Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
So I'm off to flip through the books I've accumulated: Teach Me, Mommy; 1-2-3 Art; Books Children Love; Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready. I'm especially excited to add in daily readings from A Children's Book of Verse and some activities from Simple Science Experiments for the Very Young. Isaac and I are even going to start doing daily reading from Alpha Phonics.
Do any of you other moms have a preschool book that you love? I'm sure we won't get into full swing until October when the weather forces us in, so I've got time to plan!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
On Tuesday mornings the kids' big chore is to help me clean the basement of our house. This takes all of about twenty minutes: I sweep the laundry room, they dust their bedrooms and they "help" me do the vacuuming. They each have their own little spray bottle filled with Basic H non-toxic cleaning solution, so I can let them clean away without worrying about safety.
When everyone is dressed and fed and chores and Bible time are done, we head out to do grocery shopping. I usually go to two stores, but we are blessed to have them all within two minutes of our home, so grocery shopping is usually totally done in about an hour. The kids get to split a bagel for a snack while they ride in the "truck" cart, so shopping is kind of a special treat for them and it usually goes well.
After we put all of the groceries away, it's usually about lunchtime. Today we played Candyland after lunch and before naps. During the kids' naps, I clean the main level of our home. I dust the furniture, sweep and mop the kitchen/dining room floors, scrub the bathroom, clean the cat hair off of the upholstery, and dust mop the hard wood. This is a basic level of cleaning that I can complete in about an hour and a half. It's not a deep clean, but it keeps me happy in my home without being burdensome to complete.
I know of many people who like a weekly cleaning schedule, preferring to do different cleaning jobs on different days of the week. I tried that for a while but found that I am much more motivated by the thought of being DONE cleaning for the week. (I do often sweep the floor and do a quick bathroom wipe-down on Fridays). Other cleaning jobs, such as washing windows or wiping down the cabinets, get completed on an as-needed basis. (Read: it has to get really bad before I get around to it.)
Also on Tuesdays we host a supper meal and Bible study in our home. Thankfully, we rotate meal responsibilities, so usually I only need to prepare a side dish or dessert. Our time of fellowship with other Christian couples is usually a blessing, but it makes for a very full Tuesday! Stay tuned for laid-back Wednesdays.
To see what our Mondays look like, click here. And be sure to check out more great ideas at Rocks in My Dryer!
Monday, August 25, 2008
The first half of the book was inspiring. Missions was discussed as ultimately being a means of extending the worship of Christ around the world, of increasing the joy of all nations as they come to exult in the only true God. Another topic was prayer in missions. Prayer is meant to keep us humble so that we remember it is God who gives the harvest.
The section on suffering was really enlightening to me: suffering is a part of missions because God is made to look MOST valuable when His people willingly suffer for Him. If we are trying to proclaim the supreme excellence of Christ, yet we are not willing to suffer and die, the watching world will rightly assume that Christ is less important to us than our comfort or our own lives. And if Jesus really isn't that great after all, why would they ever give THEIR lives to Him?
The second half of the book was much more academic in nature. There are several areas where Piper did a survey of all of Scripture to pin down definitions for various Greek phrases. In addition, he undertakes exegesis of several entire passages of Scripture. While I greatly enjoyed the scholarly challenge, I also feel ill-equipped when reading such things since I simply don't know whether a writer is actually interpreting the Greek correctly!
That said, Piper did address several valuable topics in a fairly convincing manner. First, must people hear the name of Christ to be saved? In other words, is it possible for some unchurched third world person to have a "spiritual experience" and seek the "essence" of Christ in such a way as to obtain salvation without ever actually having heard the name of Jesus? Piper argues an emphatic NO. His explanation is based largely on the trend in the New Testament that after the death of Christ ALL salvation is meant to center on the person of Christ and bring glory to His NAME.
The bulk of the rest of the book was spent trying to pin down a definition for the "peoples" or "nations" out of which God promises to call His sheep. After much Greek, Piper concludes that God intends to glorify Himself by calling out believers from every people group, which may be defined as a family group as small as a tribe or clan. Therefore the task of missions will not be complete until ALL "people groups" are reached with the name of Christ.
