Tag Archives: single parent

Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.

We’ve bought the majority of our school supplies for the upcoming year. I know from experience that this is something best done sooner rather than waiting to the last minute.

Not sure what to buy? Check out my post here with our Free Printable Back to school list. I’ll try to start planning for our next year’s school choices about midyear. This gives me plenty of time to research and make lists for supplies that we’ll need.

Not homeschooling? Check with your child’s school and/or teacher for supply list. Many times the local Walmart will have a handy checklist available when you walk in. Continue reading Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

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Wealthy Affiliate, The New Way To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

**This post does contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family!

Maybe you are like me and just kind flopping around trying to get this affiliate marketing thing to generate enough income to justify the amount of work you put into it. The little successes you see from time to time are just enough encouragement to keep you going but you know there has to be a secret to earning more.

Or maybe you don’t have a clue on where to start but you know you need to earn a little extra income because your minimum wage job just isn’t cutting it.

Or maybe you are a stay at home parent, a single parent, or unemployed for other reasons and really need an income to help support yourself and your family. Continue reading Wealthy Affiliate, The New Way To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Making Childhood Memories Count

I came across this while reading the other day. This really is something that we need to think about. Our children are only little once and the time we have with them is so precious. They grow up so very quick.

I know how hard it is to juggle all the responsibilities of being a single parent. Some days it’s really hard to get to everything that we feel needs to get done. Sometimes we just feel so overwhelmed and maybe we get a little grouchy. Our kids can feel more like an annoyance or distraction at times.

We must remember that they should always be a priority. It is such an awesome gift and responsibility to be a Momma. It can also be so demanding at times, I know. Just take a minute and read this poem to get a little insight on life through a child’s eyes.

Only One Childhood

I stopped to watch my little girl busy playing in her room. In one hand was a plastic phone; in the other a toy broom. I listened as she was speaking to her make believe little friend And I’ll never forget the words she said, even though it was pretend.

She said, “Suzie’s in the corner cuz she’s not been very good. She didn’t listen to a word I said or do the things she should.” In the corner I saw her baby doll all dressed in lace and pink. It was obvious she’d been put there to sit alone and think.

My daughter continued her “conversation,” as I sat down on the floor. She said, “I’m all fed up, I just don’t know what to do with her anymore? She whines whenever I have to work and wants to play games, too. She never lets me do the things that I just have to do?

She tries to help me with the dishes, but her arms just cannot reach… And she doesn’t know how to fold towels. I don’t have the time to teach. I have a lot of work to do and a big house to keep clean. I don’t have the time to sit and play — don’t you know what I mean?”

And that day I thought a lot about making some changes in my life; As I listened to her innocent words that cut me like a knife. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to what I hold most dear. I’d been caught up in responsibilities that increased throughout the year.

But now my attitude has changed, because, in my heart, I realize… I’ve seen the world in a different light through my little darling’s eyes. So, let the cobwebs have the corners and the dustbunnies rule the floor, I’m not going to worry about keeping up with them anymore.

I’m going to fill the house with memories of a child and her mother… For we are granted only one childhood, and we will never get another.

Everything we do is being taken in by our little ones. Do we want them to have memories of us cleaning and running around like a mad woman all the time? Do we want them to remember all the times we got upset about spilt milk or chocolate handprints on the wall? Or do we want them to remember when we took the day off to go to the park and have a picnic lunch. Maybe they will remember the time we spent showing them how to make a proper mud pie.

So please remember to take some time to create memories with your children. Find ways to spend time with them and take time to spend with them. Try to find a balance between the housework and the fun times. You will all appreciate and cherish these memories later on in the years.

Getting Routines Started 101

‘Your first obligation as a parent is to not bring chaos into your kids’ lives.’

OK, I should’ve written this before I started on the other posts about routines. I didn’t realize, until I was writing another post, how complicated and daunting routines can seem. Truth be told we all have some kind of routine already.

**Please note this post does contain affiliate links to which I may, possibly, earn a small commission from if you click on and purchase an item. For full disclosure click here. Continue reading Getting Routines Started 101

Evening Routines

I know by the time the kids are in bed the last thing you really want to do is think about any more routines. However the success of tomorrow morning will greatly depend on your evening routine. I try to keep it fairly simple and if I have checked off the tasks on my Morning Routines and Afternoon Routines then it doesn’t take me long at all.

Below are the screenshots of my current Evening Routine:

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Once the kids are in bed it is time for me to finish up the day so I can relax a little and have a bit of quiet time. I may sit in my room or watch a movie with DD17. Sometimes I just chat with some of my friends who are night owls as well.

First thing I do is check to make sure the coffee pot is ready to go in the morning. I also check our bread basket, which is more of a bread box now, and I will pull a loaf or two of bread out of the freezer if I need too.

Then if the dishwasher is full I will make sure it has been started and if it has already finished I will crack the door a bit. I have DS14 and DD9 hang their glasses on the bulletin board so they don’t misplace them. I will clean them and get them ready for the next day.

I will also wash out the water bottles, if they didn’t make it into the dishwasher, and refill them so they are ready for the morning. I have some really thirsty kids here and they love water!

