Weekend Wrap Up: June 9, 2018

**This post does contain some affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission if a purchase is made through the link. These help to support our blog.

So this week has been really good. We’ve made a lot of progress as far as finally getting the house organized and getting our routines simplified. I feel like I can finally breathe. It has never taken me so long to get unpacked and organized after a move before. Just a word of caution to anyone trying to downsize…. it’s probably gonna be a lot harder than what you think!

We have had quite an exciting week that has been packed full of all kinds of planned and unplanned surprises. Keep reading for a brief summary of what we’ve been up to. Continue reading “Weekend Wrap Up: June 9, 2018”

Weekly Challenge

I know a lot of us are busy making our holiday plans but my heart is heavy. As I was surveying my pantry for items I need for our Thanksgiving dinner I was hit with just how blessed we are. There are many families, here in our own country, states, and cities, that don’t have food for tonight much less food for Thanksgiving.

So I am going to pick out some items from my pantry and maybe pick up a couple of things at the grocery store to donate to a food pantry or church who is giving out Thanksgiving baskets.

I have been the recipient of these gifts before and I know how much I appreciated it. I know there have been times, as a single momma, that I wasn’t sure if we would have a special dinner for Thanksgiving or not. I am so thankful for all those that did give when it was needed.

So my challenge, for those that can, is to participate in a food drive this holiday season. It doesn’t take much, you don’t need to buy a whole meal (unless you feel led to), nor do you need to buy the most expensive things. Each item would be greatly appreciated. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor or coworker that you could invite for dinner. Your reward will be so much greater than what you give.

If you are having trouble this time of year and you are in need there are many local resources available. Many churches, schools, and other organizations are there to help.

God Bless!

Don’t Rob Others of Their Blessings!

We’ve all heard the expression ‘It is better to give than to receive’ but what about when we are the receiver and not the giver?

I was once told, by an old preacher, that I should always accept things that are given to me. He told me that if I refused these kinds of gifts I may be robbing the giver out of a blessing.

Whoa! I had never looked at like that but now I do and I try to be as thankful as I can for everything even critical remarks and comments. I definitely don’t want to be considered a thief.

Continue reading “Don’t Rob Others of Their Blessings!”

Just Because: Not My Birthday Present

I’ve recently updated this post and we have since passed this Keurig on to a friend and went with a bigger option as we both enjoy our morning coffee and although I am not drinking as many k-cups as before I love the hot water feature for my Dandy Morning Coffee and instant oatmeal.

Continue reading “Just Because: Not My Birthday Present”

Blessings Unexpected

I was crying a little bit ago, not because I was sad or happy, but from slicing and chopping so many onions! This past week I have really pushed myself to complete a few things on my checklist like cleaning the bathroom and working on the porch. The kids are finally getting over this bug/cold thing they’ve had but I’ve been feeling a bit puny myself. I was so exhausted yesterday and looking forward to a peaceful, restful weekend.

A Surprise Visit

Yesterday someone came to visit and he brought along a huge box of bananas along with a couple of grocery bags of things he had picked up at the produce market. Well, as it turned out the whole box of bananas was super ripe as well as the squash, peppers, and mushroom he had brought.

Yesterday was a super busy day and I felt overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with all of those bananas and vegetables. I admit that I didn’t really see it as a blessing. Part of that is because the upright freezer that I normally use was still sitting on the front porch, unplugged, and in dire need of a deep cleaning. It seemed like it was going to be a never-ending chore to clean and prep everything in the house and then tote it out to the chest freezer in the wash shed. I just wanted to cry but I carried the vegetables out to the shed and put them in the second fridge so they wouldn’t spoil before I could deal with them.

Early this morning I went to the flea market to pick up a vegetable order. (This was the first time I had done this but I was really impressed and will probably start incorporating this into my normal grocery budget when they start the new season next year.) As I was putting the veggies into the chest freezer I realized that it was going to be difficult for me to really do anything with them because it is so hard for me to reach anything. I knew I definitely needed to get that other freezer in working order.

That in itself just seemed like so much work and all I wanted to do was rest. I knew it needed a thorough cleaning but I was tired. I really wanted it moved to a different spot but that spot is still occupied with moving boxes. Deep sigh… I probably had a million reasons why I just couldn’t clean it out. But then there were several reasons why it just needed to be done like the bags of veggies I had placed in the fridge yesterday and that big box of overripe bananas sitting in the kitchen floor.

One thing always leads to another…

So after thinking about it I decided that the best time to clean out the freezer was now.

