Welcome and Blessings!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I have named this blog "Running to the Cross" because that is what I often find myself doing...running to be with my Lord Jesus! I often cover many aspects of life on my blog, as it is my journal. I used to write things down in all sorts of notebooks, but my writings would soon be lost. So I decided that it was time to start a blog and share my thoughts and ideas with others. Many topics you will find here are prayers, homemaking and organization, children and pregnancy, funny stories, and the challenges of parenting and motherhood. If you enjoy my blog and leave me a comment, you are likely to have me visit! I love meeting others and gleaning from the lives of others. May you be blessed! Your friend in Christ, Heather

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sorry for not being around much...

I have been dealing with the cold and cough that my children have had. Wednesday night my 3 1/2-year-old daughter kept me up with an earache, so I got a little run down. I hope to be able to feel well enough to post on Monday or Tuesday.

All prayers are greatly appreciated!

Have a blessed Lord's Day!


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Homemaker's ABC's (From Tiany's blog)

I did this last week over at HSB (my other blog), if you would like to copy & answer the questions, let me know. I would love to read your answers!

Occasionally, when I really need to tackle the home.

Baking-Favorite thing to bake? It's a tie between cookies and bread.

Clothesline -Y/N? Yes, I use it occasionally--depends on my mood, but only in the spring/summer, I am not a cold weather lover.

Donuts-Ever made them? Yes, my philosophy is if I can't buy it, then I will make it!

Everyday-One homemaking thing you do everyday? Dishes, they are neverending!

Freezer-Do you have a separate deep freezer? Yes, we have 2 separate freezers, an upright and a chest.

Garbage Disposal-Y/N? No.

Handbook-What is your favorite Homemaking resource? The good old cookbooks--lots of them, they not only give you recipes and ideas for meals, but the one's from the churches also give you cleaning tips!

Ironing-Love it or Hate it? Hate is such a strong word, let's just say I'll do anything I can to get out of it, but I don't hate it.

Junk Drawer-Where is it? In the Kitchen, it is known as mom's drawer.

Kitchen-Design and decorating? I would have to say country, with a touch of prayerful reminders.

Love-What is your favorite part of homemaking? I would have to say that my favorite part is teaching the children to cook and clean, and having my husband sit back and tell me how good dinner was!

Mop-Y/N? YES I have a mop and NO I don't use it often enough!

Nylons-I don't like nylons, especially not everyday! I will occasionally wear tights on a very cold day or if I didn't shave my legs before church! However, I have to where socks and shoes in the winter and sandals in the summer--my feet can't handle being barefoot all day.

Oven-Do you use the window or open it to check? I would prefer to use the window, but my light is burnt out and we can't figure out how to fix it, sooo I have to open it to check. However, if I know something will take a certain amount of time to bake, I usually won't disturb it until it is ready to come out.

Pizza-What do you put on yours? I like the chicken pizza from Pizza Hut, but when I make it at home--which is almost always--I will put pepperoni, sausage, and ham if I have them all. Otherwise it is pepperoni only, although my daughter likes cheese only pizza, and I have to make a cheeseless meat pizza (sausage or ham) for my other daughter who is allergic to milk. My oldest son usually only likes pepperoni, so now you are talking about a pepperoni pizza, a "meat-lovers" pizza, a cheese pizza, and a cheeseless pizza with sausage or ham!!!

Quiet-What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Hah! A quiet moment around my house! No, really it does get quiet at times, at those times I like to read my Bible, or get a power-pregnancy-induced nap, or maybe even sew a little!

Recipe Card Box-Y/N? Yes, I used to until it broke! So NO, now I have a collection of recipe cards that "float" around, a recipe book organizer, and several cookbooks. But I have to say that the recipes that are passed down are the best ones!

Style Of House / What style is your house? We live in a 2-story farmhouse that is probably 75+ years old. It has 5 bedrooms, most without closets, and 2 of the largest bathrooms I've ever seen, 2 living spaces downstairs, and 2 dirt cellars. I won't say much about the kitchen since the cabinets are pretty much breaking down. (We rent.)

Tablecloths and napkins-We keep a vinyl tablecloth on our table all the time, as for napkins we use paper napkins most of the time.

Under the sink - Under our kitchen sink we keep our plastics, foil, extra-large serving trays, but very little cleaners, if any, I have too many little ones to protect to put cleaners under there!

Vacuum-How many times a week? I would have to say probably daily, maybe more. Dad often has the children do a quick clean up after dinner and then vacuums all the middles.

Wash - How many loads do you do a week? Do I even want to go there? I would probably say, anywhere from 12-20 loads per week (maybe more). It depends on the seasons, and if there is water or mud anywhere near the children outside!

X's-Do you keep a list of things to do and check them off? I love lists, and yes I use them & check the jobs off when I am done, but I have a tendency of planning to much work to do each day!

Yard-Who does what? I do the flower planting and baskets around the house. I also plant the vegetable garden--this year it is pretty small. My husband does all the mowing and weedeating.

ZZZ-What is your last homemaking task for the day? Usually to run the dishwasher, and fold & put away the laundry. The children are responsible to clean the floors.

There you have it. My home in a nutshell. Or my version of the ABC's of Homemaking!
Thanks, Tiany!


Running to the Cross...The Reason Behind it.

If you have read my testimony, you will learn a little more about my life and how I finally came to the conclusion that my life really DID belong to Christ. Also, the post What "Running to the Cross" means to me... goes along with this post.