Shining the sink is a FlyLady term and it simply means cleaning up your sink and making it shine. Nothing like coming into a clean kitchen with a shiny sink! I will also take the dirty wash rag and dish towel to the hamper and set out clean, fresh towels and rags.

I check to make sure the porch lights are on, and that the doors are locked, while going from room to room to double check that everything is pretty much in order. (2 minutes or less for this task.)

Before I put my computer away I will double check my calendar for the next day to make sure of any appointments or activities we may have planned. I will also review the menu and see if there is anything I need to prepare for them.

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I will also double check my FlyHelper app for any other tasks that may still need to be completed for the current week and/or month. Those will go on my To-Do list, if they haven’t been completed.

When I go to check on the little ones I will set their outfits out for the next day. (I usually hang a pair of bottoms with a top to make it easier.) Then I try to set out my outfit for the next day as well so I can just grab it really quick in the morning.

Ahhh…. the day is almost done and it is time for some ‘me time’. I will fix me a cup of tea or cocoa and take a few minutes just to relax. When I get ready for bed I remind myself to take out my contacts, I am guilty of forgetting this, and then I wash my face, put on moisturizer, and brush my teeth and hair.

I try to spend a little time reading my bible or devotional. I remind myself to go to bed at a decent hour but for me a decent hour could be 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. I do normally try to go to bed by 10:00 but often times I just can’t sleep.

I hope these routines will help you to set up and maintain your routines. I can promise you that your house will run more smoothly and your stress levels will go down tremendously. Don’t try to just copy mine unless you also have 6 kids at home, a dog, a cat, and 50+ chickens and a few geese…. I’m just kidding. But in reality what works for me may not work for you. My priorities will not be the same as Mrs. Smith’s who lives down the road.

Remember that what looks good on paper isn’t always right. So if you try to set up a routine and it isn’t working then don’t be afraid to revise and revise again until it does work.

If getting up and exercising at 5:30 isn’t your cup of tea then don’t do it. Maybe it is better for you to exercise later in the day or every other day. If you don’t like cocoa then that wouldn’t be the best way for you to relax in the evening.

See also:

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Afternoon Routines

 

Afternoon Routines

Below is an example of my current afternoon routine. Please use this as a guideline to help you set up your own routines that work for you and your family.

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Once the kids are down for naps I will check the laundry, if it hasn’t been done already. I hate to find clothes that have been left in the washer and have soured.

Once the dishwasher finishes running, if I had a full load, I will open the door a bit to let the steam out and the dishes will usually dry rather quickly. I then put away everything that goes in the top cabinets and leave the other dishes for DD9 & DD8  to put away. If something hasn’t dried completely I will set it in the dish drainer. I refill the soap dispenser so it is ready for the next load.

This time is usually when I am busy working on things that I need to focus and concentrate on. I have a reminder to drink my water as I often get caught up in whatever project I am working on and forget.

The kids get up around 2:00 and have a snack. If the weather is nice they will normally go outside to play. If not, I will put them on an educational DVD like Signing Times to watch while they play inside. (DD14 had a lot of trouble communicating at first so we have been learning sign language to help him be able to communicate with others who can not understand him.)

While they are playing I will check the mail or send DD17 out to check it for me. I sort the mail as it comes in and immediately place the bills and items that need my attention in a certain slot on my desk and throw away any junk mail.

When we have a garden, usually raised beds in the summer, I turn on the sprinkler when we go out to check on the critters. We will gather the eggs while out and turn off the water when we come back in. I try to wash and put away the eggs when we come in so the littles aren’t tempted to play with them.

Supper gets started about 4:30 ish unless I already have something in the crock pot. They kids will play until it is almost ready and then start a quick pick up. If they have been outside they will also go do a quick wash up before eating. Then they will come to the kitchen to help pass out silverware and plates of food.

We normally at around 5:00 or 5:30.

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After dinner everyone starts to clean up. They put their dishes in the dishwasher, wipe the table and benches, and sweep the floors. We do the littles’ baths/showers on every other day, unless someone is really dirty, so they will take turns. Everyone else will get dressed in their PJS and then head to the play room to play quietly or read.

Ideally we do like to brush our teeth before bed but sometimes this doesn’t happen. When it gets close to bedtime I will have them start to do a quick pickup and then we will have a story, or right now we are doing our Advent Study, and then they will head to bed at 7:30. The two littlest ones will still try to sneak out of bed or insist that Momma needs someone to keep her safe. We just walk them back to their rooms and eventually they get tired enough they just stay.

Our afternoon routine is pretty simple and it helps us to keep on track and keep everyone happy.

Also see:

Getting Routines Started 101

Morning Routines

Evening Routines

Morning Routines

Every morning is a chance to start fresh. I can set the tone for the rest of the household by the way I act in the morning. If I am flustered or in a rush then everyone else will sense my stress and they will react to it. If I am calm and collected it may not entirely rub off on them but it will help me to be able to react to them in a more positive way.

Some of my Morning Routine is dependent upon my Evening Routine, such as making sure the coffee pot is set. It also helps a lot to walk into a clean kitchen first thing in the morning. This last one has been a little bit harder to achieve, especially with teenagers in the house, but I take it one day at a time.

