Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Warning From Mom to Mom

We live in a great, family-friendly area. Actually, it has been seen on top ten lists and anyone who has lived here encouraged us that we would love it when we moved.
And we do. But we also loved where we lived before. As Texan transfers, we have come to appreciate the Midwest for the family-friendliness of it all.
But, this is still part of the world, there are still messed-up idiots that ruin our sense of safety and freedom. In the past couple of weeks, we have had at least five police reports of someone trying to convince kids to get in their car. Each time, the children are smart enough to yell "no", and run. But, still, there are prowlers nearby, and we have sat our kids down and explained Stranger Safety again. Perhaps we were lax before, now we are more careful.
Be sure you explain Stranger Safety to your kids. There are strangers out there that lurk...make sure your family is prepared!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My precious time

 I woke up this morning on a mission. I would get the kids to school, then revel in my last morning to myself to truck along on my novel (mostly by myself, baby girl is still easily entertained so Mama can write). Ooh, I haven't been that excited to have my morning to myself in a long time. But it will be my last until the next school year, and I am a procrastinator by nature, so just knowing it would be my last few hours, revived my excitement.
And then, the morning started, and I drove the 20 highway minutes (this will change next year since they will be at a new school, 10 minutes closer) to the boys' school, and realized on the radio that it would reach 87 today and my son had pants on--to go on his field-trip to the zoo. Not cool (in more ways than one). Okay, let's knock off a few of my precious morning minutes and run to the store to purchase some shorts and get them to him before they leave on the bus...I wasn't about to drive all the way home and back again.
Yep, it's usually my fault that time management gets messed up. I am so not a time manager. Give me a family, give me a meal plan, give me a budget, and I'll manage...but is not my friend. It is like pouring oil in water, we just don't mix.
Oh well. I will say, that I have become excited for summer with my kids. I love spending time with them (when they are kind and somewhat obedient :)). I have planned some fun stuff and I found a pool to join! It's going to go by fast, and they will be a little taller and a little older by the end of it. Again, time is not my friend, but I will prove it wrong this summer, and enjoy every moment.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dishwasher Soap Update

Well, I hate to say it folks, but my dishwasher soap recipe failed. My dishes came out just as dirty as they went, that might be because we are in the habit of not scrubbing our dishes because of the shelf product we used. So, I guess, if you want to wash your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, you can use the homemade stuff. I think I am going to resort to Cascade Complete.

Note: I have only done one load of laundry with my homemade detergent...can't complain. We'll see when I get a really tough load though!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Dishwasher Soap

Every time I do laundry, I cringe as I pour the detergent onto our clothes. Even though I only use clean and clear (of dyes and perfumes), you never know what chemicals you're exposing yourself every single day you wear clothes (which for us, is every single day! ;) ) I have heard awful things about the stuff in our laundry products.
Recently, a friend introduced me to an easy and cost effective way to cut all that stuff out. She gave me a recipe for laundry detergent. I was worried about the time it would take to make it but it literally took 5 mins and 30 seconds!! The 5 minute part was for stirring, while the 30 sec. part was for shaving the soap and mixing it all together!

Here is the SIMPLE recipe:

1 bar of shaved Ivory soap
1 cup of Washing Soda
1 cup of Borax

Store in an airtight container. Still waiting to hear how much to use per load...but it makes around 32 loads a batch.

Along with this recipe, she gave me a dishwasher soap recipe that used some of the same ingredients. She swears by this, and I can't wait to see how it works on my own dishes!

1 cup of Washing Soda
1 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of Kosher Salt
1/2 cup of Citric Acid

Store in an airtight container. 1 heaping tablespoon for a load of dishes. Vinegar for a rinse aid.

All together, these ingredients cost me around $12. That's at least 3 (94 loads) batches of laundry detergent, and at least two batches of dishwasher soap. Win, win in my opinion!

Like a friend said a while ago, "It's a journey, right?" Might as well try something new every now and then!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quench my Hopelessness

Photo by Kejadlen (
Life goes along great, and then, as if I was in some sort of state of disillusion, trials present themselves and my corner of the world begins to crumble.

Even if the struggles are mild, insignificant once I've paid attention and corrected my heart (ahem, my last post), they are trials just the same, refinement of my heart by a sharp sheath dragging away the muck.

I sit here, feeding my children lunch, my elbows tingly, my stomach flipping along with my heart, as I tiptoe around hopelessness in broken friendships, poor word choices, and wrong intentions. The feeling is familiar. It always creeps into my heart and severs my peace of mind. It places its greedy hands over my eyes and has me reaching, grasping for some release from the dire condition.

Photo by Christopher Craig (
Only until I recognize this feeling of hopelessness as my soul's thirst for the Holy Spirit, do I turn and examine my heart.

My soul is quenched with the Living Water, the soft God-whispers in my heart that can only be heard when I listen. If anyone tells you it is impossible to have an intimate relationship with God, I beg you to search for yourself. It is very, very possible. It is more real than anything else. It is absolutely necessary for me.

Why does it take so much turmoil to get to the next step in the journey, to quench the thirst, to discover the next triumph in this walk of faith? I learn through my heart's sadness, my spirit's discontent. And then I know that God allows these things to happen because it's one of the only ways He can get my attention. And once He has it, the Holy Spirit moves in a mighty way.


