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Friday, July 26, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Quick organizing!

Because I was cleaning my furniture and the living room was a lot more empty than normal, I decided I wanted the kids to sort their toys.  It seems that though they usually only get one type of toy out at a time, their toys get all mixed up.

So my solution was to bring the toys from the nursery/guest room, and dump them on the floor.  They had a blast, playing for awhile while I did something else. 

Then it's "You grab the Lincoln Log box, and you grab the bin for the blocks, and you grab the train box. Ready, set, go!"  The race is on to see who can fill their box first.

And we did one more round of the same with some of the other toys, cars, mega blocks, and odds and ends.  You can see the baby in the middle isn't quite sure what to think of everyone rushing around.
At the end, I was left with a more manageable amount of sorting.  This required my help, and a little more supervision, and a lot of "The movie will not be starting till this is done." 

It's fun to go out of the ordinary and let them play with all their toys at once.  They could hardly believe it when I asked each one to go get a box and dump it in the living room.   What bliss!  A huge mess and all the toys I haven't seen in years.  They were in heaven. 

Little did they know that I was going to turn on them and get them to do the sorting rather than me.   But they loved that too, till the end. 

God can definitely help us find ways to make our journey joyful.  It's up to us to be on the lookout for those things.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Thursday's Thoughts - a verse I've been pondering lately



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday's Household - chores

I have been a bit concerned about making a chore pack for each child when in less than a month all of them will be away at school.  I was planning on re-working the packs to give them the majority of their chores in the afternoons.  This concerned me because I'm afraid my boys will have a bunch of homework after school every day. 

But today, I found that most of their chores, aside from mowing and garden work can be done before the babies arrive.  So now, this is our goal.  To have all the chores done before the first child arrives for the rest of the summer. 

I plan to give rewards for finishing quickly.  This will help them to stay on task and keep moving, even when they're feeling sluggish.

So we're already starting to practice for school.   Oh, and bonus!!!!! I won't be re-working the chore packs much.

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - French Toast

Because I only have about 20 minutes to prepare breakfast, French Toast is one of my favorite meals.  It's also Carpenter's favorite breakfast because when he heads out to do his self-employed work (physical labor) he doesn't get hungry soon, like he does with say, oatmeal. 

French Toast is easy because you just have to whip up the eggs and you could do that the night before.  Homemade bread doesn't seem to work as well with French toast, but it can be done.  Because of that I prefer to use store-bought sandwich bread.

My favorite way to eat French Toast is with peanut butter and syrup.  Yum!

I have a busy day ahead so this post is super short.  Oh, and just a heads up next week I will be taking a much-needed break from the computer.  

Keep plugging away,
Steph

Monday, July 22, 2013

Project Monday - continued outside projects - the Fence!!!!

Finally, we're started on the fence.  Well, technically we've been working on it all along while we were splitting wood.  But now we're done with the wood and we're just putting up fencing in the cedar trees.  This fencing is so that the dogs won't be able to get out.

No more wood to split!!!! Yay!!!!

This is where the chicken house and duck house were.  The wood is stacked in the back in the cedar trees.


More stacked wood.  Plenty for a few winters.


The fence is started in the trees.


Got this far.

A long way to go.  All along the yard at the north end, but when that is done we'll be ready for the picket fence out front.  The fence is unseen back in the trees.  It will be a great place for the dogs to lay in the cool shade and the kids enjoy playing under the trees.  It will be safer once we get it cleaned up.

Steph

Friday, July 19, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - The evolving chore plan


My chore plan is evolving, slowly.  But that's the best way, actually. I have known about The Maxwell's  for a long time.  I even tried making my own chore packs, but that didn't work very well.  There is so much in the book that is so valuable, I can see why they want you to have a book.

So this week, we worked on Daily chores, with a pack for Morning, Lunch (which is just dishes) and Supper.  It's worked fairly well, though we are all still in training.  So many times I don't check their work very well and then they get by with doing less than their best.

Next week we'll add Weekly chores for their bedrooms, their room on the main level and other chores that need doing - like cleaning the van or the car.  After that we'll add Monthly chores.  By that time, I'll be re-working the list because they'll all be in school.

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - Inspect what you expect!


As parents, if we really expect them to do something, we need to check it to make sure that they have done it.   This will save on frustration.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday's household - Keeping on

What do you do when you are tired?  Worn out from life and yet you need to keep up the house.  Maybe you totally throw in the towel.  Maybe you ease up a bit and take a more relaxed day.  Maybe you work just as hard to get everything done so that you can rest when you're done.