My morning routine has changed a lot over the past few years. I have added things as we added kids and I have taken away things as kids, and a husband, have left. We changed again when we began our homeschooling journey and have been changing it bit by bit to fit everyone’s needs. As my priorities have changed so have my routines.

These are not set in stone they are merely a guideline and a checklist that helps me to keep my household running smoothly. This means less stress and helps keep me from feeling so overwhelmed. It also helps because my children know what to expect and they know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

 

Things change, so do our routines. It is much easier to try to be flexible, as you can see I don’t really have certain times to do most things. I just have them listed in the order I normally do them and I just check them off as I go. Below are a few screen shots from my current morning routine:

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I usually try to get up around 5:30 – 6:00. I spend a little time in prayer and reading my devotionals. I need this little bit of quiet time to help me get through the day ahead. When my kids were smaller this may have occurred while breastfeeding a baby in my rocking chair. Just this morning my 3 year old was with me, throwing pillows and giggling at me, and I think kids do benefit from seeing their parents spending time with God and reading their Bibles.

Afterwards I try to get in about 30 minutes of exercise, sometimes I exercise before my devotionals so I can relax with a cup of coffee after my shower. I try to take a shower every morning, I know sometimes this isn’t possible with littles running around but right now I am blessed to be able to do this. I also try to remember to take my vitamins while I am in the bathroom as Mommas need to stay healthy so they take care of the littles.

I have a quick routine that involves me getting dressed so I am ready for anything that might come along. I also do a quick makeup routine (5 minutes or less) and I will fix my hair. My hair is usually pulled back in a pony tail or clip. I do normally straighten my bangs and will run the straightener through my hair every so often when I have time. (Again 5 minutes or less.)

I am trying to get into the habit of setting out the toothbrushes for the kids before I leave the bathroom too.

Before I head to the kitchen at 7:00 I will make my bed because I can’t expect the kids to make theirs if I don’t set a good example. I also pick up after myself and keep my room, my closet, and bathroom straightened and organized. Lead by example and set a good model for them to follow. They will pick up more things by watching you than you realize right now.

I turn on the kitchen light (and I have also started playing some soft music) and this signals the kids that it is time to get up. They are usually awake and playing quietly in their rooms. It did take a little bit of time to get them accustomed to this routine as they just wanted to get up and run through the house making as much noise as possible. This is also when I turn off the door alarm for my special needs son and he heads to the bathroom and then back to his room to get dressed. (Please note that his room is right next to mine and he will knock on the door if he needs to go to the bathroom or anything. The alarm is more to alert us that he is up and about as he does like to wander sometimes. (See He marches to the beat of his own drum.) I also turn the alarms on the doors to ‘chime’ mode so I can be alerted when anyone opens the door.

Before he heads to the bathroom it is important that I do a quick check in the Living Room as he will pass through there to get to the bathroom. If anything is out of place it can create chaos with him and set us up for a bad day.

My coffee pot is usually already going by the time I wake up (I love my automatic coffee maker). This is more of a reminder in case I have forgotten to set it up the night before or if the power has went out during the night.

I will use the time that the kids are getting dressed to unload the dishwasher. I normally place the items that go in the lower cabinets on the island and DD9 will put them away when she comes into the kitchen, DD8 will put away the silverware and cooking utensils. I put away the items that go in the top cabinets as well as the knives or fragile items.

After this I usually do a quick check on the calendar to see if we have any appointments or anything that needs to be done. This keeps me from forgetting or overlooking things. I will also check my FlyLady tasks for the day. When I finish with the calendar I will start our oil diffuser and the kids usually start piling in the kitchen to take care of their chores. (They don’t really see them or consider them as chores, just part of our normal everyday routine.)

2a

We love our sweet tea and I always try to have some on hand for when people stop by. I usually make it 2 gallons at a time and I check on it in the morning to see if it needs made or not. I will then start on breakfast.

Breakfast is an important meal and I know how crazy mornings can be when you have littles, or getting ready for buses or work, or just didn’t get enough sleep. For me, I like to fix a hot breakfast when I can and we have a ‘Breakfast Schedule‘ of sorts. Mondays are Cereal or Oatmeal, Tuesdays are French Toast, Wednesdays are Muffins, Thursdays are pancakes, and Fridays are Cereal or Oatmeal. On Saturdays and Sundays I have a rotating schedule that includes waffles, Dutch puffs, coffee cakes, scrambled eggs and grits, monkey bread, and a variety of other treats that may be more time consuming and aren’t feasible for me to attempt during the week.

I also check off as each child comes into the kitchen to make sure everyone is dressed for the day. You never know when something might come up and you have to leave unexpectedly. It is much easier to be prepared for the unexpected than to be running around trying to get everyone together for an unplanned outing.

I will also run back to the bedrooms to check and make sure they are  ‘picked up and while I am in the back of the house I will ‘Swish & Swipe’ the bathroom back there. This normally involves m spraying the mirror, counter, sink, and toilet with cleaner and wiping. I will wipe the light switches and door handles too, but make sure you do this before you wipe the toilet. Then I will put a little bit of cleaner in the toilet and ‘swish’ with the toilet brush. A quick straightening up of the towels and such and I’m done (5 minutes or less.). I do keep some disinfecting wipes under the sink so the kids can take care of quick messes through out the day. Everyone appreciates a clean bathroom when you are hugging the porcelain throne during a bout of the flu.

