Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 Days of Gratitude: Hand-Me-Downs

We have been blessed over and over again for the last year by friends who have given us their outgrown clothing.  A friend's sister-in-law has passed on bags of excellent condition clothing for my daughter several times thoughout the year.  Outside of socks and shoes, I honestly don't think I have purchased a single item for her since we moved.  And this summer another friend gave us four big bags of boys' clothes, also in fantastic condition and just what my boys were needing. 

Still, I try to plan ahead and not count on someone else providing my kids with clothing.  Last spring I found a sale on some nice shoes for Anna to wear to church in this winter.  I bought them a size up from where she was so they would be sure to fit. 

And now she can't even get her feet into them.  She she's grown two full sizes since June.  I started to despair just a little.  I'd blown $7 on shoes that never made it out of the box and I'd still have to find another pair and pay full price for them. 

But then I remembered the stash of passed-on clothes and shoes I'd set aside for the kids to grow into.  Down to the basement I went and, sure enough, I found three pairs of shoes that fit her perfectly right now.  Shoes given to us freely by someone I don't actually even know.  How awesome is that? 

It reminds me of the birds that have no need to store up food, but depend on God to provide just what they will need each day.  Surely God provided in this case, through these generous people. 

And the brand new shoes that don't fit Anna?  I gave them to another little girl.  Maybe I can do God's work too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

So thankful for my mom

My mother had back surgery yesterday.  The little kids and I went to see her today.  She was pretty sleepy, but stayed awake for the hour we were there and was her usual cheerful self.  She chatted with the kids and me.  We even discussed plans for Christmas dinner.  Because laying in a hospital bed at the beginning of October is the time to work out the details of when and where we will be celebrating Christmas. :)

I was so glad to see her acting perky, even if she was stuck in a hospital gown with IVs and oxygen.  I try not to think of such things, but there's always that little bit of worry that something could go wrong during surgery. I know people were praying for her, and for her doctors, and it makes me so glad to know that God had everything under control. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 8 (or is it 6)

Oh, you mean I wasn't supposed to take the weekend off from writing everyday for 31 days? Oops. Just kidding.  I didn't even make it a week.  Not for lack of things to be grateful for; I just let it slide...

So, picking up where we left off....Today I am grateful for kindergarteners.  I helped in my son's kindergarten class last year and I decided to do so again this year.  Today was my first day.  I love that little touch of feeling like I'm teaching again.  And I am, really, just without any of the annoying planning, paper work, staff meetings... Just walk in, sit down, and get busy with whatever project is handed to me. 

But the kids are the best.  A couple of the kids at my table today, like Nick, are "olders" who are on thier second year of kindergarten, so they remembered me from last year and seemed farily pleased to see me again.  Then there are the "new" kindergarteners.  Some of them so tiny and timid, some completely confident in themselves. 

At the end of the hour and a half I always sort of breath a sigh of relief as I leave the room.  The energy those kids put out is exhausting.  I can totally see why I was a middle school teacher, and not with the little ones.  Because as fun as they are, they would wear me out long before the day was over. 

I'm already looking forward to next week. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 5: Thank Goodness it's Friday

I started coming down with it last night.  This morning it was obvious that Anna had it too.  By the time Nick got unpacked from school he was complaining of not feeling well. 

I don't know exactly what "it" is, but I'm achy and headachy and tired.  Anna slept for over three hours this afternoon.  The kids were tucked in by 7:26 tonight.  We even skipped reading Farmer Boy without so much as a comment.  Clearly we all need some extra rest. 

Sadly, I already need to go put Lucas back to bed.

I am so thankful that Ben is going to be home in twenty minutes to help with this parenting thing over the weekend, because I'm just not sure I'd make it through another day on my own. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

78 degrees and Sunny

Yup.  It's October, I live in Michigan, and we almost hit 80 degrees today.  If that isn't something to be grateful for, I don't know what is.

The windows were open so the house is aired out.  I played in the sandbox with the kids.  I wore my sandals without feeling like a crazy person.  The color in the trees is gorgeous.

This is one of my favorite times of year.  Crisp air, bright sunshine, autumn colors and a warm breeze. 