Some days I really feel like throwing in the towel.  I just want to give up.  I didn't check chores today like I should - but since it's 11, I still have time to do that.  Today, I want to turn on the TV and veg. 

But what good would that do?  I know that I would only have an extremely messy house for the company we're having tonight and then I would be totally stressed at 4 o'clock. 

My body is begging for scenario one, but I think I'm going to pick the third one today. 

I've found a good plan for chores.  It includes about 12 morning chores, 3 lunch chores, and then another 10 or so evening chores. 

Morning chores includes teeth, hair, face, devotions,  a couple of chores for dishes, a couple of bedroom chores and a couple of main level chores. 

Lunch is basically only dishes chores, and supper is clean up the yard and living room until they're ready for bed.

So I think we're going to stick with the plan.  As soon as I'm done here I'm gonna go check those chores and then after lunch, and after lunch chores!  we'll all lay down and watch a movie.  And if I get a chance, I think I'll shut my eyes and fall asleep.

Keeping on is hardest on the days when you're tired, but it's also important.  So I encourage you to stay on task, do the important things and rest if you can.

Steph

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - What's for lunch?

We've been working outside in the mornings this week to try to get the back yard all cleaned up from the log splitting we've been doing.  So we usually start thinking about lunch when it's lunch time.  Something quick is necessary.


Today we ran inside and found some leftover meat and potatoes from last night, so we heated that up for the babies.  Then we found some day-old biscuits and crumbled them up into the bottom of a glass 9x13 casserole dish.


A can of Manwich, which we never have, but was in the pantry so we poured it over the bread.


Sprinkled with some cheese, and then microwave till heated through.  It was pretty good, though a bit too tomato-ey for me.   Everyone liked it and asked for more.

Yummy!

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, July 15, 2013

Project Monday - More outside projects


A lot of things were finished last week.  We now have to stack the wood, but at least it's split


We had over one hundred of these logs to split and now we're down to about 15.  So we'll finish those up today.

 
This is the area where the chicken coop and the duck pen was.  It's looking much better.

Keep plugging away,
Steph

Friday, July 12, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Chores in the living area

On the main level of our house is the living area and the "guest" room.
 Guest room is assigned to one person.  Toys must be put away and the floor vacuumed daily.  Monday - cobwebs and dust; Tuesday - windows; Wednesday straighten hallway shelves; Thursday - Straighten TV stand
 Bathroom is assigned to a different child each day with some extra chores other than the normal "swish and swipe".
 Dining room - sweep and mop daily; Monday - cobwebs and dust; Tuesday - windows; Wednesday - water plant; Thursday - dust
 Kitchen - sweep and mop daily - Yes, for us that's a must.  We have 11 people in our house and a pool and this is the main entrance. 
 Piano room - sweep and clean up
 Stairs - sweep daily; vacuum once a week
 Back porch (main entrance) - sweep daily and put shoes away; mop about three times a week
 Living room - clean-up and vacuum daily

Weekly chores:
Monday - cobwebs down and dust
Tuesday - windows
Wednesday - straighten shelves
Thursday - Mop and detail vacuuming

Keep pressing on
Steph

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - marks of maturity

Colossians 1
9 ¶  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously
12 ¶  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

This is Paul's prayer for the Colossians.  It shows the marks of maturity and where we receive the strength and what the reason is that we can have these marks of maturity.

Paul prays that the Colossians would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
  • to please Him in all respects
  • bearing fruit in every good work
  • increasing in the knowledge of God
  • strengthened with all power
  • giving thanks to the Father
These are marks of maturity.

We see that the strength comes from His glorious power in verse 11.

And in vs. 12,13 and 14, we see the reason that we can become mature in Christ. 

Because He has qualified us,

because He has rescued us,

because He has transferred us,

and because He has forgiven us.

Some wonderful truths to be thinking about today.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday's Household - consistency is key!

I've stayed with this chore list thing for over a week.   That's not super long but for me it is a long time.  The tough thing will be getting back to it after vacation at the end of this month.

But the benefits are wonderful.  I'm finding, since everything has it's regular clean done, that when we have company at the drop of a hat, we're ready with just a little bit of touch-up.  It's so refreshing to know that we can do that.

One of our desires has always been to have people over on a regular basis.  But we haven't. Probably one of the main reasons is that Carpenter and I feel like our house is in disrepair all the time and we would have to take a day or two just to clean it up.

Last Sunday, we decided to invite some friends who were in from Texas.  So Sunday morning, the dishes were in the sink, the older boys' room was messy and the living area on the main level was messy too. 

