Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MYHSM: Adventures in Soap Making (finally)

Making Your Home Sing Monday . . . Er . . . Tuesday . . . 
Making your home sing Mondays


I don't know if I've ever mentioned this or not, but I ♥ The Duggar family. Never do I miss an episode of 19 Kids and Counting. One of the things that I love the most about them is their ability to take care of so many children and not lose it.  One of the ways they do this is by doing everything they can to be thrifty. They shop at resale shops and thrift stores, they use coupons, and, when they are able, they make their own household products such as cleaners and detergents.
I am a firm believer in saving money, and I love making my own cleaners (I am a sucker for baking soda and vinegar), so when I saw their recipe for making your own laundry soap, I knew I had to jump on that band wagon. 

Laundry and dish detergents are two of the biggest expenses in our family. When Jake finally got out of diapers a few weeks ago, we jumped for joy. Knowing that we will never have to buy expensive laundry detergent again made us jump even higher. 

Before I go into details, let me go into a price comparison . . . 

I use All free and clear for my laundry detergent. I buy a 32 oz bottle of it every week for around $5. In a years time, that comes out to be a grand total of $260 in laundry soap.

Now, for the ingredients for the homemade soap, I spent around $11 total for a box of Borax, a bar of Fels-Naptha, and a box of washing soda. But here's the thing. I made five gallons. There are about four of my All containers to a gallon. Let's do some math, shall we?

100-11= 89

SO I've just saved my family $89 in laundry detergent. And let's not even mention the fact that the only thing that I will have to replace in about two years is the soap bar at $1.29. 
I'd say that's a pretty good deal.

Now, you wanna know how to do it?
Alright, let's have a short lesson (it's actually really easy!)
You will need:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda!!!)
and 1/2 cupBorax

You will also need:
LOTS of hot water
4 cups hot water
a 5 gallon bucket with a lid (found ours at wal-mart for around 6 bucks)

Don't forget a good pan and a measuring cup:

First, you're going to want to grate your soap on a hand grater:

I used a hand grater simply because I didn't think it would work very well in my food processor.

When you're done, it will look something like this:

(My son actually thought it was cheese)

Next, you're going to boil four cups of water:

Then you're going to turn your heat to medium and gradually add the soap to the water to dissolve and melt down. It will look like this until it's dissolved:

A little lumpy, but don't worry, it WILL melt eventually (it actually took me about 20 mintues). Just keep stirring and squishing and it'll get there.

After the soap has dissolved, you're going to fill a 5 gallon bucket about half way with HOT water:

Then you're going to add the melted soap, the borax, and the washing soda and mix it thoroughly.

Then you need to fill it up the rest of the way with more hot water.
Put the lid on and allow it to sit overnight.
The next morning it will look like this:

It will be a little gelatinous and lumpy, that's okay, just stir it up really good.

NOW, if you want, you can keep some in a used detergent bottle (I use one of my old All ones), or you can just use it straight from the bucket (although you will have to stir it up every time - I prefer the detergent bottle so I can just shake it).
*NOTE It WILL NOT suds up when you use it. This is fine - it IS cleaning your clothes! It doesn't suds because there aren't the chemicals that most commercial products use in it.*

So, how did it work?
Well, quite well, actually. The fragrance is nice and not overwhelming - just fresh. In fact, when the clothes are finished, you really don't smell anything. My clothes came out clean and fresh smelling, which is nice (I have a bed-wetter in the family, and those smells are HARD to get out, this got them out nicely).
Did it work as well as All? Yes. Yes it did.

I am pleased with the results, and look forward to using this for years to come!

*Next week I will be doing a review of my home made dish soap. Keep watching for that!*

Don't forget to visit my friend Nan at MomsTheWord to learn how you can make YOUR home sing!

Friday, August 27, 2010

TMI Friday - Girl's Only Edition . . .

Welcome to another edition of . . .

What is TMI Friday? Well, this is a fun game where ANYTHING goes! Things you wouldn't normally talk about in a blog, but happen to us EVERY DAY!
Here's what you do:
1) Write a TMI blog about anything bizarre, weird, or just plain gross that's happened to you (please keep it family friendly!).
2) Take my TMI Friday button on the right side of the page and post it into your blog to link back to me (copy and paste the code).
3) Sign in below on my linky (don't post your own linky)
That's it! It's that simple!!

Today has been labeled the "Girl's Only Edition" for a reason, so guys, I'm giving you fair warning on this one!!!