Just what we all need as we prepare to hunker down for the long, cold winter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3: Blessed with Patience

It is 10 p.m. and I'm just now getting around to writing. 

I also just came downstairs from tucking Lucas into bed again

I put him to bed at 8.  I've put him back to bed four times.  This last time I found all of his blankets, including the top sheet which is fitted at the bottom so that it won't come off easily, wadded up in the middle of his bed. 


So in the almost dark, trying not to wake his brother, I remade the bed.  And tucked him in again.  And kissed him good-night again. 

Thank you God, for the patience to not yell, or threaten, or cry.  Thank you for guiding me instead to keep giving hugs and kisses and reassurance that there is nothing to be scared of.  And please grant me just a little more patience, because I think I hear him on the stairs again.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2: Easy to Please Kids

Don't let the title of this post fool you.  My kids can be as picky and as finicky as all get out.  Meals are complained about before they are even served.  Favorite pajamas in the washing machine at bedtime can lead to an all-out tantrum. 

But sometimes, when presented in the right way, the littlest things make them so happy. 

Over the summer I received three Halloween-type shirts from various people, all second-hand.  I tucked them away, as it was the wrong season.  So to celebrate the first day of October, I lined the kids up in front of me.  I pulled the shirts out one at a time from under my sweatshirt and presented them with a flourish to the new owners. 

They were so excited.  All three of them went back and switched the shirts they had picked out for the new one I'd just given them.  All day long Lucas and Anna talked about their cool (Luke's glows in the dark; Anna's sparkles) new shirts.  And I felt like a supermom for making it a treat and not just sticking them in the dresser drawers.

So today I'm thankful for kids who appreciate and enjoy simple things, like a holiday T-shirt.

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days of Gratitude

So I vaguely remember reading about this 31 Days things a few months ago and thinking, "Yeah, that'd be cool to join in with."  And then I promptly forgot about it.  Until today when FOUR of the blogs I read regularly (I only regularly read seven or eight, so that's a pretty high percentage) are posting exciting 31 Days topics with cute graphics and well thought out ideas.

Um, yeah.  I rarely have well thought-out ideas.  I certainly don't have cute graphics. 

But I do have the next 31 days.  And I have access to this here computer.  And, really, that's all I need, right? 

So for the month of October I will be blogging about Gratitude.  Gratitude for the simple things in a housewife's life.  In a mother's life.  Specifically, in my life.  And while it may or may not be of much interest to anyone else, I know that next October when I look back at these posts I will be oh so thankful that I wrote them down for myself to read and remember and be grateful for all over again.

Too much Time in the Online World

Last night as I was changing for bed I realized I had spent right around three hours online during the day: about an hour at naptime and pretty much every moment from the time I tucked the kids into bed until then, as I was getting ready for bed. 

It embarassed me. 

I have been known to think of other people, "If he didn't spend so much time staring at the TV he could accomplish so much more."  Or, "I don't know how she stands wasting hours every day watching the meaningless stuff they put on the television."  It's not pretty, I know.  Everyone has a right to choose how they spend their downtime. 

Last night I felt like a hypocrite.

It wasn't like I was paying bills, or blogging, or doing research for school for those three hours.  I was just tooling around, clicking from one link to the next.  Watching the meaningless stuff people put on the internet.  Not accomplishing anything.

The list of things that I want to do is long.  I have Christmas projects to get started on.  I love to read.  I've stopped journaling and have been meaning to pick it up again.  I haven't been setting aside time to pray. 

So if I have all these activities that I both should do and want to do, what am I doing sitting in the most uncomfortable chair in our house staring at the computer screen? 

No idea, other than this clicking around aimlessly makes me feel like I'm busy while putting forth almost zero effort.  And sometimes at the end of a hard day, it is nice to have that for a few minutes. But for three hours?  That's a little extreme for me. 

Today I spent an hour online.  That's an improvement I'll take.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I love to pick blueberries.  I've been picking them with my mom since I was a little girl.  She loves picking blueberries, which, I'm sure, is where I got my enthusiasm for it. 

