest loves to help with this.  She is our planner.  I also LOVE the $1 store for decorations, table clothes so no mess to clean up that day.   Just wipe, it and go.  I have found I can get some at Target or other places that are little thicker, and will hold up to 10 people for 3 meals.  I like to put a birthday sign up, some streamers.  Whatever time allows for, and again to have the birthday person feel special.

Presents:  We like to get something of interest whether it be clothing, book, or something they are into.  For example:  Our soon to be 5 year old is loving horses.  I found a horse outfit, and bought her a horse sticker book.  I love showering my children with gifts on their day, so trying to keep it to things of interest, but things that they need.  Clothing, and books you cannot go wrong.  Especially for a 5 year old girl.

We do still have parties, but usually just a few friends, and every 2-3 years.  I am not saying this is for everyone, but this is what has worked for us.  There is nothing wrong with those who love to throw BIG parties.  For our family this is what works : )

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fellowship, anyone?

Fellowship is something I think we were made to do.  After all God made Eve for Adam.   I am a people person, and I love to get together with friends.  Since we have lived in the DC area, and my husband has a job with no definitive schedule it has made it a challenge.  I badly want to have friends over, but before I know it he gets a message saying he is now needed this day, and not that to go away. 
I am either tired from a week filled of activity, or find out he will be home with us, and family time is so intermittent with this job that I then want to cancel so we can just be together as a family.  This area is an on the go, hustle, and bustle type of place.  Yes I am from NY, but I haven’t lived there in 17 years.  I like the slower paced life where people get together for a meal, let the children play, and have nice conversation.  Today you may wave to your neighbor a few times a week, or see a friend, and talk about how you would like to get together, but really how often will you? 

I long for getting together with people, but I think I will just have to accept that will not happen very much.  At least in this season of life.  If you got an invitation to come over from me, and I then asked to cancel, please don’t take offense.  It could be a week like this one where my husband has had many changes to his schedule, and I am just trying to get meals out, clean laundry, and caring for my own sweet family.    

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Home Schooling wasn't for me

Home school?  I had heard about it, and even had some friends at Church in MS that were doing it.  Was it for me?  NO way.  The lady who I knew had a maid, and a nice neatly arranged “school room”, and everything seemed to be orderly.  There was no way I could do that.  Well that was the key *I* couldn't do that, but I never stopped to think *Jesus* could.  

We had been in MS a short while and there was a lot going on.  My Dad was dying of Pancreatic cancer, I was about to have my 4th child, and we were trying to adjust to a whole new state.  There was NO way I could take on any more.  Two months after moving there, we had our 4th child Joshua.  He wasn’t easy to please, and at the time we had no idea he suffered from motion sickness.  The swing, the car, none of it pleased him at all.  He cried a lot. 

Me and Joshua with my Daddy when he was very sick

Six short months later my Dad went home to be with the Lord.  That was tough, but I was able to go see him a few times while he was ill, then again in his last days.  I took Joshua with me, and my husband was able to get off.  I came home after visiting, and just 2 short days after, my Dad left this Earth.  How would I go back?  My husband just got off work for a week for me to be with him. It worked out, and I flew back home to say my goodbyes, and bury him.  

The following month brought a hurricane scare, and I was told I had to evacuate with my 4 children, but without my husband.  My Mom was just 2 hours away but the hurricane was headed her way, so I took off to GA with 4 children.  It wound up being a nice trip.  

One month later in August we were hit with Hurricane Katrina.  I was told I could leave, but I could also stay and shelter on base.  Since Mom was just 2 hours away I took her up on her offer, and drove off to be with her.  My husband had to stay behind with his students, and I didn't hear from him for 3 whole days.  All I saw on TV was the devastation in Louisiana, nothing about Mississippi.  

I finally got a call from a friend in OK, since all they had were gov’t phone lines up.  He was able to relay a message, my husband was safe, but the area was devastated.  What we thought would be a few days with Mom turned into 4+ months.  God is good, and my husband could come see us on weekends.  

*Pictures of where we lived in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina

After we returned to MS our oldest son was being looked at for delays.  We were told 2 or so weeks later (after we painted our base housing, and if you are military you get it) that we would be transferred out of the area since there wasn’t any help for him there.  

My daughter had her new teacher in MS, then teacher in FL, then back to MS with another teacher.  We were told that she had to have a new teacher since their numbers were all “Off.”  We moved to TX 2 months later, where she had a new teacher who went on maternity leave.  If you can count that is 5 teachers, and 3 schools.  

I wish I heard God’s voice in my mind back then, but I know now I wasn't ready to hear him.
It wasn’t until after I was in TX, and met an amazing group of ladies who loved the Lord.  They were dedicated to raising up their children in the Lord and I finally said “YES GOD, I will try this.”  I told my husband “God will have to come down, and tell me himself, or I don’t think I will do it.”  While he didn't literally come down and tell me, through those precious women I saw Jesus.   I saw how their families were close knit, and loved one another.  I wanted that for my family. 

