Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Joy in Being the Comforter

One of the joys I have in being a mother is comforting my children when they are hurt, sick, scared or just in need of a hug and a smile. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that you are of great comfort to that child, that whatever was bothering them, hurting them, scaring them is now eased because you were there to show them love. The power of a mother's hug is huge in a child's life, the comfort of the arms wrapped around them tightly extends beyond the physical arms but show them that you truly care and your there to help take away their pain.

As I was putting this into action today after one of my little ones woke up scared from a nap and he had his head nestled deep in my shoulder, i thought to myself.....this is EXACTLY what God is for us. He WANTS to be our comforter- to listen whats to bothering us, hurting us, or scaring us. He WANTS to give us that hug and have us climb up on his lap so to speak and let our tears, fears, worries, doubts flow from our mouths to his ears. But more often than not we do not give him that privilege. We take things into our own hands and try to figure things out ourselves by finding solutions, fretting, making plans, pro/con lists......

But he is still there.
Waiting patiently until we are done and hear his gentle whispering to give it to him.
He is there.
To take our burden and sorrow and give us peace and joy in our hearts.

Our children freely and willingly run to us for comfort first, why don't we do this? It would look a bit strange for a toddler to fall on the playground and then proceed to get up and worry about how he will handle the fall wouldn't it? His first instinct is to run to mommy or daddy.Why isn't it ours?

Are you in need of a hug? Go ahead and take a deep breath and tell it all to our heavenly Father, who wants to comfort us, we just need to let him.
  •  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  •  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
  •  O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2
  • You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
    Acts 2:28
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Will you let him?
Want to be encouraged further, check out the following linkups:
Raising homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Deep Roots at Home,Raising Mighty Arrows

Monday, February 25, 2013

Strawberries Anyone?

This is probably one of my favorite times of the year....its strawberry season :) We have a wonderful local farm that we go to and the kids can pick their own strawberries. This past trip we ended up with quite a few! Everyone in our house loves them and while I had every intention of making some jam with them, the never ending train of hands in the fridge to get "just one" didn't leave many for jam! I did however get to freeze a bunch of them for smoothies and we did have fresh waffles topped with strawberries, strawberries for breakfast, dessert, etc.....

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes! I find it a GREAT way to sneak in some greens and not taste them!

-3 cups Almond Milk (or any other milk if you choose)
-2 cups Strawberries
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1 small orange, peeled
-1 banana
-1 cup of frozen or fresh chopped spinach (I have also used some wheatgrass powder for the greens)
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)

Blend well and enjoy!! Makes about 3-4 servings.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Im just not getting it all done......

This has been a challenging and stretching week for me thus far. I think i have felt every emotion possible at some point or another. I think there are times in every mommy's life that they just feel like we can't get it all done, the never ending list keeps growing and the time goes by faster.

Our youngest, Gideon who is just shy of 22 months has reached some great "independent" milestones this week. He has figured out how to climb out of his crib (honestly i was thanking God he didn't figure it out sooner...haha) and has decided that there is no need to wear a diaper around the house...*SIGH* Having a 4 month old puppy and a newly potty training toddler is quite interesting if you've never experienced the "guess who did that mess" game or my personal favorite "don't slip in the puddle"!!

With these new discoveries of his independence comes more time of my day trying to stay focused to diligently train him with patience, kindness, and love. Nap time has not been spent napping but a routine of bringing him back and being firm over and over & repeated again at bedtime and well im sure you can guess how the diaperless bum has effected my day!

 One thing i found myself doing earlier this week though was getting frustrated that everything i NEEEDED to get done wasn't getting done. But thankfully the Lord tapped me on the shoulder rather quickly and reminded me that i am indeed getting done everything that i NEEDED to get done. This is so very important and vital and how my heart and attitude are while im doing it is crucial. Its all perspective really. There will always be dishes, laundry, floors to clean, phone calls to make but there is only these wonderful privileges NOW. These "inconveniences" are not that at all, but blessings and I am honored to be able to do them. I am honored to be able to be their mom and time goes by so quickly that I will savor every trip back to bed, repeated instruction to them and yes even the surprises.......