I would definitely recommend the first half of this book to anyone who desires to inflame their heart for missions. It brought me to tears at many points, longing for the fulfillment of the age when ALL nations will bow. The second half of the book is more appropriate for those who wish to take the time to wade through a more scholarly discussion of doctrinal issues surrounding missions (though those issues definitely have major practical implications!).
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I did this without sacrificing the quality of food that we eat; for instance, we still have meat at almost every meal, I buy 2 gallons of milk per week and we eat TONS of in-season fruits and veggies. What changes did I make to achieve these results? Simple.
- I used to make a menu for the week, then shop for everything I needed.
- Now I first read the sale ads, planning my grocery list around what is on sale for the week.
- I also now shop two primary grocery stores, stocking my pantry and freezer with their best deals.
- Then I make a menu plan for the week, taking stock of what's in the house and coming up with recipes to use those items.
A simple switch in strategy that any one could do - and now I'm enjoying the savings of $160+ per month! Thanks Money Saving Mom!
Friday, August 22, 2008
How to keep my kids busy for hours at a time?
Hand them a gently flowing hose and say, "It's okay to get dirty now."
I can't tell you how many times I've done that this summer and it has always worked. The kids have yet to tire of adding dirt and water to leaves and sticks in a bucket, cooking or building as the case may be. Yes, they're very dirty when they're done, but the hose does just as good a job cleaning them off as it did making them muddy.
Yesterday morning we did sidewalk paints for a while then I turned on the hose and read a magazine in the shade while they created. I am so happy to see their imaginations blossom - to hear their ideas and interactions. My vision of a happy childhood definitely includes long hours of uninterrupted creative play, and it gives me such joy to provide that opportunity for my kids.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
2 - cooked chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized chunks
3- baked potatoes, cut in bite-sized chunks
1 Tablespoon oil
Curry powder to taste (probably a couple of tablespoons)
"Saute" together in skillet until chicken and potatoes are heated through. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup sour cream and stir until warm. Serve and enjoy!
Technically curry should be served over rice but we didn't even bother. Everyone liked this one, though my husband added extra curry powder to his.
Don't let those leftovers go to waste!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
- "Wash on Monday
- Iron on Tuesday
- Mend on Wednesday
- Churn on Thursday
- Clean on Friday
- Bake on Saturday
- Rest on Sunday"
I don't have enough ironing or mending to specify a "day" for those activities to get accomplished, nor do I churn my own butter. Nevertheless, each day of the week has specific activities that occur on that day each week.
Monday is laundry day. The kids' big chore for the day is helping me to gather the dirty laundry from the four corners of the house and sort it into loads. I then try to stick close enough to home that I will be able to switch the loads at the proper time and not have clean laundry sitting in the dryer getting wrinkled. Each load generally gets folded right after I take it out of the dryer. By the end of the day, it's all done!
I know a lot of people prefer to do a load a day just to stay on top of things, but I find that I am very motivated by "crossing something off of my list." I really like to finish the laundry and have it DONE for the week. As our family grows, we may have to switch to two laundry days per week to keep up with the dirty clothes.
My other task for Mondays is to look through the sale ads from the Sunday paper, clip coupons, make a grocery list, and prepare a menu plan for the week. I usually accomplish this during the kids' naps. I actually have a lot of fun looking for the best deals of the week!
Other than preparing three nutritious meals, keeping the house generally picked up, and playing with my kids, that is all I usually accomplish on Mondays! By assigning tasks to each day of the week, I find that I rarely get overwhelmed.
Do you have a similar plan? What do you do on Mondays? Check out more great ideas at Rocks in My Dryer!
Friday, August 15, 2008
Not only were you great in the car, you were a great sleeper wherever we went – we just set up your port-a-crib wherever we were and you slept like a log. You adapted great and were cheerful nearly all of the time. We visited the Carlsons in Sioux Falls, where you got to play with little Ethan. In Minnesota you saw most of your great-aunts and uncles plus spent a fun day swimming with Grandpa Curt, Grandma Kim, Uncle Westley and Aunt Breanna. Next stop was St Joseph, Michigan where Uncle Mickey, Aunt Karlene, Emily and Alyssa took us to a beach on Lake Michigan. Finally we made it to Detroit where we had a family reunion, swam in the hotel pool, went to Greenfield Village and toured the Detroit Zoo.