However, I will go back in time and retell some of my "life story"...
I was raised in a "Christian" home. I went to a church that I feel had a "watered down" worship service. It last a maximum of 20 minutes for the actual teaching/sermon part of the service and there was really no challenge or applications to our lives that followed the preaching part of the service.

After I graduated from highschool, I started college...a Christian college. It was at this time that I was actually able to "venture out" and attend other churches. Although, I don't think my venture really began until my senior year in college when I met my "future" husband...he attended a church that was actually 25 minutes from my parent's house. So when we decided to "court in preparation for a possible future marriage" (as we really didn't desire to "date" or have a so-called boyfriend/girlfriend relationship), I desired to attend church where he attended. We seemed to be like-minded anyway, so it just seemed logical for me to go to church with him as well.

This is where I was first introduced to the "idea" of "running to the cross." I must say, the messages preached by the pastor were very different than the ones I had experienced back at my old church. They urged me to look to Christ, to trust in God my Saviour, and to run to the cross. The pastor often finished his message by saying, "Run, run to the cross!" And the phrase stuck with me, and has been with me for more than 12 years now.

Now when I am faced with a challenge or struggle, that phrase, "Run, run to the cross!" echoes in my head and my heart. I don't hesistate to seek the face of God, for I know that He will answer my cry, He will listen to my prayer, and He will lift me up to Him and carry me when the road gets too rough.

I ask God for help with several different things. Funny thing is, when I really need to find something in a rush, and I ask for God's help, within seconds or minutes of praying for His help...He answers. Something as little as trying to find a sticky note that my husband misplaced...He finds it, God finds that little tiny piece of paper! And if God can do this small task, one that seems so simple, then why can't we trust God in the BIG things as well?

Why do we try to rely on our own strength? We need to call upon Him in ALL things! And He will answer in His perfect timing.

Matthew 21:18-22
18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Have a blessed and prayerfilled day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Faith of Abraham

Each time I read through Genesis chapter 22, I am amazed at the faith of Abraham. God called upon Abraham to take his son, Isaac, his only son to the land of Moriah "and offer him there for a burnt offering" (Genesis 22:2). Without hesitation or question, Abraham gathered his wood, and with two of his young men and his son, Isaac, he began his journey to Moriah. Upon arrival, he left his two servants behind. Then Abraham and Isaac continued their journey to the mountain that God chose.

Isaac asked his father about the lamb for the burnt offering, but Abraham reassured him that God would provide the lamb for the burnt offering.

Abraham proceeded to build an alter, lay the wood upon it, and then took his dear son, Isaac, bound him and laid him upon the wood that was on the alter. Just as Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, an angel of the LORD called out to him.

"And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Genesis 22:12.

God then provided a ram for Abraham to offer up as a burnt offering in the place of his dear son. And God wasn't finished with that! He then blessed Abraham for his faithfulness by multiplying his "seed as the stars of heaven..."(Genesis 22:17).

What a mighty God we serve!
And what a testimony of faith!
I often wonder, could I do what Abraham did?

May you be blessed!

Monday, March 26, 2007

What "Running to the Cross" means to me...

I am a sinner,
I need Christ in my life,
I need His Strength,
I need His Refuge,
I need His Forgiveness.
I trust in God,
I believe in God,
I believe that God sent His Son,
I believe that Christ,
being without sin,
died for our sins.
He is my Saviour,
He is my Strength,
He is my Refuge,
and He Forgives...
He forgives me every time I sin
and ask for His forgiveness.
He forgives me EVERY TIME!
He lifts me up to Himself,
and He calls me His child.
I am a child of God!
Me, little ole' me!
A child of the KING OF KINGS!
A child of the LORD OF LORDS!
A child of the Most High God!
The sinner that I am,
a child of God!
I will, therefore,
RUN, RUN to the cross!
I will not walk,
and I will not crawl,
but I will RUN!
Christ died for me!
He shed HIS blood, for me!
Walking is not good enough.
Neither is crawling.
He is my KING!
I will RUN to the cross.
Though it just be in my mind,
I will RUN!
What's better than that?
He didn't just die for me!
He died for you, too!
Will you walk or run?
Our lives are too short to walk to the cross,
we must RUN!
Christ shed HIS blood for our sins!
Every single one of us!
Blessed be the name of the LORD!
Jesus is my LORD of LORDS!
Are you His child?

John 3:16-21
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

In Christ Alone,

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Different Approaches to Deep Cleaning and Decluttering the Home

There are many different ways to approach cleaning and decluttering your home. But first things first, while doing your spring cleaning you must "keep up" with the daily tasks. These daily tasks include keeping the dishes clean, keeping on top of the laundry, and planning your meals so you know what's ahead.

Establishing routines is a good start. Routines such as:

  1. Getting dressed to your shoes when you first get up in the morning.
  2. Making your bed.
  3. Swishing and swiping your sink and toilet.
Flylady uses these routines as well as Candy over at Keeping the Home, and another good place to go is Large Family Logistics. Kim over at Large Family Logistics organizes her cleaning by days. I have not listed all of the routines, just a few. But establishing these routines, will help you to be more efficient and productive throughout the day.

In order to remember your routines, you should write them down and tape them where you will see them. For example, if you have written your morning routine down, tape it to your bathroom mirror. Your afternoon routine can be taped to the refrigerator, and the evening routine can be placed on the refrigerator also. Once you have your routines written down, you can also place them in a Home Management Binder.

