Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Wonders of El Nino

With apologies to anyone who may still be up to their necks in snow and frigid temperatures east of us and south of us who have received all the winter storms we normally get and are soaking in rain:

Normally this time of year we have storm after storm roll through and the idea of going outside to work in the yard is unthinkable. But this year is different - thanks to the warm ocean current "El Nino" that visits our coast occasionally, this is how I have been able to spend my afternoons this week. As we have had an extraordinarily balmy and dry January, Spring Fever has hit early for me this year.

Yesterday afternoon was spent digging up my front perennial bed - cleaning it all out and pruning back the roses.
And today my helpers and I hit the vegetable garden:

Don't let the praises of balmy weather fool you though - after a little while my helpers made a beeline for the house - it's a bit chilly to stay out too long for the little ones!! (although I know that our weather would seem like the tropics to anyone living in the east this year!!)

WARM Blessings,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


We took a trip to Costco and now there is enough seating for everyone!! :0)


Monday, January 25, 2010


For Today...January 25, 2010

Outside My Window...Overcast skies with little silvery, drippy drops hanging off my little maple tree.

I am Thankful Husband who keeps such a level head when dealing with hormone laden teenagers!!!

I am Remembering...last Spring - working in the garden with the air warming and the smell of the dirt - I am looking forward to Spring coming again!!

I am Creating...a scarf - for me this time. I'm teaching myself a new stitch so this is practice so that I can make one for my sister!

I am Reading...Seed catalogs!! And my Garden books. Spring is coming and I must get ready!!!

I am Hoping...these coughy little colds go away soon - they are just bad enough to make us feel kinda yucky but not bad enough to call off homeschool and just read :0)!!

On My Mind...Same as last time and probably will be on my mind for some time - the raising of teenagers and how to encourage them to a life of Godliness without sounding like a nagging mom :0)!!!

From the Learning Rooms...We are doing a study of the Underground Railroad - it must interest the kids because Abbie and Jacob were playing "Railroad" the other day - but it wasn't a choo choo train game it was about saving runaway slaves!!!

I am Noticing...that Esther is talking lots and lots more!

I am Pondering...the blessings of living here in the United States - we had some missionaries visit our church yesterday from Malawi, Africa and they shared the wonders of what happens to a village when a well is installed. We are so blessed to have fresh, clean water!!!

From the Kitchen...I'm not quite sure. I am making yogurt today and after school I will be making up my menu for the week.

Around the is kitchen day and I really need to get my pantry organized again - it's crazy how fast a pantry gets messed up - must have something to do with hungry, teenage boys always in it looking for food (of which they always say there is none - even right after a trip to Costco!!!)

One of my favorite things...sitting in front of the fire with a stack of seed catalogs on a rainy, winter Sunday afternoon with a mug of tea at my side . Sitting there turning down pages of seeds I'd like to try and daydreaming about the yummy veggies I'll be growing in a few months!

A few Plans for the Rest of the Week...Choir rehearsal on Thursday and Choir Concert on Friday. I must confess I never really like these events (isn't that awful!!!) They just seem to be stressful no matter how hard I plan ahead!!

A Picture to Share...Winter!

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Have a blessed Monday!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Grocery shopping for a family of ten is no small task - keeping the bill down is definitely a challenge!!

I have tried coupon clipping in the past but I find it doesn't really work for me - I don't generally buy name brand items and I rarely, rarely buy anything ready made. Our area does not do double coupon days so getting a few cents off items that I don't really use or need seems silly to me. I do shop sales though and try to plan my menus around sale items. My husband's second job is at the neighborhood grocery store so I always know what the good sales are for the week. One really good advantage to not buying ready made foods is that if there is ever a reason to not shop for a week it is not too difficult to live out of the pantry - I can make bread, cook up some refried beans, make tortillas (thanks Cinnamon), and use whatever home canned goods we like (especially applesauce :0)! )

I try to keep our bill down to about $100 a week. I love the challenge and try to make it a game for myself. This grocery trip came out to about $106 I think and my daughter and I figured (if our math was right :0)!) that it was about $4 a meal. Not bad for a family of ten.

So what are your ideas for keep the grocery bill reasonable?

(we are living out of our pantry this week after deciding to donate our grocery money to Haiti relief - our church lost three dear missionaries in the earthquake and several more are seriously injured - we are praying for these special families and for all the others so seriously impacted by this tragedy. If you are looking for a good place to donate our Free Methodist denomination has had a mission field in Haiti for many, many decades and is a safe place to contribute

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Blinked

Twenty years ago I gave birth to my first sweet baby. What an amazing journey I was starting that day!!

Then I blinked...
And he grew to a wonderful, Godly young MAN!!!
Happy Birthday Timothy!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Esther's New Hats

Essie needed a new hat so I got busy and made two. I think they look awfully cute - but it may be the baby under the hat that makes them look so good :0)!!!

Hope your day is warm and cozy!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One of Those Days

After days of dark, rainy deariness things are starting to go crazy around here!! Kids cooped up, stinky dogs stuck in the house, cats unwilling to step a toe outside - this old woman in a shoe is going nuts!!

Well, that may be a slight exaggeration but I am definitely feeling the need for comfort - especially in the food department. Which is a no-no right now as I am trying to shed some stubborn baby pounds (I'm not sure they can really be called baby pounds anymore - but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it :0)!!!)

Somehow a carrot is not doing the trick!! How bad can can two (thinly sliced) pieces of homemade bread lightly toasted with a dollop of homemade grape jelly be? The seconds I'm wanting on the other hand....

