Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Family Home Organizer

So today I used my afternoon to update my "Home Organizer" binder.  I started this a few years ago when I first discovered Fly Lady, in which they introduce you to the "Control Journal."  I have also researched other emergency/organizational binders on pinterest and came across a great blog with print outs that I also used for my binder at A Craft a Day.  When I first started my binder it was fairly pitiful!  Over the years I have added to it but it has never been quite what I needed it to be until now!  Today was the day!!  I spent my afternoon printing our forms, making my own forms, organizing and putting our entire daily life in one spot in our home!  I am so relieved to have it all finished up and ready to be used!!  So here is the finished product, I hope that it helps to motivate you to get organized as well!

So I have divided my binder into 6 separate sections Cleaning, Cooking, Schedule, Finance, and Projects.  Each divider has a place on the front to hold papers like a folder.  In the very front of my binder I have all our animal shot records along with a place to write down any passwords or Login's that I may not use often enough to remember.  Then in the front of my first pocket (Cleaning) I have our Emergency Information sheet that I typed up myself.  This sheet has a place for emergency phone numbers, Home information, Childrens Names DOB, Pediatrician number, Poison Control, and what hospital to take the children to.  This I keep lose in the folder so that if someone is watching the children I can just remove it from the binder easily and place it on the fridge.

Under the Cleaning section I have a list I have printed out from Fly Lady with weekly cleaning as well as a detailed cleaning list for each room in the house!  Under the cooking Tab I have unclipped Coupons in the front folder, then a printout to write monthly meal plans.  I put each of these meal plans into a page protector so I can use a dry erase marker on them, this allows me to re-use the pages over and over again!  I also have printouts from My Litter.  These printouts are the "Buy it now" Price list, it tells me what a bottom dollar price is on each grocery item, this way I know whether to buy or wait for the price to drop more.  I also have a print out of the Sales Cycles, this tells me what is usually on sale for each month of the year.

In the Schedule Tab, I have my front folder filled with doctor slips for x-rays coming up or blood work that needs to be done.  I also have a Daily Schedule (in a page protector) that can be easily changed if needed, A "My Morning Routine"  for each of the kids, Our Bath Schedule for the week, As well as blank calendars for each month of the year (in a page protector for easy writing).

In the finance tab I have important information such as Bills that need to be paid in the front folder.  I also have a calendar with each bill that will need paid on it's due date so that I know when all my bills are due.
And lastly, I have the project tab...this is where I put my personal projects/research.  At the moment I have all my printouts that I will need to read up on for "Natural Birth" as well as notes I have taken about the "Holy Spirit".

And that is my binder for the moment!  I love that I can just grab it and run out the door if I'm in a hurry and I have everything I will ever need from Menu's to schedules and important documents!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Teaching my daughter(s) to be Godly women...

One thing that was so attractive to me about homeschooling when I first researched it was the ability to disciple my daughter(s) and teach them how to be Godly women.  For the first 5 years of Pumpkin's life I spent a lot of time lingering around homeschool forums and groups, asking questions, learning the philosophy of most homeschool parents.  My favorite thing was the mothers who believed that their children's education was just as important as teaching their children character qualities.  A number of mothers believed that while their children are so young (birth-1st grade-ish) that no formal education is required, only character training!

While I was completely intrigued by this idea, my personality did not mesh well with it.  These were mothers who could make a learning experience out of everything and that just wasn't me!  My mind does not process life that way, I would love for it to but no matter how hard I have tried it just doesn't come naturally to me.  These amazing mothers can turn grocery shopping into learning colors, and numbers, and addition and subtraction; they can make laundry into sorting games and matching games.  While it was my desire to teach my children this way I did not have it in me to do this, in my mind it was more like "lets get this done" rather than "lets count the socks."  Anytime I would ask questions about teaching my children character qualities I never got many good answers.  I guess I was looking for a formal curriculum, my mind has to have a plan, a written down plan of action with ideas and verses that tells me exactly what to teach them!  So we bought our first homeschool curriculum called "My Fathers World."  This curriculum was so exciting to me because of the fact it incorporated character qualities into the curriculum.  While my children learned a great deal from this curriculum, it wasn't EXACTLY what I had in mind so I kept looking.  

This past fall we enrolled my two oldest in Keepers of their Faith.  It is similar to girl scouts but with an emphasis on God and being Godly little girls.  They also learn fun skills such as scrapbooking, cardmaking, decoupage, etc..  While we loved Keepers, again it wasn't exactly what I was looking for in the Character building area.