What's Next?
You may have all the cleaning included in your routines, but you may not. Your routines may just get you through the basic daily tasks that I mentioned before: keeping the dishes clean, keeping the laundry caught up, and planning the weekly menu--which includes cooking the meals. If this is the case, then you need to find a method that works for you.

Deep Cleaning Styles and Methods:
You may be thinking: How do I tackle all the jobs that need to be done? Every room needs a deep cleaning, how do I go about that?

You can break down your deep cleaning jobs room by room OR by jobs. That simply means that you can go about your cleaning by focusing on one room at a time or one job at a time.

One room at a time would simply mean that you go through every room and closet in the home, one room or closet each day. One job at at time means you would clean by category: all floors that need swept and mopped, all floors that need to be vacuumed, cleaning off and wiping down all appliances in the house (refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, stove top and oven, standing mixer, toaster oven, TV, printer & computer monitor, stereo equipment, washer and dryer), all shelving wiped and cleared of clutter, all cobwebs in corners, all window sills, washing windows and blinds, etc.

The important thing is that you make a list, whether you approach one room at a time or one job at a time. Flylady has an excellent list for cleaning room by room. Candy breaks her days down task by task (or job by job). However, you need to find something that works for you and stay with it.

Having someone keep you accountable may be just the motivation you need. You could have a friend from church or an online friend help to keep you accountable. You could also join Flylady's group or the Large Family Logistics group and they will send you reminders via email everyday. When you have completed the task, you delete the email. No list needed, because they send you your list via email!

What do you do when you have deep cleaned the entire house?
Now the possibility of you doing this depends on your abilities and your responsibilities. How many children do you have to teach and train? What does your schedule look like? Are you outside the home more than you are inside it? Are you healthy? Are you nursing or pregnant?

You have to factor all of these things in when you are scheduling your work and they all attribute to how fast your house will be clean. But the key here is maintenance. Once you get your house clean, you must maintain it by continuing to do the same jobs over and over again. Daily repetition will also create habits, and habits create a clean and comfortable home.

So, what about the children's daily jobs?
When you are doing your daily deep cleaning and daily tasks the children should be right there with you. However, that doesn't mean they are getting in the way, but they are working right along side you. Training them to do this isn't easy, but it is necessary. With proper training and encouragement they will eventually develop the skills they need to clean up a room. They will also be able to help you to train their younger siblings.

Currently my children are responsible for these jobs listed:
~Unloading the dishwasher (my oldest is also able to load the dishwasher on his own when asked).
~Cleaning the living room and kid's room floors.
~Cleaning the kitchen floor, and sweeping the floor.
~Cleaning their bedrooms.
~Making their beds and our bed if we ask.
~When the occasion arises, they are able to sort the laundry in the bathroom, and clean the vanity and sinks--which I call their "Bathroom Magic".
~Sometimes they like to help me fold the laundry and put it away.

As a young mother with many small children, I still struggle to keep up with all of my deep cleaning duties, but I am striving to become more organized and to get rid of things that I no longer need. Less is more, as the saying goes. The less you have to pick up, the more time you have to spend time with the family that God has blessed you with.

Remember, take one day at a time, don't overwhelm yourself with too much to do in one day, and SMILE. You are doing this for your LORD, your husband, your family, and yourself. Also find a friend who will joyfully keep you accountable, it is not only encouraging but motivating.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

???Spring Resolution???


Springtime is here!!! Soon, flowers will be blooming (if they aren't already), the grass will turn a lovely brilliant green, and in the farming regions you will see new baby animals. The weather is soon to turn warmer, the days are growing longer, and the air is filled with the sweet songs of the birds. I get such a feeling of exhilaration when spring is in the air! I absolutely LOVE spring, the sweet smells, the lovely sounds, and the warm breezes. I also look forward to gardening, and spring cleaning!

This year I am going to try something different...A Spring Resolution. Now many of us make New Year's Resolutions, we try to lose weight, spend more time in the Bible, keep on a better schedule, and so on...BUT, sometimes our resolutions get tossed aside and forgotten. I even find, for myself, that I am more on top of things when the weather is warm, the flowers are blooming, and I am itching to get OUTSIDE! So, I am going to try to create some new habits for my Spring Resolution.

Creating New Habits
If you have been over at Flylady's website you can check out how she manages to create new habits each month. She begins each new year with the same challenges, and reinforces them throughout the month. I encourage you to check out her site, she starts with "baby steps" and builds upon them. If you don't know where to start, you might try the "Flylady" method.

I have already posted some of my goals for March on the right hand side of my blog. They are:
  1. Purge house of excess clothing.
  2. Clean kitchen floor with magic eraser.
  3. Keep up on laundry.
  4. Plant lettuce & spinach.
I have planted my lettuce and spinach...then it snowed over top...but I think it will be okay. I have been storing the clothing that I intend to take to goodwill in the guest bedroom...so that goal is in progress. My wonderful husband helped me clean the kitchen floor, but it could still use a good scrubbing with the magic eraser. The laundry is always a mountainous task, but I am working on it!