Hope your day is sunny (in your heart if not outside!!!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Morning

For Today...January 11, 2010
Outside My Window...A very dark, breezy and rainy morning!! We accidentally slept in because it's so dark out - it will look like dusk all day today.

I am Thankful For...My church family!! We had our yearly congregational meeting this weekend and it was so neat to be able to discuss family business and not so fun things like budgets and cut-backs with good spirits, humor and joy!!!

I am Remembering...what it was like to have a household of much smaller children. In so many ways the job of mothering was harder - not being to go anywhere without taking them all with me, wrangling all the kids through the store if I needed to go etc. Some days the job now seems easier as I have babysitters so I can run an errand without taking the littles or grab a shower without too much disturbance - but teens provide a whole new challenge to my sanity!!!! So my days are still sometimes difficult but different than a few years ago!!

I am creating...a new hat for Esther. I finished my Christmas gifts and feel kinda footloose and fancy free without any deadlines for my crafting :0)!! I posted a picture of my Christmas gift for my parents at the end of this post.

I am coffee with my husband and our pastor this afternoon to talk about the youth ministries at our church - I am praying about this - we have some good ideas and also some concerns. I'm hoping this can be a good conversation with results that are pleasing to God!!!

I am reading...not much right now - kinda between books. Of course my Bible is an ever - ongoing reading!!!

I am hoping...the little virus we have going through our home stays little!!!

On my mind...the raising of teenagers and how to encourage them to a life of Godliness without sounding like a nagging mom :0)!!!

From the learning rooms...Oooo I am liking this year of science with the littles - we are studying marine biology - a super subject to do when you live so near all different kinds of water - Grandma and Papa so near the ocean - we live very near the Puget Sound and lakes and streams everywhere around us!!! (and with all the water falling out of the sky for the next few days we probably will have our own little lake in the front yard :0)!!!)

I am noticing...that I need to change the Christmas music off my blog - I just love it so - it's hard to send it away :0)

I am pondering...the words of my pastor from yesterday's service. They were so profound - but too long to put up here - maybe later this week I will share.

From the kitchen...beef stew and homemade bread for dinner. Yay!! I remembered to set a sponge for the bread last night so it will be more sourdough type which hubby loves!!!

Around the house...tidy up and concentrate on the kitchen today

One of my favorite things...feeding my kids and hubby homemade hearty dinners on a cold rainy night!!!

A few plans for the rest of the week...tomorrow I have a graduation meeting for my second born and I have the possibility of going to the opera later this week (yes the real opera!!! A friend has a free ticket - I just have a few arrangements to make to make it possible to go!!!)

A picture to share...this is the throw I made for my parents for Christmas - I really enjoyed making this and I think the colors turned out good (their house is blues and browns with cranberry accents):

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Have a blessed Monday!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I'm trying this New Year to be a bit more balanced - a hard task for me I admit!! :0) We are incredibly blessed around here so it's not that I feel like huge changes need to be made. We are just busy, busy, busy and I think a better schedule will make things easier - at least for me - I like lists and schedules and stuff like that and I have gotten away from it (and have ended up feeling like I'm just running around like a chicken with no head :0) hahaha).

So here is my rough draft of my weekly schedule - I'm still working out my daily plans:

Monday: Kitchen day - the day to really hit my kitchen and make it nice for the week (the dishes and general pick is done everyday) wipe down canisters, cookie jars, coffee pots etc.
Laundry: Ruth and Abbie's clothes

Tuesday: Bathrooms - my favorite (not really) scrub down the bathrooms - tubs, sinks, floors and of course toilets
Laundry: Jacob and Sam's and diapers
Wednesday: Living room, Dining Room, Entry clean-up
Laundry: Hubby's and mine and the girl's Sunday School clothes
Thursday: Master bedroom clean-up (we have homeschool classes this day)
Laundry: Towels and Rugs, and Essie's clothes

Friday: Plan menus (homeschool classes also)

So that's it - roughly - for my week. When it's down on paper it looks so easy and manageable!! I better not let Hubby see this or he will think my job is easy!! :0) hahahaha Of course school everyday isn't written down and all the other crazy things that happen throughout my day - like monkey children climbing on everything and zipping kids in and out of jackets and peeling boots on and off many times a day!!:0)!!

So at least here is my attempt to get life a little more ordered and organized. Does anyone else do this - what are your plans?

Monday, January 4, 2010


Well, I'm back!! For several reasons - some that I can't really explain I took a blogging break. I have been so very busy!!! Holidays are so wonderful but also add so much more stuff to the to-do list. Something had to give - and computer time was it.

But I also seem to be experiencing some sort of writers block. I don't feel as if I have anything much to say - not that I'm doing this to say anything wise or great but I guess I haven't felt like putting anything in writing. Which for me has led to guilt as I look at my computer. Silly - I know - but true. For two reasons - one - the purpose of my blog was to keep track of my days - to preserve them in a way - for my children. A way of scrapbooking I suppose. And not doing that through the holidays is awful if I'm seeking to preserve memories :)!!! But I have also felt guilty because in this blogging quest I have made some wonderful friends and I feel as though I have failed to keep in touch through this season.

Today I finally carved out some time to sit here and begin again on this blogging journey. I will spend time this week catching up on my friends blogs and again putting blogging time into my daily plan. My home is not quite back to a regular routine - I still have house guests and we're beginning to get back into our school routine. Beginning again will be a good thing as we head into this new year!!!