Topic 1:

Do you hate yours as much as I hate mine? What man invented this medieval torture device and why?? Now for women that happen to be members of the "itty bitty titty committee" (like my sisters) bras are not an issue. But for us . . . er . . . more . . . um . . . well endowed women bras are nothing but a pain. in. the. boob. (see what I did there . . . hahaha) They almost never fit right, those so-called "comfort straps" are ANYTHING but comfortable, and for women like me that have very odd proportions, the cup and the back go like this: when one's too tight, the other's too loose. When one fits, the other is too lose or too tight . . . and so on. I have YET to find a bra that fits me EVERYWHERE. And why is that us bigger women have to wear the old-fashioned military issue 1940's granny bras?? WHY are there NEVER anything CUTE in MY size (hey, I'm a 46 DD . . . it just doesn't exist, I'm tellin' ya!). I hate bras. Wish the darn things were never invented.

Topic 2:
(mm hmm see, you boys got all excited about the bra talk . . . Told you it was "Girls Only" for a reason!!)

I hate periods. I spend an entire week of every month checking my butt every 10 minutes to make sure I don't have a surprise "leak". I have ruined more pairs of underwear, pants, and shorts than I care to mention because there just doesn't seem to be a "product" out there strong enough to suit my needs. Not to mention the hormones, the cramping, the chocolate . . . okay well the chocolate isn't that bad . . . ; )

Topic 3:

Okay, here's where I get a little serious: non-interference childbirth is something I feel very strongly about. I had my first child from and incision in my belly because she wasn't ready to come out and I was induced. Let's face it, if the baby isn't ready to come out, IT AIN'T GONNA! Inductions highten the chance of a c-section, and they also raise the chance of a premature baby! That's right, there have been cases of an induction done and the baby born was less than 32 weeks. This article also explains other reasons NOT to be induced! I thought induction was a safe choice and didn't question my doctor. I was wrong. My daughter turned her head because she wasn't ready yet. If she hadn't been born by c-section, she would have died that day.  Doctors will try to scare you into inducing. DON'T LET THEM. Unless there is a DANGEROUS medical emergency (big-baby is NOT a DANGEROUS MEDICAL EMERGENCY, by the way) then there is NO medical need for an induction!

Okay, that's my hot-topic soap box for the day, LOL. I will probably talk more one day about child birth without interference - and will go into c-sections, VBAC's, natural childbirth and all that at that time. But there's too much to talk about and, as you can tell, I'm a little too passionate on the subject, LOL!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Atheism Revisited

There have been a few things weighing on my heart recently, and atheism is one of those things. About two years ago I wrote this post on atheism and Christianity. In the post I stated my beliefs that Christians are a leading cause of atheism. I still stand by that statement - let me explain.

I have a very good friend that is a non-believer. I'm not sure WHAT his beliefs are, to tell you the truth, but he says that he doesn't believe in "any of it". By that, I take it to mean that he doesn't believe in ANY religion (he sports a few pagan tattoos and has a few books on druidism, so I thought that was what he was into, but I could be wrong). Now, here's the kicker. His brother is an out-and-out atheist. He believes in NOTHING - not any religion, nothing paranormal, nothing spiritual, NOTHING. As far as he's concerned, there is no point to man's existance on this earth. Now, on the other hand, their father is a devout Christian. He is a believer through and through. Quite often this family gets into . . . debate over religion, because one person will make a comment about the other's beliefs.

Here's my thoughts on this:

As Christians, it is our DUTY and our CALLING to teach others about Christ. That being said, there's a way to go about things and there's a time and a place for things as well.

For example:
Telling someone that they are going to hell because they're Muslim while you're in the middle of a shopping mall is not going about things the right way, nor is it the proper time and place.

On the other hand:
You have a friend notice a cross you're wearing and asks you about your beliefs. They make an offhanded comment about how "every Christian" believes a certain way. This is an opportunity given to you by God to teach the facts about your beliefs, thus opening up a dialogue where you can share your personal faith.

Shoving your beliefs down ANYONE'S throat - NO MATTER WHAT THAT BELIEF - is NOT the right way to go about it.

As I said in the previous post, people didn't come to Christ because he was shouting at them from the street calling them names and telling them they were going to hell. On the contrary, Christ sat and spoke softly to those that were surrounding him and wanted to listen. They may not have agreed with what he was saying, but they were listening because they WANTED to, not because he was forcing them to.

