Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Little Homemakers

My husband loves a clean home. It makes him feel relaxed. However, with homeschooling four kids plus an infant, my house cleaning radar is usually set to survival mode. Now grant it, my oldest daughter, who is 15 is a huge help. Let's call her Supergirl. But the middle three - the Artist (10), the Athlete (9), and the Animal (6) - would rather do almost anything other than CHORES!!
Then there's Tater Tot whose only 11 months old and her version of helping is to make a bigger mess to clean up!

So, I'm feeling overwhelmed with the housework. I want my home to be a place where my husband can feel welcomed and peaceful. Or at least not have sticky tables and Lego covered floors.

I have recruited the older four kids to take on more household responsibilities. For the past couple of years they have been doing Saturday morning chores (I don't know why we always do them on Saturday, we homeschool, we can do chores anytime, but alas, Saturday morning seems to be stuck with chores.)
Almost every weekend they clean the bathrooms and put their laundry away. They often dust, sweep, and vacuum. But it seems like the jobs are only done half way and Supergirl and I pick up the slack. Also, the daily cleanup doesn't happen like it should. So these are the things we're working on. Plus, I teaching them some kitchen skills in hopes that someday soon they can prepare a fine dining experience for the whole family - yeah right, I just want them to be able to make their own lunch.

Pinterest is full of great age-appropriate chore lists and creative chore charts. Here's a board I'm working on with some cool ideas: https://www.pinterest.com/traulston/little-homemakers-kids-chores/
Here's one of those chore chart ideas I made that worked for us for a while:


What ideas are working in your home to keep your sanity in tack and your house clean and organized??

P.S. My friend Christina just invented this amazing new product that attaches to a spray bottle and shines a black light to reveal unseen messes for cleaning - it's like CSI:Chores, check it out: http://lumeebottle.wixsite.com/website

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reflections: Psalm 3

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. Psalm 3:5
 

Many of the psalms David wrote, like this one, are about his cries to the Lord to be saved, rescued, or relieved from his enemies. No matter how desperate his pleas, David always put his full trust and dependence in the Lord.

I strive to have this kind of relationship with God - where I can honestly cry out to Him with every big and small concern in my life, yet fully depend on Him to sustain me and renew me each day.

My youngest child has been the most difficult of my five babies. She's eleven months old and still not sleeping through the night. (I've been blessed that the other kids starting sleeping through the night much sooner.) When I read this verse today, I almost cried for the longing of a full night's rest, but was also somehow comforted by knowing the Lord will sustain me tomorrow despite how much sleep I get tonight. I know this season of life will pass, but it's so exhausting. Thankfully His mercies are new each morning!

Lord, I ask for physical rest and I know even if it doesn't come, you will sustain me and give me the strength and energy I need for each day to love and serve you by caring for my children and managing my home. Thank you for showing your great power in my weak life.


If you want to listen to a great sermon on the danger of self-sufficiency and our need to depend on Christ for all things, listen to:  Seven Dangers Facing the Church: Danger 7 - Self-Sufficiency  by Juan Sanchez, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, TX 11/27/2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reflections: Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 
2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  - Psalm 1:1-2

It seems everyone has advice for me on every subject - how I should raise my kids, how I should decorate my house, what to buy, what not to buy...on and on...especially on Pinterest, as much as I love it, that site seems to be full of know-it-alls (wait, I'm on there, oh well).

Sometimes it's hard to separate the bad advice from the good (and other times it's really obvious). I want to make good decisions for myself and my family, but all the chatter...it's hard to know what to do.

Psalm 1 reminds me to delight in God's law and to think on it daily, but why? Because it is the best source for wisdom in my life. When I have God's standard of right and wrong constantly on my mind, being distracted by sinful choices is less of a temptation. When God's word is in my heart, knowing what's best for my family and home becomes more obvious. Joyfully embracing the truth makes it easier to share with people, neighbors and friends, who are drowning in a sea of bad choices.

Lord, please give me the desire to meditate on your word day and night so that I may be blessed to walk in your ways. Help me today to delight in your law, to know and understand the truth of your word that I will gladly share it with those trapped in the way of sinners. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rock of Ages


Rock of  ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
-Augustus M. Toplady
Currently my kids and I are reading through Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce A. Ware (a book I highly recommend). Today's lesson was on the importance of Jesus' resurrection. If Jesus died for our sins, why did He have to rise from the dead? The answer was two-fold: 1) If the penalty for sin is death (Romans 3:23) and Jesus was still dead, He would still be paying for sin. But, because He is resurrected the payment for sin is finished and complete and we can be completely forgiven of our sin through Jesus. 2) The greatest power of sin is death (Genesis 3:?) and if Jesus was still dead He couldn't claim complete victory of sin and therefore be unable to free us from sin's power.