A vicious cycle of Peace to Comfort to Complacency to Misery to Submission to Peace again. Perhaps it is a good thing that my heart can be forgetful at times. It leaves such ample ground for God to grow my faith.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I am THAT mom, Lord HELP me!

 I hate to admit it, but I became "that" mom yesterday.

The one who feels that her child is the all star player and the rest of the team and coaches aren't giving him enough credit.


I sat at his baseball game yesterday, and grew frustrated that he wasn't getting a chance to pitch even though he was one of the key pitchers on his team last year. I even caught myself saying to my youngest son, "Wait, I don't want to miss if Caleb's going to pitch."

But what about missing if he's going to play first base, or third base, or Heaven-help-us, right field?

Why did I suddenly get so caught up in the competition, the fairness game, over Little League baseball? Seriously, I became the boy-mom version of those weird shows about toddlers and tiaras!
My son cried the first day he wasn't put in to pitch, but as much as I don't want to admit it, it was probably because all he hears from his parents is "Oh, Caleb's a pitcher"..."He blew them away at try outs with his pitching..."

We set him up!

It's so easy to point fingers at everyone but ourselves. Blame it on the coaches for favoring their own children (H-e-l-l-o, Pot calling the kettle black! Pardon the cliche!), blame it on that over-zealous parent behind me whose son is the golden player and gets the most time on the may refer to my cliche again.
So while I sat with my husband, and we mumbled to each other about how unfair it was, my son was intent on the game, ready to play with all his heart, without a grudge. He didn't stand there and cross his arms and stare down the pitcher or the coach. He gave it his best.
Something I can't claim as a spectator, or worse, a supportive parent.

Thank God my heart was convicted by this at the beginning of the season. To go through a month of two games a week with the sour attitude I had last night, would not make for a very happy kick off to the summer!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Monkey See, Don't do.

I sit here and watch my thirteen month old. She mixes a spoon in her play tea set then takes a sip. She picks up her play phone and holds it to her ear. When her baby doll is nearby, she'll pick her up and pat her back and sing “aah, aah, aah.”

My little girl is a sweet monkey. Monkey see, monkey do.

Her mimicking is innocent and adorable. She imitates the mothering and daily activities that she is exposed too.
Now, if you ask me to consider what my older children imitate, innocence is slipping far from the conversation. Their language, lyrics to songs they sing, baffling questions are proof. The T.V. they have been exposed to, the headlines unrated, the radio, the advertisements, the garbage spewed by the media...all these things shaping our environment, tempt my children to monkey see, monkey do in a negative's hard not to, it gets in their heads and they want to try it for themselves.
It's human nature tempted by cultural downfall.
Just flipping through the stations on either t.v. or radio, my children will be bombarded with sex, perverted interpretations of sex, how a little pill can make you increase your sexual stamina, teenagers flirting with dangerous risk-taking, teenagers being convinced to just feel good, and how your body should look and feel if you just do this. What is the youngest generation going to attempt as they get older, when they are indoctrinated at such an early age?
Monkey see, monkey do is not as cute anymore when they get older. It is disturbing. Innocence is murdered at younger and younger ages because we have given control to media, to perverted ideas and thinking. We have allowed ugly voices to creep in and shape our children's minds alongside us and for us. I go running for the remote when it is flipped to the wrong station, or a commercial comes up that my nine year old is not mature enough (yes, there is age-appropriateness for exposure to certain things...regardless of what “progressives” may spout). We have killed the t.v. before and are often tempted to do so. Strict channel rules and commercial muting has been our path right now.

My little girl's innocence is going to be tainted in the next few years, probably earlier than any of her brothers. No matter how I try to guard her heart, once an image gets in her head the deterioration of innocence begins.

How can we as parents fight for a change? How can we take away the control from media, from immoral organizations, from activists doing their darndest to destroy what little moral fabric we have left?

I fear it's probably too late. My calling to equip my children is screaming louder than ever before. No, I will not put them in a bubble, but I will, for the love of anything pure, give them a fighting chance to enjoy their childhood with what innocence they can cling too. If that means turning the t.v. off, tough school decisions, open discussions about uncomfortable topics...then I will do that.

Whatever it takes to give them conviction to do what is right and not what they see.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Summer...What to do?

Last Summer
 My husband has been trying to convince me that we need a pool in our backyard.

I really don't want to mess with that and small children. Last night though, I realized why he has been so persistent. He is getting nervous about summer...for me! He worries that it will drag on, the kids will get restless, Mama will stress out...and he'll come home from work to a mad house (as if he doesn't already. ;) )

I have been a little apprehensive about the dog days with four children against one mama, but I really have taken the attitude of, "We'll make it work". Setting myself up for failure? Maybe, but hey, I signed up for this when I chose this career of SAHM and agreed to birthing four rugrats! HA!

Really though, I do want to have a game plan in place, to make it a fun summer for the kids and a relaxing time for me. So I decided to copy the local community center in a way, and break up the summer into "week camps" for the boys. I could pay for them to go to the community camps each week, and they will do some of those activities too, but I'm a do-it-yourself-er, and I know that this time with kids at home will be one I look back on longingly.
I am in the process of printing out monthly calendars so I can write in my "art, science, nature camps...etc." and I think I'll go see if they still sell those archaic disposable cameras so the boys can create a photo journal at the end of the summer, capturing all they will have done.

Do you have any fun ideas to entertain your children during long hot (hopefully) days? Please share!