I will also have someone grab a load of laundry to start according to our laundry routine. Each person has a set day to do their laundry, and I wash sheets and whites on Wednesdays. This helps keep the confusion down, prevents the ‘She took my shirt’ drama, and keeps the laundry from becoming a mountain. Of course, when people are sick we do laundry as needed but normally we stick to our schedule.

The little boys are usually responsible for picking up stray shoes at the front and back doors, as most of the time the shoes belong to them. They will carry the shoes to the bedroom of the owner or place them in a basket by the door.

I will check for outgoing mail which is usually left on the top of my desk. Then I will empty the kitchen trash. When I carry it to the bin I will put the mail in the box and sometimes go ahead and feed the critters as well.

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After breakfast the kids will clear their own dishes and place them into the dishwasher. They then head to my bathroom to brush their teeth. I leave the toothbrushes on the counter and they will start the timer. (This is one similar to what we have but ours is no longer available.) When they have all finished they rinse their toothbrushes and place them back in the holder.

They will then come to the kitchen and DD8 will wipe off the table and benches as well as the counters. DD9 will sweep all of the hard floors and the porch steps. They do this automatically as I said before and they don’t really consider it as a chore. Everyone will then go to the playroom for a few minutes before we start school.

I will ‘Swish & Swipe’ my bathroom and put away their toothbrushes to keep anyone from being tempted to play with them when they visit the bathroom. Normally I empty the trash cans too when I ‘Swish & Swipe’.

When I go to the playroom we will work on our ‘Morning Board’. We have a variety of activities which include morning prayers, pledge of alegiance, graphs/charts, calendar activities, art, math, poetry and we have a ‘Morning Basket’ with books that we read from daily. When we complete this everyone does a ‘quick pick up’ and heads to the kitchen.

They will grab their individual work boxes and take them to the table. DD8 will bring me the laptops and DD9 will bring me the headphones. The boys will begin work in their work books that I put together earlier in the year and the girls will get started on Spelling, Reading, and Copy Work. I used the binder earlier this year and put together Spelling books, Copy Work books, Math books, Activity books etc. for them to work from. This frees me up from constantly needing to print out things or give directions as to what needs to be done.

At one point we did have a visual pocket schedule that hung on the wall to direct the kids as to what needed done but it wasn’t very flexible and was really aggravating to use. It worked well for one or two children but when I had five trying to use it then it became a lot of trouble.

While the kids are working I will make my To-Do list, clear a couple of Hot Spots, check my emails and bank account, and also see what is on the menu for dinner. We will also do a ‘Laundry Check’  to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer, in case we forget to do it earlier.

I will set up the laptops for their school work and begin the rotation schedules. Two or three kids will work on the computers, with head sets to help keep it quieter, and the other two or three will work at the table. Sometimes the little boys will head to the play room for a bit.

Once everyone is settled into their work I will begin my cleaning tasks for the day. I will try to complete the FlyLady mission first and then work my way down the list.

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Next I will work on my weekly list of chores. It is pretty much the same basic things as listed on the older routine. I will try to go into more detail on Weekly Routines in a later post. I will also attempt to cross a few things off my To-Do list as I go through the day.

By 9:30 everyone usually needs a little break and we will stop for a quick snack. The kids will go play for a minute and do whatever they need to do before getting back to work.

We will continue to work on our school work and as they finish up they will head to the play room to read, draw, or just play. I will usually start on lunch about 10:30ish. Sometimes lunch is leftovers from the night before and sometimes its just a quick sandwich. When it is time to eat everyone will do a ‘quick pick up’ before they eat.

‘Quick pick up’ is just a term that we came up with when the kids were smaller. I may have heard it or read it somewhere but I don’t remember. The kids all know that it means it is time to pick up everything and put it away where it belongs.

We eat and the kids clear the table, clean up, and head to their rooms for nap time or quiet time. If there is laundry in the dryer it will get folded and put away before they go back for quiet time. I will finish up in the kitchen and start the dishwasher as we usually have a full load by this time. Normally DD9 will fill everyone’s water bottles before she heads back to her room. I also remind myself to drink water as sometimes I forget.

Once the kids are settled I will work on my Monthly Routines which will be more detailed in a later post as well. I know it sounds like a lot but most things are broken down into chunks that take me 15 minutes or less to complete, many of them are much less.

When the house is quiet I will sneak to my room for a  little bit of quiet time and I will read my Bible or work on whatever study of devotional I have out at the moment. This is usually the time I will use to run errands, as DD17 is home, and/or work on projects that need my full concentration. I may also use this time to catch up on making appointments, working on my To-Do list, or take a nap myself.

Please be sure to keep checking back and I will continue to work on the other routine links so you can get a better idea as to how we get it all done here. Just remember that you are the one who knows what your family needs and what will work for you and your family. Try something and if it doesn’t work then don’t be afraid to scratch that idea and try something else.

