Monday, June 30, 2008

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Haven Mondays

To be honest, I don't feel much like my home is a haven today! We were out of town Friday afternoon until late Saturday night. After church yesterday, I came home, ate a quick lunch and then worked at a benefit all afternoon. The benefit was for a mom at my school who was diagnosed with ALS last December and is deteriorating pretty fast.

Anyway, I'm feeling rather muddled this morning. So on my "To Do" list so far this morning are the following:

  • Finish grinding coffee beans
  • Fax the dog's latest shot records to the kennel
  • Find someone to babysit the rabbit & goldfish next week
  • Instruct the kids to vacuum living room & dining room
  • Pack up books I'm trading on BookMooch
  • Pack up books I sold to Cash4Books
  • Get to what cleaning I can (my kiddos need some attention too!)
  • Begin thinking about what we'll pack for our trip to Chicago (we fly out on Saturday morning)
There are two things I'll do this week to bless my family. The first one is to bake some cookies for them. I baked cookies last week to take to my parents' over the weekend. I have to bake cookies for a bake sale that my oldest son's baseball team is having. This is typical....I usually bake for other people/events and then don't have time to do it for my family. So this week they'll get their very own batch!

The second thing will be more difficult for me. Our flight to Chicago is at 6 AM on Saturday morning. This means I'll be packing on Friday (4th of July). I DETEST packing and get REALLY grouchy when I have to do it. (Unpacking is just as bad!) My goal is to NOT get cranky and snap at my family. Say a prayer for me!

Make Your Home a Haven is sponsored by Crystal at

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frugal Friday

I know.......not another beans and rice tidbit! My husband and I have a favorite new lunch that's cheaper than and just as convenient as going through drive-thru. We buy the Goya black bean soup ($1.09 for 15 oz. can) and a bag of the frozen Birds Eye microwavable brown rice ($1.59 for 10 oz. bag). We microwave the soup and the rice separately and then mix them together. One can of the soup and one bag of the rice feeds the two of us! We sometimes add cheese if we have any on hand. This is cheap, fast, filling and rather healthy! Plus, using the microwave is economical and it doesn't heat up our kitchen during the summer like using the stove top does.

Now about pepperoni.......half of our family likes pepperoni on their pizza and half of us don't. Sometimes I serve frozen pizzas for dinner and sometimes I make homemade pizzas. When I buy the frozen ones, I purchase pepperoni pizzas. Prior to baking them, I take the pepperoni off one of the pizzas. I put the pepperoni in a baggie and place it back in the freezer. The next time I make homemade pizzas, I put this pepperoni on one of them!

By the way, I'd love to hear from you all regarding paying your children an allowance. This has always been a stumbling block for my husband and I. Do you tie it to chores or not? How much do you pay at what age? What sorts of things do you expect your children to use their allowance for? (Clothing, tithing, gifts, going to the movies, etc.?) Thanks for your help!

Frugal Friday is hosted by Crystal at

Teenage Sons

As you can see from this photo, I spent my day a little differently than I would have normally! My 13-year-old son and two of his friends wanted to go to this skateboarding demonstration that was being sponsored by a skateboarding store at a local mall. Apparently these skaters are touring around the country doing this. My husband already had a fishing trip planned and the other two moms had work and family commitments, so that meant I got to be the "cool" mom! So the three teenage boys, my 10-year-old son and I piled into our jeep and drove the half hour to the mall. (I tried not to dwell on the gas being used!)

I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting myself into, but it actually turned out to be a fun afternoon. The event was held in a portion of the mall parking lot. It wasn't horribly crowded, there were lots of security guys roaming around and the weather was just lovely. The boys got a lot of little freebies, were able to watch the skaters, and then got their autographs. We had lunch in the mall food court and then stopped at Burger King on the way home and got some milkshakes. All the boys were very appreciative that I took them and thanked me on the way home.

The crowd that this event drew, looked a bit less than desirable, but I tried to keep an open mind. For the pas
t year, my son has been trying to fight the bad rap that skateboarders seem to get because of the way they look and because a lot of people think it's a waste of time. He wrote a paper on this topic for his 7th grade English class and even responded on-line to articles and comments that have been written in our newspaper about our local skate park. He wants people to know that there are skaters who do get good grades and don't get into trouble. They're also athletic and play organized sports. (He plays baseball and football.) I'm rather proud of him for speaking up about something he loves, yet I will be keeping a watchful eye on him and the company he keeps and continue sending my prayers up to God. Unfortunately, even his mother has a hard time not "judging a book by its cover".

