Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Quick Posting!

It is just now 9:30, and I feel like I have been awake for 24 hours!  Today's been one of those days when I surprise myself with how productive I can be!

My house is clean!  Well, aside from the mountain of toys in my living room, but that doesn't count.  The kids are contently playing with those right now.  One of my favorite things is looking into the living room from my desk and watching them giggle and play with each other!

I've got a yummy batch of whole wheat sandwich bread rising, and it is almost ready to shape into loaves and bake.  I think we will have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch today!  (Homemade jelly AND homemade bread!)

I'm finishing up another order today, also.  Between my everyday duties as mom and wife, the daycare, the knitting, and the Girl Scout Cookie sales, I am feeling a little swamped.  I'll be ready for the cookie sales to be over, for sure.

I'm excited that my in-laws are coming to visit this weekend!  It will be a nice little break from the everyday.  We don't get away very often, but having people visit us is just as good!  The kids are always excited when Namaw and Tampaw come to visit, and this time, they are bringing some goodies!  (I know I have a ton of canning jars coming!  This summer, I will have plenty to store fresh veggies in!)

Today's post is going to be short.  I've got so much to do still.  I will share a verse with you today.  It has been popping into my head since I woke up this morning:

Psalm 7:17  I will thank the Lord for his righteousness; I will sing about the name of Yahweh, the Most High."

Have a wonderful day today!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Teaching our Children to Pray

As a Christian, teaching my children to pray is of the utmost importance to me.  To me, prayer is nothing more than having a conversation with someone I love.  It isn't one-sided.

My children love to pray, and that makes my heart so happy.  Flower recently told me that she had run out of people to pray for, so we went to the Bible to see what it had to say about prayer.

Who are we supposed to pray for?  1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, kings, and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."   We are to pray for all people...even people we may not know!

When are we supposed to pray? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says "Pray without ceasing."  We should always have a prayer in our hearts and our tongues!

I looked on Pinterest, of course, for some fun craft ideas to help teach my kids to pray.  I found a really neat "Prayer Stick" craft that used popsicle sticks.  I didn't have any, and didn't want to go buy any, either.  But, we do have three trees in the backyard!

So out went Flower, gathering up all the super small sticks she could find.  If you want to make one with your kids, you'll want to find some relatively smooth sticks.  It makes painting easier, as well as choosing the sticks!

We pulled out the paints again, and Flower painted each one.

It was a test of her patience!

After that, we sat and thought of all the people we could pray for.  We listed out Daddy, Mama, Flower and Little Man, as well as Aunts, Uncles and cousins.  Once Flower realized we could pray for anyone, she started coming up with some great ideas!  We also wrote out our pastors, missionaries, friends at school, teachers, the daycare kids and their families, people who don't know who Jesus is, our Girl Scout friends, people in the military, our president, and our neighbors.  I was so happy to see how excited she got, just thinking about who we were going to pray for!

While she was at school, I grabbed some of my index cards, and cut them into smaller pieces.  On each one, I wrote a name from the list, then punched holes on either end.  I threaded each name onto a stick.

I had a little decorative bucket I found at the dollar store, so we put them all into the bucket.

Each morning, we draw a stick to see who we will pray for!  Our first prayer is together, when we are sitting eating breakfast and having our devotional before school.  Each day I write a note to Flower to put in her lunchbox, and I remind her there who we are praying for that day.

There are other variations on this, too!  If your kids can't read, try gluing photos of the people you want to pray for!  Write names on flower shapes, and have a "prayer garden"!

This has been so fun to do with my kids!  Its reminds us that if we "stick" to praying, God will hear us, and He will answer our prayers!  It reminds that there is always someone who needs a little prayer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Training Our Children and the Punishment Jar.

Flower is going through a phase.  Its been a very long phase, but a phase none the less.  She's got attitude.  She's independent.  She is a leader.   She's a rule maker and enforcer.  She's a boss in the making.  When she is an adult, these attributes are going to serve her well.  Unfortunately, she is only 8, the attitude she has is terrible, she is positive the rules do not apply to her in any way, and she forgets that Mama is still the boss.

Barb Wire Man and I have tried just about every punishment we can think of for her.  We have spanked.  We have grounded.  We've tried time out.  She takes her punishment, and by the next day, she has forgotten about it.  We've yelled and we have been patient.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6 to train up our children in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.  I take that very seriously.  I don't want to cram Flower (or Little Man) into a mold which she will never fit.  She is stubborn, a trait that I admit she got from me, and it will serve her well in the future.  I don't want to break her of that, but I do need to train her as to when it is, and isn't, appropriate.