There are a few things I have learned so far with creating new habits. PACE YOURSELF!!! You must not overwhelm yourself with too many tasks at one time. I posted last Wednesday's goals and I was determined to accomplish them. I was successful, BUT I paid for it physically for the rest of the week. On Thursday and Friday, I was very tired, I had sore muscles, and due to my pregnancy I had "round ligament" pains. (If you haven't had them your are blessed, they are muscle spasms and cramps in the round ligaments in your abdomen, usually on the right and left side of your enlarging belly. The "spasms" can be brought on by laughing, sneezing, twisting and bending, working too hard, or simply moving too quickly.)

On Saturday, I went to a funeral and ended up with a migraine! UGH! Nature's reminder that I did TOO much on Wednesday.

Here are my cleaning habits that I will be working on for my (March-April) Spring Resolution:
  1. Keep up with my laundry (that is, 2-4 loads/day).
  2. Keep up with my dishes (my children like to help with loading the dishwasher)--that is, keeping the cookies sheets & bread pans washed, & running dishwasher once daily.
  3. Keep homeschoolers on task.
  4. Stay on a weekly menu.
Edited: Thanks Mercy...I do need to be more specific!

I am keeping it simple. I refuse to plan too much, if I have the ability to do more then I will, but that will be on a separate WISH "TO DO" LIST not a must do list. Also my children are responsible to help with other tasks. Here is a list of their responsibilites:
  1. Clean living room & kid's living/play room after homeschool.
  2. Unload the dishwasher.
  3. Cleaning up bedrooms (their own).
  4. Clearing their own plates after a meal.
  5. Sometimes my oldest son get the responsibility of sweeping the kitchen floor.
They are responsible to complete these tasks daily. They are not allowed any privileges until they are done with their Afternoon Chore Time. Privileges being going outside to play, playing with legos inside, and so on.

Remember, PACE YOURSELF, I realized one very important thing when I reflected on last Wednesday's goals...that is, I am not superwoman!!! I am not able to do as much as I once did, I must pace myself, rest when needed, and trust that God will help me to accomplish the tasks that I desire to accomplish.

My goal is to create a happy, comfortable home for my family. This can be done by preparing planned homecooked meals, keeping things comfortably clean--not perfectly clean, and making sure that everybody has clean clothes to wear and a clean place to eat. Afterall, we live here! We are home all the time!!! So there will be times when the house will be a little "lived in" and we will need to tidy up. Remember, it's comfortable NOT perfect!

What are your Spring (Cleaning) Resolutions?

Have a blessed day! and HAPPY SPRING!!!
God bless!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Change of Season Sickness: Home Remedies

Well, last Wednesday we enjoyed the 70* weather...then came the snow. It showed up Friday morning and lasted all day. We got about 6 inches of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. And now, all of my children have runny noses and coughs (just about all of them). However, if I use the right stuff, that shouldn't last too long.

What do you do when your children are dealing with colds? Some people run them right to the doctor, but most of the time the doctor says that they have a viral infection and you will just have to let it pass. Or they give you a prescription for an antibiotic and tell you to wait a couple days, and if the symptoms persist then get the antibiotic.

Here is what I do: First things first, I identify the symptoms: colds, coughs, and even earaches can be treated at home. We always watch for a fever, if it lasts too long we take them to the doctor. But since I have been using natural remedies, they have gotten better very quickly and haven't had to make a visit to the doctor for sickness. These home remedies work with adults, too.

  1. For cold, cough, and earaches, I use garlic. You can use garlic powder from your local store or a garlic capsule from a vitamin shop. I "hide" the garlic in applesauce. I take a spoon and put some applesauce on the spoon. Using my finger, I make an indention in the applesauce. I open the garlic capsule (the ones with the gelatin shell & powdered garlic inside) and put it where the indention is on the applesauce. Then I take another spoon and get a little applesauce, and very carefully cover the garlic up on the spoon. Then down the shoot it goes. I give this to all of my children, except my youngest. She is just getting to the age that I use this treatment. If you purchased powdered garlic from the grocery store, then you can use about 1/8-1/4 tsp garlic with the applesauce following the same directions.For adults and older children, you can just take the garlic capsules. Why use garlic? Here is why: it is a natural antibiotic, it calms a cough, and because of its natural infection fighting properties it actually may help you get better faster. My 3 year old daughter is prone to a cough. She will cough so hard that she "tosses her cookies", so to speak. If I get the garlic in her when she first gets the cough, it usually goes away quickly and even when the cough has progressed, she is only needs the garlic for 2-3 days. I use these dosages for 3+ years, if they are 2 years old and they will take it, use half the dosage.
  2. Another "home remedy" for coughs and colds is honey and lemon. You mix the honey and lemon half & half. I heat it slightly in the microwave to help it mix. You can use this as often as you need it for the cough. This treatment has worked well for my children.
  3. Vitamin C is also very helpful. It should be taken 3 times a day. I usually give my children the 500 mg chewable tablets (5 years and older), & 1/2 of a 500 mg chewable tablet for 3-5 years, 1/4 of a 500 mg tablet for younger (2-3 years). If your child should get diarrhea, then you should decrease their vitamin C dosage.
  4. Chicken soup with lots of celery, carrots, and onions. If your child won't eat the veggies, just cook the veggies well in the chicken broth and strain them out. They will still benefit from the soup. Carrots are high in beta-carotene which helps with the cold, onions have much of the same properties as the garlic, and celery is good for its cleansing properties.
  5. Earaches are easily treated, too. You'll need a towel for this and cotton balls. First you take peroxide and put it in the ears with a dropper. This will clean out the infection. If it is too cold for your child, then you can put a little peroxide in a medicine cup and place it in the microwave for 5-15 seconds until lukewarm. Then while you are putting the peroxide in the ears, you can heat the sweet oil (extra virgin olive oil) up in a cup of hot water for about 8-10 minutes. You put the warm oil in the ears with a dropper, and put a cotton ball in the ear to keep it from dripping everywhere. The warm oil will soothe the earache and help it to get better, but it must be warm. Cold olive oil does not have the same healing properties as warm olive oil.
Why use garlic in applesauce for earaches, as well? If your child has an earache, it is probably following a cold where they had a lot of drainage. The garlic will help the cold, while the peroxide and sweet oil will help the earache.

