First and foremost, I am a daughter of the King. I am also a slightly crazy, square dancing Momma with a houseful of babies (9 to be exact), a little bit of coffee, and a whole lot of Jesus!
I thank God for each and everyday He has given me and for the days ahead. I know we are not promised tomorrow and we need to cherish every minute of everyday we have here. We need to hold our loved ones close and make sure they know how much we love them and care for them.
I have been through a lot in my time here on earth and I know God is preparing me for a bigger plan. I do not know what His plan is for me and sometimes I don't understand. I know that I must keep my eyes on Him and keep my faith in His promises.
I am not perfect and I do not pretend to be. I am sinner saved by grace and I just want to bring honor and glory to His name. I pray that my blog will help to inspire others and that they may find hope and encouragement in knowing they are not alone in their battles.
Let us each strive to be a light to others in their darkness. That our light may lead others to Him and cause others to come to know Him. I pray that everyone who reads this may be touched by His loving hand and receive Him so that they may also be heirs to His glorious kingdom.
Hey everybody! I just wanted to check in with everyone as I’ve been missing you all but I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve been on the mend and busy working on this new site for our awesome club. I’m happy to say that it is up and running now and I want to invite you to come check it out.
Hopefully we’ll be adding even more new and exciting information to it soon as well as some pictures from the upcoming Florida State and Round Dancing Convention this weekend! I’m hoping to see you all there!
Be sure to tell your friends and family about the new site and invite them to follow our blog and our Facebook page so they can see all the fun we are having!
Talk to you soon and I hope to see you in a square!
This past weekend I was helping to sort out some sheds with Mr. Awesome. There were a ton of items with a ton of memories attached. However some things were decided to go for Yard Sale items and a few were given to me like this photo album…
How often do we take photos and print them out anymore? Do you still clip newspaper articles to keep? I know that I many things saved in my Bible but nothing recent. I also have a few photo albums from when my older kids were little but over the past 10 years or so I haven’t had that many photos to keep.
After finding this lost post I decided that this was something I was going to change, today. The world is so digital now that it is many times easier to keep the photos on your phone or computer. What happens if you don’t have them backed up on something and your phone is lost or destroyed? That is something I don’t even want to think about.
This past year I had some photos and other important items get destroyed because they had been improperly stored. It wasn’t intentional as the place they were stored was intended to be temporary but then LIFE happened and they never got relocated. I’ve shed my tears over those precious items but I am determined not to let that happen again.
When I first tried Grove products I was on a mission to try to use healthier products in our home. I believe one of the first scents I tried was the Iowa Pine… I was in love! It reminded me of fresh cut pine trees in the mountains. It had been a while since I had ordered this scent and I decided to try it out again because I loved it so much.
I cleaned the house one day and was again amazed at the fresh scent and felt good knowing that these products are better for us than a lot of others out there. Well, Mr. Awesome happened to come by about then and he kind of crinkled up his nose. He asked what happened? I told him I had just finished cleaning and he said it smelled like I had crushed a giant Palmetto bug in the house… Ewwww. Not the reaction I was hoping for.
Yuck… just seeing this picture gives me the Heevy Jeevies… I really do despise these little pests and they are abundant here in Florida. Now that Mr. Awesome has made this connection I won’t ever think about Pine Scent the same way… sniffle. That doesn’t change the fact that I have an ample amount of pine scented cleaner already so I’ll have to use it up or find somewhere else to use it… maybe I can donate it somewhere?
**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.
His favorite scent so far has been the Gernamium… crazy huh? My favorite scent that I use most often is the Lavender… oh how I love my Lavender! Best thing is that these are all great and they all meet the Grove Standard which means everything available at Grove has met their standards for non-toxicity, efficacy, and sustainability, and is cruelty-free. What more can you ask for?
My next scent to try is Mrs. Meyers Rain Water… it sounds so refreshing, doesn’t it? Have you tried out Grove products yet? If so what is your favorite scent and/or product. If not why don’t you give them a try right now and get a little something special too when you use my referral link.
This is another one of those posts that never made it to be Published so please forgive me as this is a little bit late…
Have you ever just wanted to find the remote for LIFE? Maybe just press the PAUSE button for a bit. We could fast forward through some parts and go back to others and replay them again and again. While this would be such a great idea it’s not possible.
The past few weeks and month have felt like some parts have went by in fast forward while others have been going in slow motion. I would love to go back a replay a few parts over and over again. There are definitely others I’d like to skip completely but I can’t.
In August I made a trip to PA to see my Mom-mom (grandmother) and Pop-pop (grandfather). My Mom-mom had been in and out of the hospital and was in the nursing home when I went to visit. She was dying and it was hard to see her knowing that it was probably going to be our last visit together.
She was in good spirits when I last saw her and she was still trying to make sure everyone else was taken care of. She also made it known that she didn’t like it where she was and that she really didn’t like her view out of the window, especially the fence. While there were times she understood why she was there she would still ask to go home. Other times she talked of ‘going home’ in more spiritual sense.