So . . . those are my two cents (again). It's just something I had been thinking about lately, that I wanted to share with you all. What are your thoughts on religion? I would love to hear YOUR two cents . . .

Wordless Wednesday

I'm Bob, I'm a tomato . . .

Visit 5 Minutes for Mom for more Wordless Wednesdays

Monday, August 23, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday! - Let Them Fly

Happy Monday Everyone! It's time for
Making your home sing Mondays

What are you doing today to make your home sing? Visit Nan at MomsTheWord and join the fun!

In honor of my children's first day back to school, my post today is about how to help your CHILDREN to sing. By letting them go and letting them fly.

It's not easy to allow your children to fly on their own. So often parents think that it's better to hold their children close all the time - to not allow them to do things outside the home or to experience disappointment or failure.  But by shielding our children from these things, we are hindering them rather than helping them.

Our children need to be allowed to make their own choices and make their own mistakes. They won't learn if they aren't held accountable for their actions. In fact, they will go through life finding others to blame for their problems.

This morning I had a hard time following my own advice, I'll admit. 

My 14-year-old stepson has made the choice to come life with his father and I and to go to school here. This school is about twice the size of the one he's used to - more kids, more classrooms, more teachers. He knows it's a fresh start for him, in a manner of speaking (he went to school here from kindergarten through fourth grade). But it's still frightening. This morning, I looked at him beside me in the car, he was nearly paralyzed with fear. We prayed together, and I told him I loved him and that God is in control. It was all I could do not to drive off with him and say forget it! But I also know that that wouldn't do him any good (many children thrive on homeschooling and do extremely well, some do not. My step son is one of those that do not). He needed to know that I trust him enough as an individual to make good choices in his day. He needed to know that I trusted in GOD enough to help him (SS) in his day.

I am praying that he has a wonderful day.
I am praying that he makes lots of new good friends.
I am praying that he shares his faith with at least one person this school year.
I am praying that his teachers post their homework assignments where they're supposed to.
I am praying that he does well and tries to be successful.

Even if you're a homeschooler, you can still let your children fly by involving them in activities outside the home such as gymnastics, youth group or bible study, soccer, swimming, or art or music lessons. 

Today I challenge you to think about and pray about some ways you can let your children fly this week.
God bless you all!

For more about Making Your Home Sing Monday, visit MomsTheWord and link up!

Friday, August 20, 2010

TMI Friday! Gassy kids . . .

Happy Friday everyone! It's time for another edition of


What is TMI Friday? Well, this is a fun game where ANYTHING goes! Things you wouldn't normally talk about in a blog, but happen to us EVERY DAY!
Here's what you do:
1) Write a TMI blog about anything bizarre, weird, or just plain gross that's happened to you (please keep it family friendly!).
2) Take my TMI Friday button on the right side of the page and post it into your blog to link back to me (copy and paste the code).
3) Sign in below on my linky (don't post your own linky)
That's it! It's that simple!!

Is your child gassy? Mine are. All of them. And they have no qualms about letting loose anywhere. At the dinner table, in the living room, at their grandparents, at the store . . . I'm sure the ones that go to school probably let it go there, too. Now, I would say that I don't know where they get it from, that wouldn't be entirely true. Sorry. Can't help it. In my . . . er . . . genetics (thanks, Dad).

My two year old is extrememly bad. He won't just poot (that's what we call it in our house - poots) places like living rooms or things like that. He will POOT ON PEOPLE. His favorite person to poot on is apparently me, because he does it ALL THE TIME. On my lap, on my hand or arm . . . he's even pooted in my face once or twice. And he thinks it's absolutely hysterical. He will laugh and look at me and say, "Mama, I pooted". Yup. He's all boy, that one.

My other kids aren't much better, but at least they've learned not to do it ON people. Well, at least I don't think they do. There are times when the six year old is screaming at the 14 year old and vice versa, and I'm not 100% certain that they're not back there trying to make each other stinky-heads.

Then there's the sound. It's a very distinct sound for each of them. I can tell who it was that let one from across the room. One's sounds like an extremely loud zipper. Another's like bubble wrap being popped in succession, and one's sounds like, I'm not kidding, a duck quacking. And when they all get going at the same time (which happens occasionally) Sadie bar the door, it's like a three ring circus in here.

The one thing that I am thankful for is that their poot's don't smell . . . yet. But I am just waiting for that day when they do. And it will be just my luck that it will happen at the same time:

"Zzzzzzip, popopopop, QUACK . . . ewwwww"

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank You Very Much Thursday!