So after much thought and consideration I decided I need to just make something myself!  So that is my plan.  We have finished the first week of my project and while it is still a work in progress- so far so good!  My purpose is to teach my children not only character qualities but how to be a Godly woman.  This starts at a young age and with such little things such as learning to take a shower!  To some this may seem silly to go step by step off a page just to teach your child to take a shower I mean how hard can that be!

My oldest daughter is 7 and for the last year I had taught her how to turn on the shower and wash herself.  I had thought that I had showed her enough times how to take care of herself and shower, but for some reason every time I would tell her to take a shower she would end up in a bath splashing water up on the ceiling and all over the floor!  I eventually realized after several nights cleaning up that water that maybe, just maybe she did not actually understand what a shower was for or how to actually take one the correct way!  Instead of being upset with her every time I asked her to take a shower, I realized that she just needed a little more guidance and supervision until she understands exactly how to accomplish that goal of showering alone.  You have to tell a 2 year old over and over not to touch hot things for months and sometimes for years until finally one day they understand; a 7 year old is no different.  I pray because she is 7 that she will catch on a little quicker than my 2 year old but in essence parenting a 2 year old and a 7 year old is the same.  We are here to teach them, guide them, and help them understand life not to get frustrated with them because our teaching has failed them.  So I came up with a plan!

I sat down and planned out a shower schedule for my oldest daughter.  With so many in the family and with her being so little still a daily shower isn't always necessary so we threw around options of every other day, every two days, every three days etc., until we came up with what worked for us. Once that was taken care of we began our first week of learning.  The entire first week I went through how to take a shower, put on lotion afterwards, brush your hair, and teeth and sat next to her every step of the way from beginning to the end.  I showed her step by step how to get her pj's before her shower, her towel, how to hang up her towel...everything exactly the way I want her to learn!  After a week of being supervised and walked through the process step by step I gave her the next week to do it on her own.  If I felt she did not do it right or 'forgot' part of the process the next time I will sit with her but for the most part after a week she had it down! 

Not only did she learn this process but she also learned why we take showers, and why it's important to take care of our bodies.  That is one thing I remember from being younger is I never had answers for things.  I never understood why we do the things we do and as I got older and understood better it was easier to make those things a part of my life.  So we learned that the bible says, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1, and "For you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20, and "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own"  1 Corinthians 6:19.  So instead of telling my daughter you need to take a shower so you are not dirty....she now knows why we shouldn't be dirty, she now not only understands our bodies should be clean but that the Holy Spirit dwells within us and we should take care of our temple.  

This may seem like a silly place to start with her but eventually the cleanliness of our own bodies and taking care of our bodies will lead to understanding why we need to keep our rooms and houses clean or be able to cook our dinner!  

So as we progress with this project it will become available on my blog for others to benefit from as well.  Check lists, bible verses, etc.  I'm very excited to see what comes of this project and where it takes my children spiritually!    

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dinner Menu for May-June 12

So I'm not great at sticking to a menu (which is why this is the first post on that on my blog).  With so much to do throughout the day and being so tired and pregnant by dinner-time, it is SO much easier to just call my husband and say "Hey, would you mind picking up some dinner tonight?"

This is how it has been in our home for the last year especially while I was going through PPD.  So after several months of getting things back in order around our home, getting the girls back to doing school, and catching up on laundry and dishes, I sat down to do our budget.  According to my calculations what we spend eating out and going to the grocery store last month was MORE than my mortgage payment!!  I was completely blown away!!

A few years back I had taken up the newest fad of couponing, however; once my post-pardom hit last year that was one of the first things I gave up!  I'm not back on track and ready to save as much as I can!!  I started the first week by getting a newspaper and clipping JUST WHAT I NEED for that week but keeping the inserts for later use.  I then made a menu for the entire month!!  I keep daily tabs on The Krazy Coupon Lady.  While I do not have the space in our current home to stockpile, I have been taking advantage of the freebies and moneymakers she has been posting during the week.  I make 1.50 at Walmart last week just buying a few things that I will never use!  But heck why not if they are paying me to do it!

As of today I am 9 days fast-food/Restaurant free!!  I'm hoping that this will be a great start for us eating not only cheaper but healthier!  One step at a time, first with no fast food then through changing certain items we purchase or making certain things myself in stead of buying them.  All in time though, I'm not trying to get ahead of myself!

So here is the menu for the rest of the month for your convenience.  I know for me it is so much easier to figure out what we will be having for dinner if I see what someone else is planning for their menu.  This first menu is pretty basic but hopefully as time goes on I will be able to get a little more creative with the meals.  Enjoy and if you would like a recipe feel free to ask!