It has taken me over 20 years to get into a good routine that I feel comfortable with. Life happens and things are always changing. This means we have to be flexible and change too. I have found over the past 5 years that I have had to bend and stretch to make changes because I was being pulled in too many directions. I really had some days where I felt like a complete failure. I wasn’t, I just felt that way. I struggled with that and you may too.

My house doesn’t look like yours and yours may not ever look like mine. What my house looks like today may not be what it looks like 5 years from now. Kids grow, relationships change, and our standards will fluctuate.

Their was a time when I felt like my house had to be perfect or I would lose my husband. I was literally afraid that he would come home and not be able to see the vacuum lines in the carpet or that he would find a sucker wrapper I had missed in one of the kid’s bedrooms. That was no way to live.

Please don’t be held prisoner by unrealistic expectations from yourself or anyone else around you!

See also:

Getting Routines Started 101

Afternoon Routines

Evening Routines

Laundry Routines

 

December 1, 2016

Well, today started early, like 1:30 am early. I went to bed last night with a headache and woke up sick. No fun at all. I turned my phone on and had all kinds of messages that I had missed during the night. (I almost never turn my phone off but my headache was really bad.) I did feel better after I took a shower though.

After my shower I did have almost a whole hour of ‘quiet time’. I spent that time going through my prayer journal and thanking God for the answered prayers. I also added a few new ones. I read my devotional and worked on a study that I had out. I also let my Bible fall open and read out of Psalms. It was just what I needed to help calm my soul and renew my strength this morning.

After messaging my best friend I had a long talk with God and had to hand something over to Him, something I should’ve immediately handed over last night, but stubbornly thought I could handle it on my own. (Which is how I ended up with a headache.) I felt such a relief and got the answer I needed once I let go. God is so good!

I am so thankful to have friends who can make me feel better when I’m down and who remind me that I don’t need to stress over things.

The kids were up super early and started tattling right away. My one son was in a grumpy kind of mood which did improve a little but not much. In fact, he is grumpier right now than he was this morning  He is currently voicing his opinion about bedtime through his bedroom door.

Then I remembered it was December 1st which meant that I needed to change out our school calendar. This lead to me realizing that I had forgot to print out the new calendar stuff for December (I admit I forgot last year too). So I grabbed the laminator and the paper cutter. I printed off the pages I needed and got to work laminating them.

My 3 year old loves to watch the laminator. He gets so excited to see what we are making. He was also my little helper and helped me to carry everything over to the playroom and get it all set up. We had a card left over, St. Nicholas day, and I didn’t know what day it was for sure.

So we went to the laptop and asked my dear friend, Google, for the answer. My son was very curious as to who ‘Doogle’ was and where he lived. He wanted to see a picture but forgot about that when I offered to let him put the final card in place. (December 6th in case you were wondering.)

We did manage to get our school work finished by 12. The girls have really been dragging their feet this week. I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday! I tried to get my daily chores finished and pay bills while they were working but that was pretty impossible today.

I did my laundry, as my laundry day is on Thursday, and then I carried my hang-dry items to my room. My oldest daughter was in there working out so I set them on the dresser with the intentions of going back to finish them shortly. The other clothes got dried and I left the ones that needed pressed on the dryer until I could get them. Well, I didn’t remember the wet ones until after lunch and they left a wet mark on my dresser. I just finished pressing the others after dinner. Now though I can say that task is completed for this week. Yay!

I did manage to finish my grocery list this morning, print my sales lists, and clip coupons. I pulled out my big coupon binder and started to get it set up again.One of my goals for 2017 is to be a better steward of what God has blessed me with. I think couponing will help me with this goal. At one time I was doing extremely well but I kinda fell off track with all of the different things I’ve been taking care of this past year.

I set out with $200 and my first stop was to put gas in my truck. Then to make a few more stops. I managed to find a few books to go under the tree and a few for stockings at Dollar Tree. I also picked up a few things to go along with our Advent study which I also confess has not began like I thought it would.  Being sick with the flu last week really did a number on me and I’m still not feeling quite 100%.

At another store I found a great deal on some meat. There was a BOGO sale on ground pork and ground pork patties. Well, I happened to find 4 packs of patties on sale that had been marked down $2 on top of the BOGO making them almost free! Then even better I found some stew beef also marked down $2. I know some people don’t like these sales but I grab them whenever I can unless the meat looks questionable. I have a big freezer and I know that even cheap cuts of meat will become tender in the crock pot or pressure cooker.

After two more stops and saving over $100 in sales and coupons I still had a little cash in my pocket. I stopped by the ‘relaxation station’ aka Island Shack Tanning Salon. I know, tanning isn’t really healthy, but the warm beds really do help my sore muscles a lot. Plus I usually sneak in a little nap in too.

After my quick nap I stopped to put air in my tire as I had found a note on my windshield informing me of a low tire. So sweet of someone to let me know, I really did appreciate that. Then back home to unload my grocery haul.

Upon exiting my vehicle the geese and the cat promptly notified me that I had forgotten to feed them earlier so groceries had to wait. Big sister heard me pull in and came to help. She had unloaded most of them by the time I had finished feeding which was a great help.

