Friday, July 31, 2009

Great info!

Ok, so you all know we're super busy around here. And I love to be organized- I've explained that I'm really OCD at heart- I would have every shelf labeled if I could find the time! :)

I found this great site awhile ago and I'm just loving it. Not only do I like to be frugal but it's an absolute necessity with 8 people in a family (and one income)! So, when I saw these monthly digests on different subjects- I was hooked! This month's digest is really great so naturally I wanted to share my 'new' find. Here's a little about August's digest:

Get your busy family happily organized --buzzing like bees as you start to organizzzzze!

Are you ready to tackle the dirty dozen?

Learn how to organize a dozen different aspects of your life and home. From cleaning closets and sorting school papers to making meal planning a breeze, your home will soon be running more smoothly.

Month after money-saving month, Molly presents ideas to help families economize as she shares practical tips, delicious recipes, and helpful interviews with experts. Guest author Martha Greene (Marmee), provides pages of tips and recipes for make-ahead mixes that will save you time and money.

Check out the details and topics you'll find in Molly's August Digest and think value:
  • Begin with the Basics --Make-Ahead Mixes from Marmee: Is your family ready to get rid of the extra junk in your home? Find help for making mixes ahead of time and feed your family frugally while enjoying Cream Soup Mix, Oat Cookie Mix, Biscuit Mix, Fiesta Rice, even Blackened Chicken Spice Mix, along with others, including some variations!
  • On Sale This Month --Find out what sale items are hot in August!
  • Keeping it All Together --Organization of Bank Accounts: Have you ever wished you could safely set aside funds for specific bills in a separate account you won't be tempted to touch? Molly tells you how as she reveals a success story in gaining control of a household budget --it takes time, but it is possible! Learn how.
  • Feather Your Nest Frugally --Watch a beautiful cross collection you've had displayed for years become transformed to enhance a wall with fabulous decoupage framing using old hymnals. Sound intriguing? It is! You'll have to see the photos!
  • Pull up a Chair --August is a month of family fun, peaches, golf, and more!
  • Parenting that Pays --Jennifer shares how her family implemented a plan to renew some good, old-fashioned training in the forgotten art of organizing.
  • Something Old-Something New --Enjoy beautiful photos of a finished design that makes the verse Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” come to life in a beautiful and very visual way.
  • Monthly Feature --Organization for Busy Families --Gain control of “the dirty dozen” working step-by-step through problem areas in an average home. Here are the 12:
    • Closets --How to Clean Out a Closet
    • Garage --Clearing the Clutter From a Garage can become a reality!
    • Recipes --Kudos to the Cook. Benefit from and follow a clear description of just how to categorize it all.
    • Kitchen --Come Into my Kitchen! And discover welcoming ways to store and better utilize all your kitchen gadgets and necessities!
    • Mail --The Mail Monster. Tame it with easy to implement changes in your home.
    • Photos --Organizing Photos. Digital or physical --it is time to do something!
    • Toys --The Trouble with Toys. Give yourself a little R&R by learning the acronym ROR.
    • Clothing --Organizing Clothing. Take into account your lifestyle, do a little planning, and follow through with some purging!
    • Finances --Organizing Finances. A few practical tips for you to stick to!
    • School papers --Papers, Papers Everywhere! Get them under control and keep them that way.
    • Bathrooms --Bathroom Organization. Tricks to quickly organize your bathroom and make daily tasks easier.
    • E-Books --E-Books Everywhere! Learn of the options for E-Book storage.
  • Goal Getter Spotlight --From revealing a need, to praying for an answer, and then finding victory as God shows the way, one family shares their success in gaining a more comfortable children's bedroom.
  • Readers Write In --Enjoy practical advice for laundry day. You sort straight from the dryer --your children fold and put away and everyone wins!

Hope you can find something useful! Have a great weekend.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Trip to Alabama

Lately, I’ve been struggling with uncertainty. I don’t know why, it’s not like there’s really anything different going on. Same ole, same ole. We’ve got lots of people in this family so there’s always lots going on. Things change, I thought I’d be used to it by now. About 6 years ago, I really struggled a lot with anxiety and even had panic attacks. The past two weeks, I’ve even had heart palpatations and have had to concentrate on relaxation techniques to keep the anxiety at bay. When I’m struggling, it seems nothing in a day can go right. It turns out to be one hard thing after another- trying to sabotage me over and over again. “Things and circumstances” are there looming over me trying to take my joy away. My focus was blurred…. my eyes were off God. I wasn’t trusting God. I wasn’t relying on God. I wasn’t asking for His strength. I didn’t hand over the burdens. And so because of my own actions, I suffered.