Two days after we got back from our trip, the Texas Bittners came to visit us! You LOVED playing with your uncles – they held you and played with you, albeit a little more gently than they did with Isaac. Grandma B thought you were so sweet and everyone was amazed at how well you talked. While they were here, you got to have your first tours of Jewel Cave and Mount Rushmore!
You’ve been saying such cute thing. One thing you’ve repeated several times is “Isaac is my brother. I am Isaac’s sister.” You also keep telling us “there’s a baby in my tummy. I a mama.” One time you even added, “I get married.” Not yet sweetheart! Once you looked at me sweetly and said, “Mama, I have a surprise for you.” “What is it, sweetheart?” “Umm, ummm, ummm, ummm, umm” – apparently you couldn’t think of anything. I told you, “I really like surprise kisses,” so you leaned over and gave me a kiss.
This past month has seen you start running and jumping in earnest. You’ve long attempted these things, but I think I can actually give you credit for achieving now! You also love to sing, “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,” and “Old MacDonald had a cow. MOOO MOOO!” and “ABCDEFG next time won’t you sing with me.” So cute! Also this month you have learned your colors. You delight in pointing out things that are red or green or whatever. It seems clear that your favorites are pink and purple, though you do tend to confuse those two colors.
You’ve started to tell Mama “No!” a bit more, plus I’ve been requiring more of you with regards to ‘coming to Mama’, all of which has required some stricter discipline. You are always quick to dissolve in tears and “sorry, Mama” which just breaks my heart. It’s hard to discipline you because you’re just so sweet, even when you’re naughty! Oh, but I fight the temptation to just let it slide because I so long to see the character of Christ worked out in your little heart.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Not only were you great in the car, you were a great sleeper wherever we went – you slept on the floor, couches, a hotel bed and your carseat. You adapted great and were cheerful nearly all of the time. I think you loved all of the new people and experiences – you thrive on adventure. We visited the Carlsons in Sioux Falls, where you got to play with little Ethan’s baby toys. In Minnesota you saw most of your great-aunts and uncles plus spent a fun day swimming with Grandpa Curt, Grandma Kim, Uncle Westley and Aunt Breanna. Next stop was St Joseph, Michigan where Uncle Mickey, Aunt Karlene, Emily and Alyssa took us to a beach on Lake Michigan. Finally we made it to Detroit where we had a family reunion, swam in the hotel pool, went to Greenfield Village and toured the Detroit Zoo.
Two days after we got back from our trip, the Texas Bittners came to visit us! You LOVED playing with your uncles – you went disc golfing with them, they tickled you, and we even got to climb rocks in the Black Hills and tour Jewel Cave and Mount Rushmore with them! We played a lot of games that were too hard for you, but you even “played along” with us then – writing your own list of “words” in Boggle and rolling the dice in Yahtzee.
Since our return from vacation, your little stuffed monkey has become your constant companion. You carry him around the house all day, carrying on conversations with him. (Monkey responds to your every query in a very annoying high-pitched voice!) Monkey helps you with your chores, rides on your bike and of course is cuddled to sleep every night. So funny to see!
You’ve also developed a funny habit of trying to participate in adult conversation. Daddy will be talking about something at the dinner table and you’ll interject, “Um, yeah, the ball rolled up the hill then it fell onto the bread and squished it!” I think you’re just saying something, anything, to be part of the conversation!
We have a blue couch with floral throw pillows and a green-and-blue plaid couch with blue throw pillows. Yesterday you walked over to the blue couch and said, “Mom, this couch looks blue to me.” Then you picked up the blue pillows off of the other couch. “And these pillows look blue to me. The blue pillows should go on the blue couch. That is how I think it should be.” And you proceeded to transfer all of the pillows to their “proper” locations.