So Carpenter talked with the father of this family and found out that the only time they had available was Sunday afternoon before church.  Yikes!

So we went home and ate and then quickly cleaned up.  In about a half hour, the house was ready and we were cleaning up outside.  Carpenter even had time to move some chicken pens that day.  So it felt really good to be ahead of the game. 

There are blessings to consistency.  I've always said that this is just how I am, but now I'm realizing you can teach an old dog new tricks. :)

Keep pressing on
\Steph

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - grilling potatoes

This past week we had an impromptu gathering of friends from Texas.  It was so fun to get together with them, as our hearts are similar.

Carpenter loves it when I get potatoes to put on the grill and it's pretty simple. 

We usually leave the skin on but this time I peeled the potatoes first. 

There are a lot of options for this type of side for your meat.

One of the most important things though is that you need HEAVY DUTY tin foil.  I always use Reynolds. 

Tear off a square piece approximately

Then cut up potatoes in bite-sized chunks.

Add a slice of butter, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper.  (I didn't put enough salt on this last time, but you can add it afterward as well.)

Optional additions are endless, but some would include cheese, bacon bits and other toppings you like on potatoes.  Probably wouldn't want to use sour cream till after it's cooked though.  Just saying.  :)

I usually pull up the opposite sides in the middle and then fold it over about 1/2 inch twice.  Then fold the ends in carefully.

Throw it on the grill, probably before your meat, by about 15 minutes, depending on how thick your meat is.

Yum, some of the edges may get burned so watch it carefully, but the middle will be amazing.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, July 8, 2013

Project Monday - Outside jobs are getting done!

 My guy decided to move the chicken coop.  It was a busy day, but he grabbed his little tractor and moved the coop to the back of the house and garage where the other chicken coop is.  Obviously Waterman is helping, and that's because chickens are his job around here.


Now to clean up around the old chicken house are a bit more and then we can finish up working on the fence.  Yay!!!!

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Friday, July 5, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Chore lists

So I mentioned that I've started lists for the kids.  I didn't do one yesterday for the fourth, we just all worked together.

But I look at this list to see what jobs need to be covered.  If they have animals that are their job, then that must be cared for almost first thing, just after Bible reading.  Order is not important  finishing it all is the thing.

Sometimes they have just two jobs for a room, sometimes it's three or even four.  But we usually are done with all our jobs just after lunch.

What's on your list?  And I'm constantly adding things to the lists because I forgot something.

Daily Jobs

Animals

Music

Bible Reading

Exercise

History Reading

Bedroom

Mainlevel Room

Basement Room

Outbuildings

Weeding

Watering
 
Harvesting

Yard

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - Wise man and foolish man

24  "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25  "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
26  "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
27  "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall."

As I was typing these verses for my memory work, I started thinking about something that I am working on in my life.  Consistency and follow-through.  I don't do well with this.

But as I was typing about the foolish man, I realized that while I know consistency and follow-through are important as a parent, I don't do it.  That is somewhat like the foolish man.   I'm building a foundation that will wash out when the storms blow. 

Obviously this analogy is meant for other things, someone who is disobedient to Christ.  But am I being obedient? "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin."  James says.

So I am choosing to apply this passage to my need for being consistent.  Right now, I am mostly talking about following through with the lists.  I'd rather check it off their list, if I saw them doing their chore, rather than going to see if they did a decent job on their chore.  If I continue to just take their word for it, they will get used to less than their best. 

I'm so thankful for God's Word and that is living - old verses well-memorized can still pack a punch if necessary.

Keep pressing on and Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!!!

Steph

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday's Household - Consistency

You all have heard me say, "I'm good at making a plan but it's in the maintenance of it that I fail."  That's me.  Definitely. 

And it was never more real than last week when my husband had a talk with me.   I love being a one-man show (or one-woman show, I guess).  I don't want to worry about anyone else or try to make sure that my mini-trainees are keeping up with what they are supposed to do.  And so again, I say:

Daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute even, I must offer up on the altar the sacrifice of my own desires.

Not that I'll never get to do what I want, but my husband has always been right...if I make sure I keep my own area (the house and the kids) in order, then I will be happier.  I definitely am.  And when things start spiraling out of control, I get more and more discouraged.

Yes, it takes more work now.  I'm still training them.  Hey, I'm still training myself.  I have to teach myself to go and follow behind and check their work and make them re-do.  It will not benefit them at all if I finish it up for them.  (Though there may be days of grace where it's outside the norm and I go and finish up for them.)  But they need the consistency of knowing that I will check their work and I will make them re-do it.