We’ve been talking about this trip to AL for a long time. It was to visit some great friends of ours and to look around. Our destination was Prattville (just north of Montgomery)- ironically enough that was the exact town we looked at moving to before we came to Arkansas. Funny how these things happen. Before we left, both of our vehicles broke down, we had a child with a terrible ear infection, we had 2 house showings the day we were due to leave and I had no prep work done . I was going to stay home- I was fighting off the anxiety. Hubby waited around for me and to see if our car was going to be fixed (it ended up costing a LOT of money and our appointment was for the time we wanted to leave town). I had been putting money aside for 6 weeks, trying to build a nest-egg for future expenses. Because of our car repairs and travel expenses, all the money is gone. But we decided to make it a priority, too many things were against us NOT to go. Oh yea, and when we left horrible weather moved in- the kind that produces tornados. We drove through that weather for over 2 hours, in the dark-blowing wind- lightning and thunder. We pressed through…

**While I’m writing this post, we are in the car driving. Hubby is scanning the radio stations and he just found some gospel station…he busted out into song…turned the volume WAY up…and is now doing some kind of disco-dance to the gospel song (singing at the top of his lungs). This is HILARIOUS!! The kids are looking at us like we are aliens- great moment! Travel delirium has set in…

Anyway, while driving on Friday I realized that I need to rise above this mess. This is nothing different now then what we’ve been through a million times. Our house is for sale and the showings make me nervous. I’m happy but also scared/sad. I’m thinking about moving- how will we do it- when-where?? These are the things that keep me up at night. School is starting soon and we’ve made the commitment to homeschool all the kids. That’s 4 kids+ a preschooler + a one year old-walking-get-in-to-everything-baby. That adds to the anxiety. Especially if we’re moving or living out of our 5th wheel with all of our things in storage. But I came to the realization that no matter where we are, how we get there or what God does next in our life- the common denominator HAS to be God. If that is the same, there’s nothing to worry about. God gave me this scripture so many years ago- 'Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?' (Matthew 6:27). And I have to live it over and over again, practicing over and over. I dip back and then come forward, learning through each different circumstance. So, in the face of these uncertain times I need to focus on God and know that He will never forsake us or never leave us. That alone has to be enough. He has to be enough- over any thing or any circumstance in this world. So my anxiety needs to hit the road- God is my quick fix and my medication for the problem. Always has been, always will be.

I think this is yet another lesson in my learning patience. Hmmmm, I used to pray for that. Now I’m wondering if that was smart! Hehe- I guess He knows I need it and lots more of it. I just said to my girlfriend the other day that even though this seems like a dry, ‘valley’ season- I’m hoping it won’t be for 40 years because that’s a long time. Keep things in perspective, right? This little bit makes me seem like a big whiner! Ok…I’m done.

So, that’s the story. Here’s some pics of our time in Alabama. It was so much fun, too short of a time but we’re so happy we went. The kids had a good time and they’re SO tired. I think it will take ALL of Hubby’s patience to make it home. I keep telling him things like, “What, don’t you want to stay home all day with them? This is my every-day. What, this is stressing you out?” All the while I have a huge smirk on my face. I love it… well, maybe not so much when we’re jammed in the car all day with kids fighting. I wish they would sleep. Why are our bio kids such sleep fighters? Seriously, they will go all day and never fall asleep. Princess needs to be sleeping- more like 2 hours ago. This may be a long rest of the way home (and we’re not even to Mississippi yet).

Ok, pictures…enjoy! During the day Saturday, we visited the Shakespeare Festival museum in Montgomery. They have a (free) hands-on museum for kids. It was awesome!

Does this remind anyone of the beginning of a James Bond movie? Or Charlie's Angels?

'Balancing' a picture.

Printmaking.Ok, now Hubby says this reminds him of the two of us. What? Maybe him, but certainly not me! Ha!
They had a huge exhibit of blown glass pieces. They were all gorgeous, but this was my favorite!

This was made by a 7th grader with small pieces of yarn. We're going to attempt this project!

Now only my husband would think this was hilarious- he was putting the crackers ON his feet to see if the goose would come that close to eat it. It did!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New pics

You know you're tired when you fall asleep standing up- or leaning! *This was too funny! Princess had been up rummaging through her backpack and tearing papers out of her notebook. Then, she must have tried to crawl back into bed but never made it all the way in. I had a hard time not laughing hysterically (out loud)...

The story behind this one is so cute! Our 6 year old would eye up this "monster truck" every time we drove past it. It's on the main road so we passed it a lot.... he would always tell me that when he gets big he wants a monster truck- maybe even that truck. It disappeared off the lot for awhile and he was so sad that someone else bought his monster truck. Then, one day, it reappeared again! I thought he was going to jump out of his seat when he saw it. So, last Sunday we stopped after church to get a picture with his monster truck. That way, he can always remember it and maybe, just maybe, buy one that looks just like it (when he's big)!

New family pic! Everyone is growing and changing so much- I figured we better get one before some (or all) of the kids grow taller than us! Don't you think they're just all so cute???

HOUSE FOR SALE! This decision was a big one. After living here 4 1/2 years, we are ready to move back 'home.' We love, love, love it here but all of our family is up north. The kids just don't have their grandmas, grandpas, cousins, aunts and uncles all around them. It takes us so long to save enough money and shut our business down for a short vacation to visit. We feel like we're missing so much and so are the kids...the home sickness has gotten to much for us. So, we just put our house on the market and we're trying to do 'something' with our business. So, please help to pray us home. I don't know when it will be, how it will happen, or what the details will look like (how do you move this many people 1000+ miles?). Thinking about it is a little overwhelming but we've made the first step. God has done the impossible for us before, not even this is too big for Him...

The chorus to this song has really been running through my mind lately. This is an emotional time but we know it's the best for everyone in the long run. Family is family, nothing trumps that.

Well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I'm going home.