Today we introduced the rest of my family to our blueberry patch--a U-pick farm market twenty minutes from our house.  I wouldn't let the kids come with me to pick strawberries, because I was afraid they'd run around unintentionally stomping on berries.  But I figured they couldn't do too much harm to the blueberry bushes and it would be a good way to let them see how some of our food grows. 

When Ben found out we were going, he offered to come with us even though he'd have to get up after only five hours of sleep.  Turns out he'd never picked blueberries before either. 

Last night I read Blueberries for Sal for our bedtime story, trying to drum up some excitement for our berry picking adventure.  Plus, I just love that book.

I kept my expectations low, since Mom and I would be picking with three children under the age of six and one husband without experience.  Turns out low expectations were unneccesary. 

The berries were just ripening, so there were more green ones than blue.  (I may have jumped the gun on picking, but I just wanted fresh berries so badly!  We'll go back when they are more fully ripened.)  The kids each took a little bucket.  Anna started filling hers with hard little green berries, but soon gave that up for eating almost anything off the bush she could.  After a few sour ones, she got pickier. 

Lucas started by trying to fill his bucket.  He picked a lot of purple ones, which Mom and I tried to explain to him would taste sour.  He insisted he liked the sour ones.  In fact he told all of us several times that if we picked a purple one on accident he would eat it, because he likes sour ones.  Soon he had eaten everything out of his pail and, like Anna (and Sal), moved on to just eating straight off the bush.

By this time Ben and Nick had wandered farther down the rows to find some easier, and shadier, picking.  After a long time Nick came back asking if we wanted to see his berries.  I was shocked to find that his pail was half full of beautiful, big, blue berries.  There wasn't a green or purple one to be seen.  He went back to his dad and picked until the little kids started to get antsy and we got ready to leave. 

I was so proud of him, not just for picking good berries, but for being so cheerful and happy about it.  Because Nick doesn't like blueberries.  He won't even try them.  But he was having so much fun just hanging out with Ben in the berry patch that he didn't care.  He picked a little over a pound all by himself. 

So in the end I got about seven pounds of fresh blueberries and a happy morning with my family.  What more could I want?  Maybe we'll have to make family blueberry picking a summertime tradition.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Onions and My Son

At our house, new dishes are referred to as "experiments".  It lowers the pressure on me to only try new dishes that I'm sure everyone would love.  Because, hey, it's just an experiment. 

Today I experimented with Ham and Noodle Casserole.  The impetus for this was that I made my menu plan for last week without actually looking in the freezer, and I assumed that I had more ham slices in there.  Sadly the day came to actually eat said ham slices only to discover they were gone and all that was left of my giant ham was two cups of diced ham.  

Ham, noodles, and could this go wrong?  Well, the onions.  My oldest son doesn't like onions.  But I knew that this dish needed them for flavor so in they went.  Sadly, in my first bite, I got a "crunch".  Should have sauteed them first; they weren't raw, but they were really, really noticeable.  Even Ben commented that he didn't like the onions so well, and he never complains about my cooking.

The good news is that I didn't have to pick them out of Nick's meal.  Of course, that's only because he wouldn't even try a single piece of ham.

So why was I picking onions out of the casserole? 

Because of Lucas.  He wanted to eat them.  By themselves.  And the ones on my plate that I tried to quietly set aside.  And the ones on Ben's plate.  And the ones stuck to the serving spoon. 

Happily he did also eat the ham and noodles.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

April Goal Update

Well, here we are, almost the middle of May and I have yet to report on how close I came to reaching the goals I set for April. 

There's a reason for that.

Big Project Goal:  Clean the Garage

I did make huge strides in the garage.  I cleaned the entryway and under the stoop.  I swept grunge and cobwebs off many of the walls.  I threw stuff out.  Ben put a new spring I found on the garage door and it doesn't go thunk when it moves now. 

The back of the garage is still in need of sorting and cleaning.  But the improvement is vast and makes me feel much better about the garage as a whole.  Now that the weather has, mostly, improved, I'm dedicating my out door time to the actual outdoors...weeding, transplanting, weeding, putting in annuals, weeding....