If your children are experiencing symptoms of the stomach virus, stay away from these things as they will cause more stomach upset.
  1. For diarrhea, you can use blackberry jam, fresh or frozen blackberries, or blackberry juice (sweetened with a little sugar).
  2. Also for diarrhea, you can make oatmeal gruel by taking 3/4 cups oatmeal and adding 3 cups water, sugar to taste, and a pinch of salt. Cook this mixture until it resembles a thick pudding. When finished you can add vanilla for flavor.
  3. Dry cereal like rice chex, and saltines are always good.
  4. Homemade Pedialyte is also good for diarrhea, here's the recipe: 2 quarts drinking water, 7 Tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, unsweetened koolaid (optional) if you want to flavor it. This is good for diarrhea and upset stomach.
For those of you that also have children suffering from sickness, I hope this helps.

*NOTE: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I am simply a mother who has been there. I have tried every remedy that I have listed. If your child is prone to food allergies, PLEASE, please take precautions. Also, I am not encouraging you to not use a doctor, these are only recommendations and they are not guaranteed to help with all children and/or adults. If your child has experienced a long battle with an illness, please take them to the doctor!!!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring, when will you be back?...

Our cold weather is back! "Spring" lasted two days, although it's not technically spring until March 21st.

I LOVE spring, the smell of spring, the perfumes of the flowers filling the gentle breezes, the days you spend gardening in the warm sun, the children laughing and playing in the yard, and the birds chattering and chirping at sunrise...but snow is headed our way. Spring will just have to come a little later.

Have you ever notice that you seem to get more done when the weather is springlike? I get excited about the arrival of the warm weather, I can't wait to get up in the morning. During the wintertime and cold weather, I don't even want to get out of bed! I think there is a connection there.

Springtime is a renewal for me. I get more done, I have more ambition to clean house. I guess that's why they call it "Spring Cleaning".

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Today's Goals

If you haven't been over to the Large Family Logistics blog, I highly recommend that you read her March 8th post. It will inspire you to get things under control in your home, that is, clean and organized. She is very blunt, but her words ring so true to all of us who struggle to keep on top of things, like me.

I am making a list of goals for today, and here they are:

  • Homeschool. Done
  • Fold all clean laundry in baskets & put away. Done
  • Wash all remaining dirty dishes. Done
  • Make bread. Done
  • Wash 3-4 loads of laundry, complete the whole process--Wash, Dry, Fold, Put Away. Done
  • Clean counter tops and stove in kitchen. Done
  • Clean floors in living room & kids living room. Done
  • Get laundry off floor in bathroom. Done
  • Do everything with vigor & a SMILE! Done
See you when I'm done!
Have a productive day!

Edited to say that I was also able to get out, before the rain, turn a small plot of ground (3' x5') & plant my lettuce seeds & spinach seeds!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Making a Menu and Sticking to It

Here's the Scenario:
Your husband calls and says, "Hi honey! Just wondering, what's for dinner?"

You roll your eyes, shrug, and say, "I don't know."

Husband, " You better get on it, it's already 5 p.m., and we can't afford to order out again."

Wife, "I'll make something... Please, I have to go now."

How can you prevent this from happening again?
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times. Make a menu, plain and simple. And for once in my life, my menu plans are helping me. At the same time every day, usually after homeschooling, I start making dinner. I don't have to think about, "What's for dinner?" because it is right here in front of me (on my blog). It has made an amazing difference in how my day goes, especially in the afternoon. I don't sit around and mope about the fact that I have nothing planned for dinner, I just get to it. And if I don't have time to make a yeast bread, then I can change that aspect of my dinner plans to suit the time frame I have to work with.

You don't have to make a monthly menu plan, start with a week at a time. If you have a freezer, you can plan meals with what you have in the freezer. I usually plan a meat, one or two vegetable(s), potato side, and a bread. If it is a mixed dish, like a casserole with all the veggies added, then I might make a bread or a grilled sandwich that will go well with the main dish.

One thing that my mother taught me was to make at least one item that all the children liked. Yes, they have to eat what you fixed, but they also have something on their plates that they like.

I post my menu on my blog. I update it weekly, usually on Monday. Monday is a quick and easy meal day because that's the day I plan my meals. It takes maybe 20 minutes to sit down and plan a weeks worth of meals. Do you have 20 minutes to plan your meals? I can tell you this, if you don't take the time to plan, you can spend hours instead of minutes trying to figure out what to fix. Take it from me, I have been there!!!

Plan Your Work, and Work Your Plan
This works with menu planning, believe me! Once you have your menu established, stick to it. That doesn't mean you can't change the day you want to cook something. Alterations may have to be made due to certain unexpected circumstances, but if you keep to the basic structure of your menu, your bound to find success!