5/28  Tuna Noodle Casserole
5/29 Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Rolls
5/30 Breakfast: Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Toast
5/31 Mini naan Pizzas
6/1 Chicken Patty Sandwiches with Sweet potato fries
6/2 Left Overs/Sandwiches
6/3 Taco's
6/4 BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Cole Slaw
6/5 Chicken Stroganoff, peas, Mashed potatoes
6/6 Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Salad, Rolls
6/7 Homemade Pizza
6/8 HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOBBLE-BOBBLE!!  Homemade cake, Chicken pot pie
6/9 Left Overs
6/10 Hot Dogs, Sweet Potato Fries
6/11 Our 8th Wedding Anniversay!!   Taco Salad
6/12 Golosh, rolls, salad.

Monday, May 27, 2013


This week has been a bit emotional for me.  I've tried my hardest not to think about the house and count down the days that the bank has received our newest offer, however; every decision I seem to be making has to revolve around "the house."  I feel at a total standstill yet again, waiting on approval from the bank to go through.  We cannot improve our current home because (1) we need to save every penny we can for moving if it happens and (2) if we rent it out we would do things differently than if we stayed here.  We cannot pack up because we do not know for sure if things will pan out like we hope, and so for now we are just in limbo...waiting.

I have a friend who recently had sold their home and bought another.  Their previous home they had brought all their children home to and made memories in it, however; it was to be burnt to the ground in order to build on the property.  I saw her photos she posted on facebook about it and read all her statuses on how devastated she was to watch their home burn to the ground.  The other night I had a dream that we got the house!  I was a bit sad we were leaving our little rancher that we've brought all our children home to but was ready to make new memories in our new home.  Then I look up and see my friend sitting in her car watching her home.  It was not all the way burnt down like what happened in real life but, the fire was out, and the house was still standing.  You could see it had been in a fire, but the house remained.  My friend just sat there watching her home; tears streaming down her face.  I remember thinking in my dream, "wonder if she is sad it was burnt or happy it is still there."  As I thought about this dream over and over again, it finally started to make sense to me.  Just because the house had been on fire and burnt to the ground doesn't mean the memories will not stand.  We (and she) will always have amazing memories of our families in our old homes.

Tonight when the kids went to bed Nathan and I sat on the porch and enjoyed the 70 degree weather.  We talked about our fears, dreams, hopes, and memories.  We talked about how many neighbors in the houses around us we have seen come and go in the last eight years we've been here.  I told him I feel so stuck right now with not having an answer on the house.  I would be happy in our small house if they say no, but a little disappointed as well.  Then I realized that the first thing I had thought of when we got the news was other family members who need a larger home as well.  How I wanted them to have the house we were getting, how they deserve it more, need it just as badly.  I told Nathan that I just don't feel that I deserve to have that home.  He told me "Toneka, you have prayed for that home for eight years!  God knows the desires of your heart!"  It took all I had to hold back my tears.  I told him about how I just thought it was not coincidental that our neighbors at the new home also had six children and homeschooled.  I had prayed also so many times to be able to be close to a woman with a large family, who homeschooled so I can see how they do things and learn how to be a better mother and teacher for my children.  And he said, "and it's not a mistake, God knows the desires of your heart!"

So, while I feel content either way, I still feel on edge because I cannot move forward with life at this moment.  I'm so thankful that God has even given us this opportunity and has even allowed us to consider another home as an option.  I've just been praying that if it's God's will it will all work out smoothly from the bank approval, to financing, finding a renter for our current home and closing.  Keep your prayers coming!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

God's little blessings...

I feel like it's been forever since I've written a blog post, I have so much to say I almost do not know where to start to fit it all in in a smooth way; so if this post is a bit scattered (lol) that would be why.

April 25th, Nathan and I went to the perinatal center to find out if we were going to have another sweet little girl, or our first son.  I had so much anxiety about it!  On one hand I have been longing for a boy for the last seven years and my desire for that little guy has not subsided one bit, however; on the other I am so unbelievably scared to have a boy!  I've never had a brother so...having a little boy around would be foreign to me, and a bit scary!  I have thought every baby I have had so far was going to be a boy, so I'm not great at guessing, but I was convinced that this one had to be!  All my pregnancies were different in their own way, but this one had one thing that I knew I never experienced before, an aversion to meat!  Mostly beef!  The smell of it, thought of it made my stomach churn!  I also took the gender prediction test that you pay $44.00 for at the drug store and it said BOY, so I was COMPLETELY convinced that this time we were having a boy!  Imagine my surprise when we found out that we were in fact having another baby GIRL!