The kids all helped me to put away the groceries. They like to help because they can see what goodies and treats I might’ve gotten. They also enjoy trying to guess what Momma is going to make by looking at the groceries that I brought home. After everything was put away I sat down for a moment to try to decide what I needed to do and what was just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

I still need to dig out our Christmas stuff. Who am I kidding? I still need to put away the Fall decor! (Speaking of which, I did find the cutest little pilgrim salt and pepper shakers today, on clearance!) Christmas is all packed neatly in some large green totes so I know where it is, I just haven’t brought it in.

I did bring in a tote and some boxes with the intentions of packing away the Fall decor but dinner had to be made. Then the clothes were calling me from the top of the dryer. I still haven’t vacuumed the floors either, but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.

Today was visitation and Daddy had already promised to help them with a craft today. They made some paper Christmas trees. I even broke out the art supplies which included sequins and pom-poms. I wasn’t brave enough to bring out the glitter though. They turned out really well even thought some kids really didn’t want to follow along with the video.

christmas-trees

I love it when he does things like that with them. It helps them to strengthen their bond and also creates memories that will last for a long time. He also made his own tree, that they helped to decorate, to take home with him. The boys made him some ‘presents’ to go under his tree too.

Dinner consisted of Sloppy Joes, seasoned fries, and some homemade coleslaw (1 bag of slaw, a bit of mayo, a little sugar, and a splash of white vinegar. I’ll have to work on that recipe as I just kinda dump and taste as I go.) One of the little boys got excited when he saw the buns and the cheese. He had been asking for hamburgers but he thought Sloppy Joes were close enough and he actually asked for seconds.

After baths big sister wanted to try her hand at some No Bake Cookies. (Last night she made Easy Sugar Cookies.) She involved everyone in the process and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed measuring, stirring, and of course the taste testing! I’m not so sure that chocolate right before bedtime was a such a good idea though as little man is refusing to go to bed now.

So all in all we had a great day. Lots of memories were made too. That’s what life is about. We have to do the best we can with what we have. Each and everyday is a new day with a fresh start.

I think my kids will remember these days when they get older. They won’t be worrying about whether or not I vacuumed the floor. They also probably won’t be traumatized by not having a Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’ve agreed that we will set it up on St. Nicholas Day and I drew a picture of a Christmas tree on my desk calendar for them to look at.)

They will also look back on the pictures and hopefully remember how much fun they had making crafts with their dad. We may have our differences but I am so thankful that we have been able to work through them and/or put them aside for the sake of our kids. Even though our relationship as husband and wife is over we are still connected through our kids and will always have that bond. It is important for us to continue to work together to be the best parents we can be for our children.

I am off to bed but first I need to walk little man to his bed. Then I have a few things that I need to add to my prayer list. Have a blessed night!

 

 

 

November 28, 2016

Meal….that was the new word of the day!

I was putting the little boys down for a nap when the 3 year old asked if he could have a ‘meeyal’ after nap.

‘Huh?’

‘A meeyal momma.’

‘Milk?’

‘No, a meeyal.’

‘I’ll fix you a snack when you get up from nap.’

‘No, a meeyal.’

‘Yeah, Momma, you know… a meeyal’, chimed in the 4 year old.

I was completely bumfuzzled as to what those two were talking about.

‘OK, we’ll figure it out when you get up and you can show me what you want.’

‘A meeyal is a big buncha food, Momma’, said the 3 year old.

I started laughing and asked, ‘A meal?’

‘Yes, Momma’, and they both squealed with delight as Momma had finally figured it out.

Well, they never cease to amaze me and I have no idea where they heard the word today but at least they were using it correctly!

 

Letters to Santa’s heart

Yesterday while waiting on breakfast, see November 27, 2016, my kids had decided to write letters to Santa. I didn’t tell them that Santa had already finished his shopping here and I was a little curious to see what they would write.

They got out some scrap paper, their school boxes, and the crayons. Everyone began working on their letters and they started out quietly but got more excited as they smelled the Monkey Bread. When the timer went off that signaled the kids to clear the table and get ready to eat. They brought their letters and left them on the kitchen island. As they ate I opened the letters and was pleasantly surprised. I think my heart was doing a happy dance and probably still is.

I expected to find endless lists of things they wanted. The boys have been into dinosaurs for so long that roaring, growling, and walking like dinosaurs is second nature to them. The girls of course see an occasional commercial when Grandpa has the TV on and they have expressed interests in the latest dolls, shoes, or whatever new toys are advertised. My 14 year old is into Star Wars, robots, and anything his younger brothers are playing with.

The first one I opened was from two of the kids and goes:

For Santa: 

I love you Santa

You are a good man

Your handsome

I love you Santa. The end.

It also had a picture of a colorful igloo on the back side of it.

The second letter I opened was from two more of the kids and goes:

Merry Christmas  

To: Mrs. Claws

North Pole

We love you Mrs. Claws. 

There were lots of colorful drawings of hearts and stars on this one. Also a drawing of the kids all holding hands and with happy faces. That in itself says a lot to my heart and makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, I am doing something right.

These touched me as my kids didn’t ask for anything. Instead they were showing their love and appreciation in more ways than one. The older girls had each helped one of the younger boys without being asked. I can see that they are learning so much and it makes me happy.