Have a great day!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Counting Our Blessings, Part 2

When I wrote my last post, I thought I was finished. God had laid that message on my heart, but sometimes He does that to prepare us for what's ahead.

On Friday, March 9th, we started our day as any other day. We were planning on cleaning the church with another couple in the afternoon, and then planned to end our day with an enjoyable meal (with the couple who cleaned with us). However, God had other plans.

I received a call at about 11:00 a.m. that the couple's niece, Ruth, was in the hospital again. She was born with diseased kidneys, and was on dialysis as well. I told E. that we could do the cleaning of the church without their help if they needed to go to the hospital. She didn't think she was needed at the hospital, but was unsure at the time. My husband came and told me around 3 p.m. that Ruth had taken a turn for the worse, and M. & E. went to the hospital to be with the family.

Ruthie's condition continued to worsen. Her heart stopped beating twice in the evening, but they were able to resuscitate her. Saturday morning we learned that her heart had stopped again in the night and they resuscitated her again. However, her blood had become "septic" which means that it was full of toxins. Her blood was causing all of her vital organs to fail. The outlook was not hopeful, the doctors could not do anything for her condition. They basically told her parents that there was nothing they could do, death was inevitable. She passed away at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday.

She lived 1 week short of nine months.

Yesterday, at church, her father told us this, "Thank you so much for your prayers. I am very thankful that God gave Ruthie to us, even but for a short time, I was honored to know her and to be her father. Ruthie has been through so much in these past few months. Now she has no pain, she is not sick anymore, she has a perfect body without disease..."

Ruthie's life, though it be short, touched every life at our church. We are thankful to have known her, and yet amazed that we were able to know her for so long.

What happens next? Only God knows. But please do one thing for Ruthie, give your children a great big hug & kiss, and let them know how much you love them. Let them know how blessed you are to have them in your lives.

If you have no children, let your family know you love them, they may be all you have. God has given us our family for a reason, else we would be alone. No family? What about your church family? friends?

Our blessings are many, and if you look hard enough, you can see them all around us.

Have a Blessed Day in the LORD!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Counting Our Blessings

On December 22, 1999, I was sitting in the short stay unit of the hospital waiting on the doctor. While I waited with my husband, we overheard a conversation next to us (on the other side of the curtain) between a husband and wife.

She was crying, and she said, "But it's my 10th miscarriage." You could hear the tears.

Her husband reassuringly said to her, "We must be thankful for the child we have." His voice was also quivering with emotion.

"I just don't think I can go through this again," she said between her sobs.

"I know, I know, but we'll get through this, we always do. I love you more than anything! We WILL get through this, I promise," he said lovingly to her.

It was tearing me up, even though I was there for the same reason she was. We were both there to have a D&C done that day, only she had been there 9 times before. I was broken-hearted, but my broken-heartedness didn't even compare to hers. The conversation that we overheard that day changed my life, forever.

My Story
I had found out a day earlier (December 21) that my baby had no heartbeat, the baby had died. I had been experiencing bleeding for about two weeks. After the ultrasound, the doctor called on the phone to say, "There is a baby, but no heartbeat. I am so sorry." His voiced echoed over and over again in my head the rest of the day, and for many days following. Bouts of depression and crying spells followed. I kept asking the LORD, "Why, why LORD, why did this have to happen to me, and at Christmastime?" God had His reasons, but only time would tell.

After accepting the miscarriage, and trying to move on, God blessed us again. I was pregnant and I was somewhat scared. Then a peace came over me, and I felt as if the LORD promised to give me this child. Nine months later my daughter was born, God kept His promise!

Looking Back
In 1999, I found myself wrapped up in my self, my children, my husband, and my duties. God was no where to be found in my life. Was I a Christian? I can't even tell you. Did my heart change? Absolutely! And for the better. God used my miscarriage to bring me back to Him! My focus was not where it should have been, I had forgotten God. When I began to experience complications in my pregnancy, I began to pray again, I began to remember God's wonderful attributes and He drew me "nigh unto Him."

Counting Our Blessings
As time passes, the memory remains the same and each year brings new experiences and new people into my life. I had another miscarriage in 2001, and an ectopic pregnancy in 2006, and though these experiences were devastating, they have made me more aware of the sorrow that others experience. We can become so self absorbed with our LIVES that we FORGET OTHERS. We must always be thankful for what God has given us. God is faithful, we must trust Him in EVERY THING.

Oftentimes, I find myself wallowing in self pity thinking, "I have to much to do!!! Nobody understands!!! I can't be spread so thin!!! Why does this always have to happen to me?!!!"

How selfish of me! How can I be so selfish to think that I am the only one in the world that has problems?!! Forgive me, LORD, forgive me! I must trust that God will give me the strength I need, He will bless in His due time. And He has blessed me, and He continues to be faithful.

Again, we must look around us. What has God given you today? what blessings? what sorrows? What about your neighbor or friend? Are they suffering from sickness, or grief?

Through all of my experiences I have learned one very important fact about God:
happens outside of the will of God. Nothing. NOT ANY THING!!!
He is perfectly in control and will always be. Look around you, have you thanked God for your family, what about the provisions He has given you? Be thankful, and be mindful; we mustn't forget those who have none. We must pray for them. Have you taken the time to pray for a family in need? (Remember, this is a reminder to me also!)