I know I'm at the beginning of this teenage stage of life, but I'm trying to cautiously encourage my kids to pursue their passions. (Of course, Sam wanted me to drop them off there and then get lost. I told him that if I was driving them, I wasn't just letting them go off on their own. I kept a respectable distance from them but always had them within my view!) If any of you more experienced moms have advice, please send it my way!The boys are somewhere in this crowd waiting to get autographs. I was sitting under the shade of a tree trying to let them be a little independent!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Practicing What I Preach

My husband mentioned twice yesterday that he was going to be really busy at work the next two weeks before we head out to Chicago on July 5. He even asked me to get him a cup of coffee (he works from home) which is something he never does. So, I figured I'd better work extra hard on being his helpmeet.

Well, the best laid plans....... I decided I would mow the lawn this afternoon since he didn't have time to do it over the weekend. I don't mind mowing the lawn because it is a good work out. (Obviously, we have a push mower.) The only thing that I seem to forget from summer to summer is how hard it is to start our mower! My poor husband had to come outside twice to help me start it. Both times he had to deal with my wrath of not being able to do it myself! While I got the job done, I think I stressed him out by my attitude. Actually, he said he felt guilty that I was mowing the lawn. That was not my intention!

I need to remember to keep my attitude in check as I go about doing my work! Proverbs 17:22 states, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." I think my angry attitude (crushed spirit) dried up Eric's bones and my own.

So ladies, I think the lesson here is that our attitude is just as important as our actions! We need to be cheerful givers. God says so!

"...for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7

Haven Mondays

This is the first time I've joined Crystal's Make Your Home a Haven challenge!

Three things I am thankful for include:
  1. My kids are out of school and are home for the summer.
  2. Our house....even though we rent rather than own.
  3. My hard working husband.
I had two primary to-do items on my list for today. The first thing was to get up early and go grocery shopping. I accomplished this and was home before 10 AM! My second item of importance was taking the dog to the vet for his yearly check-up and shots. This is already done, too! (Unfortunately to the expensive tune of $192.00!)

I had to giggle over the prospect of cleaning up my laundry room. This is a task that I began last week. Notice I said began.......I haven't finished yet. I managed to go through a basket of clean laundry that has been sitting in there FOREVER waiting to be ironed. Sorting through it, I was able to put some stuff together to go to Good Will. I now have an empty clothes basket to use! I also got the dryer wiped down and cleaned the utility sink in there. I still have some things to take out to the garage. My goal for this summer is to not use my dryer very often. I have two drying racks (one is very large) plus my clothes line. I figure we'll save money and not heat up our house by hanging our clothes to dry. (We don't have central air.)

Well, I guess I'd better move on to getting my dishes done!

Make Your Home a Haven is sponsored by Crystal at

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Small Ways to be Your Husband's Helpmeet

As the saying goes, "Good things come in small packages!" Here are a few small but good things you can do to be your husband's helpmeet.

  • Always have a bath towel in the bathroom for him.
  • Keep the q-tip container filled.
  • Keep an extra roll of tp in the bathroom.
  • Occasionally bring him a cup of coffee.
  • Have a supply of extra light bulbs and batteries in the house.
  • Keep a steady supply of napkins and paper towels available.
  • Make the bed...even if he's the last one up!
  • Make sure that at least his clean laundry is put away.
  • If he's having a busy week, mow the lawn.
  • Keep enough computer paper on hand.
  • Fill up the gas tank.
Some of these may seem silly and frivolous, and you may be thinking, "Come on! I'm busy too!" But saving your hubby some time and frustration by not having to look for things (a.k.a. asking you where they are) or do some things can prevent stress for him and the rest of your household. Plus, it helps him to be more productive for his family.

I realize that some of you may mow the lawn every week, but in our family, that's something he typically does with help from our boys. You'll have to adjust the items on my list to suit your own family.

You know another old saying, "If mama ain't h
appy, ain't nobody happy!" This applies to husbands/fathers as well! So I challenge you to try it. Pretty soon you may find him doing some acts of kindness for you too!

Friday, June 20, 2008

His Helpmeet

For the past week, I've been trying to be more of a "helpmeet" to my husband. My last two years at work have been tough on him. Actually, three years ago I was taking one online class and that took up more of my time than we expected. My poor hubby has had to do a lot of dishes and constantly ask, "If I was a pair of clean underwear, where would I be?"