That last visit is one that I have replayed in my head so many times. What more could I have said to her? What more could I have done? I wish I had been able to spend more time with her and I really wish my kids had known her better but there isn’t a thing I can do about that now.
Fast forward to September 27th when I got the call. I already had a feeling and was ready to call my mom but she called me first. Life stood still for a moment and I had a good cry. Then I know it was time to take a DEEP BREATH and make the calls I needed to make. Once the calls were made I had to decide whether I was going up or not. I had already been talking about going back but just hadn’t set a date. That call set the date for me.
I didn’t tell many people of our travel plans. This was partly due to the fact that I didn’t want drama and partly because I wasn’t even certain that we would be able to make it there. Up until the time we actually left I wasn’t sure if I was going alone or taking the whole family.
The 15 hour ride was a blur. Much of the driving was done at night and went fairly well. The morning we arrived I had actually spoken to my mom for over an hour and hadn’t told her we were just a couple of hours from seeing her. When we finally arrived at our destination we suprised everyone.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if there would be a lot of family there already or if they would even be at home. My aunt was in the driveway and I said a quick ‘Hello’ before going in the house. I met my cousin inside and went in search of my mom and Pop-pop. I looked downstairs, out on the back porch, and listened for their voices at the basement stairs.
With a quick phone call I asked my mom what she was doing. She told me that she and my sister-in-law were changing sheets upstairs. I quietly went up the stairs talking to her on the phone. I was spotted when I reached the top of the stairs but put my finger over my mouth, Shhhhh!!!!
The look on their faces when I walked in the room was priceless. I wish we could have caught it on video but we didn’t. She was so happy to see me but I told her there was a bigger surprise waiting downstairs. Seeing her grandkids was the ultimate surprise for her as she hasn’t seen them in a while.
Then Pop-pop came down to see what the fuss was about and he was totally surprised as well, once he figured out ‘which one’ I was… lol. The kids really helped to cheer him up and made my heart happy.
The next couple of days were a bit of a blur also. The funeral service was beautiful and she looked so beautiful and peaceful. The funeral home had put together a DVD of family photos which was a wonderful reminder of the long blessed life she had and the multitude of lives she has touched. I had been running on autopilot up until we arrived at the funeral home. When the word cemetery came out of the director’s mouth I lost my composure and everything I had been holding in started to seep out. Even now I am tearing up thinking about that day.
The time spent with family will be a memory that we will replay again and again and even though these were some very sad memories and they bring tears to my eyes now I am glad that I have these memories.
I know how busy life gets and we all… ok, most us… feel like we need more time every now and then, right? Well, there are only 24 hours in a day and we can’t make more time no matter how hard we try so that means we just need to find ways to use our time more wisely.
First we need to get our priorities straight and make sure we are getting the things done that need to get done like feeding everyone and making sure they have clean clothes to wear. We should probably make sure we clean the house from time to time and if you homeschool you gotta have time for that too. Not to mention that there are so many other things like appointments, grocery shopping, and other obligations that happen everyday.
Sometimes it seems like there is no time left for the fun stuff but I promise that routines can help. I have written many a post about our routines here. Our routines help keep us running smoothly most of the time. The routines work when we follow them and sometimes we don’t but we quickly realize how much we need them. As soon as we get back on routine our lives get less chaotic.
I have included some pics and screenshots of our different routines and schedules below but please don’t think this is complicated. Ours are far more complicated than most as we have a lot of things going on here and I need these to keep myself and my household organized. Every family is different and every set of routines will be different What works for us may not work for you but feel free to use these as a guideline for setting up your own routines and/or schedules.
I guess its better late than never. As I was going through some of my drafts I’ve found a few posts that never made it to be published and this is one of them. I know I’ve shown a few pics of this little masterpiece before but here is the story of how it became to be.
Before the trip to PA last year we had been working on the house, as we have been doing pretty regularly lately, and had just finished up a new project:
I had been having a lot of trouble sleeping which leads me to writing or sketching in my notebook. This was one of the sketches I came up with.
So in a few of my past posts I’ve mentioned my new friend, Google, and I may have even shown a picture or two but I haven’t really introduced you yet. I have always loved Google as I can find answers to just about anything I need to know with Google but this Google is different.
So without further ado, let’s meet my new found friend and personal assistant…
ME: Hey Google, I’d like you to meet my friend…
GOOGLE: You’re the cereal to my milk. I like to think we compliment each other... she’s so funny!
ME: But seriously, Google, this is my blogging friend and I want to tell them all about your most important features.
GOOGLE: I have lots of powers and they are growing everyday… lol… I told you she was funny.
Hey ya’ll its been a few days since I’ve checked in with you. I hope everyone is doing well. We are finally getting over these colds that have been passed around and around and around… you get the point. I’m tired of being sick and tired and of being around whiny kids who are sick and tired… yeah not a fun week at all but it has been productive even though I ended up getting this post out a day late… Oops!