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Day with Winter

We were very blessed and fortunate to be able to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, FL this past week. It was a really fun day with lots of interaction with some local sea life. This small aquarium that was once in financial trouble now is a very popular stop thanks to this one creature....
This is Winter the dolphin and she has one amazing story to tell!! At only three months of age, Winter found herself wrapped tightly in a crab trap line and was unable to escape. She was rescued from Mosquito Lagoon (near Cape Canaveral) and transported to CMA to begin a long rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Winter lost her entire tail as well as two vertebrae a result of the serious injuries that she had sustained.


At only three months of age, Winter found herself wrapped tightly in a crab trap line and was unable to escape. She was rescued from Mosquito Lagoon (near Cape Canaveral) and transported to CMA to begin a long rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Winter lost her entire tail as well as two vertebrae a result of the serious injuries that she had sustained.

Although her story is intriguing, it is also very rare, as many dolphins unfortunately die in monofilament and crab trap lines. Despite the odds against survival, Winter's energy and ability to adapt to her new physical form has surpassed the expectations of many experts. Winter has done amazingly well in the short time since her stranding. She has completely healed and has learned to swim with a specially formulated  prosthetic tail.

You may be thinking you have seen or heard this story before....well there has been a major motion picture made about her story called Dolphin Tale. It is a very good, clean, funny, heartwarming movie that is GREAT for all ages and for family movie night! Along with admission to the Aquarium, we were able to take a trolley ride to their other exhibit, Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure, which is a huge building that is set up to make you feel like you are right in the middle of the set of the movie! There are tons of actual props used in the movie and lots of little tid bits of information from the wonderful staff and volunteers to make you feel as if you were right there! It was truly a blast of a day and we will definitely be going back!
If you would like more information about seeing Winter, want to read up on her amazing story of survival, or about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and what they are doing to help save more "unwanted" and endangered sea life, please visit www.seewinter.com

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oh boy its Monday

Ever feel like this on a Monday morning and you haven't even stepped out of bed yet?? Ever hope for someone to not feel well just for an excuse for everyone to lay around all day?? Anyone......???

So thats just me huh?? LOL
I have to admit there are some Mondays that are EGR.....Extra Grace Required!

On these days I need to take a deep breath and remember that it may also be "Monday" for the kids as well and I can set the tone for the day by my attitude and my countenance.

A kind word and soft tone goes a long way and a smile can change even the biggest sourpuss pickle pants!
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Homemade Bisquick Recipe

So one of the things that I do for our family budget to make it stretch farther is to make my own bisquick mix. It is super easy and saves a lot! We use it for so many recipes-pancakes, waffles, chicken dinners, biscuits!!

The best part about it is i can whip up a really big batch of it and then freeze what i do not need for that particular recipe and pull out the mix when i need it!

Homemade Bisquick Mix Recipe

  • 10 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shortening
1. Mix dry ingredients.

2. Drop in shortening until mixture is about the consistency of cornmeal.

3. Store in large ziploc bags or air tight containers in freezer.

  Easy as that! If you think that this is way too large of an amount for your family, then just cut it in half.
 Enjoy the possibilities of this versatile master mix!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Enjoying the simple things

Here in FL we don't have a typical winter. During our winter months is really the only time of the year where we can play outside without having to be in water! This is our time to ride bikes, scooters, draw on the driveway with chalk, take walks and this year the new thing to do is play on our "tree". We are so blessed by how much entertainment, imagination, courage and creativity this tree has brought out in our children!
"Super Daddy" has built them a swing out of a rope and a piece of wood and it is so wonderful to see them enjoy something so simple. He also has cleared out a little area that is like a "fort" where the base of their games revolve around. There is lots of imagination that runs wild as well as some energy!

I am also so proud that they are all learning to climb trees, as embarrassing as this is I didn't climb my first tree until I was 22 and to be honest it was only 4 feet off the ground that I climbed...hehe!

And don't think the fun is just for the bigger kids...."Super Daddy" put in an extra swing just for Gideon!
And his swing goes slow enough to enjoy snacks with the ride...

We as a family are so grateful to be able to enjoy such beauty that the Lord has given us and to find joy and laughter in the simple pleasures in life!

Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.  Leviticus 26:4

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why We Homeschool...part 1

 We Home school. We Love it. We are called to do it.
There is so much I want to say and share regarding this topic, so i will probably do it over a series of posts. Today I will go into why we have chosen to home school and how we believe relationships are vital, especially a relationship with God.

God has given us the responsibility to teach our children in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Real knowledge apart from Gods word does not exist, so it is imperative that is incorporated into daily life:
Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Psalm 111:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.His praise endures forever!
Proverbs 2:5-6  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

We have a responsibility as Christians to train our children in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord Ephesians 6:4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

With those scriptures in our mind we believe that the most important thing we can ever teach our children above any knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic, is to Love the Lord their God with all their Heart, all their Mind, all their soul and all their Strength (Mark 12:30) and how to integrate that Love into relationships. Its in relationships where we learn to love others as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. One aspect of that is spending lots of time each day with our children; teaching our children about God, talking with our children, holding and loving our children, and enjoying our children, as these formative years are fleeting so quickly.

It is in the home where they will learn about what we value in life. It is here where they will see our true character. It is here that they will see what Love is and how they will use it. It is here where we have the honor and responsibility to shape the next generation.........

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 in 2013

Ok i have decided to purge/get rid of/donate 2013 items in the year 2013!
If you have been to my house you know i am far from a packrat or a hoarder but with 7 people in the house stuff tends to just appear and multiply at times.

While we are very blessed by what we have i feel sometimes that "stuff" keeps me busy throughout the day and even the things that are meant to free up your time like washing machines, dishwashers, & vacuums-when you have a lot to maintain that's exactly what you spend your day doing....maintaining.

Well i have decided that i long for a simpler day and would like to have less to keep up on to be able to spend more time on what truly matters. So far this year I have already gotten rid of 1500 items!!! INCREDIBLE! If you think "there is no way i even have that much stuff" take a look at some of these places in your house and you will find unwanted/unused items:

  • Under your bathroom and kitchen sinks
  • Kitchen drawers (utensil drawer, the ever growing junk drawer, spice cabinet, Tupperware...)
  • Entertainment Centers (dvds/cds/books...broken, unused, missing, damaged??)
  • Jewelry box
  • medicine cabinet
  • Filing Cabinet, School papers/desk area (this one was a 500 item garbage hit for me!)
  • Nightstands, dressers, shelves
  • Kids rooms....need i say more....hehe
So you get the idea, once you get started its a liberating feeling! You can toss the junk/garbage, donate or sell what is garbage to you but will be a treasure or a blessing to someone else.

Happy Simplifying!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

But how do you feed everyone???

Ahh i love that question, really i do!
The verse that comes to mind when i think about this is Luke 12:42
  And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?"

Over the years I have learned some great tips and tricks along the way to streeeeetch our food budget with our growing family. I know that there are extreme couponers and while that is great, most of what I buy and feed our family there aren't coupons for- we eat mostly whole foods, fruits, and veggies. So here are my tips for getting your best bang for the buck on food:

1. Make a List and Meal Plan! I think this is the most vital lesson i have learned. I make my meal plan either over a 2 week segment or if I'm ambitious the whole month. Then knowing what meals I intend to make it makes it easier to formulate the weekly list for the store. Going to the store without a list is a disaster and an expensive one.

2. The fewer trips you make to the store the better and NEVER go shopping while you are hungry....(hint hint don't go after church....)

3. Buy in bulk when possible and shop local farmers markets. I get some great deals by buying in bulk and while BJ's and Costco may not be feasible for some things you can get a good deal on others. When in season shop local markets and produce stands. Its so much better for your family and helps out the community.

4. Utilize food shopping online! As crazy as that sounds i have really begun to like shopping from my computer. I get some great deals on Amazon and on Vitacost.com.

5. You don't need meat in every meal....really you don't! We do love our meat around here but have found that making meals with beans, lentils and vegetable/pasta combinations are quite filling and stretch nicely to feed everyone.

6. Make things from scratch. It may take some time, practice, and preparation on mama's part but it is so worth it. A lot of things can be frozen and taken out for convenience sake.

See what works for your family and start slowly or if your super thrifty with your groceries I'd love to hear some of your tips!