Happy Thursday Everyone! 
Today is another edition of

The way it works is that you take out all your frustrations on people/things that peeved you off during the week andthank them in a very sarcastic way, for being who or what they are/doing what they did. Then you can head on back to KMama's blog, The Daily Dribbles and link up there to share the free therapy!

To whomever handles the Grants and Student Loans for Texas Woman's University THANK YOU VERY MUCH for reducing my F.A. this year. I didn't need to pay off those bills or supplement my income for the next four months while I am taking classes instead of working. Oh, and my kids don't need Christmas presents either.

To the Jr. High for not having SS's schedule ready and therefore forcing us to pick it up TOMORROW NIGHT (last second) at Meet-The-Teacher night THANK YOU VERY MUCH. We really didn't need to be prepared for any last minute changes or anything. Really.

To the Elementary school for having a mile long supply list THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Really, $50 worth of school supplies for a first grader isn't overkill.

To my kids for stressing me out beyond comprehension this week THANK YOU VERY MUCH for reminding me that peeing on the floor, crunching cheetoes into carpet, throwing legos across the room, and yelling at each other for hours on end is just part of my daily life.

To the person that told me I was "abusing the system" and part of the reason she couldn't get Grants for school THANK YOU VERY MUCH for showing me the kind of person you really are. It's really none of your business what I do with my Financial Aid refund after the grand has paid my tuition and the student loans kick in, paying off the REST of my tuition (did I mention that the LOANS I pay back IN FULL and OUT OF POCKET, THANK YOU VERY MUCH??)

To Netflix for supplying shows like Air Dancers and Super Mario Brothers on instant watch THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I didn't watch these shows when they aired . . . but my children love them *sheesh*

And to my immune system for continuing to pursue whatever this is that you're trying to allow into my body THANK YOU VERY MUCH . . . really . . . I could use a vacation day from the kids.

Don't forget to visit KMama for your free therapy session! And come back here tomorrow for another edition of 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good Bye Summer . . . A Photo Gallery

As August comes to a close, the winds still blow hot on our faces, the sun still beats down, and we still have to use fans alongside our A/C's to prevent being too hot. Yet school is right around the corner - my children start next Monday, as a matter of fact. So as we say good bye to Summer, 2010, we get to look back on all the memories we made.

This summer we . . .

Lost a Patriarch

Gained an Aunt and Sister-In-Law (and cousins)

Sailed the Lake
Got a massive sunburn

Replaced a Water Heater

Lost some teeth

Had a first boat ride

Learned to Ski

Played with sparklers
Played with more sparklers . . .
And learned we weren't too fond of sparklers . . .

We ate lots of Pizza

Had fun at VBS

Had our first VBS

Learned how to light fireworks

And Became a teenager

This summer has been filled with magic, wonder, fun, good times, and even some bad times. But all in all, it was a summer that I know none of us will ever forget!

Hope you all have a wonderful school year!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday! Back-To-School Edition!

It's Monday, which means it's time for 
Making Your Home Sing Monday
Making your home sing Mondays
Wanna know how to make your home sing? Visit Nan over at MomsTheWord and find out how!

One of the best ways to make your home sing is to have your meals planned and all the shopping done for the week! Need some inspiration? Here's this weeks menu!

This week we are preparing for the kids to go back to school. This year Emily will be in first grade. My 14-year-old bonus son, Garrett,  has decided to come stay with us, and he will be in 8th grade. We are currently looking for Mother's-day-out programs for Jacob (2).

I remember the excitement and anxiety that came along with returning to school. I grew up in the same district, pretty much (from 4th grade through high school graduation), so I learned new things along with everyone else in my class (like where classrooms and lockers are). Of course I worry for Garrett. Not only is he moving to another district, but he's moving to a new school with multiple stories. *yikes* Mommy tears will be flowing on the first day when I drop him off. Emily, of course, is excited. She is wondering which of her friends will be in class with her this year, and hoping for a couple specific children (as am I). We're hoping her teacher is a good, patient woman. When Emily's involved, patience is a MUST.

Along with the new school year, we will be implementing a new afternoon schedule, new rules, and a new chore list.We're keeping the focus on school and homework, so we are trying to keep the daily chores to a minimum for the kids. As long as they take care of their stuff, then the rest of the house will fall into place.