My miscarriages have taught me a very good lesson, they have taught me that each one of my children are true blessings from God. Blessings, great wonderful blessings. I must step back in time, sometimes, and forget my busyness, to be reminded of the blessing they are to me. And show them the blessing they are to me by giving them a great BIG hug & kiss on the cheek and let them know that I love them. They are my blessings, and I am surrounded by them daily. I must never take my children for granted.

How many folks do you know that are trying, without success, to have a baby? Have you taken time to pray for them today? Have you encouraged them, had them over for tea (if they live close by)? Let them know you care, and that you are keeping them before the Lord in prayer. God answers many a prayer, seek after Him, believe that He will answer your prayers in His PERFECT time. GOD IS FAITHFUL.

" Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:"
" For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

" Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done."
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Matthew 21:21-22

My heart mourns for my friends who desire to have children and have not been able. But I keep on praying, I believe God will make them parents someday, someway, somehow. God is FAITHFUL!!! HE CAN DO ALL THINGS!!! AND HE IS EVERYWHERE!!! He is truly faithful. Pray for your friends, family, and acquaintances. God will answer in His Perfect Timing!

May God Bring Great Blessings Your Way!!!
In Christ Alone,

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Making a Visible Difference, Day 3

I was able to "catch up" on some of the things that I wanted to do Monday & Tuesday.

Today's Accomplishments:

  • Washed 2 loads of laundry
  • Washed all dishes that could not go into dishwasher
  • Cleared and wiped down 3 counter tops in kitchen
  • Wiped down stove
  • Dishwasher--loaded & running
I would still like to accomplish:
  • Folding & putting away clean clothes. *Done*
  • Wash one or more loads of laundry before bed. *Done*
  • Put beef for tomorrow's supper in crockpot to cook all night. *Done*
Have a blessed night's rest!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Making a Visible Difference, Day 2

Do you ever get the feeling that you have too many BIG plans? You have so much to get accomplished, but not near enough time to complete it.

Here is my list for MONDAY'S tasks:

  • Load and run dishwasher *DONE* (Monday)
  • Wash church clothes *DONE* (Monday)
  • Wash a load of my dresses *DONE* (Monday)
  • Wash a load of whites *washed but not folded or put away
  • Wash my hair *DONE* (Monday)
TUESDAY tasks:
  • Load and run dishwasher (Update) *DONE*
  • Cut my boys' hair *DONE*
  • Clean living room floor & vacuum *DONE*

I am making a short list for today, as I woke up very groggy and tired today. Maybe I planned too much for yesterday? I am still determined to make a difference in my home, but it will probably take more than a week.

However, we mustn't be discouraged by the obstacles and the interruptions that change our plans, God is in control and we must trust Him in whatever He sends our way.

Amy, thanks for the update. I have been lacking in motivation and energy today, but I will try to continue to pursue my mission.

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
" I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies." Psalm 18:2-3

Keep on, keeping on!

Monday, March 5, 2007

An Update on Making a Visible Difference

So far I have managed to load and run the dishwasher, and wash some of the dirty dishes. I cleared the kitchen table (which was not on my list, but necessary) and I straightened the school table (also not on my list, but necessary). I put the church clothes on to wash.

Updated: I was able to wash my hair, put away the church clothes, wash & dry my dresses, but I just put whites in the washer (6:30 p.m.). I ran out of energy around 2:00 p.m. partly due to pregnancy, partly due to not sleeping well last night. Dinner plans were changed due to the fact that my husband had an appointment change with a possible customer to 7:00 p.m. tonight and he won't be here for dinner. I am doing the quick & easy thing planned for Saturday. I am hoping to finish the dishes & cut the boys hair, but that may have to wait until tomorrow.

A few things that I didn't mention that I plan to do today are the following:

  1. Wash my hair.*Done*
  2. Fold clean clothes and put away.
  3. Wipe stove down.
  4. Give my boys a haircut.
  5. Clean living room floor & vacuum. I plan to do this tonight before my husband gets home.

Please read the comments in the comment section to see what others are doing.

Thanks for joining me Amy! (Updated: & Nicole --I hope your little one gets to feeling better.) I understand the small space problem. We aren't dealing much with that problem anymore, but we have the too much stuff problem! Too many toys, too many clothes, too many books, too much paper clutter...you get the picture.

Making a Visible Difference

This weeks focus in our home is on making a visible difference in the home.

As you can see to the left of this post, I have already planned this week's meals. Half of my job is done for me because I don't have to sit around and think about "What's for Dinner?" Now, all I have to do is check my menu, lay out what I need a few hours or days ahead of time, and follow my menu.

Defining "Making a Visible Difference":

Has your husband ever come home from work and asked you, "What did you do all day?" In other words, the house is a mess and even though you have ran around doing this and that like a chicken with your head cut off, nothing "appears" to have changed. He can't tell that you have done anything. He is not trying to be inconsiderate or cruel, he is simply communicating to you that he cannot see any visible difference in the home. These "visible differences" are not only nice for him, but they are nice for you because you are creating peaceful surroundings that will help you and him to RELAX. You will look around and smile, instead of looking around and frowning, or worse panicking.

You must remember, however, that it is practically impossible to do everything in one day, maybe even one week, and if you suffer from any health issues it will take even longer. But don't be discouraged, take it one surface at a time.