Daily Habit Development: Get to Bed on Time

This was just a great big failure.  I went through a couple of weeks where I just couldn't make myself go to bed. I'd find myself standing in the bathroom reading a magazine.  I was tired, I was sleepy, and yet I was up. 

I still think that adding this habit to my day would make a huge difference.  I still hope to get to the point where I'm going to bed around ten.  But for now, I'm just working on relaxing before I'm exhusted, so that when it's time to get into bed I feel like I'm ready for sleep, whatever time that may be.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Good-bye

The Gypsy Mama gives us a topic and we write for five minutes, unfiltered, no editing, no going back.


I've been thinking lately about the slow way we say good-bye to our children every day.  As they grow up, needing us in different ways, they start to leave us behind.  And because it is so gradual we never actually stop to say "good-bye."

In fact I'm so busy doing the million other things that need doing, that sometimes I don't even notice until weeks later that something has changed. 

My daughter used to pull a chair over to the sink and stick her little hands in the water everytime I washed the dishes.  It drove me nuts, but part of me loved that she wanted to be right next to me.  She hasn't done this in weeks.

When we moved my three-year old started coming into our room in the middle of the night to snuggle for a few minutes before heading back to his own bed to sleep.  I loved his warm little body curled up next to me.  He's only done it once in the last month, and he climbed into bed on my husband's side. 

My's where I really see the good-byes coming my way.  I like the quiet of only having two while he's at school, but it's only a couple days a week.  Next year he'll be gone all day, every day.  I will miss him.  So much.  We will have so many fewer opportunities to talk, to play, to hang out. 

I don't like good-byes.  And I'm not good at them.  So maybe it's for the best that so many of these childhood connections pass quietly.  Because as much as I mourn the loss of their baby and toddler days, I know I have so much more to look forward to.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April's (midmonth?) Goals

When I started writing this post it was the beginning of the month.  But, somehow, I never got around to posting it.  So without further ado, here are the goals I've been working on in April.

The Big Project

April's big project is the garage.  We don't actually park in the garage; I'm not really sure why this is.  What it means though, is that we can just stash stuff out there and then forget about it.  Ben actually got started on this for me earlier in the year so the main area is sort of clear. 

Mostly I need to sort out the junk from the stuff we actually use and want.  There are still a lot of miscellaneous items left from my grandpa and all of the stuff that we moved in with that just sort of got buried.  Some of it will go straight to the garbage, some in the yard sale pile, and whatever Ben says we still need I'll try to find a home for.

One I get the trash separated from the treasure, I actually need to clean the garage.  There are years of cobwebs out there to sweep off the walls.  Sand from the kids' toys needs to be swept out.  I've started by cleaning the door.  It looks much better, and I'm no longer afraid to push it open with my hip when my hands are full. 

The ultimate purpose of all this is so that I can move the ever-expanding pile of garage sale goods out of the basement and start organizing for the actual sale, which will be at the beginning of June.

New Habit to Form:

I considered taking a month off from this to work on maintaining the previous habit-goals I'd set for myself.  I really didn't do very well in March.  Although I continued getting up and showering right away, I bombed on writing in the kids' journals every week, and I wasn't very disciplined in exercising each morning.

But then I glanced over my master plan, which has ideas from which to draw these monthly goals and I realized that if I want these ealier habits to truely stick, it was time to begin working on another one:  Go To Bed On Time.

I'm so very bad at this.  I used to go to bed at ten or just a bit after every night.  But when there is no one here to go to bed with, I tend to find all sorts of little things that need to be taken care of before I head upstairs.  So while I think I'm going to bed at ten or so, by the time I'm actually in bed turning out the light it's after eleven.  Which just isn't enough sleep for me. 

I'm attempting to get my bedtime back to the 10 to 10:30 range.  That should make getting up in the morning easier.  And then instead of just stretching in the morning, I could sneak out of the house for  an early morning walk as the weather gets nicer and the sun rises earlier.