But the other verse that God always reminds me of is in Ephesians 6:4.  "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  So many times I have looked at her while disciplining her and I have seen anger.  Anger at me, anger in herself, even anger in people  who aren't even involved in the situation!

So, we are getting creative.  I set out on a search to find creative ways to discipline our children.  Things that will stick with them from now on.  I want my kids to realize that their choices have caused them to  get in trouble.

After church, Flower and I sat down at the kitchen table with an empty oatmeal container.

We pulled out the paints and went to town decorating the container.

On slips pf paper, I wrote some pretty creative, often gross, disciplinary actions. "Scrub the toilet."  "Scoop dog poop."  "Write the alphabet 50 times."  Instead of me coming up with disciplines that rarely work, she gets to choose what happens.  After all, she made the choice to disobey, right!?

I'll let you know how it goes, but by the look on her face when she saw the things she would have to do, I think it will go great!  What types of creative discipline do you give your kids?

So no sooner than I hit "save" on this post, Flower decided to cop an attitude about having to take her nightly shower.  Mind you, she has taken a shower at the exact same time, every single night, since she started school.  And it wasn't just an "oh man, I don't want to shower!" attitude.  We're talking stomping off, slamming doors kind of attitude.  I had her get the jar, and she drew out "write alphabet 50 times".  By the time she had written it 15 times, she had cooled down.  Her attitude was much better!  She did say that if she had known it was going to be this bad to be surprised by the type of punishment she was getting, she never would have painted a sun or a flower on the jar!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinterest and Glitter and Keys...OH MY!

So, here lately, I have found myself looking at all the awesome crafts on Pinterest that I want to do, instead of actually making the crafts.  Actually, I've found myself on Pinterest more than anything, period.  I love it.

I found the cool tutorial about putting glitter on your keys to help differentiate which keys go where.  I'm not a huge glitter fan, but I do have a million different keys.  Flower, on the other hand, would take a glitter bath every day if I let her, so I knew she would have fun with this craft!

We laid out a paper towel and took my plain jane key off my key chain.

Next, we swiped one side of the key with a generous amount of clear fingernail polish.  I don't think you really need as much polish as we used, though.  Flower was in charge of this part, and she still thinks more is better!

We sprinkled the wet nail polish with bright blue glitter.  Flower really wanted me to use pink, but I drew the line.  The glitter was for her, so we got to at least use my favorite color!
We repeated the steps on the other side, and wound up with this awesomely glittery key!
I'm pretty sure that I will be able to tell which key I need, in a flash.  There is no missing this thing.

I will say, however, that now I tend to have a little bit of glitter on everything I own.  It does rub off quite a bit,  but this may be remedied by adding another coat of clear polish to seal it.  I doubt I will do this, though.  That would mean that I would 100% complete the craft, and I never do that!  I can't ruin my streak!

What are some fun crafts you have done lately?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Real Food

I didn't make resolutions this year.  None at all, because I know they wouldn't be kept.  I did, however, decide to make some changes in my life and my family's lives.  One of those was to eat healthier.

Now, we never ate a ton of junk food.  I cooked supper almost every single night, and we very rarely ate out.  We hardly ever ate any type of boxed meal, although occasionally, if I was running w-a-y behind, I'd make one. I did drink a lot of coke.  I never really paid attention to the nutritional labels, as far as the ingredients of a product went.  But, one day, I was making Barb Wire Man's typical pack lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chips.  I was happy to see that the ingredients of my peanut butter were nothing more than "peanuts".  The bread, on the other hand, was not so simple.

"Enriched Bleach Flour".  (Wait, why not just leave it whole and not enrich it?)  
"High Fructose Corn Syrup".  (Honestly, I'm not one to worry too much about this.  I'm an everything in moderation type of person.  Unfortunately, HFCS is in everything, which basically tosses moderation out the window.)
"Dough Conditioners"  (But nothing to tell me what those dough conditioners are.  And, when I make bread, I don't need conditioners!)

I started doing some research on the computer, and am just flabbergasted at some of the things that are in our food these days.  I don't want to feed my family maltoiamnotevensurehowtopronounce it, I want them to eat food.  Like God intended.