While the kids were down for quiet time I grabbed a water hose, a scrub brush, and a bottle of water and vinegar. After rinsing the freezer out I sprayed it well with the vinegar spray and then got to work with the scrub brush. A few minutes later I gave it a good rinsing and left it to dry for a bit.

After drying, I plugged it up right where it stands. Is it the best place for it? Probably not. Is it where I had intended it to be? Definitely not. Is it easily accessible? Definitely! Will it make my life easier? Yes!

KitchenAid KFP0711CU Food Processor, 7 Cup, Contour SilverWhile the freezer was drying I went to work in the kitchen. I pulled out a knife, a cutting board, some Ziploc freezer bags, and my KitchenAid Food Processor. I bought this food processor a few months ago and it has definitely come in handy for food prep and I love the fact that it is so big! It made the slicing and chopping go so much faster. Too bad it couldn’t peel bananas too.

I started with the veggies in the bags as I was really not looking forward to doing the bananas. (Bananas are definitely not my favorite fruit.) First were the sweet peppers which got washed and then I cut the bad spots out. I sliced them thinly and placed them into a thin layer in a gallon size bag.

Then we had some mushrooms that I had no idea were in the bags. I washed them well and sliced them thinly. Next, I placed them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the newly cleaned freezer which was starting to cool by this time. I made another cookie sheet up with some store-bought mushrooms and placed them in the freezer as well. Once they are frozen I will place them into Ziploc bags. This method makes it easier to separate what you need from the bag without thawing out the whole bag.

Next came some corn on the cob that I didn’t know was in the bag either. I washed them and then cut them in half. We will be eating the corn with dinner tonight.

After the corn, I tackled the yellow squash. I washed them one small bag at a time and then cut the ends and the bad spots off. I then placed them into the food processor and sliced 2 batches on the thick side so that they can be used for squash casserole and such. One batch I sliced thin so I can saute it up to go with dinner tonight.

Once the squash was bagged I rinsed out the food processor and went to work on some onions that I had. I managed to fill a one-gallon size bag with sliced onions and a one-quart size bag with chopped onions. I also did a small bag of green onions, thinly sliced. Normally I like to use the cookie sheet method for the onions but I just didn’t have the room to do this today but I’m hoping I will be able to separate the frozen sliced onions without much effort thought.

Time to tackle all of those bananas!

After cleaning up this mess and carrying everything out to the freezer it was time to tackle those bananas!

I grabbed a couple of plastic grocery bags to put the banana peels in and then got to work. One bunch at a time. Peel, bag, peel, bag, peel, bag and so on. We put 6-7 bananas in each bag. This should be enough for a double batch of Banana Crumb Muffins, banana bread, banana smoothies, or some other banana treat we may think up.

I then carried these bags out to the freezer which is starting to look a bit fuller now. Later this evening or maybe tomorrow I will start moving and organizing some of the items from the chest freezer into the upright freezer too.

This project took me longer than quiet time lasted so I did end up enlisting a little help. As they say many hands make light work… I laugh because I don’t think whoever said that had as many little ones running underfoot as I do… but it did make the kids feel important.

This is also teaching them important lessons about taking care of what we have and not letting things go to waste. They even offered suggestions for things we could make with all of those bags of bananas.

My five year old who is an aspiring time-traveler /dinosaur explorer is now interested in becoming a chef also so he has been watching YouTube ‘Cooking for Kids’ videos. He asked me to write down ‘Frozen Banana Recipes for Kids’ in his notebook. When he gets on the computer Monday he will most likely be looking that up on YouTube as well. Y’all better be ready for some kid-inspired banana recipes!

While preparing these veggies it started out feeling like a burden but that feeling changed as I realized just how blessed I am. It was a bit of work to get all of this stuff ready. This was work that I had not planned on doing today but it will benefit us for at least a couple of months and it will definitely make life a bit easier too.

So I challenge you to take a second look at things around you. Is there something in your life or your home that seems like a burden? Think of ways you can turn that around and make it a blessing for you!

Updated picture of our freezer:

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Those big bags of veggies came from our Southwestern Produce order that we picked up yesterday. Farm fresh veggies at a great deal! I’ll be doing a quick post about them in a few days so keep checking back!


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission. You can find a full list of our affiliate links HERE.

 –Thank you

 

Did you know?

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Norwex Envirocloths can tackle almost any mess with only water!

 

Thank you!

I just received my ‘100 followers’ notifications and shortly after it went to 101! I am so excited that so many people have followed my blog in the short time I’ve had it up.