Looking forward to school supplies shopping. The only thing that bothers me, though, is that all we have out here is a Brookshire's or a Wal Mart. The nearest Staples, Best Buy, Target, or Office Max are all up to 80 miles from here. Staples and Office Max always have the best deals on school supplies, but the gas to drive there will offset any savings!

Speaking of savings, if you are like us, your child (our 14 year old) has grown out of EVERYTHING. So, this year we will be thrift-store shopping for most of his school clothes. Believe it or not, you can find some VERY nice clothes ON-THE-CHEAP at places like Goodwill or an Hospice Thrift store.Now, BUYER BEWARE - places with "Consignment" in the name are only SOMETIMES good bargains - sometimes you'll be paying more for a used item though than you would originally in the store! So, stick with "thrift" or "resale" shops that don't do a lot of consignment sales. Other places to go for cheap clothes - Old Navy (you can find jeans for less than $15 sometimes, and shirts for less than $5 often), Wal Mart (most clothes are less than $15), Target (designers like Todd Oldham and Anna Sui now have clothing lines for Target and their stuff is almost all less than $10!!), Marshall's (sometimes - not always), and Stein Mart (if you're looking for really classy clothes). Beware though, if you or your kids are a plus size, you may not be able to find clothes in the size you need, and if you CAN, you might have to pay a little extra.

My kids are not the only ones going back to school. I will be finally finishing my Bachelor of General Studies degree this year! Believe it or not, I have been going to college off and on since (GULP) 1995!!!! Yes. I have officially been in college for 15 years!! This is the year I finish. Really. I mean it.

And don't forget: setting morning routines for both you and your kids firmly into place will increase the chances of you getting out the door quickly and smoothly every morning! It may take a while to implement, but once it's done, it will be so easy to keep it up!

Friday, August 13, 2010

TMI Friday!

Alright Kiddies, it's time for another edition of 

What is TMI Friday? Well, this is a fun game where ANYTHING goes! Things you wouldn't normally talk about in a blog, but happen to us EVERY DAY!
Here's what you do:
1) Write a TMI blog about anything bizarre, weird, or just plain gross that's happened to you (please keep it family friendly!).
2) Take my TMI Friday button on the right side of the page and post it into your blog to link back to me (copy and paste the code).
3) Sign in below on my linky (don't post your own linky)
That's it! It's that simple!!

This weeks discussion is all about underwear.

Here are some random thoughts about underwear:

Why is it called "underwear" for boys and "panties" for girls?
Why don't they ever have any cute underwear for plus sized women (that don't cost $15 at Lane Bryant)
Why is my son (2) obsessed with wearing the same two pairs - one pair of spongebob and one blue pair.
Why is it that men will STILL wear underwear that have holes in them and shot elastic? "They're still good!" Er . . . WRONG! 
Why can't my daughter wear ONE pair a day instead of changing them (just because) FIVE TIMES??
Why does my 13 year old step daughter insist on wearing panties that aren't even suitable for most GROWN WOMEN??
When did my 14 year old step son become so picky about his??
Why are people still wearing their pants so that their underwear show over the tops? WHY is this still fashionable??

Now, for a funny story.
For those of you that DID NOT go to school with me, I was not a popular person. 
I know, hard to believe, right?
But in all seriousness, if there was a school totem pole, I was stuck up underneath it somewhere. Now I'll admit . . . SOME of it I brought on myself (I had some REALLY bad habits ... we won't go into those here). But there was one thing that happened to me in Middle School (we had elementary, middle, and high school) that was SO embarrassing, and SO mortifying, I just knew they would put it on the front page of the school paper so I would be the laughing stock of the entire student body. 
Then I found out that there was NO ONE THERE TO SEE IT. (this I thank the good Lord for now).

I was late for school . . . or coming back from something . . . I'm not sure which. But I was NOT in class, but walking down the hall to my locker for some reason or another. 

Now, let me interject here for a second and mention that my favorite movie at this time was Grease 2 - you know, the one with Michelle Pfeiffer? Well if you've never seen the movie, there's a car chase scene in which one of a group of high school girls in a car yells out 
"We're going to die and I'm wearing my mother's underwear!"
Now, the complete dork that I was 
(I can NOT believe I am admitting this today) 
I was so inspired by that line, that I decided that I, myself, was going to, in fact, wear my mother's underwear. Big mistake. Big. HUGE. 
(sorry had to steal that one from Pretty Woman)

At this time, my mother was not the healthy body-type she is now. She used to be larger. Much larger. So were her underwear. And I was smaller. Much smaller. 
See where I'm going with this?