So from now on, everything we eat is going to be food as close as possible to the way it started in nature.  At least everything the kids and I eat. that is.   I don't think I will ever pry Barb Wire Man away from his processed foods, so I will keep his diet the same.  If I make mac and cheese with whole wheat noodles for us, I'll make a batch for him the way he likes it.  I'd sure hate for him to eat healthy and take care of himself.   Flower loves all the fresh food.  I knew she would, because she is so much like me.  There isn't much we won't eat. Little Man is getting used to it.  He is just like his daddy when it comes to food: picky, and would choose Mrs. Baird's over a fresh baked loaf any day. (As long as he doesn't start making fun of me for my health choices, like his dad.)o

I can already tell a major difference, and it has only been 3 days.  I'm not as tired as I usually am.  I have a lot more energy.  I am pretty sure my skin looks better, too.  I know its going to take a little extra effort on my part.  No more buying refrigerated rolls.  Nope, I'll be making them from scratch, along with just about everything else.

How many of you are on real food only diets?

Check out other awesome blogs here! Blog Post Hop

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Patches and Sashes and Cookies...oh my!

My car is parked in my driveway, not in my garage.  I'm frantically sewing patches onto a brown sash, so people will gasp when they see how many have been earned.  I'm putting on my walking shoes so my feet don't kill me after walking door to door every day.  That can only mean one thing:  Girl Scout Cookies.  There are literally over $4,000 worth of Girl Scout cookies in my garage.

Its insanity, my friends.  I might actually lose my mind over it!  Flower has big goals this year.  Then again, she always does.  Last year her goal was to sell 2,000 boxes of cookies, so she could win the highest prize.  She fell short, but only by 1,700 boxes.  This year her goal is 2,000, so she can win the Netbook.  I'm almost positive that by the time we drive around town taking orders, delivering, and collecting money, I will have spent enough in gas money to have purchased the dang thing for her.

But, that isn't what Girl Scouts is about, is it?

Its showing her that she can do whatever she puts her mind to.  Did she do it last year?  No, but she learned that if she wants to do it this year, she has to work a little bit harder.  Not everything comes easily.

I have 9 little girls in my troop, and I'm proud of them all!  They all do so awesome during cookie time.  I know they are going to do a great, nay, amazing job selling all 1, 116 boxes of cookies in my garage.  I need  them to sell, too.  I hate parking outside....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In Support of The Strike

I'd like to say that I'm striking, along with so many other bloggers.  But, its hard to go on strike when you so rarely write anyhow!  lol!  But, my voice can be heard along with so many others!  We can put an end to Piracy, without putting an end to  the internet freedoms we all have!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Time Keeps on Slippin'

When, on a daily basis, you have as many kids as I have, free time is rare.  It doesn't happen often, and even if it does, it is usually interrupted by someone yelling that their toy was taken away, that they were hit, or that they need to go peepee.

That is the reason I am a little selfish about my free time.  I'm down right snobbish about it, in fact.  During the day, nap time is the only time my house is quiet and I have time to think.  This is usually the time I catch up on reading my favorite blogs or knit.  I won't even answer the phone during nap time...I actually unplug the phone.  I hang this sign on the door so people won't ring my door bell and risk waking the little ones (and interrupting my alone time).  In the evening, my free time is after my own babies go to bed.  Sometimes Barb Wire Man goes to bed also, so its totally silent. This is my knitting time.

Then, I discovered......

Follow Me on Pinterest

I'm afraid I could spend more time on Pinterest than actually making the things I find on Pinterest.  Yesterday, I spent all of my free time looking at Pinterest.  I also spent some of the time that I was supposed to be cleaning looking at it.   I also looked at it while I was cooking supper.

There are just too many awesome ideas on there!  I am in love with Pinterest!  So, I have added a button over on the side of my blog, so you can follow me on Pinterest too!  

But, I better go.  The day care kiddos are here, so my morning writing time is up.  Have a blessed day everyone!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kathy's Story

Yesterday was quite a crazy day for me, but then again, most Mondays are.  My kids, and the daycare kids, get used to spending time with Mama, so they are a little restless all day.  I took some friends over to the house next door to me, because they are thinking of renting it!  I'm pretty excited about the possibility of having a friend live right next door.  Our girls are the same age, and so are our boys!  (In fact, I watch her son during the day, and am her daughter's Girl Scout troop leader!)  I also had to buy groceries.  I hate buying groceries, so I put it off until I absolutely have to buy them.  And by absolutely have to, I mean, we are down to flour, beans and rice!  So if we wanted to eat, I had to go.  Barb Wire Man is still fighting the flu he got at the first of the week.  Poor guy didn't sleep a bit last night for all the coughing.  (I barely noticed...I could sleep through a tornado.)  