I pray that I can continue to help encourage others in their day to day life. Each and every one of you have encouraged me to continue on with this blog even when sometimes I’ve wondered if it even makes a difference to anyone. Continue reading “Thank you!”

March 16, 2017

I had planned on putting together a study unit for Easter, similar to what we had done for Advent, but it didn’t happen. It is still in the works and I will continue to work on it a little at a time. I’ll also be sure to share it with you all as well.

This Easter was a little crazy as I’ve had two children who have been consistently trying my patience on a daily basis. I know this is just a phase and it will pass soon but it had been utterly exhausting.

Luckily I have family and friends to support me and offer advice. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a step back and look at things through someone else’s eyes.

We have truly been blessed with the friends we have and there is one person in particular who has went above and beyond to help me lately. He may never know what a blessing he has been to me and my family over the past couple of months. He is so awesome with my kids that it is truly a blessing.

He is a constant source of encouragement and he motivates me to be a better person. The crazy thing is that we probably never would’ve met had I stuck to my idea of what I thought I needed. God knew all along and has so far exceeded my ideas and expectations, just as he always does. It is so amazing to see what God does when you let go and hand your life over to him.

So getting back to Easter, we didn’t do a big get to together or go visiting like we normally do. We stayed at home and had a small cookout with family. It was nice and it was simple.

My older kids did hide some eggs for the younger ones yesterday. The younger kids were too smart and found them all in a minute or two. This prompted the older ones to ‘up their game’ and rehide them so they could have more of a challenge. The challenge was accepted and they found them again super quickly.

It was time to eat after the second go round and everyone was starving. My youngest two surprised everyone with the amount of food they ate yesterday and the lack of complaining about what they didn’t want to eat.

Of course, the kids were all super excited and didn’t want to go to bed. They were hoping to see the Easter Bunny… and get lots of candy.

Well this morning they awoke to a big Easter basket on the kitchen island. It had a small toy for each child and some candy and games as well. I decided several years ago that doing one basket was much easier than individual baskets. I also want to try to keep the focus on the real reason for Easter which does not involve a bunny or candy.

After breakfast we had a mini lesson using our Resurrection Eggs that I found at the thrift store last year. I will post a few pics at the end of the post. We went over the meaning of each item and talked about the real meaning of Easter before letting them inspect the basket.

We didn’t buy new Easter outfits, I had thought about it though, as we could all still wear the outfits we bought for big sisters wedding last year. My dress hadn’t even been worn, or tried on until yesterday, as I had decided on a different dress.  I did find a couple of cute hats for the girls that match with their dresses too.

Later this afternoon, probably after nap time, we will make the Empty Tomb Rolls. I usually try to make them the day before but it just didn’t happen this time around. I will go over the Easter story again while we assemble the rolls.

Then hopefully we will get to color some eggs later on this afternoon as ‘Mr. Awesome’ has said he will come by later today to help with that. I will try to add some of those pics to this post as well.

Life is never going to be perfect and things are going to happen beyond our control. So we need to stop waiting for that ‘perfect moment’ and just live in this moment. Stop procrastinating and looking for excuses as to why you can’t do things. Instead focus on ways to make things possible in some way, shape, or form. Make those special memories and be sure to let each and every person around you know how much they mean to you.

We are living in uncertain times right now and we have never been promised a tomorrow. So take a moment to appreciate all that you have been blessed with and cherish this moment and time in your life.

I pray that you have all had a very blessed Easter!

It took forever to get a decent picture where almost everyone was smiling and (almost) looking in the same direction. Big sister didn’t want to wear her matching dress which was OK. The little girls had snuck into some chocolate while I was getting ready. They smeared their chocolate hands on the fronts of their dresses too. We got them spot cleaned and off to church we went. It was really nice to have 6 of my 9 kids in church with me today too.  While at church the same two girls tore holes in their dresses…. I will have my work cut out for me trying to repair them… but that’s life!

We did make some Empty Tomb Rolls after nap time. This was a fun experience and the kids helped assembling the roles while discussing the meaning of each ingredient. Then they had them for a snack.

We also managed to squeeze in some egg coloring! Oh what a fun day we had!

March 6, 2017

Hey there everyone!

It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to work on any new posts, other than recipes and meal plans, but I do have some drafts that I will try to get published soon. Life has been busy, so very busy, but so very good also. I can’t say how thankful I am for the blessings that God continues to pour out on me and my family.