Last week, I was talking with a dear friend and relaying the struggle of the week.  She shared with me what her mom did during the summer with her 10 children.  She would get up early and make 10 long lists  (one for each child) and then each child would work on his list.  They would get an hour off for lunch and then did not have free time until their list was finished. 

Great idea!  No Wii or reading books or Kindle, until you are done with your list.    Also each list is made for the individual.  Each person does not have the same amount of work.  My five-year old does not have to do the same number of things or the same kinds of things that my fifteen year-old does.

This is my five-year old's list today:
  • Face and teeth,
  • Make bed
  • Clean closet floor
  • Wash walls in your room
  • Clean up the toys in the guest room
  • Clean off the top of the sewing machine table
  • Help Stephen in the freezer room
  • Weed, water and harvest from your plot (his little four-foot square garden)
  • Fill a wheelbarrow with sticks (Mom will haul it away)
  • Sit for 20 minutes  (this is because he had trouble sitting in church last Sunday)
My fifteen-year-old's list:
  • Read 1 Corinthians 10:7-13 (in preparation for next Sunday.  Our pastor is going through 1Corinthians, and this will be the passage he'll be discussing on Sunday.)
  • Ducks
  • Face and Teeth
  • Weights, Stretching, and Running
  • Make bed
  • All laundry downstairs
  • Straighten dresser
  • Straighten second shelf of the closet
  • Guitar
  • Vacuum guest room
  • Fold the blankets and put in Mom's room
  • Freezer room - wipe off white table and put it in the garage for our celebration tomorrow
  • Weed, water and harvest from your plot
  • Weed and water the strawberries
  • Split wood for 1/2 hour
  • Stack wood for 1/2 hour
  • Till garden - one section
  • Tear down duck fence (if it's not already done) and clean out the duck pond
  • Collect eggs
I still have more work to do.  I would like to have the chores on a simple rotation - such as we all clean cobwebs down in our room and dust one day and the next we all do windows.  Certain of the above chores are weekly chores, some are daily and some are monthly.  But if I can make the making of the lists a simpler task for me that would be helpful to me.

The key part of this for me is to be consistent to get up and check each bed, each dresser.  Sometimes I like to wait for all the rooms to be done before I check them or all the gardening to be done before I go out there, but if someone thinks they are done with their list, I need to get on it and check it carefully.  This is my training, my discipline for myself.

I am so thankful to my friend for sharing with me what her mom did.  And my kids still love her dearly.  :)  The super great thing is that we told them what Mrs. Flaming's mom did, and we/I started implementing it on Monday, they had cheerful attitudes and didn't roll their eyes at me, just moved quickly to get their jobs done - sometimes too quickly.  And some like to lay on the couch in the morning or get sidetracked.  So today I laid down the fact that if you aren't where you are supposed to be and working on your tasks then you will be getting consequences. 

Also, my plan is not the only good one.  Any plan is better than none and if it works for you, use it.  The important thing is Be consistent!!!!!
Keep pressing on.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Pepperoni Cheese Bites

 There aren't a lot of ingredients in this recipe. Cheese, pepperoni and biscuits.
I thought that the biscuits I bought (which I don't normally buy) didn't work super good.  But later I made some of my own biscuit dough Biscuit recipe.  And I liked it better because my cheese didn't get all over the pan, though it was delicious.

Flatten a biscuit (maybe Grands would work better)


Stack on it pepperoni, cheese, pepperoni


 Wrap it up.  It seemed short on dough.


Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.


This is how they looked coming out the first time.  When I used my own dough, I didn't have much cheese on the cookie sheet at all. 

But they were super good and rather easy. 

Keep pressing on
Steph

Monday, July 1, 2013

Project Monday - more on the garage

This weekend I tried adding yellow.  I've only done one coat and I'm not sure if I like it. After a second coat, I may like it better.


The shelf above will be blue, and the wall isn't painted yet, so stay tuned for more on this project.  I'm excited to get a bunch more done today.  Hopefully, by the 4th (when company is coming) it will have quite a bit more done.  But trust me it won't all be done.  This garage is huge.


One of the boys asked if I could outline some of the tools so they would know where they go.  While this is not where I would have put the tools, the nails were already in and stuck in pretty hard.  One side is just the outline of the level, and the saws, I painted in.  I had a hard time doing a outline.

What do you think, outline or painted?  

Keep pressing on,
Steph