I had hoped to receive a call from the editors of Real Simple Magazine, informing me that I had won a writing contest.  Unfortunately, I did not.  I hadn't gotten my hopes up too terribly much.  I knew the chances of me actually winning were relatively slim, but I still hoped.  It doesn't discourage me at all, though.  I have big plans for my writing in the future, and am currently working on a joint project with a friend (can't wait to talk more about that in the future!)  

The contest was to write about the first time you experienced true love.  While there are a few different times in my life I could have written about, the words flow most easily when talking about my grandmother.  If you haven't read the story about her, you can do so here.  Following is the story I had submitted, and I would love to hear your opinions!  

Kathy's Story
My grandma, Kathy, I believe in high school

 “Stop peeling that potato so thickly, Mimi,” she said as we cooked supper together. “It is wasteful, and that could have been a bite for someone at the table.”

Kathy was the second of 5 children born to a Union Worker in a small, Texas panhandle town.  Because her father frequented the picket line, money was often scarce.  To say they lived frugally would be an understatement, and “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” was not just a motto; it was a way of life, and sometimes the only way they could survive until her daddy’s next paycheck.

            Kathy grew up, and soon met and fell in love with a boy with bright red hair.  Oh, how she loved that bright red hair!  She soon discovered she was pregnant, in an age when ladies did not get pregnant before marriage.  So she and her bright, red-haired boy married.  Together, they brought 3 children into the world.  They bought a house way out in the country, away from the hustle, where the kids could run and play.  Her life became an endless repeat of sewing clothes for the children, cooking their meals and leading Girl Scout meetings.  She was a homemaker; a wife and mother, and never worked outside of her home, but in these things, her life was full.  

Grandma and Pawpaw (Kathy and Robert)

 As inevitably happens, Kathy’s children grew.  They left home, and started families of their own.   Three little granddaughters became the highlight of her life.  She would stop any passer-by on the street, just to show them pictures of her granddaughters.  Sleep-overs at Grandma’s house were a common occurrence, and each night was the same routine.  Kathy would haul out her big, black cast iron skillet from under her old gas stove, and whip up something for supper.  Nothing ever fancy, mind you, but always satisfying.  Her oldest would help cook, soaking in every ounce of wisdom she had to offer.  Kathy would then fill a plate of food, and a glass of sweet iced tea for her red-head love, and then carry it over to him.  “Grandma, can’t he come get that for himself?  Why do you do it for him?!” the eldest granddaughter would frequently ask.  Kathy never answered with anything more than a smile.

            It wasn’t until years later that the granddaughter realized that serving was just another way Kathy was showing her husband how much she truly loved him. 

             The girls would lie in the giant bed, giggling, talking, and playing.  This would go on for hours, until out of sheer exhaustion Kathy would shout, “SETTLE!!”  Not a girl was brave enough to speak once that word had been uttered, for as fun as Grandma could be, she could also be a stern disciplinarian. 

Kathy knew no stranger.  Where ever she went, she could find a friend.  If a friend was not to be found, she would make one.  When her life wasn’t being ruled by the three little girls, she was busy crocheting.  She loved to make things with her hands, and she was a master.  She would often haul crate after crate of afghans and other crafts to craft shows, just to make a couple extra dollars.   After all their years together, her re-haired love would join her, both still in love with the other.

              More grandchildren, six, in fact, blessed Katherine’s life, though she would never meet three.  The oldest granddaughters grew, and soon a great-granddaughter blessed Kathy’s life.    The pride on Kathy’s face could not have been matched!  But, that joy was soon ripped from Kathy’s life.  Her red-haired boy, whose hair had long since turned to white, had fallen asleep, unable to wake.  There was no one left to cook for but herself; no one left to do laundry for except herself.  Her crocheting and crafting was all that was left in her large, country home that brought her joy.  Her family was quite spread out, and while they made every attempt possible to visit, they simply could not be there every day.
Kathy's brother Gayland, and her three kids, my Aunt Tonya, Mom, and Uncle Don

                 The summer of 2006 in the Texas panhandle was brutal.  The heat, the wind, and lack of rain in Texas that year made even Hell look hospitable.  Kathy’s brother called, and warned her of a fire that had just recently started, and if not controlled quickly, would be heading straight for her home.   She rushed to her house to grab her important papers, just in case the fire was not extinguished.  Thoughts rushed through Kathy’s head; would her home that she and her loved had worked so hard for be standing at the end of the day?