If you are still reading, I all of this is to say after 5 ½ years of home schooling, I don’t have it all together.  I don’t have a special formula to what “Home School” should look like.  What I have is a hunger to love Christ more deeply, and love those around me especially my husband and children.  Each day is a new day, and a new opportunity to learn, love, and live out our lives in a way that will show others the Love of Christ.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

In Light of Eternity

I am trying to live more purposefully, and along with that not stress over the little things.  I want my children to remember their childhood fondly.  I want them to want to come back home with their families, and know our home is a welcoming place, where they are loved, and cherished.  As Moms we can easily get annoyed after a full day or "She hit me.", "That's my toy.", or whatever it is your kids say to one another.  We make meals, do laundry, clean messes, food shop, for some home school our children.  Our jobs are in many ways "Thank-less", and seemingly never-ending.  A lot of what shapes our children's lives, and how they will raise their families is how we live our day to day lives with them.  How we treat each other, how we act, or react.  Are we acting in love, or just trying to quiet them, and move on to the next situation.  If you have 2 or more children you know what I mean.  The bickering, the tantrums, maybe a messy room you asked them to pick up several times.  Especially Moms of children 5, and under.  If you have many children, then there are more combinations of children that will bicker, and the messes are larger.  I am not saying you shouldn't intervene, or keep them accountable to pick up after themselves because they need us to guide them.  A question I want to start asking myself, before reacting to my children is "Will this matter in light of Eternity?"  When we are in the presence of God himself, will we care about if our Children fought over the last cookie, or wore the same pair of socks 2 days in a row? At the moment when emotions are tense, and you just want them to STOP FIGHTING, pick up the books, or put away their clothing that can be very challenging.  Knowing they will either look back on their childhood and cringe at our reactions, or think "Wow Mom was able to diffuse our arguing in a loving way" is also a great reminder.  Teaching them LOVE, in the midst of a time that is very challenging teaches them so much.  We are shaping not only the lives of our children, but the lives our grandchildren, and so on.  The Bible calls Children a blessing, and they truly are.

Psalm 127:3-5English Standard Version (ESV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[b]
 They help us see what is important, and what is not.  They help us see what in us needs to be changed, and they point us to Christ.  I hope I will remember this as tomorrow brings many opportunities to slow down, and think before I speak.  To love through my words, and actions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

don't know about you, but my pantry can get out of control.  You plan for meals, but then things come up, and plans change.  Before you know you have too much of one thing or another.  A friend posted about a blog that showed ways to know what is in your pantry, and help organize it all that the same time.  I am trying it, and so far so good.   Mason jars are cheap.  I bought 12 of the larger size on base for just over $9. What is your favorite way to organize your pantry?  Do you prefer glass, or plastic containers?  Do you keep more of a stock in certain items over others? 

Here are some pictures of how I am using Mason jars.  

First picture is my pasta

Second Picture is my Oatmeal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

  It has been a very long time since I attempted blogging, but I love how it connects other Moms, and encourages so I am going to try again.
I don't know why it hit me recently, but I know many out there have had these same thoughts.  Ever thought "WHO AM I?"  You graduate High School, go to college, get married, and before you know you have a bunch of kids.  I didn't go to college, I was married at 19, and we had our 1st child right away.  God has since blessed us with 7 more, and lately I find myself thinking "WHO AM I?"  I think it is easy to let all of our roles in life define who we are, and feel like we are losing ourselves.  At least this is how I am feeling lately.
As a Christian, I know I am a child of God.  But, beyond that?  I am a daughter, sister, wife(military wife), Mother.  What do I enjoy outside of that?  I know many women work, and I am guessing that is what they feel at times “defines them.”  For me I am a homeschool, “stay at home Mom.” We are all created for a purpose, and I believe that is serving God through how we live our lives.  As long what we are doing we are doing for the Glory of God, how can we go wrong?    
 Many women who stay at home do sales in home parties, or have hobbies.  I am in no way saying that you should never have time apart from your family, or a night out with friends.  For me, I am in a season where my time is limited, and depends much on my husband’s schedule.
This got me thinking, what can I do, or learn to do better, that not only I enjoy, but that can benefit my family?  I have tried some gardening with vegetables.  I would love to take a class. I like to try sewing from time to time, and that is fun too.  Another passion for me is caring for my family naturally.  Recently I signed up with Young Living. 
In case you are thinking about looking at the kits which are a great deal, and the diffuser has been amazing.  Only thing that has helped allergies for us naturally.

I haven’t done much yet with it, but am slowly learning.  
I don’t want to do anything that takes away from my family.  My husband being in the Air Force, with the job he has here makes it interesting to plan for much.  I want to honor God with my life, and so that leads me to time management, and how do we spend the 24 hours in a day wisely?  I am trying to figure that out.  I am on the computer way too much for useless stuff, and would like to change that.  I want to make a schedule.  Nothing rigid, but something that helps guide our day, or when Dad goes away, and that changes everything, we still have something constant that we know will happen.  Hope in my next post to have made something that I can share : )
Does anyone have one that they are willing to link up?

I leave you with a recent picture of our 8 precious children