Lately obedience has been more of a struggle for you. I’m thinking it’s because the month was so crazy AND I’m sure we were less consistent in disciplining you during the vacation and houseguests periods of time. I feel bad that we have to fight some of these battles again, but all we can do is keep trying! You tell me I’m mean when I spank you, which hurts a little, but I try to let you know that I don’t WANT to have to spank you but that I do it in obedience to Jesus. How I pray that your little heart will love to obey! I love you so much – I treasure each time you snuggle up to me, knowing full well that soon you may be “too big” for that.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
By 7pm Freddie was dead, only we had company over so I didn't bother to tell Isaac. His daddy broke the news to him this morning but he had to come check with me to make sure it was true. When I nodded the affirmative, Isaac dissolved into tears. "Freddie is MY PRESENT! I don't want him to die. I want to see Freddie!" Oh, how sad to see my son's first brush with death. (Unless you count all the bugs he's squished for me.)
"Where is Freddie?" We (flushed him down the toilet) sent him to the river where all dead fishies end up. "Is Freddie in fish heaven?" We'll have to ask Jesus when we see Him whether there is a fish heaven.
Would you like a new fish, sweetheart? "Yes," red eyes clearing and looking across the french-toast-laden breakfast table. "I will name him 'Syrup.'"
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The best part is - I haven't had a single "weeding session". Between my raised bed and the grass clippings I used as mulch, only four weeds have popped to the surface. A far cry from my previous gardening experiences, where the bulk of gardening time was spent weeding. So even if my yields are low this year (what do you expect from a 4x8 garden anyway?), I'll be likely to go bigger next year just because this endeavor has been so low maintenance!
Monday, August 11, 2008
But it was there - a little heartbeat.
At seven weeks
At nine weeks
At eleven weeks
And now, just shy of twelve weeks, the doctor finally says that the pregnancy looks completely healthy and normal.
I might even look forward to the next ultrasound.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Legion Lake, Custer State Park
Poor Isaac has been begging to go camping again since the end of June. But it was out of the question during our busy July. I remember telling Isaac in June, "After Mr Neil and Miss Lorelie come and after our trip to Michigan and after Grandma B visits and after Mr Dave and Miss Sally leave, then we can talk to Daddy about going camping again." Well, the day Dave and Sally left, Isaac asked, "Now we can talk about going camping?"
So now we're gonna. And boy is he ever happy.
Off to pack the cooler.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
These guys make my day, every day.
I have been gifted beyond measure.
157. Music buddy to jam with my hubby.
158. Heart-to-heart with a new friend.
159. Riches of Scripture, even better when savored in small bites.
160. Rythmic banging of a toy drum = awakening music appreciation.
161. Toddler girl loving to help Mama set the table.
162. Sister of dreams, passionate and inspiring.
163. Life within my womb once again.
164. God himself works to knit wee ones together in that hidden place.
165. The precious gift of yet another day.
166. The privilege of blazing a trail that others may walk it more easily.
167. A $1400 transmission replacement that turned out to be a simple loose bolt.
168. Abundant opportunities to open our home - why bother taking the leaves out of the table?
169. "With Him is abundant redemption."
170. Bigger hugs from a bigger boy.
171. Scent of a baby's hair bringing back fond memories of babysitting that baby's older siblings.
172. A heartbeat at seven weeks when the doctor said there would be none.
174. Powerful-yet-merciful God of my heart.
175. Being able to be truly thankful for nausea and vomiting.
176. Sister feeding my family when I'm not well enough to cook.
177. Mom watching my kids practically all day when I can't leave the couch.
Monday, August 4, 2008
He does, however, want to ride on a boat "just with Mommy, not Daddy or Abby."
Can I just say that I ache almost every moment these days - just because these days are so short? I am sometimes guilty of wanting to do nothing but snuggle my kids while I can.
Yet even as I kiss their chubby cheeks, my heart prays toward their futures. My hands train a future man and a future woman. And I am glad that this truth brings purpose to my days.
But I am glad to have so many short years yet before I must let go.
Friday, August 1, 2008
So I pray and plead and fear each ultrasound. From my first blood tests the doctor told me it was all going wrong. Yet the strong, steady heartbeat on the screen speaks otherwise and mystifies medicine. "God, may this life be formed for YOUR glory."
I rejoice with each wave of nausea, am grateful for the painful hormone shots that may help sustain my baby's life. There's nothing like a little perspective to help one rejoice in momentary trial.
Oh, that we could see all of life that way! This beautiful post helped me immensly - I hope it will serve you too.