     She made her way down the bumpy, oil field roads that she had driven a million times before, when the thought of some elderly neighbors crossed her mind.  Though no longer considered young herself, she knew they would have no one to help them escape this massive blaze, which was getting closer and closer with each passing moment.  Excusing all thoughts of saving herself, Kathy stopped at their home to render aid. 

               How Kathy tried to make it out in time.  But to Hell, in the form of flames whipped by 40 mile per hour winds across a scorched earth, a human is no match.  Kathy was unable to escape the flames.  She would never see her children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren again, but it wasn’t long before she was embracing her red-haired love whom she had missed so much.

               Kathy’s life had always been ruled by the simplest, yet hardest of all tasks to perform; the act of placing one’s self below everyone else.   Her life had ended, exactly as she lived it; helping and serving others.

     “But Grandma, you have a whole bag of potatoes, and you can always go to the store for more.  There is plenty for everyone!”
     “One day, when you have a family, you’ll think back on this conversation, and understand,” she replied.
     Kathy was right.  For each time I pull out my grandma’s big, cast iron skillet to cook supper for my own little family, I think about those potatoes.  I think about how serving others, giving of your time, energy, and yes, even your life, is the most sincere form of love.

   “Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”  
               John 15:13, KJV

The three oldest grandkids: my cousin Cassie, myself, my aunt, and my sister Maggie.  I don't have a picture of  each of my other cousins, but they are all cuties!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Let's Make Another Attempt!

Let me start by saying "I'M STILL ALIVE!!!!"

So, for the longest time, my computer was stuck w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y back in a little corner in my bedroom.  I'm still using a dinosaur of a computer that is far from portable.  That meant, if I wanted to write a blog post, I had to basically alienate myself from my family, or leave the daycare kids alone in the living room.  Neither of those were acceptable to me, so I would either write super early in the morning, or late at night...assuming Barb Wire Man hadn't already gone to bed.  

That, my friends, is why I haven't been writing.  I've just been too tired to get up early enough (I already get up super early to shower, clean house, and read my Bible!), and by the time the kids go to bed, all I want to do is sit on the couch with the Man.  

I've also been knitting so much, filling orders, that my hands are aching.  Badly.  

But yesterday, that all changed!  I asked my sweet husband to move our bed to a different area of our room, which turned into a whole day of rearranging furniture (hehe).   Now, my computer is in the dining room, across from the table.  I can now write without neglecting my family, or feeling like a loner in my bedroom!  It seems like such a small thing, but it makes me so happy!  I should be able to write on a regular basis now!  YAY!  Not only that, but I will be able to spend a little more time on my Etsy shop, getting it just right.  (currently I am in vacation mode, because I was overwhelmed by custom orders.  I'll take it off vacation in about a week.

Awhile back, I submitted an original story to a major magazine.  Its a contest, and tomorrow, the winners are announced.  I'm not getting my hopes up too much, after all, it is the first time I have ever done such a thing.  Not to mention there are probably thousands of others who also wrote in.  Nonetheless, I'm anxious about whether or not I will receive a call!  The grand prize of being published, and $3,000, is quite appealing!  Seriously, what I couldn't do with three grand.....  If I don't win, then I will make a blog post dedicated to the story I wrote.   If I do win, well, I can't.  But, you can read it in the magazine!  HA!  

Did you know that January 8-14 is "letters of appreciation" week?  I saw that tweeted last night, and started thinking about all the letters I could write.  I'd need more stationery and stamps, for sure. For as much as a Facebook, Tweet and Blog, I am still a die-hard fan of the handwritten letter.  Nothing makes a person feel so special as receiving a handwritten letter. In fact, I still have letters from two friends that we wrote in high school!  (You both know who you are!)  So, I've committed to writing at least two letters a day for the next week, letting some people know how much I appreciate them.  

The kids have about 15 minutes before bedtime, so I think I'll hop off here and go love on them a bit!  Nothing makes me as happy as playing with my babies and seeing them smile.  Except maybe bedtime, when I can relax a bit.

Have a blessed day!