Did I mention I was wearing a skirt that day?

So . . . There I was walking to my locker in the middle of the school hall way, passing classrooms and windows. 
Suddenly, I feel something slipping. Something sliding . . . 
I frantically tried to grab it non-nonchalantly . . . trying my best to hide what was about to happen. But it was in vain. 
The slipping continued down my hips. 
Over my thighs . . . to my knees! 
At this point, I just KNEW the bell was going to ring and I would be completely mortified.

Somehow it didn't. 

But they kept slipping. 
To my ankles now. 
Finally I slipped my feet out of them, picked them up and passed a trash can.

I went commando for the rest of the day.
Later my mother asked if I had seen her underwear. My answer? "Nnnnnooooooo . . . ."


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Random thoughts and ramblings . . .

This morning I realized that the summer is almost over. I can't believe it. In about a two weeks, my six year old will be a first grader and my 14 year old will be an 8th grader. In about three, I will be beginning my final year as a college student. Changes - big changes - are happening this year, and I am embracing and looking forward to the challenge.

I've had issue with the Financial Aid department at my school. For the second year in a row I have been "randomly" selected for a verification. Why, I don't know. But sense they take FOREVER to email me, don't call, and rarely answer their phones, this is taking forever. I didn't get my award letter last year until the 26 of August - just one week before classes started. Hopefully this year I got on it early enough where that won't happen. I did have to apply for an emergency tuition loan last year, so I did it again this year - just in case. Thankfully, we had enough money set aside where I could afford to go ahead and by some of the books I'll need and my parking pass (almost $200 total).

Along with a new school year comes new expenses. Of course, there's the gas for me to commute about 100 miles round trip twice a week, then there's school lunches, fundraisers, book fairs . . .Let's not even go into school supplies. We have decided that this year for school clothes we are thrift-storing it. I can get 5 pairs of GOOD (Levis, Old Navy, Gap) jeans for less than $20 at a thrift store whereas I'd be $150 in store for the same things. SO, buying school clothes for two children this year should only cost me (total) about $200.

Other changes this year - we are moving sometime this fall. We're not entirely sure when, and we're okay with that (long story and interesting circumstances). My 14 year old step son is coming to live with us - that's one thing I am very anxious over. We have plans on making a small room for him on the porch area (enclosed and insulated) so he can have his own space. There will be lots of scheduling, teeth gnashing, fussing, moaning, groaning, tears, laughter, hugs and smiles this year.

Here's hoping it's a good one!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday!

Happy Monday Everyone! Let's get ready to Make Our Homes Sing!
Making your home sing Mondays
Wanna join the fun, go visit Nan at MomsTheWord and link up!

Don't forget that one of the easiest ways to make your home sing is to make a meal plan and shop/prep in advance! Need some inspiration? Here's my menu for the week! Don't forget to check out the recipes too!


It sounds like a simple thing really, but I think that we adults don't really understand the impact it can have on a household. For those without children, sometimes it's a given and sometimes it's an "oh, I'll get to that later". And MOST of the time (unless you're a compulsive hoarder) that's just fine. If you have kids, though, it quickly becomes a necessity. Why? Well, quite simply because children mimic the actions they witness.


For example, you want your child to clean their room.  (If you follow me on facebook or twitter you know my story well with this one). BUT YOUR room is cluttered and filled with garbage and dirty clothes. Do you really expect your child to keep their room clean when you cannot?

It's the same with household chores - putting up dishes, picking up toys, vacuuming, picking up laundry, etc. If the kids witness you do it, then they'll be more likely to do it themselves when asked (and sometimes without being asked!)

Picking up after yourself will elicit a chain reaction in your home. It may take a while, but eventually everyone will jump on board themselves and start picking up after themselves too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lessons from "The Littlest Angel"

I watched this movie with my children this week - at their request - and it brought so many thoughts to my heart, I had to share them with you all.

When I taught preschool, each Christmas we'd read a book entitled "The Littlest Angel". We'd also watch the movie with the children. I couldn't get through either the book or the movie without crying.

The story is short, sweet, and to the point. It's also poignant, moving, and emotional (especially for a mother so attached to her children!).

It's a simple tale, really . . .
A little boy goes to heaven. Saddened because he just can't seem to do anything right, he tells a grandmotherly angel what he wants most from home - his special box.