Mid-Month Confession

Since almost half the month has already slipped by, I will admit right now that I'm flat-out failing on the going to bed earlier business.  Last night I turned off the light at 10:50.  But I was up at 6:30 this morning, if that counts for anything.  Here's to improving my discipline over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My March Goals Results

My big goal for March was to paint Anna's room.  The blue-grey wallboard was not doing it for me when it came to my little girl's room.  So to cheer it up a bit I chose a creamy beige that makes the room feel much warmer and complements all her little pictures and knick knacks.

Thanks to my mother watching the little kids while Nick was in school one day, this was a success.    Everything got one good coat and 3+ walls got a thin second coat.  Unfortuantly, I then ran out of paint.  The blue splotches show through in the area behind the crib and wall hanging, so if I ever rearrange or redecorate I'm going to have to spring for some more paint to do a cover up. 

I was also supposed to be developing the habit of exercising daily.  I started out a little slow, but was into it by the second week.  The time change actually helped me fit it in each day because the boys were sleeping in a little later than they had been previously.  Then we had the most beautiful weather the next week.  It is so much easier to get out of bed when I don't start shivering as soon as I throw the covers back!

But then last week we returned to regular March-like weather and getting out of bed in the morning got a lot harder.  And then my in-laws were visiting for a few days.  And here we are in April. 

So while I wasn't successful at keeping up with this every day, I did learn that I like a little warm-up first thing in the morning.  I actually missed it on the days I didn't do it.  Even though ten minutes seems a little pathetic, it really made a difference in the beginning of my day.  My body felt awake and prepared to get going.  I didn't stand in the shower half asleep.  And since I liked it I don't think it's going to be too hard to get back on track and keep this as a daily routine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It's been a stressful couple of weeks, financially speaking.  With gas prices over $4.00 and Ben driving 120+ miles each day, a huge chunk of the weekly paycheck is going straight into the car.  And we've had some un-budgeted-for spending by both of us that has sort of thrown a wrench in things. 

After setting aside a certain amount for bill paying and building the savings, allotting enough for gas money to get Ben to work, and covering our overspending, I've only been left with about $30 to get groceries the last few weeks. 

It wasn't a big deal at first.  Our pantry is ample.  I had some meat in the freezer from previous sales.  I spent what little cash we had on fresh produce and milk.  We ate pretty much like we always do. 

But then this week rolled around.  And boy was I stressed out.  I'm used to having excess food in the freezer.  I like having wiggle room in my meal plan.  My children are growing, as evidenced by the continually shrinking amount of leftovers I have to send in Ben's lunch.  I'm used to having leeway, so that if we do have a low budget week it really doesn't affect us. 

But suddenly it was effecting us.

I worried about everyone having enough to eat, but at the same time I started limiting serving sizes and how many glasses of milk each child could have in a day.  I worried about what my in-laws would think when they come to visit this weekend. I wondered how many meatless meals I could get away with serving in one week.  I was way outside my comfort zone and I didn't know what to do about it.

And just as suddenly we have been blessed again and again this week. 

My sister-in-law gave us a bag of chicken that her girls refused to eat.  A good friend dropped off a huge bag of name-brand, barely used clothes for Anna.  My mom watched the little kids for me one day and not only fed them snacks and lunch, but she fed me lunch too.  One of Ben's coworkers sent home enough Chinese take-out to make a yummy meal for me and and the two little kids. 

They're all little things, but they have made a huge, huge difference to me.  I'm still struggling knowing that the freezer and pantry aren't filled to capacity, but I'm trying to remember that what we need will be provided.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mid-Lenten Update

Although my kids were not super excited about plan to give up a dessert each day for Lent they have come around wonderfully. 

The first week there was whining after each meal.  But once we brought our rice bowl home from church something clicked with my oldest son.  I explained that by not eating dessert so often we would have extra money that we could put in the rice bowl to share with others who couldn't always buy food for the main part of their meals. 

Nick looked like a lightbulb had gone off.  "Oh, is that what we're going to do?"  And just like that, he was on board.  And since he was going along with it, the other two followed.

Today at lunch he wanted to have dessert and I reminded him that we wouldn't be able to have any for dinner.  He said that was okay with him, then looked at his sister and asked if she wanted to have dessert with lunch.  When she nodded he asked his brother the same thing.  He also agreed.  Sometimes Nick impresses me with his ability to work with his siblings. 