Another thing to consider, especially if you homeschool or have small children, is that your time for cleaning may be severely limited due to the needs of your dear sweet children. They need your time, as well as your supervision (esp. for young ones and homeschoolers). You cannot plan for that messy diaper that required that your baby have a bath right then and there, but you can't ignore it either. Your child that is still potty training also needs to be reminded (and supervised) to use bathroom.

My venture tomorrow will start with the dishes.

  1. I will load and run the dishwasher, and then wash all the stragglers.
  2. I hope to clear and wipe down at least one countertop in the kitchen.
  3. Clear and dust one flat surface in the living room.
  4. I also plan to wash all the church clothes, a load of whites, and a load of my dresses.
  5. I may try to venture into one of my bathrooms and clean a mirror or countertop, but that depends on if the other tasks are completed.
You are welcome to join me in my venture to MAKE A VISIBLE DIFFERENCE. And if you do, I would love to hear what you accomplished! Knowing that I am not alone, can make a BIG difference in how motivated I am each day. 8-D

And I leave you with this scripture verse:

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

Have a Wonderfully Blessed Day!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Homemade Granola

This granola is one that uses no sugar, only honey to sweeten. It is great with yogurt (especially homemade) and fruit. It is also great as a cereal, but don't take too much, it will fill you up quickly! If you are one that likes to eat your sweets in the morning, this is for you! However, even though you may think that you are eating your sweets, it is highly nutritious and cleansing for your system! One batch usually fills a 5-quart ice cream container.

1 cup canola or olive oil (or oil of your choice)
1 1/2- 2 cups honey or pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
6 cups rolled oats (or old fashioned, if you don't have them quick oats will do)
1-2 cups unsweetened coconut
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds (whole)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less according to your preferences)
Optional: 1 cup steel cut oats (for a different texture)

Preheat oven to 300° F. Combine dry ingredients together in a very large bowl (the lid for a rubbermaid cake carrier works well, also). Mix honey and oil together. Heating the oil and honey slightly in the microwave may help it to blend more easily. Add honey and oil mixture to oat mixture. Mix well. Spread granola mixture out over 2-3 cookie sheets (it may take more).

Bake granola in a 300° F oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Set your timer, it will burn quickly if it is not stirred regularly. It will take 1 -1 1/2 hours for it to bake. When the mixture is golden brown (it will ALL be the same color) then it is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets. When cool, transfer it to airtight container(s). You can add your favorite dried fruits (raisins, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried currents, etc.) or leave it plain.

If you do not have an ingredient on the list, (i.e.: coconut, flax seeds, sunflower seeds) don't fret, you can still make it, just leave those ingredients out & add an extra cup of oats. Sesame seeds can also replace the flax seeds or be added to the mixture.


Friday, March 2, 2007

Homemade Granola Bars (Crunchy Oat Bar)

This recipe is simple to make, quick to bake, and tasty as can be! I usually make a quadruple batch and put them in a 17 1/2 " x 11 1/2" cookie sheet, for a triple batch a 15 1/2" x 10 " (standard size) cookie sheet, a double batch a 13 1/2" x 9" cookie sheet, and single batch a 8"-9" square pan with straight sides.

Single batch recipe:

3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use raw sugar.)
1 tablespoon honey (You can use more for a chewier texture and you can substitue corn syrup.)
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I don't use this much.)
Optional: You can add 2 T ground flax seed to the oat mixture.
Another option: Add 6 oz. miniature chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 375°F and spray or grease your pan. Cream margarine and sugar. Add honey. Sprinkle premeasured oats with salt and cinnamon. Mix oats into creamed mixture. Flatten and spread mixture evenly in pan, I use my rolling pin and a sheet of waxed paper to flatten in a large cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 17 minutes only. While the bars are still warm use a knife or pizza cutter to cut into bars. Allow to cool, (although they are yummy right out of the oven) and break apart. If your bars set too hard to cut, put in a warm oven for 1 minute, then cut through.

Have a Fantastic Weekend!
In Christ Alone,

A Sleepy Homeschool Student

Does your son or daughter complain of being tired during homeschooling? Well, mine do all the time! In fact, I often forget that sometimes they are just hungry. Why do you get fatigued, besides lack of sleep from the baby?

Hunger is often the answer, and sometimes just a little snack will get them through the morning and/or afternoon of homeschooling. Now I'm not talking about a snack full of carbohydrates, but one full of protein and complex carbs. Peanuts, cheese slices or sticks, a piece of fruit with peanut butter or cheese, half of a peanut butter sandwich, cubes of ham or turkey, cottage cheese and fruit, or you could make granola bars and serve them for snack with cheese, peanut butter or any other protein snack.

I will be posting a recipe for my homemade granola bars, soon. They are delicious!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Trying Something New...

Tomorrow we will be trying something new with our homeschooling. We are going to call it, "Science in the Kitchen." We are going to make some yummy treats, bread, and maybe even noodles for our supper tomorrow evening. We will note what happens when we mix leavening ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, and yeast) and heat. We will add all the other ingredients as well, afterall it has to taste good!

My oldest son, who is 9, has been begging me to teach him how to cook, so I am taking the opportunity. He has already learned how to cook scrambled eggs and has mixed up my bread for me, in the past. Thankfully, I have a Kitchen-Aide mixer to help things move along quicker and easier. I will someday take the time to show my children how to knead bread by hand, but for now, the mixer will do just fine!

Have a Great Day!