Later in the day, rocking my baby to sleep, I started humming the hymn above, Rock of Ages. I started thinking about the words in the first verse and how the fifth line spoke of this very idea of a "double cure" for sin. I now have a new understanding and appreciation for this classic hymn.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the double cure for my sin. Thank you for forgiveness and freedom from sin. Help me daily to turn away from sin and be grateful for your sacrifice!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Majestic Name, A Personal Savior

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth...When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?  Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  - Psalm 8:1, 3-5

I sing songs about the majesty of the Lord's name all the time, but rarely stop to think about what that means.
Majestic - high, beautiful, powerful- these words come to mind.
The Lord's name, YHWH, to the Israelites was so honored they refused to speak it aloud or write it down in fear of offending God. It means "I am that I am". The Creator, the Almighty, the Most High, the only GOD...

God is so mighty and powerful and yet so personal. Verses 4 & 5 tell me that God is mindful of me and given me glory and honor...me, who has wronged Him on every level; me, who has mocked, broken, and ignored His laws and commandments...God humbled himself to become like me to save me from myself, from my wickedness and despair, He endured a horrific death to pay for my disobedience...the most supreme being in the universe was thinking of me.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Monthly Menu: October 2015


Here are my dinner plans for 31 days of October.
*We keep breakfast and lunch simple. Cereal or toast for breakfast. My kids have been loving fruit & veggie smoothies for lunch.

*We usually only eat-out once a week. The rest of my meals are homemade, mostly from scratch.

**These are recipes I plan on doubling and freezing the extras for days I don't feel like cooking in the next few months, since we are expecting a new baby around Christmas.


 Week 1 Menu
1.
Baked "Fried" Chicken with Carrots, Mac & Cheese
2. Tater Tot Casserole**
3. Eat Out: Pizza
Snacks: peaches, apples, yogurt

Week 2 Menu:

4. Chicken Fried Rice**
5. Chicken Caesar Salad
6. Chili**
7. Chili Frito Pies
8.Chili Stuffed Baked Potatoes
9. Spaghetti with Meatballs
10. Eat out: Mexican
Snacks: apples, peaches, pumpkin bread, trail mix

Week 3 Menu:

11. Shrimp & Mashed Potatoes
12. Shepherd's Pie**
13. Eat Out: Burgers & Fries
14. White Chicken Chili**
15. Taco Night
16. Homemade Enchiladas**
17. Leftovers
Snacks: cheese & crackers, peaches, bananas, carrot sticks

Week 4 Menu:

18. Breakfast for dinner: Bacon & Cheese Omelets 
19. Beef Stroganoff and corn
20. Beef Stew**
21. Eat Out: Pizza
22. Grilled Chicken with mixed veggies
23. Sesame Chicken with veggies over rice
24. Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato sandwiches
Snacks: yogurt, berries, cereal trail mix

Week 5:
25. Sausage & Sauerkraut
26. Cheese-steak Sandwiches
27. Beef & Peppers** over rice
28. Meatloaf & Mashed potatoes
29. Homemade Lasagna**
30. Cheesy Baked Ziti
31. Chicken Quesos (chicken, onions, cheese cooked inside a tortilla)
Snacks: no-bake cookies, bananas, chips & salsa

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Review: M is for Autism

M is for Autism is a book about a teenage girl with Autism written by teenage girls with Autism. The concept of this book is brilliant and the story is bravely and beautifully written.

If you've ever wondered about the struggle many kids experience when dealing with Autism, take a peek into the thoughts of M.  With complete honesty, she narrates the daily trials of desiring to be normal, feeling overwhelmed and anxious about unexpected situations, and trying to figure out who she is.

This book is appropriate for older children, teens, and adults - I highly recommend it to all three groups. It may be a quick read, but will have a deep impact on how the reader views those who struggle with Autism.

Congratulations to the students of Limpsfield Grange School and Vicky Martin for a job well done in writing this book. May your message and cause see great success and recognition!

 *Special thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers through Netgalley.com for sharing this book with me in exchange for my honest opinion.