I'm rather disappointed in myself this Lenten season.  The sacrifices I had decided to make were not concrete, and honestly, not really that much of a sacrifice for me.  But last night I felt a pull to say a Rosary.  I can't remember the last time I did so, but it was before we moved into this house, so we're talking the better part of a year. 

I prayed and I could feel that it was good.  And very badly needed.  I may be several weeks late in getting into the true Lenten spirit, but I'm taking the better-late-than-never stance this time around.  I now have a concrete plan of how I want to honor the season. 

(I'm not going into detail on these plans for a reason.  Scripture tells us we shouldn't act like we're fasting, while we're fasting...we don't celebrate Lent for show.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sunshine and Wind

I hung my laundry on the line today.  I could tell I'd been using the dryer all winter because it took me forever to get it all hung up.  So long, in fact, that by the time I'd filled the lines, the first clothes I'd hung were already dry. 

It wasn't just my slow speed though.  It was warm--79 degrees--and windy.  I had a Little House on the Prairie moment while I was working.  There are no houses behind us, only fields, and a mile or so away some trees.  With the wind blowing my hair and whipping the clothes around, with the shadows of the clouds moving over the ground as they covered and uncovered the sun, looking across the empty land, I felt a little bit like Laura Ingles.  And I liked it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan for March 11

We're back to our normal meal schedule this week. 


blueberry muffins
scrambled eggs and toast x2
cream of wheat
chocolate chip muffins
cold cereal
leftover baked oatmeal


cheese and crackers, hard boiled eggs and raw veggies
leftover white chili and anadama bread
vegetarian tacos (leftover from last Friday)
baked oatmeal and fruit
chicken salads with bread
tomato soup and grilled cheese
quesadillas and fruit


homemade pizza and apple slices
pork chops, parmesean potato wedges, and green beans
turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn
pulled pork sandwiches, oven fries
spaghetti and garlic bread
spinach articoke pasta bake (new recipe that probably only I will like)
hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and raw veggies

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Menu Plan--March 4

I'm behind on posting this, but I did actually have it written Saturday night.  Ben's on spring break this week, so he'll be having lunch with us before he heads in to work.  Except for the weekend, when he's drillling and won't be home until dinner.  So here's our big meals for the week, whatever time they may occur.

Sunday--Pizza (I was planning on homemade, but we took a trip to the museum and didn't get home in time to get it done.  Yea for take out!)

Monday--Pulled pork sandwiches, oven fries, grapes

Tuesday--Baked chicken, twice-baked potatoes, tossed salad, corn

Wednesday--Ham, macaroni and cheese, peas

Thursday--chicken and biscuits

Friday--pancakes, fruit

Saturday--White chicken chili, anadama bread, fruit

Goals for March

It's time to start working on my next set of goals.  Here are the two I've picked for this month, along with my plans for making them happen.

The Big Project:
I want to paint Anna's room.  The same wallboard that is in our family room (which used to be a dining room) is in her room.  They used the extra pieces to cover the plaster lathe in the bedroom, so it's certainly better than it could be.  But it's not very pretty for a little girl's room.  I'm going to paint over it so it will still be textured, but hopefully the walls will stop competing with all of her cute pictures and things and be more of a backdrop. 

I already have the paint, I just need to find the time to get it done.  I actually had plans (i.e. Grandma said she'd babysit) last Friday, but we ended up having a snowday, so I skipped the painting plans and attempted to build a snowman instead.  (The snowman never did get a head, but that's a whole other story.)  Ben has some time off in the mornings this coming week, so it's possible that I could paint one morning while he amused the kids, but more likely I will wait until Grandma and Grandpa get back from vacation and send the kids over there for a morning.  I think it would be less stressful for everyone (except maybe Grandma).

New Habit to Form:
Here's the old New Year's resolution standby:  start exercising.  The thing is, I really need to do this.  And I really want to do this.  It's just a matter of actually DOING it. 