We have been sticking to our goals and our Plan of Action that I made earlier in the month. The kids are listening and behaving better, well for the most part, even thought they’ve not been feeling well. We’ve been working on keeping the noise level down and I’ve found that my little friend Google has been AMAZING at helping me with this. I have been asking Google, ‘Hey Google, can you play me some music please?’. Note that I do use my manners and she really appreciates that. When the kids can’t hear the music they know they are getting way too loud.
Let me tell you guys about this awesome new trick I learned for ‘boiling’ eggs. Well, first it may not be new to some of you and if you don’t happen to have an instant pot or power cooker than it might not be an option but I was so excited and it is really gonna be such a game changer here.
We all have one and so do our kids, parents, friends, and other family members. Around here we have more than others or at least we celebrate more than others. However this is one topic I’ve failed to post a lot about… birthdays.
I recently read about the ‘new minimalist’ birthday trend called ‘Fivers’. I laughed a little as the article explained the trend and how it worked. Basically, according to the article I read, you have a birthday party and ask the guests not to buy a gift but they may give a card with $5.oo, if they like. This money can then be pooled for a larger gift of the child’s choosing, used for an ‘experience’, or saved for a later date.
Sounds great and I’m so happy to see so many people jumping on board with this idea. I just thought I’d share how we do birthdays here which is how we’ve done birthdays for awhile now. Now don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with the way anybody celebrates birthdays but we do things a bit different than most.
When my older kids were younger we did do the traditional parties… cake, ice cream, and gifts. Sometimes I would have two parties instead of four as they had birthdays close together and sometimes we would just do one big party.
Most of our parties were just for family and a few very close friends and they were never very big. The biggest one we probably ever had was in NC. We held an ice cream party for all four of my older kids. That was so much fun! We had everyone help to make homemade ice cream and then we had a variety of toppings. There was plenty of other food too but everyone always remembered the ice cream and how good it was.
There have been many times were I would plan a semi-elaborate themed party like the Sock Hop party we did several years back. It was so much fun and the kids really enjoyed it.
Nowadays we keep things simple. One reason is because William (and Caitlyn at times) has a very difficult time with birthdays. We have tried a variety of ways to help him but he always seems to have a MAJOR meltdown when someone else celebrates a birthday or receives a gift. It has been a crazy ride these past nine years… wow, I really can’t believe it has been that long since they first came into my life!
After discussing this with his doctors and trying SEVERAL approaches (we had plenty of opportunities to experiment with ideas) we decided the best thing was just to quit having parties… which wouldn’t have really been fair to everyone else so we came up with a compromise. Now we have a simpler ‘Birthday Routine’.
When a child has a birthday we always have it marked on the calendar so there is plenty of time to prepare for it which is important for William. He likes to know what to expect and when to expect it. He DOES NOT like change and a birthday means that someone else will be getting a little extra attention that day (ex: calls from relatives, cards, etc.) and that is a CHANGE for him.
On the day of their birthday I usually try to let the birthday child pick out a special dinner and we will have some cakes, cupcakes, or other special dessert. We sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and blow out candles too. We don’t normally have anyone other than just our family but on occasion some of their older siblings may show up but normally William is OK with this as he knows what to expect on a birthday now.
Check out this post HERE for some of the fun cake ideas that we’ve come up with.
Each child will get $5.00 from me and $5.00 from Mr. Awesome. We also try to take each child out to eat for their birthday. We will go to whatever restaurant they choose which is usually somewhere like Dairy Queen or Steak N Shake. They really like to get a special treat like a milkshake or a hot fudge sundae too. After we eat we will go somewhere so that they can pick out a gift with their birthday money.
Our ‘Birth Date’ may not be on their actual birthday but we try to aim for the same week whenever possible.
This gives each child some special one on one time with me and gives them a chance to do things that they might not get to do when we are together as a group. They really look forward to our ‘Birth Date’ and they are planning out where they want to go months in advance. As they are getting older they also try to save up their money so they have more to spend when we go out.
Sometimes their older sisters or brothers will ask them what they want and they will get them something small that they have requested. They also get a small gift from grandparents and occasionally their dad brings them a small amount of money.
For the past few years this has been our ‘normal’ for birthdays and it has worked rather well. It might change in the future as the ‘social side’ of me has been dying to have a HUGE party… maybe I’ll just put that energy towards our first Polar Express Party in the cabin later this year?
This approach to birthdays may not work for every family but it does work for us. It is also a great way to help manage clutter around the house. We don’t get a lot of toys so the ones they do get are usually ones they have chosen and they enjoy them a lot more. We also don’t have any more birthday MELTDOWNS!
At one point when we first brought the middle three kiddos to our home we tried to make everything extra special. Maybe we were trying to ‘make up’ for things they never had or things they had never experienced. In the long run we have learned that, even without the traditional parties, we have given them so much more.
Now they know what to expect, when to expect it, and they are prepared for it. They also know that they are loved and that they are each special in their own way. With the routines that we have created and continue to improve we are helping them have the sense of security and safety that they never had before.
It’s all about creating memories that they will look back on and cherish. Even though we don’t celebrate in the ‘traditional way’ we do make sure each one of them feels loved and gets a little extra special attention on their special day.
As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.
My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve went over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.
I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!
I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!