The box is filled with what most people would view as junk - an old robin's egg, rocks, a butterfly . . . but to the little boy, it was treasure more precious than any gold or diamond.

Soon, heaven is abuzz with the announcement of the up coming birth of the Christ child. The angels are scrambling, each trying to come up with the most precious gift worthy of the new king. All the little boy has to give is his box, and he is sad because it is so unworthy a gift for the Christ.

And yet, out of all the gifts offered, God accepts the Littlest Angel's gift, and makes it the star of Bethlehem.

This story is one with such a huge message, and one that many of us forget in our every day lives.

God doesn't want diamonds, precious stones, gold . . . any of that. He doesn't long for perfect unblemished beauty. Rather, He wants something more rare and precious - our hearts. He wants US, body, mind, and soul - imperfect treasures that are the apple of His eye. We have a "come as you are" kind of Lord - he loves us no matter what we look like, how much money we have, or what our talents are. We could come to him in cutoffs and ripped t-shirts, and he would still love us just the same.

See, God sees us in our TRUE form when he looks at us. He doesn't see the fat, wrinkles, gray hair, dirty clothes . . . all He sees in us is the beauty that He created. As unworthy as we are, this is what he sees.

He wants us to come to him HUMBLY NOT filled with pride and the desire to be "better than everyone else".
He wants us to admit our imperfections.

I've said this before, but I'll repeat myself - God loves you no matter what, AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How I Became a SuperMom-In-Training . . .

I know this is going to be hard to take, but it has to be said.
Are you sitting down?
Okay good, now breathe . . . this might come as a shock . . .
I was not always the SuperMom!

Now, once you get back into your chair we can continue.

Of course we know that NO one (with the exception of Jesus Christ Himself) is perfect. Perfection is impossible to attain, and really we shouldn't even attempt it. I am not, nor will I ever be perfect.
I'm not even 100% sure I qualify as a SuperMom to tell you the truth.

I was kinda thrown into SuperMotherHood. I'm not complaining, mind you. It was MY choice, and one that I wouldn't trade for the world.
When my husband and I met, we had both recently gotten out of really bad relationships. His ended in a divorce, and mine, while thankfully never even got to the marriage stage, ended up with me as an unwed mother at 28. With his two children and my one child, we were thrown into a family of five, literally overnight.

I had to learn real quick how to cook large meals on a tight budget. I also had to learn how to clean, do laundry, and run a household budget. Needless to say, it was VERY overwhelming.

Ronnie was working evening shifts, so that left me home alone in the evenings with a three year old to feed and put to bed. It wasn't hard, but it was lonely. I really didn't have much time with my husband in those first few months of us living together, especially since they were working a lot of overtime. The depression really set in at that time. I was not the only one suffering from it. My house, my child, and even, to some extent, my husband were experiencing my pain.

The weekends were even worse, because most weekends for the first six months, Ronnie had to work overtime on both Saturdays and Sundays. That would leave me with all the children to tend to by myself for meals and bed.

It was not a happy time for me, and my stress was taking its toll on the children.

Then I started to do something I hadn't done in a long time.
I prayed.
And God led me to a web site that would turn my life around.
(I talk about this site all the time - www.flylady.net )
The Fly Lady's web site really hit home with me.
I watched a Shiny Sink Video and cried.
The tears were cleansing and healing.
That day, I got up and I shined my sink.

Not one week later, my husband was informed that our prayers were answered - he was being moved to days.

While the overtime continued, things improved drastically in our home.
It wasn't long until we decided it was time to have a baby that was ours.

Of course, with pregnancy came hormones, and I'll admit the house really went to shambles again, but I became something. 
I became a mom that DID things.
I was involved with my daughter's pre-school, which was most important at the time.

Now, I am not only involved with my daughter's school activities, but we also have soccer, and my step-daughter has cheerleading this fall. My step son is coming to live with us and he will (possibly) have band activities to boot. 
On top of that, I will be finishing my bachelor's degree this fall.

I have jumped back on the Fly Lady's wagon of hope and my sink shines again. So do my counters, my toilet, and even my bedroom (after many years of it being a wreck - here are the results of THAT!)

But even with all this, I am unafraid.
Because I know that what I have learned from the Fly Lady is immeasurable. 
Marla Cilley has changed my life.
If you would like for her to change yours, first, go visit her web site:
Then go buy her book

I would not be the SuperMom I am without her!