So I've decided to start small until it works it's way into my daily routine.  I mean really small.  My goal for right now is five minutes a day of stretching, yoga, or kickboxing.  Last night I stretched for five minutes before bed.  This morning I did five minutes of sun salutations before I got in the shower.  So far, so good.  I really think (hope) that once I get started I will want to do more and by the end of the month I'll be up to 15 minutes morning and evening.  But I'll call it a success if I'm still at it, even if it's still just five minutes a day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review of February's Goals

Instead of making "New Year's Resolutions" this year, I came up with a couple of lists of things that I wanted to accomplish.  One list was of fairly large projects that I would have to find time for over several days/weeks.  The other list was of habits I wanted to develop.  I decided that I would tackle one thing from each list each month.  My hope was that by doing bit by bit I could make permanent changes to my daily habits and not be overwhelmed by my large projects.

February's Big Project:

For the month of February I chose balancing the checkbook as my large project.  Now for a more organized person, this would take 15 minutes.  I used to be one of those people.  Then I had three children.  I hadn't balanced the checkbook since December of 2010. 

I mostly accomplished this goal.  I went through all our bank statements, adding transactions I had missed originally and correcting a couple that were entered in twice.  I have not technically balanced the checkbook, as I am waiting for my next bank statement so I can actually have it all up to date.  But, since I am now in the general ballpark of what my bank says I have, I'm calling it good enough for now.

February's Habit:

The habit I chose to develop this month was to write regularly in journals I keep for each of the kids.  Even when my oldest was a baby, I found it hard to keep his baby book updated, and I couldn't find the "right" spot for so many of the things I wanted to remember.  So I bought a cute little notebook for each of them, and when they do or say something memorable I jot it down.  In theory.  In reality I can go for months at a time without writing anything for anyone.  And thus was born February's habit.

I started out thinking I'd write in one book each night Monday through Wednesday and then which ever I felt like Thursday nights, since those are the nights I'm home alone in the evenings.  After about a week and a half I saw that wasn't going to work.  Some nights I just didn't have anything I special I wanted to document, and I didn't my journals to turn into reports of what we did each day.  The rest of the month I took a few minutes to reflect at the end of the day and wrote in who's ever book I felt like.  Some nights I wrote in all three, other nights I didn't write anything.  But at the end of each week, each child had at least one memorable thing recorded in each of their books.  I'm happy with that and I am planning to continue it in this way.  I've found that I've been a lot more aware of the new things the kids are doing and that is an added bonus.

Bonus habit:

I bought a roll of dental floss.  And I've been using it almost every night.  As someone who does not enjoy flossing, I am quite proud of this accomplishment, so I had to add it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Menu Plan for Week of February 27

This is a pretty normal week for us.  In fact, I can't think of anything that will interrupt our regularly scheduled meals. 

I may have overstocked the freezer with chicken the last couple of weeks, so we'ere a little heavy on chicken dishes this week, but since that's what everyone likes best anyway I'm just going with it.  So here's the plan:

Sunday:  Homemade pizza and mozzerela bread sticks

Monday: Swiss Chicken Casserole, corn

Tuesday:  Baked chicken, Twice baked potatoes, peas

Wednesday:  Philly Beef Sandwiches, raw veggies (This is an experiment to use up some leftover roast beef I've had hanging out in the freezer for a while.)

Thursday:  Chicken and biscuits

Friday:  French toast, fruit

Saturday:  Pork chops, rice, green beans

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lenten Plans with Little Ones

While I always try to do something outside my normal routine to mark Lent and prepare for Easter, I've never tried to get the kids on board with me.  This year seemed like a good time to start letting them in on what Lent is about.

We (which really means me) decided that we would only have dessert once a day during Lent.  Not that we always have dessert, but somehow during the Halloween/Christmas/Valentine's Day onslaught of candy, the kids started expecting that we would always have something sweet after a meal.  My three year old asks for dessert when he finishes his breakfast; I do draw the line there, though.

So we've been talking about this.  That it isn't a punishment, but a little thing we can give up each day to help us remember the big thing that Jesus gave up for us.  I think Nick gets it, but isn't very excited about it.  I'm pretty sure the other two don't have a clue, but that is alright too.  I'm just hoping they get a sense for what the season is about.