Yes, I know the spelling and punctuation need some work but that will come with time. Homeschooling is such a blessing as you can teach them so much more than just reading and writing. I can see so much progress in so many areas and I thank God for allowing me this opportunity.

While they thought they were writing letters to Santa, they were actually writing letters straight to Santa’s heart.

My kids used scrap paper but here are a couple of free printables that I found:

http://www.katesmithdesigns.com/blog/?tag=santa-letter-to-colour-in

http://eventstocelebrate.net/2013/11/letter-to-santa-free-printable/

Dear Special Needs Parent

Original Blog Post on July 12, 2016
Dear Special Needs Parent, I see you in the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and at the park. I see the smiles that hide the tears. I see the tired look you try to hide. I hear the little sigh you let out when another mom talks about ‘date night’ or a milestone their child has reached. How do I see and hear all of this? I am a special needs mom, a single parent, a homeschooling mom, and so much more.
I know how hard it is to get up at the crack of dawn because your kid is already up and calling for you, even though they didn’t fall asleep until late. I know how hard it is to divide your attention between the kids, the chores, and all that has to be done. Much less finding time to do things for yourself like shower.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last ‘date night’ I’ve had or even the last time I was away from my kids for a night. (Maybe when the 3 year old was born?) I know that when you try to plan an outing it drains you because of all the things you have to be prepared for. You are exhausted by the time you get everything and everyone packed and ready.
Things that were once fun can still be fun but they are oh so exhausting now days. We have our good days when nobody has a melt down (or maybe just a couple of melt downs for the day), nobody wets the bed, and everyone eats what you made for dinner.
Then we have the bad days. The days when everything causes a meltdown, from the French Toast you make every Tuesday to keep things on a simple routine, to the thunder they thought they heard, or the little brother who is stuck on singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (which was big brother’s favorite song yesterday but is irritating him today). Sigh, I know.
Then we have the really bad days were we just want to go back to bed. The days when you have done 3 loads of laundry before 6 am. When you have showered your 13 year old 4 times before 7am and stripped his room (and the bathroom) and completely disinfected and sanitized it for the 3rd day in a row. The days when he has forgotten/refuses to do anything for himself and calls you every bad name he can think of and then some that you can’t and don’t want to understand. I’ve been there. Sometimes these phases last a day or two or sometimes a week or two.
I can remember a few years ago when I had to clean my son’s room. It was a horrible mess. I grabbed rubber gloves and trash bags. I went to his room and opened the window. I filled those bags and started tossing them out the window because it was so nasty and I just couldn’t bear the thought of cleaning the stuff again just to have him repeat this scene again in a day or two. I was about 3 weeks from my due date with our 8th child. While cleaning I started throwing up because it was so bad. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days, at one point they thought I would be delivering the baby early. This was a week before Christmas and we had already planned a party for friends and family. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The party was cancelled and all last minute Christmas shopping went undone. But we made it through that and you will make it through whatever it is that you are going through right now too. (A very healthy baby boy was born 2 weeks later.)
I have my kids 24/7 with only a slight reprieve two times a week (when he feels like coming or something else doesn’t come up in his schedule) for maybe 2 hours a time (which was scheduled to be 5 hours each time but he never makes it that long). I can’t leave because something always happens. Sometimes I go to my bedroom or sit outside but the kids usually wander away and end up with me so I really have almost no ‘Me time’.
I know the brave front you put on when you are out and about. I know the fear when the kid next to you wipes their snotty nose on their hand and then goes to play with your kid. I know that if my kid catches whatever that is that life will be miserable for the next week or two. Not too mention the fact that it will eventually spread through the house and I’ll end up sick trying to tend to 6 kids by myself too. Yep, I know.
I also know that we need to be there for each other. We need to be a support system for each other. Whether by joining blogs or Facebook groups. If someone offers to help then let them. They can do dishes, wash laundry or just sit with the kids while you nap. Maybe when you the kids get comfortable you can even sneak away to do the grocery shopping by yourself.
Don’t keep trying to do it by yourself as you will just crash and burn. Trust me, I know.
If you are a friend or neighbor, maybe a parent or sibling of someone who has a special needs child please know that they do need you and they need your support. I can’t tell you how much it means just to chat for a minute on Messenger or a couple of texts when I am having a hard day. Let me tell you that I will never turn down food, especially ready to eat food. When someone shows up unexpectedly at the door with an armload of pizzas it is a wonderful feeling to know they were thinking about you.

Who Am I?