I am very lucky that Eric has always been helpful around the house anyway and that he likes to grocery shop and loves to cook. (I detest grocery shopping, and he is better at finding the deals!) Now don't get too jealous.......I do have to point out to him what needs to be done. (Honey, have you noticed that the dog is shedding and our blue carpet is turning black?) However, my staff has been known to roll their eyes when I've brought in a lunch that Eric has packed for me.

Now that I'm off for the summer and my work load next school year will be less, I want to make things easier for him. I knew he was stressed each morning when I'd hear him sigh right before he'd start cleaning up the kitchen. (He works from home and makes his own schedule.) So right now I'm concentrating on being the one who cleans up the kitchen and having the laundry done and put away. I even emptied the trash can in his office this evening.

I am curious if he'll begin to notice what I'm doing. No, I'm not doing this for praise and thanks from him. I'm doing this to see if a lot of the high stress level within our family has been due to me working outside of the home. The extra money has been nice, but it's not worth the added stress and frustration.

God wants women to be helpers to their husbands. "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" (Genesis 2:18) I know this isn't a popular idea in our culture. I don't always like it either. But you know what? Things always go much smoother when we follow God's plan rather than our own. When our families follow his design rather than the world's, there is more peace on the homefront. I guess that is what I'm seeking right now, and it is the purpose behind my little "experiment". I want our family to live according to God's plan, and I've realized that the person I must start with is myself.

So, hopefully and prayerfully I'm striving to be Eric's "helpmeet". I'll keep you posted throughout the summer on what God is doing in our family as a result of this!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Frugal Friday

I stumbled upon something called BookMooch a few weeks ago. It's a website where you can exchange books with a large community of other people. Membership is free. All you do is list books that you are willing to part with and send them out when someone requests one of the books you have listed. You pay for the shipping, but when you request a book from someone, they pay for the shipping. So it's basically a free book exchange. Go to for the details and to join. I've already sent out a few books and have received some too. It's really easy! Happy Mooching!

Frugal Friday is hosted by Crystal at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Aaahhhhh......the first day of summer vacation! Do you remember that feeling as a kid? All is right with the world and there is nothing to get in your way. I always look forward to my kids being home for the summer. It bothers me when I hear parents say to their kids, "I don't know what I'm going to do with you all summer!" Sadly, with the violence in the schools these days, I'm just thrilled that my kids have made it through another school year. Not to say that they're safer outside of school, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

I'm off for the summer, too. I've been waiting for this since last July! I stepped down from the Directorship at my school and will be teaching only next school year. Now I get to be home during the summers once again. I am so glad! There are so many things that I want to do (and there is nothing to get in my way! Really?). I'm feeling just like my kids do at last!

One of the many things I want to do is to post more frequently here and to sharpen my writing skills. I don't know if anyone will even be reading this, but I need to express myself somewhere. I would also like to develop into a more insightful writer.

Other things......My husband and I relocated our vegetable garden this year so that we could have a larger area to plant in. We've enjoyed working in the garden together and look forward to our harvest! I have many, many books I want to read this summer. I have a nasty habit of starting a new book before I finish what I'm currently reading. I'm probably in the middle of at least 10 books right now! I also plan to continue doing a Beth Moore Bible study of Daniel. Then I want to look into joining or starting a Moms-in-Touch group here. Wait.....there's more! I'm working on cleaning and organizing our house; we have two vacations planned (both in July); the kids and I want to spend time at the local pool; I want to cook and bake more; oh, and I had better work on my lesson plans for next school year! If I'm not careful, I'm going to end up returning to work feeling exhausted!

I know I can plan all I want, but God is the only one who's plan will be fulfilled. I'll have to do only what he allows me to do and be content with that. This lesson was brought forth to us last night. My oldest son and his friends were skateboarding behind our house when one of the boys fell and broke his wrist. Today the friend was lamenting that his "full life" has been interrupted. For him there will be no summer camp, no skateboarding, and no swimming (until his cast comes off). He'll just have to be content with what he can do this summer. Hard for a 13 year old boy!!

So I have to remember that if at the end of this summer I look back with regret and disappointment at how few of my goals (dreams, wishes) I actually accomplished, it's okay. Everything is as it should be because I'm not the one in charge. God is, and I have to be content and satisfied with the path he lays before me. I am in from the bondage of sin and free of Satan. It is possible to live a life of freedom, yet not have total control of your life. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord,..." (Jeremiah 29:11)