I have been trying to savor every moment here lately. Storing up some wonderful memories for when I may have trying times to come in the future. Not only that but also for future trips down memory lane. Now is the time to stop and cherish these moments instead of wishing I had later on.

My kids are all growing so fast and learning so much. I have been trying to just spend as much time with them as I can and encourage them in their daily adventures. Momma is still square dancing, and I say this with a big grin on my face, and loving it! We have still been doing our rock painting and the kids are loving that. They are really enjoying church here lately too. School is going well for the most part. I haven’t been posting a lot to my Instagram lately as I have had to devote more one on one time to the two girls who are learning multiplication, division, and working on lots of word problems. While the boys are still so very interested in dinosaurs!

Well, I probably need to finish this up as I am trying to multitask while making dinner. We are having Chicken Stir-Fry, Chinese Fried Rice with Veggies, egg rolls, and steamed veggies with Japanese White Sauce. Oh my does it smell good in here right now. The stir-fry was a bag mix that I got from my Sam’s Club grocery trip (I will do a post here shortly on that) as were the egg rolls and the frozen veggies.

Let me tell you all that I am still recuperating from that shopping trip! It was well worth it though as I was able to get the majority of the groceries we need for the whole month. Talk about planning! I was so out routine that it seemed to take me forever to get that grocery list and trip planned out.

I’ll check back in with everyone soon. Gotta go call the kids in for supper!

I pray that you all have a very prosperous and blessed week!

Momma, come sit with me.

‘Momma, come sit with me.’ That’s what my 3 year old said today at lunchtime. He had been picking at his sandwich and sticking around the table after everyone else had went to their rooms for lunch. He gave me that sweet smile with those little blue eyes just a sparkling. Who could resist that smile?

Not me! The neverending To-Do list can wait. The basket of unfolded laundry can wait. The dirty dishes in the sink can wait. The chores that need finished can wait. The millions of other things running through my mind,at any given moment, can wait.

Right now he needs me and he is asking me for my time. I admit that sometimes I feel like I am spread pretty thin. I feel like I just can’t do anything more than what I am doing right now. It’s hard being a Momma.It’s hard being a single Momma. It’s hard being a special needs Momma. It’s hard being a single special needs Momma! Yes, I said it’s hard. It’s almost downright impossible on some days. But then there are the good days or the little moments like this.

The house is quiet-ish as everyone is settling down for naps and/or quiet time. The school work has been finished and put away. He continues to nibble at his sandwich while I grab my glass of watered down iced tea. I sit in the chair next to him and he smiles. A genuinely lit up ear to ear kind of smile. Those little eyes are just dancing with ideas that he wants to tell me.

So he begins by informing me that my feet are in the water. I laugh and pull my feet up and sit cross legged in the chair.

‘Is that better?’, I ask.

‘Yes, Momma, now the sharks can’t get you.’

‘Well that’s a good thing! Thank you so much for warning me.’, I say.

He laughs and then he proceeds to explain to me how a T-Rex would catch a fish. He imitates the T-Rex while eating his fish (peanut butter sandwich) and he laughs a lot. He tells me what he wants for snack later, a dinosaur cupcake from yesterday, and he asks if he and ‘all my friends’ can go outside after naps. He always refers to his brothers and sisters as ‘all my friends’ and he draws a big circle in the air when he says it. It is so cute!

He eats a few more bites and declares he is full. Then he grabs his napkin and attempts to wipe the peanut butter off his face. I help him and he takes off running back to his room before I can finish. He jumps into his bed and curls up with a stuffed toy and his favorite dinosaur toy. Then he closes his eyes and pretends to be asleep. I lean over and give him a quick kiss on the cheek and he giggles.

These are the moments that make my day and give me the momentum I need to get through the tough days. I get a little sad as I know they are all growing up so fast. I know that before long he won’t be asking me to come sit with him anymore. I want to take the time to cherish these little moments and enjoy them while I can.

I walked back to the kitchen to jot down this post so I will have it to look back on in the future. I think about how blessed I am and how precious life is. I am so thankful that God has put me where I am right now. He has given me more than I ever deserved and I know He has so many plans in store for me and my family.

He always knows what we need and when we need it. This morning I read Proverbs 13:4:

It reminds me that I need to keep pressing on towards my goals. I can’t give up and let myself get lazy. I can have hope in knowing that if I stay diligent there will be a reward for all of the hard work I put in here on earth. This little moment with my son was just a taste of that and it was so beautiful! I can’t even begin to imagine what the future may hold for us.

Thank you Lord for your blessings on me and my family!