I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter, I am a person just like you. All to often we forget that the people who are subjects of the rumors and gossip flying around are people just like you and I. They are someone’s child, parent, sibling, friend or spouse. They are real and they have feelings. When you listen to the tales spun by someone you should always consider the source and what it is that this person may have to gain from speaking out about another. Remember that you are only hearing the side of the story that they want you to hear.
The ones telling the stories try their best to dehumanize the person they are talking about. They make them out to be a horrid monster with no feelings. A witch or a crazy psycho. They put the blame for their problems on the other person and have a fine tale to explain how the other person is responsible for whatever situation they are in. They never stop to consider how their lies will affect the other person, their friends, or their family. When confronted with the truth they will deny ever having said those nasty comments.
If you are drawn in by someone’s sad story please remember that you may become the target of their next sad story. Trust me, I know this all too well.
Before repeating of commenting on the remarks think about what you would do, or how you would feel if that was you they were talking about. What if it were you mother or father? What if it were your child or grandchild? What if it were friend?
I am a not a monster but a flesh and blood human being just like you! I breathe the same air and my heart beats just like the one beating in your chest. I am not perfect nor will I ever be perfect in this lifetime. I cry, I laugh, I have the same struggles as everyone else, maybe a few more. I lose my temper sometimes, I yell, I scream, and sometimes I say things I don’t mean. I have made my share of mistakes, just as you reading this have, and I try my best to learn from those mistakes. I admit that I haven’t always handled every situation with the best of grace but I try.
I am often too trusting, too selfless, too loving, and too patient. I often bend over backwards to help others and make life easier for them. I try to find the good in every one and every situation. Sometimes I try to hard. I usually expect to be treated the way I have treated others. I forget that we are all human and we will all disappoint one another in some way or another. Sometimes I just expect and anticipate too much from those around me and then I am so disappointed and hurt when things don’t turn out the way I had expected.
Lately I am stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I constantly have to push myself to go further and do more than I feel I can. I try not to complain. I have found strength I didn’t know I had.
I have heard so many things about myself that I know are not true. It hurts, it really does. I have cried so much about these lies and rumors. They have caused me so much heartache and more so because one of the people responsible for starting them was someone I love and care about deeply. I never expected this. I never expected to be constantly harassed and humiliated on an almost daily basis now. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad if I had expected it, I don’t know.
Lately I have felt this bitterness creeping up inside of me and it is the most awful feeling. It chokes out all of your peace and joy. It overshadows everything else and makes it impossible for you to see the beauty of what is in front of you. It is a thief and robber.
It told me that I should be angry and upset. After all, I am the one who was left to be the ‘responsible one’. I am the one who is working 24/7 to keep this family going. I am the one who wakes up several times during the night to help the little ones go back to sleep. I am the one who is here dealing with the day to day needs of a large family and dealing with the extra challenges of special needs children. I am the one who sleeps alone in my bed EVERY night and prays for GOD to heal my broken heart. I ask HIM to wake me from this horrible dream. When I open my eyes I am still alone and I have no shoulder to cry on when I realize again and again that this is not a dream. I am the one who was committed and faithful only to have my heart broken time and time again. I am the one who NEVER gets to take a ‘break’ from it all. When I ask for a break I always get the same response, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve got other plans.’.
Then in the darkness of night I know that GOD is there and HE has my back, always has and always will. HE is the greatest comforter of all and HE has the biggest shoulders of anyone. HE understands me completely and HE listens. Without HIM I can do nothing!
Then I look at our family. It brings me to tears. They are a constant reminder of the dreams we had and the promises we made. They don’t deserve this. I try my best to shield them. They know Mommy is sad but they don’t know why. They don’t see the sacrifices I make, they don’t know the pleading and begging I have done to try to change the outcome.
When all else fails there is nothing left to do but to get rid of the bitterness that haunts me. The only way to get rid of the bitterness is to forgive. How do I forgive when I feel like I can’t? I remember the forgiveness that GOD has shown me. I will be the first to admit that I don’t deserve the mercy and grace that my LORD has shown me so many times. I pray that HE will change my heart and help me to forgive when I feel I can’t. With GOD’s help I can forgive even when it seems impossible. I will grant forgiveness even if it hasn’t been asked for.
So right now, I forgive all those who have gossiped about me. I forgive those who have had a hand (and the ones who won’t admit that they did) in the destruction of our marriage. I have been bitter against everyone who has spoken badly about me, those who have encouraged his addictions and selfishness, those who never supported us. I forgive you all even if you don’t want me to. I forgive him for all the things I have been through these past couple of years. Please understand that just because I forgive does not mean I will forget.
I also ask for forgiveness. I must ask that all of the ‘exes’ please forgive me as I, at one time, believed the stories about you. The stories that are all to similar to the stories being told about me. Please know that I apologize for anything I may have believed without getting your side of the story.
I also ask for forgiveness from those who have been affected by the lies and rumors that have been told. Please know that I am deeply sorry that you may have been affected by what was going on in my life. I also forgive anyone who has believed these lies and rumors and those that have contributed to the spreading of them.
I will remember those who have been there for me. I thank each and everyone one of my friends and family for supporting us through this time. You will never know how much I have appreciated each and every one of your thoughts and prayers. Most importantly I thank GOD for giving me the strength to get through this. Its not over yet and even after the legalities are taken care of it still won’t be ‘over’ as we have a family together.
So, Who am I? I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I am soon to be the dreaded ‘ex-wife’ and that’s OK. I am still a work in progress but I know GOD is not through with me and I have hope and faith that there are better things to come. I pray that GOD will plant a seed of forgiveness in the heart of everyone who reads this so you can experience the fullness of HIS mercy and grace. If you have never experienced HIS forgiveness I pray that you will and you will understand why I must forgive.