Of course I did cry for a minute when I found out, I tried my best to hold it together until we left the appointment but when my midwife came in and started asking me questions I just lost it completely!  So many things were going through my head!  Since before Nathan and I were married I felt that God gave me a name for a boy; I have had periodic dreams of that little boy over the last 7 years and have held him and talked to him from the time he was a newborn till he was five years old!  I felt like God has been trying to tell me all these years that we are supposed to have a boy!  I also had told Nathan I thought this was going to be our last child.  I am over 30 now and I'm tired, I do not like pregnancy one bit and each time I do it it has gotten harder than the last.  Does this mean I didn't really hear God?  Does this mean we are supposed to have more children?  Maybe I just clung onto something that wasn't really from God and said it was??  What was going on??!!  My crying and disappointment wasn't because I didn't want another beautiful girl but it was because I thought I knew what God had in store for me and I was wrong!  I spent the remainder of the next few hours doubting my ability to hear the Lord, and doubting my understanding of what he wanted for me in my life.  Then after all the questioning and sobbing, Nathan says to me, "If you never had those dreams we would not have 6 beautiful daughters!  If you never had those dreams, we would have stopped after 2 children!  If we had the boy after the first or second child we would not have anymore than that.  If God didn't give us this desire for another child that we do not have yet, then baby #6 would be our last, but we can have another!"  His words were so true!

I was then reminded of something I had read in one of Beth Moore's books.  She said that she wanted a boy so badly but ended up with a few girls.  She realized that God had given her an amazing task of raising Godly women!  Made me feel a bit intimidated but I think I'm up for the task!

So once I got myself together and was able to take some time to change my mindset that it was now a girl instead of a boy, it was time to find a name!  Again, another thing that makes me anxious!  I feel like we've already exhausted all the names that we've liked so finding another girl name that held up to our standards was going to be a task!  We didn't want something that started with a letter we already had so A, S, E, T, J, were out.  It had to have a good meaning and also be fairly rare, nothing you hear ALL the time.  So after much searching and rummaging through my over used baby name book, we found a name.

     "Vaerity Cossette"  which means "Truthful and Victorious!"

So needless to say I am extremely excited to meet our little girl!  I'm at 24 weeks right now and the days cannot go by fast enough!

So becoming a family of 8 means we have to increase the size of our van.  We no longer will be able to take the entire family together somewhere.  We currently have a 7 passenger van and will now need to upgrade to a 12 passenger!  The downfall we JUST paid off our van so not having a van payment has been wonderful!!  We've also been on the search for another house.  We currently are in the same home that we purchased when we first got married and have been out of room for some time now.  We started looking for homes back in October of 2012 and did not have the best of luck.  We found a white house we loved, put in an offer and it was accepted.  Thirty minutes later they accepted another offer from someone else!  So we went on with the search!  We found a great house that we loved even more than the last one and put in an offer.  The house was a short-sale and so it was possible it would take a while!  So we waited, and waited, and waited....we received a few updates on the house but never good news, then after a 5 month wait we were told that it probably wasn't going to happen, the bank wasn't being cooperative and we need to move on.  So we looked at another home.  It was a forclosure but a great price, we put in an offer and it wasn't accepted.  At that point I was becoming further along in my pregnancy, so we decided that we were going to wait till next year to "look" for a home, however if something came our way that was EXACTLY what we wanted and nothing less we would go look.  Nothing did.

This week we got word that after waiting 7.5 month on the short-sale the bank has finally promised that they will approve and close on the house within 45 day!

This was nothing less than a miracle!  I was excited but kinda numb about it.  Nathan and I went back and forth about if it's the right decision to go ahead with it, while we thought it was perfect for our family we did become content with not moving this year!  I don't want a larger home JUST because it would be more comfortable, or just because we want it, I want it to be God's plan for us!  So after lots of praying we decided to go ahead and resubmit our offer, and if it is God's will things will go smoothly and work out well...if it is not it will fall apart and either one will be fine with us.  So we will be praying and would love others to pray for us through this as well!

In the meantime, we found out the news about the house while we were on vacation.  We had planned to go on vacation with Nathan's family this year but because of our time constraint with the pregnancy and not being able to travel after the second week in July we had to go ahead and go ourselves before then.  The only thing available was Massanutten, which turned out to be a lot of fun with the girls!  We visited the water park, got to ride ponies, went fishing and just had fun together as a family.  I'm so thankful that we are able to give our children fun family memories like this!  I hope they will cherish them forever!!